Trade Deficits – Bad?

The nearly permanent US trade deficit is getting a lot of attention. Surely, it’s a bad thing to send so much money outside the US when it could be providing jobs to American workers, yes? The problem largely goes without saying, and is never actually discussed.

But are trade deficits really that bad? As with most things in economics, the short answer is no but the long answer is yes. Let’s discuss.

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Fighting Back?

Difficult time appear to cal for action, but they demand first and foremost character and judgment. Unfortunately, Sen Elizabeth Warren failed spectacularly at demonstrating both.

Her desire to take a new approach to countering bullying and nonsense in public discourse is understandable, but it takes a lot more than a cute gimmick. Worse, her inability to navigate the delicate issues of race and identity have demonstrated that Democratic leadership is still generally clueless about this topic and will continue to only make things worse.

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Destruction, Creative or ???

In the area of foreign policy, is Trump just plain crazy, or crazy like a fox? Is this random flailing bent on isolating America, or is it creative destruction which tears up the old deal before dictating a new one?

Everyone in America has their opinion now. But so, too, do the leaders of foreign nations who have to deal with it. Europe seems to think that Trump is an idiot for smashing the old alliances, and that’s understandable. China, on the other hand, is much more wary that they are dealing with a more serious and permanent change.

There are very good reasons for this.

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Ya Gotta Laugh …

There’s no way we’re gonna get through this without a few old-fashioned political jokes. It doesn’t matter what “it” is or what “getting through it” looks like to you. We gotta laugh. So I’ll start it off:

How many bloggers does it take to change a lightbulb? Um, whoever said that bloggers actually do something useful?

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Treason

The United States is under attack.

It is not an attack with bombs or airplanes. No one has been killed and property has not been damaged. It is, however, an attack on the most valuable thing that we have, something over a million people have gladly given their lives in the past to protect – our democracy.

This is a highly coordinated and sustained attack by a foreign power. It is still ongoing, and appears to have gradually grown more sophisticated over a period of years. There is reason to believe that will continue unless it is stopped.

Denial of this attack and the perpetrators who we certainly know are carrying it out, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, is hindering our response to this attack and making our democracy more vulnerable. That this effort to thwart our defenses and distract the public’s attention away from the threat comes from the very top of our leadership can only be described as treason.

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Global, Yes, Domination, No!

Sneering at “globalists” has become an instinct among many Trump supporters. It was globalism that ruined this nation, they argued, and the only way to make America great again is to cut off the rest of the world. On the other side, there is an almost equally instinctual support for immigration and trade as much out of tradition as it is the thinly held belief that the system in place obviously made the nation strong.

Where is the truth? Like most debates, somewhere in the middle – or just off to the side a little. America is wealthier and better as part of the world, but the expense of trying to run the planet and tell everyone what to do is killing us. More to the point, it’s falling on working people who are expected to support it as a vanity project and chant “U-S-A!” while the benefits accrue to those with a lot more money to start with.

It can be changed. It has to be changed. It will change – either by design or by collapse.
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Fact-Based Policy

There isn’t any actual crisis in immigration. If that sentence surprises or infuriates, you’re probably paying far too much attention to the news. The situation which has the entire nation worked into a frenzy was entirely made up for political purposes.

It’s not exactly clear why, either. While Trump aid and Politischertacitischerführer Steven Miller thinks that opposing immigration is a huge winner for Trump, surveys show that Americans strongly favor immigration. It’s as if the nation knows in its guts that we are at or near full employment and there is indeed a net labor shortage. This furor might fire up the base and make sure they show up in November, but that is still a long way away

Nevermind all that. We have a crisis on our hands because for one dumb reason or another Trumplandia thought it would suit them. Let’s look at facts and see if there is something more calm and human that can and should be done.

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