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Lack of workers, not Chinese misconduct, is main US job challenge: James Freeman

Blair Shiff

The greatest challenge facing the U.S. job market is not the effect of China's intellectual property theft and unfair trade practices but rather the lack of enough American workers to fill all the available openings, James Freeman, associate editor for the Wall Street Journal, said on "The Evening Edit with Elizabeth MacDonald."

Freeman, who pointed out that there are currently more than 7 million job openings, offered his analysis in opposition to the views of Peter Navarro, who has said the Trump administration is trying to stop a hemorrhaging of jobs by escalating the trade war with China.

"I would say [Navarro] doesn't seem to believe in the power of the Trump agenda as far as tax-cutting and deregulation," Freeman said Monday. "Right now, the problem in America is too few workers. This is an amazing job market."

"Donald Trump basically solved the competitiveness problem in this country with the tax-cutting and the deregulation," Freeman said. "This is the cost. I'm not saying it's not valuable if you can actually get China to stop stealing our intellectual property, but you have to recognize this is a big cost when you're taxing trade."

Navarro's views find some support from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, which estimates American job losses, by state, due to China trade from 2001 to 2017 as follows:

  • California - 560,000 jobs
  • Texas - 314,000 jobs
  • New York - 183,500 jobs
  • Illinois - 148,200 jobs
  • Pennsylvania - 136,100 jobs

"Donald Trump basically solved the competitiveness problem in this country with the tax-cutting and the deregulation," Freeman said. "This is the cost. I'm not saying it's not valuable if you can actually get China to stop stealing our intellectual property, but you have to recognize this is a big cost when you're taxing trade."

Freeman thinks if America decides it's the government's job to decide how much other countries purchase from the U.S., then a recession is imminent.

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