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A Squeeze of Regulatory Reform Could Juice Productivity

The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip warns we’re “out of big ideas,” [subscription required] and as a result, the U.S. economy’s productivity growth has “averaged a pathetic 0.5% for the current decade.”

Productivity growth matters, because as U.S. Chamber chief economist, J.D. Foster stated in August, it’s the “mother’s milk of prosperity” and wage growth:

When labor productivity is rising, it means rising labor compensation should soon follow. It means workers and firms are becoming more competitive in global markets. And when labor productivity is declining, it means just the opposite.

Part of the problem Ip finds is that instead of innovation that focuses on big, bold ideas—say flying cars–much of it is directed toward responding to regulatory edicts, even if well-meaning:

The portion of a car’s price that pays to meet federal safety and fuel efficiency mandates has gone from zero in 1967 to 22% now, or $5,500 on a $25,000 car, according to Sean McAlinden, an economist at the Center for Automotive Research, an industry-supported think tank.

These have delivered genuine benefits: Highway fatalities fell from the late 1960s until recently, and the air is cleaner. Mr. McAlinden notes consumers may not have bought those features if given the choice.

A California mandate first introduced in 1990 now aims to make one in seven cars in the state emit zero emissions, which means powered by hydrogen or electricity. So while the purpose of the mandate, less pollution, is broadly shared, it achieves it by forcing car makers to favor certain technologies over others that may be commercially more viable.

R&D isn’t infinite. One tradeoff for focusing on technologies that satisfy federal regulations is not putting more resources into researching technological leaps like flying cars.

As Foster points out, the overwhelming Regulatory State sits like a weight on the economy:

The current dismal labor productivity figures do not reflect cyclical conditions. Coming toward the end of the current administration these figures aptly and primarily describe the net effects of the administration’s economic policies, most especially its hyper-active regulatory policies. On Aug. 8, the American Action Forum (AAF) released a study summarizing those policies.

According to AAF, the administration has issued an average of 81 major regulations a year, where major regulations are defined as costing at least $100 million, for a total so far of over 600 major regulations costing over $743 billion according to the regulators’ own estimates though the real cost could be significantly higher. At the start of the year the president indicated he would push his administration to be very aggressive in accelerating the outflow of regulations in the time remaining, so the economic drag from regulations would be expected to intensify.

The regulatory rush underway isn’t helping.

As a result, it makes businesses hesitant to go out on a limb:

Regulations have costs that go far beyond the simple calculations presented. They also create uncertainty among affected businesses as they wait for the regulations to come out, become final, and then become internalized within the business. Perhaps even more important, when businesses are subject to such an onslaught of regulations in complete disregard to the economic damage they inflict, and especially in combination with other policies such as the administration’s enacted and proposed anti-growth tax policies, the net result is to create at least the appearance of an antagonistic attitude toward businesses. Businesses can then become overly cautious and defensive and these consequences appear in the declining business investment in recent quarters.

Waning productivity growth (and a sluggish economy) is what you get when caution replaces bold, risk-taking.

Establishing a regulatory process fit for the 21st Century can be a way to bolster innovation and boost productivity. A step toward that is for the next Congress to quickly pass the Regulatory Accountability Act. This bill–supported by 380 business groups–help ensure that agencies make the most consequential regulatory decisions in an open and transparent manner based on good data and sound science and instruct them to use the least-costly option in meeting Congress’ intent.

Better, more carefully-crafted regulations can give entrepreneurs and businesses the certainty they need to move off the sidelines and invest more in bold ideas.

It’s obvious that productivity needs a boost, and squeeze of regulatory reform could be just the trick.

This Is How Laws Are Really Made. Learn more.

andy-puzder

Trump’s Selection of Andy Puzder for Labor Secretary ‘a win for job creators’

ATLANTA, Georgia /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, President-Elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced the selection of CKE Restaurants CEO and Job Creators Network Member Andy Puzder as the next Secretary of Labor. Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, issued the following statement:

The selection of Andy Puzder as the next Labor Secretary is a win for job creators and the 85 million people in the country who owe their livelihoods to small businesses. Puzder not only understands job creation but is a proven job creator himself, with over 3,000 restaurant franchises in the country that collectively employ over 75,000 people.

