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Michael Grunwald fervently believes in the superiority of Communism

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Why else would Grunwald title his POLITICO piece “The anti-innovation presidency“? In that article, Grunwald laments proposed cuts and administrative gutting of certain federal agencies, arguing that flies in the face of Trump’s commitment to “innovation.”

Not only does the Trump budget slash climate science and clean energy research beloved by Trump’s critics, it whacks advanced manufacturing programs and fossil energy research catering to Trump’s supporters, as well as basic science and medical research beloved by almost everyone. It’s a powerful rejection of the innovation-industrial complex, and even though Congress is likely to ignore most of it, a similarly powerful reflection of Trump’s political war on Washington elites.

If government programs like manufacturing, energy research, and clean power are the drivers of our technology, then we should be looking at the old Soviet Union, or Maoist China (before the “special economic zones”), or any of a passel of Eastern European countries before the iron curtain collapsed, for our model. Or modern-day Venezuela, even.

Historically, though, the U.S. government has played a vital role in seeding and developing technological advances ranging from supercomputing to hydraulic fracking, advanced prosthetics to lactose-free milk, LED lighting to MRI testing. The Trump budget represents an abrupt departure from this tradition, at a time when federal expenditures on R&D have already drooped to their lowest level as a share of the economy since the Russians launched Sputnik. This has innovation experts scratching their heads, since Trump’s entire budget depends on yet another departure from budget tradition, a blithe assumption of 3 percent annual growth. Mark Muro, policy director at the Brookings Institution’s metropolitan studies program, says that with America’s workforce shrinking, the clearest pathways to that kind of robust growth would be more immigration and more innovation—and Trump has made it clear he doesn’t want more immigration. But he doesn’t seem to think Uncle Sam can help make innovation happen, either.

This is total liberal talking-point and lobbyist horse manure. Federal spending on R&D are far outpaced by corporate spending in pursuit of the profit motive. Grant money is typically sprinkled like party favors on research institutions eager for patronage and sinecures. The actual advances in technology come from profit-motivated individuals.

William Shockley started his lab to make a lot of money. His acolytes left because they felt they could do business better than he did–and together they founded Fairchild Semiconductor. The rest–from Intel to Apple–is history. The government bought lots of Fairchild’s products, but the government didn’t do the innovating.

Yes, NASA and the space race led to all kinds of innovations, but guess who lost that race? Yes, the Soviet Union, with its entire government-centered innovation model. While hundreds of contractors in the U.S. provided the innovation, because of a profit motive.

Trump’s way of fueling innovation is far–FAR–more productive than Grunwald’s call to pour more money into federal agencies. Cutting the federal corporate profit tax will spur more innovation in the U.S., because it will allow companies to spend more on R&D.

Even with a few thousand words, the only argument Grunwald is left with to continue massive government research funding is to look to command economies, like the communists of yesteryear, where innovation was by necessity a function of government.

And the fact that legislators are pushing back so hard on Trump’s cuts only bolsters the argument that the cuts are needed. That Uncle Sugar money is nothing more than patronage that the business world could replace with investment in a heartbeat. So it will likely be business as usual in the Military-Industrial Complex (or the more pernicious research money complex) of which Eisenhower warned.

America beat communism because we are capitalists, not because our government funds or creates innovation. Government creates nothing. We would do well to remember that.

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Culture and Religion

Harvard students figured out why women are paid less than men

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Harvard students figured out why women are paid less than men

It genuinely disgusts me that, despite how much we’ve progressed as a society, especially in regards to our treatment of minorities and women, men still earn more than women do. It makes me ashamed of my country. How can we still refer to the United States as the “Land of Opportunity” when women are only paid $0.80 for every $1.00 that men are paid despite working just as hard in the same positions? Hell, even that depressing number doesn’t accurately express how large the gender pay gap is, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

In the report, titled Still a Man’s Labor Market: The Slowly Narrowing Gender Wage Gap, published in November 2018, the organization revealed that women earn a mere 49% of what men do. What’s worse is that it won’t be until 2059 that men and women have 100% equal pay, assuming the gap continues to narrow as slowly as it currently is. This is absolutely unacceptable, and it’s well past time Congress made it illegal for employers to pay women less than men for the same work.

At least, that’s what I would say if I was a leftist moron who still pays attention to the easily debunked “women earn less than men because of sexism” argument that’s been regurgitated countless times over the years.

The reality is that Congress made it illegal for employers to pay people differently based on their sex decades ago. It was called the “Equal Pay Act” and it was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy all the way back in June 1963. Ever since then, employers have been able to pay employees differently based on their merit, their seniority, their work output, or really whatever factors the employer desires… except sex.

A man and a woman in identical positions with identical output are legally required to be paid the same amount, and employers that fail to do so run the risk of some hefty legal ramifications. But if that’s the case, then why do the numbers presented by the IWPR show that there’s such a massive gender pay gap? Is the Equal Pay Act ineffective? Did the IWPR mess up its numbers? Is there some patriarchal plot to keep women from making money?

