Tuesday, February 9, 2021


The Relationship Between Income and Wealth Disparities and Negative Real Interest Rates

by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of "The Code for Global Ethics" and "The New American Empire")


"The powers of financial capitalism had another far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole." Carroll  Quigley (1910-1977), American historian, 1966.

"There are no nations. There are no peoples... There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today... We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies... The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business." Network, 1976, (a corporation executive talking in the American satirical drama film 'Network'.)

"By a continuing process of inflation, government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens... By this method they not only conficscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some." John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), British economist, 1936.

Has a forty-year trend reached an apex? Indeed, official measures of economic disparities are at an all-time high.

For example, in 2017, the three richest Americans (Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett) owned more wealth than all the people in the bottom 50 percent of the U.S. population. And although income disparity has increased in most advanced economies, the United States is leading the way with levels of income disparities not seen since 1928, just before the Great Depression (1929-1939). All this is happening while the U.S. federal minimum wage has remained fixed at $7.25 an hour since 2009!

A question that begs to be answered is: to what extent can such a record inequality be traced back, at least partly, to the public policies that have been followed over the last forty years?

Since the early 1980s, indeed, governments and central banks in Europe, the United States and in other industrialized economies have adopted an unusual mix of fiscal policy and monetary policy. Governments became the de facto bankers of the corporate world through large tax subsidies. For their part, central banks have been busy creating bubbles in the stock and bond markets. Sooner or later, that house of cards is bound to crash.

For one, governments have relied less and less on progressive income and wealth taxes and more on regressive taxes to finance public spending programs. 

Secondly, central banks have  initiated round after round of money creation through a wholesale purchase of government bonds and other securities, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS). This was labeled a process of 'quantitative easing' (QE), through which central bankers pushed nominal interest rates to the floor and real interest rates (adjusted for inflation) into negative territory.

In some European countries (Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and France) even nominal interest rates have turned negative for ten-year safe investments. Paradoxically, this means that some savers pay borrowers to accept their money. It's the world upside down.

Such a super-aggressive monetary policy has created unintended consequences for some classes of consumers—for retirees, students, etc.whose incomes and spending fell. In many cases, they were forced to go deeply into debt, in order to sustain a livable level of consumption.

· Consequences of economic and financial globalization

Under the guise of financial and corporate globalization, governments became more and more responsive to the demands of international corporations, mega banks and rich individuals, to lower their taxes and to reduce regulations. Their argument was that this was a requirement to remain competitive and retain industrial investment at home. Moreover most governments abandoned domestic industrial policies and let corporate and banking world decisions structure their economies.

· The process of de-industrialization in advanced economies and the shift of the tax burden

Many large corporations found it profitable to abandon their domestic production base and began searching the world for the lowest wages they could find, while collecting the most advantageous financial inducements from local governments to locate new industrial investments. International free trade of goods and services, which is in general beneficial to all counties, was extended to encompass the more controversial concept of a free international movement of financial capital and of industrial capital.

In such an international context, national governments were forced to enter into a zero-sum game competition to lower taxes and regulation for industrial investors and to extend subsidies to encourage new investment and employment at home.

Over time, this resulted in two important structural changes.

First, some advanced industrial economies began a gradual process of de-industrialization, when large companies began moving their high-productivity manufacturing activities abroad. This was accompanied by a relative structural shift in domestic employment from the high-productivity manufacturing sector to the generally less productive service sector. Among the latter, some high-knowledge service industries have been paying above average wages, but some labor-intensive service industries are paying relatively low wages. As a consequence, over the last forty years, real wages in advanced economies have remained relatively stagnant.

All the while, some high-income earners and the super rich strata of the population benefited from huge tax deductions. The most recent example is the ten-year $1.5 trillion tax cuts passed into law, in December 2017, by the Trump administration. That measure slashed the corporate tax rate in the U.S. from 35 percent to 21 percent, but with few new benefits for the economy. Contrary to what was expected, many corporations used the tax returns to buy back their own stock shares, rather than to invest in new plants or machinery.

Moreover, since labor is generally immobile internationally, the overall domestic tax burden on income, consumption and profits began to shift more heavily onto workers, consumers and middle class taxpayers, and away from large corporations and mega banks, and from rich investors. To alleviate such a taxation shift, governments were saddled with larger operating deficits and their national debt rose, even during prosperous times.

This has raised a tax fairness issue with the growing gap of income and wealth inequalities among different categories of taxpayers.

· A worldwide glut of savings, a decline in real investment spending and a shifting of profits and incomes to low-tax jurisdictions

The impact of economic and financial globalization and the constant rise in income and wealth inequalities since the 1980s—the latter having been exacerbated by the Great recession of 2008, and by the current pandemic crisis—has produced a glut of global savings (supply of funds) as compared to investment spending (demand for funds).

When too much saving is withdrawn from the operating economy and is not properly recycled into productive uses, this can lead to a drop in the circulation of money, even when the supply of money increases. If the velocity of money declines during a period of expansionary monetary policy, this can offset the increase in money supply and could paradoxically lead to deflationary pressures, at least for a while, and sluggish economic growth rather than to inflation and faster economic growth.

The glut of global savings is related to the growing concentration of income and wealth in favor of owners of financial capital and of super rich individuals. The fact that many trillions of dollars of such extra savings have ended up in offshore tax havens, sometimes under the veil of secrecy of cryptocurrencies, has undoubtedly played a role. It has also been a source of demand for bonds and other securities, resulting in higher bond prices and lower interest rates.

The building up of a glut of global savings among mega corporations and super rich individuals, who own most of the stock wealth, was occurring just as another phenomenon took place. Indeed, the 'baby boomers'—the generation born between 1946 and 1964 in the United States, and between 1947 and 1966 in Canada—felt obliged to increase their savings rate, in order to better prepare for their imminent retirement, and also, in part, because of the economic impact of the current pandemic on their spending and the low rates of return on their financial investments.

