The People’s Republic of China isn’t exactly a favorite of the American public. Since the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak of early 2020, Americans are questioning whether or not all of that cheap plastic junk from Wal-Mart doesn’t come with a hidden cost.
It’s not just about the virus: There is also the spectre of deindustrialization, which has been a social disaster for the United States, particularly the rust belt. What’s more, Tucker Carlson and others reported during the early days of the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak that the United States was dependent on China for basic medical supplies, such as penicillin.
Carlson’s comments are incredibly important, especially when we begin drilling down further into just how reliant the United States is on China: 97 percent of all antibiotics and 80 percent of all active ingredients in American pharmaceuticals come from China. In 2017 alone, the United States imported a whopping $4.6 billion in foodstuffs from the People’s Republic of China.
The corporate press has largely been silent on this matter, which isn’t surprising: They have a long history of sympathy for the People’s Republic of China and virtually all enemies of America and liberty. But there is also a deep presence by the People’s Republic of China in the United States, both in our media and in our economy, specifically in the real estate market.
If it sounds insane to you that United States laws allow a hostile foreign power to own both media and land in this country, well, you’re not alone. And while it might sound like we’re making a mountain out of a molehill, if you read the following article you will probably be amazed at just how deep the rabbithole of Chinese influence in the American media and economy goes.
This is nothing less than the defining national security issue of our age.
China Buying U.S. Land: How Much Land Does China Own in the U.S.?
American prosperity has largely been built on a dual foundation: cheap land, expensive labor. Until Ted Kennedy’s Immigration Act of 1965, Ronald Reagan’s Amnesty of 1986 and NAFTA opened up the floodgates of Third World immigration (both legal and illegal) this formula basically held firm.
When there was not enough labor, employers had to pay more rather than simply importing massive amounts of cheap labor from countries with little in the way of worker protections.
The same laws allowing for a massive influx of cheap labor have also destabilized the American real estate market: More buyers means more demand means higher prices for those looking to buy a home.
There are a myriad of social consequences from this, chief among them that family formation is more expensive and thus less attainable for the average young American worker in the 21st Century than it was in years past.
But beyond this, there is the problem of allowing foreign nationals to own real estate in the United States, a practice that is outlawed in a number of countries. Where foreign nationals are allowed to own real estate, there are often restrictions on where they can buy and how much they can own.
The reasons for this hardly need explaining, but we will do so anyway: First, the citizens of a nation have first claim on the land there. Second, it is potentially dangerous to allow too much of a nation’s land to fall into the hands of foreigners.
Currently 30 million acres of American farmland is owned by foreign investors or fully 2.2 percent of all American farmland. For context, that’s an area roughly the size of Mississippi or Pennsylvania These are effectively absentee landlords who own some of the best real estate in the United States.
For its part, China owned 191,000 acres worth $1.9 billion as of 2019. This might not sound like a lot, but Chinese ownership of American farmland has exploded dramatically over the last decade. Indeed, there has been a tenfold expansion of Chinese ownership of farmland in the United States in less than a decade.
Six states — Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota and Oklahoma — currently ban foreign ownership of farmland.
Massive Chinese investment in American farmland is troubling for one very obvious reason: It puts the food security of the nation in the hands of a hostile foreign power. But there is also the social cost of allowing foreign buyers who have effectively unlimited resources to compete on the real estate market with smaller domestic buyers.
It is understandable if no one reading this has any tears to shed for Big Aggie, but the real victims of this are smaller landholders. For those concerned about environmental issues, ask yourself who is more likely to practice good stewardship of the land — American farmers or Chinese bureaucrats thousands of miles away.
Chinese Real Estate Investors in the U.S.
In addition to their farmland holdings, China owns more residential real estate than any other foreign country, which has a significant impact on the real estate market on the West Coast. Sound far-fetched?
According to Market Watch, “Chinese buyers accounted for roughly 25 percent of total foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate.” Canada was far behind at a relatively scant 9 percent.
The article specifically mentions Chinese investment in California real estate as a driving force behind high housing prices in the Golden State. It’s worth noting that many of these properties are owned as rental properties by absentee landlords. Again, who is going to care more about the quality of tenant life?
An American down the street or a Chinese bureaucrat thousands of miles away?
To continue reading China “Pwns” Us: How the Chinese Are Buying Up America, please visit Thought Grenades, the blog on Libertas Bella.
– Milton Friedman