Exports plunged in October, led by a sharp drop in manufactured goods. (See above link to the October trade report.) Overall exports (including all goods and services) fell to their lowest level in eight months and now lag the president’s goal of doubling exports in five years by $29.8 billion – a new record. Overall exports have barely risen at all – only $2.1 billion – since July, 2011. To keep pace with the president’s goal, exports needed to have risen by $33.4 billion during that time frame. Here’s a chart showing overall imports and exports vs. the president’s goal: Obamas Goal to Double Exports.
Manufactured exports fell by $4.4 billion, the largest decline since January, 2010 when President Obama set a goal of doubling exports within five years. Manufactured exports have now lagged the president’s goal for 13 straight months and by the largest amount yet in October – a $20.3 billion shortfall. Manufactured exports have actually declined by $0.8 billion since July 2011. They needed to rise by $20 billion to keep pace with the president’s goal. Here’s the chart for manufactured goods: Manf’d exports vs. goal
On both above charts, you’ll notice that both imports and exports have leveled off and begun to decline over the past few months. That’s a strong indication of a global recession taking hold.
It’s no surprise at all that the president is failing miserably on his goal of doubling exports. Neither the president nor anyone else has any control whatsoever over exports, which are determined solely by foreign demand for our products and the state of foreign economies. If the president wants to rebalance American trade in his quest to stave off another financial crisis, he needs to turn his attention to imports, over which he has total control, if only he were to address our laissez faire trade policy and return to the sensible use of tariffs to assure a balance of trade.
The president’s goal of doubling exports is a cornerstone of his economic policy. Aside from me, is anyone tracking his progress? The media seems to be AWOL on this issue. Unless some “think tank” publishes a study on this subject – not likely given that that would require some actual thought and effort (not to mention that that’s not what the “think tanks” are paid to do by their benefactors) – no one will ever notice. Maybe that’s what the president was counting on when he set the goal.