Tuesday, April 25, 2017

IT BEGINS: Trump Launches His Asinine Protectionist Trade Policy With Some Mega Tariffs



The Trump administration, led by the economically illiterate Donald Trump, is about to announce its first tariffs, which are likely to be the first of many, but these tariffs are whoppers.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday his agency will impose new anti-subsidy tariffs averaging 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber imports.

Speaking to Reuters by phone a day ahead of the expected announcement, Ross said that the duties would affect $5 billion worth of softwood lumber imports from Canada.

"It's about 31.5 percent of the total U.S. market, so it's a pretty big deal in terms of the Canadian relationship," he said.

A Commerce Department fact sheet on the pending announcement seen by Reuters shows that

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tax "Reform" Sitdown on Capitol Hill Tuesday Evening



CNBC Washington DC correspondent  Ylan Q. Mui reports that White House officials will head to the Capitol on Tuesday evening for a meeting on tax "reform."

Those scheduled to be at the meeting include Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin,  Director of the National Economic Council Gary Cohn, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady.

There is no way anything good comes out of tax "reform" with this gang designing it.

They will make crazy government revenue projections (dynamic scoring) that will balloon the deficit and, with the rest of the reform, they will shift taxes around so the taxes will be more difficult to see and understand and proclaim tax "cuts," but it will be a multi-layer scam.

-RW 

Is China Using N.Korea to Derail Trump’s Protectionist Trade Agenda?

This is a very interesting take from Dick Morris.

Of course, there should be no trade barriers between the US and China (or any other countries for that matter.


 -RW 

Campus Collectivism and the Counter-Revolution Against Liberty



Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation on, "Campus Collectivism and the Counter-Revolution Against Liberty."

Numerous accounts have, now, appeared in the press about the aggressive intolerance against various invited speakers on American college and university campuses by “progressives” and more radical leftists determined to shut down any and all views different from their definition of the “politically correct.”

What should also be appreciated is that this is a continuation of the collectivist rejection of the Western values of individual liberty, private property, rule of law, free association and competitive capitalism.

What we are seeing is the latest mutations and variations on the century-old Marxist critique against the free and open society. Instead of “class conflict” between capitalist owners of the means of the production and their property-less workers, the focus is on racism, sexism, and general social injustice but from the same type of conceptual template as used in earlier decades by Marxists and traditional socialists in general.

Now the enemies of the global “masses” of women and “people of color” are the male, white and capitalist exploiters of humankind. The history of humanity, it is said, is a history of white racist oppression of other racial and ethnic groups and the female members of all societies.

History has been rewritten to ignore the fact that slavery, besides being one of the oldest of human institutions, has been one of “equal opportunity.” That is, through the ages people have conquered and enslaved those defeated in battle regardless of their racial or ethnic background, everywhere around the world.

The modern revolt against and abolition of slavery began in Europe, and especially in Great Britain, where the emergence of the classical liberal ideal of individual rights to life and liberty rejected the notion of some human beings being held in bondage by others, including black Africans owned and abused by white masters. This set in motion the anti-slavery movement that formally brought an end to slavery by the end of the 19th century.

Likewise, it was the rise of classical liberalism in Europe, with it emphasis on an equality of individual human rights, that set the stage for the end to the oppression and limits on the social and economic liberty of women. Indeed, it was the freeing of markets from government controls, particularly starting in the 19th century, that opened the door for women to have the freedom to make their own living, enter into their own contracts, and determine who or when to marry (rather than have these things dictated by fathers and husbands, as in pre-capitalist, classical liberal society).

Instead, this “inconvenient history” that it has been philosophical individualism and free market capitalism that has formally liberated humanity from slavery and reduced if not ended abuses of women in many parts of the world, has been erased from college classrooms in the same way that Stalin had purged and murdered people airbrushed out of photographs with him.

