Housing and Inflation

There is some concern that inflation won’t abate further until housing inflation, especially rent inflation, abates further. This graph, though, suggests that there’s more to overall inflation’s stubbornness than just rent, or housing in general, inflation.

The CPI being largely flat the last few months, despite rapidly falling housing inflation, suggests a lack of importance of housing to overall inflation relative to other factors at current levels of both. Food inflation, reflecting what we actually buy rather than the government’s idealized and mythical sack of groceries, and fuel inflation, and energy inflation seem more significant factors.

Some DoD Acquisition Problems

Our DoD’s failure with battlefield drones (as opposed to large surveillance and targeted raid drones) is shamefully demonstrated by a small US drone builder and Ukraine’s position on and need for actual, small, battle-capable drones.

Most small drones from US startups have failed to perform in combat, dashing companies’ hopes that a badge of being battle-tested would bring the startups sales and attention. It is also bad news for the Pentagon, which needs a reliable supply of thousands of small, unmanned aircraft.

One aspect of the American problem stems from too much dependence on DoD specifications.

Again, I Ask

The subheadline of a Wall Street Journal editorial concerning Progressive-Democrat President Joe Biden’s pushing Ukraine to stop hitting inside Russia, particularly Russia’s oil refineries, says it al.

The White House fears attacks on refineries inside Russia could raise global prices.

In the body of the editorial:

…the Biden Administration had urged Ukraine to halt its campaign targeting Russian refineries and warned that “the drone strikes risk driving up global oil prices and provoking retaliation.”

Market Imperatives

Ford has said that it will delay the rollout of its wholly battery-powered three-row electric vehicles, its new model SUVs, from 2025 to 2027. That’s not because of development or production problems, either.

The additional time will allow for the consumer market for three-row EVs to further develop and enable Ford to take advantage of emerging battery technology, with the goal to provide customers increased durability and better value.

“Allowing the consumer market to develop further”—in other words, consumers don’t want these battery SUVs, and Ford isn’t intent on producing and not selling them, until customers actually want them. Which they don’t, never minding Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s æther-borne claim to the contrary.

Pay Their Fair Share

Progressive-President Joe Biden is busily trying to raise taxes in his never ending effort to get the Evil Rich to Pay Their Fair Share™.

Here are some numbers and a couple of graphs, via The Wall Street Journal‘s editors:

…for 2021 show that the top 1% of Americans reported 26.3% of the country’s adjusted gross income, while paying 45.8% of total income taxes.

This graph shows the trend of taxes paid and who pays them over the course of this century:

Reassurances

People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping is busily…reassuring…foreign business leaders, especially American chief executives, that

the country is working to improve its business environment.

Xi mustn’t be taken seriously in any of this.

The PRC’s national security law requires all PRC-domiciled businesses and their affiliates satisfy the nation’s intelligence community requests for information on any subject it deems useful for national security and to actively seek out that information—to conduct espionage if necessary—to obtain that information. That information gathering is far easier when the (foreign) target is present in the PRC.

Government Influence over the Means of Production

The Biden administration wants to control—put a leash on—the development of artificial intelligence software, in contrast with the Clinton administration’s hands-off approach to the development of the Internet. That’s the thrust of a Wall Street Journal Monday article.

The matter is far deeper and far broader than that. Biden’s move regarding AI is of a piece with his moves regarding ICE vs battery cars, solar and wind energy vs oil, gas, coal, and nuclear energy, and on and on.

Responding to PRC Hackery

The British government, as I write Tuesday morning, is set to publicly accuse the Chinese state of hacking Britain’s electoral register.

What’s at least as important, though, is this bit:

What to do in response is a conundrum, especially for smaller Western democracies such as the UK that are trying to balance courting investment from China while calling out its alleged abuses.

That’s a problem that’s straightforwardly enough solved: stop accepting investment from the PRC. Stop doing any business with the PRC or any of the enterprises domiciled in the PRC or any non-domestically domiciled enterprises that are affiliates of PRC domiciled enterprises. All that’s needed—and it is a hard task—is the political will to make the necessary moves.

A Time for Choosing

Europe’s nations—particularly those not directly bordering on Russia—are finally figuring out that Russia is as much a threat to them as it is to Ukraine.

…the cost of building robust defenses able to withstand a potential US pullback is so great that it threatens Europe’s post-Cold War social model.

And

Achieving the military spending that some politicians and experts say is needed would force European members of NATO to start reversing big post-Cold War increases in social spending.
“You have to rearrange the social contract,” said Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, who has warned that Russia will eventually attack NATO countries if it isn’t defeated in Ukraine.

A Clear Demonstration

Michigan’s Progressive-Democrat Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed, in the name of the State of Michigan, a deal with Gotion Inc, a subsidiary of Gotion High Tech Co Ltd which is headquartered in the People’s Republic of China. Gotion Hi Tech is not only subject to PRC national security law that requires domestic companies to provide information the intelligence community “requests” in whatever nation that information might reside, it has open and direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party. From that, Gotion Inc, the party to that Whitmer deal, has those same ties and PRC-legal obligations.