|A Skeptical Front-Line View of That Manufacturing Renaissance |
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
From a small manufacturing firm right in the middle of numerous major industry supply chains comes a warning to take all manufacturing renaissance claims with a boulder of salt.
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|A Manufacturing Slump that Never Ended|
Thursday, May 15, 2014
More than six years after the last, devastating recession began, manufacturing output still hasn't returned to pre-downturn levels. And nowhere is the role of inept trade policy clearer than in a steel industry once more victimized by massive foreign dumping.
|The Trade Deficit Shaped by Trade Deals Keeps Worsening|
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Everywhere Washington's hand is visible in U.S. trade policy, the trends are moving in the wrong direction and damaging the U.S. economy. American leaders' top priority should be staunching the bleeding, not enabling more of the same via fast track authority for the President.
|Obama's Pivot to Nowhere|
Friday, April 11, 2014
As recent developments make painfully clear, President Obama's Asia-Pacific strategy is needlessly exposing the United States to security dangers and just as needlessly creating new obstacles to genuine American prosperity
|No Winter of Discontent for U.S. Imports|
Thursday, April 03, 2014
Although Arctic-like temperatures and snowy conditions might have slowed the U.S. economy in recent months, America's appetite for foreign goods and services heated up and boosted the trade deficit in February.
|A Big Thumbs Down for Fast Tracked Trade Deals|
Thursday, March 27, 2014
The next time President Obama or another cheerleader claims that new trade agreements will strengthen the stagnant U.S. economy, look closely at the latest figures for economic growth. They blow that case out of the water.
|Under the Hood, a Dreary 2013 for U.S. Trade|
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
If the Obama administration keeps glossing over the discouraging crucial details about America's trade performance last year, can it be trusted to negotiate new trade agreements that serve U.S. national interests?
|A Truth-Challenged Trade Policy|
Thursday, January 09, 2014
President Obama's latest effort to win support for new trade negotiating authority and agreements shows instead how thoroughly U.S. trade policy has turned into offshoring policy.
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Memo to Congress: Where U.S. trade deficits are shaped by fast-tracked deals & similar policy decisions, they've grown. When they've been free of Washington's influence, they've shrunk.
|New Growth Numbers Bring New Evidence of U.S. Trade Policy Failure|
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Once again, government statisticians have reminded Americans that U.S. trade policy has been a growth killer, not a growth engine. How can Congress even think about granting President Obama's request to serve up more of the same?
|Trade Policy Remains off the Hook|
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Bigwigs are starting to recognize that America's sorry recent growth and hiring records stem from weakness in the real economy, not just in its malfunctioning finance sector. But they still ignore the crucial role played by growth-, job-, and income-killing trade policies.
|Obama's Administration Misses Another Opportunity to Heal the World Economy|
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's new article on the global economy's woes usefully highlights the central role of lopsided trade flows. But it continues an administration pattern of ignoring their real origins and pushing naïve remedies.
|Trade - but Not Trade Agreements - Fueling Growth for Now |
Thursday, November 07, 2013
According to the government's new data on economic growth, America's trade performance helped the GDP increase over the last three months. But the nation's free trade agreements are having exactly the opposite effect.
|New Data Again Show Trade Deficit's Economic Hit Much Bigger than Shutdown's|
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Much anxiety over the government shutdown stemmed from concerns about damage to U.S. economic output. But the trade deficit exacts a far greater toll, cuts output each month, and its main victim is the private sector.
|Why Obama Must Deal with Currency Manipulation in his Trans-Pacific Partnership|
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
New U.S. data show that Japan's weak yen policy keeps distorting trade and will turn the proposed Trans-Pacific trade deal into a disaster for America if the President keeps ignoring it.
|U.S. Trade Deficit Worsens Big-Time Across Board as Obama Seeks Authority for New Deals|
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
America's chronic trade shortfalls in manufacturing, high tech, and with key Asian rivals all surged in July, strongly weakening the President's case that Congress should empower him to negotiate more trade deals.
|Trade Keys GDP Improvement but Still Dragging on Recovery |
Thursday, August 29, 2013
New government figures show how significantly trade deficit reduction can boost the still-sluggish recovery, but also how far trade flows remain from adding to long-term growth.
|Half of Manufacturing is Back in Recession|
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Can a key sector of the American economy be approaching renaissance mode when nearly 50 percent of it is in recession? New data show that to be the discouraging case with U.S. production of nondurable goods, along with continued slow growth in domestic industry.
Monday, July 08, 2013
Six months after The Atlantic boldly declared that a U.S. manufacturing revival has begun, the magazine's reports look oceans apart from reality.
|Deficit Surge Reveals Urgency of Trade Policy Change|
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
The U.S. economy may be recovering sluggishly but the U.S. trade deficit is growing strongly once again. Expect an even slower expansion, fewer jobs, and more debt unless President Obama changes a losing national trade policy game.
|New Data Show the Recovery is Even Weaker and Bubblier Than We Thought |
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Adding to the bad news in the latest GDP figures: The President's goal of doubling U.S. exports during the 2009-14 time-frame now looks positively delusional.
|Beijing's Trade Figures May be Phony but U.S. Data Show no China Export Crackup|
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Does China's claim that its export figures have been artificially inflated mean that trade pressures on America will ease? Not according to the U.S. government's data.
|New Manufacturing Job Losses Reveal Folly of Obama's Feel-Good China Summit|
Friday, June 07, 2013
Domestic industry's continuing struggles and China's continuing economic transgressions show that the U.S. economy doesn't need a getting-to-know-you meeting between the American and Chinese presidents. It needs immediate and effective unilateral U.S. responses to Chinese and other foreign economic predation.
|A Still-Bubbly Economy & a Near Fatal Blow to Export Doubling|
Thursday, May 30, 2013
The government's second look at the first quarter's growth rate shows that bubble-nomics remains alive and well in America but that President Obama's (offbase) goal of supercharging U.S. exports is all but doomed.
|No Way to Shrink the Trade Deficit|
Thursday, May 02, 2013
The trade deficit decline revealed in the March figures shouldn't obscure a U.S. economy still hooked on debt, a Korea deal that has flopped, and an offbase Presidential export pledge that won't be kept.
|Return of The Bubble Economy?|
Friday, April 26, 2013
The new report on gross domestic product makes clear that personal consumption and housing -- the toxic combination that triggered the financial crisis -- are back as main drivers of American economic growth.
|Only the Word "Guilty" is Missing|
Friday, April 19, 2013
The Obama Treasury Department's latest currency manipulation report once again absolved China. But it also once again amounted to a powerful indictment of Beijing -- and of failed U.S. responses.
|Chinese Import Prices Keep Falling -- and Keep Pressing Domestic Manufacturing|
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Chinese-made goods coming into the U.S. market continue getting cheaper and cheaper. As a result, claims that the PRC is becoming a manufacturing has-been deserve ever less credibility.
|New Trade Figures Belie Manufacturing Rebound Claims; Clash with Obama Asian Trade Goals|
Thursday, March 07, 2013
If you think American manufacturing is engaged in a roaring competitive comeback, and that President Obama's proposed Trans-Pacific trade deal is a good idea, you need to look at the just-released January trade figures.
|Instead of Adding Japan, Scrap the Whole Trans-Pacific Trade Deal|
Friday, February 22, 2013
President Obama will only weaken the U.S. economy further by adding Japan to the misguided Trans-Pacific Partnership. Instead, he should abandon the deal entirely and adopt a genuinely realistic strategy for opening Asian markets.
|Dangerously Shortsighted Advice from Asia|
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Venerable former Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew wants America and China to share global power -- and preserve the lopsided economic relations that helped trigger the last international economic crisis.
|Import Price Data Threaten Obama Manufacturing Plans|
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
The prices of Chinese products entering the U.S. market keep falling -- showing that the PRC is not losing competitiveness, and that the President's manufacturing strategy will fail without big trade policy change.
|Monthly Improvement but Ongoing Weakness on the Trade Front|
Friday, February 08, 2013
The December U.S. trade deficit nosedived but the new monthly and annual figures show an economy still addicted to debt and lagging in manufacturing.
|The WTO's Ideological New Trade Measurement Study |
Thursday, February 07, 2013
A new report urging a better way to gauge world trade flows and their benefits shows that international economic organizations like the WTO have moved into the propaganda business.
|Job Growth Turns Healthier -- Except in Manufacturing|
Friday, February 01, 2013
New data - including huge revisions - show that recent hiring is getting less dependent on government-subsidized industries. But they also make clear how, despite abundant hype, manufacturing remains a big laggard.
|Return of the Bubble Decade's Growth Engines|
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
It's bad enough that new official figures show that the economy is once again contracting -- especially after trillions of dollars' worth of government stimulus. Even worse, the star performers were those bubble-decade leaders, personal consumption and housing.
|Recent Manufacturing Slump Dragging On |
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Despite continuing claims of a renaissance, domestic industry still looks awfully recession-ridden.
|New Records with China and Manufacturing Boost October Trade Deficit|
Friday, December 14, 2012
The new trade figures show that America still suffers major competitiveness problems, that a domestic manufacturing renaissance is in sight, and that the economy remains far from being "built to last."
|New Growth Report Further Muddies Economic Picture, Outlook|
Thursday, November 29, 2012
If you thought the fiscal cliff and continuing overseas woes were making making grading the economy confusing, wait till you read about the new GDP figures.
|Manufacturing Seems Back in Recession |
Friday, November 16, 2012
A recession is commonly defined as two straight quarters of economic contraction. That's exactly how the U.S. manufacturing sector has performed over the last six months.
|The Exit Polls and the Economy |
Friday, November 09, 2012
Voters in 2012 were still "blaming Bush," surprisingly satisfied with economic conditions, not sold on Mitt Romney as a needed turnaround specialist, and much more worried about unemployment than about federal budget deficits.
|Oil, Sluggish Growth, and Manufacturing Help Cut Trade Deficit |
Thursday, November 08, 2012
The monthly U.S. trade deficit hit a nearly two year low -- not because the nation suddenly became more competitive, but because oil exports unexpectedly surged to a new monthly record, the U.S. recovery remained sluggish, and manufacturing at home and abroad slowed down.
|Why the Yuan is Still Way Too Cheap|
Thursday, October 25, 2012
New claims that China's currency manipulation is ceasing reflect related canards that the yuan's rise automatically implies movement toward fair value, and that the U.S.-China competitive balance has barely budged for the last half decade.
|US Slowdown Fails to Stop Trade Deficit Surge|
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Another month, another increase in the U.S. trade deficit, and another sign that trade flows will keep subtracting from growth for the growth-starved American economy.
|Trade Deficit Details Reveal Continuing Competitiveness and Policy Failures|
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Although the overall trade deficit barely budged in July, worsening trade gaps in manufacturing and high tech, and with China and Korea, show that America urgently needs to overhaul its trade and manufacturing policies.
|The Global Economic Dots Paul Ryan Isn't Connecting |
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Outsourcing-focused U.S. trade policies and the economic and financial harm they've inflicted on America remain big blind spots in the Republican vice presidential pick's worldview.
|June Trade Figures Offer Cold Economic Comfort|
Thursday, August 09, 2012
Although the new government trade data revealed a lower monthly deficit, the gap so far this year is up over 2011 levels despite slowing U.S. growth. Ditto for the crucial manufacturing deficit.
|The Neglected Obstacle to Growth|
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Last week's feeble economic growth numbers also showed that an expanding U.S. trade deficit has slowed the recession-like recovery for its entire three-year life.
|A Uniformly Useless Flap|
Friday, July 13, 2012
The uproar over the U.S. Olympic Team's Chinese-made uniforms will do nothing meaningful either for the American apparel industry or the U.S. economy until politicians and pundits start reexamining the trade agreements behind so much manufacturing offshoring to start with.
|Oil Decline Masks Trade Deficit Surge in High Value Sectors and China Gap|
Thursday, July 12, 2012
The already struggling U.S. economy may be slowing but the nation's trade deficit remains astronomical and actually keeps growing in manufacturing and high tech goods, and with predatory Asian competitors.
|Import Prices Show China's Manufacturing Cost Edge Intact|
Thursday, June 14, 2012
A stronger yuan and soaring wages have fueled American hopes that China is rapidly losing its manufacturing cost advantages. But a crucial measure of competitiveness -- the actual prices of America's manufactures imports from China --has remained surprisingly stable.
|Rising China and Manufacturing Gaps Buck April Trade Deficit Trend|
Friday, June 08, 2012
The weakening American economy apparently depressed the U.S. trade deficit in April, but growing shortfalls with China and in manufacturing show that the President's approach to these critical issues urgently needs changing.
