Nothing to vote for

By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


OCT. 29, 2014 -- Former President Hoover, speaking at the Citadel, began his speech: "General Clark, most distinguished faculty," - then looking at the cadet corps - "my fellow students. As long as you remain a student and continue to learn, you will continue to live." As constant students, we learned in the Vietnam War that the military can't change a country's culture.

We learned in the Iraq War that the military can't spread democracy amongst three Islamic religions. We learned in Ukraine that you can't spread democracy surreptitiously with the CIA and the National Endowment for Democracy. In the ISIS War we've yet to learn General Colin Powell's doctrine: "Never go to war without enough troops." And in foreign policy, we have yet to learn that the nuclear weapon has checkmated the military.

When China spilled over the Yalu River in the Korean War, the U.S. retreated to the 38th Parallel. In the Vietnam War, we could have taken the country in months but never went above Hanoi for fear China would come in. We were always worried about casualties. Now, we should be worried about nuclear. Any military conflict with China should be avoided for fear of going nuclear. We need to sober up from Senators calling for "strength" with the military in foreign policy and lead foreign policy with our democracy and economic strength - our Good Neighbor Policy.

The U.S. needs to change certain foreign policies in the light of realities. In the Shanghai Communique, the United States recognized China's policy of "one China" on Taiwan. Yet Congress has voted to defend Taiwan. Taiwan has invested billions in mainland China, and China awaits Taiwan recognizing the policy of "one China." We know Congress is not going to kill GIs over Taiwan, and the U.S. should recognize this reality. Same with Japan's Ryukyu Islands; Congress is not going to kill GIs over uninhabited rock islands.

China recognized its economic strength in foreign policy in 1989. After Tiananmen Square, the U.S. obtained a resolution in the U.N. General Assembly to investigate human rights in China. China went to its economic friends in Africa and the Pacific, and there's never been a hearing on the resolution. In 2001, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore told Senator Dick Shelby and me: "China's leaders are not only good politicians, but students of government. China is determined to take over the world economically."

The United States continues to neglect its economy. Given a balanced budget in 2001, both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been borrowing trillions for 14 years, never paying for government. All emphasis has been upon "growth" in the economy. As Corporate America builds China's economy, tearing down ours, we continue to offshore our research, innovation, technology, production, jobs, payrolls - the economy. The President and Congress do nothing about China's devaluing its currency, closed market, and predatory practices. The U.S. lives on imports.

Economists estimate a loss of 9,000 jobs for each billion dollars in the deficit in the balance of trade. With a deficit of $471 billion last year, we lost 4,239,000 jobs. If President Obama took action against our deficit in the balance of trade as President Nixon in 1971, the U.S. would create millions of jobs. If President Obama would enforce the Defense Production Act of 1950 as President Kennedy in 1961, we could create millions of jobs. If President Obama would protect the nation's vital production as President Reagan protected steel, motor vehicles, computers, and machine tools in 1984, the U.S. could create millions of jobs.

Congress continually talks jobs, tax reform, and downsizing government, but Congress fails to make it attractive for Corporate America to produce in America. All Congress needs to do is replace the 35 percent Corporate Tax with a 7 percent VAT, which immediately releases $2 trillion in offshore profits for Corporate America to invest and produce in the U.S.; create millions of jobs; and jumpstart the economy. This tax cut closes all loopholes, gives instant tax reform, and downsizes government (IRS). Last year's Corporate Tax produced $288 billion in revenues. A 2013 7 percent VAT would have produced $945 billion - enough for Congress to balance the budget and strengthen the economy in two years rather than ten.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress play "tit for tat" politics. They do nothing for the country. People going to the polls next week have nothing to vote for.

Senator Fritz Hollings 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 Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2014, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

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 Representatives.

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