What Do Lou Dobbs and Kerri Houston Have in Common?

Thursday, November 8, 2007 10:28
Posted in category The Big Picture

They both scare me more than Chinese toothpaste.

This afternoon while reading through some back stories on the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission, I came across an op-ed piece written by Kerri Houston for the Cincinatti Post called China’s business practices threaten jobs here.. and I was shocked.

Keep in mind, on the About Us page of the USCC website, it says:

The Commissioners are supported by a professional and administrative staff with extensive backgrounds in trade, economics, foreign policy, and U.S.-PRC relations. Some are fluent or proficient in Chinese (Mandarin), and most have significant prior working and traveling experience in China and Taiwan

So, I was shocked really to see a commissioner use this level of fear mongering, slander, and bs in writing up the core of her op-ed.

The op-ed starts off with a brief chronical of Huffy bikes, and its downfall.  It is meant to suck in the readers and show just how far the Chinese will go to take a market out from under the hard working American employees.. and it is especially insulting given all Ohio has to offer:

The Huffy story is part of an unfortunate and continuing trend of U.S. manufacturing moving offshore. It’s an especially disappointing story for Ohioans because the Buckeye State is an ideal location for manufacturing. With the nation’s 10th largest highway network, and water transport links through the Great Lakes and the Ohio River, goods can be shipped from Ohio to half of North America within a day.

Ohio’s manufacturers produce many consumer goods and are prominent in producing capital goods such as tools and chemicals used in the manufacture of other products.

Now, I got to hand it to her.  I had NO IDEA Huffy was now a Chinese company.  but..  that does not excuse her from making comments like (my comments in italics):

China ignores international treaty obligations and flaunts its non-compliance fearlessly. Although it promised to end currency manipulation when joining the World Trade Organization in 2001, it continues to illegally undervalue its currency.

fearlessly?  really?  has there been a time where this has been proven, and wasn’t it the Secretary of the Treasury that said that China was not a currency manipulator?  Or was that the head of the IMF… I forget

and…

Chinese manufacturers, predominately owned by the government in the first place, are given free land, infrastructure, and “loans” with no expectation of payback. In the last five years alone, the Chinese government poured $52 billion of subsidies into its state-owned steel industry.

Predominately state owned?  when was the last time she came to China?  1992?  Sure, firms are given land, and the city will build a road to the factory, and loans will be forgiven.. but that is because they are willing to invest a couple hundred million of their own dollars in the area, employee tens of thousands, which supports the local economy… hmm..  I seem to remember that being a common practice in the US as well.

and…

Chinese manufacturing benefits financially from ignoring the few environmental laws on its books.

Kerri – There is no shortage of laws on the books here. China Law Blog has  documented that very well.

and finally…. this is my favorite

Many Chinese factories disregard international norms for workers by embracing low pay, forced labor, and deplorable work conditions.

OMG – don’t even get me started.  Has she actually walked through a factory in China?  Has she read Upton Sinlcair’s book the jungle? Does it matter that some of these factories are actually owned or are primary suppliers to U.S. companies?

Next, she looks to drum up a more patriotic call to arms by showing how offshoring prevented the men and women in the armed forces from getting the armored platting their Humvees needed.  This to me is just a bit over the top, and for the educated persons reading this I hope you can see just why I take issue with this.  After all, were the U.S. government not outsourcing this to other countries, this would not be a problem.  this is an issue that is series, that should be looked at, and should be fixed.. but the root of this problem comes down to someone decided that armor platting was a product that should not be made by the traditional suppliers in the U.S. anymore.

Perhaps I would not be so critical, but the fact is that Kerri houston, like Lou Dobbs, is in a position where her opinion has significant influence.  It is important for readers to understand that while the issues she is hope to address (loss of jobs and fair trade) are issues that needed to be looked into and addressed, her line is not the right one and I will use her statistics to show why.

In the article she puts forward the following statistics about the effect trade has had on Ohio:

  • Ohio’s manufacturing sector has experienced a 22 percent decrease in employment since 2000 (242,000 people)
  • It’s estimated that Ohio lost 66,100 jobs from 2001 to 2006.

So.. 242,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000, and 66100 of those jobs have been directly linked to China.

Well.. what about the other 75% of lost jobs?

Perhaps it is time to focus on priorities and accept the fact that there are problems in Ohio that have nothing to do with China.  I am not saying that Huffy or GM have not moved jobs overseas.. I am saying that there are reasons why they did are not because of the reasons she blathers off in her op-ed piece.

Any thoughts on how effective persons like Lou Dobbs and Kerri Houston in skewing the mindset?

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One Response to “What Do Lou Dobbs and Kerri Houston Have in Common?”

  1. Clayton says:

    November 10th, 2007 at 5:27 am

    Hey, you might check out http://www.VerveEarth.com, a site for bloggers built on a GoogleMaps interface. You can add your blog to the global mosaic, drive traffic, and add a widget to your blog. Cheers! -VerveEarth Team

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