URLs du Jour

2019-07-11

[Amazon Link]

  • Veronique de Rugy notes a milestone: The Global Trade War Comes Full Circle. "For a while…"

    As a result, the price of steel went up for a while, the U.S. steel industry fired up its mills, and U.S. steel output went up dramatically. For a while, it seemed like it was all working according to Trump's plan — for the domestic producers of steel, that is, not for consumers. As U.S. companies were still trying to figure out their options, some had no choice but to shift their demand and increase purchases of domestic steel. The industry responded by adding more capacity than they would have had without the protection.

    Yet because they were responding to an artificial and temporary increase in demand triggered by the tariffs, as opposed to real market signals, they failed to recognize the global economic slowdown and the subsequent reduction in overall demand. As a result, prices of steel went down quite dramatically. That's what we economists call malinvestment, and as a result, the older, less productive blast-furnace steel mills are now paying a dire price as they're unable to stay profitable even with the foreign competition out of the way. And because misery loves company, the furnaces suppliers are in trouble, too.

    It's hard to feel too sorry for the folks who were clamoring for "protection" only to now find themselves ass-bitten. But spare some sympathy for … well, us, American Consumers.


  • In local news, New Hampshire station WMUR reports: Rochester woman told she can't fly 'Trump 2020' flag outside apartment.

    A woman in Rochester is fighting to fly a flag supporting the president.

    Kay Keenan said she's trying to show her patriotism by flying a "Trump 2020" flag, but the Rochester Housing Authority said her actions violate the rules and regulations in her lease agreement.

    It gets interesting, because (I Am Not A Lawyer But) a Rochester Housing Authority (RHA) attorney may have shot his client's case in the foot:

    The RHA told her that the flag violated her lease agreement.

    "They don't allow political flags," Keenan said. "However, that's not in our lease. It doesn't say that."

    The RHA argued otherwise. In its community rule book, it says residents cannot have "signs, advertisements, notices, banners" or "flags."

    "With probably over 500 units. It would be quite cumbersome to have people putting anything and everything in common space outside," said Jerry Grossman, legal counsel for the RHA.

    Grossman said there could be one exception. Some of Keenan's neighbors fly a U.S. flag.

    "I think the American flag is a symbol of our country. I don't think that would be prohibited," Grossman said. "That's my personal opinion."

    Uh, from what I understand about First Amendment jurisprudence, you generally can't restrict expression based on (non-libelous, non-obscene, etc.) content. Either enforce the rule uniformly, or don't enforce it at all.

    But, of course:

    "I live in New Hampshire. Live free or die," [Ms. Keenan] said. "So, I'm at the -- I live free, you know? I live free. I can put the flag up that I want, maybe."

    "Maybe." I hope it doesn't come to the "or die" part.


  • The Greenwich (CT) Time reported on the latest New Hampshire state news for some reason: Sununu vetoes 10 more bills, including 2 related to hiring.

    Sununu vetoed 10 bills on Wednesday, bringing his total to the year to 23. The latest round included bills that would have prohibited employers from using an applicant's credit history in making hiring decisions and would have prohibited employers from requiring applicants to provide their salary histories. Sununu said both bills were part of a larger effort to impose more regulations on businesses.

    Rep. Brian Sullivan, a Grantham Democrat who chairs the House Labor Committee, said the bills were aimed at ensuring privacy and fairness for applicants. He says no one in the "Live Free or Die" state should be forced to provide irrelevant personal information that might result in employment discrimination.

    Geez, Brian. I think LFOD cuts against your argument here. Maybe employers and job applicants should be able to decide for themselves what information to exchange, and whether such information is relevant or irrelevant. Without being dictated to by your whims.


  • And what would we do without CNBC telling us… These are the best places to live in America in 2019. And (no suprise), we're pretty high on the list, number 5, tied with Washington state.

    With its famous motto, “Live Free or Die,” it stands to reason that the Granite State is among America’s most inclusive. Freedom also includes security. New Hampshire enjoys the third lowest violent crime rate in the nation. The state also boasts the nation’s lowest child poverty rate. On the other hand, air quality can suffer, partly due to the state’s proximity to Boston. And the quiet life here means New Hampshire can sometimes lack things to do.

    Number one is Hawaii, which tells me maybe cost-of-living doesn't factor into the CNBC comparison. But note that the link goes to an article posted the day before…


  • i.e., CNBC's ranking of Top States For Business 2019. And on that ranking we're a pretty mediocre #25.

    The motto "Live Free or Die" also applies to the friendly regulatory regime, but Granite State infrastructure is a bit unstable.

    We get an A+ for "Business Friendliness", and a D- for "Infrastructure". I assume for good reasons, except that I haven't broken an axle in a pothole for a couple weeks now.