For observers of U.S. domestic manufacturing, this morning’s new jobs report (for November) could not have made clearer how the recent strike at General Motors (GM) have bollixed up the recent monthly totals for reasons having nothing to do with the underlying state of the economy or with President Trump’s trade wars. Nonetheless, even with … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: New U.S. Jobs Data Shows a Continued Trade Punch for Manufacturing – & Industry Resilience
With all the China trade war headlines in the news lately, the release this morning of the latest (for October) monthly U.S. trade data couldn’t be timelier. Indeed, one of the biggest takeaways from the results is that, as has been the case since the conflict began, the decoupling of the American and Chinese economies … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: New Data Show Continued U.S.-China Decoupling & Broad Trade Performance Improvement
The most important takeaway from this post about the current status of U.S. trade policy, especially toward China, is that it may have already been overtaken by events since I began putting these thoughts together yesterday. What follows is a lightly edited version of talking points I put together for staffers at CNBC in preparation … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Trade War(s) Update
I’m pleased to announce that a new op-ed article of mine was posted last night. Appearing on the website of The American Conservative, it explains why the National Basketball Association and its often politically outspoken players and coaches can easily afford to lead a global campaign to press China to clean up at least some … Read moreMaking News: A New China (and Basketball!) Op-Ed, and Back on CNBC Today!
As encouraging as last week’s official report on U.S. economic growth was – with the rate picking up even more than expected in the second quarter despite numerous forecasts of continued and even worsening slowdown – one big fly was visible in this ointment. The quality of the nation’s expansion has been weakening considerably this … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: U.S. Growth Takes a Bubbly Turn
It’s like they can’t help themselves. Even when Mainstream Media organizations and reporters conduct detailed research showing that President Trump’s tariffs-heavy China trade policies aren’t hurting U.S. consumers in the slightest, they feel compelled to issue dire warnings about the possibility. If you doubt me, check out this Reuters piece from the day before Thanksgiving … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Mainstream Media Never Trump-ism on Trade Gets Weirder and Weirder
So there I was sitting on the living room couch watching some TV after the big Thanksgiving meal with my some of my wife’s family, and of course I was eating again – this time some “premium butter cookies” from a big, brightly colored tin container. Why should that be remotely blog-worthy? Here’s why. If … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Globalization and Butter Cookies
Everyone hoping for the U.S. economy to perform well had to be cheered by this morning’s look at economic growth in the third quarter – the second of three such reports on the time period for the near future. And special bonus: The results significantly strengthen the case that the United States can absorb hits … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: The Crucial Trade War Message of the New U.S. Economic Growth Report
When a senior researcher from the New York branch of the Federal Reserve System and two academic colleagues came out in May with a blog post on the Bank’s website reporting on who really pays the cost of President Trump’s tariffs on huge amounts of U.S. imports from China, they were hardly short of confidence … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: The New York Fed’s Unseemly Rush to Judgment on Trump’s China Tariffs
“The data [do] not identify the origin of the buyers who abandoned their investments. But attorneys who handle CFIUS [the U.S. inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States] cases said many are probably Chinese companies caught in a Trump administration campaign to stymie their efforts to acquire sensitive U.S. technology.” Share of proposed … Read moreThose Stubborn Facts: Trade Deal or Not, U.S.-China Decoupling Continues
Full disclosure: I don’t believe that promoting human rights and democracy abroad should be a high priority for U.S. foreign policymakers. (My most detailed explanation comes in this late-1994 article in FOREIGN POLICY magazine, which is available on-line here and here.) All the same, there’s no doubt in my mind that President Trump would be … Read moreOur So-Called Foreign Policy: Signing the Hong Kong Democracy Bill Should be a No-Brainer for Trump
I’m pleased to announce that a podcast is now on-line of a short-notice interview last night with me on “Breitbart News Tonight.” The subjects: my brief but strange and kind of fishy recent suspension by Twitter, along with the issue of the free speech and censorship policies of such influential social media platforms. To access … Read moreMaking News: Breitbart Radio Interview on Twitter Suspension Now On-Line!
As I posted yesterday, I was suspended on Twitter late in the morning even though I couldn’t imagine having violated any of the platform’s rules – or at least the best known ones, which seek to bar bullying and hate speech and other such noxious practices. (Not that I’m saying I agree with this Twitter … Read moreFollowing Up: Back on Twitter – & its Troubling Explanation
Many of you who know me either in person or through my writings know that I adore Twitter. I’ve repeatedly stated that by light years it’s the most effective medium I’ve ever used from the standpoint of reaching individuals and organizations I very much want to reach. It’s also great for challenging users to express … Read moreHouse-Keeping: I Just Got Suspended by Twitter??!?!!?