The totalitarian tendencies of tyrants of campus political correctness threaten the remaining foundations of a free society. They must be opposed at every turn through the power and uses of reason, reality and determined defense of liberty.

http://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/campus-collectivism-counter-revolution-liberty/

Best,
Richard

FDR's Wacky First 100 Days


Here’s a Don Boudreaux letter to NPR:
Regarding today’s report on the first 100 days of the terms of various U.S. presidents, I dare say that your happy description of Franklin Roosevelt’s is potted (“The ‘First 100 Days’ Presidential Benchmark Goes Back To FDR And Napoleon“).  Writing in 1939 in the Yale Review, John T. Flynn had a different and more realistic take on the start of FDR’s presidency:
“It was a hodgepodge of good intentions, of bold promises and glittering hopes – a desire to produce recovery, to create abundance while at the same time causing scarcity to get prices up; to help labor, to help the little business men and to help the big business men – all save a few who behaved badly to Mr. Roosevelt personally; to spend as much as possible and to tax as little as possible; to boost prices but not to diminish purchasing power; to raise wages and profits, too; to save the farmer, to save the railroads, to save anybody who could be saved with a subsidy; to make everybody happy and win everyone’s good opinion and, in the process of doing this, to adopt any idea which was presented by anybody with a friendly face and which seemed at a glance to have a chance to work.”*
Indeed.
It’s no wonder that the Great Depression lasted well beyond the end of the 1930s.  What is a wonder is that history has treated New Deal policies so uncritically and kindly.
Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030
* John T. Flynn, “Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Roosevelt,” The Yale Review, June 1939; reprinted in Forgotten Lessons: Selected Essays of John T. Flynn, Gregory Pavlik, ed. (Irvington, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996), pp. 37-46.  The above quotation appears on page 42
The above originally appeared at Cafe Hayek.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Anti-Science “March for Science”

By Thomas DiLorenzo

The latest sign-carrying, slogan-shouting, leftist mob to clog the streets of Washington, D.C. in a “march for science” is in reality a march against science.”  These are the global warming nutcases, the overwhelming majority of whom have no education or credentials whatsoever in “science” of any kind.  They are the useful idiots of the Democratic Party puppet stringpullers like George Soros, Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, etc.  They want to “save the world” with huge carbon taxes that would skyrocket the prices of gasoline, electricity, natural gas, every product that utilizes petroleum products in its production, etc., which would be especially cruel to “the poor” whom they always claim to be speaking for.
Besides that, the premise of this latest leftist “march” is quintessentially anti-science.  The science of global warming is “settled,” they say. That is the theme of the whole “march.”  But to real scientists nothing is ever “settled” because most scientific studies are based on statistical analysis, and statistics is based on the study of probabilities.  That’s why even your doctor is never 100% sure of most of the advice he or she gives you; his advice is based on probabilistic studies in the medical field that he learned of in medical school or in his continuing education.  Furthermore, the world is constantly changing, so that statistical relationships that existed years ago are often vastly different today.  In the field of economics, for example, the simplest of concepts — elasticity of demand — is studied by observing, historically, consumer demand responses to changes in prices.  A particular relationship that held in the past (a 30% increase in purchases of a product for every 10% price cut, for example) says nothing about that same relationship in the future.  New substitute or complementary products are constantly coming onto the market or leaving the market, which changes all of those relationships.  Estimates of the elasticity of demand for a product or service do not “settle” anything, not to mentio far more complex economic relationships.  The same is true of climate science and all other sciences.
In other words, the “march for science” is just another mob of ignorant leftist loudmouths who want to enslave us all even more than we already are with huge new economy-destroying/unemployment-generating taxes and Soviet-style central planning of the economy in the name of “saving” Mother Earth.  If they were really interested in helping the planet out, they would have spent their weekend picking up trash on the streets of D.C. instead of generating tons of it.
The above originally appeared at LewRockwell.com.

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BREAKING French Nationalist Le Pen Makes It To Run Off Election

Marine Le Pen

Exit polls indicate that in today's presidential election in France, former investment banker Emmanuel Macron and National Front candidate Marine Le Pen will qualify for the second round runoff in France's presidential election to be held on May 7.

Early indications are that the independent, establishment, pro-globalisation candidate Macron will win the runoff--unless the far left moves to  far right Le Pen against the establishment Macron/

-RW 

UPDATE 


Benoit Hamon—the Socialist Party candidate who gained only 6% of the vote in today's ele—has just announced his firm runoff support for Macron.

