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.”

Why U.S. Coal Industry and Its Jobs Are Not Coming Back

James Van Nostrand: “As a candidate, and now as the incoming President of the United States, Trump has embraced the ‘war on coal’ narrative that has been a staple of political discourse in coal-dependent regions of the country for the past several years… It would seem to necessarily follow, then, that ending this ‘war on coal’ by electing a new president would result in a stirring revival of the nation’s coal industry.”

“Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen, and the reasons are straightforward: The economic, political, and geological forces aligned against coal — chief among them the increasing abundance of cheaper, cleaner, U.S.-produced natural gas — dwarf the impact that the federal government’s regulations have had on the coal industry.”

Americans’ Support for Electoral College Rises Sharply

Gallup: “Americans’ support for keeping the Electoral College system for electing presidents has increased sharply. Weeks after the 2016 election, 47% of Americans say they want to keep the Electoral College, while 49% say they want to amend the Constitution to allow for a popular vote for president. In the past, a clear majority favored amending the U.S. Constitution to replace the Electoral College with a popular vote system.”

Also interesting: 66% of adult Americans accurately identified Clinton as the winner of the popular vote. The answers did diverge along party lines, with 85% of Democrats and only 56% of Republicans naming Clinton as the popular vote winner.

A Conversation with Two Mayors About Trump and Cities

The Brookings Institution’s Amy Liu spoke with Scott Smith, a Republican from Mesa, Arizona, and Michael Nutter, a Democrat from Philadelphia to discuss “some key policy priorities of the next administration, including immigration, trade, and infrastructure” and “how a federal-local partnership might be improved in the years to come.”

Most interesting: on infrastructure, both decried the reliance on “short-term” stimulus. Mayor Nutter called for the federal government “to adopt, like every other government in the United States of America, a full capital plan that is five or six years in length.”

Don’t Ignore the Lame Duck

Vox: “What happens in Congress in the time President Obama has left — during what’s known as the ‘lame-duck session’ — will have a huge impact on the lives of millions of Americans.”

“At stake is the safety of the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the pensions of thousands of laid-off coal miners throughout Appalachia, the biggest health reform package since Obamacare, and the paychecks of all US troops — and that’s during what’s considered a relatively uneventful lull in the legislative chambers.”

“Perhaps just as importantly, the next seven weeks are when Democrats will lay the groundwork for the much bigger and more critical struggle against the soon-to-be empowered GOP. Where congressional Democrats decide to fight now — and who emerges as leading advocates of the opposition — will shape how they’ll try to stop the Republican Party in the next session.”

Want to Rev Up the Economy? Don’t Worry About the Trade Deficit 

N. Gregory Mankiw: “In recent years, American imports have exceeded exports by about $500 billion a year. Mr. Navarro and Mr. Ross argue that if better policies eliminated this ‘trade deficit drag,’ gross domestic product would be higher and more people would be employed.”

“But a fuller look at the macroeconomic effects of trade deficits suggests that things aren’t so simple.”

“…many of the policies proposed by Mr. Trump will increase the trade deficit rather than reduce it. He has proposed scaling back both burdensome business regulations and taxes on corporate and other business income. His tax cuts and infrastructure spending will most likely increase the government’s budget deficit, which tends to increase interest rates. These changes should attract even more international capital into the United States, leading to an even stronger dollar and larger trade deficits.”

“Rather than reflecting the failure of American economic policy, the trade deficit may be better viewed as a sign of success. The relative vibrancy and safety of the American economy is why so many investors around the world want to move their assets here. (And similarly, it is why so many workers want to immigrate here.)”

More Central Americans Are Giving up on the U.S. And Looking Instead to a Mexican Dream

Los Angeles Times: “The number of migrants seeking to stay in Mexico pales in comparison to the droves heading to the U.S. — more than 400,000 people were apprehended at the U.S. southern border in the fiscal year that ended in September, most of them from Central America.”

“But the burden on Mexico and other countries is likely to increase if President-elect Donald Trump makes good on his promises to beef up border security and deport up to 3 million people living in the U.S. illegally.”

“Asylum applications in Mexico nearly tripled over three years, hitting 3,424 in 2015. Asylum requests this year are poised to be twice that, human rights advocates say, with most filed by Hondurans and Salvadorans.”

“Even with its long-running drug war and a sliding peso, Mexico boasts a degree of safety and economic stability not seen in Honduras and El Salvador, which are among the poorest and most dangerous nations in the world.”

Is Our Economic Future Behind Us?

Joel Mokyr: “With the global economy yet to recover from the 2008 economic crisis, concern about the future – especially of the advanced economies – is intensifying. My Northwestern University colleague Robert J. Gordon captures the sentiment of many economists, arguing in his recent book The Rise and Fall of American Growth that the enormous productivity-enhancing innovations of the last century and a half cannot be equaled. If true, advanced economies should expect slow growth and stagnation in the coming years. But will the future really be so bleak?”

“Probably not… My optimism is based not on some generalized faith in the future, but on the way science (or ‘propositional knowledge’) and technology (‘prescriptive knowledge’) support each other. Just as scientific breakthroughs can facilitate technological innovation, technological advances enable scientific discovery, which drives more technological change. In other words, there is a positive feedback loop between scientific and technological progress.”