Friday Non-Funny Courtesy of Tom Toles

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Tom Toles is possibly the worst editorial cartoonist in America. Could his latest excrescence be more mindlessly jingoistic? Please, rest of the world, don't invest in the U.S. Send your money some place else. Really?

I can remember in the 1980s when all the "smart" folks were panicked about the Japanese buying up all the best real estate such as the Rockefeller Center. The American sellers laughed all the way to the bank in that deal. Sheesh!

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  1. OH NOEZ! FOREIGNERZ!

    I hate xenophobic protectionism.

  2. Tom Toles was doing very funny cartoons about climate change when Ron Bailey was still neck-deep in denialism. Pointing out the economic consequences of deficit spending is actually something that small government types should like.

  3. Subprime nation.

  4. Well I can remember the ’80 when the Japanese were buying up real estate, and the British were buying up corporations.

    Maybe we should ask Toles what there foreigners should do with all those dollars we keep using to pay for foreign goods?

  5. Tom Toles was doing very funny cartoons about climate change when Ron Bailey was still neck-deep in denialism. Pointing out the economic consequences of deficit spending is actually something that small government types should like.

    The vast majority of the debt is owed to ourselves. Rantings about the scary mainland Chiense secretly controlling our nation are just that. Rantings.

  6. BS: Whatever you think of “denialism” his global warming cartoons were also mostly stupid, ham-fisted and completely unamusing. And so foreigners should not invest in Citibank, Merrill Lynch and so forth?

  7. Airforce One looks more like the Airbus 380 than a Boeing 747. OMG! The furriners do own us!

  8. So I guess we’re evil.

    Ford of Australia – evil
    Tokyo Disneland – evil
    GM Europe – evil
    Coca Cola, everywhere – evil

    This mindset is stupid.I am unable to comprehend the ignorance and lack of analytical thinking ability that must exist in someone’s brain to reach these hysterical levels of concern about foreign ownership of businesses and property.

  9. Tom Toles is actually the only reason to read the Washington Post anymore. His cartoons on the Iraq war have been smarter than the actual Post editorial board (a low-bar, I know). Like here.

    This cartoon, however, isn’t his best work.

  10. Tom Toles is possibly the worst editorial cartoonist in America.

    I don’t know, he’s pretty dunder headed but that’s a mighty high (or is it low) bar to clear. The problem with Toles isn’t that he’s such a doofus, it’s that he’s so widely syndicated. In other words, the stupidity of the many outweigh the stupidity of the few, or of the one.

  11. Pointing out the economic consequences of deficit spending is actually something that small government types should like.

    I might, if he actually drew such a cartoon. I thought the one above was about foreign capital being invested in US firms.

  12. Oh, and I guess all those automobile plants Toyota, Honda, and BMW built in the Southeast are evil, too.

  13. NoStar

    I was thinking the same thing myself.

    J sub D

    To me, foreign investment hysteria is just “deja vu all over again” in the words of Casey Stengel. Only the “foreigners” are different.

  14. No, the Phila. Inquirer’s Tony Auth is the worst editorial cartoonist in America. I’m no fan of the GOP, but he makes them all out to be “children-hating, old folks should eat dogfood” cretins, while giving a wide pass to
    similar excessive caricatures on the left.

  15. Toles is funny sometimes. Not here, obviously. But sometimes.

  16. Since the Beijing government is our, ahem, strategic competitor, it is somewhat more of a problem for them to hold a great deal of our debt than, say, British or Japanese firms buying real estate here.

    But that’s not what this cartoon is about. Foreigners ohnoes!

  17. Aresen,

    As the senior Canuck on this forum, how do you feel about Ford Motor’s holdings in the frozen wasteland that you call home? The Ambassador Bridge? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. I don’t know anything about this cartoonist, but from experience, it often seems to be the case that the people complaining about foreign investors buying up the country are the same people complaining about American companies investing overseas.

    …especially at this point in time–unbelievably stupid!

