Republicans, Democrats Find Common Ground on Many Provisions of Obamacare

A new Pew Research survey on the Affordable Care Act found that, while Americans were divided on whether to keep or repeal the health care law, the majority of Democrats and Republicans alike favored its major provisions.

The exceptions: mandate penalties and requiring employers with more 50+ employees to pay a fine if they do not offer health insurance.

U.S. Power Will Decline Under Trump, Says Futurist Who Predicted Soviet Collapse

Motherboard’s Nafeez Ahmed spoke with Nobel Peace Prize-nominated sociologist Johan Galtung about the future of American power.

“Galtung told Motherboard that Trump would probably continue this trajectory of accelerated decline—and may even make it happen quicker. Of course, with typical scientific caution, he said he would prefer to see what Trump’s actual policies are before voicing a clear verdict.”

Galtung: “He [Trump] blunts contradictions with Russia, possibly with China, and seems to do also with North Korea. But he sharpens contradictions inside the USA…”

“As a trans-border structure the collapse I am thinking of is global, not domestic. But it may have domestic repercussion, like white supremacists or even minorities like Hawaiians, Inuits, indigenous Americans, and black Americans doing the same, maybe arguing for the United States as community, confederation rather than a ‘union’.”

Why More Mass Deportations Would Be Bad News for the Housing Market

Emily Badger: “Right around the time foreclosures were starting to pile up in the housing crash, on their way to affecting nearly one in five homeowning Hispanic households, the very same communities took a second blow.”

“The federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, in partnership with local law enforcement, was increasing deportations of undocumented immigrants: more than three million in all between 2005 and 2013. About 85 percent of them were working Latin American men.”

“New research now suggests that the deportations helped exacerbate foreclosures. Counties that collaborated with ICE in what became a large-scale deportation sweep experienced a surge in foreclosures of homes owned by Hispanics, according to a study by Jacob Rugh and Matthew Hall published Thursday in the journal Sociological Science. They argue that the roundups help explain why Hispanics faced the highest foreclosure rates during the housing crash — even among households with legal residents and American citizens.”

What’s Really to Blame for the Productivity Slowdown?

Robert Samuelson: “Our thinking about productivity is cockeyed, according to a new economic report. We’re ignoring the real productivity problem: surging costs for health care, housing and education. We need to understand this argument, because it just might be correct.”

“The conventional solution is more innovation, driven by advances in science and technology. We need the equivalent of the invention of the computer chip or the Internet. Nope. That’s too simple, says economist Jonathan Rothwell, author of the report for Gallup, the polling firm.”

“A huge part of the productivity slowdown, Rothwell contends, is the poor performance of these three large sectors of the economy: health care, education and housing. These sectors have gotten bigger, he says, without getting more productive. As their costs escalate, they absorb more of families’ incomes, making it harder to satisfy other wants.”

Want to Improve Wind and Solar Power? Bring Them Together.

Ensia: “A handful of enterprising renewable energy developers are now exploring how solar and wind might better work together, developing hybrid solar–wind projects to take advantage of the power-generating strengths of each — with the two technologies in tandem serving as a better replacement for climate-warming fossil fuels than either could be alone.”

“On the rolling plains just west of Australia’s Great Dividing Range, construction is expected to begin on a 10-megawatt solar farm adjacent to 73 wind turbines that are already online. According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency — ARENA, a governmental agency tasked with increasing deployment of renewable energy — which has invested A$9.9 million in the project a couple hours’ drive southwest of Sydney, the co-location of solar and wind provides more continuous energy generation than having either technology working alone.”

“But that’s not the only benefit. Co-locating wind and solar plants can save money on grid connections, site development and approvals, says ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht. By building the Gullen Solar Farm adjacent to the existing wind project, Frischknecht estimates savings as high as A$6 million — reducing the cost of the project by a full 20 percent.”

Brace Yourself: The Most Disruptive Phase of Globalization Is Just Beginning

Economist Richard Baldwin, whose new book The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization examines globalization’s undercurrents, spoke with Quartz about the future of globalization.

His argument in sum: “A better understanding of globalization is more urgent than ever, Baldwin says, because the third and most disruptive phase is still to come. Technology will bring globalization to the people-centric service sector, upending far more jobs in rich countries than the decline in manufacturing has in recent decades. (In the UK, the service sector accounts for almost 80% of the economy; less than 10% of US jobs are in manufacturing.) The disruption won’t come because people will move more freely across borders, but because technologies will provide ‘a substitute for being there,’ Baldwin says.”

Once this third phase hits, Baldwin predicts, “It will be disruptive in the G7, but instead of just in the manufacturing sector, it spreads to services. Only about 10-15% of the population works directly in manufacturing in the G7—the rest work in services. It will create great opportunities in many of the countries that have been left behind by earlier globalization, for instance almost all of sub-Saharan Africa and South America.”

