Reposted from the Campaign for America’s Future blog
Dave Johnson | February 6, 2013 | Campaign for America’s Future
Government spending is We, the People doing things to make our lives better. Trade deficits are caused by billionaires and their giant corporations pitting America’s working people against exploited people who have no say, so they can drive down our wages and pocket the difference. Have you noticed that the people who are making the most noise about the budget deficit tend to be the same crowd that’s benefiting from the ruinous trade deficit?
Budget vs trade deficit… You can learn a lot about how our country’s media and policy apparatus works by taking a good look at the way the two are handled. One — pushed by the billionaires and their giant corporations — gets all the attention. The other — the cause of the destruction of our middle class — gets none.
Reporters and others: you should ask policymakers what they plan to do about the trade deficit — that’s the one that really is hurting the country.
A Deficit To Worry About: Our Trade Deficit
All of the media and policymaker focus has been on the budget deficit. But this is a problem resulting from the downturn, and is largely already solved. The budget deficit is really being used as a shock-doctrine scare to stampede policymakers into acting against the public interest, continuing the transfer of America’s wealth upwards to an already-wealthy few.
Here’s the funny thing: the same crowd (billionaires and their giant, anti-competitive corporations) that promotes the budget deficit scare is benefiting from the trade deficit. The billionaires of Wall Street and the giant corporations use the trade agreements to force wages and environmental standards down, pocketing the difference from the reduced costs for themselves.
For decades our trade agreements have us buying more than we sell and moving jobs and factories out of the country. This pits American workers against low-paid, exploited workers in countries that do not protect people or the environment. And it gets worse every year.
The result of these policies has been millions of people begging for work at any wage, and the middle class forced into ever-increasing debt. Meanwhile all the income and wealth accumulates at the very top.
In the Economic Policy Institute briefing paper, “The China Toll,” Robert Scott writes,
“Between 2001 and 2011, the trade deficit with China eliminated or displaced more than 2.7 million U.S. jobs, over 2.1 million of which (76.9 percent) were in manufacturing. These lost manufacturing jobs account for more than half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost or displaced between 2001 and 2011.”
In Congress Hasn’t Averted the Real Fiscal Cliff, Michele Nash-Hoff.writes,
The Department of Commerce estimates that each $1 billion in trade deficit translates to about 13,000 lost jobs, so the $559.8 billion in the total trade deficit for 2011 represents a loss of 7,277,400 jobs. This explains why we have had a virtually jobless recovery since the end of the recession and why the unemployment rate has stayed high for so long.
The Deficit We HEAR About
For all of the damage that is being done to our country by the trade agreements and the resulting trade deficits, the subject is rarely in the news. Instead we endure a constant drumbeat about budget deficits. But even though the budget deficits were caused by tax cuts, military spending increases and the jobs emergency — all of which are forcing income and wealth upwards, the obvious solution of fixing the things that caused the problem are never given serious consideration.
Meanwhile the steps needed to fix the trade deficit are kept from discussion, and when they do come up are blocked. For example the bill to confront China over its currency manipulation was blocked from a vote in the House after the Wall Street front group Club for Growth objected.
Reporters: Ask About The Trade Deficit
A responsible media would give serious attention to the trade deficit. The trade deficit is draining over $1 billion a day out of our economy. This deserves to be part of the national discussion, When you hear a policymaker talk about the budget deficit, ask them what they are doing about the trade deficit.