Fact Check on NATO debt


Staff & Wire Reports



President Donald Trump and Melania Trump walks from Air Force One at Melsbroek Air Base, Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Donald Trump and Melania Trump walks from Air Force One at Melsbroek Air Base, Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


NEWS

AP FACT CHECK: Trump keeps promoting myth about NATO debt

By CALVIN WOODWARD

Associated Press

Wednesday, July 11

WASHINGTON (AP) — In Brussels for the NATO summit, President Donald Trump continues to falsely suggest that members of the alliance owe money to the U.S. and the mutual-defense organization.

Meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, Trump said: “Many countries are not paying what they should. And, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them. So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you’ll just add it all up. It’s massive amounts of money is owed.”

His comments followed a Tuesday tweet: “Many countries in NATO, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of 2% (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made. Will they reimburse the U.S.?”

THE FACTS: There is no such debt to the U.S. or to NATO. Therefore, no delinquency or question of payment.

In 2014, before Trump was president, NATO members agreed to stop cutting their military budgets and set a goal of moving “toward” spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on their own defense — by 2024. It was not a “commitment,” not a direct contribution to NATO, not a payment owed to the U.S., and not something that alliance members pledged to achieve immediately.

Trump is right that most NATO members are spending less than 2 percent of their GDP on their defense budget, though more are moving in that direction.

Trump has assailed NATO members such as Germany for lagging on their military budgets while he has simultaneously taken credit for progress on that front. He has repeatedly claimed that because of his pressure, “billions and billions of dollars are pouring in,” which is also not true, because there is no such fund for money to pour into.

It’s true the U.S. is “expected to defend” fellow NATO members when they are threatened. It’s equally the case that NATO partners are expected to defend the U.S. if threatened. Article 5, the collective defense portion of the North Atlantic Treaty has been invoked just once — following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

U.S. spending constitutes well over a majority of the alliance’s overall spending on defense, which NATO acknowledges results in an “over-reliance” on the U.S. for capabilities like intelligence and aerial refueling. Previous U.S. leaders have also called on NATO members to boost their defense spending to minimize the imbalance.

NATO does have a shared budget to which each member makes contributions based on the size of its economy. The United States, with the biggest economy, pays the biggest share — 22.1 percent. Four European members — Germany, France, Britain and Italy — combined pay 43.8 percent of the total. The smaller countries pay smaller shares. The funds, totaling about $3 billion this year, are used to run NATO’s headquarters and to pay certain other civilian and military costs. No member is known to be in arrears.

AP National Security Writer Robert Burns and AP writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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VIEWS

Opinion: National Security Depends on Fuel Security

By Paul Stockton

InsideSources.com

When I joined the Pentagon in 2009 as assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs, I received a rude awakening. The Defense Science Board had just issued a study — “More Fight, Less Fuel” — that found “military installations are almost completely dependent on a fragile and vulnerable power grid, placing critical military and homeland defense missions at unacceptable risk of extended outage.”

Since that time, power companies have partnered with the Department of Energy to make enormous progress in strengthening grid resilience. But this is no time to pat ourselves on the back. Adversary capabilities have improved at least as quickly. Our enemies are seeking to embed increasingly sophisticated malware on grid networks, preparing the battlefield so they can strike at any moment they choose.

Two months ago, the Department of Homeland Security warned that Russia has a campaign underway to compromise energy infrastructure and threaten the “safety, security, and economic well-being of the United States.” Grid owners and operators must continue ramping up protection measures to stay ahead of this intensifying threat.

Yet, the more that power companies strengthen the resilience of their systems, the greater the danger that adversaries create catastrophic blackouts indirectly — that is, by attacking the flow of fuel on which power generation depends. Nuclear power plants have sufficient fuel stored on-site to operate for months. However, in many regions of the United States, natural gas-fired generators provide the predominant source of power. If adversaries can disrupt the flow of that gas, the resulting loss of power could have devastating effects on U.S. national security.

The vulnerability of natural gas infrastructure is of growing concern to members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Earlier this month, Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Richard Glick concluded that given the “the growing cyber security threat to gas pipelines,” regulators should develop and impose mandatory cybersecurity standards on natural gas systems, equivalent to those that already help strengthen the resilience of the electric grid. Combined with additional voluntary measures, such standards could help reduce the risk that adversaries will maneuver around the grid’s increasingly stringent defenses, and attack gas systems as a means to disrupt electric service.

