Home » How The West Can Use China’s Economic Slowdown To Win The Electric Car Race

How The West Can Use China’s Economic Slowdown To Win The Electric Car Race

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There’s a constant drumbeat of news around here about how China got a ten-year jump on battery electric vehicles, using their centralized control mechanisms to boost local enterprise and technology. But the same centralized power also led them to enact a “Zero COVID” policy that made the average Chinese citizen dive under the mattress with all their yuan. Can the rest of the world use this conflict to upend China’s advantage? One banker/economist thinks so.

Plus, we’re gonna look at UAW negotiations because the situation with Ford continues to get fascinating, with Fain tossing a Ford deal in the trash but not, notably, tossing Ford under the bus along with Stellantis and GM.

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Countering China’s Advantage Requires A Big Rethink

Byd Yangwang U8 1I’m gonna have to start this dense Friday section with an admission that the article comes from a banker/economist named Adam Posen who is a tad controversial and a person I don’t always agree with. He’s been critical of Bidenomics in a way that’s pretty thoughtful but sort of hand-waves away the deep and entrenched political difficulties. Still, that’s half the fun of being an economist, so it’s hard to be too bothered by this habit.

Plus, when you ignore the extreme difficulties of our political moment, you come up with some real fun ideas.

I agree with Posen that, frankly, we should probably do something (like a carbon tax) that doesn’t reward individual players or technologies but leaves the door open to whatever company or idea can most quickly address the climate crisis. Instead, with the IRA and CHIPS Act, we’ve basically taken the apparent anti-China fervor of one legislator (Sen. Joe Manchin) and the general Bidenesque desire to save a specific type of job (union workers who live in PA, MI, WI, and other swing states) and used to it try to pump money into EVs and American companies.

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This is why, overnight, Teslas suddenly became way cheaper and Hyundai EVs way more expensive. If your main objective is to fight climate change then you don’t really care as much if that tech comes from Vietnam or Stuttgart or even Guangzhou. Obviously, America cares a lot. One of the through-lines from the Trump Administration to the Biden Administration is a tough-nosed approach to China.

Does it have to be this way? Posen has column in the recent Foreign Affairs in which he points out, correctly, that China kinda messed up its own economy and it’s not coming back anytime soon:

What has become clear is that the first quarter of 2020, which saw the onset of COVID, was a point of no return for Chinese economic behavior, which began shifting in 2015, when the state extended its control: since then, bank deposits as a share of GDP have risen by an enormous 50 percent and are staying at that high level. Private-sector consumption of durable goods is down by around a third versus early 2015, continuing to decline since reopening rather than reflecting pent-up demand. Private investment is even weaker, down by a historic two-thirds since the first quarter of 2015, including a decrease of 25 percent since the pandemic started. And both these key forms of private-sector investment continue to trend still further downward.

Posen goes on to point out that being an autocratic regime, the deal the Chinese Communist Party has with the average Chinese citizen is “No politics, no problem.” Basically, if you don’t go in the streets and protest you can keep your business, make some money, and mostly do what you want. COVID was a Wile E. Coyote-looking-down-after-running-off-the-cliff moment and the entire country has responded by holding on to its money. Companies have slowed their investment. The whole place is pretty grim right now, economically.

When an entrenched autocratic regime violates the “no politics, no problem” deal, the economic ramifications are pervasive. Faced with uncertainty beyond their control, people try to self-insure. They hold on to their cash; they invest and spend less than they used to, especially on illiquid assets such as automobiles, small business equipment and facilities, and real estate. Their heightened risk aversion and greater precautionary savings act as a drag on growth, rather like what happens in the aftermath of a financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the government’s ability to steer the economy and protect it from macroeconomic shocks diminishes. Since people know that a given policy could be enforced arbitrarily, that it might be expanded one day and reversed the next, they become less responsive to stimulus plans and the like.

So what does this have to do with electric cars and the economy? What if, instead of being extremely protectionist against China and freaking out over Chinese plants in America, we instead welcomed the investment of Chinese businesses and individuals and welcomed the immigration of skilled Chinese scientists? America benefited greatly from the influx of German and Eastern European labor during and after the Second World War. We could do that again. Plus, rather than reward the Chinese government, it could potentially weaken them. Again, from the lengthy article:

The United States should welcome those savings, along with Chinese businesses, investors, students, and workers who leave in search of greener pastures. But current policies, enacted by both the Trump and the Biden administrations, do the opposite. They seek to close off American universities and companies to Chinese students and workers. They restrict inward foreign investment and capital inflows, and they discourage Chinese companies from moving into the U.S. and allied economies, whether for production or for research and development. They reduce downward pressure on the yuan and diminish, in the eyes of ordinary Chinese people, the contrast between their government’s conduct and that of the United States. These policies should be reversed.

Definitely read the whole article because Posen points out that, of course, we need to be careful about national security and restrict certain investments on those grounds. He also says that we don’t necessarily need to reduce trade barriers (though he clearly wishes we would), but can still undermine the Chinese government and economy by welcoming an inflow of money and tech that will only cause China to be more autocratic and thus look, in the eyes of its citizens, worse than it does right now.

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This could help the United States close the EV gap by bringing battery tech, scientists, and investment into the American EV industry.

It’s a wild reach and I don’t see the United States suddenly reversing this policy, especially with an election on the horizon. Still, it’s an interesting thought, and I don’t wonder if we’ll start seeing companies with less anti-China political rhetoric take up some of the slack.

