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Catherine Rampell: What’s behind the ballooning trade deficit

For years President Trump has been obsessed with trade deficits, (incorrectly) viewing them as a good measure of which countries are "winning" and which are "losing." The United States has run a trade deficit for decades, thereby designating us a perennial loser in Trump's worldview. He promised to turn things around by picking a few easy-to-win trade wars.

Instead, by Trump’s own measure, we’re bigger “losers” than ever before. The trade deficit just jumped to its largest size in a decade. Even worse: Our deficit in goods, which Trump for some reason emphasizes most, just hit its largest level ever.