Jobs, China and trade
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.
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.
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
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.
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.