December 1st, 2016

The showman president

With the announcement of Trump’s triumphant (Trumphant?) Carrier deal, the word that occurs to me—not for the first time—is “showman.”

That’s not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, by the way. But it’s not something we’ve seen a lot of in recent years.

It’s not that previous presidents haven’t tried. Reagan was good at the speeches, as well as some sweeping gestures (“tear down this wall,” and the firing of the air controllers). Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George Bush were abysmal; Clinton only so-so (playing the sax on TV comes to mind).

Obama tried and sometimes succeeded, particularly during his first campaign. Remember the Greek columns?

obamagreek

And then there were the white coats of Obamacare:

Doctors from all 50 states come to support reform. Watch a powerful new video with interviews of the doctors, or watch the President's remarks. White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 10/5/09

And who could forget George Bush jetting over to an aircraft carrier to give his “Mission Accomplished” speech?

But neither Obama nor Bush seemed to me to be especially accomplished at it, although Obama was better than Bush (your mileage may differ). It wasn’t exactly their natural metier, shall we say.

But this is the water in which Trump swims. This is his most comfortable place to be: the showman, in the spotlight. He’s been doing it for his entire life.

That’s one of the reasons Trump preferred enormous rallies, and was relaxed when giving lengthy speeches without a teleprompter and ad-libbing extensively. He likes the spectacle of it all and realizes the important of the gesture and the symbol. And despite his more “presidential” demeanor since his election, I doubt this aspect of his personality will fade during his presidency; au contraire. And he understands the elements of surprise, of timing.

The Trump Carrier episode has many aspects—potential problems, and potential upsides. You can read about a great many of them here. But the saving of the Carrier jobs in Indiana is symbolic, too (although it’s not the least bit symbolic to the workers themselves). Trump is trying to convey a number of things about himself, for example that he keeps his word (something he certainly has not always done in the past). That he cares about the “little people, the forgotten ones.” That he can work a deal, just as he said he could. That he’s a man of action. That he’s a man of quick and decisive and successful action.

As this article points out, the Carrier deal is the tip of the iceberg; the problem is much broader, and Trump may not be able to solve it. Nor are Trump’s solutions in the particular situation posed by Carrier magical; they probably have come from a combination of special tax incentives from the state (a common form of government favoritism) and threats from the feds.

But Trump the showman isn’t trying to show us how the sausage is made. The showman wants us to experience how good it tastes. There’s a danger in that and a value in that, and it’s a goodly part of why Trump got elected.

I am not naive about elected officials, nor about government. I don’t expect a whole lot from Trump, even if he turns out to be a much better president than I ever expected (so far, as president-elect, he’s certainly been better than I expected). I don’t expect him to be able to work miracles, or to actually solve the enormous problems we face. It would suffice if he didn’t make them worse, and if he helped create improvements in a number of situations that have been getting worse for decades. Now, that would be a show I’d like to watch.

96 Responses to “The showman president”

  1. Cornhead Says:

    Trump gets this from his WWE days which predates his TV show. His dad was the sand way promoting real estate.

  2. Big Maq Says:

    Words that come to mind…

    “But wait! There’s more!… Act now!/Limited time only!… Operators standing by!

  3. carl in atlanta Says:

    Don’t forget about the Barnum-Trump Connection acknowledged by Mr. Trump during a January 2016 appearance on Meet the Press.

    I find it to be downright refreshing; kind of like those old (and now classic) Joe Isuzu commercials!

  4. Artfldgr Says:

    thats my opinion, which is worth nothing…

    on another note:
    Trump’s Objection to MI Recount
    (Jill Stein Didn’t Notarize Her Request LOL)
    http://www.michigan.gov/documents/sos/Objection_to_Recount_Petition_544089_7.pdf

  5. T Says:

    Scott Adams also points out that the Ford and Carrier situations are also an opportunity to make a first impression; that is, a first presidential impression. Adams point, with which I agree, is that first impressions color much of our future thinking about a person or situation and that this is an attempt to establish the character of the Trump administration.

    Link:

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/153905823756/the-new-ceos-first-moves-and-trump

    Also FWIT, there is an interesting article by Walter Russell Mead looking at the potential of a Trump administration.

    Link:

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/11/27/trumps-path-to-mount-rushmore/

  6. junior Says:

    I don’t know that W. Bush’s carrier scene was necessarily intentional, at least with the carrier thing. It got played that way by the press after Iraq ran longer than anyone had anticipated, of course. But I don’t know that it was intentional showmanship.

    A better example, I suspect, might be his actions immediately following 9/11 when he gave the speech in New York, and when The Battle Hymn of the Republic was played at the National Cathedral.

    As for Trump, the spectacle is still going on. Witness his tweets about a flag burning law, which the USSC has already ruled unconstitutional in the past. But as people have noted, making that tweet had the nice bonus of causing Trump’s opponents to attack Trump over an issue in which the public naturally sympathizes with Trump’s stated position.

  7. Cornhead Says:

    The MSM complaining about $700k in tax savings is laughable.

    Trump and Pence acted. Obama did nothing. Yes, it was just one company but Obama has seen a flight of jobs. Reducing our 35% corporate tax rate would have done wonders.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Artfldgr:

    I’ve explained the rules many times.

  9. DNW Says:

    Trumphant?)

    Trumphiant

  10. neo-neocon Says:

    junior:

    It was intentional showmanship. From that Wiki link:

    On May 1, 2003, Bush became the first sitting President to arrive in an arrested landing in a fixed-wing aircraft on an aircraft carrier[3][4] when he arrived at the USS Abraham Lincoln in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, dubbed Navy One, as the carrier lay just off the San Diego coast, having returned from combat operations in the Persian Gulf. He posed for photographs with pilots and members of the ship’s crew while wearing a flight suit…

    Writing in The Wall Street Journal Lisa Schiffren, a former speechwriter for former vice president Dan Quayle, praised Bush for appearing not only “really hot” but “credible as a commander in chief. But mostly ‘hot’ as in virile, sexy and powerful.”[5] However, Bush was criticized for the historic jet landing on the carrier as an overly theatrical and expensive stunt. For instance, it was pointed out that the carrier was well within range of Bush’s helicopter, and that a jet landing was not needed.[6] Originally the White House had stated that the carrier was too far off the California coast for a helicopter landing and a jet would be needed to reach it.

  11. T Says:

    “the nice bonus of causing Trump’s opponents to attack Trump over an issue in which the public naturally sympathizes” [junior @ 4:18]

    A bonus, or the very reason for the tweet?

    I have said on this blog before, and I repeat, I beleive that Trump counts on being “misunderestimated.”

    People always say that when your adversary is digging a hole, don’t interfere. It seems that Trump, OTOH, keeps providing his adversaries with more shovels . . . and they keep using them to continue digging.

  12. Brian E Says:

    “Nor are Trump’s solutions in the particular situation posed by Carrier magical; they probably have come from a combination of special tax incentives from the state (a common form of government favoritism) and threats from the feds.”- Neo

    Nothing magical at all about negotiating tax relief for a corporation to keep jobs in a state, and the fact you view it as a “common form of government favoritism” tells me you haven’t done the math.

    1000 jobs x $50,000= $50,000,000 annually. Indiana’s income tax is 3.3% on AGI. Indiana’s sales tax is 7%.

    Assume AGI on gross wages is $30,000= $30,000,000 x 3.3%= $9.3 million. Assume $10,000 is used to purchase taxable items in Indiana. $700 x 1000= $700,000.

    So the state derives $10 million in income from these 1,000 jobs plus property taxes, etc. and it cost them $700,000.

    You might argue these people would just get a job doing something else. They may, but they may also have to leave the state, depending on the economy. They may get jobs at a lower wage. They may spend a year or so on unemployment and job re-training.

    Those have a high cost also.

    It’s a net win for the state of Indiana.

    This was a stop-gap solution, and hopefully legislation will come from Congress making our manufacturing sector more competitive.

    We need manufacturing in this country.

    It’s only 1,000 jobs, but reviving this economy with 1,000 individual efforts to save 1,000 jobs, or bring new jobs back to this country will make a huge difference. Remember, for every job saved in that plant, there are multiple supporting businesses that employ people.

    As to the threats, that’s pure speculation on your part (I notice you used the code word “probably”). I would suggest that “probably not” is closer to the truth, given the bidding processes the government uses.

  13. Roy Lofquist Says:

    How do you build a brick wall? One brick at a time. This, of course, is beneath the dignity of the masters of the universe. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has built lots of walls, and buildings, and such.

  14. Brian E Says:

    “However, Bush was criticized for the historic jet landing on the carrier as an overly theatrical and expensive stunt.”

    Of course it was theatrics. So what? He was trained to fly a F-105, so sitting in the co-pilot’s seat probably brought back fond memories. He even took the stick, I understand.

    It was a great moment, ruined by the sign “Mission Accomplished” in the background. That was what he was ridiculed for, even though the sign, I believe, was meant for the crew of the returning carrier, USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

  15. Brian E Says:

    Whoops. Bush flew a F-102.

  16. Jim Doherty Says:

    Come on Brian.

    He does not need to threaten, he just needs to ask them how much they currently have under contract to the DOD, they will imagine the worst and fold like a cheap tent. And why not?

    The trumpkins want revenge. They have been called every name in the book, and threatened with jail for everything from baking cakes for gays to buying insurance they dont need or want.

    Trump and bannon have more of a feel for what they want than you or I have right now. So if they want to threaten to satisfy the people who put them in office, Obama made it cool first.

    And here is the thing, Trump didnt even get near half of them. How many union families switched this election ya figure? Not many but enough to squeak by sure.
    There is a lot more of them in the rustbelt to go get. Trump is going to go after them over the next 4 years.

    And Virginia went blue again. After they allowed felons to vote and have a record number of people working for the govt. Cut fed jobs by 5% and gut the lobbyist power and virginia goes back to red.

    Nevada and Colorado are easy, start arresting employers who knowingly employ illegals. LEt the media show them getting ffrog marched in their orange jumpsuits. Colorado and Nevada goes back to red.

    Somone who is not afraid to get just as nasty as the democrats, and has the power of the Presidency can get a whole lot even without explicit threats. All he/she needs is people who believe the threat ir real. And with a media that paints you as an inhuman monster everyday, kinda makes it easy.

    I thought Trump would fail because he would try to pander to the left. I dunno now. I think he is gonna make Obama look like a piker when it comes to using the power of the Presidency. Just do not think he will have to all that overt about it. Just lookin across the table at them will make them piss their panties, thanks to the media’s constant demagogry. (crap I cant spell that word)

  17. Paul in Boston Says:

    Trump also seems to listen and learn. I heard a bit of his speech this pm and what struck me is that he talked not just about tax cuts for business, but also about the executives’ complaints to him about regulations that were onerous but produced no real improvements in safety, etc. at the expense of creating more product and jobs.