Two other initiatives could also help defeat fuel-based attacks on the grid.

—First, power companies and natural gas system operators need a more detailed, government-provided assessment of the threats they face. A range of federal agencies have information sharing mechanisms to support the energy sector.

However, a number of electric companies emphasize that they lack the classified information they need to assess fully the cyber threats to their own systems and to the gas infrastructure on which they depend. The Department of Energy and FERC should consider providing gas and electric companies with a design basis threat — that is, an assessment of the scale and severity of the cyber and physical threats their systems must be able to survive.

Nuclear power plants already benefit from such government-provided guidance to help harden their systems against attack. An equivalent design basis threat for the energy sector could help infrastructure owners and operators assess their vulnerabilities to attack and develop measures to fill the gaps they identify.

—Second, FERC and the Department of Energy should take steps to halt the premature retirement of nuclear power plants. Energy market prices must reflect all costs of production, and should compensate nuclear plants for the resilience and environmental benefits they bring to customers. FERC should immediately order the regional markets to update their pricing rules to reflect these considerations. FERC should also defend states’ fundamental rights to protect their citizens from pollution by adopting state clean energy standards.

Furthermore, I strongly believe that the cost of carbon pollution must be reflected in markets, and support federal, state and regional efforts to do just that.

With the recently announced early closures of nuclear power plants, the risks to U.S. grid resilience are only increasing. We just passed the one-year anniversary of the announcement to close Three Mile Island prematurely in the fall of 2019. Compounded with FirstEnergy’s recent announcement of its three planned closures, these four early retirements may negate about a quarter-century of progress in renewable generation, increasing carbon emissions by nearly 21 million metric tons annually.

Our country’s energy mix of diverse fuel sources was built not only as an economic solution but also as a strategic national security imperative. If we let market forces — which do not factor in security, let alone the low-carbon choices — determine the reliability and resilience of our grid, we are unnecessarily putting our economy, national security, and public health and safety at risk.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Paul Stockton is the managing director of the economic and security advisory firm Sonecon LLC. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Opinion: Ignore Emerging Market Economies at Your Peril

By Desmond Lachman

InsideSources.com

Judging by U.S. policymakers’ seeming indifference to the emerging market economies in setting economic policy, one might be forgiven for thinking that those economies constitute a small part of the global economy. Yet, according to the International Monetary Fund, the emerging market economies now account for over half of the world economy. At the same time, their governments and their corporations are hugely indebted to the global financial system as they have never been before.

This has to make one think that the administration and the Federal Reserve are ignoring at their peril the adverse effect of monetary, fiscal and trade policies on the emerging market economies. This is particularly the case at a time when all too many of these larger economies like Argentina, Brazil, China, South Africa and Turkey face daunting economic challenges and considerable political uncertainty.

Should those economies falter as a result of U.S. policies, given their combined size, they could materially impact both the U.S. and the world’s economic and financial systems.

According to a Wall Street adage, when the winds are strong, even turkeys fly. By this is meant that when money is easily available in the global financial market, even borrowers with the weakest of economic fundamentals can borrow and thrive. However, once that liquidity dries up, the weakest borrowers come crashing down as they face difficulty in financing their deficits and in rolling over their debt.

This adage might have particular relevance for today’s emerging market economic outlook. This would seem to be particularly the case at a time when many years of ultra-easy global liquidity conditions are coming to an end and when those easy money conditions lulled emerging market policymakers to be very much less disciplined in their economic policies at home.

During the years when the world’s major central banks maintained extraordinarily low interest rates and expanded the combined size of their balance sheets by $10 trillion, the emerging market economies had little difficulty in tapping the international capital market.

Indeed, between 2008 and 2017, emerging market companies managed to increase their borrowing by $15 trillion. In the process, they more than doubled their overall indebtedness to a staggering $25 trillion. And they did so at very low interest rates that did not nearly compensate investors for the default risk associated with that borrowing.

Equally striking is the fact that last year, when global liquidity was still unusually ample, a country with as checkered a default record as Argentina could issue a 100-year bond on relatively favorable terms. Similarly, eyebrows might be raised by the fact that global investors eagerly snapped up sovereign bond issues by countries with as dubious economic and political fundamentals as Iraq, Kenya, Mongolia and Tajikistan.