Puzder’s understanding of labor markets and job creation stand in stark contrast to the existing Labor Department, which has taken a hostile approach to small business job creators with its support for dramatic minimum wage and overtime exemption increases, a joint-employer mandate, a blacklisting rule, and mandatory paid time off regulations (to name a few).

Puzder is an ideal pick to reverse this overzealous regulation because he understands that economic freedom and a light regulatory burden are the best ways to improve the job market, grow the economy, and raise wages.

The Job Creators Network and American small businesses congratulate President-Elect Donald Trump for doubling-down on his job creation mandate by putting a proven job creator at the helm of the Labor Department.

ABOUT THE JOB CREATORS NETWORK

The Job Creators Network (JCN) is the voice of real job creators that has been missing from the debate on jobs and our economic crisis. JCN members talk about paychecks, not politics, helping the public and policymakers understand how to create jobs. For more information, please visit www.JobCreatorsNetwork.com.

RELATED ARTICLE: Meet the $15 Minimum Wage Opponent Trump Wants to Lead Labor Department

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THINKING BIG: Report Sets Ambitious Science and Technology Goals for the Trump Administration

WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The election of a new president offers the country an opportunity to remake America. The Potomac Institute, a science and technology policy think tank, has released a new report, “THINK BIG: Big Science, Big Opportunities, and Big Ideas,” outlining ambitious goals to drive innovation and economic development.

THINK BIG argues that innovation in science and technology are the keys to American economic strength and national security. Rather than a return to the infrastructure, economy, and healthcare systems of the past, the report calls for a vision for the future.

The report urges the new Administration to 1) develop policy based on the best available science and 2) use policy to foster the development of science and technology. The science and technology investment priorities identified in the THINK BIG report for the next Administration include:

America’s Future Infrastructure: Major public investments to achieve great things are a hallmark of American history. We need revolutionary infrastructure projects to drive America forward, not just fix what is broken.

Fostering American Industry Leadership: U.S. industrial policy should focus on fostering American innovation, helping American companies stay competitive in a global marketplace, and protecting intellectual property.

Revolutionizing Medicine: The American health care system should be revolutionized by leveraging technology and putting more power in the hands of patients.

Climate Engineering: We can use science and American innovation to engineer our way out of the climate challenge, using biotechnology and climate engineering.

“We will not solve these problems by investing in old technology and old ways of doing business. The only way to solve hard problems is to think big. Americans can do great things when we set lofty goals. If we think incrementally, we will only get incremental results,” said Michael Swetnam, Chairman and CEO of Potomac Institute.

ABOUT THE POTOMAC INSTITUTE FOR POLICY STUDIES

The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is a non-partisan, independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science, technology, and national security issues facing our society. The THINK BIG report is a product of Center for Revolutionary Scientific Thought (CReST), the Potomac Institute’s internal research and development and futures group, which uses innovative techniques to anticipate the policy impacts of emerging technologies.

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RELEASED: Bold $3 trillion U.S. Manufacturing Stimulus Package with no cost to taxpayers

WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — To achieve President-elect Trump’s vision to make American manufacturing great again, John A. Bernaden, co-founder and past vice chairman of the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, Inc., a Washington, D.C. non-profit group, unveiled today a bold $2 trillion to $3 trillion U.S. Manufacturing Stimulus Package with no cost to taxpayers. His plan uses Fortune 500 corporate wealth currently stranded overseas that Congressional leaders also want to repatriate with an alternative plan to pay for improving the nation’s roads and bridges via a new lower corporate tax rate.

Bernaden said other nations have long-term policies and long-range programs to more smartly support their manufacturers at home and abroad, pointing to a new “Policy Makers Guide to Smart Manufacturing” published last week by the Information Technology and Information Foundation, a Washington DC think-tank. That report provides a comprehensive summary of the long-term Smart Manufacturing policies and long-range programs established by other governments worldwide, most notably by China, Germany, Japan and Korea.

“Wall Street’s short-sighted leadership of U.S. Manufacturing has created a crisis!” Bernaden said. “They reap; but they do not sow. They restructure to take billions; but they do not reinvest to make trillions. They destroy industries; but they do not build new ones.”

