Winning, so far, Anyway

This is interesting and actually some good news, for a change. I don’t know about you, but I could use some.

As all the world knows, the US and China are having, if not a full-scale trade war, some pretty serious trade skirmishes. So how is it going?

Pretty well actually, according to Chriss Street witing for American Thinker. Read it all. a lot of what I say here was derived from it.

Mexico and Canada were America’s top two trade partners in the first six months of 2019 as the escalating China-U.S. Trade War booted China to third place.

With China falling behind Mexico and Canada, President Trumps’ Trade War has succeeded in making North America’s revised trading bloc larger in population and GDP than the 28-nation European Union, according to Geopolitical Futures.

“I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN”

Six months later, U.S. importers paid $6 billion in tariffs in June, a 74 percent spike compared to a year ago, despite a slight decline in import values. About $3.4 billion of those tariffs were imposed by President Trump, according to a study titled ‘Tariffs Hurt the Heartland’ by The Trade Partnership, a globalist Washington D.C. consulting firm.

The report claims Trump’s tariffs are highly inflationary by forcing consumers to pay an extra $4.4 billion for apparel, $2.5 billion for footwear, $3.7 billion for toys and $1.6 billion for household appliances.” But U.S. inflation in the first half of 2019 averaged just 1.7 percent, down from 2.4 percent last year, according to the U.S. Inflation Calculator.

The biggest key to holding back inflation has been the rapid global redeployment of manufacturing supply chains from China to Mexico, Canada, and even the United States. The repositioning speed demonstrates that analysts in the New York City to Washington D.C. corridor that predicted an inflationary spike had no clue regarding multinational businesses always having “disaster recovery” plans for alternative suppliers.

Every business, including the kid that mows your lawn, knows that lesson. Who knows what may happen to the gas station that you buy your mower fuel from. But it’s apparently over the head of The Trade Partnership. Not much of a surprise there, when ideology matters more than reality, stupid things happen.

In any case, one point the author makes is that while we often think of Mexico as a third world country, it actually is not. Depending on how you figure, it is nearly as large as Australia. One of the strengths of the USMCA as a trade bloc is that there is no attempt to align standards such as causes a lot of trouble in the EU.

That includes free trade agreements that steer jobs to low wage areas, and that very thing has cost the UK a lot of good jobs and is in fact, one of the things that are pushing Brexit.

By the way, the USMCA’s GDP (a somewhat flawed measurement, but it will serve) is $22.1 trillion compared with the EU’s $17.3 trillion.

What it seems that the President is offering the UK when it leaves the EU is some sort of association with the USMCA, which would add the UK’s $2.6 trillion (the fifth largest in the world) to the USMCA while removing it from the EU. Using current numbers that would make the USMCA’s GDP $24.7 trillion,

The EU continues its slide into mediocrity and uselessness.

About that trade war – we’re winning.

Video Monday

We haven’t had a video Monday for a while, so let’s get started.

This is rather nice, it is also true.

The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

Is the UK Labor party anti-Semitic? Did the sun come up in the east?

This is from the BBC’s Panorama, a full hour distilled down to eight minutes because an hour is too much.

Candace Owens on those children detained

Imagine that!

Moar Anne Widdecombe, because free people can never have too much Anne Widdecombe. Making the BBC look as stupid as it is here.

Bill Whittle on socialism

If you have an hour, this is worth spending it on. Victor Davis Hanson on The Case for Trump.

Freedom: Lost and Delivered

Today is a day of anniversaries, one overshadowed even as it happened, and another that lies shamefully dormant.

Today is the day that 75 years ago, US 5th Army and the British 8th Army liberated Rome. You will, of course, remember that Fascist Italy had surrendered sometime earlier but the Germans occupying Italy and the terrain itself made this anything but the soft underbelly.

This was the culmination of Operation Diadem launched on 11 May 1944. While this was the first of the Axis capitals to fall, it had essentially no impact on the war, other than perhaps reducing the stress marginally, of Operation Dragoon, the invasion of southern France which would happen on 15 August 1944. A great victory, but overshadowed by other events.

Freedom: Delivered


30 years ago today, on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the People’s Liberation Army crushed the student’s quest for freedom, not to mention their Goddess of Democracy under the treads of their tanks. Somewhere between several hundred and ten thousand were deliberately killed by the government. It continues its bloodthirsty ways to this day, imprisoning over a million Uigher Moslems and Falun Gong in concentration camps, as well as persecuting Christians and other believers.

Tank man, as we have come to call him, a very brave Chinese, indeed, was, of course, killed by the Chinese government. But the Goddess of Democracy, whose resemblance to The Statue of Liberty moved Americans deeply, while also destroyed, lives on, I warrant, in the hearts of many Chinese and she does in a fair number of Americans as well.

(AP Photo/Jeff Widener, File)

Freedom Lost, for now.