As a public service, herewith a handy-dandy guide to those widely touted Trump impeachment charges or insinuated charges that hold water so far, and those that don’t. Spoiler alert: The single alleged presidential transgression that I believe would warrant impeachment – and removal from office – comes at the end of this post. And not … Read moreIm-Politic: The Case Against Impeachment (So Far)
If you read last month’s Federal Reserve report on after-inflation U.S. manufacturing output (for September), then there wasn’t much reason to read yesterday morning’s report on after-inflation manufacturing production (for October). For it described the same puzzling picture: American industrial performance clearly dragged down by the recently ended strike at General Motors (GM), but apparently … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Trade Wars’ Impact on U.S. Manufacturing Output Still Clouded by GM and Boeing
I’m pleased to announce that the podcast is now available of a short-notice interview I did yesterday Moe Ansari’s syndicated Market Wrap radio program on the U.S.-China trade conflict. To access this timely update on the on-again-off-again reports of a “Phase One” trade deal, click on this link. Scroll down till you see “Listen to … Read moreMaking News: Podcast On-Line of Radio Interview on the China Trade Deal (Or No Deal?)
I’m pleased to announce that I’m scheduled to speak this morning at a conference in Washington, D.C. on the increasingly weird relationship between American trade policy and American antitrust policy. The overall event focuses on the troubling rise of monopolies and oligopolies in general in the U.S. economy in recent decades, and is co-sponsored by The … Read moreMaking News: Speaking at a D.C. Conference Today on Antitrust and Trade Policy
Monday’s post detailed one reason for viewing skeptically the upcoming public impeachment testimony of supposed prosecution star witness William B. Taylor – evidence of his inability or unwillingness to make the crucial distinction between President Trump differing with him on a policy issue (dealing with Ukraine), and the chief executive committing an offense that warrants … Read moreIm-Politic: Impeachment and the Mind of a Diplomat II
When the House of Representatives’ public impeachment hearings open this week, one of the star witnesses for the prosecution – and perhaps the star witness – is expected to be William B. Taylor, former chief U.S. envoy to Ukraine. His appeal to President Trump’s opponents is easy to understand, since he was both deeply involved … Read moreIm-Politic: Impeachment and the Mind of a Diplomat I
When I first entered the trade and manufacturing world, I worked for a fellow named Clyde V. Prestowitz, Jr., who was shaking up American attitudes on international economic policy (in a good way) with sharp critiques of the prevailing dogma and often ingenious ideas for reform and even transformation. (The most complete statement of his … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Trump-Like China Trade War Advice – from China!
President Trump’s globalist critics in the foreign policy Blob (the Washington, D.C.-centered complex of former diplomats and military officers, genuine academics, think tank hacks, and their Mainstream Media mouthpieces) think they’ve uncovered major new proof that the administration’s America First-type foreign policies and trade policies are failing catastrophically. Actually, the developments they’ve seized upon make … Read moreOur So-Called Foreign Policy: Time to Test U.S. “Allies” on China
Well, that didn’t last long. After two straight quarters of encouraging growth, U.S. labor productivity is back in the doldrums, with this morning’s preliminary data from the Labor Department revealing a drop during the third quarter of this year. At least, however, these latest figures on the narrowest measure of the economy’s efficiency, and ability … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Back into Decline for U.S. Labor Productivity
When last month’s U.S. trade figures (for August) came out, I wrote about how the economic narratives about the woes of domestic manufacturing and America’s trade accounts during the Trump Tariffs Era have been turning into a story about the safety related troubles of Boeing. This morning, the September data were issued, and the Boeing … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Boeing’s Safety Woes are Hammering U.S. Manufacturing & Overall Trade Flows Under Trump
Although travel kept me from reporting promptly on Friday’s monthly U.S. jobs report (for October), this indicator of the American economy’s health is so closely watched that it’s essential to point out what it said about the manufacturing sector and in particular the impact of President Trump’s tariff-centric trade policies. And that’s true even though … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Despite Jobs Report Stunners, the Trade Wars’ Manufacturing Impact Became No Clearer
Bruce Yandle of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center has just added a novel claim to the list of catastrophes allegedly triggered by President Trump’s tariff-centric trade policies. In an October 28 Washington (D.C.) Examiner post, He seems to understand that amid rock-bottom rates of U.S. joblessness, it’s getting ever tougher to contend that the trade … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: A New Anti-Trade War Argument Bites the Dust
This morning’s first official read on U.S. economic growth in the third quarter not only beat expectations. Inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) expanded nicely despite potholes dug by the General Motors strike and Boeing’s ongoing safety woes. Bad news wasn’t entirely absent, especially from a trade policy standpoint, as the overall U.S. trade gap edged … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: US Growth Remains Solid Despite a Notable Boeing Drag
