In January of 2010, President Obama set a goal of rebalancing trade by doubling exports over the next five years. Since then, America’s trade deficit has steadily worsened. This morning, the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) announced that America’s trade deficit in March jumped to $51.83 billion, only a whisker shy of the worst level of the Obama administration – $52.52 billion – set only two months earlier. Here’s a chart of the U.S. balance of trade beginning when the president set that goal: Balance of Trade. By the way, most of the increase in the trade deficit came at the hands of the European Union. The trade deficit with the EU rose by $3.9 billion in March.
Exports jumped by over $5 billion in March, but that was swamped by an $11.6 billion jump in imports. The jump in exports still left the U.S. shy of Obama’s goal by $7 billion – the 6th consecutive month that exports have been below goal. In the more critical category of exports of manufactured goods – they rose by about $4 billion. But that was swamped by a $10 billion rise in manufactured imports. The monthly trade deficit in manufactured goods rose to $24.5 billion – the worst level of the Obama administration. Here’s the chart of trade in manufactured products: Manf’d Goods Balance. Exports of manufactured goods fell short of the president’s goal for the 11th consecutive month.
And here’s the chart tracking the progress toward the president’s goal of doubling exports: Obamas Goal to Double Exports. As you can see, we’re losing ground with import growth outstripping our growth in exports. The net result is more lost manufacturing jobs.
The president is failing in his goal to rebalance trade and reverse the trend in lost manufacturing jobs. He failed to keep his campaign pledge to re-write NAFTA. He failed in his campaign pledge to reverse the trend in trade. Now he has failed in his goal to rebalance trade by focusing on exports. It’s time to call the president on the carpet. Of course, that’s exactly what will happen in November – not a moment too soon. Not that Romney will necessarily do any better. But a failing grade by this president demands that we try something new. Romney is the only option.