Slovakia Welcomes Chinese Investment

Gotion VwWhat a weird coincidence! It’s almost as if I was waiting for something like this to happen to bring this point up in a TMD. Reuters has an exclusive report that Chinese battery company Gotion High Tech, which is already partnered with VW, is buying a 25% stake in a Slovak battery company called Inobot.

Inobat said the investment will provide it access to Gotion’s research and development, as well as to the Chinese battery maker’s raw materials including lithium, and to cell production and recycling capabilities. This will accelerate the Slovak startup’s path to mass production.

“Through our joint efforts, we aim to develop and manufacture batteries that will find their way into countless households in Europe,” Gotion CEO Li Zhen said in a statement.

It’s also worth noting that Ford and Gotion are teaming up on a Michigan plant soon.

Ford Calls Out Ford In An Extremely Performative Way

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I pointed out earlier this week that Ford seemed, more than any other automaker, like it was in the best position to secure a deal with a suddenly more militant United Auto Workers union in the face of a potential strike.

We’ve finally got Ford’s opening offer and it’s a start. You can read the whole thing here. Here are the highlights:

After extensive negotiations, Ford has presented a generous offer on the upcoming contract that would provide our hourly employees with 15% guaranteed combined wage increases and lump sums, and improved benefits over the life of the contract.

Wages (including overtime) and lump sum bonuses for Ford’s UAW-represented hourly workers would increase from $78,000 on average in 2022 to $92,000 in the first year of the contract.

On top of $92,000 in wages and bonuses, workers would receive health care coverage worth $17,500 and other benefits worth an additional $20,500 in the first year. Health care for permanent UAW-represented hourly employees would continue to rank in the top 1% of all employer-sponsored medical plans for lowest employee cost sharing.

Full-time permanent Ford employees at the top wage rate could be paid $98,000 – from wages, cost-of-living adjustment bonus, ratification bonus, profit sharing and overtime – in the first year alone.

The big thing to note here, I think, is that Ford is agreeing to get rid of two-tier wages, which the UAW hates, and is willing to give workers a decent amount of money. The catch with Ford, though, is that a lot of the money is in lump sums instead of regular increases tied to the cost of living.

How did Fein respond? He pulled out the trash can. His favorite prop. Seriously, no one has loved banging on a trash can this much since my beloved World Series Champion 2017 Houston Astros.

“UAW family, I know this update is infur-iur-ating. And believe me when I say I’m fed up,” he railed on his livestream. “And one thing I want to tell you is, this trashcan is overflowing with the bullshit The Big 3 continue to peddle.”

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LOL. Is this an act? Does Fein want a strike or is he playing tough just to get his union members to believe him when he ultimately makes a deal? I’m not sure, but something else interesting happened yesterday.

The UAW Files Unfair Labor Practice Charges Against GM And Stellantis… But Not Ford

Shawn Fain UawThe other big news from the UAW yesterday was that Fain also said the UAW filed charges against Stellantis and GM for not trying to come to a deal. Who didn’t get thrown under the bus? Ford.

Here’s how those companies responded to The Detroit News:

“Stellantis has not received the filing but is shocked by Mr. Fain’s claims that we have not bargained in good faith. This is a claim with no basis in fact, and we are disappointed to learn that Mr. Fain is more focused on filing frivolous legal charges than on actual bargaining,” spokesperson Jodi Tinson said in a statement. “We will vigorously defend this charge when the time comes, but right now, we are more focused on continuing to bargain in good faith for a new agreement. We will not allow Mr. Fain’s tactics to distract us from that important work to secure the future for our employees.”

Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of global manufacturing, said in a statement that the Detroit automaker also is “surprised by and strongly refutes the NLRB charge filed by the International UAW. We believe it has no merit and is an insult to the bargaining committees. We have been hyper-focused on negotiating directly and in good faith with the UAW and are making progress. The pace of negotiations is based on how quickly both parties resolve nearly 1,000 UAW demands, including more than 90 presented this week. Our goal remains the same — to achieve an agreement without a disruption that rewards our team members and protects the future of the entire GM team.”

Because Fain is new and because we’re in this extremely weird, post-pandemic economy it’s difficult to know for sure what’s going on here. Fain could really be serious and could see a massive strike as the only way to secure long-term benefits. The companies probably do see a serious existential threat in not being able to compete on wages with basically everyone else. This could be unsolvable and take down the Biden Administration and The Big Three and the economy.

Or, maybe, this is just theater.

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The Big Question

Should we follow Posen’s advice and, you know, chill it on the anti-China rhetoric for a bit and welcome in their sweet, sweet yuan? Or is this just another way for an ever-expanding China to reach further into the United States?

Photos: UAW, Gotion/VW, BYD

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Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
10 months ago

Bullshit shouldn’t be in an interior trash can. That’s gross.

ScottyB
ScottyB
10 months ago

I think we are already way too intertwined with China which could pull a Russia/Ukraine move with one or more of it’s neighbors at any time.

But I do agree penalizing EVs from countries we have good relationships with is stupid and it lets North American companies price gouge the market. And especially companies that are in the process of building EV or battery plants in North America. At the very least these companies should get some kind of grace period to comply.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
10 months ago

Adam Posen who is a tad controversial and a person I don’t always agree with. 

Yeah, no. Please don’t ever do this again. Don’t ever quote this guy. Don’t give him any fucking press. Seriously. He is as to ‘a tad controversial’ as the Holocaust is to ‘an unfortunate event.’
Anyone calling that hyperbole will be slapped with a hammer. Because he’s from the ‘Ukraine needs to accept genocide and give half the country to Russia’ brigade.
I don’t care what those people say. Neither should you. You know why.

