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Economy Not Squeezed

May 12, 1985

"Import Squeeze Growth Out of the Economy" (April 21) that reported that Data Resources estimates "nearly 40 cents of each new dollar spent by industry and consumers above their 1981 level goes to foreigners" is a gross misrepresentation of the impact that imports have had on the U.S. economy. Between 1981 the 1984, U.S. Final Sales increased $672.9 billion. During this same period, imports rose to $428.5 billion in 1984 from $341.9 billion in 1981, an increase of $86.6 billion. This means nearly 13 cents out of each new dollar spent by industry and consumers since 1981 goes to foreigners.

Even this picture is merely a snapshot whose focus is dictated by the selection of the beginning year. Imports in 1980 captured 11.92% of final sales. In 1984, they captured 11.89% of final sales. Nothing fundamental has changed between the U.S. economy and its foreign suppliers.

Finally, the evidence provided in your charts contradicts the assertion in your headline. The import surge coincided with the economic recovery and slowed with the economic slowdown. Similarly, the marked rise in corporate profits coincided with the rise in imports, just as their recent decline coincided with a decline in imports.

So, all that we are left with is that the surge in imports held down prices to the consumer and coincided with a remarkably strong expansion of the U.S. economy and a healthy upturn in corporate profits. What's so bad about that?

CHARLES W. KADLEC

Lomita

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