Are you worried about your job being shipped to China?
Which presidential candidate's China trade policy will help save American jobs?
On the surface, the candidates positions on China don't differ much. After all, talking tough on China is apparently what every U.S. presidential candidate to get elected. No one questions the wisdom of this tactic, especially in Rust Belt states. Each candidate is willing to escalate the rhetoric to the point of asking voters: “Who is tougher on China? Me or the other guy?”
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But post-election, these same politicians often display an almost teenage crush on China. They portray China as the biggest consumer market that the U.S. can’t do without. Business leaders and their lobbyists, eager for a foothold in China, work to ensure that U.S. trade rules work for them, and not necessarily for American workers.
You may say: “No surprise there.” Politicians, by nature, are hypocrites.
But we the people also tend to be bipolar when it comes to China. China’s our convenient punching bag when we’re frustrated with the state of our economy while paying lip service to China when we see it as a customer for U.S. products.
Hence, what we are seeing on the campaign trail merely reflects what politicians think we want to hear about our Asian competitor.
This ambivalence doesn’t clarify U.S. messaging toward China. Beijing sees through all our posturing. Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, recently described U.S. politicians’ statements on China as “self-contradictory.”
Xinhua stated the “two main accusations the U.S. presidential candidates, in particular Mitt Romney, [have] filed against China,” are that a) China “has ‘stolen’ American jobs by absorbing U.S. capital,” and b) that “it has ‘manipulated’ its currency, the yuan, to keep the exchange rate at a lower level and retain competitiveness in exports.”
Xinhua concluded: “The candidates should be pleased because all these so-called ‘stolen’ jobs have enabled American citizens to live decent lives with cheaper products at the cost of Chinese resources and manpower.”
Hard to argue with that.
Let’s break down where each presidential candidate stands on China.
Mitt Romney has famously promised, “On Day One I will label them [China] a currency manipulator which allows us to apply tariffs where they're taking jobs.” Romney said in the presidential debate on foreign policy, “They're stealing our intellectual property, our patents, our designs, our technology, hacking into our computers, counterfeiting our goods. They have to understand, we want to trade with them, we want a world that's stable, we like free enterprise. But you’ve got to play by the rules.”
It’s clear Romney is advocating aggressive trade rules with China. But far less clear is whether the former Massachusetts governor, who built his fortune as founder of Bain Capital, a private equity firm, would remain as tough on China once in the Oval Office.
Robotics are not yet flexible enough to bring back consumer assembly jobs to US. They are great for industrial products, and big appliances, but not for trending toys like IPADS where change has to occur almost overnight. Foxconn-type human assemblers win on flexibility for changeovers. So let's focus bringing more appliance making home. Those won't be big quantity of jobs, but will be higher wage jobs. New flexible "almost human" robots are being made now, and by 2016 may have impact of the "trendy" stuff.
Romney's energy policy is very interesting. i feel like US will be somewhat like Saudi Arabia in the future, supply the gas and coal to China for high tech. production. it is also a good food chain, good help to reduce the polution in China and Americans can shift to energy industy to avoid direct competition with China. good or not good?
Americans are more than willing to do the manufacturing jobs done by slave labor in China; the major difference is that Americans won't work under the appalling conditions and for the marginal wages paid in China.
The best thing America can invest in is robotics and automation; a high speed, fully automated assembly line that can match or exceed the throughput achieved by Foxconn eliminates one major reason for exporting jobs to China.
America recently became the number one producer of natural gas and is on its way to becoming the number one oil producer (at the moment the US is just behind Saudi Arabia). That means low energy costs.
With an American manufacturing environment with low labor costs (via automation) and low energy costs (via fracking/horizontal drilling) the two major reasons for manufacturing in China.
As someone once said: "the rapid improvement of all instruments of production [...] draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation [...] with which it batters down all Chinese walls"
Americans would not do manufaturing jobs like the girls doing assemble in foxconn.
It's hard working job.Need transfering from day to night.
Americans doing designing,china make thing together.Like food chains
I don't like mitt rommey this guy,if i have the right of voting in usa, I will give my vote to obama.
You are absolutely right, Bert.
President Obama and Governor Romney may have their differences on tax policy, but both candidates agree that the United States needs to cut its corporate tax rate.
Including federal, state, and local taxes, corporate profits are currently taxed at 39.1 percent, the highest rate in the industrial world.
But somehow, with all the tax loopholes around, I don't think that this alone will be a single bullet to keep jobs in the United States.
OK, it may be a good start, but I don't think giving corporations an incentive to stay their operations in the United States is a bad idea at all.
Junko, if a corporation has to pay just about 40 percent taxes for profits made in the US, but much less than that for profits at overseas operations, you don't think that LOWERING that US tax rate wouldn't help matters?
If the goal is to move operations back to the US, either you decrease the US corporate taxes, or you levy stiff taxes for overseas operations. And the latter approach is riddled with undesirable side-effects, namely trade wars.
Actually, lowering corporate tax rates probably wouldn't help the situation much, at a time when corporations are getting the ability to defer taxes on overseas profits. That alone certainly gives them an incentive to shift their operations abroad.
I agree that neither of the two candidates has articulated anything that could make a credible difference. The fact that our corporate taxes are the highest in the industrialized world doesn't help, certainly, but on the other hand, ask Apple why they use Foxconn. Hard to compete against $10 per week, 60 hours per week labor. And the flexibility advantages of having assembly lines manned by humans rather than robots.
What can politicians offer whose side-effects aren't worse than the disease? The only thing I can think of is to keep the IP theft problem on the front burner. No one wants to work with a partner who makes it a habit to steal from you?
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.