Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 | 2 a.m.
How many times have we heard “free trade” is good for the American economy? In 1973, we had our last trade surplus of $911 million. The past 38 years, we’ve had trade deficits, and it gets worse every year. Why?
When trade is in balance, there are good-paying jobs in the United States. When imports overload exports, industries that provided support to the middle class are undercut and American jobs vanish. The following free trade bills were passed since our last surplus: Trade Act of 1974, Trade Agreement of 1979, Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, Omnibus Trade and Competitive Act of 1988 and, last but not least, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993. Sometime in the next five years, our cumulative deficit with Mexico will reach $1 trillion thanks to the NAFTA.
America’s largest export is scrap paper at a value of $3 billion per year. That represents less than 1 percent of the $365 billion in merchandise from China in 2010. For almost 40 years, Congress and our multinational companies have lied to us, touting our exports but never mentioning the loss in American jobs due to imports.
Boeing started getting plane parts made in China. It built factories in China and gave the Chinese the building technology to get the parts manufactured correctly. China is building its first airplane manufacturing plant to enable it to compete with Boeing. Caterpillar is heading down that same road with China. What could possibly go wrong?