Inobat said the investment will provide it access to Gotion’s research and development, as well as to the Chinese battery maker’s raw materials including lithium, and to cell production and recycling capabilities. This will accelerate the Slovak startup’s path to mass production.

Emphasis mine. Welcome to the new trade wars, same as the old trade wars. Gotion has no ‘research and development,’ they have no ‘recycling’ capabilities, but they do control lithium reserves and they 100% are an arm of the Chinese government.

You want lithium to build your batteries? Sell 25% or more of your company and allow rampant IP theft by Winnie the Pooh, or you get no lithium. Which is why they’ve been on a buying spree worldwide – especially the third-world – gaining control of rare earth mines and lithium mines by hook or by crook. (More than a few they’ve seized through bogus ‘loans’ and forcing defaults.)

“UAW family, I know this update is infur-iur-ating. And believe me when I say I’m fed up,” he railed on his livestream. “And one thing I want to tell you is, this trashcan is overflowing with the bullshit The Big 3 continue to peddle.”

Well now hang on…

The catch with Ford, though, is that a lot of the money is in lump sums instead of regular increases tied to the cost of living.

… we’re gonna need to switch to the guillotine. Hey kiddos. Let’s say instead of giving you a raise, I promise to give you a lump sum of $2500 every year for the next ten years. Sounds like a good deal, doesn’t it?
If it does, you’re the kind of person who gets conned into signing up for 96 months on a car because of the monthly.
Because that $2500 you got in 2020? Equivalent to just $2387 in 2021, $2211 in 2022, and it’ll be under $2100 this year. And you already agreed that they only have to pay you $2500 for the next 10 years.
So the actual worth of that check does nothing but go down, down, down while the cost of living goes up, up, up.

To the trash can with that.

Cerberus
Cerberus
10 months ago

I have been annoying everyone I know for years about how stupid it is that we make it hard for educated foreign people to become citizens. People—Chinese, Indian, whoever else—come to our educational institutions, spend an assload of money to get a degree, and then we make it a discouraging 3-ring circus for them to become citizens. It should be: are you a new doctor/engineer/scientist/whatever else we need that contribute to the economy, the country, and citizenry as a whole (especially if young due to aging demographic issues that would have them help us and hurt their countries of origin for their loss)? Pass some kind of (quick) vetting process, pass the citizenship test, you’re in. It should be straightforward and able to be done in under a year. As far as investment goes, I’m not knowledgable enough in that area, but I do think foreign investment should be kept out of non commercial real estate.

As far as it goes for electrification and it not mattering about country of origin, I disagree. The upstream side of manufacturing in countries like China assures far worse environmental impact than if done here (even factoring corruption). Yes, the damage is “over there”, but we all live on the same planet and as we’re finding more and more, distant things can have wide-reaching effects elsewhere.

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
10 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Seriously great, great comment. This is so spot on.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

As someone who has one of those “doctor/engineer/scientist/whatever else we need that contribute to the economy” I can assure you we already have (with a few exceptions) far more supply of such degree holders than there is actual demand, especially for advanced degree holders.

Cerberus
Cerberus
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

No idea where you’re living, but not around Boston and there’s a national shortage of doctors.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

I live in the SFBA and the pay for scientists is a joke by local cost of living. A mid career Ph.D. scientist salary will get you by with a low middle class lifestyle at best, on par with a mid career elementary schoolteacher. And that’s if you can find a job in your field.

Move you say? To where? The cost of living elsewhere may be lower but the pay elsewhere is lower too with fewer jobs to be had. That’s what happens when you have a labor surplus. More immigration only makes it worse for everyone but employers who already gatekeep to preserve the illusion of a STEM labor shortage.

The doctor shortage and by “doctor” I assume you mean physician (Ph.D. is a doctor too) will NOT be fixed by immigration. Medical is a protected industry so foreign physicians often are forbidden from practicing, they have to waste years to get recertified. I’ve known foreign trained physicians who had to go through this. That also costs money and takes a spot that could have been filled by another medical student for no overall increase in physicians.

Canada has the same issues and has its highly trained immigrants driving taxi cabs:

https://torontosun.com/2012/05/09/study-reveals-there-are-doctors-driving-cabs-in-toronto

That was in 2012, how are things now?

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-turning-away-home-grown-doctors-1.6743486

No better.

Immigration is not the answer. If anything immigration makes the problem worse by demotivating others to become physicians and other such highly trained professionals. Nobody wants to go to medical school or become a nuclear engineer just to end up driving a taxi.

The real problem is gatekeeping and the myth of shortages it creates.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Where exactly are they supposed to live? We already have a housing crisis in this country, especially in the high cost of living areas where those highly skilled immigrants would be expected to work.

Fix THAT problem first.

Cerberus
Cerberus
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Doubt there are too many homeless people in those high-paying categories that aren’t junkies who did it to themselves. They’d likely live in better places than the people who make less and still manage to find housing. The problem isn’t the number of people, it’s the rich parasites who hoard property and the zoning boards and NIMBYs preventing new builds/converting unused commercial. Stopping the foreign buyers would be a good first step in helping housing availability with what’s already built, then taxing the hell out of people with tons of properties, especially those with vacant units.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Your proposal to open the floodgates still puts people on the street by further increasing competition for the scarce resources which is an asshole thing to do. It also helps and encourages those rich parasites NIMBYS by further increasing their revenue stream with more demand. SFBA landlords and home sellers already no longer need to compete for tenants or buyers. Those priced out of the market end up on the streets. That’s how you get slums which SF is already become.

No you don’t get to put the cart before the horse. If you want more people you need to build quality housing FIRST, not later hoping some market miracle will happen. That kind of misguided faith is how we got into this mess in the first place.

Greg
Greg
10 months ago

Fuck China and fuck anyone who supports a country RIGHT NOW CURRENTLY doing genocide.

Harmanx
Harmanx
10 months ago
Reply to  Greg

That may not answer the question that was posed — unless you think that loosening our rules (or not loosening them — probably want to clarify which) is a way to fuck China.

Nathan
Nathan
10 months ago

I live in a college town that just welcomed in 1000s of Chinese students, and the only thing many of them want to do is buy a Dodge Charger.

Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
10 months ago

I agree with the commenters saying we should let in chinese people, not chinese capital. I also think we should open our southern borders and give anyone who wants to come in a work permit. We have a lot of shit to build and research to do in order to decarbonize and catch up on housing and we should welcome migration to keep up with the “line goes up” expectation.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
10 months ago

I’m shocked that Rootwrm hasn’t fired a cannon. He’s mentioned previously, and correctly that China builds two new coal fired power plants a week. To support their EVs, and other disposable products in the thought of improving the environment is ludicrous. China’s foreign policy is today’s colonialism in third world nations. An example of the utter disregard to IP, when GM started up their first production line in China, they found counterfeit components already in the supply stream, Day One.
NPR ;
China permitted more coal power plants last year than any time in the last seven years, according to a new report released this week. It’s the equivalent of about two new coal power plants per week. The report by energy data organizations Global Energy Monitor and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air finds the country quadrupled the amount of new coal power approvals in 2022 compared to 2021.

Thevenin
Thevenin
10 months ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

I came here to mention this. Breaking China’s stranglehold on global industry is the only way to gain the geopolitical leverage we need to force them to decarbonize at the same pace as everyone else.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
10 months ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

They’re not just building coal, they’re building everything. They have roughly as many new nuclear plants in production as the rest of the world combined.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
10 months ago
Reply to  Frankencamry

The research by Rhodium Group says China emitted 27% of the world’s greenhouse gases in 2019.
The US was the second-largest emitter at 11% while India was third with 6.6% of emissions, the think tank said.
Scientists warn that without an agreement between the US and China it will be hard to avert dangerous climate change.
China’s emissions more than tripled over the previous three decades, the report from the US-based Rhodium Group added.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-57018837

...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
10 months ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

Gee, imagine that. A for-profit think tank partially funded by Blackrock and was cited on the BBC? There are probably no ulterior motives involved…ugh

https://www.influencewatch.org/for-profit/rhodium-group/

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
10 months ago
Reply to  ...getstoneyII

Merely the first one I found with a decent graph.

...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
10 months ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

That’s cool:) If you didn’t know (fyi) the BBC is about as credible as any of the US 24-hour news networks. I used to rely on them for EU news, but they changed into the fear-porn TMZ of the UK.

I don’t want to come off sounding like some tinfoil douche, but it’s true. They are the “Anti-Murdoch” network and yet still break bread with those against what they promote. Basically its all ESG=$$$. That’s the bed they lie in now.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
10 months ago
Reply to  ...getstoneyII

It was sloppy of me, and I agree the world would be a better place if all scrutinized their sources before Believing anything. It was in line with multiple sources %#s wise.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
10 months ago

My hot take: drop tariffs and quotas for our Western and Asian allies, but not China. We’ve had quite a few well-known instances of Chinese citizens getting jobs with US companies and stealing IP. Obviously that’s not every single person from China. But enough where I’d be leery.

The flip side of that coin is the covert and sadly overt racism against people from China. Racism led directly to China getting nukes and ICBM’s when the Chinese scientist working on the project was arraigned on made-up charges. Naturally he thought “screw this”, stuffed a briefcase full of documents and left for China where he got a hero’s welcome.

A quote attributed to Reagan comes to mind: “Trust but verify”. Trust that people are on the up and up while transparently making sure they are. This applies to a lot of life, TBH.

Parsko
Parsko
10 months ago

Inobat said the investment will provide it access to Gotion’s research and development

ROFL…. this is not how China works. Gotion will now steal all of Inobat’s IP, then suddenly lose interest in them. I’ll give them a month before they forget Inobat exists.

BAD DEAL!!!

CatMan
CatMan
10 months ago

There was a man walking up a mountain. Halfway up the mountain, it starts to get cold, even though it is hot at the bottom of the mountain. This man happens upon a very sickly snake. And the snake is sitting there in this cold climate and its basically freezing and it looks up to the man and says, “Please, sir, please, will you carry me down the mountain?”
He looks at the snake and says, “But you’re a snake. Not only are you a snake, but you are a very poisonous snake. If I pick you up you will surely bite me!”
And the snake says, “Silly man, now why would I do that? I – I need your help. If I stay here I will surely die. If you carry me down to the warm foothills, I will not bite you. I will be forever grateful.”
So the man thinks about it. And being a good man, an honest man, decides to help the snake. And as they go down the mountain the frost clears, there’s green foliage and the snake is slithering happily as the man is carrying it in his arms. And finally, they are almost to the foothills and the man feels a sharp pain. The snake has bitten him. He falls to his knees as the poison takes hold and he looks at the snake and he goes, “Snake, I’ve helped you, I’ve saved your life, and you promised me that you wouldn’t bite me.” And he goes, “Why!? Why!?”
The snake slithers off, takes a moment to pause as he decides to answer. And he looks back at the man taking his last breaths, and says, “You knew what I was when you picked me up.” And he slithers off.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
10 months ago
Reply to  CatMan

Perfect. COTD for me.

