One thing I’d like to put in before the debate: Romney talking about branding China a currency manipulator is beyond stupid. A good case could’ve been made about six years ago, but China has actually improved dramatically on this front and as Ezra Klein pointed out in the Post today is actually doing a better job than Singapore and even to some degree Japan. And what does Romney want to do? Hurl something that really accomplishes nothing and serves no purpose other than a big international insult, and then what? The next natural step is to impose tariffs on Chinese goods. And then next natural step after that is for China to impose tariffs on American goods. And then we have a trade war. Smart economic policy.[/quote]
The difference is that Japan and Singapore are bona fide allies - China is not - and the econommics can’t be separated from the politics. And, China, because of its size and scope, isn’t like Japan or Singapore - China’s currency advantage causes massive disruption in the “fair” flow of goods in a way that Japan’s does not. It’d be similar to comparing the trangressions of Goldman Sachs to a regional bank - even if the regional bank engaged in worse behavior than Goldman Sachs on paper, the impact of Goldman Sachs’s transgressions would have more significance.
The China issue also plays well with blue-collar-Reagan-Democrat types in the old Rust belt states - and for good reason.
China is also easy prey, given the strong opinions on it, because Obama has boxed himself in and cannot credibly complain about China at this point (since he hasn’t for 4 years).[/quote]
I understand that China’s size and ambivalence toward America make this different form when Japan does it. And I clearly see the political benefit of China-bashing.
But are you really arguing that it’s a good idea to walk into the White House on day one and brand our economic rival/codependent a currency manipulator?
Again–China has gotten MUCH better on this issue. How can that fact go unacknowledged? And again: if we’re sincere about this, the next logical step is tariff imposition.