By Jim Tankersley
Nov. 29, 2018
President Trump frequently promotes the idea that when the United States places a tariff on an import from another country, that other country directly pays the bill.
He’s wrong, but he keeps saying it.
“Billions of dollars will soon be pouring into our Treasury from taxes that China is paying for us,” Mr. Trump said during a news conference earlier this month. On Thursday, he wrote something similar on Twitter:
By Paul Krugman, Opinion Columnist, Nov. 29, 2018, 837
Image: Union workers concerned about jobs interrupted President Trump at a rally in Ohio in early November.
Credit: David Maxwell/EPA, via Shutterstock
“Let’s face it: Make America Great Again was a brilliant political slogan. Why? Because it could mean different things to different people.
For many supporters of Donald Trump, MAGA was basically a promise to return to the good old days of raw racism and sexism. And Trump is delivering on that promise.
But for at least some Trump voters, it was a promise to restore the kind of economy we had 40 or 50 years ago — an economy that still offered lots of manly jobs in manufacturing and mining. Unfortunately for those who trusted Mr. Art of the Deal, Trump never had any idea how to deliver on that promise. And even if he had a clue about policymaking, he couldn’t have changed the long-term trajectory of our economy, which is moving steadily away from making physical stuff and toward providing services.
As a result, Trump, who cares above all about image, is now getting headlines that make a mockery of his campaign posturing — headlines about closing auto plants and lost jobs. Now, autos are a special case; overall manufacturing employment is still rising, although not especially fast. But relative to his grand promises, what’s happening is an embarrassing bust.
Why was the vision of revived manufacturing nonsense? Talking about what Donald Trump doesn’t know is, of course, a vast task, since his ignorance is both broad and deep. But he seems to have misunderstood three specific things about manufacturing.
First, he believes that trade deficits are the reason we’ve shifted away from manufacturing. But they aren’t.
To be fair, those deficits have played some role in shrinking U.S. industrial employment. If we could eliminate our current trade imbalance, we’d probably have around 20 percent more workers in the manufacturing sector than we actually do. But that would reverse only a small part of manufacturing’s relative decline, from more than a quarter of the work force in 1970 to less than 10 percent now.
Indeed, even countries that run huge trade surpluses, like Germany, have seen big declines in manufacturing as a share of employment. Trade just isn’t the main story. What’s happening instead is that as overall spending grows, an increasing share goes to services, not goods. Consumption of manufactured goods keeps rising, but technological progress lets us produce those goods with ever fewer workers; so the economy shifts toward services.”
By Thomas B. Edsall
Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality., Nov. 29, 2018, 301
Supporters of Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic Senate candidate in Arizona, await election results in Phoenix on Nov. 6. Ms. Sinema won.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
“Now that the midterm elections have been digested — and looked at up, down and sideways — some patterns that might dim President Trump’s re-election prospects have begun to emerge.
Catalist, a for-profit data firm founded in 2006 by the Democratic campaign strategists Harold Ickes and Laura Quinn, has become a go-to source of voter and donor information for liberal and progressive organizations.
During and after the 2018 elections, the firm conducted a study of the electorate to determine favorable and unfavorable developments important to its clients.
Catalist found that between 2014 and 2018 white voters aged 18 to 44 shifted sharply in favor of the Democrats. In 2014, whites 18 to 29 supported Democrat candidates by one percentage point; in 2018, these young white voters backed Democrats by 26 points, a substantial 25-point swing.”
“In 2009, The Economist wrote about an up-and-coming global power: Brazil. Its economy, the magazine suggested, would soon overtake that of France or the U.K. as the world’s fifth largest. São Paulo would be the world’s fifth-richest city. Vast new reserves of offshore oil would provide an added boost, complemented by the country’s robust and sophisticated manufacturing sector.
To illustrate the point, the magazine’s cover featured a picture of Rio de Janeiro’s “Christ the Redeemer” statue taking off from its mountaintop as if it were a rocket.
The rocket never reached orbit. Brazil’s economy is now limping its way out of the worst recession in its history. The murder rate — 175 people per day in 2017 — is at a record high. One former president is in jail, another was impeached. The incoming president is an admirer of the country’s old military dictatorship, only he thinks it should have killed the people it tortured.
Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first tout as countries of the future.
I thought about The Economist story while reading a deeply reported and thought-provoking series in The Times about another country of the future: China. The phrase “rise of China” has now become so commonplace that we treat it more as a fact of nature than as a prediction of a very familiar sort — one made erroneously about the Soviet Union in the 1950s and ’60s; about Japan in the ’70s and ’80s; and about the European Union in the ’90s and ’00s.”
Bret Stephens, as my father liked to say, you’re not as dumb as you look. Thank you for another terrific, mind-bending piece.
I hope your are right, but fear you are wrong. The Chinese appear to be preparing for the future, fighting for our lives and the lives of our grand children against climate change, better than the United States, which is deeply troubling. You do not appear to understand that climate change is rapidly becoming a crisis. Humans are putting 110 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every What.
Take a guess. Every year, month, week, day or hour. Take a guess.
Unfortunately the answer is daily. No wonder the coral and the shellfish are dying all over the oceans. Scientist who study the sixth extinction predict gloomily, that not only are we humans the cause of the sixth extinction, but we will be one of the myriad species that fails during it.
