Obama’s best is not good enough

By John Kusumi

The China Support Network is not impressed by U.S.-China policy, despite revaluation of the RMB currency

In America these days, public opinion polling consistently finds Jobs to be the top concern of Americans, and it very much seems that U.S. President Barack Obama has delayed his long-promised move to “pivot and focus on jobs.”

The pivot and focus seemed to be delayed first by health care as a big issue, and then by financial regulation as a big issue, and then by the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps Obama doesn’t want to focus squarely on jobs, because then he would see the failure of NAFTA, WTO, PNTR, and the like — the neo-liberal trade agenda. To regain American industrial jobs, Obama needs to reverse that trade policy, and he is clearly in no hurry to do so.

Or perhaps, in focusing on jobs, Obama would see the failure of his own stimulus. The 2009 stimulus did little to stimulate aggregate demand in America, but Obama succeeded in one thing — he stimulated the economy of Communist China, where exports have recently surged by nearly 50%.

Due to the neo-liberal trade program, consumption leaks out to Communist China.

Currency adjustment announced

It has long been an objective of U.S. politicians to get the Chinese government to raise the value of its currency, which was artificially pegged to the U.S. dollar — ensuring that imports would be cheap in the U.S., and that the export sector of China would grow larger than it otherwise would have in the absence of the currency peg.

This past weekend, China announced that it would permit the value of its Yuan / RMB currency to rise. The U.S. side had fostered a consistent drum beat of criticism for China that served to brow beat its leaders about this issue.

This week, Toronto Canada is hosting a summit meeting for leaders of the G-20, a group which represents 42 nations in world economics. China’s move permits it to escape criticism at the G-20, which otherwise would have continued the drum beat that was critical of China on this matter.

However, the currency will not be freely floating; it is going to rise slowly with a collar, or trading band, that will serve to slow down the appreciation of the currency.

China Support Network takes exception with both East and West

I too have denounced Chinese currency manipulation, from my perch at the China Support Network, a human rights group which was formed to stand in support of China’s pro-democracy dissidents. In this video, I said,

The simple fact is that the manipulation of the currency is economic dirty pool. It tilts the playing field. And I believe that any U.S. President ought to care to have a level playing field for the business concerns here vis-a-vis the business concerns in China.

And so to level the playing field, the currency corrective tariff is important, but so too is that labor tariff which I spoke about, simply because the employment of slave labor is another means of tilting the playing field.

American leaders would do well to review the video I quoted, and in particular to study my line above — “so too is that labor tariff which I spoke about…the employment of slave labor is another means of tilting the playing field.” It is factually true that speaking in economic terms, China’s labor practices are similar to currency manipulation in that both are economic dirty pool. Both practices result in unnaturally low prices of Chinese exports that become U.S. imports. Both practices add to the U.S. trade deficit, and delete U.S. jobs. It’s flatly true.

It’s flatly true, but the recent drum beat about Beijing’s currency manipulation revealed that something is wrong with U.S. policy makers and opinion leaders. I would really like to confront President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Senator Chuck Schumer, and even Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner about this. I’d like to hear how they excuse their lack of concern about the issue of slave labor in China.

I am given to believing that in that case, I would be confronting four sociopaths. Why did they fight currency manipulation? –Because it is economic dirty pool. What is slavery in economic terms? –It is economic dirty pool. Just as much so — both practices are equally vulnerable to criticism on economic grounds. Why, then, make an issue out of one, and treat the other as a non-issue?

I believe that it is entirely due to the evil natures of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Tim Geithner, and for that matter all of the talking heads, chattering class, and analysts in U.S. journalism.

American leaders share an ingrained snooty outlook. They respect white collar jobs, and ONLY white collar jobs. Those jobs are outposts within Corporate America, jobs held by people. Conversely, other kinds of jobs are only held by “unpeople.” “Unpeople” are never talked about, except at election time when politicians want the votes of those “unpeople.”

Currency manipulation is an issue surrounding foreign exchange (forex). Forex is a white collar job, a job held by people. On the other hand, slave labor in China involves the slaves themselves — performing work that is blue collar, rather than white collar, in nature. The work involved is performed by “unpeople.” U.S. politicians don’t even need votes from those “unpeople” in other lands, and (e.g.) CNBC anchors would never lower themselves to talk sympathetically about “unpeople.”

So, they’ll talk the currency issue and ignore the labor issue. To my eyes, they thereby reveal themselves for being the evil sociopaths that they are. Shame on them.

Before concluding this article, let me restate: The China Support Network demands that Beijing immediately abolish the systems of Laogai (labor/slavery camps) and Laojiao (administrative detention). We will continue to brow beat the powerful on this issue, because we know that currency revaluation is only half the battle. Indeed, China also needs to raise its environmental standards, its consumer protection (including product safety!) standards, and its intellectual property standards. In that light, currency revaluation is LESS than half the battle.

With half or more of the battle still ahead of us, it is too early for U.S. leaders to declare victory and go home. It would be good of them if they would step up and escalate the Chinese labor/slavery issue to equal urgency and prominence as the Chinese currency issue.

If they step up and actually do so, then I would revise my assessment of these U.S. establishment figures. Was it premature for me to call them evil? –Time will tell.

I hope that they prove me wrong by way of deeds. I hope they stand with the China Support Network against Beijing’s systems of Laogai and Laojiao.

One response to “Obama’s best is not good enough

  1. I bet he should be given a chance. The global situation is a strong tide against him

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