Tuesday , October 22 2019
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Our shameful silence on Hong Kong

Summary:
As Hong Kong protestors bravely fight for freedom, America’s president remains silent, having promised Xi Jinping that he would not criticize China’s policies in Hong Kong. Instead he fights a trade war for bigger profits for America’s multi-billionaires and their so-called “intellectual property rights”. In other news, the trade war that was “good and easy to win” doesn’t seem to be going so well: Chinese officials are signaling they’re increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by President Donald Trump, ahead of negotiations this week that have raised hopes of a potential truce. In meetings with U.S. visitors to Beijing in recent weeks, senior Chinese officials have indicated the range of topics they’re willing to discuss has narrowed considerably,

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As Hong Kong protestors bravely fight for freedom, America’s president remains silent, having promised Xi Jinping that he would not criticize China’s policies in Hong Kong. Instead he fights a trade war for bigger profits for America’s multi-billionaires and their so-called “intellectual property rights”.

In other news, the trade war that was “good and easy to win” doesn’t seem to be going so well:

Chinese officials are signaling they’re increasingly reluctant to agree to a broad trade deal pursued by President Donald Trump, ahead of negotiations this week that have raised hopes of a potential truce.

In meetings with U.S. visitors to Beijing in recent weeks, senior Chinese officials have indicated the range of topics they’re willing to discuss has narrowed considerably, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Vice Premier Liu He, who will lead the Chinese contingent in high-level talks that begin Thursday, told visiting dignitaries he would bring an offer to Washington that won’t include commitments on reforming Chinese industrial policy or the government subsidies that have been the target of longstanding U.S. complaints, one of the people said.

If we get to choose China’s industrial policy, does China get to choose America’s industrial policy?

Months ago I pushed back against the conventional wisdom that America had the upper hand in the trade war.  How’s my skepticism seem today?

And this morning, another example of what happens when you expel all the grownups from your administration:

Donald Trump has given the green light to a contentious Turkish military operation in north-east Syria against the main US allies in the battle with Isis, triggering alarm in Washington and Europe and plunging the campaign against jihadis into uncertainty.

Update:  Our Dear Leader is now providing reassurance:

PS.  Speaking of Chinese theft of our intellectual property, here’s an example I saw just 100 meters from where I stayed in Beijing:

Our shameful silence on Hong Kong

PPS.  Speaking of Hong Kong, this SCMP article caught my eye:

Of the 1,000 sq km (390 sq mi) of land area in Hong Kong, only 7 per cent is zoned for residential use and 40 per cent is designated as public parks and green belts (25 per cent and 15 per cent respectively).

By contrast, although Singapore is 35 per cent smaller than Hong Kong, 14 per cent of the land is zoned for residential use, while only 9 per cent is earmarked for public parks and green belts.

And this:

Hong Kong needs to build a satellite town of 500,000 affordable homes quickly to defuse the present political crisis and alleviate the long-term housing shortage.

 


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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