Parsko
Parsko
10 months ago

Sorry, but this COTM. You win August AND September.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  CatMan

Snakes get an undeserved bad reputation. You’re more likely to get killed by your “loyal” pet dog.

I’ve kept 7 snakes over the course of my life, including a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Not once have any of them ever attacked me. I did take precautions. Make sure your hand doesn’t smell like a prey item when the snake is ready to shed, for instance.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  CatMan

Sounds like a stupid man that doesn’t know how to handle a simple snake.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
10 months ago

Right? Carry the snake down, but grip behind his head so he can’t bite you.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
10 months ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

He admits to knowing it’s poisonous before he even picks it up.Was he just cradling it loosely in his arms?

Last edited 10 months ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
10 months ago
Reply to  CatMan

I’m familiar with the same story as a scorpion and a frog. The frog is taking the scorpion across a river. Halfway across the scorpion stings the frog and they both die making the scorpion’s actions even more bold. I actually learned this from a Megadeth song of all places. Regardless the point is the same and very valid.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
10 months ago
Reply to  CatMan

Venomous.

Poisonous = you bite it, you die.
Venomous = it bites you, you die.

Baron Usurper
Baron Usurper
10 months ago
Reply to  CatMan

>The snake slithers off…and says, “You sound triggered.
Updated to the modern parlance.

...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
10 months ago

“Or, maybe, this is just theater.” It isn’t and you missed the whole reason they filed the charges with the NLRB. (also from The Detroit News…)

“It’s not uncommon for the union to file unfair labor practice charges against the company during negotiations for not negotiating in good faith. But at the same time, it does elevate the level of tension between the parties. The declaration of an unfair labor practice strike, if the NLRB were to determine that, would mean the company cannot replace the strikers.”

They filed these papers to ensure that there are no scabs if the NLRB approves its validity.

Also, “This could be unsolvable and take down the Biden Administration and The Big Three and the economy.”

There is a reason that every union under the sun is negotiating contracts right now. Shit, even flight attendants are threatening to strike. Biden and Co. screwed the railroad workers and they are PISSED! This administration ran as “Pro-Union” pretty hard and regardless of any other issue or position, if they go against any other unions then they will be cooked in 2024. All the leverage is with the union workers and they are (pardon the pun) “Striking while the iron is hot.”

Last edited 10 months ago by ...getstoneyII
Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
10 months ago
Reply to  ...getstoneyII

Man they did the RR workers dirty.

...getstoneyII
...getstoneyII
10 months ago
Reply to  Leighzbohns

You have no idea how bad that was. It’s complicated because there are so many segments to it. Freight v. commuter rails, Privately owned v. subsidized rails. Publicly traded companies like BNSF or CP or UP v. whatever the hell Amtrak is these days, and things like BART or the MTA or LIRR. They all have different rules and bylaws and unions etc. Plus, to top it off they ALL have to deal with FRA regulations and constantly changing requirements for employment/operations, some of which have been in place for almost 180 years now.

I could write a huge article about this (I thought about it) for the site, but it’s soooo deep. The bottom line is that Freight workers on the largest rail corridors are already working the shittiest jobs and are the lowest-paid (with the worst bennies) of all railroad workers in the US and they basically got butt fisted. They are also the largest segment of rail workers.

It wasn’t anything about protecting the middle class good paying careers, it was about stock prices and optics on the overall economy “recovery”. I’d like to see one of any of those assholes that made the final call on the “strike resolution” walk an 80-car consist in a blizzard or 95-degree weather to do a brake check on every truck and axle on each car, all the while walking on the ballast and then climb under in between cars to reconnect the air hoses if there is a problem when the air isn’t trainlining from head end to rear. The suits don’t have any clue.

If I type any more I’m gonna ruin my day, ha. Frick all of them suits, each and every one of them.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
10 months ago
Reply to  ...getstoneyII

Biden fucking over the RR workers was a shock to me. I thought I was cynical enough, but they really taught me a lesson.
Btw, I am aware of the massive damage that a RR strike would cause to the US economy. The answer is to treat the workers like human beings so they will voluntarily go back to work.

Ncbrit
Ncbrit
10 months ago

The fastest way to resolve the climate impact of cars in the US is for everyone to stay home like during Covid. Put some tax incentives behind companies allowing work from home, and use taxes on Chinese imports to help pay for it. That takes care of the climate issue and keeps the anti China politicians happy.

Mike B
Mike B
10 months ago
Reply to  Ncbrit

And tax incentivize a 4-day workweek for the people that have to work from work. One less day of work is a 20% reduction in commuting miles and the associated environmental impact.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
10 months ago

Posen seems be ignoring certain let’s call them “Economic Conditions” that preempted all those Eastern European and German persons to come to America and then not return. It also ignores the other “Economic Condition”, that we were a party of one on the global scale.

His argument is also a bit condescending, maybe a bit of the R-word towards the Chinese. The entirety of his plan is that a large swath of the best, brightest and richest of China will come to America. Think it’s hella rad and renounce all ties to the CCP as they promote capitalism for every end of the Earth. It’s just ignorant of China actually being a functional state where people may actually like to live and invest in. Also in China where the state ends and investment dollars begin is anyone’s guess.

