I missed Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day. If only there were a solution ...
Trump hammered away at the true bottom line of the economy for most people. Mike Konczal, a fellow with the liberal Roosevelt Institute, went back and listened to Trump stump speeches after the election to better understand how the mogul pulled off his upset. Konczal notes that Trump “never mentions poverty. And while he talks a lot about reducing taxes, he never talks about increasing transfers, redistribution, or access to core goods. He talks about wages, full stop.”
And that’s the key to Trump’s economics. If you squint just right, you can see a strategy. It is to increase growth through traditional Republican means (i.e., tax reform and deregulation) at the same time, he aims to directly create a tighter labor market through soaking up labor via an infrastructure program and reducing foreign competition by discouraging outsourcing and squeezing immigration.
The ultimate metric for success for Trump will be whether he can get wages reliably increasing, and pull more of these people back into the workforce.
Tax reform and deregulation are fine. Immigration shouldn’t be squeezed, it should be choked. But rather than infrastructure and tariffs, how about welfare reform? Don’t pull people into the workforce, push them!
Posted at 07:34 PM | Permalink
The “Gift of the Magi” appears to have lost something in translation:
Venezuela’s socialist government has seized nearly 4 million toys from a private company and says it intends to hand them out as Christmas gifts to poor children this holiday season.
The country’s fair pricing authority seized the toys from three warehouses run by Kreisel, Venezuela’s largest toy distributor, on Friday. Two company executives were detained on suspicion of promoting price speculation.
Agency director William Contreras alleged that Kreisel underreported its inventory in order to sell some toys at higher prices. Kreisel has not commented officially beyond responding to Twitter messages of support.
Contreras said the seizure would teach companies “that you can’t play with the rights of Venezuelans.”
Authorities said local supply committees will be in charge of distributing the toys “fairly” to children.
Venezuela has been wracked by a deep economic crisis accompanied by shortages of goods ranging from food staples to medicine. In recent days President Nicolas Maduro ordered stores to lower their prices between 30 and 50 percent.
Santa Claus could not be reached for comment.
Posted at 06:58 PM | Permalink
What does it take to get lefties to see the Russian threat? The light from the burning embers of Herself’s campaign:
Posted at 03:34 PM | Permalink
Donald Trump said Friday he doesn’t care about prosecuting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, after attendees at his rally chanted “lock her up.”
After the chants started at the President-elect’s post-election “thank you” rally in Michigan, he responded, “That plays great before the election -- now we don’t care, right?”
Yeah, that whole “rule of law” thing is so last year.
Posted at 11:20 AM | Permalink
Reality, as always, has the last word:
It sounded like great news when Carrier said last week that it would invest millions in the Indiana plant it decided to keep in the U.S.
The company’s deal with President-elect Donald Trump to keep a furnace plant from moving to Mexico also calls for a $16 million investment in the facility.
But that has a big down side for some of the workers in Indianapolis.
Most of that money will be invested in automation said Greg Hayes, CEO of United Technologies, Carrier’s corporate parent. And that automation will replace some of the jobs that were just saved.
“We’re going to ... automate to drive the cost down so that we can continue to be competitive,” he said on an interview on CNBC earlier this week. “Is it as cheap as moving to Mexico with lower cost labor? No. But we will make that plant competitive just because we’ll make the capital investments there. But what that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs.”
The decision to keep Carrier’s furnace manufacturing operations in the U.S. instead of moving them to Mexico will save about 800 jobs out of the 1,400 at the plant, at least in the near term. The company declined to say how many of the plants 800 remaining jobs could be lost to automation, or when.
[A]utomation is the only way that a plant in Indiana that pays about $20 an hour can compete with Mexican plants where workers earn $3 an hour.
Posted at 11:13 AM | Permalink
His space exploits having been recalled elsewhere, and setting aside his disgraceful performance as a Clinton rumpswab in a Senate campaign finance investigation, we have this:
Below is a transcript of John Glenn’s ending rebuttal statement delivered during a debate with Howard Metzenbaum that took place at the Cleveland City Club on May 4th, 1974. At the time of the debate Glenn and Metzenbaum were running against each other in the Ohio Democratic Primary for U.S. Senator. In a speech given a few weeks prior to the debate Metzenbaum stated that Glenn had never held a real job.
Senator Glenn: “Howard, I can’t believe you said I have never held a job.
“I served twenty-three years in the United States Marine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on twelve different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine-to-five job where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.
“I ask you to go with me, as I went the other day, to a Veterans Hospital and look those men, with their mangled bodies, in the eye and tell them they didn’t hold a job. You go with me to any gold-star mother and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.
“You go with me to the space program, and go as I have gone to the widows and orphans of Ed White and Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, and you look those kids in the eye and tell them that their Dad didn’t hold a job.
“You go with me on Memorial Day coming up and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends than I’d like to remember, and you watch those waving flags. You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell me that those people didn’t have a job.
“I’ll tell you, Howard Metzenbaum, you should be on your knees every day of your life thanking God that there were some men – some men - who held a job. And they required a dedication to purpose and a love of country and a dedication to duty that was more important than life itself. And their self-sacrifice is what made this country possible.
“I have held a job, Howard!”
Posted at 11:02 AM | Permalink
Surprise, he’s having none of it:
So, this is the new conservatism’s recipe for restored greatness: Political coercion shall supplant economic calculation in shaping decisions by companies in what is called, with diminishing accuracy, the private sector. This will be done partly as conservatism’s challenge to liberalism’s supremacy in the victimhood sweepstakes, telling aggrieved groups that they are helpless victims of vast, impersonal forces, against which they can be protected only by government interventions.
Responding to political threats larded with the money of other people, Carrier has somewhat modified its planned transfers of some manufacturing to Mexico. This represents the dawn of bipartisanship: The Republican Party now shares one of progressivism’s defining aspirations — government industrial policy, with the political class picking winners and losers within, and between, economic sectors. This always involves the essence of socialism — capital allocation, whereby government overrides market signals about the efficient allocation of scarce resources. Therefore it inevitably subtracts from economic vitality and job creation.
Although the president-elect has yet to dip a toe into the swamp, he practices the calculus by which Washington reasons, the political asymmetry between dispersed costs and concentrated benefits. The damages from government interventions are cumulatively large but, individually, are largely invisible. The beneficiaries are few but identifiable, and their gratitude is telegenic.
When, speaking at the Carrier plant, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, “The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,” Donald Trump chimed in, “Every time, every time.” When Republican leaders denounce the free market as consistently harmful to Americans, they are repudiating almost everything conservatism has affirmed: Edmund Burke taught that respect for a free society’s spontaneous order would immunize politics from ruinous overreaching — from the hubris of believing that we have the information and power to order society by political willfulness. In an analogous argument, Friedrich Hayek warned against the “fatal conceit” of believing that wielders of political power can supplant the market’s “efficient mechanism for digesting dispersed information.” The Republican Party is saying goodbye to all that.
Posted at 12:33 PM | Permalink
Trump is a progressive, says Kevin Williamson:
Trump may be culturally attached to the Right — or, more precisely, the Right may be culturally attached to Trump — but everything he has said and done thus far points to his being a progressive in the ancient mold of Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and, yes, George Wallace and Theodore Bilbo. He means to put trade, and probably much more than trade, under political discipline. He means to stand between buyers and sellers with his hand out, making demands. He has expressed a longing for Keynesian stimulus projects, mercantilism, income redistribution, Bismarckian welfare-statism, and the consolidation of political power within the executive. He may talk like Archie Bunker, but politically he is Barack Obama rebranded for talk radio.
If we take him at his word, this is shaping up to be a case of talk right, govern left.
And power-worshiping Republicans are going along with this as quickly and as cravenly as they can. Mike Pence has declared himself a fundamental opponent of free markets. Quondam conservatives such as Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center defend instances of pure crony capitalism such as the Carrier bailout, insisting that free-market advocates must stomach these in the name of doing what is “politically sustainable.” Pro-lifers and immigration hawks spent many years listening to similar demands that they abandon their principles in the name of popularity, but tastes change, politics changes, and the electorate is fickle at best.
Posted at 11:39 AM | Permalink
Dumb Donny went on Twitter to blast the cost of Boeing’s new Air Force One. What he didn’t mention was that Boeing is the sole source of four-engine, American-made jets these days. Airbus makes four-engine jets, but an American supplier is required for reasons of national security.
