I couldn’t let this story (above link) pass without comment. It seems that the president has finally gotten around to laying out a “strategy” for his plan to double exports in five years. Why the hurry, Mr. President? It’s only been eight months since setting the goal.
And the strategy couldn’t be more laughable.
– An “outreach campaign” to raise awareness among small and medium sized companies about export opportunities and available government assistance.
— Implementing a “government-wide export promotion strategy” for markets in Colombia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam.
— Increasing U.S. trade missions abroad.
— Bringing more international buyers to U.S. trade shows and boosting participation of U.S. companies in international trade shows.
That’s it? That’s the strategy? It took eight months to come up with that?
Yeah – trade shows – that’ll work. At least bringing more international buyers to U.S. trade shows will help our balance of trade in services, since foreign travel to the U.S. counts as a services export. And, regarding the 2nd point, why these countries? The population of all of them combined accounts for only 7% of the world’s population. In terms of market, it’s even smaller. Why isn’t a single European country on the list? Why not China? Why not Japan? Why not India? And “increasing U.S. trade missions abroad?” We’ve seen where that’s gotten us in the last four decades. No thanks.
This isn’t a strategy. It’s a show designed to create the appearance of doing something. It’s a joke. Is it any wonder that we’re already falling behind the president’s goal?
Finally, I can’t let this pass without comment:
“Exports are actually leading our economic recovery,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke told reporters on a conference call ahead of the report’s release, noting exports were up roughly 18 percent over the same period last year.
Locke conveniently omits the fact that imports are up more than 22% in the same period, more than offsetting the gains in exports. The net result is a bigger trade deficit and loss of jobs. So exports are not “leading our economic recovery.” The growing trade deficit is leading our back-slide into a double-dip recession.
Our trade deficit will remain the same or worsen, as will our economy, until this president and future presidents come to the realization that boosting exports is not within our control, but limiting imports is. The problem is not that Americans consume too much but that overpopulated nations consume too little. Since it’s impossible for them to boost their domestic consumption and imports, the only choice is to limit imports into the U.S. if we want to restore a balance of trade.