    It’s funny too, Congress was about to hold hearings on whether China should be allowed to invest in Citigroup via its sovereign fund out of fear that their 1% total ownership would give them undue influence over us–but the hardliners in the Communist Party of China beat our Congress to the punch just a few days ago and scuttled the deal.

    …it seems that some of them were afraid that high profile investments in the American financial system might unduly influence some of their comrades.

    So don’t worry your pretty little Congressional heads, about saving our credit crunched financial system (and economy) from foreign investors–the Chinese Communist Party is doing the work for you.

    P.S. The people of South Korea and Taiwan should be mortified.

  19. I’d say the worst cartoons are from the Politico.

  20. “Since the Beijing government is our, ahem, strategic competitor, it is somewhat more of a problem for them to hold a great deal of our debt than, say, British or Japanese firms buying real estate here.”

    One question Joe, would you rather owe a few trillion dollars and or be owed that money? There comes a point where the debtor owns the bank because the bank has become so dependent on the debtor paying. The fact that China owns all of that debt means they have a direct stake in the US servicing it. It kind of takes all of the fun out of being a strategic competitor. For that matter, being so dependent on another country’s market that something 100 million of your people would be out of work if they ever embargoed your goods takes the fun out of being a competitor as well. Just something to think about.

    As for Tolls, he is an unfunny, mean-spirited ignorant jackass.

  21. “Since the Beijing government is our, ahem, strategic competitor, it is somewhat more of a problem for them to hold a great deal of our debt than, say, British or Japanese firms buying real estate here.”

    Help me understand joe, how does Beijing owning a piece of the American dream hurt us in a crisis over a nuclear North Korea or a conflict over Taiwan?

  22. I agree that the bottom line is, the economic ties between China and the United States make war less, not more likely.

  23. “I agree that the bottom line is, the economic ties between China and the United States make war less, not more likely.”

    Less likly but not impossible. People thought the same thing about Europe before World War I. I wonder sometimes if all of the talk about the end of big wars and asymetrical threats is not just setting us up to be unprepared for the next big one.

  24. If I may pile on…

    Since the Beijing government is our, ahem, strategic competitor, it is somewhat more of a problem for them to hold a great deal of our debt than, say, British or Japanese firms buying real estate here.

    Interdependence means peace. It means more cooperation. It means less strategic competition.

  25. Cesar: Absolutely right.

    “When goods don’t cross borders, armies will.”
    — Frederic Bastiat

  26. “I agree that the bottom line is, the economic ties between China and the United States make war less, not more likely.”

    I understand too, that a 1% stake in this company or a $2 billion investment over there isn’t hardly anything considering the amount of trade that’s already benefiting Beijing.

    …but incrementally speaking, yeah, every yuan they invest over here only helps, incrementally, us in terms of security.

    And, oh yeah, Citigroup could apparently use the investment, thank you very much.

  27. Less likely but not impossible. People thought the same thing about Europe before World War I. I wonder sometimes if all of the talk about the end of big wars and asymetrical threats is not just setting us up to be unprepared for the next big one.

    Yes, not impossible. But economic ties AND the possession of nukes on both sides makes it next to impossible.

    Remember, World War I wasn’t a direct confrontation between Britain and Germany at first. The less advanced, feudal parts of the world (Austria-Hungary and Russia) dragged the developed parts into the conflict through alliances. I think the lesson there is don’t dick around in the third world because the countries there have nothing to lose. In twenty-five years, China won’t be a third world country anymore at this rate of growth.

  28. People thought the same thing about Europe before World War I.

    World War I is an almost perfect example of the opposite. Between protecting trade within colonial empires and the need for each nation to protect its own inflating currency, Europe devolved into competing trade blocs with less and less interdependency. That is what made World War I possible, if not what made it actually happen.

  29. John,

    If I wanted to come out as rich as I could, I’d rather owe that money.

    If I wanted to make the debtor bark like a dog on command, I’d rather be owed.

    Hence, my comment about Beijing being our strategic competitor.

    Ken, I imagine it doesn’t, when our interests are roughly aligned, as with North Korea’s nukes.

    Taiwan? I guess that depends on whether they decide it would be a lot of fun to jump the straits. It might not be in their financial interests to take the hit necessary to use their leverage against us, but what if their financial interest isn’t foremost in their minds?

    Still, I get the point about stronger econimic ties. My point is that there are more conerns than if the British held that debt, not that there are only downsides.

  30. J sub D

    Senor Canuck

    I like that.

    I may change my handle. It’ll drive Lonewacko and the other “Nafta Bridge” types crazyier.

    When I was a kid, I was a Canadian Nationalist (note caps) and an NDPer. (Don’t godwin on that.) Then I got over it.

    The only part of the foreign investment thing that bugs me nowadays is the subsidies that governments – federal, provincial, municipal – throw at the corporations (both foreign and Canadian) to “bring jobs to our communities”.

  31. Toles is probably the *only* cartoonist that I find funny. No, I don’t always agree with his positions, but he expresses them well.

    And no, I don’t think this one is funny. But I don’t see its thrust as being about foreign investment so much as it’s about Bush traveling the world while being ignorant of the financial problems going on at home.

  32. John,

    If you had the choice of taking a car loan from someone who hates you vs. someone who likes you, where would you prefer to go?

  33. “My point is that there are more conerns than if the British held that debt, not that there are only downsides.”

    And I suppose my point is that because we have no security concerns with the British, that it’s actually better to get Chinese investment.

    Let’s hope Pakistan, Russia and Sudan all follow suit.

  34. “Remember, World War I wasn’t a direct confrontation between Britain and Germany at first. The less advanced, feudal parts of the world (Austria-Hungary and Russia) dragged the developed parts into the conflict through alliances.”

    I wouldn’t say Germany was drug into the war by Austria and Russia. If anything the Germans drug the Austrians, who thought they were only signing up to pound Serbia and re-establish hegemony over the Balkans into a wider European war. The Imperial Germans were somewhat like the Chinese today in that they were an up and coming nation with an massive inferiority complex. The Germans started the war because they honestly thought that if they didn’t start it then, they would have to fight it later only in a more weakened position. For a country that was as prosperous as Germany and with the world’s best and largest Army, the pessimism about the future among German elites at the turn of the 20th Century is inexplicable. They really thought that it was only a matter of time before Germany surrounded by a hostile France and Russia, hemmed in by the British Navy, with dying Austria as its only reliable ally, and without a significant colonial empire would be rendered a second rate power.

    Certainly, initially the Germans never thought that giving Austria the okay to whack Serbia, something all of Europe was united in doing, would ever lead to a wider war. But once the crises got rolling, the German military ceased the opportunity to mobilize and launch a wider war against France and Russia in what it felt was its only chance to avoid long term defeat. It was insanity.

  35. If you owe a bank 50 million dollars, its your problem.

    If you owe the bank 50 billion dollars, its the banks problem.

  36. What, no disclosure statement? What ties to foreign investors might Ron Bailey be trying to cover up? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  37. “If you had the choice of taking a car loan from someone who hates you vs. someone who likes you, where would you prefer to go?”

    Interesting question. I guess on the one hand I would want to take it from the person who likes me in hopes that if I didn’t pay he might work something out. On the other hand, I really think I would rather take it from the person who hates me. That way if I don’t pay it, I am screwing someone I really didn’t like anyway. Sort of the same reason you shouldn’t borrow money from family; you really don’t want to risk screwing over someone you love and have to be around your whole life.

  38. A fair point, Ken S.

    I suppose it’s along the same lines as “We shouldn’t have peace talks with the Palestinians.”

    Who should we have peace talks with? The Australians?

  39. Woofyman said it best. This is just a symptom of America financing its largesse by exporting debt overseas. All those dollars need to be spent in America eventually, and they’re going to be spent sooner rather than later, as those who buy later will wind up getting less bang for their bucks. Can someone say “inflation”?

    I find the cartoon amusing, but almost certainly not for the reason Toles drew it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. John,

    What if the guy is more concerned with screwing you than getting paid?

    That’s the worry, no?

  41. “A subsidiary of foreign investors”

    no makey sense.

