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Let me preface this by saying that the way Trump is going about this trade issue is wrong. He's getting a better result than doing nothing, but the fact of the matter is that he's approaching it incorrectly, and it's by mere accident that the outcomes are working out.
Specifically, on outcomes, import prices are down and export prices are up. How's that bad, exactly?
As I pointed out in Leverage in my section in recommending Wage and Environmental parity tariffs the problem with "free trade" policies is that they're anything but because you cannot control the legal environment in other nations. As a sovereign said nation is free to set whatever internal legal environment it desires. Short of an embargo or outright war you cannot compel another nation to adopt your view of human rights, workers rights or property rights, to name three obvious things.
Now couple this with two additional facts: Technology has shortened the effective distance and delay between a point of control and a point of action which lowers the imputed cost that comes with distance, and that corporations always exist for one purpose above all others: To make a profit.
Corporations operate in the legal framework permitted by the nations in which they have facilities and people. If you wish to constrain a corporation's underlying purpose, which is to maximize profit, you must constrain the legal environment in which they operate.
There is no other way to do it.
It is a fact that throughout human history humans have attempted to enslave one another. So long as one can compel someone to work in some fashion that does not reflect economic pressures you can profit from this, and some percentage of people will. That person or organization will succeed on a profit basis where others who do not adopt that policy will fail. This inevitably encourages such behavior until only those who engage in it remain in business!
As such the only constraint on such behavior is laws that are actually enforced so that the cost of such behavior is higher than the benefit.
GM is going to make the Blazer in Mexico because they can employ what amounts to legal slave labor in Mexico that carries an "all-in" cost of under $4/hour. They will not sell any such trucks to the Mexicans building them because on a $4/hour wage nobody can afford to buy a $40,000 product. GM incurs the shipping expense of the finished product back to America because it is lower than the labor differential expense were they to build that same truck for our market here.
Apple sources labor for the iPhone in China because it's cheaper than sourcing the same labor in the United States. China has a huge number of people who live in abject poverty -- they're peasants. China allows factories to come into those towns and literally destroy the means of survival (rice paddies and similar) that said people were formerly relying on -- either by paving them over and erecting a factory or by emitting pollution into the ground and water supply to the point that you can't grow a crop there anymore that won't poison you. Those employees are not "at will"; they are factual slaves.
Apple (and others) source the screws for the frame of their device from slave labor factories in places like Malaysia. Malaysia, and other Asian nations, have a thriving illegal immigration problem which they actively exploit. Much like the "coyotes" who run Guatemalans to the United States as indentured servants, since no such person has the $6,000 average "fee" for such a service in advance, these nations allow the same practice. We in fact do it here too; we "allow" employers to hire someone on an H1b visa but they are captives to that employer since their visa is bound to the entity that employs them.
Multiple large, "luxury" brands in America source tanned leather from similar third-world crapholes for the same reason. Tanning leather requires the use of toxic chemicals and properly disposing of them is expensive. It's (much) cheaper to dump them in the water (but that's illegal in the US) and, if you can obtain effective slave labor while destroying the environment there as well that tends to destroy the option of local people to subsistence farm at the same time then so much the better. Ditto for all the clothes that come from places like Vietnam and Bangladesh.
Is this a "free market"? Of course not. But it does produce cheap screws -- both for Apple and up the ass of the people making them.
Now contemplate this: The average IQ in this nation is approximately 100. Fully one half of the people are on the left side of the bell curve. Those who are "business successes" as entrepreneurs, CEOs and similar are statistically all on the right side, and most of them are 2 standard deviations or better to the right -- that is, in the top 2% of all persons.
That's six million people, more or less, in the US.
What do you do with the 150 million-odd people who are on the left side of the curve?
Business and politicians alike ignore them in recent years, but had better not. They're fully half the population and were there to be a civil war you might want to compute the odds of six million people surviving when 150 million decide to eat them.
If you're in that top 2% you're what's for dinner, irrespective of whatever sort of technological prowess or equipment you may deploy. Oh sure, you'd slaughter a lot of those 150 million in the process, but you still die and so does your entire family.
