The Trump Trade Policy Agenda

“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”Mark Twain

On March 1, Trump released his Administration’s trade policy. The thinking reveals why Trump has so many business failures.

The key objectives of the Trump administration’s trade policy have merit. But the way that employment statistics are used to support the strategy to dismantle the trade agreements that are crucial to the United States is disingenuous.

Key to the argument are the manufacturing jobs that have been lost in the United States since China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). They argue that in January 2000, there were 17,284,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States, but by January 2017 there were only 12,341,000, a loss of almost 5 million jobs. In January 2000, the unemployment rate was 4%. January 2017, the unemployment rate was 4.8%. The difference for the economy as a whole is 1.75 million jobs, not the 5 million the Trump and his team claim are manufacturing alone.

During the campaign, Trump said the labor department’s figures were “phony”. Now that they’re his responsibility, he says the numbers are credible1)Unemployment numbers not ‘phony’ to Trump anymore.

The benefits of trade have been understood for centuries. In 1817, in his theory of trade, Ricardo explained the idea of comparative advantage – countries do what they do best, exporting their excess capacity, importing what they don’t produce themselves. It is efficient and is win win.

But with trade, production moves from one country to another, and that affects the people employed in those industries. That’s difficult for the people who lose their jobs. They have been ignored for too long. Policymakers failed to compensate and train the people who lost their jobs. Trump got elected, and now everyone will pay.

Now though, the figures show that the majority of the people in manufacturing have moved on.

20160813 LDC317The trade with China has not changed America’s long term trend moving away from manufacturing2)Scrimping on sense.

Not only that, worldwide less people are employed in manufacturing as automation takes hold. In a recent paper, the authors argued that 47% of jobs are at risk3)The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?, mostly in routine intensive occupations. John Maynard Keynes 1933 prediction is coming true.

Peter Navarro, Trump’s trade czar, styles himself as a China expert. Navarro has written three books on China, which according to James McGregor, a former chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, “have close to zero credibility with people who know the country,” and are filled with “hyperbole, inaccuracies” and a “cartoonish caricature of China that he puts out.”4)Trump’s Top China Expert Isn’t a China Expert

Navarro argues that China is undervaluing it’s currency, dumping goods, protecting it’s industries from foreign competition, and stealing Intellectual Property (IP). He wants to charge a 45% tariff on Chinese goods.

Navarro’s argument that China is undervaluing its currency is outdated.

The dumping of goods is true only for the China;s troubled industries, steel being the big one. The protection of the country’s industries is a legitimate complaint, but America is equally guilty. Ask anyone who has suffered the absurdities of the Fly America act.

The theft of IP has a degree of legitimacy. That requires that Chinese authorities to enforce American rights. Starting a trade war is not an incentive to fix that.

Navarro and Trump think that the TPP, the TTIP, and WTO are worthless. They believe that they can get better deals for America through bilateral trade agreements.

Good luck with that.

More at:
Cheap automation raises risk of ‘premature deindustrialisation’
Donald Trump’s review of trade deficits is a blast from the past
Economic Impact of Trade Agreements Implemented Under Trade Authorities Procedures, 2016 Report
The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?
KORUS of disapproval
The Mind of Donald Trump
Premature Deindustrialization
Robots and Jobs: Evidence From US Labor Markets
Scrimping on sense
Trump’s Meeting With China Is Difficult Because The Donald Is Wrong About Trade, Deficits And Jobs
Trump’s Top China Expert Isn’t a China Expert
Unemployment numbers not ‘phony’ to Trump anymore
Working for Trump is an embarrassment

Footnotes

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Trump calls for a new election

Donald Trump is questioning the legitimacy of the election that he won on November 8, 2016. There is only one remedy.

President Trump is claiming that 3-5 m million people voted illegally in the presidential election on November 8, 20161)Trump’s claim that 3-5 million people voted illegally in the election. Having conducted forensic investigations on elections for the past 16 years allows me to say that it's impossible to say who benefitted from illegal ballots.Ballots are anonymous. No-one knows which are legitimate, and which are fraudulent.

The most common way of spotting illegal voting is when the number of ballots exceeds the number of people who voted (ballot stuffing) or when the number of votes exceeds the number of registered voters on the polling list at the polling station. Either way, all the votes for that place are declared illegal.

