It’s well known that if Texas were a nation state, it would boast the world’s 10th largest economy. What’s lesser known is that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2018 Texans exported nearly $316 billion in goods and commodities to foreign trading partners, accounting for 19% of total U.S. exports.
That’s why, as we’ve pointed out time and again — most recently in an editorial highlighting Caterpillar’s decision to lay off 120 workers at its plant in Victoria —“the Trump administration’s continuing trade war is having continuing casualties in Texas.”
Yes, the Texas economy is humming along, with positive growth and low unemployment. But, as Dallas Federal Reserve President Rob Kaplan explained last week, continued economic growth is at risk if we turn against immigration and globalization. He didn’t go this far, but we would argue that the growing populist — and misguided — sentiment on both the political left and the right that globalization and immigration are somehow detriments to our economy are pulling us in the wrong direction.
“For those who think we can cut immigration and grow GDP [gross domestic product],” Kaplan said in a speech to the Dallas Regional Chamber, “my job is to point out that those two things do not go together.” Texas’ relatively strong growth is a product of its low taxes and business-friendly regulations, he said, but it’s also a product of increasing globalization and the state’s influx of new residents, many of them immigrants.
If your job is being eliminated or restructured and you believe that it “must be due to either immigration or a lousy trade deal,” you’ve misdiagnosed the problem, Kaplan said. As in other countries, an aging population and technology-related disruption are the real threat to U.S. jobs, and the only remedy is through improved training programs and investment in lifelong education. “If we get this diagnosis wrong and we attribute these issues to globalization,” he said, “we’re going to make poor policy decisions on either immigration or on trade.”
By Dallas Morning News Editorial
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