    This isn’t new, the CEO of Intel once said the cost of regulations in the US drove them overseas, not the US wages. Similarly, one of the founders of Home Depot said they couldn’t start it in today’s regulatory climate.

    Listen to Trump’s speech, it’s quite striking. Elizabeth Warren, aka, Princess Hunts at Whole Foods, is probably going to be apoplectic about the attack on regulation once she gets the transcript.

  18. Brian E Says:

    Jim Doherty,

    Neo suggested threats, not me.

    I do think the future bully pulpit is a powerful tool and UTX didn’t need the bad publicity so the $700,000/yr tax incentives made it a win-win for everyone.

    Do I think will it take only took $700,000 a year in cost savings to make the plant profitable? Probably not.

    At least Trump will use that pulpit to defend American workers. Remember when Obama had that beer summit with the cop and the professor? Now that was a teaching moment. /s

  19. parker Says:

    TIF agreements are a commonly used tool, as I noted on yesterday’s thread discussing the Carrier deal, and as Brian E expunds, a TIF agreement can be beneficial. Sometimes the result of a TIF agreement backfires because the negotiation failed to factor how long the deal should last.

    Bottom line, I agree with Brian E, this doesn’t look like cronyism in this particular case. Solyndra was crony capitalism that resulted in bankruptcy. Cronyism is a YUGE problem, And, I have no doubt Trump has dirty hands, but not this time. Indiana officials, not Trump, produced this deal.

  20. Jim Doherty Says:

    I think the way they are going after Bannon is not racism or anything like that. I think they know this guy wants to gut them like a fish. Now by calling him everything but a white man, pun intended, they have lost the ability to scream when he really drives the dagger into the democrats. Wait until they kill forced union dues in blue states like Cali, NY, NJ etc.

  21. Oldflyer Says:

    Carpers will carp; but, it was an inspired action. (Habitual readers know that I have not praised Trump often.)

    Deals require dealing; but, a message has been underscored; a tangible result has been achieved. .

    Trump is off to a very good start IMO. On another topic, I read one prognosticator today say that he will not nominate Romney for SOS because the blow back from his base would be too severe; but, that the rapprochement is genuine. If he can get Romney to take another post, it could cross the divide with the GOPe. Same source threw Joe Lieberman’s name into the SOS hat. There is a wild card. Take that Dems.

    Now, if he will appoint Palin to Energy (preferred), Interior or EPA it will really blow some progressive circuit breakers.

  22. Richard Saunders Says:

    Junior — gee whiz, I didn’t know that once the Supreme Court makes a decision, it can’t be challenged or even criticized. Tell those Brown v. Board of Education people to sit down and shut up!

  23. Frog Says:

    A definition of “showman” is, and I quote, “a person skilled in dramatic or entertaining presentation, performance, or publicity.” Dramatic or entertaining.
    For me, Reagan was not a showman. He was sincere and was a superb communicator, making showmanship unnecessary.
    Carter was a buffoon. He failed at showmanship, even when he tried to visually replicate FDR’s fireside chats wearing one of Mr. Roger’s sweaters.
    Clinton was a showman: playing the sax on late night TV. Entertaining, and somewhat dramatic. The fallback of a shallow man.
    Bush’s carrier landing was his one showman stunt. An admirable one.
    Obama was and is a fraud. I am fairly confident his help set up the Greek columns and other symbols of narcissism. Entertaining? Dramatic? Do those words fit the sinister snake that is Obama?
    Trump proved his showmanship in the debates and in his campaign, to obviously productive effect. Neo didn’t like him then and doesn’t like him now. She seems not to expect much good from his presidency. But remember the alternative! Yet his cabinet nominations seem very sound, except for Mrs. Mitch McConnell, an odd pick, so Trump seems off to a good start.

  24. Larry G. Says:

    Neo…this article is beneath you. I am really disappointed in your petty snipping. You sound like John Batchelor, who claimed to be a Republican, but never once had a good word to say about Trump. Hilarious to here him suck it up and give reality a big kiss!

  25. Ralph Kinney Bennett Says:

    Yes, there’s some “show” here. Good. I know, it’s “only” 1100 jobs, blah, blah, blah, he’s using “tax incentives” (The Horror!), blah, blah, blah. The point is, Trump did something and made a show of it, while Obama, with pen and phone has been quietly destroying jobs through excessive environmental regulations etc. The contrast of Trump at Carrier with Josh Earnest at the White House issuing deprecatory remarks about what a small gesture this was compared with all Obama has supposedly done (let’s not dwell on his thumb-sucked “figures) is very telling.

  26. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    The Showman or should I say, promoter sure has the audience bought in. He has proposed a few loyalists and reliable GOP regulars to mostly lower tier posts so far while toying with the big posts. It’s not hard to look good when you appoint most of the same people a President Cruz or Rubio would have done. But look behind the curtain and you see the same cramped personality that was apparent in the campaign. He appears to be poised to appoint mostly Goldman Sachs alumni to key financial positions. Recall that Goldman people would not do deals with him in his business ventures because of his unreliability and propensity to litigate with his partners. Now Donald can get them all to grovel before him. Yes the groveling is done in private but it is still done to please the King.

    His public pondering on how to deal with his conflicts of interest in business masks that his business is really not that complex. Disposing by sale of a handful of hotels and golf courses is a routine matter in the business world. His sales of branded trademarks is worth less money but will have to be liquidated if he is to be at all honest. But he has to maintain the illusion that Trump brands is something more than any number of Indian Immigrant hotel magnates have done around the world. Without his puffing, he will look much smaller in the public and world’s eyes, you need something more to bring to the Presidency. He doesn’t have it

  27. Frog Says:

    DirtyJobsGuy is jealous.
    Build and sell some high-rise stuff in NYC for a profit. I double dare you. Report back in ten years.
    For that matter, what exactly is wrong with nominating (not appointing) the same people Cruz would have appointed? Are they good people or not?

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    Larry G:

    Maybe you should reread the post. Strangely enough, it’s not critical of Trump. He is a showman, and has been all his life, and (as I pointed out, just so no one would misunderstand what I was saying) [emphasis added]:

    [Being a showman is] not necessarily a good thing or a bad thing, by the way. But it’s not something we’ve seen a lot of in recent years.

    It’s not that previous presidents haven’t tried. [And then I discuss the very laudable President Reagan as an example]…

    But Trump the showman isn’t trying to show us how the sausage is made. The showman wants us to experience how good it tastes. There’s a danger in that and a value in that, and it’s a goodly part of why Trump got elected.

    In other words (just to make it crystal clear, one more time)—being a showman is not inherently bad, in a president or otherwise.

    Then my last paragraph was basically praising Trump.

    I have noticed, over and over and over on the part of commenters here and elsewhere, extreme sensitivity and the propensity to take offense when Trump is discussed. Why is that? What is it that made you think this was a post that was critical of Trump?

    And what if I were being critical? I’ve certainly been critical of him many times in the past, and expect to do so many times in the future, just as I would with anyone I care to write about, if I see something to criticize.

    What’s the big deal? Why would that be “beneath me”? Those are somewhat rhetorical questions, I suppose, but I really don’t get where you’re coming from.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Frog:

    Sincerity and showmanship are not mutually exclusive. As an actor, believe me, Reagan knew how to present himself when he was president. He knew how to be dramatic and theatrical—watch the “tear down this wall!” speech if you don’t think so. But that doesn’t mean he also wasn’t sincere.

    One can also be very sincere and well-meaning and not at all a showman, and the message doesn’t get across that well.

    And, as I wrote to “Larry G” in my comment above this one, I don’t see why you think this post is especially critical of Trump (and I pointed out why it is not). Actually—having been a little bit of a performer myself—I appreciate some showmanship now and then. But the true value of it is in what it’s in the service of.

    And yes, a “sinister snake” can be a showman. It makes the snake much more effective. Did you never hear the quote “one may smile, and smile, and be a villain”? People who think a lot of Obama find him very charming and entertaining in his presentation.

  30. Vanderleun Says:

    “His public pondering on how to deal with his conflicts of interest in business masks that his business is really not that complex. ”

    Says somebody posting from a yurt with just one bag of curdled yogurt to his name.

    I’m here to tell you that building any building in New York City is more complicated than you could possibly imagine if you had any imagination at all.

    I’ve seen the process of negotiating a tenth of an acre of land in Manhattan. You want to do that? Pack a lunch. Pack five years of lunch. You’ll need a snack. And that’s just to buy it. Want to build something?

    Contemplate obtaining the permits from the city, the state, the EPA….

  31. neo-neocon Says:

    Brian E:

    At the link it says Bush didn’t fly the plane. He was a passenger.

  32. neo-neocon Says:

    Brian E:

    You misunderstood that entire paragraph of mine that you are criticizing, the one about the incentives and the threats.

    Here’s the paragraph again:

    As this article points out, the Carrier deal is the tip of the iceberg; the problem is much broader, and Trump may not be able to solve it. Nor are Trump’s solutions in the particular situation posed by Carrier magical; they probably have come from a combination of special tax incentives from the state (a common form of government favoritism) and threats from the feds.

    Note the link to “this article.” Everything else in that paragraph is a summary of the article.

    Here are some quotes from the article:

    One aspect of the deal is that Carrier is getting some new tax incentives from the state of Indiana, whose governor happens to be Mike Pence, who happens to be the vice president-elect of the United States. Companies shake down state governments for corporate welfare all the time, and it’s fairly common for state governments to give in. The Carrier story is clearly a bit more than that — an earlier round of negotiations along these lines had failed to convince Carrier to stay — but it also seems to include a heavy dose of this kind of fairly banal state politics simply being elevated to a big new level.

    Another aspect of the deal is that Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, is a major defense contractor. John Mutz, a former lieutenant governor of the state who now chairs the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, tells the Indianapolis Business Journal that the main factor was fear that angering Trump would jeopardizing defense contracts.

    Big companies generally try to play an influence-peddling game. They often do that by hiring lobbyists who have ties to important politicians or by donating to important politicians’ election campaigns. The free media Trump is going to garner from this deal is worth many, many millions of dollars of television ads, so letting Trump have his win could simply be a highly cost-effective way to earn some goodwill from the president-elect.

    When I link to things I do so for a reason, and I hope that people will follow the links for a fuller understanding. I realize they don’t always do that, but it helps when you do it.

  33. neo-neocon Says:

    vanderleun:

    Ah, but making just one bag of curdled yogurt is more complicated than you could possibly imagine if you had any imagination at all.

    But a yurt—easy-peasy:

  34. OM Says:

    DirtyJobsGuy;

    interesting point of view on Trump’s business holdings and inactions taken so far; it must be a YuGE, GLOBAL, AWESOME task to unravel it all and deal with Donald’s interests.(S)

    off topic somewhat but I’m thinking that a lot of this drama in the last few weeks is all about keeping the ‘marks’ guessing about what Donald really is going to do; Romney or not, climate change or not, etc, and then of course there is the Goldman Sachs thing. Which of course must be ignored.

    Neo is right about the showman aspect of all this.

  35. Brian E Says:

    “Bush said he did take a turn at piloting the craft.
    “Yes, I flew it. Yeah, of course, I liked it,” said Bush, who was an F-102 fighter pilot in the Texas Air National Guard after graduating from Yale University in 1968.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/05/01/bush.carrier.landing/

    He didn’t land the plane obviously, but he did take the controls. Flying a plane is fairly easy. It’s landing the plane that’s the hard part– especially on a moving landing field.

    I did forget that he did say that major operations were over during the speech, which turned out to be slightly optimistic.
    And of course the leftists chant of ‘you broke it, you fix it’ that made the job in Iraq even harder. It’s funny you didn’t hear the same criticism when the Obama administration broke Libya.

    —–

    “John Mutz, a former lieutenant governor of the state who now chairs the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, tells the Indianapolis Business Journal that the main factor was fear that angering Trump would jeopardizing defense contracts.”

    Doesn’t mean any threats were made.

  36. J.J Says:

    Trump’s business interests are complex and a real estate empire put on a hurried sale would bring reduced prices. I don’t think anyone realistically expects Trump to do that.

    Judge Napolitano (Fox News legal eagle) says it is entirely legal for trump to retain control of and even run his businesses while President. In other words, there is no law against it. This situation has never presented itself before so there is no guidance. They have good legal minds working on how to turn the control over to his children and maintain an arm’s length or hands off posture with his children while Trump is President.

    My solution would be to hire an auditor to continuously audit any Trump business issues that are affected by government policy while his children are in control and make sure that any government decisions are decided in the open. IMO, total transparency would go a long way to prevent conflicts of interest or cronyism. Can it be done? We’ll see.

    What is refreshing to me is Trump’s obvious drive to get things done. He’s going to have a lot of obstacles to his plans, but he exudes confidence and drive – the marks of a good leader. He may yet come a cropper, but so far he’s doing very well, very well indeed.

  37. mollyNH Says:

    Neo, didn’t you run into a lib voter who said regarding
    Trump’s election ” It’s going to be fun!”
    And there is Gingrich’s assessment. Part Andrew Jackson, part Teddy Roosevelt and part P T Barnum.

  38. Sergey Says:

    Still Berlusconi was better at showmanship, so Trump has a good example to follow and impove over his performance. The state of the mass culture is such that only circus has the proper style and appeal to communicate with the audience.

  39. Tom G Says:

    Both showman AND Master Persuader (Scott Adams). The show is for the Dem media, and the persuasion is for the undecideds.

    Ya, Trump’s as big a narcissist as Obama, or bigger — but being without firm political principles, it looks to me he wants successful movement, fast. It’s a GREAT move for a new CEO.

    From Adams: ” Facts don’t matter. What matters is how you feel. And when you watch Trump and Pence fight and scratch to keep jobs in this country, it changes how you will feel about them for their entire term. This is a big win for Trump/Pence disguised as a small win.”

    I’m very, very interested in how Trump goes about “persuading Neo-Neocon” that … he belongs on Rushmore.

    Neo’s responses were clearly those of an open-minded undecided trying to make sense of Trump & what Trump actually does. This was another fine, thoughtful post — like so many before.

    “realizes the important of the gesture and the symbol.” << tiny typo "importance" or "import"

  40. Sergey Says:

    Even before taking the office, Trump already achieved more than we can reasonably hope for. The bubble of Progressivism prickled, ideological emptiness of it exposed, Democrat party routed at all levels of government and completely demoralized. But in every revolution coming to power and overthrowing ossified and impotent ancient regime is always the easiest part of the job. To organize efficient governance is much harder. Even more hard is the cementing the gains by ensure culture revolution: reclaiming media, academia, education, mass culture and entertainment industry. The final touch, the seal of success, would be creating a new Big Style in everything: fashion, architecture, furniture design, pottery, interior decoration, theater, music, etc. Then we can be able to confirm that the madness of the 20 century is at last overcome and undone.

  41. jms Says:

    What Trump is doing right now goes beyond showmanship. He is communicating his values and priorities to the government bureaucracy. Any time a new CEO comes into an organization, all their subordinates begin the process of finding out what the new boss wants. What sort of results does he want to see. What makes the boss happy. What makes my job secure and leads to promotion.

    Sending that tweet on Thanksgiving day was no fluke. His message was that his priority is preventing the loss of American industrial blue collar jobs. His message to the line-bureaucrats was loud and clear. “Here I am, on YOUR paid holiday, working to save a thousand blue collar jobs, because this is actually important and I’m serious about it.”

    This is a bald reversal of Obama’s priorities and policies. Obama wants carbon reduction and environmentalism at all costs. If the price to be paid is job destruction, that’s OK with him and every regulatory bureaucrat knows that full and well. Under a CEO with that priority, no bureaucrat in their right mind is going to work to preserve jobs. Not only will they not be rewarded for their efforts, but the bureaucrat in the next room might well kill the company off anyway and get praised for doing it. The loud and clear message behind Trump’s actions is that any bureaucrat that kills off manufacturing jobs is going to make him angry, and that new attitude is intended to travel up and down the chain of command. Watch for a culture change within the Federal Government with regard to protecting and promoting industrial job creation and preservation.

    It was a really good move.

  42. Mike Perry Says:

    Trump as a showman may matter more than perhaps anything else he could do.

    My gut instinct is that federal and state involvement in the woes of our Rust Belt will only deal with about ten percent of the problems. There’s just so much that can be done with subsidies before the money runs out.

    The other ninety percent will have to come from the people themselves. That means individuals, companies, and communities who conclude that someone ‘out there’ finally cares about them and will quit building roadblocks in their lives. They will then take the initiative to build businesses themselves.

    Trump touring the states that pushed him over the top to say thank you illustrates that. If Hillary had won with their vote, would she have done a ‘thank you’ tour? No, she’d have visited, out of the spotlight of a compliant media, all the rich people who funded her campaign. She’d sure they knew that what they’d bought would be delivered.

  43. SDN Says:

    “This situation has never presented itself before so there is no guidance.”

    Actually, it presented itself from George Washington onwards, when Washington continued to manage Mount Vernon, including selling its’ products to foreign merchants.

  44. Artfldgr Says:

    dont worry about the ostentatious stuff, no one will be here to care about it but the imported!!!!!!!

    Decline of America’s white population accelerating, study finds
    http://thehill.com/homenews/news/308357-decline-of-americas-white-population-accelerating-study-finds

    Do note how many times they keep asserting its NATURAL!!! NINE TIMES!!!!

    The percentage of the U.S. population that is white has decreased from 79.6 percent in 1980 to 61.9 percent in 2014.

    The percentage of Latino Americans has increased from 6.4 percent to 17.3 percent over the same time period

    -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

    problem solved… Feminism is a mental demographic bomb that removes the population just as sure as bombs and ovens do… but, unlike bombs and ovens there is no swing back to recovery.

    so you wont have to worry much…

    20 percentage points in one generation

    enjoy talking about the big show
    its the swan song of western civ
    feminism isnt the future, because they dont have enough babies to exist as a force AFTER islamic and imported welfare births exceed them..

    then what?

  45. Artfldgr Says:

    That’s the largest number of states to experience a natural decrease in the white population in American history [not natural… feminism dominates in what population?]

    naturally increasing populations among Latino voters was sufficient to offset the declining white population [not natural, importing millions of spanish make this happen]

    Whites experienced natural declines mostly in Northeastern, Western and Southern states, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Natural decline among white populations has been happening for decades

    Researchers found more recent natural decreases occurring in more urban areas in states like New Jersey, Arizona and Massachusetts

    there is little chance that the decreases will reverse: Studies routinely find that once a natural decrease begins, it is unlikely to reverse itself

    Natural decrease is the ultimate demographic consequence of population aging, low fertility, and a diminishing proportion of the childbearing-age population,” researchers Rogelio Saenz and Kenneth Johnson wrote.

    “The rapid rise in the number of U.S. states experiencing white natural decrease reflects the demographic changes underway.”
    [edited for length by n-n]

  46. Artfldgr Says:

    WHen he war starts do you think it will end the population as the women get killed fighting? or do you think the immigrants will stay and die for the US they hate?

    just curious…

  47. OM Says:

    Shortened Art:

    We’re all gonna die. but especially white people, as opposed to Western culture, and don’t look under your bed (that’s where the monsters are.)

  48. Brian E Says:

    Very insightful comments on this thread.

    Neo, I understand you remain skeptical about Trump, but I do think your post, whether intentional or not, came across as dismissive of this obvious win for the Trump administration.

    Not quite Larry G territory, but critical in your praise– unless your inner Trump is showing– troll your readers to overreact to your posts, all the while enjoying the….chaos! 🙂

  49. Big Maq Says:

    “It’s a net win for the state of Indiana.

    This was a stop-gap solution, and hopefully legislation will come from Congress making our manufacturing sector more competitive.

    We need manufacturing in this country.

    It’s only 1,000 jobs, but reviving this economy with 1,000 individual efforts to save 1,000 jobs, or bring new jobs back to this country will make a huge difference. Remember, for every job saved in that plant, there are multiple supporting businesses that employ people.” – Brian

    Couldn’t hire a better speech writer for bernie sanders. 😉

    Your “math” logic could be used to justify a McDonald’s on practically every corner.

    Well, maybe not that far, but it certainly is at play for many similar government “investments” that are questionable (in their economic justifications vs political motivations), such as football stadiums and other sports venues.

    Still, it only favors a few of the jobs. Many still get lost if they don’t get redirected elsewhere in the company:

    Some 1,300 jobs will still go to Mexico, which includes 600 Carrier employees, plus 700 workers from UTEC Controls in Huntington, Ind. The company has plans in place to offer displaced workers employment and relocation in UTC’s aerospace business, or to provide funding for reeducation.”
    http://fortune.com/2016/11/30/donald-trump-carrier-deal-jobs/
    .

    Similar “logic” is used for TIFs to justify, for example, an incentive plan for Cabela’s new location, but leaves their local competitor, Texas Outdoors, already on the ground, in the cold. And, it is incentivizes eminent domain abuses.
    http://reclaimdemocracy.org/tax_increment_financing/

    So, it may all be “palatable” because it is done in the name of one of “our” favored “causes”, but is this really effective policy, or is it effectively picking our own “winners” and “losers” in a game of political theater?
    .

