Trump Repeats Mistakes of Nixon, Carter in Trade War with China

❝ School children learn that Adolf Hitler repeated Napoleon Bonaparte’s great mistake by attacking Russia at the onset of winter. But Donald Trump hasn’t grasped that history lessons apply to trade battles as well as military campaigns. Instead, he is angering the farm belt with his tariff wars, reminiscent of two White House predecessors.

❝ To control domestic prices, Richard Nixon restricted soybean exports to Japan, a maneuver that accelerated Brazilian soybean production and gave the Japanese people a lasting penchant for food self-sufficiency—all to the grief of American farmers.

To punish Russia, Jimmy Carter halted wheat exports during the Afghanistan war of the 1970s, prompting a farm revolt and inspiring Ronald Reagan to promise “never again.” Meddling with farm exports helped neither Nixon nor Carter, and it won’t help Trump…

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” — Edmund Burke, 1729-1797 — and quoted by many more since.

The Feds Mandate That the US Postal Service Lose Money

❝ For the first three months of 2018, the US Postal Service reported a $1.3 billion loss, up from $562 million a year ago.

The basic issue is that revenue is growing more slowly than expenses. Total revenue grew by 1.4% while total expenses grew by 5.7%. Clearly, that makes for a less profitable business. This is a government-mandated financial squeeze and there are two main causes.

❝ First, regular mail—that is, the ordinary letters sent by individuals and businesses on a daily basis—is a declining business; volume-per-end-point (the mailbox) declined by 3.4% this year. Overall, regular mail is down 35% over the past 10 years. The problem is that the cost to deliver doesn’t decline with lower volume…

❝ Second, retirement expenses are growing significantly. Retiree health benefits increased 60% since last year and unfunded retirement benefits increased a whopping 142%…

RTFA. After all, there is some good news. Mostly from doing business with folks like Amazon.

What’s happening to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot?

❝ Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is perhaps the most iconic feature of any planet in our Solar System. It’s instantly recognizable, and the massive cyclone has been swirling for so long that we’ve taken for granted that it’ll always be there. Recent observations have shown that, unfortunately, that’s not the case. The storm is dying — the latest data from the Juno spacecraft suggests it might actually be gone within our lifetimes — and a new research paper by scientists at NASA suggests that it’s actually changing in both shape and color as it enters its twilight years…

The Great Red Spot is still great. It can still swallow the entire Earth whole, which is a pretty impressive feat for any weather feature, but it’s definitely less impressive than it once was. As NASA notes, a century and a half ago it was so wide that you could fit four Earths inside of its footprint, so it’s clearly losing a lot of steam…

RTFA. Construct your own fiction; but, take the time to learn fact, as well.