Trump vs. General Motors

 

Donald Trump launched his latest salvo against General Motors with a threat to end the automaker’s federal subsidies if it follows through with plans to close several North American plants and lay off about 15,000 workers. However, as with Harley Davidson’s decision to move some production to Europe, at least part of GM’s decision can be traced to the president’s trade war.

 

On Tuesday, the president tweeted, “Very disappointed with General Motors and their CEO, Mary Barra, for closing plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Nothing being closed in Mexico & China. The U.S. saved General Motors, and this is the THANKS we get! We are now looking at cutting all @GM subsidies, including for electric cars. General Motors made a big China bet years ago when they built plants there (and in Mexico) – don’t think that bet is going to pay off. I am here to protect America’s Workers!”

 

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed in a press conference that a possible move to cut GM’s federal subsidies was under consideration. Politico reports that Kudlow announced prior to the president’s tweet that the White House was “going to be looking at certain subsidies regarding electric cars and others, whether they should apply or not.”

 

Under current law, the federal government offers a $7,500 tax credit for new electric vehicles purchased in the US. This tax credit applies only the first 200,000 cars that a manufacturer produces. Since GM is close to reaching its limit, any change to existing law would have minimal effect on the company, but auto companies have been lobbying for an expansion of the law. CEO Mary Barra told Forbes that GM planned to double the resources devoted to electric and self-driving cars over the next two years. GM also reportedly gets about $943 million in other unspecified federal grants and tax credits.

 

Even though President Trump is talking tough over GM’s cuts, his policies are at least partly to blame for the lost jobs. Earlier this year, GM warned that Trump’s tariffs could force layoffs and cause increases in the price of cars. In September, GM announced that its 2018 material costs would increase by an estimated $1 billion due to tariffs as well as higher oil prices, inflation, and tighter supplies.

 

As with the higher cost of materials, there are a number of factors at play in the decision to close the plants and lay off workers. The plants being closed make sedans which are not selling well in the US as buyers choose more SUVs and trucks. Forbes also notes that the popularity of ridesharing services is driving a reduction in car ownership. A large supply of used cars has also contributed to a decline in new car sales.

 

The argument that GM’s cuts are purely due to poor sales of sedans misses an important point, however. The Wall Street Journal points out that China is GM’s largest market for small cars. After President Trump applied tariffs to Chinese imports, the Chinese government retaliated with a 40 percent tariff on imported American cars. If GM exports American-made cars to China they get hit with the double whammy of the US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as well as the Chinese tariff on imported cars. That is a powerful incentive for the company to move small car production to China.

 

The entire episode is an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences. When President Trump launched his tariff policy to protect the American steel industry, it was entirely foreseeable that American companies that consume steel would suffer from higher steel prices. In the case of the auto industry, other problems are exacerbated by the trade war.

 

President Trump’s heavy-handed attempts to intimidate GM into keeping its plants open miss the mark. If the plants make products that are not competitive, then keeping them open will only weaken the rest of the company and possibly lead to further problems. If GM continues to build cars in the US that it cannot sell either here or abroad then it will be forced to either carry a large inventory or sell the cars at a loss. Alternatively, GM could pay workers to do nothing, but is a business‘s purpose to provide meaningless jobs or to sell products for a profit?

A better course would be to allow GM’s executives to take the steps to cut costs without incurring more public relations damage than necessary. The president should also get serious about eliminating trade barriers so American workers can build cars in this country and ship them around the world without incurring tariffs that make them too expensive for foreign consumers.

 

Unfortunately, President Trump’s trade policy has been similar to his immigration policy in that it focuses on erecting walls. Trump’s regulatory walls of tariffs and retaliatory measures by other countries are having the opposite effect from what was intended. Unless Trump reverses his trade policy, more American jobs will be shipped overseas to elude the tariffs that are being placed both on imported materials and exported American goods.

John James is Being Considered to Replace Outgoing UN Ambassador Nikki Haley

Other contenders include current State Department spox Heather Nauert.

President Trump want be appointing Detroit businessman and recent GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in Michigan, John James, to replace outgoing US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley. James recently lost his general election race against incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow by a [52 to 46% margin](https://ballotpedia.org/John_James_(Michigan%29), signaling that he has a bright political future in Michigan with such a narrow loss.

Here’s more on the matter:

The Trump administration is considering putting a person without ambassador’s experience into the job, a source said. James has never been an ambassador, but a source said a person with ambassador’s experience would likely be his deputy if he is chosen.

A White House spokesman said Monday he had “no personnel announcements at this time.” A call to James’ office was not returned.

James visited the White House last week to discuss an administration job with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, unidentified sources told Bloomberg News, which first reported James’ candidacy for the UN ambassadorship.