China: What is it Good For

From Steven W. Mosher writing in American Greatness:

The latest numbers on U.S. economic growth are astonishingly good. The land of the free enjoyed 3.2 percent annual real GDP growth for the first quarter of 2019. It would have been even higher—3.5 percent—without the government shutdown.

The numbers vindicate President Trump’s position on trade. The dealmaker-in-chief has been saying for decades that a trade deficit is a drag on growth. And we now learn that almost 1 percent of our GDP growth was a result of a reduction in imports.

Imports are down because Trump’s tariffs are driving down the trade deficit with China. Now that he’s increased tariffs on $200 billion more of Chinese goods, expect the U.S. economy to grow even faster.

Amazing, isn’t it? When the largest economy in the world fights its own corner, it tends to win.

The thing is, since the end of World War II, we have been a bit guilty about our success, and for reasons that may have been reasonable, even cogent, in 1945, we have set our foreign exchange system to favor everybody else and disfavor ourselves. It’s part of that American magnanimity in victory that has rebuilt Germany and Japan (and would have our ally Great Britain as well, if they hadn’t wasted it experimenting with socialism).

To continue:

The Trump Administration has taken a decidedly different tack, pursuing an economic nationalist agenda that insists:

  • We must defend ourselves against China’s relentless cyberattacks on American businesses, and its theft of hundreds of billions of dollars in intellectual property each year.
  • We must stop China’s state-owned, state-subsidized and state-controlled enterprises from the wholesale dumping of products. Flooding foreign markets with steel and aluminum, not to mention autos and robotics, is only the first step. The end game is the destruction of free-market capitalism altogether.
  • We must stop China from forcing America companies to hand over their cutting-edge technology as a condition of doing business there. Forced technology transfer is theft, pure and simply.
  • We must stop China from manipulating its currency to gain an unfair advantage in trade.
  • Finally, we must defend Americans from the flood of fentanyl and other dangerous opioids that are killing them by the tens of thousands. The first two Opium Wars were waged by Great Britain against China. The Third is being waged by China against the United States and its people, and it must stop.

Understandably, China is not enthused at America fighting its corner, and so are resisting. So what? The President didn’t campaign on ‘Make China Greater Still”. His remit is to “Make America Great Again”. And so far, so good.

The tariffs are bad for China but very good for America. American companies that in the past would have offshored production to China will stay put. Some companies that have already left will be coming back. Whatever the opposite of “offshoring” is—inshoring? reshoring?—we are about to see it happen.

We should expect that China—the Bully of Asia—will try to retaliate. In fact, they have already begun to threaten to do just that. It’s unlikely that President Trump will back down, however. He understands that we buy $5 worth of goods from China for every $1 the Chinese buy from us. That gives us much more leverage.

As far as the soybeans and other grains that China will no longer buy from us, Trump has already announced a plan to make sure that America’s farmers are not hurt. Some of the tariff money will be used to buy and ship grain to parts of the world suffering from chronic food shortages.

Think about that for a while – we invent various products (not excluding iPhones) and then we outsource the production of some of the most advanced products in the world, to a country who has no desire to allow free people to live anywhere in the world. If that wasn’t enough, they always steal the ideas and the products, and often half of the companies set up to produce them.

And by the way, other than those products that our shortsighted companies allow to be stolen from them for a mess of pottage called cheap labor, what do we sell? Soybeans.

One of the underlying cause of our Revolution was the fact that Great Britain’s considered policy in the First Empire was to use the colonies to provide raw material and increase the market for its manufactured products. It’s called mercantilism, and it’s designed to keep colonies dependant on the other country.

Sound familiar?

NATO at 70: What Is It Good For?

Frank Hawkins has an excellent article at American Thinker entitled NATO in Crisis. Let’s have a look.

In 1949, with the debris of WWII still clogging German cities, Western nations led by the United States and Great Britain formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The primary purpose of the alliance was to provide a multinational shield  against Soviet aggression.

Today the alliance itself is threatened, with President Trump rightly accusing Germany and other members of not living up to their pledges to support the pact. Of the 28 members of NATO, only seven are paying the required 2% of GDP to support the alliance. The United States weighs in with a hefty 3.39% while Germany, the second largest economy in the alliance, is only contributing 1.36%.

After being called out by Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised that Germany would begin increasing its defense contributions reaching an initial plateau of 1.5% by 2024.

But it’s not working out that way. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz threw the target into doubt with the new German federal budget that suggests their percentage is actually going to shrink to 1.23%.  What’s going on?

In a recent issue of Foreign Affairs, Robert Kagan addressed the issue in an article titled, “The New German Question, What Happens When Europe Comes Apart?

Kagan’s article opens as a thoughtful overview until it becomes obvious he’s just another ideological #NeverTrumper. He covers the grand sweep of German history and the country’s historic position in Europe before dissolving into shameless Trump bashing.