Friday, May 25, 2012
A Washington Post columnist's essay on this critical subject ignored both recent political history and recent economic history.
|Resurgent March Trade Deficit Slows U.S. Growth Even Further |
Thursday, May 10, 2012
The new March trade figures gave a growth-starved U.S. economy just what it didn't need -- an astronomical deficit that sandbagged an already feeble recovery.
|Business Press Fairy Tales About Chinese Currency Reform|
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Standard economic ideas make crystal clear that China keeps energetically manipulating its currency, and therefore remains a major obstacle to sustainable American and global recoveries. Why do prominent journalists keep ignoring the obvious?
|Seasonal China Developments Drive Down February Trade Deficit|
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Much of China's export-led economy went on holiday in February -- and the resulting nosedive in PRC shipments to the U.S. narrowed America's trade gap sharply.
|America's No Longer Affordable Trade Deficits|
Friday, March 30, 2012
Wondering why the current U.S. recovery looks so recession-like? One big reason is the also- recovering growth of the U.S. trade deficit.
|The Trade Deficit Remains America's Growth Leader|
Monday, March 12, 2012
Although the U.S. economic recovery remains sluggish at best, the trade deficit is back to levels not seen since the financial crisis peaked more than three years ago.
|Trade Deficit Details Belie Domestic Manufacturing Hype|
Monday, March 05, 2012
If domestic industry is staging such a stunning comeback, how come so many high value sectors keep running such big and rapidly growing trade defcits?
|The Fatal Flaw in Obama's Insourcing Strategy|
Friday, February 17, 2012
The President's plan to bring manufacturing back to the United States ignores the trade policy decisions largely responsible for sending it abroad.
|Growth Slows but Trade Deficit Surges|
Saturday, January 14, 2012
The U.S. trade deficit jumped more than 10 percent in November, and the 11-month total for slow-growing 2011 has already topped the full-year total for faster-growing 2010. Let's not overlook the new monthly record shortfall for high tech trade, either.
|Under-Appreciated Lowlights of 2011 |
Monday, January 02, 2012
As if you needed it, yet more evidence that America's leaders and media remain clueless about trade, manufacturing, and economic recovery.
|A Lower Trade Deficit That Should Encourage No One|
Friday, December 09, 2011
The narrowing of the U.S. trade deficit in October resulted from a statistical quirk and still-feeble American growth, and concealed worsening performances in the economy's industrial core.
|Why Black Friday Brought Bad Tidings|
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Boffo results from one of the year's biggest shopping days aren't exactly what a debt-strapped U.S. economy needs right now -- especially when most of the borrowed money is spent on imported gifts.
|The Republican Debates: Curious-er and Curious-er on Trade and Manufacturing |
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Is Mitt Romney backtracking on his tough China trade stance? Viewers could learn a surprising amount about this and the general GOP state of play on the nation's greatest economic challenges during the last two Republican presidential candidates' fora.
|September Trade Deficit Falls, but Improvement Stems from Weak Growth|
Thursday, November 10, 2011
The U.S. trade deficit fell in September mainly for the wrong reason -- an economy growing at unacceptably slow rates despite unsustainable government life support.
|Currency Manipulation as Political Football |
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
From the cynical way President Obama and House Republican leaders are dealing with the bill to counter foreign currency manipulation, you wouldn't think that America is still struggling with a recession triggered ultimately by inadequate domestic production and astronomical trade debts.
|August Trade Deficit Prolongs U.S. Economic Funk|
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Another month, another $45 billion or so in trade-related U.S. growth and job loss -- not to mention a bigger national debt. And the biggest beneficiary by far has been China. Will the president and House Republican leaders respond by continuing to oppose a strong currency manipulation bill?
|The Case for Coddling Currency Manipulation Collapses|
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
After the debate surrounding the Senate's passage of the anti-currency manipulation bill, the objections to strong American responses no longer pass the laugh test.
|The Real Solyndra Scandal|
Sunday, September 25, 2011
The fallout from the Obama administration's subsidy for a now-bankrupt solar panel producer could damage not only the solar energy and green energy sectors. It could undermine all of domestic manufacturing and the economic recovery itself.
|Obama Economic Plan Ignores Costs of Still-Lofty Trade Deficits |
Friday, September 09, 2011
Yesterday morning, the government reported that a big July trade shortfall kept depressing the U.S. economy's already feeble growth -- and therefore job creation. Last night, the president unveiled a jobs plan that signalled business-as-usual on trade.
|Economics for the Silly Season|
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Just because it's August, there's no excuse for the San Francisco Fed to have published a transparently ludicrous report on U.S.-China trade.
|The Growth- and Job-Killing Trade Deficit Jumps Again|
Thursday, August 11, 2011
The newly reported June trade deficit increase deals another blow to the U.S. economy -- and sinks it deeper into debt.
|Trade Deficit Reduction -- America's Only Way Out|
Friday, July 29, 2011
The latest economic growth report is telling U.S. leaders loud and clear: Unless the nation's massive, chronic trade shortfalls are dramatically slashed, they can kiss real recovery goodbye.
|Trade Deficit Surge Clears Up 'Mystery' of Sluggish Growth|
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
America's governing and business elites claim to be baffled by the failure of massive government stimulus spending to produce even respectable growth rates. They might try looking at the country's massive, chronic trade deficits -- which as this morning's new government figures show, are widening again, and knee-capping growth and hiring in the process.
|Oil Drop Leads April Trade Deficit Decline, but China Gap Surges on U.S. Export Plunge|
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Modest improvements in the U.S. trade deficit like that revealed by the latest government figures won't give the economy much of a lift -- especially if they're driven mainly by falling oil imports. And how come U.S. exports to booming China fell off the cliff?
|U.S. Trade Deficit Soars, Led by China, Manufacturing, and High-Tech Goods|
Thursday, March 10, 2011
USBIC’s Tonelson: “The January trade deficit surge, coming on top of a 32-plus percent rise in last year’s deficit, figure, is telling Congress loudly and clearly to figure out how to do trade policy right before plunging ahead with new agreements. Step One needs to be solving our trade crisis with a China that remains highly protectionist despite years of U.S. pleadings.”
|Mis-Measuring the Private Sector -- Another Obstacle to Real Recovery|
Saturday, February 05, 2011
The recent jobs report was less than thrilling on its face. Very few new jobs were created. However, when one looks at the official government definition of private sector jobs and actual private sector jobs, the picture becomes even bleaker. And so do chances for a sustained recovery.
|Hu Visit: Obama China Policy Wasteland|
Monday, January 31, 2011
The recent state visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao revealed a level of incompetence in US policy-making rarely displayed so publicly in the nation's capital. President Obama and his administration tried vainly to obscure the ineffectiveness of America's China policy, but did so with a dishonest, self-deluding spin that was astounding even for Washington.
|Obama's G20 Strategy Puts America Last|
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Trying to talk the G20 nations into dropping protectionism and currency manipulation is a useless multilaeral exercise. Betting one's economic future on the cooperation of mercantilists around the globe is a loser of a strategy for the American people, who have already paid with their jobs, houses, and life savings for their political elites' slavish devotion to free trade, multilateralism, outsourcing multinational corporations, and wealth destroying Wall Street banks and investment firms.
|Trade Deficit Drains More Wealth from U.S. Economy than Stimulus Added|
Monday, October 18, 2010
The trade deficit continues to hobble economic growth in the United States, shaving points from US GDP.
|Jan-June 2010 Trade Deficit Reveals Disturbing Trends|
Monday, August 23, 2010
The latest US trade deficit numbers reveal that trade has again become a major drag on the US economy, threatening to plunge us into a double dip faster than one can say "Obama's export initiative." Increasing exports is attractive, but is completely negated when imports grow faster, as they are now doing and have done for most of the past 30 years. When will Washington understand that net exports (exports minus imports) must be positive for trade to contribute to American growth?
|House Democratic Leadership Falls Short in Aiding US Manufacturing|
Friday, July 30, 2010
The current Making-it-in-America initiative of the House Democratic Leadership appears designed to appease angry constituents rather than to take serious steps to curb unfair trading practices by China and other mercantilist states.
|The Overwhelming Case for Ending Chinese Currency Manipulation Now|
Friday, May 21, 2010
To return the US economy to healthy production-based growth, many steps are necessary. But one of the most important is to end China's illegal currency manipulation -- which steals factories and jobs not only from America but also from countries around the world, including Brazil and India, who have begun protesting the artificial yuan-dollar peg maintained by Beijing. At the Strategic Economic Dialogue in China next week, Obama administration officials must make clear that either China ends the peg cooperatively or we will take unilateral action to do so. It's the only way to begin to rebalance the world economy.
|2009 Trade Deficit Reduction Masks Serious US Competitiveness Deficiencies|
Monday, February 22, 2010
Many observers of US trade flows took heart from the substantial reduction in the trade deficit that took place in 2009. The reason is pretty straightforward: We didn't import as much oil or as many goods and services since our economy was mired in recession. Plants weren't turning out goods and thus were not consuming energy. And millions of unemployed and discouraged workers were not driving to their old jobs. Consumers were saving for a change -- instead of spending their latest withdrawal of home equity on the latest Toyota (smart move). However, the fall in the deficit does not mean that our manufacturing base -- that great generator of jobs and wealth -- is somehow in better shape. It isn't. The great danger here is that the President and his men will decide they don't have to do anything about the 30-year hole that we've dug for ourselves with ill-advised trade policies. In fact, they appear to have decided that already. Where there is no vision the people perish.
|Trans-Pacific Partnership: Another Obama Trade Fantasyland|
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Team Obama appears to be handicapped by a complete ignorance about the differences in national economic structures and priorities, which impede mutually beneficial trade between the United States and its chief foreign competitors (especially in Asia), and by a naively legalistic view on eliminating foreign trade barriers and enforcing agreements. Can you imagine a better formula for trade policy disaster?
|USBIC Recommends Major Changes to Trade and Economic Policy in Congressional Testimony|
Monday, December 28, 2009
The policy debate over government’s role as business shareholder has been far too narrow. The overriding objective should not be re-privatizing as soon as the emergency is thought to have passed, or even recouping the taxpayers’ investment, as desirable as these goals appear or actually are. The overriding objective should be transforming enterprises owned by the government and industries it now dominates, either through ownership or aid, from sources of weakness and vulnerability in the economy to sources of enduring strength. More specifically, this goal requires the government’s policies for these sectors to focus on significantly increasing the share of the U.S. economy represented by its genuinely productive, wealth-creating sectors – first and foremost, manufacturing.
|Obama's Trade Fantasyland: Lack of Exports to Mercantilist East Asia Is America's Fault|
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Consider Obama's November 23 contention that Asian countries “want our [export] products,” and that American sales to the region are subpar “partly because we just haven't been as aggressive as we need to be.” These remarks rank among the most egregiously inaccurate, manipulative, misleading, and downright whacky statements ever to come out of any recent free trade-loving White House.
|Obama'sTire Tariff Decision: False Promise from a Free-Trade Administration|
Friday, September 18, 2009
Think that Obama's decision to impose tariffs on Chinese tires is a grave error of protectionism or a courageous act of industrial self defense? Think again. It's neither, but instead a half-hearted attempt to win additional union support for his embattled health care plan. As such, it has very little to do with trade policy or economics. It's all politics and hardly makes a dent in the administration's otherwise staunch free trade thinking, carefully guarded by the accolytes Summers, Emanuel, Romer, Tyson, Furman, Goolsby, Locke, Geithner, Kirk and a host of others.
|Economics is Where Obama is Really "Green"|
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
President Obama, in a recent interview, demonstrated that he is as "green" as can be when talking about the environment, emissions limits, international trade, and the rest of the world's mercantilism. Naivete must not be mistaken for change we can believe in.