Sadly, for the emerging market economies the strong winds of very easy global liquidity conditions are now rapidly dying. The Federal Reserve is now well on its way to normalizing interest rates and to reducing the size of its balance sheet. At the same time, the European Central Bank has announced that it will stop its quantitative easing program by year’s end.

Further clouding the emerging market outlook is the pursuit of an expansive fiscal policy by the Trump administration at this late stage in the U.S. economic cycle. By putting upward pressure on U.S. interest rates and the dollar, that fiscal policy reinforces the capital flow reversal from the emerging markets already being induced by the more attractive interest now on offer on U.S. Treasury issues.

The last thing that the emerging market economies now need is a slowing in the Chinese economy and a depreciation of its currency. Not only would that crimp demand for international commodities, which is the lifeblood of many emerging-market economies. It would also heighten the risk that China and the United States would drift further toward a full-scale trade and currency war that might derail the global economic recovery.

Yet, it is difficult to see how China can succeed in avoiding a slowing in its economy and a weakening in its currency as it tries to address its own domestic credit bubble of epic proportions. This would seem to be especially the case at a time when its economy is also being adversely affected by a very much more restrictive U.S. trade policy.

It is hoped the recent large movements in the currencies of Argentina, Brazil, China, South Africa and Turkey will alert policymakers to the fragility of the emerging market economies and to their importance for the U.S. economic outlook.

However, in light of the latest America First trade measures and of Chairman Jerome Powell’s recent pronouncements that the emerging market economies are not a factor in the Fed’s monetary policy decisions, I am not holding my breath for the emerging market economies to get any relief from U.S. economic policy decisions.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Desmond Lachman is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Opinion: Children’s Programming Rules are a Vestige of the Past

By Liam Sigaud

InsideSources.com

Once again, government regulators are struggling to keep up with the pace of innovation. While children’s access to educational content through the internet and mobile devices has advanced at a mind-boggling speed over the last two decades, federal rules forcing television broadcasters to air programs for children subject to regulations have remained unaltered.

But that might be about to change on Thursday as the FCC considers some much-needed revisions to these so-called “Kid Vid” rules during this month’s Open Commission Meeting.

The rules require local broadcasters to air at least three hours of children’s educational content per week over a six-month period between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. The shows must run at least 30 minutes and be regularly scheduled at least weekly.

The motivation behind the rules, to enrich children’s learning experiences, remains a laudable goal. But the internet has revolutionized the educational and digital landscape, and the way children consume content has shifted radically in recent years.

In 2015, 94 percent of children had a computer in the home, and the vast majority had internet access. Last year, a national survey revealed that 98 percent of households with children had a smartphone or tablet. At the same time, children’s time spent watching broadcast TV is declining rapidly.

When the “Kid Vid” rules were adopted more than 20 years ago, its authors could not have imagined the explosion of educational content that would be catalyzed by the growth of the internet. Parents now have a nearly limitless variety of educational programs to choose from through YouTube, Netflix and myriad other online platforms.

And there is no evidence to suggest the “Kid Vid” rules caused any improvements in the quality of children’s programming on broadcast stations, or that they are directly responsible for developmental or educational benefits to child audiences.

Unfortunately, “Kid Vid” rules continue to distort the market for broadcast television while reducing consumer welfare.

Broadcasters are required to file significant amounts of paperwork to demonstrate their compliance with “Kid Vid” rules. In the first quarter of 2017, for instance, a group that owns 15 local TV stations submitted 473 pages to the FCC describing what children’s programming they had aired. Since programming guides are easily accessible to TV viewers, the justification for these costly and burdensome requirements is tenuous at best. Forcing broadcasters to spend countless hours complying with these rules detracts from their ability to invest in other platforms, like websites and mobile apps, that children are increasingly using to absorb educational material.

Perhaps most important, “Kid Vid” rules actually undermine the goal of bringing high quality educational content to children. In fact, some children programming, such as the once popular Schoolhouse Rock, was cancelled because it did not qualify as educational.

Since shows must be at least 30 minutes long and only regularly scheduled programming can be used to satisfy “Kid Vid” requirements, broadcasters are discouraged from airing short educational videos that might better capitalize on children’s short attention spans. Similarly, television stations have a disincentive to air children’s specials, despite their popularity.

“Kid Vid” rules squeeze some local stations’ schedules so tightly that broadcasters in some areas have eliminated local newscasts in order to make time to satisfy “Kid Vid” requirements. This artificially distorts the market, preventing programming decisions based on audience demand and interests. As a result, viewership declines and broadcasters have fewer resources to invest in quality content.

