Monday, August 26, 2019

A Madison Avenue Father Tried to Bring the US and Russia Closer Together Via Pizza, the Modern Day Daughter Slaps Down the Idea

Mikhail Gorbachev and grandaughter
By Robert Wenzel

Madison Darbyshire, a columnist for The Financial Times, sets the scene:
In November 1997, Mikhail Gorbachev, the former and final leader of the Soviet Union, made a Pizza Hut commercial. The media got wind of the advertisement before its release and the spot received perhaps the most press coverage of any advertisement since Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire when shooting a Pepsi ad in 1984.

Although the storyline for the elder statesman remained a closely guarded secret, I, then six years old, already knew the commercial by heart — because my dad, a young copywriter at the global ad agency BBDO, wrote it. With theatrical flair and accented voices, he acted the spot out to me and my sister over dinner weeks before it was due to air.

The ad goes like this:

U.S. Lobster Exports to China in Freefall

Lobster exports out of Maine are free-falling this year as a result of trade hostilities between the United States and lobster-hungry China, the Associated Press reports, according to The Daily Beast.

 Now, lobstermen in Canada, who catch the same species of lobster as American suppliers, are

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Trump Signals Regret China Trade War Has Escalated

Trump at the G7 in Biarritz, France
UPDATE 2 Below: Bizarre 

The erratic US president is at it again. Let us hope he stays in his latest mode.

President Trump now expresses regret that his trade war with China had spiraled into an international quagmire, answering “yes” when a reporter asked this morning in Biarritz, France at the G7 meeting if he regretted the way things had played out, reports The Washington Post.

Asked if he was rethinking the way things had escalated between the two countries, Trump responded “Yeah, sure why not. Might as well. Might as well. I have second thoughts about everything.”

A University of Chicago Law Professor Says Milton Friedman Was Wrong

By Robert Wenzel

University of Chicago Law School Professor Eric Posner in an essay at The Atlantic says Milton Friedman was wrong when he argued that CEOs of corporations should be focused solely on shareholder gains and not so-called "stakeholder" gains.

Posner correctly outlines Friedman's position:

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Trump Signals He May Use Draconian 'Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977' in Trade War Against China

In a tweet early on Friday, President Trump said that "Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China..."

Many questioned the ability of the President to issue such an order but just before midnight on Friday, Trump appeared to tweet how he has the power to issue such an order.

The Other Marx

Groucho Marx
Deirdre McCloskey writes:
The other Marx, Groucho, at the height of his success in movies during the hungry 1930s, was approached by an old friend, whom Groucho knew to be a communist. As the perhaps apocryphal story goes, the friend said, "I desperately need a job. You have contacts." Groucho, whose sense of humor was often cruel, replied, "Harry, I can't. You're my dear, dear communist friend. I don't want to exploit you." 

Friday, August 23, 2019

Trump Goes Tariff Crazy in Response to Chinese Retaliatory Tariffs

Following a day when the Dow Jones Industrial averages fell by more than 600 points after President Trump "ordered," by tweet, that American companies seek alternatives to dealing with China after the Chinese government announced retaliatory tariffs against the US, Trump followed up after the market closed with tweets announcing increases in tariffs against China.

Trump Explodes: "Orders" American Companies to Seek Alternatives to China


In a series of remarkable tweets, this morning President Trump lashed out at the Federal Reserve once again and suggested that the Fed should have done something (today?). No one expected any activity from the Fed today.

 He followed up by "ordering" American companies to seek alternatives to doing business with China, in response to news of retaliatory tariffs by China.

City Budgets...

Crony San Francisco
...or should it be called crony madness in the big cities?

Sam Francisco's Absolutely Nutty Ban on Plastic Water Bottles at SFO Airport

By Craig Eyermann
Politicians in California like to show how much they care about making the world a better place by banning things. Making the world a better place isn’t something they seem to care much about, however, because if they did, they would be doing very different things.

As Exhibit A, please consider San Francisco’s new ban on sales of bottled water at the city’s international airport, which just took effect on August 20, 2019.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Trump Reverses Says He Is No Longer Considering Tax Cuts

President Trump backed away from pursuing new tax cuts to bolster the U.S. economy, a sharp reversal from a day earlier, when he had described several such measures the White House was contemplating, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Impossibility of Equality

Murray Rothbard
By Murray Rothbard
Probably the most common ethical criticism of the market economy is that it fails to achieve the goal of equality. Equality has been championed on various “economic” grounds, such as minimum social sacrifice or the diminishing marginal utility of money (see the chapter on taxation above). But in recent years economists have recognized that they cannot justify egalitarianism by economics, that they ultimately need an ethical basis for equality.

The More Deeply One Examines the Case for So-Called “Stakeholder Capitalism,” the More One Sees Its Confusions, Contradictions, and Potential Dangers

Here’s a Don Boudreaux letter to Joshua Johnson, host of NPR’s “The 1A”:
Mr. Joshua Johnson, Host
The 1A
WAMU Radio
Mr. Johnson:
I enjoyed today’s show on “Shareholders To Stakeholders: Why Business Leaders Are Shifting Focus.” I write, however, to register disagreement with Rick Wartzman’s case that corporations should aim to maximize, not share values, but, instead, the well-being of so-called “stakeholders.” Mr. Wartzman’s case is filled with several flaws, including …

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

How Trump's Tax "Cuts" Are Costing Travelling Nurses Big Time

Charles W. emails:
My wife has been a Nurse for 35 years and for many years she was a "Traveling Nurse".  Traveling Nurses arose in the 1970s, if what I've read on the 'Net is True.

Trump on the Trade War With China:"I Am the Chosen One"

Talk about a messianic economic central planner.

We have gone beyond "fatal conceit" folks.


Trump Says Russia Should Be Readmitted to G7

President Trump said on Tuesday that Russia should be readmitted to the Group of 7 industrialized nations, reports The New York Times.

Speaking a few days before his planned departure for the G7 summit, in Biarritz, France, Trump said that Moscow’s exclusion since 2014 from the group of leading economic powers should be reversed.

HEROIC: Poland Scarps Income Tax for 2 Million Young Workers

Now, this is a trend that I would like to see expand in all kinds of directions and go global.

A new law has gone into effect in Poland which scraps the income tax for roughly 2 million young workers in the country, reports CNN.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Trump Continues to Pressure the Weak Fed Chairman Jay Powell

By Robert Wenzel

On Monday, President Trump tweeted that Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell has " a horrendous lack of vision."

He went on to say that the Fed should cut its benchmark interest rate, the Fed funds rate, by at least a full percentage point "with perhaps some quantitative easing as well."

This brings to mind the thinking of G. William Miller, who was Federal Reserve chairman early in the Jimmy Carter presidency.

Cutting the Payroll Tax: Will Trump Give the Order?

The payroll tax is a monster.