|Obama needs input from companies that stay put|
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
President Obama's new Economic Recovery Advisory Board (ERAB) could become a invaluable source of policy advice, especially with the recession still deepening, and therefore the need for fresh thinking still growing. But none of the president's efforts to seek outside economic counsel can reach their potential without filling at least one big gap in the administration's advisory circles - the absence of domestic manufacturers.
|First a Manufacturing Meltdown, Now a Private Sector Jobs Meltdown?|
Friday, May 15, 2009
|Obama's Excellent European Adventure: The Failure of American Leadership|
Thursday, April 16, 2009
President Obama's first foray into major multilateral politics shows that personal popularity counts for little in matters of state. The U.S. failed to convince and thus failed to lead on the all-important question of rebalancing world trade. Without doing so, all the trillions of dollars in stimulus spending will ultimately come to naught. Unless the U.S. produces more of what it consumes and the rest of the world consumes more of what it produces -- instead of depending on Americans to buy a disproportionate share -- the stimulus will merely have temporarily recreated another unsustainable bubble.
|Kirk's Easy Confirmation Hearings Could Signal Hard Times for the Economy|
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Ron Kirk -- former Dallas mayor, free trade booster, and Obama's choice to be US Trade Representative -- faced the equivalent of a grapefruit over home plate in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. It was oversight as lovefest. Not only did Kirk have nothing of substance to say about trade policy -- merely mouthing conventional wisdom was good enough for the committee, but he also did not show the slightest inkling that he understands the nexus between our deep recession and our failed trade policy: under-production of goods at home, over-consumption of foreign goods, and massive foreign borrowing to support the latter. It's downright scary that no one in the Obama Administration has a clue on trade policy or the importance of a domestic manufacturing base.
|Manufacturing Levels Drop to Near Record Lows|
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Manufacturing output fell off a cliff in 2008. The decline is so precipitous that it reached levels not seen for 25 years in some industries. In most industries, output levels fell to levels of the 1990s. The current recession has clearly set U.S. domestic manufacturing back a decade or more -- and the worst is yet to come.
|Congress Must Ensure that the Big Three Bailout is Made-in-America|
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In the auto bailout hearings and discussions, far too little attention has been paid to the Big Three automakers' proven tendency to offshore their work to try to save costs. In passing this bailout, Congress must stipulate with a great deal of certainty that any monies received be spent in America -- and that, since money is fungible, other funds available to the Big Three also not be used to offshore production. If we are to save the American auto industry, which we should, it must behave like an American auto industry.
|CHINA DEFICIT KEEPS RISING AS U.S. EXPORTS TANK|
Thursday, November 13, 2008
The decline in the September trade deficit masks a serious decline in manufacturing. U.S. exports to China fell sharply. The figures in general show that the so-called "export boom" highly touted by free trade advocates is over -- although it never existed in the first place.
|Export-led Growth Remains a Panacea for Many Businessmen and Policymakers|
Friday, October 24, 2008
In spite of massive and continuing trade deficits, and the fundamental role that off-shoring and globalization is playing in the current worldwide financial crisis, free trade true believers still have no doubts that salvation lies just around the corner -- with the passage by Congress of the latest free trade scheme with another impoverished country, in this case Colombia. Never mind taking back the world's largest and most lucrative market, the American market, from all those who target it knowing that it is the real prize.
|After the Bailout, Congress Must Get Down to the Real Economic Policy Work |
Monday, September 29, 2008
The difficulty of crafting an acceptable bailout package for the financial services industry demonstrates in part why nothing has been done about the much deeper and more serious long-term national crisis in American manufacturing. Many of manufacturing's problems are the result of decades of misguided U.S. trade policies, which have sent productive capacity, good jobs, essential R&D, and wealth creation offshore. Excesses in the finacial sector -- most of them overlooked for years by the Fed, regulators, and the Congress -- must be addressed. But just as a nation can't consume its way to renewed prosperity, it can't generate economic growth by swapping largely worthless financial instruments between banks and the Treasury. The goods-producing sectors of the economy must be restored as the basis of economic growth and wealth creation. To do so requires a complete overhaul of U.S. trade and international economic policies. That must be the number one job of the new presidential administration and the new Congress.
|John McCain: Free Trade Poster Boy in the White House?|
Friday, September 12, 2008
John McCain's record on free trade couldn't be clearer -- or worse. He has never met a free trade agreement he didn't like. His entire political career has been one long paean to free trade and a series of attacks on anyone whose views differ from his as protectionist. In short, McCain is the perfect poster boy for free traders, mercantilist countries, outsourcers, and multinational corporations.
|Trade Deficit Continues to Show U.S. Competitiveness Problems|
Monday, August 18, 2008
Although the U.S. trade deficit shrank in June, the gap widened in manufacturing and high-tech goods. The trend for U.S. competitiveness in these vital areas is not good.
|USBICEF's Tonelson Testifies on Inadequacy of Government Trade Help for Domestic Manufacturers|
Saturday, July 19, 2008
U.S. government assistance to smaller domestic American manufacturers is largely non-existent as they try to penetrate foreign markets or respond to foreign predatory trade practices at home and abroad.
|Despite Slight Drop in May, Massive Trade Deficits Continue to Suck Growth out of the US Economy|
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Although the U.S. trade deficit narrowed ever so slightly in May - due to a drop in oil imports, it is still running at gargantuan levels. The effect is to destory more productive jobs and industries in internationally competitive sectors, which add to national economic growth, and shift economic activity into less productive, lower-paying, and non-internationally competive sectors.
|April Trade Deficit Jumps; Exports to China Sink|
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Another monthly disaster in trade. How long can we keep borrowing cash from foreigners to buy their foreign-made goods? The current U.S. trade position, a continuing deficit in excess of five percent of GDP, gives even Ponzi schemes a bad name.
|Trade and the White House Race Part II: Does Obama Really Care?|
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Does Barack Obama really care about trade policy -- or are his newly found, but very limited critiques merely political rhetoric? His famous "bitter" remark to well-heelded San Francisco funders indicates he still does not comprehend the issue the way a serious presidential candidate should.
|U.S. Trade Deficit in March Reduced by Import Slowdown, not "Export Boom"|
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
A close look at the March trade figures highlights the leading role played by a slowdown in imports in reducing the U.S. trade deficit. The media and other free trade boosters have overstated the role of the so-called "export boom" in reducing the deficit. And surprisingly, it is commodities, due to higher farm prices , that are pacing foreign sales, not manufactured goods -- which produce higher-paying jobs, more R&D, greater numbers of patents, greater productivity growth, and a higher standard of living for Americans.
|Trade and the White House Race (Part One): Hillary the Trade Warrior?|
Friday, May 02, 2008
Has Hillary emerged as the champion of American manufacturers and their employees -- or is her rhetoric merely campaign bluster designed to win indusrial states away from her rival? So far she's taken halting steps in the right direction, but American voters need to hear her set out a much more solid and comprehensive program.
|Congress Sidetracked on Patent "Reform" and Colombia FTA while Recession Accelerates|
Thursday, March 27, 2008
With the U.S. economy rapidly slowing and the Fed printing money to bail out unscrupulous Wall Street investment bankers, Congress has much more urgent considerations than an innovation-killing, market-roiling patent bill and a job and factory outsourcing trade agreement with Colombia. Yoo-hoo, anybody at home on Capitol Hill?
|Controlling Imports Would Yield the Biggest Stimulus|
Monday, March 10, 2008
The stimulus package -- whatever the political payoff for those running for reelection, or a place in history -- is certainly too little, too late. Staring Congress and the Administration in the face is our gargantuan trade deficit. Reducing the trade deficit would provide years of additional economic growth, which in turn would be cumulative -- not a one-time, anemic booster shot. The advantges are obvious but apparently the political courage is lacking. Instead, the nation is increaslingly put into hock to foreign countries and companies, who no doubt have our best interests at heart.
|U.S. 2007 TRADE DEFICIT DROPS ON FALLING IMPORTS|
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Here is USBIC's Press Release analyzing the 2007 trade figures released on February 14, 2008. As expected, the United States is still running a gargantuan trade deficit, at a very dangerous 5.1 percent of GDP. The claims of orthodox free traders that the country is experiencing an export boom, always suspect, are proved specious by our in-depth analysis of the trade figures. Read 'em and weep for the state of our industrial base and economy.
|Sovereign Wealth Funds Adversely Impact National Security|
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) are foreign government-owned investment funds that are now buying up interests in American's strategic and economic assets with all those trade deficit dollars that have flowed overseas for a generation and a half now. It took twenty generations to build America into an economic and military suprepower, but, at the current rate, we are likely to have squandered most of the hard work and wealth our forebearers in two generations. SWFs are an increasing threat to our security as a nation, but no one seems to have much of a handle on the problem. Kudos to the U.S. China Commission for holding its recent hearing and trying to get a good fix on the problem. What follows is USBIC's analysis presented to the Commission by our Senior Research Fellow Alan Tonelson.
|South Carolina Democratic Voters Must Show Presidential Candidates They Care About BetterTrade Policies|
Friday, January 25, 2008
South Carolina Democrats must stand up for better trade policies when they go to the polls in the Democratic primary. Many of their Republican counterparts told Washington and the Republican candidates that they don't care about trade, manufacturing, and jobs by electing John McCain -- although the case could be made that the combined vote for Huchabee, Romney, Thompson, and Hunter, which far outstripped McCain's vote, showed that many do care about trade since the four abovementioned losers all had something worthwhile to say about the trade topic. But McCain won and he has been absolutley terrible on trade, manufacturing, and jobs for the entire time he has been in Congress. His statement to Michagan voters that they should in effect get over manufacturing job loss tells everything a voter needs to know about McCain's trade policy. Hopefully, S.C. Democrats will send a different message when they vote in their separate primary.
|Peru's President Lays Bare the Big Lie at the Center of U.S. Trade Policy|
Sunday, December 30, 2007
It has been remarkably easy to stifle any criticism of American trade policy for the past two decades simply by calling anyone with reservations "protectionists." Rather than meeting the intellectual challlenge of defending their (admitttedly knee-jerk) position, free traders have dismissed all critical comers by name calling. Now comes Peru's president, Alan Garcia, saying exactly what the critics of unfettered globalization have been saying all along: free trade agreements are about increasing opportunites for U.S. multinationals to outsource fatories and jobs to lower cost, less environmentally conscious countries. Welcome to the Protectionists Club, President Garcia.
|Foreign Investors in the United States Haven't Forgotten National Loyalties|
Monday, November 19, 2007
Why would anyone expect foreign firms operating here to have the US national interest at heart? Or to do things that are good for America and Americans, instead of making business decisions that benefit the foreign business owner and its home government? It's a peculiar and destructive American trait to think that other peoples like us and want to be like us, i.e., adopt our values. Other governments and foreign companies march to their own drummers and follow their own visions. This is apparently one of the best kept secrets in Washington - because policymakers and politicians are too narrowly focused on repeating the free-trade-is-always-good mantra rather than dealing with the realities of trade and the consequences of the gargantuan US trade deficits.
|Detailed Trade Analysis Debunks Globalization Cheerleaders' Claims of an Export Boom|
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
A slight improvement in the U.S. trade deficit in recent months has led the free-trade-at-all-costs crowd to produce studies that purport to show that the American economy, and American manufacturing in particular, is finally going to export its way out of the 30-year deep hole in which free trade policies have placed it. If only it were so. In fact, our detailed analyses show that the current "boom" affects only a relatively small number of industries. It is likely the result of extraneous factors such as the weakness of the dollar, slower U.S. growth, and stronger foreign growth rather than the success of free-trade, market-opening efforts. There are no significant trends evident or policies in place that will sustain American manufacturing over the long run.