· Consequences of the half-century long rise in income and wealth inequalities

 As income and wealth became more and more concentrated, the financial sector tended to grow faster than the real economy. Such a structural change, past a certain threshold, can slow down economic growth and be a factor in creating financial crises. This was demonstrated when new esoteric financial products catering to the very rich led to the Great recession of 2008.

Some economists fear that the advanced economies of the Western world have entered into a prolonged period of "Secular Stagnation". Indeed, in many advanced economies, the expansion of the financial sector has been such that it has become oversized relative to the real sector. A too-high rate of financial sector growth relative to GDP may be a harbinger of future financial contractions.

· Conclusion

There is a link between the great disparities in income and wealth that we see today, in several industrialized countries, and the extraordinarily low interest rates that have become the curse of savers. And, as we have seen, the causal relationship goes both ways, one reinforcing the other. They both enriched an aristocracy of the super rich. How should governments go about breaking this economically and socially damaging relationship?

First, it would seem that there is a need to reorient fiscal policy toward equilibrating the tax burden and income inequality between high and low-income taxpayers, as well as re-evaluating consumption taxes. Maybe an international conference could be held to assist governments in coordinating their efforts in that direction, especially considering the growing reliance on tax havens.

Secondly, central bankers could find it appropriate to review the current policies of monetizing the public debt and the debts of other financial entities on a high scale. Besides evaluating their sustainability, they may also wish to take into consideration the high risk of creating dangerous bubbles and speculative manias in the stock and bond markets. indeed, history shows that when such financial bubbles burst, as they inevitably do, the real economy suffers badly in production and employment losses.

As for citizens, they should be careful not to vote for clueless and corrupt politicians who are bought and sold by special interests. They should demand that big money and dark money stop dominating politics and government policies. Theirs and their children's economic welfare depend upon it.

___________________________________



International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book "The code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles" of the book "The New American Empire", and the recent book , in French, "La régression tranquille du Québec, 1980-2018". He holds a Ph.D. in international finance from Stanford University.



Please visit Dr Tremblay's site or email to a friend here.
Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

*** To receive new postings of Dr. Tremblay's articles, 
please send Subscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca
To unsubscribe, please send Unsubscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca
__________________________________________________________

© 2021 Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay







Wednesday, January 6, 2021

 


Donald Trump's legacy: Four Chaotic Years in the White House and a Tumultuous Departure 

by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of "The Code for Global Ethics" and "The New American Empire")


"Demagogue: one who preaches doctrines he  knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." H.L. Mencken (1880-1956), American journalist and essayist, (in 'Minority Report', 1956, p. 207).

"Fascism: a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism, which is characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition and strong regimentation of society and of the economy." Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism, 2005, p. 32.

[Democracy:] "...and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth".  Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th President of the United States, 1861-1865, in the Gettysburg Address, Nov. 19, 1863.

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the ugly face of fascism in action was seen in Washington D.C., when an unruly pro-Trump mob, incited and inflamed by an angry speech by outgoing President Donald Trump, stormed and rampaged through the U.S. Capitol, in an obvious attempted coup. This marked the lowest point in Mr. Trump's chaotic presidency, a presidency ending with an attempt to stoke the fires of insurrection in the vain hope of remaining in power.

Let us get some perspective.

Just a few weeks after his inauguration, here is what I wrote about Mr. Donald Trump and about what to expect from his presidency, in an article titled 'The Imperial Presidency of Donald Trump: A Threat to American Democracy and an Agent of Chaos in the World?:

"When 46.1% of Americans voted for Trump in November (2016) they did not know precisely 'what they were buying'. They did not expect that the promised 'change' the Republican presidential candidate envisioned and promised was going to be, in fact, chaos' and 'turmoil' in the U.S. government."

President Donald Trump and his administration did turn out to be a threat to American democracy and a source of chaos in the world.

In 2019-20, the U.S. Republican-controlled Senate could have convicted Donald Trump, after the House had impeached him. The numerous examples of abuse of power and of obstruction of justice, which were outlined in the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report were undisputable. But, for obvious partisan expediency, the GOP-controlled Senate chose instead to acquit him in February 2020. In so doing, they shamed themselves in placing their party's interests above their nation's interests. It was left to the American electorate to complete the impeachment process of the sitting president, the third time an American president has been impeached, and they did just that on November 3rd 2020.

And presently, in his disgraceful way of leaving office, megalomaniac Donald Trump is as obnoxious and destabilizing as he was when he unexpectedly got into the White House. For weeks now, he has been focusing on trying to overturn Vice President Joe Biden's election with false voter fraud claims, even though Biden won the popular vote by more than seven million ballots and the Electoral College with a margin of 306-232--a 56,9% majority. This incredible show is now over, and President-elect Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States.

During his four-year mandate, President Donald Trump did not rise to the challenge of being the competent head of a democratic state. He has instead attempted to install an autocratic rule in American politics. If he had been reelected for a second term, it's a sure bet that it would have been impossible to constrain him, and American institutions would have been seriously threatened. That he has not succeeded in his quest for autocratic power is something to be appreciated by anyone who values democracy.

What will Donald Trump the politician be remembered for?

In his last days in office, President Donald Trump has left the U.S. government in a state of semi-paralysis

Just before Christmas 2020, lame duck President Trump decided to play the Grinch. Senate Republicans had reached a compromise with Democratic senators on a $900 billion Relief bill for 14 million American families whose jobless benefits were running out. Seemingly out of pure spite against his fellow Republicans, Trump refused to sign the measure, thus creating a major humanitarian crisis. Then abruptly, after Christmas, he signed the bill, ending the damaging situation he had just created.

