The Alliance for American Manufacturing is sharing a new Ipsos poll that concludes Americans Want Trade Agreements That Do Not Undermine American Jobs.
Conclusions: The poll shows that while currency manipulation is not currently on the minds of many Americans, it is a very salient issue when tied directly to its real-world impacts, such as the potential loss of manufacturing jobs. In a choice between jobs and better access to foreign goods on the marketplace, the survey finds that protecting jobs wins big. Americans ultimately favor fairness, not a marketplace tilted in favor of foreign countries.
This survey demonstrates that efforts to level the playing field for the American companies and workers will be met with strong support from voters. Further, the survey shows that across regions and political affiliations, Americans are sending a clear bipartisan message to policymakers, especially as negotiations continue on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other trade deals: Prohibiting currency manipulation is of vital importance and should be a key component of any international trade agreement.
Laura Clawson of DailyKos makes this point…
Of course, backers of bad trade deals never admit they’re going to cost jobs. In fact, they always claim the deals will create jobs—but by now, we’ve seen enough of these to know that’s false. And opponents of declaring other countries (China) to be currency manipulators would say it might jeopardize the U.S. relationship with those other countries (China) in problematic ways. Those voices, in fact, dominate our politics. They get the trade agreements passed without transparency. They go on TV and condescendingly explain that this is a global economy and in a global economy you have to race to the bottom, or you might get left behind. (As if being left behind in a race to the bottom is automatically a terrible thing.)
Want an example of a “problematic way” that demanding China not manipulate it’s currency might jeopardize our relationship?
A few years ago I had the opportunity to lobby members of the Missouri and Kansas Congressional delegation on the issue of currency manipulation A Chief -of-Staff for a Kansas Representative stated the candidate would have a hard time supporting a bill to remedy currency manipulation because it might hurt exports from Arkansas. I inquired what the export item was that could not survive a fair currency that would lower the trade deficit with China and boost American manufacturing. The answer was Chicken Beaks and Feet!
It seems a certain chicken processor in The Natural State supposedly sells $200 million worth of Chicken Beaks and Feet to the Chinese every year. According to this Chief-of-Staff for a Kansas Republican congressman this was too important to risk asking the Chinese to live by the agreements they have already made and stop manipulating their currency. Chicken Beaks and Feet were more important than the millions of jobs lost to our staggering $250 billion trade deficit with China. Chicken Beaks and Feet were too important to level the playing field for U.S. small businesses by eliminating an unfair Chinese advantage.
So yes, American policymakers are refusing to take action on the premise that our relationship with China, built on a foundation of chicken parts, might be jeopardized. Of course, the irony of this legislator being a Tea Party member supposedly dedicated to government of , by, and for the people was not lost.
Moral of this story: Don’t Tread on Me unless it is with Chicken Feet!