For the last several decades, international banks, Wall Street, old rich, new rich, almost all corporations, news media, government and politicians have had compatible goals and incentives. Cooperation between these groups has been unprecedented and seemingly permanent.
For the first time in many years, these elite players are agreeing with each other less than 100% of the time. A commodity as universal as oil cannot fall in price as fast as it has unless the price had previously been elevated artificially. The oil price would not be falling unless people who have been cooperating with one another are no longer cooperating.
For the longest time, economists have been dismissing worries that a high trade deficit is a problem. They explain that it all balances out in the capital account. Foreigners buy American financial assets, so what is the problem?
The problem is that humans are not completely honest but they are assumed to be in economics. Foreign governments have tried to gain advantage by driving down the value of their currencies to make their manufactured goods more attractive around the globe. In the meantime the U.S. has been heavily subsidizing Wall Street and using the Federal Reserve to drive asset prices high above their natural market values.
In a short time mainstream economists will start making the astounding observation that a high trade deficit can be a detriment to the economy. There is nothing in economic theory to explain the effects of government inspired economic scams. It takes common sense to notice those things.