In the past, I’ve approached testimonies of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan with some reservations (no pun intended). While I always find his words thought-provoking, at least for economy watchers like me, I usually disagree with his view on at least a point or two.
It’s for this reason that, in my eyes, today goes down as a day in my history… today’s the day I actually agree with the Fed.
Last Thursday, Federal Greenspan spoke to the Senate Finance Committee about his perspective on the Chinese Yuan.
My view on how a revalued Yuan will affect us here in North America, which you may recall from previous PROFIT CONFIDENTIAL commentaries, is that an increase in the value of the currency will only encourage North American consumers to buy goods from other cheap, foreign suppliers.
Do I think that a free-floating Yuan will create U.S. jobs? No.
Do I believe that a high tariff on Chinese-made goods will spur domestic buying? Not at all.
Do I support the view that a new Yuan will increase U.S. manufacturing activity? No siree, Bob.
And, you know what? It looks like Alan Greenspan agrees.
During his June 23rd testimony to the Senate, the Fed Chairman said this:
“Some observers mistakenly believe that a marked increase in the exchange value of the Chinese [currency] relative to the U.S. dollar would significantly increased manufacturing activity and jobs in the United States. I am aware of no credible evidence that supports such a conclusion.”
Well said, Alan.
And what else did he say, you ask? His message was loud and clear-some media sources called it downright “blunt”…
–“The broad tariff… would comparably raise U.S. imports from other low-cost sources of supply.”
–“Few, if any, American jobs would be protected.”
–“A return to protectionism would threaten the continuation of much of the extraordinary growth in living standards worldwide, but especially in the United States.”
And here’s my favorite quote from last Thursday:
“Policy should aim to bolster the well-being of job losers through retraining and unemployment insurance, not to stave off job loss through counterproductive efforts to impede the process of income-enhancing international trade and globalization.”
I agree 100%. What the United States (and Canada, too) needs is someone to take a hard and serious look at what can be done to fix its economy from the inside out. Policy makers should be focusing on what North America can do to make North America stronger. It only makes sense to start at home, doesn’t it?
Fleckenstein Capital President Bill Fleckenstein, a hedge fund manager, once wrote in a commentary about Alan Greenspan in his “Market Rap” column that “printing money should not be confused with knowing what you are doing.” 99.99% of the time I would stand by this assessment, but when it comes to Greenspan’s opinion of the U.S. pressuring China to revalue the Yuan, I think his ideas are right on the money.