Presidential China bashing is economically meaningless

China came under attack in the US presidential debate this week, but the argument in favour of protectionism is as weak as ever.
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama square off at the second debate AFP

There are certain things that US presidential candidates are required to believe in. God, guns, liberty, bravery and the American dream are all standard rhetorical fare.

But the second presidential debate, held earlier this week, highlighted a more recent meme that both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney seem to have embraced the idea that China is a currency manipulator and, as such, poses some kind of threat to the US economy.

China was mentioned more than 20 times during a town hall-style debate that gave undecided...

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