All the while, Donald Trump was playing swamp politics in dishing out close to 100 presidential pardons, (94 as of Dec. 25, 2020), to well-connected convicted friends, political allies and relatives, and even to some convicted murderers.

Donald Trump has done more to divide the American people than anyone else in a century and a half

Under Donald Trump, the United States has been weakened and is more polarized than it has been for decades. Such a deep division is fostered by new technologies, which allow people to isolate themselves in their own information universes. But Mr. Trump's rhetoric of setting one group against another has also intensified such polarization and disintegration.

Donald Trump pushed the American justice system to the extreme by appointing hundreds of far right judges

It has been observed that Donald Trump's appointees to the bench stand out from other judges for their ultra-conservative views, even compared to those named by other Republican presidents. This could have a lasting effect on the judiciary for generations.

Far from reducing corruption, Donald Trump has intensified it

In 2016, candidate Trump promised to 'drain the swamp' of corruption in American politics. Not only did he not fulfill that promise, he made things worse. Some analysts even conclude that he has been the "most corrupt" president in U.S. history.

Faced with the worst pandemic in a century, Donald Trump stumbled

As far as the Trump administration's management of the Covid-19 crisis is concerned, the most that can be said is that it was not the work of a competent government. The President himself began by denying that there even was a crisis. In his words, it was only a 'normal flu'. Then, when it became impossible to negate reality, Mr. Trump claimed that the pandemic crises was a 'hoax' engineered by the Democrats. Even when a vaccine became available, the vaccination program fell short and was widely criticized.

Donald Trump pushed income and wealth inequalities in the United States to record levels

The Trump administration, through deregulation and huge tax cuts for the rich, has done much to exacerbate income and wealth inequalities in the United States. Official data indicate that income inequality is the highest on record. It's also higher than in any other advanced economy.

Similarly, the United States has wider disparities of wealth between rich and poor than any other major developed country. Today, wealth ownership in the United States is as heavily concentrated in the hands of a small minority of the population as it has ever been.

The record of the Trump administration's policies on the environment is dismal

On June 1, 2017, when Donald Trump officially pulled the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, he placed the U.S. government squarely on the wrong side of history. This could be the most irresponsible decision that Mr. Trump made during his term in office. However, President-elect Joe Biden has promised to rejoin the Paris Agreement on the first day of his presidency.

Mr. Trump adopted a host of other measures detrimental to the environment. As of mid-2020, the Trump administration had rolled back 64 environmental rules and regulations.

Trump's foreign policies have been isolationist, militaristic, destructive and divisive

In international relations, Donald Trump succeeded in antagonizing allies and foes alike. According to Pew Research, the image of the United States under the Trump administration has been tarnished around the world, reaching a record low in 2020.

President Trump unilaterally pulled the United States from major treaties negotiated by previous administrations, most often without consulting Congress or allies: besides the Paris climate change treaty, the Trump administration pulled out of the Iran nuclear agreement. It also pulled out of the Inter-Nuclear Forces (INF) arms control treaty with Russia. Mr. Trump often bypassed the United Nations, thus weakening the role of that institution in maintaining peace around the world.

It's true that a major war against Iran, Venezuela or China has so far been avoided; but through provocations and increased animosity between nations, Donald Trump has sown the seeds for such a major war in the future, especially a war with China over Taiwan.

Donald Trump's chaotic and scandalous departure from the White House is an attempt to sabotage the incoming Biden presidency

For many weeks, in a display of deranged behavior worthy of a banana republic, and in open violation of his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution, President Donald Trump has refused to publicly concede the 2020 election to former Vice President Joe Biden. This undignified and petty attitude has shown how much the man can be mean-spirited and a sore loser.

This was amply demonstrated on January 2, when unbelievably, President Trump openly begged, pressured and threatened Georgia's secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, into 'finding him 11,780 votes' in order to overturn the official electoral result in that state. (N.B.: Mr. Trump initially lost the presidential race in Georgia to President-elect Joe Biden by 11,779 votes; however, the result, after a final recounting, is that he lost by 12,670 votes.)

Such a quixotic request to an official in exercise to cheat and to invent votes was made during an hour-long recorded phone call made by the President, in a mob-style tone, and published by the Washington Post. It was a desperate and mind-blowing last-ditch attempt, and possibly also an illegal one, to subvert the electoral process and to strong-arm a change in the outcome of the Nov. 3 election in his favor. Luckily, Mr. Raffensperger didn't buckle.

U.S. courts have roundly dismissed Trump's legal challenges to the November election results. His last attempt in the state of Georgia was even seen by most as absurd and a manufactured crisis. 

If Donald Trump had intentionally wanted to sabotage and undermine the Biden presidency by not accepting the official results of the November election, he would not have acted differently. In so doing, however, Mr. Trump has created a dangerous precedent. His temper tantrums and his numerous court challenges of the election results have demeaned and done a lot to delegitimize the American electoral process. It has damaged the reputation of the United States around the world, and it has cast a long shadow on the future of American democracy.

On Monday Dec. 28, 2020, even as staunch a supporter of Donald Trump as the New York Post headlined an editorial with a clear message to Donald Trump: "Mr. President... STOP THE INSANITY.

That says it all!

Conclusion

The conclusion is inescapable. President Donald Trump's legacy is a pile of rubble.

The American people were more than justified in voting Mr. Trump out in November 2020. In 2016, he didn't really deserve to be elected in the first place, since he received 3 million fewer votes than his democratic rival, Ms. Hillary Clinton.

