December 16th, 2010 - 7:05 am
How do we calculate the trade deficit? Incorrectly, according to a report in today’s WSJ. Read:
Two academic researchers estimate that Apple Inc.’s iPhone—one of the best-selling U.S. technology products—actually added $1.9 billion to the U.S. trade deficit with China last year.
How is this possible? The researchers say traditional ways of measuring global trade produce the number but fail to reflect the complexities of global commerce where the design, manufacturing and assembly of products often involve several countries.
“A distorted picture” is the result, they say, one that exaggerates trade imbalances between nations.
Trade statistics in both countries consider the iPhone a Chinese export to the U.S., even though it is entirely designed and owned by a U.S. company, and is made largely of parts produced in several Asian and European countries. China’s contribution is the last step—assembling and shipping the phones.
So the entire $178.96 estimated wholesale cost of the shipped phone is credited to China, even though the value of the work performed by the Chinese workers at Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. accounts for just 3.6%, or $6.50, of the total, the researchers calculated in a report published this month.
And further down:
“The concept of country of origin for manufactured goods has gradually become obsolete.”
Mr. Lamy said if trade statistics were adjusted to reflect the actual value contributed to a product by different countries, the size of the U.S. trade deficit with China—$226.88 billion, according to U.S. figures—would be cut in half.
We’re using 19th Century accounting to track 21st Century design, manufacturing and trade. Something’s gotta give.
December 15th, 2010 - 4:16 pm
Coast to Coast Tea Party: I sat down this morning with Seantor Orrin Hatch to talk Tea Party politics and the Mad Duck Congess.
December 14th, 2010 - 8:11 pm
Trifecta: Bill Clinton is in charge of press relations, Michelle Obama runs the President’s schedule — so who is in charge of the White House?
December 14th, 2010 - 8:05 pm
Trifecta: Is ObamaCare dead, or just pining for the fjords?
December 13th, 2010 - 3:38 pm
Hair of the Dog: See Austan Goolsbee’s not-so-secret tell, hear the secret story behind that Obama press conference, touch that thing on David Axelrod’s lip, feel Mara Liasson’s glee at the return of Bill Clinton, and smell what’s wrong with This Week.
December 13th, 2010 - 11:11 am
It’s one small step to getting this ObamaCare beast off our backs:
RICHMOND – A federal judge in Virginia ruled Monday that a key provision of the nation’s sweeping health-care overhaul is unconstitutional, the most significant legal setback so far for President Obama’s signature domestic initiative.
U.S. District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson found that Congress could not order individuals to buy health insurance.
In a 42-page opinion, Hudson said the provision of the law that requires most individuals to get insurance or pay a fine by 2014 is an unprecedented expansion of federal power that cannot be supported by Congress’s power to regulate interstate trade.
“Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity in the private market,” he wrote. “In doing so, enactment of the [individual mandate] exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I [of the Constitution.]
There’s still a long way to go.
December 12th, 2010 - 10:12 pm
Before you can have health care, you must have doctors — ipso facto, yes?
Government can’t just conjure up trained medical professionals by fiat, not like Ben Bernanke can snap his fingers and make $600,000,000,000 totally real and valuable dollars appear out of nowhere, thanks to his totally magic Federal Reserve pixie dust. The President can’t just make doctors treat patients by sheer force of personality, like he got the Winter Olympics to come to Chicago. Congress can’t just whip up doctors and nurses by passing a law, like it made all those stimulus jobs appear… and, oh, never mind — you get the point.
My point is this:
The Physicians Foundation asked 2,400 doctors and American Medical Association members what they thought of the new law; a full 67 percent were against it.
More important, it asked how they’d cope with the new rules (which don’t fully kick in until 2014). Sixty percent said they feel compelled to “close or significantly restrict their practices to certain categories of patients.” And 59 percent said the “reform” would oblige them to spend less time with the patients they do have.
Of course, many doctors already limit how many patients they’ll take on who depend on government insurance (whose fees rarely cover an MD’s costs). But it’ll get worse under ObamaCare: In the survey, some 87 percent said they would significantly restrict Medicare patients and 93 percent said they’d significantly restrict Medicaid patients.
How can the government claim its health programs are popular when folks who would actually deliver care are running away? I’m not worried about physicians (we’ll find ways to survive), but about our patients.
All in all, the survey found that 74 percent of doctors will alter how they practice.
So just maybe it turns out the government rationing of stuff results in less… stuff.
December 12th, 2010 - 11:49 am
The announcement won’t come until tomorrow, but Politico reports that RNC Chair Michael Steele is expected “to drop out of the hotly contested race” for his seat.
I don’t understand why anyone wants the job, since the internet — especially Twitter and PayPal — has made the RNC’s top-down structure mostly irrelevant. As I argued on Trifecta last week, the RNC ought to be restructured (and considerably slimmed down) into talent scouting and recruiting organization.
The future is: Citizen-candidates garnering their own national support via the internet. The days are over, of the RNC deciding who wins, who loses, and how much money they get. The new RNC chair ought to recognize that, and act accordingly.
