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Thoughts on Events the Week of February 26

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 5, 2018

The Trans Pacific Partnership: Significantly underreported, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (dumb bastard doesn’t even know how to spell Stephen correctly) indicated that the United States might be interested in joining the TTP after all, if we can get a better deal.

The Japanese gave a very polite response to this news, which translates in Japanese diplomacy roughly to “Go fuck yourself.” With the U.S. sitting outside, the TPP partners have already reached agreement. It is a fait accompli.

It will be interesting to see if they will even let us in (I’m guessing yes), and if they will make some insignificant change that will allow Trump to claim that better deal (I’m guessing no).

It will be interesting also to see how Trump will explain this to his base, especially if the TPP won’t change any elements of the deal and Trump and Mnuchin have to shuffle into the TTP hats in hand and eyes cast down. Trump’s pulling out of this deal was almost as stupid as Hillary’s turning against it during the campaign. Don’t any of these politicians have a shred of principle?

Trump Trade Trouble: Immediately after scaring Republicans by seeming to side with Democrats over sensible gun control measures and then doing a back flip through his asshole to backtrack after hearing from the NRA, President Trump announced a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% one on imported aluminum.

This announcement startled almost everyone in both parties. A few knee jerk liberal Democratic legislators from upper Midwestern steel producing states think this is a good idea, or at least one many voters think it is. They’re wrong. (Remember, a knee jerk liberal is a liberal who never read an economics text.)

Trump says he will execute this order next week (giving him time to recover from his last backflip and limber up for his next one, I suppose). The order will be based on an old law from the 60s, last used by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, which permits tariffs to protect national security. Trump’s impulse won’t help national security; it will make it worse.

The reason this law isn’t used any more is that these tariffs have been proven not to work, and are self-defeating. They endanger more jobs than they protect domestically, and they invite retaliation that increase our consumer prices, can escalate to trade wars and cause serious economic instabilities. In addition, tariffs aren’t used because, despite what Trump says and his voters think, global trade is a good thing, and no sane person wants to mess with it.

Like other low skilled jobs, those in our steel industry aren’t coming back. They are lost to technology, not overseas competitors, like China, who has been smart about building its steel capacity.

Trump says his tariffs are aimed at China, but it’s going to hurt everybody else more (he’s like the Dick Cheney of trade, shooting his friends), including our allies, and our own consumers and our businesses who use steel and that other stuff, which is so difficult to spell and pronounce that American English and British English differ on it. (As George Bernard Shaw said, “America and England are separated by a common language.”)

My guess is that Trump will walk back this announcement, but he will put a small tariff on escargot imports from China so he can declare promise kept to his base.

Trump v. Sessions: Trump said Sessions was “disgraceful” for doing his job correctly by handing an internal investigation over to the Justice Department’s Inspector General, as he should have. Sessions pushed back this time. But the irony is that Sessions is disgraceful. He’s a bigot, a xenophobe, a homophobe, and stupid. He’s only done two things right in his entire career, and doing the right thing pisses Trump off no end, even if it’s only occasionally.

Sudden Thought: The reputation of everyone who joins the Trump administration is sullied. When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas, as the saying goes. But in Trump’s administration, many already had fleas when they got there.

Football: Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett criticized his quarterback’s play extremely harshly, in public. Jason Garrett said everything about Dak Prescott’s game is all wrong.

Criticizing one’s quarterback in public is something a good coach never would do, proving again, as if more proof were needed, that Garrett is not a good coach. The Cowboys will never win it all until Garrett is gone.

Status of the States: Arizona, my own personal state, gets the cup this week, because the state legislature is taking some of the meager resources given to Arizona State University and creating schools within schools to teach revisionary classes, such as Aristotle from a “market based” perspective.

This is happening because the legislature feels that ASU, and higher education generally, is too liberal, and not good for society. To be fair, most Republicans in Arizona think so too. Arizona’s legislature is as fond of education as Huck Finn’s Pap.

 

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