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They are sending our jobs overseas. Absolutely. May 24, 2018

Posted by hslu in 特朗普, 美國, Economics, Globlization, jobs, Trump, 川普.
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Source: Vox

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Let there be no doubt that everyone knows Harley Davidson is a pro-Trump and a pro-Republican Party company. Most people working for HOG probably voted for Trump in 2016 and most HOG employees and HOG bike riders are the ones who kept Trump’s ratings at 40% since Trump won the 2016 election.

We also know that Republican Party successfully passed a sweeping tax reform bill which benefited most middle income tax payers, gave Trump’s rich buddies a huge tax cut and added $1.5 trillion to the national debt. Further more, the same tax bill cut corporate federal tax rate from ~35% to 21% hoping to make American companies more competitive on the world market. The lower tax rate also encourages companies make capital investments to give American economy a boost.

So what did Harley Davidson do after they got the tax cut?

The closed a factory in Kansas, laid off 800 employees and gave stock holders a $700 million gift in stock buyback and dividends.

How do you like that if you own HOG stocks?

Source: Google

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But, when your job just disappeared and at the same time HD is opening up a new plant in Thailand, you suddenly realized that none of that tax savings Trump had promised meant anything to you at all.

Source: Google

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The bottom line: You are too expensive and as such you are expandable.

Globalization + capitalism = blue collar jobs moving to overseas.

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China vs Trump April 23, 2018

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, 特朗普, 美國, Economics, jobs, Taiwan, Trade, Trump, 台灣, 川普, 中國.
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https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/trump-china-trade-war-lose-by-jeffrey-frankel-2018-04

The author discusses reasons “why” China WON’T yeield to Trump’s trade war.

The key points of the article are:

  • Being the surplus country, China is in a stronger position over the U.S. because China has accumulated a stronger financial claims against America.
  • Tariffs will hurt America people more: U.S. companies will be forced to raise prices as input become more expensive.
  • Industries and consumers in China will suffer too but Chinese government, if it chooses to, can overrule interest groups and stifle protests more easily.
  • Public opinion in China will back retaliation against the U.S. because Chinese people remember well the Opium Wars, the Unequal Treaties and foreign invations in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Stand up against Trump will help overcome the legacy of China’s “century of humiliation” instigated by foreign countries including the U.S.
  • Trump’s flip-flop in matters big and small gives China little incentive to bother with making a deal with Trump.
  • China can offer Trump face saving way out of his trade war by exporting less to the U.S. directly while routing products through other countries where final assembly takes place, e.g., Taiwan.
  • Moves like this will satify Trump’s demand to reduce bilateral merchandise trade deficit but will not improve America’s external balance, output, trade deficits, employment or real wages.
  • No amount of Trump’s gleeful photo ops, self-congratulatory tweets, or triumphant Fox News reports will change that.

Blame it on Trump March 22, 2018

Posted by hslu in China, 特朗普, 美國, Economics, Global Affair, Globlization, jobs, Trade, U.S. Foreign Policy, 川普, 中國.
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The world markets will crush some more in the days and weeks to come. The severities will hinge on China’s response. If Boeing becomes the primary target of China’s retaliation against Trump’s threat, DJIA will see more triple digit drops because Boeing (BA, $319.61) accounts for 9.4% of the index.

Source: http://indexarb.com/indexComponentWtsDJ.html

What does Trump’s trade war mean to you?

  • Your net worth will decline if you have IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b), SEP-IRA, TSP, FERS or an account with any of the discount brokers.
  • The stuff you buy at your local Walmart and many other companies will be more expensive.
  • America’s trade deficits will go up. It will not go down because import goods will be morr expensive.
  • If you work for Boeing, you might see a pink slip.
  • If you work for any company affected by Trump’s action, you might see a pink slip.
  • Inflation will creep up which might force the Fed to raise interest rate faster than they have planned. The stock and bond markets don’t like that a bit. Your net worth will take more beating.
  • You will hate Trump more and vote Democrat this November. Democrats will control the House and Trump will be impeached next January. Whether Democrats have the majority of the Senate is inconsequential.
  • When the interest rate goes up, the U.S. government will pay more interest on its national debt. As a result, funding for other services has to drop unless America borrows more to pay for them.
  • If China decides to reduce its purchase of U.S. Treasury bonds, interest rates on these government bonds will go up.
  • Interest rate on student loans and credit card balances will go up. You will have less money to spend. You will be poorer than before.

