Have Trump’s plans on global warming changed?

You could get that impression by reading your daily paper or listening to the usual sources. Here is James Delingpole to set you straight: No, Donald Trump Hasn’t Suddenly Gone Soft on ‘Global Warming’. Here to calm your nerves is a quote he gives us from Trump that really is astonishing. The question is about whether there is any connection between human action and the weather:

TRUMP: I think right now … well, I think there is some connectivity. There is some, something. It depends on how much. It also depends on how much it’s going to cost our companies. You have to understand, our companies are noncompetitive right now.

They’re really largely noncompetitive. About four weeks ago, I started adding a certain little sentence into a lot of my speeches, that we’ve lost 70,000 factories since W. Bush. 70,000. When I first looked at the number, I said: ‘That must be a typo. It can’t be 70, you can’t have 70,000, you wouldn’t think you have 70,000 factories here.’ And it wasn’t a typo, it’s right. We’ve lost 70,000 factories.

We’re not a competitive nation with other nations anymore. We have to make ourselves competitive. We’re not competitive for a lot of reasons.

That’s becoming more and more of the reason. Because a lot of these countries that we do business with, they make deals with our president, or whoever, and then they don’t adhere to the deals, you know that. And it’s much less expensive for their companies to produce products. So I’m going to be studying that very hard, and I think I have a very big voice in it. And I think my voice is listened to, especially by people that don’t believe in it. And we’ll let you know.

Millennials wonder why their job prospects are as lousy as they are and their incomes are so low. Here is part of the reason why.

Not very intelligent if you ask me

I have seen some pretty disgraceful things since the election, but this must rise to the top. This is from The Economist Intelligence Unit, sent to me by an undercover agent who will remain unknown, but does have my thanks. Even to raise the question is near enough beyond the pale – Do you think China has a better system for political transition than the US? – but the fellow who has asked it, their Chief Economist, must at least entertain the idea as a possibility, if it is not actually his own personal belief. If you were ever in doubt of the necessity in electing Trump as president, have doubts no more.


From Our Chief Economist
Not an election
November 24th 2016

After the recent surprises brought about by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, many are questioning whether democracy is an effective system. In last year’s edition of our annual Democracy Index, The Economist Intelligence Unit’s analysts identified public anxiety as a stress point for democracies in 2016 (watch out for the next edition of the Democracy Index, due in January). For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), electoral travails in some of the world’s leading democracies provide succour and reinforce its message to the people of China that democracy is not desirable. However, there is no avoiding messy politics; it is just a matter of the means through which it happens and to what extent it does so in public view.

China has its own messy elections. Fluid power alliances within the CCP, combined with certain set-piece events, fulfil a role similar to multi-party electoral processes in democracies. One critical such event is the reshuffling of the politburo, which will take place at the end of 2017. Just as in the US election, punditry here is based on speculation and gossip, along with occasional facts. The CCP election process can be just as messy as a democratic election, and China is not immune to the risk of unexpected outcomes.

Do you think China has a better system for political transition than the US? [My bolding.] How might the leadership changes affect your business? Let me know your thoughts via Twitter @Baptist_Simon or email on simonjbaptist@eiu.com.
Best regards,

Simon Baptist
Chief Economist

Conrad Black disposing of the Obama legacy

This is Conrad Black speaking for the most part nicely about Obama, but he also thinks nicely about FDR so it is par for the course. Nevertheless, he also says this:

So this is the legacy the president and his press-ubiquitous claque are clangorously raising heavenwards like a messianic effigy. A depression was avoided by doubling 233 years of accumulated national debt in seven years to get an annual economic-growth rate of 1%, as 15 million people have dropped out of the work force. The auto rescue could have been much better designed and even Chapter Eleven for Chrysler and General Motors would not have repudiated corporate bonds altogether, would have provided a pittance for the equity-holders rather than nothing, and would not have handed control of much of the industry to the self-destructively greedy United Auto Workers who were at least half the problem in the first place.

Wall Street “reform” has meant stifling red tape, a witch hunt among traders and fund managers but continued fiscal subsidization of those who substitute velocity of money-transactions in place of activities that add value, precisely the practice that Mr. Obama denounces elsewhere in Mr. Remnick’s article as creating the menace of increasing unemployment and income disparity, dangers that this administration has done nothing to allay.

“Banning torture” means stopping waterboarding, which is frightening but not painful and may, in some conditions, be justifiable in counterterrorism. “Marriage equality” is a state-by-state matter and the legalization was by the Supreme Court, and the whole issue is the applicability of the word “marriage,” not the right to same-sex civil union. Lilly Ledbetter, for the 99% of readers who would not know, involves the Supreme Court decision allowing limitations on claims of discriminatory pay-scales to begin at the last paycheck — hardly a ground-shaking tweak of the law, though a respectable reform.

Justices Sotomayor and Kagan are acceptable judges but no better than most confirmed under recent presidents of both parties. The whole court has gone to sleep while the Bill of Rights has putrefied, and there is no sign that Justice Kagan, an ex-solicitor general, will do anything about it. “The end of the Iraq War” was thoughtlessly hasty and spawned the Islamic State, handed 60% of Iraqis to the overlordship of Iran, and helped generate an immense humanitarian crisis (a fact that Mr. Trump and Senator Sanders were the only presidential candidates to acknowledge).

The “opening of Cuba” just legitimized the Cuban seizure of American assets and accomplished nothing for anyone, least of all the victims of the Stalinist Castro regime. The Paris climate-change agreement was unspecific piffle about an unproved threat. Two relatively scandal-free terms could be said of all 13 previous two-full-term presidents except Grant and Mr. Clinton. The elimination of bin Laden is conceded as a fine achievement, and Obamacare, “heavy investment in renewable-energy technologies,” and the Iran nuclear deal are all almost unmitigated disasters.

