Globalization hasn't delivered the prosperity promised.

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Globalization has produced radically different results for the United States than the widely shared prosperity its advocates promised. Jobs and production shifted abroad, leaving behind a weakened industrial base, eroded communities, and poor job prospects for our middle class. It has put our nation on a trajectory of long-term decline, economic instability, and geopolitical risk. Tariffs, further trade protections, and a renewed focus on balancing our political economy are essential to restoring America’s future.

America’s trade deficit skyrocketed from $30 billion in 1991 to $380 billion in 2001 to a record $950 billion in 2022. Today, the U.S. alone accounts for around 78 percent of the total trade deficits of industrial nations. China, meanwhile, holds 45 percent of the world’s trade surplus—meaning it exports far more than it imports.

Some wave away the idea that this trade deficit is a problem, but a persistent and ever-growing trade deficit is not normal. Even libertarian economist Friedrich Hayek argued that trade should eventually balance. Similarly, Adam Smith and David Ricardo assumed goods would be exchanged for other goods under international trade, whereas today, they are often exchanged for U.S. assets.

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Mark DiPlacido
Mark DiPlacido is a policy advisor at American Compass.
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