Free Republic 2nd Quarter Fundraising Target: $88,000 Receipts & Pledges to-date: $83,401
94%  
Woo hoo!! And now less than $4.6k to go!! We can do this. Thank you all very much! God bless.

Posts by CutePuppy

Brevity: Headers | « Text »
  • Trump to Kim: All this I will give you

    06/18/2018 5:41:16 AM PDT · 27 of 28
    CutePuppy to pke; 2ndDivisionVet

      "Trump make North Korea great again!"

    It does sound kind of warm and fuzzy, a bit like "I have returned ... with peace for our time."

    So the only difference between North Korea and let's say, Cuba or Venezuela (or pick some other "s***hole country") is that Kim Jong-un has tested nukes and delivery system(s) and is well aware of "Libya protocol" and "security promises"?

    Wasn't Obama trying this kind of "sale presentation / experiment" with Cuba's dictators recently, i.e., beaches, rum, travel / tourism, hotels, internet, meeellions / beeellions in trade, peace and prosperity?

    Isn't something similar — a bait of "[permanent] land for [temporary] peace" — kept being tried with Israel?

    Maybe, with all the glitter and confetti, less than meets the eye...?

  • China agrees to purchase more U.S. goods after trade talks with Trump officials

    05/20/2018 6:21:42 PM PDT · 24 of 28
    CutePuppy to Sacajaweau
      Now Merkel has to come to her senses.

    From Merkel to Seek China as Free-Trade Ally on Beijing Trip - BL, by Sarah Syed, 2018 May 19 :

    • German chancellor to meet Xi, other leaders on May 24
    • China has been Germany's biggest trading partner since 2016

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she'll renew efforts to enlist China as an ally on free trade when she visits leaders including President Xi Jinping in Beijing next week.

      It'll be Merkel's first trip to the world's second-biggest economy since she began her fourth term in March. While Europe and China have points of friction from investment reciprocity to human rights, they're finding common cause in rebuffing U.S. President Donald Trump's tariff threats against both.

      "China and Germany are committed to the rules of the World Trade Organization, yet we will also talk about reciprocal access in trade and intellectual property issues," Merkel said in her weekly podcast published Saturday. "And we want to strengthen multilateralism." ..... < snip >

      ..... China overtook the U.S. as Germany's biggest trading partner in 2016. ..... < snip >

  • Has China succumbed to the art of the deal?

    05/20/2018 5:32:39 PM PDT · 9 of 10
    CutePuppy to CutePuppy; Kaslin
    More useful references re "trade deficits" / current account balance and the real drivers of the economy and budget deficits:

    * Trump's confrontational trade stance is just boomeranging back to imperil U.S. | Tension is just reinforcing macro flows that lead to wider U.S. trade deficit - MW, by Gregg Robb, 2018 May 19

      With the ... rising budget deficit, the U.S. is relying more on foreign money flows to pay our bills.

      With the increased uncertainty from trade disputes, even more money will flow into the haven of U.S. assets.

      With so much money pouring in from overseas, the U.S. capital account is forced into surplus. And given that the capital account and current account must balance out, the U.S. inevitably runs a trade deficit .....

      ..... Targeted tariffs might narrow a bilateral balance with China, but that won't necessarily fix the broader trade deficit .....

      ..... There is also the opposite risk — that the trade tensions upset U.S. relations with key partners just when the U.S. economy needs foreign capital to fund its spending spree. < snip >

    ** The U.S. is almost guaranteed to have large trade deficits year after year | A low savings rate makes shrinking the trade gap much harder - MW, by Rex Nutting, 2018 March 12

      < snip > ..... Trump seems to believe that the deficit is the result of other countries taking advantage of the U.S. by dumping their underpriced goods on us. All the U.S. needs to do to reduce the trade deficit down to zero (he says) is to rewrite the trade rules. It's just a matter of leveling the playing field so that the United States sells just as much (or more) to China, Mexico, Canada and Europe as they sell to us. ..... < snip >

      ..... Trump's simplistic answer ignores a structural imbalance in the U.S. economy that practically guarantees a large trade deficit year after year. I'm talking about the chronic lack of savings in the United States, which forces us to either cut back our investments in the future or else borrow hundreds of billions of dollars from foreigners. ..... < snip >

      ..... However, businesses don't invest to be patriotic; they do it to make money. So far, businesses are hopeful, but cautious about capital spending. ..... < snip >

    Meanwhile...

