Trump promised to shrink the trade deficit. Instead, it exploded.

  
Via:  atheist  •  2 weeks ago  •  91 comments

Trump promised to shrink the trade deficit. Instead, it exploded.
The Commerce Department said Wednesday that — despite more than two years of President Trump’s “America First” policies — the United States last year posted a $891.2 billion merchandise trade deficit, the largest in the nation’s 243-year history.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


The department’s final 2018 trade report, which was delayed by the partial government shutdown, showed that the United States bought far more in foreign goods than it sold to customers in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The shortfall topped the 2006 record of $838.3 billion, set as the housing bubble was peaking, and marked the third consecutive year of rising deficits.

A broader measure of the nation’s trade performance, which includes the services sector, showed a $621 billion deficit. That reflected a deterioration of more than $100 billion from the figure Trump inherited from president Barack Obama.

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Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
1  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו    2 weeks ago

How could this happen with "stable genius" Scumbag running the show?  Nobody but Scumbag could be this big a dope. failure and, of course, liar and come up short on every fucking ridiculous claim and promise he made.   No wonder the MAGA's love him.  He represents exactly their values.  

 
 
 
lady in black
2  lady in black    2 weeks ago

Trump has told his cult that China is paying billions into OUR treasury and reducing our debt because of tariffs. This tells you everything you need to know about Trump and his Trump U graduate followers.

WE, the American people, are paying those tariffs, not China. We pay them every time we pay something like a TV or an iPhone made in China. I can't think of a worse example of Trump and his lies. And millions of Americans will just shrug and continue to chant "Build that Wall".

Conman in action yet the deporables will spin this forty ways to Sunday that it's a good thing and he did nothing wrong.  

SMH

At least he can claim the biggest trade deficit ever.  s/

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
2.1  igknorantzrulz  replied to  lady in black @2    2 weeks ago
And millions of Americans will just shrug and continue to chant "Build that Wall".

or

Lock HER up!

at this point, i guess, for J walkin or somethig as impactful 

 
 
 
bbl-1
3  bbl-1    2 weeks ago

MAGA should be revised to be MABA ( Make America Broke Again ).  Ah, the right wing yearning for the end of the gwbush years to return.

This too, if you bought the 'Mexico will pay for the wall' and 'I've got the biggest brain', you bought the bag of apples with a hole in the bottom.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
3.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  bbl-1 @3    2 weeks ago

It all feels like it's all starting to fall apart, doesn't it?

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
3.1.1  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1    2 weeks ago
It all feels like it's all starting to fall apart, doesn't it?

Again.   This has been the pattern now ever since Reagan.  Republican administration leaves the country in financial ruin and international calamity and the next Democratic administration repairs the damage.  But each time it gets harder to accomplish.  Republicans are hell-bent on chipping this country down a second-rate failed country.  

 
 
 
bbl-1
3.1.2  bbl-1  replied to  Trout Giggles @3.1    2 weeks ago

"Falling apart?"  The Trump is hardening. 

During the closing days of The Third Reich, the Nazi hierarchy levied its most punishing attacks on its own citizens.  Prepare. 

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
3.1.3  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @3.1.1    2 weeks ago

Correction....how did I forget to start the Nixon disaster? That puts us now in the fourth cycle of Republican criminality, incompetence and vandalism.

 
 
 
Krishna
3.1.4  Krishna  replied to  bbl-1 @3.1.2    one week ago

"Falling apart?"  The Trump is hardening. 

During the closing days of The Third Reich, the Nazi hierarchy levied its most punishing attacks on its own citizens.  Prepare. 

Your comment is dead on-- looks like he's already starting to step up his efforts to make that happen! :-(

Trump Suggests That It Could Get 'Very Bad' If Military, Police, Biker Supporters Play 'Tough'

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
4  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו    2 weeks ago

And aren't we enjoying Scumbag's health care plan that would be "cheaper and cover everyone?"  [Removed]  

 
 
 
lady in black
5  lady in black    2 weeks ago

Once again deficits DON'T MATTER when republicans are in charge.  Waiting on the whataboutisms  (but Obama, but Hillary, but AOC), the spin, the defending.  

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
5.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  lady in black @5    2 weeks ago

I remember the Bush II years quite well. That surplus left him by Clinton was quickly dried up with his tax cuts and then his ill fated war in Iraq. But the republicans didn't care until Obama was elected. Now all of a sudden we have a "20 million dollar" deficit!

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
5.2  igknorantzrulz  replied to  lady in black @5    2 weeks ago
Once again deficits DON'T MATTER

complet6e attention

deficit disordered up special, like a pizza  plain and simpleton

 
 
 
It Is ME
6  It Is ME    2 weeks ago

Well.....hmmmmmm ……. jrSmiley_87_smiley_image.gif

"The trade gap with China also hit a record $419 billion, underscoring the stakes for the president’s bid to reach a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping"

The "FIX" hasn't happened yet jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif, although the "Other" presidents had ample time to "Fix" it when they were in office....and DIDN'T !

"The department’s final 2018 trade report, which was delayed by the partial government shutdown, showed that the United States bought far more in foreign goods than it sold to customers in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America."

Sounds like a "People" Problem....not a Trump problem. "People" will STILL buy anything, no matter where it comes from !

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
6.1  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  It Is ME @6    2 weeks ago
The "FIX" hasn't happened yet although the "Other" presidents had ample time to "Fix" it when they were in office....and DIDN'T ! Sounds like a "People" Problem....not a Trump problem. "People" will STILL buy anything, no matter where it comes from !

Two things about that those comments.  The first one ignores the fact that trade deficits had greatly improved and stabilized at the end of the Obama administration.  Note on the graph below that as soon as Scumbag got into office and began his trade war policies kicked in.  Whatever you think the "fix" is going to be it's on its way to be a colossal disaster.  Your comment also reminds me of the Elon Musk promises on his driverless cars.  It's a snowjob of a conman---wait, the "plan" (cue laugh track) hasn't happened yet but it will  next month (year, decade, never).  

As for the second howler, please recommend that Scumbag use that as his excuse for being such a big lying failure. 

512

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
6.1.1  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @6.1    2 weeks ago

here's the link for that chart (not that you're actually going to bother looking at facts):

https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/balance-of-trade

 
 
 
It Is ME
6.1.2  It Is ME  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @6.1    2 weeks ago

AGAIN..……..