There has always been something ironic about the American complaint that Europeans don’t spend enough on defense. They don’t because the world seems relatively peaceful and secure to them. When the world is no longer peaceful and secure, they probably will rearm, but not in ways that will benefit Americans. If one were devising a formula to drive Europe and Germany back to some new version of their past, one could hardly do a better job than what U.S. President Donald Trump is doing now.

Trump bashing seems a bit strong here to me. Kagan plainly doesn’t like what he sees Trump doing, but his description of it is not that different than mine. Nor, does Kagan appear to like Trump, but few establishment Europeans do. I pretty much agree with Trump, however, I see little point anymore for NATO, unless it is there as a check on the EU, which is increasingly plausible. The main trouble with that is that it is the Americans v. everyone and his Slavic cousin. Don’t forget it was Leonid Brezhnev who commented in the 1990s that it was like the Soviet Union had relocated to Brussels.

From where I sit (and I think Trumps sees it similarly) the main threat to freedom today in Europe is the European Union, itself.

The basic problem in western Europe is that Germany tends to dominate it the way the US does North America. While the US is a reasonable partner and neighbor, and especially Canada has a reasonably similar background, none of that is true with regards to Germany and Europe. The only real competitor is the United Kingdom, which of course has much to do with the US involvement as well. That also explains why the US is quite firmly in the Brexit camp, and his alignment with the EU explains Obama’s willingness to interfere with the referendum. (That holds for both Clinton and both Bushes, as well.)

And there is this, for the US, Europe is becoming a sideshow. Russia is a commercial competitor, not an enemy, and no one else perhaps excepting the UK is particularly important to our interests these days.

Those interests are first Israel, and Europe is a very poor ally in this area, other than some in the Visegrad area.

But the main US interest for the foreseeable future will be China, a physically and militarily aggressive competitor verging on an enemy, who will soak up much of our interest and available force.

Do read Hawkin’s excellent article, and Kagan’s, which is linked in the quote is also quite good.

But in short, Europe needs to grow up, America has some work to do elsewhere.

The Eagle and the Dragon

David Runciman wants you to know that the 21st Century will be China’s just as the 20th was America’s. Isn’t that special! Maybe, but frankly, I doubt it. So does Steven W. Mosher, who writes about that in American Greatness.

Let’s take a look.

America’s best days are behind it, says David Runciman, in his book, How Democracy Ends.

Runciman sounds for all the world like a big “D” Democrat—a member of the political party that, at least since the time of Jimmy Carter, has specialized in “malaise.” The Democrat “two-step” goes like this. First, they cause “malaise” by hamstringing the economy, then they highlight it as an excuse to enact government programs that make even more people dependent upon the welfare state they control.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, specializes in “robust good health.” His booming optimism is reminiscent of Teddy Roosevelt’s. You can almost imagine him charging up San Juan Hill. How invigorating and refreshing to see energy, rather than excuses, in the Oval Office.

Like Roosevelt and Reagan, Trump believes that America’s best days are ahead of it.

Mosher goes on to note that it is China that has started to decline since the American people decided to turn our back on despair and dependency by electing Trump. He says, and I agree, it might have been true if we had elected Clinton.

But we didn’t. We elected Trump, a proven fighter who fights to win and is already doing so, as we see China and the EU start to slip into recession. Mind you, trade is not a strictly a win-lose game. Done properly it is a win-win thing. But the US has been playing a sucker’s bet since 1945, first intended to help the world to recover, and then out of habit until it was starting to really hurt America. To every thing, there is a time, wrote the Teacher, and the time to hurt ourselves to help others is no more.

While the Brits may not have caught on to the fact that America’s best days are ahead of it, the Democrats have. Witness the increasingly panicky calls for impeachment.

When their chief initiative is to carry out a political coup to remove their political opponent from office they are truly out of ideas.

Read his article (linked above) for his observations on China. I agree, from what I see. But he’s an expert, I’m not, but I do have eyes.

Business Insider is also reporting on troubles in China.

According to a paper published in January by Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based research firm, just over one-third of the superrich Chinese citizens in a survey described themselves as “very confident” about the future of the Chinese economy.

On the surface, that seems like a solid number, but it is startling when compared with the same survey two years ago, which showed that nearly two-thirds were very confident in China’s economic future. It is also the lowest number in the 15 years the survey has been produced, Hurun said.

The same survey from Hurun also found that the number of wealthy Chinese who had “no confidence at all” in China’s economic future had doubled from last year’s survey to 14%.

Hurun’s survey of 465 superrich Chinese citizens also found that almost half were considering emigrating or had already made moves to emigrate from China.

Heh! Funny how that happens when you feel you know better than your people. Here it is, more people saying the US will win again.

Why?

You know why!

Because Hillary will never be President.

Always amazing what freedom, politically, and in markets can do.

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