When are America’s global corporations and Wall Street going to sit down with President Trump and explain to him that his trade war is not with China but with them? The biggest chunk of America’s trade deficit with China is the offshored production of America’s global corporations. When the corporations bring the products that they produce in China to the US consumer market, the products are classified as imports from China.
Six years ago when I was writing The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, I concluded on the evidence that half of US imports from China consist of the offshored production of US corporations. Offshoring is a substantial benefit to US corporations because of much lower labor and compliance costs. Profits, executive bonuses, and shareholders’ capital gains receive a large boost from offshoring. The costs of these benefits for a few fall on the many—the former American employees who formerly had a middle class income and expectations for their children.
He goes on to argue that it's not China's fault -- it is the fault of our corporations, and thus we have to deal with "our" corporations.
A business exists to make a profit.
Laws define what is legitimate to do in the pursuit of said profit, and what is not.
Millions of Americans lost their jobs because the law allowed their jobs to be offshored to literal slave-labor encampments without consequence.
And it is not just China. In fact, China is just one of many offenders.
The results are plain. In Kuala Lumpur cranes stretch outward among the gleaming towers in a perpetual construction boom powered by foreign investment. The streets are spotless and well policed, the water is clean, and the politics are relatively stable. Consumers around the world benefit from products like mobile devices, circuit boards, and LED screens.
At the heart of this economic success are migrant workers. From Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia, and India, they arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport by the scoreful, papers in hand, hoping for a better life. Estimates of the number of foreign workers in Malaysia vary widely, from the government’s count of almost 1.8 million to perhaps twice as many, which would amount to a quarter of the country’s workforce. Migrant-worker advocates estimate one-third of those workers are undocumented.
Malaysia allows and prospers through what amounts to slave labor; in other words, modern-day human trafficking to obtain labor for pennies an hour.
This is nothing new; in fact it's as old as people. Mexico was once one of the worst in this regard; they didn't give a crap about the health of their slaves or even their longevity; they had access to so many of them that there was no economic incentive to even feed their slaves. In other words it was cheaper to buy a new slave than feed the one you have. America's slavery, for all its warts, didn't devolve into that but it wasn't from the "caring" of the slave-owners -- it came from the economics.
Has it really changed? Nope, nor will it ever except where the law forces it to.
This is why in my book Leverage I pointed out that the only way to deal with this crap and stop it is to apply Wage and Environmental parity tariffs without exception and to ensconce those in law for any firm that wants to do business in the United States, without exception.
PCR says this is the fault of the Fed. Of course he does -- he doesn't want to deal with the fact that he, personally egged on the offshoring and "free trade" bullshit, never mind his time in advocacy with the Hoover Institution, Georgetown, George Mason University, an associate editor for the Wall Street Journal (which has an unabashed record of promoting so-called "free trade") and, of course, Reagan's "supply side" economics which were little more than a sop to offshoring and exploitation of slavery. Oh, and let's not forget his advisory role to J.P. Morgan!
It's not like the big banks had anything to do with this, right?
Reagan had the distinction of running enormous deficits during his Presidency, which inflated GDP. Everyone cheers for GDP increases but nobody in the media, nor Roberts himself, points out that mathematically GDP will always increase by the exact amount all branches of government combined spend in deficit, whether they allegedly issue "bonds" to "fund" that or not.
Nobody issues bonds or takes down a deficit for money they do not immediately use. If your local district issues a $20 million bond for a school improvement it immediately spends the $20 million. If they taxed the money from you first the net GDP impact would be zero -- you forfeit the $20 million to the school (which means you don't spend it) and then the school spends it. $20 million minus $20 million is zero.
But if they can spend it first then they take nothing from you initially and GDP goes up by $20 million.
The problem is that theoretically they must take the $20 million later to pay off the bond but history says they never do. Instead the bond is rolled over and only the interest is paid, so the $20 million appears to be "free" in economic terms and thus GDP continues to go up when they issue the next one too.
It's not true in fact and what's worse is that the "extra money" flying around makes the price of everything go up. Now if there was no turd-world slave labor there would be a check and balance on this that would come in the form of rapidly-rising wage demands (when you get to the point of being unable to feed yourself why go to work?) and that cuts off the game.
To prevent a replay of this after it happened during Nixon's administration (and interest rates were forced higher in response) PCR and the rest of the "free market" screamers passed law and policy to make it both legal and trivially easy to find a source of slaves to replace those pesky people in America who would otherwise demand more money to keep making both cars and computers. They are also the same people who insist that illegal Mexicans be allowed to flood the nation to pick oranges, strawberries and roof houses.
It's not that Americans can't do those jobs it's that you can't ask Americans to do so them for $3/hour and expect them to be able to survive. The price of a house or strawberry package would skyrocket immediately and cut off the unbacked credit issuance.
In other words it's all fraud and PCR knows it.
But this is what passes for "economic wisdom" these days, never mind "reporting."