|Stemming Imports Is the Only Effective Way to Re-balance U.S. Trade|
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Free trade ideologues have insisted that each new free trade agreement would re-balance U.S. trade through increased exports. This blind hope has not been realized because the rest of the world is either too poor to afford U.S. exports or doesn't want them competing with the products of their domestic producers. Any objective observer of the world trade scene since the signing of NAFTA 14 years ago would have to conclude that the free traders' hope in increased exports re-balancing our trade has been a bet-the-farm gamble that has failed miserably. The only way to re-balance trade and to increase substantially American output, economic growth, and standards of living is to limit imports and take back lost market share in our domestic market from foreign producers and expatriate "American" multinationals. An emergency, temporary import surcharge, such as that enacted by President Nixon and Treasury Secretary Connally in 1971, is the only way to go. It is also "legal" under Article XII of the WTO. Let's hope that our policymakers and politicians understand that reality before it is too late.
|Congressional Leaders Break New Ground With Proposed Korea FTA Fixes|
Friday, June 29, 2007
Street smarts and unilateralism are what make Congress’s Korea plan so unusual and so exciting. Legislators should now move vigorously to apply these principals to the rest of America’s wrongheaded trade policies -- including the immediate renegotiation of prior trade agreements.
|Trade Policy-making Corruption with a New Face|
Monday, June 18, 2007
"Idea laundering," a Washington constant in which countries, corporations, and individuals fund research that supports their parochial points of view,is back Chinese-style, bigger and better than ever.
|Democratic Trade Policy Critics Need A New Game to Play on Center Court|
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Trade policy critics on the left in general and in the Democratic Party in particular need to change their focus from the peripheral issues that seem to concern most of them most of the time. Labor and environmental provisions, while important, are not the crux of our trade defict problems and their inclusion in future trade agreements will do little to alter current trade flows or stem the loss of factories, R&D centers, and good, middle-class jobs. Concentration on much more significant problems -- such as currency manipulation, subsidies, VAT rebate inequities, and other unfair trade practices that give our foreign competitors a significant edge -- is required if we are to stem the hollowing out of our industrial and technology bases, and see Americans broadly prosper again.
|Democrats' Trade Plan Needs More Work|
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
House Democrats recently unveiled their plan to fix America's trade policy. Unfortunately, the plan comes up short on effect actions that the Congress can take to protect American factories and their workers from the unfair trade practices of China and other foreign competitors.
|Trade and the 2006 Election: A Complicated Picture Behind the Spin|
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
As usual, behind the hype that accompanies every election, there lies a more complicated reality on issues of trade policy. Some new representatives and senators clearly made their dissatisfaction with the direction of current US trade policy the centerpiece of their respective campaigns. Other victors made only more passing references to trade and outsourcing issues. Yet all of the 15 Democrats who voted for CAFTA survived, and the two prominent Democrats who will run the trade-related committees, House Ways and Means and Senate Finance, are not exactly globalization critics. Finally, if the Democrats do nothing more than insert stronger labor and human rights provisions into new trade agreements, the current account deficit will continue to skyrocket, and domestic manufacturing and agriculture will continue to disapper.
|What Will China Do for Ford that Mexico Didn't?|
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
According to Bill Ford, the future of his company lies in China. Sound strangely familiar? Well, twelve years ago the combination of NAFTA, American technology, and cheap Mexican labor were going to be the salvation of the American auto industry. So Ford started outsourcing jobs to Mexico, setting up assembly plants there, buying parts there, and shipping cars back to the United States. Apparently that plan didn't work, but Ford's China strategy is a slam dunk. Or is it?
|Corrosion-resistant Steel: A Primer on the Incoherence of U.S. Trade Policy |
Sunday, October 15, 2006
To see major U.S. industries like steel and autos pitted against one another in the face of our gargantuan trade deficit is indeed disheartening. Steel needs to start thinking more comprehensively and more strategically about trade policy, and autos needs to start completely re-thinking its trade positions. It’s difficult to imagine solving the nation’s trade crisis unless American manufacturing industries get together to solve problems in a way that works for all the stakeholders involved, including employees. Right now, in the case of corrosion-resistant steel, confrontation rather than cooperation is the order of the day.
|The Speech that Treasury Secretary Paulson Needs to Give but Won't|
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Brand-new Treasury Secretary Paulson heads to Beijing shortly to try to talk the Chinese into floating their currency and behaving more responsibly to preserve the global trading system. After listening to his testimony and first public speech, his Chinese hosts must be thinking, "This guy is going to be even easier to roll than his predecessor, Snow." When a government offical launches pre-emoptive attacks on domestic "protectionists," foreign governments know they are home free. Don't expect much from Paulson.
|A Dismal Mid-Year Report on U.S. Trade Flows|
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Read 'em and weep. This familar refrain generally applies to the monthly U.S. trade statistics released by the Census Bureau. Those for the month of June are no exception, chronicling America's continuing long-term decline in manufacturing and its inability to replace manufacturing with other exportable forms of economic activity to make up for the masive foreign borrowing necessary to pay for the vast influx of foreign goods.
|The Real Lessons in the Doha Round's Failure|
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Rather than mourn the demise of the Doha Round of international trade talks, Americans should rejoice that their interests were not further compromised by incompetent, ideologically driven, free-trade U.S. negotiators. Instead, greed in Europe, Japan, China, India, and most of the developing world was so out of line that it prevented the U.S. government from giving away more of the store. An objective analysis of the talks and the rest of the world's hidden agendas, along with our own wrongheaded approach, shows the way to the future.
|Growing Imbalances in the "Global Economy" Threaten to Sink All Boats|
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
With the United States still on a consumption and government spending tear -- financed by domestic credit and massive international borrowing, it is clearer than ever to dispassionate observers that the current "globalized" trading system is in deep danger of collapse. Unfortunately, those who negotiated the trade agreements that lie at the heart of the imbalances are too blinded by their adherence to free trade theory to begin to think about appropriate solutions. To save the international trading system from its current excesses, radical new thinking and appraoches are necessary.
|Latest Monthly Trade Figures Don't Justify Complacency of Economics Establishment and the Bush Administration|
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
In spite of some superficial good news, the latest monthly trade figures are among the worst in U.S. history. Yet to judge by the pronouncements of the Bush Administration, orthodox economists, and certain leading politicians, one would think that there were no problems with the trade picture. It as though standing on one foot balanced on the edge of a high cliff is a good deal because the wind died down a notch. It's not a position in which we want to see the economy or the nation.
|New US Trade Representative Susan Schwab: The Same Old Spin, Ideology, Ignorance and Contempt for the American People|
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
The faces and names have changed repeatedly over the last thirty years, but the trade deficits remain and grow. It would seem that instead of criticizing those who question USTR's uncompromising commitment to pursuing so-called free trade agreements, the newest US trade ambassador, Susan Schwab, ought to be explaining why the agreements have only produced massive and mounting deficits, and what she plans to do to reverse that trend.
|America's Biggest Exporters Can't Reverse Our Massive Trade Imbalances|
Monday, May 22, 2006
Think we're doing well as a nation economically because the trade deficit figures showed slight improvement in March? Well, think again. Most of our industrial sectors are losing ground to foreign competitors right here in our home markets. And even those doing relatively well are not robust enough to bring down the trade deficit substantially through their exports.
|Ways and Means Chair Thomas Tries to Rally Pro-Globalization Forces|
Thursday, May 11, 2006
In the face of growing public opposition to new freee trade agreements and continued outsourcing of good American jobs, House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas delivered an exhortion to his pro-globalization, multinational corporate forces. He speech is a patent attempt to frighten them into concerted action to pass free trade agreements currently pending in Congress, a scare tactic given their considerable resources and a generally supine Congress, but in another way it is a genuine recognition that the American public has had it with free trade and outsourcing and is increasingly ready to fight back.
|Global Economic Meetings Show Need for Unilateral US Action to Save Global Trading System|
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
The IMF and G-7 international meetings last month revealed that the United States cannot expect any substantive assistance from its major trading partners in correcting the current major imbalances in the global trading system. Simply put, the rest of the world cannot grow rich by indefinitely exporting to America, whose deficts and debts are growing exponentially. Unless corrective aciton is taken soon, the system will collapse under the weight of its own imbalances and inequities. The intransigence evidenced by China, Japan, and Europe only serve to underscore the necessity for unilateral and immediate U.S. action.
|Trade Deficit's Sharply Negative Trend Signals Grave Problems Ahead for American Economy|
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
The explosion of the trade deficit since 1992 indicates that the American economy is steadily becoming less competitive and more subject to an international financial crisis. Yet our policymakers do not seem concerned at all and continue mouthing platitudes about how well the economy is doing. A review of the trends indicates that alarm bells should be going off loudly in Washington.
|Exports Controls: Yet Another Policy Arena Where the Bush Administration Is AWOL|
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Throughout the Cold War, the United States rode hard herd on what technologies it permited to be sold to communist nations and other rogue states. It enlisted its sometimes recalcitrant allies in a multilateral system of export controls known as COCOM -- and the system largely worked. The Clinton Administration dismantled COCOM when "peace broke out" with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Since then, the profits-above-national-security crowd that runs the multinationals (and in fact, if the truth be told, the country as well) has sold billions in dual-use and outright military technology to lots of bad actors. The Clinton and Bush Administrations have simply looked the other way. Now is the perfect time to reexamine this critical area of national security policy -- while our feckless Congress struggles to reform the CFIUS process and connect the dots between economic and military security in the wake of the Dubai ports deal.
|Politics and Strategy After the Dubai Ports Case |
Monday, March 13, 2006
Although we still don't know the final shape of the Dubai Ports World agreement to turn control over its American holdings to a "United States entity," we do know that there are host of issues to be addressed in the wake of the debacle. It remains to be seen whether the Administration and Congress have learned any lessons, and whether the economic insecurity manifaest by the Ameircan people in their reaction of outrage to the deal will be taken into account in future policy decisions.
|U.S. Monthly Trade Deficit Zooms 5.29% to New Record|
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Want to know why foreigners have all those greenbacks with which to buy up our ports and everything else in sight? Here are the new trade figures -- read 'em and weep for our country.
|Is Reality on Trade and Jobs Finally Penetrating the Federal Reserve?|
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
In some of his first Congressional testimony as the new Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke gave some relatively lucid and candid answers to Congressional questioners on the potential damage caused by our massive and persistent current account deficits. He also fessed up that the platitude that what we need is to train more scientists and engineers may not be the answer to our competitiveness problem. Simply training more means we will have a greater supply -- which will further depress wages in the field. We need to create demand for their services by spawning new industries and new R&D, something that our outsourcing based trade policy -- with the mass movement of R&D centers overseas -- is not doing. Is someone finally home at the Fed?
|Memo to Bush and McCain: National Security Requires Industrial Independence, Too|
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
President Bush believes that the country should not be addicted to foreign oil -- because the risks to national security are too great over the long run. He is also on record that we should be not be dependent on foreign powers for our food. Why then does he not hold a consistent position when it comes to manufacturing? Why are China, South Korea, Japan, and Europe reliable suppliers of our computers, auto and aircraft parts, machine tools, etc., when Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nigeria and others are not reliable suppliers of oil?
|The Labor Shortage Hoax|
Friday, January 27, 2006
The outsourcing lobby has been hard at work in recent months producing studies that purport to show a labor shortage in skilled manufacturing workers. But the studies are counterintutitive at best and ignore the most important guidestar of the multinationals and their trade associations: free market economics.
|U.S. Monthly Trade Deficit Continues Sky-high; Services Surplus Plummets|
Thursday, January 12, 2006
As the trade deficit continues to mount to new yearly highs, so does the eventual pain that we will have to endure as a nation once the day of reckoning comes.
|Will U.S. Policymakers Come to Grips With China Before Its Too Late|
Monday, December 12, 2005
Washington decision-making still seems to be completely dominated by the outsourcing multinational businesses that benefit significantly from a trade status quo that is devastating so many domestic U.S. manufacturers and American workers. Will American policymakers come to grips with the China Problem before it is too late?
|What's NOT in Bush's Briefing Book On U.S. China-Trade|
Friday, November 18, 2005
Over the last four and a half years, President Bush has shown little interest in the burgeoning U.S. trade deficit, either overall or with troublesome bilateral relationships such as China and Japan. Since he erroneously believes that free markets -- as opposed to predatory government practices -- are at work shaping international trade flows, there's no reason to think that his trip to China will produce even a "frank exchange of views on trade," a diplomatic phrase used to mask a contentious exchange. Since Bush's briefing book is unlikely to contain the disturbing data at the heart of the highly unbalanced U.S.-China trade relationship, here are the figures and trends that he ought to know and raise pointedly with his Chinese hosts.
