MAGA: West Coast imports crash 19% in first quarter
U.S. West Coast container import traffic plunged by 19% in the first quarter of 2019 as Trump's trade war hammered China's export economy.
Drewry Maritime Research reported that U.S. West Coast ports suffered from a "tariff hangover" effect as transpacific container imports were down 19% from the previous quarter and down 3% from the same period last year.
Pres. Trump was hammered by Democrats and the mainstream media for the 11% jump in U.S. exports from China during the last three quarters of 2018. But Drewry highlighted that container ship volumes and rates have tanked by 20% since January as Chinese exporters tried to front-run Pres. Trump's ratcheting up tariffs:
Now that the sugar rush, caused by the threatened tariffs on Chinese goods, has passed, the market is readjusting to much slower volumes and prices.
America's import and export trade balance was generally flat from 1950 to 1993. But the collapse of the Soviet Union was hailed as the "End of History" to launch a new era of scientific "comparative advantage" that would allocate economic activity to where an item could be produced better or more efficiently than in another region.
The NAFTA draft agreement creating a trilateral North American trade bloc — United States, Canada, and Mexico — introduced by Republican President George H.W. Bush in December 1992, incoming Democrat president Bill Clinton, and a Democrat-controlled Congress, would substantially strengthen U.S. job and patent protections.
But Clinton forcefully campaigned for and signed the agreement by claiming: "We must recognize that the only way for a wealthy nation to grow richer is to export."
Bill Clinton's globalist doctrine essentially provided "socialism for capital and free markets for labor." Trade economist Paul Krugman would win the Nobel Prize for supporting Clinton's globalist New World Order that he called "an issue whose symbolic importance is much larger than its direct economic implications."
Clinton's radical New World Order economic doctrine precipitated the 1994 Mexican peso crisis and the 1997 Asian financial crash. Clinton responded to the crises by doubling down on his doctrine by supporting U.S. government-sponsored international bank bailouts and lobbied Congress to pass China's permanent recognition by the World Trade Organization as a tariff-free "Most Favored Nation" in March 2000.
After 43 years of balanced trade stability, the U.S. monthly balance of trade relentlessly expanded to a record monthly deficit of $67.8 billion by August of 2006. After a short recovery, a new plunge in the trade balance kicked off the 2008–2011 Great Recession.
Clinton's policies caused U.S. domestic manufacturing employment to crash from 15.4% of U.S. employment when he took office to 8.5% when Pres. Trump took office. The obvious winner was China, which saw its balance of trade surplus spike from $18 billion when Clinton took office to $376 billion when Trump took office.
But the biggest winner from Clinton's New World Order were the globalist plutocrats that saw U.S. corporate profits as a percentage of GDP more than double from about 2% when Clinton took office to over 4% when Trump took office.
More importantly during the same period was the impact on income inequality. The top 5% of U.S. income-earners over the 24 years saw their after inflation adjusted earnings jump by 50%, compared to a 20% increase for median earners and a 10% growth for the bottom 20% of income-earners.
Paul Krugman, who warned during the 2016 election campaign that Donald Trump's MAGA policies would create a global recession, now claims that the "Trump Boom" record employment and fastest manufacturing job growth in three decades is unsustainable.
But it is China that is panicked about sustainability, as the Red Dragon has been slashing lending rates and offering subsidies to purchase new cars and appliances to counter the contracting growth of its tax collection that fell 12.4% last month.