Friday, October 15, 2010


Jeff Jacoby in last week's Boston Globe:
The policies of the Chinese government make it possible for Americans to acquire a vast array of products at affordable prices. For that high crime and misdemeanor, the US House of Representatives voted last week to punish China.

The vote on HR 2378, which would authorize punitive tariffs on Chinese exports to the United States -- which include everything from clothing, furniture, and toys to refrigerators, computers, and sporting goods -- was a lopsided 348 to 79. It was accompanied by equally unbalanced congressional rhetoric. "They cheat to steal our jobs," fumed Mike Rogers of Michigan, while California’s Dana Rohrabacher denounced the Chinese as a "clique of gangsters."

From the Senate, where similar legislation is pending, came equally hostile words. "This suckers’ game is never going to stop unless we call their bluff," seethed Charles Schumer of New York. . .

But what exactly is so awful about selling good stuff cheap to tens of millions of US consumers? . . .

Affordable imports are a godsend, not grounds for a trade war. It’s distressing that so many members of Congress have trouble understanding that. Maybe a return to private life would help them figure it out.

(via Carpe Diem)


O Bloody Hell said...

> Maybe a return to private life would help them figure it out.

Highly improbable, but it would at least reduce the significance of their ignorance, so I'm certainly all for it.

Anonymous said...

Lest you forget, China has signed treaties with us in which they promise to honor our company's patents and copy rights; they then ignore those treaties and produce products with stolen intellectual property in them (e.g. mass produced pirated movies, mass produced consumer electronics with patented devices in them without the patent holder's permission).

They do not allow their currency to be traded on the world market, so their currency is undervalued with respect to ours (and others), which drives up the trade deficit with them.

And they've signed contracts with our companies to produce goods to a particular standard, which they then ignore (hence the poisons found in toothpaste and mouthwash produced there, the lead found in painted products produced there, etc.).

So while the do produce many inexpensive products that we want to buy, they are "cheating", and need to be punished by being removed from the WTO and having their "most favored nation" status revoked.

Until we lean on them, they won't change. As long as they are allowed to get away with it, they will continue to cheat.