Friday, September 21, 2018

Behind Trump's China Tariffs

Thomas Gallatin below says ending the North Korean nuclear threat and establishing fair trade are Trump's goals. That's fair enough.  But he also says Trump is intent on squashing China's ambitions of global influence, which is much more dubious. That would be too nebulous a goal for Trump.  He goes for quick, concrete results.  Trump himself says that he wants to stop China's theft of U.S. intellectual property.  He would like, for instance, for China to purchase more than one copy of Windows 10.

I can't see Trump getting that.  You would have to change the entire way China does business.  So the question is what he will settle for.  An almost total free trade between China and the USA could be it.  Both the American and Chinese economies are at effective full employment so neither Trump nor Xi is under much pressure to back down -- so the whole thing will probably go on for a while yet

With President Donald Trump’s announcement Monday of an additional $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, the specter of an all-out trade war increasingly looms. China was quick to vow $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs. But Trump only doubled down, declaring on Tuesday, “China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me. There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted.” (We’ve previously warned of exactly this kind of electoral manipulation by China.) He then threatened to add another $267 billion in tariffs, raising the total to $517 billion — which essentially covers all of China’s U.S. exports — should Beijing follow through with its own retaliatory tariffs.

There is no question Trump’s tariffs will do further damage to an already hurting Chinese economy, but U.S. business will also increasingly feel the hit. Such is the harmful nature of tariffs and why free trade is preferable for sustaining business growth and a healthy economy. However, Trump has several important issues in view here beyond the immediate concern for the nation’s current economic welfare.

Almost like clock-work, every time Trump presses China, he gets results with Beijing’s nuclear puppet, North Korea. On Tuesday, it was reported that Kim Jong-un has agreed to allow outside inspectors to visit the country’s missile-test sites and that he is open to decommissioning its nuclear enrichment facility at Yongbyon. After meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim reiterated his desire to work “toward a peaceful peninsula without nuclear weapons or nuclear threat.” This is welcome news, though we note it with a healthy dose of skepticism. There is clearly still a long way to go, but few can reasonably argue that this is going in the wrong direction. This concession by Kim has Beijing written all over it.

But ending the North Korean threat is not Trump’s only aim. He is countering China’s active attempts to gain the upper hand in global economics. Investor’s Business Daily reports, “As part of its 10-year Made In China 2025 initiative, also known as CM2025, China hopes to gain global technological and market dominance in 11 key technologies.” Beijing’s goal is especially problematic because China has consistently and persistently violated international trade rules. In other words, the Chinese are not and never have been interested in fair play or truly free trade.

Trump’s ultimate aim is to force China into forgoing its efforts to control world markets. As IBD notes, “Nothing short of China abandoning its export-driven model for extending its economic domination of Asia and its CM2025 plan to dominate world markets — at the expense of the U.S. — will satisfy Trump. For free trade to work, it requires both parties to play by the rules. So far, China has failed to do so.”

So now it’s become a high-stakes game of chicken. Will China’s economic downturn push Beijing to blink first? Or will Trump’s play backfire on his booming economy?



Clinton, Trump and Authoritarianism

Still holding on to ‘16 as long as she can, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is out with a new, expanded version of her campaign memoir, “What Happened.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow reports that the book “has a big new caboose” with much additional verbiage about “what has happened in the past year.” The big new literary caboose features claims of a Trumpian assault on our constitutional norms, but is bound to raise new questions about Mrs. Clinton’s own commitment to such norms.

Last night the former Secretary of State appeared on Ms. Maddow’s program and seems to have made news by warning that our duly elected President might exercise his authority to fire some of his un-elected subordinates. Mrs. Clinton spoke about Trump supporters:

"I don`t think that those people really fully appreciate what is potentially possible under this presidency. What I worry about, Rachel, is that after this election, this president`s going to wholesale fire people. That`s my prediction for tonight... if we don`t have one or both houses of Congress in place, he will be even more uncontrollable and unaccountable. He will fire people in the White House. He will fire people in his administration who he thinks are crossing him, questioning him, undermining him."

She may not be calling Trump voters “deplorables” any more—at least not publicly. Now she’s simply suggesting that they didn’t know what they were doing when they selected the President. Mrs. Clinton then elaborated on her view of the way presidential power is constrained:

"... the president is close to being uncontrollable. There are people still in there who by their own admission are trying to hold on to prevent even worse things from happening, and at some point, the American public has to say, number one, I may disagree with Democrats, I may disagree with the direction of this administration, but one thing I believe in is we have to have checks and balances. That`s why we have to vote for Democrats in November."

The constitutional scholars in the crowd may by this point be thanking their lucky stars that America did not end up with a President operating under the belief that she is accountable to the authority of her staff. As a federal judge named Brett Kavanaugh has noted, the President does not enjoy some of the executive authority under our Constitution, but all of it. It’s also disturbing that Mrs. Clinton seems to hold the mistaken belief that constitutional checks and balances only exist when people vote for Democrats.

Regardless of her confusion about the structure of the American republic, she nonetheless writes confidently about what she casts as a constant attack on the U.S. political system. Ms. Maddow shared a passage from Mrs. Clinton’s revised memoir:

"The corruption of the Trump administration is breathtaking. Our democratic institutions and traditions are under assault every day. There may not be tanks in the streets and the administration`s malevolence may be constrained by now by its incompetence, but make no mistake, our democracy is in crisis."

Mrs. Clinton shared more of the story in last night’s interview:

"I do say in the afterword that I, like every other American, hope for the best, wanted to give our new President the benefit of the doubt. But the actions that we have seen coming from the White House and this Administration, in the nearly two years since the election, have raised all kinds of signal flares, alarm bells about what is happening to our democracy. And put aside partisanship and all of the ideological concerns, we have to defend the fundamental values and ideals of the American democracy."

It’s unclear at one point Mrs. Clinton wanted to give our new President the benefit of the doubt, given that she endorsed the protests against him that occurred on his first full day in office in January of 2017. As for the alleged assaults against American institutions, she said last night:

"Well what I`m worried about is that these authoritarian tendencies that we have seen at work in this Administration with this President, left unchecked, could very well result in the erosion of our institutions to an extent that we`ve never imagined possible here."

That certainly sounds scary—greater destruction to our democratic institutions than we’ve even imagined! Given this commentary from the former secretary of State, Ms. Maddow naturally asked about impeachment:

MADDOW: Do you have thoughts on that about whether or not that`s something that Democrats should put on the table right away if they get control of Congress?

CLINTON: I think there should be a much broader agenda and I know it`s difficult to imagine having the Congress work on so many issues at the same time. Because it does require a level of organization and follow-through that is hard and I know that having been there. If there is evidence that comes up about high crimes and misdemeanors, yes, it should be followed through on but there are so many other things that need to be addressed.

If you look at what this Administration has done with respect to regulations on everything from asbestos to pesticides to labor concerns. This is going to begin to really have adverse consequences on many Americans."

So, there`s a role for the Congress to play in saying, “No, stop. We`re not going to ignore the evidence. We are not going to live in a fact-free universe. You, Administrator X need to come up here and justify what you`ve done for two years.”

There’s an uncontrollable would-be authoritarian in the Oval Office attacking the foundations of the American republic and the solution is to hold hearings on labor and environmental regulations?

Mrs. Clinton doesn’t really believe such nonsense. She knows that the Trump “authoritarian” argument is built on ill-considered Trump comments rather than concrete Trump actions and that American institutions have been holding up just fine. She also knows that only one major-party presidential nominee in 2016 sought the authority to limit the first two amendments to the Constitution. And it wasn’t Donald Trump.



Lessons From Income Data: Study, Work, Family, Persistence

Every year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases new data on income trends in the American population that reinforce certain traditional lessons about life — which may be why liberals do not talk about this data much.

Are there any patterns in the lives of those who do — and do not — succeed financially in the United States? Yes.

For example, people who stay in school longer and graduate tend to earn more money than people who do not.

Table PINC-03, which the Census Bureau released last week, categorizes Americans 25 and older by their "educational attainment" and their "total money earnings" in 2017.

Those with a "less than 9th grade" education made the least. They had median earnings of $23,849.

Those who went to high school but did not graduate had median earnings of $25,237. Those who graduated from high school but did not attend college had median earnings of $32,320. Those who attended some college but did not earn a degree had median earnings of $36,633. Those who earned an associate degree had median earnings of $40,322.

