This is how the NY Times has presented things day before yesterday, apparently lamenting that the Dem candidates are going to have a tough time presenting themselves as “tougher on trade than Trump.” This somehow presumes that this is what they must do to win the election, and at least one has been making virtually this claim: good old Bernie. A few have mumbled vaguely about Trump hurting farmers in the Midwest, but not too loudly as it seems that hardly any of them have anything that can be called clear positions on the trade issue. Really the only one so far more than Bernie is Elizabeth Warren, who at least is tying trade deals to strong environmental and labor conditions, including imposing border fees on other nations with lower taxes on carbon emissions than the US. Of course, this is currently a bit farcical given that it is the US that generally has the lower such enforcement, although she is proposing to tighten that up.
Of course, Trump has gone all gonzo on the trade issue, having it both ways, if not more. So he announced more tariffs on Chinese goods, bragging that the Chinese are paying these and that he is succeeding in hurting China more than Americans. But then after the stock market took one of its largest dives a week ago after he made this announcement, and lots of commentators started predicting a recession, he delayed some of these until after the Christmas shopping season, suddenly apparently realizing that it is American consumers who actually pay the tariff. His sudden fear of possible recession has even led to mumblings about possible new tax cuts, including even for fica payroll taxes, although this has since been denied.
This reminds me of one of the least remembered episodes from the Obama administration. A part of the fiscal stimulus Obama engineered was a temporary fica payroll tax cut. Curiously a few years later when he undid those cuts, the most eager supporters of reimposing the old higher tax rates were the GOP members of Congress, although they did not speechify about it. But then, doing so would have made it clear how hypocritical all of their talk about never supporting tax increases was.
Dean Baker op ed on the -tough on trade meme:
Largely agree with Dean. Period of major manufacturing job loss in US followed China’s entry into WTO, with David Autor showing those people did not get rehired elsewhere. NAFTA did not result in a similar job loss, although lots of people claim it did.The emphasis on property rights is indeed not of much value to US workers, and the remaining participants in the TPP after the US pulled out do not miss that part of the agreement, which left with us.
BTW, US Steel has just announced layoffs in Michigan, yes, Michigan. There were some gains in steel employment right after Trump imposed his tariffs on stelel, but that now seems to be over.
No, the period of job loss started in 1997 only covered up by the tech/Y2K bubble. China’s entry into the WTO was in the 80’s. It was supposedly revoked in 1991 during the TS fight, but the truth is nobody payed attention to it. Basically what you see in 2001-3 was the tech/Y2k driven “correction”(with auto hiring slowing as well) in heavy manufacturing. As the overcapacity was drawn out, technology replaced many tool dyers and material extraction jobs, creating what appears to be a gap in industrial job creation. But when you strip that out, heavy manufacturing has been at a steady pace since 1948.
While “trade” overinflated US debt markets and created a massive US consumption debt market, which would need to be contracted out of demand in a global trade war(which really isn’t going on right now, even Trump’s China stuff is more noise than anything). Most “Trade whiners” still don’t appreciate this and that there is no way out. Stop whining about a industrial Revolution that has been over for 100 years almost and instead, push for value in manufacturing and self-efficiency.
The next recession is going to start in heavy manufacturing. Auto, instead of Tech will lead the way and Tech will ride on Auto’s shoulder’s down as nonresidential investment contracts.
Way wrong, Bert. The WTo did not even exist in the 1980s, although its predecessor, GATT, did. China joined in 2001, or thereabouts.