We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Wednesday, March 7. 2018
Snowy day here in Yankeeland. They used to call it "snow", but now they call them "Snowstorms" and give them names. Dramatizing ordinary weather. What's the matter with Yankee people these days? The timidity. Mrs. BD ain't askeered. She's off to Philly this morning, weather be damned.
Fitness for the elderly: 91-year-old Sydney man walking every street in town
'Super Monster Wolf' a success in Japan farming trials
Was King David the greatest songwriter of all time?
A Jewish-themed Disney Park is Coming to Israel!
Gender Reassignment Surgeries (And Regrets Over Same) Are On The Rise
Medical malpractice. Ask Hippocrates.
Stanford adds male-focused gym hours following complaint about women-only hours
All adult gyms are co-ed. What's the issue? Guys look at gals, and vice-versa. Very natural.
Mental illness: GRAVE CONSEQUENCES OF THE DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION MOVEMENT - Another leftist-created failure.
The Corporate War on Free Speech
Justice Department suing California over sanctuary laws
Women’s March Flies Into Damage Control Over Farrakhan Ties
THE CLINTONS’ TENTACLES: THEY’RE EVERYWHERE
Trump Isn’t Starting A Trade War, He’s Trying To Win The One We’ve Been Fighting
Pat Buchanan Asks "Why Is The GOP So Terrified Of Tariffs?"
Gary Cohn is a free-trader. So are most economists. What if they're wrong, or only half-right?
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BD, I believe the hype is all about the news stations being able to use their ominous 'Storm Center' intro music every 5 minutes as they tell us "We're All Gonna DIE!" from the snow coming this way.
I could see the 'panic' if this were happening in some place like Miami, or worse, happening up here in Yankeeland...in July.
Pat Buchanan Asks "Why Is The GOP So Terrified Of Tariffs?"
So much of the anti-tariff pro-free trade argument, and reporting, that I see ignores the fact that we don't have free trade today. and that the tariffs proposed are in response to unfair, i.e.; not free trade, trading practices by other nations.
Tariffs would most certainly increase the cost of the goods in question in the short run, but if they succeeded in driving other nations to a true free trade posture it is worth it.
Re: Pat Buchanan
Personally, I like buying cheap stuff made overseas rather than expensive stuff made here, but if we're going to make America great again, Americans are going to have to suffer. But, hey, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country, right? What are subjects for if not to serve the interests of the sovereign? And we're stronger together under a centrally planned economy, just as a bundle of sticks is stronger than any individual stick. There should probably be a name for this sort of organized arrangement.
Pat Buchanan Asks "Why Is The GOP So Terrified Of Tariffs?"
Heh. Judged by nine-tenths of the stone-ignorant right-o-sphere, this "free trading" they suddenly think they're on about is not only a new revelation in the last five minutes, somehow it exists apart from the rest of human reality.
There is no free trading and can be no free trading under present monetary policy. This the Chinese fully exploit and have exploited for decades and this rightists fully support because, unbeknownst to the fools, they owe their entire lifestyle to debt. Oceans and oceans of debt.
This is a Keynesian rightism of a kind Keynes himself would have rejected in the crib. It is the absolute polar opposite of conservatism, it and former and possibly present FIRE economy advocate and rightist "economist" Kudlow.
The answer to Buchanan's question is therefore, they have no idea whatsoever.
"Trump isn’t starting a trade war, he’s trying to win the one we’ve been fighting"
There is no free trade. The U.S. is the biggest market in the world and every country including those which we consider close friends takes advantage of us. Our own negotiators in trade deals and regulations are dishonest and profit directly or indirectly from those agreements. It is like Hillary's Uranium one deal applied to everything we buy. Our laws should be designed to at the very least protect U.S. citizens and not to enslave them. It is no accident that these treaties are negotiated in secret and always favor other nations.
