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Note to President Obama: Exports Ain’t Gonna Save Us September 8, 2013

Posted by geoff in News.

Inasmuch as I understand it, the President has had a multifaceted approach to stimulating the economy:

The Strategy How It Works The Payoff
Sign trade agreements ????? Double Exports!!
Transition to green tech before it’s ready ????? 5 Million Green Jobs!!1 Million Electric Cars!!
????? ????? 1 Million More Manufacturing Jobs!!
Vilify American businesses ????? Insourcing & More Hiring!!

But of course none of his facets have really paid off. At all. Take his export facet, for example. Thursday’s BEA report on exports gives us the (continuing) bad news:


Back in October 2011, the President signed 3 trade agreements: one of them with Korea that was supposed to create 70,000 American jobs. In 2012 it apparently cost us 40,000 jobs. [The other two agreements? Columbia and Panama, totaling all of $26 billion of our exports in 2012. Out of $2.2 trillion. That’s about 1.2%.]

I’m not a fan of protectionism, but US tariffs are at an all-time low (0.7%, with the exception of the shoe and clothing industries, which are at 10%). Reducing them further isn’t going to have a profound affect on anybody’s economy: it’s foolish to pursue free trade agreements as though they are our economic salvation.

So, of course, responding to the complete collapse of his export strategy, the President’s latest push has been to . . . negotiate more trade agreements. I don’t think he’s in any danger of keeping his promise.

As a final aside, I’m struck by how well the administration seems to grok the relationship between lower tariffs and increased economic activity. But for some reason the same relationship between taxes and economic activity eludes them.


1. Lipstick - September 12, 2013

But. . .But. . . sitting at a nice desk and signing stuff is FUN! All the cameras and stuff.

All the attention for no effort. Story of his life.

2. geoff - September 13, 2013

Just emptied the spam filter, but I liked the bit of spam that went with this post:

“Yes! Finally someone writes about antique car financing.”

3. Retired Geezer - September 13, 2013

*waits expectantly for the lac* w*gs spammer*

4. Mark in NJ - September 13, 2013

Geoff – can you just skip all the graphs & stuff and tell me how I can finance a ’63 Corvair?

5. daveintexas - September 13, 2013

me too

6. geoff - September 14, 2013

I’m working on my deLorean – you guys are next up, I promise.

7. geoff - September 14, 2013

Where by “working on” I mean gazing longingly at ebay listings.

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