Reprinted from Campaign For America's Future
Consequences of Free Trade with Foreign Countries
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Trade is again an issue in a midwestern primary state. The Wisconsin primary is Tuesday and Senator Bernie Sanders is pounding on his opposition to trade deals that have closed factories and cost jobs. A new poll shows this could be his path to success with voters.
Trade A Major Issue In 2016 Campaign
The New York Times on Tuesday explained that trade has become a major issue in the 2016 campaign, in "Simmering for Decades, Anger About Trade Boils Over in '16 Election":
"Anger about unbalanced trade has helped to fuel the rise of Donald J. Trump, the Republican front-runner, and the success of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in his bid for the Democratic nomination. The manifest anger also has pushed their principal rivals, Republican Senator Ted Cruz and the Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton, to toughen their own trade rhetoric."
The Times interviewed several people to get an idea why people feel trade deals have hurt jobs and wages. For example:
"Kevin White, a 47-year-old Democrat from Dayton, Ohio, said it was hard to find a job. He used to work at a hospital; now he gets federal disability payments.
"'The jobs went overseas,' lamented Mr. White. "Then people couldn't afford their mortgages and we had a crash and nobody was able to buy anything.'"
Why has trade become such an issue? The Times explains:
"Between 2000 and 2011, imports from China grew to equal 2.6 percent of American economic output, up from around 1 percent. That 'unprecedented shock' was much larger than that from the increase in Japanese imports in the 1980s or Mexican imports in the 1990s ... China's rise, fueled in part by currency manipulation to make its exports cheaper, played a key role in the loss of roughly five million American manufacturing jobs.
"Those losses, however, were offset and obscured during the housing boom by a rise in construction jobs. Now, both the factory jobs and the construction jobs have gone away."
The whole time, elite media and "economists" kept explaining that this was good for U.S. workers because it meant lower prices for consumer goods. The euphoria of cheap imports has finally worn off and people are looking around at the results -- the devastation of cities like Detroit and Flint and entire regions, and the stagnation of wages and lack of good-paying jobs that enable people to keep up.
The Times article itself demonstrates how elite media and "economists" explain how moving jobs out of the country is good for us even as people can see that it is not, writing:
"Mainstream economists regard the evidence as unequivocal that trade has produced significant benefits for the American economy and the average household.
"Yet much of the American public has long been skeptical. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that 61 percent of respondents favored more trade restrictions to protect domestic industry, just as a majority of respondents has favored increased restrictions in every such poll since 1988."
Sanders Using Trade In Wisconsin
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