  42. True Joe,

    But I don’t think the Chinese are really screwing us. They are just putting their money in what they consider a safe place. The bottomline is that the US could always with a stroke of a pen discount all of that debt. Not that it would ever do so outside of the most desparate of circumstances but it could and there is nothing anyone could do about it. The more debt the Chinese hold, the more pause it should give to any Yellow Supremicist whack jobs in their government who harbor dreams of bringing down the great American Satan.

  43. John-

    There are indeed many similarities between mainland China and Imperial Germany. One is that Britain and France failed to accommodate a “peaceful rise” for Germany. Imperial Germany wasn’t wholly irrational (like, say, the Nazis, Iran, or North Korea) and could’ve been peacefully dealt with, at least before the crisis in 1914.

    I’m not saying the Germans weren’t overly bellicose, but the Allies made some stupid mistakes to that led to the inaccurate preception that Germany was being encircled against.

  44. John

    A small nitpick:

    “Great American Satan” is Islamist.

    The Middle Kingdom nationalists prefer the phrase “American Running Dog.”

  45. The only part of the foreign investment thing that bugs me nowadays is the subsidies that governments – federal, provincial, municipal – throw at the corporations (both foreign and Canadian) to “bring jobs to our communities”.

    And it doesn’t matter which party is in contro; of government. They will all fellate a CEO to get a major investment in their fiefdom, yet many will simultaneousyly tax the hell out of existing wealth producers, encouraging them to relocate somewhere that offers a better deal. e.g. tax abatements, moratoriums, infrastructure assistance…

  46. On balance, I think you’re likely correct, John. My point: this is a question worth thinking about when a “competitor” country makes such an investment, in a way that it is not worth thinking about when a friendly ally does so.

  47. No they were not Ceaser. Of course, the French really did have a legitimate grievance over Alsace and Lorraine. Further, the Germans didn’t help themselves. They were the ones who started a completely pointless navel arms race against the British. They were never going to out build the British navy and in attempting to do so drove Britain into the arms of France. The also renounced their alliance with Russia and managed to drive it into an alliance with France. The Kaiser was an extraordinarily incompetent leader. A lot of the German encirclement was of their own making. In the allies defense Germany had already invaded and conquered France in 1871. The French were terrified of being invaded again and the British were rightly concerned over the prospect of having to face a hegimonic Germany on the continent.

  48. I’ve always said to the more xenophobic opponents (both family and friends) in such conversations regarding the Yellow Peril that we are no more likely to go to war with China than Wal-Mart is to machine-gun its customers as they walk in the doors. China wants our markets; we want their products. Why would either side want to mess up a good thing over Taiwan?

    The U.S. is telling Taiwan to cool their jets over independence, anyway, since the status quo is working out pretty well.

  49. They were the ones who started a completely pointless navel arms race against the British.

    It wasn’t completely pointless, John. They were concerned that the British would deny them freedom of the seas for their overseas quasi-colonies, and not wholly without reason.

  50. The U.S. is telling Taiwan to cool their jets over independence, anyway, since the status quo is working out pretty well.

    But will this denial of reality last forever?

  51. “What if the guy is more concerned with screwing you than getting paid?”

    joe, you’d have to assume that the Chinese are crazy irrational – this ain’t chump change, they’ll probably get hurt just as bad or worse considering that they are the US is vastly richer than China.

  52. Are editorial cartoonists kept employed out of tradition? Because it sure isn’t relevance or poignancy.

    Will the day finally come where they simply stop filling the position?

  53. Joe,

    The English has been an ally of Germany going back to the Napoleonic wars. The Kaiser was Queen Victoria’s grandson. Their navies trained together and royalty intermarried. Hell, the British Royal family is the “House of Hanover” or that “Live In German Couple” as they were snarkely known to real British elites from medival English families. There was no reason for Britian and Germany to ever turn on each other, but somehow they managed to.

  54. “The U.S. is telling Taiwan to cool their jets over independence, anyway, since the status quo is working out pretty well.

    But will this denial of reality last forever?”

    I think it might last long enough to get to the point where China finaly implodes and breaks apart something I think will happen in my lifetime.