Americans Still Split on Government’s Healthcare Role

Gallup: “Slightly more Americans agree (52%) than disagree (45%) that the federal government is responsible for making sure all Americans have healthcare coverage. This balance of views is similar to last year but represents a shift from 2012 to 2014, when majorities said ensuring healthcare coverage for all was not the government’s job.”

“When asked if they would prefer a government-run healthcare system or a system based on private insurance, majorities of Americans have consistently said they prefer a private system. However, this year’s 10-percentage-point gap in favor of a private system (53%) compared with a government system (43%) is the narrowest in Gallup’s trend.”

Amazon Go Will Offer Checkout-Free Shopping 

Wired: “On Monday, Amazon took the wraps off Amazon Go, a real-world grocery store that comes with a twist: there’s no checkout process. You just grab the stuff you want and walk out; the order posts to your Amazon account afterwards. There are no cashiers, no lines, no fumbling for a credit card. And while experts agree that Go looks very much like the future of retail, it’s less clear whether Amazon has all of the pieces in place.”

The Constitutionalism of Trump’s Crony Capitalism

Greg Weiner: “As bad as the economics of the Carrier shakedown may be—and it is entirely unclear in which direction the shaking went down, except to note that a supply of rents tends to create a demand for them—the constitutional politics are far worse.”

“Presidential intimidation (threats of ‘consequences’) of individual companies is the very definition of coercion applied to an individual. Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 appears to authorize the President to take measures against countries that inhibit American commerce. Trump is threatening, here, to slap self-destructive 35 percent tariffs on individual companies that facilitate commerce.”

“The only apparent way the President could target individual companies would be by rewriting the 1974 statute by way of deliberate misinterpretation: in other words, presidential unilateralism. Consequently, this may well be the first test of Congress’ capacity to stand up for its own statutes against the other political branch.”

To “Save” 800 Jobs, Donald Trump Destroys Exponentially More

John Tamny: “If we forget for now the depressed economic outlook and high unemployment that is nearly always evident where politicians are most aggressively ‘saving’ jobs, Trump’s actions were not about a knight-in-shining-armor arriving to tell poorly treated businesses that ‘help is on the way.’ If the latter had even remotely informed what Trump did, then he would have simply given another well-publicized speech full of promises to greatly reduce the corporate tax burden, the regulatory burden, and any other barriers to profits that businesses face.”

“Instead, and this is what’s so shameful about some of the support on the right for Trump’s alleged ‘coup’, Trump’s actions vis-à-vis Carrier sent a strong signal that the U.S. will no longer be as hospitable a locale to the very investors who create all jobs.”

“Members of the right who should know better talk up the 800 jobs Trump allegedly ‘saved,’ but in their frightening willingness to excuse the most egregious acts of government so long as the person executing them has an R next to his name, they ignore the exponentially bigger number of jobs that will never be created in a United States that Trump is trying to turn into the proverbial Roach Motel. If investors can’t leave the U.S., they won’t enter the U.S.”

Trump’s Threat to the Constitution

“On July 7, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, met privately with House Republicans near the Capitol. I was present as chief policy director of the House Republican Conference,” former independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin writes for The New York Times.

“A congresswoman asked him about his plans to protect Article I of the Constitution, which assigns all federal lawmaking power to Congress… Mr. Trump interrupted her to declare his commitment to the Constitution — even to parts of it that do not exist, such as ‘Article XII.’ Shock swept through the room as Mr. Trump confirmed one of our chief concerns about him: He lacked a basic knowledge of the Constitution.”

“In our nation, power is shared, checked and balanced precisely to thwart would-be autocrats. But as we become desensitized to the notion that Mr. Trump is the ultimate authority, we may attribute less importance to the laws, norms and principles that uphold our system of government, which protects our rights. Most dangerously, we devalue our own worth and that of our fellow Americans.”

The West Is Dead

Joschka Fischer: “Now that Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States, the end of what was heretofore termed the ‘West’ has become all but certain. That term described a transatlantic world that emerged from the twentieth century’s two world wars, redefined the international order during the four-decade Cold War, and dominated the globe – until now.”

“Trump does not have the luxury of an imperial approach. On the contrary, during the campaign, he heaped criticism on America’s senseless wars in the Middle East; and his supporters want nothing more than for the US to abandon its global leadership role and retreat from the world. A US that moves toward isolationist nationalism will remain the world’s most powerful country by a wide margin; but it will no longer guarantee Western countries’ security or defend an international order based on free trade and globalization.”

“But we should not harbor any illusions: Europe is far too weak and divided to stand in for the US strategically; and, without US leadership, the West cannot survive. Thus, the Western world as virtually everyone alive today has known it will almost certainly perish before our eyes.”