Starship Technologies, the London-based company that has created six-wheeled self-driving delivery robots, will begin taking customers Domino’s pizzas in Germany and the Netherlands, reports Bloomberg.
"With our growth plans over the next five to 10 years, we simply won’t have enough delivery drivers if we do not look to add to our fleet through initiatives such as this," Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Chief Executive Officer Don Meij said in a statement.
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
|The knives are out.|
To say the knives are out for Cohn, across multiple layers in West Wing and outside it, is understatement.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 26, 2017
No doubt it is Steve Bannon leading the knife attack. Cohn is a big dog and the way Bannon sees it there is room for only one big dog in the White House and that spot is for him.One senior Trump adviser described Cohn as rushing to "the front of AHCA parade" when it seemed like it would pass.— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 26, 2017
But, remember, the more in fighting the less time they have to harass us.
Cohn, btw, is pro-trade, Bannon is a crazed protectionist. It's not the only issue between the two but the opposing stances between them on trade probably grates on both of them on a daily basis.
at 9:58:00 AM
UK PM May: An historic moment from which there can be no turning backpic.twitter.com/3NPweIm2d4— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) March 29, 2017
at 8:34:00 AM
White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro recently delivered to Congress a list of model trade agreement elements.
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), a Finance Committee member and the chairman of the Agriculture Committee last week entered the list into the record during the confirmation hearing for Robert Lighthizer, President Trump's nominee for U.S. Trade Representative. In doing so he said Navarro “read to us the administration's marching orders for trade. They had four goals and 13 policy objectives. Since that meeting, the list has now grown to 24.”
Here's the list (via World Trade Online). I have highlighted the elements that are obviously free trade restrictive.
1. Rules of Origin Percentages & Loopholes
2.Trade Deficit Reduction
3. Dumping, Diversionary Dumping, and Evasion of AD/CVD Duties
4. Currency Manipulation
5. Strict Environmental and Labor Standards
6. Intellectual Property Protection
7. Restrictions on State-owned and State-financed Enterprises.
8. Investor State Dispute Resolution
9. Chapter 19
10. Non-Tariff Barriers
11. Government Procurement
12. Joint Cooperation on Issues Related to the WTO
13. Enforcement, Monitoring, and Compliance
15. Country of Origin Labeling
16. Evasion of Antidumping and Countervailing Duties
17. Forced technology transfer
18. Geographical indications to restrict trade
20. Phytosanitary standards
21. Processed foods
23. Tax rebates on exports
24. Technology transfers
The highlighted elements should play no role in trade agreements. There really shouldn't be any government trade negotiations but the highlighted areas are the most intrusive. And, for starters, should be taken off the list.
at 4:26:00 AM
|On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May signed the letter triggering Article 50.|
The official Article 50 exit process will begin on Wednesday at just after 1.30pm (BST) in Brussels when Sir Tim Barrow, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, presents Prime Minister May’s letter of withdrawal to Donald Tusk, the European Council president.
But the letter will not immediately separate Britain from the EU. It is not an FU letter with Britain going on its merry way. The letter will launch two years of "negotiations."
Indeed, Downing Street said on Monday that the Prime Minister would not use the Article 50 notification to announce the immediate cessation of full citizens’ rights for new EU arrivals in Britain. The European Parliament insists full rights must apply until Brexit is complete.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has adopted a tough position on issues such as the UK’s exit bill (The EU wants 60 billion euros from the Brits as an exit fee)and the sequencing of negotiations,
“We have no interest in punishing the UK, but we also have no interest in putting European integration in danger over the UK,” Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister and Merkel’s close ally, said in a recent FT interview.
“That’s why our priority must be, with a heavy heart, to keep the rest of Europe — without the UK — as close together as possible.”
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Consumer confidence surged to a new 16-year high in March.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index jumped to 125.6 – highest since December 2000.
Meanwhile, US home price gains reached a 31-month high in January, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index.
The index, which measures all nine U.S. census divisions, found that home prices rose 5.9 percent year-over-year in the month, up from December's 5.7 percent annual gain.
Of the nation's 20 largest cities, three reached their all-time highs in January: Seattle, Portland, and Denver. And 12 cities reported greater price increases in the year ending January 2017 versus the year ending December 2016, the report said.
This, of course, has occurred despite 3 Fed rate hikes and Austrian-lites warning of an imminent crash in the economy after the first hike more than 2 years ago.
