There’s a great new book I want to recommend — Trade Is Not A Four-Letter Word: How Six Everyday Products Make the Case for Trade, by my pal Fred Hochberg, who ran the Export Import Bank for eight years — but first, if you can find the time:
Adam Schiff’s concluding argument yesterday. Finer, more patriotic, respectful, compelling words were never spoken. This is serious stuff.
And did you read David Leonhardt on why Trump does what he does? (“Because he can.”) Concluding:
. . . The country is left with a president who has spent decades doing whatever he thinks is in his self-interest — and a political party willing to protect that president. Staying in power trumps all.
That, of course, is the ideology of autocracy. And although the United States is not an autocracy, our country is taking steps in that direction that I never imagined we would.
This isn’t like Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century that everybody knew they should read and nobody did, nor Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, where some of us gave up in the middle of chapter three, others, chapter four.
(Though neither is it Patty Marx and Roz Chast’s new You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time: Rules for Couples, which takes 20 minutes to read, plus another 10 to figure out how many copies you want to order as gifts.)
No, Trade Is Not A Four-Letter Word makes a really important topic lively and relatable, not least if you like bananas or avocados.
There’s so much I didn’t know!
E.g., you probably know that a lot of “foreign” cars are made in places like Kentucky — but did you know that in 2018 the car with the highest “made-in-America” rating was the Honda Odyssey?
Trade is complicated.
. . . November 26 [2018, in the wake of tariffs imposed to boost steel manufacturing and jobs here in the US], the very same day that news broke about Steel Dynamics’ plans to build a new mill [that would employ 600 workers] . . . GM announced . . . it would be slashing 14,000 jobs. . . . The following day, Trump tweeted that he was “very disappointed with General Motors” and would be “looking at cutting all @GM subsidies” — a curious threat, given that no such subsidies exist.
“Written by a uniquely qualified expert,” blurbs FedEx Corp founder Fred Smith (a Republican), “this is a witty, enjoyable book that makes clear the great benefits — but difficult politics and policy choices — of international trade.”
On to New Hampshire . . .
Quote of the Day
The American Constitution is, as far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.~Gladstone
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