Jobs, China and trade

Los Angeles Times - - Sunday Opinion -

Re “Amer­ica’s trade traitors,” Opin­ion, Sept. 22

Peter Navarro’s Op-Ed ar­ti­cle pointed out a fact that pro­po­nents of free trade tra­di­tion­ally deny: That is, free trade is a Utopian con­cept. It seems Adam Smith’s in­vis­i­ble hand is, in fact, not in­vis­i­ble. If un­in­tended con­se­quence ap­plies to reg­u­la­tion, then it also ap­plies to ab­sence of reg­u­la­tion.

The the­ory goes that a nation’s wealth could be cal­cu­lated by the amount of in­dus­trial la­bor — with well-pay­ing jobs — that was avail­able to that nation’s la­bor force. For decades, our politi­cians have fa­cil­i­tated the ex­por­ta­tion of our once mas­sive in­dus­trial base to other coun­tries. With this base gone, what will be the en­gine for our eco­nomic re­cov­ery?

To ex­pect one party or the other to ame­lio­rate the eco­nomic col­lapse is to­tally un­re­al­is­tic. Politi­cians are only in­ter­ested in get­ting re­elected.

If a real so­lu­tion is ever found, it will be by ac­ci­dent.

Rus­sell Rankin

Downey

It is be­yond tire­some to hear from writ­ers like Navarro that China’s trade poli­cies are lead­ing us to eco­nomic ruin.

Af­ter World War II and for many years be­yond, we were an ex­port­ing pow­er­house cre­at­ing mil­lions of mid­dle-class jobs and still had enough wealth left over to help our for­mer en­e­mies get back on their feet.

Along the way, we got a bit fat and very lazy and let our­selves go from be­ing the No. 1cred­i­tor nation to a top debtor. Many of our cor­po­rate ti­tans dis­cov­ered that short­sight­ed­ness, tied to well-timed stock op­tions, was more profitable per­son­ally than try­ing to keep us ahead of for­eign com­pe­ti­tion.

Steven Good­man

En­cino

I agree; cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives who do busi­ness with China at the ex­pense of U.S. jobs and man­u­fac­tur­ing are thieves and traitors. Cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives who take ad­van­tage of cheap for­eign la­bor and fac­to­ries over­seas seem to for­get that, when they bring the prod­uct back into the coun­try, the peo­ple they need to buy it can’t af­ford to be­cause their jobs were sent over­seas.

Navarro’s crit­i­cism of Obama’s fail­ure to crack down on un­fair Chi­nese trade prac­tices isn’t fair. End­ing trade agree­ments that al­low cor­po­ra­tions to man­u­fac­ture over­seas and base their home of­fices off­shore to avoid taxes while get­ting tax breaks has been a con­stant theme in Obama’s speeches and is part of his do­mes­tic agenda.

But it’s tough to ac­com­plish with the timid­ity of the Democrats and a GOP long­ing for the days of Reaganomics.

David P. Lewis

Long Beach

Navarro has hit the nail on the head. There is ubiq­ui­tous talk about jobs, jobs, jobs ev­ery day, and the ob­vi­ous cure to the prob­lem — which is bring­ing jobs back from China — is be­ing stu­diously avoided.

The fact is that big busi­ness and the banks do not want to hire more. They are do­ing just fine with out­sourc­ing and de­riv­a­tives, and more la­bor costs equal less profit for them.

This talk of lack of de­mand and an un­friendly ad­min­is­tra­tion is hog­wash.

To be­gin with, a mass body of un­em­ployed can­not spend; and if de­mand were to in­crease, the new jobs cre­ated will go to China. It’s like car­ry­ing wa­ter in a bas­ket.

Mal­colm Young

Cul­ver City

How re­fresh­ing to read Navarro’s in­sight­ful chal­lenge to cor­po­rate Amer­ica’s role in sup­port of un­fair trade prac­tices and cur­rency ma­nip­u­la­tion by China. He be­lieves that “what all these Amer­i­can busi­ness groups and cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tives now do­ing busi­ness with China fail to un­der­stand is … when jobs move to China, Amer­i­cans are dam­aged.”

I be­lieve they do un­der­stand what it means to Amer­ica, but they are pri­mar­ily concerned with cor­po­rate prof­its, not the eco­nomic in­ter­est and fu­ture of a nation.

Tom John­son

Ana­heim Hills

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