In a stunning statement revealing twisted priorities or epic naivete, Obama encouraged CEOs of some of the biggest outsourcing companies to invest in China, telling them "We should be rooting for China to grow." Shouldn't we be rooting for America to grow?
Obama told the executives "we should be rooting for China to grow" because the millions of Chinese who are now doing jobs Americans used to do "are potential customers for us in the future," according to the New York Times.
This echoes a discredited talking point used by both Bill Clinton and George Bush to justify Western investment in China. Instead of millions of new customers for American-made goods, the record shows millions of U.S. jobs gone and countless Chinese barriers to US imports.
It's hard to find newly-wealthy Chinese customers for goods Made in the USA because Beijing requires companies that sell in China to build factories in China. It's also hard to imagine the White House doesn't know about this because it's not a secret.
President Obama made his remarks in a meeting in Honolulu with a group of multinational CEOs while in Hawaii for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and a round of meetings with leaders of China, Japan and Russia. The president is pushing a new global outsourcing deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that he hopes will one day include China.
The CEOs, including Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO William Weldon, Eli Lily and Co. Chairman, President and CEO John Lechleiter, and Dow Chemical Asia Pacific President Pat Dawson, later met with China's president Hu Jintao.
The Chinese actually may be "customers for us," depending on what the meaning of the word "us" is. If it means the CEOs, Obama's right -- the executives who have no loyalty to America see a billion Chinese consumers replacing an American middle class the same executives are destroying by shipping U.S. jobs overseas.
If President Obama actually believes China will be buying stuff from America, he didn't hear what Hu Jintao himself told the CEOs. Hu said China's goal is to move up the economic food chain "from 'Made in China' to 'Created by China,'" the Times reports. To achieve this goal, Beijing uses cyber-espionage to steal trade secrets and forces Western companies to transfer technology and research as well as production to China.
Beijing has a clear strategy for economic development, and it includes having the Chinese people make what they buy -- a lesson we should learn here if we want to put Americans back to work.