Former Fox News host and current State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert is also considered a top choice to replace Haley when she bows out of her post at the end of the year.

James attended West Point and went on several deployments during his military career. Haley also didn’t have much of diplomatic experience, but has served the U.N. post well. We shall see.

Ginger snaps

Ingredients:

3/4 cup crisco (154g)
1 cup brown sugar (200g)
1/4 cup molasses (85g)
1 egg
2 1/4 cups sifted all purpose flour (257g)
2 tsp baking soda (10g)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves

Directions:

Cream together the wet ingredients. Sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix together. Refrigerate until slighty chilled, about 30 minutes. Scoop a tablespoon each and shape into a ball. Roll in granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with a glass bottom dipped in sugar. Bake at 375° approximately 8 minutes for chewy cookies and 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Note: If using a convection oven, bake at 350°.

We Should Find and Support the Next Pinochets. Not Really, But Sort Of.

Augusto Pinochet was a corrupt tyrant in Chile. He also reformed Chile’s economy, drove out the communists and socialists, and put Chile on the path to reform and stability. President Trump should seek out future Pinochets in Central and South America. The United States needs to get its hands dirty in the Western Hemisphere and be willing to support tyrants and autocrats who do not share our view of human rights. We need to do it because China is doing it, Russia is doing it, Cuba is doing it, and they have no qualms about human rights. We need to do it because we value free markets and stable, pro-America regimes that will fight MS-13, failed socialist policies, and a socialist-communist resurgence in the Western Hemisphere that threatens our borders.

According to the most conservative estimates, President Trump’s wall will cost $11 billion. The House Republicans have set aside $5 billion. But consider what we currently spend in just a few problematic governments in Central America.

In El Salvador, we spend $75 million in foreign aid.

In Guatamala, we spend $297 million in foreign aid.

In Nicaragua, we spend $31 million in foreign aid.

In Honduras, we spend $127 million in foreign aid.

In Mexico, we spend $88 million in foreign aid.

Combined, that is $618 million in foreign aid for four countries that are causing or contributing to the migrant caravan. If we doubled what we spent in those countries, we would still only be spending around 12% of the cost of the wall.

If we spent the money wisely, we could support strong leadership in those countries willing to do our bidding who might resist the lure of China, Russia, Cuba, and even Venezuela.

Yes, we are dealing with corrupt regimes. We will probably not stamp out the corrupt. But, again, consider Pinochet. He was a corrupt tyrant who ruthlessly exterminated communists, cracked down on criminal and gang elements, and moved Chile into a stable, free market country.

Our foreign aid in Chile these days is only $2.3 million. We need to find future Augusto Pinochets in Central and South America and get behind them, support them, teach them about and help them promote free markets, provide them a few helicopters, and then let them ruthlessly deal with their nation’s gangs, communists, and others who are causing the caravans of people fleeing those failing nations.

We could spend less in one decade solving the problems causing these caravans of migrants than we spend building the wall and, in the process, we would curtail China and Russia’s incursions into the Western Hemisphere. The stakes for hemispheric stability are great. The United States needs to be willing to get its hands dirty again.

Now, everybody breathe.

No, I’m not actually fully on board with my own idea. Pinochet was actually a ruthless dictator who dropped people out of helicopters. And I actually think Pinochet has been treated more unkind by history than he should be, but only by a bit.

I didn’t support Trump because I acknowledged that even if I got everything I wanted from him, he was still a terrible person and we shouldn’t be propping up terrible people to give us what we want.

The same goes for abroad.

The point in laying all of this out and getting some of you nodding along with it is this — there are real problems in Central and South America that are causing the migrant caravan heading north. Building a wall won’t fix those problems and at some point there will be a Democrat President again who might just fling open the doors even if you have a wall.
The United States needs to deal with the root causes and can actually deal with those causes cheaper over the next ten years than building a wall that remains unfunded and hypothetical.

While we are not dealing with those problems, China is. It has no qualms about backing distasteful autocrats who abuse human rights. We have no competing systems and policies in place to respond. So in addition to not dealing with the root causes of the repeated caravans, we are letting a despotic, communist regime plant roots in the Western Hemisphere and doing little to nothing to respond thereto.

We need to. And that will actually require we ally with some unsavory types more likely than not. The left has a bit of hypocrisy on this front because they’re perfectly fine cutting deals with Iran, treating Qatar favorably, and even working with those affiliated with Hamas. They may get bent out of shape by the suggestion that the United States work with thugs in the Western Hemisphere, but frankly I’d rather a pro-America thug running Venezuela than the guy there now.

We do not even have to engage in regime change in these countries. We can spend money openly and surreptitiously. We too can scheme in these countries to both push back growing Chinese influence and also the laundry list of problems causing the caravans.

