In January 2010, during the State of the Union address, President Obama announced a centralized industrial policy in true Marxist fashion. He told Americans, “Tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years.” Just as the Chinese targeted increased exports in their Seventh Five Year Plan, so too would the United States. In his own five year plan, the president is aiming to double exports. The plan was codified in the National Export Initiative, an executive order signed by the president on March 11, 2010.
Since his announcement, President Obama has been traveling the world with corporate executives in tow, touting brand-America. The president has presided over the inking of export deals in China and India for $45 billion and $10 billion respectively. It seems the president will do almost anything to reach his export goal. Mr. Obama has even begun pushing Congress to pass the Columbian, Panamanian, and Korean free trade agreements, much to the dismay of his union backers. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has even been trying to loosen restrictions on arms sales to foster export growth.
Now for some reality. According to a report by Wells Fargo, only once since World War II have exports doubled in five years. In fact they grew more than three times because the rest of the world’s industrial capacity lay in shambles. That critical factor does not exist today. As the study states, “The country is not on pace to double real exports of goods and services in five years.” According to the report, there is little chance that exports in inflation-adjusted terms will double in five years.
So what exactly is the president doing trying to set national export goals? Where is the authority for such central planning measures granted to the president in the constitution? Since the National Export Initiative has been handled as an executive order, no Congressional vote was needed. The enumeration of the president’s powers in Article II of the Constitution says nothing of export initiatives or five year plans. But it doesn’t say anything of starting wars in the Middle East without a congressional declaration of war, either. It’s just more of the same from President Obama.