There Really is No Trade Imbalance to Eliminate, So Eliminating a Fictional Deficit Won't Create Jobs
2. The only way to eliminate the $600 billion trade deficit would be to simultaneously eliminate the $600 billion foreign investment surplus. With the elimination of hundreds of billions of dollar of foreign investment that likely helps create jobs, why would we expect a net job increase?
Apparently, C. Fred Bergsten assumes that the $1 million spent on American goods supports or creates U.S. jobs, while the $1 million spent on U.S. assets does nothing for U.S. jobs. That's nonsense. The $1 million invested in the U.S. to purchase American assets might create more jobs in the long run than the $1 million spent on American goods. In any case, the simple fact that there is no "trade imbalance" to start with once we account for spending on both goods and financial assets, implies that eliminating a "fictional imbalance" won't have any effect at all on U.S. employment.
Update: In the study "The Trade-Balance Creed," Dan Griswold of the Cato Institute found the following historical relationship between trade deficits and jobs:
"Trade deficits are routinely blamed for job losses, yet civilian employment grew a healthy 1.4 percent annually during periods of rising trade deficits while job growth was virtually zero during those periods when the deficit was declining. Ditto for the unemployment rate. The jobless rate ticked down 0.4 percentage points per year on average when the trade deficit was on an upward trend, and jumped a painful 1.0 point per year when the trade deficit was shrinking. In four of the five periods in which imports did outpace exports, the unemployment rate fell, and in every period in which imports grew more slowly than exports, or fell more rapidly, the unemployment rate rose."