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 Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog



Trade Deficits Are Taxes on American Workers Levied by Foreign Countries
Raymond Richman, 6/18/2019

The media are all trumping that Pres. Trump’s tariffs are a tax on American consumers and favor free trade. They are telling less than half the story. The chronic trade deficits are also a tax on American workers. The chronic trade deficits tells us that foreign countries are shipping to us more goods at current exchange rates than we are shipping to them. They are accumulating the difference in US cash, bonds or notes or existing productive assets like real estate or private securities. They are not buying newly produced goods or services which require labor to produce. The workers who lose their jobs have to seek lower paying jobs in the US domestic market.

The American consumers are for the most part salary and wage workers. The trade deficits eliminated the jobs of millions of American manufacturing workers who found continued employment only in lower wage domestic jobs. Many multinationals have been producing products abroad and selling most of their output in the US producing huge deficits with China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, S. Korea, and others. Santa Monica, California once had hundreds of manufacturing jobs creating products for Apple Corp. Its principle product now is produced by Foxconn, a Chinese company, in China.

It is true that the laid off workers found jobs eventually but at much lower wages. This is the excuse for the widespread economic belief that trade deficits do not cause permanent unemployment. The difference between the wages before and after a trade deficit has all the characteristics of an income tax, leaving the worker-taxpayer with less after-tax income to consume or save. Chronic trade deficits may not cause unemployment in the long-run as many economists argue but millions of manufacturing workers lost well-paid jobs as a result of the trade deficits and ended up considerably poorer. ...

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Trade Agreements Are "Entangling Alliances" That Are Difficult to Exit Once They Are Approved.
Raymond Richman, 6/2/2019

Pres. Thomas Jefferson, in his inaugural address, declared his devotion to "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none", using a phrase which is often attributed to Pres. Washington. warned against entangling alliances. He thought they could involve us in wars that we did not want to fight. e thoushht An exTple of an entangling alliance is the European Union and the difficulty the UK is experiencing to make a British exit from it. Multil­ateral trade agreements are eThe USA took advantage of its success in breaking up the USSR by getting some former members of the USSR to join the North Atlantic Treaty organization (NATO). It waged war against Yugoslavia and got Albania, Croatia, and Slovenia to join the European Union and NATO. ntangling alliances which become the law of the land even superseding the Constitution. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade created the World Trade Organization. The GATT agreement that it administers has a provision that members shall not require the country of origin to appear on the sales of imported products. The U.S. Congress passed a law requiring labeling meat products with the country of origin. The WTO warned the U.S. Congress that that was in violation of the treaty. The U.S. Congress dutifully rescinded the labeling requirement.

It is amusing to observe the leaders of theThom Democratic Party pretend to be upset about an alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election and argue that it smacks of collusion. They object not at all to USA intervention in Venezuela or to the inclusion in NATO of former Russian dominated countries, ...

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    Wikipedia:

  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

    Journal of Economic Literature:

  • [Trading Away Our Future] Examines the costs and benefits of U.S. trade and tax policies. Discusses why trade deficits matter; root of the trade deficit; the “ostrich” and “eagles” attitudes; how to balance trade; taxation of capital gains; the real estate tax; the corporate income tax; solving the low savings problem; how to protect one’s assets; and a program for a strong America....

    Atlantic Economic Journal:

  • In Trading Away Our Future   Richman ... advocates the immediate adoption of a set of public policy proposal designed to reduce the trade deficit and increase domestic savings.... the set of public policy proposals is a wake-up call... [February 17, 2009 review by T.H. Cate]