Fusion Magazine: Don't Fear the Dragon

The U.S. must slay its China-bashing to prosper in the 21st century

By Tyler Grimm

Thirty years ago, China made up a smaller portion of the global economy than Turkey does today. The nation was in abject poverty and hadn’t had much of a hit since it invented gunpowder.

The People’s Republic has since come a long way: It is now the world’s largest exporter, second largest manufacturer, third largest economy, has been growing at roughly 10 percent per year, and produces more than a quarter of all U.S. consumer goods. In Washington, international economic policy is set to become a hot-button issue this year and "What to do about China?" will be the 900-pound panda in the room. As has been the case over the last decade, policymakers will be tempted to act with resentment. After all, with best-case scenario predictions of 3 percent annual growth in the United States over the next 10 years, who wouldn’t be jealous of China’s expected double-digit growth?

A REMEDY WORSE THAN THE DISEASE

In 2009, we bought $300 billion worth of goods from China, and they imported only $70 billion worth of goods from us. The $230 billion trade deficit scares many Americans into believing that we are too dependent on China and they are taking our jobs.

In response, we are likely to hear increased calls for "protectionism"—the act of restricting trade with other countries in an attempt to "protect" our economy from losing jobs to foreign competition. Recent examples of this include tariffs put on tires imported from China and the "Buy American" provision in the stimulus. Such measures are the result of special interest lobbying, not good policymaking.

There is a near-consensus among economists that the benefits of free trade far outweigh the costs. Leave it to Washington to exercise economic illiteracy. In March of this year, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer declared, "We can’t jump-start our economy and pull ourselves out of this recession if we are putting Chinese workers ahead of American workers." Similar pandering sentiments have been echoed by many of his colleagues on Capitol Hill.

From a political standpoint, championing protectionism can be very attractive. If you represent a manufacturing state and constituents’ jobs are being lost because they can be done at a lower cost overseas, it is easy and popular to propose to save jobs by making foreign goods more expensive through tariffs.

In practice, though, things never work out as intended. In 1930, despite the objection of economists, we raised tariffs on more than 20,000 imported goods. This, by many accounts, triggered the Great Depression.

A SECRET ALLIANCE IN THE WAR ON POVERTY

The reality is that if a product can be made cheaper elsewhere it should be made cheaper elsewhere. The producing country benefits from selling the products while the consuming country benefits from access to cheaper goods, which translates to more disposable income. Economists use the term "comparative advantage" to describe this phenomenon.

Adam Smith was making this point as early as 1776: "If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better buy it of them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which we have some advantage."

In 2008, in response to hostility toward trade, two University of Chicago economists released a groundbreaking study that dealt with the question, "Does China Benefit the Poor in America?"

The answer: a resounding "yes." It turns out that from 1994-2005 (the period studied) the widening income gap (i.e. "the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer") was actually completely offset by households buying cheaper products.

Far from hindering U.S. prosperity, China has been a driver of it. The problem is simply that the gains from trade are much harder to see than the losses. Macroeconomic indicators such as import or export levels do little to make the benefits of trade apparent to average Americans. It’s easy to understand that your neighbor’s job is now being done by someone in Asia. It’s incredibly difficult, however, to process that, as a result, the economy is more dynamic and your neighbor will almost certainly find a new job, probably in a new industry that is able to thrive because of efficiency gains. Not to mention that the job going overseas to be done more economically means that you have access to many products that would otherwise be unaffordable.

Over the last 10 years, overall prices in America have risen by 29 percent. At the same time, incomes have only risen by 23 percent. But consider the prices for major imports from China: clothes, audio equipment, televisions, and toys. Clothes prices fell by 8 percent; audio equipment fell by 39 percent; televisions fell by 83 percent; toys fell by 43 percent. This is what renowned 20th century economist Joseph Schumpeter had in mind when he wrote, "The capitalist engine is first and last an engine of mass production which unavoidably means also production for the masses."

Consider this: From the time the first VCR was sold, it took the device 12 years to reach half of American households. Compare this to DVD players: a mere six years after their introduction, 8 out of 10 households had one.

The same trend—faster diffusion rates—can be seen with almost any major technology. When you see a new expensive gadget, isn’t your first thought, "I’ll get one when the price is lower?" Prices are now coming down faster, leading to more widespread ownership.

It took 28 years for radios to reach half of American households. The iPod, which is made in China, has only been on the market since 2001 and already 40 percent of Americans own a portable mp3 player.

But what effect does trade have on China?

