ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator
2010 -- Now that President Obama is down in the polls, the TV pundits
have gone to screaming: "Move to the center;" "speak with
more passion," and on and on. They remind me of a saying aboard ship
in World War II: "When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles,
scream and shout." No doubt President Obama has done some good things,
but after eight years of President Bush, President Obama gives us more
of the main concerns of the voters. We supported Obama for President because
he promised change.
increased the national debt trillions of dollars. But in eight years President
Bush increased the national debt $7.5 trillion. During the Bush term,
household debt increased $7 trillion. By the time Obama raised his hand
to take the oath of office the economy had been stimulated $14.5 trillion,
and we were losing 799,000 jobs a month. Stimulation was spent.
Instead of submitting a plan to pay down deficits as he had promised,
President Obama went for more tax cuts and stimulation. Instead of cutting
deficits of a trillion dollars a year, President Obama on February 1st
this year submitted a budget calling for deficits in excess of a trillion
dollars each year for ten years. He joined the political Congress with
a study commission on deficits, kicking the can down the road on deficits.
The commission won't report until the end of this year. Action on the
commission's report occurring next year can't be effective until the following
year. Instead of change, this will give us two more years of Bush spendthrift
Obama bragged in the campaign about his opposition to the Iraq war when
he was a State Senator in Illinois. Obama was going to end wars. President
Bush's surge was more of money rather than troops. Calling the Sunnis
"the awakening;" we paid 100,000 Sunnis $150.00 a month to stop
killing the Shiites. But after seven years the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites
are still killing each other. We ought to leave and let them fight it
out. But instead of change, President Obama lingers like President Bush.
He puts on this pollster politic act, saying all combat troops will be
gone by the end of August, but don't tell the 50,000 troops remaining
that they are not combat troops. If there to protect our Embassy, 5,000
would be plenty rather than 50,000.
President Bush lingered in Afghanistan. At least he didn't find Afghanistan
necessary for the country - only for his re-election campaign. Afghanistan
has never threatened the security of the United States. They have just
closed the mosque in Germany where 16 Saudi Arabians of the 19 that hit
the World Trade Towers on 9/11 plotted. Osama bin Laden escaped to Pakistan,
but now President Obama has more troops in Afghanistan than President
Bush. After nine years of war in Afghanistan, the front page of The Wall
Street Journal states: "Anticorruption officials said they found
evidence an Afghan money- transfer business laundered drug money and had
ties to top officials." Are we to continue to ask GIs to die for
this? President Bush started the corruption in Afghanistan with bribes
and pay-offs. Instead of change, President Obama continues the corruption.
Instead of a mutilated Afghan woman on the cover of Time. Time should
have had the picture of a GI with no arms and no legs. That's our responsibility.
We have been losing production and jobs in the trade war for fifty years.
Japan started this trade war by closing its market, subsidizing its manufacture,
selling its export at cost, and making up the profit in the closed market.
It was a trade war for market share which worked. Toyota is #1 as General
Motors has gone bankrupt. China embellished the war for market share to
include investment, research, technology, development, production, jobs,
trade - the economy. Bill Gates' best of research, Microsoft, is in China.
Andy Groves' best of technology is in China.
I worked with Corporate America for thirty-eight years in the United States
Senate on measures to have our trade laws enforced. Both Houses of Congress
approved, but presidents of both parties vetoed our efforts because of
the Cold War. Then President Clinton ended our efforts with NAFTA for
Mexico; Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China, and China's entry
into the World Trade Organization. This caused a hemorrhage of off-shoring
of research, technology, production and jobs to China. Almost one-third
of our manufacture and manufacturing jobs were lost during President Bush's
eight years. President Bush refused to enforce our trade laws to protect
the economy. Instead of change, President Obama continues to refuse to
enforce our trade laws to protect our economy.
The middle class was started by Henry Ford's manufacture, awarding health
care and retirement benefits to the workers. Manufacture is the engine
of growth. Manufacture generates small business. Small business and the
middle class can't prosper without manufacture. President Obama engages
in pollster politics, showing his concern by signing a manufacturing initiative
this week. Bob Reich, an Obama supporter and former Secretary of Labor
for President Clinton, said on a scale of ten-to-one that he would give
Obama's manufacturing initiative a grade of 1.2. Like the pollsters tell
you, identify with the problem, but do nothing.
President Obama should institute a 10% surcharge on imports like President
Nixon instituted when our trade deficit was a fraction of what it is today.
In the last ten years we have suffered a trade deficit of $6 trillion,
and a trillion of this deficit was in subsidized auto and auto parts imports.
No wonder GM went bankrupt. No wonder GM now invests in Mexico and China
in order to make a profit. President Obama, like President Bush, ignores
Kennedy in 1961, he could save industry necessary to our security by enforcing
the War Production Act of 1950 and create millions of jobs. He could create
millions more of jobs by enforcing Section 201 of the Trade Act to save
an industry endangered and not wait for it to go bankrupt. President Ronald
Reagan obtained voluntary restraint agreements from Japan on steel, automobiles,
semi-conductors, and machine tools when he threatened action under Section
201. For change, President Obama could call on Congress to cancel the
corporate income tax and replace it with a 5% value added tax. One hundred
thirty-five nations in the trade war have a value added tax that can be
rebated on exports. But our corporate tax is not rebated on export. Germany,
with a 19% VAT, manufactures the parts and engines for the BMW. It ships
them at high cost to avoid income tax on its U. S. facility and, in South
Carolina has already invaded U. S. automobile production with a BMW plant
assembling cars and shipping them back for sale in Germany. Germany now
uses its 19% VAT to produce windmills or green jobs in Charleston, South
Carolina, at least 15% cheaper than any U. S. production. A 5% VAT would
stop the off-shoring of production and jobs; make it profitable for Corporate
America to produce in the United States; revitalize the American economy;
promote exports, and produce $600 billion. Corporate tax is estimated
at $156.7 billion for 2010, leaving $443.3 billion to stop borrowing from
China and pay down the national debt.
the changes we were looking for. Instead, President Obama like President
Bush campaigns around the clock. He refuses to compete in the trade war.
He arrogantly assumes the United States is in charge, calling for free
trade while communist China controls and take us to the cleaners. He refuses
to protect our economy. The country can't stand four more years of Bush
policy on deficits, wars and jobs.
of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for
many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation
Committee. He is the author of the recently published book,
Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).
Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact
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Ernest F. Hollings served
the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South
Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of
Today, Hollings continues
to be influential in public affairs and offers this Web site as a compendium
of current and past positions on public issues. Learn
more about Fritz Hollings.
Hollings receives French honor
France honored retired
U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings on in 2013 by awarding him the Legion of Honor for
his World War II service. More.
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