- - Monday, March 7, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I enjoy Richard Berman’s periodic columns in The Washington Times Commentary section. Well-written and to-the-point, they shine as the words of a GOP-establishment, public-affairs guru (“Trumping today’s culture,” Web, Feb. 29). However, like President Obama’s Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Mr. Berman is high on the fluff and light on the stuff — especially when he ventures into the world of trade and economics.

Mr. Berman, speaking from his U.S. Chamber of Commerce employment roots, condemns candidate Donald Trump for proposing a 45-percent tariff on Chinese goods. Mr. Berman seems to think this move would cause a trade war with China. Like the chamber, Mr. Berman ignores our annual trade deficit with the Chinese of more than $300 billion, which has been left unchecked for years (with devastating effects on the U.S. manufacturing base and jobs).

It’s a trade and currency manipulation war that China, Japan, Mexico and the European Union play with skill and finesse, constantly expanding their surpluses and ownership of U.S. technology and know-how. All the while, the establishment politicians and business associations here turn a blind eye but an open palm to the hollowing-out of our critical manufacturing infrastructure vital to the U.S. economic and national security.

For those who believe in Mr. Berman’s stay-the-course philosophy to avoid trade wars and higher-priced Chinese imports that “Americans depend on,” I suggest a day trip to Bethlehem, Pa., to visit the empty carcass of what once was Bethlehem Steel, another former Berman employer.

Mr. Trump, unlike critic Berman, understands the need for action to help our unemployed and underemployed while protecting and revitalizing America.

BRAD BOTWIN

Rockville

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