Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, and professor at Brandeis University's Heller School. His latest book is Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? In addition to writing for the Prospect, he writes for HuffPost, The Boston Globe, and The New York Review of Books.
Follow Bob at his site, robertkuttner.com, and on Twitter.
By Robert Kuttner | Oct 24, 2018
Here is today’s must read: the definitive piece on just how much Chinese abuses of the trading system are costing U.S. workers.
Economists Robert E. Scott and Zane Mokhiber, in the most exhaustive study yet of the costs of the lopsided U.S.-China trade, report in an Economic Policy Institute study that since China was admitted to the World Trade Organization in 2001, U.S. trade with China has been responsible for a $100 billion increase in the annual trade deficit—and the loss of 3.4 million U.S. jobs.
Three-quarters of the lost jobs were in manufacturing, a sector that pays well above the average wage. All this translates to a direct loss of 1.5 percent of GDP. Manufacturing job losses due to the China trade deficit account for roughly four out of five U.S. manufacturing jobs lost in this entire period.
Jobs displaced by imports from China paid 17 percent more than jobs exporting to China—$1,021.66 per week versus $872.89 per week. This flatly contradicts Bill Clinton’s projection that letting China into the WTO would be a “win-win” for both nations.
Even advanced tech jobs, supposedly a big winner for the U.S., are actually dominated by China, EPI reports. The growing trade deficits reduced U.S. incomes by $37 billion between 2001 and 2011 alone, and more since.
None of this was the result of China’s natural advantages. The trade imbalance and the lost U.S. jobs are the result of China’s suppression of free unions and wages, its industrial subsidies, and its currency manipulations, the EPI study finds.
Where is our self-proclaimed “nationalist” president in all this? China is a much bigger deal than NAFTA and a far more serious threat.
The U.S. has immense leverage, as the lopsided deficit shows, because we are China’s biggest customer. Yet Trump’s China policy has been mainly bluster plus scattershot tariffs that add up to no strategic approach.
A lot of blue-collar workers voted for this guy. They and we deserve a lot better.
Things are looking pretty hopeful again, but it isn’t over until it’s over.Robert KuttnerOct 23, 2018
When it counts, the supposedly independent Maine senator is a reliable McConnell vote.Robert KuttnerOct 09, 2018