If global recession comes as a result of Trump’s unilateral action on tariff, the pain on stock markets will spread far and wide.

But, is a recession likely because of a global trade war?

Consider this: In a trade war, America’s trading partners will export less and they will definitely purchase less from America.

The bottom line is: you lose whether you like Trump or not.

And what’s going to happen to Trump? Mueller is digging a hole for Trump to jump in. Trump is digging another hole for him as a backup.

臺灣的經濟有問題? November 2, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, Japan, jobs, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel, 台灣, 台北.
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看看這幾張相片,你覺得臺灣的年輕人有”沒錢花”的問題嗎?你看到幾個頭髮斑白的老家伙嗎?

這是上個禮拜六 (2017/10/28) 在台北市信義區 101 大樓邊上,世貿一館舉行的國際旅遊展。最多的旅遊地點就是日本,韓國和東南亞的幾個國家。日本有名的大城市或是無名的鄉下都有地方可以讓你去花台幣。可惜的是這些人都帶著新臺幣去國外替別的國家製造工作機會去了。

這些人在等著不要錢的獎品。

表演完了就是發獎品的時候。

除了獎品還是獎品。

請問你,你可曾看過這種空前絕後的盛況過嗎?在展覽館裏面,想要殺出一條血路都不容易。要知道,這不是一個免費的展覽:$200一張票。65歲以上的老家伙$150。負責管我們排隊的小姐說:沒有免費的票。要進去,先花錢。

你說這種人山人海的樣子是拿22K的年輕人或是拿$45K平均薪水的人能夠負擔的嗎?總不會這些人都給臺積電做事吧?

我們花了$350 (差不多$12美金),進去逛了一圈,不到一個鐘頭。裏面擠的要死,問了幾個問題,吃了半個不要錢的,很小的,不怎麽甜的冰淇淋,拿了一大堆廣告就出來了。結果裏面沒有免費的點心,好的袋子都發完了。沒什麽意思。

出來以後,我只有一個問題:臺灣的經濟不是不好嗎?

我想了一想,雖然這些人拿著不多的工資,可是他們兩個人過的還算可以。-他們沒有孩子,不用付孩子的學費,房子很小,不到600平方英尺,裝修便宜,也不用付很多錢買傢具,

Talent drain will sink America fast April 18, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs, Technology, Trump.
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Trump got it backwards. His order will back fire.

It will send more qualified high tech workers back to their own country.

Automation=fewer jobs March 28, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs, Trump.
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Common sense. But Trump didn’t tell you that.

Source: Fox News

Source: Fox News

Just like the auto factories in Detroit where robots replaced union workers on the assembly line, automation on port terminals will do the same for the dock jobs. In time, many of these jobs will be gone too. 
Other everyday examples are many: cashier jobs lost to the self checkout machines at Walmart and your local grocery stores, bank teller jobs lost to ATMs and waiter and waitress jobs to the self-ordering kiosks at restaurants, McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast food joints. 

Even lawyers’p jobs aren’t safe because AI can provide basic law information better than young lawyers can. And AI can do it more accurately.

These are the jobs Trump won’t be able to save and it has nothing to do with globlization. 

The trend can not be stopped no matter how many sound bites or tweets Trump delivers. It’s like a tsunami which will hit American jobs hard.

It’s time to use robots to replace government jobs. Robots are friendlier than government employees. They are more efficient. They don’t need breaks and they don’t need vacation or sick leaves. They don’t need 403 (b) and they don’t complain. They don’t have family problems and they don’t call in sick at the last minute. They are on time and they don’t need overtime pays either. In addition, they won’t get pregnant, ever.

Will we ever have a robot in the White House? 

At least, it won’t tweet anything about Obama, Ryan or even the Freedom Caucus in the middle of the night.

Maybe Star Trek’s Data should seriously consider the offer.

Ghost shopping malls in the U.S. March 23, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs.
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The Fed has just raised the key federal funds rate by 25 basis points, citing improvements in the labor market and rosy economic indicators. Two more rate hikes are widely expected before the end of 2017.

Indeed, the latest unemployment rate data shows that the U.S. is almost at full employment with unemployment rate at 4.7% as of 3/10/2917. In other words, according to the U3 data, most people who want a job have a job: washing dishes, flipping hambergers, driving for Uber, waiting tables at local diners or walking dogs for the top 1% in NYC near Trump Tower. 

