Monday, October 15, 2012

Summoning Testosterone To Blast Currency Manipulation

He certainly will be busy on January 21, 2013 if he's elected President next month.  "Over the past several years," Mitt Romney said on October 13 at a rally at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, "the president has failed to call China a currency manipulator.  Let me tell you, on Day One of my administration I will label China a currency manipulator.  We have got to get those jobs back and get trade to be fair."

Somehow, he will have to fit that in while he issues waivers from the Affordable Care Act in all 50 states, reinstates the Mexico City policy, eliminates funding for the United Nations Population Fund, "ensures that organizations like Planned Parenthood are not funded by the U.S. government, "reverse(s) every single Obama regulation that attacks our religious liberty and threatens innocent life," and takes seven other vague, but far-reaching actions which rival Obama's promise to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and to heal the planet.

Romney might immediately reinstate the Mexico City policy, which was rescinded promptly by Barack Obama once he was inaugurated, in what was one of the first and greatest acts of his presidency.  But the others he is unlikely to do "on Day One," which otherwise would will leave him no time to eat, sleep, or confer with advisers.   And in the unlikely event he were to decide (as he should) to declare mainland China a currency manipulator, he would be a towering hypocrite or, more generously, have pulled off a Nixon Goes To China moment.

In the spirit of never doing for oneself what another already has done, I repeat below a portion (summarized from, and attributed to, this New York Times article) of what appears to be an October 14 editorial from, the online edition of Chattanooga Times Free Press:

• Romney had as much as $2.25 million invested in at least eight Chinese factories that export heavily, including a company, Asimco Technologies, that bought out and closed two Grand Haven, Mich., auto camshaft factories that employed 500 workers in 2007.

• Romney has invested additional millions of dollars in Bain funds that, since 2006, have quadrupled their investments and now hold a controlling $2.6 billion stake in shares of Sensata Technologies, a 4,000-employee Chinese manufacturer of vehicle, aircraft and electric motors. Two years ago, Sensata bought a Freeport, Ill., plant that makes auto sensors; It is now in the process of shutting down the 170-employee plant and moving it to a government built-and-subsidized plant in the Chinese coastal province of Jiangsu, which gets tax breaks for export-oriented companies.

Freeport workers, who had to train their Chinese owners, have pleaded futilely with Romney to reverse the deal. They also discovered in bankruptcy hearings that Asimco's Chinese owners had the company transfer money to China to obtain a tax rebate there for relocating the company and most of its equipment and jobs to Jiangsu Province's special export zone. The bankruptcy, of course, now threatens the Illinois workers' benefits and future.

• Bain Capital had invested $234 million in China's Gome Electrical Appliances in 2009, despite an accusation by Microsoft that the Chinese retailer was selling computers with software pirated by Gome. It also invested in a Hong Kong appliance maker that was sued for copying a French company's deep-fryer.

• Romney has invested as much as $1 million each in Bain's Capital Funds IX and X, and as much as $250,000 in Bain's Capital Asia Fund, all of which are held by Bain in entities in the tax-haven of Cayman Islands, and are used by Bain to invest in China.

• The Bain Capital Asia Fund 2007 also invested $39 million in Feixiang Group, a manufacturer of chemicals which had qualified for government tax subsidies for "high-tech" industrial exporters. Though Romney claims to have put his holdings in a blind trust, it is managed by the same law firm that has long represented both Romney and Bain, including some of the Bain funds in which Romney is invested.

"These findings," the editors note, not only show that Romney's investment strategies support China's continued export success and profits. They also coincide with other off-shored jobs and plant closings in the United States that Bain engineered after taking on heavy debt to finance lavish executive pay-offs in highly leveraged buy-out deals.

Presidential candidates typically promise a crackdown on China, then quietly reverse field once elected.   The pattern likely would continue in a (obscenity ahead) Romney-Ryan administration.   The guy who would disdainfully toss aside 47% of Americans is hardly likely to flinch at the prospect of more American jobs going overseas, as demonstrated by the promise in his acceptance speech to "make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements" and in the first presidential debate to "open up more trade."

Hasn't Barack Obama done enough (damage) in this area already?   (Warning:  outrageous euphemism ahead).  The Obama Administration has signed three new "free trade" deals, with Columbia, Panama, and South Korea, and currently is negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, whose danger extends beyond exporting American jobs abroad.  Into this reality steps one Mitt Romney, who recently vowed he "will reverse that failure" of a President "who has not signed one new free-trade agreement in the past four years."

Given Mitt Romney's history at Bain, his past and current investments in a (not so blind) blind trust, and his promise of a free-trade policy on steroids, a question pursuant to his pledge on currency manipulation leaps to mind:  Is the former governor actually referring to mainland China?

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