I admit, for some reason this is not one of my stronger subjects. But something occurred to me recently.
Some of you have seen me post my understanding of the critical catalytic role that age demographics plays in the economy. To quickly recap, the more people in the US population there are within the "primary spending age group" of 46 and 54, the better the economy. The 90s boom happened because the baby boomers were hitting that age group, and the current recession is occurring because the baby boomers are leaving that group. (Thanks again to Noah for providing that ever-elusive link about this!) In the early 2020s, when the early wave of "echo baby boomers" starts hitting that age, I will be investing very heavily in the stock market (provided it still exists).
So with what's going on now, with stimulus packages and bailouts, it occurs to me that the key to salvaging the economy is to increase the raw number of consumers. Since our primary spending consumer demographic is shrinking, free trade would seem, to me, a good way to open up the markets of other countries, in hopes that their populations will add to our consumption, which would aid business without handouts to them, which would boost employment and so on.
But I understand that the anti-free trade arguments are powerful. Free trade agreements allow companies to lay off American workers and move to the other countries with which we have free trade.
Is there some way to expand "free trade" as to opening up foreign consumer markets, without making it easier for employers to move to other countries? I apologize if this has been covered in another thread.