China + Trade = Crazy Delicious!
James Pethokoukis has a piece up at US News examining if Hillary Clinton "scares the hell" out of China. The thinking seems to be that it's not so much the humorless witch (D) that is putting the fear of god into them as "protectionist" impulses in the (D) party.
If you read this blog you know that I do not buy into the religion of "Free Trade." I think it is a religion, and a somewhat silly one. Here's the quote, from Sherrod Brown, about a bill being introduced by Mr. Sherrod along with Byron Dorgan and Lindsey Graham...
U.S. trade policy has failed workers and small businesses across our country. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing normal about allowing our trading partners to use slave labor to compete with our workers. There is nothing normal about manipulating currency to make exports cheaper. There is nothing normal about mouthing concern for intellectual property in the midst of rampant piracy. And if this is indeed normal, then I certainly don't want it to be permanent.What can one disagree with here? (and it pains me to say this considering my white hot loathing of Lindsay Graham) Do you support slaves competing with American workers? If, as we say, we stand for liberty, what the hell are we doing pouring money into a rathole like China that still allows slavery? Can anyone explain this to a simple working man?
How about the currency manipulation? Wouldn't this almost by definition remove our trade relationship from the "Free Trade" category and move it into a slightly more sophisticated version of piracy? Can it be "Free Trade" when one of the partners is straight up cheating? I don't think so, but then again I haven't had the mandatory moral lobotomy required of economists worldwide.
And in a final gesture of contempt, after reaping huge profits from this nation, what does China do? They rip off our intellectual property. If this doesn't put the lie to the whole she-bang I genuinely don't know what would.
This was never a Free Trade relationship, it was our transnational elites hoping, HOPING! To find a country fully as amoral as they which with to do business. Free Trade is a chimera, it's never what they say it is, it never accomplishes the goals they say it will accomplish, and frankly, the history of free trade is replete with examples of "Free Trade" causing wars which seems to put the lie to the Cobhamite convention.
Now, let's take a peek into what passes for a mind in one driven solely by economic issues....
First, in this article the author quotes Will Hutton...
China's stagnation would trigger a global slowdown, maybe even recession. ... The World Bank estimates that if China's growth rate fell by just 2 percent, up to 60 percent of China's bank loans would become nonperforming–so threatening both China's and, via Hong Kong, Asia's financial system. The flow of saving to finance the U.S.'s deficit would dry up, probably forcing U.S. interest rates up–so worsening the economic slowdown.To which the author of this piece ends with...
A scary scenario, no doubt–and one both Democrats and Republicans should do their best to avoid.Now, let's hit the rewind key...(insert sound of audio tape moving roughly backwards throught the carriage)
U.S. trade policy has failed workers and small businesses across our country. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing normal about allowing our trading partners to use slave labor to compete with our workers. There is nothing normal about manipulating currency to make exports cheaper. There is nothing normal about mouthing concern for intellectual property in the midst of rampant piracy. And if this is indeed normal, then I certainly don't want it to be permanent.So, we, the 'exporters of liberty', are more than happy to do business with slavers who manipulate currency and pirate our intellectual property so long as it doesn't affect our bottom line?
Is this the country you signed up for? Is this the America we were taught to cherish?
I think not.
One other detail in the article I wanted to take note of....
In essence, capital and labor are working very much at cross-purposes in the current climate, whereas back in the late 1980s they were both in the same boat. ... In the late 1980s, many of the once proud icons of corporate America were fighting for competitive survival at the same time that U.S. workers were feeling the heat of global competition. The pain was, in effect, balanced. Today, U.S. companies, as seen through the lens of corporate profitability, are thriving as never before while the American workforce is increasingly isolated in its competitive squeeze.I'm focusing on that last sentence like a rangefinder. American workers cannot 'compete', whatever the hell that means, with people earning a dollar a day. Can't and shouldn't. The object of this exercise if you've been paying attention lo these last several years IS NOT to pay more to the wogs and improve their standard of living. It is to savagely decrease wages here.
I have a simple solution. You don't want to hire Americans to make products to be sold in America, not a problem, just remove your business from this country oh, and you will no longer be allowed to do business here. The simple fact is, while yes, we are saving some amount of money by outsourcing the production of Tickle Me Elmo dolls to the worker's paradise of China, much like with illegal immigration, there are costs involved that are more difficult to parse.
What does it cost us to do business with slavers? And Saudi Arabia is certainly on that list. What does it cost us when our government strikes deals that benefit other governments to our workers detriment? What does it cost us when our big business elites strike deals that hurt people in the other country?
What does it cost us when we compromise any shred of morality to make a buck, when we allow our transnational big business combines to rove the world like harvesters seeking profit removed from decency?
If allowed a free hand our elites will import/export this country out of existence.
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