MEPs Really Ought To Know This But Apparently Not

A letter to the Daily Telegraph:

SIR – The Trump administration’s move towards trade protectionism shows the benefit to Britain of being a member of the EU customs union.

Liam Fox, the Trade Secretary and arch-Atlanticist, unsuccessfully lobbied Washington for an exemption of UK steel from punitive tariffs. By the effort of Cecilia Malmström, the EU trade commissioner (representing all 28 EU members), such an exemption was secured. It was prolonged earlier this week for another month.

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US Inequality Hasn’t Risen Quite As You Think

An interesting paper about US inequality. Do note that they’re measuring losses as relative to inequality having not risen – that tells us nothing about how much growth there would have been without inequality rising. Further, transfers have risen substantially – leaving consumption inequality very much less changed:

Kevin Lansing, Agnieszka Markiewicz 21 April 2018

The increase in US income inequality since 1970 largely reflects gains made by households in the top 20% of the income distribution.…

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No, Really, The US Trade Deficit Can Go On Forever

A not uncommon complaint is that it’s not possible for a country to run a trade deficit forever. At some point that debt has to be repaid. Warren Buffett is fond of explaining this with a construction of “Squanderville” and this is one of the things that Buffett gets wrong in reality. Firstly, for good theoretical reasons, second for good reasons of just counting, basic arithmetic.

Warren Buffett’s explanation:

But as head of Berkshire Hathaway, I am in charge of investing its money in ways that make sense.

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The US Ban On Venezuela’s Petro Is A Bad, Bad Idea – Let It Fail Alone

The United States has decided to ban – in the form of sanctions – transactions in Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency, the Petro. This is a bad, bad, idea. For it plays right into the hands of the usual idiots who insist that the only reason the socialist revolution has never worked in Latin America is because of the Damn Yanquis. This not actually being the cause, rather, Latin American socialism has always been destined for failure on the grounds that Latin American socialism is never going to work, Damn Yanquis or not.…

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Let Adelson Pay For the US Jerusalem Embassy – Pecunia Non Olet After All

This is one of those things with all the potential to cause outrage – Sheldon Adelson is offering to pay some part at least of the cost of the new US embassy in Jerusalem. One part of the controversy will just be the usual screams of zionists oppressing Palestinians which accompany absolutely anything to do with Israel. A slightly more believable set of objections will come from those who insist that we just don’t do this sort of thing.…

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