The Outstater

July 6, 2021

ONE OF THE great things about our form of democracy, perhaps the greatest thing, is that when we find ourselves with inept rulers nobody mounts a revolution and organizes a firing squad. At worst, the rascal is nudged out of office into a six-digit pension.

That thought occurred as Gov. Eric Holcomb’s pre-Covid decision to lead a trade mission to China in the middle of a trade war came into sharper focus.

Now don’t misunderstand. We like free trade here, but when the other side uses our concessions to increase military advantage, steal proprietary technology and manipulate our currency then that is something else.

In any case, Holcomb’s trip flew in the face of a warning from then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that U.S. governors were being targeted personally and politically by China’s intelligence service. Moreover, China placed retaliatory tariffs specifically on Midwest agricultural products.

“I think (China’s) philosophy was, let’s undermine the President’s authority in the Midwest where a lot of his base is,” said Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, a more savvy type of governor. 

China’s move backfired, Ricketts told the Epoch Times last week. “Farmers and ranchers, while they were not happy to see the demand for their goods go down, were patriotic and totally supported the President’s position about taking a tough stance with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) on trade issues.”

Not in Indiana, though, where the Holcomb administration and the corporate media continued to give China best-friend treatment.

While we are on the general topic, were we wrong to tell Governor Holcomb that it is disconcerting Indiana University has 3,000 students from China paying annual tuition equal to the budget provided the school by Indiana taxpayers? Should he worry that those students have taken an oath of loyalty to the CCP? And what about Eli Lilly & Co. of Indianapolis, a major political player ($5 million in lobbying last year), planning 40 new launches in China in the next 10 years?

Finally, although we don’t know that any deals made by our man Holcomb were contralateral to U.S. trade policy, he didn’t make much of a dent in the trade balance. Indiana’s exports to China have dropped 30 percent. And however pleasant his trip, he was unable to reverse a 17-year trend that saw Indiana losing three jobs in trading with China for every one it gained.

Term limits may be what save us. — tcl


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