GROWTH, A BETTER ALTERNATIVE

Some bemoan trade with China not because it hurts America’s economy, but because of concerns about unfair labor practices. While bad working conditions are a serious and sad reality, citing them as a reason to stop trade is narrow-minded and would have the opposite of the intended effect.

China has only been engaged in global trade since 1978, when Chairman Deng Xiaoping gradually began freeing the economy from the paralyzing constraints of Communism. According to trade analyst Johan Norberg, "in 20 years, China’s economy went from equaling Germany’s to exceeding the German, French, Italian, and Nordic economies combined." The World Bank described the effect of China’s semi-liberalization as the "biggest and fastest poverty reduction in history."

Chinese workers are not forced to work for foreign companies. On the contrary, they prefer it. A poll conducted by Manpower Inc. found 75 percent of Chinese workers preferred to work for a wholly foreign-owned employer, rather than a Chinese company or joint venture.

AT LEAST SOMEBODY WANTS IT

Job losses and human rights concerns haven’t been the only driver of economic paranoia about China. The country’s status as the largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt has aroused deep uneasiness and a fear that we are financially at their mercy. The statistics alone are surely alarming: In 1970, foreigners held only 4 percent of our debt; now they hold almost half of it. China alone owns roughly $900 billion worth.

The obvious, and most preferable, solution would be that America stop accumulating somuch debt. But, considering that we’re not going to pay off our $12 trillion tab anytime soon, we should be thankful China is still willing to finance it.

In March 2007, Sen. Hillary Clinton sent a letter to then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, complaining about China’s U.S. debt holdings. She wrote, "It is undeniable that the exponential growth of foreign debt in the last six years has undermined our economic standing. We have to curb these deficits and ensure foreign governments don’t own too much of our public debt and take steps to ensure that our economic well being is soundly in our own hands."

She talked a good game as a senator with presidential ambitions, but two years later Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—not having to engage in populist pandering—was playing a different tune. On a trip to China in February 2009, she praised the two countries’ "positive cooperation" and even thanked China for "continued confidence in U.S. treasuries."

The fact of the matter is that foreigners’ desire to hold our debt is a positive thing—the larger the demand for our debt, the lower the interest rate we pay on it. It’s when they’re not willing to hold our debt that we have a problem. Interest is paid with tax dollars (the federal government doesn’t earn money, it only redistributes it) and higher interest rates on the debt mean higher taxes for Americans. By 2019, interest payments are already slated to be the third biggest budget item (after Social Security and Medicare). Causing this expense to go up would have serious impact on Americans’ wallets.

At present, fortunately, China doesn’t have much of an option but to hold on to U.S. debt. The dollar remains the world’s most reliable currency and is therefore China’s best choice for stocking its foreign exchange reserve.

NOT NUMBER YUAN

China’s economy has made leaps and bounds since discovering the fruits of capitalism, but perception of the country’s economic might is far greater than reality.

According to a 2009 Pew CharitableTrust poll, when asked to pick the "world’s leading economic power" 44 percent of the public chose China, compared with only 27 percent for the United States.

China is growing rapidly, but the threat of it replacing the United States as the foremost economic superpower anytime soon is exaggerated. China’s population is more than four times the size of America’s, yet its economy is equivalent to the size of only four U.S. states. Most notably, after adjusting for purchasing power, China’s GDP per capita is $6,500, compared to $46,400 in the United States.

Even if China’s economy were to grow larger than that of the United States, the earliest this would happen is 2025. And "grow larger" does not mean the average Chinese citizen would be more wealthy than the average American, it simply means that more economic activity would take place in China than in the United States. We would, by almost any measure, remain the world’s strongest nation.

Further, despite its embrace of markets, China still self-identifies as Communist and, by and large, is still a very "unfree" and unstable nation. The joint Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom ranked China 140 out of 179 countries (1 being the most free). According to the report, China "remains a one-party state in which the Communist Party maintains tight control of political expression, speech, religion, and assembly. Any social group that can organize on a large scale is deemed a threat, as are many individual dissidents."

An added benefit of trade is that it ensures our ideological differences continue to be non-violent. Countries that are economically dependent on each other have never gone to war. As French philosopher Frederic Bastiat once observed, "When goods cross borders, armies don’t." The academic literature calls this phenomenon "peace through commerce."

WITHOUT AN ECONOMIC FORTUNE COOKIE

In March, President Obama suggested that the Democrats’ once-pro-tectionist position on trade was changing: "Those who once would oppose any trade agreement now understand that there are new markets and new sectors out there that we need to break into if we want our workers to get ahead."

