Review: Lou Dobbs’ Exporting America

By Hunter Wallace

A decade ago, Lou Dobbs was thundering against free-trade and illegal immigration on his CNN television show, Lou Dobbs Tonight. These issues resonated for years but didn’t find a political voice in the mainstream until Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

I was in college at the time and was becoming interested in these issues. In 2004, Lou Dobbs published a book called Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed Is Shipping Jobs Overseas which summarized his views on trade issues. I bought a copy and it has been sitting on my bookshelf ever since. In light of recent events and renewed interest, I decided to read the book again to see how it has held up over time.

Basically, Dobbs argues that free-trade led to 28 consecutive years of trade deficits, three trillion dollars added the national debt (Asians own over half of US Treasury bonds), the export of millions of middle class jobs and our industrial base overseas, the decimation of entire industries, the ruin of labor, record levels of household debt, the two-income household and decades of stagnant real wages for American workers. The United States was supposedly moving from an “industrial economy” to an “information economy.” Yeah, we are offshoring the computer scientists, IT workers, accountants, paralegals and radiologists too. Sorry guys.

It’s really this simple: in the name of free-trade, we throw open our market to foreign goods that enter nearly duty free and refuse to tax income earned abroad. American companies move to the Vietnams, Chinas, Mexicos to avoid paying taxes and to replace their American workers with foreigners whom they pay a fraction of American wages. Instead of producing goods and services here and creating employment in America, we import them from overseas, thereby generating economic activity and tax revenue in other countries instead of here.

Ten years later, the US trade deficit has gone from $610 billion in 2004 to $508 billion in 2014. We have run a trade deficit every single year since the book was published – 38 consecutive years now in total – and sent several more trillion dollars of our wealth overseas. The big change is that oil imports have gone from 26 percent of the trade deficit in 2004 to 55 percent in 2012 and down in 20 percent in 2014. At the same time, the trade deficit with China has gone from $162 billion in 2004 to $343 billion in 2014. In other words, fracking has improved the trade picture on the energy front by reducing oil imports, but imports of manufactured goods from China has gotten much worse.

You have probably heard from the free-traders that we need to “innovate” more in America. Well, the great innovation of the last decade – the smartphone – is one of the things driving up the trade deficit because the damn iPhone is made in China. We’re also told that we need to “educate” more Americans and our universities do a great job educating foreigners in STEM who go back to China and India where the production and jobs are increasingly located thanks to free-trade. No amount of innovation or education will create middle class jobs in America if all the goods and services attached are produced overseas.

On this day in 2004, the US had a national debt of $7 trillion dollars, but right now we are $18 trillion in debt. We “innovate” everything from automobiles to consumer electronics to semiconductors to computers to smartphones, export the production and jobs associated with those technologies overseas, and go into debt to import the products back here because we are averse to employing our fellow citizens. In 2004, the jobs of the future were being created in food service and retail, which the latest BLS report shows is also true for October 2015.

Signed by President Obama, the US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement went into effect in March 2012. Three years later, the US trade deficit with South Korea has grown from $13 billion in 2011 to $25 billion in 2014. This free-trade agreement was supposed to increase exports by at least $10 or $11 billion dollars. It doubled imports while exports barely changed. In 2000, Bill Clinton promised that China’s entry into the WTO would create all kinds of American jobs.

Someone ought to write a book on the history of crackpot free-trade predictions – the trade deficit with Mexico ballooned from $1 billion in 1994 to $54 billion in 2014 thanks to NAFTA – for future generations will know what brought down the American economy in the early 21st century. Everything Lou Dobbs was saying back in 2004 about free-trade remains true today. The recent passsge of fast track authority for free-trade agreements will accelerate “Exporting America” dramatically.

As the old Dutch saying goes, cheap is expensive. Free trade isn’t free.

18 Comments

  1. They used to repeat “Good for the economy”, when they started this idiocy back in the 1980s. But it was not going to be good for the economy, nor the people in it and they knew it. Good for the economy just meant good for the mega wealthy.

  2. Spot on about Lou Dobbs, though I don’t regard his ideas needing to percolate a while as unusual. When Jimmy Carter spoke about Environmental Issues in the late 70’s it was regarded as an issue strictly for college aged kids. Ten years later it was a political force. That was likely the only thing on which the rabbit-killer was correct during his 4 yrs in DC.

    Did Trump know or even have a gut feel about how some of his ideas would attract attention? The other boobs running for president amongst the Republicrats have no clue how most Americans feel about an open door immigration policy. Or maybe they don’t care? As long as it bodes cheap labor and new voters thankful for their goodies both parties will continue to swim against the tide of public opinion.

  3. If only you had in your face experience with the brainwashing effects of our “elite”. I got my kids the best education available despite the costs involved with a bunch of kids. U Ga would have been prepaid, but I told them I’d rather pay for UVa, Berkeley or Michigan if they wanted a large school. The first rec’d absolutely the best education possible. You know, Stanford, U Chicago, Ivy League stuff.