You build that wall if you want to. But we will keep dealing with caravans and we will get a Democrat President willing to open doors within the walls. And, by the way, it is far more likely you will get funding for engaging with this problem than you will get funding for the wall.

But keep screaming “build the wall” if you makes you feel better. There are just cheaper solutions, but ones you can’t fundraise off of.

You Can Apparently Get Jailed in Georgia for Possessing Cotton Candy

A Georgia woman is suing several entities after she was jailed for three months for being in possession of cotton candy.

Dasha Fincher, a Georgia woman who spent three months in jail for possessing cotton candy, has filed a federal suit against Monroe County board of commissioners, two sheriff’s deputies, and Sirchie Acquisition Company, the parent company of a drug test administered during her traffic stop around December 31, 2016.

Her suit argues that the sheriff’s deputies should have been aware that the curbside drug tests they administer could contain false-positives.

Ms. Fincher was pulled over for a traffic infraction on New Year’s Eve 2016 for having a dark window tint. (The windows were later revealed to be perfectly legal.) The two deputies claimed the driver and her passenger were in possession of expired licenses.

While examining her vehicle, the deputies saw a large plastic bag filled with blue cotton candy, which they mistook for drugs. Fincher submitted to a roadside drug test, which falsely determined her a bag of cotton candy to be meth.

She spent the period of January 2017 to April 2017 in jail, but was shortly cleared of charges after the drug test proved to be false.

Monroe Incident

Here’s a recap of the incident:

Fincher said when Monroe deputies Cody Maples and Allen Henderson saw a large open plastic bag inside the car, she told them it contained blue cotton candy but they didn’t believe her.

The deputies used a roadside field test that said there was meth in the bag.

Fincher was arrested and charged with meth trafficking and possession of meth with intent to distribute.

A judge set her bond at $1 million, her lawsuit said, but Fincher remained in jail because she couldn’t pay the cash bond.

But in March 2017, GBI lab tests came back to say that the substance in the bag was not an illegal drug.

This is a serious error on the part of the cops.

How could this have occurred? Was there adequate training to determine cotton candy from meth? It appears that’s not the case. I hope Ms. Fincher is successful in her suit and is compensated for damages incurred by this experience.

The Key to Escaping Twitter is the Past

Earlier this year, we were facing some problems at The Resurgent. Our designer/coder got a new job. He was in the process of making upgrades to the site. He loaded the updates and then rapidly transitioned to a new job. the problem is several of the changes wound up breaking other things and he suddenly wasn’t around to be able to fix them. It all happened in a hurry.

About the same time, The Maven came calling offering to put us on their platform and provide us the tools we needed to build up our community section, which I had wanted to do. It happened at a perfectly fortuitous moment and we went with it. It was less of a financial strain to us than trying to fix the problems we were facing at our old site.

But, in less than a year, it has become obvious to me and everyone else around here that we really need our own site. We want to be able to control every pixel and be responsible for it all. With the success of our first conference, we have the bandwidth to be able to do that and are in the process of moving to a site where we will be responsible for and control everything.

That gets me to Twitter. Long before the rise of Facebook and Twitter, there were blogs. A lot of people have, over the years, abandoned their personal blogs and the community of friends and readers they built in favor of various social media platforms. But as we are seeing with the various purges at Twitter, algorithm changes at Facebook, and advertising whims at Google, you don’t really own your stuff. The businesses you rely upon can change their business models, algorithms, or rules on a whim and you could be up a creek.

People who got Twitter famous and depend on Twitter for attention and buzz are left to the whims of arbitrary and capricious progressives in San Francisco to let them continue existing or delete their relevance.

The best way around that is to get a blog. They’re cheap. You are not dependent on others. And you can write as much or as little as you want. We at The Resurgent and me individually have full editorial control over what we post here. We can make it as long as we want. And if we build a loyal audience we do not have to worry about Twitter, Facebook, etc.

In fact, Twitter accounts for less and less of our daily traffic now. Most of our traffic comes through a daily email I send out. Several people have asked me where and what should we do as Twitter seems intent on purging more and more conservative voices. My answer is to go bak to the past. Get a WordPress site, connect with others, and build community that way.

France is On Fire Over Fuel Tax Woes

French protestors are increasingly dismayed by Macron’s climate change agenda.

As Americans were enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, our French compatriots weren’t having such a peaceful time.

News caught on here in the U.S. that riots broke out in Paris’ acclaimed Champs-Élysées. However, they are well into their second weekend of protests. The reasoning? The French are tired of high gas taxes and elitism in general, per Axios.

