Wednesday, September 13, 2006

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Paulson's big speech

Your humble blogger is now back in the USA, but jet-lagged and buried under lots of e-mail and lecture notes.

Sooo.... devoted readers of this space should read Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's big speech on the global economy. Paulson is headed to China next week, and this will be his template in future economic negotiations. It's worth noting that in the three months Paulson has been Treasury Secretary, he's received more attention than John Snow received during his last three years on the job.

One interesting part:

Protectionist policies do not work and the collateral damage from these policies is high. By closing off competition and blocking the forces of change, protectionism reduces the losses of the present by sacrificing the opportunities of the future. Jobs saved in the short term job are off-set by more job losses and a lower standard of living in the future.

I believe it is the responsibility of all nations to search for ways to moderate income disparities and help those who lose their jobs to international competition. We in America must think creatively about how to assist those who fall behind. As the President has repeatedly emphasized, the most effective method for generating new, high-quality jobs, and higher living standards, is to develop the skills and the technologies that promote economic competitiveness. This means helping people of all ages pursue first rate education and training opportunities.

Because I care deeply about the competitiveness of the U.S. economy I will be an outspoken advocate for maintaining and extending free and fair trade. The United States wants open markets. We welcome foreign investment. And we seek partners to join us in advancing a global agenda that will help realize the benefits of economic liberalization and competition. We will not heed the siren songs of protectionism and isolationism.

All well and good... but I am immediately suspicious of any politician who articulates a program of "free and fair trade." It's one of those terms of art that functions more as a Rorshach test of how people feel about trade -- everyone supports it, but no two people agree on precisely what it means.

posted by Dan on 09.13.06 at 06:05 PM


While Paulson works to improve China's economy.......

Foreclosures soar in Ohio, Lucas County


Nearly 7,500 Ohio properties entered some stage of foreclosure last month, up 63 percent jump from a year ago, as the Buckeye State and four others had the dubious distinction of having half the nation's foreclosure activity.

posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 09.13.06 at 06:05 PM [permalink]


A semantic, but important distinction:

I'm all for helping to save Ohio, but let the "rustbelt" go.

posted by: Rick Latshaw on 09.13.06 at 06:05 PM [permalink]

As long as journalists and politicians talk about the "rustbelt" it is a handy device.

I believe the current concensus definition stretches from western New York through Wisconsin.

It is what it is.

posted by: save_the_rustbelt on 09.13.06 at 06:05 PM [permalink]

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