First, the phrase “goods and services deficit” is arbitrary. The government could just as accurately have reported that Americans had a “$47.6 billion trade surplus for goods and services” because the value of foreign goods and services gained by Americans in April was $43.6 billion greater than the value of U.S. goods and services gained by foreigners.
Here’s how Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute put it: “If you think about America’s ‘trade deficit’ and look carefully at ‘who, on net, ends up with the most stuff (goods),’ you’d conclude that what is typically and pejoratively called a ‘trade deficit’ is actually a ‘stuff surplus.'”
When I was living in Washington, DC, I once had the pleasure of riding with a driver who was currently out of work while she was recovering from surgery. The surgery itself was minor and still allowed for the operation of a vehicle. And even though her job would be waiting for her when she was healed, she had used up all her paid time off, and was not making money during the recovery process.
But thanks to Uber, my driver didn’t have to worry about income or filing for short-term disability or other welfare programs while she waited to get back to work. She was earning money while avoiding the stir-crazy feelings of being trapped inside her house while she healed.