UPDATE 2

French Presidential Candidate Emmanuel Macron in Profile: here.

NOT GOOD: Freedom Caucus and Moderates Working on a Healthcare Plan

This is just terrible news.

Larry Kudlow is reporting that according to his sources, Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows has "been in discussion and successfully negotiating" with Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, and they have been agreeing on a number of issues.

They are so close in fact that the House could get a vote next week or soon after.

It is very difficult to believe that "moderate" Republicans would support anything close to free market healthcare.

Expect a healthcare to continue to be crony and centrally planned.

Collins is big when it comes to government healthcare meddling.

She founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus and has since led the effort to more than triple federal funding for diabetes research.

Just last week she put out a press release discussing legislation she recently introduced:
"That is the legislation I introduced in January with Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a physician who has practiced in public hospitals virtually his entire career,” Senator Collins said. “Our compromise attempts to give more power back to the states and bridge the partisan divide, but it requires states to keep the consumer protections of the ACA. It also requires coverage for substance abuse and mental health disorders, and given our opioid crisis, that was a provision I made sure was in that bill.”
She is just moving the statist chips around the interventionist table. Under her plan, it would be another level of government that will run the interventionist healthcare government program, the states.  Of course, with the federal government dictating the terms under which insurance companies would be required to write policies. If the Freedom Caucus buys into any of this it will be a typical D.C. sellout.

-RW 

CEO of Peter Thiel-Backed Palantir Slams Trump as a ‘Bully’ Who Brags About His ‘Fictitious Wealth’

This is super fascinating.

In newly released footage, Alex Karp, the CEO of Palantir Technologies—a Silicon Valley startup chaired by billionaire Donald Trump booster and self-proclaimed "libertarian," Peter Thiel—slammed the president as a “bully” who brags about his “fictitious wealth.”

The video, obtained by BuzzFeed, shows Karp speaking at a 2015 staff meeting.

“I’ve had the rare opportunity to meet Trump, which I turned down—I mean, this is off the record—but like, I don’t respect, like, I respect nothing about the dude,” Karp said according to the footage. “Like, you could almost make up someone that I find—it would be hard to make up someone I find less appealing.”

The CEO also theorized then-candidate Trump lies about his wealth.

The entire video is must viewing. BuzzFeed reporter, William Alden, goes well beyond Karp's comments and provides us with concerning insight into the data collection that Palantir does for various global government agencies.

Also note, the video, in addition, shows Karp discussing machines of the future that "displace jobs,' which is an economically illiterate view.



-RW 

(ht Raw Story)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

18 Spectacularly Wrong Prophecies from the First Earth Day

By Mark Perry

In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled “Earth Day, Then and Now” to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a “torrent of apocalyptic predictions” and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article.

Well, it’s now the 46th anniversary of  Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 16 years ago: How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970? The answer: “The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong,” according to Bailey.

Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the “green holy day” (aka Earth Day) started:

SOCIALIST HORROR: Death Toll Jumps to 20 in Venezuela Protests



 The death toll in three weeks of violence at anti-government protests in Venezuela jumped to 20 people after a night of clashes and pillaging left 12 people dead in Caracas, reports AFP.

Riot police and pro-government vigilantes fought running battles on the capital's east, west and south sides with protesters demanding the ouster of President Nicolas Maduro.

At nightfall on Friday, more protests and pockets of unrest were reported in eastern Caracas, and in Macuto in the neighboring state of Vargas.

Opposition leaders have called new protests for Saturday and Monday.

On Saturday, they plan to march in silence to the Catholic Church's episcopal seats nationwide. They plan to erect roadblocks on Monday to grind the country to a halt.

Protesters blame Maduro -- heir of the leftist "Bolivarian revolution" launched by the late Hugo Chavez in 1999 -- for an economic crisis marked by severe shortages of food, medicine and basic goods.

Maduro says the protests against him are part of a US-backed coup plot.

Senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles slammed Maduro as a "dictator" and "mythomaniac."