But what happens if Trump lays tariffs that erase the benefit of employing slavery in other lands? Let's say for example that Trump was to figure out the difference in labor cost in a Blazer between one built here and one built in Mexico. It's not hard -- $4/hour there, $20/hour here times however many hours of labor are in the truck and all parts not made in America, plus the avoided environmental expense. That's the tariff.
Now take Apple's iPhone. How much would the screws and assembly cost here .vs. over there for all parts not made in America, plus the avoided expense in the non-US components made where environmental damage is not prevented? That's the tariff.
Go down the list one at a time of everything we import and look at what costs are evaded by firms soliciting labor through other lands where the legal environment does not protect the right of free movement, the environment and similar. That, by the way, is essentially everything this nation imports. Set the tariff as equal to that evaded cost.
Now lay the same via taxes on any firm that employs H1b -- or the so-called "Seasonal worker" visas (H2a and H2b) . Take the full imputed cost including salary and benefits of said person and, if lower than a US individual of the same skill set employed in the same job that's the tax due.
What happens if you do this?
Those manufacturers no longer have an economic reason to put labor there. They will bring it here instead, by and large. Further, watch how fast all those H2 jobs who people claim "can't be filled by Americans" suddenly can find all the employees they need!
The result is that all those people on the left side of the curve will have jobs that are sufficient to support themselves and their families.
But what if the manufacturers don't bring the labor back? Then Treasury has hundreds of billions of dollars in surplus funds to cover the welfare costs of everyone on the left side of the curve.
Either way the outcome is the same -- we have a stable, thriving society.
No, your iPhone will not cost an extra $200 nor will your GM truck. If either company could charge another $200 or $6,000 for their products and still sell them here in the United States they would do it right now. What prevents them from doing it is that they've determined that demand is insufficient to support that price. That does not change if there is a tariff imposed.
So what will happen is that Apple's margin on said iPhone will go from 40% to 25% and their stock price will reflect that. Likewise GM's margin on that truck (remember, they make more on trucks than any other vehicle) will come in and so will their stock price.
Neither company will admit this because if they do there is a very real risk that those 150 million on the left side of the curve will decide to eat the executives of said firms and the politicians that screwed them out of a job on purpose so the top 2% of the nation can make money through a rapidly advancing stock price! See above for the survival odds of that ~6 million should the other 150 million take that decision.
That is why they lie repeatedly on this subject and in fact will never admit the truth.
Now the usual argument is that these other nations will "retaliate." Let 'em. If you think about it what's there to retaliate upon? GM is a global company. So is Apple. Apple will build iPhones for the US inside the US. They'll build the ones to sell in China in China. GM will build trucks for Mexico in Mexico (if anyone can pay for them there.) And so on.
That outcome isn't bad, it's good! It's always more efficient to build something closer to the point of consumption. Shipping is not free, never mind all the screaming about carbon emissions which are inevitably tied to moving crap around the world!
Trump is getting a good result even though he isn't doing it the right way. Both he and Navarro are trying to look at this as a function of "trade balance" in dollars, which is the wrong approach. It happens to be working (although the stock market has yet to recognize the loss of imputed valuation due to ending slave labor) essentially by accident.
We ought to turn it into "on purpose."
Now are there places we can have "free trade" with? Sure -- we could, for example, have zero tariffs on cars between the US and EU. Why? Because the slave labor and environmental issues are mostly-absent in both nations when it comes to building cars up and down the supply chain. But even with zero tariffs VW would be insane to build their cars in Germany for export to the US when they can build them here, as they're doing today. Ditto for US automakers selling in Europe; why would you build a car here in the United States and then incur anywhere from $750 to over $2,000 in freight costs to move it across the ocean? Do you really think these firms intentionally undertake $2,000 in loss to ship an SUV across the Atlantic? If so you're nuts.
Wake up America.
The Trump administration said Thursday that nearly half of the children ages 5 and under who were separated from grown-ups at the U.S. border can't be reunited with their parents, mostly because many of the adults are violent criminals – and some lied about being the minors' parents.
President Donald Trump had claimed Tuesday that illegal immigrants and human traffickers were 'using children' to manipulate America's immigration system and make it easier for adults to enter the U.S. without papers and remain there.
Of the 103 minors in the youngest age group, the administration has reunited 57 with parents, but the other 46 are 'ineligible,' the Justice and Homeland Security Departments reported.
Roughly half are "ineligible" because they have serious criminal histories such as kidnapping, murder, child abuse, human smuggling or are not the parent of the kid at all.
May I remind you that Obama also separated kids from their putative "parents" at the border for this exact reason. It was well-documented at the time that many so-called "parents" traveling with "their children" and sneaking into the US were either serious criminals that would never be permitted to live with their children in the United States were they citizens -- ever or the kids were not their children at all and were being used either as pawns to get US authorities to release them or worse, they had the kids with them for the purpose of selling them into sexual slavery once in the United States.
This is why we must vet everyone who tries to come into the country and must insist that all of them come through regular, ordinary ports of entry and instantly reject any who, as their first act, violate the law by trying to sneak into the United States.
The left, including judges, are in fact demanding that child abuse, including kidnapping, rape and murder, not only be tolerated but encouraged right here, right now, in America. Absolutely no American worthy of the label "human" can tolerate or permit that sort of crap to continue.
Second, I want to point out that the screaming, loony left is once again demonstrating that all of them are mentally deficient in that they are incapable of performing basic, elementary-school arithmetic and as such should not be able to vote or, for that matter, be paid attention to in any regard beyond the degree to which you would consider the opinion of a two year old when formulating public policy.
"Come here legally" sounds simple enough, but we don't let in the overwhelming majority of people who want to come here legally. And so people take calculated risks.
Know this: Virtually no one crosses the desert with a scared child or children for fun, or even for greed. When we talk of immigrants as faceless hordes or as insects who "infest" our country, it's too easy to forget they are simply human beings who don't have the same good luck Americans did to be born here.
Half of them or more, as I have pointed out, are not taking "calculated risks." They're abusing children, often the children with them, or are serious criminal felons who, in this nation, we would never allow to reside with a child because that child would be at an unacceptable risk of abuse, including sexual abuse or death.
But more to the point in the general sense is this garbage:
We are a nation of plenty (if also of great inequality -- a fixable problem). We can be a nation of great humanity, and we should choose to extend that humanity to the vulnerable human beings who need a hand up, not a wall of separation.
This nation has 330 million people in it. The world has north of 7 billion and most of them live in a nation that, by our standards, is a third-world ****hole.
There are myriad nations in which it is illegal to be gay; you will be thrown in prison or thrown off a roof if you are and it is detected. There are myriad others in which while it may not be illegal to be trans or some other "different" thing you will nonetheless be persecuted or worse. Then there are the myriad nations in which narco-terrorism or just plain old-fashioned terrorism is not only common it's an every day thing.
The majority of the population of this planet, which amounts to more than ten times our population, lives under these realities every single day or is so economically depressed that they have trouble finding enough food to eat and clean water to drink.
It is mathematically impossible for America to take them in. If we attempted it our society would collapse. Not only would they outnumber us by a literal 10:1 and the drain of doing so economically would destroy us all there is an even-more serious problem in that nearly all of them have no education and lack the balls to band together, stand up and fix what's wrong in their own nations.
You need only look at what is going on in Europe and the backlash -- with good cause -- it has engendered. European governments were pressured by these very same screaming harpie types over there to let in a bunch of Muslims that have no education, no desire to assimilate and come from said turd-world ****holes. They have sucked up enormous amounts of public spending, forced citizens out of their apartments and even college dorm rooms so they could have a "free and comfortable" place to live, contributed nothing and often have openly stated they have no intent of finding productive employment while they have a direct, fervent desire to bring their third-world garbage with them and establish it in said "new" nation, including in many cases their belief that woman and young girls are worthless and deserving of whatever some man would like to do, including raping them whenever it suits them.
The British Government jailed Tommy Robinson for having the temerity to report on "grooming gangs" composed of these "migrants", that were and are today stalking youths and attempting to convert them into sexual slaves. The British Court system demanded that nobody report on these gangs, their commonly-light sentences when caught and their activities in the country. He refused to shut up, spoke on a public street about same and was jailed for contempt.