Trump is saying that there are 3-5 million illegal votes, which is far more than the 100,000 that swung the election in his favor.

So, the only solution is to have a new election.


Excellent idea!

More at:
Donald Trump claims none of those 3 to 5 million illegal votes were cast for him. Zero. Trump’s claim that 3-5 million people voted illegally in the election President Trump Reportedly Plans to Use Executive Action to Probe Debunked Voter Fraud Claims Trump Pushes Voter Fraud Claim Citing Fringe Blogger Trump Won’t Back Down From His Voting Fraud Lie. Trump won’t let go of one of his most important lies The Voter Fraud Fantasy White House Press Secretary Doubles Down on Trump’s Debunked Illegal Voter Claim

Footnotes

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Is he, or isn’t he?

Donald Trump psychological profile is unusual. The question is whether he is fit to lead Amerca. There is a group of professionals who say not. See for yourself.

Common perception is that psychopaths are violent criminals, but not all are either criminal or violent.

In fact, amongst corporate leaders, research has determined that 3.9% are psychopathic1)Corporate Psychopathy: Talking the Walk, which is notably higher than the approximately 1% prevalence estimated for the general population.2)Corporate Psychopathy and the Full-Range Leadership Model

The basis for determining psychopathy is a checklist that assesses 20 personality traits, using the Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised:

  1. Glib and Superficial Charm – smooth talking, verbally agile, a psychopath is rarely stuck for something to say. They are not in the least bit shy. In fact, they are not afraid to say anything!
  2. Grandiose Self-Worth – they have an opinion on everything, they boast and brag about the things they have done, their skills and abilities. They have enormous egos, plenty of confidence and arrogance and consider themselves superior. One psychopath said that he preferred to hear himself talk, because what he said was more interesting than what other people had to say.
  3. Seek Stimulation or Prone To Boredom – they like to be doing new and different things, always looking for excitement and entertainment. They take risks in what they do as well as what they say. For example, cult leaders, in a subtle way, may explain to their victims how exactly they are manipulating them. They rarely engage in activities that they find boring, or they don’t finish the job.
  4. Pathological Lying – their ability to lie is stunning, even when they know there is a high probability of being caught. Lies can be cunning and sly or unscrupulously manipulative.
  5. Conning and Manipulativeness – they deceive, cheat, con, bilk, trick or defraud others for personal gain. This is separated from no. 4 to the extent that the subject shows ‘callous ruthlessness’, that is, a lack of concern or pity for the suffering and feelings of their victims.
  6. Lack of Remorse or Guilt – despite their words they experience little emotion or concern for the pain and suffering of their victims. They are unfazed, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. There is often a disdain for the victims, and they may even say the victims deserved it.
  7. Shallow Affect – emotional poverty or very shallow feelings, coldness towards others despite seeming very friendly.
  8. Callousness and Lack Of Empathy – a general lack of feelings towards other people. They tend to be heartless, contemptuous, indifferent and tactless.
  9. Parasitic Lifestyle – they will intentionally manipulate and exploit others for financial gain. This goes along with poor motivation and little self-discipline and no sense of responsibility in terms of earning their own living.
  10. Poor Behavioral Controls – there may be sudden expressions of annoyance, irritability, aggression and verbal abuse. There may be sudden outbursts of anger and temper and they may act hastily.
  11. Promiscuous Sexual Behavior – they may have many brief encounters, many affairs while married, and may be indiscriminate in selecting partners (heterosexual and homosexual relationships) and even maintain several relationships at the same time. There is often a history of attempting to coerce many people into sexual relationships and they may take great pride in discussing their sexual conquests.
  12. Early Behavior Problems – there is often a history of antisocial behavior before age 13, including lying, stealing, cheating, vandalism, bullying, truancy, sexual activity, fire-setting, substance abuse, and running away from home. Cruelty to animals or siblings is particularly ominous.
  13. Lack Of Realistic, Long-Term Goals – while they talk about big plans, they show an inability or persistent failure to execute long-term goals; then may drift from one place to another lacking any real direction in life.
  14. Impulsivity – many of their behaviors are not premeditated and seem to be unplanned. They seem unable to resist temptation and urges or to delay gratification. They may not consider the consequences and so they appear reckless, foolhardy and unpredictable.
  15. Irresponsibility – they will repeatedly fail to honor commitments or obligations, in school, work, family or social situations. The fail to turn up, don’t pay bills, fail to honor contracts etc.
  16. Failure To Accept Responsibility For Own Actions – it seems like it’s never their fault or their responsibility. They have little or no sense of duty or conscientiousness and often deny their responsibility. And in denying, they will even try and manipulate others!
  17. Many Short-Term Marital Relationships – inability to maintain a long-term relationship because they are inconsistent and unreliable.
  18. Juvenile Delinquency – behavioral difficulties between the ages of 13-18. Typically behaviors that are crimes or are clearly manipulative, aggressive and callous.
  19. Revocation Of Condition Release – they may have had their probation revoked for technical reasons such as failing to appear, carelessness and so on.
  20. Criminal Versatility – unlike other criminals who may specialize in one area they are often involved in diverse activities, taking great pride at getting away with crimes.

