Trade Dispute

Deutsche Welle is worried about President Donald Trump reignit[ing a] trade battle with Europe.

US President Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to make good on threats to impose high tariffs on European cars if the bloc doesn’t agree to a long-delayed trade deal with Washington.

The US leader said that the tariffs, which would Germany’s car industry especially hard, could amount to 25%.

Tariffs and Fairness

In a Wall Street Journal article centered on the way tariffs involved in the People’s Republic of China/US trade “dispute” and the simmering EU/US trade dispute impact a Scottish town, Alistair MacDonald posed a question.

Is it fair for the US, in its pursuit of trade concessions, to hurt smaller businesses that make iconic products in nations such as Scotland?

The question is a non sequitur.  The correction is, “Is it fair to single out particular subgroups for special treatment when addressing the rest of the group or the group as a whole?”

No, of course not.

Losing our Free Market?

And not just through Progressive-Democrats’ Big Government demands and planned impositions.  Now it’s fund MFWICs with bugs up their noses about their currently favored special interest, exemplified by BlackRock’s Larry Fink.

BlackRock, along with Vanguard and State Street, are the three most powerful investment funds, holding as they do roughly 20% of the S&P 500 through funds they run for investors.  And now Fink is starting to dictate to the companies his company owns shares in what they must do vis-à-vis climate change, Fink’s issue du jour.

Mr Fink is surely right that investors should worry about climate risks leading to big shifts of capital, and therefore big price moves.

Universal Basic Income

It’s creeping ever more deeply into the Progressive-Democratic Party’s psyche and ideology. It’s an idea that was first dreamed up in the ’70s, and it remains an idea that can only fail were it to be implemented.

Giving everyone a basic income won’t improve anyone’s income; it’ll only incentivize employers to pay a wage diminished by the amount of the guaranteed government payment.  But the failure runs much deeper than that.

Such a scheme is inflationary: the outcome can only be a spike in inflation followed by price stabilization at a higher price level.

It’s a Start

TikTok is a People’s Republic of China company (for all its public moves to resite its headquarters outside the PRC) that’s a popular social-media app that’s used for posting short videos.

However.

TikTok collects information about its users, including data that could be used to track the location and movements of individuals….

As a result, tour military is banning the use of the app on government devices; the Coast Guard and Air Force have joined DoD, the Navy, the Army, and the Marines in the ban.

Reduced NBA Viewership

The TV ratings of National Basketball Association games are down by 15% compared to last year.

Some folks ascribe this to fewer folks subscribing to television generally. Others blame it on geography:

Many of the league’s best teams are on the West Coast, meaning their games end after some viewers in the East have already gone to bed.

Yet others assign at least some of the blame to injuries, especially to marque players.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver blames in on a “broken” pay-TV system.

All of those would seem to be factors in the public’s decreasing interest in the doings of the NBA.

Data Transfer and Privacy

The European Union’s Court of Justice had recommended to it by an adviser to the court in a particular case involving Facebook that

Companies, including US tech giants, should be blocked from transferring European users’ data in some cases if they can’t guarantee it will be handled in compliance with European Union privacy laws….

That would seem to include a large number of international companies besides ours. Yet several EU member nations are moving apace to bring Huawei into their communications networks….

Hmm….

Foolishness

Russia and Ukraine have agreed a new natural gas transit arrangement to facilitate Russian natural gas through Ukraine to Europe.  The EU was in on the negotiations, and it’s pleased.  Maros Sefcovic, who was Vice-President of the European Commission for the Energy Union until last January and who then transitioned to Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight, led the EU’s part of the negotiations.  He now says,

Russia remains a reliable supplier to European markets and Ukraine maintains its role as a strategic transit country.

That Was The Point

The subheadline on a Sunday Wall Street Journal article says it all.

European voters have viewed the process so negatively that even EU-skeptic parties have mostly dropped talk of leaving the bloc or the euro

That was the entire motive for Brussels’ extended bad faith pseudo-negotiations with Great Britain after those uppity citizens voted to go out from the European Union. To be sure, Brit politicians, who insisted they Knew Better than their subordinate citizens, contributed to the mess with their own combination of arrogance and incompetent negotiating, but they just played into Brussels’ hands, they did not create the chaos.

Negotiated Penalties

I’m not going to pick on Boeing, but I am going to describe that company’s alleged wrong-doing in a particular case as a canonical example of a principle.

Boeing stands accused by the FAA of

install[ing] defective parts inside the wings of around 130 737NG aircraft and then knowingly vouch[ing that] they met all federal safety requirements.

In consequence, the FAA has proposed a $3.9 million penalty.  As if Boeing should have a say in the penalty it chooses to pay.  This is nonsense.