Wednesday, September 29, 2010
  Progress, sorta

From NYTimes:

The House of Representatives sent a unusually confrontational signal to the Chinese leadership on Wednesday, voting overwhelmingly to give President Obama the authority to impose tariffs on all Chinese imports — more than $300 billion this year — in retaliation for Beijing’s refusal to revalue its currency.

The vote was 348 to 79.

The bill is unlikely to become law because the prospects for Senate approval are dim.

This is indeed unusual and dramatic. Especially dramatic because it breaks down the unthinkableness of tariffs and (horror of horrors!) protectionism. Now that a large part of the Lower Nuthouse has actually voted for protectionism, they can no longer use the word as an insult against real Americans.
The administration has been of two minds about the legislation. It has often used the rising public anger over China’s trade advantage to argue to Chinese leaders that the United States would no longer tolerate deliberate currency manipulation.


In other words, Pasha Obama wants to make empty threats but also wants to make it perfectly clear that he's a Chinese slave.
But in conversations with Congress, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other officials have warned of the danger of touching off a trade war...

You fucking idiots, China is already running a devastating trade war against us, and they've already won most of the territory. If you think the trade war hasn't yet started, you've been in a coma for 30 years. You don't really think that, because you're not that dumb. You're Chinese agents.

Proof of that statement is easy. If Geithner were not a Chinese agent, he would long ago have re-purchased the $800 billion in bonds held by China. He's already repurchased and resold at least 5 times that much from other sources, so he's fully willing and able to spend such quantities. It's just that he doesn't want to buy us out of Chinese slavery.

The risks go beyond trade. President Obama is pressing China for help on cutting exports to Iran, managing a dangerous leadership transition in North Korea and coming to some kind of accord on curbing carbon outputs that contribute to global warming.

More silliness. If we were truly worried about Persia, we would already have bombed them. (Though the recent computer worm may be evidence of real action on our part!) And China will keep NK under control for its own good reasons, without any help or hindrance from us. And of course the whole "global warming" crime is a Chinese plot against us to begin with, so it's weirdly absurd for us to be worrying about Chinese co-operation. China sets the rules, the Wall Street Mafia gets the vig.

Despite all this multi-faceted and manifold vacuity, I'm still happy the Lower Nuthouse found enough guts to vote solidly for a serious tariff.

This tariff would solve most of our current problems if enacted.

And who knows, maybe the Upper Nuthouse will finally be scared enough to serve the American people, just this once in a lifetime. Not bloody likely, but we can pretend.

= = = = =

A bit later, after checking the roll call: Nearly all the No votes are Repooflicans, including all the party leadership and many of the Tea Party types. (Ron Paul voted No, even though his allegedly precious Constitution specifies tariffs as the main source of revenue!) But I don't see a consistent ideological pattern. Aside from the leadership, Repooflican votes seem to be mainly determined by geography, i.e. the many states that have lost jobs to China voted Yes, while the few states that export to China voted No.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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