We are not going to quibble about the U6 number because the media doesn’t report it and most Americans have never heard of it anyway.

To me, 4.7% U3 means people’s pockets are stuffed with $100 bills. They are happy. They are satisfied with their lives. They go out for beer and lobsters. They fly to exotic resorts for vacations. Of course, they buy stuff they want instead of what they need. They might save a penny here or a quarter there. They are confident in their future according tow the latest consumer confidence survey results.

But, according to this 3/23/2017 thestreet.com article on Yahoo Finance and other sources on the web, why are these U.S. retailers closing hundreds of their stores all over the United States?

Are people having less money because their jobs aren’t paying enough?
Are Amazon and eBay so successful selling almost everything on the Web that they ripped the faces off these once untouchable giants?

Have their profit margins been squeezed by higher costs because China has been exporting inflation to the world?

Do these big and small retailers simply lose touch with the changing spending habits of the consumers?

Do baby boomers stop buying from them because they only have enough to pay for medicines and food?

Or could the reason be as simple as America simply has too many shopping centers?

Whatever the reason, real estate operators in the U.S. will need to adopt and modify their operations so that they don’t end up with ghost shopping malls on their portfolio. 

Here are the known store closings for 2017. The list is long and no doubt that you have been to many of thrm:

  • JCPenney – 138 stores
  • Sears and K Mart  – 150 stores
  • Macy’s – 100 stores
  • Foot Locker – 151 stores
  • Kohl’s – 16 stores
  • CVS – 70 stores
  • Office Depot – 198 stores
  • Radio Shack – 552 stores
  • Family Christian – 240 stores
  • HHGregg – 88 stores
  • Pier One Imports – 100 stores
  • Staples – 118 stores
  • Tiffany – 11 stores
  • Bebe – 170 stores
  • Payless – 500 stores
  • Abercrombie and Fitch – 54 stores
  • Guess – 60 stores
  • Crocs – 160 stores
  • BCBG   Maxzaria – 118 stores
  • The Limited – 250 stores
  • Wet Seals – 171 stores
  • American Apparel – 110 stores

All together, there will be roughly 3,500 empty retail spaces across the U.S. To make the matter worse, WalMart reportly will close 269 stores in 2017. 

With so many stores closing up in 2017, how many employees will lose their jobs? 

Is America’s economy really that good?

供過於求 March 22, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs, Taiwan, 林口.
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從都市計劃的角度來看,臺灣許多城市好像沒有把住家和商店以及住家和工廠分開的觀念。

臺灣因為地方小,入口多,市區裏有許多三,四十層的高樓大廈和十幾,二十層的中高電梯華廈。其他像五,六層高的老公寓和四,五層的透天厝,比比皆是。真正獨門獨戶,門禁森嚴的豪宅,只有億萬富豪,電影明星和不知廉恥的貪官污吏才住得起。而最讓我覺得不解的是,幾乎每一棟樓房,不論高矮,不論地方,大樓最底下的第一層都是商店。當然,台北蛋黃區的帝寶下面不是商店。有錢人不允許。這是一個例外。

當然,對一般民眾來說,商店就在樓下,他們的生活起居就方便的多了。肚子餓了,去樓下轉角的滷肉飯攤子買一個套餐回來吃。衛生紙沒有了,全家就在對面。水果剛剛吃完,頂好在隔壁一條街上。如果你想買活魚,豬肉和魚丸,走個五分鐘,夜市就在公園的後面。你要燒餅,你要麪包,你要魷魚羮,走路五分鐘左右都有的賣。五金行,床單,化妝品,醫生診所和房地產中介公司全都不遠。有些地方,修車廠就在住宅大樓和餐館邊上。大小不同的倉庫,接收破銅爛鐵的小工廠也不遠。在龜山 (林口在新北市,高速公路另外一邊是龜山。它屬於桃園市) 還有一個煉油工廠。高高的煙囪不斷的冒著白茫茫的煙。長庚醫院就在煉油廠不遠。可能是因為臺灣地小,這個煉油廠很早以前就蓋了。現在也沒法拆。好在林口離它很遠,風向也不對,吹不到我們這裏。

不過,我這個觀察只限於幾個我去過的城市:台北,台中,林口,板橋,宜蘭和桃園,其他地方說不定不一樣。所以,我並不能以偏概全。這一點需要說明。

在人口集中的地方,這種安排可以滿足市場的需要,店家每個月要付的租金也不是問題。可是,臺灣到處都是店面,市場怎麼能夠吸收這麽多的商業地產呢?難道,這些空的店面不需要付銀行貸款嗎?銀行的呆賬怎麽能夠解決呢?

