Economic Sanctions: The New Weapons Of Mass Destruction In The 21st Century

The Cold War pitting the Soviet Union against the US has morphed into a new type of conflict. No longer are the two major superpowers overtly concerned with a global nuclear war and the launch of hundreds of MIRV missiles (multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles that can carry up to 16 nuclear bombs). Such a confrontation would surely mark the end of humanity, as we know it today.

However, there are several other nations that have developed limited nuclear arsenals, or are in the process of doing so. They include China, Great Britain, France, Israel, Pakistan, India, North Korea and Iran. The odds of less sophisticated countries developing or buying a nuclear bomb grows every day. Nuclear proliferation is in bloom, and the procurers of this deadly technology are in many cases not nations that can be trusted.

Why do smaller, less powerful nations covet nuclear weapons? Pakistan and India have weapons that they use to threaten each other. It’s a new-day mutual destruction arrangement between two mortal enemies.

Israel has nuclear weapons that will enable it to defend against an attack by one or more Arab nations that regularly threaten its existence. Although Israel does not flaunt its nuclear capabilities, its enemies are convinced that the Jewish State would respond with nukes if assaulted. The standoff between Iran and Israel has exacerbated nuclear risk in the region.

Next to North Korea, Iran’s motivations to build nuclear weapons are the most troublesome. For some reason the previous US administration decided to give Iran a road map to a nuke. Supposedly it will take a decade, or so, for Iran to develop a deliverable bomb. Why should the global community trust that Iran would act responsibly if it possesses such a weapon?

Every day Iran threatens Israel and Sunni regimes. A nuke would afford it opportunities to dominate the region using even more coercion and military strength.

North Korea’s aspirations are to gain status in the world and escape the control of China. As a dirt-poor country the leaders believe this will be a fruitless effort without the possession of a nuclear weapon. Based upon history, North Korea cannot be trusted to own deadly weapons.

President Trump has been actively dealing with Iran and North Korea. Hopefully he will convince both countries to denuclearize. Their specific regions and the international community will breathe easier if the president is successful.

Since the US does not use its nuclear power to manage relations around the world and seldom applies military action, how can it administer the peaceful coexistence of nations throughout the world?

Ronald Reagan employed the most effective strategy to deal with the Soviet Union without engaging in a conventional or nuclear war. By using the unparalleled strength of the American economy, he was able to bludgeon the Soviets to do his bidding. The same strategy would be effective against any rogue nation today including Russia and China. Economics are the new weapon of mass destruction of the 21st Century.

The US must combat aggressive behavior with severe economic sanctions, penalties that disrupt domestic economies. In the 80s Reagan pumped up the Cold War by greatly increasing military spending. The Soviets followed suit and effectively went bankrupt.

Wisely the US has initiated sanctions against Russia in response to recent aggression in the Ukraine and Russia’s meddling in our elections.

Because Russia is so dependent upon its energy industry, sanctions that directly or indirectly impact this industry are extremely effective. They include focused attacks against energy companies and their managements, disruption of oil and gas activities and the imposition of banking restrictions that impact the flow of dollars into and out of Russia.

Many people say that China is going to overtake the US economically. This is likely if we continue trade policies employed by past administrations. But China exports about $550 billion to the US annually. This number represents about 25% of its total exports. Any disruption of this trade from sanctions and/or tariffs will cause economic chaos in China. Factories will close, companies will furlough employees and GNP growth will be hampered.

The skeptics say that China can retaliate. The problem with this faulty perception is that the US only exports $120 billion to China each year. This amount is much less than what is going in the opposite direction, and a very small part of our industrial output.

In Iran, the president has imposed harsher economic sanctions to force the country to renegotiate the nuclear treaty. Iran’s currency has devalued by 80% recently, it has massive shortages of all commodities and Iranians are protesting every day against the tyrannical rule of the ayatollahs. The current regime is under great duress at this time and appears to be vulnerable to dramatic change. New sanctions will serve to make the situation direr.

Trump must convince Kim Jong-un that the US will secure his regime and his future and bring economic prosperity to the country, but he must give up the nukes. If Kim hopes to rule his country for another 30+ years, he must make a deal with the US.

The US has the most powerful military in the world. It also has the most powerful influence over the world economically. It should use the latter to avoid violence and impose itself on nations that act badly.

Zero Tariffs Proposed By Trump Would Boost The US Economy

Zero tariff transactions worldwide should be a high priority of the Trump administration. So says Stephen Moore, Arthur Laffer and Steve Forbes in an op-ed piece in the New York Times. They characterize zero tariffs as the equivalent of Ronald Reagan’s efforts with Russia to mutually reduce nuclear weapons.

