Nikki Haley: A Job Well Done

Nikki Haley: A Job Well Done

Nikki Haley’s service to our country has been an exemplary record of accomplishment and success.  Best known for her commanding performances as United States Ambassador to the UN, she is also the proud representative of immigrant and minority success.  She is the proverbial “… only in America” story.

Nikki Haley: A Job Well Done

Ambassador Haley was born, “Nimrata Randhawa” in Bamberg, South Carolina, to an Indian-American Sikh mother and father.  Her parents emigrated from Punjab, India to Canada, where her father had received a scholarship offer from the University of British Columbia. When her father received his Ph.D. degree in 1969, the family moved to South Carolina, where he became a professor at the historically black Voorhees College. Her mother, Raj Randhawa, earned a master’s degree in education and taught for seven years in the Bamberg public schools before starting a clothing company, Exotica International, in 1976.

Haley, a Clemson graduate and a Republican, ran her first race for the South Carolina State House in 2004, winning a run-off 55-45 over Larry Koons.  She was the first Indian-American to ever serve in a legislative seat in South Carolina.  She won the Governorship in 2010, and re-election in 2014 by a 55-41 margin.  Her voting record was that of a moderate conservative, and she remained popular throughout her tenure as the Governor of South Carolina.

The Presidential campaign of Mitt Romney in 2012 considered her on the short list of Vice-Presidential candidates, but Haley asked for her name to be removed so that she could finish her first term as governor.  When Trump came calling in 2016, UN Ambassador was a prestigious and important role that kept her far away from domestic politics.  Haley accepted, and was a stellar representative of US interests for the last two years.

Lots of speculation has swirled in DC as to the timing and meaning of her departure…. the Trump team is rightfully concerned about Haley as a political rival in 2020, and that she would consider challenging Trump for the Republican nomination.  Putting aside the DC gossip, there is no question that our nation was served very well at the UN by the leadership and moral persuasion of Ambassador Nikki Haley.

Here are Nikki Haley’s Top 3 Moments at the UN:

3. “The American Response to the Syrian Chemical weapons attack”: When dealing with the Syrian dictator Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Haley outlined the horrific attacks on their own people by the Syrian regime, and the Russian’s complicit support in the attacks. Haley did what her Obama administration predecessor did not:  she showed the world the immorality of what Putin and Assad are doing in Syria. This effort has prevented Russia from setting the narrative on the Syrian civil war, and it served as one of many actions taken by the administration to combat Russian adventurism.

2. “The US-North Korean Nuclear Standoff”: At the height of Trump’s taunting of North Korean Kim Jong Un, referring to him as “Rocket Man”, and threatening North Korea with “fire and fury” for failing to accede to American demands to dismantle their nuclear program, Ambassador Haley was the calm during the storm. Evidencing a steely resolve while enunciating US demands and expectations, it was clear that the US was standing strong on our de-nuclearization expectations.  Haley was quoted as saying at the Security Council:  “If we act together, we can still prevent a catastrophe and we can rid the world of a grave threat. If we fail to act in a serious way, there will be a different response.”  That different response, as we know, would be a US military strike.  Seldom have we seen such clarity from US Ambassadors under such tension-filled circumstances.

1. “From Russia with Love”:  Perhaps the greatest standoff and quote in history of global diplomacy occurred during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when US Adlai Stevenson confronted Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin at the UN with this famous line:

 “…Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed and is placing medium- and intermediate-range missiles and sites in Cuba? Yes or no — don’t wait for the translation — yes or no?”

 The great Russian-American standoffs at the UN has a new favorite line, however, and it comes from Russia’s boss – Nikki Haley:

“…. I’m in awe, Vasily, of how you say what you say with a straight face.”

 Any proud patriotic American would laugh from joy and beam with pride at such strong moral leadership from our UN Ambassador.  The occasion was the on-going debates regarding the Syrian Civil War.  The Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya blamed the United States for the current situation and the plight of the Syrian people.  Ambassador Haley put him in his place.

From the moments listed above, to the movement of our embassy to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem, to the elimination of US funding for the Palestinians (UNRWA) – and much more … Nikki Haley has been at the forefront of some of the more pivotal moments in UN history for the 21st century.  She has represented herself, and her country, in spectacular fashion.

From a grateful nation, thank you Nikki Haley – for a job well done.

NAFTA Out … USMCA In

NAFTA Out … USMCA In

It was argued during the last 8-10 years that it would be impossible to re-negotiate NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and even if we did, we could not get the changes we wanted for the betterment of the American labor force.  NAFTA, ratified in 1994, helped open markets between Canada, Mexico, and the US.