The pathetic display that Donald Trump demonstrated after his electoral defeat by openly clinging to power indicates that he went into politics not to serve but merely to please his ego. That's not the type of politician a democracy needs. Probably Donald Trump's worst political crime has been to promote violence in American politics for his own narrow personal advantage.

If Mr. Trump had known any history, he might have imitated outgoing President Grover Cleveland (1837-1908). Indeed, in the 1888 election, after winning the popular vote but losing the Electoral College to Republican Sen. Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901), Cleveland wrote a personal letter to president-elect Harrison "to assure you of my readiness to do all in my power to make your accession to office easy and agreeable."

Now the damage is done. Donald Trump's name will forever be associated with demagoguery, violence and anarchy.

_____________________________________



International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book "The code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles" of the book "The New American Empire", and the recent book , in French, "La régression tranquille du Québec, 1980-2018". He holds a Ph.D. in international finance from Stanford University.



Please visit Dr Tremblay's site or email to a friend here.

Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2021.

*** To receive new postings of Dr. Tremblay's articles, 
please send Subscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca
To unsubscribe, please send Unsubscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca
__________________________________________________________

© 2021 Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay


Sunday, November 22, 2020


The Foundations of Canada's Mass Immigration Policy

by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Université de Montréal

(Author of the books "The Code for Global Ethics", and "The New American Empire")

"You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state." Milton Friedman (1912-2006), Emeritus Professor of Economic, University of Chicago, August 20-22, 1999.

"What is the role of the Canadian government [in regards to immigration]? If it follows the recommendations of immigration advocates, it makes policies to maximize world welfare and its goal should be high, if not unlimited immigration. If its policies are to maximize the welfare of the native [Canadian] population, immigration policies should be designed to eliminate the fiscal burden [of between $20 and $26 billion a year] so that only positive economic benefits occur through immigration." Herbert Grubel (1934- ), Emeritus Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University, (in a Fraser Institute Report entitled 'Canada's Immigrant Selection Policies: Recent Record, Marginal Changes, and Needed Reforms', 2013)

Last October 30, without much fanfare, the minority Canadian government of Justin Trudeau announced its intention to not only refuse to lower the annual numbers of legal immigration, in these times of a serious pandemic crises and of a crushing economic slowdown, but rather to increase them substantially over the next three years.

Indeed, Federal Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced that his department is raising legal levels of immigration to Canada to reach 401,000 people by 2021; 411,000 in 2022; and 421,000 in 2023. Remember that these levels were 310,000 in 2018; 330,000 in 2019; and 340,000 in 2020.

If one compares these levels to those of the last two years, the new immigration targets would represent a 25 percent increase, a substantial jump from former levels, which were already judged to be very high. The Federal Minister of Immigration made those announcements in an interview with Bloomberg.

A few days later, on Monday, November 2, Mr. Mendicino doubled up on his intentions and told Bloomberg that the Trudeau government also plans to speed up the path to permanent residency and to citizenship for more than 1 million temporary foreign students, foreign workers and asylum seekers now living in the country.

Since it is widely believed that there will be a general election in Canada next year, is it possible to make a connection between this intention by the Liberal minority government to make it easier for so many temporary residents to qualify to eventually vote in the coming election?

Let us recall for the record that the Liberal government of the day, a few months before the Quebec referendum of October 1995, also granted residency and citizenship, in advance, to tens of thousands of newly arrived immigrants, so the latter could vote in the referendum.

It may be useful, also to note that a recent Bloomberg-Nanos Research poll, published on November 6, indicated that 83 percent of Canadians were opposed to increasing immigration levels at this time. Indeed, the poll revealed that only 17 percent of Canadians wanted an increase in the immigration levels, while a plurality of 40 percent wished these levels were reduced, and 36 percent said they wanted to keep the 2019 status quo.

If the opposition parties in the House of Commons do not object to the decisions of the current Liberal government, the result would be that Canada would welcome, in just three years, more that 1.2 million new immigrants while many Canadians are out of work. This would translate into a level of immigration, for example, that would exceed half of the population of the City of Montreal. One can imagine the economic, social and political consequences of such a phenomenon, in such a short time.

Again, to put things in perspective, consider that the projected level of legal immigration to the United States has been set at 601,660 people for the year 2021. As the populations of Canada and the United States will approach 38 million and 332 million respectively, at the end of this year, this would mean that by 2021, Canada would accept almost six times as many legal immigrants per capita as the United States.

If Canada were to accept the same proportion of immigrants, relative to its population, as the United States, its levels of legal immigration should instead be in the range of 66,000 to 135,000 per year, not the more than 4000,000 immigrants each year that the minority Trudeau government is planning.

On must add to the above figures the influx of refugees, and considering the Trudeau government's "no border" policy on refugees, the annual levels of total immigration to Canada could easily rise to 500,000 per year. This would translate into a migratory inflow equal to 1.3 percent every ten years, a rate of increase unheard of in any industrialized country. With the current policy of super massive immigration, the Canadian population could double every 45 years, a dramatic demographic transformation.

The current liberal government should explain why its immigration policy is, at this time, the most massive of any industrialized country, and why it is a policy of sharply increased immigration, rather than being adapted to the country's difficult economic situation.

Mass Immigration and a Replacement of Population?

According to Statistics Canada, considering the very high yearly levels of immigration recorded in recent years, the percentage of the foreign-born population to the total Canadian population is expected to reach 24.5 percent next year, in 2021.

Under the realistic hypothesis of high immigration levels, the percentage of the population born abroad in relation to the total Canadian population should approach 30 percent in 2031. This would be the highest percentage in 160 years, the period during which data are available.

A great shift is also expected as to the origin of immigrants to Canada in the coming decades. Statistics Canada has estimated that by 2036, the proportion of immigrants born in Asia could reach around 56 percent of new immigrants, up from the proportion of 44.8 percent observed in 2011.

