Monday, March 12, 2007

We can compete with China, just not ...

... our own entitlement programs as they currently stand. From Russell Roberts (WSJ subscription required):

Yes, China holds a lot of our bonds. But Japan holds more. Yes, we run a big trade deficit with China. But that lets us buy lots of inexpensive stuff instead of having to make it for ourselves. Yes, there are more than a billion Chinese. I guess that means they can take all of our jobs four times! But our economy keeps growing. We have more jobs than ever before. And contrary to popular belief, the American standard of living and the American middle class are thriving.

We were told that at a minimum China (and India with its own billion-strong population) would take all our high-tech jobs. But the high-tech sector bounced back from its downturn (a downturn that had nothing to do with outsourcing) and is growing again, partly because we can get some of the simplest database and programming tasks done so cheaply by Indians and Chinese.

So why can politicians still make China scary? Why didn't Americans learn from the previous sky-is-falling episodes? The simple answer is that if you don't understand economics, you might be convinced by a politician who says that trade with China is bad for America.

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