Foreign Trade Angst
The United States is the world's largest recipient of foreign direct investment. According the Economic Report of the President, in 2004, foreigners owned $5.5 trillion in U.S. assets and had $2.3 trillion in sales. They produced $515 billion of goods and services, accounting for 5.7 percent of total U.S. private output, and employed 5.1 million workers, or 4.7 percent of the U.S. workforce in 2004. According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2006 alone, foreign investors spent $184 billion investing in U.S. businesses and real estate, the highest amount foreign investors have spent since 2000. My question to Clinton, Obama and the anti-trade lobby is, would Americans be better off if there were no foreign investment in our country?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 1996 and 2006, about 15 million jobs were lost and 17 million created each year. That's an annual net creation of 2 million jobs. Roughly 3 percent of the jobs lost were a result of foreign competition. Most were lost because of technology, domestic competition and changes in consumer tastes...
There's great angst over the loss of manufacturing jobs. The number of U.S. manufacturing jobs has fallen, and it's mainly a result of technological innovation, and it's a worldwide phenomenon. Daniel W. Drezner, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, in "The Outsourcing Bogeyman" (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2004), notes that U.S. manufacturing employment between 1995 and 2002 fell by 11 percent. Globally, manufacturing job loss averaged 11 percent. China lost 15 percent of its manufacturing jobs, 4.5 million manufacturing jobs compared with the loss of 3.1 million in the U.S. Job loss is the trend among the top 10 manufacturing countries who produce 75 percent of the world's manufacturing output (the U.S., Japan, Germany, China, Britain, France, Italy, Korea, Canada and Mexico).
But guess what -- globally, manufacturing output rose by 30 percent during the same period. According to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, U.S. manufacturing output increased by 100 percent between 1987 and today. Technological progress and innovation is the primary cause for the decrease inmanufacturing jobs. Should we save manufacturing jobs by outlawing labor-saving equipment and technology?
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