Conversely, only around 16 percent of future immigrants to Canada would be coming from Europe, a drop by half from the 31.6 percent recorded in 2011. This could have the look of a population replacement policy.

Mass Immigration when a Country is a Free Trade Economy

It should be understood that labor needs are by no means the same when an economy is in a free trade situation, as it has been the case with the Canadian economy since 1988. In fact, Canada has concluded three important free trade treaties in the last thirty years. The first was concluded with the United States in 1988; the second with the US and Mexico in 1994, and the latest, the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), came into force on July 1, 2020.

For the Canadian economy, access to the large American market is a natural substitute for a protectionist trade policy and for the need to have a rapidly expanding domestic market. In such an environment, economic growth is more dependent on exports and on productivity gains, rather than on mass immigration of foreign workers. Only a targeted immigration policy, based on skills, is really then necessary, depending on the specific requirements of expanding industries.

Private Interests behind the Canadian Mass Immigration Policy

In Canada, the pressure in favor of ever increasing immigration levels originates from three main sectors. These are identified interest groups who benefit from mass immigration but do not necessarily bear the costs.

a) The professional services that are offered to individuals who wish to immigrate to Canada. The providers of such paid services constitute a powerful lobby in favor of ever increasing immigration.

b) Low productivity and low wage industries competing with imports, and the construction industry.

The advent of free trade has meant that labor-intensive industries, such as textiles, have seen their outputs gradually replaced by imports. Likewise, some industries with  little mechanization, such as the service industries, may have trouble raising their productivity. For the latter, paying low wages to employees is a way of remaining profitable.

One sector that benefits from the flow of immigrants is the group of the construction, real estate and housing industries. They benefit from the increased demand for housing and higher prices, especially in large metropolitan areas.

c) Political parties and organizations that need foreign support to ensure partisan or political success.

It could happen that a particular political party or an organization could profit financially or electorally from an increasing flow of foreigners. These would be private interests, which may or may not coincide with the general interest of the country.

A Mass Immigration Policy may result in a Chronic Labor Shortage: The Creation of a Vicious circle

The Canadian government's policy of mass immigration and of population replacement is not only about bringing in foreign workers to relieve identified labor supply bottlenecks in certain industries. It also encourages an inflow of economically dependents from abroad, (spouses, children, elderly grandparents, etc.). Such economically dependent immigrants inflate the overall demand for labor by creating an increased demand for goods and services, which could worsen labor shortages in some industries, such as the education, health and housing industries.

This could result in creating an endless spiral: The longer mass immigration endures, the more artificial labor shortages pop up in some sectors, and the more it becomes necessary to raise immigration levels, and so on!

 Conclusion

The excessive mass immigration and population replacement policies of the Justin Trudeau government are bound to erase the historical reality that Canada was founded and developed by two founding peoples, the French and the English.

Economically, these are also policies that go far beyond the real requirements of the Canadian economy. For example, rather than alleviate labor shortages in some identified sectors, it an easily result in creating labor shortages in many other sectors.

The economic arguments advanced to justify such policies of mass immigration and population replacement, in the current economic context of a crushing pandemic, high unemployment levels, a prolonged economic slowdown and a high level of indebtedness, are very weak and even, in some cases, fallacious and counterproductive. Such policies seem to be based primarily on ideological and political motives rather than on sound economic arguments.

Ideally, the Canadian federal government should hold a national referendum on this vital issue. This would shed light on all facets of the question. In the absence of a serious national debate, it could nevertheless be the duty of all political parties to take a clear position on these issues, which are binding on the future of the country.

_________________________________

N.B. This is a condensed version of a longer article. To read the complete article (in French), please click here.

_________________________________


International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book "The code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles" of the book "The New American Empire", and the recent book , in French, "La régression tranquille du Québec, 1980-2018". He holds a Ph.D. in international finance from Stanford University.


Please visit Dr Tremblay's site or email to a friend here.

Posted Sunday, November 22, 2020.

*** To receive new postings of Dr. Tremblay's articles, 
please send Subscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca
To unsubscribe, please send Unsubscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca
__________________________________________________
© 2020 Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay























Friday, October 23, 2020

CURRENT AFFAIRS

 

The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election is really going to be a Referendum on Donald Trump's Flawed Character

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

Friday, October 23, 2020


If there is one thing that came out of the two presidential debates this year, it is the unacceptable traits of character for a person in high office that are displayed by Mr. Donald Trump. 

During the first debate, on Tuesday, Sept. 29, he interrupted his adversary, Joe Biden, no less than 112 times. This was an unprecedented exercise in bullying never seen before in American politics, or in politics in any other democratic countries.

During the second debate held on Thursday, Oct. 22, it became crystal clear that the Nov. 3rd election of 2020 will be a referendum on the flawed character of the current occupant of the White House. Character is indeed on the ballot this year.

All during the debate, Mr. Trump's body language betrayed him, as he came across as  unarticulated and unfocused, while projecting the image of a self-centered, bragging individual.

During the entire debate, indeed, Mr. Trump appeared agitated, stressed, constantly gesticulating with his hands and frowning. Mr. Trump's lack of preparation for a serious debate showed clearly with his constant attempts to talk off topic, in response to the moderator's direct questions.

This time, luckily for viewers, the mechanics of the debate were modified to prevent Mr. Trump's despicable habit of preventing his opponent from speaking, through constant interruptions, (N.B. microphones were muted when it was not one's turn to speak), even though he nevertheless did attempt to do it a few times.

In contrast, Vice-President Joe Biden was composed, calm and confident and projected the image of a winner who knew what he was talking about and had arguments to back it up. Mr. Biden appeared to be a normal, honest, competent and caring person, unlike his opponent, who came out as an unhinged, rambling, incoherent, unethical, insulting, egomaniac person, without an ounce of empathy for anyone, but full of self-pity.