Following are some basic facts that are germane to Trump’s endeavors to level the playing field for US manufacturers and exporters. Hopefully you will appreciate that liberals and the press have been incorrectly critical of the president’s negotiation of new trade agreements.

It’s important to note that the flow of trade can be materially impacted by tariffs imposed by one country on another country. Fees are set at a rate that artificially makes domestic products more competitive with imported goods. A $20,000 automobile exported to another country may be subjected to a 10% tariff or $2,000. The price of the vehicle accordingly will increase to $22,000 to consumers. This could greatly improve the sales of similar vehicles manufactured domestically.

There are other types of nontariff barriers to exports. They include foreign companies stealing patents, subsidies afforded to state-owned enterprises (exporting countries may provide financial aid to enable domestic companies to compete with exporters) and currency manipulation. In the latter a country may drive down its currency so its exports are more competitive abroad. The Chinese are notorious for all of these predatory practices.

The Council of Economic Advisors has indicted that the average American tariff is 3.5%, while the average European tariff is 5%, China is nearly 10% and the world average is about 10%. A zero world tariff would afford American exporters a significant advantage. The derivative benefit is that US companies would increase exports, which would positively impact employment in the US.

The greatest impediment to zero tariffs is China. As mentioned earlier, it wields the highest tariff rates and uses other types of nontariff devices to give its domestic companies an unfair competitive edge.

Some have criticized the efforts of Trump against China. They should keep in mind that China sold $505 billion of goods to the US, and the US sold $129 billion to China, in 2017. The US has a distinct advantage in a trade war because it can impose tariffs on far more of Chinese exports to the US than US exports to China.

Trump should continue to be very aggressive in his negotiations with China. A short-term trade conflict in the short run could yield very great benefits in the long run.

NY Times Columnist’s Advice To Democrats Is Enlightening

Bret Stephens wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times that must have been gut wrenching for him. The essay is titled, “The Rules For Beating Donald Trump.” Stephens explains why several tactics by Democrats to bring down Trump are actually hurting their party.

Considering that the op-ed is written by one of many people at the Times who despise Trump, Democrats should take heed. Note: this blog has repeatedly indicated that Democrats have done next to nothing to convince voters to support them, other than to denigrate every word and action of the president. Do they have anything constructive to offer about the direction of the country? If so, why don’t they tell us what they are and why the country would benefit from their leadership?

Back to Stephens’ Rules:

Rule No. 1: “Don’t argue with sunshine.” The translation of this is Democrats should not try to convince the electorate that positive things happening under Trump are actually bad. Tax reform comes to mind. In 2018 Americans have more money after paying taxes, no doubt about it. This in part has spurred the economy to a growth rate of more than 4% for the last quarter. Every economic and ethnic group is benefiting (who says trickle down economics is a myth). To criticize Trump because the higher resulting growth rate may be “temporary” “untrue” or “not a result of Trump’s efforts” is a losing political ploy.

Rule No 2: “Stop predicting imminent disasters.” Here, Stephens makes an excellent point. He says, in essence, that voters don’t want to hear that the world is ending under Republican rule even as things are improving. They want to be optimistic about their future. And many voters are beginning to think that Democrats want something horrible to happen to America so that Trump’s chances of winning in 2020 would decrease.

Rule No. 3: “Stop obsessing about 2016.” Amen to this. All the nickel and dime bantering about the last election is poisoning Washington and not helpful to Democrats, in particular. Trump won the electoral vote. Hillary was a disaster. The country wanted a change. Trump is keeping his campaign promises.

It’s almost two years since the 2016 election and Mueller’s band of Trump-haters have done nothing other than to indict several inconsequential political hacks on charges unrelated to Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia. Continuing the investigation is not helping the Democrat’s cause. The fact is Trump was not in a position to influence the election and did not have the political savvy or experience to do it in any case. How can Trump be blamed for, or implicated in, Russian tampering, which is not in doubt?

Rule No. 4: “Ignore Trump Tweets.” Democrats and the press are obsessed by the president’s moronic tweeting habit. Having said this, the tweets enable him to set a new agenda each day. They allow him to change the debate in Washington during every news cycle. It’s impossible for the president to create policy in a short communication, but he can get people talking about whatever is on his mind.

As a corollary to Rule No. 4, “Ignore social media screams along with Trump haters, too.”

Rule No. 5: “Beware of the poisoned chalice.” No matter what anyone says to the contrary, the 2018 mid-term elections are not the most important in history. Past presidents have rallied from a turn over of power in Congress. It’s unclear how the electorate is going to respond to the candidates and to current events in November in any case.

