15-May-19 China is a threat for several reasons the United States can no longer afford to ignore, warned U.S. Representative Mike Quigley in River North on Monday.
At a standing-room-only luncheon of City Club of Chicago, Quigley said President Donald Trumps recently imposed tariff hike is not going to help anyone, including local businesses like an industrial plant on the Northwest Side that will have to hunt for other perhaps more expensive raw materials.
Nobody is sure what the impact may be, short and long term, says Quigley, but most recognize that if this challenge was ever to be undertaken, now with the U.S. economy booming is the right time.
Ultimately, the cost of the tariff hike will be passed on to that plant, and eventually its American customers, Quigley pointed out, unless alternate vendors and suppliers can be found outside of China.
On Monday, the day after the tariff was imposed, the Dow Jones Industrial Average did a 611-point nosedive, although the S&P 500 Index is up more than 13 percent year-to-date and the Dow is up 9.4 percent.
The question now, says the 5th District Congressman, is which country is going to be hurt more, China or the U.S.?
Most economists think the U.S. has more leverage and China has more to lose. Once an isolated, impoverished country considered fair game for all the bigger countries, China is now the worlds second largest economy next to the United States.
When I was in high school, 90 percent of the Chinese population lived in abject poverty. Today its about two percent, said Quigley (left).
Chinas Gross Domestic Product has grown by 24 times since then, he added, noting that China has been funneling much of the proceeds into a powerful military machine that could someday challenge the United States. Chinas goal, says Quigley, is to have a world-class military establishment by mid-century.
But thats only part of the problem. Quigley warns that Chinas enrichment came at least partly from aggressively stealing civilian patents from the West as well as American military secrets. According to some American businesspeople, Chinese law requires businesses in that country to steal whatever they can from foreign companies.
Security concerns about Chinese business practices are already so serious that the Pentagon reportedly does not want Chinese-made railroad cars purchased by local transportation companies to travel anywhere near the Pentagon because some of those railroad cars, according to Quigley, have been fitted with sophisticated eavesdropping equipment.
Chinese telecom giant Huawei is banned from doing business in the U.S. since late last year, says Quigley, mainly due to fear China could use the company to spy on the U.S.
So, what do we do?
We need a moon shot strategy, a focused program as intense as the one that eventually got the United States on the moon, said Quigley.
That means involving as many allies as we can, he says, since the countrys security problem is not going to be solved by going it alone, though allies may not trust the United States because America has been fighting with everyone, even Canada.
To have a friend you have to be a friend, said Quigley, quoting Franklin Roosevelt. Its time to start mending fences.