Under Trump's Policies:

"The department’s final 2018 trade report, which was delayed by the partial government shutdown, showed that the United States bought far more in foreign goods than it sold to customers in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America."

The "People" are "Happy Campers" !

Under Obama.....Spending by the "People" was withheld out of fear of his policies ! jrSmiley_89_smiley_image.gif

it only makes sense that Less "People Spending" would make a trade deficit look good under Dumbo's Rule. jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
6.1.3  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  It Is ME @6.1.2    2 weeks ago
Under Obama.....Spending by the "People" was withheld out of fear of his policies !

Jeez, top marks for creative BS!!!!

it only makes sense that Less "People Spending" would make a trade deficit look good under Dumbo's Rule.

Now I have to show the the GDP for the Obama presidency?  I mean, ask yourself if you really need another slap down.  

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
6.1.4  Trout Giggles  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @6.1.3    2 weeks ago

We're probably buying more foreign goods because we aren't manufacturing shit in this country

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
6.1.5  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Trout Giggles @6.1.4    2 weeks ago

In that respect, we truly are China’s bitch.  They wanted superiority in the the global manufacturing sector, and they got it.  Along with it, the citizens got slightly improved poverty rates and extensive pollution.  Using labor as a powerful, remote weapon is a pretty impressive move.  Now we’re hooked on cheap shit.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
6.1.6  Ozzwald  replied to  It Is ME @6.1.2    2 weeks ago
Under Obama.....Spending by the "People" was withheld out of fear of his policies !

Your claim makes "none sense"....jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
It Is ME
6.1.7  It Is ME  replied to  Ozzwald @6.1.6    2 weeks ago
Your claim makes "none sense"

ooooo….Sorry.....There's no such word. jrSmiley_15_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
6.1.8  igknorantzrulz  replied to  It Is ME @6.1.7    2 weeks ago
...There's no such word.

in the era of Trump, if he can make up his own realities, truth, and fax,

i believe Ozzwald should be allowed to state his as well, because he is a loud, & can make up all the none sense he has sense to make up, 

as ,

i'm just attempting to insert my none 2 cents, as i'm often guilty of too much inn know sense,

but what sents say     

say about , say....do you have change to make student William

Rich with a Bill from some

Dick  sitting on a stool...?     Cause Richard

Dawson "Survey for Sensei  SAys"   Daniel Son is a lightweight,

thus why he's called Ralph, on the phone, as he was too busy getting call waiting 

on the phone that he threw up

on 

his hands, and kneeds to wash it,        and his hands, cause 

SENSEI survey says, 

he ain't heavy, that lightweight Daniel, he's my brother, and his parents son,

that i get a Karate Kid Kick

Asz because,

in the land of OZZ

all one needs to do,

is clique their heels together  3 xxx

whispering,  "there's no place like home,  there's no place like home..."

but

no one can hear One,  because they're whispering

Witch reminds me

F Trump can make up his own reality, i can make up this NONSENSE !

 
 
 
It Is ME
6.1.9  It Is ME  replied to  igknorantzrulz @6.1.8    2 weeks ago
i believe Ozz can make up all the none sense he has sense to make up,

You only read the ONE comment.....didn't you. jrSmiley_78_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Tessylo
6.1.10  Tessylo  replied to  Ozzwald @6.1.6    2 weeks ago
'Your claim makes "none sense"....'

Same shit, different day !

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
6.1.11  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Tessylo @6.1.10    2 weeks ago
Same shit, different day !

nonsense

cause the day after tomorrow, 

was a really bad climate change movie

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
6.1.12  igknorantzrulz  replied to  It Is ME @6.1.9    2 weeks ago
You only read the ONE comment

nonsense,

i'm literally illiterate.

Go figure...

 
 
 
It Is ME
6.1.13  It Is ME  replied to  igknorantzrulz @6.1.12    2 weeks ago
i'm literally illiterate.

I saw ! jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
6.1.14  igknorantzrulz  replied to  It Is ME @6.1.13    2 weeks ago

i see

 
 
 
It Is ME
6.1.15  It Is ME  replied to  igknorantzrulz @6.1.14    2 weeks ago
i see

I'll go with it..... jrSmiley_20_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
6.1.16  igknorantzrulz  replied to  It Is ME @6.1.13    2 weeks ago
I saw

that you can't see, in half the time, you say you do, while in the other half, you say you do 

not that it matters, cause overtime are you getting paid over time to operate saw 

at time and a half ? Because it sounds like you're overpaid, and overtime your double time, will be cut in half

the time it took you

to figure this out,

if you divide it in half, no ?

 

 
 
 
It Is ME
6.1.17  It Is ME  replied to  igknorantzrulz @6.1.16    2 weeks ago
the time it took you

1 second is too slow ?

 
 
 
Ozzwald
6.1.18  Ozzwald  replied to  It Is ME @6.1.9    2 weeks ago
You only read the ONE comment.....didn't you.

I believe that igknorantzrulz may not be aware of our other comment thread where you spent over a day trying to justify your use of the non-phrase (none sense).  Where you claimed that your English dictionary shows the 2 words work together as an American phrase.

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
6.1.19  igknorantzrulz  replied to  It Is ME @6.1.15    2 weeks ago
I'll go with it.....

where?

ever drive to the park in neutral ?

cause i saw you

parked in the park while in reverse, but with the E brake on,'

You were by the see saw, waiting to

buy the see saw, no ?

Have you ever sawed a see saw in half while getting paid time and a half for doin it in half the time ?

Because I have. 

 
 
 
It Is ME
6.1.20  It Is ME  replied to  Ozzwald @6.1.18    2 weeks ago
I believe that igknorantzrulz may not be aware of our other comment thread

No.....Really ?

 
 
 
Dulay
6.2  Dulay  replied to  It Is ME @6    2 weeks ago
Sounds like a "People" Problem....not a Trump problem. "People" will STILL buy anything, no matter where it comes from !

So why hasn't Trump made THAT the issue instead of imposing sanctions? You must be pissed that Trump doesn't see what you see so clearly...

 
 
 
It Is ME
6.2.1  It Is ME  replied to  Dulay @6.2    2 weeks ago
imposing sanctions?

Imposing sanctions on what ?

