Idaho’s Project 60

27 Apr

A contributor asked if I would comment on Project 60 – I’m assuming this is Idaho’s Project 60.  I don’t know much about it, but I can tell you how it makes me feel.  Perhaps others can comment, as well.

On Idaho.gov, this is how Project 60 is described:

“Project 60 is a comprehensive initiative to grow Idaho’s Gross Domestic Product. Designed in three tiers to strengthen both rural and urban communities, the plan will create quality jobs for all Idahoans by fostering systemic growth, recruiting new companies to Idaho, and selling Idaho’s trade and investment opportunities to the world.”

The motto appears to be  “Growing Idaho’s GDP to $60 Billion”.

I guess the rub comes with what they call “inward foreign investment”.  According to some, Idaho is seriously wooing Chinese investment in Idaho, claiming that wheeling-and-dealing is being done that will give the Chinese little autonomous business zones within Idaho, where U.S. laws don’t apply.  [I don’t believe this last part, but I could be surprised.]  It is also claimed that the Idaho governor is in bed with Obama on making this happen.

I would first say that the chickens appear to be coming home to roost.  It’s fine that our American-based companies can expand abroad (even into China), but not so fine when the “damned furriners” want to invest here?  Yet many, many foreign firms are already heavily invested in America, controlling and overseeing thousands (if not millions) of American jobs (think banks, car companies, grocery chains, etc.).  [Some claim that the Chinese facilities in Idaho would send their workforces in from China on special visas.  I’m guessing that if this is tried, all the militias will emerge from the back-country and that practice will be stopped.]

Without declaring China to be an “unfriendly nation”, and simply forbidding them to invest in America, I don’t see how we can stop normal Chinese investment in the U.S.  My state of South Carolina actively woos foreign investment, and we are among the most successful in drawing it (but mostly from western Europe, I think).

Don’t get me wrong – I think China probably really IS an “unfriendly nation” to America.  And certainly they have not become major respecters of human rights.  How can it not be “unfriendly”, when our culture, system of government, copyright protections, and economic systems are so different?  [But I don’t think we’re allowed to say that too loudly, are we?]  I don’t think it would be beyond the Chinese to use facilities in the U.S. to engage in anti-American activities.  [But who’s to say we aren’t doing the same thing from our facilities in various “unfriendlies” abroad?]

So here’s what I think.  The Chinese investment in America, in relative terms, is not going to have a big impact on America’s overall economy for decades (unless they simply buy GM, a couple of big banks, Apple, Caterpillar, Target Stores, etc. – which they COULD do, I suppose).  Now since the control of government seems to be fairly fluid in this country (as opposed to China), we should have plenty of time and opportunities to assess what is happening with Chinese investment and activities within our borders.  And we can either slow it down or encourage it to grow further, depending upon the state of our relationship.

What do YOU think?

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