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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Once again, the United States has made a foreign trade deal in which American factory workers get the short end of the stick.

This time, the gains are flowing to South Korea under a “free trade” agreement that President Barack Obama put in place last March 15.

A year ago the president hailed what he called the biggest “free trade” agreement in two decades, much more valuable than the previous nine deals combined. He also said it would create about 70,000 American jobs.

The U.S. International Trade Commission predicted 15 months ago that U.S. exports to South Korea would grow at least 52 percent more than imports, creating tens of thousands of American jobs.

Well, the data are now in for the eight months of 2012 in which the deal was in effect. The good news is that trade in goods increased both ways over the same period in 2011, when adjusted for inflation.

The bad news: For every increased dollar of American exports to South Korea, our imports from there grew by $25.

As a result, our trade balance in goods during those eight months grew by almost half; we shipped $16.3 billion less in goods to South Korea than we bought, compared to $10.9 billion less in the same period in 2011.

To update Ross Perot’s 1992 presidential campaign criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement’s Mexico provisions: That giant sucking sound you hear is American factory jobs going to South Korea.

We did a bit better in the trade for services, which range from legal and accounting to financial and computer services. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, we exported 10 percent more in services than we imported during the last nine months of 2012, which includes the two weeks before the agreement was implemented.

But the total value of services traded between the two countries amounts to less than a third of the value of goods traded, and the increased services trade offset less than 8 percent of the increased imbalance in goods traded. So overall, South Korea made out great while Americans lost jobs.

This imbalance is just what some of us predicted, based on both the specific terms of the agreement and the past history of such deals. Take Mexico for example. In 1993 we enjoyed a small trade surplus in the country, but now under NAFTA we have a trade deficit more than 25 times as large as that surplus was.

Similarly, our bilateral trade deal with China — which was sold to the public as a benefit for both countries — was officially projected to at worst cause a $1 billion annual trade deficit with China.

Our deficit in goods traded with China is now approaching $1 billion per day, not per year. Last year we imported almost $426 billion of Chinese goods, while exporting less than $111 billion, for a deficit of $315 billion.

Those figures are for goods only, not services. We did sell China more services than it bought from us in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available.  But we were in the black on services by just $15 billion, knocking only about 5 percent off the trade deficit in goods, and still leaving us in the position of sending China $300 billion more than we got.

The Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit research organization with a pro-worker bent, calculates that our China deal has cost 2.8 million jobs — the equivalent of laying off everyone in the greater Philadelphia market, including parts of New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.

The Institute expects 150,000 Americans to eventually lose their jobs because of the deal with South Korea, a figure supported by all of the economic evidence to date.

  • middleclasstaxpayer

    This trade imbalance disaster, and it’s horrible impact on US workers, is just another example of the ineptitude of the Obama WH……Obama is exactly who he was described to be by Bill Clinton in the 2008 election run-up…THE AMATEUR…he has never held a private sector job (an assistant professor for one class does NOT count), and knows NOTHING about job creation!. In fact, as obamacare takes effect, we are LOSING more jobs as well as our present insurance coverage, exactly the opposite of what was promised.+

    • The mass exodus of jobs going over seas began under Reagan and hasn’t ever slowed down. These “free trade agreements” are the brain child of Republicans but mostly supported by Democrats too. Look up GW Bush’s record on free trade. Your argument about this being Obama’s fault
      is uneducated and shows your ignorance to even the simplest of issues .
      Did you hear it on Fox? As Obama continues to support these agreements
      he’s certainly not doing us any favors, but to put the entire blame on him is
      pretty sad. He should be drawing the cart back from in front of the
      horses. The horses being the labor and wage laws in the countries who we
      have these free trade agreements (the cart) with; they need to be more
      in line with what we have at home before we’re no better off than they are. And that time is not too far off if things continue the way they are.

