Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday's show: A chat with Joao Cerqueria, author, about the politics of Europe


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Friday's show:   
A chat with Joao Cerqueria, author, about the politics of Europe








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Friday's video: Obama Care enrollment is down from last year

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Friday's video:     
Obama Care enrollment is down from last year





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The only winner of the GM bailout was Obama 2012


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Back in 2012, the Obama reelection team reminded us that they got Osama bin Laden and saved GM. 
It probably gave Obama Ohio at less than 200,000 votes out of 5 plus million cast.  It did not hurt in Michigan.  It certainly energized the unions to cast ballots for the man who “saved” their jobs.
Yes, they got Osama bin Laden.  But they didn’t really save GM or do the workers any favor on a long-term basis.
Looking back, the GM bailout was a partisan band aid.  I like what Kevin D. Williamson wrote about this:     
What did U.S. taxpayers get for their $11.2 billion bailout of GM? About ten years of business-as-usual, and one very expensive lesson.
Bailouts don’t work…
GM’s sedan business is weak because GM’s sedans are weak: Virtually all of the best-selling sedans in the United States are made by Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. 
The lower and middle sections of the market are dominated by Asia, and the high end of the market by Europe: Mercedes, Audi, BMW. GM can’t compete with the Honda Civic at its price point or with the Audi A7 at its price point. 
Consumers like what they like, and they aren’t buying what GM is selling. It isn’t winning in the dino-juice-powered market, in the electric-car market, or in the hybrid market, either: GM is not exactly what you would call a nimble corporation.
So, things are grim for GM.
On the car front, anyway. GM has a much healthier business selling trucks and SUVs, a business that it now will focus its resources on — as it should have done long ago. 
Why didn’t it do that?
With all due respect and concern for the employees out in the cold, GM should have been allowed to go into the bankruptcy courts.   
Yes, I understand that some jobs would have been lost.  However, all that the bailout did was to keep a business going that was going to eventually lay off people.
The GM bailout was a classic case of government picking winners and losers.   
A better solution would have been what they call a managed bankruptcy.  In other words, allow GM to restructure itself, leaving the courtroom as a healthier enterprise more in tune with the reality of the market.  
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Darkest Hour: A good movie



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On Wednesday, we went to see Darkest Hour, a movie about Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the U.K. in 1940.  I assume that the movie will soon be available online, but we went the old-fashioned way: a big box of popcorn and a large screen.
A few weeks ago, I learned of the movie from reading a review by Professor Victor Davis Hanson:
Within days of Churchill taking office, all of what is now the European Union either would be in Hitler’s hands or could be considered pro-Nazi “neutral.”
“Darkest Hour” gets its title from the understandable depression that had spread throughout the British government.  Members of Churchill’s new War Cabinet wanted to sue for peace.  Chamberlain and senior conservative politician Edward Wood both considered Churchill unhinged for believing [that] Britain could survive.
Both appeasers dreamed that thuggish Italian dictator Benito Mussolini might be persuaded to beg Hitler to call off his planned invasion of Great Britain.  They dreamed [that] Mussolini could save a shred of English dignity through an arranged British surrender. 
Not Churchill.
The movie does have a bit of fantasy: the subway ride, when P.M. Churchill meets constituents who are in no mood to surrender or cut deals with Hitler.  While it did not happen that way, the British willingness to fight and defend their homeland was no fantasy.  It became clear when P.M. Churchill spoke to the Parliament.
Let me leave you with a few other impressions.
First, you will love Mrs. Churchill.
Second, I was reminded of recent examples of presidential leadership, from President Bush going against conventional wisdom and doing the surge in Iraq in 2007 to President Reagan overruling his diplomats and calling on “Mr. Gorbachev” to “tear down this wall.”
Third, do you think the modern U.K. would recognize the fighting spirit of its great grandparents in 1940?  I don’t think so.  That may be the most depressing part of the story. 
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