Layoffs Follow in Wake of Orbiting Trade Deficits
By William Gill, President ACCT
Grasping at any straw that might temporarily put a better
face on an economy drowning in the unrelenting tidal wave of imports,
the seers of Washington and Wall Street took solace in a slight dip in
the trade deficit for April reported in late June.
"The countryís trade imbalance shrank to $32.2
Billion, a 2.7 percent decrease from Marchís $33.1 billion deficit," the
Associated Press trumpeted. But the actual trade deficit for April
calculated on a goods only balance of payments basis was $37.84 Billion
with imports flooding into the country to the terrible tune of nearly
Canada led the way with $19.01 Billion in exports to
the U.S. while Mexico added $10.49 Billion of their goods pouring across
our porous borders north and south. Even China and Japan together
couldnít approach that though each of them alone nearly reached our
NAFTA deficit of $6.83 Billion.
China sold us a healthy $7.68 Billion in goods while
buying a comparably piddling $1.38 in exports from the U.S., thereby
slapping America with an unhealthy $6.30 deficit for the month. Japan
hit us with $11.52 Billion in exports and absorbed only $5.09 Billion of
Made in America goods, chalking up a $6.43 Billion surplus against us.
When will somebody ask The Question: Why do we trade
with predators like this at all? Month after month, year after year,
decade after decade Uncle Sam gets taken to the cleaners as our
factories and jobs are wiped out and our once mighty industrial base is
reduced to a pale shadow of its former self. But no one in authority
questions where itís taken usÖ
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics served up
its latest piece of fiction early last month, claiming the unemployment
rate dipped in May to 4.4 percent from 4.5 in April. This time, however,
someone blew the whistle on how the benighted Bureau keeps ostensible
unemployment so low. Instead of the 250,000-to-300,000 Americans they
routinely drop from their statistical rolls each month, for May they
chopped off a whopping 600,000! The Bureau claims, with little or no
evidence, these are people who have given up looking for work. So they
Manufacturing has been the hardest hit by job losses
for months. This vital sector shed 124,000 jobs in May alone, its tenth
straight month of falling employment. Since December factories have
slashed no less than 370,000 jobs but even this alarming figure does not
begin to mirror the ripple effect of smaller company suppliers of
industrial plants who have had to slash their payrolls.
The once vaunted high-tech sector has spilled hundreds
of thousands of its employees out onto the streets all across the
country. Lucent Technologies, formerly Bell Labs, is cutting 16,000 more
workers on top of several tens of thousands previously laid off. Nortel
has dropped 15,000 since January 1. Avaya Communications, a Lucent
spin-off, is cutting 3,000.
Unilever will cut 8,000 in addition to the 25,000
chopped from its international work force over the last five years.
Dupont will fire 4,000 plus 1,300 contract workers. Newell Rubbermaid is
axing 3,000. Polaroid 2,000. EMC, a data storage company, will drop
1,100. This is only a partial list. Every day this spring brought more
Ironically, in the face of all these job cuts
employers are insisting upon getting more visas for cheap wage foreign
workers they want to hire! Microsoft, Motorola, Cisco, Oracle are just a
few doing this.