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Bad News for America’s Workers


Bad News for America’s Workers

Joseph Stiglitz

As US President-elect Donald Trump fills his cabinet, what have we learned about the likely direction and impact of his administration’s economic policy?

To be sure, enormous uncertainties remain. As in many other areas, Trump’s promises and statements on economic policy have been inconsistent. While he routinely accuses others of lying, many of his economic assertions and promises – indeed, his entire view of governance – seem worthy of Nazi Germany’s “big lie” propagandists.


i generally like Dr. Stiglitz's economics. I just don't get the point about tariffs. I'm no economist but i've seen hundreds of people lose their jobs and dozens of factories close since NAFTA was passed.

from wikipedia: "The goal of using higher tariffs to promote industrialization was urged by the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, and after him the Whig Party. They generally failed because Jeffersonian and Jacksonian Democrats said the tariff should be only high enough to pay the government's bills; otherwise, it would hurt the consumers"

If not a tariff what about taxing the corporations?

Free Trade isn't working...


Now we get to see what our parents and grandparents experienced in the 1930s, difference, it's right here at home not instead of overseas in Germany.
Arguably the most critical time in human history right now. I hope I won't be accused of American centrism for that remark, but unfortunately, what happens here seriously impacts all life on the planet.
Are we up to the challenge?
As the old Chinese CURSE goes, "may you live in interesting times."


Rather than tariffs, I recommend requiring that imported goods be produced in factories and in a fashion that conforms to the same environmental and safety regulations that US made product production is subject to. A quarter century ago when the cold war ended and we were being promised a peace dividend they could have redeployed the US military to enforce these standards around the world. Today, they would need to end a few occupations and wars to have enough military to be redeployed.

What the oligarchy calls "free trade" is actually RIGGED TRADE, with TPP and other regulatory capture disguised as trade deals being the enabling legislation for the rigging in favor of the corporations who are drafting the "deals".


We can't over emphasize the importance of our activities being governed by respect and care for the environment. All else is likely to pale in relation to how seriously we deal with climate change and elimination of nuclear weapons.


Stiglitz himself is not advocating for tariffs. He is projecting what will happen if Trump implements his tariffs.

My only quibble with this fine essay is that the improving economy and low unemployment I think are chimeras. But, yes, given an unrestrained pro-market, pro-militarist government that thinks government exists to make sure the rich get richer, I think his projections are spot on.

And frightening.


None of that even registers with Trump and his band of fascists.


Love you, Joseph, but we all know the real unemployment rate is much higher.


I believe, that in some instances, targeted tariffs can be a good thing, especially for second or third world nations. It can help them develop and expand their economy. For first world nations to use tariffs to pick and choose favored industries or corporations smacks of cronyism in its worst sense. This is the best reason for favoring world trade deals. If done well, they are a good thing, but, of course, doing them "well" is very difficult. But, then again, what do I know? I'm just a farmer.


For various reasons, there are fewer people in the work force which improves the unemployment number. Also, today's jobs pay less than they did not so many years ago. There are hopeful signs that wages are beginning an upward trend. For me, Stiglitz is one of the 'must read' economists.


polar, by convention, the u3 number is THE unemployment number that is generally used. Of course, u6, which includes 'discouraged workers' is every bit as valuable when studying unemployment.


Yes, I called it a quibble. I just think that the "new jobs" are service sector jobs that often do not have a benefit package. Also the lower unemployed rate fails to consider the permanently discouraged unemployed. Finally, true income gains I have read, disproportionately fall on the very rich. Most of us are honking along with level income. We're losing a generation of young people who are under-employed in their highest generativity years.

Our country does not feel economically healthy to me and the above cited ideas are why I say that.


Yes I understand Stiglitz isn't recommending tariffs. I don't understand the argument as to why they are so economically bad.

And i agree those unemployment numbers are bogus.

American manufacturing is getting crushed. The only people winning on this free trade stuff is the 1%.

Do we just say eff it, no more manufacturing in the US? From what i read Germany manufacturing sector, has done exceedingly well.

I mean that's why Trump won right? Those states have lost thousands of jobs in good paying manufacturing jobs like my state of connecticut. There's boarded up factories everywhere. There has to be some way to create an economic disincentive to keep these multi nationals from moving jobs to China.


yes its so disheartening...


Yes, I pretty much agree with you. I see today's republican party as only interested in winning and in their agenda. I see them as traitors to America and the average citizen. They openly tried to make Obama a "one-term President" by fighting against his proposals and keeping stimulus spending low while cutting taxes on the wealthy. While benefits have generally been cut for many workers, with Obamacare, in the states where fully available, a lot of lower income people do have good healthcare coverage. It will be interesting to see how the republicans choose to "repeal and replace."


Well, a 45% tariff would be (to steal a term) HUGE. I think Stiglitz favors a taxation structure that would ask the ultra rich and corporations to pay their share such as they did in the Eisenhower era. But this is going to be a feast for the robber barons.


Wasn't Stiglitz that Nazi killing German in " Inglourious Basterds " ? And anyone that thinks the real jobless rate is 4.6% is smoking crack. :confused:


Any chance we could require foreign factories to have worker unions equivalent to those in the American factories they replaced?


Or made of workers who make 50% less than their previous jobs because exploitation by the oligarchs. Or workers who only can find minimum wages because of exploitation.


It is hard to predict to what extent Trump and his insane energy policy will affect efforts to fight climate change. What the states and local governments do will be critical. I think quite a few states will continue to work in conjunction with much of the rest of the world to reduce emissions. The key thing for Americans who believe in the science is to decrease their need for fossil fuels. They should buy all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles. Get their homes audited for energy efficiency and then make their homes more energy efficient. For heating they should consider a geothermal system with electric heat pumps. These are the same things they should be doing if Bernie Sanders was going to be president.