Not much came out of the recent meeting in California between presidents Biden and Xi Jinping. Both viewed their bilateral summit, adjacent to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting, as an opportunity to prevent the difficult relationship from spiraling into an even more contentious confrontation. There are certainly no signs that China intends to cease its military aggression in the western Pacific. This raises the stakes for the U.S. to develop a realistic plan to deter a Chinese attack on Taiwan and other allies in the region. Biden has asked congress for more than $105 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine and Israel, but Pacific deterrence seems to be an afterthought. The Biden administration is primarily focused on NATO eastwards expansion and Israel’s war against Hamas and is seeking a mere $2 billion in military sales for partners across the Pacific region. In order to show a stronger position against China in the Pacific, the U.S. needs to shift priorities and strengthen the presence and diplomacy in the region. Some actions that would be appropriate could be to give more authority for Taiwan to buy more advanced weapons. The U.S. has given Ukraine ... Continue Reading about How the U.S. can deter China
U.S. companies’ DEI, or diversity, equity and inclusion, efforts lost momentum in 2023 after the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ruling in June. The U.S. Supreme Court ended affirmative action in higher education; a long-awaited decision addressing the legality of race-conscious affirmative action in college admissions programs. The 2023 slowdown of DEI hiring is a sharp reversal from the explosion in corporate DEI after George Floyd’s death in 2020 pushed companies to act to address perceived corporate inequality. As a result, there was a distinct shift in hiring based on the new equity policy. DEI efforts after 2020 had real impact. 94% of the headcount increase at large firms in 2021, from the previous year, stemmed from hiring people of color, according to a Bloomberg analysis of 88 S&P 100 firms. Whereas equality means providing the same opportunity to all, equity means recognizing that candidates are different, and the hiring firms would make adjustments to imbalances and hire based on race or sexual orientation instead of skills or merit. There might for example not be enough black transexuals in a firm, so if there are several candidates for a position, the ... Continue Reading about The end of DEI?
Javier Milei, a libertarian economist became Argentina’s president in the recent election, vowing in his victory speech to do away with government corruption and turn the country into a global power. Running on the La Libertad Avanza, Liberty Advances, platform, he beat Sergio Massa, the Peronist establishment candidate and current economy minister, 55.7% to 44.3%. Milei has promised to adopt the U.S. dollar and abandon the peso to stem 123% inflation as well as to re-criminalize abortion and to privatize certain industries. Milei’s campaign capitalized on how decades of rule by the Peronist center-left has left the country impoverished, with 40% of the population below the poverty line, and the whole country facing unchecked inflation on which interest rates above 100% has had no effect. Young voters in particular responded enthusiastically to Milei. The voting age is 16 in Argentina, and this came to benefit Milei. Surveys show two-thirds of Milei supporters where under the age of 43. The new president will replace an anti-American regime that was cozy with U.S. adversaries. China, Argentina’s second-largest trading partner after Brazil, has had ... Continue Reading about Argentina’s new path
2024 presidential election campaign is already on-going and at this point, it looks like it will be a repeat of the 2020 election between Biden and Trump. Eventually this period in U.S. politics will come to an end. It is remarkable that these two candidates are likely selected again. There are many key issues that will define and determine the result of the election, but there are four key issues that stand out. Two of them are important, two are critical. The two important issues are immigration and foreign policy, and the critical issues are abortion rights and the economy. Biden and Trump have different opinions in all issues. Biden is for an open border immigration policy; Trump is for building a wall on the southern border to minimize immigration. Foreign policy has a major differentiator between the candidates. Biden is for NATO eastward expansion; Trump has limited interest in NATO, except that he wants Europeans to pay their fair share. Biden’s position is resulting in an unprecedented military support for Ukraine, where the U.S. is heavily involved in a de facto proxy war against Russia. The U.S. has already spent more than $100 billion in ... Continue Reading about Key issues in the 2024 U.S. election
As the U.S. economy slowly is turning the corner after the pandemic with slowing inflation, reasonable unemployment and modest GDP growth, there are still clouds on the horizon. All data show subpar economic performance. Inflation at around 4% is still higher than the Fed target of 2%, unemployment is around 4% but creeping up, GDP growth is estimated for 2.4% in 2023, but consensus forecast is only 0.8% for 2024. It seems that all signs are pointing to a challenging economy in 2024. The U.S. deficit is more than $33 trillion. Student loans, auto loans and credit card debts are all north of one trillion debt each and there seems to be limited or no attempts to reverse the course. On the contrary, spending seems to increase. The U.S. government posted a $1.695 trillion budget deficit in fiscal 2023, a 23% jump from the prior year as tax revenues fell and outlays for social security, Medicare and record-high interest costs on the federal debt rose. The fiscal 2023 deficit would have been $321 billion larger but was reduced because the supreme court struck down Biden’s student loan forgiveness program as unconstitutional. Congress is still considering more than $100 billion in ... Continue Reading about Challenges ahead for the U.S. economy