Trade jitters, anti-China sentiment rouse US voters

Thursday, November 15, 2007 21:24
Posted in category The Big Picture
Comments Off on Trade jitters, anti-China sentiment rouse US voters

I have been told by a couple of people that I might have been a little harsh on Kerri Houston in my recent post, and in my defense, I would say it is because I fear that the ongoing protectionism in the US is going to severely damage relations.

I wil agree that changes to the current situation are needed on both sides, and that there is an imbalance, but my fear is that within the U.S. little is being done to address what are clearly U.S. specific issues.  Rather, the media and politicians point the finger towards China.

Case in point is this article that I found today called Trade jitters, anti-China sentiment rouse US voters where Reuters is reporting on a rally in Pittsburgh.

The article is a great report for me into the thoughts of Americans now, and while I am sure there are Americans who think otherwise, I would say that my concern is that the mood reflected in this article seems to be growing… and it is growing becuase the people are being fed misinformation about China, the goods being produced here, and a number of other “china” phenomenon.

A couple of the quotes that I saw in this article that give me cause for concern are:

“China makes these inferior products but they have all our debt so they don’t listen to us for one minute,” said retired General Motors worker Bernadette Koval, 66, a Democrat.

and

A majority of Americans, including 60 percent of Republicans, now believe free trade is bad for the U.S. economy, according to recent NBC News-Wall Street Journal polls.

There were of course some moderate statements that seemed more balanced to me quoted in the article, but it was these two statements that stood off the screen.  First, a large portion of the product recalls were from US brands whose own supply chain processes lead to the failures.  Either there was a productdesign failure, or they failed to follow their own audit procedusres… Sure, their suppliers were to blame, but they are not the only ones who were responsible.

Second, I find it interesting that many people will credit Wal-Mart and other major retailers for helping the US economy avoid a deeper recession, but fail to understand the role China played in that.   Free trade is a bad thing?

Of course, I understand that the area of this rally was in an area hard hit by layoffs, but I ask again.  Wouldn’t the people be better served were their politicans to be honest with them about the relationship?  Wouldn’t the people be better served if their same representatives were investing in their local economies and investing in job training programs?

In Kerri Houston’s 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.

and if true, then that would mean that 176,000 jobs were NOT lost to China.

So… why isn’t anyone looking at that?

Apologize for all the political posts lately, but there is sure to be pressure on business as politicians and media outlets make China out to be the lone gunman…

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