Trump’s Trade Deficit Legacy: Three Largest In History In Four Years

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President Trump, seen here boarding Air Force One before departing to Texas on Tuesday, has long ... [+] complained about U.S. trade deficits, particularly with China. AFP via Getty Images Both as a candidate and a president, President Trump decried trade deficits.

While he is not the first to bemoan deficits nor will he be the last, Trump made taming them a key part of his campaign. On that score, he will have failed. The three largest U.S. deficits in history will have occurred during the Trump Administration. But his complaints about trade deficits are largely due to a misunderstanding of how international trade works. It led him and his trade advisors to a misguided decision to shift to bilateral deals and away from the multilateral focus that had largely been in place since the end of World War II and an equally misguided understanding of what trade deficits represent and how they occur. The truth is, deficits should be expected to increase over time as overall trade increases. In the simplest terms, it means U.S. consumers and businesses are buying, leading to increased imports. And that’s precisely what happened in the first more...