 
 
 
Dulay
6.2.2  Dulay  replied to  It Is ME @6.2.1    2 weeks ago

[Removed]

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
7  igknorantzrulz    2 weeks ago

Trump in Americas' Oval office, trying to go stand in the corner, 

looking for another playmate to make a porno  for pyros  who enjoyed gettin pist   upon,  a time once

Trumpp got banned, from band camp, so he orchestrated a concert via his lawyer, Band Aid    Camp  ping

pong   ballz n all   to the (Mexican) paid four wall s     around this mental midget megalomaniac merely moshing through a time, that will be known as the Pit s Americns against   each other   just like Putin proposed, Trump accepted   his members only, (poor Melania) jacket , not so gay, cause straight jackets don't make all happy     Birther Daze gone past Confuzed ,  'Trampled under foot' ballz to that Walll    again, and Trumps' just happy they're not aimed at his chin  again

..

You have to admit

This Fuck Up has exceded about any and alls

expectations      that now require a nuclear sub deal with N Korea n Lil' Kim ba  the White LYING sachryn of matters

so fecal,  

they have not   an equal

to reach the pressurized depths, that he bends, to give US

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
7.1  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  igknorantzrulz @7    2 weeks ago
Trump in Americas' Oval office, trying to go stand in the corner, 

The one with bars around it. 

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
7.1.1  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @7.1    2 weeks ago
The one with bars around it. 

that's the one i want , as well

i'm thirsty

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
7.1.2  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  igknorantzrulz @7.1.1    2 weeks ago

But, you want the kind of bars that you don't have to be let out behind the other kind of bars to get to, right?

 

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
7.1.3  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @7.1.2    2 weeks ago

Well, i wouldn't want to be barred from the bars, so

i , guess sew, when a seed is in need

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
7.1.4  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  igknorantzrulz @7.1.3    2 weeks ago

Barring any unforeseen circumstances I see no basis for barring you from the Good Bars, Mr. 

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
7.1.5  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @7.1.4    2 weeks ago

been a long time since i had a Mr. Good Bar,though i hear there are those constantly looking for Mr. Goodbar

.

i try and make any bar i visit, a Good Bar

 
 
 
Nerm_L
8  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

Kinda proves that the United States is no longer a capitalist economy, doesn't it? 

Obviously there is a lot of consumer demand, otherwise the trade deficits wouldn't increase.  But no one in the United States seems capable of supplying that demand.  Capitalism is supposed to be about competition in the marketplace; the so-called capitalists in the United States aren't even trying to compete.  Capitalism has died a quiet death and no one noticed.

BTW, I see the old saw about consumers paying for tariffs in the comments.  But the same is also true of domestic business taxes.  Consumers pay for both foreign and domestic production; consumers pay for everything, that's no surprise.  Apparently the system is rigged to favor foreign production and ensure that domestic business can't (or won't) compete.  Business in the United States has become nothing more than a means to distribute goods produced in communist countries.

So, all the capitalists have actually become global communists.  And those global communists are opposed to domestic socialism?   Consumers are going to pay for everything, no matter what.  But we all can't become professional consumers.

 
 
 
Split Personality
8.1  Split Personality  replied to  Nerm_L @8    2 weeks ago
Business in the United States has become nothing more than a means to distribute goods produced in communist countries.

Oh come on Nerm.

China accounts for about 16% of all US trade and it's the only truly 'communist' country on the 2017 Census Bureau  list.

Canada, Mexico, Japan & Germany are communist countries?

Together with China they have accounted for about 60% of all of our imports for decades.

The rest of our trade partners are SoKO, UK and European countries, Taiwan & Brazil.

Not sure what Brazil is anymore, so you can have them as commies too, less than 2% of our trade.

 
 
 
igknorantzrulz
8.1.1  igknorantzrulz  replied to  Split Personality @8.1    2 weeks ago
Not sure what Brazil is anymore, so you can have them as commies too,

Shaving it pretty close where no face saved was ever stabbed in the front, but sometimes it bees that way, as i've been told to mind my own a brazilian times ? 

What is Brazil's main export...i don't think

it is   razors or other scooters, but Libby's add up to irritate the right side

.

I'm not really familiar with Abbey and that way, but it is not your everyday 

outlook 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
8.1.2  Nerm_L  replied to  Split Personality @8.1    2 weeks ago
Canada, Mexico, Japan & Germany are communist countries?

Perhaps not truly communist but definitely more socialist than the United States.  Socialist economic ideas depend upon producing something; the distinction is who owns the means of production.  A trade deficit is not about producing anything so it doesn't really matter who owns the means of production.  The United States has the best trade deficit that money can buy.  And that's the point: more consumption than production.

Together with China they have accounted for about 60% of all of our imports for decades.

So, the status quo has not favored the United States?  The United States has been importing more than $2 trillion of goods and services for quite a while.  That's a lot of consumer demand.  Where have the capitalists gone?

 
 
 
mocowgirl
8.1.3  mocowgirl  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.2    2 weeks ago
And that's the point: more consumption than production.

In the mid 1990s, my children were taught, in some of their college classes, that the US was on the brink of becoming a consumer society that produced little domestically.  The majority of jobs in the US would be only the jobs that could not be exported - service jobs from floor scrubbers, burger flippers, teachers, firefighters, etc.  Evidently, their instructors were paying attention to what was happening at the federal level in US government.

Because production jobs moved outside US borders, the capitalists turned to privatizing government jobs in order to further expand their riches.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/features/privatization/one/

Today, after 50 years of attack on government, privatization is a standard conservative response to tight public budgets, a key pillar of attacks on government, and a lucrative market opportunity for domestic and global corporations. Large corporations operate virtually every type of public service including prisons, welfare systems, infrastructure, water and sewer, trash, and schools. For example:

  • Private prisons didn’t exist thirty years ago. Today, publicly traded, billion-dollar corporations are key players in prisons and immigrant detention. Privatized immigration facilities now house over two-thirds of all detained immigrants.

  • In 1988 AFT president Al Shanker proposed a new idea: To create charter schools where teachers could experiment and innovate and bring new ideas to the nation’s public schools. Today, nearly 3 million children attend charters, and large corporate chains and billionaires are funding the rapid growth of privatized, publicly funded charters.

  • Former defense contractors, IT corporations and publicly traded corporations are running welfare, food assistance, and other safety net systems in many states across the country.

  • Today the federal government employs more than three times as many contract workers as government workers, and state and local governments spend a combined $1.5 trillion on outsourcing.

  • Across the country, a well-established network of conservative think tanks, industry associations, investors and corporate lobbyists – The State Policy Network, ALEC, and others – are on the front lines developing privatization legislation and proposing privatization projects.

