In all the hoopla surrounding the Republican presidential primaries, the release of President Obama’s 2013 budget, the Grammy’s, and the tragic passing of Whitney Houston, a truly significant report about America’s relentlessly growing trade deficit has been given very little media attention and is in danger of going unnoticed by the American public.
On Friday, February 10th, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the U.S. trade deficit for goods and services was $558 billion in 2011, a 12% increase over the trade deficit for all of 2010. Over half of the U.S. trade deficit (53%) was due to a $295.5 billion trade deficit with China, a staggering sum which stands as the largest trade deficit between two countries in history. (full report)
As our country’s job-stifling trade deficit continues to expand rapidly, and our inability to get it under control is without a doubt undermining our economic recovery.
Let’s look a little closer at why the trade deficit grew in 2011. U.S. exports experienced strong growth in 2011. Exports increased by $265 billion for the year, an 11.4% increase over 2010. However, these strong gains were more than offset by $324 billion increase in imports, a 13.8% increase over the previous year.
What does this mean? Even though we are making significant gains by increasing exports, which is creating jobs, we are simultaneously costing ourselves jobs by continuing to increase our consumption of imported goods.
While some of the simultaneous increases of imports and exports are due to imported materials being used to make goods in the U.S. for export, the vast majority of our trade deficit is due to the trade imbalance we incur in consumer goods and automobiles.
In 2011, the U.S. imported $768 billion worth of consumer goods and automobiles. However, we exported just $309 billion in these same categories. Overall, the U.S. experienced a $459 billion trade deficit in consumer goods and automobiles, which accounted for 82% of the overall U.S. trade deficit for 2011.
What does that mean for American consumers? It means we have the power to control our collective economic destiny by adjusting our consumer behavior. If enough of us will commit to buying American, we have it within our power to eliminate the U.S. trade deficit, which will keep more than a half-trillion dollars circulating in our economy, and will create jobs – probably millions of jobs – here in America.
That is why I am buying American. I am determined to do my part to get our country back to prosperity. Will you join me? Take the Buy American Challenge today!
Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.