      • jetfuel4

        oh thats right…Odumbo signed it and hailed it as the greatest thing ever but…..
        it’s Bush’s fault……r e t a r d……hahahahahah….you are a Toby….hahahhaha

        • You obviously lack even basic reading comprehension skills. You are a jeffuel14….hahahhaha

          • jetfuel4

            okay Kunta Kinte….hahahahahaha

    • Independent1

      There’s a big difference on losing jobs here because buyers choose to buy products made cheaper someplace else, and purposely destroying companies here to ship hundreds of thousands of American jobs overseas just so investors can stuff millions into their own pockets at the expense of American workers. And one of the classic examples of that was Mitt Romney and his Bain-like cronies who did a hostil buy-out during the time of the auto-bailouts of the auto industry’s major small parts manufacturer, Delphi, stripping it of all its assets including pension monies and shipping 25,000 American jobs to China. And then trying to prevent GM and Chrysler from starting to remanufacture autos by refusing to provide them with the small parts they needed to restart production. Fortunately a buy-out judge put a kybosh and that corrupt scheme. Corporate pirates, operated mostly by right-leaning investors with absolutely no scruples buy and destroy more American companies and jobs then shipping them overseas than all the bad free-trade agreements combined. Should you buy new car and have a problem with some its small parts (like the steering mechanism), which generally come now from either Mexico or China, you can send Romney a thank you note for having shipped all Delphi’s work overseas. Romney was by far a bigger American job destroyer than he was ever an American job creator. Just one more of his many fairytales.

    • english_teacher

      Why do people think that having worked in the private sector gives them the skills needed for governing? Working in the private sector is different
      from working in the government. The private sector does not need consensus to work
      because consensus is not important to making decisions. In government, unless
      it’s a dictatorship – and the Obama presidency is not, despite what many on the
      right think – consensus is fundamental if a democratic republic such as ours
      wishes to do its business and advance. If you look at the occupations of
      American presidents, very few have been “businessmen”: the two Bushes and,
      if you stretch it, Harry Truman. There’s a myth that the private sector can do
      everything better. That may be true if you’re looking to make a profit, but
      governments were not designed to make a profit. Ideally, the government should provide services that are necessary but which the private sector will not provide because they can’t make enough money from it. Our government was designed for the common good and achieving that requires consensus.

      • middleclasstaxpayer

        You can work by consensus with ANY ideas, but liberal politicians, like liberal educators, always have “great & lofty” ideas, but few of these bright ideas can pass the test of a marketplace that (at least now) is a free enterprise society in the USA. That’s why we see projects like the Keystone pipeline quashed by an ignorant Obama, killing 1000s of potential jobs, robbing us of inexpensive oil, and making no economic sense. It’s “ivory tower” liberal theoreticians, with NO business experience, who are bankrupting our society. And who believe you can spend more than you take in on a permanent basis, without having to pay the piper!. No one could run a household that way, but obama wizards think they can??? By the time Obama is done with America, we’ll be a 3rd class nation, and with over half the population out of work and on the dole.

        • english_teacher

          Do some more research on Keystone. There may be lots of jobs when it is built but the claim of “thousands of potential jobs” is unsubstantiated, according to a Cornell study. In addition, even if there were, say, 5000 jobs, they would only be temporary. The number of permanent jobs will 35 and will oversee the pipeline. The oil is not staying in the U.S., it is being shipped to refineries along the Gulf Coast and then out of the country. It’s not Obama who is working to make the U.S. a 3rd class nation. It’s the Republicans who refuse to work for the good of the whole country and continue to put their greedy, rich masters above the rest of us.

          • Sand_Cat

            Why don’t you do some more research on reality? And try to avoid Fox News and other such sources.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            I should have known it would take a cat to make some sense here. I’m proud of you, and your owner!