Then there is the strategic considerations. Imagine if when WW II began the U.S. had no steel mills or no airplane manufacturing companies. China today makes 80% of the steel today and the U.S. imports 90% of the steel they need for day to day manufacturing. If we were to go to war our need for steel and aluminum would quadruple overnight but it would take months to years to build the plants to produce that essential material. We, our leaders, have sold ourselves off to the wolves of the world and we are at very real risk today because of it. IMHO those who profited dishonestly and unlawfully from current and past trade negotiations and regulations should be punished. At the least we should claw back their ill gotten profits. MAGA
Yes. Because what the American people need is a tax increase, and that is exactly what a tariff is. A tax on the American people. We obviously need less disposable income.
Raising the price of products made with steel and aluminum via tariffs will also pinch demand for those products just a little bit. Is that a good thing?
BTW, what ever happened to Dubya's steel tariffs? Are they still in effect?
I see that you promote exporting debt for goods forever. Exporting it to potentially and directly hostile actors who'll eventually use it to end the dollar.
Was King David the greatest songwriter of all time?
Songwriting was just David's side-gig. He also had a day job.
Your tax dollars at work:
Great post!Thanks.,So True...''Our own negotiators in trade deals and regulations are dishonest and profit directly or indirectly from those agreements.''>>
Me thinks it is our two party system and the elite,a group of persons exercising the major share of authority.
Most of us are familiar with it and just accept that is the way things work.
It ain't right and I pray for the day that it changes. We are a great country and could be so much greater,
for us and the world.
yes and no to that comment. First of all, it's not 1939, and in a war scenario, the US would not have two years to fully mobilize it's industry (a feat only possible because due to the Great Depression and subsequent recessions the US economy was operating well below capacity). Any war fought now would be "come as you are". In the four years of combat in WWII, the US went through three generations of fighter aircraft, for instance, and had the fourth in development, ready to be deployed operationally in late 1945. Now it takes roughly 20 years to get from initial specification to initial operational capacity.
AS to a shooting war with China, you also have to take into account that keeping their economic growth above population growth requires them to have unfettered access to US markets. Cutting off Steel imports from China would give the US a cold, but would give China pneumonia They produce a huge amount of relatively low value-add commodities, as even microchips now fit into that category.
What's poor Krugman going to do? He's advocated protectionism for years,--how dare Trump agree with him!
"To cure obesity here in the US, we're going to immediately tax all edible items at their purchase price. That $1 breakfast burrito? It'll cost $2 - with $1 going directly to the government. That $75 meal your family had? Tack on $75 on that. That $25 pair of ribeyes you just bought at the store? That's $25 more. The $300 you buy in bi-weekly groceries? That's going to double to $600. $1.50 candy bar? It's now $3.
"Yes, it'll hurt your wallet - but you'll be figuring ways to eat healthy for a lot less and the government will be getting a lot more money. Win-win!"
Good analogy. Except for not one lick of it. Here's a better one.
325 million people print money for Chinese take-out. And Mexican and Asian and German and Italian and even American and all those funds are exported offshore.
How's your dollar doing?
Oh c'mon Meh, you are better than this.
Perhaps the Chinese will try and end the dollar, though I don't see how that would be in their self-interest. They have been creating busy work for their peasants for years building useless infrastructure because they fear the consequences of masses of unemployed. What are tens of millions of Chinese workers going to do if China crushes the dollar and the destroys US market?
I am far more worried what inflation will do to the dollar, and tariffs will do add their little bit to stoking the fires of inflation. Along with the money printing, we may well destroy the dollar before the Chinese can get around to it.
What Trump needs to do is not invoke tariffs, but get Government out of the way so American business can compete. American industry ought to be able to bury their foreign competition, but the parasite class has tied them up and shackled them while sucking money out for themselves.
Your comment does not seem like you were able to prove that it made no strategic sense to have our own steel and aluminum production capability. I do agree that a full out war with Russia or China will be a "come as you are" affair. But it is far more likely that over time a war is the result of a series of escalations. Even with WW II we were preparing before the Pearl Harbor attack.
As it regards a strategic necessity think about this; If China or Russia were to begin challenging us around the world and we suddenly realize we are totally dependent on China for our steel and aluminum (not to mention many other things) our decision at that time to begin a massive buildup of those industries would be seen as a provocation and confirm our intent to enter into a war. The strategic issue is broad and deep and certainly not one dimensional. For that reason we cannot afford to depend on any nation for essential goods and services.
In martial arts I learned that an opponent moves from a non-threat to a threat by moving his foot either placing it further behind him or in front of him. Because except for someone like Bruce Lee you must "set" yourself to strike effectively. Everyone who participates in martial arts or self defense learns this simple "tell". The same is true for nations. Therefore if we never allow ourselves to be dependent on another nation there would never be a "tell" if we were forced to suddenly create our own production capabilities. That alone is reason enough to do it.
Prior to the 16th Amendment (income tax) in 1913, the U.S. government was paid for largely, if not entirely, by tariffs. Since then we have been in constant warfare with someone in the world, necessitating taxes on everything that moves and some things that don't to help the Banksters and their Miliitary/Industrial/Congressional Complex thrive at unending cost to taxpayer slaves.
A solid middle class employed in manufacturing on our shores would be the best insurance toward prosperity for future generations. Repeal the 16th Amendment. Audit then dismantle the Federal Reserve. Cut 50% of government employees including all the Senior Executive Service as they answer to no one (thanks, Jimmy Carter) and interfere with their own agenda. Prune the private contractors, foundations and NGOs who work in the shadows as the mafia for the pols who have grown our debt to over $20 trillion with another $21 trillion-PLUS having "just disappeared" since the 1990s.
For a country rich in and brimming with RICH high tech entrepreneurs, how can our government NOT account for every penny spent? And, in that spare time, figure out how to cut the costs we must bear.
Wrong again. China has already moved to establish an alternative unit of trade in very important markets, which isn't the first although it is an inevitable trend. I tend to take their obvious announced intent a little more seriously than your considered opinion.
That's also well before getting into how any foreign power holding enough of another country's debt can and eventually will manipulate it to great effect.
If trade ended tomorrow who would be living on the corner by the weekend, the producers or the consumers?
Such brand of blithe neoconism is directly contrary to both founding thought on such things as well as subsequent economic theory espoused by classical money guys I'm sure ostensible "conservatives" would nod most approvingly of.
Funny how broad the disconnect is between the purported Great American Manufacturing Renaissance and continuing to knowingly borrow yourself into a roughly quarter quadrillion dollar hole to create it. Or is that degree of inflation also peachy? In a bit of monetary perpetual motionry, rightists advise me it helps pay down the very debt it created.
American industry ought to be able to bury their foreign competition
And pigs should be able to fly. Yet literalists that people can occasionally be, apparently they specifically call it currency pegging because it's currency pegging. Once again, that's before we get into the relative size disadvantage of the American labor force, the simply colossal debt held by each member of the nation, and our squandered infrastructure.
Yours is a fanciful, textbook example of the failure of the American right. The debt-based economy is precisely 180 degrees opposed to conservatism. Stunning to have to point that out...
Just as concerning to America's future and support of entrepreneurs is the protection of intellectual property and aggressive punishment of those who blatantly ignore such rights.
Those criminals include not only foreigners and their governments, but our own government, its representatives and our judicial system who haughtily flaunt their power over such.
There is no way to 'win' a trade war.
I'd love to see an example of one which was 'won'. They don't exist.
Tariffs on imports? That's not going to improve things here in the US. It's not going to create more jobs, it's just going to raise prices. That means the jobs we already have are paying more for the products we buy.
China - if you pay attention to world news - is actually slipping into a recession, and can't afford to keep subsidizing workers and products to the degree they were. Subsidies work AGAINST the nation doing the subsidizing. They are paying for someone else to buy their products, and they can't make that money back. But it's a downhill race for them. It's like heroin - it feels good at first, you think it's all good (hey, we're selling more steel!), and then you're bankrupt (or overdosing, if it's heroin).
Remember when Japan was 'stealing' our jobs and businesses and buying our property? Rockefeller Center was sold to the Japanese and people freaked out - Japan was taking over the world! Not 5 years later, Japan entered its "Lost Decade" (now entering it's 3rd decade) and we now own Rockefeller Center (at a discount) and all the other properties they bought at exorbitant prices. China is having the EXACT SAME issue now.
