The Trade Deficit Is Down, But There’s a Catch


The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest trade deficit numbers:

The U.S. current-account deficit sank to the lowest level in more than 14 years at the end of 2013, reflecting a smaller trade gap and better returns on assets Americans own abroad….The gap, which has narrowed 20% from a year earlier, now represents 1.9% of U.S. gross domestic product. That’s the smallest shortfall as a share of the U.S. economy since 1997.

That’s all good, but there’s a caveat: since 2009, the overall trade deficit has been flat while net imports of oil have decreased by about $50 billion per quarter. This means that net imports of all other goods have actually increased. The fracking boom is helping us out, but only temporarily. We still have a fairly chronic trade deficit problem everywhere else. More here on why this was probably inevitable.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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