Obama: Know where it’s really great to do business?

posted at 8:15 am on August 22, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Well, as long as you forget about the oppressive Communist government and the lack of freedom and the Internet filtering and the re-education camps … China sounds really groovy:

Everybody’s watching what’s going on in Beijing right now with the Olympics. Think about the amount of money that China has spent on infrastructure. Their ports, their train systems, their airports are vastly the superior to us now, which means if you are a corporation deciding where to do business you’re starting to think, “Beijing looks like a pretty good option.”

Does Barack Obama understand the nature of the Beijing regime? The reason that the government can afford all of this spending is that they control the means of production and the wealth of the nation. They can confiscate what they want at will and spend it where they like. And in Beijing, they spent it where the cameras would be pointed.

Unfortunately, most of what the cameras see is just a facade, as Dale Franks points out at Q&O:

The Chinese infrastructure that so enthralls Obama remains decades behind that of the US.  What infrastructure China manages to build, however, gets its energy from oil and coal, not from wind and solar.  China has become the highest emissions nation in the world and shows no sign of slowing itself down over concerns about anthropogenic climate change.  In fact, the air in Beijing is so bad that outdoor Olympics events almost had to be moved.

Meanwhile, the regime where Obama thinks the world would love to do business maintains itself through brutal oppression.  China blocked access to the Internet for international journalists despite promising to allow full access to reporters for the Games.  They arrested reporters covering peaceful protests.  And these are the actions they took while trying to make themselves look good.

If Obama wants us to build up American infrastructure, he can start by ending the flow of American wealth overseas for energy.  Create hundreds of thousands of jobs by building the American energy infrastructure through drilling in the OCS, ANWR, and interior shale formations.  Lower capital-gains tax rates to encourage more investment and generate more revenues (and jobs).

America needs a President who can see past the facades.  Obama has given every indication of gullibility, first with his pledge to conduct presidential-level diplomacy without preconditions with regimes like Iran, Cuba, and North Korea, and now in declaring China the place to do business.  Obama isn’t at all ready to lead this nation; he’s not even ready to run a business, with thinking like this.

Update: iTunes doesn’t think China’s such a great place to do business today:

Customers in China of Apple Inc.’s iTunes online music store were unable to download songs this week, and an activist group said Beijing was trying to block access to a new Tibet-themed album.

In Internet forums, iTunes users complained they had been unable to download music since Monday. That was a day after the Art of Peace Foundation announced the release of “Songs for Tibet,” with music by Sting, Alanis Morissette, Garbage and others, and a 15-minute talk by the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader.

Michael Wohl, executive director of the New York City-based group, said he believed the album was the reason for the iTunes interruption, though he had no proof.

“We issued a release saying that over 40 (Olympic) athletes downloaded the album in an act of solidarity, and that’s what triggered it. Then everything got blocked,” Wohl said by phone.

But … but … but they have such great infrastructure!


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Please, God, make the McCain campaign pick up on this one. This fool is SO in over his head. Rank and file Democrats, especially unionists, HATE China. This could make for a killer ad in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.

rockmom on August 22, 2008 at 12:58 PM

Exactly. It’s amazing to watch this guy in action. Say what you want about Hillary, she would never have stepped into a stinking pile like this.

I also hope Hannity pounds on this topic today. Not just wrong and immoral, but breathtakingly stupid.

funky chicken on August 22, 2008 at 1:52 PM

From Vincenzo’s article:

China’s infrastructure splurge

Rushing on by road, rail and air
Feb 14th 2008 | BEIJING
From The Economist print edition

China’s race to build roads, railways and airports speeds ahead. Democracy, says an official, would sacrifice efficiency

In all this activity it greatly helps to have a secretive planning bureaucracy and a government that brooks little dissent. In Britain, as Mr Majidi points out, it took as long to conduct a public inquiry into the proposed construction of Heathrow’s Terminal Five as it took to build Beijing’s new airport terminal from scratch.

There was no consultation with the public on the terminal. Nor was there any public debate about the construction of Beijing’s third runway, notwithstanding the noise pollution already suffered by thousands of nearby residents. Beijing is now planning a second airport (even with Mr Majidi’s terminal, the current airport is expected to exceed its designed capacity of 60m passengers this year, seven years before schedule). The location is being considered in secret. Xu Li, an official at the Ministry of Communications’ transport research institute, agrees that China’s infrastructure expansion is not as restrained by rules as it is in America. Once a plan is made, it is executed. “Democracy”, she says, “sacrifices efficiency.”

