Tuesday
May222018

Congressional Budget Office: 2018 to 2028

https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/images/pubs-images/53xxx/53651-home-cover.png

 

In just a decade things could really change for US.  "The Little Engine That Could" times might be ahead... 

Tuesday
May222018

A Problem with "America First" and Saving Chinese ZTE Jobs

America First?  Can't say I'm a universally a defender of this policy but let me play devils advocate here.   What has ZTE done for America? 

Colluded against US companies with the Chinese government in order to transfer patent and trade secrets to a competitors?  Almost certainly.   Won US military contracts that appeared to be intentionally infested with spyware and posed serious military security risks?  Again, almost certainly.  What about given material aid to embargoed nations like Iran?   Yep, almost certainly.

The result:  a well earned ban on all US companies selling software or hardware to ZTE.   Except for some US orange reality TV executive taking pity on lost Chinese jobs, and lost - soon to be outsourced given ZTE’s well established practice - US revenue from selling said hardware and software. 

I just don't see "America First" moral consistency here. 

Offshoring takes a job and puts it in a different country with no net benefit to the host country.  Sell tech to ZTE and fully expect history to repeat itself.  Yes the host company might benefit by a production/tech transfer, but not the US GDP.  Compared to the "America First" stance on immigration - where every immigrant entry is seen as taking US citizen jobs - oversea outsourcing is somehow viewed as a favorable cost cutting measure.

Let me reference Okun’s Law:  a 1% increase in unemployment shift equates to a 3% drop in GDP, a 1% decrease in unemployment equates to a 3% increase in GDP (Gross Domestic Product).  Yes dear reader, a falling GDP is not really a very good thing.

Maybe let me put it this way, low paid immigrants actually live here, and actually spend money here, and even contribute to the economy here in a net positive way because they have to have living accommodations, have to eat, have to wear clothing, have to get around and largely have to work in lower paying less desirable jobs.  Even if immigrants compete for jobs with locals, as a whole they appear not to have a significant negative effect on the economy so long as they are not greatly focused in locality or intentionally impoverished.    

Outsourcing and offshoring directly increases unemployment.  It directly decreases GDP.  And yet democrats and republicans alike somehow see it as a vaguely good thing as under the guises of "globalism" or "revenue enhancement strategy."   

Encouraging outsourcing or offshoring should do not fit into any "America First" perspective.   

Do business with a company like ZTE at your own intelectual property and national economic peril.  ZTE has yet to reveal, at least to me, any net positive "America First" type reason why the US should encourage ZTE's continued existance.

 

 

Tuesday
Mar202018

The Political Poser Problem

Fake it till you make it seems like more than reasonable greeting card advice for newbies these days, even an American ideal.  Perhaps we have a century of progress to blame, so much change; and thank God for that, so much is better.  Exept perhaps for an abundance of mercurial posers.

Would you rather have a waitress take your order that was pretending she knew what she was doing, or one that knew what she was doing?  Would you rather have a skilled pilot or one that was just appropriately dressed and a good actor?  Would you rather a lover was just faking?  How about musician?  An arcitect?  Your police?  Your doctor?

And yet in US politics this logic gets flipped on its head and experience, knowledge and competency are considered the accumulation of terrible unforgivable sins.  It just isn't so.  Yes, corruption exists, but given the choice of heart surgery by either: (1) a doctor that may overcharge ~ (2) a believeable actor that denys overcharging and doesn't know your aorta from a portal vein, I think a majority of informed Americans would make a rational health care choice. 

The risks our nation faces are every bit as dramatic in politics.  We risk our place in this world, an era of peace and prosperity.  China is ascendant in asian economics with the withdraw of US pacific trade partnerships,  discord is offered to allies instead of friendship, Puerto Rico still doesn't have the power back on (As of March 20, 2018- 105000 of 1.5 million customers are still without power and people are still dying there as a result.) 

We need government that is ready to help when things go bad.  We need the people trusted with the care of our nation to be real tallents, not hacks, not posers, not pretenders.  We need them working toward the common good, not exclusive self intrest.  We need them to do the right thing, even if when it is difficult.   I want an informed electorate, not a misguided lied to electorate.   We need truth, not ruse.   We need expertise and excellence.

Lying posers really are the worst.

Friday
Jan262018

The Sword of Damocles

Hung by an ass's hair, sharply pointing down, held above the heads of those that rule...  Mueller?

Metaphorically, any democracy governed without unity or clear majority, probably has or needs danglers.

Thursday
Jan252018

Slightly Used Sputnik

The White House has suggested Nasa need to do more.  And with that goal in mind they seem to be floating the idea of ending ISS (international space station) support by 2025 in order to restructure Nasa's budget priorities in a way that liquidates 2.08 billion a year.       

I can't say I'm in love with the idea.  Minus US support that turns the ISS into what, a new sputnik?  The US, at present, barely has human survivable orbital rocketry, apologies Tesla, the future isn't quite here yet and your track record proves it.  (MAR 20 2018 UPDATE:  Falcon rockets are beautiful +15 points and powerful +15 points, but you didn't land all 3 stages (-5 points) and didn't hit your indended orbit -25 points.  And what a show +1 points.  So all total, thats +1 step forward at least.  Oh, I hasten to include I'm not the Dustan Doud that works for SpaceX- such a common name - there are so many of us - nope I'm totally some other guy.)

The notion that we can build a moon base for somewhere around 16 billion dollars liquidated from an international pledged treaty in support of the ISS seems like a long con or recklessly numb skulled.  Sure that kind of money will buy seventy KC46 Boeing Pegasus jet fighters, but they won't be flying to the moon or setting up a base there. 

The White House has suggested Nasa need to do more.  And with that goal in mind they seem to be floating the idea of ending ISS (international space station) support by 2025 in order to restructure Nasa's budget priorities in a way that liquidates 2.08 billion a year.       

I can't say I'm in love with the idea.  Minus US support that turns the ISS into what, a new sputnik?  The US, at present, barely has human survivable orbital rocketry, apologies Tesla, the future isn't quite here yet and your track record proves it.  

The notion that we can build a moon base for somewhere around 16 billion dollars liquidated from an international pledged treaty in support of the ISS seems like a long con or recklessly numb skulled.  Sure that kind of money will buy seventy KC46 Boeing Pegasus jet fighters, but they won't be flying to the moon.  

I estimate a cost of 3 billion dolars just for fuel to get two cargo containers (say filled with a robotic crane/arm/scoop, solar panels and dump-truck-dozer-forklift and regolith solar sinter brick maker) landed on the moon.  If a human base is going to be bigger than two cargo containers, the crane will be needed to start piling up & solar sintering regolith and moving/attaching/burying additional landed cargo containers... although a entirely robotic base could do without meter thick solar flare shielding well enough.  

The true cost of a lunar base reminds one of the cost of landing colonies in America circa 1500.  The US isn't going to win a 2020's lunar colonial land grab by playing mister miser.  

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