Iacocca: 'America's Getting Whipped' In Trade
Jun. 04, 1985
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) _ Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee A. Iacocca warned graduating Massachusetts Institute of Technology students Monday that the United States is becoming a colony again because of its trade imbalance.
''That's what de-industrialization and weak-kneed trade policies are doing for America,'' Iacocca said at MIT's 119th commencement. ''I hope it really makes you mad.''
The 60-year-old head of the once-troubled car company said America's three major exports to Japan are corn, soybeans and coal, while Japan's three major exports to the United States are cars, trucks and video recorders.
''Raw materials and foodstuffs traded for manufactured goods - does the pattern sound a little familiar? It's the classic definition of a colony,'' he told the 1,700 seniors and graduate students.
''Get mad at the people in Washington who are burying you under a dung heap of public debt,'' he said. ''Get mad at the ideologues who want to make you martyrs to some 18th century trade principles, who want you to live in a colony.''
Iacocca said the U.S. trade imbalance has already cost the country 3 million jobs.
He told the students that unlike many generations before, they are inheriting a wealthy country from their parents' generation, ''a big, beautiful mansion on the hill.''
''We're leaving you the mansion all right, but it's got a little mortgage on it - about $1.7 trillion in fact. That's the public debt we're going to hand this class.''
But he noted that some analysts predict the younger generation may be the first in America to end up with less than their parents.
Iacocca called on the federal government to abandon the concept of free trade and to adopt the more protectionist trade policies used by Japan and other nations.
''We've got this silly notion it's a mortal sin to play by the rules everybody else is using. We're the ones that are out of step today, not the Japanese,'' he said.
''Right now, America is getting whipped.''