    John Derbyshire, whose wife is Chinese, had a great description of life in modern China a few days ago on The Corner. It went,

    Upper-middle-class life in China goes like this: You attach yourself somehow to some “enterprise,” run by a “Director” who, much more often than not, is also the Party Secretary for the thing. You kiss up and do as you’re told. Once in a while you betray a friend or colleague – you get points for that. You attend meetings you can pretty much doze through, just raising your hand when the boss raises his. If you become aware that the boss is helping himself to the enterprise’s funds, which he pretty invariably is, you keep very quiet about it. Once in a while you get a trip abroad, giving you the opportunity to see that the West is just as dysfunctional a mess, with just as little faith in itself, and just as obviously a goner, as the Party has been telling you all your life. You have the one approved child, and beggar yourself paying fees and bribes to get him into a good college. You get emphysema from the stupendous levels of air pollution in Chinese cities. You die.”

    At some point, all of that has to come to a head.

  55. John-

    I think China will become Singapore writ-large in twenty years. There are scarier things for them to be than that.

  56. I hope you are right Cesar, but Singapore had the legacy of British colonialism to give it some respect for the law. China doesn’t have that. It had warlord gangsterism followed by Maoist gangsterism. Increasingly, the communist party is just degenerating into chonycapitalist, nationalist gangsterism. The corruption and brutality of the Chinese state makes me seriously wonder about its long term viability.

  57. It had warlord gangsterism followed by Maoist gangsterism. Increasingly, the communist party is just degenerating into chonycapitalist, nationalist gangsterism. The corruption and brutality of the Chinese state makes me seriously wonder about its long term viability.

    Taiwan had the same issues early on with its Nationalist Party. Ditto for South Korea until the 1980s. They’re both past them now after difficult reforms, but they managed to survive.

    China of course is on a much bigger scale so I could be wrong.

    I don’t think China will have representative government in my lifetime if ever though. The best case scenario, again, is that the Communist Party turns into a Singapore-type authoritarian cabal with zero respect for civil liberties but a healthy respect for economic ones.

  58. Excrescence? How so? or did you mean excretion or excrement?

  59. There was no reason for Britian and Germany to ever turn on each other, but somehow they managed to.

    The reason was quite simply the Kaiser, whom Victoria detested and who was a complete idiot with no real business running a country. Really. Maybe he wasn’t as unintelligent as he comes off in retrospect, but his decisions as a ruler were inexcusably foolish.

  60. Hale,

    There is an interesting counter history to be written had the Kaiser’s father, Frederich III had not died shortly after assuming the throne. He was much smarter and more liberal than Wilhelm. Had he lived a normal lifespan, his idiot one armed son would have probably done a lot less damage.

  61. sixstring. Hmmm. Good point. But I was kind of thinking of that particular cartoon as being a wart on the Washington Post. See word of the day.
    Thanks.

  62. But I was kind of thinking of that particular cartoon as being a wart on the Washington Post.

    Ah, I see. Well you must hold the Washington Post in higher esteem than I.

  63. To get back to the cartoon, or rather the cartoonist, Ted Rall is the only one keeping Toles from being the worst political cartoonist ever.

  64. Herb Lock was a vicious petty leftist partisian but at least was funny once in a while. Toles is all of that and more but completely humorless.

  65. Tom Toles is possibly the worst editorial cartoonist in America.

    You kids have it so easy these days. When I was growing up, we had to look at Herblock on the editorial page of the Post every day. If you’d had to live with that, you’d be a lot more grateful for Tom Toles.

  66. It wasn’t completely pointless, John. They were concerned that the British would deny them freedom of the seas for their overseas quasi-colonies, and not wholly without reason.

    So why did they need colonies anyhow? They were lucky to have them taken away in 1919.

  67. If you owe a bank 50 million dollars, its your problem.

    If you owe the bank 50 billion dollars, its the banks problem.

    Wasn’t it 500 thousand vs 500 million? Talk about inflation…

  68. Yeah, Rall is worse. He’s like Toles with really bad Parkinson’s; it’s a toss-up whether the art or the content is more nauseating. At least I can stand to look at Toles’ work.

    Since the Beijing government is our, ahem, strategic competitor, it is somewhat more of a problem for them to hold a great deal of our debt

    Yeah, a problem for them: if they invade Taiwan, they won’t get paid. Plus, we’ll seize any assets they have here.

  69. Since the Beijing government is our, ahem, strategic competitor, it is somewhat more of a problem for them to hold a great deal of our debt

    Problem for who? It seems to me that, the more of our debt they hold, the more they are dependent on our continued economic well-being.

  70. “I think it might last long enough to get to the point where China finaly implodes and breaks apart something I think will happen in my lifetime.”

    Cheap labor doesn’t ensure that you’ll be eternally insulted from cycles, and I’m not sure the Mao Dynasty would survive a prolonged downturn.

  71. “I don’t think China will have representative government in my lifetime if ever though. ”

    Well, democracy is not totally unknown in the PRC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China

    It’s not good (these certainly aren’t free and fair elections), but it’s not as bad as a lot of people seem to think.

    Greater economic liberalism generally leads to greater political liberalism, and China’s leadership knows economic liberalism is the golden goose they dare not kill.

    The old guard will cling to power at the national level as long as they can, but reform is inexorable and inevitable.

  72. I can remember in the 1980s when all the “smart” folks were panicked about the Japanese buying up all the best real estate such as the Rockefeller Center.

    Even with inflation taken into account, there’s somewhat of a difference for the Japanese to own a few hundred million dollars of NY real estate versus the Chinese owning two trillion dollars of US public debt.

    And put away that Xenophobia Card, because no one blames the Chinese. Real libertarians know who borrowed the money, and what it was used to pay for.

  73. Herb Lock was a vicious petty leftist partisian but at least was funny once in a while.

    I must have missed the funny ones.

  74. Even with inflation taken into account, there’s somewhat of a difference for the Japanese to own a few hundred million dollars of NY real estate versus the Chinese owning two trillion dollars of US public debt.

    What century are you writing from?

    China owns 387 billion dollars of US public debt. Japan owns 581 billion.

  75. Worth mentioning, the 2008 Olympics could be a watershed for Zhongguo. Police beating pro-democracy protestors is not the image China wants to present to the world, and you can’t send in the tanks a la 1989 with the world media all over Beijing.

  76. takimag[dot]com/site/article/why_the_beltway_libertarians_are_trying_to_smear_ron_paul/

  77. Chris O.

    I may be being charitable to the dead. Lock was bloody awful. I don’t know why every editorial cartoonist has to be a statist liberal stooge but sans the guy who writes Mallard Fillmore, they all seem to be. They must really hate that guy.

  78. What century are you writing from?

    China owns 387 billion dollars of US public debt. Japan owns 581 billion.

    MikeP, Great link! Now we can all worry about the Brazilians.

  79. Now we can all worry about the Brazilians.

    Yeah, I’m much more worried about Brazil putting Americanos in Speedos than about China buying our debt.

  80. “Even with inflation taken into account, there’s somewhat of a difference for the Japanese to own a few hundred million dollars of NY real estate versus the Chinese owning two trillion dollars of US public debt.”

    Apples to apples, the Japanese weren’t just buying landmarks, like The Rock or Pebble Beach, they were heavy into the American debt markets as well. I remember the anti-Japanese mania, and I remember hearing serious people on the news say that the Japanese essentially operated our currency.

    …after the Asian currency crisis, those people started pretending they never said any of the things they said. …especially about how we should emulate “Japan, Inc.” as Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea had.

    The big difference I see between Japan’s investments back then and China’s now is that Japan was buying at the top of the market where China doesn’t appear to be buying anywhere near the top of the market.

    The Asian currency crisis did so much to give us that wonderful economy people remember from the ’90s, driving commodity prices so low. Every nation whose economy was based primarily on commodities, Canada, Australia, you name it, saw its currency drop in dollar terms. Add the Gingrich Congress’ budget axe–we may never see such a confluence again. It might be comparable to when the United States was head and shoulders above all the other industrialized nations after all the destruction of World War II.

