31 thoughts on “News/Politics 12-2-16

  1. Tychicus, Obama might be compared to a lamb, but I think we can come up with a more appropriate animal for Trump.

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  2. Personally, I’m hoping the US can establish a better relationship with Putin. The American public is not best served by another cold war…especially one started over Russia’s decision to not allow American homosexual couples to adopt Russian children. Obama (and some of his genitalia obsessed supporters) took offense then, and it’s been downhill ever since.

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  3. Debra, I also hope for better relations with Russia. I respect Putin’s stand against Organized Perversion and appreciate his efforts (along with others) to keep the US from perverting the world. However, his economic policies leave something to be desired.

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  4. I don’t suppose it ever occurred to established interests on both sides of the aisle that the *carrot* of incentives were not as effective as they could have been in the past because there was no corresponding *stick* in the form of a credible threat of tariffs? It’s a sad thing to see, but apparently it’s not just protesters on the left that have a problem with reasoning and judgment.

    Speaking of the Trump/Pence- Carrier deal in Indiana:

    “It’s a judgment call,” said Mitch Roob, who led the state’s economic development agency under then-Gov. Mitch Daniels. “The IEDC has a fair amount of leeway, as they should, because there’s no way for the legislature to understand what the particular circumstances might be at a point in time.”

    Roob said awarding incentives for retention was uncommon but not unprecedented.
    “We tried not to do it, obviously,” he said. “But there were certain circumstances when that became the best option for us, and we went ahead and did it.”

    Trump, however, has criticized the use of such incentives.
    “I’ve watched as politicians talked about stopping companies from leaving our states,” Trump said at a Pennsylvania campaign rally in August: “‘Here’s a tax abatement of any kind you want. We’ll help your employees.’ It doesn’t work, folks. That’s not what they need. They have money. They want to go out, they want to move to another country, and because our politicians are so dumb, they want to sell their product to us and not have any retribution, not have any consequence.”

    Instead of incentives, Trump frequently called for tariffs as high as 35 percent on products produced by companies that move their factories outside the United States. Those threats were often aimed at Carrier.

    [italics added]

    http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/01/carrier-incentives-stir-debate-over-rewarding-offshoring/94725864/

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  5. I heard Chris Wallace say yesterday that this will be a presidency unlike any we’ve seen in our lifetime — I’d say he’s right about that. It won’t be dull. And it’ll require a lot of mental adjustments and, as with any president, vigilance on the part of the people. But regarding appointments, I’m feeling more encouraged than I thought I would at this stage.

    There’s still much outrage on the left, of course, so it’ll be wildly unpleasant on that front for a long time to come. Losing Obama, who was so absolutely adored by the left, and facing a new federal government that’s so far looking at least fairly conservative has unleashed something of a fury that looks like it won’t let up any time soon. I know and work with people who are beside themselves, they’re coming undone. It sometimes looks like an exorcism in full rage.

    But for those of us who are conservative yet did not support Trump (and remain somewhat shell-shocked by it all, no? lol), let’s give him a chance. He’s not even president yet, after all. I wasn’t a Trump fan by far, but I’m withholding judgment at this point.

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  6. rw: I’m sure he’ll have far more on-the-field success (the foundation has already been laid), but it’s highly doubtful that he’ll be able to top Coach Strong in the character department.

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  7. Debra, Williamson and other economic conservatives understand both the carrot and the stick in the hands of protectionists. Both were employed by Chavez in Venezuela and the leaders of postwar India to great effect.

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  8. I would have skipped the carrot and gone straight to the stick.

    Of course you would have to apply some good old fashioned strong arm tactics to do so, but such is politics.

    First, you simply point out to the parent company of Carrier, which is United Technologies, that they are also the recipients of billions in taxpayer dollars thru their multi-billion dollar military contracts. If you seek to benefit further, and they have excessively, then you need to remember the taxpayers who are giving you billions as well. It would be small potatoes for them even if Carrier was losing money, to continue to operate in the US, compared to what could be lost if some acquisition laws were altered, which could be easily done with R’s controlling everything. Speak to them and their lobbyists in a language they can understand.

    Plus you can save the taxpayers several million carrots.

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  9. The cost of subsidies is paid by taxpayers. The cost of tariffs is paid by consumers. There is no such thing as a free lunch, a free carrot or a free stick.