        • Sand_Cat

          Yeah, and right-wing nutcases have no ideas except how to screw the poor, spy on us all, and screw up healthcare, women’s in partuicular. And who the hell are you calling a “liberal” among the last 3 or 4 Democratic presidents? They only look “liberal” to people like you, out in Hitler heaven.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            Talk about screwing the poor….here’s how your idiot “hero” is screwing the poor:
            Your hospital Medicare admittance has just changed under Obama Care. You must be admitted by your primary Physician in order for Medicare to pay for it! If you are admitted by an emergency room doctor it is treated as outpatient care where hospital costs are not covered. This is only the tip of the iceberg for Obama Care. Just wait to see what happens in 2014!
            At age 72, today, I went to the Dr. for my monthly B12 shot that I have been getting for a number of years. The nurse came and got me, got out the needle filled and ready to go then looked at the computer and got very quiet and asked if I was prepared to pay for it. I said no that my insurance takes care of it.
            She said, that Medicare had turned it down and went to talk to my Dr. about it. 15 minutes later she came back and said, she was sorry but they had tried every-thing they could but Medicare is beginning to turn many things down for seniors because of the projected Obama Care coming in. I am so very sorry!!
            This is all Obama’s fault…HE is screwing the poor!

          • plc97477

            Sorry but I have seen no reason to believe you. Or trust you to know what you are talking about.

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            You don’t have to believe ME….if you are soon to be eligible for Medicare, you will receive a rude awakening when you go to the doctor for otherwise “routine” procedures. And, because of the mislabeled “affordable healthcare act”, costs for private insurance thru your work are estimated to rise by 30% MORE in 2014 to cover the added costs. And it appears MANY firms are simply cancelling health insurance for their employees, making it even harder to survive w/coverage. By the time your hero leaves office, the only ones with “affordable” care will be your feckless leader & all the members of congress, who are exempt from the new healthcare requirements, as we the people will be paying their share!!!
            Best of luck…you’re really going to need it, but that’s what you voted for!

          • Sand_Cat

            Obviously, he’s YOUR hero, someone you can project all your malice and stupidity on. He’s no hero of mine!

        • RobertCHastings

          When was the last time you read up on Keystone? Fewer than 300 permanent jobs, and maybe 2500 temporary jobs. That is not theory, that is fact. The provinces in Canada surrounding the origination site of the Tar sands oil have REFUSED to permit pipelines through their territory because of the extreme liklihood of leaks and the toxicity of this particular brand of oil. Perhaps you have not heard, either, that the current plan is for this oil to go to US refineries and be shipped to our competitors, like China and Russia. And how does any of that benefit the US?

          • middleclasstaxpayer

            Since when is 300 permanent jobs & 2500 temporary jobs something to ignore??? Try telling that to the millions who have given up even looking for work because of Obama’s horrible job creation record. Obama created a “jobs council” just to look good, but NEVER had a meeting with them for 18 months. He’s a fraud & a phoney. Just wanted to be reelected, nothing more. He doesn’t know how to create jobs because he never HAD a job in the private sector. One semester teaching one class in law school is NOT a real job! It’s just prep for “community organizing,” turning the many against the few with envy, hate & jealousy.

          • RobertCHastings

            When the backers of Keystone claimed there would be 10,000 jobs, and fewer than 1/4 that are actually to be provided and only 10% of THOSE will be permanent, “we have a problem, Houston.” The Keystone pipeline will cost more in environmental damage than it will provide in actual economic gain, and that gain will NOT be augmented by making us less oil-dependent since it has already been stated that the processed oil will be for export. The only folks who will benefit will be – BIG OIL, who own and operate the refineries. Have you not read the proposal and the studies on Keystone? (I mean the real ones, not those from Fox or Glen Back). Canada’s oil industry should be perfectly capable of building a pipeline to one of their coasts but, in case you haven,t been paying attention. the surrounding Canadian Provinces have closed their territories to the pipeline – why do you think that is?

      • plc97477

        It also requires people on the other side of the isle working with you, not fighting every step of the way.

        • english_teacher

          I agree that it requires people on the other side of the aisle to work with you but you can’t work with the other side of the aisle if their idea of compromise is do it their way or not at all. I’m not seeing much, if any, compromise coming from the republican side of the aisle.

  • middleclasstaxpayer – so, next time vote for a guy like Romney and see how fast our entire country is sold to the highest bidder…Unfortunately, in politics, it IS the lesser of two evils ~ and I, for one, will take an Obama administration over a Theocratic plutocracy ANY day of the week.

    • Another liberal that doesn’t have a clue!! LOL..I can’t wait till your pockets are picked clean.