It’s clear that “Kid Vid” rules no longer apply to the realities of the 21st century. Consumers should welcome the FCC’s interest in revising them.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Liam Sigaud writes for the American Consumer Institute, a nonprofit educational and research organization. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Opinion: Snares to Beware in Potential Labor-Education Merger

By Robert Holland

InsideSources.com

By far, the biggest, boldest move under the Trump administration’s proposed executive-branch reorganization would be consolidation of the departments of Education and Labor, two behemoths of social policy. Given combined annual spending close to $90 billion (with Education devouring two-thirds of that) and employment of 22,000, this duo is fertile ground for cost-cutting.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has indicated that eliminating duplicative job-training programs is a major rationale. More than 40 workforce-development programs sprawl across 15 different federal agencies, complicating the efforts of job seekers or employers to find help — if any exists within this vast federal maze. Numerous studies have given federal job training low grades; however, if the feds should remain in this field, instead of turning it over totally to the private sector, combining it within one department would make sense.

The merger has the appeal of seemingly making the Education Department finally go away, after nearly four decades of churning out mandates that have stifled education creativity and stagnated achievement, instead of stimulating it.

Ah, but would it really be “leaving”? There are potential snares to beware.

The proposed name of the new beast, the Department of Education and the Workforce, sends chills down the spines of proponents of limited government, many of whom recall the many disastrous education-labor programs that have been implemented in recent decades, including Outcome-Based Education, Goals 2000, School to Work, and the (Labor) Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS).

A de facto merger of the Labor and Education departments went well down the track during the 1990s presidency of Bill Clinton, during which Hillary Clinton became a key player in concocting schemes to nationalize education and plug it into fulfilling the needs of a government-managed workforce. Indeed, it was amusing when partisans from the left reacted harshly to the Trump administration’s proposed combining of Labor and Education.

Perhaps the vitriolic reaction from Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez and National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia owed in part to anxiety about losing their bureaucratic babies. Perez, after all, was labor secretary in the Obama administration. As for Eskelsen Garcia’s angst, creation of the Department of Education was President Jimmy Carter’s payoff to the NEA for its support and it is a gift that keeps on giving to the national teacher union. Nevertheless both Labor and the NEA were big supporters of the Clintons’ 1990s dream of having national labor policy drive education under a unitary set of national standards — something the Trump reorganization, however unintentionally, might make easier to accomplish.

In my 1995 book “Not With My Child, You Don’t,” I did my best to expose the plan in all its complexity. In some ways it is as pertinent today as it was 23 years ago, because large segments of the Clintons’ utilitarian scheme are still alive in the Common Core standards most states still use.

The SCANS blueprints, which Hillary helped initiate, give an idea of the scope of the labor-education nexus. The labor secretary’s plan envisions replacement of report cards with student resumes rating their “workforce competencies,” such as interpersonal skills, systems thinking, self-esteem, sociability, self-management, and honesty. One SCANS blueprint flatly asserted that “all school systems should make the SCANS skills and workplace competencies explicit objectives of instruction at all levels.”

Elsewhere, the blueprint called for collecting data on students’ personal qualities and making that information available to prospective employers. The School-to-Work law anticipated steering students, from an early age, toward jobs aligning with national workforce goals.

The Constitution simply does not grant the federal government the authority to manipulate education to statist specifications. The 10th Amendment reserves power over education to the states, or to the people.

Of course there is no reason to believe President Trump or Mulvaney have any desire to breathe life into Hillary’s ultra-intrusive scheme. The problem is that the Department of Education and the Workforce would continue into succeeding administrations. All the SCANS blueprints remain active on government websites, and may well be feeding into such new atrocities as assessing children’s social and emotional qualities. Common Core lingers like a bad cough that won’t go away.

In my view, the most logical plan for assigning USED to the dustbin of history came in a simple resolution offered last year by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky, setting a date certain for its termination. Prior to that deadline, Congress and the states could decide which parts of USED, if any, might be parceled to other federal agencies or devolved to local or state jurisdictions. Much surely could be eliminated, with education all the better for it. There just shouldn’t be room left for a “Nightmare on Elm Street” scenario.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Robert Holland (holland@heartland.org) is a senior fellow for education policy with The Heartland Institute. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

OHIO NEWS

43 students participate in Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s ExploreAg program

COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) – Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s ExploreAg program kicked off in June with 43 high school students from across the state learning about the rewarding careers available in the food, fuel and fiber industries.