Policy actions taken since the start of his administration, however, seem to indicate otherwise. The "Buy American" provision, tariffs on tires, coated-paper and steel piping, and animosity toward Chinese monetary policy have all been setbacks to a relationship the president himself says will "shape the 21st century."

On the other side of the world, Chinese leaders seem to get it. Earlier this year, Premier Wen Jiabao exclaimed, "free trade not only promotes growth of the world economy... it promotes harmony in the world and changes and improves people’s lives." He reiterated it on March 13 when he promised China would "unswervingly implement its opening-up policy." At the same time, the Red nation is continuing to slowly liberalize markets, which is fueling growth.

The big question is: What does the future hold for China’s economy?

One predictor may be the size of government. China’s government now makes up less than 20 percent of its economy. This was the same as the post-war average of the U.S. federal government’s size. Recently, however, Uncle Sam has swollen to 25 percent. Think about that. The size of government in China is shrinking to the size of the U.S. government when our country was its most prosperous.

Not to mention that, while we’re going through the worst economic downturn in a generation, China escaped the global financial crisis smelling like flowers—it is enjoying significant expansion with no sign of a slow-down. This has led many to compare China to Japan in the 1980s, when it appeared to be booming and predicted to overtake the United States.

Japan’s raging growth was short-lived as it was proven to be the result of a bubble. This resulted in a "lost decade" of Japan’s government trying hopelessly to resuscitate its economy through multiple stimulus packages. It has still not fully recovered. This time, it could be the United States, not its Asian rival, that experiences a decade of malaise from too much economic intervention.

America has everything to lose and nothing to gain by going off the tried and true path for economic growth. The United States is and will remain exceptional. This, however, doesn’t change the fact that anti-growth policies that cut off our economy from the rest of the world’s resources can affect how exceptionally we grow and prosper.



<< Return to the May 2010 Index of Fusion

11 things you can do to help stop the Great Reset

Photo by Arthur Franklin on Unsplash

The foundation of the American way of life is freedom from tyranny, which can only exist in a nation that defends the rights, powers, and property of individuals and families. Over the past two centuries, the greatest threats to liberty have come from governments, both foreign and domestic. And from the beaches of Normandy to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Americans have repeatedly conquered the challenges placed before them by those seeking to extinguish or limit individual rights.

However, over the past few years, a new, potentially catastrophic danger has emerged, but not primarily from the halls of Congress or state capitols. This threat to freedom has largely emanated from the board rooms of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful corporations, large financial institutions, central banks, and international organizations such as the United Nations and World Economic Forum.

In an attempt to secure vast amounts of wealth and influence over society, corporate CEOs, bankers, and investors, working closely with key government officials, have launched a unified effort to impose environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards on most of the industrialized global economy. ESG standards are also referred to as “sustainable investment” or “stakeholder capitalism.” According to a report by KPMG, thousands of companies, located in more than 50 countries, already have ESG systems in place, including 82 percent of large companies in the United States.

ESG standards are designed to create a “great reset of capitalism” and to “revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions.” ESG supporters plan to enact these radical changes by using ESG schemes to alter how businesses and investments are evaluated, so that instead of focusing on the quality of goods and services, profits, and other traditional economic metrics, companies — including financial institutions — are evaluated largely on their commitment to social justice and environmental causes and then assigned scores so that companies can be compared, rewarded, or potentially punished.

Supporters of the movement for a Great Reset also plan on using technology to limit free speech and privacy rights, and they support creating vast new government programs that are designed to transform the Western economy via the Green New Deal, European Green Deal, a federal jobs guarantee, and basic income programs.

Together, the proposals that make up the Great Reset represent the most serious threat to freedom in the West since the fall of the Soviet Union and perhaps since World War II. But there is hope. We can stop the Great Reset, but only if we act quickly and with great conviction.

Below are 11 steps you can take to push back against the Great Reset. These steps represent a powerful bottom-up, grassroots approach to the Great Reset’s top-down plan to remake the world. Although many of these steps won’t be easy for everyone to take, they are essential for ensuring that our children and grandchildren will grow up in a world that protects the rights of individuals and empowers families, rather than wealthy special interests, financial institutions, and large corporations.

1. Live Not by Lies: The time for remaining quiet is over. When you hear or see something that you know to be false, speak up. Be kind, generous, and compassionate, but do not, under any circumstances, allow lies to infect your life. Further, do not support organizations, publications, politicians, schools, or any other institutions that regularly promote false claims.

2. Buy Local: The reason the Great Reset is so powerful is because so many of us have become totally dependent on large multinational corporations. They can be easily manipulated in a way that small, local businesses cannot. Learn to buy local, whenever possible, even if it means spending more money on your purchases. Yes, big corporations offer conveniences and low prices that many small businesses can’t compete with, but those benefits come with a great cost: your freedom.

