Thursday, May 29, 2008

Charlie Rose and Susan Schwab, Interpreted

A few weeks ago, Charlie Rose interviewed U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab.
Ms. Schwab's words should be chipped in granite and placed in the Alabama courthouse that recently housed the controversial 10 Commandments monument.

Even now, as we speak, her every utterance is being memorized by the prisoners I keep in my backyard mini-Guantanamo Bay re-education camp for unrepentant Nancy Pelosi supporters. (For every five minutes of text memorized, they get another helping of tuna.)

Here's a somewhat edited video of the interview.

Fortunately, for the benefit of future generations, I happened to TIVO the complete interview. This portion was worth transcribing:

Charlie Rose: Where is there protectionist legislation that embarrasses you...when you're having to deal with foreign trade negotiations?

Susan Schwab: The most embarrassing legislation right now is the legislation that is not moving. None of our trading partners can understand that when we have these really really strong trade agreements with Korea, with Panama, and as we're currently talking about with Colombia, why the Congress of the United States is not rushing to get these put in place.
Because all of our trading partners? They're trying to do (trade) deals with those same countries....
Unfortunately, as we sit there, on the sidelines, waiting for Congress to act, they are out there negotiating these kinds of agreements. There are over a hundred bi-lateral and regional trade deals being negotiated by other countries and with each other that have the potential to lock us out of preferential deals.

Charlie Rose: In other words, you're saying (that) while the Congress fails to pass trade legislation, other countries are going in and by making other agreements for themselves, they will close out the United States from opportunities?

Susan Schwab: (unhhh....Yeah !) See the video.

I know that many of my readers tend to doze off when uninterpreted trade/free market/geek stuff is presented without translation. so here's an interpretation of what's really being said in the interview:

Charlie Rose: Susan, you sound vaguely embarrassed that you have to represent a nation where someone as fundamentally ignorant as Nancy Pelosi can stop something as beneficial as the Colombian Free Trade Agreement. When you sit down at the bargaining table, do you feel totally humiliated? Do they laugh with you, or laugh at you? Is there anything you'd like to get off your chest? Want to take a penalty kick? Take some cheap shots?

Susan Schwab: Thanks for asking Charlie....yes, I would like to explain what its like being the figurehead on the bow of a ship of fools.
If I'm sitting across the table from the trade negotiator from, say, Liechtenstein, and they're proposing that both nations eliminate tariffs on each others' products, I have to stop and explain Pelosi. I have to explain the Democrat congress. I have to explain that they can be bought by anyone with $20 and
a KFC 10-piece bucket.
The negotiator from Liechtenstein looks up at me, and says "You know, we're also negotiating with Bulgaria and Eritrea and The Vatican and just about every other nation on earth, right?"
And I'll have to say, "Yeah, but what can I do? Nobody understand that these agreements make our products more attractive overseas."
And then the Liechtensteinian negotiator will say "You're shitting me. You can't be serious."

So what can I do?
And then we'll have to wrap things up, because I can't get anything done with that unrepentant protectionist witch in charge of the legislative branch of our government. And you know what really makes me feel bad? When we all go out for drinks afterwards, LIECHTENSTEIN picks up the tab. Freakin' Liechtenstein. They feel sorry for me.

Charlie Rose: In other words, you're saying (that) while the Congress protects a few jobs at the expense of many jobs, other countries are going in and by making other agreements for themselves, they can close out the United States from opportunities? Sorta like General Nathan Bedford Forrest's theory about "
getting there firstest with the mostest"?

Susan Schwab: (unhhh....Yeah !) See the video.

No comments: