Pimping A Bad Trade Deal

imageWe can’t help but notice the NY Times is out with a lead on the disclosure (at last!) of the Trans Pacific Partnership Trade deal.

After all the hype and BS about how this was really going to fix America’s trade mess, seems the best they could come up with was getting Vietnam to help their worker conditions which won’t to jack-squat for the people of, oh, Detroit for example.

Here’s a little morsel:  The TPP gives even more power to the World Trade Organization by recognizing its power in the exceptions section:

Nothing in this Agreement shall be construed to prevent a Party from taking action, including maintaining or increasing a customs duty, that is authorised by the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO or is taken as a result of a decision by a dispute settlement panel under a free trade agreement to which the Party taking action and the Party against which the action is taken are party.

One we get through the happy-talk and the corporatist fat-cat pitch, a bunch of us who can read the whole document here will likely conclude that it is another selling-out of America.  We The People, I don’t believe, ever agreed consciously to give away our national sovereignty to a foreign-dominated trade group that has no interest in ensuring the quality of life in America.

Wrong!  Of course we did:  Another District of Corruption hoodwink.

Here’s the thing:  When a country gives up the power to impose tariffs in order to regulate its internal economy (and raise money from tariffs on lower-priced imports) you’re no longer running your own country.

This bending over for the WTO is unacceptable and corporatist traders is in defiance of Liberty.  We are either a free-standing country or we are an occupied country with a corporate puppet-government.  We ought to tax anything coming in we feel like.  And, if a corporation is domiciled offshore for tax convenience sake (think Apple, et all) then they should pay a higher tax on their goods coming in than a company which keeps its account in America.

Which, of course, we are.  Or used to be…

This trade deal is just a layer of chocolate frosting on a bullshit cake.  Just so’s you won’t notice.

Fact is:  If corporations weren’t going to cut a fat hog on it, it would never have been rammed through congrease so fast.

TPP won’t balance the national debt – though it could if we didn’t have WTO and external games being played with the tariffs imposed on you name it: Cars, computers, washers, dryers…whatever.

Worse?  The dispute settlement section lists this an an exception:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) levels the playing field for American workers and American businesses, leading to more Made-in-America exports and more higher-paying American jobs here at home. By cutting over 18,000 taxes different countries put on Made-in-America products, TPP makes sure our farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, service suppliers, and small businesses can compete—and win—in some of the fastest growing markets in the world. With more than 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside our borders, TPP will significantly expand the export of Made-in-America goods and services and support American jobs.

If you believe it, you believe in the Easter Bunny.  Me?  Seen too much go wrong and offshored to believe this will work.

Yeah corporations will make even more money.  Quick, look surprised.  Me distant kin of Ned Ludd?  Well, perhaps.

When comes to international trade, there is no free lunch.  And we’ll be bankrupt long before a system of appeals to the WTO ever opens a single new door.  And in the meantime, foreign-domiciled corporations will keep piling up the untaxed money because Tax Havens are going to be around long after both of us are gone.

Who do you really think owns Washington, anymore?

Jobs Data Trickling In  – No Recovery Buried in Detail

With the report Wednesday from ADP that 182,000 new jobs had been created last month, it is time to roll with what the Challenger Job Cut report has out.  Think there is a “recovery?”  Skip to the highlighted part…

CHICAGO, November 5, 2015 – The nation’s employers announced plans to eliminate 50,504 workers from their payrolls in October. More than one-quarter of those were oil-related job cuts,which climbed to a six-month high, according to the latest layoff report released Thursday by global
outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

October job cuts were 14 percent lower than the 58,877 cuts announced in September. They  were down 1.3 percent from a year ago, when 51,183 October job cuts were recorded.

Employers have now announced 543,935 job cuts so far in 2015. That is 31 percent more than the 414,591 cuts announced by this point in 2014. The year-to-date total is, in fact, 13 percent higher than the 2014 year-end total (483,171).

Nearly one in five job cuts announced this year have been the result of low oil prices. In October, oil prices were blamed for 13,671 job cuts, 27 percent of all cuts announced during the month.

That is the highest oil-related job-cut total since April, when 20,675 job cuts were attributed to oil.

Overall, oil prices are responsible for 101,383 job cuts in 2015. Several companies have experienced multiple workforce reductions throughout the year. For example, Chevron announced a second round of cuts in October, while Halliburton, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes
have each reported at least two separate layoff events in 2015.

This will obviously drive the economy.  Tomorrow morning we’ll do our monthly slice and dice of the “offishul’ (sic) numbers.

Jobs are going away…and so the TPP will give tax breaks to corporations.  A country with half a brain would offset those foreign tariffs with an equal export tax and pocket the difference or better:  Create new best-of-class industries…

You know what Asia is kicking our butts?  Because in the wake of WW II, we fixed their country  but not our own!!!

You need to read up on MITI – the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry which is how companies like Sony, Honda, Toyota, et al because cornerstones in American life:

MITI was created with the split of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in May 1949 and given the mission for coordinating international trade policy with other groups, such as the Bank of Japan, the Economic planning Agency, and the various commerce-related cabinet ministries. At the time it was created, Japan was still recovering from the economic disaster of World War II. With inflation rising and productivity failing to keep up, the government sought a better mechanism for reviving the Japanese economy.

MITI has been responsible not only in the areas of exports and imports but also for all domestic industries and businesses not specifically covered by other ministries in the areas of investment in plant and equipment, pollution control, energy and power, some aspects of foreign economic assistance, and consumer complaints. This span has allowed MITI to integrate conflicting policies, such as those on pollution control and export competitiveness, to minimize damage to export industries.

