In one picture a simple proof that all news stories having to do with Chinese military spending and its alleged menace are laughable. In the last decade, our graph shows the ballooning trade deficit with China, mirroring national off-shoring of labor and the shipping out of the entire domestic manufacturing base except for cars, weapons and jet engines.
Taken from data provided by the US Census Bureau, the above is Dick Destiny blog's graph of the increasing trade imbalance with China, plotted over twenty years.
The horizontal axis starts at 1991. The vertical axis tops out at just below three hundred billion dollars for 2010, the number that results after you subtract US exports to China from the stuff we buy from that country.
When reading stories in the news today, you still see politicians, generals, pundits and wealthy celebrities who either lie outright about the nature of this disparity, as if it's fixable.. Or who are simply ignorant of reality because only servants do their shopping.
As far as the US middle class is concerned, this country makes virtually nothing non-military but cars, SUVs, wine, beer, prostitutes and high end goods for the plutocracy. Everything that was made here was shipped off by US multi-nationals to China. And that business took off during the Bush administration, slowing only a jot in 2001 as a consequence of 9/11.
Paradoxically and perversely, that event was less of a problem for the US economy, slowing on the onrush of a catastrophe of much larger magnitude.
Readers will note the rate of transfer stumbled again in 2008-09 as a consequence of the Great Recession. Wall Street blew up the world economy and demand plummeted on main street in the face of mass layoffs.
If you stare at the graph long enough (a larger version is here), you must virtually arrive at the conclusion that it's not fixable.
The bottom has been ripped out of the US boat. Full stop. And our leaders and businessmen, through a combination of greed, inaction and malfeasance did the job on us. China was just a convenient enabler.
Look at the slope of the line. There's no coming back from this level of disaster in our lifetime. What this means for the middle class is obvious.
The President and the ruling class's pundits, as well as the apologists for plutocrats, continually make assertions that the US must be retrained for manufacturing jobs of the future.
This is all bull----. No one in China hired by US multi-nationals needs retraining in any plants making stuff for Apple, Boeing, or Fender and Gibson guitars.
It is, rather, a fob argument used to place the blame for economic evisceration on the alleged failings of the general populace.
The graph makes clear that the US sells minimally to China. Statistically, its insignificant in terms of the larger picture, so any additional arguments on opening up their markets, or the Chinese government allowing its currency to float freely, seem pretty much phlogiston aimed at covering up the underlying calamity.
We sell China some cars and SUVs, perhaps meat, cheap booze and novelty candies, like almond roca.
Do you think perhaps they might be interested in Disney's Civil War app for the iPhone?
The graph does not show US arms manufacturing. Outside of cars and jet engines, which are going away fast too as Boeing and GE continue to outsource overseas, weapons (as an exercise in socialism for the benefit of the corporate sector), are the only things this country now gives the world in terms of material goods.
This graph, however, published last year by the New York Times, does make a nice bookend to the China/US trade imbalance timeline.
The next graph, published by Mother Jones here, illustrates one facet of the give-us-more-or-we'll-shoot-the-dog corporate strategy practiced on Uncle Sam and the American people by companies like General Electric and Boeing.
The pay-us-or-else strategy works like this: Legally evade paying fair taxation, argue for a reduced corporate tax rate and offshore as much labor as possible that can't be guaranteed with arms manufacturing contracts underwritten by the taxpayer. Threaten the government with more offshore flight if tax rates aren't lowered and various subsidies granted.
Give us back the Joint Strike Fighter F136 jet engine contract or these line dancers get the chop.
This is what makes Donald Trump's recent claims about fixing jobs lost to China so laughable.
Trump proposes adding a 25 percent tariff to Chinese goods. Since China makes everything the middle class uses as daily sundries, there are no options to "buy American" left.
Such a step would immediately be felt as a big price hike aimed straight at the US middle class. It would be debilitating and probably bring about an immediate decrease in demand, putting even more people out of work. Of course, the economic contraction caused by this would also cause layoffs in China in the manufacturing sector.
But it would almost assuredly again tank the US economy, or the part of it still based on middle class consumer demand, not Wall Street financial products.
This post was published in earlier edition at Dick Destiny blog. Have something to say? E-mail webmaster at dickdestiny or leave a comment on the blog there.