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Showing posts from January, 2017

Will Trump start a trade war?

President Trump has been in office for 48 hours now and so far we have seen the following:


Plans massive tariffs on imports (especially if the White House "believes" that the jobs were stolen")Reduce regulation by 75%Shut down PBS -- that was Saturday and I've not seen anything more about that since
Aside from the weekend fight over the number of attendants at the inauguration, and I mean the entire weekend. When it was obvious from photograph that the thing was poorly attended.  The reality is that a large number of people would go to Washington for the "show" and Trump didn't deliver (there were no A or B list stars at his show ) so what's the point!

Once the images were out there was little doubt that it was fewer than Obama in '08.  So fine, let it be! BUT if this is all it takes to take Team Trump off its message (of a new administration) they will get bogged down quickly.  The idea that massive tariffs will be a huge win for Americans is …

The Press to lose space at the White House. This could be a good thing!

For 40 years (since Kennedy) the press has been installed into the White House, an already very tight space for all those working there.  This access to the White House was not always there, and there were prior to that time many involved that new the system of preference.

This is seen by the Press in General and the MSM network as a disaster, but could it be an opportunity?  The fact is that in a day and age of instant communication -- and an elected president reluctant to have press briefings anyway (last week was the first in six months), Trump's idea is that only "invited" journalist would be welcomed into the White House -- the others would miss the scoop -- but these days the scoop less interesting.

The work done prior to the election by the Washington Post journalist in calling more than 3,000 charities to find out who had received money from the Trump Charity was a great piece of investigative journalism.  The work and the result -- actually forced Trump to shut…

Is there anyone left to piss off?

Ok Donald Trump is not yet president (four more days...).  Despite that fact, he's manage the piss-off the following:


Mexico:  First, Trump said that he wanted to limit immigration -- so first was the wall, then when asked how he would pay he said it was the Mexican who would pay.  Then tariffs on imported goods (that story not over yet)China:  So far the Chinese have been playing cool, but really they may take a different view if he continues; smartly enough they've decided to wait until the "Pres" is sworn into office.  Rumbling are starting and the cost of an economic war with China could be steepNATO:  Trump wants Europe to pay a bigger share -- maybe he's right, but once they pay they will ignore America -- he wants to be the boss but not pay as the bossFrance:  Clearly Tump team is actively pushing the National Front to win the presidential...talk of hacking and False news... French just asked Facebook to implement an algorithm to deal with fake newsGermany:…

The new administration -- what could go wrong

The American political system is in for a massive shock:


Trump is nominated as the GOP's presidential candidate, who has broken every rule and is certainly not GOP's establishment's first (or 5th) choiceTrump over the past 6 months has bamboozled the GOP and its system -- he screwed with Romney, and other GOP grandees -- he is certain to continue (its worked so well for him) Trump is elected -- this man who clearly suffers from ADHD will not confront a world of "gray solution problems" that are the bread and butter of the President's day.Trump nominates a cabinet of Billionaires that seem to have been chosen to destroy their individual department s-- then again maybe a good shake up is warranted, but we can expect several departments to shrink dramatically (Education & EPA to name but two)Congress is supporting a quick confirmation of Trump's nominees in the hope that they will do their bidding -- I think they are wrong!Trump's distrust of the inte…

Banca Monte de Pachi de Sienna

On December 30th, the Italian government finally bowed to the inevitable:  They rescued BMP from an ignominious ending -- bankruptcy has been avoided, although BMP is now a government owned bank.  The troubles surrounding the world's oldest bank go back nearly two decades where thoughtless growth, booking keeping skulduggery has after two bailouts has finally been nationalized, via the injection of Euro 6.5 billion.  Also two days ago BMP announced that they will raise Euro 15 billion in debt from the market, guaranteed by the Italian Treasury (so the Euro 20 billion total exposure has already been breached).

BMP has indicated that about Euro 22 billion or nearly 1/4 of its loan book is doubtful -- that recovery will be partial.  Many of the legacy assets of the banks never lived up to their promises when they were acquired and will, I suspect, be quietly shut down.  The outflow of depositors may be reversed, but why would depositors go back to  a bank that caused them such troubl…

Another job loss data point

Today, research demonstrated that shared ride of 2,000 cars could easily replace the 13,000 yellow cabs that circle NYC.  The implication is that anywhere between 11,000 and 22,000 jobs could disappear because of an algorithms (and NYC traffic would be positively impacted).  Trust me this is important news, Lyft or Uber via central dispatch can now dramatically improve car sharing opportunities for their drivers.

Now there are apparently 250,000 taxis in the US, which implies about 500,000 jobs that could be largely replaced by 40,000 ride share.  That means that almost 200,000 fewer cars (for taxi) would be bought.

I mentioned this before (many times), but self driving cars are the next step, today at least 90% of a car's life cycle is spend in garage.  Seriously if you drive 30,000km per annum its means that you use your car, on average 2 hours a day, which is 8% utilization.

Lets say that you increase your car usage to 40%, or about 10 hours a day -- which is high, but still a…

Stupid economists: How Josh Feinman proves my point

So, Globalization is at risk, its not only Donald Trump that is the problem, but there are waves of resentment across the world about further opening of markets.

In fact, over the past 30 years the level of equality in countries has risen dramatically:



The linchpin here is the increase (except Brazil and Mexico) of the GINI coefficient in most
OECD countries; Canada the least the Sweden the most -- but the latter one may be entirely due to IKEA...  Bottom line, voters have taken notice that the deregulation of market has resulted in less wealth and more insecurity.  The reason Trump won is because he promised "something different"  He may not be able to delivery (I am not sure he knows what to deliver) bit its sounds better than what Clinton offered which was more of the same...

However, Mr Feinman suggest that the reason deregulation and market opening is getting a bad press is entirely driven by poor explication of the benefits of free trades and other market reforms.  In …