|Domestic Manufacturing May Lose Protection of US Trade Laws at Upcoming WTO Meeting|
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
U.S. trade laws, which protect domestic American manufacturers from predatory foreign practices, may become the latest victim of WTO overreach and US trade negotiators' lack of spine at the upcoming Hong Kong Trade Ministerial Meeting, December 12-17. There are multiple proposals on the table to eviscerate US trade laws and no coordinated, comprehensive US response -- which is apparently the way the free trade ideologues in the Bush Administration want it.
|Secretary Snow's Beijing Cave-In Leaves American China Policy Critics No Choice But to Fight White House |
Thursday, October 27, 2005
THe Bush Administration's new China policy, unveiled by Treasury Secretary Snow in Beijing recently, involves lowering the unnaturally high Chinese savings rate to allow increased consumption and directing much more investment into infrastructure projects and health care, as opposed to productive capacity. This suggestion is clearly a loser as the Chinese intend to be the world's manufacturing, technology, and R&D powerhouse, surplanting the United States and Japanese economies. The Chinese, with their much longer view of history, have a long-term plan to dominate East Asia and indeed the world economy. They are not about to take the advice of a declining power, whose representatives they regularly embarass publicly during the latter's trips to Beijing.
|Non-oil gains are still inadequate to offset oil losses|
Thursday, October 13, 2005
The overall U.S. goods and services trade deficit increased from $58.0 billion to $59.0 billion, a 1.73% increase, and the third highest total on record. The aggregate figure masked some positive news. The rise in the overall deficit was led by big increases in imported oil, while the non-oil sectors of the economy, including hi-tech, manufacturing, and services, improved their international positions.
|Washington Dreams On About China|
Friday, October 07, 2005
If you think that the rise of China is scary and presents numerous challenges to the United States, then even more scary is Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick's recent speech outlining the Bush Administration's response to China -- which is apparently part fantasy and part wishful thinking. Zoellick gives new meaning to the term "strategic drift" because there is no serious effort in Washington or in the national media to formulate a rational, realistic, and comprehensive policy to deal with China
|Bush's Dangerous UN Trade Offer|
Monday, September 26, 2005
Placing unilateralism back into US trade policy would be a highly welcome departure from recent decades. And it's the only way to reduce significantly foreign non-tariff barriers (NTBs), which other countries can change much more quickly than we can identify. Hence global negotations on NTBs would be a collosal waste of time.
|Frightening Tales of the Deep Deficit|
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Any dispassionate analysis of the trade deficit figures so far this year indicates an economy in deep trouble. Yet from the White House, the Congress, and the media (with the notable exception of Lou Dobbs), we get happy talk. The real story is that the American economy is in serious decline. Here's why.
|Missing the Big Picture on Manufacturing|
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Louis Uchitelle, the thoughtful New York Times economic analyst, raises false hopes in his latest column -- specifically that U.S. manufacturing is in good shape. While there is some data that points in that direction, a more thorough reading of a wider range of data disputes his conclusion. In addition, anecdotal discussions with smaller and mid-sized American manufacturers presents a very different picture - one of a manufacturing community under seige from foreign competitors and their government-sponsored unfair trade practices.
|Takeover Bid Reveals Washington's Lack of Strategic Thinking On China|
Monday, July 25, 2005
The CNOOC and Haier bids for Unocal and Maytag are revealing the costs of short-sighted U.S. policies toward China that have been dominated by narrow commercial concerns. Before Washington enables China to earn even more foreign exchange that can pay for ever more of the nation's economic vitals, it needs to develop a systematic, prudent approach for dealing with the intertwined military and economic challenges posed by China.
|How CAFTA Will Quicken the Race to the Bottom for Central American Workers|
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman's plans to fund advances in labor rights for Central American workers are so miniscule and inadequate that they are not only embarassing for a great nation, but also provide no cover for those few Democrats wanting to vote for CAFTA. And new reports from the National Labor Committee show just how dismal the labor situation is in Mexico and the CAFTA countries. The unfortunate truth is that the entire developing world cannot get rich exporting to the United States -- there are too many workers there and not enough money here. So free trade as currently practiced is not an adequate developmental model for these countries and their workers. Basic honesty and human decency require that we scrap free trade agreements altogether, since they don't work, instead of trying to improve them with rights ad-ons,and start over with new, more realistic policies, some of which may be painful for the developing world.
|Best Way to Change Trade Policy on China: Vote NO on CAFTA|
Monday, July 11, 2005
Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA) knows that the outrage in Congress over our completely ineffective China trade and currency policies is real and growing. Members of both parties aren't buying the argument of the globalization cheerleaders and outsourcers that hooking up with a bunch of tiny, impoverished countries will derail the Chinese juggernaut. Instead, they want real action. Thomas, in contrast, is trying to sell them a pig in a poke.
|Why CAFTA Won't Result in Significant Increases in U.S. Agricultural Exports|
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
CAFTA will not result in significant increases in exports of U.S. agricultural exports. The reason? These countries are broke, and CAFTA will not increase their GDPs substantially through increased exports to the United States. In fact, by pitting them against the Chinese juggernaut in textiles and apparel, CAFTA will actually cause misallocation of scarce investment resources and place these countries on the losing end of a price war with China and other Asian textile and apparel exporters. The net result will be dashed hopes, lower incomes, more unemployment, increased immigration, and increased political instability in Central America.
|The National Association of Manufacturers' Phony Case for CAFTA|
Friday, June 17, 2005
"CAFTA-DR: A Winner for U.S. Manufacturing," the National Association of Manufacturers' study touting the benefits of CAFTA,is a fatally flawed document, filled with internal contradictions. It simply adds to the mountain of evidence that NAM is no longer fit to speak for domestic industry on trade or economic policy.
|Bush's CAFTA and China Policies: Linked Only in Ineffectiveness|
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Gimmick-based China and CAFTA policies may be fine for a President who thinks free trade is a faith-based initiative and who, in any case, won’t be facing the voters again. Such policies are not, however, okay for Members of Congress who intend to run again, and more importantly, do a substantial disservice to the country's economy and betray its embattled middle class.
|Letter to an American Textile Outsourcer|
Sunday, April 24, 2005
I received recently a thoughtful letter from an apparel company executive who tried to make the case for approving the Central America Free Trade Agreement. My correspondent made a number of compelling points that add up to the half-a-loaf case for CAFTA. I believe he is wrong, and that the defeat of CAFTA is a necessary condition precedent to the complete re-thinking of U.S. trade policy that the country, and particularly its manufacturing base, needs to survive economically.
|CAFTA: The Classic Outsourcing Agreement|
Monday, March 07, 2005
CAFTA is another in the long line of outsourcing agreements, misnamed free trade agreements. Like its predecessors, CAFTA will result in further degradation of the U.S. trade position. The CAFTA countries are a group of small economies, not capable of consuming much that is made in the United States. However, they are abundant sources of cheap labor, which new American multinational-owned factories will no doubt exploit, thus replacing American factories and workers. Congress should pass up this opportunity to ship more American jobs abroad.
|Strategic and Economic Blunders Litter Zoellick's Record|
Monday, February 14, 2005
On paper, US Trade Representative Robert Zoelick appears eminently qualified to be Deputy Secretary of State. However, his real-life accomplishments are far less impressive than his resume. In fact, they are downright troubling. A free trade zealot, Zoellick has presided over several years of sharp increases in the outsourcing of U.S. factories and jobs. Hopefully, at his confirmation hearing, some senators will be courageous enough to probe beneath the surface and ask how the dismantling of America's industrial base and increased reliance on foreign countries for both capital and manufactured goods makes U.S. foreign policy goals, such as winning the War on Terror, more achieveable.
|New Trade Deficit Figures Turning US Economy into a Disaster Movie|
Friday, February 11, 2005
The year end trade defict figures for 2004 indicate disaster lies ahead for the American economy. Trees don't grow to the sky, and economies can't be sustained indefinitely by international borrowing -- but you'd never know that by listening to the globalization cheerleader CEOs and their parrots in the chattering and political classes.
|The Failed NAM Reform Campaign|
Monday, February 07, 2005
The newly announced position papers on trade policy by the National Association of Manufacturers again favor their multinational members at the expense of their smaller, but more numerous domestic members. The multinationals got the domestic companies to sign up for their full agenda of globalization policies and new trade agreements in return for commitments to immeasurable and elusive goals. It is a bad bargain, the more so since time is running out on domestic manufacturing. It's high time that NAM's domestic companies quit that organization and join the US Business and Industry Council, www.usbusiness.org, which fights exclusively and effectively for their point of view.
|The Vanishing Link Between Free Trade and Low Prices|
Monday, December 20, 2004
Years of simultaneously huge and rising trade deficits and falling import and consumer prices appeared to have confirmed the globalization cheerleaders' assertion that whatever economic disruption "free trade" caused individual workers and business owners, it more than made up for with lower prices and higer quality goods for all consumers. Americans are about to learn that standard trade liberalization can produce such results only when the dollar remained unnaturally strong, a situation that has now come to an end.
|Trade Policy: Bush Missed Big Political Opportunity|
Monday, November 15, 2004
Instead of emerging as the champion of working families (the Reagan Democrats)in the recent election and building an unbeatable coalition for the future, President Bush gave American workers, along with domestic industry, the back of his hand. As good manufacturing and high-end service jobs continue to pour overseas, the President refused to address the trade policy issue (instead continuing on his current reckless course of undermining the U.S. industrial and technology base, and with it our future national defense capabilities), scraped by in his reelection campaign, and set himself and the country up for an economic fall in his second term that will dwarf the mild recession that proved his father’s political undoing.
|Trade Deficit Figures Point to Diminished American Economic Future |
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
The latest monthly trade data show industry after industry, and occupation after occupation, migrating offshore. Yet there is little serious discussion (this website being a singular exception) of the impact of these events on America's economic future and the lives of ordinary Americans.
|Bush's "Ownership Society" Already Doomed by His Trade Policies|
Friday, September 10, 2004
George Bush says he wants to give us more control over our lives, but his trade policy is taking away the jobs that would allow us the income to exert control. At the same time he is disassembling the federal government's ability to help less fortunate Americans by shrinking the tax base -- as his outsourcing-based trade policies send factories and good jobs overseas -- and by giving upper-income Americans additional tax cuts. The bottom line: if you are already a big-time owner, you'll own more and have even more control; if you're not (and that's most of us), "fugedaboudit," as they say in New York.
|Globalization Pap from Across the Pond|
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Not only did Washington Post columnist Sebastain Mallaby's August 2 article “Trade and the Honest Candidate” add absolutely nothing new to the debate on globalization, it easily could have originated in the flack department at the Business Roundtable or the National Association of Manufacturers.
|Greenspan's Blinders on Job Quality|
Sunday, August 01, 2004
Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan provided Senate testimony recently, in response to a question from Sen. Dole, that there is no evidence that high-paying jobs are being replaced by lower-paying jobs in the U.S. economy. Yet evidence abounds that this is exactly what is happening as factories, manufacturing jobs, and high-tech service work continue to be shipped overseas. Maybe the Fed needs some new statisticians, or a Chairman less enthralled with globalization.
|A Semi-Agreement on Chinese-made Semiconductors?|
Monday, July 12, 2004
The Bush administration and its predecessor have performed so miserably on the trade policy front that plenty of skepticism is justified about the July 8 announcement that Washington has persuaded Beijing to agree to halt discriminatory policies that favored semiconductors produced in China over imports.
|Immigration-Trade Link Can No Longer Be Ignored|
Monday, July 05, 2004
We’re starting to pay the price for failing to recognize that our immigration and outsourcing problems are closely connected. By treating these policies in isolation, even many champions of urgently needed immigration reduction policies have left themselves – and Americans as a whole – few good choices.
|Forbes Gives GE a Whitewash|
Saturday, June 19, 2004
It's no wonder that the American public doesn't have the straight story on globalization with Big Media in the pocket of Big Business.