MITI has served as an architect of industrial policy, an arbiter on industrial problems and disputes, and a regulator. A major objective of the ministry has been to strengthen the country’s industrial base. It has not managed Japanese trade and industry along the lines of a centrally planned economy, but it has provided industries with administrative guidance and other direction, both formal and informal, on modernization, technology, investments in new plants and equipment, and domestic and foreign competition.

So why aren’t we figuring out how to conquer Asia economically?

Sadly, because we’re too damn dumb.  But hey, thanks for fixing Japan and Korea and unlocking China, ya’ll…

With a Year to Go: Clinton Smears Bernie

With her own future uncertain at the demogogic national convention, we see Hillary Clinton being labeled in press reports not only as smearing Bernie Sanders, but also playing the race card, too.  OMG it is going to be a long year.

Meantime, an article from The Hill opines that the MSM is completely missing the Bernie boat because everyone seems to be focused on Donald Trump who – as notes the story here – is out-polling the Donald.

Lest you feel confused by what is going on, let me help clarify how things really work.  Look at the two largest campaign chests.  (That’d be Trump and Clinton in case you missed it.)

Supposing you’re a big media sales manager.  And you get commissions on political ads just like everything else:  Which candidates would you be covering the most?

This is like basic economics!  People in all walks of life naturally tend to do what rewards them best.  Behavior Economics courses are not expensive.  For example:

Xavier Gabaix. 14.127 Behavioral Economics and Finance, Spring 2004. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.mit.edu (Accessed 5 Nov, 2015). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

On second thought, skip the course and keep coming here for a daily dose of common sense.

Meantime, here’s a story on CNN – a “Tale of Two Carsons.” 

Say, that wouldn’t mean Carson’s media budget is judged smaller than Trumps, would it?

As Babel Falls: Selected Readings

Slow-motion, but still:

Anti-Muslim militia warns against refugee invasion at Idaho statehouse: ‘This isn’t some made-up crap!’

Hamtramck (Michigan) is 1st American city to elect majority Muslim council

Latino group offers $5K for calling Trump a racist on ‘SNL’

I would say the world is getting crazier by the day but that would be stating the obvious, wouldn’t it?


Pimping A Bad Trade Deal — 11 Comments

  1. The election of Trudeau in Canada has helped slow this manure wagon of a trade deal down.
    He has serious reservations regarding it !
    Maybe we can make a trade……Trudeau for the paid lackey to be elected later (2016) and throw in Obama, Mcconman, and the con-gressional heads of corruption !

  2. Hmm, no talk about the earth directed solar flare? It was an M3.7 not much to talk about, however with our weakening magneto sphere this could cause some trouble although not people ending.

  3. George:

    Interesting story out of Idaho – but they lost me at “Hatewatch” – which is the propaganda arm of the $PLC – where every story is spun to generate more contributions.

    1. III%ers are NOT a militia. They never claimed any such thing.

    2. The things they stated as beliefs? – more or less true? Since when is the First Amendment limited to that which the left considers proper and politically correct?

    3. The U.S. government has committed to unlimited resettlement of Syrian refugees. That sure worked out for the American Indian.

    My gut tells me are all ready past the event horizon for a collapse. Try to enjoy the long, slow slide.

  4. Forgot to list another big difference between parties: One party is totally committed to anonymous unlimited spending on political campaigns, and the other party is committed to full and immediate disclosure (if limitations cannot be enforced).

  5. This highlights the huge damage done to our country by propagating the fiction that both parties in the 2-party system are the same.

    If people are encouraged to believe that, then they are free to vote based on whoever they identify with or “trust,” without making any distinction about the really important stuff – the policies they are going to make into law.

    I maintain that there is actually a very large difference on policies, and you do yourself and your readers a disservice by ignoring important divergences on specific issues. It’s especially sad when the pablum of “big government / small government” or “tax and spend” vs. “fiscal responsibility” is the only difference you cite. Those are slogans, not policies.

    Policies are things like TPP, or accelerated depreciation tax incentives for robotics, or tax credits for offshoring jobs, or minimum wage, or voting rights, or equal pay for equal work by people who have no power when negotiating with large employers, or failure to tax compensation as wages for hedge funds and private equity managers who don’t risk their own capital. In every one of those policies, there is a stark difference between the two parties.

    Equally responsible? No, not quite.

  6. It takes some courage to go against the leader of your political party when he is backing something that is bad for the country, but nearly every Democrat did that on TPP. The fairy tale about equal responsibility should be exposed as a cheap lie, and Obama should be roundly criticized for siding with the party of American middle class destruction that call themselves “conservatives.”

    • Sadly, you’re confused on what has caused the demise of the American middle class. It has been the progressive thinkers, note that this line of thought has infiltrated both parties, that have promoted the free trade agreements and basically given away our manufacturing base. True conservatives believe in the constitution and the sovereignty of this country.

  7. The people elected to the House and Senate from my district and state voted against TPP. The people elected to the House and Senate from your district and state voted for it. Maybe you should applaud the 208 people in Congress that voted against it, and say something about the majority who voted for it.

  8. “everything in life is a gamble and making good decisions is sometime defined by circumstances”

    You couldn’t have framed this better, Bruno

    Most everything in life is a gamble and making decisions is mostly defined by circumstances. Take it from someone who went 99% through it.

    • Keep in mind that the referenced article was vintage 2005, updated to 2008. Interesting, but the current level of spying by everyone is way up.

      My personal vendetta is the closed door policy of scientific journals that keep everything behind prohibitively priced paywalls. For a general survey of an interesting direction to research, you might wish to read several hundred articles in different journals, and each may cost $35.00 for 48 hours of access. No individual and few institutions can afford this. It’s compounded by the fact that most research is done under some sort of federal or other public grant. Since everyone is spying, it makes more sense to just publish everything for free on the net, and let the small players into the game.