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Please grow a spine, for the economy’s sake

November 11, 2010

Dear America and Obama; you are not some invertibrate or mollusk that does not possess bones. You have spines (the American spine is obviously the [insert geographical landmark here].)
 
It is going to have to get ugly before it gets better.
 
See, the Federal Reserve Bank would like to try this thing called quantitative easing: they print a lot of money, buy treasury bonds, and hope to drive down interest rates. You don't hear conservatives complaining about what this is going to do because hey, they want lower interest rates too. Rich companies want to borrow stuff at lower interest rates, and the Feds hope this means the banks will finally start showing consumers some love again and let them borrow money for slightly better rates. Yeah, right.
 
But you could also consider this some backasswards trickle-down stimulus plan. Which might be better than no stimulus at this point. And given how Glen Beck and the neo-cons are pretty sure Stalin's stimulus package forced the Soviets to adopt crappy clothing, bad hair styles, and taxed Hitler so hard he killed all the Jews, they don't want to try another one in America. So they're okay with quantitative easing (who wouldn't be with Ben Bernanke's beard? That man could sell me a Government Motors car).
 
Unfortunately, a lot of people at the G20 this week are not okay with it. They're worried this will drive down the price of the dollar, give us a competitive edge in selling our goods to other countries, and hurt their economic exports. They think we are "threatening" our trade partners. Even China is concerned, just as we're trying to convince them to stop keeping their currency artificially low. Marketplace's commentator David Frum summed up what I wanted to say (and with fewer expletives):
China keeps its currency cheap so as to promote exports — especially to the United States — thus creating jobs for China's needy millions. How extreme is China's manipulation? Well, think of it this way: Since September 2008, the U.S. dollar has declined 30 percent against the currency of number one trade partner, Canada. Against number two, China? Flat until this summer, then down only five percent.
I feel like America and all its free market fanatacism is the only one playing by the rules in this game. We import H1B visa workers who take our educated jobs, allow our companies to go overseas and "outsource" and give them, if anything, lower taxes but nothing to disincentivize them otherwise. We import all of China's and numerous other emerging nations' goods without imposing any sort of tariffs. We struggle to enter China and India's economy as both those companies prevent outside companies from coming in and freely competing with their own companies.
 
If these companies want a trade war I say bring it on. How about America stops competing as the only country who's agreed to tie both its hands behind its back. How about if China doesn't stop manipulating their currency, we start imposing tariffs on their imported goods. How about if India doesn't want us to compete freely there we stop letting corporations outsource. How about we drastically cut back on the number of H1B visas. In Canada or most of Europe in order to hire a foreigner you have to justify that there is no native resident capable of doing that job. Here, we can just cut the pay and say no American software engineer will work for that kind of pay and apparently that's enough for all of silicon valley to important half the Indian population into California. We need to start taxing American companies equally for foreign and domestic employees. Outsourcing should not be a tax break. And if we need to do this one time pseudo-stimulus package and other countires want to whine about it, well let them. It'll probably be short lived that American goods will actually be more appealing to other nations and we can't always be the company carrying the trade deficit. So suck it up, world.
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2010 10:54 pm

    I voted for change. I didn't mean for my pocket change to get sent to the pockets of the rich. Can I unvote for change? Can I vote for unchange? Can I have my change back? I WANT A REFUND. When I saw the headline last night that the white house supports extending tax cuts for the rich, my heart sank. Another nail in the coffin of the non-rich. So glad Obama is working out a trade agreement with South Korea today. I'm sure it's part of his larger business plan to give Walmart's "Made in China" trade a run for its money by invigorating those boarded-up 5 and dime shops from my childhood where everything had shiny gold "Made in Korea" stickers on the bottoms. I swear to maud I didn't vote for REAGAN.I'm so tired of wars. Drug war, trade war, war on terror… fuck it all. jc

  2. November 12, 2010 12:05 am

    hm, I am too tired riht now but I need to point out that the number of H1B visas have been reduced a lot the last two years. It is now at the level it was 10 yrs ago… hence lots of .com companies moving to Canada where the immigrants can get work visas (still).THe outsourcing though, that's happening… a lot. I need to eat dinner before I venture into this subject though. Way too important to be able to voice my thoughts properly.

  3. November 12, 2010 12:59 am

    "So suck it up"This is in essence what the entire world is saying to the US right now. You are too mad to realize it.

  4. November 12, 2010 3:21 am

    @chall: An immigrant to Canada, assuming of the legal variety, does not need a work visa. Those that require work visas are not immigrants. However, it is easier to become an immigrant to Canada than to the US. The path to citizenship is also shorter.

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