|Ronald Reagan: Trade Realist|
Monday, June 07, 2004
When major American industries were on the ropes, Ronald Reagan put free trade ideology aside and acted to save those industries. Always the pragmatist, Reagan knew that the United States could not remain a world leader without a healthy and vibrant industrial base. This critical part of his legacy was rejected by his three successors in the White House to the nation's great detriment and has been totally ignored by the media in the extensive commentary on Reagan's presidency following his passing. Small wonder that the manufacturing sector is in advanced crisis when the political and media elites have completely forgotten his trade legacy.
|CAFTA: Another Over-sold Free Trade Scam|
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is a big loser for U.S. workers and for domestic companies. The reason? America’s CAFTA trading partners are simply too small, too poor, and too broke to serve as major consumer markets for anything made in America. Yet with their 43-odd million desperately poor people, the CAFTA countries are capable of turning out a large volume of labor-intensive products like apparel, which puts them in direct competition with millions of America’s working poor (many of whom, of course, have emigrated from the CAFTA countries).
|Can A Tourist Trap Provide Sustained Economic Growth?|
Friday, May 14, 2004
Little Quechee, Vermont has tried to replace the loss of manufacturing jobs with tourism-centered growth, but the approach has shown limited success. The main engine of economic growth for the area has been in education and health care, jobs that are dependent on a shrinking tax base, as well as on professional service jobs that are likely candidates for overseas outsourcing. The survival of Quechee is thus beyond the efforts of its residents, now matter how dedicated and ingenious. It rests instead with trade and international economic policy decisions made in Washington, and increasingly in foreign capitals.
|China Wins Big at Latest Trade Talks|
Thursday, May 06, 2004
In the wake of the late-April trade sessions, Vice President Cheney’s visit to East Asia, and an extraordinary China press conference held by four Cabinet officials shortly thereafter, it’s painfully clear that the Chinese are running rings around the United States economically, politically, and national security-wise.
|Nonsense as Usual: Bush Contention that Tax Reform Is Key to Manufacturing Competitiveness |
Wednesday, April 14, 2004
According to President Bush, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the decline of American manufacturing and our lack of international competitiveness. Thus his six point program: reform our tax system, health care, education, government regulation of business, and product liability law. In addition, conclude new free trade agreements, so that the newly unschakled American economy can crank out exports. There are many problems with the President's analysis, not the least of which is that it ignores the winner-take-all approach practiced by our trading partners, which leads to unfair trade practices such as dumping, currency manipulation, and subsidies, to name but a few. Also deeply flawed is the President's contention that our tax system puts such a burden on manufacturers that they are forced to offshore factories and jobs. Recent analytical reports show that taxation is not the burden that the President believes -- since so many corporations operating here are paying no or minimal taxes.
|The Folly of a Free Trade Pact with Central America|
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
To revive its manufacturing sector and all the economic and national security benefits it generates, the United States urgently needs a new set of trade policies. Defeating the misguided Central American Free Trade Agreement is the place to start.
|White House Obscures the Truth on Trade and Jobs Issues|
Wednesday, March 24, 2004
The Bush administration, from the President himself on down, is trying to mislead the American public into believing that they are at the top of their policy game on economic, trade, and job issues -- and that there is nothing to be concerned about. In the world of the president and his advisors, economic growth is up, unemployment is down, productivity is skyrocketing, and jobs outsourcing is just another form of trade. What about astronomical trade and budget deficits, the loss of three million manufacturing jobs, flat average real weekly wages for 25 years, millions of un- and under-employed, additional millions who have given up looking for work, predatory foreign trade practices, and currency manipulation? "Don't worry, be happy," say George Bush, John Snow, Don Evans, and Bob Zoellick.
|Democrat Candidates Still MIA on Trade|
Sunday, February 01, 2004
Say you're a factory worker or a software engineer or an accountant or a medical technician. You've already lost your job to the current version of globalization or you can see the handwriting on the wall. And whatever you think of the Iraq war or 9-11, your main concern this election year understandably is finding a presidential hopeful who will enter office with a pragmatic plan to end this threat to your livelihood and your country's economic future.
|NAFTA at 10 – A Miserable Failure|
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
To anybody even remotely open or fair-minded, the case against NAFTA has been clinched by two holiday season developments.
|Wen Uses American Visit to Obscure the Bigger Picture in US-China Trade|
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Chinese Premier Wen's secret five point plan to reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China -- by boosting U.S. exports to China -- is a political gimmick. For China to import serious amounts of U.S.-made goods, its consumers would actually have to have real purchasing power, which they do not. The Chinese government has no plan for economic development other than export-led growth, which means that it will continue to seek ever larger shares of the U.S. and other world markets, keeping it at odds with the United States and other countries.
|High-Tech Jobs: Another Industry Races to the Bottom|
Monday, November 10, 2003
For years globalization cheerleaders promised American workers a rosy future in high tech and services, and told us not to worry, be happy that we were sheding all those nasty, messy, sweaty smokestack manufacturing jobs. Well, the future is here, and we continue to hemorrhage not only manufacturing jobs, but now high-tech and service jobs as well. The globalization cheerleaders' brand-new, two-fold solution for American workers: (1) accept radically lower pay and fewer benefits to remain competitive with Indians, Chinese, and Russians; and (2) re-educate and re-train yourselves for new jobs -- which are no more likely to be there when you've finished than the jobs you lost. Tradealert's solution: outsource all globalization cheerleading jobs; scrap free-trade agreements and the WTO; and take back our manufacturing, high-tech, and service sectors through a combination of policies designed to preserve industries, jobs, and a high standard of living for all Americans.
|ChinaTrade: Increasingly High Tech, Increasingly Head-to-Head|
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Myth-making is an integral part of the job of globalization cheerleaders. They have propagated the notion that China's record trade surplus with the United States is built upon low-tech goods that Americans no longer have an interest in making as we move up the high-tech food chain. Thus Chinese goods do not displace American companies and their workers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
|America Needs a Trade Talks Freeze|
Monday, October 20, 2003
Trade agreements done right can benefit the United States. Unfortunately, the Executive Branch has not gotten one right for decades. It's time for a moratorium until they figure out how to negotiate a deal that makes sense for America's domestic manufacturers and their workers.
|The Indisputable Case for Keeping Steel Tariffs |
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
The steel tariffs imposed by President Bush in 2002 were for three years but can be reviewed now, at the end of 18 months. The domestic American industry has used the time so far wisely and well, restructuring and bringing additional capacity on line -- as it was supposed to. Prices, which originally spiked, are now competitive with those in other world markets. Not only should the tariffs not be removed, they should be extended to many other American industries that are being dumped out of existence by predatory foreign trade practices. What should be a no-brain decision for the President is bing opposed by free trade zealots, both insode and outside the administration. Mr. Bush should disregard their bad advice and do what makes sense for the country economically and himself politically.
|The Administration's Manufacturing Plan Looks Bogus|
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
The good news about Sec. of Commerce Don Evans' ballyhooed speech last week about reviving American manufacturing is that it only "previewed" the administrations plans. The final blueprint is set to be released by the end of this month unless it is delayed yet again.
|America's Interests Come Last in Cancun|
Friday, September 12, 2003
The Bush Administration's trade policy might as well be made by some third world despot as by US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick. Both put American interests last.
|Appeasing Asian Protectionists Won't Solve the North Korea Problem|
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Since the end of World War II, Washington has tried to buy the cooperation of both allies and adversaries on foreign policy and security matters with access to the American market. This approach has resulted in the hollowing out of American manufacturing without much in the way of foreign policy success to show for it. Indeed one could convincingly argue that by making this country generally weaker and more dependent on foreign sources of manufactured goods, the "give away" approach has made the world a more dangerous place. The Bush administration seems destined to repeat the mistakes of its predecessors by refusing to pressure China, Japan, and Korea to straighten up and trade fairly because it believes it needs their help to denuclearize North Korea, as if the lunatics in Pyongyang are somehow more of a threat to us than their immediate neighbors.
|Lower Import Prices Haven't Lifted Living Standards After All|
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
With even normally free-trading Republican Congressmen up in arms about globalization-related job loss, America's globalization-happy economic establishment is preparing its counter-attack. Among the trade-extremist bromides we're likely to hear most often is that today's monumental import levels are blessings for all Americans because they reduce consumer goods prices and thus raise real incomes.
|Halting American Manufacturing's Decline Requires Changing US Trade Policy|
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Some Washington politicians have discovered that there is a crisis in American manufacturing that threatens its very survival. But since they are dealing with symptoms rather than root causes, the actions they propose will not solve the problem nor stem manufacturing's decline.
|Are America's Farmers Turning Against Free Trade?|
Thursday, July 31, 2003
As cheap agricultural good from third-world countries flood the US market, America's farmers -- as opposed to its multinational corporate agribusinesses -- are beginning to realize that they were sold a pig in a poke when it came to free trade agreements like NAFTA and the WTO. Now with the Free Trade Area of the Americas looming, and citrus, soybeans, and other ag sectors at risk, America's farmers are having serious second thoughts. This is a welcome and overdue development.
|Why Globalization Critics Were Right All Along|
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Even a passing glance at the record shows the strongest proponents of free trade and globalization of the American market were completely wrong and actually misleading right from the start.
|Ford Forgets One of Its Better Ideas|
Thursday, June 26, 2003
At age 100, one of America's premier industrial corporations has strayed from its founder's vision -- a fact that may explain its current troubles.
|Seattle: Hi-tech Bridge to the 21st Century or Nowhere?|
Friday, June 13, 2003
| A Tale of Two Companies, or How Our Trade Policies are Destroying the US Economy |
Sunday, June 01, 2003
This era is marked by continuing job layoffs by America's top companies as they move production overseas seeking cheaper labor. The practice may temporarily fatten profit margins, but over the long run it spells disaster -- for it amounts to firing not just workers, but also customers. And since the US market remains by far the most important for these companies, one wonders who eventually will be earning a sufficient income to buy their products.
|Where the heck are the Democrats on Trade?|
Monday, May 19, 2003
Instead of making the connection between trade and our economic woes -- especially the lack of high-paying factory jobs for "average Americans," the Democratic presidential candidates are largely MIAs on the trade issue.
|The Weak Dollar is No Cure-All|
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
If only the way to solve America's manufacturing crisis was to devalue the dollar. But currency manipulation is a game our foreign competitors can also play, and probably better than we can.
|Bush's Latin Trade Policy Needs Reality Check |
Monday, April 28, 2003
America trade policy got separated from economic reality during the Tokyo Round of trade talks in the 1970s and has never become reacquainted. Nowhere is this fact more obvious than in the ongoing free trade negotiations with Latin America.
|In China Trade, the Joke is on the American Public, in particular on US Workers|
Friday, April 18, 2003
Nowhere is the disconnect between Washington elites (policymakers, politicians, lobbyists, scholars, and news media)and the rest of America more accute than in the area of China trade. The trade deficit with China is our largest and most one-sided. Instead of sending American products to China for their 1 billion plus "consumers" -- which was Washington's rationale for establishing Permanent Most Favored Nation trading status with China and then admitting China into the World Trade Organization, US multinationals have instead exported American factories and jobs to China to export products back here. The Washington types are all in on the tacit conspiracy and they are adamant about not informing the American public as to the change in plans.
|How Not to Lose the Peace Economically|
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Do we really want to open the American market further to unreliable allies, actively hostile nations, and every impoverished country on the planet in the vain hope that we can sell them more than they sell us? Do we really want to be dependent on these countries for our defense parts, components, and systems?
|Extra! Two Reporters Get Trade Stories Correct|
Wednesday, April 02, 2003
All too often, economics and business reporters don't do their homework and get trade-related stories wrong. Here we salute two who get it right.
|New Trade Figures Explode Standard Globalization Myths|
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
The 2002 trade figures, released by the Commerce Department in late February, paint a disturbing picture of America's economic future. The indisputable data, however, doesn't stop the globalizers and free trade ideologues from trying to put their best gloss on the bleak trade picture; but the figures don't lie, making it ever harder for the globalizers to do so.