Most analysts have argued over the years it has been a mixed bag, with the United States usually on the losing end regarding market share and exports.  Before President Trump, many politicians ran against the benefits of NAFTA, and labor groups regularly have denounced it.

BOOM!  My how things have changed!  Out with NAFTA, and IN with the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA).

While the media refers to “cosmetic” changes, or that the President did not get the Canadians to concede on the main sticking points of dispute resolution, any fair-minded review of the terms and conditions leaves no doubt that this was a categorical victory for the country.  And the market response reflected that, with another record stock market high this week after the news was released.

Politically, the deal still must be ratified by each country’s legislature – the US, Canada and Mexico.  One would think that US Democrats would join Republicans in ratifying this new treaty, since they support so many of the new changes.  But in this polarized atmosphere, who knows?

What are the changes the USMCA will bring to North American trading rules?  Here are the Top Five:

Top-Five Changes coming out of the USMCA Trade Agreement

 5.“Lowered tariffs across the board among member states”:  The average tariff under NAFTA among the US, Canada and Mexico, when goods are sold across the border, is approximately 9.3% under.  The agreement would drive the average percentage tariff down to roughly 7% – this 2% decrease totals nearly $20 billion in savings for the consumer.   WINNER?  AMERICA! 

 4.”Higher Pay for Auto Workers”:  Starting in 2020, 30% of all automotive production must be completed by workers earning more than $16 an hour…in 2023, that number rises to 40% of all production completed by workers making over $20 an hour.  This will drive wages up for US producers and increase jobs as supply line savings will not off-set the increased pay for foreign labor.  This requirement did not exist under NAFTA.  WINNER? AMERICA!

3.“Auto parts must come from North American manufacturing”:  Under NAFTA, you could qualify for zero tariffs if only 62% of the automobile was made of North American parts.  now, the requirement has been upped to 75% must come from North America.  WINNER?  AMERICA!

 2.“Greater and more stringent protections for Intellectual property”:  While also needed with China, these new laws allow for law enforcement to stop and raid potential pirating by counterfeiters in intellectual property and increases the sentencing guidelines for such theft.  The easier approval for warrants will help prevent the IP from getting shipped to Chinese or other state-sponsored crime organizations in the first place.  WINNER? AMERICA!

1.“And Trump for the win, Canada caves in on US access to their dairy market”:  A long-time complaint of US farming was the near total banning of US dairy products.  That has been revoked under the USMCA.  As the USA Today put it:  “….Canada will ease restrictions on its dairy market and allow American farmers to export about $560 million worth of dairy products. That’s about 3.5 percent of Canada’s total $16 billion dairy industry.”  Canada, former President Obama, and scores of US officials said this was a red-line for Canada, they would never do it…BOOM!   WINNER? AMERICA!

It was not all a victory.  Any fair negotiations will have some compromises, or moments where we “agree to disagree.”  Another Canadian red-line was the Dispute Resolution process under NAFTA.  It has been grandfathered in to the USMCA despite American resistance.  The Canadians were unable to remove the current 25% steel tariffs Trump has imposed on all steel entering the country.  So not everyone got what they wanted.

But the American worker clearly got what they needed.

Trump Rejects Globalization at the UN

Trump Rejects Globalization at The UN

It would be remiss not to mention the on-going Supreme Court nomination hearings.  However, the highly charged politicized process in DC is something too partisan to make for a good, positive discussion this week.  We encourage our readers to watch and draw their own conclusions.

But the 24-hour news cycle always delivers stories that can, and, will affect your money. One of those stories was President Trump at the UN this week. Among the many topics he discussed, renouncing globalization was at the top of the list.

And good for him.

Love him or hate him, the President was right to assert the United States’ rejection of the ideology of globalization.  The term globalization does not have a singular meaning.  It can be the rather benign belief in open markets, free trade, and equal justice among nations.

However, that simplistic belief has no relation to how globalization has played out for American workers, and advanced economies, over the last 25+ years.  For those who have seen declines in their standard of living over this period of time, globalization has resulted in unfair trade, lost blue collar employment, and growing economic inequality.  It has also meant an allegiance to global institutions over US sovereignty.  That is morally, ethically – and Constitutionally – wrong.  Free trade is great, but not when only one side is trading freely, and the other is stealing your ideas and preventing you from selling in their market. To suggest such trade is “free” is laughable.

