Casey: Cut China off US dole

Pivot to jobs!

That has been the Democrats' mantra from the White House on down since the debt-ceiling deal averted a potential default and maintained federal borrowing authority. Problem is, most economists say (even conservative ones), the fiscal austerity the agreement enforces puts policy handcuffs on President Obama and the Congress when it comes to creating jobs.

Even the relatively modest and consensus options under discussion - such as continuing payroll tax cuts and a proposal by Sen. Bob Casey (D.,Pa.) to give tax breaks to investors in life sciences research - will be heavy lifts in this environment.

But Casey and a handful of other senators have hit on a proposal that, though it might not directly create any U.S. jobs, is going to feel good right about now, with the stock market cratering and the credit agencies fixing to get rid of our AAA bond rating: Stop sending foreign development aid to China.

Since 2001, the U.S. has sent $275 million to China for projects such as expanding internet access and developing public transit. The second biggest economy in the world owns $1.2 trillion in U.S. debt and is epxeriencing double digit growth.

“With more than $3 trillion in foreign exchange reserves and a double digit economic growth rate, China certainly has the financial resources to…care for its citizens without relying on U.S. assistance,” Casey and 11 other senators wrote to the Senate appropriators. “As the committee reviews current appropriations bills, we would request that in FY2012 you end all U.S. aid to China—other than programs that assist the people of Tibet or promote respect for human rights and democracy in China—and direct our representatives at international organizations to work to end multilateral aid to China.” 

In addition to Casey, the letter was signed by Sens. Jim Webb (D.Va.), Jim Inhofe (R.,Okla.), John Kyl (R.,Ariz.), John Boozman (R.,Ark.), Carl Levin (D.,Mich.), Jack Reed (D.,RI), Joe Machin (D.,W.Va.), Herb Kohl (D.,Wis.), Marco Rubio (R.,Fla.) and Robert Menendez (D.,N.J.).