I am aware of the trends in your previous posts. Obviously, the Japan and Germany were going to reclaim their positions as the primary drivers of growth in their respective regions, but I don’t believe that that, even in addition to the productivity gains, is the major reason behind the decline in U.S. manufacturing. I say decline because that’s exactly what it is, a decline. The U.S. consistently favors financial services and agriculture in trade negotiations, so the U.S. manufacturing sector doesn’t get the attention that it deserves in the resulting agreements. The recent free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea is just one example. Beef producers and wine makers are reportedly the big winners. The U.S. sells approximately 5,000 cars in South Korea and South Korea sells about 500,000 here and the agreement won’t do a whole lot to change that ratio. Countries like Japan and China have used mercantilist trade practices to take market share and jobs away from U.S. companies. The U.S. government has largely maintained a lassez faire economic policy despite this. In Japan’s case it was for geopolitical reasons, primarily to promote the security relationship by ensuring the basing of U.S. troops in Japan. In China’s case it is to support the effort of U.S. multinationals abroad, which is one of the biggest reason why the president has failed to label China a currency manipulator. Polticial leaders need to get elected and this is where the big corporations come in with their huge donations to political campaigns. If a candidate is beholden to corporate interests then he/she will not do something that will benefit working class people if it is counter to the interest of corporate donors. If you say that the U.S. is trying to cling to industries of the past then what do you have to say about the solar panel industry? This is an industry of the future, but the U.S. allowed Chinese companies to dump thousands of solar panels in the U.S. market. If your someone who says that the U.S. shouldn’t pick winners and losers, that’s fine and dandy, but the end result is that if the U.S. doesn’t subsize this industry it will allow China to pick the winners. U.S. companies would be at an even greater disadvantage if the U.S. didn’t subsidize solar panel makers. The mercantilist tactics of China have succeeded in putting U.S. companies out of business and seizing market share for Chinese companies. This is in addition to the tariffs and taxes that are in place to discourage U.S. exports to China, which is why the trade deficit is $200 billion a year.