Mark Trahant

Tribes Should Develop Foreign Policies to Counter U.S. Policy of Contraction

Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is trying to change the national debate about the deficit, the role of government and the impact of those policies on the day-to-day economy. (NPR: “Deficit Solution: Get Americans Back To Work”)

“There are principled ways of cutting the deficit … putting Americans back to work,” the Columbia University professor recently said in a speech, as quoted in the Nieman Watchdog (“An American Open Door? Maximizing the Benefits of Chinese Foreign Direct Investment”) says China’s direct investment in the United States was some $5 billion last year and that number is expected to grow. The report says the U.S. should send a clear message that China is “welcome.” That’s a message Indian country should send as well.

The report says China is interested in doing business here. “Chinese investors still seek deals in the United States and the investments are growing. In particular, this appears to be the result of Chinese investors’ effort to broaden their portfolio of investments, spread the risk in that portfolio, and gain valuable management skills and western brands that they would not otherwise be able to acquire without investing in the United States,” the report says, based on interviews with Chinese and U.S. officials (“Monitor Interview Findings,” PDF).

Indian Country has an advantage in dealing with China that isn’t true for the rest of the United States. Our infrastructure is already built using “state-owned” enterprises. We call them tribal enterprises and they range from farms to hotels and casinos. We already know how government investment can create jobs.

Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s recent book, The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars, is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.

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