Free trade works for our benefit. We have as many people working in manufacturing today as we did 30 years ago, but we have more people working overall, and not in just part-time or burger-flipping jobs (those increases were due to Obama's ACA and other idiocy). When we engaged free trade, we gained by having lower/stable prices and while SOME jobs were lost, many other better jobs were created.
Sadly, we have a MSM nobody trusts EXCEPT when it talks about lost jobs and degraded areas like the Rust Belt. Which is weird. The MSM is lying to you about almost everything, INCLUDING that, and income inequality and every other piece of economic/mercantilist myth-building.
Free trade is workable, even if the other side isn't engaging by 'the rules'. Our comparative advantage is simple: we have a highly intelligent, motivated workforce which is also supported by an international currency which is desirable. If we keep the currency healthy (which we haven't done the last 8 years), and we engage free trade, we will continue to have low inflation and wealth building that benefits all.
Free trade economists know they are right for one reason. There are no examples of trade wars which have been 'won'. There are plenty of examples of trade wars which led to real wars, inflation, poverty, and depression.
The US can never be self-sufficient in aluminum. There are simply not enough Bauxite reserves to supply current needs in the US. We actually are largely dependent on Jamaica to supply the ore stocks for what little smelting is still done in this country.
As for steel, China would need to sell that production somewhere. The US is or could be self-supplying in iron ore (absent a Canadian blockade of the locks at Sault St. Marie or Detroit), but the cost would be hugely greater than the depressed price of the Chinese production diverted from the American market. Americans would end up paying more, getting less, and only the people actually owning the steel mills would benefit. This of course presumes that you could reopen the coal mines and coke plants that shut down for environmental reasons.
I look forward to you connecting all those random observations and assertions into a single formula that balances the debt and takes America away from an economy of finance, insurance, and real estate. (FIRE)
Or what normie boomer rightists call the Starbucks service economy syndrome while blaming their own children for they themselves bankrupting a nation.
Great thread. Here's an oldie but goodie. It is hard to believe that Sir James Goldsmith was so prescient in.... 1994. I am not against fair trade but I don't pretend that it is a win win for everyone, everywhere. And, of course the primary beneficiaries are the usual suspects, the Davos caste and K Street.
"As it regards a strategic necessity think about this; If China or Russia were to begin challenging us around the world and we suddenly realize we are totally dependent on China for our steel and aluminum (not to mention many other things) our decision at that time to begin a massive buildup of those industries would be seen as a provocation and confirm our intent to enter into a war. The strategic issue is broad and deep and certainly not one dimensional. For that reason we cannot afford to depend on any nation for essential goods and services."
As an example there was a long delay getting v-hulled HumVees into the theater or war because the US didn't have the capacity to produce the alloy used in its armour.
It is too important to give up on. It is too important not to succeed. MAGA or make it worse.
... Cut 50% of government employees ...
Oh, so you want to do what the Harding Coolidge Administration did to cure the almost-Great Depression of 1920 (unlike what FDR did, in failing to cure the Great Depression).
The effect of what Harding/Coolidge achieved was the economic expansion of the "Roaring Twenties." That such economic boom was brought down by criminals/speculators such Dem. Joe Kennedy, Godfather of the Kennedy Crime Family, was not the fault of Coolidge and his policies.
Their success (remember, too, they ignored the FDR-like advice of their progressive Commerce Sec. Herbert Hoover!) led them to be reviled by Progressive historians who searched for every means to destroy their reputations!
Can't have huge cuts in government spending revered as a way out of economic distress, now, can we? Why that goes against our adored Keynesian policies! (None of which have proven to work!)
Re: 91 yo man walking Sydney street. My dear friend in NYC, Roswell, will be 94 in June. He has walked every street in Manhattan nine times now. He started years ago when he was recovering from colon cancer. His walking brought him into contact with a wide variety of people and he discovered his talent for drawing. To this day he produces a line of greeting cards that include his drawing of local buildings with a history of the building , date of construction, architech and original purpose. Don't ever say the Aussies have an advantage over hard core New Yorkers. And he still drives in NYC.