Hoekstra Blames Everyone but Himself for the Deficits He Voted for

It is hard to decide what is the most despicable thing about senatorial Republican hopeful Pete Hoekstra’s Superbowl ad attacking rival Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow. The ad has a Chinese young woman speaking broken English and gloating about the indebtedness of the US to China and the export of US jobs to China. Given the ugly history in Michigan of Asian-bashing over economic competition in the automobile industry and the 1982 murder of Vincent Chin in Detroit, Hoekstra’s ad is incendiary and has offended right-thinking people in both major political parties.

Here is Hoekstra’s disgusting, racist ad:

Although the controversy that ensued mostly focused on the scapegoating of Asians and Asian-Americans for current US economic difficulties, there are other heavy duty issues in the ad.

The current US deficit was primarily the work of the Republican majority under George W. Bush, as this chart demonstrates:

Hoekstra and his colleagues voted to go to war with Iraq, which was an unfunded war, most of the so far $1 trillion price tag being borrowed. Hoekstra and his colleagues voted to cut taxes on the rich, much reducing revenues. And Hoekstra and his colleagues voted for an unfunded Medicare prescription benefit. The tax cuts on the rich have gone on raising the deficit every year since enacted by hundreds of millions of dollars. Hoekstra voted for the TARP bailout. Iraq was still costing billions in 2011. And the Medicare prescription benefit likewise. Hoekstra’s votes are an ongoing budget disaster, long after he got out of government.

In contrast, Sen. Stabenow voted against the tax cuts and the unfunded Medicare prescription benefit.

Although it is true that China is a holder of a little over $1 trillion of our national debt, Japan comes in as a close second. And, the UK, Brazil, a group of oil exporters, Switzerland and Taiwan together hold more US debt than does China. Proportionally speaking, China doesn’t hold that much US debt. And, far from being a a threat in this regard, China is is doing us a favor. But it is Hoekstra who gave them that opportunity, by creating so much debt.

22 Responses

  1. Romney evidently is listening to a former George W. national security official who argues that rearming China is a threat to our naval presence in the Pacific. Expect a lot of Yellow Peril from Romney.

    • Romney is playing to the voter. Romney more than likely has made a great deal of money in China.

      Expect more color coded “terrorist alerts” on the television as a scare tactic to keep control by fear. China threat was a large issue with Cleon Skousen, Joel Skousen his nephew and played often. But it is in Mormon Idaho where free trade zones are going in for China.

  2. As Paul Krugman and others have pointed out, the majority of the US national debt is held by – wait for it! – Americans. Indeed, the largest single holder of American debt is the Social Security Trust Fund since, by law, it can only invest the money it collects every payday in US government securities (and is why Social Security isn’t a “Ponzi scheme” as right wingers have charged). In other words, we owe outselves. China’s share is 8% of the total and, while substantial, is hardly the thing to worry about.

    Beyond being an outright lie, Hoeckstra’s ad was revolting, vile, racist, xenophobic and just plain disgusting.

    • Don’t forget to note that the Banksters and their boughtandpaidfor Members of Congress are working toward a massive default on those little pieces of paper, those “special treasuries” that evidence the taking of REAL WAGES (as opposed to “made money” generated, in a huge and brazen act of counterfeiting, out of bitspace ether by the “financial industry”) deducted by law from all our W-2 income and a matching 7% out of an employer’s account (basically forced savings of actual earned income, in both cases.) Already, $4 trillion in REAL WEALTH has been sucked out of the “Trust Fund” and into the General Reveune stream. Good luck getting it back…

      Even supposed liberals go along with the fiction that the “payroll tax cut” is something “good for the middle class,” and something other than one little further step toward undoing the New Deal, by stages turning the Social Security intergenerational social contract into “nothing but an ‘entitlement program’” to be “cut” along with everything except “tax expenditures for the disgustingly wealthy” and war toy spending and any other wealth-transfer scam that inventive K-Streeters and Wall Streeters can come up with…

  3. I have to object to calling it racist, a term which I think we have come to use almost reflexively. The pitch here is clearly nationalist, and attacks outsourcing to foreign countries, but that is not automatically racism. We have a terrible and growing problem with racism in our politics that is real and ugly, and I think we make that battle harder to fight when we apply the label too freely, charging it when it is questionably the case. Nationalist jingoism and racism are not the same thing.

    The ad does not “scapegoat[e] of Asians and Asian-Americans” for current US economic difficulties when it says “our economies get strong, yours gets weak,” it is “scapegoating Asian countries.” That is nationalism, not racism. Nor, by the way, does she speak “broken English.” She speaks very clear and gramatically correct Emglish with a Chinese accent.

    As to the economics of it, I mostly agree, would love to fully agree, but Democrats had a two year window when the had significant margins in House and Senate and control of the White House, and they did not even attempt to change the economics. The economic argument would carry more weight if Democrats had at least tried and failed, but they did not even try.

    You make one very valid point, of course, in that by far the biggest holder of US debt is US citizens and businesses.

    • You could have had a nationalist ad with someone speaking ordinary English. This was racist.

      The Dems could not remove the Bush tax cuts on billionaires because the Republicans held other important programs hostage. And Republican deregulation and mismanagement of the economy required USG stimulus to fix it.

      • Professor…Clinton’s man “deregulating Robert Rubin” complicit.

        Of course the real “nativist” position is that of Buchanan: Antiwar,(Iraq AND Afghanistan) pro-tarriffs, anti-bailout of banks but pro bailout of GM.

