Trump Brings in 30% Tariff on Solar Panels, Temporarily Killing .25M US Jobs

On Monday January 22, 2018, the Trump administration brought in a 30% tax on imported solar panels.   This new solar tax will last four years and decrease over time to 15% in its last year.

“Over the last 5 years, nearly 30 American solar manufacturers collapsed; today the President is sending a message that American innovation and manufacturing will not be bullied out of existence without a fight… This is a step forward for this high-tech solar manufacturing industry we pioneered right here in America.”
pressreleasepoint.com/trump-imposes-tariffs-solar-panels 

PUNISH CHINA?

Of the few that have heard of this new tariff, the common misconception is that it is an attempt to punish China from dumping (selling below cost, to kill competitors) panels but the US only imports 10% of its solar panels from China (see the last 30 seconds of the video below).  As you can see in the video below, the US solar industry did not ask for and does not want this tariff.

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VIDEO: Short Summary of What is Happening With Net Neutrality in the US?

First world governments around the world, including Canada  have come down on the side of Net Neutrality (the idea that internet providers can not advance or block one website or stream).  The notable exception to this is the United States under President Trump’s appointed FCC leader (and former Verizon executive) Ajit Pai, which has eliminated the Obama era rules protecting an open internet in December 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uct_kpl5Lo&

The Republican / Ajit Pai / Trump argument is that the infrastructure is owned by the internet providers so they should be able to do what they want with it.  The opposing view, held by most citizens is that the internet is like electricity or a phone; charge for the service but it is not the providers concern what is or is not connected.

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How To Fix the Post Office: Alternating Day Delivery & Community Lockers

USPS-Post-Trucks-Parking-lotThe US Postal Service lost $5.6B in 2016.  Today the Liberal Canadian Federal Government announced that it would not reinstate home delivery of mail and all of the pundits cried… on both sides (see video at the bottom of this message). It is predicted that Canada Post will be loosing $700M per year in the near future.   These types of numbers are large enough that citizens just don’t understand them but rest assured, in the end, citizens are going to pay those bills, mostly through increased taxes.

Canada-Post-Trucks-Parking-lotThere are many idea’s about how to ‘fix’ the Post Office including:

Those are all great ideas and should be pursued, but there are two other idea’s that we have never heard anyone else suggest, and I think most reasonable people will get behind.

You can balance any budget shortfall by cutting costs or expanding revenue:

1: Alternating Day Delivery

Most people, even older people do not get ‘real’ mail every day, so why are we paying to have it delivered every day?  Why not cut the number of delivery workers in half, delivering mail (to the door or box) on this schedule:

Week 1: Monday Wednesday Friday
Week 2: Tuesday Thursday

With virtually no practical decrease in service, the Post Office would be able to have massive staff cut (160,000 letter carriers the US, and 12,500 letter carriers in Canada) and 33% reduction their small truck fleet.

A rough estimate of the ANNUAL labor savings would be $8.1B (16000 x $51600) in the US and $625M (12500 x $50000) in Canada.

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The Poor Are Getting Much Richer In Canada

In a world of ever increasing political division in which those on the ‘right’ side of the spectrum are forever vilified for cutting social programs and making tough choices to balance budgets, it was quite refreshing to see that under a Conservative federal government in Canada, the poor became much less so.

Quartz research released a study of Statistics Canada data titled “The American dream still exists—in Canada”.  It showed that between 2013 and 2016 poorest 20% grew TWICE as fast as Canada’s richest 20%.  Canada poorest had their incomes move up a staggering 24% in just 4 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX-rt4qRGFk

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7 US States Already Allow GM’s New ‘Cruise’ FULLY Autonomous Car Service

gm-cruise-autonomous-boltAutonomous cars and trucks are steaming at us at a surprisingly rapid pace.  Fully autonomous vehicles are not the stuff of 2025, they are the stuff of late 2018.  Seven US States already allow GM, Tesla, Uber and other autonomous car makers to drive limited numbers of vehicles with no driver.  In Canada, Ontario allows autonomous vehicles in approved cities and towns.

GM executives told investors in 2016 that by 2025, autonomous vehicle cost reductions and increased consumer adoption would combine to drive the price down to less than $1 per mile, or about a third of current ride-hailing prices.

In 2017 GM had more autonomous vehicles on the road that any other company in the world.  In California 20 of the autonomous cars were involved in accidents but not a single one of them was found to have the autonomous car at fault.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4y09TnE4QE

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VIDEO: The Price of Carbon

Do you want to understand Global Warming without the political hype? Dr. David Maenz has written and important book for 2018 explaining the science of global warming, it’s impacts and viable solutions. The Price of Carbon is an easy read. You don’t have to be a climate scientist to understand his clear explanations and simple charts.

The book includes a brief history of the earth, where we are today, future climate scenarios and how to fix the problems. It also covers the Paris accord without the political furor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SLr19MWCHI

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What Trump Got Right About US Foreign Policy:

Much has been said about the Trump administrations lack of a coherent foreign policy plan.  He seems to have changed to tone to an us vs them winner takes all approach without considering even the near term negative consequences of such an approach.

Even if that is correct, Trump definitely got something right on US Foreign Policy: US citizens stopped buying in the notional that the US should be the ‘Global Global Good Guy’.  Somewhere in the George Bush, Bill Clinton era, citizens saw an ever expanding, less than fully-coherent foreign policy that directly cost them billions of dollars, thousands of lives and the respect of many foreign citizens outside of the political class.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyVyheWwwro

The US Government has thrown its weight around, with a view that it can do little wrong, since the end of World War II while US Citizens see and feel the losses.  The US Government has lost the ability to explain the vast positives that come from such interventions:

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