Chart of the Day: The Mystery of Donald Trump’s Missing Year

Here is the Trump administration’s estimate of the benefit of USMCA (aka NAFTA 2.0), the trade deal with Mexico and Canada that was concluded last year. They say that GDP will go up:

OK, it’s a table, not a chart. Sue me. In any case, it claims that Trump’s new trade deal will increase GDP by 0.35 percent, but mysteriously doesn’t say when this increase will happen. I wonder why they’d leave that out?

The answer is that it’s because this increase happens over the course of 16 years. That’s about 0.02 percent per year. Just to make it clear what that means, it’s the equivalent of $100 growing by two cents.

But wait, there’s more! It turns out that the model used by the International Trade Commission actually projects a GDP decrease of 0.12 percent. However, they add 0.47 percentage points because “commitments in USMCA address [] regulatory uncertainty by providing assurance to firms that current conditions will be maintained into the future.” The idea here is that companies can’t really be sure that things we’ve all been doing for decades will continue in the future, and the new treaty clears up this uncertainty.

Maybe so. But if that’s really the case, maybe we should sign a treaty that just clears up the regulatory uncertainty and leaves everything else alone?

This all comes via Dean Baker, who has more to say here.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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