    Yet yesterday I had to hear the line about, “America was built on refugees”. As Project Denise handler #2 would say, oy!! I tried to explain the differences between people coming to the US for religious and other fundamental American freedoms, the refusal of the US to help Syrian Christians, and the realities of proven routes of terrorism. Why bother with someone exposed to the genius of our best California based minds? Just look at the great job done with that former paradise.

    Also, confirmed his Arab elite friends consider themselves non-White.

  4. Excellent article. I have not read Dobbs but I have read Pat Buchanan and many other Paleoconservatives on this issue. One thing that I would like to add which I found out from Chronicles Magazine (I think it may have been from Scott Richert) is that the dirty little secret of the Reagan era was this. It is true that real family income went up from the Carter years. But what is not usually noted is that this is because women entered the work force in large numbers for the first time since WWII. As someone who was a boy in the 1960s and a teenager in the 1970;s, I can attest that having a stay at home mom like my mom was far better than what kids got in the mid 1980s and forward. So those Conservatives who still applaud Reagan should think this through, especially with the appointment of Justices like O’Connor and Tony “Gay Marriage is a fundamental right” Kennedy.

  5. It was good for Wall Street. It looked great on paper. Think about the economic activity that is generated when two-parent households crumble under the stress of stagnant wages and women in the workforce.

  6. Diane Feinstain and her hubby Mr Bloom made about a billion shekels cutting deals with Red Communist China, outsourcing entire industries. They are just 2 of many Tribe members, bleeding America dry.

    • There is truth at the core of the Denise Character’s statement. But by couching it in nutball rhetoric the true import of the (not new) story is missed. What Feinstein & her husband have been doing for a long time is about greed and the failure of America’s political leadership. Note how making it part of a Zionist plot & conspiracy it diverts attention from the real reason pols do this stuff. Greed and abuse of power.

      • My only problems with the Pollard situation were that his sentence was out of proportion to those given other criminals for the same crime; and the refusal of the DOJ to properly prosecute these crimes. Pollard should have received a death sentence as should all criminals convicted of Treason for betraying their nation. No matter to whar country the info flows. That would have addressed my concerns.

  7. Let’s not overlook the goal of business and political elites on the right to get out from under union, regulatory and environmental controls, but still be able to sell to the home market. It isnt just wage differentials, There is a racial angle as well. Go look at the race breakdown of the people opposed to and for this agenda. Whites were sold – especially in the South – that this would hurt black “workers” in the northern industrial states and by extension their political allies. I would argue that at least temporarily it drove young whites to the left as few experienced anything resembling real opportunity.

    Probably all set up when GOP Nixon went to China.

  8. ‘What Feinstein & her husband have been doing for a long time is about greed and the failure of America’s political leadership. Note how making it part of a Zionist plot & conspiracy it diverts attention from the real reason pols do this stuff. Greed and abuse of power.’

    Iniquity is always more expedient to confront when one supposes it to be the sole franchise of the ‘other fellow’.

  9. A great article. More and more I’m relying on this site for good, thought provoking material on subjects that have largely been swept under the rug by the MSM. Keep up the good work!

  10. Feinstain and Bloom are Jews. Pollard’s a Jew. Why did Jess try for so long and so hard to get Pollard – a vile traitor I ever there was one, who should have been executed – to free him?

  11. ‘Feinstain and Bloom are Jews. Pollard’s a Jew. ‘

    M’am – don’t forget to list all those of other ethnicities who have contributed mightily to the theft of this country.

    It will be a long list, but, as you are scholarly, I have faith in you, that, one day, you’ll get to the end of it.

  12. ‘Yet the vast majority of Nation Wreckers are Jews. Weird.’

    If you discount all the non-Jewish nation wreckers, M’am, then, absolutely, it is quite clear that Jews are the primary nation wreckers.

  13. ‘A great article. More and more I’m relying on this site for good, thought provoking material on subjects that have largely been swept under the rug by the MSM. Keep up the good work!’

    I second that. The journalism at this site is, for anyone wishing to take an objective look at the South, and it’s evolution, without peer.

    Mr. Griffin owns the field and does an excellent job.

  14. Hunter, a lot of this BS is thanks to increasing government regulation as well, making doing business & employing workers in the US ever-more expensive and onerous. I spoke to a farmer in the NW recently, he said back when he started his 40-acre farm several decades ago, there was way less regulation, most farms in the county were family-run, about the same size, a real community helping each other out…increasing regulation, taxation, liability issues (from EPA to civil rights to worker’s comp) has shrunk the margins and forced smaller concerns out of business. Farming is no longer seen as profitable for their kids, who migrate to the big cities. What’s replacing them? Big, 600+-acre latifundios run by wealthy farmers or corporations, employing armies of – you guessed it – Latino migrants of dubious legal status. The county is now 50% Hispanic, where is was once almost 100% white.

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