In the 1980s and 1990s, Chicken Littles warned that Japan was buying up America. The biggest symbol that our country couldn’t keep up with Japan’s managed-trade policies was the 1989 purchase of New York’s Rockefeller Center by Mitsubishi.

Even though the sky didn’t fall, protectionist Chicken Littles are at it again. Only today it’s China that Americans are supposed to fear. According to one writer, Getting tough with China is not protectionist, it’s self defense. Don’t stand up and Beijing will end up owning the National Mall along with the Parthenon.

That doesn’t make any sense. There are no Chinese invaders parachuting onto the White House lawn and forcing the U.S. government to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars from them at gunpoint. Deficit-spending U.S. politicians are more than happy to borrow money from China and elsewhere. It’s our own politicians and their reckless spending that Americans need to get tough with.

Remember the Chicken Littles who warned about Japanese companies buying the Rockefeller Center in 1989? A few short years later, The New York Times headline read: Japanese Scrap $2 Billion Stake in Rockefeller as Mitsubishi abandoned its bankrupt investment. Today Chicken Little is clucking about China instead of Japan, but the sky still isn’t falling.