An often heavy-handed approach to land appropriation also helps. For Beijing’s airport expansion, 15 villages were flattened and their more than 10,000 residents resettled nearby. But several of the former farmers told your correspondent that they were still barred from the unemployment benefits and other welfare privileges of city dwellers even though their farmland had been grabbed from them. One elderly man said that officials had threatened them with violence if they refused to leave their villages.

No tree-huggers permitted
Another factor is the hazy definition of who owns rural land (see article). Local officials tend to regard it as the government’s and readily seize it—often for little compensation. In a recent study of China’s transport, the World Bank says that roads are sometimes built expressly for the purpose of converting countryside into revenue-generating urban land. This causes a rapid outward expansion of cities, which combined with a lack of adequate public transport increases dependence on private cars. Beijing’s polluted air and congested streets, to which 1,000 cars are added daily, are evidence of the problem.

Brutalizing farmers to enable urban sprawl? Wow, who knew Barry was such a fan of those kinds of tactics? Well, I could have guessed.

funky chicken on August 22, 2008 at 1:58 PM

The Obamessiah and his ilk see’s the world like they see themselves… substance and content be damned, it’s all about the wrapper.

I find it incomprehensible that the Obamessiah is truly that naive. Even a person with no political experience whatsoever realizes that the Chinese regime is a dictatorship that rules over a country of slaves with an iron fist, and the only mercy the slaves receive is the courtesy of the illusions.

Everything about the Obamessiah is an illusion. He has no substance, no content, he’s just an appealing wrapper. It stands to reason he’d be so in love with the pig wearing lipstick China.

SilverStar830 on August 22, 2008 at 2:05 PM

Obama, like many commenters here, knows nothing about China beyond what his preconceptions and stereotypical assumptions will allow him to believe. People tend to see only what they wish to see–whether that is the up and coming modern economic powerhouse, or the totalitarian bloody regime that can do no right. Both are false.

Obama is a fool if he wants to emulate China, but at the same time, China is an attractive place to do business due to cheap labor, lax environmental standards, and huge tax breaks for foreign companies. Chinese railways are more advanced and efficient than the USA’s, but outside of Beijing and Shanghai, I wouldn’t make that claim for the airports–though most every small city does have a small airport. We tend to assume that all the world has the same viewpoints as us, and we disregard cultures (inferior as they may be) of others. China does not claim to be the powerhouse that our media tries to crown them as. They claim to be what they are: a developing country with a good economic upside.

Reporters coming to the Olympics for two weeks can’t see what China really is–especially when they bring jaded eyes when even good things look bad because they despise what they think China is. Yeah, China’s government is corrupt and speaks with two tongues, but they are a lot better than they used to be. China is changing faster than anyone can imagine–I hope for the better, but it remains to be seen.

Each side has its own propaganda, and until we see them without preconception, we will never understand what makes them tick. As Sun zi said, “know your enemy, and you will not be defeated.” As long as we look through jaded glasses, we won’t understand them, their culture, or their people.

I know my views on this matter are not popular here, and I’m not in any way defending atrocities of the communists, but I think that we are in danger of making huge mistakes if we don’t look at China as it really is, not just what we think it is.

p40tiger on August 22, 2008 at 2:25 PM

Hey Moron Obama, lower the Corporate tax(that is the 2nd highest in the world) and the Capital Gains Tax that is WAY to HIGH and MAYBE MORE BUSINESS WOULD STAY IN THE USA!

ALSO, MAYBE MORE COUNTRIES WOULD INVEST HERE AND BUILD FACTORIES HERE!

Why would someone build a a factory here and bring all the jobs with them with the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the world?(with the threats of it going up) High Capitol gains taxes(with threats of it going higher) Litigation and and companies getting sued for stupid things(like how Ford got sued a few years ago for a huge ammount because a couple of their employees were accused of sexual harassment, thats crazy) companies will just build factories in Mexico and ship it here, until you give them incentives NOT an incentive NOT to leave but an inventive to COME in the first place.