For me, Obama cannot be gone soon enough. Whatever patriotism he had was never in my view to the United States of America. More to my taste is this, the first of the “top” comments at Instapundit:

“It would have been no less fair for the Republicans to have tied Mr. Obama hand-and-foot to Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright.” Are you fucking kidding me? It is precisely the GOP’s refusal to go after Obama for his sordid America-hating past that made conservatives and Republicans so disgusted with Romney and McCain. Obama was a target a mile wide … and the GOP didn’t even pull its gun out of the holster … All because the GOP has no balls…And worries about one thing .. Will the media call the GOP names? Pathetic. I have zero respect for the GOP for one main reason…They do not fight and expose the Dems for what they are….treasonous socialist racist America hating scumbags.

In a state of reflection


Ancient ‘thinking person’ statuette unearthed in Israel, ancient as in 3800 years old.

The Israel Antiquities Authority said on Wednesday the jug, dating back to what archaeologists refer to as the Middle Bronze Age, had been found during an excavation in Yehud, a Tel Aviv suburb.

“It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared and afterwards the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research,” said Gilad Itach, who directed the excavation, which included teenage diggers.

The statuette is about 18 cm (7 inches) tall.

“One can see that the face of the figure seems to be resting on its hand as if in a state of reflection,” he said.

Discrediting the very notion of human rights

The oddest part about many of the decisions Gillian Triggs has made is that she has done more to discredit the notion of human rights abuse than any actual instance uncovered since she came to head the AHRC. Is there more to this latest instance or is it as bizarre as it sounds:

A TOP tech firm has been told to cough up $76,639 in compo to a drug dealer, after besieged human rights boss Gillian Triggs ruled he had been unfairly fired over his criminal record.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wants Data#3 to pay the sacked IT consultant $71,639 in lost earnings plus $5000 in compo for “hurt, humiliation and distress as a result of being discriminated against’’.

Ms Triggs — whose politically-correct decisions have triggered calls for her resignation as AHRC president — gave the eyebrow-raising edict that obtaining a security clearance or passing a police check were not “inherent requirements’’ of the IT job.

But Data#3, which does sensitive work for government agencies, told the AHRC that the contractor’s employment was “untenable’’ because all employees “must have and exhibit the highest ethical standards’’. . .

The sacked worker, known as Mr AW, was hired on a $185,000 salary package as a Microsoft “solution specialist’’ late in 2013.

He was fired a few weeks later after Data#3 discovered his criminal conviction on six counts of selling ecstasy in New Zealand in 2011.

In what sense is it dealing with “human rights” abuse to punish firms to the tune of thousands of dollars for making a judgement call about whether they can trust an individual who has withheld information about their prior criminal conviction? Is there some kind of law she is following, or does she just make it up as she goes along?

Economic theory is next

From Instapundit:

PAUL KRUGMAN TWO WEEKS AGO ON ELECTION NIGHT: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”

CNBC today: Dow closes above 19,000 as stocks notch record closing highs. “The Dow Jones industrial average rose about 70 points, closing above 19,000 for the first time ever, with Home Depot contributing the most gains. . . . The S&P 500 closed over 2,200 for the first time, as telecommunications rose about 2.1 percent to lead advancers. The Nasdaq composite also closed at all-time highs, rising approximately a third of a percent.”

Hey, it’s 2016. Anything can happen.


And here are the top five economists on twitter with their number of followers.

Rank Author Followers
1. Krugman, Paul R. 2088110
2. Stiglitz, Joseph E. 160653
3. Wolfers, Justin 112875
4. Easterly, William 88974
5. Shiller, Robert J. 84629

How fleeting is fame


I just went down to pick up some exams from admin and when I went to sign for them I had to ask the date, which is apparently November 22. So I said, oh look, it’s the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. And from the blank look, I did have to ask, do you know who Kennedy was, John F. Kennedy, you know, the former president of the United States? Did not know, had never heard of him, his name did not even ring the most distant bell.

For those who do not know since she would hardly be unique: November 22, 1963: Death of the President. It truly was a day that changed the world.

The clueless Janet Yellen discusses aggregate demand

But she’s only clueless because she takes mainstream economic theory seriously, like all the others. This speech was delivered way back in October but only reached me today: Macroeconomic Research After the Crisis. The first heading is, “The Influence of Demand on Aggregate Supply” for which I can give you the definitive answer. There is NO INFLUENCE WHATSOEVER of demand on aggregate supply. Not in the long term and not in the short term. There is none, which is why trying to explain recessions and unemployment by using fluctuations in aggregate demand will get you nowhere in just the same way that trying to induce recovery in an economy in recession by increasing aggregate demand will NEVER work. You want evidence? Just look everywhere around you. Now back to Janet, who wrote:

The first question I would like to pose concerns the distinction between aggregate supply and aggregate demand: Are there circumstances in which changes in aggregate demand can have an appreciable, persistent effect on aggregate supply?

Her answer is “blah, blah, blah, hysteresis, and more blah, blah blah. She grapples with the possibility that demand deficiency may be more than a passing storm and then, ever so gently, suggests that perhaps aggregate demand has nothing to do with it.

More research is needed, however, to better understand the influence of movements in aggregate demand on aggregate supply. From a policy perspective, we of course need to bear in mind that an accommodative monetary stance, if maintained too long, could have costs that exceed the benefits by increasing the risk of financial instability or undermining price stability. More generally, the benefits and potential costs of pursuing such a strategy remain hard to quantify, and other policies might be better suited to address damage to the supply side of the economy.

You know, we are heading back to Say’s Law. They are never going to acknowledge that I might have been right, because being right too soon never gets you credit. It takes time, but we shall see because there is now nowhere else for economic theory to go.