Trump is right that America has lost manufacturing jobs — he’s just picking on the wrong country

Mexico and China

Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto ( Center L) speaks as he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not in picture) at the West Lake State Guest House on September 4, 2016 in Hangzhou, China. The 11th G20 Leaders Summit will be held from September 4-5. Wang Zhou — Pool/Getty Images

President Donald Trump spent much of his election campaign attacking Mexico and China for, in his words, “killing us on trade” because of “bad trade deals.”

As president, however, Trump’s harsh tone with Mexico has persisted while he has mostly backed off the stronger China rhetoric — even though China had a much larger impact on the manufacturing jobs the president has said he wants to “bring back” to the US.

The chart below, which shows the path of US manufacturing employment over time, is instructive. One thing that clearly stands out is that despite Trump’s…