Thursday, December 10, 2009

Go shopping China!

Maybe a year or so ago I remember watching a press meeting in which the then U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, chided the Chinese for not spending enough. This week David Brooks, who I often like, repeats this sentiment saying that the Chinese consume too little.

I have several problems with this. First, these statements are simply arrogant. Who are we (Im American) to tell the Chinese people what they should do with their money?

Second, these statements are perverse because they are simply bad counsel. Since when was American-style profligate consumerism something to be promoted internationally? Our economy is in shambles partly because people recklessly spent too much by taking easy credit that they couldnt reasonably expect to pay off.

Third, such statements are plainly driven by naked American self-interest. We need the Chinese to spend more to help us, not because of some impartial need to, as Brooks puts it, address global imbalances.

America has sunk pretty low if it has to try and pull other countries down (like China) in order to pull itself up.


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