Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bull In the China Shop

In an attempt to remind Republican voters that he is still in the race, Mitt Romney released a 59-point economic plan. It’s most notable feature is an attack on China’s economic policy.

One of his 10 first-day actions would be an executive order to sanction China for its trade practices and the manipulation of its currency. Romney also would create a new multinational trade group called the “Reagan Economic Zone,” described in his plan as “a multilateral trading bloc open to any country committed to the principles of open markets and free enterprise.”

The idea, advisers said, is to supplement and improve on the flawed World Trade Organization by forming a new alliance exclusively of trusted trading partners — presumably excluding, and providing a counterweight to, China.

“I’ll clamp down on the cheaters, and China’s the worst example of that,” he said, pointing to its currency manipulation and lack of intellectual-property enforcement.

“I certainly don’t want a trade war, but we can’t have a trade surrender either,” he said.

I’m no economist, but I do know that China holds an awful lot of America’s debt. Logic dictates that it’s probably not a great idea to antagonize the people who can make your life miserable. It’s like putting a bag of flaming dog shit on the desk of the loan manager at your bank, thinking that will be the way to get a lower interest rate on your mortgage.

Oh, and what is with the “Reagan Economic Zone”? Not only is it kind of creepy to be invoking the name of a dead president when you’re coming up with a market plan — what, the airport wasn’t good enough? — it’s like he was some North Korean dictator who has to be memorialized in every breath. On the upside, at least they didn’t stuff his body and put it on display under glass… at least not yet.

HT to Steve M.