Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Americans Lost 2.3 Million Jobs To China During The Bush Years-- But Not All The Fault Lies With The GOP


A couple days ago I was thinking about screwed up "free" trade agreements and writing about screwed up "free" trade agreements and how the big political contributors were able to buy off the entire Republican Party-- and the not insubstantial Republican wing of the Democratic Party-- and get them to just trample on American workers. It took a Republican like Nixon to open up China and it took a Democrat like Clinton to pass NAFTA and head us down the road to ruin.

This evening's NY Times is reporting that between 2001 and 2007 approximately 2.3 million Americans lost their jobs because of Republican trade policies towards China. That whole period was Bush's term but I don't blame Bush alone. Bush deserves plenty of blame, of course, but so does his party and so do the Democrats who adhere to his party's tenets.
Even when they found new jobs, workers displaced by job loss to China saw their earnings decrease by an average of $8,146 each year because the new jobs paid less, according to the report, funded in part by labor unions.

"This report is groundbreaking because it shows the extent of damage caused by Chinese cheating," said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which helped fund research for the report by EPI, a left-leaning Washington think tank.

"(We hope) it will help to focus the debate on trade to where it needs to be right now with respect to China," Paul said, noting that free trade is shaping up as a major issue in the November presidential election, especially in closely fought battleground states like Ohio.

U.S. manufacturers, labor unions and many lawmakers have long accused China of manipulating its currency to give Chinese companies an unfair advantage in international trade, and are pressing China to continue to allow the yuan to rise against the U.S. dollar to help level the playing field.

...The EPI report showed more than two-thirds of the jobs displaced by China trade deficits were in manufacturing and more than half came from the top half of the U.S. wage distribution. U.S. factory jobs typically pay well and include health insurance coverage and retirement benefits.

The manufacturing sectors hit hardest by the trade deficit with China included computers and electronics, apparel and fabricated metal products. Service sectors like administrative support services and professional, scientific and technical services also saw large job displacement because of the China trade deficit, EPI said.

Contrary to popular belief, jobs lost to China were not necessarily low-skilled, the report showed. Thirty-one percent of the jobs lost were among workers with college degrees.

So what are we going to do about it? Continue to bend over and hold our ankles and moan and complain? Well, if you're not a die-hard Republican, there is an alternative. First keep in mind that Obama is campaigning on some rationale trade restrictions-- "fair trade not free trade"-- while McBush has stubbornly clung to "free" trade as a way for America to win new markets and "stay" competitive. But beyond that, it is crucial to know who the sell-outs are in both parties. Basically, you can count on almost every single Republican as being ready and willing to sell out American working families-- always. And Democrats? Rahm Emanuel led the bloody and vicious battle to deliver enough Democrats so that Clinton would get his accursed NAFTA agreements. He's at the top of the Democratic Party congressional caucus for his efforts and he aims at being Speaker. He must be stopped.

And then there are the Blue Dogs and other reactionary, bribe-taking Democrats who vote with the Republicans on trade issues. Who? Here are some of the worst of the worst:

Brian Baird (D-WA)
John Barrow (D-GA)
Melissa Bean (D-IL)
Howard Berman (D-CA)
Marion Berry (D-AR)
Allen Boyd (D-FL)
Jim Clyburn (D-SC)
Jim Cooper (D-TN)
Henry Cuellar (D-TX)
Artur Davis (D-AL)
Lincoln Davis (D-TN)
Norm Dicks (D-WA)
Chet Edwards (D-TX)
Brad Ellsworth (D-IN)
Eliot Engel (D-NY)
Bob Etheridge (D-NC)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Bart Gordon (D-TN)
Jane Harman (D-CA)
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD)
Baron Hill (D-IN)
Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)
Steny Hoyer (D-MD)
Steven Israel (D-NY)
William Jefferson (D-LA)
Ron Kind (D-WI)
Nick Lampson (D-TX)
Tim Mahoney (D-FL)
Jim Matheson (D-UT)
Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
Charlie Melancon (D-LA)
Harry Mitchell (D-AZ)
Dennis Moore (D-KS)
Jim Moran (D-VA)
Solomon Ortiz (D-TX)
Earl Pomeroy (D-ND)
Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
Mike Ross (D-AR)
John Salazar (D-CO)
Adam Schiff (D-CA)
Ike Skelton (D-MO)
Adam Smith (D-WA)
Vic Snyder (D-AR)
John Tanner (D-TN)
Ellen Tauscher (D-CA)
Edophous Towns (D-NY)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)

And now you know-- the Republican wing of the Democratic Party. They helped the Republicans lose 2.3 million jobs on the alter of mindless, ideological corporate avarice. I'd never vote for a Republican and I'd never vote for any of these treacherous Democrats either.

Labels: , , , , ,


At 1:58 AM, Blogger Dr. Know said...

This is a topic I've been railing about since about 1990 when APEC first formed. And don't forget that it was GHW Bush that negotiated NAFTA, Clinton just rammed it down everyone's throat and signed off on it after adding NAAEC enviromental stipulations. Of course, CAFTA was the next step in corporate globalization, along with the WTO.

Nonetheless, a tremendous part of what has undermined a broad swath of the lower, middle and lesser-upper class in this country. Well, that and all around avarice, exploitation and profiteering.

At 6:43 AM, Blogger Pete Murphy said...

You're exacly right, that both parties share equal blame for our "free" trade mess.

