How long are we going to put up with the fiction that free trade with China is beneficial to the United States? China uses our myopia about free trade to cheat us coming and going, steal our patents and manufacturing secrets, and violate the rules of the World Trade Organization to which they agreed when they joined.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 2011 manufacturing output grew by 11 percent, to nearly $5 trillion. Were our manufacturing sector considered a nation with its own gross domestic product, it would be the world's fourth-richest economy. Manufacturing productivity has doubled since 1987, and manufacturing output has risen by one-half.
Now that Mitt Romney is likely to be the Republican nominee, we can expect new attacks on his "vulture capitalism." That's how Rick Perry characterized his private equity work. Newt Gingrich's supporters ran an ad about Romney's firm, Bain Capital, that said, "Their greed was only matched by their willingness to do anything to make millions in profits."
Republicans and Democrats, liberals as well as conservatives, have bought into anti-Chinese trade demagoguery. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that tariffs against China are a "key part of our 'Make It in America' agenda."
This month, communist China is celebrating its 10th anniversary of joining the World Trade Organization. The subtitle ought to be China's 10th anniversary of cheating the United States.