Beast Banner October 5 - 19, 2006
ISSUE #108
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Features

ArrowWelcome to the Monkey House
On Safari at “The Chapel” in Getzville

Ian Murphy

ArrowI, Left Gatekeeper
Why the "9/11 Truth" movement makes the "Left Behind" sci-fi series read like Shakespeare
Matt Taibbi

ArrowGet on Board
A farewell to Habeas Corpus in one act.

Allan Uthman

ArrowThe Madness of King Us
Think we're turning a corner? Think again

Donnie Dobovitch

ArrowSexual Predators
What can you do?

ArrowHow the Media Lies About China
"Try harder," American worker – and Thomas Friedman thinks everything will be fine
Matt Taibbi

Local BEAST

ArrowPig Roast
Tom Reynolds is done. Let’s all stick forks in him.
Allan Uthman

ArrowBEAST Staff Aids Non-Millionaire
“Relief for Reynolds” Campaign a Modest Success
Josh Bunting

ArrowCaring is Hard Work!
A selection of transcripts from our neighborhood canvass in the 26th district.

Departments

ArrowThe Beast Page 3
Incredibly Full of Shit Asshole

ArrowKino Korner: Movies
Jackass Number Two, The Guardian, Flyboys, All the King's Men, School for Scoundrels, Fearless

ArrowBEAST-O-Scopes
As divined by your ethereal guide

Arrow[sic] - Letters
Partisan Bickering, A Bold Challenge, Crocodile Punter, Reynolds R.I.P. and more

How the American Media Lies About China

continued - page 2

The impetus for the Times editorial was an effort by New York Senator Chuck Schumer and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham to impose tariffs on China for its alleged manipulation of the yuan, which the two legislators claim gives China an "unfair trade advantage." The effort by the Senators was apparently headed off following a meeting with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. and pressure from companies such as Caterpillar, General Electric and Citibank (the latter two, incidentally, have been heavy contributors to Schumer in particular).

The whole episode shows just exactly how twisted American politics have become. To even try to take action in protest of Chinese business practices, lawmakers like Graham and Schumer only have an opening to get self-righteous when they perceive that China has committed a crime against capitalism, i.e. manipulating the yuan. Apparently it is not possible any longer to complain that China uses slave labor and ruthlessly represses dissent, which of course also results in a clearly "unfair trade advantage." And since most American politicians are heavily subsidized by campaign contributions from companies who take massive advantage of cheap Chinese labor -- GE alone donated over $1.4 million to federal candidates in the 2006 cycle -- the likelihood of anyone in government taking such action in the future is extremely limited.

In fact, not only does Congress not protest Chinese human rights violations, it refuses even to stop giving subsidies to American corporations that move domestic jobs to China. I remember Vermont's Bernie Sanders explaining to me how that whole deal works. "I'll ask a company like GE why we should give them money, if they won't promise to stop moving American jobs to China," he told me. "And they'll say, 'Look, we're going to China, one way or another. But if you don't give us the money, we'll move there faster.' They're very honest about it."

Everyone knows what the end result of all of this is. The more countries like China prosper and take over our manufacturing business, the more downward pressure is exerted not only on American wages, but on local tax rates and American workers' rights. It's not a coincidence that unions all over America are being broken and forced to take humiliating positions in collective bargaining agreements as our manufacturing economy moves across the Pacific Ocean. And it's not a coincidence that states are not only no longer collecting the same tax revenue from manufacturers, they're practically paying companies to stay -- like the case of the state of Ohio, which worked with the city of Toledo to provide GM with over $300 million in tax breaks, as well as property and infrastructure investments, to keep Jeep in that city.

The dirty little secret of both the American media and the American government is that neither sector much minds this state of affairs. In both cases the corporate sponsors who pay their bills would like nothing more than a full rollback here in America of workers' rights and deep cuts, if not the outright elimination, of corporate taxes. And if the General Electrics and the Caterpillars of the world are very much concerned about preserving democracy and civil liberties here in America, well, they're doing a good job of hiding it. These companies would love to be able to dump raw thallium in the Mississippi River, pay even skilled Americans pennies and get local cops in Little Rock and Peoria to arrest troublesome union leaders. And one good way to get there is to move overseas and then insist that America needs to "try harder" to compete. And we know what they mean by "trying harder."

That is what is most disgusting about the recent Times editorial, which cynically echoed its own undeserved reputation for liberal extremism to make it seem like they were calling protectionist measures a kind of racism -- "blaming foreigners," which they say is "easier" than adapting "homegrown business practices." That's a lie, just like Tom Friedman's "Do your homework" schtick is a lie. As if GE would pick the union member with the fair wage over the no-vote, ten-cent Chinese if he'd just done better in school.

America doesn't need to try harder. China needs to stop using slave labor. If you see things any other way, you've probably got a factory in the Suzhou industrial park. Or you're taking money from someone who does.

 

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