Chakra Hammer on August 22, 2008 at 2:33 PM

p40tiger on August 22, 2008 at 2:25 PM

If China is so great why did my friend just get married to Chinese woman that he brought to America, she left her family and everything?(he went though a LONG process to get her here, shes happy to be in the USA)

Chakra Hammer on August 22, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Chakra Hammer on August 22, 2008 at 2:37 PM

I’m not saying China is “so great.” I believe my post above states clearly that they are a developing country with a long way to go. They do not deny that. The national average income is less than $5000 a year. A lot of Chinese people want to go to America to earn American wages.

I hope your friend’s marriage is a happy one. It doesn’t surprise me that his wife is willing to come to America. I hope he is learning his wife’s mother tongue and is willing to understand her culture. I hope his wife will do the same for him.

p40tiger on August 22, 2008 at 2:45 PM

This moron is turning into a blithering idiot right before our eyes. Every day it’s something else that he’s stepped into. What a dufus. Get the popcorn, this is fun to watch.

UnEasyRider on August 22, 2008 at 2:57 PM

I hope your friend’s marriage is a happy one. It doesn’t surprise me that his wife is willing to come to America. I hope he is learning his wife’s mother tongue and is willing to understand her culture. I hope his wife will do the same for him.

p40tiger on August 22, 2008 at 2:45 PM

I hope it works out too, not sure why he needs to learn Chinese, she speaks perfect English and shes very smart, i’m surprised that China let her go.

Chakra Hammer on August 22, 2008 at 3:15 PM

Chakra Hammer on August 22, 2008 at 3:15 PM

Was your friend’s long process in getting her to the States due to the U.S. side, or the Chinese side. I really don’t know, but I’ve heard that a lot of the hold up is on the U.S. side in that situation. I have friends who have had a hard time of it, and some who’ve had a very smooth time of it. I’m curious about the process, and why some have trouble and some do not.

p40tiger on August 22, 2008 at 3:23 PM

Obama = Fool.

…………… (with true respect and apologies to fools).

Seven Percent Solution on August 22, 2008 at 3:48 PM

This man is absolutely stupid. He’s going to get his clock cleaned in November, once his astonishing clownishness is apparent to those (95% of) Americans not presently watching.

He’s not ready for prime time. In fact, he’s not even ready to make a pilot for FX.

Martin on August 22, 2008 at 4:09 PM

Everybody’s watching what’s going on in Beijing right now with the Olympics. Think about the amount of money that China has spent on infrastructure. Their ports, their train systems, their airports are vastly the superior to us now, which means if you are a corporation deciding where to do business you’re starting to think, “Beijing looks like a pretty good option.”

Spoken by a man who’s never done a productive thing in his life. Sure Wilbur, I’ll buy that one!

Bill_M on August 22, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Just a thought- why doesn’t Senator Obama propose some legislation to improve America’s infrastructure if he’s so concerned? For a man who’s got so many complaints he sure didn’t seem to do too much in those 143 days in the Senate about any of it.

Jay Mac on August 22, 2008 at 4:58 PM

Potemkin villages only fool useful idiots and fellow travelers.

jnelchef on August 22, 2008 at 5:03 PM

“If China is so great why did my friend just get married to Chinese woman”

Because they have small hands.

LtE126 on August 22, 2008 at 5:06 PM

Bloody Twit

sonnyspats1 on August 22, 2008 at 6:22 PM

There’s you rebuttal for the Dem’s ads on McCain being out of touch. Obama is touched, touched in the head.

- The Cat

MirCat on August 22, 2008 at 7:03 PM

A dangerous dumbass.
Be afraid, America. Be barry afraid.

whitetop on August 22, 2008 at 7:05 PM

The media except for Fox isn’t reporting this… Why does half this country want to be lied to and morally and financially bankrupted?

CCRWM on August 22, 2008 at 9:30 PM

My guess is that Barry’s understanding of China apparently begins and ends with the olympics coverage.

Laughable!

Anyone who just reads The Economist or similar periodicals would know that China faces HUGE infrastructure problems and that their economy (while surging along) is still built on a house of cards.

Fortunately for China, the Chinese banks have done equity swaps in an effort to clean up their non performing loan ratios as a prerequisit to WTO membership and have turned around and securitized the debt to western investors.

China has major social, political and economic problems and significant social unrest.

What a dope.

moxie_neanderthal on August 23, 2008 at 1:22 AM

The reason that the government can afford all of this spending is that they control own the means of production and the wealth of the nation.