      • Independent1

        What a ridiculous comment coming from a lover of the American Mafia (aka GOP) whose only intent is on sucking as much taxpayer money as is possible by starting wars to funnel money to the defense industry and passing one piece of legislaltion after another that provides billions upon billions of subsidies to companies who are already making billions in profits – talk about being clueless!!!

        • jetfuel4

          now WHO’s really clueless…hahahahahha….libs…so s t u p i d

          • Sand_Cat

            PROJECT AWAY, MORON.

      • garryowenault

        And this Another Liberal responds that you worship the Almighty Dollar, the Koch Brothers and have no clues at all.

    • garryowenault

      Well put there Elisabeth. Your soundly right on target.

    • The GOP is desperately trying to establish parallels to their record, and is making a fool of itself in the process. Insinuating that the trade imbalances are caused by President Obama’s free trade agreement reminds me of the claim some Republicans are making when they try to tie the tendency of American businessmen to hire part timers to Obamacare, or when they try to compare the Benghazi tragedy to 9/11 and all the other terrorist attacks in the Bush era.
      The bottom line is this, our exports to South Korea have increased and are contributing to economic growth and job creation in the USA. Obviously, they don’t compare to what we import from that country, and other Asian countries, but since the latter is a matter of consumer choice there is little the government can do to prevent it.

    • neonnautilus

      Yes, romney’s policies might have been worse in a number of areas, but you (and I) can’t ignore the fact that the big swooshing of jobs leaving this country was caused by 2 Democratic presidents: Clinton and Obama. The party has sold out the workers of this country and turning a blind eye to it just gives them permission to do it again. And again. And again. It’s time things changed.

      • Foreign investment by U.S. corporations and the resulting outsourcing of jobs has been going on for decades. Steel mills were shut down long before Clinton and Obama were elected. The same goes for most of our manufacturing base. If anything, President Obama’s unprecedented decision to bail out GM and Chrysler helped us keep what remains of our manufacturing after decades of decline. Efforts to protect American enterprise by previous Presidents have been limited to the banking sector and the arms industry. Everything else has been fair play.
        Don’t forget the “maquiladoras” (sweat shops) in Mexico in the 1980s…
        Most importantly, the decision to invest abroad has more to do with our freedoms and focus on the bottom line than anything our government has decided to do.

        • neonnautilus

          I’ve heard this argument, but I don’t consider it an excuse for Democratic Party politicians to enable even wider and deeper job losses here.

          From wiki: “The North American Free Trade Agreement
          (1994) favorably impacted the growth of maquila plants. During the five
          years before NAFTA, the maquila employment had grown at the rate of
          47%; this figure increased to 86% in the next five years. The number of
          maquila plants grew from about 2700 to about 3700 in 2001.[6] In the 1970s, most maquiladoras were located around the Mexico – United States border.
          By 1994, these were spread in the interior parts of the country,
          although the majority of the plants were still near the border. Recent
          research indicates that the maquiladora industry has an impact on U.S.
          border city employment in service sectors.[7]”
          Muchas gracias, Presidente Clinton.

          Mexico benefited from nafta, but now it is losing ground to the even cheaper Asian labor market.

  • Mark Ginn

    Sorry you two, but our gov’t obviously doesn’t give a rats ass about the average Joe. EITHER side of the fence. I say it’s high time we ran them ALL out on a rail.

    • CPAinNewYork

      How do you propose to do that? Please give specifics.

    • neonnautilus

      Howard Dean’s DFA is starting a campaign to turn state houses blue. I think that’s where we begin – a the state level like the cons did many years ago.

  • This actually stated a long time ago. The date, I’m not sure of. When
    Washington took the tariffs off, that opened the door for industry to leave,
    and leave it did.

    • garryowenault

      Not sure of the date, how about the Administration – Try Bush 2 and Darth Vador.

      • Sand_Cat

        Unfortunately, Clinton did his share, too. Mark Ginn is largely correct that both parties are eagerly selling us out, but I agree that – for now – the Republicans are more enthusiastic about it.

  • jetfuel4

    Doesn’t matter what evidence is presented, this herd will never admit that Odumbo has no idea of what he is doing other than pushing personal social agendas. Community organizer at best….lemmings….