Past bipartisan 20th Century U.S. industrial policies and Congressional programs have been complacent in creating this crisis, he continued.

“We need new leadership to create and construct a new era of revolutionary, highly-automated, IT-driven, super-productive, 21st Century Smart Manufacturing with a long-term vision to make America’s manufacturing great again,” Bernaden said.

“As a leader who values building things, President-elect Trump will soon have an opportunity to smartly lead our nation’s Manufacturing, to renovate the world’s oldest factories, as well as to start a construction wave of 2,000 to 3,000 smart new factories and plants in every State across America,” he concludes.

Attached is an executive summary of this U.S. Manufacturing Stimulus Act of 2017 that pioneers the first USA Industrial Bonds program with its better plan to repatriate the $2 trillion to $3 trillion in corporate wealth that’s stranded overseas.

EDITORS NOTE: More details about smart manufacturing and this economic stimulus proposal can also be read at the website www.smartmanufacturing.com.

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Problem Solvers Caucus: Create 250,000 jobs, balance the budget, secure American energy

WASHINGTON, D.C. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — No Labels on Monday hosted its much-anticipated 1787 bipartisan leaders meeting focused on constructing the peace after a historically divisive election. Featuring panel discussions and private meetings, the event notably included a closed door gathering of almost 50 members of Congress along with over 100 No Labels supporters discussing the shape and focus of an emerging Problem Solver Caucus on Capitol Hill.

With extreme elements in both the Democratic and Republican parties reluctant to cooperate with each other, members said the Problem Solvers Caucus aims to be a vehicle for bipartisan cooperation—particularly on the issues of tax reform and infrastructure investment—in early 2017.

“After such a divisive election, it has never been more important for leaders to actually lead; to resist the pull of partisanship and start focusing on what is best for the country,” said No Labels co-chair Joe Lieberman. “That’s exactly what the Problem Solvers Caucus did today, when they visited No Labels and discussed their plans to create a new stabilizing center of influence in our Congress.”

Many members of the Problem Solvers Caucus had previously signed a resolution (H.R. 207) calling for both parties to come together to make progress on the four goals in No Labels’ National Strategic Agenda:

  • Create 25 million jobs over the next 10 years
  • Secure Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years
  • Balance the Budget by 2030
  • Make America energy secure by 2024.

These goals set a vision for where the country needs to go. With a new president and Congress about to take office, members of the Problem Solvers Caucus will aim to play a pivotal role in enacting policies that advance these four goals.

“The message from the 2016 election was clear: People have had it with business-as-usual politics. They want real solutions reflective of Americans whose voices are too often lost in the noise of special interest partisanship,” said No Labels co-chair Jon Huntsman. “Today, the members of the Pro blem Solvers Caucus made a bold statement and a welcome commitment to do the people’s business and to work with both parties to deliver the durable, lasting solutions America so badly needs. They are to be commended as this is what leadership looks like.”

The No Labels 1787 meeting came on the heels of a significant pledge from supporters of No Labels to fund a $50 million Super PAC in the 2018 election cycle with the explicit purpose of supporting problem solvers and defeating obstructionists in congressional primaries. This will be far and away the most ambitious campaign effort ever to protect the political center.

1787 also featured:

  • Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, interviewed by the Financial Times’ Gillian Tett, on the rise of populist movements around the world and the global imperative to reclaim the center.
  • Trump Economic Transition Team Leader Anthony Scaramucci on what to expect from a Trump administration in the first 100 days, including perspectives on tax and trade issues.
  • Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Oklahoma City Mayor and Head of U.S. Conference of Mayors Mick Cornett and former New Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitmanon local and federal cooperation.
  • Senators Roy Blunt, Steve Daines and Joe Manchin along with Representatives Kurt Schrader, Ami Bera and Peter Welch and former Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson on where President-elect Trump will need to work most closely with Congress.
  • No Labels co-chairs Gov. Jon Huntsman and Sen. Joe Lieberman on the shape of the New Center in American politics

ABOUT NO LABELS

No Labels exists to bring America’s political leaders together to solve our nation’s toughest problems. We are a citizens’ movement forging a New Center in American politics that fights for an inclusive political process and supports policies that advance No Labels’ four core values of Opportunity, Security, Ingenuity and Accountability. No Labels has inspired the creation of an emerging Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus—featuring House Democrats and Republicans—committed to working constructively across the aisle to get things done.

