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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Tariffs don’t do anything to curb the greed that sends jobs to China

Foxconn employees assemble Apple iPhones at a factory in Shenzen, China.
Foxconn employees assemble Apple iPhones at a factory in Shenzen, China.
(Kin Cheung / Associated Press
)

To the editor: That “California lost more manufacturing jobs to China than any other state” is certainly interesting.

At business schools across the nation, we teach that the first crucial step in case analysis is defining the problem. When problems are misdiagnosed, conclusions, even ones based on the best data collection and analysis, often do more harm than good.

The researchers at the Economic Policy Institute do recognize the importance of the U.S. unemployment rate standing at its lowest level in decades. Thus, at the very end of the article the problem is more sharply defined as the loss of “quality,” high-paying jobs.

The real thieves aren’t cheap Chinese workers. Rather, the culprits are decision makers on Capitol Hill, Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms.

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The executives of our companies were the ones who decided to close American factories. They and their cronies in Washington have eviscerated the rights of American workers through anti-strike legislation, the shortest mandatory layoff notice among all industrialized countries, and miserable wages for services workers.

If you believe the Chinese have stolen our jobs, tariffs sound like they might work. But the complaints of the American workforce today are better addressed through laws that support labor unions and retraining, and with tax breaks for lower-income folks rather than the very rich.

John L. Graham, Irvine

The writer is a professor emeritus at UC Irvine’s Merage School of Business.


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