Last year, Barack Obama committed his administration to doubling U.S. exports in half a decade.
The good news: He is on the way. U.S. exports of goods and services grew in 2010 by 16.6 percent.
Bad news: U.S. imports, starting from a higher base, surged by 19.7 percent.
Result: The U.S. trade deficit in 2010 worsened by 33 percent, rising from $375 billion to $498 billion, the largest percentage increase in a decade. If Obama keeps this up, he may prove as big a disaster for U.S. manufacturing as his predecessor, although these are big shoes to fill.
As he has each February for years, Charles W. McMillion of MBG Information Services has compiled the stats on the industrial decline of his country under our free trade presidents. Here are but a few numbers for the decade from December 2000, the month before George W. Bush took the oath, to December 2010, the end of Obama's second year.
In that decade, America ran a total of $6.1 trillion in trade deficits, more than our entire economic growth. To finance those 10 years of deficits, America had to borrow $1.553 billion every day.
And we wonder why China owns America.
In 2010, our trade deficit in manufactures alone rose 27 percent to $416 billion, far exceeding our trade deficit in crude oil. A decade of such deficits in manufactures has devastated the industrial states.
From December 2000 to December 2010, 22 states lost a third or more of their manufacturing jobs. Massachusetts, New York and Ohio lost 38 percent of their manufacturing jobs, New Jersey 39 percent, North Carolina 42 percent, Rhode Island 44 percent, Michigan 48 percent.
Political result: Free trader John McCain lost all seven, including the formerly "red" states of Ohio and North Carolina.
Trade in autos, trucks and parts, an industry in which America was dominant in the lifetime of many of us, tells the story.
Last year, the United States ran a trade deficit in autos, trucks and parts of $110 billion. The deficits with Germany, Japan, South Korea and Mexico account for that entire total.
Consider South Korea. Though she has an economy one-fifteenth the size of ours, she exported to us 12 times the dollar volume of trucks, cars and parts that we exported to her.
Rather than make a free trade agreement with South Korea, why not tell our friends in Seoul: We are tired of arguing with you folks about opening your markets to our goods. Since you folks buy less than $1 billion in autos, etc., from us, while you sell almost $12 billion in your cars and trucks to us, you keep your market. We're taking back ours.