In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Bueller’s classmates stare blankly, blow bubbles, and fall asleep on their desks as high school teacher Ben Stein (an economist in real life) explains how the United States sank deeper into depression in the early 1930s. As he drones on, asking the students questions — “Anyone? Anyone?” — few of the movie’s fans realize he’s teaching one of the most important lessons in the history of trade policy: how Congress muffed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930.
Studying the rise and fall of “company towns,” the lessons are clear. Place-based policies meant to resurrect declining areas are futile. Instead, leaders must not only invest in the people in their communities — they must recognize that policies to promote mobility will pay off.
By focusing on better preparing youth for employment in the knowledge economy, we can address long-term labor market shortfalls, improve lifetime earning potential, and contribute significantly to national productivity and global competitiveness. Where does it all begin? With teaching our kids to read well.
In 2016, the United States imported $1.3 billion worth of natural rubber, second only to China as the world’s largest importer. But America’s largest rubber band manufacturer has asked U.S. trade agencies to investigate whether China, Thailand, and Sri Lanka are subsidizing their producers, enabling them to sell unfairly cheap rubber bands.
Despite the diffusion of drug production globally, a full three-quarters of spending on medicines in the United States is on products that are manufactured domestically, by both American and foreign companies.
President Trump just announced $50 billion worth of tariffs and other penalties on China for its theft of intellectual property, technology, and trade secrets. China will not change its behavior absent external pressure — pushing back against the constant drain from Chinese IP theft is long overdue.
China’s cybersecurity law can be used as a form of “backdoor” trade retaliation to hurt U.S. firms in China.
While President Trump believes China’s large trade surplus shifts the balance of power in a tariff war to the United States, China can respond by punishing U.S. affiliates, who are sitting ducks in a trade war.