What follows is how that happened.

By the end of the 1970s, the table was set. Cities were in fiscal crisis and a new conservative think-tank infrastructure (Reason, Cato, Heritage, ALEC, and others) that embraced privatization as a core strategy to downsize government was ready for a frontal assault.

And then a new president was elected.

The Reagan Years: Privatization’s Coming out Party

Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election was the opportunity conservatives hoped for to downsize government and privatize public services. Reagan didn’t run on an explicit privatization platform, but he embraced the idea as central to his agenda once elected. The administration began to develop concrete proposals to sell off government assets. He also gave privatization a rhetorical lift by adopting the term “privatization” (still unfamiliar at that time) and softened opposition with Friedman’s argument that it simply represented using private means to pursue public goals.

By his second term Reagan had made privatization a centerpiece of his agenda. His 1987 budget proposal included more privatization proposalsthan any president had ever recommended, including the sale of two federally owned airports, a railroad, four regional power agencies and their electricity-generating dams, and weather satellites. “It’s going to be the greatest effort to return the provision of goods and services to the private sector that we’ve seen in this century,” Richard Fink, president of the David Koch-created Citizens for a Sound Economy, said.

Against a Democratic Congress Reagan only succeeded in privatizing Conrail, the northeastern freight railroad taken over by the federal government from the bankrupt Penn-Central. Undeterred, in 1987, he created the President's Commission on Privatization. The commission developed a comprehensive road map of federal functions to privatize, including low-income housing, federal loan programs, air traffic control (still debated today), education vouchers, the Postal Service, prisons, Amtrak, Medicare, and urban mass transit. But the commission’s recommendations were again thwarted by the Democratic congress.

.....

By 1990, The Privatization Council boasted 150 members, a who’s who of consulting firms, corporations, and industry associations that had their sights on contracting opportunities in water treatment, transit, prisons, trash pickup, airports and finance.

......

The Clinton years – From Idea to Institutionalization

President George H. W. Bush, a more foreign policy-focused president, didn’t maintain Reagan’s drive for privatization.

In fact, Clinton succeeded where Reagan and Bush failed. Writing in 1997, the Heritage Foundation’s Ron Utt (who had been Reagan’s “privatization czar”) praised Clinton for pursuing “the boldest privatization agenda put forth by any American president to date,” and noted that his proposals were “virtually all drawn from recommendations made in 1988 by President Reagan’s Commission on Privatization.” In 2006 Reason Foundation’s Robert Poole declared that “the Clinton administration’s privatization successes exceeded those of Reagan.”

In the first year of his administration Clinton assigned Vice President Gore to oversee a major initiative to “reinvent” government under the auspices of an intergovernmental task force, the National Performance Review (NPR). Clinton embraced the ideas popularized by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, in their 1992 bestseller Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit Is Transforming the Public Sector, and later on by a follow-up book by Osborne and Peter Plastrik, Banishing Bureaucracy.

The Gore initiative was about making the federal government more effective, but the idea of privatization was also baked in from the start, as it was in Osborne and Gaebler’s work.
 
 
 
Nerm_L
8.1.4  Nerm_L  replied to  mocowgirl @8.1.3    one week ago
In the mid 1990s, my children were taught, in some of their college classes, that the US was on the brink of becoming a consumer society that produced little domestically.  The majority of jobs in the US would be only the jobs that could not be exported - service jobs from floor scrubbers, burger flippers, teachers, firefighters, etc.  Evidently, their instructors were paying attention to what was happening at the federal level in US government. Because production jobs moved outside US borders, the capitalists turned to privatizing government jobs in order to further expand their riches.

Which political figure besides Trump has expressed concerns over trade deficits?  If Trump had lost the election would trade deficits even be a topic of discussion?

When Trump began imposing tariffs the political messaging fell back on the same old meme of harming US exporters.  But those exporters haven't closed the trade balance; exports haven't been contributing to economic growth in the United States.  At best, exporters have served as a stop gap to slow the decline of the US economy.

Anyone familiar with economics should recognize this formula:

GDP = Consumption + Investment + Government spending + (exports - imports)

Doubling consumption of imports will not provide any economic growth; the increased consumption is cancelled by increased imports.  If investment doesn't increase exports or reduce imports then the effect is much like simple consumption.  Eventually the economy becomes more dependent on government spending to provide economic growth. 

Neo-liberal trade policies have forced the United States to become more 'socialist' in order to grow the economy.

 
 
 
Dulay
8.1.5  Dulay  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.4    one week ago
Which political figure besides Trump has expressed concerns over trade deficits?  If Trump had lost the election would trade deficits even be a topic of discussion?

You're conflating trade with domestic production. 

The tariffs are harming domestic production and sales. The cost of a domestically produced washing machine went up about 20%. The tariffs on solar panels intentionally sabotaged the rise in green energy jobs all over the country.

Neo-liberal trade policies have forced the United States to become more 'socialist' in order to grow the economy.

The growth of the GDP has ALWAYS been affected by government spending. Without it, we have no major dams, interstate highways, bridges, ports, canals, airports, railroads, water treatment, local schools and universities. The 'greatest generation' was subsidized by government spending through the GI bill which included free higher education and no-low interest home loans. Thus creating the middle class. 

The canard of infrastructure privatization failed miserably yet you can't tell that from the continued BS coming from the right. The foot dragging by the GOP on Federal funding for transportation and infrastructure has caused a stagnation in growth. 

Instead of investing in the growth of the wealth of the 1%, we should be investing in the growth of the nation as a whole. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
8.1.6  Nerm_L  replied to  Dulay @8.1.5    one week ago
You're conflating trade with domestic production. 

Trade affects domestic production.   That's not some sort of political spin.  More import trade results in less domestic production; imports replace domestic production.  That's how economics works.

The tariffs are harming domestic production and sales. The cost of a domestically produced washing machine went up about 20%. The tariffs on solar panels intentionally sabotaged the rise in green energy jobs all over the country.

Imports are a drag on the economy.  That's why the influence of imports on economic growth is always negative.  The 'cheaper' argument doesn't change the economic reality that increasing dependence on imports is an increasing drag on the economy.  Import trade causes less domestic production, lowers the economic multiplier of employment, and ultimately causes price inflation while wages stagnate.  Today's imports aren't nearly as 'cheap' as they were ten years ago.