    • Of course, that great business man, George the Second, and his trusty sidekick, Dick did such a great service to our country.

      They were both “Business Men”, weren’t they?

      WHY, LOOK AT ALL THE JOBS THEY CREATED IN 8 YEARS.

      Oh, that’s right. They were loosing nearly a million jobs a month.

      THAT’S A GREAT RECORD TO EMULATE!

    • Sand_Cat

      Really? What “evidence:” have you presented other than that proving you’re an ignorant moron with nothing to say but nasty false assertions?

      • jetfuel4

        uh..like uh..duh….did you even read the article sunshine or were you too busy licking your parts?????

        • Sand_Cat

          Like most of the neo-Nazi trolls here and on other sites, your arsenal of comebacks seems limited by infantile obsession with bodily functions. And laugh all you like: your job may be headed to Korea or China, assuming you have one which requires more skill than digging ditches, or have one at all.

          • jetfuel4

            Not unless they need LE tactical weapons instructors…..then again….chop suey anyone?

  • jetfuel4

    I keep waiting for the voice over…”I’m Barrack Obama and I approve of this message”……maybe that Obama phone that lady was screaming about was from Korea…..hahahahahahhha

    • Your Obama phone joke is rather amusing until you realize it was Reagan who began the program. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from a troll who relies on Fox, Rush, Bill’O and Beck for his “news.”

      “From that basic framework, rumors like the ones encapsulated in the
      Examples cited above have circulated, claiming that “the Obama
      administration created a program to give free cell phones paid for by
      taxpayer money to welfare recipients.” All the elements of such
      statements are erroneous or exaggerated:

      The Lifeline program originated in 1984, during the administration
      of Ronald Reagan; it was expanded in 1996, during the administration of
      Bill Clinton; and its first cellular provider service (SafeLink Wireless) was launched by TracFone in 2008, during the administration of George W. Bush. All of these milestones were passed prior to the advent of the Obama administration.”

      • jetfuel4

        and your boy dumped a huge load with his “historic” trade agreement….ahahahahaha…you like apples…how bout dem apples
        Toby….ahhahaahhahaa

      • jetfuel4

        you mean the woman on the tv wasn’t giving credit where credit was do???? say it ain’t so ollie…..

  • m8lsem

    “President Barack Obama put in place last March 15” … the President has no authority to change trade laws or make treaties all by himself. There’s a little thing called Congress. When Congress ratifies a treaty Congress (including those Republicans who oppose anything the President proposes, even if they themselves earlier proposed the same thing) shares responsibility.

    • davidcayjohnston

      Implementation of the treaty the Senate ratified was delayed until mid-March 2012, hence my language about Obama.

  • Bill

    I am retired now and I feel sorry for the young people trying to make a living now with the government giving our jobs to other countries. Free Trade is not free for us, never has been never will be. Just another case of doing everything to benefit the rich at the expense of everyone else and both parties are responsible.

  • Foreigners are better savers and planners. They live in smaller homes, less credit debt and pool more resources. We don’t truly understand who we doing business with and impose our standards without caring how it affects American workers. To much greed at the top and not enough forsight. These problems can be resolve with a change in perspective. Too many selfish men making poor long term choices. These folks are getting ahead because of high personal standards and sacrifice..We are getting what we tolerate by electing people base on money not values or effective and fair leadership.

  • RobertCHastings

    NAFTA, in all its permutations, simply screwed the American worker, PERIOD. Clinton should have refused to sign it, and admitted it was Bush 41’s baby. While WE try to abide by the provisions of the treaty,the other signatories simply play the game as usual. Of course labor costs are higher here, because we value worker saftey,worker benefits, worker pay, pollution prevention, etc. MUCH more than our competitors, which effectively cuts ou out of the competition.

    • english_teacher

      Good point about NAFTA. However, I’m not sure if, as you state, we really do value worker safety, worker benefits, worker pay, pollution prevention, etc. Looking at the continuing efforts to gut all of these items by the greedy 1% and their GOP/TP enablers, I think we’re well along the road to joining our competitors.