Plus Americas only selling point is our market. We aren’t any more precise then peer nations, we don’t have exceptionally more capacity. And we aren’t cheaper. We might as well defend the market to have at least one selling point for setting up TV factory outside Racine.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
10 months ago

“setting up TV factory outside Racine.”

Wisconsin never should have made that deal with Foxconn.
https://urbanmilwaukee.com/2023/07/06/murphys-law-foxconn-deal-is-still-costing-taxpayers/

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
10 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

Wisconsin has been making mistakes since May 29th, 1848. Just add giving taxpayer cash to one of the largest companies on earth to that list.

Lordstown, Ohio you’re next on Foxxcon’s hit list.

Cable jockey
Cable jockey
10 months ago

It’s the same logic neo-liberals used in opening up Western development in China; “Hey, maybe if we let them buy Nikes, they’ll want to do democracy!”

We Americans love to think that everyone in the world would love to live here and wishes they did, but in reality, people see a place with a dysfunctional government, a very high cost of living, and a 12 hour, $2000 flight from home.

Cable jockey
Cable jockey
10 months ago
Reply to  Cable jockey

Oh, and this leaves out that, at least in SE Asia, there’s a prevailing belief that all Americans carry guns, and anytime you walk out onto the street, you’re at risk of being shot by one of us. Especially if you’re not a WASP man.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
10 months ago
Reply to  Cable jockey

American Exceptionalism like Henry Kissinger, and that Blockbuster in Bend will never die. Especially in Economics, they miss that go old Cold War. We had two economic theories going around then! It was a great time for Economists and thus, great for the world.

Also that gun part is pretty true though, can’t fault a playa for thinking that.

Scruffinater
Scruffinater
10 months ago
Reply to  Cable jockey

They’re not wrong though are they…

Chris with bad opinions
Chris with bad opinions
10 months ago
Reply to  Cable jockey

I’ve lived in the U.S. all my life and have pretty much wanted out for the last 20 years, but it simply isn’t that easy.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago

I’ll say this much for the US: Kidnapping for profit isn’t nearly as much a problem here as in other parts of the world.

James Kohler
James Kohler
10 months ago

If I were Joe Biden, I’d try to get the requirements for EVs produced eased up a little and instead replace it with a mandate that the OEMs at least have an affordable PHEV in their lineups instead. It is becoming crytal clear that we will not be able to transition to full BEVs in such a short time frame. If the election swings conservatively next year, you can bet one of their first actions will be to get rid of EVs entirely. I’m positive that the OEMs will just love that. Throw out all their plans for the next 5-10 years.

Thevenin
Thevenin
10 months ago
Reply to  James Kohler

The EV targets and incentives already include PHEVs. The regulations have always had PHEV carveouts. It is the automakers who are choosing not to make them.

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
10 months ago

Posen’s thought experiment is certainly interesting, but wholly unrealistic. China will disallow its residents from studying/working/living here the moment it doesn’t serve the interests of the state. They will never allow this arrangement to benefit the US. Their citizens do not have rights, and their businesses are not private in any sense of the word. Both exist only at the whims of the CCP. So, no, we need to continue to remove the CCP’s influence in this country root and branch.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
10 months ago

Screw them. Those bastards are already way too ingrained into our system. To open the doors to being screwed further by China would be a major fuck up.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
10 months ago

China already hold a TON of the US debt, I don’t want them buying even more buildings/land/companies.
Can we offer their scientists money to come work for us, yes we should.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
10 months ago

US debt held by the China is China’s liability, not the US’s. Do you think your bank can call you up tomorrow and demand you pay off your entire mortgage by the end of the week?

If the cold war turns hot, all that paper will be just that – paper.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
10 months ago

There is no way the US government is going to relax export controls to allow Chinese scientists more access to information than they already have. And there is no way the Chinese government is going to just let its most valuable scientists skip over to the US without funneling valuable information back to China.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago

Why, do you want to push scientists pay down even more?

Studdley
Studdley
10 months ago

Take a look at LA, Chicago, and NYC to see how the Chinese treat US real estate. Keep the investors out, and let the academics roll in. We have enough selfish, evil American investors we need to deal with first.

Last edited 10 months ago by Studdley
Greg
Greg
10 months ago
Reply to  Studdley

only if they stay and don’t go home with all the research and stolen IP.

JunkerDave
JunkerDave
10 months ago
Reply to  Studdley

Simple solution would be to enact strict restrictions on real estate investors, no matter where they’re from. That would be fair and useful. But they’ll scream like a stuck pig.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
10 months ago

Could someone with far more video creation skill than me please remake Lonely Island’s “Threw it on the ground” to star Fein and his trash can?

I was getting the feeling earlier that he’s all about kayfabe because he thinks the rank and file are gullible and stupid. Nothing has yet dissuaded me from the notion.

Leighzbohns
Leighzbohns
10 months ago
Reply to  Frankencamry

What if he’s right? Also he’s setting up the rules for the negotiation and getting his people in line before he really goes for it. I’ve been enjoying the buildup to real negotiations and I don’t think automakers are really ready for what’s coming.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago

What if, instead of being extremely protectionist against China and freaking out over Chinese plants in America, we instead welcomed the investment of Chinese businesses and individuals

No.

and welcomed the immigration of skilled Chinese scientists?

Yes.

The investment of “Chinese businesses and individuals” is the investment of the CCP. We would not have allowed the Soviet Union to own or partner on critical manufacturing plants in this country, and we should not allow China to do so either.

