We Need To Stop Blaming China and Blame Ourselves

Trump was in Da Nang, Vietnam last week. He gave a speech there that was pretty ferocious, and I'm frankly not certain whether this is going to be a good thing or not for the United States. I'm very skeptical that it could be a good thing for us and there's a reason for this and let me tell you the reason after I tell you what's going on.

Trump was blaming predatory economic policies and accusing principally China but also the other Southeast Asian countries of stripping jobs, factories and industries out of the United States. Here's the quote...

"We can no longer tolerate these chronic trade abuses and we will not tolerate them. Despite years of broken promises, we were told that someday soon everybody would behave fairly and responsibly. People in America and throughout the Indo-Pacific region have awaited that day to come but it never has and that is why I am here today."

He said that the the other countries are not playing by the rules. He said...

"But while we lowered market barriers, other countries didn't open their markets to us."

The Guardian wrote...

"The US leader then went off-script to confront a man who was speaking audibly during the address and suggested he may be from a country that was cheating America.

'Funny, they must be from one of the beneficiaries,' Trump said, laughing. 'What country to do you come from, sir?'."

And then he says,

"The current trade imbalance is not acceptable... the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to violations, cheating, or economic aggression. Those days are over."

He said previous US administrations had not done anything about the trade deficit...

"But I will ... I am always going to put America first."

Okay. Nice rhetoric. I'm sure it plays well politically back here in the United States.

But here's the problem: Trump is blaming China and Vietnam and Mexico and South Korea and Taiwan and Malaysia and Indonesia and Bangladesh and India and the list goes on; the low-wage countries.

He's blaming them for taking our jobs. You know, we didn't have a trade deficit before the Reagan administration. The United States had been around over 200 years and we had no trade deficit when Ronald Reagan came into office, never had.

We had always been a major exporter. We were the world's manufacturing floor and then Reagan came along. Arguably Nixon started this by going to China on behalf of Pepsi Cola, but Reagan really, really cranked this up. And with this new neoconservative - neoliberal, actually - ideology of so-called free trade: 'let's just drop all trade barriers, won't it be a wonderful world.'

People can't move from country to country but everybody else can.

So if we want to blame somebody, we shouldn't be blowing in China we should be blaming ourselves.

If you want to know why all the manufacturing jobs have left the United States, look at these neoliberal policies, championed by the Republican Party and endorsed in many cases by the Democratic Party. These policies of "we're going to drop all our defenses and we're not going to ask anybody else to, we're all going to do away with tariffs but every other country gets to start a VAT tax but we don't because Grover Norquist the multi-millionaire K Street lobbyist, he doesn't like the word tax."

But a VAT tax would solve a lot of problems in the United States and it would give us a mechanism to functionally have tariffs.

We could turn this whole thing around.

We don't need the help of - or the cooperation, the participation of - China or Vietnam or anybody to do this, just like they didn't need our cooperation to basically eat our economy.


funkutron's picture
funkutron 5 years 28 weeks ago

We need politicians that are not there just to get rich from contributions from the folks that want to export our jobs so they can get even richer! What IS wrong with us, that we tolerate this? The Reagan era was fraught with "hostile takeovers" and raiding pensions, etc. Americans put up with it and say "Well that's just Capitalism"...usually because they're happy they can collect unemployment, because working for these greedy bastards has become so horrible! I'm collecting Social Security this year, I'm DONE with Capitalism! I, HATE it! And all the greedy bastards that like it!

Legend 5 years 28 weeks ago

We allowed our manufaturing to move overseas because corporations like GE wanted it. They paid the government and got what they wanted. They saw low cost employees and could ship products virtually tax free. In essence this was shipping slavery overseas to low paying countries. New tax plan is also bought and paid for.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 5 years 28 weeks ago

Certainly the American worker has been against free trade from day one, but helpless to stop it. Free trade like unending war are both Fascist creations.

Allowing individuals like the Kochs to amass wealth to the extent were they have more power than our own govenment is the problem. This kind of wealth and power has monopolized the media and thus controls the message. When truth in reporting died, so did our modern day democracy. What we need is an Amy Goodman anchoring every network newscast. Foxaganda has done far more damage than most realize.

Pre-Reagan tax rates would have prevented much of this concentration of wealth and thus Fascist power.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 28 weeks ago

Thom seems to be pure genius with anything that does not involve math. I say that because a little math would show that the VAT is not like a tariff. The VAT does look just like a tariff. However, it does not protect jobs and is regressive. A few months back Thom had a caller from Great Britain (I think a US citizen) who pointed out that the VAT does not protect jobs and is regressive. Thom agreed. I said to myself great now he will stop saying a VAT is like a tariff. For a while Thom did not make that inaccurate comparison, but eventually Thom came back to saying that a VAT is like a tariff.

I try to imagine how I can point this out. The best I can come up with probably won't work. My current explanation would be to imagine a country with low wages and loose regulations. Assume that country had a VAT of 10%. Currently, goods from that country would have 10% reduction if imported into the U.S. If the U.S. introduced a 10% VAT, there would be no 10% reduction on imports from that country. However, the goods produced in the U.S. would cost 10% more. Therefore, we would still be competing against lower wages and loose regulations.

My request is for someone on this blog to make that point explainable to Thom.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 28 weeks ago

I more than agree with you, 2950-10K, that Amy should anchor every newscast that exists. She is so good I can barely gather enough courage to listen to her.

Legend 5 years 28 weeks ago

For years Taiwan banned motorcycles larger than 500cc. In oneof the trade bargains the USA got relief from this (had to give something away to get it) and Harley Davidson set up shop in Taipei. Nice shop. But they sell for about twice what they sell for in the USA due to Tariffs. The USA also got approval to import USA beef into Taiwan. But the Taiwanese people wanted nothing to do with our Growth Hormones etc. Literally demonstrated in the streets. To this day beef has labeling as to where it is from (most Australia) and how it was fed.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 5 years 28 weeks ago

Aside from inventing a new version of the cigar humidor, he also gave us NAFTA.

"Bill Clinton’s True Legacy: Outsourcer-in-Chief"


chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 5 years 28 weeks ago

I agree with DianeR and Jane White and Thom, that Bill and all those 3rd-wayers (Obama, Hillary etc.) could be labeled outsourcers-in-chiefs. However, NAFTA was a creation of the republicans and Ron and H.W. Bill just signed the bill. As Thom says all the so-called trade deals were passed by a majority of the repugs, and opposed by the majority of the dems.

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 5 years 28 weeks ago


Thom likes to find the slightest excuse to blame everyone but the individuals that signed the bill. I don't care if a majority or either party liked or disliked the bill, it was given to a president that could have stopped it from happening. Time to face reality, the democrat party is just as corrupt as the republicans and all the fodder the leftie/socialists threw at the republicans for trying to stop Obama is miniscule when compared what President Trump is dealing with. He gets little cooperation from either side.

ChristopehrCurrie's picture
ChristopehrCurrie 5 years 26 weeks ago

Two other reasons that Red China's economy has been booming and our economy has not is because the Red Chinese Government is (Reason 1) smarter than us and l(Reason 2) less corrupted. When Red China created a western-style banking system (where their government had to borrow money in order to create new money) in order to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), they retained their previous banking system and decided to call it a system of "policy banks" where they could "create money out of thin air" without incurring any "national debt" and use that money to pay for massive infrastructure programs that created many millions of Chinese jobs.

The United States could easily do likewise with the same beneficial consequences were it not for the fact their a majoriy of our members of Congress have been thoroughly corrupted by greedy Wall Street banksters!

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