The growth of the GDP has ALWAYS been affected by government spending. Without it, we have no major dams, interstate highways, bridges, ports, canals, airports, railroads, water treatment, local schools and universities. The 'greatest generation' was subsidized by government spending through the GI bill which included free higher education and no-low interest home loans. Thus creating the middle class. 

The reality is that increases in government spending over the last 40 years has been for social support and not for infrastructure investments.  In fact infrastructure investments have been reduced to provide more money for social support.  A major contributing factor is domestic production being replaced by imports.  

That's why China's economy has grown so rapidly and why US economic growth has been less than inflation.  Price inflation in the US has not been caused by wage growth or by domestic economic expansion.  That's why today's imports aren't as 'cheap' as they were a decade ago.  

 
 
 
Dulay
8.1.7  Dulay  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.6    one week ago
 imports replace domestic production.  That's how economics works.

Is it? So please DO explain why we still have a thriving auto industry? There ARE a plethora of quality imports after all. 

That's why the influence of imports on economic growth is always negative.

False. As I mentioned with the tariffs on solar panels, their import allowed economic growth in green energy projects. 

The reality is that increases in government spending over the last 40 years has been for social support and not for infrastructure investments.

You have to utterly ignore the tens of TRILLIONS in Defense spending to make that unfounded claim. 

In fact infrastructure investments have been reduced to provide more money for social support. A major contributing factor is domestic production being replaced by imports. 

Bullshit. The reduction in government infrastructure investment is based on the GOP's desire for smaller government and privatization. 

That's why China's economy has grown so rapidly and why US economic growth has been less than inflation.

China grew initially because it went to a mixture of Communism and Capitalism. Much of their growth is because of government subsidized investment. US growth has stalled because of GREED and the lack of that same investment.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
8.1.8  Nerm_L  replied to  Dulay @8.1.7    6 days ago
Is it? So please DO explain why we still have a thriving auto industry? There ARE a plethora of quality imports after all. 

I have no idea if passenger vehicle production in the US is thriving or not because I haven't found data that allows comparative analysis.

False. As I mentioned with the tariffs on solar panels, their import allowed economic growth in green energy projects. 

Imports are always a drag on the economy.  Period.  Domestic production adds to the economy.  Imported solar panels are replacing domestically produced fossil fuels and domestically produced nuclear generation.  In economic terms, alternative energy relying on imported supply is not contributing to economic growth.

If alternative energy is going to contribute to economic growth it is necessary to produce the solar panels and wind turbines domestically.  Otherwise the economic benefit is being captured by the exporter and not by the US economy. 

You have to utterly ignore the tens of TRILLIONS in Defense spending to make that unfounded claim. 

And a large chunk of that defense spending is for health care and retirement benefits.  For FY2017 the defense budget was $856 billion.  $587 billion was spend on actual military operations and of that amount $140 billion or 24 pct of the operating budget was spent on personnel pay and benefits.  $180 billion or 22 pct of the total defense budget was expended on veteran support.  So, the amount of money spent on military materiel, maintenance, and operation amounted to about $450 billion or 53 pct of the total defense budget.  

For comparison Federal expenditures for social support programs (welfare type programs) amounted to about $387 billion.  Nationally (included state and local spending) the overwhelming largest expenditure of public funds is for health care ($1.609 trillion), pensions ($1.347 trillion), and education ($1.070 trillion).  Defense spending comes in at fourth with $855 billion, social programs rank fifth at $480 billion and transportation ranks seventh at  $319 billion. 

So, national expenditures (Federal, state, local) for various social support (health care, income & food security, education) amounts to $4.685 trillion while military operations amounts to $0.587 trillion and transportation expenditures amount to $0.319 trillion. 

And the reason that government expenditures are so overwhelmingly skewed towards social support spending is because people think that a new market for imported solar panels and wind turbines actually grows the economy and will provide the means for people to support themselves.   As you can see, neo-liberal free trade is what is responsible for the United States becoming more 'socialist'.  If capitalists can't manufacture solar panels and wind turbines in the United States then our economy is doomed anyway. 

 
 
 
Dulay
8.1.9  Dulay  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.8    6 days ago
I have no idea

You're the only one that doesn't.

Imports are always a drag on the economy.  Period. 

Thanks for the continued unfounded proclamations. 

If alternative energy is going to contribute to economic growth it is necessary to produce the solar panels and wind turbines domestically. Otherwise the economic benefit is being captured by the exporter and not by the US economy.

That's another unfounded proclamation. The FACT is, some of the most profitable companies in the US rely on imported product. Apple, Intel, AT&T, Microsoft, Boeing, GE, GM, Ford, and on and on and on. All of our retail giants rely on imports for their 'economic growth'. 

The solar industry was ALREADY contributing to economic growth. Trump stifled a growing solar systems installation industry purely for partisan political gain and put thousands of people out of work all over the country. Oh and BTFW, ALL without a dime to incentivize US production of affordable solar panels. 

And a large chunk of that defense spending is for health care and retirement benefits.

So you want to deduct health care, income and other benefits from the cost of the military budget but include it as part of the 'social support' programs. Why the false equivalency? 

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
8.1.10  Bob Nelson  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.8    6 days ago
Imports are always a drag on the economy. 

That's wrong. Totally, utterly, completely wrong.

And sadly, Donald Trump agrees with you.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
8.1.11  Nerm_L  replied to  Bob Nelson @8.1.10    5 days ago
That's wrong. Totally, utterly, completely wrong.

Imports are always a drag on the economy.  Imports do not contribute to national economic growth; the imports cancel out consumption.  Importation of durable goods directly affects measures of inflation.  Increased importation results in greater use of credit (printing money).  

If imports provided economic growth then why bother with economic development in undeveloped countries?  Those undeveloped countries are already heavily dependent upon imports.  Only domestic production provides economic growth; economic development  is about establishing domestic production in undeveloped countries.

Imports do not increase employment.  Most of the jobs created by importation are in retail.  Replacing imports with domestically produced goods won't alter the need for retail jobs but will add jobs in production.  

While it is true that imports may create microeconomic opportunities, the macroeconomic affect of imports is always a drag on the economy.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
8.1.12  Bob Nelson  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.11    5 days ago
Imports are always a drag on the economy.  Imports do not contribute to national economic growth...

Raw materials?

imports cancel out consumption

... or allow it at the lowest cost...

...

Look... You really need to learn at least the basics.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
8.1.13  Nerm_L  replied to  Bob Nelson @8.1.12    5 days ago
Look... You really need to learn at least the basics.