This is not what a recession looks like.
at 11:54:00 AM
|Trump's top strategist Steve Bannon|
Steve Bannon Dismisses Austrian EconomicsBy Jeff Deist
There’s quite a lot to consider in these few sentences. For starters, Bannon clearly is not as familiar with the mindset of congressional Republicans as he imagines. They are primarily concerned with how the whole “repeal and replace” debacle plays back home. Bannon seems wholly unaware that incentives matter, that his only carrot or stick with regards to individual members is getting them reelected or un-elected. While Trump is likely to remain popular in deep red counties and states, it’s doubtful Bannon can leverage this to create an effective “enemies list” of GOP recalcitrants. For the majority of congressional Republicans the only existential threat to their jobs comes from their right flank in a potential primary, and supporting a watered-down version of the ACA may well hurt them worse than Bannon’s wrath. The only incentive that matters is reelection, not having “adult conversations or governing.” Is the wizened Bannon, architect of the brilliant Trump campaign, really so naïve about Congress?
Monday, March 27, 2017
By John R. Graham
Merritt Hawkins, a physician-staffing firm, has published its periodic survey of waiting times for appointments with physicians in 30 metropolitan markets. The results:
Of the 15 major markets surveyed, Boston has the longest waiting time (52.4 days) while Dallas has the shortest (14.8 days). This is not surprising, because queuing is a symptom of a system where resources are allocated by central planners exercising government privilege. Massachusetts has long been at the forefront of efforts to guarantee universal access to care through government planning, whereas Texas has no interest in such a program.
Of the 15 major markets surveyed, slightly more than half of the physicians (53.0 percent) reported they accept patients on Medicaid, the joint state-federal welfare program for low-income residents. This is an “improvement,” of sorts, from 2004, when only 49.9 percent of physicians accepted Medicaid patients.
However, 84.5 percent of physicians accepted patients on Medicare, the federal program for seniors, an increase from 77.0 percent in 2014. It is not clear why this changed. Although, given the dramatic increase in waiting times, it is not clear the increased rate of Medicare acceptance signifies overall improvement.
Obamacare significantly increased federal control of patients’ access to medical care, and it appears to be having the impact we would expect from more central planning.
The above originally appeared at the Independent Institute.
at 2:12:00 PM
Dr. Murray Sabrin, Professor of Finance, Ramapo College, emails:
Cornell economics professor Robert Frank writing in today's NYT business section suggests Trump may propose "Medicare for all" in light of the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare last week. I would not be surprised. Trump is not a limited government advocate.Frank writes:
Now that Republicans have withdrawn Mr. Ryan’s bill from consideration, attention shifts to what comes next. In an earlier column, I suggested that Mr. Trump has the political leverage, which President Obama did not, to jettison the traditional Republican approach in favor of a form of the single-payer health care that most other countries use. According to Physicians for a National Health Program, an advocacy group, “Single-payer national health insurance, also known as ‘Medicare for all,’ is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health care financing, but the delivery of care remains largely in private hands.” Christopher Ruddy, a friend and adviser of the president, recently urged him to consider this option.Sadly, this is what may actually occur. A socialist healthcare system in America. It certainly seems to mesh with Trump's Führer Principle personality and his complete lack of understanding of the problems with central planning.
Many Republicans who want to diminish government’s role in health care view the single-payer approach with disdain. But Mr. Trump often seems to take pleasure in being unpredictable, and since he will offend people no matter which way he turns, he may want to consider why liberals and conservatives in many other countries have embraced the single-payer approach.
at 9:02:00 AM
Well, this is rich.
New York Times Magazine correspondent Robert Draper reports on what President Trump's top adviser, Steve Bannon, said at a dinner meeting in January of this year hosted by House Speaker Paul Ryan at his Capitol office with members of Trump’s inner circle (my highlight):
I think the Democrats are fundamentally afflicted with the inability to discuss and have an adult conversation about economics and jobs, because they’re too consumed by identity politics. And then the Republicans, it’s all this theoretical Cato Institute, Austrian economics, limited government — which just doesn’t have any depth to it. They’re not living in the real world.I hasten to add this is coming from a guy that holds one of the most superficial theories about how the economy and history develop. SEE: Steve Bannon’s Bizarre Documentary “Generation Zero”.
This is a guy who displays no understanding of the role that the economic basic principle comparative advantage plays in trade and how it relates to international trade. A theory that was developed more than 200 years ago and destroyed at that time Bannon's current trade view!
It is doubtful this guy could recognize the difference between the Misesian regression theorem and a Hebrew National hot dog.
That this man. who is also a Churchillian-style warhawk, is so close to the President should be a serious concern to all who appreciate sound economic and foreign policy.
at 5:37:00 AM
Earlier this month, New York Times Magazine contributor Robert Draper spoke to President Donald Trump by phone.