    IOW is it just crony capitalism, but with a different leader feeding a different set of mouths, attempting to make themselves look good in the process?

    “Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state interventionism.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crony_capitalism
    .

    Slippery slope… When elections change the hands in power, while these tools of power remain in place, they will just be (ab)used in the opposite direction.

    Rinse, Repeat. 😲

    Nobody ever stops to think that maybe, just maybe, this (escalating) cycle is, as a whole, destructive, if not a barrier to a strong economy that would “float all boats”… that maybe, just maybe, leaving this kind of power in place creates the wrong incentive for the wrong kinds of people to gravitate towards political leadership.

    There is always some “reason” somebody has for justifying big government to remain BIG. 🙁

  50. Big Maq Says:

    @OM – ever since I was a child there were people who claim the world to be soon ending one way or another.

    They always saw one or another set of facts, when stratospherically extrapolated, leads to some huge war that ends humanity, or, at least, eliminates or devastates “our side” at the hands of the “evil others”.

    Suspect this has been true for several millennium, and, sooner or later, they may be “proven right”. But, their siren gets lost in the cacophony of other wolf cries of pending doom, with their similarly clairvoyant generalities, based on such assumed tortured facts.

  51. Brian E Says:

    “The company has plans in place to offer displaced workers employment and relocation in UTC’s aerospace business, or to provide funding for reeducation.”

    ——

    So are these new jobs in Indiana? How much will the government be paying for the reeducation programs? And what manufacturing jobs will they then fill? Windmill manufacturers?

    In this particular instance, it’s in Indiana’s best interest to offer the tax incentive.
    And yes the optics benefit the president-elect.

    Here’s some details about the decision:

    “In summary, the “math” works out to $636 per year per job saved in tax savings: hardly an egregious sum, and one which could likely be extended to other companies (unless, of course, those other companies decide to hold Trump hostage and demand escalating pay schedules) if and when Trump’s fiscal stimulus package is implemented.”

    http://www.teaparty.org/details-behind-trumps-deal-carrier-revealed-203759/

  52. Brian E Says:

    More from the link:

    “Conveniently, we now have the details.
    As Fortune reports, citing a source close to the company, Trump called Greg Hayes, CEO of Carrier’s parent company United Technologies, two weeks ago and asked him to rethink the decision to close the Carrier plant in Indiana. Hayes explained that the jobs were lower-wage and had high turnover, and the move was necessary to keep the plant competitive, according to the source. He said the plan would save the company $65 million a year.
    Trump then replied that those savings would be dwarfed by the savings UTC would enjoy from corporate tax-rate reductions he planned to put in place. During the recent campaign, Trump threatened to slap tariffs on Carrier imports from Mexico.”

    We can’t save every job. But creating a regulatory environment and tax structure that recognizes the global competition, we can restore a thriving manufacturing segment to the economy.

  53. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq,

    Think of this as Crony American Capitalism, where I’m going to favor American workers over Mexican workers, or Chinese workers, or Vietnamese workers.

    I’m going to favor a tax and regulatory structure that incentivizes American jobs.

    You bet. I’m in favor of picking winners. And the winners will be American workers.

    Are you with me? Are you with the Americans?

  54. neo-neocon Says:

    Brian E:

    Then you think wrong, and you have trouble with understanding what I’ve written.

    There was nothing “dismissive” about it. I looked at possible pluses and minuses in the deal. And I had good things to say about showmanship, mostly, and said Trump understood symbolism and timing.

    I think you need to examine your own preconceptions and try to be more objective, yourself. I’m not saying that to be snarky; I mean it seriously.

  55. Brian E Says:

    “Your “math” logic could be used to justify a McDonald’s on practically every corner.”

    I’m all for it. Let’s offer tax incentives– like reducing tax rates for all businesses. Let’s reward successful entrepreneurs.

    I don’t eat at McDonalds, except when the grandkids drag us there to play on the toys.

    McDonalds is going to ordering kiosks as a result of states raising minimum wages to ridiculous levels. Jobs like McDonalds were designed for part-time and entry level workers.

  56. Brian E Says:

    Neo,
    I enjoy reading your blog, because I enjoy a variety of POV’s.
    I think you’ve been too hard on Trump the businessman, but then you’re a lot closer to the Trump empire than I am.

  57. Big Maq Says:

    “We can’t save every job. But creating a regulatory environment and tax structure that recognizes the global competition, we can restore a thriving manufacturing segment to the economy.” – Brian

    1) Well, by replying with this, you make it seem like I’m opposed to this idea.

    Not in the least!

    My idea IS to reduce regulations that overall have been burdening our economy, AND reduce the tax burden (rates and complexity). Even leftist Larry Summers see this as a huge issue:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442467/infrastructure-spending-bipartisan-congress-will-spend

    2) The manufacturing sector IS thriving. That’s the misconception (lie) we are being told.

    Two things are happening:

    A) Manufacturing output in the US has been growing, and but for a blip in 2008, has been growing at an increasing clip in real terms.

    B) Yet, manufacturing employment has been steadily dropping.

    Look at the charts here from BEA and BLS own data:
    https://mjperry.blogspot.com/2012/04/phenomenal-gains-in-manufacturing.html
    .

    How can manufacturing continue to increase, while related jobs decline?

    Could it be technological revolution?
    .

    Here is another similar look at the matter:
    http://www.econmatters.com/2011/06/us-manufacturing-v-shaped-recovery.html

    One could, and should, argue that the manufacturing industry is HEALTHY.
    .

    Lest you continue to think that somehow the US is still “losing out”, this is a world wide trend:
    https://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/04/decline-of-manufacturing-is-global.html

    That the entire world is effectively spending less of it’s wealth on the manufacturing side of the product and services we all collectively receive, allows us to collectively enjoy the ability to spend more on other product and services.
    .

    Which brings us back to a point I made many moons ago…

    Yes, there is displacement where large numbers of people lose jobs over time.

    So, the question isn’t really, do we need to stop trade or negotiate better trade deals, or impose sanctions on companies that manufacture abroad / give special incentives to manufacture domestically, as that addresses the wrong problem to begin with, and would then be a HUGE waste of resources, aside from the corrupting aspect to all this.

    It seems to me that the folks affected need training for the new opportunities, and may need to move to where those jobs are (it sucks, but I’ve done it many times).

    If there were to be a place for government involvement, wouldn’t it be in providing incentives for this?

    If so, how does one discern those folks from everyone else who faces a dynamic economy and loses their job as part of that dynamic process?

    What do you do with those who ignore it all as they just want their old job back (which you know will never happen)?

  58. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian – btw, it seems to me that Neo has been holding back very much on trump.

    He has a honeymoon, and has in many ways lost a lot of respect during his campaign with many would-be GOP voters (who were replaced by the Rust Belt dem voters). He needs to use that honeymoon to earn that respect back.

    I am skeptically taking something of a wait and see. But I do have concerns, particularly of things like active “industrial policy” which you seem to favor – which just buys us more of the same big government.

    Also skeptical of things like “draining the swamp” by hiring Goldman Sachs to his admin, and having less than an ethically arm’s length relationship with his business.

    But, as Neo has said, “We’ll see”.

  59. The Other Chuck Says:

    Whoa, have I entered a website dedicated to fawning praise of all things Donald? As he takes a page from Obama with a victory lap and apparent 24/7 political campaigning, are we getting a glimpse of the future which is to be a replay of the past 8 years of incessant narcissism? As he wraps himself in the flag no criticism is allowed lest it be deemed unpatriotic, not unlike how Obama used his race to blunt criticism. Goldman Sachs at Treasury. Of course! Shovel ready jobs and HUGE infrastructure spending – with borrowed money. Of course! As Obama courted demagogues from Chavez to Castro, Trump is ready with praise for Putin and a tidy White House red carpet for Duterte, the butcher of the Philippines. Oh hell yes, of course!

  60. neo-neocon Says:

    The Other Chuck:

    Never fear. No danger of that happening.

    I have always given credit where it’s due, though, and Trump is a showman and quite skilled at it. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on what he does, and that remains to be seen for the most part.

    I see the Carrier episode as a gesture rather than a policy. I’m waiting for the policies.

  61. Big Maq Says:

    And another similar look on the matter:
    https://bonddad.blogspot.ca/2011/03/great-myth-about-death-of-us.html

  62. Richard Aubrey Says:

    As to Bush and the other carrier: He was a fighter–actually interceptor–pilot in a hot aircraft.
    Take a look at this:
    http://classic.esquire.com/the-truest-sport-jousting-with-sam-and-charlie/
    It goes back a ways, but the description of getting to the point is gripping.
    Why wouldn’t an ex-fighter jock want another ride?
    And if you own the whole thing, you get what you want.
    The left’s BS regarding “Mission Accomplished” was a lie from start to finish. I know, I know. Surprise.

  63. TBlakely Says:

    “Neo…this article is beneath you. I am really disappointed in your petty snipping. You sound like John Batchelor, who claimed to be a Republican, but never once had a good word to say about Trump.”

    Trump has a long history of acting like an @sshole so it shouldn’t be surprising that a lot of Republicans didn’t/don’t like him. So what, get over it.

    I don’t like Trump but that doesn’t mean he can’t be an effective leader. I thought the Trump candidacy was a scam, and opportunity for him to troll everyone and then bow out. But things turned out differently and Trump captured the ‘eff you’ vote and it turned out their numbers were legion.

    I really, really hope that Trump turns out to be a good president. I don’t know how much he can accomplish given all the cans that have been kicked down the road for decades that are now coming due. Plus, he has the media and most of the political establishment on both sides of the aisle salivating at the opportunity to stick it to him at the first major screw up on his part.

    Being not beholdened to the movers and shakers does give him a lot of freedom that your typical politician doesn’t have but the downside is that when bad times arrive he will won’t have many if any big name allies to help him. Any allies he has now will abandon him in a heartbeat because they have no real investment in him. That is the nature of politics.

    So in review, I don’t like Trump but I sincerely hope he succeeds. So far what I’m seeing is encouraging but time will tell when acts on the really hard promises he made.

  64. Richard Aubrey Says:

    I hope Trump succeeds. In my view, he succeeded in what I consider one of the most important issues of our time (as the blowhards put it); beating Hillary. Pretty much everything else is whipped cream on the sundae.

  65. OM Says:

    No matter what happens, no matter how dire, no matter, it wasn’t done by Hillary! Because no matter, it would have been worse. Wow. Talk about unintended consequences.

  66. Ymarsakar Says:

    Contemplate obtaining the permits from the city, the state, the EPA….

