The Commerce Department announced that the U.S. trade deficit fell sharply in October. I normally would welcome this as good news – but a closer look reveals a different story.

The main reason for the apparent drop in the U.S. trade deficit is that our imports from OPEC were significantly less expensive in October – and one can hardly expect that to be a long-term trend. Meanwhile, our trade deficit with both China and Japan reached new records in that month. The China deficit alone reached $24.3 billion in just one month – and the Chinese shipped us six times as much merchandise as they purchased from us. Our merchandise trade deficit for the year is set to reach a new record, well above $800 billion.

These are the key deficit numbers – the ones that translate into lost U.S. jobs and a declining standard of living, as our manufacturing base continues to be hollowed out.

We have lost three million manufacturing jobs in just the last few years. Even in Washington D.C., where unfettered “free trade