Winner-Take-All Economy

We are told almost daily of the attributes of the “free market” economy….but those markets are far from free….for many years I have written numerous times about this lie….this illusion…..

Then there is the economic inequality….where 1% of the population owns more than the bottom 80%…..but how bad can it possibly be?

Well as you might imagine I have also written numerous posts on this as well…..

After WW2 the economic growth ranged across all levels of society but that equality was to be short lived……our economy has become winner take all….and each passing year the inequality spreads.

In the three decades following World War II, the US saw economic growth that was shared across all levels of income, from the working class to the richest 1 percent. But that changed after the mid-1970s as income inequality increased exponentially during the next four decades.

A new study by nonprofit research organization RAND nails down what really happened. It shows that this rising inequality took a substantial bite out of the earnings of up to 90 percent of American households.

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, we talk with the authors of the RAND study, mathematician Carter Price and labor economist Kathryn Edwards.

Price and Edwards detail the unique approach they took in putting this report together. Up until now, they explain, nobody had devised a formula to show just how individuals and their families were affected by the rising inequality across the entire income spectrum. 

Proof Positive of the Winner-Take-All Economy

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Trump’s Trade Wars

Are you a Trump supporter? If so, how do you think his numerous trade wars are faring for the country?

I have written numerous posts on what I think of this sanity that is nothing more than a political stunt.

But let’s look at the results of the so-called trade war with China just weeks before the vote.

trade warAs the curtain falls on the first Trump presidency, it is timely to reflect on what has been achieved – or not. And nothing could be more at the heart of US President Donald Trump’s mission to “Make America great again” than an audit of his
on China.
costly claim….It is more than two years since his crassest, most significant and most
: “Trade wars are good, and easy to win.” The shocking naivety of that statement still makes me shudder. But having declared war, he has fought it, and continues to fight it, unflinching in his conviction that one way or another he will eventually succeed, and that the United States will have been made stronger in the process.
Whether Trump wins another term in office or not, he can take comfort that his good fight will continue. His opponent in the presidential election, former US vice-president Joe Biden, has given
every indication
that Trump’s trade war on China will rage on.
tariff wars
But how well served have the US economy, American companies and workers been by the, and unprecedented efforts to roll back seven decades of globalisation and trade liberalisation?
I have listened to his drooling slobbering supporters applaud and scream when he mentions what is war is doing to China… is nothing but make believe and wishful thinking…..
Further Reading…..If you dare…..
To be honest I am not thrilled with the trade policies of the Dem candidate, Joe Biden, either…..on which I wrote recently….read those thoughts as well…..
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Sino-Iranian Agreement

While the US is playing silly games with Iran like our newest attempt….

the Trump administration announced new sanctions on Iran under the guise of enforcing stipulations of the 2015 nuclear deal, an agreement the US withdrew from in 2018. The US is taking these measures unilaterally, with virtually no international support. The move is not only rejected by the UN Security Council but also by key European allies like the UK, Germany, and France.

President Trump signed an executive order on Monday that is meant to replace a UN arms embargo on Iran that will expire in October. The executive order allows the US to impose sanctions on any individual or entity that sells weapons to Iran.

Announcing the new measures, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted on calling the new sanctions “UN sanctions,” even though a US bid to extend the embargo failed miserably in the UN Security Council. “The President’s executive order announced today gives us a new and powerful tool to enforce the UN arms embargo and hold those who seek to evade UN sanctions accountable,” Pompeo said.


Like I said silly games……

While the idiots in our foreign policy machine are thumping their chests like sex crazed primates the Chinese have entered into an agreement with the government of Iran…..

Rouhani government must show some achievements after more than seven years of office and the Sino-Iranian agreement might be a way for them to say to its people to just wait a little bit more because things will get better. And things in Iran may indeed be better, as the leaked information reveals that one of the terms of the agreement stipulates a Chinese investment of almost $ 400 billion in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries in Iran. Despite this, the deal is so controversial that even some of Iran’s politicians and government media have criticized it. For example, a headline in the newspaper Arman Melli claims that Iran is not Sri Lanka, while an article in the newspaper Hamdeli daily asked whether Iran will become a Chinese colony.

The agreement would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects in Iran. In exchange, China would receive a regular and heavily discounted supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years. Furthermore, it will deepen the military cooperation, and even potentially giving China a foothold in a region that has been a strategic preoccupation of the US for the last decades, which holds a major naval basis there. It is not a new phenomenon and, for example, in December 2019 the two sides together with Russia conducted a four-day joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman. And almost 10 years ago the Major General Zhang Zhaozhong commented that China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a third world war.