December 12th, 2010 - 9:57 am
Maureen Dowd gets down to her skivvies, Gene Simmons turns against the President, and meet the pork-eating crusader — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!
December 12th, 2010 - 9:49 am
I understand that quick quips about weird stories — like the President’s press conference pullback — are why people come to VodkaPundit. And yet, two days of silence. That’s not entirely true. On the Tony Katz Radio Spectacular on Friday afternoon, I did manage to quip that apparently Obama feels that “the business of the nation can wait, but Michelle can’t,” or words to that effect.
But here on the blog? Silence. And this doesn’t happen often, but I was just too taken aback to write anything worthwhile. Here with the explanation is Roger L. Simon:
But there is a bigger reason not to gloat. We are stuck with this odd duck for another two years at minimum and now everyone, the entire world really, knows what he is like. They also know, if they have been paying the slightest attention, the etiology of his behavior: the man never had to face serious adversity until he was elected POTUS. And now he can’t deal with it. He’s the very model of Harry Truman’s famous advice about getting out of the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat. Obama was out of the White House briefing room the second he realized he was being outclassed by Clinton. And, boy, was he ever!
We need a leader and don’t have one. This is extremely bad news for our country, especially now.
This is exactly right, and I want you to read it again — “the entire world, really.” There is no longer any denying the (wee tiny) measure of the man. That is, we can’t deny it any longer. But I submit to you the rest of the world has understood for quite some time.
Here’s just some evidence:
But wait, there’s more.
December 11th, 2010 - 11:24 am
Coast to Coast Tea Party: Meet Frantz Kebreau, retired Navy aviator, airline pilot, motivational speaker, recoverer of stolen history, and racist Tea Party hate-monger!
There’s a small chance that last bit isn’t quite true.
December 9th, 2010 - 2:30 pm
Demo video of the BlackBerry Playbook tablet in action. It’s iPad snappy, but I still think the 7-inch form factor is too small.
December 9th, 2010 - 10:32 am
Is the tax deal DOA on the House floor? Maybe, reports The Hill:
The House Democratic Caucus on Thursday rejected the tax deal negotiated between the White House and Senate Republicans.
The non-binding vote held during a closed meeting of the caucus puts tremendous pressure on House leaders to fight for changes to the proposal, and raises questions about whether the administration’s deal will move to the House floor.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that [Speaker Nancy Pelosi] will follow the caucus,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) told reporters.
The President can no longer get what he wants out of his own party’s Congress — makes you wonder how well he’ll do with the new majority next year.
December 9th, 2010 - 10:27 am
Greg Hill writes:
Okay, here’s the red flag we all need to be watching for as far as Obama getting knifed in the back from the Left: Birthers. If Birthers start cropping up on the Left, he’s toast. He’s been able to dismiss the argument from the Right. He won’t if it comes from the Left. It won’t matter how many copies of his birth certificate he shows on live TV. He’ll get crucified by the press.
Heh. Incidentally, my unofficial comments policy is that truthers will be banned, and birthers will be mocked.
December 8th, 2010 - 12:57 pm
Trifecta: With or without Sarah Palin, does the RNC have a future?
December 8th, 2010 - 10:16 am
Are iOS devices killing off dedicated portable gaming devices? It sure looks that way.
TANGENTIALLY RELATED: If I were in the market for a netbook, I’d wait for one of these Google Chrome OS units to ship next year. Great specs, and you’re not crushing a tiny little processor with Windows.
December 8th, 2010 - 9:08 am
Trifecta: It’s Zo’s turn to host, and he wants to know why the Democrats are so willing to play the Grinch this holiday season.
Bonus: Ugliest. Photoshop. Ever.
December 8th, 2010 - 8:59 am
Poor Hillary, writes Michael Goodman:
She’d come so close in the primaries that State was the only job that didn’t seem like a demotion. Besides, signing on to his team wasn’t viewed as giving up anything in 2012 because there was no hope of challenging him. And 2016 was too far off to game.
But the demigod turns out to have clay feet, and Clinton is now stuck to him. He’s fallen and she can’t get up.
And the question that gets asked regularly now is, “Will Obama get primaried?” But I think that’s the wrong question. Typically, any President who disillusions his base, ends up with a primary challenger. George H.W. Bush over “read my lips,” Lyndon Johnson over Vietnam, Gerald Ford for detente, and Jimmy Carter for practically everything. And then that President goes on to lose the general election*, because the primary challenger was too weak to defeat him, but strong enough to wound him.
That is, a President who can’t master his own party cannot continue to master the country.
So the question we should ask is: If Obama gets primaried, who will be his challenger? Someone from the center, a moderate? Unlikely. Challengers typically come from the disillusioned base (Eugene McCarthy, Ronald Reagan, Teddy Kennedy) or the wacky extreme (Pat Buchanan). So the idea of Hillary rising from Obama’s ashes to take him on seems pretty silly.