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  10. Carrots and sticks are one method of managing non-human, non-governmental entities that impact the lives of all citizens in the country. The price of carrots and sticks are the price citizens pay for that to be a civilized process. I think it’s worth the price.

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  11. Carrots and sticks (subsidies and tariffs) like taxes and welfare benefits are ways of:
    1. Shifting assets from one group of people to another; and
    2. Decreasing the overall wealth of a nation.

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  12. Isn’t it a messy approach for any politician to directly intervene at all, with carrot or stick? Presumably, United Technologies entered into some kind of contract with the government. It either is, or is not, the case that that contract contained some clause that United’s subsidiaries retain X amount of jobs in the U.S. I’m going to guess such a requirement imposed on Carrier was NOT included in the contract. So why should United now be expected to adhere to a restriction (i.e,, be threatened with a stick) that wasn’t in the original mutually agreed upon contract? Both carrot and stick are unfair intrusions.

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  13. Tariffs were the Founding Fathers’ primary method of raising revenue. So tariffs are not intrusions; they are fair, legal and constitutional methods of raising funds for the government.

    Carrots (incentives) are admittedly more dicey. But I still like incentives because they can encourage investment where the country needs it to happen. And it usually produces more good will I think.

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  14. A truly free (or much freer than now) market does the best job of creating incentives, I think. The government is woefully unqualified to steer private investment (also IMO). Tariffs (and quotas) hurt consumers. Applying them to this or that industry is arbitrary; I don’t think it can be done fairly…IMO!

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  15. I will grant you that “steering” investments is tricky. If companies had less reach and more accountability, a more hands off approach could work. But that is not the case. And they have become much too big, if they are not checked they will end up owning us all. At least that’s my biggest concern—-or one of them. USA Today reported earlier this year that 1/3 of all US cash is held by 5 tech companies. It is problematic that so much financial power is concentrated in so few hands in our nation.

    People do have different opinions about these things, and that’s ok. I value the opportunity of sharing with people who agree and who disagree. Debate is important because it allows you to have your assumptions and your thinking challenged. But In the end, I think it is the character of the people, rather than a particular tariff or incentive or even trade policy, that establishes the real wealth of nations.

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  16. If we are not going to let free markets decide where investments should be made, I would prefer those decisions be made by a group of three-year olds or a herd (flock?, pack?) of chimpanzees rather than trust the decisions to any level of government.

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  17. Debra, I enjoy these discussions as well. I believe this is the most important issue for Republicans and the country.

    You are right about companies getting too big. The federal government has completely failed in its antitrust responsibilities. When Sirius was allowed to merge with XM, I knew that everyone at the Justice Dept. was trying to get a promotion based on an EEO complaint and no one was still doing any real work.

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  18. One of the common misallocations that occurs when government starts deciding where investment should occur involves large businesses vs. small businesses. For my entire lifetime, the vast majority of new jobs have been created by small businesses. Subsidies disproportionately wind up in the hands of large businesses who have political connections (such as Carrier).

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  19. Meanwhile, bigger things are happening.

    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Congress-Defense-Budget-Passes/2016/12/02/id/761847/

    “The Republican-led House Friday overwhelmingly backed a $611 billion defense policy bill that rejects a number of President Barack Obama’s key proposals for managing the nation’s vast military enterprise.

    Lawmakers passed the legislative package, 375-34. The bill now goes to the Senate where a vote is expected early next week.

    The bill, crafted after weeks of talks between House and Senate negotiators, prohibits Obama from following through on his longstanding campaign pledge to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The bill also bars the Pentagon from reducing the number of military bases even though senior U.S. defense officials said there is excess capacity, and it awards U.S. troops their largest pay raise in six years. Obama had recommended a smaller pay increase.

    The bill would prevent the Pentagon from forcing thousands of California National Guard troops to repay enlistment bonuses and benefits they received a decade after they signed up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers would have to return a bonus only if a “preponderance of the evidence” shows they knew they weren’t eligible to receive the money.

    Even at $611 billion, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee lamented that more money is needed in the defense budget to restock the U.S. arsenal worn down by 15 years of conflict. Rep. Mac Thornberry of Texas said he is hopeful President-elect Donald Trump, who pledged during the campaign to spend more on the military, will ask Congress early next year to boost fiscal year 2017 military spending even further.”
    ————————-

    Obama won’t sign it, but the new guy will.

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