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Italy Votes ‘No’ in Referendum, Renzi to Resign, Nail in Coffin for EU

In what has becoming a stunning movement for freedom and individual rights, Italy, too has voted to overthrow the political status quo.

Projections late Sunday indicated that Italian voters have rejected proposed constitutional changes, in what if confirmed would be a stinging rebuke to the country’s leader and a victory for populists in the heartland of Europe. (WSJ)

The Trump effect.

Italy’s Referendum Could Be The Nail In The Coffin For The EU

The referendum is a “test of strength of the anti-Europe and anti-establishment forces in Italy,” former Italian diplomat Stefano Stefanini told The New York Times. The proposed vote would rewrite 47 of the 139 articles in the Italian constitution, which Renzi says need to be replaced to allow the government to compete with European economies.

“If Renzi’s referendum fails, it will be seen as another symbolic victory for the populists that portends greater risk for other states and the EU,” a Eurasia Group Europe analyst told The Telegraph. He continued, “It will make the EU defensive and inward-looking, and more incapable of addressing the problems that are giving rise to the populists in the first place.”

It failed. Between 57% and 61% of voters opposed constitutional changes sought by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to Istituto Piepoli projections.

The EU jumped the shark with the Muslim invasion of Europe and they are going down.

Italian PM Matteo Renzi to resign in wake of referendum defeat

The Express: Mr Renzi hoped Italy’s oldest bank will be bailed out by the Qatari Royal family

As voters go to the polls today to take part in their referendum, bankers at Banca Monte dei Paschi de Siena are attempting a last minute bail-out deal from bondholders, supported by the Prime Minister who has gone all out to request help.

The government has gone cap in hand to the Qatari royal family and a number of US hedge funds in the hope they can request a £4.2BN bail-out ahead of the crunch vote.

According to reports the bank has issued a voluntary bondholder debt-for-equity swap to raise £1.25bn and will further request £830m from the Qatari royal family.It has also been reported that six hedge funds, including those that belong to billionaires George Soros and John Paulson, are stepping in to offer much needed liquidity.
Ordinary Italians have been hit hard by Italy’s banking crisis

Insiders say if the bank fails to raise enough funds US banks, including JP Morgan, Mediobanca, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch, will move into asset strip triggering a Lehman brothers style collapse.

According to reports but dependent on the result of the referendum, Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, is considering allowing a bail out.

However, new rules mean investors must first face serious right downs before Brussels steps in.

Indeed the outcome of the referendum will have a significant impact with Italy facing a potential ratings downgrade.

“MY GOVERNMENT ENDS HERE” RENZI LOSES ITALIAN REFERENDUM, WILL OFFER RESIGNATION TO PRESIDENT” –

By Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, December 3, 2016:

Summary: this is what has happened so far in yet another major overthrow of the political status quo:

  1.  Italy PM Renzi lost by a large margin
  2. In a speech moments after the results were announce, Renzi confirmed he would hand in his resignation tomorrow.
  3. As Bloomberg notes, the scale of the loss and how quickly it happened cast a huge shadow on the fate of the continent headed into 2017.
  4. The EURUSD has tumbled to lows not seen since March 2015

Read more…

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on PamelaGeller.com.

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Obama’s Regulatory Rush to the Finish Line

Key Takeaways

When I played football in high school, as the game neared its end–no matter if we were winning or losing–my coach always said, “Finish strong.” He didn’t want his players to leave anything on the field. He insisted we play with the same intensity in the fourth quarter as we did in the first.

As he ends his term, President Barack Obama is coaching the agencies under his watch with the same sense of urgency. And like my old football coach, he’s getting the same response, Politico reports:

Regulations on commodities speculation, air pollution from the oil industry, doctors’ Medicare drug payments and high-skilled immigrant workers are among the rules moving through the pipeline as Obama’s administration grasps at one last chance to cement his legacy.

