Trading Seabiscuit For A Rabbit
August 4 2003
If you wish to understand why U.S. manufacturing is in a death spiral, read
last week's editorial in the Wall Street Journal.
When the GOP House voted 270 to 156 for President Bush's free-trade deal with
Chile, the Journal leapt with joy. "All in all, a good show, and an optimistic
portent for the ... global trade pacts to come."
Now consider what we got in this deal and what we gave up.
Chile's GDP of $70 billion is not even 1 percent of ours. Her per-capita GDP of
$4,400 is one-eighth of ours. We have thus gained access to a tiny Latin market,
while Chilean manufacturers just gained privileged access to the $10 trillion
U.S. market, where consumers have a per-capita GDP of around $37,000.
We just swapped Seabiscuit for a rabbit, and the Wall Street Journal is popping
the champagne corks.
Moreover, to give the president his victory, Republicans had to put party
interests on the shelf. For Democrats have lately begun to notice that under
President Bush, one in every seven U.S. manufacturing jobs has vanished. U.S.
manufacturing jobs have been disappearing at the rate of 75,000 a month for 34
months. U.S. workers in manufacturing are now fewer in number than in the 1950s
and the smallest share of the labor force since the early 1800s.
Why? Simple. As we import the products of foreign factories in record volume, we
close our own factories and ship our jobs, our technology and our future abroad.
In May, the U.S. trade deficit in goods was running at the astronomical rate of
$562 billion a year. Because of that deficit, since Bush took office, the dollar
has lost one-fourth of its value against the euro.
And who has been the big winner from the trade deals the Wall Street Journal has
been celebrating since NAFTA converted our trade surplus with Mexico into a $40
billion trade deficit?
No question about it. Beijing. Last year, China ran a $103 billion trade surplus
with the United States. This year, her trade surplus is running at $120 billion,
and China has surpassed America as the world's premier recipient of foreign
Her trade surplus with America now accounts for 100 percent of China's economic
growth. Thus, it is unfair to say the president has not created any jobs. He has
created millions of jobs in China, as he has presided over the loss of 2.6
million manufacturing jobs in the United States. A triumph of free trade.
In the United States, however, the president has presided over the loss of 2.6
million manufacturing jobs. But to the editors of the Journal, it does not
matter who produces what, where.
And what wonderful things have the Chinese been up to with the $360 billion in
foreign reserves, including an immense hoard of U.S. Treasury bonds and T-bills
that they have piled up from their trade surpluses with America in the
According to a Pentagon report this week, China last year deployed and targeted
100 new missiles on Taiwan for a total of 450 and has begun a crash program to
build longer-range missiles to strike and paralyze U.S. bases on Okinawa, Guam
and South Korea.
China's buildup now includes home production of the Russian Su-27 and Su-30
fighter-bomber, eight new Kilo submarines with anti-ship cruise missiles and
Sovremeny destroyers with supersonic Sunburn missiles, originally designed by
Moscow to sink aircraft carriers. These missiles are being purchased with the
Nimitz, the Truman, the Kennedy, the Lincoln and the Ronald Reagan in mind.
In its editorial, the Journal reassured nervous Nellie globalists that the
"number of genuine GOP protectionists of the Pat Buchanan stripe could fit into
a phone booth."
"Protectionist" is, of course, a dirty word among neocons and New World Order
acolytes. Yet, it was not always so. In the Grand Old Party of Lincoln, T.R. and
Cal Coolidge that dominated U.S. politics for seven decades and converted
America into the greatest industrial power the world had ever seen with the
highest wages and standard of living on earth, Republicans proudly called
themselves protectionist in every party platform.
They believed, as did Washington, Hamilton, Madison, Clay and Jackson, that
trade laws should be crafted with the vital strategic interests of the republic
always in mind, not the whimsical desires of fickle consumers. They believed
trade laws should be written to prosper America first, and protect the
industrial base of the nation and the independence and sovereignty of the
The Wall Street Journal, however, has a different agenda.
Open borders, boundless immigration from every country and continent on earth,
global free trade, moral interventionism – and Woodrow Wilson Bush is following
its lead. Let's see how it all pans out.
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