An Economist Viewpoint on the Trans-Pacific Partnership [From a Family Perspective]

My Dearest Wife:

Today I need to tell you some good news and some bad news.  I decided to tell you the bad news first because when I tell you the good news you will understand the bad news isn’t all that bad.  However, before I start it is best to remember our journey together and what we achieved with our lives as a couple and family.

calc-for-business-and-economicsWho ever thought when I first met you in college we would be married.  I needed tutoring in calculus and you were a math major.  We both went on from college and achieved our professional goals.  You become an actuary and I become an economists.  I cannot thank you enough for supporting me while I pursued my PhD in Economics.

We then focused our attention on raising two beautiful children, gave them emotional and financial support to help them achieve their passions.  I am truly proud of both of them, they have numerous friends, perform volunteer services and are excited about life.

The most important aspect of raising our children was using us as a role model.  We both worked hard to achieve our professional goals.  The results speak for themselves with our upscale lifestyle. Although we are not materialistic we appreciate and enjoy the finer things in life and providing opportunities for our children, which we never had.  We both always respected how hard it was to obtain the level of our success.

Now our children are about to enter college, this is truly an exciting time in their lives as well as ours. They are about to forge their own path to success.  Their freshman year in college will coincide with the same time we first met, 30 years ago, completing a full circle of life.

Now I have the bad news, I lost my job of 18 years; they are moving all research operations to atrans_pacific_countries developing nation, made possible by a trade agreement, such as the recent Trans-Pacific Partnership.  The company is going to reduce their labor cost by 45%.  This is going to have significant impact to the firm’s bottom line.  Profits will soar and the executive management team will earn significant bonuses for their productivity measures.

Now for the good news, these changes will make America a stronger nation, less costs means higher productivity and profits for American companies.  You always hear me talking about free international trade and comparative value, how it benefits both countries.  Think about how my professional counterparts in the developing country who now perform my research work will grow and prosper, just like we did when we first entered the work force.  They will be able to provide more for their children than they had growing up, just like we did.

We economist know international economic growth may cause some domestic labor hardship, that is why there is a safety net to help with the transition of finding new employment, called unemployment insurance.  Because we reside in Massachusetts, the weekly amount is $698.00 which is only $1,600 less per week take home pay then my job provided.  But wait, there is more benefits included within the safety net, there is grant money and government loans for job training.

Don’t worry, I am not going to embark on a 4 year educational process; instead I’m enrolling in trade school to become a men’s hair stylist and cut hair.  I worked all my life sitting in a chair, now I can work standing up.  I only need 7 more years till I retire.  Besides, you need a physical presence to cut hair, I will never have to worry about losing my job.  This is very exciting especially when you include in our situation, America is a stronger nation.

There is even more excitement because of my layoff.  As mentioned, we gave our children support both financially and emotionally, teaching them how to preserver in challenging times.  We now get to see if all our teachings worked.  Because of my unemployment situation the ability to pay for their college education is lost.  They will have to rely on scholarships, grants, and student loans to obtain their educations, just like we did when we forged our way through college.

Don’t worry we will reduce our financial stress once we sell our home and move into an apartment. The home equity built up during the last 20 years will also help in my transitional period of seeking new employment and adjusting to reduce income.  If we live like we did during our college school days, we can make our savings last several years till I can start collecting 100% of my social security benefits.

non_tradeable_job_1I know each generation is supposed to improve over the last and having our kids in debt like we were upon graduating does appear that they are starting from the beginning.  I understand we won’t have any assets to give our children and future grandchildren.  However, with all we taught our children, plus the advanced academic education they will receive, I am confident they will achieve the American dream.  This is because their academic focus is in the health care industry which is a non-tradeable service.

Include America is a stronger nation because of unrestricted tradeable services along with emerging and industrialized nations becoming more prosperous makes me very proud to be an economist.  I love helping America become a stronger nation.

As always, you are very understanding and I hope this letter clarifies any thoughts you may have on our situation.  As I original stated, the bad news is not that bad when you combine it with good news.

Very Truly Yours,
Your Husband