Welcome to Dundalk, a town of about 60,000--located just outside of Baltimore, Maryland. This area was inhabited by the Susquehanna when Captain John Smith explored the area in 1608. Two and a half centuries later, Henry McShane, an Irish immigrant, built a bell foundry on the site and named the area after his place of birth--Dundalk, Ireland. In 1916 the Bethlehem Steel Company purchased a thousand acres of farmland near the foundry to develop housing for its shipyard workers. The housing development was one of the first planned suburban communities in North America. However, the McShane Bell Foundry moved and Bethlehem Steel--a once powerful symbol of American industrial might--went out of business. Today, Dundalk looks more like an urban wasteland than a model suburban community.
Right: Remnants of a pier seem to point to the Walenius Wilhelmsen cargo ship unloading new cars at the Baltimore Terminal. 1996 marked the year when foreign cars captured more American market share than domestic cars. U.S. automakers have downsized their domestic manufacturing operations and have moved their assembly plants to places like Mexico. Meanwhile Asian and European carmakers have been successful at convincing state and local governments to dole out hundreds of millions of dollars in tax subsidies in exchange for locating assembly plants in the U.S. The trade deficit has been declining in the months since June 2011, when it reached $52 Billion. However, most experts predict it will begin to climb in 2012 because Europe is likely to import fewer U.S. goods as its economy weakens.
Many economists believe that in the long term the trade deficit--even more than the budget deficit--is the greatest threat to the future of America.