U.S. politicians never cease to wail of the need for "energy independence." But why is our dependence on the oil of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf, Nigeria, Canada, Mexico and Venezuela a greater concern than our dependence on a non-democratic rival great power for computers and vital components of our weapons systems and high-tech industries?
As Executive Director Auggie Tantillo of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Committee compellingly argues:
"Running a trade deficit for natural resources that the United States lacks is something that cannot be helped, but running a massive deficit in manmade products that America easily could produce itself is a choice -- a poor choice that is bankrupting the country and responsible for the loss of millions of jobs."
How many millions of jobs?
In the George W. Bush years, we lost 5.3 million manufacturing jobs, one-fourth to one-third of all we had in 2001.
And our dependence on China is growing.
Where Beijing was responsible for 60 percent of the U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods in 2008, in the first six months of 2009, China accounted for 79 percent of our trade deficit in manufactured goods.
How can we end this dependency and begin building factories and creating jobs here, rather than deepening our dependency on a China that seeks to take our place in the sun? The same way Alexander Hamilton did, when we Americans produced almost nothing and were even more dependent on Great Britain than we are on China today.
Let us do unto our trading partners as they have done unto us.
As they rebate value-added taxes on exports to us, and impose a value-added tax on our exports to them, let us reciprocate. Impose a border tax equal to a VAT on all their goods entering the United States, and use the hundreds of billions to cut corporate taxes on all manufacturing done here in the United States.
Where they have tilted the playing field against us, let us tilt it back again. Transnational companies are as amoral as sharks. What is needed is simply to cut their profits from moving factories and jobs abroad and increase their profits for bringing them back to the U.S.A.
It's not rocket science. Hamilton, James Madison and Abraham Lincoln all did it. Obama's tariffs on Chinese tires are a good start.
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