Rule No. 6: “People want leaders. Not ideologues.” Expansive conversations about the evils of society do nothing to change them. Every new law to fix a problem in our society needs to be formulated, debated and passed by Congress. Ideals and fancy oratory are not the end all to political change. Our leaders must divert from ideology to practical solutions to improve our country.

Thank you Mr. Stephens. I generally don’t agree with anything you say, but I believe you analyzed the issues of Democrats perfectly in your essay. Perhaps over the next two years, you will be able to convince liberals that practical suggestions, comity and cooperation are more valuable than political criticism, blathering and whining.

 

Are You Sick And Tired Of Trump’s Outrageous Behavior?

Over the years I’ve come in contact with every type of negotiator. Each person had a unique style that greatly impacted success and failure. By far, the most controversial is President Trump.

Coming from a business background, I understand dealmakers, bankers, corporate executives and the like. Like most people, I’ve also met my share of small time hustlers at car dealerships and real estate agencies.

Business people are always looking for an edge over the competition and their customers. Negotiating the best price and terms comes naturally, although every person has different strong suits and shortcomings in their approach. When you walk into an auto dealership showroom, the salesmen size you up. Are you a buyer or window shopper? Do you have the financial wherewithal to pay for an expensive car? How difficult would it be to foist expensive services and options on you?

Donald Trump is a salesman, a real estate rainmaker, who expects to make a killing on every transaction he consummates. During his corporate career, he was notorious and could care less what anyone thought about him personally, or his business ethics. He enjoyed taking advantage of others, and let the world know whenever he bamboozled another person.

Every person has a style that he or she believes will result in the best outcome. Some buyers are super aggressive and try to intimidate sellers. Trump is from this old school. He’s a rough and tumble deal guy. When Trump was a real estate mogul everyone knew that he would take every opportunity to screw the opposition. He would lie, cheat, cajole, insult, charm or do anything to improve the terms.

Trump managed to segue from real estate into the most powerful man on Earth. Can you believe it? Many people hoped that his campaign was a lark, a reality show. What the hell, Trump made a fortune. He thought he was more intelligent and savvy than Obama and both of the Bush presidents. Why not add the presidency to his resume? It would enable him to hobnob with more celebrities.

Up until election night, I thought Trump would walk away or get eaten alive by the electorate. But, I’ll be damned. He won fair and square. Even as he continued to act like a “real estate guy” he built a base of supporters because previous presidents performed poorly. Trump promised to turn the establishment on its ear. He has certainly been successful in this regard.

Many people expected Trump to be more “presidential” after his election. Hopefully he would be less rude, stop tweeting stupid things and be more respectful towards congressional colleagues and world leaders. Maybe he would even stop being so self-aggrandizing and tone down his act. Nope.

Trump did none of these things. What he did do is keep his promises, even though they were often naïve and not well conceived. He just wants to do all the things necessary to make America great.

Trump believes the border is porous and the US needs a wall. He will continue to drive Congress, liberals, Mexico, illegal aliens and his advisors crazy until he gets his way. The whole truth sometimes gets in the way so the president takes shortcuts and shuns the details. He has thousands of bright people working for him who will dot the i’s and cross the t’s.

The North Korean situation is classic Trump. He jumped into the fray by threatening Kim Jong-un for shooting missiles over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean. He concocted an insulting nickname for Kim (“the little rocket man”). Kim potentially had the ability to launch missiles on to American soil, and Trump was engaging in a schoolyard name-calling contest.

By acting unrestrained and belligerent, threatening North Korea with oblivion and ratcheting up sanctions, Trump brought Kim to the negotiating table. He has a decent chance to trade economic prosperity and security for denuclearization of North Korea. Not bad for a foul-mouthed real estate person.

During the Republican primaries, Trump had insulting names for many of his opponents. It was great TV, but many Americans were worried that Trump would single-handedly change the culture of Washington, for the worse. Everyone was becoming more crude and insulting. Many started tweeting. Most began to exaggerate. Even the press was an active player (fake news).

Time passed and Trump has not changed his demeanor. His method of operating remains the same:

 

-meet a world leader (or business person or politician)

 

-charm the person

 

-demand stuff (better trade terms, improved human     rights, less weapons, support of his initiatives)

 

-go insane when the person does not comply

 

-belittle the person on Twitter

 

-the person caves and starts to negotiate.

 

Trump will use any means available to get his way and to keep his promises. My concern is that despite the obvious MO of the president, everyone (Democrats, world leaders, religious groups, lobbies, politicians, mayors and governors, Congress people) is continually shocked by Trump’s actions and outlandish statements.

The country is at a crossroads. Should we turn a blind eye to the president’s outrageous behavior because he is performing (economy, immigration, taxes, renegotiation of trade deals, relations with enemies), or do we revolt in November and again in 2020? Will another political hack from the establishment be as productive as Trump? How much more of this guy’s act can you put with?