No, no, and no. The real answer is incredibly simple, and it’s one I’m sure most of us were able to figure out on our own the first time we heard the “women earn ($0.75, $0.79, $0.80) for every $1.00 that men earn” statistic that’s been getting thrown around for years. Basically, men are paid more than women on average because they seek out more lucrative jobs on average and work longer hours on average. If you take the combined earnings of all the women in the United States in a given year, divide that number by how many women worked at any point in that year, and then do the same for men, you’ll see that the earnings-per-working-woman are quite a bit lower than the earnings-per-working-man, so clearly there is a gender pay gap. However, despite what leftists like the people at the IWPR want you to believe, this gap has nothing to do with sexism.

This was demonstrated in a report, also published in November 2018, by two PhD Candidates in Economics at Harvard University. In the report, titled Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence from Bus and Train Operators, the two students examined the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in order to figure out why such a heavily unionized agency in such a notoriously progressive city (Boston) still paid its female employees $0.89 for every $1.00 it paid its male employees. The answer was, once again, incredibly simple. Women were less likely than men to work overtime hours while also being more likely to take unpaid time off. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

Men tended to prefer making more money to having more free time, while women tended to prefer having more free time to making more money. While an argument could be made that more employers should account for the different preferences of men and women, something the report actually advises on how to do, there’s no basis for the argument that the gender pay gap is a result of sexism.

It should be noted that the Harvard report examined just one industry in one metropolitan area, which means the findings aren’t applicable everywhere, but the gist of them is. Yes, there is a gender pay gap. That’s an objective fact. However, it has nothing to do with sexism. The causes of the gap vary from industry to industry and place to place, but they almost always have to do with the inherent differences between men and women. I think there’s a conversation to be had about whether or not this is an issue, and if it is, whether it’s up to employers, society, or women themselves to solve it, but to even have that conversation requires us to abandon the idea that sexism is the cause. There are certainly some instances where it is the cause, but the vast majority of the time, it’s not.

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Economy

J&J hammered by report it knew of asbestos in baby powder

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J&J hammered by report it knew of asbestos in baby powder

NEW YORK (AP) — Johnson & Johnson is forcefully denying a media report that it knew for decades about the existence of trace amounts of asbestos in its baby powder.

The report Friday by the Reuters news service sent company shares into a tailspin, suffering their worst sell-off in 16 years.

Reuters is citing documents released as part of a lawsuit by plaintiffs claiming that the product can be linked to ovarian cancer. The New Brunswick, New Jersey company has battled in court against such claims and on Friday called the Reuters report, “one-sided, false and inflammatory.”

Shares are down more than 9 percent, the most severe decline since 2002.

In the report, Reuters points out that documents show consulting labs as early as 1957 and 1958 found asbestos in J&J talc. Further reports by the company and outside labs showed similar findings through the early 2000s.

In its statement Friday, Johnson & Johnson said “thousands of independent tests by regulators and the world’s leading labs prove our baby powder has never contained asbestos.”

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Economy

Fed survey cites rising concerns about trade tariffs

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Fed survey cites rising concerns about trade tariffs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the U.S. economy was growing in the fall, but there were concerns about higher tariffs from a widening trade war, rising interest rates and tight labor markets.

In its latest report on economic conditions around the country, the Fed said that most of its 12 regions saw moderate growth through late November. Dallas and Philadelphia said growth had slowed, while St. Louis and Kansas City depicted growth as slight.

The report, known as the beige book, found that optimism about the future had waned somewhat, with business contacts citing “increased uncertainty.”

The survey will used at the Fed’s next meeting on Dec. 18-19. The central bank is widely expected to boost its benchmark rate for a fourth time this year at that meeting.

The beige book report noted problems the higher tariffs from Trump’s get-tough approach to trade were causing: rising costs for manufacturers, weaker sales at companies and farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other nations.

Even with the tariff concerns, the beige book said most districts continued to report moderate growth in manufacturing.

The impact of rising interest rates affected interest-rate sensitive sectors such as housing, with the beige book noting that new home construction and sales of existing homes were either holding steady or experiencing slight declines.

The Fed survey said that labor markets had tightened further across a broad range of occupations.

“Over half of the districts cited firms for which employment, production and sometimes capacity expansion had been constrained by an inability to attract and retain qualified workers,” the report said.

Unemployment fell in October to a 49-year low of 3.7 percent with economists forecasting further declines in the coming months. A key reason the Fed has been raising interest rates is to slow the economy to ensure that tight labor markets don’t unleash unwanted inflation pressures.

With labor markets already so tight, the Fed said that many districts were seeing examples of firms enhancing their nonwage benefits, including health benefits, profit-sharing, bonuses and paid vacation days.

Despite the wage pressures, the report said that prices continued to increase at a modest pace in most districts although reports of tariff-inducted cost increases have spread more broadly in such areas as manufacturing, retailing and restaurants.

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