    Notice which currencies have been doing the best against the U.S. Dollar lately, and it starts to look like we’re just seeing that historical anomaly finally unwind. …budget discipline should be more important than ever in that environment, especially considering that baby boomers are now starting to receive their welfare checks.

    One of the few things that should help in that environment is foreign investment–and anyone in Congress who opposes foreign investment in this environment is an idiot.

  81. Beltway libertarians don’t need to smear Ron Paul.

    Midwest bloggers are more than adequate for the task.

    I get up at least one Ron Paul is a Nazi post a week. If I’m feeling especially generous I’ll do three or five. Sometimes two in one day. Not too often though. There is a good but limited market for that sort of thing. Besides they get sort of tired – the Paulians – and stop showing up. Really hell on the traffic when you are trying to raise your TTLB stats.

  82. Wrong thread, dude.

  83. Ken Shulz,

    In the early 1990s people were actually taking kooks like Chalmers Johnson seriously on economic issues. What always amazed me is the whole “the Japanese get private industry to work hand in hand with government”. In every other time and place that is called corruption but in the early 1990s it was called progress. I will never forget watching John Chancelor on the 6 o’clock news giving some end of episode commentary about how “Americans see Japan with a 21st Century capitalism why we teeter along on with the 19th Century model”. If I had had a gun, I would have pulled an Elvis and shot the television.

  84. I follow the Chinese and Indian auto industries and one advantage that India has over China is that it allows 100% foreign direct investment, it allows foreigners and foreign companies to completely own their India operations. This means that indigenous Indian companies have to compete, and that the foreign subsidiaries will bring their best technology to the market because they don’t have to worry that their joint venture partner is stealing their intellectual property.

    The British, Dutch, French and Canadians own a lot more American companies than the Chinese do.

    Countries that allow 100% FDI generally do better than those that force JVs.

  85. “Greater economic liberalism generally leads to greater political liberalism, and China’s leadership knows economic liberalism is the golden goose they dare not kill.”

    A real golden goose. Over 90% of Chinese millionaires are children of high ranking party officials. The Chairman of Changfeng motors was the Party secretary at that enterprise when it was still owned by the People’s Liberation Army.

  86. Japanese investors did not buy Rockefeller Center. They bought the underlying mortgage on the property.

    “Hawaii” is a much better example.

    Just saying…

  87. Of course we could solve this problem by just banning foreign ownership of U.S. poperty. That is what Mexico does. It is illegal for a non-Mexican to own damn near anything there. Boy that has worked out well.

  88. Wasn’t it 500 thousand vs 500 million? Talk about inflation…

    I thought it was a thousand dollars and a million dollars, but I’m kind of old.

  89. John,

    Tell me something I don’t know about European history.

    Ideally, something that would refute my statement about the Germans’ motivations.

  90. John, Seamus, I didn’t say they were right, or wise, or smart.

    I said they has rational reasons. They weren’t acting as madmen or out of pique, they were looking to protect and advance their national interests.

  91. “They were the ones who started a completely pointless navel arms race against the British.”

    Ah, yes, the struggle to build the ultimate belly button gun (firing High Explosive lint).

  92. Wrong thread, dude.

    No thread is the wrong thread for Dead Horse Flogging.

  93. Someday other countries will wonder about the wisdom of sending the USA actual physical goods and only getting pieces of paper with pictures of dead Americans on them in return.

    I guess we can always print more.

  94. “I am unable to comprehend the ignorance and lack of analytical thinking ability that must exist in someone’s brain to reach these hysterical levels of concern about foreign ownership of businesses and property.”

    Think “American Indian Experience”

  95. Toles is against foriegn ownership, but in favor of illegal immigration. Go figure?

  96. Dem furriners tuk ur’ jubs! Ur jubs! Seriously, “Goobacks” is a South Park classic.

  97. It was a sellers market when the Japanese were buying and they generally bought at the top of the market. They also took on debt to make the purchases. Not true this time, and the Chinese are paying with cheap dollars. They also are buying convertible preferred stock in some cases (like Citibank)that pay as much as 11% yield. Much smarter than the Japanese.