He has reported for the magazine on the conversation. Here's the key insight (my highlight):
When I spoke with Trump, I ventured that, based on available evidence, it seemed as though conservatives probably shouldn’t hold their breath for the next four years expecting entitlement reform. Trump’s reply was immediate. “I think you’re right,” he said. In fact, Trump seemed much less animated by the subject of budget cuts than the subject of spending increases. “We’re also going to prime the pump,” he said. “You know what I mean by ‘prime the pump’? In order to get this” — the economy — “going, and going big league, and having the jobs coming in and the taxes that will be cut very substantially and the regulations that’ll be going, we’re going to have to prime the pump to some extent. In other words: Spend money to make a lot more money in the future. And that’ll happen.” A clearer elucidation of Keynesian liberalism could not have been delivered by Obama."Priming the pump" is one of the scariest economic programs you can hear promoted by a president. It is nothing but the promotion of rotund government expansionism justified by confused Keynesian theory.
Pump priming relates to the Keynesian economic theory, named after noted economist John Maynard Keynes, which states that government intervention within the economy, aimed at increasing aggregate demand, can result in a positive shift within the economy...And thus another problem for Trump supporters who view him as somehow different from typical big government politicians. Trump is not different. No shrinkage of the government role in the economy is going to occur when a president is talking about priming the pump---enthusiastically talking about priming the pump.
The phrase originated with President Hoover's creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in 1932, which was designed to make loans to banks and industry. This was taken one step further by 1933, when President Roosevelt felt that pump-priming would be the only way for the economy to recover from the Great Depression. Through the RFC and other public works organizations, billions of dollars were spent priming the pump to encourage economic growth.
The phrase was rarely used in economic policy discussions after World War II, even though programs developed and used since then, such as unemployment insurance and tax cuts, may be considered forms of automatic pump primers. However, during the financial crisis of 2007/2008, the term came back into use, as interest rate reduction and infrastructure spending were considered the best path to economic recovery, along with tax rebates issued as part of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.
Sunday, March 26, 2017
I wrote to the Idaho representative, Mat Erpelding, who made the comments about gold.RW note:
I looked up his email address and wrote to him. I snagged your comments (as they were better than anything I would have had time or energy to come up with) and threw it into the letter and sent it off.
Surprisingly, he wrote back. See below.
I read your remarks about gold.
“If we say that gold is going to protect us from inflation, I want to point out that in 1868, gold was $27 an ounce, and today gold is $1,218 an ounce. So, we can’t say that gold is going to protect us from inflation when you have that type of a price range over the last hundred years. So, I just want to point out that facts are important."
Rep. Erpelding, please understand that if the price of gold has climbed from $27.00 per ounce in 1868 to a present value of around $1,218.00 an ounce, it means that gold has maintained its purchasing value in the face of the declining purchasing value of the Federal Reserve controlled U.S. dollar.
Yep. I messed up my argument.
Rep. Mat Erpelding
House Democratic Minority Leader
PO Box 1697
Boise, ID 83701
Since receiving Mueller's email, I also have written to Rep. Mat Erpelding:
Dear Rep. Mat Erpelding,
It has come to my attention that you have admitted your mistake with regard to your comments on gold as an inflation hedge (A Response from the Idaho Representative on His Incoherent Argument on Gold as an Inflation Hedge).
It is really rare to see a politician admit a mistake. Bravo! I was fully expecting you to blame it on Adam Smith, the Russians or, perhaps, Roger Stone.
Under separate cover, I have sent you a copy of my book, The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. I hope it proves informative about money and the Federal Reserve, for what I suspect will be a long political career for you.
Editor & Publisher
San Francisco, CA
Rep. Erpelding's response to me:
Thank you. We all make mistakes and I made a big one! I will read your book!Mat
at 7:01:00 PM
By Robert Wenzel
During a lecture at the Mercatus Center Academic & Student Programs, the Austrian school economist Israel Kirzner brought up in contrast dynamic decision making versus the economic mainstream view of decision making.
He correctly points out that mainstream decision making is largely calculation from known facts. He said it is as if all the facts are known which you can deliver to a "decision-making room" and the answer will be provided to you.
Kirzner is correct here, much of modern day mainstream economics is this view that we are searching for equilibrium.
He then contrasted this with what he saw as the Misesian view of decision making. However, the examples he used to portray Misesian decision making I believe fall short of the true richness of the Misesian view. He used examples I have seen him use before in other lectures.