Conclusion

There are enough crazies in less important countries, nowadays, without having one as head of the United States. Americans deserve better. Let us hope there will be a welcoming answer on November 3rd.

_______________________________________

*** To receive new postings of Dr. Tremblay's articles, 
please send Subscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca
To unsubscribe, please send Unsubscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca






Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The U.S. Presidential Election: A Referendum on Donald Trump’s Character or a Campaign on Law-and-Order?

*** To receive new postings of Dr. Tremblay's articles, 
please send Subscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca
To unsubscribe, please send Unsubscribe, to carole.jean1@yahoo.ca


The U.S. Presidential Election: A Referendum on Donald Trump’s Character or a Campaign on Law-and-Order?

By Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay

(Author of the books “The Code for Global Ethics

and The New American Empire”)

 

Re: How author Stephen King Predicted Donald Trump's Rise Decades Ago: "The Dead Zone", 1979:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXfklsKGwBU&feature=youtu.be



Despite blocking President Barak Obama's Supreme Court pick in 2016- arguing that it was a presidential election year- most senate Republicans have said they would fill such a vacancy in 2020, a few weeks before the November election.

__________________________________________________________________


"Never underestimate a man who overestimates himself."

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)


 “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th President of the United States, 1861-65.

 

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate’. …We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

James Mattis (1950- ), American Marine general and former U. S. Secretary of Defense (2017-2019), on June 3, 2020.

 

I have an Article 2 [in the US Constitution] where I have the right to do whatever I want as president.”

Donald Trump (1946- ), statement made during a speech at Turning Point USA’s Teen Action Summit, on July 23, 2019.

 

An autocratic system of coercion, in my opinion, soon degenerates. For force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels. For this reason I have always been passionately opposed to systems such as we see in Italy and Russia today.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955), German-born theoretical physicist, (in ‘The World as I se it’, London, U.K., 1935).

 

Traditionally, Labor Day marks the last stretch in the U.S. presidential campaign leading to the election this year to be held on November 3rd.

 

On the democratic side, the die is cast. Vice President Joe Biden (1942 -) will be the Democratic presidential candidate for the 2020 election. We know that Mr. Biden was the target of several intensive lobby campaigns, after announcing that he would choose a woman as his running mate. He finally set his sights on the junior senator from California Kamala Harris as his vice presidential candidate. This is an important strategic decision... for better or for worse. She will be the first black woman and the first Asian American on a major party’s presidential ticket.

 

Mr. Biden has decided to please his base in choosing a running mate from California, a state already considered to be in the Democratic fold. In so doing, he has bypassed other candidates who had more administrative and government experience.

 

On the republican side, the incumbent, President Donald Trump, will attempt to stay in power. This will be a challenge considering his low position in the polls.

 

In the United States, presidential elections are not primarily about winning the popular vote. They are about winning an absolute majority of the archaic Electoral College. Otherwise, there would have been a president Al Gore and a president Hillary Clinton!

 

Vice President Biden has been involved in American politics for nearly fifty years. He is a pragmatic and cautious politician.

 

He has served as a U.S. Senator, reelected six times, and for eight years he was vice president of the United States in the Barack Obama administration (2009-2017). Nobody can say that Mr. Biden has no experience in government, or that he is an unknown quantity, for better or for worse.


• All will not necessarily be rosy with a Biden administration

 

First, a Biden administration will be obliged to deal with the massive public debt left behind by the Trump administration. This could put a brake on new public expenses and lead to higher taxes.

 

Secondly, Mr. Biden has been subjected to a lot of pressure to adopt a left-of-center political platform. This was done primarily to rally Senator Bernie Sanders’ supporters. However, it could also be a point of friction with other groups of voters.


Personally, I see two policy areas that could undermine his popularity and his wish to unite the population.

 

Indeed, on foreign policy, a Biden presidency could suffer from Mr. Biden’s unconditional support, in the past, for Israel’s government and its mistreatment of Palestinians. This could intensify U.S. implications in Middle East wars. It may be a sad fact, but both main political parties in the United States are warmongering parties when it comes to foreign policy.

 

On the domestic front, Mr. Biden’s ambivalent position on illegal immigration could also produce a backlash, especially among blue-collar workers in a period of slow economic growth.

 

There are other important issues in his program, which will be outlined in more detail in the coming weeks and which could also raise concern. Especially important for Democrats is the need not to ignore the interests of workers with less or little education.

 

So far, it is only when candidate Biden’s policies will be fully explained and understood that we should see if they fly with the American electorate. Mr. Biden’s main advantage is that he is not Donald Trump, that he is a grown-up and that he doesn’t tweet in the middle of the night to let the world know his feelings.


• Challenges facing the next president


A president-elect must rely on both experience and character to address the serious economic and social crisis facing the country.


This was not the case, however, with candidate Donald Trump in 2016, even though he had previously been the host of a TV reality show, besides being a hotel and casino owner. Some people knew his name, but most had hardly any idea about his autocratic and despotic character and his lack of qualifications to serve in a public capacity. Now, after nearly four years since his election, most Americans have a general idea who he is and what character he has displayed.


It might be useful to review and summarize the main criticisms levied against the character and behavior of Mr. Trump, and to reflect on the type of president he has been.

 

Donald Trump has shown himself to be a provocateur and a man who is after power for power’s sake

 

Ever since his election as U.S. president on Nov. 8, 2016, with fewer votes than his main opponent, Tycoon Donald Trump has shown himself to be a disruptive provocateur and a maker of chaos. He seems to have been on a dangerous ‘power trip, even though he was appallingly unprepared for the job of being president. He has acted as a demagogue and a most reckless leaderEver since his inauguration, Mr. Trump has run a show of successive daily scandals, of blunders, controversies and of scandalous and irresponsible threats. 