Despite the theoretical positives, globalization in its worst form has negatively impacted American workers and the American economy, and has been a direct threat to the supremacy of American constitutional law and American sovereignty.

Here is a Short History of the Globalization Movement Over the Last 25+ Years:

  1. “Bill Clinton pushed Chinese admission into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and NAFTA”: Globalization’s primary issues are related to trade.  The WTO is a treaty bound organization, and the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).  GATT and the WTO is an American created, American led organization whose sole purpose was to bid together like-minded Democratic and market economies in a rules-based global trading system.  China was a backward, third world nation in the late-90s.  But when Bill Clinton agreed to their admission to the WTO in 2000, the Chinese economy went into over-drive, benefitting from technological theft of American intellectual property and compliant US businesses.  It is not a democratic country and is not a market-driven capitalist economy.  The results have been predictable.  The US hoped that Chinese admission would help them become more democratic and lead to a freer Chinese economy.  It has not.
  2. “The first President Bush and Bill Clinton negotiated the free trade agreement known as NAFTA”: The second pillar of globalization was NAFTA.  The US Senate ratified the treaty between the United States, Mexico and Canada, in November 1993.  It was designed to create a large free trading bloc eliminating tariffs and expanding GDP for all three countries.  It did expand GDP, but Canada continued to place tariff’s on US agriculture and Canadian firms regularly steal US pharma intellectual property to sell generic drugs at a lower price.  Mexican labor is much cheaper due to few if any environmental or regulatory standards.  President Clinton also promised it would reduce illegal immigration, as expanding markets in Mexico would provide greater opportunities for Mexicans within their home country.  None of that proved true, and nothing more than an unequal marketplace has evolved.
  3. “Clinton argued, as did Bush 43 and President Obama since, that free trade would lead to more money in the pocketbooks of Americans”: On average, household incomes did rise over the last 25 years, but they remain stagnant when adjusted for inflation.  Not all of the rise can be attributed to globalization, and the primary concern is that the average rise in incomes does not reflect an equal distribution, as the highest 1% has been the primary beneficiary from globalization.  Blue collar and middle-income families have seen their wages either flatten, or falling behind (Economic Policy Institute, www.epi.org).  This argument from our leaders has been proven demonstrably false.
  4.  “Globalization has not led to greater global financial stability”: Free trade and the submission of our sovereignty to global institutions, has not led to greater financial stability and unencumbered GDP growth.  In fact, it has led to quite the opposite:

-From 1945 through 1971, there were no substantial financial crises.  This is best known as the “Bretton Woods system.”  This era was a system supported by the US dollar anchored to gold.

-From 1971 through 1980, developed nations went through a period of stagnation and recession due to Nixon’s removal of the dollar from the gold standard, oil shocks, etc., but no systemic crisis threatened western economies.

-From 1980-94, developed economies enjoyed unperilled growth through the Reagan Revolution, led by tax cuts and a “strong dollar” policy.  The 1987 stock market correction had no impact on the larger economy and was concentrated in financial markets for a short period of time.

-But from NAFTA 1994 forward, which most consider the advent of the globalization era, we have seen massive global shocks every few years.  they have included and not been limited to: (A) Asian currency crisis; (B) Russian ruble crisis; (C) Mexican peso crisis; (D) Dot.com bubble burst; (E) Long-term Capital Management bailout; (F) 2008 Financial Crisis.  And there are many more.

The basic tenets of globalization have proven untrue, and the consequences have been quite damaging to individual American families:

  1. China does not play by the rules, they do not enforce the same standards as western countries, and regularly steals US technological advances and intellectual property. They sell into our market with impunity, while restricting US companies from access to Chinese markets.  We were told they would become more democratic from this engagement.  This has proven untrue.
  2. Mexico was supposed to see an increase in GDP and business expansion which would slow illegal immigration into the United States. That has proven to be woefully untrue.
  3. Expanded wealth has not occurred, and US blue collar labor has been hollowed out by companies leaving to seek lower labor costs.
  4. There has been increased inequality, as most of the gains have gone to the upper end of the wage scale.

Globalization has proven to be a negative for US policy and more importantly US citizens.  The promises of increased wealth for everyone has only proven to serve as increased wealth for foreign countries on the backs of US intellectual property and innovation.  And actually, it has increased the wealth and power of a communist enemy of our country.

Globalization has not resulted in free trade or fair trade….it has only proven to be a bad deal for America.

 Whether you love the President or loathe him, on this policy, he is absolutely correct.  Globalization should be rejected by American leaders.