On the other hand, anything we can do to encourage “brain drain” from China is a double whammy of benefitting us while hurting them. Obviously, some diligence would need to be done to make sure they aren’t sending us a bunch of spies, but the general idea of increasing high-skilled immigration, especially from geopolitical rivals, is a good one.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I would go further. I think it is inevitable that China will eventually take over Taiwan and that we have no real way to stop them. We should offer free immigration to Taiwanese skilled workers and dissidents.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Taiwan is a rugged, mountainous island more than 100 miles from the coast of a nation that has never conducted an amphibious operation in its history and has no hope of possessing naval or air supremacy, even in its own home waters.

I don’t want to be dismissive, because a shooting war over Taiwan would make Ukraine look like a skirmish, but unless the West utterly abandons Taiwan, China has no chance to take and hold it IMO.

I’m on board with more skilled immigration from Taiwan either way though.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

The U.S. should not even defend Taiwan. That’s asking for yet another unnecessary war, and yet another massive waste of taxpayer dollars, with the risk of it escalating into a giant, unresolvable conflict with the risk of it going nuclear. If you want to protect Taiwan from Chinese invasion, just give the people there a bunch of automatic weapons, and the problem will resolve itself, should it manifest.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

But the US is the world police! /s

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago

I believe in the right of people to have self determination. Taiwan is still a part of China, but if the people want to separate, they should be free to do so. The “world police” is what allowed most of these problems to maniefest and exist in the first place. Imagine if the “world police” never meddled in other countries’ affairs all over the world all because the people of these nations decided communism or socialism was preferable to U.S.-style crony-capitalism/fascism?

There are only three nations on Earth without a privately-owned central bank controlling the issuance of their currency. They are Iran, Cuba, and North Korea. They are also heavily sanctioned by the U.S. and other nations for their resistance, and have adopted authoritarianism as a survival strategy. What if the privately-owned central banks were seized by the people instead? Imagine if the U.S. had sound money and actually followed its constitution for a change, and stopped allowing wealthy aristocrats to dictate foreign policy and meddle in the affairs of the rest of the world using force/violence or the threat thereof.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Myth: Private sector banks own the Fed

Some observers mistakenly consider the Federal Reserve to be a private entity because the Federal Reserve Banks are organized similarly to private corporations. In truth, the Fed is not “owned” by anyone. The Fed consists of both a federal agency — the Board of Governors based in Washington, DC — and 12 privately chartered regional banks nationwide. The Board of Governors have direct oversight of the regional Reserve Banks and coordinate with the Presidents of the Reserve Banks on monetary policy.

https://www.frbservices.org/news/fed360/issues/101521/fed-facts-4-myths-federal-reserve#:~:text=Myth%3A%20Private%20sector%20banks%20own%20the%20Fed&text=In%20truth%2C%20the%20Fed%20is,privately%20chartered%20regional%20banks%20nationwide.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago

https://ia904704.us.archive.org/35/items/pdfy–Pori1NL6fKm2SnY/The%20Creature%20From%20Jekyll%20Island.pdf

Some not-so-light reading that contradicts the PR-spin put out by vested interests.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

If you haven’t read this yet you might like to:

https://archive.org/details/WarIsARacket

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

IMO, should be required reading in middle school and/or high school U.S. history classes.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Good idea. I’ll make that suggestion.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Uhh…

George Edward Griffin (born November 7, 1931) is an American author, filmmaker, and conspiracy theorist. Griffin’s writings promote a number of right-wing views and conspiracy theories regarding political, defense and health care. In his book World Without Cancer, he argued in favor of a pseudo-scientific theory that asserted cancer to be a nutritional deficiency curable by consuming amygdalin.[1][2] He is the author of The Creature from Jekyll Island (1994),[1] which advances debunked conspiracy theories[3] about the Federal Reserve System. He is an HIV/AIDS denialist, supports the 9/11 Truth movement, and supports the specific John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory that Oswald was not the assassin.[1] He also believes that the Biblical Noah’s Ark is located at the Durupınar site in Turkey.

Pit-Smoked Clutch
Pit-Smoked Clutch
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Uhh… (again with links from Wikipedia stripped, since they apparently send comments into the “awaiting approval” black hole.)

George Edward Griffin (born November 7, 1931) is an American author, filmmaker, and conspiracy theorist. Griffin’s writings promote a number of right-wing views and conspiracy theories regarding political, defense and health care. In his book World Without Cancer, he argued in favor of a pseudo-scientific theory that asserted cancer to be a nutritional deficiency curable by consuming amygdalin.[1][2] He is the author of The Creature from Jekyll Island (1994),[1] which advances debunked conspiracy theories[3] about the Federal Reserve System. He is an HIV/AIDS denialist, supports the 9/11 Truth movement, and supports the specific John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory that Oswald was not the assassin.[1] He also believes that the Biblical Noah’s Ark is located at the Durupınar site in Turkey.[4]

Last edited 10 months ago by Pit-Smoked Clutch
Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Technically, the government in Taiwan is the legitimate government of all of China. They are just in a really lengthy exile due to a civil conflict waiting to be resolved.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Jalop Gold

Says who?

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
10 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Chiang Kai-shek????

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Jalop Gold

Well 1.4B+ mainlanders say otherwise. At least if they know what’s good for them.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

As much as nationalism China would like a unified China. They love the sweet, sweet profit of being the epicenter of manufacturing more. China is going to poster and do their thing to feed the base. But they just love the VW Jetta too much to risk the economic isolation. Plus most people alive have never been around for unified China, losing importance.

