Monday, October 22, 2012

My "Preaction" to the Trade/China Portion of Tonight's Foreign Policy Debate (UPDATED)

Tonight, President Obama and Governor Romney will debate US foreign policy in their third and final presidential debate, and it appears that a significant portion of their time will be spent discussing trade, particularly with China, and the global economy.  (I will never understand why politicians and the media see trade as a mainly "foreign policy" issue when the vast majority of its legal mechanisms and economic effects are domestic, but that's a rant for another time.)

Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately), I will not be able to watch tonight's show, but if last week's debate and the candidates' incessant campaign commercials are any indication, the trade discussion promises to be, well, not good.  Thus, I am providing you, my loyal readers (hi mom!) my exclusive video "preaction" (see what I did there?) to tonight's debate discussion on international trade and China:

If either of the candidates surprises us tonight and projects a lucid, coherent grasp of the global economy and the United States's place therein, I will gladly amend the above critique later this week.

But I'm definitely not holding my breath, and neither should you.

UPDATE:  I did end up catching the last few minutes of the debate and thus saw the candidates talk a bit about China trade.  It looks like the video above was totally appropriate, but here are a few more quick thoughts:
Tonight's debate showcased 2012's pandering, demagogic China trade rhetoric in all its tragicomic glory. The President's best evidence of his China trade policy success was the unilateral imposition of tariffs on fairly-traded Chinese tires - a decision that, at best, cost American businesses and consumers $900,000 per union job saved, did nothing to improve the US industry and sparked retaliation from China against subsidized US steel, chicken and automobile exports. Meanwhile, the cornerstone of Mitt Romney's China trade plan is the "day one" designation of China as a "currency manipulator" - a move that not only defies economic logic and US law, but also would be met with stern resistance from China and require nothing more than the initiation of bilateral consultations with the Chinese government. Given such misguided rhetoric, it's no wonder that the vast majority of American voters remain uninformed about the very obvious realities of China trade and the global economy more broadly.

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