Controlling production and wealth is socialism, which is about where we are. Ownership of production and wealth is Communism, which is what China is and where we are headed.
I heard a socialist democrat politician say a couple of weeks ago that the “people” should own the oil companies. By the “people” he means the federal government.

abcurtis on August 23, 2008 at 8:36 AM

Controlling production and wealth is socialism, which is about where we are. Ownership of production and wealth is Communism, which is what China is was and where we are headed.

abcurtis on August 23, 2008 at 8:36 AM

p40tiger on August 23, 2008 at 11:25 AM

I know my views on this matter are not popular here, and I’m not in any way defending atrocities of the communists, but I think that we are in danger of making huge mistakes if we don’t look at China as it really is, not just what we think it is.

p40tiger on August 22, 2008 at 2:25 PM

With 39 years experience in and out of Viet Nam including three military tours (two in country one off the coast), I know the feeling. Still I believe that the misconceptions about China on the Left are even more dangerous to America’s future than the misconceptions on the Right.

Linh_My on August 23, 2008 at 12:47 PM

Was your friend’s long process in getting her to the States due to the U.S. side, or the Chinese side. I really don’t know, but I’ve heard that a lot of the hold up is on the U.S. side in that situation.

p40tiger on August 22, 2008 at 3:23 PM

Frankly, it doesn’t really matter. Both sides restrict immigration from China to the US – the US because we can’t handle a constant, large influx of immigrants (witness what happened to France), and the Chinese because they can’t afford to let their talent leave their country. Neither reflects well on China or poorly on the US.

Obama is a fool if he wants to emulate China, but at the same time, China is an attractive place to do business due to cheap labor, lax environmental standards, and huge tax breaks for foreign companies…
…China does not claim to be the powerhouse that our media tries to crown them as. They claim to be what they are: a developing country with a good economic upside.

You’re missing the distinction between China, the collective, and China, the collection of individuals. Collectively, China IS a powerhouse due to its size. Individually, China is a developing country. So both you and the reporters are right. However, far from being an economic upside, this is a real problem for China’s development (both collective and individual); since the collective can generate a lot of power through cheap labor, there’s no incentive to seek a technological advantage. It’s easier to remain a superpower built on the heads of peasants, and as long as China remains that way there is little prospect for improvement. By contrast, look at Japan’s development after WWII; they didn’t have the numbers or space to do what China’s doing, so they had to develop their technology, which was greatly beneficial in the long run.

Yeah, China’s government is corrupt and speaks with two tongues, but they are a lot better than they used to be. China is changing faster than anyone can imagine–I hope for the better, but it remains to be seen.

The main improvement being that instead of sending peasants to die in the fields, China’s government is sending peasants to die in the factories. This is assuming the premise you proposed earlier, that China is bringing business in with the prospect of cheap labor. Collectively, there’s an improvement; individually, not so much.

Each side has its own propaganda, and until we see them without preconception, we will never understand what makes them tick. As Sun zi said, “know your enemy, and you will not be defeated.” As long as we look through jaded glasses, we won’t understand them, their culture, or their people.

I think you’re incorrectly identifying the object of analysis. The enemy is not China or the Chinese people, it is the Chinese government. The Chinese government does not have a “culture”, it has an ideology. And the authoritarian ideology they currently espouse does not bode well for long-term economic growth or political freedom.

I know my views on this matter are not popular here, and I’m not in any way defending atrocities of the communists, but I think that we are in danger of making huge mistakes if we don’t look at China as it really is, not just what we think it is.

p40tiger on August 22, 2008 at 2:25 PM

Which mistakes are we in danger of making that derive from the conception of the Chinese government as an autocratic machine controlling the means of production? Which mistakes from the conception that businesses will not see this government as a great entity to work with?

Math_Mage on August 23, 2008 at 4:31 PM

The enemy is not China or the Chinese people, it is the Chinese government.

Math_Mage on August 23, 2008 at 4:31 PM

I did enjoy the post. My main difference of opinion is that I prefer the word challenge instead of enemy. There is a subtle difference. Enemy implies that you intend war against China, I prefer to think that our issues PERHAPS MAY be settled with out war.

One war was enough for me.

