As any casual reader of mine should know, I'm a big fan of the New York Times. But today's editorial on Chinese goods sparked a disagreement between us.
Chinese goods have been found in the past year to be full of dangers, from tainted or counterfeit medical supplies and drugs to lead paint on toys and baby bibs. The answer to this problem is to bring back manufacturing the United States. Here, there are better regulations on safety standards, but more importantly, it would keep more jobs in the United States and help us become much more self-sufficient and reduce our trade debt. Today's editorial argues:
It is definitely not in America’s interest — economic, political or strategic — to erect a barricade against Chinese imports, which could spark a mutually destructive trade war. American businesses and the Bush administration must send a clear message to Beijing that it has to clean up its act or its export-led boom will falter.
What China needs is an effective and transparent regulatory system to enforce product safety standards. The United States and other countries can help with technical advice and warnings about what would happen if Beijing refuses to take it. But the dangers are too immediate to wait.
Right now it is the clear responsibility of companies that import Chinese products to guarantee their safety, and American regulators have to ensure they do it adequately. Neither is doing the job right now.
I don't agree at all. There's no way the Bush Administration could or would enforce safety standards on Chinese companies. The country is corrupt, and completely polluted, both in terms of its people and the environment) from its lack of regulations. The air in Beijing is thick with smog, and due to lack of regulations in blood banks, AIDS is spreading, particularly in rural areas.
Why are we doing so much business with China? To save money? How much is Mattel losing in its second recall of millions of toys in a month? What's the cost of the lives that are lost over here because of tainted medical supplies? How much does our government pay out to cover the unemployed whose jobs have vanished overseas?
The right action here is to bring our jobs, products, and safety regulations back into our own country. We should clean up our own mess.