Each of the twenty items are given one of three possible scores which are as follows:

  • 0 – It doesn’t apply to the subject at all.
  • 1 – It applies somewhat, meaning the trait is there, but it is not highly dominant in the person.
  • 2 – It fits the person perfectly, it defines dominant traits in character &/or behavior.

A person who receives a score at or above 30 is considered a psychopath and will receive the psychopathy diagnosis.

The highest possible score a person can get is 40.

The average neurotypical (normal) person receives a score between 3 and 6 (4 being the average estimate).

The average non-psychopathic criminal receives a score between 16 and 22.

The average criminal Sociopath and/or Antisocial Personality Disordered individual receives a score between 22 and 26.

The serious criminal Sociopath and/or Antisocial Personality Disordered individual receives a score between 26 and 29.

Criminal Psychopaths receive a score between 30 and 40.

A non-criminal Psychopath receives a score between 30 and 34.3)The Psychopathy Check List-Revised: (PCL-R)

A clinician is required to conduct the test, based on interviews and research into the subject past, including criminal, medical and educational history, work history, physical movement between locations and home addresses, relationships and possible marital history and/or status, and – not least – interviews with as many people as possible who know or knew the subject – Family, co-workers, teachers, friends, neighbors, counselors and therapists, etc. This is not a diagnosis that is given lightly! If the clinician honors the ethical implications of the seriousness of psychopathy and stays true to the hippocratic oath.4)The Psychopathy Check List-Revised: (PCL-R)

How would you score America’s new president?

More at:

5 Things Real-Life Psychopaths Do
Characteristics of the Psychopathic Personality
Corporate Psychopathy and the Full-Range Leadership Model
Corporate Psychopathy: Talking the Walk
The Devil Lurks in the Suit
Donald Trump: Profile Of A Sociopath
Hare Psychopathy Checklist
How to Avoid Hiring a Psychopath
Inside the Mind of a Psychopath
The July 2012 issue of the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin dedicated psychopathy
The Mind of Donald Trump
Notes On The Robert Hare Psychopathy Checklist – Revised
On the trail of the elusive successful psychopath
The Psychopath in the C suite
Psychopathic C.E.O.’s
Psychopaths in the Executive Suite
Psychopathy A Clinical Construct Whose Time Has Come
Psychopathy as a Clinical and Empirical Construct
The Psychopathy Check List-Revised: (PCL-R)
Skilled Executive or Psychopath?
Strange answers to the psychopath test
Successful and Unsuccessful Psychopaths: A Neurobiological Model
Working for Trump is an embarrassment

Footnotes

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Trump fails conflict of interest test

Within a few days Donald Trump will be the President of the United States of America. His conflicts of interest are his Albatross. They have the potential to destroy his administration.

The big story at the press conference on January 11, 2017 was supposed to be about how the President-Elect is dealing with his conflicts of interests. Donal Trump is a master of diversion, and the subject took second place to his arguments with the press. And they fell for it.

Trump is not putting all his businesses into a blind trust, as is the precedent. His sons are going to continue running the business. His only concessions are: “no foreign deals while he is President” and “an ethics adviser to be appointed to the management board of the trust to oversee any potential conflicts of interest.”