His political strategy has been to rely on power politics, and to stir up polarization and divisiveness, setting up one group against another, hoping to profit from the political and social chaos thus created. He has even sent federal agents, dressed in army fatigues, to some American cities, over the objections of the mayors and governors.

 

The anti-science and anti-expertise president

 

It is undisputable that President Donald Trump has been the most openly anti-science and anti-expertise president ever. He has surrounded himself with the least competent people he could find, providing they were “loyal” to his person and ready to kiss his ring. Competent officials were quickly fired when not meeting his autocratic requirement. —A succession of failures has followed on almost every issue.


Trump’s deadly failure of leadership during the coronavirus crisis

 

One example among many: As recently as last February 2020, the coronavirus was spreading widely in many countries. Experts were warning against a possible worldwide pandemic that had the potential to affect millions of people and could have severe economic consequences. It was then expected that millions of Americans could be infected and hundreds of thousands could die.

 

Nevertheless, Mr. Trump was in complete denial that a crisis was looming, and he dismissed the worries raised by experts. He was saying aloud that the coronavirus crisis was a hoaxcreated by Democrats”, (an insane attack reportedly made on the advice of his son-in-law Jared Kushner). Other initiatives made by Kushner also ended up in failure.

 

Especially repugnant are Trump’s pathetic attacks against doctors fighting the pandemic, which has accelerated in the United States because of his incompetence and his deception.


One important flaw in Mr. Trump’s character is to shift blame

 

Donald Trump has often refused to take responsibility in the face of adversity, preferring to shift blame and find scapegoats for his failures and misgivings.

 

For instance, he was insensitive and undiplomatic enough to call the governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee, asnakefor requesting more federal assistance to fight one of the worst pandemics that his state has ever faced.

 

Donald Trump’s general character: self–centered, boorish, dangerously delusionary and very un-presidential

 

Many qualified observers, some having worked closely with Mr. Trump, along with some writers and professionals, have evaluated his special character.

 

In books and in other writings, here, here , here, here and here again, they have used many words to qualify the Donald Trump phenomenon in U.S. politics, both as an individual and as a politician. Most of them are not very flattering and some are very scary.

 

Some writers who knew him well were terrified that such a person, known to constantly behave as a ruthless self-promoter, could become president of the United States.

 

Indeed, they have documented his penchant for shock and brawl, for improvising and for smearing anyone who criticizes him. They have documented case after case of his insanity, his wickedness, his delusion, his self-congratulation and self-praise, his self-centered ambition for absolute power and the fact that his policy choices seem to be dictated mainly, if not entirely, by personal interests and electoral considerations. He is known to have used the power of his office to punish political adversaries.

 

Donald Trump's systematic lies and repetitive attacks against the medias


Mr. Trump’s use of lies, fabrications and false claims is well documented and seems to be systematic. Indeed, he has proved again and again that he is a pathological serial liar who cannot help himself from lying. He seems to have an enormous problem with the truth, and he cannot take criticism. That is the sign of an immature person.

 

His habit of demeaning female journalists in misogynistic rants is a very serious character trait. With such a predatory character, it is no wonder that Mr. Trump has been accused, in courts, of rape. There have been numerous other instances of sexual aggression on his part.


Repetitive attacks against journalists, male or female, also pose a serious threat to press freedom and to free speech, in addition to showing a basic lack of good manners.


Mr. Trump has been a factor of chaos and instability


As a politician, Donald Trump contends that he does not have adversaries or opponents. He has, in his own paranoid way, enemies’. In a democracy, calling political opponents ‘enemies’ is the language of dictators and totalitarians. This and his obsession with anything military should raise concerns.


He has shown himself to be provocative, while displaying a manipulative personality. He has enjoyed destroying reputations to advance his personal interests. Some of Trump’s critics have also said that he is egoistical and has a narcissistic personality, and that he has no moral compass.

 

An excessively nationalist politician

 

On many occasions, Donald Trump has literally wrapped himself in the American flag, as if it were his own personal property, and he has said that ‘God is on our side, a political slogan used in Nazi Germany during the 1930s, with the phrase, “Gott mit uns” (God is with us). As a display of deep hypocrisy on his part, the supposedly ‘good Christian’ Donald Trump, often seen carrying a Bible and pictured in a Bible Photo Op, has constantly mocked, slandered, insulted and disparaged his opponents.

 

In fact, the number of persons who have been the targets of profanities and insults by Donald Trump is countless.


As a politician, Donald Trump has been said to be ultranationalist. He is also seen as being less than honest and untrustworthy, besides being a loose cannon and acting in constant conflicts of interest.

 

Trump has done everything to isolate the United States and insult allies


President Donald Trump has attempted to cut the United States off from the rest of the world by unilaterally breaking existing treaties, and by provoking conflicts with other countries and international organizations.

 

For instance, on June 1, 2017, and without consulting anyone, Mr. Trump announced that the United States would unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

 

And, as recently as May 21, 2020, again without consulting with anybody, Donald Trump announced that the U.S. will be withdrawing from the 30-year old Open Skies Arms Control Treaty, which allowed for mutual inspection flights between countries to insure against war preparations.

 

Donald Trump is also preparing to exit the one major arms treaty remaining with Russia: the New START treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), signed on April 8, 2010, which limits the number of deployed nuclear missiles, thus raising even more the risk of a nuclear war in the coming years, a war that could destroy the world. Donald Trump is an arsonist, not a fireman or a peacemaker. …And the list goes on and on.

