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Grasping Reality with at Least Three Hands 2018-08-06 19:29:15

Summary:
It has always seemed to me that the sharp Josh Bivens is engaging in some motivated reasoning here: "[1] Putting pen-to-paper on trade agreements contributed nothing to aggregate job loss in American manufacturing. This is almost certainly true.... [2] The trade agreements we have signed are mostly good policy and have had only very modest regressive downsides for American workers. This is false." How am I supposed to reconcile [1] and [2] here?: Josh Bivens (2017): Brad DeLong is far too lenient on trade policy’s role in generating economic distress for American workers on Brad DeLong (2017): NAFTA and other trade deals have not gutted American manufacturing—period: "I could rant with the best of them about our failure to be a capital-exporting nation financing the industrialization of

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It has always seemed to me that the sharp Josh Bivens is engaging in some motivated reasoning here: "[1] Putting pen-to-paper on trade agreements contributed nothing to aggregate job loss in American manufacturing. This is almost certainly true.... [2] The trade agreements we have signed are mostly good policy and have had only very modest regressive downsides for American workers. This is false." How am I supposed to reconcile [1] and [2] here?: Josh Bivens (2017): Brad DeLong is far too lenient on trade policy’s role in generating economic distress for American workers on Brad DeLong (2017): NAFTA and other trade deals have not gutted American manufacturing—period: "I could rant with the best of them about our failure to be a capital-exporting nation financing the industrialization of the world...

...our reluctance to properly incentivize the creation and maintenance of the global treasures that are our communities of engineering practice.... A community of engineers, technicians, and businesses that have seen the problems and methods of an industry up close and who know how to solve them is an incredibly valuable and difficult-to-create economic resource. We should not “protect” such communities regardless of cost, but we should nurture them.... The US should be running not a trade deficit but a trade surplus, as do the other two leading industrial powers, Japan and Germany.... And in order to run that trade surplus, the US should be facilitating manufacturing production and exports by following not a strong-dollar policy but an appropriate-dollar policy.... But the never-to-be-implemented TPP? NAFTA? And China-WTO? They are not big parts of any picture. They are not a big part of the long-run decline in the manufacturing job share. Indeed, they barely register.... We have not done our proper job in cushioning the incomes of and providing opportunities to those people and communities that have found themselves behind the eight-ball, in sectors flooded by imports as other countries industrialize (especially China). But NAFTA and China-WTO look, to me, like things that have been broadly good for the American economy...


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Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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