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Posts by CutePuppy

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  • 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


      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 -

    When Labor Shortages Hit They Can Last Years -

    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.


      "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
    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
    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.

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

    01/14/2018 6:04:53 PM PST · 64 of 66
    CutePuppy to Dave W
      2017 movies grossed the second highest in the history of the movies. Last year was #1. Hollywood is doing just fine.

    Don't confuse people with the facts. They want to hear that "Hollywood" is doing bad financially (and one or two theater chains are not doing well because of debt, locations, oversupply, competition from streaming and rentals etc.) so that's what they get fed.

    While theater chains have the challenges from technology (rentals, streaming, on-demand etc.) the "Hollywood in general is doing fine &mdash there has never been more "channels" for the content (e.g., Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, any of the 'on-demand' and OTT services and so on) and the amount of the fresh and old content pushed through those channels. And there is also generally larger international audience that in some / many cases brings higher gross (but not necessarily net as marketing and sharing are usually more expensive). And content distribution companies benefit from wider availability of foreign movies, but it doesn't usually count in "Hollywood" gross receipts.

  • Kellyanne Conway: Trump Has 'Discovered' a Physical Wall is Not Needed Everywhere

    01/14/2018 5:01:59 PM PST · 145 of 146
    CutePuppy to Hawthorn; babble-on
      >> The fence is very effective, it's just not finished <<

        Yes, and anybody who has doubts should check with the Israelis. ..... Moreover, the Border Patrol guys will tell you that a fence is better than a wall .....

    Very true. In fact, the money for completing / reinforcing the fence has been appropriated years ago. Also, the more recent drone, satellite, night vision, robotics and other hi-tech developments already available and still in development will allow for much cheaper and far more effective ways to monitor the borders.

    Especially since it's pretty much undisputed (by both parties) that for several years the outflow of illegals from the U.S. southern border has been significantly higher than inflow, partly because of improvement of economy in Mexico and strong build-up of factories, plants and service sector there.

  • Blockchain Tech Is Transforming The Energy Industry

    01/11/2018 4:49:36 PM PST · 17 of 19
    CutePuppy to buckalfa; snarkpup; taxcontrol; zeestephen; oldbill
    "Cloud" is essentially a data storage on the Internet server belonging to you (private cloud), some other company like Amazon (AWS) Microsoft (Azure), IBM, Google, Salesforce, etc. (public cloud) or combination of both (hybrid cloud).

    Blockchain is an entirely different concept - it's an Internet-based, open-source, [usually encrypted] flat DATABASE (called "ledger") which is distributed / replicated among many computers on the Internet for the purpose of keeping records, such as financial or other transactions between parties on the same blockchain network.

    Because it's "flat" and relatively inefficient to access (traverse the records to verify the parties and data to "clear" the transaction) it grows very fast in size and generally provides no benefit relative to regular databases currently in use for such purposes, like various versions of SQL or newer like MongoDB or MariaDB and non-structured DB systems like Hadoop.

    For financial purposes transactions over blockchain could be costly compared to regular debit transactions (with no credit risk) and much slower compared to such as Visa and Mastercard, but it might have limited uses when database is going to have a finite runtime and size, though it still difficult to imagine that it would give any advantage over regular database with transactions that could be encrypted for security if needed. In other words, blockchains have an inherent scalability and processing speed problem which is getting worse as the database / ledger gets bigger with use.

    A few articles explaining advantages and many disadvantages of blockchain, mainly by discussing case use of Bitcoin which is built on it (though not limited to Bitcoin, as some new blockchain systems are trying to improve on certain aspects of Bitcoin blockchain, such as security and speed) :

    Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain - CNBC, by Kai Stinchcombe, 2017 December 26

    What Is Bitcoin Good For? - BL, by Megan McCardle, 2017 December 22

    Bitcoin Is an Implausible Currency - BL, by Megan McCardle, 2017 December 27

    There are a lot of excitement around blockchain, especially in financial industry, mostly due to encryption and potentially faster debit "clearance" mechanism, and a lot of experimental small-scale trials among several banks, delivering "proof-of-concept" (i.e., it can work) but it's a long way, if ever, from actually deploying it on a wide-scale commercial trusted system which is generally pretty well served by existing systems, even including anonymity of transactions.

  • Disney Makes $52.4 Billion Deal for 21st Century Fox in Big Bet on Streaming

    12/14/2017 11:18:45 AM PST · 19 of 24
    CutePuppy to Honest Nigerian; Beowulf9; ifinnegan
    Newspapers (like WSJ and NY Post) are not part of 21st Century FOX (NASD:FOXA), which was a spin-off of a News Corp (NASD:NWS) to separate different businesses and capital structures.

    This sale of some assets to Disney (NYSE:DIS) creates a spin-off of an "old Fox":

    "New Fox" keeps: Fox News Channel (FNC), Fox Business Network (FBN), Fox Telvision Stations Group, Fox Sports, sports cable networks FS1 and FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network (BTN), Fox studio lot in Los Angeles and investment in Roku.

    Disney acquires: Fox film production business (Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight and Fox 2000) and related film libraries, Twentieth Century Fox TV, Fox Productions and Fox21, FX Networks, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India, and 21st Century Fox's interests in National Geographic Partners, Hulu, Sky, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group. Also Sky (UK) when it is expected to complete acquisition in 2018.

    One big catch here is Fox's 30% stake in streaming OTT operator Hulu which combined with 30% already owned by Disney, gives Disney majority control.

    "The spin-off transaction will be taxable to 21st Century Fox, but not to its shareholders. The new Fox will receive a step-up in its tax basis commensurate with the amount of the corporate tax relating to the spin-off that will generate annual cash tax savings over the next 15 years."