Trade: The Impact of Imports

Every year since 1893, U.S. businessmen and farmers have sold enough goods overseas to take in more money than the nation has paid for its im ports. That trade surplus has long been the foundation of U.S. global economic power. Over the past two decades, it has amounted to $79 billion, greatly diminishing the chronic balance of pay ments deficits caused by foreign aid and investment, overseas tourist traffic and military spending.

This year, however, the long-strong trade surplus has shriveled. In March, May and...

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