It might be politically advantageous to beat up on China.
But it doesn't make for good policy, and that's exactly what his opponent is doing in supporting a currency manipulation bill, says Republican Matt Doheny, who will face Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburh, on Nov. 6.
“I definitely do not agree that enacting this bill will create more American jobs," Mr. Doheny said in a news release way back in October. "Instead, it will be a stimulus for jobs in Asia and South America, which are low-cost producers that can pick up the slack during an American trade war with China."
The bill, which is supported by unions and some manufacturing organizations, would allow the U.S. to apply punitive taxes on goods from China and other countries that are found to have artificially undervalued their currencies. (Think about it: You're more likely to go to Canada to buy that new printer if your U.S. dollar is much stronger than the Canadian dollar. With China's Yuan artificially lowered, the demand for their goods is artificially raised.)
But this isn't the way to go about fixing that, Mr. Doheny said. Like the House Republican leadership, Mr. Doheny called on President Obama to enforce existing laws.
"It's simple to jump on board with quick fixes that make people feel good," Mr. Doheny said. "But the way to truly help the American economy is to roll up our sleeves and develop real pro-growth policies that will lead to more north country jobs."
Mr. Owens' reaction to the threat of a trade war is thus: We are already in a trade war.
“Fair trade is critical to economic growth in Upstate New York, and when one country artificially deflates its currency to gain leverage in the world market, there is nothing fair about it,”
Here's a Wall Street Journal story from 2011 that details some dangers of a trade war.
And here's a Wall Street Journal story from last week that details China letting its currency drop once more.