Last week I titled a blog, “Skunked by Chinese Capitalism.” (Sept 16th) The Chinese government backs private enterprises with cash, low cost land, and low taxes, recouping everything by taking a percentage of profits. You may deplore government mixing into private enterprise, but the fact is that China is out-competing us. You can hardly buy toys, electronics, or hardware not made in China, and their food products are creeping into supermarket freezers. What a contrast to 1956, when I toured south Asia seeing Chinese goods which were embargoed from even entering the U.S.A.
Despite the fact that the Obama administration saved the American auto industry, the Tea Party is demanding government stay out of business, part and parcel of a romantic vision of a vanished past when the U.S. could feel separate from the Old World. It had begun with the first settlers who wanted to forget all that had driven them out of the old country. On one occasion, they boarded a ship in Boston harbor, and tossed bales of tea overboard, a gesture that energizes people to this day.
One may wish globalization did not exist, but only fools deny that it does. Those who want government to lower taxes so as to permit more investment, miss one crucial detail; lack of government policy to support domestic industry drives investment abroad, and likely into in one of the countries whose governments do, if not China then, Singapore, Taiwan, or South Korea. President Obama’s proposal of a tax credit to businesses that create new domestic jobs is a powerful idea that should be implemented quickly.
When former Michigan Governor, Jennifer M. Granholm, visited China, a Chinese businessman asked her if the U.S. was developing a policy to support its industries. Told that we must first settle some internal politics, he smiled, and replied, “Take your time.”