這是林口最大的社區:遠雄大未來。可能有三千戶人家。這是林口裏面比較熱鬧的地方。十幾個餐館,幾個咖啡廳和三個7-11在這裏。

黃昏市場就是黃昏的時候打烊的意思。早上沒人。商家11點左右陸陸續續來開店。賣菜,賣肉,魚蝦,滷菜,包子,花捲,壽司什麼都有。邊上的大樓就是住家。怎麽樣,沒有比這個更方便了。我可不喜歡這種安排。整天吵死了。市場邊上的火鍋店,咖啡廳和電子商場忙的不得了。

臺灣南部幾個縣市,因為工作機會缺乏,人口流失嚴重,消費市場萎縮,商業地產的空屋率一定會大幅度的增加。這些空房子無人打理,年久失修,不但影響市容,還極度影響臺灣商業貸款市場。

林口的問題好像更嚴重。

你要是買了這種店子,那不是要喝西北風了。別忘了,你每個月還有房貸要交。空在這裏至少一年了。

林口的人口增加率不高,三井 Outlet 雖然帶來不少遊客,但是好像並沒有過多的人想要在林口定居。在比較不熱鬧的街上已經有許多租不出去的店面。新蓋好的大樓下面的店面更是沒有人問津。在附近幾個大樓下的商店生意好像都不是很好。真不知道他們是如何維持的。

民進黨上臺以後,實行一例一休政策,不但影響勞工的工作時間和他們的薪水,也影響事業的成本。這個政策一開始,許多店家馬上改變營業方式。最明顯的就是房地產中介公司和連鎖餐館。本來房地產中介公司晚上十一二點都有人在上班。一例一休以後,有些中介公司關門了。有些中介公司晚上八,九點就收工打烊了。餐館本來開到九點半。現在八點半就熄燈關門了。勞工收入減少,商家生意降低,看起來生意量也會受到不好的影響。
此外,林口還有十幾,二十個二,三十層高的大樓正在興建。這些大樓樓下也有店面。林口還有三千個國民住宅馬上要完工。這些房子是給今年八月份來參加運動大會的選手蓋的。他們用了十幾天以後,這些房子將會變成出租房。這些大樓下面也有新的店面。你只要在街上走一走就知道林口的商業地產完完全全是一個供過於求的窘境。客人多的地方,租金掉不下來。沒有過客的街道,店面租不出去。


就拿我們附近的一棟才蓋好的大樓來說吧。雖然它去年年底才交屋,現在已經有一些住戶搬進去了。樓下有六個店面,每個差不多三,四十坪。去年年底有一個水電行開張做生意。過了農曆年,開了一個麪包店。我們在這裏進進出出不下六七十次,我還沒有看到一個客人。你說怎麽辦?我都替他們擔心。水電行的老闆娘每天晚上九點半都還在店裏。大概他們住在店裏,那就無可厚非了。

在這一棟樓的左邊是一個狗公園 (給狗遊玩和方便用的)。狗公園過街開了一個早餐店,賣比較西式的早餐。我只見過幾個客人。中午根本看不到客人來,下午就打烊了。它邊上有一個名不經傳的房地產中介公司。好像天天都沒人似的。真替他們擔心。

這個兩極極端分化的市場,好像是一個定時炸彈。現在臺灣的利息不但不隨著美國升息而上漲,臺灣的中央銀行還陸續的用降息來刺激人民的消費,維持人民逐漸下降的購買力,確保人民能夠負擔隨著利率而浮動的房貸。

可是,這種假象能夠維持多久呢?

大概我是管閑事吧。

That will be the biggest deal for sure March 8, 2017

Posted by hslu in Debt and deficit, Economics, jobs.
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Higher interest rates are coming thanks to a tighter Fed.

Prime rate will be higher, mortgage interest rate will rise, U.S. dollar will strengthen and interest payment on national debt will gradually take up more of federal government’s tax revenue after FOMC’s highly anticipated move next week.

If the U.S. economy continue to pick up strength and labor force begin to tighten in the coming months, pretty soon we will see 4% handle on the long bonds. But the biggest deal will happen when the Fed begins to shrink its huge fixed income assets on its balance sheet, currently at $4,458,018 million as of March 1, 2017.