If only the Commerce Department’s data on gross domestic product (GDP) by industry didn’t come out on a basis timelier than once a quarter. For they’ve provided uniquely valuable information on how well the Trump administration is faring in its efforts to (1) reduce the humongous U.S. manufacturing trade deficit, and (2) reduce domestic industry’s … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: New Data but Cloudier Skies on Trump’s Trade Policies and Manufacturing
Normally, it’s bad news for anyone seeking a realistic, sustainable U.S.-China trade policy when a group like private “The U.S.-China Trade Policy Working Group” issues a statement outlining “a new framework for trade negotiations” out of concern that bilateral economic relations “have taken a very concerning turn.” Such phrases usually signal that the group of … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: (Inadequate) Establishment Progress on China Trade
Yesterday I was in New York City, on one of my monthly trips to attend board meetings of the Henry George School of Social Science, an economic research and educational institute I serve as a Trustee. And beforehand, I was privileged to moderate a school seminar focusing on the possibly revolutionary economic as well as … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Why Amazon.com Could Kill the Entire Economy
Among my most vivid memories of my years trying to make some sense out of the economy is one of a conversation with my late father. Since he was a tax lawyer for many decades, I once asked him if he supported some ideas that keep coming up for strengthening American manufacturing, chiefly making permanent … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: How Certain Should We be About Trade War-Spurred Business Uncertainty?
As nearly every economist worth their salt can tell you, as far as their profession is concerned, the prime end goal of liberalizing global trade as completely as possible is maximizing the entire world’s economic well-being. And theoretical, purely economic criticisms of the freest possible global trade have been dominated by questioning whether efforts to … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Can Free Trade Nowadays Really Maximize Global Well-Being?
It’s as close to a slam dunk conclusion as can be – at least according to economists, think tank hacks, and Mainstream Media journalists: The early 2018 U.S. tariffs on large household laundry machines have been a dismal failure. Or have they been? The levies belong in a category different from those of the main … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Were the US Washing Machine Tariffs Really Failures?
Contrary to what many trade mavens must think, Paul Krugman’s recent confession that he (and nearly all of his economics colleagues) have seriously misjudged the impact of international trade on America’s manufacturing workers isn’t his first. At least twice before (see here and here), this Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist has admitted … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: How Many Strikes Does Paul Krugman Get on Trade?
One my my funnest (indulge me) memories of college was driving round trip between central New Jersey and New York City’s Madison Square Garden four times one week in the spring of 1975 to see the Princeton men’s basketball team play in – and win! – the National Invitational Tournament (which was a reasonably big … Read moreIm-Politic: On Sports, Politics, and Boundaries
If you know more than a little something about contemporary American history, you’ve no doubt been struck (or you should be struck if you haven’t been already) by the close resemblance in one key respect between the firestorms around the two big foreign policy-related uproars of the day these days, and the big foreign policy … Read moreOur So-Called Foreign Policy: The Globalists’ Dangerous Tantrums over Syria and Ukraine
I’m pleased to announce that the podcast is now on-line of an interview I did Wednesday night on John Batchelor’s nationally syndicated radio show. The segment, which can be accessed here, dealt with a dimension of the U.S.-China trade wars that’s been surprisingly overlooked: Exactly how is domestic American manufacturing responding? And keep checking in … Read moreMaking News: Podcast Now On-Line of Batchelor Show Interview on U.S. Manufacturing and the Trade War
“…acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters the U.S. aid was withheld at least in part because of a request to have Ukraine investigate unfounded allegations that foreign countries assisted Democrats in the 2016 election.” –Politico, October 17, 2019 “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly … Read moreGlad I Didn’t Say That! Politico Shoots Itself in the Foot on Foreign Meddling
The latest U.S. inflation-adjusted manufacturing output numbers (for September) are now out, and they leave more muddled than ever the matter of how much (if any) damage American industry has suffered from President Trump’s tariff-heavy trade policies. And it’s not just because of ongoing uncertainties about the effects of President Trump’s current and threatened China … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: A Thoroughly Muddled Manufacturing Production Figure
This is the second working day since the United States and China reached what the Trump administration is calling a “Phase One” trade deal with Beijing last Friday, and the questions surrounding the agreement still far outweigh what’s known. That alone should tell you that towering obstacles continue blocking any confident assessment of where the … Read more(What’s Left of) Our Economy: Now What in the U.S.-China Trade War?