Neither America nor any other nation can allow in alleged "migrants" that have no desire or intent to assimilate into the culture of the land in which they are trying to enter. The vast majority of people in the world live in cultures that have no respect for anything approaching equal rights for all nor do they intend to ever conform to same. If allowed in they will attempt to bring the very elements of their home society that caused it to turn into a third-world ****hole here.
Further, until and unless a nation stops the offshoring of labor such that those on the left side of the bell curve for intelligence, education and present skills have productive employment available to them that meets in full their cost of living you cannot allow even those who are willing to fully assimilate in because said nation has sent all of its lower-skill and lower-intelligence-required jobs overseas into nations that not only permit but encourage effective slave labor conditions for the purpose of making said labor "cheaper." The United States has formal trade policies that not only allow this sort of abuse it damn near demands it in order to pump up the stock and other asset markets!
The best and proper response to such crises around the world is to strongly encourage those peoples to rise up and fix their own nations. What we need to see are many American Revolutions around the world in these places. Those who lack the stomach for same in fact have no respect for the process by which we got where we are and thus not only can we not take them in numerically, as it would utterly destroy our economy to open our doors to them would also destroy our social structure and, in many cases, lead to the same violence, including rapes and murders, that are occurring there right here on our own soil.
Can you stop the caterwauling already?
Look folks, just cut the crap. Seriously. There's nothing legitimate about SCOTUS at the present time. Nothing.
And no, neither left or right did that to the SCOTUS -- not Bush, not Obama, not Clinton and certainly not Trump. The SCOTUS did that to itself, and we the people then ratified it -- and it happened a long time ago.
To make the example and underline the point I shall go back to the root of the problem we have today with the Judiciary, with the SCOTUS and with the Federal Government generally: The 17th Amendment, proposed on 5/12/1912 and ratified less than a year later on 4/8/1913.
Following that came Wickard .v. Filburn, 317 US 111, decided in 1942. That decision was unanimous.
I bring this up because I was sent the following on Kavanaugh, which is a decision he filed a dissent on related to Obamacare, known as Seven-Sky .v. Holder.
Kavanaugh has been "credited" with giving Roberts the idea that he could "recast" Obamacare as a tax, and by doing so providing him the means to "save" Obamacare. Nonsense. Kavanaugh argued in his dissent that the Anti-Injunction Act prohibited the court from granting relief and never reached the merits at all.
This is important because, if you remember, Roberts didn't just recast the "penalty" (impermissible) as a tax -- he recast it as a Direct Tax, which is constitutionally impermissible on its face and has been since the founding of the nation except on a capitated basis.
In other words it is Constitutional to lay a $10 per-person direct tax -- but you can't condition or vary it.
There were multiple attempts to lay an income tax and every one was struck down as a violation of the Constitution, leading to the 16th Amendment, which permitted same. But the 16th Amendment only authorized taxes on income; it did not override the general prohibition on non-capitated direct taxes in the Constitution.
That is, Roberts re-wrote an unconstitutional "penalty" into an Unconstitutional Tax -- a black letter unconstitutional tax that was unconstitutional in 1789 and remains so today -- and yet nobody has done a damned thing about it.
This is, I remind you, despite the Congressional Record from the time of the crafting of the PPACA containing evidence that Congress knew they couldn't define the "penalty" to be a tax as they knew that was a facially-unconstitutional direct tax so they intentionally worded it as a penalty to try to get around that infirmity!
I bring all this up, especially the elements of Wickard .v. Filburn, because if you read the above linked opinion -- not Kavanaugh's dissent but the opinion that was issued -- you will in fact find myriad references to Filburn as controlling precedent.
But Wickard .v. Filburn was nothing less than a complete re-write of the Constitution so as to remove the separation of power between the Federal Government and the States!
The decision held that a farmer who grew a crop for his own internal consumption -- that of his family and his animals on said farm, never entering one grain of same into commerce, was nonetheless subject to federal regulation on how much of said crop he could grow or whether he could grow it at all.
The claim was that because his act of growing same would mean he wouldn't need to buy as much, or none at all, of the same product or something that provided the same benefit (e.g. was food and thus sustained life) that affected interstate commerce.