    A lot of hands get greased. A Democrat bribing Democrats in NY isn’t all that unusual.

    This particular propaganda would fit under “agree with” + “they know how it is manipulative”.

    There are some things which lose its effect once people realize it is done to manipulate, but the best propaganda are things people will like even if they know it is used to target them.

  67. Big Maq Says:

    @OM – I truly hope trump is a success, at least, in the terms that I would define as “success” for the country. That is not what he campaigned on, but I hope, nonetheless.

    But, you are correct, several commenters to this blog do sound as if there is nothing wrong trump can do. So long as it is not clinton or the dems doing it, adopting leftist positions are a-okay.

    That’s the part that makes it seem that all there is to it is Red vs Blue.

  68. Brian E Says:

    “adopting leftist positions are a-okay.”- Big Maq

    We may need a dictionary to define terms so we’re all on the same page.
    ——-

    From a productivity standpoint, doing more work with less people, manufacturing looks good. And some/most of that is due to automation/technological change, and some due to improved processes.

    But in terms of jobs, we’ve lost 4,000,000 non-farm payroll jobs since 2002. Hmmm. Let’s see, what happened around that time? Oh, yeah. China joined the WTO in 2001.

    We’ve lost 8,000,000 jobs since 1989.

    Maybe we need to rethink those trade deals.

    Not all those jobs are coming back. But some will with a lowered corporate tax, sensible regulation reform, and repatriation of $2+ trillion dollars of profits sitting offshore.

    Given that scenario, companies are likely going to move some manufacturing back to the US.

    https://www.creditwritedowns.com/2012/05/chart-of-the-day-us-manufacturing-unemployment-1960-2012.html

  69. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian E – you present only one side with your chart. If manufacturing was all about the jobs and how it all went to China, then surely the output would have declined also.

    It hasn’t.

    You now talk about reducing tax and eliminating regulations, etc.

    All good. But you don’t stop there.

    You also then mix in “rethinking trade deals”. Not sure specifically where that goes in your mind, but it sure seems to be toward treating a symptom rather than addressing the problem.

    You also, in other comments seem to fully favor what would be called active “industrial policy” – the Carrier deal being just one example. Again, it addresses the symptom rather than the problem.

    The core problem is that people lost jobs and cannot find replacements because they lack the skills / knowledge to qualify for jobs that would replace that same income, and they live in locations that have very low demand for even those skills.

    Aside from the cronyism and corruption it invites, treating the symptoms will be forever chasing one’s own tail. There will always be this dynamic shift and always those who get displaced in the process.

    There will never be enough money to provide tax incentives, subsidies, or trade barriers to keep businesses located and providing the same old jobs in the same old places.

    The only way, if even possible, is to freeze everything as it is and enforce it centrally to stop that dynamic process.

    Cuba and Venezuela have seen where that ultimately goes.

    Everyone sees the “positive” side of government intervention, but few ever acknowledge the downside, if they even bother foresee it.

  70. Richard Aubrey Says:

    OM. Thing is, Trump can’t get away with things Hillary could. The IRS hasn’t stopped targeting conservatives. Hillary wouldn’t bother with it unless she accelerated it.
    Ditto packing the FEC. SCOTUS choices.
    See, here’s how it goes. We don’t know what Trump will do with foreseeable circumstances. We do, with Hillary. Selling out US security for personal gain is a habit and, if she’s POTUS, there’s nobody to stop her. Not a court and not the NYT editorial page.
    As to unforeseeable circumstances, how’s Libya working out?
    Between them, it’s a crap shoot for the unforeseeable, with the odds on Trump.

  71. OM Says:

    Richard Aubrey:

    Trump is the President elect, the Hillary trope is done, dead, over, kaput, finished. She isn’t going to do anything, so trotting out the “we know what she will do” seems pretty pathetic to me. If Donald starts doing dodgy things beyond Carrier, say on the SCOTUS, don’t expect much but derision if the Hillary trope is trotted out as cover.

    I hope he does better than Carrier and that Pence isn’t being used as a sop that will be ignored when actual policy is implemented. So much to change after 8 years of BHO, will Trump follow through?

  72. OM Says:

    Richard A:

    “Trump can’t get away with things Hillary could.;” and Obama did.

    What is see and read is a willingness to permit Trump to get away with lots, because he isn’t Hillary or Obama, and because ‘damit payback is a *itch, you all got it comin.’

  73. Sergey Says:

    “Trump can’t get away with things Hillary could.”
    Of course he can, for a simple reason: he is a winner. Remember: Treason can’t prosper for simple reason: If it prospers, nobody would dare to call it treason.

  74. Brian E Says:

    “The core problem is that people lost jobs and cannot find replacements because they lack the skills / knowledge to qualify for jobs that would replace that same income, and they live in locations that have very low demand for even those skills.”- Big Maq

    So, we have established at this point that lots of manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last decade/decades. Some due to automation/production efficiencies and some/most? due to offshoring.

    You say that since productivity is rising, all is good. But what does it mean to me as a worker that the company is more productive (I produce more/unit of labor)? Have my wages risen in relation to may increased productivity? No, since the gains have come in large part due to capital, not labor so the gains go to the company.

    Now that might be good to the investor class– even accounting for the increased capital investment, the companies profits are rising (hopefully). But to the worker, all that is doing is widening the wealth gap the left decries.

    Something you haven’t mentioned is the low unemployment rate as evidence that the offshoring isn’t really affecting workers, but I assume you know that is just a mirage.

    Real unemployment rate, factoring in participation rates is somewhere between 8-10%, which is recession territory. So why does it appear the country is thriving? The Stock Market.

    https://fredblog.stlouisfed.org/2016/01/how-healthy-is-the-labor-market-really/?utm_source=series_page&utm_medium=related_content&utm_term=related_resources&utm_campaign=fredblog

    Now here’s where the real cronyism is taking place! The Stock Market.

    Instead of investing in new production corporations are propping up the market by buybacks, the Fed has been buying bonds to recapitalize the investment banks. This all gives the illusion that all is well. But if you’re sitting in Indiana without a job, and little prospects for much more than a minimum wage job it’s hard to see how great this recovery has been.

    So how do we put American workers back to work? Do production workers/fabricators have the capacity to learn technical skills in the information society?

  75. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian – I’m not arguing that overall employment hasn’t been declining, nor defending how the unemployment rate is being reported, nor how (artificially, imho) interest rates have been a boon to stock holders, nor, etc. etc.

    In fact, elsewhere, I’ve made the very same observation wrt buybacks and other financial manipulations vs investment.

    But that doesn’t address the core problem for these folks.

    Also, it doesn’t rebut the myth wrt the manufacturing industry. I did show that manufacturing as a sector has been increasing output while employment WITHIN that sector has been declining. I also showed that, worldwide, as a share of the ENTIRE economy, manufacturing has been declining, leaving more money to be spent on other goods and services.
    .

    Where we disagree is, if there is government action needed, then where that focus ought to be.

    You mentioned / implied tariffs, and other trade barriers, incentives, penalties to encourage manufacturing to relocate to the US.

    By analogy, if we think blocking competition is the way forward to generate / preserve jobs, why don’t we have the government close down Amazon and all internet shopping, forcing consumers to buy at retail brick and mortar outlets – retailers would very quickly be needing to bring all those retail workers back. Retailers have long been complaining about the unfairness of their internet competitors.

    Really, it is not much different than trade barriers to foreign competition, punitive tariffs, tax incentives and subsidies, or penalties to domestic businesses. Similar strategies to all those can be applied to the Amazon / internet vs B&M Retailers case.

    What this does show is that with these types of government interventions, there are clear winners and losers being picked by government fiat.
    .

    If the issue is displacement of workers, then why should there be focus on anything different than what is the core cause within this dynamic economy – their skill / knowledge and, perhaps, their location?

    If you are implying they don’t have the IQ or something like that, I disagree. I’m of the Mike Rowe – Dirty Jobs Guy – philosophy, that too much emphasis is on university education vs the practical hands-on skills that many people can earn a good living on. Even programmers don’t need really a university degree anymore.

    But, even with good training / knowledge / skills, if people want to stay put and there is no demand for their abilities, it is still zero. It is not pleasant, but the reality is some may have to move to places with better opportunities too.

    Doing these things do come with a financial burden for those affected and are things that, if there were to be a government program, might be better targeted at the core problem.

    There are certainly issues with this approach, but it might serve us much better than some major government intervention on behalf of one industry, and the second, third, (and beyond) order consequences, domestically and internationally.

  76. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq,
    Do you think that the price advantage that internet retailers have, the 8-10% price advantage by not collecting sales tax is fair?

    Free trade is built on the theory of comparative advantage, but the concepts built in the 19th century, when capital was localized and it was assumed the markets were at full employment, don’t apply to the 21st century.

    Capital flows to the country with the cheapest labor, lowest environmental standards and most advantageous tax policies.

    Free trade and comparative advantage assume that workers can change jobs without loss of earning power. You assume that the worker can just move to a new part of the country, learn new skills, possibly start at the bottom of the wage scale again without great cost.

    As to the intellectual capacity of production workers to do more technical jobs, it’s a mixed bag, IMO. As long as the new job doesn’t require math skills, they will probably be OK.

    Adam Smith would be aghast at the growth of international corporatism, the evil step-child of free trade.

  77. OM Says:

    Brian E:

    How easy to predict what the dead would have thought. Had a seance lately, Ouijia board?

  78. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian – “Internationl Corporatism” is another word for crony capitalism.

    Think about what breeds that. Could it be regulations which favor one over another?

    To me, it makes no sense that in order to help people, we are looking for the most indirect way of helping them.

    If people were starving, would it be most efficient to mandate that every single farm produce cheese so that cheese would become so cheep even the poor could afford it, or would we be better off providing assistance directly to those people?

    Yes, flawed analogy, but it does get at the point that this roundabout way of helping people creates other problems and likely impacts other people in the wrong direction (i.e. it creates a whole new set of winners and losers), all in the name of providing an indirectly related group of people some assistance.

    You can bet that the larger corporations that might benefit are right at the table supporting this kind of government intervention, no different than the insurance industry were gleeful at their prospects under obamacare – captive audience, guaranteed profit (remember they had the cost relief valve – subsidy – they were counting on declared illegal by SCOTUS).

    What creates this “international corporatism” is precisely the kind of government intervention you are advocating.

    The arguments and tools are the very same ones the left use except it is for their favored industries. And with every election cycle, round and round we go.

    Big government is our problem.

    If we think government needs to help people, why not keep the focus on who they are and figure out how to help them directly, rather than going through this roundabout rigamarole?