ExploreAg is a signature project of the foundation’s Fisher Fund, named after former Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jack Fisher. The foundation has committed $125,000 to the first two years of ExploreAg, which introduces students to the many career opportunities that are in high demand in the agriculture industry.

The students stayed a week on Ohio State University’s main campus or at its Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster where they learned from experts about what the agriculture careers of today and tomorrow look like. The students, who are considering careers in science, technology or engineering, visited college labs, farm fields and factories. Subject matter included food science, precision agriculture, animal sciences, natural resources, management skills, technology and agricultural business.

“We believe that the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation can serve as a significant catalyst to attract young people to careers in agriculture,” said Chris Baker, Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation’s executive director. “By funding programs like ExploreAg, we hope to connect the younger generation’s passions for science and technology with the tremendous career opportunities that exist in food and agriculture.”

Participants in the two ExploreAg camps were Jessie Abke of Shelby County;

Desirae Allen, Matthew Byler, Lorenzo Szewczyk, Colby Turon and Mattie Wakefield of Trumbull County; Meghan Bhanoo, Francesca Carlo and Jenna Lusk of Cuyahoga County; Cale Bible of Coshocton County; Amina Blount, Evers Brandt, Turner Burns, Aurius Calloway, Gabriela Gant, Luke Jackson and Brianna Pecourt of Franklin County; Graham Carson and Gabe Pickerill of Fayette County; Anna Cox of Tuscarawas County; Anya Demshar of Lake County; Caleb Durheim and Garrett Harsh of Delaware County; Clarence Durliat and Josiah McKeown of Hancock County; Cassian Filbrun, Madeline Kellogg and Mason Weber of Ashland County; John Gilbert and Ansley Kozarec of Montgomery County; Maci Haitz of Brown County; Von Herron of Columbiana County; Grant Heuing of Mercer County; Sam Hoffman, Korin Johnson, Keegan Lilly and Kora Lilly of Fairfield County; Eliza Jones of Butler County; Victoria Nash and Bryce Schott of Knox County; Sydney Steinke of Auglaize County; Dean Wolfe of Union County, and Zach Zwiebel of Allen County.

For more information about the ExploreAg program, visit ExploreAg.org.

VIEWS

Opinion: Fixed Wireless Broadband Brings Economic Opportunity to Rural America

By Dean Madison

InsideSources.com

Those of us who live in urban centers take wired and wireless connectivity for granted. We expect to be able to connect to the internet from our homes and from mobile devices wherever we are. Not only do we expect to be able to connect; we also expect the broadband bandwidths that allow us to stream media, chat by video, and access bandwidth-intensive cloud applications.

But millions of Americans don’t have access to broadband. About 23.4 million people who live in rural areas have inadequate access to the internet. Because the United States is so large and because it would be hugely expensive to build out fiber and cable infrastructure in remote areas, many rural dwellers are restricted to bandwidths that were surpassed in urban areas more than a decade ago.

Lack of high-speed access to the internet doesn’t just stop rural populations from streaming Netflix. It deprives them of their share of the economic and social benefits that broadband internet connectivity has brought to the rest of America.

Without broadband, people are denied access to the innovations driven by new communications platforms, cloud applications and educational opportunities.

Cloud-based and mobile applications that rely on broadband have created huge wealth and connectivity, but some areas of the United States can’t take advantage of the business and employment opportunities, the healthcare benefits, and other innovations built on the foundations of high-speed broadband.

The healthcare industry is particularly concerned that lack of rural broadband is denying residents of remote areas access to life-saving and life-improving telemedicine technology. Earlier this year, the American Association of Family Physicians wrote to the FCC, explaining that “telehealth technologies can enhance patient-physician collaborations, increase access to care, improve health outcomes by enabling timely care interventions, and decrease costs when utilized as a component of, and coordinated with, longitudinal care.”

But that may be about to change. Businesses and state and federal government are eager to bring broadband to rural areas. New fixed wireless technologies make rural broadband economically viable.

AT&T has rolled out fixed wireless broadband to more than 160,000 locations across nine states as part of its commitment to the FCC’s Connect America Fund. Microsoft is working with industry leaders on the development of economically viable technologies with the aim of eliminating the rural broadband gap by 2022.