This movement of discontented Frenchmen and women call themselves the Gilets Jaunes (“Yellow Vest”) movement. Last weekend, well over 280,000 protesters descended to this sacred ground in Paris. The protestors are named as such due to their wearing of “high-viz vests that French drivers are obliged to carry in case of emergencies.”

French President Emmanuel Macron has prioritized combatting climate change over fiscal sanity, it appears—which explains why many French residents are rioting.

A recent poll surveying 2,000 respondents found that only 25% of those polled had a favorable view of these Macron policies–down from 29% favorability of said policies when polled in October. That doesn’t spell good news for Macron.

Let me be clear: Violent protests are never the answer. Violence begets violence.

In light of these protests, however, Macron and his ilk need to reassess their so-called Climate-First agenda as it is highly unpopular. They cannot be despondent or else the French will vote in new leadership come the next election. Rightly so.

BREAKING: Mexico Gives Trump Administration Groundbreaking Deal on Asylum

Mexico’s incoming socialist government has agreed to a deal where asylum seekers at the U.S. border will wait in Mexico while their cases are considered by U.S. courts.
This deal gives the Trump administration the ammunition it needs to keep its promise: No migrants will enter the U.S. illegally. It disappoints open borders advocates who have used federal courts to thwart Trump’s policy of no admission and blanket denials of asylum.
It ends the recurring predictions of a bloodbath at the border, after the president indicated he authorized “lethal force” to prevent a mad rush of migrants to cross the border illegally.
I love it when common sense wins.
The Washington Post reported Saturday:
The agreement would break with long-standing asylum rules and place a formidable new barrier in the path of Central American migrants attempting to reach the United States and escape poverty and violence. By reaching the accord, the Trump administration has also overcome Mexico’s historic reticence to deepen cooperation with the United States on an issue widely seen here as America’s problem.
Mexico’s government has long been little more than a bystander in the decades-long migration chain from central American countries to the U.S. Trump’s rhetoric, while bombastic and frequently relying on falsehoods to support his points, has motivated Mexico to finally “do something.”
It has also publicly shown what world leaders have known for years: Mexico is incapable of policing its own borders. It could not keep the caravan from entering and crossing its own territory. It could not provide for the migrants while they transited through the country. It could do little to stop the migrants from reaching the U.S. border.
But it can agree to let those migrants remain in Mexico while the U.S. takes the appropriate legal steps to process each asylum request. In fact, this deal is a win-win for both Mexico and the U.S. because it recognizes common sense truths and plays to both countries’ strengths and their shared business interests.
Just over the border, nearly 5,000 Central Americans have arrived in Tijuana this month as part of caravan groups, and several thousand others are en route to the city, where a baseball field has been turned into a swelling tent camp. The city’s mayor declared a “humanitarian crisis” Friday and said the city’s taxpayers would not foot the bill for the migrants’ care.
A group of business leaders in the city said they have thousands of job openings at the city’s assembly plants, or maquiladoras, inviting Central American migrants to work in the factories. Though wages there are a small fraction of U.S. pay, Mexican officials said the work offer was one reason they believe the Remain in Mexico plan will succeed. Across the country, there are 100,000 jobs available to Central American asylum seekers, officials said.
“We want them to be included in society, that they integrate into society, that they accept the offer of employment that we are giving them,” Sánchez Cordero said. “That they feel taken care of by Mexico in this very vulnerable situation.”
If the deal works, it shows that the Trump administration is capable of groundbreaking deals in international cooperation, blunting attacks of “America first” being primarily a blood-and-soil movement that ignores the plight of others outside our borders. It also shows that other nations can sometimes do for themselves and not rely on Daddy America as the be-all-end-all of jobs and opportunities.
For years, asylum seekers would first enter the U.S., then hang around while their cases (which can take years in the 750,000 case backlog) are waiting to be heard. In that time, they live, work, and have families in the U.S., further adding to the crisis of illegal aliens.
As the border has allowed less (legal) asylum seekers in, Mexico has become what WaPo has called an “antechamber.” Formal acknowledgement of this condition while closing what DHS has called a “loophole” promoting spurious asylum claims along with illegal border crossing, is really a common sense deal that has been needed for years.
The deal nakedly exposes many open borders advocates as cynics who really want more migrants inflating American voting booths for liberal causes.
It also cements an already “friendly, very courteous, very cordial” relationship with incoming Mexican President López Obrador by Trump.
Beginning with the San Diego border crossing, migrants who cross the border and assert asylum will be given an assessment at a federal courthouse, then taken back to Mexico. If their claim is denied, they will be taken into U.S. custody and deported to their country of origin.
If these migrants can earn money at Mexican factories while they wait, it’s a good deal all around.
Trump and his dealmakers deserve credit for doing what others have not done. As I said, I love it when common sense wins.