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I was feeling somewhat inspired by the way the media has picked up on Elizabeth Warren, Patty Murray and Sherrod Brown's promotion of expanding social security.

How about shifting the Overton Window in another way? There's something that unites most regular Americans (at least the 90%) which is a real nostalgia for American industry and a belief that manufacturing is important for the country's prosperity.

For a taste, you can check out Tobby Keith's country hit: "Made in America" http://www.youtube.com/....

Historically the US was very successful using tariffs, which are just border taxes, to help promote industrialization and catch up and then surpass Britain, France and other earlier industrializers. Most of the fast growing countries in Asia and parts of Europe and Africa are benefiting today from tariffs. Why can't the US? Each year the trade deficit drains at least $500 billion a year in demand from the US economy, an anti-Keynsian negative stimulus that is much, much larger than the positive stimulus from 2009 ARRA.

The WTO isn't really constraining. The US could declare a Balance of Payments emergency, and impose at least temporary tariffs until the trade deficit is eliminated and we return to full employment. Most WTO members have tariffs that are much higher than the US; average tariffs in the US are the fifth lowest in the world and the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. (see graph)

Sherrod Brown (who's written a book on trade policy) as well as Bernie Sanders and of course Elizabeth Warren might want to consider promoting a tariff bill. I think there would be tremendous support for it from across the political spectrum, especially in rural places where American nationalism has a natural constituency.

There really aren't any examples of rich countries or regions that are devoid of industry. (The only examples are places like Kuwait where the population is quite small relative to the resource base.) The growth of the trade deficit and import penetration correlate pretty strongly to the stagnation and declines of income over the last thirty years (see graph).

The US can make things again, but we need to have a protected market first.There's no reason "globalization" has to mean the US always has gigantic trade deficits and a disappearing middle class. We can look to our own history and the experience of rapid industrializers today to fix the trade deficit and return the country to prosperity. :)  

US tariffs and declining income
Educational attainment is rising for US males, even though income is falling
Educational attainment has risen for American men.... even as wages fell....
Manufacturing employment in US
Manufacturing employment went over a cliff after 1999-2000
Tariffs around the world
Most countries have much higher tariffs than the US - is it any wonder the US is growing so slowly?
Graph of household income change for all households, by education category, between 1999 and 2008
Incomes declined sharply between 1999 and 2008 regardless of your eduction: this happened the same time manufacturing employment sank and the trade deficit really exploded.....
Trade deficits around the world
The US, Southern Europe and most of Sub-Saharan Africa (excepting the oil exporters) have huge trade deficits. In fact, Africa's trade deficits totally swamp the US, in terms of share of GDP.

Originally posted to Guy from Ohio on Tue Jun 10, 2014 at 06:52 PM PDT.

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