The Trump administration’s $1.3 trillion budget was signed in March and includes $600 million for the Department of Agriculture to create a rural broadband pilot program and extend funding to existing rural broadband programs.

There is a substantial market developing around the provision of broadband services to rural populations based on fixed wireless connectivity, the TV white spaces spectrum, and satellite coverage, technology that is expected to reduce potential infrastructure costs by 80 percent compared to the cost of fiber alone.

Businesses that intend to contribute to the growth of rural broadband or take advantage of the new markets that it opens should begin by cultivating an expertise in these emerging technologies through strategic executive hiring and technical training.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Dean Madison is the president of TD Madison & Associates, which focuses on the cable and telecom industries. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

Opinion: Real Coke and Car Tariffs

By Eric Peters

InsideSources.com

Real Coke — the most American of sodas — comes nowadays from Mexico. I mean of course the stuff made with sugar and put into glass bottles, the way Coke was once made and sold here as opposed to the high-fructose corn (HFC) syrup sweetened sludge (in aluminum cans and plastic bottles) currently sold here.

Interestingly, this is the case because of tariffs.

On cane sugar, which costs artificially more in the United States thanks to tariffs in order to punish the manufacture of “cheap” sugar outside the United States.

It is why American-made soda — not just Coke — is generally sweetened with HFC instead of cane sugar. Almost everything else, too.

The soda sweetener switcheroo happened back in the 1980s. You may be old enough to remember. Real Coke was replaced with New Coke, which was Coke with HFC instead of sugar. Then — after an uproar — came Classic Coke, which wasn’t Coke. Because it was made with HFC, too.

But it was cheaper to make and sell than real Coke with sugar.

Does the tariff on sugar benefit American soda drinkers? Their waistlines — and much-upticked tendency toward obesity and diabetes — provides the answer.

Cheapness — especially when it is artificial — has its price.

Not surprisingly, many people wise to the costs of HFC are willing to pay a little extra to get Mexican Coke — real Coke — made with cane sugar. Or the more expensive boutique sodas which are made here, with artificially expensive cane sugar.

But if it weren’t for the tariffs on sugar, they wouldn’t have to go to Mexico to get a real Coke. They would be able to buy American-made Coke — without HFC. And it wouldn’t be artificially expensive.

No one blames the Mexicans for HFC-laden American-made sodas. The problem is not enough people blame the U.S. government for the fact that they are effectively forced to drink HFC-laden sodas — or pay extra for sodas without the HFC.

The sugar isn’t naturally expensive. But the tariffs are.

Now the Orange One wants to apply tariffs to vehicles, apparently on the same principle — and it will have the same effects.

It his argument, essentially, that vehicles made elsewhere don’t cost enough because they don’t cost as much as it would to make them here.

But why does it cost more to make vehicles here?

Think about the costs associated with relocating an entire manufacturing assembly in another country — and then mull the costs associated with shipping finished vehicles from that foreign country (in some cases, across an ocean) to this country … and it still being a lower-cost deal than it would be to make them here.

Why?

Certainly, labor costs enter into it. But the Mexican line workers in Hermosillo and Silao (where the Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500 pickups are made) are not sweat shop coolies. Ask them. Go see. I have been there. And have. They earn wages equivalent to what U.S. line workers made back in the 1950s, which is enough to sustain a very decent middle-class living, just as U.S. line workers once enjoyed.

Well, before the U.S. unions decided that line workers should be earning an upper middle-class living. Add to this the EPA and OSHA ukase and rigmarole that afflicts manufacturing lines in the United States.

It is why it is easier — cheaper — to hecho things in Mexico and elsewhere, too.

Even China, where GM makes lots of Buicks. China is still a nominally communist country but really it is more of an oligarchical authoritarian capitalist state now — and the workers building Buicks in Shanghai are not sweatshop coolies, either. GM makes Buicks in China rather than Michigan because the Chinese government is — unbelievably, almost — less of a burden, which means lower costs and higher profits, some of which go to higher wages for the Chinese line workers.

Maybe the solution would be to make it easier and cheaper to make things here as well. As opposed to “adjusting” (via tariffs) the cost of things made elsewhere to the same higher level that afflicts things made here. People would have to pay less for stuff, which is the same thing as giving them a substantial raise.

It makes too much sense, I realize.

