What’s Really Happening At GM

GM declared that it is going to reduce its head count by 15%, drop some
poorly selling car models, and close 5 “under-utilized” (single-shift)
factories. This story has been told to American TV viewers only by
bawling union members who have worked all their lives in Oshawa, Ontario.

In other words, GM has decided to get more efficient, and to reduce jobs
(that is, to reduce costs). And the entire US government is up in arms.…

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Brexit Has Cost Britain 500 Million Pounds A Week

The above is the title of a Reuters article about a current “study” produced by —

The Centre for European Reform, which describes itself as “pro-European but not uncritical”

That is, theoretically willing to criticize the EU, although not necessarily doing so in any given month. There; unbiased!

The methodology was to create a computer model to show how human development should have unfolded, compare it to this faulty thing we call reality, and ascribe all the differential to a decision the authors want changed; to-wit, the Brexit referendum.…

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The New NAFTA

Apart from a stream of winks and tweets, the most authoritative PowerPoint presentation on the “new Mexican free-trade agreement” is at Reuters.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) drastically reduced trans-border barriers, amplifying commerce even as it disrupted specific jobs. (However, see Tim’s recent article on things that threaten jobs.) President Trump falsely argued that NAFTA was dramatically bad, presumably on the grounds that Clinton-Bush-era negotiators favored commerce while Trump favors workers. Regardless of that, Trump won election, surprisingly carrying the “rust belt” states such as Michigan.…

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Venezuelan Reforms Are Eye-wash

Fox Business reports that Venezuela implements major economic changes – will they work?

Here is one of those headlines that ask a question, and the answer seems clearly a No, because the problem President Maduro is addressing is not that there is no inherent value backing the bolívar, but that the numbers on the price tags are too high.

One reform shouldn’t be too damaging:

Maduro said Sunday that beginning Sept. 1, the minimum wage will be hiked more than 3,000% to around $30, the widely used black market rate.

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Failure To Snub Equals Treason

Summer is political silly season in the United States. There are elections for the House and one-third of the Senate this November, and primaries to select the nominees between now and then. But Congress is treading water. Republicans, seeking to paper over their failure to fulfill their seven-year promise to repeal Obama-care, are standing pat with a single major enactment, the drastic lowering of business taxes. Democrats have no positive message at all beyond Don’t Kill The Job and promising more free things for everyone.…

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Food Will Rot At Ports Without A Brexit Deal

Reuters reports that a no-deal Brexit will lead to catastrophic effects. It quotes British Retail Consortium chairman Richard Pennycook:

“Failure to reach a deal – the cliff edge scenario – will mean new border controls and multiple ‘non-tariff barriers’, through regulatory checks, that will create delays, waste and failed deliveries,” he said.

“The consequences of this will be dramatic for UK consumers. It is likely that we will see food rotting at ports, reducing the choice and quality of what is available to consumers.”

Food rotting at ports sounds horrible!…

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Racial Zero-Tolerance Works In One Direction Only – Again

Readers will be familiar with Roseanne Barr’s disastrous tweet yesterday:

muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj

“vj” means Valerie Jarrett, a Machiavelli figure in Barack Obama’s inner circle, who is Iranian-born, and this could explain a few things about Obama policy. But not born to primates. She is African-American, and we are not supposed to make such a crude comparison.

Roseanne also is the star of a television show, the reincarnation of the Roseanne series, which portrays a supporter of Donald Trump sympathetically, on ABC-TV no less, and that is notable.…

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What Do You Call Successful Deregulation Of U.S. Air Fares? A Good Start…

Robert W. Poole, a founder of the libertarian reason magazine and its director of transportation issues, comes full circle after nearly 50 years and again writes about airline deregulation. The U.S. government’s Civil Aeronautics Board used to set prices and restrict entry into the industry, on the chronic assumption that, without regulation, airlines would be eager to kill their customers, undaunted by the threat of lawsuits and boycotts, and unconcerned about their reputations.

The take-aways here:

  • Repeal of the Civil Aeronautics Board was achieved by Democrats, notably Teddy Kennedy.
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Wringing Money Out Of The Newspaper Carcass

Jack Shafer writes in the center-left Politico about “vulture capitalist” Randall Smith of Digital First Media, the owner of the Denver Post and several other daily newspapers in mid-sized American cities. Smith is slashing editorial staffs, and victims gripe in public about management’s strategy, Smith’s job made easier as staffers self-identify as the next victims by joining the protest. Smith has halved the newsroom at the Post over five years.

Shafer acknowledges that the daily newspaper is a vestige of a time in which “advertisers needed mass audiences to sell the products of mass production,” quoting industry author Philip Meyer — because technology did not exist to target ads to niche markets.…

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Commissioner Gottlieb Strikes Again

Piled on top of grille lighter fluid that has difficulty catching fire, faucet aerators that take half a minute for the hot water to reach the tap, toilets that don’t do their job in one flush, and gardening chemicals engineered to be minimally effective, the United States is about to take another leap into managing the herd, and to hell with the people in it. The Washington Times reports that, on Monday:

one of Obamacare’s big social changes kicks in: a requirement that chain restaurants, supermarkets and movie theaters begin posting information for all of their offerings.

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