Those who earned a bachelor's degree had median earnings of $53,882; a master's, $70,358; a doctorate, $94,854; and a professional degree, $100,276.

The pattern is obvious: A higher degree tends to pave the way to a higher income.

In Table HINC-01, the Census Bureau presents household income categorized by "selected characteristics" of the household. One of these is whether — and how much — the householder works.

In households where the householder did not work at all in 2017, the median income was $32,178. In households where the householder worked 50 weeks or more at a part-time job, the median income was $56,510. But in households where the householder worked a full-time job for 50 weeks or more, the median income was $86,590.

The obvious pattern: The more you work, the more you earn.

The Census Bureau also looks at household income by family structure.

Nonfamily households had a median income of $36,650 in 2017. Women householders with no spouse present had a median income of $41,703. Male householders with no spouse present had a median income of $60,843. But traditional married-couple families had a median income of $90,386.

The obvious pattern: Married Americans tend to earn more than unmarried Americans.

Table HINC-04 in the Census Bureau data indicates that family income also varies depending on the presence of children in the home.

Married couple families with no children under 18 had a median income of $84,944, while married couple families with children under 18 had a median income of $97,964.

When work, marriage and children are combined, according to the Census Bureau Table FINC-04, median income goes even higher. In married couple families where both the husband and wife work full-time year-round, the median income was $127,718 in 2017.

If the married couple working full-time year-round had one child between 6 and 17 years old, their median income was $131,271. If they had two or more children in that age bracket, their median income was $133,921.

The lesson: Raising children may cost money, but it inspires traditional married couples to make money.

The Census Bureau also reports that younger people generally do not make as much money as middle-aged people. They must persist and work for a while before they hit their earning peak.

Married-couple families in which the householder is 24 to 34 have a median income of $80,381, according to Table FINC-02. That rose to $101,682 when the householder was 35 to 44 and peaked at $112,407 when the householder was 45 to 54.

In the current American population, those who finished school, worked, married, had children and persisted in work, marriage and child rearing are likely to be independent and self-sufficient.

Liberal American politicians often argue that the best way to help those with lower incomes is to use the power of government to redistribute wealth from those with higher incomes.

A more effective strategy would be to restore throughout this country the values that history — and Census Bureau data — demonstrates motivate a free and independent people.



Bob Woodward: I Looked For Two Years...There's No Evidence Of Trump-Russia Collusion

Bob Woodward is out with Fear, a comprehensive insight into the inner workings and machinations of the Trump White House. CNN and MSNBC loved it, especially all the gossip about the infighting, calling the president names, the lack of respect, and the supposed chaos that reigns within the halls of the Trump White House.

Yes, while the liberal media is blathering about this book, they would definitely miss, or ignore, this tidbit: he found zero evidence of Russian collusion. Here’s the transcript courtesy of Real Clear Politics

Hugh Hewitt: So let’s set aside the Comey firing, which as a Constitutional law professor, no one will ever persuade me can be obstruction. And Rod Rosenstein has laid out reasons why even if those weren’t the president’s reasons. Set aside the Comey firing. Did you, Bob Woodward, hear anything in your research in your interviews that sounded like espionage or collusion?

Bob Woodward: I did not, and of course, I looked for it, looked for it hard. And so you know, there we are. We’re going to see what Mueller has, and Dowd may be right. He has something that Dowd and the president don’t know about, a secret witness or somebody who has changed their testimony. As you know, that often happens, and that can break open or turn a case.

HH: But you’ve seen no collusion?

BW: I have not.

Okay—the man who took down Nixon, who tracked a campaign donation to a slush fund within the Committee to Re-Elect The President, said there’s no evidence of collusion, which has been a pervasive theme in this clown show investigation. Wood ward found zilch—and he probably would have found it by now. Any investigative body would have found something to link the Trump team to the Kremlin if this shoddy allegation and liberal coping exercise were true; it’s not. There’s zero evidence of collusion. It’s time for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to wrap it up. Also, Democrats—brace yourselves—your antics over this whole episode will help Trump clinch a second term. Bravo!



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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

The Woodward pronouncement is more important that just what it says on the surface. Mortuary Bob has quite a name for manufacturing scandal if he thinks he can get away with it. So here, he not only didn't find anything, he's pretty sure that when the dust settles anyone who claims to have done so is going to be waist deep in very spicy kimchee.