The Slow Awakening Of George W.
September 17 2003
Last July, U.S. Trade Representative Bob Zoellick delivered a halftime
pep talk to dispirited globalists, thrown on the defensive by the
hemorrhaging of U.S. manufacturing jobs.© 2003 Creators
"What ... a surprise," Zoellick railed at his troops, "to see that the
proponents of [free trade] ... have so often abandoned the debate to the
economic isolationists and purveyors of fright and retreat."
But by September, Zoellick's own boss seemed to be drifting toward the
camp of the "economic isolationists and purveyors of fright."
At a rally in Ohio, which has lost 160,000 manufacturing jobs since
mid-2000, President Bush railed: "We've lost thousands of manufacturing
jobs because production moved overseas. ... America must send a message
overseas – say, look, we expect there to be a fair playing field when it
comes to trade."
Yes, friends, at long last, we have their attention.
What's behind this radically revised presidential rhetoric? It is this:
U.S. manufacturing jobs are vanishing, and unless he turns it around,
Bush's presidency may vanish along with them.
The numbers are breathtaking. Manufacturing jobs have been disappearing
for 37 straight months. Not since the Depression have we lost production
jobs three years in a row. Since 2000, one in every six manufacturing
jobs, 2.7 million, has disappeared. These jobs paid an average wage of
Unfortunately for President Bush, while he has a good heart, he was
horribly miseducated at Harvard. He simply cannot comprehend that it is
free-trade globalism that is destroying U.S. manufacturing jobs, and may
yet destroy his presidency.
The serial killer of manufacturing jobs is imports, which are now equal
to almost 15 percent of GDP, four times the level they held between 1860
and 1960. What has caused this flood of imports? The trade deals that
people like Robert Zoellick negotiate and George W. Bush celebrates.
Consider the numbers.
In July alone, the United States exported $86.1 billion in goods and
services. But we imported $126.5 billion, for a trade deficit of $40.4
billion. The total trade deficit for 2003 is estimated at between $480
billion and $500 billion. But the deficit in goods will run closer to
The president's father and Bill Clinton contended that every $1 billion
in exports created 20,000 jobs. Thus, a $550 billion trade deficit kills
11 million production and manufacturing jobs.
Say goodbye to blue-collar America.
What is the Bush prescription for curing this metastasizing cancer? In
Ohio, he declared, "See, we in America believe we can compete with
anybody, just so long as the rules are fair, and we intend to keep the
How, Mr. President?
Consider the nation that runs the largest trade surplus with us. In
July, we bought $13.4 billion in goods from China and sold China $2.1
billion. U.S. imports from China this year should come in around $160
billion, and U.S. exports to China at $25 billion.
We will thus buy 10 percent of the entire GDP of China, while she buys
0.25 percent of the GDP of the United States. Is this "fair trade"? But
how does Bush propose to close this exploding deficit? How can he?
Where a U.S. manufacturing worker may cost $53,000 a year, a factory in
China – with $53,000 and using the same machinery and technology as a
U.S. factory – can employ 25 reliable, intelligent, hardworking Chinese
at $1 an hour.
If you force U.S. businessmen to pay kids who sweep the floor a
$5-an-hour minimum wage, while their rivals pay highly skilled Chinese
workers $1 an hour, how do you square that with the 14th Amendment's
guarantee of equal protection of the laws?
Does the president, when he goes on about keeping "the rules fair," mean
he will insist that China start paying its skilled workers $25 an hour
and subject their factories to the same payroll taxes, wage-and-hour
laws, OSHA inspections and environmental rules as ours?
Beijing will tell him to go fly a kite, Made in China.
It is absurd to think we can force foreign nations to accept U.S. rules
and regulations on production and American standards on wages and
benefits. And why should foreign nations comply, when – with their
present policies and laws – they are looting our industrial base and
walking away with our inheritance?
The men who have custody today of what was once the most awesome
manufacturing base the world had ever seen are ideologues, impervious to
argument or evidence. Like the socialists of Eastern Europe, zealots
like Zoellick are beyond retraining. They are uneducable. They have to
go. The sooner they do, the sooner we can get about rebuilding the
self-sufficient and sovereign America they gave away.
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