Here are two related issues: the trade deficit and the announcement today that Chrysler was cutting 13,000 jobs. First, the record trade deficits (from The New York Times):
WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 — The United States ran a record trade deficit in 2006 for the fifth consecutive year, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday in an announcement that quickly reignited the dispute between the Bush administration and Democrats over the value of past and future deals lowering trade barriers.
The bureau said that the trade deficit, or gap between what the United States sells abroad and what it imports, reached a new high of $763.3 billion last year, a 6.5 percent increase over the year before. The deficit was fueled by the continuing American need for foreign oil and imports of consumer goods from China and other countries.
The record trade deficit was no surprise, since it had been foreshadowed in monthly figures over the last year. But in the current tense political climate in Washington, it was seized upon by both the Bush administration and its critics. It also seemed certain to become a factor in the accelerating presidential race.
And, then, almost as if the timing was coordinated:
DaimlerChrysler said today that it was leaving all options open for the future of its struggling Chrysler Group, which announced a plan to close all or part of four plants and eliminate 13,000 jobs in North America.
There isn't a quote from the UAW in the story but obviously this is another hit for my union. And these crazy politicians want to continue to pass so-called "free trade" agreements? Wake up.