|U.S. Trade Deficit Endangers the American Economy |
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
The 2002 U.S. trade deficit figures, released last week by the Commerce Department, show an economy in considerable danger. According to a recent study by the Federal Reserve, countries whose international deficits exceed 4 percent of GDP suffer economic crises. The United States in 2002 exceed 5 percent. Because it has a unique place in the world, politically and economically, the United States may be able to prolong the day of reckoning, but, unless our trade policies change, that day of reckoning will eventually arrive.
|NAFTA Can Play a Key Role in Energy Security|
Monday, February 10, 2003
America's NAFTA partners, Canada and Mexico, hold vast reserves of oil that should be exploited to give the United States additional "energy security." President Bush has used this phrase many time and has undertaken some actions to move in this direction. But the US government seems oblivious to the full energy potential of Canada and Mexico. It is high time to exploit these resources and de-link the Western Hemisphere from the hate- and terror-filled Middle East.
|Manufacturing's Importance Missing from the State of the Union|
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
An understanding of the importance of manufacturing to the health of the American economy and to our national security was entirely missing from the President's State of the Union Message. Consequently, the President has proposed no new steps to see that America's manufacturing and technology base remains what it once was: without an equal in the world.
|Manufacturing's Importance Missing from the State of the Union|
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
An understanding of the importance of manufacturing to the health of the American economy and to our national security was entirely missing from the President's State of the Union Message. Consequently, the President has proposed no new steps to see that America's manufacturing and technology base remains what it once was: without an equal in the world.
|Latest Trade Figures: Even Worse Than They Look|
Friday, January 24, 2003
Globalization enthusiasts would have us believe that everything is going according to plan. The United States is shedding old industries and concentrating on "industries of the future." Unfortunately, the latest trade figures show that while there is a bright future for lots of high-tech industries, in all too many, the US isn't in it.
|Chinese Consumers: Penny Wise, But Not Pound Foolish|
Sunday, January 12, 2003
Chinese consumers do not have the disposable income to buy foreign-made goods in appreciable numbers. So why does the 150 year old pipe dream of foreigners' getting rich in the Chinese market continue?
Thursday, December 26, 2002
Very few polls on international trade and economics display the honesty and integrity necessary to achieve coherent, consistent, and meaningful results.
|US-China Rivalries: Are the Real Dangers Economic and Not Military?|
Monday, December 09, 2002
The Chinese military has taken some fairly provocative steps over the last several years, including the downing of an American P-3 reconnaissance plane. Even so our man in Shanghai thinks that the military rivalries can be managed sucessfully. He is not so sure about the troublesome trade and economic differences that separate the two countries.
|China's Economic Rise Is No Triumph of Free Markets|
Wednesday, November 27, 2002
Our man in Beijing observes that it is mercantilism and economic nationalism rather than free markets and free trade that are chiefly repsonsible for China's explosive growth in recent decades.
|The View From Beijing|
Monday, November 18, 2002
Our man in Beijing explores security and economic questions during a three month stay in China.
|A Housing Boom Composed of Imports Delays the Recovery|
Monday, October 28, 2002
It's not just manufacturing industries that are being harmed by our naive and irresponsible trade policies. Home building, the current driver in the U.S. economy, is also plagued by import competition, diminishing its overall contribution to economic growth here in the United States.
|Manufacturing, Not Tourism, Should Be Mayors' Top Priority|
Monday, October 21, 2002
America's mayors are bent out of shape that their tax revenues have dropped due to the fall-off in travel and tourism since 9/11. But there is a far greater crisis underway - in manufacturing - that has a much greater effect on tax revenues, not to mention the ability of families to support themselves in dignity. They ought to be addressing the manufacturing and trade policy issue as well - and even more forcefully.
|Market Share Nosedive for U.S. Industries|
Monday, October 14, 2002
The fact that American industries are steadily losing market share in their home market is very disturbing. It is unlikely that export sales will make up for losses at home and keep the U.S. companies profitable and at the cutting edge of their industries. In any case, the very foreign competitors that are beating the Americans in their home market are intent on preventing them from being successful in foreign markets -- many of which are highly protected.
|US Trade Deficit Begins to Attract Serious Attention|
Friday, September 27, 2002
The American trade deficit has been the concern of a few economic nationalists for some time, while mainstream economists and institutions have ignored it. Suddenly its size and scope are giving all but the most foolhardy free traders pause.
|'Uncle Sucker' and the World Trade Organization|
Friday, September 20, 2002
The United States is so fixated on free trade theory that it is unable to defend its vital national interests at the WTO. One wonders how long it will take policy makers to wake up - if ever. More likely, they will turn from 'triumphalists' about America's power and position in the world to 'declinists.' The latter were well in evidence in the US government bureaucracy during Japan's brief ascendency in the late 1980s. "The US must grow smaller as Japan grows greater," they were fond of saying. This time the slogan will be, "The US must sacrifice its high standard of living so that other countries may develop their economies." Since the trade negotiators can always get another job shilling for importers, the standard of living of the average America doesn't matter a wit to them.
|Some Establishment Breakthroughs on Trade Policy|
Thursday, September 12, 2002
The harmful realities of globalization, including the industrial hollowing out of the United States and the declining options for American workers seeking high-paying manufacturing jobs, have been steadfastly ignored by the media (not to mention academics and politicians) for the last decade. Now, however, it appears that some of the facts are making their way into the media's collective consciousness. Hopefully, the process will accelerate and we can have an informed national debate about our economic future while we still have a chance for one.
|The Continuing Enigma of Japan|
Thursday, September 05, 2002
Western impressions of Japan are largely created by Japanese manipulation of foreigners -- especially foreign diplomats, media, academics, and businessmen living there. There is almost nothing in Japan that is left to chance, which can produce unexpected and unpleasant results, economically, politically, and socially. Since it is often not in the Japanese interest for foreigners to have an accurate picture of their country and its strategic goals, they spoon feed the foreigners the impressions they want them to have. Our man in Japan, Alan Tonelson, recently confronted the differences between the prevailing Western image of Japan as a country on the brink of economic ruin and the reality of an orderly, prosperous, and well-run society.
|Brazil: Model Economy or Model Deadbeat?|
Thursday, August 15, 2002
The Bush administration came into office opposed to bailouts of foreign economies. That has all changed with the impending collapse of Latin America's largest economy, Brazil, which is apparently now in the too-big-too-fail category. While Brazil showed some promise in recent years, it also knowingly made major economic mistakes -- for which its political and economic leaders should be held accountable. IMF loans to Brazil are American taxpayer money down a rathole - which will only be followed by more money now that the 'moral hazard' standard has been abandoned. Unfortunately, America no longer has the financial wherewithal to bail out the too-big-to fail countries, let alone the entire developing world with its trade-as-aid policies. Economic catastrophe is the likely result.
|Asia's Suspect Consumption Boom|
Friday, August 09, 2002
If globalization fanatics are to be proven correct about the putative "win-win" benefits of their pet theory, then there has to be an increase in consumption in developing countries. Up to now, trade has been a one-way street, with developing countries exporting to the United States but taking relatively few of our goods in return. If in fact their citizens are earning more money and achieving higher living standards through their governments' export-oriented policies, then at some point, they should be able to spend some of that money on American goods, instead of being forced to save it. The globalizers claim this is beginning to happen in East Asia, but as usual, they haven't looked at the entire picture before leaping to their self-serving conclusions.
|What the Multinationals Won't Tell You About Fast Track|
Friday, August 02, 2002
In the early 1990s, both the Bush and Clinton administrations hyped the 'Big Emerging Markets.' Politicians and free traders echoed the call. Their contention was that the US market was "mature" and that growth here would be slow. The Big Emerging markets, on the other hand, had large populations with unmet needs -- which corporate America was going to fill and make mega bucks doing so. Reality diverged significantly from theory, as it always seeems to do with free trade, and the Big Emerging Markets weren't and didn't. The US market was the engine of world growth in the 1990s and remains so today (if somewhat diminished). The Big Emerging Markets turned out to be not retail markets (because the large populations were broke) but labor markets, and the multinationals took advantage of the cheap labor and lax regulation to move their factories overseas.
|Bad Trade Deals Have Severe Long-Term Costs|
Thursday, July 18, 2002
The highly subsidized, highly successful history of the European consortium Airbus Industries should give pause to any Congressman thinking about giving the Executive Branch unlimited trade negotiating authority under Fast Track -- or in fact to anyone who thinks that by negotiating endless trade agreements, the United States is going to force all other nations into playing by a single set of rules. Other nations view trade negotiations as strategic opportunities to advance their national economic and technological interests. We view them as a terrific opportunity to make rules that are in accord with free trade theory. Guess who loses every time in this zero sum game?
|The Dangerous Breakdown of Export Controls|
Thursday, July 11, 2002
During the Cold War, there was a fairly successful system set up by the Western Allies, called COCOM, to control advanced technologies with military applications and prevent them from falling into the hands of communist and rogue states. That system was dismantled by the Clinton administration under presssure from high-tech companies, which were eager for overseas sales. While they reap the profits, the duty of defending against weapons systems developed or advanced by the sale of these technologies falls on the nation as a whole -- burden-shifting if ever there was. Now comes a GAO report which highlights the wholesale transfer of militarily critical technologies to China by U.S. and other Western countries. By continuing to ignore export controls, US policymakers are in effect placing an enormous bet on China's evolution to a peace-loving country -- a bet unwarranted by anything that is occurring politically or militarily in China today.
|Fast Track to a Dollar Crisis|
Monday, July 08, 2002
Investor confidence in the US economy is weakening. The dollar is falling in value as investors unload greenbacks on world markets. Especially worrisome is the merchandise trade deficit, which many economists believe will hit a new record this year. Rather than curbing imports and strengthening American manufacturing, so that more consumer demands are met here at home rather than through imports, the Bush Administration and the Congressional leadership want to pass fast track trade promotion authority into law. It is precisely past fast track trade deals that have gotten us into today's unsustainable trade situation. More of the same kind of trade deals in the future will likely spell disaster for the dollar and the US economy.
|Fast Track and Bush's Latin Fantasies|
Friday, June 28, 2002
The Bush Administration notion that fast track trade negotiating authority will lead to a bonanza for American exporters is nonsense. The mantra is that 96 percent of the world's consumers live outside the United States. That may be true based on population, but it's totally misleading based on wealth. Most of the 96 percent have no money and will not be able to buy American products even if all barriers to trade were eliminated. Thus fast track and US trade policy are based on fantasy, not reality.
|International Trade: When More Is Not Always Merrier|
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
Politicians too often assert that more international trade is inevitable because of increasing globalization and is in and of itself a good thing. This assertion is pure nonsense, put forth by people who haven't the analytical tools to think critically about trade policy. More trade is neither good not bad. Its worth depends on the effect that trade has on the economies and countries involved. Reckless spending by consumers on imported goods will certainly boost trade flows, but could well lead to a destructive foreign exchange crisis. Often trade is predatory, intended to destroy a competing nation's industries. Again, more trade is harmful in this case. The goal of trade for America should be a rising standard of living for the population as a whole, but current trade policy is not producing that result. More trade on current terms, therefore, is emphatically not a good thing.
|Are the Unions Finally Wising Up on The Politics of Trade?|
Thursday, June 13, 2002
America's industrial unions, which are bleeding jobs as more manufacturing plants close here and reopen overseas, are beginning to reevaluate their traditional support for those Democratic candidates who vote against them on the critical trade issue. It's a welcome and long overdue change.
|What's Up with the Down Dollar?|
Tuesday, June 04, 2002
Does the dollar's recent decline presage the major correction predicted by economic theory when a nation runs consistent and massive trade deficits? Perhaps so, but the dollar has a lot going for it as well with US political stability and the relative vibrancy of the US economy. Still no nation is above being punished by investors for failing to put its economic house in order, and the only solution to a trade deficit that is now running 4.7% of GDP is more of the same trade policies/agreements that got us in the current fix in the first place.