The macroeconomic impact of imports on an economy is actually more harmful than the impact of taxes because imports removes money from the domestic economy.  Imports inhibits work, savings, investment, innovation, and allocation of resources just as taxes do.

Would increasing taxes contribute to economic growth?  The macroeconomic impact of taxes are the same as the macroeconomic impact of imports; the necessity is to produce more to compensate for the money being taken out of the economy.  However, imports establish a drag on increasing domestic production by competition in the marketplace.  

Simply claiming all of the real economics is wrong doesn't provide a rebuttal.  In other words, nice hat you have there.  Because you are just talking out of it.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
8.1.14  Bob Nelson  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.13    5 days ago

bye-bye-male-smiley-smiley-emoticon-0002

 
 
 
mocowgirl
8.1.15  mocowgirl  replied to  Nerm_L @8.1.11    5 days ago
Imports do not increase employment. 

True.  We have a consumer society that demands low, low prices which means production costs must be kept to a minimum.   This mindset has been a boon to the tech industry because machines can be designed to do repetitive tasks and will replace human labor permanently in blue collar jobs.....and are now on the brink of replacing white collar workers.

When the college educated are replaced because technology is most cost effective for the shareholders in the not so distant future, we will probably be having a different conversation.  

 
 
 
Nerm_L
8.1.16  Nerm_L  replied to  Bob Nelson @8.1.14    5 days ago

That's an admission, not an answer.  jrSmiley_46_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Krishna
8.2  Krishna  replied to  Nerm_L @8    one week ago

Kinda proves that the United States is no longer a capitalist economy, doesn't it? 

Correct.

Ever since Trump took office, we've moved closer and closer to Socialism.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
8.2.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Krishna @8.2    one week ago
Ever since Trump took office, we've moved closer and closer to Socialism.

How has the country moved closer to socialism over the last two years?

 
 
 
Krishna
8.2.2  Krishna  replied to  Nerm_L @8.2.1    one week ago

How has the country moved closer to socialism over the last two years?

I dunno-- I was just echoing the sentiments you've been expressing jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

(it was sarcasm...)

 
 
 
luther28
9  luther28    2 weeks ago

Trump promised to shrink the trade deficit. Instead, it exploded.

Oh yes indeedy, he is a regular wizard of wall street is our Mr. Trump.

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
9.1  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  luther28 @9    2 weeks ago

More like the Whizzer of Wall St. 

 
 
 
321steve
10  321steve    2 weeks ago

Trump Promised To Shrink The Trade Deficit. Instead, It Exploded.

Duu WTF did people expect ? Cut the government's income (taxation) and increase the spending. No wonder we are putting more on the credit card. 

the United States last year posted a $891.2 billion merchandise trade deficit, the largest in the nation’s 243-year history.

 Trump's policies suck. 

 
 
 
Krishna
10.1  Krishna  replied to  321steve @10    one week ago

Duu WTF did people expect ? Cut the government's income (taxation) and increase the spending. No wonder we are putting more on the credit card. 

Well, it seems Trump has begun to think about doing something to balance the budget--  he wants to cut wasteful Socialistic programs-- especially those that most voters don't consider to be important. (These cuts won't solve the problem completely,  but they will help the budget somewhat-- plus they will at least eliminate some Socialism, and also should make a lot of undecided voters vote for Trump & the Republicans next time). Genius!

What President Trump’s proposed budget cuts could mean for senior citizens

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security were all targets of the major slashes

The record $4.7 trillion federal budget for 2020 calls for a 5% cut to social programs, including $845 billion from Medicare, $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and as much as $84 billion in Social Security disability benefits,

 
 
 
Kavika
10.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Krishna @10.1    one week ago

But a substantial increase to the military budget....Oh, and he wants to cut into the retirement bennies of federal employees. 

Frickin genius.

 
 
 
Kavika
10.1.2  Kavika   replied to  Kavika @10.1.1    one week ago

Forgot to put the /s tag...Hopefully members will recognize sarcasm without the /s. 

 
 
 
Tessylo
10.2  Tessylo  replied to  321steve @10    one week ago

Everything about Rump SUCKS!

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
11  Thrawn 31    2 weeks ago

Big shock, a moron's policy in regards to a complex matter fails.

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
12  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו    one week ago

Scumbag's proposed FY2020 budget is now out and it's a whopper of a debt creator (much like his businesses in general).  The deficit from this budget would be $1.1T, biggest since the country was in the depths of the Bush Depression and that's not counting additional debt incurred due to intergovernmental debt to SocSec and Medicare trust funds.  Obama's last FY (2017) added ~$670B and Scumbag's first FY (2018) added nearly double that at $1.25T to the debt and this projected total additional debt for FY2019 is over $1.3T.  Oh, well....we've been told by Republicans that deficits and debt don't matter so it's party time!!!!!

 
 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
12.2  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @12    one week ago
The deficit from this budget would be $1.1T, biggest since the country was in the depths of the Bush Depression

Yeah but, but, but you're not factoring in the "Repub-E-ffect!" which is how conservative republicans justify demonizing Democrats when Democrats are in office and running a deficit even if they reduce it by 60% as President Obama did. But as soon as Republicans are in office the "Repub-E-ffect" kicks in which flips deficits on their head making them good things which should be increased to fund Repub-O causes because deficits don't matter when Republicans are in power as Dick Cheney once pointed out. White evangelical Christians won't accept that "too much money" could ever be spent on solidifying white Christian rule in America, so whatever the cost they're willing to force the majority of Americans who live in liberals States to pay for it. Sure, their votes are worth only one third of those in rural Montana and other low population red States, but the large population States will continue to bear the lions share of the financial burden keeping nearly all the red States afloat because that's what white evangelical Christians feel is "fair".

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
12.2.1  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @12.2    one week ago

jrSmiley_28_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
13  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו    one week ago

Scumbag, 2015-2016 (multiple times during the campaign):

     “I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid.”

