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Denialism on Trade


Denialism on Trade

Dean Baker

It is really amazing how the political and economic establishment types feel the need to deny that trade can actually have a negative impact on manufacturing jobs and total employment in their arguments against Donald Trump's trade policies. George Will gave us a great lesson in this silliness in his column today.


Our economies cannot be build on consumerism, the planet cannot survive on continued buy, buy, buy all that junk that we are told we need to have three of and is produced in such a way that we have to replace every few years. Yes, I want the good old days when an appliance last 20 plus years.

The industrial age brought us the above. The Sustainable/Energy Efficient Age could bring on new wealth to all people if not done in a capitalistic way where the top 1% receive all the profit and not shared with workers by giving a good wage and benefits. Lots more revenue into the commons fund. More money going into SS and Medicare which are completely self funding and not entitlements as repubs like to call them.


The greater "denialism" is the politicians' , the media's and most of academia's serial denial and ignoring the fact that what continue to be labeled "trade deals" or "trade agreements" are mostly regulatory capture with a little trade policy tossed in to improve the disguise.

Just as Trump's faux populism is proving to be a conduit for corporations to destroy the parts of government that benefit the 99% and distributing the spoils to the 1%, TPP, TTIP, TISA and other so called "trade deals" transfer judicial authority from sovereign states into the hands of corporations, thereby accelerating the transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1%.


"Trade has cost millions of manufacturing jobs and devastated families and communities across much of the country."

Thank you Dean Baker for being one of the only economists left that I still believe.


Ironic that candidates bragged about supporting the GM bailout during the the rust belt primaries when you consider that GM used the taxpayer funded bailout money to 1) close US factories, 2) buy back stock, and 3) expand production in China to the extent that Buicks made in China have been in US GM dealers' show rooms for several months now.

Although wonderful for GM stockholders, what did workers and their communities get from the bailout ?


I always wonder how these same columnists can be wrong so often and keep their jobs, must be paid for spreading the manure.


We can always expect George Will to deliver the official narrative. He is seldom right about anything.

Wills will be quoted numerous times by trade deal advocates across the corporate media. Expect to hear his "wisdom" on all of the Sunday "News" programs and NPR. He might even make an appearance on Sunday Morning. His words will be given great consideration and no one, not even fake Democrats, will really stand in opposition.

Fake news.


Workers got screwed, in a nutshell. The union was forced to make huge concessions, but that ddin't get reported on very much.


1975 is a memorable year as it was the last year the US ran a favorable balance of trade. Since then the accumulated trade deficits have totaled almost $11 trillion - $9 trillion since 2000. Someone like George Will just points to Americans being too expensive or not productive enough; while neglecting the adverse effects of such an imbalance. Let's look a little deeper. (trade numbers from: https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/index.html )

When a country runs a trade deficit of $500 billion per year (the US average this century) It obviously means lost employment opportunities, and an increase in debt for the US. Remember that modern trade means countries like China selling the US goods and the US paying for it in debt - not trading other goods or services for them. This debt keeps the US dollar high because countries like China demand dollars to lend to Americans. This is bad for America because it prevents the US currency from dropping and becoming more competitive internationally so it can balance its trade. At the same time it postpones the huge economic adjustment because a lower dollar would mean higher inflation and higher interest rates. With consumer debt at $18 trillion and Federal debt at $20 trillion it means that every 1% rise in interest rates would lead to increased annual interest expenses of $380 billion. No wonder people like George Will want to be in denial. (debt numbers from: USdebtclock.org)


I wonder what Dean Baker's views are on the relationship between trade and inflation. Back when unions were strong, they were able to demand ever higher wages and benefits, leading even non-unionized industries to raise wages to stay competitive. Overall, this led to a rising standard of living from the 40s to the 70s but the inflationary pressures became alarming in the mid 70s largely due, in my opinion, to the addition of the bug amounts of federal spending on the Viet Nam War. This isn oversimplified , of course, but the status quo that emerged through the 80s to the present centered on destroying the unions through outsourcing of manufacturing as well some of the kind of productivity gains mentioned by George Wills. As wages stagnated and the standard of living fell for American workers, this was offset in part by the low cost of foreign-made goods in places like Walmart. And now that that status quo of low inflation/low wages is being challenged, it is unclear what will follow in an economy where the labor movement is on life support.


Pretty accurate description,
I look at the 70's as 2 wars. One in Vietnam over politics and one in the US over distribution of the economic pie. In a lot of ways, America lost both.

The distribution war featured off-shoring, right to work legislation, lower taxes for corporations and wealthy people, along with all the legislation it took to put the strategies in place. There was a boost in the 90's with the IT revolution but it's growth effect was short-lived. As of 2000, the main way they found to grow the economy was to get consumers to take on debt - and that lasted about 7 years.

For the 30 years after WWII the US economy had annual real growth of over 4%. It reduced to about 3.3% from 1975 to 2000 and has averaged about 2% since 2001. Not only that, the national debt was shrinking as a portion of GDP, now it is increasing faster than it and has grown to over 105% of GDP. Imagine that, and we have pundits out there saying that the fundamentals of the economy are strong.


I consider that the aftermath of WWII and the war in Korea laid the groundwork for the Pacific Rim Trade Agreements which was the goal even 75 years ago,
The cross Pacific cargo containers are going to be monitored by US drones and US littoral ships completing the US global domination of trade. It is in no small measure that Russia and China plan to avoid this domination with the new overland Silk Road and its necessary control of the Middle East, hence the war.
This posting is a repost and will I estimate be valid for 4 years.
By: katesisco
the wrangling in Syria was actually about two different agendas. The Syrian government has not recognized the so-called 'independent' states in Northern Syria and the Russians and the US squared off on the issue of a Iraqi oil line to the Med thru the 'independent' states.
Aleppo it appeared was central to this issue.
Now that there is no fallen Aleppo, it will take years to 'liberate' Mosul---4 years probably. I suspect the 'elite' first strike force will be decimated and that 'surprise' will cause a halt and a long term rebuilding to coincide with yet another try at toppling Aleppo. The actual Aleppo 'war' was to keep the focus off of the ROJAVA situation. [Link]

Once the Iran, Turkey, and Syrian interests finish the Russian pipeline thru the 'independent' Syrian states to the Med, this crazy war will become moot.

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 12:52 UTC