By this decision the Supreme Court completely tore up the entire Constitution; it rendered literally no subject matter beyond federal regulation. You can, under this premise, have a federal law passed making it illegal for you to have a toilet in your house with the intended effect of forcing you to go down the street and pay $1 to take a crap each time. Why? Because if you have a toilet you will not need to use the public one at $1 for each use as much, or even at all. Since the pipe (for the water!) might travel in interstate commerce this affects same, and thus federal regulation attaches.
So given that precedent, and that the correct and immediate response to that decision was not taken by the States (specifically, to immediately secede and call up their National Guard units to enforce same until and unless the Constitution was restored as the contract with the States had been breached egregiously and without any possibility of recovery through peaceful means) what do you think was going to happen with Obamacare?
Here lies the problem with Kavanaugh -- and all the rest of these black-robed bastards: They know good and ******n well the Constitution prohibits nearly everything in Federal Law today and they don't give a ****.
More to the point neither do you so long as the violations are to your liking! Nowhere is the Federal Government empowered to regulate public schools. There is no Federal Constitutional right to an education -- of any sort. Yet there is title after title bearing on exactly this, forcing expense down the states' throats. The States have constitutional guarantees at the state level for a public educational system but nothing allows federal reach into same.
THE SUPREME COURT DOES NOT HAVE THE POWER TO REWRITE THE CONSTITUTION YET IT ROUTINELY HAS DONE EXACTLY THAT.
The Founders were very specific on creation of a weak federal government and strong states. They did it for the specific reason that they fully expected and anticipated exactly the sort of schism between the people we have today. They expected and designed the federalist system so that 13 (now 50) political laboratories would be empowered to each come up with their own set of rules, regulations, taxes and benefits.
The Federal Government's role was to (1) prevent invasion whether by stealth or force (gee, they're doing that today, right?), (2) to prevent states from trying to rig the outcome of their political experiments by laying what amount to tariffs on goods and services crossing state lines and (3) to protect against infringement of individual rights (all of which pre-exist government and are not granted by same) such as the right to speak, the right to freedom of worship, the right to self-defense (thus the Second Amendment) and the various collection of due process rights such as the right to a trial by jury, to confront one's accuser and to be free from searches and seizures except upon issuance of a warrant containing the specifics of probable cause, and strictly limiting what was to be searched for, and where.
To the extent a state wished to enact a tax and spending program that issued welfare they could. But they couldn't compel any other state to go along with it or pay for it as absolute control of the upper house -- the Senate -- rested in STATE LEGISLATURES. In other words the people had their proportional representation (in the US House) and the State Legislatures had theirs (in the Senate.)
To pass a federal law, say much less a Constitutional Amendment, you needed concurrence of both.
The 17th Amendment ended that. The State Legislatures were permanently stripped of the foundation of their power at the Federal Level -- the requirement that they concur through the Senate before any Federal Law could be passed.
Further, let me point out that at the time of Wickard, and indeed continually both before and since, the US Congress could have constrained the power of the US Supreme Court. Congress has the power to establish tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court (and over which it has appellate jurisdiction), and has (Article I, Sec 8)
But the Constitution also says this in Article 3 Section 2 about Congressional Regulation of the Supremes:
2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
Congress can control the boundaries of any appeal, for instance. And while Congress cannot prevent any case in which Original Jurisdiction rests these are a tiny, in fact vanishingly small, percentage of the whole of what the Supreme Court hears.
But it hasn't.
So what about Kavanaugh personally? Well, he's opined that assault weapon bans are unconstitutional. He's right -- they are and so are all other federal gun laws except those bearing on interstate commerce. Laws banning or regulating, including licensing or permitting, the "keeping and bearing" of arms are black-letter unconstitutional. Period.
But he's also opined that the President is immune from indictment. Uh, no. That's not in the Constitution; I know how he reaches that viewpoint but it simply isn't in the enumerated powers and with good reason. A primary principle of statutory and Constitutional construction is that words that are present mean what they say and those that are omitted cannot be added in; the writers are presumed to have omitted the words you might imagine you'd like to see on purpose. Indeed the founding principle of this nation is that all are created equal. One cannot be equal if one is immune from the legal strictures that apply to anyone else as a consequence of being elected or appointed to a political office. Finally the Constitution is a negative document not just by inference but by actual word in the 10th Amendment; that which is not specifically delegated as a power does not exist at the federal level -- including for federal office holders!