    *** Merkel to Seek China as Free-Trade Ally on Beijing Trip - BL, by Sarah Syed, 2018 May 19

    • China has been Germany's biggest trading partner since 2016

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she'll renew efforts to enlist China as an ally on free trade when she visits leaders including President Xi Jinping in Beijing next week. ..... < snip >

  • Has China succumbed to the art of the deal?

    05/20/2018 11:32:00 AM PDT · 7 of 10
    CutePuppy to Kaslin
      Has China succumbed to the art of the deal?

    There is a "reality TV" and there is a reality.

    Reality TV: The U.S. side in recent days advanced ideas that China agrteed to some $200B in deficit reductions. Now the U.S. side says that China agreed to "substantial reductions in trade gap" — in other words, it means whatever you want it to mean. "Details" to be worked out "later" or as they say "we don't need any stinking details" — take it as a "win"

    Reality: Chinese strenuously denied that they agreed to specific targets nor could they, really. Outside of military, national security and specific G2G / government-to-government "strategic deals" (like energy. minerals or water), the countries don't really buy much from other countries — the "trade deficits" (i.e., current account deficits) are mostly private transactions between private businesses and are dicated by basic supply and demand — simple capitalistic formula, known well before Adam Smith described it in "The Wealth of Nations".

    So here is the Chinese version of the "deal": China Will 'Significantly' Boost U.S. Purchases. By How Much is the Question :

    • Beijing envoy says both sides pledge to avert trade war

      China will "significantly increase purchases" of U.S. goods, the White House said as Beijing's special envoy at talks in Washington declared a trade war has been averted between the world's two largest economies. .....

      Vice Premier Liu He, a special envoy of China's President Xi Jinping, told reporters in Washington that talks with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer ended with a pledge not to engage in a trade war, according to a Xinhua news agency report.

      ..... Liu said both sides agreed to stop "slapping tariffs" on each other and called his visit "positive, pragmatic, constructive and productive," Xinhua reported. Cooperation will be enhanced in such areas as energy, agriculture, health care, high-tech products and finance, a "win-win" choice for both nations. ..... < snip >

      ..... "Investors had been fretting," Oliver said. "U.S. energy, agriculture, manufacturing and services companies with significant exposure to exports to China will be key beneficiaries. But it's also a big positive across Asia given supply chain linkages to Chinese companies that ultimately export to the U.S." ..... < snip >

    To translate, that's the diplo-speak for the fact that nothing has changed from before the "trade wars are good and easy to win" entered the picture. e.g., see In a landmark for Trump, South Korea agrees to open its auto market - FR, post #11, 2018 March 26.

    Chinese (and other governments' politicos) are pretty good at the "Art of the deal" and the "Art of the 'Talk'" and the "Art of bamboozle." Trump administration gets to save face because everybody understood that slapping tariffs on China would lead to retaliation (see for example soybeans and "sorghum trade" that went to other countries after several ships from the U.S. were turned around in April when China abruptly cancelled the order and arranged to buy the same from Russia, and short time later agreed to buying more of Russian oil and gas / energy at the expense of the U.S. trade).

    So the drama is over and everybody can claim a "win" — yaay!

    Refs:

    Report: Ships carrying US sorghum stuck at sea after China imposes tariffs - TheHill, by John Bowden, 2018 April 20

    Trump asks China to slash trade deficit $200B by 2020 - TheHill, by John Bowden, 2018 May 04

      "When it comes to negotiations, both sides can provide a list of requests and we will seek common ground while reserving our differences," a professor at a Chinese university specializing in economics told the AP. "If one side provides a list with unreasonable requests, the Chinese government is unable to accept it." .....

      ..... "China will never trade off its core interests," added Hu Xijin, the chief editor of the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times. .....

      ..... "The U.S. demand of cutting the trade gap is baseless, and can't be done by the Chinese government," said He Weiwen, the former commerce ministry official. "It's at least good the two sides decided to keep talking, though one can't rule out the possibility of a trade war."

    Trump's Tariff Hammer Won't Hit China's IP Nail - Bloomberg, by Tim Culpan, 2018 March 22

    ZTE Folly May Spur Chinese Chip Push - Bloomberg, by Tim Culpan, 2018 April 17

  • In a landmark for Trump, South Korea agrees to open its auto market

    03/26/2018 9:45:19 PM PDT · 11 of 104
    CutePuppy to bray; NImerc; map; rdl6989

      Winning...

