Monday, September 03, 2012

More like China

I ended up in a bit of a disagreement with someone on another author's page today because of his assertion that the thing driving companies out of the United States is, according to him, over-regulation.

I love this idea that we need to compete with countries like China to bring manufacturing jobs back here to U.S.  Their environmental regulations are all but non-existent.  Their worker protections, even less so.  The notion that we can somehow compete with them by eliminating regulations that protect both the worker and the environment is absurd.

We cannot compete in this way with a country that thinks virtual slave labor is okay... that sees people as disposable.  And make no mistake... they do.  This is a country that had a machine culture before machines even existed.  People were their machines, trained to operate like clockwork soldiers in the Forbidden City.

Don't get me wrong.  There are a great many things I admire about China.  But their current political and economic system is not one of them.  I am not a communist.  (I know this might confuse conservatives who believe that all liberals are hidden communists).  I am not one who sees any value in trying to compete with a country that can do this.  That can afford to do this.

We cannot.  We cannot entice them by lowering regulations to the point where we can compete with China directly to bring jobs home.  The idea that we can, or that we should, is ludicrous.

Instead we should take a page from China's notebook on another matter.  Tariffs.  Yes, I'm actually talking about what they laughingly call "protectionism."  I say this because China imposes a great many tariffs on foreign goods, but throw a fit when we attempt to reciprocate.

I say we tell U.S. based manufacturers than they can build their widgets wherever the hell they want.  But to bring them into this country, they will have to pay the difference between what they paid to manufacture them over there and what they'd have to pay Americans to build them.

Another option, of course, would be to offer tax incentives to have them build here, pay decent wages and offer competitive benefits.  The other way, however, might end up bringing in revenue instead of sacrificing it.

The "Most Favored Trading Partner" status should never have been used to allow American companies to do an end run around human rights and human dignity, nor should it have been used to in order to destroy our manufacturing sector.  Had the dismantling of our manufacturing sector been done to cripple us militarily, it would have been an act of aggression and treason.  Since it was done in the name of profit, it's merely business as usual.

Well... fuck business as usual.

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