Personally, I’m sick of the president’s MO, but I like many of the things he’s doing, and I’m terrified that do-nothing Democrats could possibly gain control of the country.

Please, Mitt and Nikki, save us from both Trump and the liberals.

Elizabeth Warren For President. Really?

From time to time, after I hear that President Trump tweeted yet another inane comment, I begin to have nightmares about Democrats taking control.

As much as I would like to see the Trump era end at the hands of a fellow Republican (like Mitt Romney or Nikki Haley), I’m unsettled about the possibility of a Democratic wave. All Americans should fully appreciate what America would be like under Democratic rule. It will be very different.

The worst possible alternative for the country and for Democrats is Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). There are so many issues that make this politician a terrible choice, the most important one being that she won’t beat Trump or any other credible Republican opponent in the general election. Yet she’s been touted as the leading Democrat presidential candidate in recent days.

Warren is a radical left wing ideolog. She wants to eviscerate important institutions including Wall Street firms and banks (that provide capital for corporations to grow), large companies (that hire many millions of Americans), immigration officials (that protect our porous borders) among many others.

Staying with Democratic leadership, and I use the term loosely, the heads of the Senate and House minorities, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), have proven that their time has past. Their control over their caucus is tenuous and several young lions are eager to replace them. If the Democrats win over Congress, the nation would be subjected to a barrage of new spending that will outpace Obama’s eight-year spree that radically decreased our country’s fiscal security. Moreover we should not expect any compromise or comity in either house of Congress from these leaders.

Of great concern is that the Democratic Party is moving to the far left and becoming more socialistic with the likes of Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). All are screaming for big government and massive giveaways at the expense of the taxpayers. This would create higher deficits and be the end of US exceptionalism. Capitalism, a critical element of this nation since its birth, would no longer prevail.

In the past, liberals proclaimed their progressive vision in the primaries to build the base, and then they moved to the center in the general election. This was something Bill Clinton was so adept at. No more, Democrat candidates are going far left right out of the box and will remain there until Election Day.

A Democratic Congress would cast aside fiscal moderation. It would expand government by enacting greater and more expensive entitlements. Informed Americans already know the US is unable to pay for current entitlements, many of which became law during Obama’s administration.

Universal health care, guaranteed income, free college tuition and a cornucopia of other freebies will surely bring the US deeper into debt. By the way, has one entitlement ever been rescinded by Democrats after it served its purpose? Our government cannot afford to layer on more spending programs until current laws are changed. Social Security and health care are creating more financial havoc every year because our lawmakers don’t have the political courage to introduce sensible reform.

Have you noticed that Democrats are unwilling to work with Republicans on any issue if it enables the president to claim victory?

Immigration reform is needed to care for DACA children and current young ones that have been separated from their parents. Democrats scream “foul” but will not compromise because it might enhance Trump’s reputation.

Democrats have worked diligently to protect illegal aliens at the expense of law-abiding citizens. The formation of sanctuary states and cities is a stain on America. Border officials are prevented from doing their job of protecting us from violent criminals coming across the border.

Democrats want open borders. It’s a way to alter the political balance in the long run, as immigrants are more likely to support liberal causes. But what does it mean in the short run? Every illegal immigrant will be granted asylum or amnesty.

For many years immigrants came to this country to make a new life for their families and to assimilate into our culture. It took time and hard work, and law-abiding, productive individuals eventually became citizens.

No foreigner has a divine right to enter our country illegally. There is a process. They must prove that they will obey our laws, pay taxes and be loyal to our government. But liberals truncated the process in recent years, and now there are 10 to 15 million illegals in our midst, taking jobs and using services that cost taxpayers over $100 billion annually.

Under Democrat government more illegals will come to our country and change our society and culture. This phenomenon will not be good for America long-term.

The most idiotic criticisms from the left relate to efforts to work with dangerous enemies. Russia and China are super powers along with America. They have large arsenals of nuclear weapons, huge standing armies, growing economies and a desire to spread their way of life. Both detest and are fearful of America’s businesses and military. Both are belligerent and untrustworthy. Notwithstanding this, Trump has been trying to establish a dialogue with the leaders of Russia and China with varying and spotty results. It may not work out, but it’s insanity to let bad feelings fester and risk war, as was the case during the previous administration.

North Korea has come to the negotiating table. There is a chance that it will ultimately agree to denuclearizing itself in exchange for security and economic support. It’s going to be a lengthy process because our leaders do not trust North Korea’s leaders, and they are wary that the US is not honest about its intentions. But Trump has gotten further than any other president since the Korean War. You can be sure Democrats would sabotage this process if possible.

