News & Politics

A Leadership Gap on The Trade Gap

In 2004, the American economy bought $600 billion more in products from foreign countries – especially China – than we sold to them. This is the exact opposite of a good business plan.
Let's shout out a message to Treasury Secretary John Snow: Yoo-hoo, Johnnie – next time you orbit anywhere near Earth, call home.


This guy is farther out than Pluto. When it was announced recently that the U.S. trade deficit has set yet another record, Bush's top economic official rocketed off into deep space claiming like some alien goofball juiced up on jimson weed that – woo woo! – bad news is good news. In 2004, the American economy bought $600 billion more in products from foreign countries – especially China – than we sold to them. This is the exact opposite of a good business plan.

Yet, Snow, apparently snorting a noseful of intergalactic dust, proclaimed that this Grand Canyon of a trade gap "reflects the fact that Americans are becoming more prosperous," thus buying more foreign products. More prosperous? Hey, Snow man – you Bushites are waving our middle-class manufacturing and high-tech jobs offshore, and American wages are not even keeping up with the cost of living, at the same time that your disastrous borrow-and-spend economic policies are sinking us into an unfathomable sea of federal debt. Just the interest on that debt now costs every American man, woman and child $333 a year. This is prosperity?

As is typical of Bush and the people he puts around him, Snow blames others for the rising trade imbalance. He whines that the Europeans and Japanese are at fault because – sob, sob – they don't buy enough American products. So his "solution" is to plead with foreign governments to change their economic policies to fit our needs. Hellooooo, Johnnie – they're our competitors. We're supposed to out-do them, not whimper at them. It's not exactly in the can-do spirit of America for our team leaders to be begging the other team to give us some points.

To bridge the trade gap, our leaders must start investing again in American workers, farmers, and entrepreneurs, restoring our grassroots competitive strength.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of "Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush," from Viking Press. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.