Greg Autry

Fighting for space, not over it.

David Kilgour – Reluctantly for Romney

Greg Autry - Jennifer Zeng - David Kilgour

Greg Autry, Jennifer Zheng (former Chinese labor camp and torture victim, author of Witnessing History and star of Free China), and Hon. David Kilgour at Parliament on Friday 11/2/2012 before the Death by China showing.

 Today’s guest post is by the Honorable David Kilgour, former Canadian Member of Parliament, former Secretary of State for Asia, and a Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. David and I had the opportunity to discuss many things in Ottawa this weekend and we spent a lot of time on the American election. As a thoughtful moderate and a fan of Mr. Obama concerned about human rights in China and jobs in North America, he was torn. His thoughtful insights are reflected here.

RELUCTANTLY FOR ROMNEY – by the Hon. David Kilgour

From all indications, most Canadians would vote to re-elect Obama president tomorrow if we could, just as we would have done in 2008. One opinion survey four years ago indicated that as many as 92 per cent of us favoured Obama-Biden over McCain-Palin. The pre-election endorsements of Obama by Colin Powell, Michael Bloomberg and the Economist magazine, all of whom might have been expected to endorse Romney, will make the comfortable choice even easier for many Canadians.

There are many qualities we like in Obama, including his intelligence, compassion, surmounting of early upbringing obstacles, and his family. Both his books, Audacity of Hope and Dreams from my Father, are compelling.  In short, many Canadians continue to have confidence in the president and to extend him the benefit of various doubts since he moved to the White House.

Mitt Romney, despite having a family cottage in Canada and thus more direct exposure to our country as a youth, is harder for many of us to identify with. He epitomizes the much-criticized 1% in a difficult economic period for many across America, Canada and the world.  He is also obliged to accommodate the Tea Party faction in the Republican party, essentially contemporary political Know Nothings, who have made it difficult for him to be what he undoubtedly is: a Massachusetts moderate.

The New York Times columnist, David Brooks, recently offered some interesting predictions about the kind of administrations each candidate would offer.

Obama would probably seek to enact the sensible program he recently laid out in an interview: recreate the budget deal of two years ago ($2.50 of spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases); cuts in corporate taxes as part of business reform ; attempted immigration reform; implement Obamacare; increase spending on infrastructure. The rest would be about smaller items, such as more math and science teachers and increased foreign affairs initiatives to build a legacy.

Romney would begin with the conviction that the status quo is unsustainable: the mounting debt is ruining America and “byzantine tax and regulatory regimes are stifling innovation and growth.” Under a Romney administration, Brooks thinks the federal government would spend about 21 per cent of the G.D.P. instead of about 24 per cent.  Importantly, Romney would respect the main lesson of the election campaign: moderation wins. Among other lessons, this means he’d have to increase taxes on the rich, reduce his tax-cut promises and abandon the draconian spending reductions in his running mate Paul Ryan`s budget proposals.

In short, for Brooks, an Obama win probably “means small-bore stasis; if Romney wins, we`re more likely to get bipartisan reform…He`s more likely to get big stuff done”.

While foreign policy is one of Obama’s perceived advantages over Romney, he has certainly fumbled some major issues abroad, including climate change and the Doha Round of world trade negotiations. Whether Romney or anyone could have done better internationally as president is an open question, especially during a global economic crisis and the rise of new players on the world stage.

Among Obama`s accomplishments are his ending of George Bush’s “global war on terror”, removing American soldiers from Iraq, and his handling of the Arab Spring in some countries. On other issues–Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict come readily to mind — there have been few strategic gains.

There is enormous but little-focused-upon-by-the-media concern about China and the continuing loss of manufacturing jobs across the United States. As a consequence, only about nine percent of Americans now work in the sector, when probably at least one quarter are needed for a successful modern economy. It is disingenuous for Obama and business CEOs to brag that America exported $100 billion last year to China when it imported almost $400 billion. Beijing cheats on most of its World Trade Organization commitments, but its continuing manipulation of its currency is doubtless the most destructive in terms of good jobs disappearing in America, Canada and all countries trading with China. Romney is right about the urgent need to declare China a ‘currency manipulator’ and to add 20, 30 or whatever percentage the tampering is determined to be to the price of every import from China.

On reversing the problems affecting America, Canada and so many economies, which candidate is better equipped? Martin Wolf, one of the world’s leading financial columnists, identifies some clues. At the end of Obama’s first year in office, the world was on a path very similar to the calamitous one taken in the 1930s, but managed to adopt policy responses that included expansive monetary and fiscal policy and support to the financial sector.

Wolf believes that a debt crisis inside the U.S. and a meltdown of the Eurozone are today the most likely triggers for another major crisis. He adds that there is no consensus today on what is the “right macro policy-that is the right monetary policy, the right fiscal policy, and the right policy on dealing with debt overhangs.” Whichever candidate has convinced more Americans that he can restore the American economy and get back to reasonable employment levels and growth is likely to win tomorrow.