Trump "Tax Cut" Plan Coming Next Week



President Donald Trump says businesses and individuals will receive a "massive tax cut" under a tax "reform" package he plans to unveil next week, reports The Associated Press.

In an interview, Trump said the plan will result in tax cuts for both individuals and businesses. He would not provide details of the plan, saying only that the tax cuts will be "bigger I believe than any tax cut ever."

But here is the thing, Trump's advisors have said that any tax "reform" will be revenue neutral, that is, a tax cut in one place will be made up for with a tax increase in another.

It will be a shell game.

Ryan McMaken wrote in January:
Whenever politicians bring up the topic of "tax reform," what they usually want is a reshuffling of taxes so changes to the tax code will look like a tax cut — without reducing tax revenues or lessening the tax burden. In other words, policymakers usually want a tax reform that is "revenue-neutral," and this has been explicitly stated by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for years now.

Last month, for example, Kevin Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee stated through his office that he will propose a new tax plan to Donald Trump that will not cut tax revenues: "rather than reducing tax revenue and increasing the US fiscal deficit, will 'break even within the budget, knowing it's going to grow the economy.'"
If you want to be serious about cutting taxes you don't play the tax reform shell game.You simply lower rates from the current structure.

The president says the package will be released on "Wednesday or shortly thereafter."

White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn suggested that the White House still hadn't decided on all the specific elements of its tax plan.

"We've got a lot of things on the table," Cohn said. "We're working with all of the different levers."

The Washington Post reports:
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the economic growth that would result from the proposed tax cuts would be so extreme – close to $2 trillion over 10 years – that it would come close to recouping all of the lost revenue from the dramatic rate reductions. Some other new revenue would come from eliminating certain tax breaks, although he would not specify which ones.
“The plan will pay for itself with growth,” Mnuchin said at an event hosted by the Institute of International Finance.
Which means part of the tax cuts will be justified as to revenue neutrality based on magical growth numbers that will supposedly result in more tax revenue.  The revenue won't be there and will result in a greater budget deficit in addition to some sneaky new taxes.

Bottom line: "Businessman" Trump is not looking to cut government spending but rather move the points of taxation around and increase the budget deficit.

-RW 

Friday, April 21, 2017

London is Now Cheaper than New York or Paris

Alan Greenspan, Sellout

Alan Greenspan, sellout
By David Gordon

Sebastian Mallaby is the Paul A. Volcker Senior Fellow for International Economic Relations at the Council on Foreign Relations. One can be sure, then, that his new comprehensive book, The Man Who Knew: The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan, reflects an Establishment point of view. As if this were not enough to tell us where the book is coming from, Mallaby informs us that he had Greenspan’s full cooperation in writing it. “This book is based on almost unlimited access to Alan Greenspan, his papers, and his colleagues and friends, all of whom were generous in their collaboration.
Though the book is hardly a panegyric to Greenspan, Mallaby views his subject with considerable favor. Nevertheless, the book contains ample material for a more severe verdict: Greenspan abandoned the free market convictions he effectively defended early in his career as an economist. To uphold economic truth was not the path to the power and influence Greenspan sought; and he readily

Nigel Farage: If Le Pen Wins, It Will Be The End Of the European Union


Nigel Farage says that  National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, this Sunday, will be voted into the second round runoff election in May and if she wins in May to become president of France, it will be the end of the European Union.

 -RW 

Jeffrey Sachs When He is Good, Bad and Really Ugly

Jeffrey Sachs

A review by David Gordon


[Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair, and Sustainable. By Jeffrey D. Sachs. Columbia University Press, 2017. Xx + 130 pages.]
Jeffrey Sachs is no friend of the free market, and I am not known for favorable reviews. It was not to be expected, then, that I would like his new manifesto; and indeed I do not. But one excellent chapter almost redeems the book; and the chief complaint to be made against Sachs is that he fails to apply the lessons of this chapter elsewhere in his analysis.
For almost the entire book, Sachs calls for greater state intervention and planning of the economy. But Chapter 10, “From Guns to Butter,” tells a different story. Here Sachs sounds like Ron Paul or Murray Rothbard, sharply condemning the American Empire.