And b4 anyone brings up Russia, it’s a lot easier to bet the house when it’s a crumbling shack along the Volga with an oil well in the backyard.

Parsko
Parsko
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

I just had this convo before lunch. My argument is that we simply need to remove as much of the Semi-Con industry from Taiwan (then what would be left???).

The Tiawanese gentleman I was speaking of said Taiwan is utterly critical for one thing, preventing Nuclear subs from “getting out”. He said if China took Taiwan, they would have unfettered access to the Pacific, and we would not be able to detect them getting through. This was an interesting take from a native.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
10 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

If we can track Russian subs without Taiwan I’m pretty sure we don’t really need Taiwan.

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
10 months ago
Reply to  Parsko

Umm, the bike frame industry would still be there!

Ottomottopean
Ottomottopean
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

We’ve already seen Chinese citizenry come into the country and act as spies to take US company IP back to the homeland.
Can we really trust the general population that has lived a life in servitude to the ruling party to come and learn from us and live honestly here while their families are still back in China, likely being watched by the state?

I don’t see how this could ever work well even if we assume it would only be ~10% of those coming over here. It could be a huge risk.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago
Reply to  Ottomottopean

It could be a risk, but I think the upside of most of the people doing their work for us rather than the CCP makes it worth it.

Obviously, as I said in my first post, some diligence is going to be required.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I was going to make a similar comment, but you beat me to it and said it better that I would have. The benefit of allowing Chinese scientists to move here is so incredibly obvious. I would support increased immigration of talented individuals from anywhere, though. If talented people want to come here, why stop them?

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
10 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

We don’t stop them. There are special visas for educated individuals in areas of need. They get to the front of the line.

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
10 months ago

Those visas are available (I have a few friends that are foreign nationals here on H-1B visas), but I regularly hear about efforts to reduce those in the name of preserving jobs for Americans. Plus, those visas have a lot of restrictions (time limited, reduced ability to take risks like changing jobs or starting companies, restrictions on traveling outside the US, etc.). Also, a lot of those visas don’t provide an easy path to American citizenship for those that want become citizens. So while we do have options for talented individuals to come here, it is not easy.

Toecutter
Toecutter
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

I think the U.S. should let Chinese automobiles into the country, as well as ease immigration restrictions. Conversely, the U.S. should cease adopting China’s authoritarian model, which it has gradually been doing so over the last few decades. The unaccountable deep states of both country’s are the source of much of their collective woes and an increasing sense of unease and misery among their respective populations.

China’s cheap EVs are nothing extraordinary. GM and other U.S. companies could have been doing it 20 years before China did. The will simply wasn’t there, and now there’s a risk China’s going to eat the Big 3’s lunch should massive demand for affordable EVs materialize. For now, most people don’t even know that they exist or are even possible, but that will change. There’s nothing “green” or “sustainable” about 9,000 lb rolling codpieces with 200 kWh battery packs, either, but that is what is being touted as a “solution”.

It as if everything is being done backwards from what would benefit humanity as a whole, so that a tiny rich minority can grow much richer.

V10omous
V10omous
10 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Put it this way, I’ll believe there is still demand for small, cheap vehicles in America the very next time it’s demonstrated.

Lots of people who don’t buy new cars say they want something like that, but found an excuse not buy the offerings on the market when they existed.

I know you and I disagree on the macroeconomic outlook, but I see nothing on the horizon that would change the calculus much. I simply believe that hybrids and EVs have enough penetration into our market now (and fracking is so widespread) that an oil crisis radically changing vehicle demand like 1973 and 2008 is not possible anymore.

Parsko
Parsko
10 months ago
Reply to  V10omous

Completely impossible unless ALLLL of your family and loved ones don’t live in China. China will go deep deep deep to fuck you over if you try fucking them over. 100% would not trust China, EVER. I otherwise agree it’s a great idea.

Chronometric
Chronometric
10 months ago

“brining battery tech”

Spell check? Proof readers? Tell me again about your journalistic standards.

Last edited 10 months ago by Chronometric
Lockleaf
Lockleaf
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

clearly you haven’t done any reading on replacing battery electrolytes with pickle juice.

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

It’s salt-based batteries, duh!

Mthew_M
Mthew_M
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

To be fair, there are a lot of mistakes today. Chinese COMMUNITY Party??

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 months ago
Reply to  Mthew_M

Wow, that party would require a big block!

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
10 months ago
Reply to  Mthew_M

First of all, Matthew, it’s a blog. Chill.
Second of all, the Chinese Community Party sounds a lot cooler than the current CCP. I’ll allow it.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
10 months ago
Reply to  Matt Hardigree

An AI journalist wouldn’t have made that speeling misteak though 🙂

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Well, duh! Brining batteries makes them softer and more tender. When it is time to replace them, instead of needing a chainsaw, a simple electric carving knife does quite nicely.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
10 months ago

And they cook better that way on the grill.
Happy Labor Day.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Oh god no, someone missed a single letter. Stop the presses. This never happens. Ever

Jason Torchinsky
Jason Torchinsky
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

That’s on me; I edited this, and missed some typos. Truth is, I do that a lot. And, when we find the typos, we fix them. This isn’t print, a typo fix isn’t the end of the world. I tend to read for content, so sometimes I’ll miss things. I apologize, but it’s all fixed now.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
10 months ago

People are salty about the requirements in your call for pitches. F the haters.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
10 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Clearly he was referring to micro nuclear reactors that use liquid salt to transfer heat for steam generation, geez everyone knows about them

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