In fact Democrats have become notorious for criticizing without offering alternative solutions. It’s always the same whining about Trump’s unorthodox, aggressive and self-serving methods of operation. In fact it’s shameful that so many liberals hope the US fails in efforts to make peace and level the playing field for US businesses.

Every day we hear the same trite moaning from Democrats about Hillary being cheated out of the election and collusion of Trump with Russia before he became president. Democrats have kept these red herrings alive in an effort to bring down their president.

Americans should realize that Democratic sentiment is not good for America. It will weaken us just as Obama did by drawing lines in the sand and failing to act. America can no longer be the patsy of the world, the ATM for all needy regimes. We should be respected and treated with dignity. Harsh actions by Trump are difficult to swallow. We all wish it were different. But it won’t be until someone stands up to the anti-American sentiment in the world.

And finally, we all should appreciate that the standing of the US internationally will be better served in the hands of Republicans than with the likes of Elizabeth Warren.

Nothing Of Consequence Happened In Helsinki, So Relax America

The summit meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was touted to be a major event. It’s not often that the leaders of the US and Russia meet to discuss pressing issues. So with this in mind the media, Congress and many Americans were anticipating some dramatic announcements.

Anyone who’s observed the progress of similar high-level summits knows that nothing concrete is going to be accomplished after just a few hours of one on one conversation. The media creates great anticipation that usually falls short. The two world powers are diametrically opposed to each other on many fronts. It was just an opportunity for both men to talk face to face about situations that piss them off.

The world knows Putin is a megalomaniac and a liar who dreams every day about a resurgence of former Soviet dominance throughout the world. It was dashed when Ronald Reagan bankrupted the country in 1991. Putin was not about to cede a thing on any important issue without getting a pound of flesh.

For Trump is was all theatrics and high drama. He actually believes that Putin and Xi (of China) can be swayed by his charms and superior negotiating skills. The president has been disappointed by Xi relating to North Korea and will be similarly frustrated by Putin moving forward when the negotiators have difficulty finding common ground. But Trump carries two very big sticks, military might and economic power, that he will likely use when the time is right.

Just because Trump was solicitous of Putin doesn’t mean he’s a traitor. A political hack from the Obama administration used this word to describe the president. This shtick is vintage Trump. He kisses butt so long as his adversaries agree to do his bidding. When they resist, he attacks. In recent days the president has had falling-outs with several other world leaders who he previously called good friends, great states people and allies. Trump’s act starts sweetly and always ends in conflict, for the benefit of America.

I didn’t respond to the summit immediately because nothing important happened. The negotiators have a lot to talk about and to disagree on. Hopefully the meeting between Trump and Putin will eventually lead to some progress. What might it be?

Both leaders seem inclined to keep Israel out of the Syrian conflict. Netanyahu is not shy about attacking insurgents, rebels or partisans of Assad that approach his borders. The leaders discussed keeping warring parties away from Israel.

There will be no agreement about Syria. The Russians are supporting Assad, so he is going to stay in power. But it appears that Trump made a case to extract Iran from the conflict. Russia may agree to this in exchange for the US accepting Assad’s regime. It is shameful that a mass murderer like Assad will most probably survive. With Russian support this is likely to happen.

Trump has bludgeoned NATO members to increase their funding to the organization to negotiated levels. Putin indicated that NATO poses an existential threat to Russia, which is a total exaggeration. It’s really moot. If Russia decides to pick off another former SSR that has become a NATO member, Europe and the US would look the other way. Would they initiate a world war if Latvia were to be overrun by Russia? Hardly.

Putin is irate about US support of Ukraine, but he really can’t do anything about it. The country will likely be under total Russian control in a few more years despite the tepid efforts of the US to protect Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Critics of Trump from the left, right and center are complaining that he is cozying up to Russia. They seem to forget that Trump has initiated harsh sanctions against Russia and many of it oligarchs for meddling in US elections and for other misdeeds.

Trump has proven yet again that he is unlike any past presidents. His news conference presentation was abominable in several regards that have been delineated without end by the press and others. But it really wasn’t harmful. He’s now saying that Russia was probably trying to influence our 2016 elections. Apparently a double negative in his speech tripped him up. And not supporting his own intelligence community was a dumb error and demoralizing to members of various agencies that spy for their country at great risk.

Personally I cringed every time Trump congratulated himself for doing a great job as president. It’s more meaningful when third parties laud a president’s performance. He’s just the worst orator and there’s nothing that’s going to change. And he craves adulation, which is difficult to come by these days in political circles.