3. Bank Local: Big financial institutions and banks are driving much of the Great Reset movement. They have started to use their incredible wealth and power to alter society by financing only those businesses who agree to the terms of the Great Reset. This problem is going to get worse, so it’s important to find local banks and credit unions you can trust and who refuse to utilize ESG scores and other discriminatory schemes.

4. Support Local Farms: If you live in an area that has local farms and farmer’s markets, consider buying as many of your groceries as possible from farmers. In the future, food production and distribution are going to change dramatically. It’s important that you support local farmers and build relationships with individuals who can provide you with the goods you need in a time of crisis. One of our main goals must be to make local communities as self-sufficient as possible, and that cannot happen unless we support local farms.

5. Be Vocal: After starting to shop and bank locally, be sure to tell big financial institutions and corporations why they have lost your business. They need to know that their decisions have serious consequences.

6. Run for Local Government: Local and state governments will soon be our most important defense against the Great Reset. Consider running for your local school board, zoning board, or even for a state legislative office. If you don’t feel qualified for these positions, find someone who shares your values and help them run for office. If we don’t have control of our local governments, we won’t be able to halt the Great Reset.

7. Demand That Your State Pass Laws Against ESG Scores: In America, states have a tremendous amount of power to slow the Great Reset and protect their citizens from abuses by large corporations, banks, and international institutions. They can do this by passing laws that make the use of ESG metrics and other, similar systems by financial institutions illegal, when used as a precondition for banking services, financing, investment, etc. ESG scores are, by definition, discriminatory and should be made illegal by state lawmakers who care about protecting their citizens’ rights.

8. Make Responsible Spending a Key Issue for Politicians: In recent years, politicians on the ideological left and right have totally abandoned responsible fiscal policy in favor of vast money printing and loose monetary policies. The many trillions of dollars that have been “printed” in recent years put our economy at risk and are being used to fuel the Great Reset. Without these trillions of dollars of printed money, it would be exceptionally difficult for governments and financial institutions to buy off corporations.

9. Organize Anti-Great Reset Groups: No matter where you live, there are Americans in your community who do not support the Great Reset — Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike. Find like-minded neighbors and organize a local, peaceful resistance. Find people you can trust and agree to support one another when times get tough. Now, more than ever, we need to develop dependable communities.

10. Buy Property and Diversify: Property ownership is going to become increasingly more difficult in the months and years to come. It’s important that you work with a qualified financial adviser to help you figure out the best way to buy property and diversify your investments. Buying hard assets, including real estate and precious metals, could be a good way for you to protect against the Great Reset and a possible financial collapse. If you already own property, resist selling it to large corporations and financial institutions, whenever possible. (This is not financial advice, and I’m not a financial adviser. Talk to an expert you trust before taking action!)

11. Make the Great Reset a Litmus Test for Politicians: Before supporting politicians, find out if they know what the Great Reset is and what they plan to do to stop it. If they aren’t familiar with the Great Reset or don’t have a plan to halt it, then demand that they learn about the Great Reset and develop a proposal to prevent it. Political leaders who refuse to take the Great Reset seriously do not deserve your support. This is the key issue of our generation.

Scott Quiner was transferred over the weekend to a hospital in Texas after doctors in Minnesota threated to terminate life support measures as he battled severe complications from COVID-19. Scott's wife, Anne Quiner, appealed to the courts for a restraining order to prevent the hospital from pulling the plug as she sought a new facility to provide medical care for her husband. Scott was unvaccinated when he tested positive for COVID-19 in late October, 2021.

Anne and her attorney Marjorie Holsten joined "The Glenn Beck Program" Thursday to describe their frantic efforts to halt the hospital's decision to turn off Scott's life support — allegedly because he was unvaccinated — and just how difficult it was to get him the medical treatment he needed.

"It was absolutely stunning," Holsten told Glenn. "[Anne] came in and she has this order, I saw the screenshot from the [online medical] chart that said [Scott] is basically scheduled for execution at noon the following day."

According to Holsten, the Minnesota hospital responded to her appeal for a restraining order by claiming that the "position" to keep Scott alive "is not supported by medical science or Minnesota law. As a result, Mercy will ask the court to issue an order that Mercy has the authority to discontinue Mr. Quiner's ventilator and proceed with his medical care plan."