  79. Big Maq Says:

    “Free trade is built on the theory of comparative advantage, but the concepts built in the 19th century, when capital was localized and it was assumed the markets were at full employment, don’t apply to the 21st century.”

    Brian, you cannot just say that and not back it up.

    I reject that notion completely, and that would take much more than a comment post to address.

    I happen to think that United States (as do many other places – e.g. Hong Kong, especially pre-China return) stands as an example of how that and the many related economic concepts have been working.

    You do realize that Karl Marx and his intellectual progeny have all been making the same or similar argument ever since.

    Are you intending on validating that view of the world?

  80. Big Maq Says:

    “As to the intellectual capacity of production workers to do more technical jobs, it’s a mixed bag, IMO. As long as the new job doesn’t require math skills, they will probably be OK.”

    Brian, fairly broad brushed assumption.

    I’d rather assume they are capable of learning and doing a whole variety of jobs that may require additional skill and training, until proven otherwise.

    I think we have a serious problem right there re: who we think these people really are.

    I hate to think what it means in terms of how one takes their ability to vote.

  81. Big Maq Says:

    “workers can change jobs without loss of earning power. You assume that the worker can just move to a new part of the country, learn new skills”

    Not assuming there is no “cost” whatsoever, and is why I call them “displaced” workers.

    No doubt it imposes a “cost” on them.

    What I am talking about is what those costs are and where the assistance might best be applied, if we were to have a government program to address it.

    Focus on the problem we want to address, rather than some major government intervention in the economy to indirectly produce the result you want.
    .

    Seriously. Think about it. Take another example: Do you think Rent Controls are the answer too, to address “affordable” housing?

    That’s also a rather indirect way to deal with the “problem”.

    How effective has that been vs the problems it has created long term in the cities it’s been in place?

    What created the “problem” to begin with? Was it just unfettered supply and demand?

    If so, what explains the difference in affordability between major cities that have rent controls and those that do not (say LA vs Dallas)? Which of those markets is the least “fettered”?

    Maybe that would shed some light on why prices are high.

    It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that trump, dealing with all this in NYC, one of the most highly regulated and rent controlled real estate markets, felt the need to contribute (bribe?) various politicians (and that is what we know of).

    This kind of stuff breeds corruption, as well has creates other problems.
    .

    Are you beginning to see the problem(s)? Or, are you strictly an anti-capitalist stirring the pot here at a neo-conservative blog site?

  82. Brian E Says:

    “Brian, fairly broad brushed assumption.

    I’d rather assume they are capable of learning and doing a whole variety of jobs that may require additional skill and training, until proven otherwise.

    I think we have a serious problem right there re: who we think these people really are.” – Big Maq

    My experience is anecdotal, but valid IMO.

    I’m sitting in an office in a manufacturing plant employing approx. 1,000. Of that 1,000 I’d estimate approx. half are support personnel (inventory, engineering, accting, quality, shipping, management, etc.), 1/4 are fabrication (welders/machinists, etc.) and 1/4 are production workers (on the assembly line).

    The ones that might have the most trouble adapting to a more technical trade would be the assembly line and some of the welders.

    How do they do in re-training? Well, in the great recession, I along with almost all of the plant were laid off (went from 1,300 employees to 250). In our government’s benevolence, most were eligible for retraining. (A very convenient way for us to disappear as unemployed, since by being in training, we were not unemployed.
    So, even though I marveled at the idea of going back to school, I entered a trade program at the local community college in maintenance mechanics– a program designed to train mechanics for the food processing industry in the area. Most of it was 3-phase power, PLC programming, entry level electronics, and refrigeration (ammonia). The level of math skills of the students (who for the most part were fresh out of high school was appalling).
    The math class was probably an 080 level class, and the kids struggled with that. (Equivalent to sophomore algebra). How they graduated from high school is a mystery.

    So that’s why I said that. Pretty small sample size, I admit.
    The company called me back to work about 18 months later, so I never did find out if I might have had a new career in maintenance.

    I did raise my gpa during this interlude, this being the same college I took flight training classes 40 years previously, so it wasn’t all for naught.


    We are talking about Ricardo’s theory.

    I’m being drawn to the notion that government is more important now than at any time in history. Except possibly during the time of the robber barons. Or the settling of the west.

    Isn’t it interesting that as the west was settled, the first three institutions that were established were the church, the school and the jail.

    Even rural societies thought it important that citizens were taught how to think, how to act and the consequences of ignoring the other two.

    I suppose you could say that the purpose of government was to decide the relative importance of those three institutions.

  83. Brian E Says:

    “Are you beginning to see the problem(s)? Or, are you strictly an anti-capitalist stirring the pot here at a neo-conservative blog site?” – Big Maq

    Sometimes the pot needs to be stirred. I would have been (was) making the same arguments you are 20 years ago.

    Reality has intervened.

    At this point I find myself re-evaluating some of my assumptions.

  84. Big Maq Says:

    @Brian – I was where you are now better than 20 years ago, but eventually came to see that calling for yet more government to solve problems was more of a problem itself, if not THE biggest problem / threat (at least internally) in our western society.

    So long as we have a “democracy”, and each side asks more from government, the more the other side has to work with to use the power for their own benefit, and against our interests, when they gain power.

    Good intentions all around (though some motivated by their personal gain they otherwise wouldn’t have in a free market – with such a carrot in front of them, how could it not be a corrupting force?), but a “death spiral” is what is the natural result (some here call it the G-March), if not stopped, with each side thinking they have better ideas and better mastery of the levers of power than the other.

    If we eventually find we no longer have a democracy, we will undoubtedly find ourselves in far “worse” condition than we are now.
    .

    If there ever were some button we could push that makes people do what we wish, how many wouldn’t hesitate to push that button?

    That doesn’t exist, but many think power through government is close enough.

    You and I may have the self aware restraint from using it for personal gain, or for ill will. But, can we be sure we can keep those levers of power in only the hands of those who are “good”?

    We’ve seen some of the most blatant examples yet with obamacare – being told “you can keep your plans, you can keep your doctors, it will cost less”. Was it all good intentions? Was the policy well suited to deal with the problems it was supposed to address? Has it been without its own problems? Was there nobody tainted by the desire to skew the outcome for their own benefit, in one way, shape, or form? Is there really anybody, or any group who are smart enough to figure all that out, and come up with the perfect policy, in the first place?
    .

    So, you want to solve one problem – displaced workers, with some major industrial policy initiative(s) when perhaps a more direct means of assistance might suffice?

    You’d rather ignore the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and beyond order effects of such an industrial policy, all because you want to indirectly solve one problem? The cost to all those people affected in other ways is worth it in favor of your one group of people? There just cannot be a way to lend a hand directly to the target group of people you want to help? The answer HAS to be what you see it to be, some major set of trade barriers, incentives and penalties in favor of US based manufacturing?
    .

    Brian, you tell me: To what degree is your change of mind, and re-evaluation of assumptions, on this driven by your economic concerns tied your dependency on manufacturing?

    I don’t want to assume too much, but I cannot ignore that you are in a manufacturing environment, and the types of policies you’d like would be rather beneficial.

    Suppose, really, I’d be awfully compelled to feel the same way.

    You might not believe it, but I’ve been impacted by international competition as well. It does make one question this stuff when it hits home like that.

    Made me more entrepreneurial and willing to make moves to where the opportunities are for me and family, and adopt new skills.

  85. Brian E Says:

    “Brian, you tell me: To what degree is your change of mind, and re-evaluation of assumptions, on this driven by your economic concerns tied your dependency on manufacturing?”

    None, actually. I do have a greater appreciation for what obstacles manufacturing in the US faces though. In my companies case, they have a plant in China that manufactures for the Asian market.

    This plant exports a good portion of it’s output to Europe, so a tariff war could be problematic, but all in all, it would probably be a wash. But I don’t think Trump is proposing legislation for tariffs on Europe, since the problem is free trade with countries that have structural imbalances (wages, regulations, taxes) relative to us.

    If, in fact, tariffs are considered as a short term solution to repatriate jobs to America, it would require Democrat support, since many Republicans wouldn’t vote for such a bill. Ironic that Bill Clinton needed Republican support for NAFTA because his own party wouldn’t support it.

    Bipartisanship at work! Who says Congress can’t get things done?

    I suspect that punitive tariffs are the club that will be used to get more favorable corporate tax rates and regulatory reform through Congress.

    I’m curious. If you think the free movement of goods benefits the country, do you hold the same benefit for the free movement of labor across borders?

    And you didn’t answer me whether internet retailers should be subject to the same requirement to collect sales taxes, even if they don’t have operations in the state they are selling to.

  86. Big Maq Says:

    Free movement of labor?

    Under the right conditions – yes.

    If we had a relatively free trade zone (say as we have with Canada) and unified border controls across the countries within that zone – yes.

    It’d probably be a better deal for us vs those other countries, if they remain higher tax and higher welfare.

    This is where the EU falls down. If one country accepts immigrants, or loosely enforces their border, they all are subject to accepting those people.

    As we sit right now, and to the wide world – resoundingly no. For a variety of reasons, but the most salient is probably security, and the likely massive change that would represent, the scale of which we couldn’t handle – across many factors.

    Also, there is the question of citizenship and what that really means, if we let free movement of labor, in which a person could permanently reside here. Would it be similar to today’s green card recipients? IDK.

    Changing immigration focus to those more educated immigrants (e.g. letting those who earned degrees here stay here), and business entrepreneurs (who will grow employment), all from “friendly” countries – yes.

    These folks would add a net positive to the economy, and that should be a major criteria on selecting which immigrants to accept.
    .

    Brian, you hadn’t answered all I’ve put to you either.

    Ultimately, it seems states have a “use tax” that they have not enforced. Not sure why they need yet more regulation to do what they already have on their own books authorizing them to do.

    Let’s face it, this is largely a question of if Amazon should collect sales tax on all it’s sales destinations. Why? Because of it’s enormous share of B2C ecommerce sales, at this time.
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/293268/mass-merchant-us-e-retailers-market-share/

    And with its many warehouses, it is easier to shake down the one company than to chase after the purchasers for the tax.

    Amazon already collects for 30 states, btw. The other 20 are probably served by existing warehouses outside of those states.

    IDK the details but it seems that, since placing a cutoff is bound to be arbitrary and subject to reasonable court challenges, they seek to backdoor it with sweeping regulation that impacts all businesses giant or micro.

    If so, who can better sustain the impact? Surely the bigger ones.

    Personally, I think states see the “easy” revenue (rather than collecting it themselves), and Amazon’s competitors (notice the familiar names that are well behind Amazon) are complaining after lately realizing they have largely missed the boat.

  87. Big Maq Says:

    Actually, 5 of those remaining 20 states don’t have a sales tax, so we are talking of 15 states.