No deals were made in Helsinki so we all need to take a deep breath. If Trump starts to give away freebies to the Russians (like Obama did with Iran’s nukes) we can all join together and object. I don’t think that’s going to happen, and I’m sure Trump and Putin will not be best buddies after all the negotiating has ended. Given that the countries possess 90% of all nukes in the world, it’s probably a good idea for these guys to find a way to work with each other. Nuclear disarmament might be a good place to begin this effort.

Trump Should Continue His Crusade To Decrease Trade Deficits

This past weekend I had a debate with a friend about President Trump’s efforts to improve trade agreements and decrease trade imbalances around the world.

I indicated that Trump’s aggressive attitude about unfair trade deals was justified. My friend said that abusive tariffs were imbedded in all trade agreements and the US was as culpable as any other country. I set out to find the real issues relating to trade.

What are trade deficits? Last year the US had a trade deficit of $568 billion according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and the US Census Bureau. That means that the US purchased that much more goods than it sold in 2017.

Certain countries are able to manufacture products cheaper than other countries. This could be related to lower labor costs, energy, distribution and other selling expenses. If these advantages are abused and/or subsidized by a manufacturer’s country, it may be considered unfair trade competition.

The production of goods could move from one place to another for any number of reasons including the ones mentioned above. When this occurs the country that gains the production puts more people to work, while the country that loses production will suffer job loses.

In order to protect state owned enterprises, some countries impose tariffs on products that enter the country so they cannot not sell at a price lower than domestic producers. In fact the tariffs may cause the price to be substantially greater than domestic prices.

How does this all impact the US? The Economic Policy Institute said that “unfair trade deals have lowered the wages of US workers by displacing jobs and weakening the bargaining position of low and middle wage workers.”

President Obama indicated that free trade would lead to growing exports and job creation. Data after NAFTA in 2001 and KORUS in 2007 tell us that these deals stimulated more imports than exports for the US leading to staggering trade deficits.

Exacerbating the situation is that often, higher paying jobs move out of the country forcing workers to accept lower paying employment in other industries, or unemployment.

China has the largest trade imbalance with the US. Between 2001 and 2011 exports to China supported 538 thousand US jobs that paid, on average $872 per week. The growth of US imports from China between the same years displaced nearly 3.3 million US jobs that paid $1,021 per week.

Jobs in non-trade industries paid an average of $791 per week. This meant that those who lost jobs to China experienced a cut in pay if they were able to find new employment at all.

Overall the US trade deficit with China between 2001 and 2011 eliminated a staggering number of jobs. Total wages lost in 2011 alone were $37 billion. These numbers are a bit dated, but the deficit has continued to increase somewhat to the present.

What should Trump do to decrease the deficit and the impact it has on our economy and employment? Should he impose tariffs to protect domestic industries, or should he allow foreign countries to steal large chunks of our economy and countless jobs? The answer seems obvious. Trump should impose or threaten to impose tariffs to decrease the advantages of foreign manufacturers. At a minimum tariffs overseas should not exceed tariffs in the US.

 

Democrats Are Doing Everything Wrong To Attract Voters

It’s time someone called out Democrats. The current strategy of obstruction and criticism towards the president is bad for America. Their plans will denigrate their party even further during the midterm and presidential elections.

High expectations for a “blue wave” are a pipe dream. Democrats will not regain any ground this November because they have nothing to offer voters except twisted and exaggerated perspectives. The Democratic alliance with the liberal press has not served them well. Fox News and their affiliates have called out every misstep, fake news broadcast and mean-spirited effort by liberal politicians.

Let’s get specific. What are some of the most egregious actions by Democrats that will ultimately erode their power base in America? Here is a short list.

Democratic opposition to the nomination of Justice Bert Kavanaugh is moot. The legal community has been extraordinarily complimentary of this man’s intellectual acumen and dedication to the law. He is a strict constitutionalist, something that Democrats consider blasphemous.

There are three important issues regarding the nomination of Kavanaugh that should be noted. One is that Republicans can confirm Trump’s nominee with their current majority in the Senate. Two complicating factors are John McCain’s (R-AZ) absence (as he is battling cancer) and possible objections by two Republican senators, Susan Collins (R-MA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AL). The latter two are concerned that a conservative judge might support a reversal of Roe v. Wade. This concern is bogus. Most importantly Roe is embedded in our society and is protected by precedent. Stare decisis, the legal principle of determining points in litigation according to precedent, will make it virtually impossible for the Supreme Court to abrogate current law that protects a woman’s right to choose, no matter what Democrats say.

The second issue is that three Democrat senators, Joe Manchin (D-WV), Heidi Heitcamp (D-ND) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) are running for reelection. Their states voted strongly for President Trump, and the pressure is on them to support the Kavanaugh nomination. Democratic leaders are suggesting they vote against the nominee even if it costs them their seats in the Senate. I think we all know how they will respond- just the way they responded with the Gorsuch confirmation.

