The BBC has a story that says:
Economists generally agree that neither trade deficits nor surpluses are necessarily 'good' or 'bad' for an economy.
Is there some way to verify there's a level of consensus or at least majority opinion among economists that this is the case? E.g. is there some kind of survey of economists on this? Or is it a truth enshrined in most economics textbooks? These are just some suggestions for how to investigate this claim. I'm pretty open to other methods for establishing this putative general agreement among economists on the matter of trade deficit/surpluses not being inherently good or bad.
As a clarification as why focus on this statement and not on the Trumpian view that deficits are bad: it's because some economists apparently argue trade deficit is good, Milton Friedman supposedly had this view (I don't know how complete this quote is in reflecting that):
The idea that trade deficits might be acceptable harkens back to the early days of free-market capitalism and the Chicago School of Economics. Milton Friedman, the original disciple of the free-market school maintained that “a sustained trade deficit is the best possible outcome….we get physical goods like cars, flash memory, oil, computers, toys and all sorts of other goods for cheaply produced paper known as currency.”
I think I don't need to quote Trump (or his economic advisers) that deficits are bad (for the flip side). So what the BBC claims--namely that the mainstream view is that deficits are neither good nor bad--is a pretty strong claim given that some polarization of opinions (at the good/bad extremes) clearly exists on the matter. That's why I'm asking about whether this supposed mainstream view really is so "generally agreed".
And I also disagree that BBC's statement is wishy-washy; it's substantially different from just claiming (say) that "whether deficits are good or bad is controversial", which could entail that much more polarization exists on the matter and imply nothing about the existence of a quasi-consensus. If you want a numerical analogy, the controversial scenario could be 53% say "good", 47% say "bad", whereas the BBC statement is something like 20% say good, 20% say bad, 60% say neither good nor bad (and that's the quasi-consensus).