Almost as much sense as having to buy a Coke made in Mexico to get a real Coke.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Eric Peters is the author of “Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs.” He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

OHIO NEWS

Bay Point Marina Becomes Ohio’s First Platinum Clean Marina

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

July 10, 2018

New certification system recognizes marinas

for overall excellence and efforts

MARBLEHEAD, OH – According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the Bay Point Marina in Marblehead earned Ohio’s first platinum Ohio Clean Marina certification, which is now the highest certification available in the state.

Bay Point Marina is the first marina statewide to participate in the new tiered certification structure offered by the Ohio Clean Marinas Program, which is a partnership between ODNR and the Ohio Sea Grant.

Located at the confluence of Sandusky Bay and the Lake Erie shoreline, Bay Point Marina achieved platinum status by meeting the criteria of the Ohio Clean Marinas Program. Additionally, Bay Point has adopted best management practices in five categories: marina management; habitat and species; employee training and community outreach; resiliency; and boater education.

At the beginning of 2018, the program designed a new certification structure to fit the needs of various marinas throughout the state. Last summer, Ohio Clean Marina staff gathered input from state agencies, topic experts and marinas to formulate new criteria. The new program was piloted at five marinas across the state for evaluation, and the feedback was positive. Today, Ohio marinas are eligible for base, gold or platinum certification.

In conjunction with the new certification structure, the program was awarded a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant through the Great Lakes Clean Marinas Network to develop an “Ideal Clean Marina” rendering. The final product map highlights these best management practices in visual format. It can be found at ohioseagrant.osu.edu/news/2018/s04zd/tiered-clean-marina-certification.

The Ohio Clean Marinas Program recognizes marinas that adopt best management practices to improve the environmental, educational and economic aspects of their operations. The program also administers the Ohio Clean Boater Program, an individual stewardship program encouraging boaters to be more aware of the environmental impact of their boating activities. A program overview and series of YouTube videos on clean boating can be seen at go.osu.edu/CleanMarinasYouTube. People will also find them this summer in the ODNR pavilion at the Ohio State Fair and at the Cedar Point Boat Show in Sandusky.

To learn more, visit ohioseagrant.osu.edu/clean or contact the Ohio Clean Marinas Program at ohiocleanmarinas@osu.edu.

The Ohio Clean Marinas Program is a partnership between Ohio Sea Grant and ODNR, which started in 2005, to recognize marinas that choose to adopt best management practices to improve the environmental, educational and economic aspects of their operations. Financial assistance for the program is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce through the Ohio Coastal Management Program, administered by the ODNR Office of Coastal Management. Additional funding is provided by the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft and Ohio Sea Grant.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

Hilliard Native Participates in World’s Largest International Maritime Warfare Exercise

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class David Wyscaver, Navy Office of Community Outreach

PEARL HARBOR – A 2014 Hilliard Davidson High School graduate and Hilliard, Ohio, native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

Ensign Christopher Taylor is a surface warfare instruction officer aboard USS O’Kane, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A Navy surface warfare instruction officer is responsible for supervising the training and maintenance of various weapons systems onboard the guided missile destroyer.

Taylor applies the lessons he learned from Hilliard to his work in the Navy.

“Being an Eagle Scout (Troop 200) taught me a lot about responsibility and leadership that has helped me during my naval service,” said Taylor.

As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring safety at sea and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

The theme of RIMPAC 2018 is Capable, Adaptive, Partners. The participating nations and forces exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as amphibious, counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.

“I’m looking forward to the gun shoot evolution during the exercise and seeing my junior sailors execute all of their training,” said Taylor.

This is the first time Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating in RIMPAC. Additional firsts include New Zealand serving as sea combat commander and Chile serving as combined force maritime component commander. This is the first time a non-founding RIMPAC nation (Chile) will hold a component commander leadership position.

“I’m most proud of my Naval officer commissioning from Miami University in Ohio,” said Taylor.

Twenty-six nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Taylor and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means not only putting others before yourself but being willing to train the next generation,” said Taylor. “The greatest weapon the Navy has is its sailors, the most valuable asset.”

Additional information about RIMPAC is available at http://www.cpf.navy.mil

President Donald Trump and Melania Trump walks from Air Force One at Melsbroek Air Base, Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/07/web1_120920301-b3d5a944869c47bfa6bdfc236fc30d30.jpgPresident Donald Trump and Melania Trump walks from Air Force One at Melsbroek Air Base, Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Brussels, Belgium. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Staff & Wire Reports