 

Add to that the fact that the Trump administration is engaged in a program to deploy additional nuclear weapons, and the image comes out clearly of a Donald Trump who is an extremely dangerous head of state.

 

The economic and political tensions between the U.S. and China and against Iran or Venezuela are getting worse

 

There are increasing frictions between the U.S. and China. They could be the sparks of a hegemonic conflict.

 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations should play a more active role in solving such conflicts. It must be noted, however, that Mr. Trump has ignored these two international institutions since his election, in order to pursue his ideology of conflict.


British historian Arnold Toynbee observed that the dynamics of international relations have led to disastrous hegemonic wars at the beginning of each of the last six centuries. The last major international war was World War I (1914-1918) at the beginning of the 20th Century, which in turn led to World War II (1939-1945). History could repeat itself, especially if and when unstable individuals, ignorant of history, are leading heavily armed countries.

 

An open conflict between the United States and Iran is also a possibility, because of an active campaign by the Israeli government in that direction. Such a war of aggression could destabilize the Middle East even more. And please, do not forget the Trump administration’s meddling in Venezuela’s domestic affairs. All this is not counting the inhuman and abhorrent sanctions against Syria.

 

It’s almost unanimous: In foreign policy, U.S. President Donald Trump has done a lot of damage, and it will take many years for another administration to fix the mess.

 

Conclusions

 

Unless one is completely blinded by ideology or partisanship, it must be concluded that Donald Trump, with his erratic and deeply flawed character, poses a serious threat to American freedom and prosperity, and to world peace.

 

Having inherited money is no excuse to be vulgar, rude, vile, intolerant and lawless, or to be a malevolent bully. In ordinary times, such behavior should be denounced. —In time of crisis, such shortcomings can be a recipe for disaster.

 

In four years, Donald Trump has done more to destroy the image of the United States and its reputation around the world than a war would have done. —The country is more isolated internationally than it has been for a century.

 

In domestic affairs, the American justice system is in tatters. The “rule of law” has more or less been replaced by the arbitrary “rule of the Donald”. —The law, that’s him! In fact, the U.S. constitutional government has dangerously moved toward a de facto dictatorship. Donald Trump has been subverting the justice system like no president before him. This is clearly an abuse of power.

 

Especially troublesome also, he has fired prosecutors who were investigating people close to him, a clear conflict of interest and a violation of the principle of the division of powers.

 

The country is more divided than it has been in decades. Income and wealth disparities are more pronounced than they have been in a century. And the American health system is an unregulated industry that charges exorbitant prices, and which is failing large segments of the population.

 

And to top it all, there are black clouds over the economy. The latter remains dangerously based on a military-industrial complex that yearly siphons off trillions of dollars of tax money for its benefit. Moreover, much of the funds recently used to bailout the economy from the coronavirus crisis have come from newly printed money.

 

The latter has mostly benefited the very rich, who, in turn, have used it to boost stock prices and to push them up to their pre-crisis top. Down the road, this could translate into a crushing inflation tax, which will badly hurt people such as savers and retirees on a fixed income. However, as this kind of monetary exuberance, financed with the printing press, creates conditions conducive to a financial crash, everyone will ultimately lose out.


Basically, Donald Trump is not an administrator. He had no experience in government. His knowledge of economics is rudimentary. He seems completely ignorant about how the multilateral international trade system works. —Fundamentally, he is a showman who thinks about himself, and only himself. After four years of a freak show in the White House, it would seem that Americans should look for entertainment elsewhere than to their government officials.

 

Hopefully, most Americans seem to have had enough of his eccentricity and his incompetence. Not surprisingly, polls show that most Americans are anxious and unhappy these days. In fact, Pew Research reported, last June, that a huge majority (87%) of Americans said they were dissatisfied with the way things were going in their country.


One would think that a great country like the United States would deserve better. The United States is at an important political turning point. If Donald Trump is reelected next November, U.S. democratic institutions could be challenged as never before, because you can be sure that he will continue playing politics with the U.S. Constitution. His intentions have always been to “rule by decree”.

 

That is why this November’s election should logically be a referendum on candidate Donald Trump and his vacuity. However, Mr. Trump would like nothing more than to wage a law-and-order political campaign, not one that would be centered on his persona and on his record.

 

Question: Will Democratic leaders play his game and side with mob rule? If the answer is yes, and especially if Mr. Biden does not denounce obvious cases of lawlessness, then I suspect that calls for law and order will get louder.

 

With such a scenario, the results of the November 3rd election could be closer than what polls indicate currently, although odds still favor the election of Joe Biden. —That is, if there is an election, because Mr. Trump would like nothing more than to discredit and postpone the election… sine die!

 

___________________________________________________________

 



International economist Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay is the author of the book “The Code for Global Ethics, Ten Humanist Principles”, of the book “The New American Empire, and the recent book, in French « La régression tranquille du Québec, 1980-2018 ». He holds a Ph.D. in international finance from Stanford University.

 

Please visit Dr. Tremblay’s site:

http://rodriguetremblay100.blogspot.com/

 


Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 8:30 am.

 

Email to a friend:

http://rodriguetremblay100.blogspot.com/

 

Send contact, comments or commercial reproduction requests (in English or in French) to:

carole.jean1@yahoo.ca

N.B.: Comments may be published on our weblog, unless you request otherwise.

 

Please register to receive free alerts on new postings of articles.

Send an email with the word "subscribe" to: carole.jean1@yahoo.ca

 

To unregister, send an email with the word "unsubscribe" to: carole.jean1@yahoo.ca

 

To write to the author:

rodrigue.tremblay1@gmail.com

 

N.B. For commercial re-use, please write to: carole.jean1@yahoo.ca.

___________________________________________________________

© 2020 by Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay