February 17 | By: Ana Swanson.
On the campaign trail and in office, President Trump and his advisers have railed against countries that exploit the United States by selling us a lot more stuff than we sell them — that is, countries with whom we have big trade deficits. The criticism has led them to pursue a confrontational trade strategy, espousing taxes and potentially tariffs that would, at least conceptually, make U.S. exports cheaper and foreign imports more expensive.
Yet David Autor, a widely respected economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who actually has done much of the most groundbreaking research on how trade can kill jobs, says that if the president wants trade to do more to benefit American workers, he should take a different approach.
Autor is perhaps best known for his calculations about how China’s entry into the global trading market had a devastating effect on U.S. manufacturing communities. I spoke with him about Trump’s trade philosophy and what he would suggest the new administration do to help workers.
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