The third issue is a conservative judge (Kennedy) will likely be replaced by another conservative judge (Kavanaugh). Democrats have been exaggerating the “liberal propensity” of Kennedy. In fact, he has supported conservatives on the court vigorously over the years.

Notwithstanding the fact that the deck is stacked against Democrats, they will scour all of Justice Kavanaugh’s decisions and his personal life to find dirt to discredit him. Americans should expect a disgusting and inappropriate grilling of a dedicated man of the law.

For weeks Democrats have been saying, over and over again, that the Trump administration is tearing children, who have entered the country illegally, away from their parents. Until a recent mandate issued by Trump, a law that was signed by Barack Obama required the aforementioned action. Trump’s mandate changed the process and children are being re-united with their parents at this moment.

Immigration policies are pitting members on both sides of the aisle against each other. There is great differentiation between the opposing factions. Democrats, apparently, want to open borders without extreme vetting to weed out criminals, sexual offenders, gang members and other undesirables. One must suppose that the opposition party will accept a new vote from just about anyone.

Exacerbating the situation is the formation of sanctuary states and cities. Politicians are spurning the law and immigration agents in an attempt to give illegals asylum. This is not how our immigration system is supposed to operate. Every year the US gives immigrants an opportunity to come to America and become citizens in several years if they are productive and follow the law. The system protects our borders and inspires the American dream. The tsunami of illegals stealing their way into the country is financially and culturally irresponsible.

Simply put, Republicans want orderly immigration in which every applicant is vetted to insure they will become productive and law-abiding citizens. To do less jeopardizes our country. The US should do everything possible, including building a wall to stop any further illegal immigration to occur. And Congress should begin to work on new policies to assimilate the 10-15 million illegals presently in the country.

Democrats should support Trump’s efforts to rein in Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea. It will be a harrowing journey to de-nuclearize the Korean peninsula, but it is better than having a madman launching missiles across the Pacific Ocean. The backbiting by Democrats is disgraceful. Criticism will be warranted if Trump gives away more than he receives from negotiations, just like Obama did with Iran. Trump must negotiate the end of North Korea’s nuclear aspirations. There is no compromise on this issue, so the US must continue to increase economic pressure on North Korea.

The Russian investigation has gone on for well over a year. Robert Mueller has done little during this time other than to indict a few unimportant political hacks. Even the indictment of General Flynn is being reconsidered. The Special Counsel and his brazen band of Trump-haters have searched far and wide for incriminating evidence and have found nothing. We know this because it would have been leaked if it existed.

Democrats are reiterating the importance of the investigation because it is embarrassing for the president. It’s a cheap political ploy that will backfire when the Special Counsel finally admits that his witch-hunt was a waste of time, money and energy.

It’s getting close to the midterm elections, and a last minute disclosure would result in another “Comey moment.” As a skeptic I find it difficult to believe that Mueller is not embarrassed he found nothing on Trump and is threatening every witness to find some dirt. I say set a time limit, after which Mueller must reveal what he has discovered.

“It’s still the economy stupid.” Republicans are not going to experience wholesale losses in the midterm elections if the economy continues to improve. The dream of a blue wave will not happen just like a Clinton victory did not happen in 2016.

Democrats led by Congresswoman Maxine Waters are encouraging violence against and public humiliation of conservatives. Really? Waters’ vision of democracy is one where there is only one political party, and all dissenters should be ridiculed. The outcry for this type of violence mongering is not American. When will Democrats throw out radicals like Waters?

Republicans lived through eight long and unproductive years with Obama in the White House. Very few wished bad things to happen to America when Obama was in control, even though many wanted to replace him. Real Americans don’t hope for bad times, they support the president.

It seems like many liberals I speak with hope for a recession or some other event that embarrasses our country. Even though Trump is not the kind of person I would choose to lead the country, I find it disgraceful that a sitting president is treated with such scorn and disrespect, especially since he is making progress in many areas.

The day of reckoning is at hand for Democrats. If they have a poor performance in November, there’s no telling what will happen to the party. For sure the current liberal leaders will take a fall. And Democrat prospects for victory in 2020 will be seriously impacted.

Family Values And The Problems Without Them

How important is family in the development of a balanced and productive child? Nearly all sociologists believe family values are critical to our society.

Like almost every species of animals, humans care for their young. If the relationship between parent and child is curtailed for any reason,  he or she will likely encounter serious disadvantages as they attempt to deal with the travails of everyday life.

The primary functions of parenthood include security, emotional support, nourishment and training. If a newborn human is torn away from its parents, anything is possible. But generally the child will likely struggle when it becomes an adult.