        Buchanan is certainly preferable to pro-bailout, pro-Afghanistan waste, not to mention drone bombing Obama on these taken as a whole. Did anybody really believe free trader Obama would renegotiate Nafta, particularly after his subordinates were caught with their “don’t worry-it’s only campaign rhetoric,” in Canada I believe?

        The GOP elite and the Democratic elite are about equally to blame for the economy and the wars. The Dem elite used to be
        pro working class, little emphasis on gender, social politics. Now its deracinated liberal yuppies–a compliment to the GOPs deracinated WASP plutocrats,and their very racist Likudist allies.

    • Democrats had significant majorities in the house and senate for two years, but they only had a filibuster-proof majority in the senate for 8 months. Thats the time between Al Franken being sworn in and Scott Brown being sworn in. With Republicans using the filibuster at every opportunity, without 60 votes the senate was paralyzed. And remember that those 60 votes included blue dogs and Joe Lieberman, who most emphatically did not allow democrats to just run roughshod over republicans. During those 8 months, healthcare reform was passed, taking precedence over other legislative priorities.

    • “She speaks very clear and gramatically correct Emglish with a Chinese accent.”

      Come on! “Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good.” Is this what you consider good English? Maybe it’s good “Emglish” and uses a different “gramer” than I’m accustomed to…

      • I suggested “tried.” The House could have passed something and let the Senate kill it. The Senate could have brought something to the floor and let the Republicans kill it. They did nothing.

    • That “accent” was a parody and not a very good one. I think the intent was to stereotype Asians. Ergo, racist

    • Somehow, I doubt that back when Great Britain was cashing out its empire to survive the World Wars and going from the world’s greatest creditor to its greatest debtor while the US was doing the reverse – because all the gold went from London to New York – any British politician would have run for office using this ad, with a friendly caucasian speaking the same message in a perfect Yankee accent.

      The ad is meant to stoke anger. If we were losing our hegemony to a white country, we wouldn’t be as angry. The British could bear handing their dominance over to us because we were the most “like” them, and we were trusted to protect them. No country will, or should, do this for us now.

    • Anyone with a better eye for physiotypes than I have care to offer a better read on where the young lady in the ad may have her antecedents? She does not look “Chinese” to me at all. I wonder if she will have the modern misfortune, having taken a few bucks to pose for the camera, to be “internouted” and scorned for it…

  4. It is hard to decide what is the most despicable thing about senatorial Republican hopeful Pete Hoekstra’s. End of article.

  5. Hoekstra is a Romney backer and is another key man Mitt needs in office for additional power. Heskstra was Chairmanship of the Intelligence Committee and Mike Rogers, Brighton current head of the Congressional Intelligence Committee.

    Seeing a pattern here?

  6. (correction, bad broken grammar on earlier post :-)

    Hoekstra is a Romney backer and is another key man Mitt needs in office for additional power. Heskstra was Chairman of the Intelligence Committee and Mike Rogers, Brighton current head of the Congressional Intelligence Committee.

    Seeing a pattern here?

  7. Professor Juan Cole great post. And as is always the case you point out facts and peoples voting records etc. Just took your post over to MSNBC’s Ed’s radio show. Maybe he will use some of your points on his show.

  8. Help me out here – what was the proposed bill which called for the removal of all tax breaks for any US company that outsourced jobs, and how did Hoekstra vote on THAT one?

  9. This ad was just “media-baiting”. Look at all the free publicity he has received.

    But I couldn’t help thinking of the Red Hot Chillipeppers in this “Spend It Now” versus “Spend It Not” frame of reference. The Bush tax cuts in this context evoke one of the band’s famous refrains:

    “Give it away, give it away, give it away now!”

  10. What’s sickening to me about the slowly growing Chinaphobe meme is that China is actually propping up the US at some expense to itself, as are Saudi Arabia and Japan. You know the Saudis were somehow pressured into getting OPEC to denominate all oil purchases in US $ in 1971, which created permanent demand for a currency that was unlinking from gold due to its problems. The Arab $ had to be spent somewhere; OPEC knew a lot would be reinvested in the States. Japan in turn got stuck having to recycle its US $ back here to prevent our currency from collapsing to the point where we couldn’t buy Japanese goods anymore, and now China has fallen into the same trap.

    Perhaps China has a real strategy to make us pay for it long-term. But right now they must keep buying our T-bills. Neither of our parties dares announce an economic strategy designed to take advantage of a falling $ to return us into a exporter; it would ruin too many lives.

    For all we know, all three of these countries also prop us up as a quid pro quo for our global military hegemony. As much as we at this forum hate what the US does with its power, the rulers of those countries are cynics, not human rights advocates. Saudi needs protection from its own people, Japan and China need the world made safe for commerce. Ironically, our ideologues built an empire of military bases in 130 countries that has doubtless gained our corporations many unfair benefits abroad. But now, our corporations can’t be bothered to make things to export, or learn what foreigners think. China needs Islamism to be contained, it needs radicals and populists silenced, it needs Central Asia “stabilized”… why not let America foolishly spend its blood on these tasks, then Chinese corporations can move in and build factories and railroads and pipelines where Wall Street is too cowardly to tread?

  11. Questions:

    (1) Who is the actress? I seem to detect a California twang under what I assume to be a feigned accent.

    (2) Where was this filmed? It could possibly be Taiwan…

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