The World's Economy

PetroChina, a Chinese energy conglomerate, became the world’s first company to be valued at more than a trillion dollars on its first day of trading in Shanghai earlier today. It is worth more than ExxonMobil and General Electric combined.

Lou Dobbs will see nothing but sinister forces in this event. But as almost every investor knows, this is just a sign of a hot international marketplace that is actually propping up the American economy.

According to a poll, most Americans think we are heading for a recession. But the rest of world is continuing with a brisk economic expansion. China is booming. India is hot. Even Russia is rich with energy revenues. London threatens to surpass New York as the financial capital of the world.

How do we continue to compete in the international economy? What policies should we be promoting that will keep us strong? More importantly, what policies should we avoid to keep from slipping further behind?

The good ideas should be simple to understand.

Keep taxes low. Keep a tight control on government spending. Demand accountability from our schools. Have a smarter and more efficient government. Avoid bad and unnecessary regulation. Stop frivolous lawsuits.

But all too often, the bad ideas sound more convincing. Both parties suffer from this.

For example, some Republicans continue to push for harsher immigration laws, vowing to close our borders and kick all the illegals out. But we shouldn’t go overboard when it comes to closing our borders. We need to make sure we continue to attract talent from around the globe that will make our marketplace better. Making it harder for smart entrepreneurs to come here and create jobs makes no sense in this new world of international trade.

At least most Republicans understand the rudiments of job creation in the private sector. At least most of them push to keep taxes lower, government smaller and more efficient, and most of them fight to promote trade.

And the Democrats? When it comes to a plan to keep us competitive, they are a disaster. They push for higher taxes, such as the mother of all tax increases pushed by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). They promote more government spending, more litigation (spurred on by their trial lawyer friends) and more regulation and red tape. They also hate trade agreements. This kind of insane policy may make their pollsters happy, but it will hurt American competitiveness and kill jobs.

Globalization makes the American people uneasy. Despite historically high employment rates, too many voters see only the downsides in competition from overseas. But keeping America open to the global marketplace is great for consumers, great for our economic futures, and great for American entrepreneurs who want to export their ideas to the rest of the world.

Thanks to the hot international economy, our economy has avoided dipping into a recession. But let’s not let the rest of the world pass us by. Let’s have policies that will attract entrepreneurship, promote job growth, and keep our marketplace competitive in the coming century. And let’s avoid bad ideas that will close down that marketplace, hurt consumers and kill jobs.

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