|Dayton-Craig: Why the Senate Fast Track Vote Matters|
Monday, June 03, 2002
The Dayton-Craig Amendment is an important baby step back from unrestricted globalization. By a large majority, Senators voted to retain the right to strip provisions out of trade agreements which change or eliminate US trade laws -- exactly the power the Founders gave the Congress in the Constitution. Yet free traders. lead by USTR "I'm-smarter-than-the-Founders" Zoellick became hysterical and threatened not to play in the sandbox anymore if Dayton-Craig survives conference. So the Senate must have done something right for America.
|The Economic Ground Zero of Globalization|
Friday, May 24, 2002
A visit to northwestern Indiana reveals the devastation wrought by globalization on one of the nation's primary steel producing areas. While clearly some blame lies with company management and state officials, there is little they could do to halt foreign subsidies to inefficient 'national champion' steel industries and the cumulative effects of years of dumping by foreign companies. Most obviously lacking from the equation is a national response and a national policy to preserve and extend the high-paying manufacturing jobs that have been sacrificed on the altar of free trade theory.
|Conservatives' Free Trade Policies Lead to the Growth of Big Government|
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
One of the great ironies for conservatives and libertarians is that their favored free trade policies are re-invigorating the push for big government programs. The globalization now sweeping the American economy is displacing so many manufacturing jobs that average Americans must turn to government programs to save them from poverty. Ultimately, free trade, with its hollowing out of the American economy, will lead to an American brand of socialism.
|Small is Dumb, Not Beautiful, in Trade Policy|
Tuesday, April 30, 2002
The Bush Administration continues its obsession with free trade policies by negotiating agreements with countries that have tiny economies and 'consumers' with no purchasing power. Yet they claim these agreements will boost America's exports. But that's patent nonsense. Dirt poor foreign citizens aren't going to buy much of anything beyond food and basic necessities, and certainly not American products.
|Trade Policy Without Self-Respect; Media Without a Clue|
Monday, April 22, 2002
It used to be that reporters and editors had a healthy skepticism about the pronouncements of government officials. But not any more -- at least not at the New York Times when the subject is international trade and globalization and the source is US Trade Rep. Robert Zoellick. He apparently has a clear field.
|False Promises on Globalization from Oxfam|
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Oxfam America's new report, 'Rigged Rules and Double Standards,' while useful in certain respects, essentially agitates for wealth transfer from American taxpayers and workers to third world nations and their populations.
|Andean Trade Fantasies|
Monday, April 08, 2002
For more than a decade, American free traders have deluded themselves into believing that preferrential trade treatment for items produced in four Andean countries will halt cocoa leaf growing by impoverished farmers, who will then turn to other crops or lines of work as their economies develop. It hasn't happened.
|Doublespeak from Daschle on Trade Adjustment Assistance|
Tuesday, April 02, 2002
Give Tom Daschle this much: Even in a city of spinners and parsers, the Senate Majority Leader is uniquely difficult to understand. He's attacked President Bush for cutting taxes too much, yet would not repeal the cuts. One day he questions the President's anti-terrorism strategy as lacking "a clear direction." Another day he's wholeheartedly on board.
|The Race to the Bottom Speeds Up|
Monday, March 25, 2002
The world's governing elites, after being notably wrong for decades about alleviating poverty, have a new formula: trade and investment, not aid. But just as they misdiagnosed the causes of poverty previously and assumed they knew enough to supply the solutions, they are now taken by the illusory promise that cutthroat competition for manufacturing jobs supplied by multinational companies will 'lift all boats' to a middle class lifestyle.
|It's Not Just Steel|
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
America's foreign trade partners have been so infuriated by America's recent steel tariffs that you'd think steel was the world's most important industry. Steel-making does indeed create valuable high-wage jobs and is critical to national defense. But what foreign steel interests are really worried about is Washington extending its new steel trade policy to a host of key sectors of the economy.
|Bush's Misguided Asia Trip|
Tuesday, February 26, 2002
What is it about East Asia that turns the minds of even canny American political leaders into mush? Once again, an American President has traveled to the region. And once again, something in the air or water (or is it the MSG?) has led him to mistake promises for accomplishments, atmospherics for substance, boilerplate for communication, and excuses for genuine constraints.
|Globalization Proponents Are Starting to Jump Ship|
Tuesday, February 19, 2002
Now that we have experience with the reality, as opposed to the theory, of 'free trade' agreements like NAFTA, the WTO, and China PNTR, we find that reality is quite different than the theory. More importantly, it is different in a way that is profoundly detrimental to American interests, both economic anc political.
|'Soaking the Rich' Will Not Solve US Trade and Economic Problems|
Tuesday, February 12, 2002
The free trade policies followed by successive American administrations are leading to ever greater trade deficits. America's wealth creation capability -- along with its manufacturing base and attendant good jobs -- is being sent overseas at an unprecedented rate. The great irony for the liberterians and Republicans who support such policies is that schemes for increased redistribution of income will be proposed to deal with displaced workers and their families who no longer can command a living wage.
|The Sham Of Chinese Market Opening|
Monday, January 21, 2002
Free traders from George Bush on down have held out the illusion of high-paying American manufacturing jobs that will be created by exporting to China. But recent developments and research indicate that these free trade representations are false.
|New WTO Decision on US Tax Law Could Kill the Golden Goose|
Monday, January 14, 2002
The WTO has issued a final ruling that the US tax code's FSC provisions are an export subsidy. Ironically, the US will have to change its law or face $4 billion in sanctions. How the US reacts will greatly effect the world economy.
|The Real Roots of the Argentine Financial Crisis|
Sunday, January 06, 2002
Argentina's economic collapse is largely of its own making, but was assisted by the doctrinaire free traders at the IMF. Rather than revise their faulty theories, globalizers seek to fix blame elsewhere.
|The Disconnect between Productivity, Prosperity, and Trade Policy|
Saturday, December 29, 2001
By every measure, manufacturing has significantly outpaced retailing in productivity growth over the past 15 years. One wonders then, why US trade policy favors retailers over manufacturers.
|What the Fast Track Vote Really Means|
Thursday, December 13, 2001
The one-vote victory on fast track in the House had many subtexts, almost none of them favorable for globalization advocates.
|Fast Track Victimizes America's Poor|
Friday, December 07, 2001
Trade agreements concluded under the fast track procedure approved by the House will have the greatest impact on America's poor, depriving them of manufacturing jobs - the avenue to the middle class for several generations of Americans.
|Inadequate US Trade Data Has Policymakers Flying Blind|
Monday, December 03, 2001
Mark Twain would have said "lies, damn lies, and trade statistics" were he alive today -- when policymakers delude themselves and the American public with a false picture of trade's benefits based on inadequate and misleading US government trade data.
|There's Little 'Free Trade' in the Latest Free Trade Agreement|
Tuesday, November 20, 2001
As are so many "free trade" agreements, the agreement reached in Qatar last week is about anything but free trade. It is in fact mostly about managing global trade for the benefit of lesser developed countries, or trade Marxism in other words.
|False Promises via Free Trade|
Friday, November 16, 2001
New trade agreements will not lift the third world out of poverty, even if massive new numbers of American manufacturing workers are forced to give up their jobs.
|Manufacturing Should be US Priority in World Trade Talks|
Monday, November 05, 2001
American manufacturing has taken a beating due to past rounds of trade liberalization. Preserving what's left and then expanding our manufacturing base should be America's first priority at any new round of WTO trade talks. Unfortunately, it's not.
|The Trade Debate We Need Isn't Occurring|
Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Increased trade has cost the United States economic growth, manufacturing industries, and high-paying jobs over the last 20 years. Before Congress grants the President new fast track authority, he must explain why all that will change this time.
|The Academic Frauds Supporting Fast Track Trade Authority|
Monday, October 22, 2001
Economists use assumptions in their work, many of which prove wrong. Nowhere are academic economists more guilty of using absurd assumptions than when backing international trade deals - giving big business and politicans what they want to hear.
|Will Fast Track Worsen the Global Slump?|
Wednesday, October 10, 2001
Those who favor globalization of markets got what they wanted during the 1990s. We were supposedly in a new, recession-proof economy. But in reality we are in a global slump. Fast Track is likely to accelerate the trend.
|The Pentagon Gets It Half Right on Economics|
Tuesday, October 02, 2001
The new QDR gives some hope that Pentagon planners are beginning to understand that globalization has ravaged our manufacturing base and threatens to compromise our freedom of action in the world.
|Bye Bye, Economics?|
Thursday, September 27, 2001
Will the war on terrorism cause our governing class to abandon any rational analysis of international trade and economic policies and revert to Cold War-type bribes to cement alliances? It's starting to look that way.
|War and Globalization|
Thursday, September 20, 2001
Current markets-solve-everything trade policies are false gods undermining the very existence of our nation. Americans are now willing sacrifice their lives to preserve a unique country. The totality of the US is about much more than efficient markets.
|The Quick Fix|
Wednesday, September 12, 2001
There are no quick fixes for the faltering economies in Japan, the United States, and the undeveloped countries. The longer the underlying causes are ignored and phony solutions are proffered for political reasons, the worse the final day of reckoning.
|Gary Condit and the Multinationals|
Tuesday, September 04, 2001
Multinationals claim their export of factories to foreign production sites actually creates additional jobs here. Yet they oppose legislation requiring them to prove it to get Ex-Im Bank's subsidized loans for their customers. If they're truthful, why?
|Why the Consumer Won't Save Us|
Tuesday, August 28, 2001
The dot.coms were an economic/financial illusion that Wall Street believed in. So is the notion that consumers will float our shaky economy. The globalists have fooled most of the policy makers most of the last decade. The reckoning approaches.
|Lies, Damned Lies, and Income Statistics|
Tuesday, August 14, 2001
The 1990s were the biggest boom ever, right? Wrong - if one delves into the Census data. Remember a time before free trade when one wage earner could support a family, and day care occurred in your home supervised by someone called Mom.
|Affected, but not Dominated, by Globalization|
Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Globalization and Its Discontents: Why is the media missing the boat on the debate over fast track authority for the President? Could it be they don't want the American public fully informed?
|Free Trade Doesn't Always Promote Freedom|
Monday, July 23, 2001
The World Trade Organization has vast authority over the regulatory systems of member states. This power may facilitate trade, but what does it do to democracy and self-determination? And aren't these latter values more fundamental?
|When Free Markets Frown on Free Trade|
Wednesday, July 18, 2001
If globalization and free trade are so great, why is the rest of the world investing so heavily in just one place -- the United States?
|A Treasury Secretary Who Gets It?|
Thursday, July 12, 2001
Paul O'Neill delivers a seminal speech on international economic policy. Let's hope he means it.
|Sticks, Stones, and Trade Policy|
Tuesday, July 03, 2001
President Bush's use of invective to vilify his trade policy critics is not in keeping with his self-annointed role as a unifier, and may well backfire politically.
|Fed Up With the Dallas Fed|
Monday, June 18, 2001
The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank appears to have gone into the propaganda business when it comes analyzing the alleged benefits of globalization.
|George W. Bush, Economic Nationalist?|
Thursday, June 14, 2001
President Bush makes a foray into the world of fair trade with an acknowledgement that foreign subsidies and dumping are crippling the critical American steel industry.
|Botching Japan Policy, Big Time|
Tuesday, March 20, 2001
So how is the Bush administration deciding to handle Japan? By easing public pressure on Tokyo to open markets and all but urging Japan to export its way out of its immediate problems.
|Gore's True Legacy?|
Tuesday, March 13, 2001
Remember Al Gore? The nation may owe the former vice president a greater debt than his inept White House run would have indicated.
|When the Dinosaurs Die|
Tuesday, March 06, 2001
It's no surprise that traditional blue-collar manufacturing jobs get no respect from white-collar American policy elites.
|Globalization and the High Tech Wage Lag|
Thursday, March 01, 2001
It's been the largest economic expansion in American history, marked by the lowest unemployment rate in a generation and a dazzling burst of technological innovation.
|Vietnam: Sketches of an "Emerging Market"|
Monday, February 26, 2001
Traveling to Vietnam, especially for the first time, is bound to be emotional for any baby boomer.
|Other Columns: |
William R. Hawkins |
Kevin L. Kearns |
Macy Block and Julie McCarville |
Michael Retzer |
Kevin L. Kearns and Alan Tonelson |
Alan Tonelson and Peter Kim |
Opinion Archive |