[ … ]

As many as 98 final regulations under review at the White House as of Nov. 15 could be implemented before Trump takes office. Seventeen regulations awaiting final approval are considered “economically significant,” with an estimated economic impact of at least $100 million a year.

One agency who is taking this direction to heart is EPA. After the election, Administrator Gina McCarthy used an athletic analogy of her own in a pep talk email to her staff:

As I’ve mentioned to you before, we’re running — not walking — through the finish line of President Obama’s presidency. Thank you for taking that run with me. I’m looking forward to all the progress that still lies ahead.

By “progress” she means more regulatory red tape.

The regulatory rush is at full speed. The Interior Department finalized a rule to reduce methane emissions during oil and natural gas production on federal lands, even though methane emissions in the energy sector have fallen as natural gas production has risen. Energy groups immediately filed suit to stop it.

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The Interior Department also released an offshore energy development plan that blocked portions of the Arctic from exploration.

Financial regulators are also doing their best to write as many rules before the next administration takes office, Reuters reports:

Some rules are meant to flesh out the Dodd Frank Act of 2010 designed to prevent the next global financial crisis. Trump campaigned on a pledge to scrap the law but now he says only some provisions must go to lighten the regulatory burden.

The Federal Reserve is working on rules to govern matters such as executive pay, market stability and what investments Wall Street may hold.

Last month, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White said her agency would “in the near term” finish a rule on one thorny issue: how mutual funds manage derivatives.

The SEC and bank regulators have also for years struggled to finalize a rule that would tie more banker pay to the long-term health of their firms rather than short-term performance of Wall Street firms.

It’s all hands on deck throughout the regulatory apparatus, Reuters adds, “Some sixteen copy editors [at the Federal Register] are due to forego leave and be on hand in the coming weeks to process final rules expected from dozens of agencies, said an official familiar with the operation, but not authorized to speak to the media.”

To put the Obama administration’s regulatory barrage into some context, according to the American Action Forum, through the final November of his administration “President George W. Bush had issued 462 major rules. By contrast, President Obama has issued 636, or 37 percent more than his predecessor.”

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Congress does have some say in this rules rush. The Congressional Review Act gives Congress and the president an opportunity to block regulations up to 60 days after they were written. However, the law can only be used on one regulation at a time.

To give Congress more flexibility, a few weeks back, the House passed the Midnight Rules Relief Act, supported by the U.S. Chamber. This bill would package multiple regulations together under the CRA. According to the Chamber’s letter to House members, this would reduce “the risk that a poorly-written rule escapes CRA review because there is not enough time for separate debate and votes on each rule.”

One thing is for sure, the “strong finish” by President Obama’s regulators could keep the next Congress and administration very busy.

More Articles On Regulatory Reform

TRUMPONOMICS

4 Reasons Trump Drives Lifetime High In Stock Market

After posting 9 straight lows in a row, and the market bottoming on election night, concerns have faded away in the rear view mirror as Trump drove the stock market to hit lifetime highs on November 21st. Three main things are happening that few people are talking about in what is affectionately being called “Trump Effect” by many experts. Either way, most people out there are on pace to beat their average 401k returns this year.

But what are these magical forces?

Let’s break them down one-by-one.

1. The Possibility Of A Stimulus To Help Lift Manufacturing

In the weeks leading up to the election, people were confused and concerned. Investors had no idea what to think. Now, however, with Trump at the helm and a the Republican lead house and Senate as his right and left hand men, the general consensus is that things are looking up for American manufacturing. The business community as a whole is feeling good about the possibility of a stimulus package focused on manufacturing to help struggling companies like Caterpillar and US Steel.

Such a stimulus would not only help those companies but benefit the many other industries closely tied to manufacturing. Investors are seeing this as an opportunity to buy before the stimulus is announced and enacted.

2. Infrastructure Funding Possible Boost For Economy

How many times did Trump say the airports in the US are like a third world country during the campaign? That’s rhetorical; obviously nobody can count that high. Regardless, that’s definitely something he focused on and is passionate about. He can’t land the Trump Force 1 in any old run-down airport.

Airports, bridges, buildings, highways, and a whole host of other items are on his fixer-upper list. This will require money, but more importantly it will require businesses in the private sector to get involved. That is good for the economy, which in turn is good for business again.

The point?

