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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Getting Away

The Kavanaugh hearing was the most flagrant display yet of the sicknesses at the core of the United States. The tribal divisions were more bare than usual. No one cared about clear abuse of women or obvious ongoing alcohol addiction issues or rather obvious lying that demonstrated how clearly unfit the many is for a judicial position. He was their boy, and that was enough for him to get away with it.

There are no principles left for the nation, only force.

We can and likely will get past some of the worst of this after the November election. Then again, the rise of one party to a position of power and the ability to check these abuses will only make the situation worse in the immediate term. It’s hard to know how to get past this.

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Constitutional Crisis

Throughout the day, rumors have been circulating that Assistant Attorney General and overseer of the Mueller probe Rod Rosenstein was about to resign or be fired. The decision has apparently been put off until Thursday.

This is the beginning of an actual constitutional crisis, a conflict within the republic but outside of the Constitution itself. It does not automatically lead to the firing of Mueller, but it makes it much more likely. This is a time for all Americans to be ready to act to preserve freedom as we know it.

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Cooperation, Not Combat

The trade war with China accelerates as the Trump administration’s latest tariffs have been matched. Talks have broken down, and Trump seems to think that the taxes are paid by China, not US consumers. He’s not going to back down anytime soon.

Where does it stop? If the end goal is an even trade between the two nations, it’s not actually possible to accomplish it this way – unless it drops to zero. There are systemic problems in world trade generally and China specifically which create this issue that can and must be worked out. A competent administration would do that hard work and create a world that is much more even all around.

But no, we’d all rather just bully our way to prosperity or something.

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Not-Journalism

Long before there was “fake news” there was the National Enquirer.

It’s not as though obviously false stories written for entertainment, and to make a buck, were anything new. The Enquirer, however, gave the form a brand name. Anyone stuck behind a person with a full shopping cart came to know Bat Boy, Lobster Boy, Bigfoot, and a parade of celebrities doing awful things. It was a chuckle usually wrapped around a sneer – “Who reads this stuff?”

Though this rag was known for publishing nearly anything, what it deliberately didn’t publish turns out to be much more interesting.

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Capital Controls

The currents of the oceans carry warmth to northern latitudes. The jet stream can be ridden by jets carrying travelers to new adventures. In much the same way, money flows around the world in waves which make nearly every aspect of our economic life possible.

That may be coming to a halt soon, however. The climate change that brings us trade wars also shuts down the financial weather systems which move in a predictable bounded chaos. Our ability to predict the economic future, always right in bulk but rarely precise, may be closing down.

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