Very reluctantly, and primarily because of Obama’s weak stand on jobs/China, I’d vote for Romney.

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You can find David Kilgour on the web at: http://www.david-kilgour.com

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Why Obama is on the Offense In Ohio

What to know why President Obama has just gone on the offensive on China trade policy?   See the results of this just released Zogby poll commissioned by Death By China Productions.  The poll shows Obama faces a huge “soft on China” gap relative to Mitt Romney in the key swing state of Ohio – and some very interesting findings as well.

 

New Zogby Poll in Crucial Ohio Swing State

 

  • Obama and Romney in Statistical Dead Heat
  • Obama Faces Large “Soft on China” Gap
  • The Best Jobs Program is Trade Reform With China
  • Ohioans Overwhelming Support a Boycott of Made in China.

 

President Obama may have opened a lead in national polls, but it remains a statistical dead heat in the crucial swing state of Ohio.  In the latest Zogby Poll of 601 likely voters conducted by JZ Analytics, President Obama’s lead of 45%.3 to 43.2% over Mitt Romney is well within the statistical margin of error.

 

Candidates take note:  An overwhelming majority of Ohioans — 80% — agree that “the single most important issue in the 2012 Presidential race is jobs.

 

50% of Ohio respondents believe that the best jobs program for America is “cracking down on China’s unfair trade practices like currency manipulation, illegal export subsidies, and counterfeiting and piracy” while only 22% favor more government stimulus; and these results are consistent across liberals, moderates, and conservatives.

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This finding is particularly bad news for President Obama as he faces a double digit “soft on China gap” relative to his opponent.  Fully 43% of Ohioans believe Mitt Romney is more likely to crack down on China’s unfair trade practices compared to only 30% for Obama.  Among independents where the largest bloc of undecided votes remains, this gap holds at 35% to 26% in favor of Romney.  (This finding may also help explain why Obama has recently ratcheted up his tough on China messaging.)

 

56% of respondents also believe “Americans should boycott Made in China products because of China’s unfair trade practices and human rights abuses” while only 19% are against the boycott.  This result is consistent across party affiliation, indicating the issue of China is an American issue, not a partisan issue.

 

If Obama is to win in the crucial swing state of Ohio – and thereby likely win the election — he would do well to try to close his very large “soft on China” gap not by attacking Romney for being soft on China – Ohioans won’t believe that.  Rather, Obama should carry the slogan “the best jobs program is trade reform with China” and lay out very specific policy actions that will curb China’s cheating.

 

For his part, Romney would do well to further press his “tough on China” advantage in Ohio by extending his campaign talking points significantly beyond his promise to brand China a currency manipulator on his first day in office.  Clearly, China’s cheating is a flashpoint for Ohio voters who have seen whole factories uprooted and replanted in China.

 

The Zogby Poll was commissioned by the filmmaker of Death By China Peter Navarro to benchmark attitudes of Ohioans on the China question.  Navarro is traveling throughout the state showing the film and conducting town hall meetings, with stops in Youngstown, Akron, Dayton, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Mansfield, Portsmouth, Sandusky, Athens, and Findlay.

Huntsman Continues his Old Job of Passing on Chinese Threats – Romney Rocks

When John Huntsman’s turned on his fellow GOP candidate, Mitt  Romney in order to flaunt his Mandarin in Saturday night’s debate, he accused the former Mass Governor of not understanding the situation in regards to China’s currency manipulation scheme.

Actually what was clear from the exchange and from Mr. Huntsman’s actions as kowtowing ambassador to the world’s largest police state that it is Huntsman who just doesn’t get it.

Huntsman didn’t bother to either deny of defend the charges of currency manipulation, trade cheating, and IP theft. All he wanted to do, was his familiar job of delivering imperious Chinese threats.

This time he was the mouthpiece for the tired old assertion that holding China up to international norms and the trade agreements it has signed up to would result in a “trade war.”

Romney promptly and properly pointed out that in a trade war the country that is benefiting from the trade is the one that has the most to fear. In the US-China relationship it’s very apparent who this trade is profiting and who this trade is hurting. If the China trade vanished today and the US got back its domestic markets the main thing that would happen is a 2% increase in our GDP and huge drop in our unemployment.

Sure we’d lose that plant in Georgia selling chopsticks to China, but in exchange could be making iPads in California. Nothing could be more representative of the raw deal America gets from working with China.

Further, the key point is that there is a huge moral hazard in letting your friend cheat you out of the fear that they might not play with you anymore. Trading partners, like anyone else learn from your previous behavior and I’ll continue doing what works. In China’s case that’s lying, cheating, stealing, and occasionally threatening.

The American public does not want a President who channels Hu Jintao and threatens the American people in Chinese.