Lou Dobbs: Still Wrong on Trade

By June 1, 2006Dobbs Watch

Dobbs Watch We’ve been a little busy on global warming and other energy-related issues these days and Lou Dobbs has been busy ranting like a lunatic about immigration, having long ago left behind any patina of objectivity.

But a sharp-eyed blog reader dropped us a note last night to let us know that Lou is still ranting about the “war on the middle class” and is still very wrong. Last night was more hysteria about jobs fleeing the country to low-wage countries. He got his Amen Chorus, the ever- reliable Flat Earther Alan Tonelson, to agree with him (again). Hey — wait — is Lou in re-runs? We think we saw this one….

In any event, the truth still is that most companies locate in a particular area to be close to the customer. The truth is that we don’t compete in this country on the basis of wages, never have. As our trade VP Frank Vargo likes to say, if wages were the determining factor, Haiti would be an economic powerhouse. Sadly, it is not. There are many elements to a nation’s competitiveness. Wages are but one.

The truth is that we attract billions of dollars in foreign investment (and millions of jobs) in every state in this country every year — and we should be attracting more. The idea is to create a climate that will lure investment. We don’t do that by having the highest tort costs in the world — by a mile — the highest natural gas prices in the world, the highest environmental compliance costs in the world, the highest corporate tax burden in the world. Taken together, it adds up to a 22% cost disadvantage vs. our trading partners, dwarfing any wage disparity.

If Lou would stop demagoguing long enough and dust off his Harvard textbooks, he might do a show on some of the real problems facing manufacturers in this country — problems with solutions that are within our control.