“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the t internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Paul Krugman: China, Japan, America
Last week Japan’s minister of finance declared that he and his colleagues wanted a discussion with China about the latter’s purchases of Japanese bonds, to “examine its intention” – diplomat-speak for “Stop it right now.” The news made me want to bang my head against the wall in frustration.
You see, senior American policy figures have repeatedly balked at doing anything about Chinese currency manipulation, at least in part out of fear that the Chinese would stop buying our bonds. Yet in the current environment, Chinese purchases of our bonds don’t help us – they hurt us. The Japanese understand that. Why don’t we?
Some background: If discussion of Chinese currency policy seems confusing, it’s only because many people don’t want to face up to the stark, simple reality – namely, that China is deliberately keeping its currency artificially weak.
Robert Reich: The Two Categories of American Corporation — and Why it Matters
Some giant American corporations depend on a buoyant American economy and a world-class industrial base in the United States. Others are far less dependent. What comes out of Washington in the next few years will reflect which group has most political clout — especially if Republicans take over the House and capture more of the Senate this November.
The first group includes national telecoms like Verizon and AT&T that need a prosperous America because most of their sales are here. Same with finance companies like Bank of America and Travelers Insurance whose business strategy has been built around U.S. consumers. Ditto for certain giant chains like Home Depot. Naturally, all these companies were especially hard hit by the Great Recession and its devastating impact on American consumers.
The second group includes companies like Coca Cola, Exxon-Mobil, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and McDonald’s, that get substantial revenues from their overseas operations. Increasingly this means China, India, and Brazil. Ford and GM are still largely dependent on US sales but becoming less so. GM sold more cars in China last year than in the US. Not surprisingly, American companies that are less dependent on American consumers have been showing the biggest profits.