Chinese Jump Rope
With straight faces, apparently, here’s what the Christian Scientist Monitor’s Editorial Board put out on March 11th:
“President Obama plans to create 2 million new jobs within five years by doubling – yes, doubling – US exports. To achieve this stunning goal will require him to bang forcefully on the doors of many countries that now block American goods and services.
“Is Mr. Obama up to it?
“‘Commercial diplomacy’ isn’t for the faint of heart.
“Japan (or rather ‘Japan Inc.’) used stealthy means over decades to open markets for its goods. In the past decade, China has imitated Japan in many ways, by discriminating against foreign goods, poaching patents, heavily subsidizing exporters, and setting unfair currency rates. It now accounts for about a fifth of goods that America imports.
“Opening foreign markets is a task that has stymied many US presidents. Obama’s goal of doubling exports by 2014 would require a rate of increase not achieved by the United States since the 1970s.
“But the payoff would be big. Exports as a share of the US economy are now three times higher than a half century ago. They are 11 percent of gross domestic product, support 10 million jobs, and often pay higher wages. Some economists estimate that more than half of the US economic growth in the last half of 2009 came from exports.
“Breaking down trade barriers may be Obama’s best path to his goal of creating 95,000 jobs a month. Smaller US firms – the biggest job creators – need special help in learning how to sell abroad. Less than 1 percent of American companies sell abroad, and of those that do, most sell to only one country.
“As if in a war, Obama issued an executive order Thursday that includes bold steps to ensure, as he put it, ‘a level playing field’ for US exports.
“He will assemble an ‘export cabinet,’ consisting of the secretaries of Commerce, Agriculture, State, Treasury, and other agencies, that will coordinate governmentwide action. That minicabinet will be tasked to help US companies compete abroad with stronger incentives: more loans and tax credits, lower regulatory hurdles, and aggressive hand-holding by hundreds of government experts on trade. More than 40 trade missions are planned this year.
“Another step is tougher enforcement of current trade rules to prevent foreign bias against US goods and services.
“So far, however, Obama has been reluctant to force China – the country with the largest trade deficit with the US – to end manipulation of its currency rate that favors Chinese exports and discourages imports. China also ranks high as a thief of US intellectual goods, such as software.
“Obama has also been reluctant to complete US approval of three pending free-trade pacts with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. He’s lukewarm about challenging key members of Congress and unions that oppose such market-exposing measures. And yet approval of these pacts would create valuable export-related jobs for many unemployed Americans.
“In many fields – high tech, farm goods, entertainment, energy, finance – the US is world class, relying on its strength in innovation. In agriculture, too, the US is a strong contender, with a quarter of farm revenues coming from exports. Yet American farmers face high barriers in Europe and Asia, especially in selling food grown with new biotechnology techniques.
“Obama will need to shop more political muscle than he’s displayed so far in knocking down these foreign (and congressional) walls. He must lead the way to a new global agreement on trade (the so-called Doha Round of talks) while also pursuing other bilateral trade agreements.
“To avoid a jobless economic recovery, the president’s plan must show real results soon in creating jobs from exports so that there are no more exports of US jobs.” –
The above article was no doubt produced in the White House and sent to the Monitor’s Editorial Board. Those guys on the Board can’t possibly be so stupid as to make up this sort of nonsense and expect their readers to swallow it.
It’s all so simple, you see. All of a sudden 95,000 newly-employed Americans every month begin producing goods and services, and Obama will simply demand that Asians buy up everything we produce – and shove down their throats – so that we can balance our books. Could it be that his Cabinet Secretaries haven’t told him yet that wage-scales for Asian workers are about one-tenth what we pay our hired help? That must be it. Or maybe his cabinet Secretaries are still not aware that, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
The only sale the administration is trying to make is to con slow-thinking Americans into believing that our unemployment problems are about to be solved. They’ve convinced themselves that by the year 2014, when the final tally is in and the voting public finally realizes that exactly no jobs could have been created by the scam, the administration will long since have departed the premises and dumped the whole mess in the laps of the succeeding group of politicians.
But they’re wrong on that score, too. Unless we find a way to pull out of this economic tailspin well before the year 2014, this country will be toast. 95,000 mythical jobs per month certainly won’t do the trick. Even 95,000 real jobs every month wouldn’t be enough. Something like 950,000 new jobs every month are what’s needed, and only an emergency shipbuilding program can provide that many.
Yes, we’re toast, unless someone can convince Mr. Obama to issue an “executive order” – as FDR did – to revitalize our sleeping shipyards. That’s the only way we’ll see “a level playing field.”