The Office of Government Ethics said Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest plan is “meaningless” and sets up the incoming administration for constant controversy.

The plan does not match the “standards” of US presidents over the last 40 years.

Trump’s lawyer questioned that he should be expected to give up his businesses interests. Well yes, that goes with the job.

If Trump doesn’t like the conditions of employment, he’s free to resign.

More at:
7 questionable claims Donald Trump’s lawyer made while detailing his business plan
Abbreviated pundit roundup: Trump can’t avoid his massive conflicts of interest
An ethical double standard for Trump?
Democrats’ bill to force Donald Trump to divest business empire
Donald Trump and the Lawsuit Presidency
Donald Trump: A list of potential conflicts of interest
Donald Trump’s Business Dealings Test a Constitutional Limit
Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest
Dynasty
Fact-checking what Donald Trump’s lawyer said about the president-elect’s finances
Full transcript of Trump press conference
Government Ethics Office Says Trump Should Divest Himself Of His Businesses
How Donald Trump should handle conflicts of interest
Remarks of Walter M. Shaub, Jr., Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics, as prepared for delivery at 4:00 p.m. on January 11, 2017, at the Brookings Institution
Top Three Issues that Could Lead to Trump Impeachment if Issues Aren’t Addressed
The tower of silence
Trump drops ‘no new deals’ pledge
Trump hands over business empire to sons
Trump Organization handover plan slammed by ethics chief
Trump Says Judge’s Mexican Heritage Presents ‘Absolute Conflict’
Trump’s Businesses Could Be Tripped Up By A 2012 Insider Trading Law
Trump’s Indonesian Business Partner Is Knee-Deep in Dirty Politics
Trump’s Plan To Shift His Businesses Is Lacking, Ethics Experts Say
United States Office of Government Ethics
What conflicts of interest could Donald Trump have as president?
What is the Emoluments Clause?
Would Donald Trump’s business abroad compromise his ability to lead?

In war, truth is the first casualty

We live in a world where the courage of conviction has gone missing in action. Today misinformed public opinion holds more sway than professional advice.

To make things worse, western bureaucrats have adopted the soviet belief that knowledge is power. The Snowden leaks exposed that “top secret” classification sometimes has more to do with an author’s sense of self-importance than the responsibility to permit voters to make informed decisions.

The government agencies fail to inform the American public.

To make it worse, America has been at war with itself for the last 170 years. It’s a big surprise to any new visitor to the country. The visceral hatred between the former slave states and those that prevailed in the civil war appears undiminished.

A group of enterprising Macedonian teenagers created a series of money making fake news, and the polarized public lapped it up.1)fake news

The incredible intellect and integrity of America’s founding fathers is what made America great. Washington, Franklin, Madison, Jefferson and Hamilton created the foundation. Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt continued that tradition of leadership with integrity. With the exception of Barack Obama, today’s American leaders disgrace that legacy.

The brilliance of the founding fathers was born in a time when having an opinion was the result of deep thought, and caring. Opinionation is an expectation of democracy. Debating politics (or religion) is not the start of a conflict – it is the openness to exchange views, and to understand thinking that differs from our own. The founding fathers did not always agree. Often they argued vehemently, but usually to the point of agreement, with imaginative solutions, rather than compromise.

An open mind is not an empty mind.

Democracy places a huge intellectual responsibility on ordinary people. A thoughtless member of a democracy is a delinquent member of a democracy.

Anti-intellectualism has been one of the regular features of populism, but in this respect populism is an offense against the people….Anti-intellectualism is always pseudo-democratic. In enshrining prejudices and dogmas, it robs the citizen of his exacting and proper role.

Democracy’s strength is the will of the people – when they are talking to each other.

More at:
The biggest fake news stories of 2016
The city getting rich from fake news
Obama is worried about fake news on social media – and we should be too
Reason and the Republic of Opinion
A reflection on Barack Obama’s presidency
The rise and rise of fake news
The scourge of the U.S. election: Fake news, exploding on social media, is seeping into the mainstream
This is a real news story about fake news stories
This Photo Of A Trump Billboard In Mumbai Is Real, And So Is The Dark Irony

Footnotes

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1. fake news