His first in 'his' series is shown below. His goal will be to connect the dots between our failed Trade Policies and their social impact on America and Americans, particularly the Middle Class. He will highlight the "Unintended Consequences" of these failed policies.
Thank you Bob!
Let's Do It Together!
Before we get into the lessons the public sector leaders can learn let’s get a basic understanding of what our “public” leaders have delivered.
- Post World War II we had about 19 million people employed directly in manufacturing – a sector where producers work. That was roughly 10% of the population. Today there are about 330 million people living in the United States. About 3.5% of the population makes the stuff we consume. Productivity the cause of the change? Hardly. We consume more and export a lot. But, we import more. Study after study demonstrates we’ve lost about 4.5 million direct manufacturing jobs and millions more support jobs due to the merchandise trade deficit. That is what has been delivered.
- Those living at the poverty line have seen actual income decline from roughly 6%. Those in the middle class have seen actual income drop a like amount. Inflation is not figured in. Real buying power has declined far more than the income declines. Another “delivery” by “leadership.”
- There are alarm bells going off regarding national security in an increasingly dangerous world. We import all too many things that we need for our own security ranging from food to munitions to raw materials to computer systems and everything in between. Imports of so-called “high tech” products exceed exports. Another forecast that became myth… Yet another “delivery” from “leadership.”
I could go on, but you get the picture. These kinds of results would be totally unacceptable in the private sector. Why should they be any less unacceptable where outcomes are determined in the public sector?
In the private sector leadership is gaged by results. Performance is rewarded or leadership changed based on performance to metrics that are crucial to the business of the enterprise. Consistent failure to meet business plan objectives isn’t tolerated for very long. The business plan or model is constantly reviewed and changed as the business environment changes/evolves. Management may be changed. The enterprise may fail. Simply, a business plan that isn’t working is not acceptable. Why should there be any less emphasis on a trade agreement working or not?
The results of our trade agreements and overall trade deficits, negotiated by public officials, have cumulatively contributed about $7 trillion to this country’s foreign debt. And, there is no relief in sight. If a company continually negotiated losing contracts it would not be in business very long. While the government can print money, there are long term consequences to addressing imbalances like our trade deficit. When you look deeper into the weeds one finds that virtually no trade agreement we have results in a balance, let alone a surplus.
While trade negotiators typically produce rosy forecasts of how good a deal might look those forecasts are never valid for a variety of reasons. Worse, when an agreement doesn’t produce the expected results (typically due to unrealistic expectations and assumptions accompanied by trade distorting practices on the part of other parties) they are never renegotiated. The damage merely continues. This has been the common situation for decades – it knows no partisan boundaries. Yet we continue to elect people who don’t get it on trade and expect different economic results. Gets to Dan’s urgent battle cry - “Wake Up America.” It is time for Americans to include economic issues in their thinking about who represents them. A lot of the social issues we see today are a direct result of the loss of opportunity due to trade and other economic issues. More on that later……