Does Kavanaugh have an excellent intellectual background and ability to reason? Absolutely. But is that the test? It ought not be yet the usual pablum of "obeying the written Constitution" was trotted out by him at the lectern (it is not a podium folks -- learn the difference Mr. President! You stand on a podium, and you speak behind a lectern!) -- which is an utterly common yet blatant and outrageous lie uttered by all Supreme Court nominees.
When you wind it all up what you have here is a nominated man who has the very same idea of making the Constitution read the way he wants it to that Sotomayer and Kagen have -- along with others before them and plenty of robe-wearers right now. Nor can you point to Scalia, who once again "found" things that simply never existed. They simply have a different idea of how they want the Constitution to read.
Yes, it is a fact that actually obeying the dictates of the Constitution means that a huge percentage of the alleged laws on the books -- like 80% of them or more -- simply go "poof" like a fart in a Church. That's how it's supposed to work. Nearly the entire federal gun law set, for example, is unconstitutional. Ditto for the "scheduling" of drugs; Congress knew damn well they had to pass an amendment to ban alcohol. Alcohol is a drug, and a drug of abuse. Well?
Then there's Roe. If you haven't read the actual opinion you should; it has a quite-full exposition on the history of abortion included in it. It's an extraordinarily well documented piece of judicial reasoning, whether you agree with the conclusion (and its limitations; there was no blanket right to abortion contained in the opinion) or not. But Roe, in the end, turns on whether you have an individual right to privacy, which the justices found. Well, if you do and it vests in the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment, how come it hasn't been applied to anything else? Why can a private entity collect all manner of private data and sell it to anyone who they want including the government, without a warrant? Why can the government use a DNA database without a warrant? Why can the government (and it does, by the way, in many if not all states by now) collect DNA from all newborn children and catalog that?
In short how do you have a constitutional right to privacy if you can't actually enforce it anywhere except in the abortion doctor's office?
Cut the bull**** folks. Those screaming on both sides of the aisle are simply demanding that the government put its boot on your neck as they want it to, and not as the other side wants.
NOBODY is arguing for a return to the boundaries of the Constitution, never mind that pesky 17th Amendment we can't get rid of without a revolution.
With that said I predict Kavanaugh will be confirmed -- before the election.
I'm tremendously impressed.
All of Thai boys and their coach are out of the cave, alive.
My read on the odds of this was that they had basically zero chance of success. But both skill and the weather cooperated sufficiently. The only casualty was a SEAL who ran out of air (or had a malfunction of a rebreather; the actual cause hasn't yet been disclosed and may never be.)
The water level dropped sufficiently that most of the path was not underwater on the way out. This was, without question, one of the keys to success. Without it they had no chance -- with it, well, they had actual success.
So on a day when liberals and far-conservatives alike are screaming in horror... there is one piece of good news.
Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said Tuesday he won’t let radicals like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders steal the spirit of the Democratic Party and doubled-down on his attack on fellow liberals who “shunned” him at Martha's Vineyard.
“I won’t let the Democrats steal my party from me. I want to regain the center,” Dershowitz told WABC Radio’s “Curtis and Cosby” show, noting that he will remain a Democrat as “as long as there’s some chance the Democratic Party can return to normalcy.”
Heh look at that -- free speech!
Both in the execution thereof and the refusal thereof.
Funny how one gets protection and the other derision. Yet both are the same, which means it's the person's leaning politically that matters, not whether they're speaking.
“These are people who have asked me for help over the years, who have asked me for support when their kid gets busted on a marijuana charge, or on possession of alcohol, I’m the first one they call,” he added. “But as soon as I defend the rights of Donald Trump or anybody else they disagree with, I’m am a pariah.”
So it took Alan being the target of a refusal to speak before he figured it out.
Take heed folks: That means it works.
Shunning is peaceful, it's legal and it works.
Do you need anything more to understand why this is quite-arguably the most-important tool you have?