Our enormous trade deficit is rightly of growing concern to Americans. Since leading the global drive toward trade liberalization by signing the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1947, America has been transformed from the weathiest nation on earth - its preeminent industrial power - into a skid row bum, literally begging the rest of the world for cash to keep us afloat. It's a disgusting spectacle. Our cumulative trade deficit since 1976, financed by a sell-off of American assets, is now approaching $9 trillion. What will happen when those assets are depleted? Today's recession may be just a preview of what's to come.

Why? The American work force is the most productive on earth. Our product quality, though it may have fallen short at one time, is now on a par with the Japanese. Our workers have labored tirelessly to improve our competitiveness. Yet our deficit continues to grow. Our median wages and net worth have declined for decades. Our debt has soared.

Clearly, there is something amiss with "free trade." The concept of free trade is rooted in Ricardo's principle of comparative advantage. In 1817 Ricardo hypothesized that every nation benefits when it trades what it makes best for products made best by other nations. On the surface, it seems to make sense. But is it possible that this theory is flawed in some way? Is there something that Ricardo didn't consider?

At this point, I should introduce myself. I am author of a book titled "Five Short Blasts: A New Economic Theory Exposes The Fatal Flaw in Globalization and Its Consequences for America." My theory is that, as population density rises beyond some optimum level, per capita consumption begins to decline. This occurs because, as people are forced to crowd together and conserve space, it becomes ever more impractical to own many products. Falling per capita consumption, in the face of rising productivity (per capita output, which always rises), inevitably yields rising unemployment and poverty.

This theory has huge ramifications for U.S. policy toward population management (especially immigration policy) and trade. The implications for population policy may be obvious, but why trade? It's because these effects of an excessive population density - rising unemployment and poverty - are actually imported when we attempt to engage in free trade in manufactured goods with a nation that is much more densely populated. Our economies combine. The work of manufacturing is spread evenly across the combined labor force. But, while the more densely populated nation gets free access to a healthy market, all we get in return is access to a market emaciated by over-crowding and low per capita consumption. The result is an automatic, irreversible trade deficit and loss of jobs, tantamount to economic suicide.

One need look no further than the U.S.'s trade data for proof of this effect. Using 2006 data, an in-depth analysis reveals that, of our top twenty per capita trade deficits in manufactured goods (the trade deficit divided by the population of the country in question), eighteen are with nations much more densely populated than our own. Even more revealing, if the nations of the world are divided equally around the median population density, the U.S. had a trade surplus in manufactured goods of $17 billion with the half of nations below the median population density. With the half above the median, we had a $480 billion deficit!

Our trade deficit with China is getting all of the attention these days. But, when expressed in per capita terms, our deficit with China in manufactured goods is rather unremarkable - nineteenth on the list. Our per capita deficit with other nations such as Japan, Germany, Mexico, Korea and others (all much more densely populated than the U.S.) is worse. In fact, our largest per capita trade deficit in manufactured goods is with Ireland, a nation twice as densely populated as the U.S. Our per capita deficit with Ireland is twenty-five times worse than China's. My point is not that our deficit with China isn't a problem, but rather that it's exactly what we should have expected when we suddenly applied a trade policy that was a proven failure around the world to a country with one sixth of the world's population.

Ricardo's principle of comparative advantage is overly simplistic and flawed because it does not take into consideration this population density effect and what happens when two nations grossly disparate in population density attempt to trade freely in manufactured goods. While free trade in natural resources and free trade in manufactured goods between nations of roughly equal population density is indeed beneficial, just as Ricardo predicts, it’s a sure-fire loser when attempting to trade freely in manufactured goods with a nation with an excessive population density.

If you‘re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, then I invite you to visit my web site at OpenWindowPublishingCo.com where you can read the preface for free, join in the blog discussion and, of course, buy the book if you like. (It's also available at Amazon.com.)

Please forgive me for the somewhat "spammish" nature of the previous paragraph, but I don't know how else to inject this new theory into the debate about trade without drawing attention to the book that explains the theory.

Pete Murphy
Author, Five Short Blasts

At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I am confused. How much money has Ethan Berkowitz taken from Veco, Rahm Emanuel, Fox Executive, Henry Kissinger's main partner,and Carlyle executives? Is Blue America supporting him over progressive Diane Benson in the AK-AL primary race? If so, why?
yours truly and befuddled.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Mui, Blue America hasn't endorsed in that race yet but Ethan Berkowitz isn't someone we would even consider supporting. Most of our members support Diane Benson and two of our blogs-- this one and Firedoglake-- often try to promote her campaign.

At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well thank g*dess, I hate to feel pushy but I feel a little alarmed. I hear murmors (as opposed to rumours) from umm an Alaskan on the Fired*g threads that there has been no support for Benson and that Moulitsas supports Berkowitz over Benson. Is there someway you all could make it clear once and for all that Berkowitz is someone you wouldn't consider supporting? Berkowitz looks like an on- the-take kind of guy, and alarming to a progressive. If this is true, any association with Blue America is really tainting, even in rumour.

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks in advance, Howie, your the daddy!

At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In general, free trade is a good thing. It provides the most people with the most goods at lowest overall cost.

But the so-called "free trade" that the US has pursued was not designed for that purpose. The real reason for corporate support of this "free trade" was to allow them to circumvent worker health and safety laws, and minimum wage laws, child labor laws, and antipollution laws.

If we put tariffs on imported goods that would at least equal the cost of compliance with these laws, we would both improve conditions in foreign countries AND bring many jobs back home.


Post a Comment

<< Home