By Rep. Kissell
As we continue on a path toward economic recovery, we must make sure that every step we take is in the right direction--promoting our American businesses and jobs. I was troubled this week to see that our Treasury Department declined to label China as a currency manipulator, though history and evidence prove otherwise.
As our trade deficit with China continues to grow, we risk as severe a setback as we've ever seen as a nation. Our military leaders have already stated that our growing national debt is the biggest threat to our national security, and an ever-growing trade imbalance with Communist China should heighten our concern. For far too long, they've had their thumb on the scale and it's cost us jobs and economic livelihood time and time again. The more they devalue their currency, the cheaper it is to ship their goods into the U.S. This dangerous tactic hurts our economy in so many ways, further pushing our trade imbalance and flooding our markets with cheap products and no clear end in sight. China has continued to game the system at our expense, and without proper punishment and regulations, they will continue to do so. Just as we fight to protect our homeland from dangerous physical threats across the globe, we need to stand up to any nation that poses similar economic threats--and China has shown a clear interest in doing just that.
This is now the sixth time in recent years that our own government has refused to officially recognize this unfair and illegal practice of currency manipulation by China, as the American people and our economy suffer. The continued effects of this growing trade imbalance are real, and no other area has seen it more clearly than right here in North Carolina, with our once flourishing manufacturing sector growing stagnant in the wake of bad trade deal after bad trade deal. Now, more than ever, we need to be alert to this and stand up on behalf of our nation and of our prosperity. Until we get back on a level playing field, we can't expect to make the gains we need to in our manufacturing sector. It will take an effort at all levels of government and the public to stand up to foreign powers that hurt our economic recovery. I'll continue to push for Buy American provisions in every aspect of government spending, and folks here at home will hopefully grow more aware in checking the tags of items they purchase and look for the MADE IN THE USA label before they buy. What better way to show support for the hard working people that continue to make our country great than by buying goods made right here in our factories and mills? Made in America is a jobs plan that will begin to show results immediately and I"ll continue to lead the effort to help make this plan more of a reality.
As the trade flood gates have opened our markets up to sharp increases in cheap products from nations like China and South Korea, they've also exposed us to the many dangers that exist in these products. Recall after recall of products such as children's toys, pet food and building supplies have brought danger into our homes. If we made these products in America, we wouldn't be subjected to the flawed inspections or lack standards of other nations.
In the past two months, we've seen dozens of recalls of imported products including children's pajamas manufactured with highly flammable materials and toy construction sets that contain lead paint--all from China. We continue to see dangerously flawed products that can endanger the health and safety of the children we cherish and protect. Children's toys and clothing being recalled during the holidays should be a wake-up call. The fact that other nations are profiting off that risk is absolutely outrageous. We can protect our families, our population and our economy in one step by better promoting Made in America at every turn. The less outsourcing that goes into the everyday products of our life, the safer and more secure we are as a nation.
Simply put, we need to remind folks of the importance of putting America first. The more of these so called "free trade" deals our government signs with nations like China, Vietnam and North and South Korea, the further off the rails we push our economic recovery. Common sense tells us that doing more of the same will just bring about more of the same. If we want to be serious about our nation's recovery, we must stop taking a second-class approach to our own place in world markets. We've seen bad trade deals ship our jobs overseas to nations that pay their workers pennies on the dollar--we cannot give them a single additional advantage over American companies. We must close all of these loopholes, in our foreign relations and our tax code, which reward those who do not follow the rules and set our economy back.
As we go into the New Year, it is beyond time that folks in Washington embraced more of the common sense we find at home and less of their continued political posturing and kowtowing. Our economy cannot move ahead when our leaders continue to place it second or third in line to other interests and nations. I'll continue to bring our push for common sense to the forefront as we begin this new year, and I hope folks in Washington are ready to get on board and move our economy forward.