Opinion – The Sino-Iran 25 Years Agreement: Why, and Why Now?

So while the US is strutting around like a dickless rooster ….China is expanding its economic base….something Trump has been promising since 2016 and as of yet we have NOT seen any success.

The US needs to learn the fine art of diplomacy again….in the last 3 years it has been replaced with mindless promises and lies.

Maybe the next generation can learn from our mistakes because we are not learning a goddamn thing.

Why do I say the “next generation”? 

This agreement is a 25 year plan…..maybe by then the idotsi will no longer be in control.

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Are We Winning The Trade War?

Trump came into office promising all sorts of stuff but mostly that he was an expert at trade policies and he would return the US to its rightful place as the world leader in trade.

I have written about this experts consequences of his trade wars…..

Let’s be honest his policies have been disastrous to this country….only a handful of extremely rich people have benefited from these failed policies….

Some have asked just why has these policies failed other than a total impotent approach to trade…….

Before Donald Trump took office, he promised he was going to stick it to China on trade. When he assumed power, he indeed did so — threatening and then levying tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports. China responded in kind, before agreeing to a largely symbolic trade agreement in January only to have it disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The problem the Trump administration was ostensibly trying to solve was America’s enormous trade deficit, which Trump has portrayed as the U.S. being ripped off by foreign countries. This was also the motivation behind the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and a threatened trade war on Europe that is also now on hold.

Yet all these actions did not shrink the trade deficit. On the contrary, the deficit widened for the first few years of Trump’s presidency, shrank back to about what it was before he took office in late 2019, and now has widened once again. What gives?

My thought is if we are to trade with other nations that maybe a more inclusive talks and a mutual beneficial agreements would help everybody.

Instead we are “going it alone”…..and the results are noticeable to all….jobs loss…..factors closing……lack of confidence in the US.

Time that we stop acting like the sole nation on this planet and start working with others for common goals.

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“lego ergo scribo”


What The Hell Is The Jones Act?

That time again…the Old Professor’s Classroom… learn something does not hurt in anyway.

Before we start…..I think it might be helpful to the understanding of the question to give a little background into the Act.

The Merchant Marine act of 1920 was designed to create a safe network of merchant mariners within the U.S. after World War I, in reaction to the U.S. fleet being destroyed by the German navy. The Jones Act requires all goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported by U.S. vessels (and operated primarily by Americans).

It calls for providing the nation with a merchant marine that can transport goods between U.S. ports, increase national security during war times, and support a U.S. maritime industry. This nearly century-old law has been amended several times, most recently in 2006.

While much of the current attention on the Jones Act is focused on foreign shipping regulations, the law also contains important information about the maritime industry’s responsibilities regarding safety and well-being of crew. It safeguards the rights of sailors from being exploited, requiring compensation for injuries due to negligence by their employers. It requires employers to maintain safe environments and provide medical care, and also sets standards for vessel maintenance, safety equipment such as lifeboats, and crew qualifications, training and licensing. And, this all-encompassing law has something to say about the environment too, requiring all U.S. ships to comply with EPA regulations.

Now you have a grasp on what the Act entails….we can move onto the debate that is raging (well maybe not raging but intense)……

There is a debate raging on whether the Act has seen better days and should be revoked…..

First a more Libertarian look at the Act…..

For nearly 100 years, a federal law known as the Jones Act has restricted water transportation of cargo between U.S. ports to ships that are U.S.-owned, U.S.-crewed, U.S.-registered, and U.S.-built. Justified on national security grounds as a means to bolster the U.S. maritime industry, the unsurprising result of this law has been to impose significant costs on the U.S. economy while providing few of the promised benefits.

This paper provides an overview of the Jones Act by examining its history and the various burdens it imposes on consumers and businesses alike. While the law’s most direct consequence is to raise transportation costs, which are passed down through supply chains and ultimately reflected in higher retail prices, it generates enormous collateral damage through excessive wear and tear on the country’s infrastructure, time wasted in traffic congestion, and the accumulated health and environmental toll caused by unnecessary carbon emissions and hazardous material spills from trucks and trains. Meanwhile, closer scrutiny finds the law’s national security justification to be unmoored from modern military and technological realities

A short con video for the Jones Act…….

Ask a Founder if the Act should go……

During the first Congress in 1789, Alexander Hamilton led the passage of legislation that required trade between U.S. ports to be conducted by U.S.-flagged vessels, which mirrored the laws of most major countries at the time. This forerunner of the Jones Act nurtured the nation’s fledgling maritime industry and provided a pool of U.S. ships, crews, and shipbuilders that could support the country in a conflict. Even free market theorist Adam Smith contended that England’s own similar statutes were “the wisest of all the commercial regulations” given their vital defense role.
Hamilton’s goals still apply today. The domestic U.S. commercial fleet provides some of the ships, and 40 percent of the mariners needed to move military cargoes during a crisis. U.S.-flagged and operated ships also keep foreign vessels and crews off America’s interior waterways and lessen adversaries’ ability to gain control of commercial sea links between the Continental United States and Hawaii, Alaska, or island territories. Furthermore, the Jones Act’s U.S.-build requirement sustains shipyards the government depends on for episodic construction of military ships and ensures ship construction capacity is available in the United States to replace wartime losses.

The con has been stated… the pro…..

One hundred years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson enacted a law that would become known as the Jones Act. Its purpose was to help the U.S. shipping industry recover after World War I. Yet few could have predicted how vital it would become to our national security and economic prosperity a full century later — especially during a pandemic.

The Jones Act requires that all vessels carrying goods between two U.S. points be American-built, -owned, -crewed and -flagged. This policy provides stability to the U.S. maritime industry and helps to sustain 650,000 American jobs, resulting in $150 billion in economic benefits each year. Most importantly, the Jones Act advances our national security by helping maintain a vibrant domestic shipbuilding industry and maritime workforce. Our shipbuilders supply the military with warships, and U.S. mariners play a key role in transporting military personnel and equipment overseas in times of crisis.

There you have both sides and I would like to hear from my readers on whether the Jones Act should stay or should it go.

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NAFTA 2.0?

Back in the day globalization took off big time in the 1990s and the presidency of Clinton….when it was signed into law I said then that it was a bad idea for workers not just here but around the world.

I was a supporter of the Trump’s idea to trash the deal and come forth with a new more inclusive deal.

But after 3 and half years and lots of talk and tariff stuff we have a new “NAFTA”…..

President Trump has touted the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the worst trade deal ever negotiated—and vowed to replace it. Today, it has been replaced by the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and, unbeknownst to him, this agreement should hold that unsavory title. While the USMCA makes some modest improvements (largely by borrowing from the Trans Pacific Partnership, which Trump withdrew from), it also includes some protectionist elements and veiled industrial policy. Furthermore, while the administration has been rushing to implement the deal in order to score political points on the campaign trail, businesses are left to sort out the new rules and paperwork that they will have to start following as of today. USMCA was pitched as a way to reduce uncertainty among the three trading partners in the face of threats of withdrawal from NAFTA that Trump made regularly. But at the end of the day, much uncertainty still remains.

The first area where we are likely to see some challenge in implementation was exactly the issue that received an inordinate amount of attention during negotiations: autos. The rules that determine whether a product can cross duty free across the border—rules of origin—were tightened for the auto sector. In NAFTA, passenger vehicles were required to have 62.5% North American content, and in the USMCA that has been increased to 75%. This means that auto producers will need to source more components from the region, in addition to ensuring that 70% of the steel and aluminum used in production also comes from Canada, Mexico or the United States. On top of this—a first ever in a trade agreement—a new labor value content requirement was added that requires auto makers to have 40–45% of their auto content made by workers making at least $16 an hour. This is clearly aimed at moving production out of Mexico, which has been an important link in the North American auto supply chain. For automakers these rules will raise some challenges in implementation, not least because auto production is so fragmented, and that every producer up and down the supply chain must abide by the new content rules. Coordinating this is no easy feat. Canada has yet to pass the regulations that will bring the auto rules into force, and with today being a holiday in Canada, that process will undoubtedly be delayed. In the United States, guidance on the regulations has been shared, but the interim final rules on uniform regulations and labor value content were just published today.

I do not see how this would benefit the workers or make their lives more enriched…..once again the words of Trump have proven to be total crap.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Biden On Trade

Looks like all the hard work the media and pundits have done is giving Biden the inside tract to the nomination….we can only hope that it is not so…..well he made it….Biden is the man with a plan… least that is his story.

But since Trump will probably run on his trade policies I thought maybe a look at those of Biden would be helpful…..

“In terms of the coming general election we don’t have to predict what [President Donald] Trump will be saying about Joe Biden, because he is already making those attacks. Trump—who won Michigan, who won Wisconsin, who won Pennsylvania—made one of his major campaign tenets his opposition to NAFTA and PNTR [Permanent Normal Trade Relations ] with China,” said Sanders.

“In 2016, he criticized those trade policies as being disastrous—and just yesterday, he made that claim,” Sanders continued. “The truth is, and we have to be honest about this, that NAFTA and PNTR cost this country well over 4 million good paying jobs. In Michigan alone, these disastrous trade agreements led to the loss of more than 150,000 good paying jobs. And not only job loss—when good paying jobs go, you are involved in a race to the bottom and employers can pay lower wages.”