You want to buy or sell your houses before it hits the market. Otherwise, you will see a bear market on housing for as long as eye can see into the future.

Believe me, that will be no fun at all if you are facing a market with 6% to 7% mortgage interest rate.

 

錢多,事少,離家近。你要不要? March 1, 2017

Posted by hslu in Economics, jobs, Taipei, Taiwan.
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在臺灣22K的大環境下,三萬二一個月不能算少。如果你覺得三萬二可以,不妨來台北市忠孝SOGO邊上的一家服裝店看看。要快。

依照這個商店前面貼的徵人啟事,除了薪水,還有抽成,獎金,分紅和每個月月休7天。

這家小小的 (四步半寬,十一,二步長,about 9 feet x 24 feet,差不多六坪半) 服裝店在忠孝SOGO的後面一個小巷子裏。它看得到SOGO,走路最多兩分鐘,附近的生活機能特佳。如果在這附近一個六層高,三,四十年的老公寓租一個小小的,差不多六坪的套房,大概只要一萬到一萬二一個月。如果嫌這裏貴,我猜,在板橋或文山區租一個小小的套房(六坪)大概八千塊一個月就可以搞定了。坐地鐵從那裏,不到二十五分鐘就可以到忠孝復興地鐵站。中間不用換車,方便的很。吃飯八千一個月,最多一萬。地鐵月票也不是很貴。三萬二一個月還可以存一點錢。剛剛出社會,還可以吧。要是我,我要了。
在臺灣,只要在自己住家的樓下或附近巷子裏有一個” 7″(7-11也) 和幾個路邊的小餐館或地攤小吃店就是生活機能不錯的地方。如果有個超市,那就生活機能美滿無缺了。還有,沒有電梯,不超過六層,可能又髒,又舊,又亂的老房子(三,四十年的國民住宅)就叫公寓。有電梯,超過六層的,就叫電梯大樓。套房是小坪數,大概六到十坪吧,小隔間,沒廚房,只有一張床,一個書桌,一張椅子,一個廁所和一個洗澡間。有沒有窗戶不重要。

照我推想,臺灣經濟這麽不好,這麽好的一個美差事,徵人啟事一貼出來,門口一定有七,八個年輕貌美,打扮時髦,貼著長長睫毛的小姐等著應徵,恨不得明天就來上班,怎麼這個啟事還輪得到被我看到?難道它找不到適當的人嗎?難道年輕的姑娘嫌三萬二的薪水太低?是不是工作時間太長,還是月休七天不夠多?實在令我想不通。

要不然就是許多住在爸爸媽媽家裏的台北小姐,家裏的生活優裕,隨隨便便在台北有一個房子就值兩,三千萬,根本不稀罕這份工作,也不需要這份工作。要不然她們為什麼不來應徵?

說不定,在台北工作的許多基本勞工,大部分是從南部來的。他們在南部找不到事,許多人就跑到台北或新北市來找22K的事。這些人做一輩子也沒有辦法在台北或新北市買個房子。

可是,我們剛剛走過復興南路的一家卡拉OK店。晚上八點半,大廳裏金碧輝煌,裏面和外面擠滿了年輕人。一眼看過去,至少有四十個人,等著去唱歌。幾年以前,孩子帶我們來過忠孝東路上的一家卡拉OK,我記得它貴的不得了。這些孩子都沒有成年,怎麼有錢來這種地方?誰說臺灣經濟不好的,不妨來這裏或仁愛路的豪宅看一看。鈔票簡直是滿天飛舞,就等人來撿。
不過,話說回來,臺灣的年輕人確實是這臺灣個畸形社會的二等公民。他們仰仗超級有錢人的施捨過日子,就像美國的 99% 看 Wall Street 和聯邦政府的貴族施捨過日子。

三萬二就來做吧。每個月存一萬,兩百個月才能夠存到一個房子的頭款。買個二十坪的老公寓,公社比小,湊合著用吧。小姑娘能夠找一個有出息的帥哥,老實的男生能找一個不愛虛榮的小姐就不錯了。

可是,臺灣光明的美景,卻在一個黑暗的陰影籠罩著。美國經濟如果起飛,那美國的利息一定會漲。但願臺灣的利息不要漲的太高,要不然我們拿三萬二的帥哥和美女就沒希望買房子了。

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