      This truly is winning.

      This is something that has never been done before.

      More winning please!

    Sorry to disappoint but if you go beyond the headlines, this trade agreement extension is more of a "nothing-burger" and "saving face" than "winning" — basically, Koreans agreed to irrelevant minor modifications to existing 6-year agreement.

    Specifically, :

    1. "The two countries reached an agreement "in principle" on the trade deal known as Korus... South Korea would limit U.S. shipments of the metal to about 2.7 million tons a year... The country also agreed to double to 50,000 the number of U.S. cars that could be imported without meeting local safety standards, although American manufacturers sell far fewer cars in the market. — i.e., SK will sell the extra steel to exempt partners, who in turn will resell it to the US if needed. The number of cars went from 25,000 to 50,000 while no U.S. company sever sold as many as 10,000 in South Korea.

    2. Agreement also specifies that South Korea will limit the number of light truck they sell to the U.S. — South Korea hasn't been selling light trucks to the U.S.

    That's about all the changes to the previous agreement, but it allows to claim PR coup, i.e., "trade wars are good and easy to win".

    That's why you don't see a lot more being made of this "shamwow" — just a relief that a "war" is averted — good for PR, but on substance level, practically nothing.

  • Lies About Trade

    03/14/2018 4:53:10 PM PDT · 26 of 27
    CutePuppy to TallahasseeConservative; Alberta's Child; Kaslin
      So American workers should continue getting kicked in the ass, because they cannot survive on slave wages?

    What you have is a long period of Joseph Shumpeter's "creative destruction" due to technology and productivity improvements, which led to general improvements in quality of life in the US. Some industries (e.g., horse buggies and buggy whips a century ago) are dying or shrinking due to technological advances and/or poor government policies (like minimum wage and odious regulations) that increase the cost of goods or services to the point where they become uncompetitive (i.e., "pricing themselves out of the market") relative either to other producers of same / similar goods or other industries which can produce alternative options (such as 3D printing/cutting or "additive"/"subtractive" manufacturing) which has little or nothing to do with country's overall trade deficit or surplus. Composition of trade deficit / surplus may be of interest — is it raw materials for production, finished goods, services etc.

    We usually don't complain about importing oil when its price is low... unless we happen to work in the oil industry. And so on...

    With the official unemployment around 4% and severe labor shortages in moderately skilled positions it's difficult to argue that workers have to "survive on slave wages" but some industries can be doing better or worse for reasons specified above.

    Unemployment / Participation rate / Construction-worker shortage - https://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/ON-CL525_Labor__9U_20180309201656.jpg

    When Labor Shortages Hit They Can Last Years - https://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/ON-CL524_BABQ76_9U_20180309201636.jpg


    Here's the typical headlines you see today:

    The Great Labor Crunch - B (sub), by Avi Salzman, 2018 March 09

    From The Great Labor Crunch - B (sub), by Mary Childs, 2018 March 10:

      When 'Charlotte' started at the BMW auto factory in Spartanburg, S.C., five years ago, she stood out. ..... Charlotte — so named by a human co-worker — is among 60 lightweight "collaborative robots," or cobots, among the 2,000 robots employed by the German car maker at the factory.

      Charlotte and her cohorts aren't supplanting their flesh-and-blood co-workers. They're generating demand for humans to program and maintain them, among other things. BMW is ramping up training programs for new technicians and engineers to keep the robots functional. Last year, the plant added 1,000 workers, for a total of 10,000.

      AUTOMATION is revolutionizing manufacturing, trucking, retail sales, food services, and medicine, among other industries. ..... < snip >

      A century and a half ago, 50% of the U.S. labor force worked in agriculture. Even as agriculture shifted to less than 2% of the labor force, the total pool of workers boomed, filling jobs in technology, manufacturing, and services.

    In the U.S. 50 - 60 years ago computers were very expensive and human labor very cheap; now computers and computing power is very cheap and human labor is very expensive.

    Most of what you see in some industries has more to do with that fact and poor government policies misallocating fiscal and human capital than it is with trade deficit. But don't expect some politicians to acknowledge that rather than exploiting it to get elected.

