With a fledgling economy the focus of the 2012 presidential campaign, there has been one glaring omission from the debate so far: the failure of our current trade policy, particularly with China. Trade policy affects national security by putting the safety of our people and their jobs at risk.
Between 2000 and 2010, the United States ran an aggregate trade deficit in goods of $6.8 trillion. This is one measure of how much money went to support production and job creation overseas rather than here at home. Last year, the trade deficit in goods was $635 billion. The import share of the domestic economy has grown very rapidly in textiles, machinery, computers, electrical equipment and motor vehicles. We buy a third to a half of these products from overseas, leaving American factories idle and American people jobless.
One-third of the trade deficit in goods over the past decade was with communist China. Our 2011 trade deficit with Beijing is on track to hit a record $300 billion. In their new book, “Death by China,” University of California at Irvine economists Peter Navarro and Greg Autry calculate that this deficit has cost America 10 million jobs over the past decade.