Linh_My on August 23, 2008 at 5:12 PM

Math_Mage on August 23, 2008 at 4:31 PM

Very good and well thought out post, and I understand where you are coming from. I appreciate your point of view. However, there are a few points you should look into:

You’re missing the distinction between China, the collective, and China, the collection of individuals

My point about the media is that they largely ignore the peasant problem. There is no doubt that this is a huge problem looming over the Chinese people. The Chinese often state this problem in their own economic papers. If you look into it, you will find that they are investing in technology. They are learning from western companies, and once they have learned from them, they start reducing the tax breaks for said company in an effort to slide them out of the country.

As for the individual vs. the collective, I think you are looking at this from a western point of view, not an eastern point of view. Yes, Chinese people are individuals too, but they do not put value on individuality. And, according to the plans in policy for the Chinese government, they will start to shift the economic focus from the cities to the countryside. I don’t know if they will follow through or not, but after the olympics you might see some of this shift. Regardless, your assumption that they seek to maintain the status quo is shaky, and comparing China and Japan is like comparing apples and oranges.

The Chinese government does not have a “culture”, it has an ideology.

It has both. You seem to think that the Chinese government is not Chinese. The Chicoms are not the same animals as the Soviets, or the East Germans, or the North Koreans. They have a socialist ideology, but they are also very much Chinese, and the reason they do what they do is not remote from their culture. The Chinese culture is one that respects its leaders as a father-figure. Only about 5% of Chinese are communist party members, but if you attack the Chinese government, you’ll get 95% of the people defending it. You may only want to attack the government, but in the eyes of Chinese people, you are attacking the entire Chinese people.

Which mistakes from the conception that businesses will not see this government as a great entity to work with?

As I stated above, the Chinese are using western businesses for technology, expertise, and for improved infastructure. When they learn what that company does, they will then make it more difficult for them to do business there, so you are right. In the long term, China is not that attractive for an overseas company because you are giving birth to a competitor company by entering China. Short term, though, the labor is cheaper (not only due to peasants–a Chinese computer programer is also cheaper than an American (India too–that is why when you call tech support it is almost never an American)), the tax-breaks are great, and if you want to dump your waste in the river they’ll look the other way. Plus the market is huge in China. 1.3 billion people with rising income levels and the willingness to buy.

As far as mistakes of declaring all things that come from China as suspicious and all Chinese government policies as wrong and lies, the biggest mistake is making an enemy of the Chinese people. I know, I know, many commenters here could care less what Chinese people think, and I generally agree in regards to our policies, but as far as China’s policies, their opinion should be regarded. We can’t pat them on the head and say, “I know better than you” without risking a huge anti-foreigner movement like you saw in the early 20th century–that movement gave rise to the real monster of the Chinese communist party–Mao.

p40tiger on August 23, 2008 at 11:12 PM

Its amazing how many people would take a single sentence, taken out of context, and twist it into a sound byte. For the record, Im not a big fan of either presidential candidate, but Obama surely does not engage in as much or as pervasive negative campaigning, of which this is a very good example.

Obama surely doesn’t hate the USA or want the USA to emulate China. What he is saying (For those of you that haven’t learned to think for yourselves yet) is that while China was investing in rail roads, roads, bridges,… we were ‘investing’ a trillion in the Iraq occupation. F

redd_green@hotmail.com on August 25, 2008 at 1:18 PM

The name of this web site surely fits the content: hot air.

redd_green@hotmail.com on August 25, 2008 at 1:20 PM

Well now China doesn’t sound “really groovy” no matter how you hollow out the comments made by Obama. But they did spend trillions on their infrastructure, while we threw away trillions on the Iraq occupation. Does that make any sense at all?

redd_green@hotmail.com on August 25, 2008 at 1:22 PM

HotAir never fails me

A candidate who despises the USA and brags up China

I searched the Epoch-Times.

Did anyone else notice that the Chinese stock markets have tumbled? Re-phrase: did the MSM care to report the China crash? Sounds bad enough to make ours sound less bad. Hmmm

China’s stock market plummeted to a Black Monday again on August 18. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index closed at 2319.87, down 62 per cent from its high at 6124.04 in 2007. The Shenzhen Composite Index closed at 7833.09, down 60 percent from its high at 19600.03 in 2007.

This article gives interesting argument for the crash

Now many people might think wiping out folk’s money with a crash makes it a bad place to live. So it may. But the tastiest meat is on the ribs if you don’t mind gnawing on bones

China, Che and Fidel Hey
How many little people did you eat today?

Hate me for my flag if you must, but don’t hate me for my internationalism for I am a Citizen of the World

entagor on August 25, 2008 at 3:20 PM

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