  • Lies About Trade

    03/14/2018 9:31:47 AM PDT · 14 of 27
    CutePuppy to TallahasseeConservative; Kaslin
      Ok Stossel, let's import a bunch of foreign political commentators and pay them 1/8 what you are making. Let's see how you feel about free trade, when it's your ass on unemployment.

    We don't need to import them. I hear there is now "The New New Thing" called The Internet (some call it "The Web" which is even scarier) and that one can do political commentary from anywhere in the world, and for absolutely nothing... as in free.

    So John Stossel's days as political commentator should soon be over, unless we put kibosh on this thing and start taxing it. I hear the Congress is working on that right now — they call it "the Internet sales tax" — so that just might save his job.

  • Trump agrees to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, South Korea says

    03/10/2018 11:47:43 PM PST · 236 of 238
    CutePuppy to plain talk
      Not "nuclear program". An arsenal of tested nukes.

    That's exactly what I emphasized, applicable to Libya and Qaddafi, because I cited the relevance of it to North Korea and Kim (and tangentially, Iran):

      "Muammar Qaddafi of Libya did give up his nuclear program (not quite a working arsenal) in December of 2003, right after Saddam Hussein was pulled out of the spider hole in Iraq."

    But, strictly for historical reference, there was a case of a nation giving up actual nukes, not just the nuclear programme, though under unique (they would have to be!) and proper circumstances — see South Africa and weapons of mass destruction :

      From the 1960s to the 1980s, South Africa pursued research into weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Six nuclear weapons were assembled. Before the anticipated changeover to a majority-elected African National Congress-led government in the 1990s, the South African government dismantled all of its nuclear weapons, the first state in the world which voluntarily gave up all nuclear arms it had developed itself.

    The nukes were developed with probable involvement of Israel, and F.W. de Klerk obviously did the right thing before turning over the government to ANC.

    Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine also gave up the nukes after becoming independent republics with the fall and breakup of the USSR, but those nukes were developed and silo-ed by the USSR, not as a result of their national programmes.

  • Trump agrees to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, South Korea says

    03/08/2018 10:13:14 PM PST · 220 of 238
    CutePuppy to plain talk
      No nation that has a working arsenal of nukes is going to just give them up.

    Muammar Qaddafi of Lybia did give up his nuclear program (not quite a working arsenal) in December of 2003, right after Saddam Hussein was pulled out of the spider hole in Iraq.

    Eight years later Obama / Hillary Clinton team decided that Qaddafi outlived his usefulness and he met a gruesome end.

    Don't think that Iranian mullahs and Kim didn't notice:

      "The Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and the Gaddafi regime in Libya could not escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations for nuclear development and giving up nuclear programmes of their own accord," - North Korea cites Muammar Gaddafi's 'destruction' in nuclear test - 2016 January 09, The Telegraph.

    and

      "The Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and the Gaddafi regime in Libya could not escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations for nuclear development and giving up nuclear programmes of their own accord." - The Saddam factor in North Korea's nuclear strategy - 2016 September 09
  • Trump agrees to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, South Korea says

    03/08/2018 9:35:25 PM PST · 216 of 238
    CutePuppy to Enchante
    "Good health and cheer to you!"

    You are very kind, thank you very much; same to you.

    I have been busier and generally didn't have much of substance to contribute or keep up the thread lately, so I drop in once in a while but don't post as much.

  • Trump agrees to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, South Korea says

    03/08/2018 8:14:40 PM PST · 191 of 238
    CutePuppy to jarwulf
      Not sure I like the idea of the US president and the NK dictator being put on as equals symbolically.

    But that's the entire idea - the "equalizer", Kim is no longer a "rocketman" — he is an equal, he stood up to big bully after making a "meaningful" offer of peace and disarmament... Not exactly USA - USSR / Reagan - Gorbachev.

  • Trump agrees to meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, South Korea says

    03/08/2018 8:06:39 PM PST · 186 of 238
    CutePuppy to Enchante
      I don't think this means much YET. That's why I say it WILL be a "big deal" if and only if it results in an ironclad verifiable and enforceable deal that ends NK's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

    Yep... Here's just one scenario: Kim proposes the same terms of "Iranian deal" that he knows Trump rejected but the UN, EU et al like or accept as the best possible solution that could have been reached. Who'll be "isolated" then?

  • Minimum wage hikes sending restaurants the way of the shopping mall?