  98. The Kaiser had a withered arm from a botched childbirth and an inferiority complex because of it. His father, a classical European liberal, died of cancer when Wilhelm was young, leaving his upbringing to an increasingly nationalist court. Upperclass society was dominated by a feudal, military tradition,and popular economic views tended to be mercantilist. The era was ‘The race for Africa,’ as the Major European Powers dismembered the continent for colonies to provide raw materials and markets for the goods produced at home because of increasingly higher import duties in each of the major countries. Russia wanted an outlet on the Med. and was trying to undermine the sclerotic Turkish Empire so it could expand its Armenia colony as far as Antalya and reclaim the Second Rome (it had fought Turkey for the freedom of Bulgaria in the 1870s.) The British were expecting to fight the increasingly hostile Germans and were planning to initiate a war by 1920 to take them down.

    Then the Serbs throw the match onto the gasoline and each of the European powers began to mobilize in a continent wide game of chicken. The Czar ordered the mobilization of the Russian forces and the Germans responded. The Czar wasn’t the brightest star in thesky and his only son, Alexis, was a bleeder (in the days before available clotting factor) so he had other worries (and what you can say about German society goes spades for Russian.)

    And because of these idiocies the composer of ‘Banks of Green Willow’ ended his life on a French battlefield, along with millions of others.

  99. Tom Toles is possibly the worst editorial cartoonist in America.

    Nah…Toles is Normal Goddam Rockwell next to, say, Joel Pett…

  100. Glenn Beck should read this thread.

  101. Sure, these are dollars simply “coming home” as it were, as they have to to be of any use to those we pay with them.

    However, in strategic terms, I’d rather they be used to buy our exports, or even be used to build factories here, rather than being used to purchase influential, if not actually”controlling”, stakes in important industries.
    Obviously its not nearly as big deal if the Euros do it, but wrt Chinese businesses whose ties to a state which is much more at odds with ours can be very murky.
    To suggest that is something to be thinking about is hardly “xenophobia” or racism.
    The typical assumption by most libertarians that economic considerations are effectively all there are (when it comes to judging/predicting the actions of others) is actually similar to the misplaced notions of Marxis. “Follow the money” so you don’t overlook any factors is hardly the same as saying its the only thing.

  102. Tony Auth of the Inquirer is really bad, but The Philadelphia Daily News beats the Inky on so many levels of wretchedness, not least of which is cartoonist Signe Wilson.

  103. As to Toles: what Pat in Colorado said.

    I wouldn’t absolutely count on the ties of commerce to prevent war. Kipling thought that had been achieved before WW I. See “The Peace of Dives”.

    In 1912, the British were nodding at Norman Angell’s The Great Illusion, a best seller which made that argument. Meanwhile, Germans were nodding at Bernhardi’s Germany and the Next War, which asserted that “war is a biological necessity”.

    Also:

    The Kaiser had a withered arm from a botched childbirth and an inferiority complex because of it. His father, a classical European liberal, died of cancer when Wilhelm was young, leaving his upbringing to an increasingly nationalist court.

    Close but no cigar.

    Kaiser Wilhelm II’s father Friedrich III died of cancer – but not when he was young. Friedrich died in 1888, when Willy was 29. Willy’s education in militarism came much earlier, from his grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm I, who also died in 1888 – leaving “Fritz” to reign only 99 days.

    Wilhelm I was the great militarist of the family. As King of Prussia, he nearly abdicated in 1862, rather than see his “sacred regiments” meddled with by the greasy politicians in the Diet of Prussia. (Friedrich talked him out of abdication, and instead he brought in Bismarck as prime minister to steamroller the Diet.)

    It was during Wilhelm I’s long reign (he died at 90) that the strutting, bullying “Potsdamer ton” (“Potsdam style”) became fashionable. Young Willy took it up eagerly when doing his military service at age 20. His father lamented that he came home “a perfect Guards officer”.

  104. I don’t know what all you people are complaining about; Maureen Dowd thought this cartoon was brilliant.

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