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The Human Cost Of Free Trade

Donald Trump is the only candidate who understands that the US has been in a trade war since the 1980's. The US has lost every battle in that war so far.

Victory in trade means that the value of a country's exports exceeds the cost of its imports. This hasn't happened to the US since 1981. We are trapped in this Great Recession so long as we buy $500 billion more from foreign countries than we export every year (the preliminary 2015 estimate for the trade deficit is $531.5 billion).

American businesses in the era of the strong dollar were quick to move manufacturing offshore where labor was cheap and plentiful. This meant that Chinese workers making $50/month effectively replaced American workers making $50,000/year. Remember: the displaced Americans had to take jobs "flipping hamburgers."

The winners in this paradigm were stockholders, corporate executives, and service employees who were immune from foreign competition. The losers were workingmen and women and those who depended on them. Real weekly earnings of wage and salaried workers have not grown in 20 years.

American workers feel betrayed by their own leaders. The magic of democracy is that numbers count and they can bring about change by voting for Mr. Trump. They are not voting for political parties in this election. They are voting to bring jobs back to America and will cross party lines to do it in a New York second.

Meg Whitman has every reason to be upset about prospects that Hewlett-Packard's costs of electronic components will go up if it is forced to pay import tariffs on what are now cheap imports from China. Free trade is not free. There are downsides to consider before closing the door on Mr. Trump's trade proposals.

• No nation in world history has endured running negative trade balances. On our present course, it is only a question of time before the dollar collapses.

• Since 1992, $9.6 trillion of wealth has flowed out of the country in trade imbalances. This money had to be borrowed overseas.

• Mr. Trump is not setting limits on imports from China or any other country. He is simply saying that they have to spend as much buying our goods as we spend buying their goods. Do you really have a problem with that Meg?