“These trade agreements have been a disaster for the people of Michigan, the state of Vermont, and for the entire country. Joe Biden and I have very strong and different positions in terms of how we reacted to NAFTA and PNTR,” Sanders said.

To be fair to Biden… asked some question to Biden…..if you are considering voting for Joe Biden then maybe get to know his policies before doing so…..

Another look at Biden’s trade policies…..

I would give you his website but they want my email and I refuse to give it….so if you can find another way into his policies I wish you luck.

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“lego ergo scribo”



Say Good Bye To Open Skies

That would be a treaty signed many years ago between the US and the USSR…..

Since 1992, the United States has achieved Open Skies with 120 foreign partners. In 2015 and 2016, we finalized Open Skies agreements with Ukraine, Serbia, Cote d’ Ivoire, Seychelles, Togo, Azerbaijan and Curacao (Kingdom of the Netherlands) and a modernized air transport agreement with Mexico. Over 70 percent of international departures from the United States now fly to Open Skies partners. We have Open Skies with countries at all levels of economic development, including major economies like Brazil, India, Japan, and South Korea and smaller countries like Equatorial Guinea. Our agreement with the European Union liberalized the largest international aviation market in the world.

But what did it accomplish?

  • Open Skies contributes to the success of the President’s National Export Initiative, the National Travel and Tourism Strategy, and the Department of State’s Economic Statecraft Initiative.
  • The business model for the international package delivery sector, employing over half a million people, depends on Open Skies to operate competitively in foreign markets. U.S. air freight services to fast-growing regions like the Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, and Africa exceeded $1 billion in 2013 and contributed over $3 billion to the U.S. trade balance in the last five years.
  • The Brookings Institution estimates that Open Skies agreements add approximately $4 billion in annual economic gains to consumers.
  • U.S. Airlines for Open Skies estimates that full liberalization through Open Skies agreements would lead to a 16-percent increase in air traffic and support 9 million jobs in aviation and related industries.
  • Open Skies has dramatically expanded direct international connections to cities like Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Memphis, Minneapolis, Orlando, Portland, and Salt Lake City.
  • A private study found that new direct service between a U.S. city and a point in the European Union generates up to $720 million annually in new economic activity for the U.S. city and its local region, depending on the size of the markets.
  • Portland International Airport estimates that its direct international flights to Tokyo, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt generate over $240 million in airport and visitor revenue.
  • The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority estimates that aviation liberalization with Brazil helped increase the number of visitors from Brazil to Orlando from 74,000 in 2004 to 768,000 in 2013, and that Emirates’ service from Dubai will add $100 million in new economic activity in Central Florida and create 1,500 jobs.

The Treaty was cloaked in a economic blanket but was also an intel agreement…..

I gave my readers a quick breakdown of the “Open Skies Treaty” because Donald the Orange has decided in his ego soaked mind that the US needs to withdraw from the agreement….

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States is withdrawing from the 1992 Open Skies Treaty, saying it is being used to “undermine international peace and security.” The US has been threatening to withdraw for awhile, though Pompeo says the US might consider returning to the Treaty if Russia makes concessions. President Trump went on to say the US might reconsider leaving the treaty entirely at some point.

The treaty is meant to allow the US and Russia, along with other member states, freedom to conduct surveillance overflights of one another. This was intended to be a trust-building concession, allowing each nation the freedom to check and make sure the other isn’t building up a big offensive against them.

In the course of pulling out of the INF Treaty, the Trump Administration has been critical of Open Skies for some time, accusing Russia of not giving them unfettered access to the exclave of Kaliningrad. The Pentagon insisted this meant the treaty no longer benefits the US.


It seems that Congress wants a better explanation than the flimsy crap spread by Pompeo….

The chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs and Armed Services committees are demanding an explanation from the State and Defense departments on what they are calling President Trump’s “illegal” move to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty.

A provision in the annual defense policy bill signed into law in December requires the administration to notify Congress at least 120 days before it officially submits an intent to withdraw to the other treaty members.

Democrats say the required notice was not given to Congress before Trump announced Thursday he was pulling the U.S. out of the treaty.

Of course NATO is scrambling to find the words to describe their frustrations…..

This is the third international arms control treaty to be scrapped by Trump, after the Iran nuclear accord and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty. Defense hawks have long criticized the Open Skies Treaty, reports the Hill.

As far back as the 1950s was,this treaty envisioned…..