  88. Brian E Says:

    “Seriously. Think about it. Take another example: Do you think Rent Controls are the answer too, to address “affordable” housing?”- Big Maq

    No, I don’t think rent controls are the answer just as Nixon’s price controls in the 70’s just delayed price increases. It’s a stop gap measure that might fit an emergency need, but certainly no solution.

    I’m not sure how rent controls equate to tariffs though.
    ——
    You and I may have the self aware restraint from using it for personal gain, or for ill will. But, can we be sure we can keep those levers of power in only the hands of those who are “good”?- Big Maq

    Here’s the problem with this argument. We’ve had so many decades of government intervention in the economy, that it is expected. In the case of Trump, much is going to be done to undue the last few presidents, let alone find new ways to meddle. Having a campaign slogan “We’re going to do less for You” isn’t a winning argument, IMO.

    ——-

    “Free trade is built on the theory of comparative advantage, but the concepts built in the 19th century, when capital was localized and it was assumed the markets were at full employment, don’t apply to the 21st century.”- Me

    Brian, you cannot just say that and not back it up.

    I reject that notion completely, and that would take much more than a comment post to address.- Big Maq

    You reject the notion that capital flowed more slowly, that Ricardo’s theory assume full employment, or the notion that free trade is built upon comparative advantage?

    Capital did move from country to country, but certainly not at the rate it does now.

    “The Ricardian Model – Assumptions and Results
    The modern version of the Ricardian model and its results are typically presented by constructing and analyzing an economic model of an international economy. In its most simple form, the model assumes two countries producing two goods using labor as the only factor of production. Goods are assumed homogeneous (i.e., identical) across firms and countries. Labor is homogeneous within a country but heterogeneous (non-identical) across countries. Goods can be transported costlessly between countries. Labor can be reallocated costlessly between industries within a country but cannot move between countries. Labor is always fully employed. Production technology differences exist across industries and across countries and are reflected in labor productivity parameters. The labor and goods markets are assumed to be perfectly competitive in both countries. Firms are assumed to maximize profit while consumers (workers) are assumed to maximize utility. ”

    http://internationalecon.com/Trade/Tch40/T40-0.php

    —–

    Big Maq, You’re example of allowing legal immigration to benefit our economy, is very similar to trade. We should allow trade that benefits our economy.

    Unlimited immigration produces a labor glut which suppresses wages. Unlimited trade produces cheap goods, but ultimately hurts the job market.

    —-

    Yes, Amazon does collect taxes (at least in our state), but many internet retailers do not.
    In fact I’ve shopped for products from two internet retailers– one located in my state and one not, and guess which one was cheaper (at least 8% cheaper because of the tax advantage).
    If your solution is basically “too bad for the retailer that has to collect the tax” isn’t that government picking winners and losers by favoring one retailer and penalizing the other by making them the tax collector for the state?

  89. Brian E Says:

    Here’s an analysis of the cost to the average household if a 45% tariff on Chinese and Japanese goods and 35% on Mexican goods were imposed.

    They estimate it be be 4% of the mean after tax income, or 2,200/year or $183 per month. It would be higher for very low income wage earners.

    I haven’t studied it in detail, but will assume it’s correct. I suspect that in some instance consumers will defer purchase or choose a lower value product (cheaper), so it might not be that high in practice.

    http://nfap.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Impact-of-the-Trump-Tariffs.NFAP-Policy-Brief.May-20161.pdf

    “In a recently released Heritage Foundation research paper, we’ve compared the recent price trends to the scholarly predictions and found that if U.S. vehicle prices had followed one of the comparable trends, cars would be between $3,975 and $7,140 cheaper today than they are. This massive expense buys very little change in global warming: less than two hundredths of a degree, according to the Obama administration’s own estimate.”

    http://dailysignal.com/2016/03/28/a-new-car-will-cost-you-at-least-3800-extra-because-of-government-regulation/

    There are ways to offset increased cost of living– here’s an obvious one.

    I see tariffs as a last resort. Making the US a more friendly place to manufacture will help. Using the bully pulpit to remind US manufacturers that it is in our countries best interest to produce goods locally will help. I would prefer to buy products built here, as Chinese products have the reliability problem that faced Taiwanese and Korean goods when they first went to market.

    While buying an American brand built in China usually means better quality control, that’s not always the case. And in some instances former name brands are just a facade for cheap Chinese products.

  90. Brian E Says:

    One of the things missed in the argument against tariffs is the assumption that costs of affected goods will rise with no benefit to the US.

    One of the real problems in this recovery has been the lack of investment by US companies. Rather than expand production, develop new products, expand into new export markets the corporations are buying back stock with their accumulated profits.

    Part of the re-vitalization of the US economy is the repatriation of US corporations foreign profits, estimated at $2.5 trillion. By offering a lowered tax rate to bring that money back onshore, and creating a domestic market for many products currently being imported, the incentive is there for new manufacturing plants onshore to make products here.

    So the incentive is not just to stop offshoring, but to encourage US companies (and foreign companies for that matter) to locate production in the US.

  91. Brian E Says:

    All this new economic activity is going to strain the job market, which is going to positively impact wages, which will make it easier for American workers to buy American products.

    This will encourage those who have dropped out of the labor market to re-enter it.

    Here’s the kicker. The newest production facility built is usually the most efficient, able to produce goods at the lowest cost. By encouraging new production in the US, these new plants could be efficient enough to compete with lowered tariffs.

  92. Big Maq Says:

    WARNING: Long post – but you gave much to discuss, Brian 😉

    I’ve tried to separate your various post/points by long string of “=” characters, and the start of my new comment with a single “=”, just to be clearer and easier to follow.
    ==================

    No, I don’t think rent controls are the answer just as Nixon’s price controls in the 70’s just delayed price increases. It’s a stop gap measure that might fit an emergency need, but certainly no solution.

    I’m not sure how rent controls equate to tariffs though. – Brian
    =

    Rent controls are yet another government intervention – that’s the relevance.

    Where rent controls are a cap on a price of a good, tariffs are effectively a floor on the price of a good. One could point to minimum wage laws as being closer to tariffs, only that they apply across all industries where labor is employed, whereas tariffs tend to target specific industries.

    The overall point is it benefits one group, but almost always at the cost to others. Your proposal is no different – there is no free lunch.

    “Emergency need”, indeed. These things find a way of becoming permanent. Call me more than skeptical of that claim.
    ==================

    “You and I may have the self aware restraint from using it for personal gain, or for ill will. But, can we be sure we can keep those levers of power in only the hands of those who are “good”?” – Big Maq

    “Here’s the problem with this argument. We’ve had so many decades of government intervention in the economy, that it is expected. In the case of Trump, much is going to be done to undue the last few presidents, let alone find new ways to meddle. Having a campaign slogan “We’re going to do less for You” isn’t a winning argument, IMO. – Brian
    =

    The argument “it is expected” is very much of the “we’ve always done it that way” type, which is not a good basis to continue something that is bad.

    Imagine if we operated our own lives on that basis – others’ expectations?

    I HOPE trump undoes a lot of what the “last few presidents” did, too. This argument doesn’t mean I am against that.

    Neither am I saying we need to campaign on “we are going to do less for you”, either. Not sure where you get the idea that is necessarily so.

    That is similar in thinking behind the dems arguing about the “do nothing Congress” and using that to justify obama’s “pen and phone” executive actions – consistent with your “it is expected” – not a basis to justify continuing on a bad path.

    All this is to position your proposals as being necessarily the right thing to do. This doesn’t make that case.

    I still maintain that your focus is extremely indirect vs helping directly those who need assistance. Treat the problem not the symptom.
    ==================

    “Free trade is built on the theory of comparative advantage, but the concepts built in the 19th century, when capital was localized and it was assumed the markets were at full employment, don’t apply to the 21st century. – Brian

    “Brian, you cannot just say that and not back it up.

    I reject that notion completely, and that would take much more than a comment post to address.” – Big Maq

    “You reject the notion that capital flowed more slowly, that Ricardo’s theory assume full employment, or the notion that free trade is built upon comparative advantage? – Brian
    =

    No, I reject the notion that it “(doesn’t) apply to the 21st century”.
    ==================

    Big Maq, You’re example of allowing legal immigration to benefit our economy, is very similar to trade. We should allow trade that benefits our economy.

    Unlimited immigration produces a labor glut which suppresses wages. Unlimited trade produces cheap goods, but ultimately hurts the job market.
    =

    But you miss a critical point. We are already a rather open economy wrt trade, and that trade of goods doesn’t represent a potential existential threat to our country. And, yes, we do have restrictions on such technology that might.

    However, we know for a fact that there are individuals, and probably regimes behind them, whose sole purpose would be to damage and wreck havoc our society. Don’t see that we have the means to realistically vet those out on such a scale.

    In the ideal I outlined (we are not close to that on a worldwide scale, might be getting close with, say, Canada), I don’t think we’d see a “labor glut”.

    As close to a real life experiment on that, you could look at the EU and the free movement of labor within their borders. Perhaps in some narrow sectors there was a temporary glut, but by and large, have not seen major complaints about this being an actual phenomenon overall. But, I admit not having looked at this particularly closely.
    ==================

    “Yes, Amazon does collect taxes (at least in our state), but many internet retailers do not.
    In fact I’ve shopped for products from two internet retailers– one located in my state and one not, and guess which one was cheaper (at least 8% cheaper because of the tax advantage).
    If your solution is basically “too bad for the retailer that has to collect the tax” isn’t that government picking winners and losers by favoring one retailer and penalizing the other by making them the tax collector for the state?”

    =

    But the point is that the state already has the power to come after YOU, if they have “use tax” laws on their books for out of state purchases. They don’t need extra laws to do what they want – or, if they don’t, they can pass them individually.

    As far as in-state vendors, the state has the power to audit them and assess the tax and penalties as appropriate. The vendors take that risk.

    This focus by state governments is really about making use of Amazon to collect their taxes for them, with their ~60% – 70% share of the eCommerce consumer market. Amazon are big enough to absorb the cost of doing so, as are the next several vendors down that list representing ~90-95%.
    .

    If you so object to it, you could conscientiously pay the tax you do owe.

    This is the issue, ultimately.

    Why do you (or anyone else) buy something knowing that you / they won’t pay the tax? We “know” they are “cheaper”, because the states are not enforcing their own laws.

    If those vendors now have to have the burden to collect out of state tax for those states where they may have minimal traffic for, aside from the extra cost, will anyone in those states bother buying from them at all? Depending on their mix of buyers, that could be minimal, or it could be a business killer.
    .

    You are trying to make this a case of favoritism, when it is not, but just the opposite.