Society employs numerous methods to give an abandoned child an adequate upbringing. Orphanages provide security and nourishment, but not very much emotional and personal attention. Adoption and foster care sometimes works out well for children, but it’s often fraught with abuses of varying severity.

But, there is nothing like having a mom and dad to lean on when you’re young, and in many cases to advise you even after your reach adulthood. Extended families often fill in for parents that are unable to raise children by themselves. Everything from babysitting while parents work to actually taking responsibility for the rearing of the child are available in loving families.

In today’s world the role of a parent has been distorted in many settings. For instance families with only a single mom have become far too commonplace. How difficult is it for moms to provide the love, affection, training and security for their kids, when they are working hard to make ends meet without the assistance of a partner?

How pervasive is the decline in two-parent families, you may ask? Significant, as the 2016 US Census indicated that among 73.7 million children under 18, 69% live with two parents, while 23% live with one. Between 1960 and 2016 the percentage of families with two parents declined from 88% to 69%. During the same period children living with only one parent went from 8% to 23%.

One interesting question is: Do children from single parent homes perform at lower levels in school? There has been much debate on this issue. One sociologist said, “Research shows that children in single parent households score below children in two parent homes.” Another researcher said, “Very high rates of family fragmentation in the US are subtracting what very large numbers of students are learning in school and holding them back in other ways.”

Of course one-parent families are not all the same. Extended family members may support some of them, and some may benefit by high incomes. But generally one-parent families exist in lower socioeconomic circumstances, and most single parents do not have the energy to motivate children and/or teach them values and character that would improve all aspects of their lives.

The massive breakup of families from divorce and other problems also results in fewer educational successes. How can a busy single mom find the time to give her children adequate emotional support, motivation and the values and character traits that colleges think are so desirable?

Granted, scholarships are readily available for the needy students, especially those that have high academic performance. But convincing children that education is critical in improving one’s status and lifestyle could be daunting for a mom.

This compares to two-parent affluent families that work diligently to push their children towards academic achievement. How can a child of a single parent family ever compete for choice admissions to the best schools in this country?

This essay has focused only on one of the major issues confronting the growing number of single parent families in America. There are many more. Strong family ties, which appear to be ebbing over time, are necessary to bring out the best in our children. Therefore family stability should be a primary issue for the federal government and leaders across the country.

 

 

 

A New Democratic Superstar??

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (age 28) defeated long-time  stalwart Joseph Crowley in a Democratic primary race that includes parts of the Bronx and Queens. Crowley was considered a potential replacement for Nancy Pelosi, the beleaguered Democratic Leader.

Crowley, who has not been challenged in recent years, decided to ignore the brash young woman’s determined effort to take his seat. The press indicated that Crowley didn’t even attend a debate,  choosing to send an aide in his place. This apparently infuriated many of his constituents.

Almost immediately the liberal press picked up this Cinderella story.  A relatively unknown entity outside of her neighborhood, an attractive and articulate Hispanic woman, beats a well-connected political hack. It’s a perfect story for a movie script. But I think Hollywood moguls should wait to see whether Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has any staying power and can make a difference.

Votes are so hard-up to make changes that they sometimes vote for very inexperienced candidates. Consider Obama and Trump. Neither man had any substantive government credentials. You get what you pay for. Obama was an ineffectual president who botched health care reform,  destroyed America’s reputation abroad and left his political party in shambles.  And we all know how Trump, an equally inexperienced politician, is handling the affairs of state.

Why would the voters of a relatively poor section of lower New York State vote for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez? [Note: she is expected to easily defeat her Republican opponent in the election.] Certainly this woman has a promising future. It could not have gotten off to a better start. Or maybe not.

Did anyone who voted for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez read her resume? She’s worked as a bartender, waitress, children’s book publisher and a community activist, Additionally she is a member of the Democratic Socialists of American and supported Bernie Sanders (who is also a socialist). Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s experiences will do little to help her make wise votes in Congress relating to health care reform, immigration, terrorism, international foreign affairs, nuclear proliferation, etc.

It’s sort of like sending a promising baseball player to the major leagues directly out of high school. In more times than not it’s advisable to give the prospect an opportunity to learn the ropes. So it is with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. She will receive no important assignments in Congress for an extended period of time. She will likely talk too much in an effort to gain notoriety, which will offend her colleagues who are also hungry to be in front of the cameras. Yet the media will be all over her until the fad wears off. She’s already appeared on Morning Joe.

I wish Ms. Ocasio-Cortez great success. But I believe first going to Harvard Law School and then working for an experienced politician for a few years would have been the preferred track. I would have advise her accordingly if she were my daughter.