The Rabid Independent, Nonpartisan solutions, independent policy ideas

Students have taken over the Parliament of Taiwan for 15 days- completely shutting it down. 100,000 of them marched through the streets of Taipei. The rebellion is called the Sunflower Student Movement. What’s made them so angry?: a new service sector “free trade” deal with China. Yes they actually seem to understand that such a deal would/could ruin their futures. American university students should watch and learn.

Taiwan has a GDP per capita of $32k verses China’s $6k.  Chinese hourly wages in the manufacturing sector are roughly 1/6 of Taiwanese levels. Every company in Taiwan would like to move their labor force to China if they could. The problem is that Taiwan has some rather unfriendly history with China so there are a lot of restrictions (until now).

The pact would also allow mainland Chinese companies to invest in Taiwanese enterprises so protesters are afraid of the potential loss of sovereignty.  The service sector is mainly made up of non-tradeables and so has become the high wage component of their export oriented economy. New Mainland Chinese owners would undoubtedly look to “offshore” as much of the indigenous labor as possible. If Taiwan loses this sector then all that remains are the highly competitive manufacturing industries that are already under pressure from cheaper Chinese exports. Taiwan is losing its historic economic raison d’etre and their students know it.

The political leadership is exasperated by what they consider to be undemocratic tactics but the record is clear in the rest of the world: without an uprising of the people these deals just get signed in exchange for campaign contributions from the private sector. Young people have the most to lose since they are looking to establish themselves in a global labor market awash in (virtually) free Chinese labor.

American students apparently care only about the NCAA basketball tournament.

 

After the referendum in Crimea we are hearing the same rhetoric from every American politician: “The results of the vote are falsified and illegal.” They should be ignored and the very fact that the referendum took place is an affront to the west. How dare they solicit the opinion of the local population? Such nerve!

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Western Impotence

On March 3, 2014 By

As President Putin exercises his troops in the Crimea we bluster and shake our fists. Since The Ukraine has no military it’s up to the west to save and protect them. How did that work out for Poland (and Czechoslovakia) in WW2? Our European allies have no armies and would never attack a primary energy [...]

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Common Sense Jingoism

On February 17, 2014 By

I have often declared (to be provocative) that I will only go on vacation to a first world destination. The point is that a vacation is not the right time to have to worry about whether I can drink the water. I don’t want to be concerned about whether my hotel or a restaurant I choose [...]

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The global stock markets have had a tough start this year due to flight from emerging economic stock markets and currencies. All the political dialogue in the US seems to be about income/wealth mal-distribution and how to fix it (or whether it matters). Both issues are derived from the same source – China

China Explains [...]

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Policy Distractions

On January 24, 2014 By

In 20004 George Bush’s campaign manager, Karl Rove, decided on an approach to win the swing state of Ohio: He aggressively floated the idea that George would push for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. This was merely an extension of the Republican hate radio strategy of winning over mainly old white men by marketing [...]

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Military Divergence

On January 17, 2014 By

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is getting a lot of press since he just released a new tell-all book that criticizes Obama and VP Biden. The media is feasting on his negative remarks and treating him like a god. This is consistent with their reverence for the military in general where they laud their efforts to [...]

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Turn off the engines.

On January 3, 2014 By

Skill testing question: Name one accomplishment of Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State.

What have you got – anything? Does the disaster at Benghazi count? – probably not.

John Kerry is furiously flying around the world hoping to achieve something – anything. He may be able to say he stopped the Syrian [...]

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Poll Justice

On December 19, 2013 By

President Obama’s poll rating hit a new low this week so he’s now in Richard Nixon territory – he’s even below George Bush Jr.! I’m sure his race and the health care web site fiasco (and the NSA spying) haven’t helped but in the end, political popularity is really about economic prosperity. As Bill Clinton [...]

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Thirty years ago fast food jobs were thought of as useful for temporary way-stations, appropriate for students who needed spending money. They paid far less than unionized jobs in manufacturing. As those good jobs were shipped offshore the lousy fast food jobs suddenly looked pretty good.  (Laborer desperation causes throngs of people to [...]

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Irritations

Here’s my list of things that bug me. Some are big and some are petty. Feel free to offer new additions.

Irritations

Mottos, Creeds, Rules

As we search for legitimate solutions to America’s problems everyone must obey these rules or we’ll never get anything done.

Mottos, Creeds and Rules

Reading List