Less Is More

Less Is More

The Trump administration had Larry Kudlow and Steve Mnuchin. Joe Biden has Janet Yellen. All Fed derision (and I met my quota Friday) aside, it's probably comforting (or, at the least, convenient) to have Yellen at your disposal when you need to, say, contextualize a disappointing jobs report. The market's reaction to April payrolls was, in some respects, a classic "bad news is good news" trade, as the huge downside miss ostensibly helped allay fears that the Fed will soon be forced to start t
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6 thoughts on “Less Is More

  1. I’m not wholly convinced of the inevitability of Chinese dominance. No, China is not the USSR, but it could still turn out to be Japan. Countries can turn a blind eye to bad debt for a really long time but when the penny drops things can look very different, very quickly.

  2. There are certainly risks to China in their quest to dominate the world economically. Not the least of which is a need to build out a military that they would then be loath to use in a sweeping way if they truly achieve some measure of dominance.

    I do not believe central control is our strongest economic engine. Rarely has our democracy agreed on anything. Today with the battles over 1619, tax cuts and presidential lies. I think it is even less likely than a pipe dream that we both come together into some economic juggernaut.

    I think the best we can hope for is to stay out of the way of economic progress, by that I do not mean low taxation or not taking care of our people. I mean by not letting and trenched industries dictate the outcome, Wyoming lawsuits to promote coal, Texas looming ifight against lower cost solar and wind power, and utilities Nationwide rebelling at the thought of writing down uneconomic assets, do not give me encouragement. However is still possible the game is not lost. We are on the verge of lower-cost power Nationwide, lower cost electric vehicles Nationwide and lower cost heating and cooling.

  3. The history of USA is not written yet but the last two Republican Administrations scream out Empire in decline.
    Obama kept us in a holding pattern and Biden knows we can not keep it on hold any longer. I always liked rooting for the underdog and now it will quickly become us.
    Naval power will be the only thing holding China back due to their abysmal Naval history. Chinas’ National pride lacks naval pride and a leader who blunders there will lose the faith of the people. That may not last much longer.

  4. H, I agree with you completely. China is too lightly disregarded by the US. It is not just a country, it is a 5000 year old inevitability. You said: “It will take an enormous financial commitment, a serious bout of national soul searching and a leader much more ambitious than Biden for the US to be competitive.” Too right!

    The trouble is no such leader exists. We will need someone smart, determined, and with a bedside manner that will attract everyone to him or her. Fagedaboutit. The problem is we can’t go after China with soldiers, navies or any of that crap. They have more trained soldiers, more other stuff than us and trying to overwhelm them would end like it did for both Napoleon and Hitler trying to take Moscow. Hell, we couldn’t subdue Viet Nam, North Korea (our first serious look at China) Iraq or Afghanistan, all recent failures. We sure as hell won’t subdue China. A good deal of their infrastructure is nearly new compared to ours. Ours is 60-100 years old and we just don’t like spending money on it. China is more self-sufficient than Japan ever was. Russia is in the hands of the mob so forget them. We have to take stock of our strengths like education and tech. Oh, shoot we just hate smart people here. Education may lead to dancing and thinking — can’t have that We do have football, though (although the wrong kind). Big whoop. And for us tech is turning into Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Uber and AirBnB. Not the basis of national strength. And anyway we are starting to worry that these tech types may want to exercise some of their power. Too late to turn that around. Our formerly strong education system is mired in cultural gobbledygook. Our republic is becoming increasingly fragmented into fights over states rights and soon we will be just like the EU. Years ago we were warned by Tip O’Neil, who noted that all politics is local. He was right and it will be the rot that saps our real collective strength with grubby corrupt officials and an increasingly uncaring population that is willing to throw away its constitutional rights. We like it when there’s no one smart in charge of anything and each of us is equipped with our own personal “lackey buddie” to boss around. China is not doing everything right but we are doing almost nothing right except perhaps blowing ever bigger bubbles.

  5. This seems eerily close to thinking that pervaded in the 1960s, when Russia was growing at a 9% clip and fears were that it would surpass the US. Some will retort that China is not Russia, a different kind of authoritarian style of rule. Nevertheless, China’s demographics are horrific. And one should not count the innovative US citizens out of the game. Although with 34% of income coming from the government these days the capitalist / socialist distinction is not what it once was.

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