    01/17/2018 4:38:08 PM PST · 53 of 53
    CutePuppy to Alberta's Child
      I'm trying to figure out why this simple fact can be accepted as the truth when it comes to restaurant jobs, but is not accepted by so many folks even here on FreeRepublic when it comes to manufacturing jobs?

      "If a manufacturing company can't find good workers, they should just pay more!" — common refrain here on FR.

    Yep. Enough to give you a cognitive dissonance, eh? It may be that selective attention paradox is overriding the overall economic sense.

  • Minimum wage hikes sending restaurants the way of the shopping mall?

    01/16/2018 12:56:15 AM PST · 9 of 53
    CutePuppy to OrangeHoof

    When in CA, I’ve seen all kinds of “food trucks” lined up near business areas / buildings, particularly during breakfast and lunch hours. Though I’ve never bought anything from them, I wouldn’t say that the prices are “cheap”, and from what I was told, some of the trucks provide freshly made “gourmet food,” from lobster rolls to specialty burgers or steaks.

    Could be that it beats “brown-bagging it” or waiting in line in cafeterias / sandwich shops / Starbucks...

  • Minimum wage hikes sending restaurants the way of the shopping mall?

    01/16/2018 12:31:28 AM PST · 8 of 53
    CutePuppy to Yaelle
      Robots. Restaurants might stay, but restaurant jobs are going. Busboys are already nearly gone in CA.

    Yep, it's happening.

    Red Robin eliminates bus boys as restaurants combat minimum wage hikes - FBN, by Brittany De Lea, 2018 January 09

  • Minimum wage hikes sending restaurants the way of the shopping mall?

    01/16/2018 12:02:54 AM PST · 5 of 53
    CutePuppy to ProtectOurFreedom
      Why go to a movie theater when you can have your own private home big screen with content streamed to it?

    Exactly. Last time I paid for a movie theater ticket was in 2000... though attended couple of times for special previews by invitations to corporate or business events (not the setting I usually enjoy). I definitely prefer "home theater" experience.

  • Walmart plans to cut more than 1,000 corporate jobs

    01/15/2018 11:48:11 PM PST · 9 of 35
    CutePuppy to 867V309; cba123; montag813; Governor Dinwiddie; MrEdd
      a class taught by the dean of the psychology department...

    I would think the Econ-101 class would be more natural for this kind of knowledge, but you definitely got lucky.

    See also my other post about a wrecking ball of minimum wage on other industries : Minimum wage hikes sending restaurants the way of the shopping mall? - FR / FBN, by Brittany De Lea, 2018 December 15

  • Minimum wage hikes sending restaurants the way of the shopping mall?

    01/15/2018 11:31:47 PM PST · 1 of 53
    CutePuppy
    The problem for large national chains, in particular, is that an increase in minimum wage (mandatory expense) in some states may force "voluntary" increase in other states, to keep workers from resenting the disparity and joining the "fight for $15".

    Meanwhile, companies like GrubHub (GRUB) are capitalizing on the situation and the technology to provide the consumers the experience of restaurant meal without visiting the physical place where the meal was made. Couple it with comfortable home setting and a glass / bottle of wine bought at significantly lower prices than at restaurant, no hassle of driving, finding parking or paying for valet and/or dressing up... and you have a better, cheaper experience. There are now restaurant/gourmet "kitchens" that have no tables or servers, just doing catering orders by delivery.

  • Walmart plans to cut more than 1,000 corporate jobs

    01/15/2018 9:59:49 PM PST · 1 of 35
    CutePuppy
    That's in addition to closing more than 60 Sam's Club Stores. Also, corporate jobs usually implies higher-earning, [older] white collar employees. Somebody has to pay for increase in company-wide minimum wage.

    TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (Robert Heinlein, Milton Friedman). Not that Walmart (and many other national chains) have much of a choice — quite a few states and/or cities where they have stores / branches increased minimum wage and companies find it difficult to justify the disparity in other places, even though the cost of living there is quite different.

  • Donít Tell the Hollywood Left, But The Oprah Wonít Be a Nationwide Vote-Getter

    01/14/2018 6:22:41 PM PST · 66 of 66
    CutePuppy to dfwgator
      That's why actors don't give a rip about the US, they make their money overseas for the most part.

    More so studios, producers and directors (when deciding on how to treat content depending on desired / expected distribution venues) but actors also have a lot of independent gigs overseas, particularly in commercials and other promotions.

    "Lost in Translation" (2003) is just one movie that shows it very well.