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Obama and Romney on China: Who’s Lying?

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Obama and Romney on China: Who’s Lying?

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have both been upping the ante on international trade issues lately, especially America’s big trade flashpoint, China.
Romney recently picked up an unintended reverse endorsement, of a sort, from the Club for Growth, a millionaires’ club super PAC that would normally be a natural friend to the likes of him. Citing his threats to impose a tariff on China if that nation doesn’t end its currency manipulation, they deemed him insufficiently enthusiastic about free trade and refused to endorse him. Perversely, this is good news from the point of view of trade reform, as it suggests that these consummate political insiders, who may know a thing or two we peasants don’t, may just have tipped us off that his tough line on China trade is authentic.
 
One can only hope.
Obama, of course, isn’t buying it, and has been calling Romney a phony on China trade because, supposedly, Romney was quite happy, during his business career at Bain Capital, to profit from off-shoring jobs there.
Indeed he was, but not to a greater extent than American industry as a whole during this period. His business career doesn’t fit the “hero” or the “villain” narrative all that well either way.
Obama also filed a nominally large, if largely symbolic, trade case against China at the WTO concerning the auto industry.
Romney has called this  “too little, too late,” and pointed out how much more Obama has had the chance to do—starting with designating China a currency manipulator—during his term in office.
So… which of them is lying?
Possibly, both are, as it’s no secret that working class votes are up for grabs in key states like Ohio, which are trade sensitive. They may both be posturing at trying to help people who are only of interest to Washington every four years.
The upcoming presidential debates are going to be the last serious chance (especially for Romney, who can’t announce policy initiatives) to put some serious meat on their rival claims to be trade hawks.
I am not getting my hopes up. I increasingly think they both regard the issue as a merely tactical one and disdain it as a serious question of economic strategy.
Meanwhile, the trade deficit’s $500 billion a year leak in our economy continues, and people wonder why the recovery is so sluggish.

6 Responses to “Obama and Romney on China: Who’s Lying?”

  1. Linda says:

    I tend to put more weight on behavior, especially during campaigns. By this standard, we know what President Obama will do…..nothing!

  2. Don A. McKenzie says:

    MAKE NO MISTAKE! ROMNEY WILL FLIP FLOP ON THIS ISSUE, JUST AS HE HAS MANY OTHERS! HE SAYS HE WANTS TO “DO SOMETHING,” BUT HE HAS ALREADY MADE IT CLEAR. THAT HE FULLY SUPPORTS FREE TRADE, & PURSUING MORE AGREEMENTS! HE WANTS IT BOTH WAYS, & IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT!
    HIS RECORD OF OUTSOURCING IS A TELLING THING. AND HIS QUESTIONABLE “TERRITORIAL TAX” PLAN SHOULD THROW UP RED FLAGS FOR ALL WHO CLAIM TO BE FOR TRADE REFORM! UNDER HIS PLAN. U.S. COMPANIES WILL NOT BE TAXED ON PROFITS MADE OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY! THIS IS A HORRIBLE IDEA! THIS WILL GIVE YET ANOTHER HUGE INCENTIVE FOR COMPANIES TO SHIP JOBS OVERSEAS! COME ON MAN! IS EVERYONE ASLEEP HERE?
    THEN HE SUPPORTS THE TPP! (WHICH SHOULD BE FLUSHED JUST LIKE DIRTY TP!)
    RONEY IS A CAREER POLITICIAN, WHO IS FEEDING EVERYONE ALOT OF LINES! AND IF HE GETS ELECTED, HE WILL ACCELERATE OUR FLAWED TRADE POLICY! (AND THIS IS WHAT HIS WALL STREET FRIENDS WANT!) SO, NICE TRY ON THE WHOLE “REVERSAL OF ENDORSEMENT” THING! I CAN SEE RIGHT
    THROUGH THAT, & THEY’RE NOT FOOLING ME WITH THIS CRAP! THIS IS JUST MORE BAITING OF THE ELECTORATE, & IF WE FALL FOR THIS? WE’LL FALL FOR ANYTHING!
    THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS. YES, BOTH PARTIES ARE TO BLAME FOR THIS MESS! BUT WHICH PARTY HAS PUSHED HARDER FOR FREE TRADE WITH RECKLESS ABANDON? AND WHO ALLOWED CHINA TO RAMPANTLY VIOLATE THE CHINESE TRADE AGREEMENT AT WILL FOR 8 YEARS? REPUBLICANS!
    THERE ARE WAY MORE DEMOCRATS, (I’LL CALL THEM SEN. SHERROD BROWN DEMS.), THAT HAVE BEEN PUSHING FOR REFORMS! AND ONE OF THOSE REFORMS THAT ADDRESSES THE CHINESE CURRENCY ISSUE, IS SITTING IN LIMBO! WHY? THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP WON’T ALLOW IT FOR A VOTE ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE! WAKE UP REFORMISTS! ROMNEY IS FOR SURE NOT OUR FREIND!

    • Tom T. says:

      It is clear that Romney’s VP pick is a “leader” in the House of Representatives. I don’t see any leadership by Ryan on getting a House vote on the currency manipulation bill. The president can do a lot of things unilaterally (how many wars have we had with no declaration of war since WWII?) but to have the power under the law, there has to actually be a law. The House of Representatives seems to be blocking a vote on the currency manipulation bill.

      To me this shows that either Ryan is not a leader in the House on Romney’s China policy or they are playing politics on it (only moving forward if it is a republican initiative).

      To me, either one of these excludes the likelihood that this ticket will put country before party. Score another one for the oligarchs arbitraging our economy to China.

      Tom T.

  3. Hugh J. Campbell Jr. CPA says:

    “Gov. Ehrlich and Grant Aldonas represented the Romney campaign at the Conference on the Renaissance of American Manufacturing in March 2012; the link that follows contains their presentation on behalf of Gov. Romney:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZeND1-spYM

    Eight minutes into the YouTube video they opened the presentation up to questions from the floor. The first questioner asked If Ehrlich and Aldonas could think of a better way for Gov. Romney to prove to the American voters his seriousness regarding China, even before the presidential election, then by publicly requesting Dave Camp to bring the China currency manipulation bill to the house floor for a vote.

    Romney’s representatives stated that they would refer the suggestion to the campaign. Almost six months later there has been no action on the idea by Gov. Romney, while the house leadership continues to block the bill from coming to a vote. The very same bill passed the 111th Congress by a bipartisan majority of over 80% and a similar bill passed the Senate during the current session.

    Gov. Romney has squandered the opportunity to prove his genuineness and get more than a full year jump-start on China’s cheating. Yet he has made the executive decision to do nothing except spending tens a millions of dollars on campaign ads to tell the voter how tough on China he is going to be.”

  4. Dan says:

    Note: that point number three of the Romney plan states FAIRRR TRADEE not free trade!

    3. Make international trade work for America by forging new and fair trade agreements, and implement “unmistakable consequences” for nations that “cheat” in trade.

    As we all know, “fair trade” only sounds good to those that don’t understand American productivity and global competition.

  5. China Watcher says:

    Actions speak louder than words. Neither candidate has a credible record, but it seems clear that the greater the pressure from Main Street, the more likely one or the other is to do something of real importance.

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