On September 17, President Barack Obama was busy playing politics with the American auto industry. In campaign speeches delivered in the swing state of Ohio he railed against imported automotive components that are illegally subsidized by the Chinese government. To cap that off, that very day his administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) citing those unfair trade practices — which totaled $1 billion in Chinese subsidies in the period of 2009 to 2011 — and their impact on American workers.
Of course, the attendees at his speeches (a specified target audience including Democrats and auto industry workers) were tickled pink with his rhetoric. Likewise, left-leaning elected officials praised his WTO filing while the press gave him, as usual, positive coverage. Even Republicans were, in their own way, in agreement with Obama, with presidential candidate Mitt Romney saying it was too little, too late (which still means Obama’s protestations were acceptable).
Critical thinkers and constitutionalists, on the other hand, should find fault — and lots of it — with Obama’s crusade du jour. His case against China is almost comical and certainly hypocritical, because his administration is guilty of the very thing that he accuses China of (but on an even greater scale). He is after all, the president who claims he saved General Motors. Under his watch, the federal government contributed $76 billion to GM and Chrysler (of which taxpayers are still owed a whopping $42 billion). Those are, without a doubt, government subsidies (especially so as any alleged loans go unpaid), and the original total was some 76 times greater than the amount that Obama claims China has kicked in to their automotive industry.
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Bob Confer (photo)