Scumbag, 2019:

Over a decade, the [FY2020 budget proposal] would shave an estimated $800 billion or more off Medicare, which covers older Americans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and various reports. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/12/trump-2020-budget-proposes-reduced-medicare-and-medicaid-spending.html

The Trump administration has been attempting to spin its proposed $64 billion in cuts to Social Security Disability Insurance as somehow not cutting Social Security.
https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/335618-the-trump-budget-cuts-social-security-plain-and-simple

So nearly $900B in combined Medicare and SocSec cuts from this lying POS.  He's not going to get it but I eagerly await reading how his are going to pretend he isn't the scummiest lying pile of trash to ever hold any office much less the presidency.  And even with those cuts this budget would still put $1.3T more debt on the books.  (Also notice the additional big lies about Clinton just because that's who this POS is]

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
14  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו    one week ago

And it just keeps getting "better:"

U.S. Household Wealth Fell 3.5 Percent at Year's End amid Stock Plunge

It's been clear ever since Reagan that failure has become an object worship by the republican party and that has never been more obvious than Scumbag's massive demonstration of it. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
14.1  Texan1211  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @14    one week ago
And to think that some people read the entire article and saw where the vast majority of that was recovered with the stock market rising again. Gee, who would have ever thought that net worth is affected by stock market fluctuations!
 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
14.1.1  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  Texan1211 @14.1    one week ago

So, you think extreme volatility in the stock market, which has been the norm since Scumbag took office, is a good thing.   

 
 
 
Texan1211
14.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @14.1.1    one week ago
So, you think extreme volatility in the stock market, which has been the norm since Scumbag took office, is a good thing.

Look, I KNOW you can read, so WTF are you coming up with this shit from?

The stock market ALWAYS goes up or down--it RARELY stays the same from day to day, and attempting to blame ANY President for that is just showing how little you actually know about it.

You should stop.

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
14.1.3  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  Texan1211 @14.1.2    one week ago
You should stop.

Maybe you should stop pretending you know anything.  Here's how the market has whipsawed in the past year:

512

The difference between those  highest spikes and lowest trough is 3000 points, or about 10%, and several precipitous drop of 1000 or more points in between.

And ordinarily one shouldn't blame presidents directly for market volatility but in this case we can lay the problem directly at his vaunted corporate (and for the billionaires individually, of course) tax cuts.  What corporations and did as soon as the tax cut went into effect was to start buying back massive  amounts of their stock which goosed up stock prices overall.  Let's let the market mavens explain it for you (and I know you can read):

Companies buying back their own shares is the only thing keeping the stock market afloat right now

So, most of  this market boom is artificially created not by the actual value of the companies on the stock exchanges.  

 
 
 
Texan1211
14.1.4  Texan1211  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @14.1.3    one week ago

Perhaps you should learn to read what I write and then respond to what I do write instead of what you think I wrote. Get help if need be.

Now explain how in the hell you came up with that silly post of:

So, you think extreme volatility in the stock market, which has been the norm since Scumbag took office, is a good thing.

from THIS:

And to think that some people read the entire article and saw where the vast majority of that was recovered with the stock market rising again. Gee, who would have ever thought that net worth is affected by stock market fluctuations!

It damn sure ain't logical.

That is a nasty habit----trying to argue specifically what others DON'T write.

Do better.

 
 
 
Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו
14.1.5  seeder  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו  replied to  Texan1211 @14.1.4    one week ago
It damn sure ain't logical.

It's nearly a truism that people who throw around the word "logical" have absolutely no concept of what it means and you've obligingly reinforced that.  It's duly noted that you ignored all the facts presented and clung to your mythology--as expected.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
14.1.6  Tessylo  replied to  Atheist יוחנן בן אברהם אבינו @14.1.5    one week ago

jrSmiley_81_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
15  Bob Nelson    one week ago

There is a very simple explanation to this fuck-up.

Trump does not understand international trade. At all.

Tariffs are not an expense for the exporter. They are an expense for the buyer. Duh.

As usual, Paul Krugman says it best:

Say this for Donald Trump: He’s provided us with many iconic quotations, which will surely be repeated in histories and textbooks for decades if not generations to come. Unfortunately, they’ll be repeated because they are extremely clear examples of bad ideas.

In economics, the line you hear most is Trump’s declaration that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” Coming in second is his assertion that “I am a Tariff Man,” coupled with the claim that foreigners pay the tariffs he has been imposing.

Now, that last claim is something you can test. Over the course of 2018 Trump imposed tariffs on about 12 percent of total U.S. imports, and many of those tariffs have been in effect long enough that we can get a first read on their consequences.

On Saturday economists from Columbia, Princeton, and the New York Federal Reserve released a paper, “The impact of the 2018 trade war on U.S. prices and welfare,” that used detailed import data to assess the tariffs’ impact. (The paper, by the way, is a beautiful piece of work.) The conclusion: to a first approximation, foreigners paid none of the bill, U.S. companies and consumers paid all of it. And the losses to U.S. consumers exceeded the revenue from the new tariffs, so the tariffs made America poorer overall.

How did they get this result? The U.S. government collects data on the prices and quantities of many categories of imports. Many of these categories faced new tariffs, but many others didn’t. So you can compare what happened to the tariffed imports to the de facto control group of untouched imports; this tells you the impact of the tariffs.

Under Trump’s vision, in which foreigners would have paid the tariffs, what you would have expected to see is falling prices for tariffed goods, offsetting the tariff, so that consumer prices didn’t change. What you actually see, however, is no visible effect of the tariffs on import prices. So foreign suppliers don’t seem to have absorbed any of the tariffs, which were fully passed on to consumers; tariff-inclusive prices (Wave 1) have risen by the full amounts of the tariffs.

original

These price hikes led to substantial changes in behavior. Imports of the tariffed items fell sharply, partly because consumers turned to domestic products, but also in large part because importers shifted their sourcing to countries that aren’t currently facing Trump tariffs. For example, a number of companies already seem to have begun buying goods they previously bought from China from Vietnam or Mexico instead.

These changes in behavior are the key to the paper’s conclusion that the tariffs have made America poorer.

Consider the following example: pre-tariff, the U.S. imports some good from China that costs $100. Then the Trump administration imposes a 25% tariff, raising the price to consumers to $125. If we just keep importing that good from China, consumers lose $25 per unit purchased – but the government raises an extra $25 in taxes, leaving overall national income unchanged.

Suppose, however, that importers shift to a more expensive source that isn’t subject to the tariff; suppose, for example, that they can buy the good from Vietnam for $115. Then consumers only lose $15 – but there is no tariff revenue, so that $15 is a loss for the nation as a whole.

But what if they turn to a domestic supplier – say, a U.S. company that will sell the product for $120. How does this change the story?