"The 'medical care plan' was the plan to discontinue the ventilator at noon, which leads to death very shortly. So that was at 10 o'clock, but then at 11 o'clock, before the 12 o'clock execution, the judge did, in fact, sign an order saying the hospital is restrained from pulling the plug," she added.

Anne told Glenn that doctors in Texas were shocked by Scott's condition after he arrived from the Minnesota hospital. Not only had he been given dangerous drugs, he was also found to be “severely malnourished."

"The doctor [in Texas] spent two hours with Scott and when he came back out, he said, 'I don't know how he even made it, how he even survived that other hospital ... but I will do everything I can to try to save his life,'" Anne explained.

"And the doctor [in Texas] said Scott was the most undernourished patient he has ever seen," Holsten added.

"Glenn, we are first bringing this battle to the court of public opinion," Holsten continued. "What we are showing the world is that Scott was near death because of the protocols used in that [Minnesota] hospital, but now he is recovering. He is getting better.... Now, we're not planning a funeral, we're planning for his release."

Watch the video clip below for more details.

If you'd like to help support the Quiner family, please consider making a donation to GiveSendGo.com/Anne.


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

The Great Reset is not just an elitist idea — it’s not even a socialist utopian concept. It’s a real-world fascist threat to every American from Wall Street to Main Street. It’s happening now in policies and cultural shifts big and small, obvious and subtle, from environmental promises to corporations going woke. But the mainstream media, global elites, and politicians brushed off the Great Reset as “nothing to see here.” Another myth they push: “The World Economic Forum is just a conference for elites who have no REAL power.”

Glenn Beck first exposed the Great Reset almost two years ago, and the globalist cries of "conspiracy theorist" soon followed. They said he believed the WEF was a “master cabal calling the shots from some evil underground lair.” But Glenn Beck never said that. Instead, he uncovered the true intentions of global leaders in finance and politics by simply highlighting their own words.

This week, the same global elites are doubling down on their agenda at the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda virtual event. But still, the global elites — like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey — are trying to downplay the WEF’s influence to stop people like us from interfering with their plans. The oligarchy will prosper in the new world order they’ve designed. You will not.

So Glenn unveils a master chalkboard based on his best-selling new book to outline the threats from globalists and why we must stop their agenda if we hope to keep the precious freedoms we still have.

Watch the full episode of "GlennTV' Below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Kim Iversen, journalist, YouTuber, and host of "The Kim Iversen Show," reacted to Glenn Beck's appearance last week on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" by conceding that, while the subject of Beck's new book, "The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of Twenty-First-Century Fascism" might at first sound "a little bit loony," closer analysis confirms "this isn't such a crazy conspiracy theory after all."

"Glenn Beck was on Tucker Carlson's show last week touting what has been called a right-wing conspiracy theory and discussing his new book, 'The Great Reset: Joe Biden and the Rise of Twenty-First-Century Fascism'," began Iverson on The Hill's "Rising."

"Well, maybe that all sounds a little bit loony — and believe me, I do think Glenn Beck tends to be a loon," she quipped. "But, maybe this isn't such a crazy conspiracy theory after all. And after seeing everything we've seen with the governments enacting all sorts of authoritarian controls and many other conspiracy theories coming true, maybe there's something to be concerned about. So, what is the Great Reset? The name even sounds conspiratorial, but believe it or not, it's a real thing."

Iverson went on to explain exactly who is behind the Great Reset, what their agenda entails, how they are using the COVID-19 pandemic to "to rebuild society in a way the global elites see best fit."

"You'll own nothing and you will be happy: That's what they're saying," Iverson explained. "And with inflation sky high and no signs of it slowing down, they might be right. We are on our way to becoming a nation of renters, but don't worry it's nothing to fear ... don't worry, everything is being done under the premise that this is all ... being done for our own good, the benefit of a collective society, and we will be happy," she added sarcastically.

Iverson concluded by asking, "Who thinks it's a good idea that a bunch of corporate millionaire and billionaires and world leaders are getting together and coming up with what's best for we the little people? I mean, who thinks that that's a really good idea? And who thinks that they are going to be doing it for our benefit? But, of course they're going to frame it like 'Oh, this is good for you. You're going to rent. You'll own nothing and you'll be happy. Don't worry about it' ... When you look at the actual list of partners with the World Economic Forum, they control everything. They control media. They control health. They control business. They control everything, and so then it does become, how do we people fight against that?"

Watch the video clip below to hear Kim Iverson break it down and don' t miss Wednesday night's special episode of "GlennTV" on BlazeTV’s YouTube channel.

Iversen joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to discuss what The Great Reset is and how YOU can help stop it. Watch the video clip from "The Glenn Beck Program" below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.