December 8th, 2010 - 7:59 am
Rick Moran sent me Katrina vanden Heuvel’s latest dispatch from Planet Woot, and the third graf stood out, as maybe the perfect encapsulation of the progressive left’s frustration with President Obama:
On Afghanistan, the administration has intimated that the 2011 pullout date is “inoperable,” with the White House talking 2014 and Gen. David H. Petraeus suggesting decades of occupation. On bipartisanship, the president seems to think that cooperation requires self-abasement. He apologized to the obstructionist Republican leadership for not reaching out, a gesture reciprocated with another poke in the eye. He chose to meet with the hyper-partisan Chamber of Commerce after it ran one of the most dishonest independent campaigns in memory. He appears to be courting Roger Altman, a former investment banker, for his economic team, leavening the Goldman Sachs flavor of his administration with a salty Lehman Brothers veteran.
First off, look at how the nutty left sees their savior — he can do nothing right anymore. The disillusionment is complete. But that’s what happens when a man of very little experience takes on the toughest job in the world after setting expectations sky-high.
Secondly, I want you to perform a little mind experiment. Pretend for a moment that each of vanden Heuvel’s critiques is spot on the money, even the partisan ones against the GOP. Well, what does that tell you about the man in the Oval Office? It tells you he is a rank political amateur. He has no idea how the game is played — which is more than a little ironic, when you consider that he once compared his political skills to LeBron James on the basketball court, saying, “I can play on this level. I got some game.”
OK, great — he’s got game. He’s playing checkers while the rest of the world is playing 4th dimension Vulcan laser chess.
December 7th, 2010 - 5:51 pm
Busy day — we taped five Trifectas, and then an hour later they had me back on The PJTV Report with Brandy and Danika to talk about Assange and Wikileaks.
December 7th, 2010 - 5:17 pm
I and my cocktail will be appearing on The Rick Moran show at 7PM Central tonight, along with Rich Baehr and Larrey Anderson, and presumably whatever they’re having to drink. Tonight’s topics include President Back Down, and the Democrat implosion.
December 7th, 2010 - 5:00 pm
Trifecta: Watch as we dissect the lowlights of President Obama’s excellent tax cut press conference.
Bonus: Zo Rachel is back on the show this week.
December 7th, 2010 - 3:32 pm
First taxes, now Israeli settlements. Reuters has the report:
The United States on Tuesday abandoned its effort to persuade Israel to freeze construction of Jewish settlements, officials said, dealing a blow to efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
But Obama’s capitulation wouldn’t have dealt a blow to anything, had he not made the initial, amateurish, demand. As I noted a few days ago:
Two years ago, Obama insisted that Israel halt building settlements as a precondition for peace talks — making the Palestinians dig in, wondering what other concessions Obama might force on the Israelis.
As it turns out, the President couldn’t even get that much out of the Israelis, not even after offering hi-tech bribes to get a temporary halt to the settlements. In diplomacy, never publicly demand anything the other guy isn’t willing to give — unless you have the means and the will to compel him.
This is pretty basic stuff, and it’s embarrassing for us to have a leader with so much egg on his face.
December 7th, 2010 - 11:58 am
Look around the right side blogosphere and the news and the Twitters and everywhere, and the consensus is clear: Obama was an idiot to agree to let the tax cuts expire in an election year. “It’s a trap,” they exclaim. “Obama gave us this issue to beat him about the head and shoulders again in 2012!”
Ah, but before you ascribe stupidity to your opponent, look at it from his side. Put yourself in Obama’s nicely-creased trousers and ask, “What’s in it for me?”
And you’ll see that in an election year when employment still won’t have recovered, they can promise to soak the rich some more. You know, just like they did all through 2010.
Oh, wait — that is stupid.
December 7th, 2010 - 10:43 am
December 7th, 2010 - 10:30 am
At Salon today, Joan Walsh… well, just take a look at the lede:
I know they weren’t the best of friends when they left Washington, but I bet former President Bush and Dick Cheney at least had a phone call tonight congratulating one another on one of the great heists in history. In 2001, they knew they couldn’t make their budget-busting tax cuts for the rich permanent, so they agreed to phase them out in 2010, leaving the political consequences to another administration. Even with that chicanery, the Bush tax cuts were divisive enough that they required Cheney to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate. No problem. That’s how Republicans play: They reward their wealthy base.
Rewarding “their wealthy base” with its own money seems kinda cheap to me. On the other hand, it’s probably better than the Democrats rewarding its wealthy base — big banks, big unions — on my dime.
UPDATE: See what I mean?
December 7th, 2010 - 8:41 am
From The Hill‘s report on President Obama’s tax cut deal with the GOP:
It also is angering the left wing of the Democratic Party, which already has a long list of complaints about Obama.
“President Obama has shown a complete refusal to fight Republicans throughout his presidency even when the public is on his side — and millions of his former supporters are now growing disappointed and infuriated by this refusal to fight,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.
In other words, here’s how the left sees Teh Won –
Yeah, that’s pretty much how we see him over here, too.