    It is imposing new regulations on vendors to make the job “easier” for the states concerned. It is only the phenomenon of Amazon that they think they can do so.

    We all intuitively “know”, by our own actions, that it will impact the small players, by our very patronage of them, because states are not doing their job in enforcing their own laws, representing a “cheaper” cost to ourselves (assuming “we” avoid paying taxes due).

    The large players know that they can squeeze out competition from smaller players by advocating this.
    ==================

    “Here’s an analysis of the cost to the average household if a 45% tariff on Chinese and Japanese goods and 35% on Mexican goods were imposed.

    They estimate it be be 4% of the mean after tax income, or 2,200/year or $183 per month. It would be higher for very low income wage earners.

    I haven’t studied it in detail, but will assume it’s correct. I suspect that in some instance consumers will defer purchase or choose a lower value product (cheaper), so it might not be that high in practice.

    http://nfap.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Impact-of-the-Trump-Tariffs.NFAP-Policy-Brief.May-20161.pdf – Brian
    =

    Brian, you are completely misreading the report. You pull “4%” but that is referring to the median income.

    From that same report:

    “The impact would hit poor Americans the hardest: A tariff of 45% on imports from China and Japan and 35% on Mexican imports would cost U.S. households in the lowest 10% of income up to 18% of their (mean) after-tax income or $4,670 over 5 years.”
    .

    But that is not where the report stops, as they say that the tariffs would prove ineffective, and would have to be global vs country specific.

    Using the All Household median as you have, the figure would be $30.6K, not the $11.1K (i.e. the $2.2K/yr) you referenced – approximately 3x larger!

    Again, from the report:

    “A Trump tariff against all countries costs households in the lowest decile 53% of their annual income, while it would cost households in the highest decile 7% of their incomes. The tariffs would cost households in the second income decile 20% of their annual income
    .

    What do you think will be the political ramifications of that??
    ==================
    ““In a recently released Heritage Foundation research paper, we’ve compared the recent price trends to the scholarly predictions and found that if U.S. vehicle prices had followed one of the comparable trends, cars would be between $3,975 and $7,140 cheaper today than they are. This massive expense buys very little change in global warming: less than two hundredths of a degree, according to the Obama administration’s own estimate.”

    http://dailysignal.com/2016/03/28/a-new-car-will-cost-you-at-least-3800-extra-because-of-government-regulation/

    There are ways to offset increased cost of living– here’s an obvious one.” – Brian
    =

    Without disputing these precisely calculated estimates (remember the obamacare experts’ prediction on how the costs would go down, etc.?), you are assuming that it can be a one for one substitute.

    People don’t purchase new vehicles in a uniform pattern for the “benefits” to land proportionately with the “costs” of the tariffs, to really claim that the offset to COL to be “obvious”.

    Seems to me the lower one’s income, they will see little of the actual benefit and a whole lot of the cost.
    ==================

    “I see tariffs as a last resort. Making the US a more friendly place to manufacture will help. Using the bully pulpit to remind US manufacturers that it is in our countries best interest to produce goods locally will help. I would prefer to buy products built here, as Chinese products have the reliability problem that faced Taiwanese and Korean goods when they first went to market.

    While buying an American brand built in China usually means better quality control, that’s not always the case. And in some instances former name brands are just a facade for cheap Chinese products.” – Brian
    =

    Again, this is all a very indirect way to deal with the core problem you say you want to address- assisting people who have been displaced.

    Why we think tariffs, or other marketplace interventions, are a way to address that, and, meanwhile, undersizing the downside effects that they have on other people? IDK.

    Why couldn’t some kind of direct assistance do the job?
    .

    I’m all for making the US more business friendly overall.

    Those burdens placed by the federal government are the result of all those “experts” thinking they can tinker around to “solve” one social problem or another.

    You are suggesting that the only wrong with all that is that they are just not the right policies to address your primary concern, and you would like to see ones of your own making, even if “temporary”.

    Could it be that, over time, all these so-called experts are just adding to the pile on the backs of businesses and citizens, all in the name of some “good”, but are cumulatively having the opposite effect?
    ==================

    “One of the things missed in the argument against tariffs is the assumption that costs of affected goods will rise with no benefit to the US.

    One of the real problems in this recovery has been the lack of investment by US companies. Rather than expand production, develop new products, expand into new export markets the corporations are buying back stock with their accumulated profits.

    Part of the re-vitalization of the US economy is the repatriation of US corporations foreign profits, estimated at $2.5 trillion. By offering a lowered tax rate to bring that money back onshore, and creating a domestic market for many products currently being imported, the incentive is there for new manufacturing plants onshore to make products here.

    So the incentive is not just to stop offshoring, but to encourage US companies (and foreign companies for that matter) to locate production in the US.” – Brian
    =

    Agree with lowering the tax rate (actually, I advocate greatly simplifying them, which probably leads to a much lower rate) to encourage repatriation of the overseas profits, while a good thing, is not a “benefit to the US” from tariffs. Two separate issues, though.
    .

    I’ve long argued that, aside from existing regulatory burdens and tax rates, the biggest hindrance in our economy and the investment needed to grow it has been “regime uncertainty”, particularly following the 2008 financial crisis.

    After having confidence shaken, comments like “you didn’t build that” and “boot on the neck of” (and many, many others from the obama admin) don’t sound like an environment one wants to place bets within.

    Not to say that there are not other factors, like Fed driven vs market led interest rates (another confidence shaker / source of uncertainty), which play into why we see stock buybacks vs capital investment, too.

    I have mentioned elsewhere that the uncertainty around trump and what he will do has its own impact wrt “regime uncertainty”.
    ==================

    “All this new economic activity is going to strain the job market, which is going to positively impact wages, which will make it easier for American workers to buy American products.

    This will encourage those who have dropped out of the labor market to re-enter it.

    Here’s the kicker. The newest production facility built is usually the most efficient, able to produce goods at the lowest cost. By encouraging new production in the US, these new plants could be efficient enough to compete with lowered tariffs.”

    Rather rosy predictions.

    I’d say that whatever trump does to improve things domestically to encourage investment and growth may well be off set by trade and other market disruptions.

    Which will have the greater impact? We’ll see.
    ==================

    So, Brian, time we move on to another thread.

    I like having this conversation, but I cannot devote the proper time to all of it (and I suspect, neither do you).

    I don’t think the convo ends here, per se, as I don’t think the stars in your eyes have yet disappeared on the value of “industrial policy” to right all the wrongs of our economy.

    And, I’m skeptical as h*ll about all that, not only in theory, but in what we’ve seen worldwide in the relative performances of economies that had more of what you advocate vs less.

    Even within the US, we like to point out how the consistently GOP governed states, by and large, performing better than dem ones. Neither are perfect purveyors of free market policy, but for the little difference that there is, the results are unmistakable.

    So, last word to you. I will read it at some point, but won’t respond.

    Thanks, BM

  93. Big Maq Says:

    Brian, I should have said, I look forward to reading it at some point. 😉

  94. Big Maq Says:

    Also, wrt trade defict vs capital surplus – a brief explanation:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/442828/donald-trump-trade-deficit-ignorance-and-misunderstanding

  95. Brian E Says:

    Yes, Big Maq, it’s time to put this to bed.

    Thank you for taking the time to respond at length to the points I was trying to make.

    Some of our disagreements may be due to my not taking the time to fully explain what I mean.

    I just have a couple of things to respond with.

    ——-

    I wasn’t trying to cherry pick data in that paper on the effect of imposing import tariffs.
    I’ll accept their and your assumption that the only way to truly protect American industries would probably mean tariffs to other countries than Japan, China and Mexico. I think some of that would depend on whether the other countries have similar labor costs, environmental regulations and tax structures as ours.

    I didn’t include the lowest and second tier income levels is because those aren’t income levels you would typically see in a household. My wife employs $10 an hour Certified Nurse Assistants which puts their annual income at $20,000. Most have husbands, though a few are single parents. Some are always looking for overtime, so I would expect their income to be in the $25,000 range. Those with husbands probably have household incomes in the $40-50,000 range which would mean they could see a 13% increase in costs ($4900) which is not insignificant.

    I was just trying to find data that quantifies how bad it would be if we imposed import tariffs. I could certainly afford it. And it would have to bring back a significant number of jobs to be worth it.

    I know you don’t like picking winners and losers, but it certainly should be targeted to industries that other than cheap labor and lax environmental regulations could produce a quality product in American manufacturing plants.

    ———

    I also wasn’t trying to imply that reducing regulations on cars could offset the increased costs because of import tariffs. Just saying that we would all benefit from less expensive cars and here were some numbers to go with the idea of reduced regulations. I’m not sure I need 11 airbags in my car, but if I’m ever in an accident where they all go off I hope the explosion saves our lives, but doesn’t deafen everyone. 🙂

    As an aside, just down the road is a manufacturing plant named Takata– which manufactures airbags subject to the recall. I think they make the propellent canisters here.

    —————–

    Finally, I ran across this website that’s done an interesting analysis of how many jobs were lost to offshoring vs automation in the past couple of decades.

    The put the number at 2.3 million. Their conclusion:

    “Strictly speaking, it’s impossible to answer this question. Human societies are extraordinarily complex systems nobody really seems to understand. We can’t credibly say we have any idea what the world would look like today if we’d made a few tweaks over the past few decades.

    That said, we thought it might be interesting to imagine what things might have looked like if the proportion of American demand for manufactured goods satisfied by domestic production had remained constant since 1990.

    One potential interpretation: almost half of the total decline in manufacturing employment — more than 2 million reasonably well-paying American jobs — might be explained by imports displacing domestic production. (The rest would have been lost to machines.)…

    …None of this is to recommend particular policies, nor to say America would have been better off in the absence of import penetration. Hopefully, however, it is clear that a significant chunk of the manufacturing jobs lost in the past few years can be attributed to foreign competition rather than “inevitable” technological change.”

    https://ftalphaville.ft.com/2016/12/06/2180771/how-many-us-manufacturing-jobs-were-lost-to-globalisation/

    You have to register to read this, but it’s free.

    I’m going to dust off my economics books and look into comparative advantage, so I can answer you why I don’t think it works in the 21st Century. 🙂

  96. Brian E Says:

    Big Maq,
    Don’t know if you’re ever looking at this thread, but I will add that there is some analysis that manufacturing productivity gains that you linked to may not be as definitive as it might appear.
    Changes in how or what data is collected, when depreciation is applied, inflation indexes, etc. may affected the output.

    I’m trying to find some reliable economic blogs that might put these numbers in perspective.

    I found one that looks interesting show that overall productivity gains from 2007-2009 were overstated.

    Anyway, this isn’t an economics/financial blog, put possibly Neo will post something that will allow us to continue the discussion in the future.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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