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Robert Reich – Are Trade Deals Good for America?

Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are blaming free-trade deals for the decline of working-class jobs and incomes. Are they right?

Clearly, America has lost a significant number of factory jobs over the last three decades. In 1980, 1 in 5 Americans worked in manufacturing. Now it’s 1 in 12.

Today Ohio has a third fewer manufacturing jobs than it had in 2000. Michigan is down 32 percent.

Trade isn’t the only culprit. Technological change has also played a part.

When I visit one of America’s remaining factories, I rarely see assembly-line workers. I don’t see many workers at all. Instead, I find a handful of technicians sitting behind computer screens. They’re linked to fleets of robots and computerized machine tools who do the physical work.

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