David Lindsay Jr. has written and performs a folk music concert and sing-a-long about Climate Change and the Sixth Extinction.
By Steven Rattner
Mr. Rattner was counselor to the Treasury secretary and head of the White House Auto Task Force in the Obama administration.
Nov. 28, 2018, 149
The empty parking lot at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, during what used to be the second shift. G.M. announced Monday that it would completely shut down the factory, which produces the Chevy Cruze sedan, in March.
Credit Allison Farrand for The New York Times
In 2016, as he crisscrossed the country for his presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised repeatedly that he would make American factories great again. “My plan includes a pledge to restore manufacturing in the United States,” he told a cheering crowd in the nation’s automobile capital, Detroit.
In truth, Mr. Trump’s promise was false hope, a cynical campaign pledge divorced from economic reality. That was illustrated vividly this week when General Motors announced that it would cut about 14,000 jobs.
Mr. Trump promptly attacked the company, but he is tilting at the wrong windmill: Rather than some arbitrary downsizing, the company’s decision was a rational response to many worrisome factors.
Its sales have begun to soften. Consumers have shown little interest in small cars, and G.M. lacks a strong line of crossover vehicles. Like many of its competitors, the company continues to increase production at less costly Mexican plants. Moves toward electric vehicles, in particular, will vastly change the types of factories and workers that G.M. needs. What’s more, the whole industry faces disruption by the sudden rise of ride-sharing apps and other innovations that will discourage vehicle sales.
“But the more enduring and important answer is that Microsoft has become a case study of how a once-dominant company can build on its strengths and avoid being a prisoner of its past. It has fully embraced cloud computing, abandoned an errant foray into smartphones and returned to its roots as mainly a supplier of technology to business customers.
That strategy was outlined by Satya Nadella shortly after he became chief executive in 2014. Since then, Microsoft’s stock price has nearly tripled.
It bet big on the cloud and won . . .
One of the data centers that power Microsoft’s lucrative cloud computing services.
Credit Richard Duvall
Microsoft’s path to cloud computing — processing, storage and software delivered as a service over the internet from remote data centers — was lengthy and sometimes halting.”
“WASHINGTON — Three years ago, President Barack Obama struck a deal with China that few thought was possible: President Xi Jinping agreed to end his nation’s yearslong practice of breaking into the computer systems of American companies, military contractors and government agencies to obtain designs, technology and corporate secrets, usually on behalf of China’s state-owned firms.
The pact was celebrated by the Obama administration as one of the first arms-control agreements for cyberspace — and for 18 months or so, the number of Chinese attacks plummeted. But the victory was fleeting.
Soon after President Trump took office, China’s cyberespionage picked up again and, according to intelligence officials and analysts, accelerated in the last year as trade conflicts and other tensions began to poison relations between the world’s two largest economies.
Have you ever wondered why the garden looks so green after a thunderstorm?
It is because the chemistry happening in the air above us.
As you are probably aware, about 79% of our atmosphere is nitrogen, but not in a form that plants can absorb or take up. This is where lightning can make a difference. The energy created during a lightning event can convert atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen into nitric oxide (NO) which then oxides into nitrogen dioxide(NO2) then to nitric acid (HNO3) which is then deposited onto the earth’s surface in the ensuing rain, hail ( or snow in colder climates) and in a form that can be taken up by plant.
The garden looking very lush
So to simplify that statement.
Nitrogen in the atmosphere is not available for plants to absorb; the energy caused by lightning converts it into a form that can be absorbed by plants.”
“An ‘Ocean Armageddon’
We are facing what the head of the United Nations Environment Programme called an “ocean Armageddon” in 2017. Every year the world produces 320 million tons of plastic—our packaging, eyeglasses, sneakers, Q-Tips, and cell phones among them. Of that, 90 percent is never recycled. If this continues, by 2050 the plastic in the ocean will outweigh the fish.
At last, a global effort to combat the crisis is making headway. This October the European Parliament approved a sweeping ban of single-use plastics across the EU. Initiatives to reduce consumption are gaining momentum, from Kenya’s ban on plastic bags to California’s legislation against plastic straws. Two-hundred and fifty major brands including Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, and Nestle have pledged to cut all plastic waste from their operations. And activists and innovators like The Ocean Cleanup are using technology to tackle the problem; its sea-cleaning contraption is already hard at work.
But the problem is greater than we can see. While plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it does break down through sunlight, wind, and the motion of the waves into tiny fragments, microplastics, now found as far as the snow of Antarctica. This doesn’t simply have an impact on sea life and coastal communities; there are implications for every single person on the planet. Especially women—which is where eXXpedition comes in.”
“The new corporate behemoths have been very good for their executives and largest shareholders — and bad for almost everyone else. Sooner or later, the companies tend to raise prices. They hold down wages, because where else are workers going to go? They use their resources to sway government policy. Many of our economic ills — like income stagnation and a decline in entrepreneurship — stem partly from corporate gigantism.
So what are we going to do about it? It’s time for another political movement, one that borrows from the Boston Tea Partiers, Jefferson, T.R. and the other defenders of the economic little guy.”