The deficit that matters
If a country consumes more than it produces, it must import more than it exports. That’s not a rip-off; that’s arithmetic. If we manage to negotiate a reduction in the Chinese trade surplus with the United States, we will have an increased trade deficit with some other country.
Federal deficit spending, a massive and continuing act of dissaving, is the culprit. Control that spending and you will control trade deficits.
George P. Shultz, a former U.S. secretary of labor, treasury and state, is a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution. Martin Feldstein is professor of economics at Harvard University and former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and president of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
A ship sails from the Port of Los Angeles in 2015.