March 17, 2014: Is your green beer American-brewed?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and welcome to the Early Shift. Looks like we’re not done yet with snow in Washington, DC. Hopefully all of this white stuff will keep the green beer chilled until we can shovel out and get to it. But if you’re lucky enough to not be temporarily snowbound, there are plenty of American-made libations to be found out there. The AFL-CIO, in fact, has a list of them right here.
But what else is happening out there? What are we reading?
We’re reading about the sudden dip in the value of China’s currency. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that the yuan has fallen to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in months. That’s in line with a trend for the yuan over the past few weeks, as the People’s Bank of China has carefully engineered its tumble.
Why? A lot of economy watchers say China is trying to punish currency speculators who have been betting on the yuan’s steady, painfully slow rise. But whether that’s the ultimate goal or not, the PBOC’s move to depreciate its currency makes U.S. goods more expensive for China's consumers. There’s nothing unintentional about what’s essentially a subsidy for China’s exporters.
Speaking of China’s exporters: One of its more infamous projects around these parts continues to face scrutiny from authorities in California. After a Caltrans engineer raised concerns about the shoddy production of key parts of the rebuilt span of the Oakland Bay Bridge –– a huge project that could have supported a lot of jobs, but was instead outsourced to China by the governator –– the Sacramento Bee reports that the California Highway Patrol has stepped in to poke around for improprieties. We’ll be keeping an eye out for further developments of this story.
ICYMI: Nobel laureate and Northwest Indiana native Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote a pretty good column in the New York Times on why there’s so much opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership:
One of the reasons that we are in such bad shape is that we have mismanaged globalization. Our economic policies encourage the outsourcing of jobs: Goods produced abroad with cheap labor can be cheaply brought back into the United States. So American workers understand that they have to compete with those abroad, and their bargaining power is weakened. This is one of the reasons that the real median income of full-time male workers is lower than it was 40 years ago.
Don’t forget: People still want those American-made shoes.
And lastly: The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) will be in Pawtucket, Rhode Island this Thursday to talk manufacturing and national security with Senator Jack Reed. Are you in Rhode Island, or will you be on Thursday? Come out and join us.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, America.
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