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The subject line on a post I received this day read CHINA TRADE BILL: The Bribes Have It.

I laughed, of course, but I stopped laughing when I saw how many Republicans and Democrats voted for and against it. What I saw convinced me more than ever that party does not matter where it comes to big business concerns at the Congressional level. Without a doubt, this subject line should have read: CHINA TRADE BILL: The CEOs have it! It seems like Congress is working for big business, not you and I.

"Corporate America celebrated its costliest legislative victory ever Wednesday, hailing the vote in the House of Representatives to normalize trade with Beijing as a step toward more exports and jobs, better Sino-U.S. relations and unproved human-rights conditions in China," said James Cox, USA Today, CEOs Hail Passage, While Unions Vow Revenge, USA Today, 5/25/00.

Whether you own stock in a company that intends to export underwear, or any other product, to Communist China, you should be concerned about the vote in the House that took place yesterday. Why? Because no matter what U.S. firms do, the Chinese have no need for much of what we make here, or much of what's left of what we still make here.

How can I say that? It's really quite simple to understand. The Chinese allegedly use slave labor to make many of the products that you and I purchase. You know, those with the label on them that says MADE IN CHINA. I'm sure you've seen it a million times now. How much do those laborers make? Even if it's a typical Chinese citizen, how much do you think they make for their labor... how about pennies per hour?

Now, get your calculator out and add it all upů they can buy it cheaper there. So, why should they buy it from us over here? Of course, there will always be products that they don't have that they will buy from us... for awhile--at least until they can copy it and begin making it over there.

The other issue is common sense. The Chinese, as many nations, see free trade as a one-way street. They import very little from us because of the reason cited above (they can buy it cheaper there) AND they patronize their own countrymen for both economic and ethical reasons. In other words, they still have national pride (and a gov that enforces patronage I suspect).

The headlines in today's paper should have read: House Says No to China, Yes to U.S. Workers. Instead, their actions will further the exodus of manufacturing firms from the United States. Add it up. It does not tally well for U.S. citizens in the long run. Although I think I'm right, I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

Al Colombo

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