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The Red Line

Millions of lost American jobs show the high cost of unfettered free trade

Donald Trump's assault on free trade has elicited almost universal pushback in defense of the global trading system. The president summed up his critique of trade in his inaugural address, describing its impact as "American carnage" in the form of "rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape," after "one by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind."

Last year, Trump's critique was validated in a study by MIT Professor David Autor and colleagues entitled "The China Shock," which focused upon the extensive damage wrought by that one nation upon the American manufacturing sector.

The free-trade establishment conceded only that "some lose out," referring to unemployed U.S. factory workers.

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