He used as an example a man considering whether he should marry a particular woman. And then speculated that such a man might wonder what the woman might look like in 10 years time. He suggested this question is one that can not be solved in the decision-making room, but I wonder if this is fully the case. Many a man has looked at a mother to get a sense for what a daughter might look like down the road, and there are certainly computer programs these days that can age a picture of someone to give us a rough idea of what they will look like in the future.
So Kirzner's example here could be put into the decision-making room and a rough answer could be provided.
I believe the Misesian view rests more on the idea that we may not know what questions to ask in the first place, not the degree to which they can be satisfactorily answered once we have the question.
Approximately 45% of marriages in the United States end in divorce, I would venture to guess that a majority of those divorces come as a result of the couple not asking the correct questions about the future spouse in the first place. "Oh, you had me several years ago. When I was still quite naive."
This is the Mises and Hayekian problem with simply solving for equilibrium. Further, Mises and Hayek would recognize that the distribution of knowledge is such that not everyone would have the same series of questions in front of them to know what to ask. How many of us have not seen a couple about to get marry where we know full well "It won't last." In this case, we are operating (when we are correct) with a greater knowledge spectrum than the couple actually getting married.
Kirzner goes on to use as an example of a decision about a dining room set, and talks about the inability to take into the "decision-making room" the answer to the question, "What will this dining set look like in 10 years?"
But again, the question is understood here, There may be some vagueness about the answer (although I doubt much) but the real problem can be much more complex if we do not know the questions to ask.
Consider this situation, the dining set is being bought by a single woman living in a studio apartment in New York City. She knows enough to contemplate the question, "What will this set look like in 10 years?' The set is made out of sturdy wood, is a type of wood she has always loved and so she buys the set,
A month later she learns she is pregnant and decides she will keep the baby and raise it herself but because of the expense of apartments in New York City, she has decided to stay in the studio apartment she has and the crib will have to go in the spot where the new dining set now is. In 8 months, up on Craig's List goes the dining set at a discount.
Clearly, she did not think to ask when she bought the set, "What happens if I get pregnant next week?"
Kirzner uses a third example of a student considering whether to be a heart surgeon and he brings up more complex questions where estimates need to be made, but again,the bigger point should be that we don't always know what questions to ask.
It's the questions we are not aware that we should ask that make Mises and Hayek suspicious of equilibrium models. Further, Mises and Hayek are fully aware that some people have better, more thorough, questions for different situations.
In other words, Mises and Hayek understand that the world is a very complex place and a central planner, with a whiz-bang computer, who thinks he knows all the answers is way off. He may have answers for the limited questions he asks but it is impossible to have all the questions.
One very important secret about free markets is that there are many people asking all kinds of different questions.The more different people we have asking different questions the better the shot that we have at different problems being solved.
The lecture by Kirzner is here. His discussion of the decision-making room starts at 32:30.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics, on LinkedIn and Facebook. The Robert Wenzel podcast is on iphone and stitcher.
at 3:03:00 PM
In a Facebook posting, she wrote:
I am honored and humbled to be taking on a new, critically important position to put Puerto Rico back on a path to fiscal stability.
The Board is tasked with assessing and certifying annual budgets and a fiscal recovery plan presented by the island’s government and facilitating debt restructuring talks on the island.
Puerto Rico is suffering from years of fiscal deficits and the related debt burden. Yet, the opportunities are equally great based on the steps foreseen in the certified fiscal plan to restore liquidity and debt sustainability.
Implementation of this plan will be a first step in returning stability and confidence to investors and Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million U.S. citizens.This is a second stint for her running a country's finances.
Between 2005 and 2010 Jaresko was a member of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's Foreign Investors Advisory Council and the Advisory Board of the Ukrainian Center for Promotion of Foreign Investment.
She managed to survive all kinds of turmoil. Nine months after the 2014 U.S. instigated Ukrainian revolution which resulted in the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych, Jaresko was offered the post of Minister of Finance, which she accepted. She left the government in 2016 after another change in Ukranian leadership.
But the firm she had co-founded in 2006, Horizon Capital, scored big off Ukraine in 2016. It managed to increase its capital stake, at a bargain basement price, in Datagroup, to over 70%. Datagroup controls 85% of the telecom traffic in Ukraine.
Of note, Jaresko served as the Chief of the Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine from 1992-1995, and in various economic positions at the State Department in Washington, D.C. from 1989-1992.
At one point she sat on the board of the George Soros-aligned Open Ukraine Foundation
In May 2016, Jaresko became chair of the Board of Trustees of the Aspen Institute unit in Kyiv.
Watch out Puerto Rico, you have a major deep state crony operative about to take over the running of your government's finances.
Sources: The Financial Times, Wikipedia, Datagroup, EPJ, Aspen Institute, The New American