The Talking Dog

November 11, 2005, Try to remember the kind of September...

You won't be able to, because this September, thanks to the combination of increased oil imports as a result of Gulf Coast disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina (and later Rita) and decreased exports as a result of a strike at Boeing plants, and because of Walmart shutting out American suppliers in favor of sole-source Chinese contracts that would be blatantly illegal under American law (the article doesn't say that, but we all know its true), America's trade deficit hit a record at over $66 billion in September.

Apparently, some deal with China has been reached to limit textile imports, but a t the moment, China has not yet agreed to re-value its currency (the yuan), which many feels unfairly encourages exports and discourages imports here. Of course, it should be noted, that Europeans also deal with the Chinese, and do not have nearly the kind of trade imbalance we do with them. So go figure.

Anyway, China continues to pile up our pieces of paper that we tender for their manufactured products, like clothing and t.v. sets and toys, and in due course, cars, building products, and everything else you can think of. Except oil. Which we are also importing like nobody's business.

Yes, yes, it's an ever more integrated world, and I do not for one second suggest that, for example, tariffs or starting a trade war with China, or currency restrictions, or anything like that will result in anything other than disaster. It's just that I think we would be better advised to take a look at our yawning trade gap (just a generation ago, this country was the world's largest creditor nation, instead of by far the world's biggest debtor.) You see, if we addressed the tri-partite reason for our debtor status-- our oil imports, our willingness to import "cheap" goods from locales that do not employ shall we say First World labor or environmental standards (for which our own people are desperate, we having not raised our minimum wage from $5.15 per hour since 1993), and our staggering government deficit-- we might find ourselves, as a nation, in better stead...

Or we can wait until outside forces do all of those things for us. In ways we might not like quite as much.

Also, in my usual "talking dog nonsequitur" manner, check out Dave Johnson's take on the President's sudden turning against those (fools) who supported him on the war, back when he needed their support most. Dave and I have been exchanging e-mails on the subject, and Dave makes the excellent point that a "yea" vote on the war resolution in the fall of 2002 could have easily been portrayed as a patriotic act-- giving the President the national security authority he represented that he needed based on the need to trust him in that area, a trust he betrayed. The problem is, no one has called him on that point... and so, three years later, here we are...


To start with, we should all be referring to China in its proper context - COMMUNIST China.

That prefix should be attached each and every time. America (and primarily Wal-Mart) is doing business with COMMUNIST China.

Say it loud and say it proud, "I like doing business with - and economically supporting - COMMUNIST China."

Posted by Earl Kinghorn at November 12, 2005 10:17 AM

That only applies, Earl, if you're afraid of COMMIE boogeymen under the bed. Experience has shown that the best way to get rid of commies is to do business with them. Open up trade to Cuba, and Fidel wouldn't last 5 years.

Posted by Dean at November 16, 2005 1:10 PM

Of course, as has also been pointed out by swarms of people (including, I believe, Charles Krauthammer), modern China is a fascist tyranny still masquerading as a Communist tyranny. I say it's a tyranny, and I say the hel with it -- but this still leaves open the question of the best strategy for weakening it. (Bill Buckley, by the way, has been saying for years that at this point the best way to weaken Castro's dictatorship is to open up relations and trade with it.)

But all this is entirely separate from the point Seth was making -- namely, that getting ourselves deeper and deeper into hock, with China as our chief creditor, is not really a very wise thing to do. (But then, given this administration, I wouldn't put it past them to have secretly offered Taiwan to China as collateral.)

Posted by Bruce Moomaw at November 18, 2005 10:04 PM