Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Washington Dems Seek Federal Aid for Detroit

Senate Democrats today blamed the U.S. auto industry's ills on "fundamentally unfair" trade policies and currency manipulation by Asian countries, according to National Journal's Congress Daily (subscription only, unfortunately), covering a hearing held by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

"Lawmakers and both union and industry representatives from the auto industry said U.S. trade policies with China, South Korea and other countries over multiple presidential administrations, as well as the failure to crack down on Asian currency depreciation, can be partially blamed for recent announcements by Ford and GM that each will cut roughly 30,000 jobs," Congress Daily reported.

"Democrats blamed the GOP-led Congress for not holding oversight hearings on the auto trade imbalance and not moving legislation to crack down on currency manipulation," Congress Daily reported.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-ND, cited a trade agreement with China negotiated by the Clinton administration in which U.S. manufacturers must pay tariffs to export vehicles 10 times than are paid by the Asian giant for its products shipped to America.

"I would love to find the name of the American negotiator who agreed to that nonsense," Dorgan told Congress Daily. "It is unbelievably ignorant for us to have negotiated that proposal." Dorgan is chairman of the SDPC.

Dorgan also noted that South Korean firms exported more than 700,000 vehicles to the U.S. last year, compared to only 4,200 from the U.S. to South Korea, according to Congress Daily.

UPDATE: And now from the kid with ADD in the back of the class

Jalopnik's Between the Lines column today takes apart the recent commentary by The Detroit News' Daniel Howes. This is about as comprehensive a fisking of a mainstream journalist's work as I have seen anywhere. Definitely well worth reading.