It appears that when you artificially limit the supply of something, it gets more expensive. In particular, when you prohibit or constrain (through tariffs) the availability of foreign goods, domestic suppliers may charge you more. Who’d a thunk it?
Posted at 11:21 AM | Permalink
... on the anniversary of an infamous date, the guest speaker at my first AFROTC Dining-In:
Senior Chief Petty Officer Andrew Mandrackie
He served in the United States Navy for 37 years retiring in 1980 as a Senior Chief Petty Officer. He saw action in 13 Naval battles during World War II including Guadalcanal, Cape Esperance, Savo Island, Munda, Southern Solomons, New Georgia, Rondova, Stanmore Plantation, Enogia Inlet, Bairoko Harbor, Rice Anchorage. He served on the USS Helena, his favorite ship during his career, which was torpedoed and later sank during the attack on Pearl Harbor as well as on the USS Roche in the Kula Gulf, where again the ship sank after being torpedoed. For both of these incidents, he was awarded two Purple Hearts. While in the Naval Reserves, Mandrackie worked as a printer for the Strawberry Hill Press in New York City. He was placed in charge of overseeing the USS Intrepid’s transport to New York City Harbor where it is now docked as a Naval Museum. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, carpentry and cabinet making. He was an avid history buff and enjoyed telling stories and answering questions about his war service. He did extensive historical research at West Point in regard to recreating the Naval Revolutionary War Uniforms as well as the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was a member of St. John the Apostle Catholic Church, Milford. He was a member of the NRA, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and American Legion and the Pearl Harbor Survivors. He was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years Helen (Dobson) Mandrackie in 2002.
Posted at 03:31 PM | Permalink
Kevin Williamson takes a stab at explaining trade to the Trumpkins:
It works like this: Almost every advanced country does a great deal of international trade. They have lots of imports and exports because it is easier to grow sugar in Florida than it is in Norway and more efficient to sew T-shirts in Bangladesh than it is in Switzerland. When Walmart orders $1 million worth of flip-flops from a Chinese concern, those Chinese gentlemen receive 1 million delicious U.S. dollars, which they are very happy and grateful to have. But what can you do with U.S. dollars? You can buy stuff from U.S. companies or you can buy assets from sellers who take U.S. dollars, which ultimately means U.S.-based investments. (This is true even when you add in all of the real-world complications such as foreign exchange.) If you are that flip-flop entrepreneur in China, you probably have a very high rate of savings, which is normal for people in poor, backward, and unstable countries. There is lots of uncertainty in a place like China, and having a whole lot of savings — especially dollar-denominated assets — is a rational response to that.
But it isn’t only the Chinese. The Japanese, the British, the Germans and the other Europeans, the Canadians, the Mexicans, and practically everybody else in the world with a little bit of coin to invest likes to buy American assets. And why wouldn’t they? The American economy is the most wondrous thing human beings have ever managed to do, and all it takes to get yourself a piece of it is a few greenbacks.
The mystery isn’t why so many foreigners want to invest in U.S. assets but why Americans invest so little.
Trade deficits don’t happen because the wily Japanese juke us on trade policy. They happen because intelligent people holding a fistful of dollars very often decide to forgo the consumption of American consumer goods in order to invest in American assets. In economics terms, what this means is that the trade deficit is a mirror image of the capital surplus. A capital surplus isn’t necessarily an unalloyed good (everything in economics is about tradeoffs), but it is a pretty nice thing to have around if you are, say, an entrepreneur looking to build a new facility in Houston or Jacksonville and looking for some investors to stake you.
Posted at 02:54 PM | Permalink
... now it’s at Time:
The approximately 65 million Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton should pledge that in the future if a Republican wins the presidency with fewer votes than a Democrat for the third time in our era, we won’t pay taxes to the federal government. No taxation without representation!
I’ve already pledged to make war on domestic enemies of our Constitution, so I’d suggest spending that tax money on guns.
If the Dems are so concerned about the minor distortion imposed by the Electoral College, they need only move from California and New York to Wyoming and Idaho. I smell a remake of Green Acres.
Posted at 02:51 PM | Permalink