Here the crucial thing is that producing a good domestically has an opportunity cost. The U.S. is near full employment, so the $120 in resources used to produce that good could and would have been employed producing something else in the absence of the tariff. Diverting them into producing what we used to import means a net loss of $20, with no revenue offset.

By the way, in practice any manufacturing jobs added by the Trump tariffs are probably offset by losses of other manufacturing jobs. Partly that’s because most of the tariffs are on intermediate goods – inputs into production, so that job gains in, say, steel are offset by losses in autos and other downstream sectors. Beyond that, the tariffs have probably contributed to a rising dollar, which makes U.S. exports less competitive.

Putting it all together, the Trump tariffs have raised consumer prices, rather than depressing foreign earnings. Some revenue has been gained, but there has also been what amounts to tax avoidance as consumers turn to other, untaxed sources of what we used to import. But this tax avoidance itself comes at a cost, so the U.S. as a whole is left poorer.

Now, the numbers aren’t that big. The new paper puts the net welfare loss at $1.4 billion a month, or $17 billion a year; that’s less than 0.1 percent of U.S. GDP. But winning it isn’t. And the numbers could get a lot bigger if the trade war expands, say with a “national security” tariff on European cars.

Trump simply does not know what he is doing.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
16  Thrawn 31    6 days ago

Big shock, a con artists promise turns out to be bullshit.

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
17  Bob Nelson    6 days ago

The Dangerous Absurdity of America’s Trade Wars

By Jeffrey D. Sachs

Don Quixote fought windmills. US President Donald Trump fights trade deficits. Both battles are absurd, but at least Quixote’s was tinged with idealism. Trump’s is drenched in enraged ignorance.

Last week, it was announced that the US international deficit on goods and services had widened to $621 billion, despite Trump’s promise that tough trade policies vis-à-vis Canada and Mexico, Europe, and China would slash the deficit. Trump believes the US trade deficit reflects unfair practices by America’s counterparts. He has vowed to end those unfair practices and negotiate fairer trade agreements with those countries.

Yet America’s trade deficit is not an indicator of unfair practices by others, and Trump’s negotiations will not reverse its growth. The deficit is, instead, a measure of macroeconomic imbalance, one that Trump’s own policies – especially the 2017 tax cut – have exacerbated. Its persistence – indeed, its widening – was wholly predictable by anyone who has gotten to the second week of an undergraduate course on international macroeconomics.

Consider an individual who earns income X and spends Y. If we consider the individual’s earnings her “exports” of goods and services, and the spending her “imports” of goods and services, it is immediately clear that she runs a surplus of exports over imports if her income is greater than her spending. A deficit means that she spends more than she earns.

The same is true when one adds incomes and spending across an economy, including both the private and public sectors. An economy runs a surplus on its current account (the broadest measure of its international balance) when gross national income (GNI) exceeds domestic spending, and a deficit when domestic spending exceeds GNI. Economists use the term “domestic absorption” for total spending, summing both domestic consumption and domestic investment spending. The current account may then be defined as the balance of GNI and domestic absorption.

It is important to note that the excess of income over consumption is the same as domestic saving. Therefore, the excess of income over absorption may be stated equivalently as the excess of domestic saving over domestic investment. When an economy saves more than it invests, it runs a current-account surplus; when it saves less than it invests, it runs a current-account deficit.

Notice that trade policy is missing from the entire equation. A deficit on the current account is purely a macroeconomic measure: the shortfall of saving relative to investment. The US external deficit is not in any way, shape, or form an indicator of unfair trade practices by Canada and Mexico, the European Union, or China.

Trump thinks it is because he is ignorant. And his ignorance holds center stage in US public discourse mainly because of the pusillanimity of Trump’s advisers (who, admittedly, lose their jobs when they cross him), the Republican Party, and American CEOs (who refuse to reject Trump’s nonsense).

The US moved from current-account surpluses to chronic deficits beginning in the 1980s, mainly as the result of a series of tax cuts under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Trump. Cuts in taxes not matched by cuts in government consumption reduce government saving. A fall in government saving may be partly offset by a rise in private saving – for example, when businesses and households regard the tax cuts as temporary. Yet such an offset will generally be incomplete. Tax cuts therefore tend to reduce domestic saving, which in turn pushes the current account deeper into deficit.

Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis show that in the 1970s, US government saving averaged -0.1% of GNI, while private saving averaged 22.2% of GNI. Domestic saving was therefore 22.1% of GNI. In the first three quarters of 2018, US government saving was -3.1% of GNI, while private saving was 21.8% of GNI, so that domestic saving was 18.7% of GNI. In turn, the US current-account balance went from a small surplus of 0.2% of GNI in the 1970s to a deficit of 2.4% of GNI in the first three quarters of 2018.

As a result of the 2017 US tax cuts, government saving is likely to fall by around 1% of GNI. Private saving may rise by perhaps half of that, in anticipation of tax increases ahead, with a marginal increase in business investment and declining housing investment producing a modest overall effect. The net result is therefore likely be a rise in the current-account deficit, perhaps of around 0.5% of GNI.

Trump’s own signature tax policy is therefore the main explanation of the modest rise in the international imbalance. Again, trade policy is largely irrelevant to the outcome.

Yet trade policy is certainly not irrelevant to the global economy. Far from it. As Trump chases a chimera, the world economy has become more unstable, and relations between the US and most of the rest of the world have palpably worsened. Trump himself is held in disdain in most places, and respect for US leadership has plummeted worldwide

Of course, Trump’s trade policies not only seek to improve America’s external balance, but also represent a misguided attempt to contain China and even to weaken Europe. This objective reflects a neoconservative worldview in which national security reflects a zero-sum struggle among nation-states. The economic successes of America’s competitors are deemed to be threats to American global primacy, and thus to American security.

These views reflect the strands of belligerence and paranoia that have long been a feature of American politics. They are an invitation to unending international conflict, and Trump and his enablers are giving them free rein. Seen in this context, Trump’s misconceived trade wars are nearly as predictable as the macroeconomic imbalances they have so spectacularly failed to address.
 
 
 
Thrawn 31
18  Thrawn 31    5 days ago

That is because Trump has no idea how global economics works on even the most basic level and neither do his supporters. Anyone who believed him when he said all that is a fucking idiot. In the most basic sense, as long as it is cheaper and more profitable for companies to make shit elsewhere and ship it to the US than it is to make shit here and ship it elsewhere, there will be a trade deficit. 

 
 
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