Major economic trends in international trade, globalization and automation were strongly reflected in the November 8th election of President Donald Trump. They also were underlining factors in the United Kingdom’s June 23rd decision to withdraw from the European Union, known as Brexit, and in support of populist politicians in Europe. Why is this?
What countries are the most and least miserable? In what follows, I update my annual Misery Index calculations. A Misery Index was first constructed by economist Art Okun as a way to provide President Lyndon Johnson with a snapshot of the economy.
If patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, where will President Trump turn when his “America First” policies lay waste to the very people he professes to be helping? The ideas conjured by “Buy American” may appeal to many of President Trump’s supporters, but the phrase is merely a euphemism for doling political spoils, featherbedding, and protectionism.
Obama recently ended a decades old policy that allowed escapees from Communist Cuba to enter the United States without a visa. Known as “wet feet, dry feet,” it allowed Cubans who showed up at America’s borders to enter lawfully and earn an expedited green card. Cuba’s brutal Communist dictatorship, proximity to the United States, and history were the reasons for this relative openness. Obama sent a clear message to Cubans seeking freedom: stay away.
Last week, President-elect Trump card his distaste for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and made withdrawal of the United States from the agreement a “Day One” priority. Although the move would hearten many of Trump’s supporters, history would judge it as folly — with a capital “F.”
Media and social media have been percolating – mostly with invective – over President-elect Trump’s “deal” to keep Carrier and its 1,000 jobs from moving to Mexico. I am among the many critics of this ad hoc, interventionist approach to retaining or attracting companies to perform value-added, job-creating activities in the United States.
There has been a shift in our culture and how we perceive today’s job seekers. Two groups in particular are being mischaracterized: millennials and trade/vocational school students. It’s not clear how this started, but many people hold a low opinion of millennials. Forbes notes that the oldest millennials, born in 1981 according to Pew Research Center, just hit undeniable adulthood. And, at age 35, they should have it together.
Many factors are impacting economic growth. And volatility tops the list. According to a McKinsey Global Survey of executives, “Over the next five years nearly all respondents expect a disruption in the global economy due to volatility. And they are much likelier now — 43 percent, up from 29 percent in 2013 — to expect that potential disruptions to the economy will be very severe.”
In the American manufacturing sector, perception and reality often become confused. One reason: American manufacturing employment has declined from a high of 19.5 million workers in 1979 to 12.3 million today. In turn, many assume the U.S. industry has become hollowed out. Another reason: shoppers often claim they see few “Made in America” products on retail shelves and blame imports as the culprit. The reality of the situation, however, is more complex.
As an entrepreneur, nothing gives me more gratification than speaking to colleges and business schools about pursuing a career in entrepreneurship, where innovation is the coin of the realm. I have built several businesses, so I must have some kind of an entrepreneurial gene that spurs my dedication to creating new opportunities and the American jobs that go with them.
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