It was hailed as an economic necessity and in reality it was more an intel necessity……and yes it is probably obsolete thanx for those satellites whizzing around in space.

My question is how will it effect air commerce?

Has anyone bothered to ask that question?

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“lego ergo scribo”

That “Free Market” Illusion

We hear a lot about “free markets” and “free trade” these days…well for many decades… has been the clarion call of conservs….

Let’s look at the term “free markets”…..

A free market economy is a type of economy that promotes the production and sale of goods and services, with little to no control or involvement from any central government agency. The economic system is primarily based on supply and demand. Order and power in a free market are decentralized, with individuals making all of their own voluntary economic choices.

In a free-market economy, firms and households act in their own self-interest to determine how resources get allocated, what goods get produced, and who buys the goods. A free market economy functions in the opposite manner as a command economy works, where the central government gets to keep the profits and choose how to use them.

Read More….

That is what a free market world would look like if it were truly a free system… is not.

Let’s be honest……A pure market economy has no barriers to economic exchange: you can sell anything to anyone else for any price. In reality, this form of economics is rare. Sales taxes, tariffs on imports and exports, and legal prohibitions—such as the age restriction on liquor consumption—are all impediments to a truly free market exchange.

So free market is total BS.

Now comes the term “free trade”…..Free trade is a largely theoretical policy under which governments impose absolutely no tariffs, taxes, or duties on imports, or quotas on exports. In this sense, free trade is the opposite of protectionism, a defensive trade policy intended to eliminate the possibility of foreign competition.  

Free Trade has an ugly side…..

  • It causes job loss through outsourcing: Tariffs tend to prevent job outsourcing by keeping product pricing at competitive levels. Free of tariffs, products imported from foreign countries with lower wages cost less. While this may be seemingly good for consumers, it makes it hard for local companies to compete, forcing them to reduce their workforce. Indeed, one of the main objections to NAFTA was that it outsourced American jobs to Mexico.
  • It encourages theft of intellectual property: Many foreign governments, especially those in developing countries, often fail to take intellectual property rights seriously. Without the protection of patent laws, companies often have their innovations and new technologies stolen, forcing them to compete with lower-priced domestically-made fake products.
  • It allows for poor working conditions: Similarly, governments in developing countries rarely have laws to regulate and ensure safe and fair working conditions. Because free trade is partially dependent on a lack of government restrictions, women and children are often forced to work in factories doing heavy labor under slave-like working conditions.
  • It can harm the environment: Emerging countries have few, if any environmental protection laws. Since many free trade opportunities involve the exporting of natural resources like lumber or iron ore, clear-cutting of forests and un-reclaimed strip mining often decimate local environments.
  • It reduces revenues: Due to the high level of competition spurred by unrestricted free trade, the businesses involved ultimately suffer reduced revenues. Smaller businesses in smaller countries are the most vulnerable to this effect.


There you have it “Free Markets” is an illusion….”Free Trade” is an illusion……all made up benefits to make it more appealing to the workers which are continuously scorched by the lies of the oligarchs.

We have come to a point in our nation’s public discourse where there is a widespread realization that many of the economic policies pursued and promoted by our political, business and media elites have failed us in multiple ways. We have heard our trade policies called “Free Trade” and “Free Market”, but those statements were often dishonest.

When crafting these agreements, our elites have been responding to incentives which are beneficial to their institutions but detrimental to the well-being of American citizens.

Traditional conservatives have been observing and asking about these policy failures for some time and have been met with name-calling and general denigration. During this current pandemic crisis, the magnitude of the failure of these misguided agreements and policies has become unavoidably obvious.

The Illusion of ‘Free Markets’ and ‘Free Trade’

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And Join a Union and fight for your rights and your life….being a passive spectator will NEVER give you the end that you seek.

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“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–03Jan20

A new year, a new decade and a new trade agreement and this time it does not involve the US…..this agreement is between Japan, China and South Korea……a bloc that could challenge the US….on the trade front.

The trade ministers of China, Japan and South Korea agreed to work towards a regional trade pact and a trilateral free-trade deal on Sunday.

The agreement was reached despite the recent bitter quarrel between Tokyo and Seoul and the uncertainty caused by China’s ongoing trade negotiations with the United States, as well as the threat of North Korea resuming nuclear tests.

The ministers did not announce any concrete results after Sunday’s talks in Beijing, but they voiced their willingness to continue discussions on the
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
– which also includes the Asean group of countries, Australia, India and New Zealand – as well as the three-way free-trade deal.
Will this trade bloc go unnoticed by Trump or will he use the power of sanctions (his preferred technique to punish other countries) to retaliate?
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