The economy is going to improve with someone at the top who is a successful business owner if not for any other reason than he sees the world through business-colored glasses. Business, and investors, like that. It’s not rocket science.

3. Deregulation, Including Obamacare, Has Businesses Optimistic

Perhaps Trump’s second favorite topic on the stump was repealing and replacing Obamacare. Whether or not that will be as easy as he initially thought it would be, it is certainly the direction he is headed. Whether it’s repealed, modified, added to, or modified in any other way, a safe bet is that it will be more business friendly. That compared with some of the talk of financial reform and going after the EPA and IRS has Corporate America excited about the options.

After all, American’s don’t necessarily like uncertainty. Election nights are always volatile events where nobody knows what is going on but, usually, calmer heads prevail. Usually.

After the 2012 election of President Obama, however, the stock market went into a tailspin. Here’s a fun fact from MarketWatch.com.

Dow Jones’s data team says the average change on the day after Election Day is negative 0.9%, with the top 5 declines arriving in the wake victories by Democratic presidents.

4. The Trade War With China And Mexico

A fourth, perhaps less important, reason for this increase in prosperity is the promise of an end to countries like China and Mexico taking advantage of the US. This would greatly increase the value of American-made products like an old fashioned Winchester safe or a set of craftsman tools.

I think we’ll find, going forward, that Trump will be very good for the people holding a lot of stock.

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The Real Reason We Have Ethanol in Our Gas by William O’Keefe

To get enough votes to pass the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, Democrats led by Henry Waxman made a deal with the corn lobby.  In exchange for its support, Congressman Waxman committed to an oxygenate provision—essentially a mandate to blend corn derived ethanol into gasoline.

As a way of disguising this requirement, Congress wrote the oxygenate provision in a way that made it part of a formula for gasoline—government gas.  Section 211 (k) of the Clean Air Act spells out in detail specific component levels for gasoline.  Just think, lawmakers acting like chemists, telling refiners how to make gasoline.

Prior to the passage of the 1990 Amendments, it was clear that initiatives to improve air quality would mean that tailpipe emissions would become more stringent.  In anticipation, the oil and auto industries undertook the most extensive fuel-engine research program ever conducted.  The objective was to determine the most cost-effective ways to meet lower emission standards and to provide research based data that could be used by government.

Since the mandate went into effect, almost 26 years ago, its cost has been about $200 billion or more.

The two industries briefed Congress on the research and made one primary request:  set emission standards to achieve Clean Air Act objectives but give the two industries the freedom to determine how best to achieve them.  That request was rejected because of a deal with the corn lobby.

Ever since then, motorists have been stuck with higher fuel costs and lower mileage, and consumers have been stuck with higher food prices. Corn production has continued to increase and Congress expanded the mandate to include specific volumes.  The cost of the ethanol mandate has been documented extensively as has the lack of real environmental benefits. In 2015, the Manhattan Institute published a report—The Hidden Corn Ethanol Tax—that concluded that in 2013 the mandate cost consumers $10.6 billion. Since the mandate went into effect, almost 26 years ago, its cost has been about $200 billion or more.

President-elect Trump has pledged to “drain the swamp.”  The ethanol mandate is a good place to start because it may be the most visible and lasting example of how crony capitalists create Baptist and Bootlegger schemes to enrich themselves with taxpayer dollars.

Ethanol manufacturers have perfected championing the environment with corn farmer support for both to get richer.  Bringing the ethanol mandate to an end would send a clear signal that campaign promises to take on crony capitalists was more than just rhetoric.  Changing the Washington culture has to break the link between special interests, lobbyists, lawyers, the alliance between Bootleggers and Baptists.

Republished from Economics 21.

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The Patent Bubble Is Getting Ready to Pop

Irrational Exuberance and Patents?

I’m certainly not going to win any popularity contests for writing this article.  The last thing anybody wants to talk about after a presidential election is a patent bubble.  After all, most of us took a nice stock market beat down during the recent housing bubble and mortgage crisis.

world patent marketing patent bubbleFor the past 40 years, intellectual property,  technology development, and invention ideas have been the driving force behind the United States and much of the world’s developed economy. Companies like Apple, Amazon and Amgen have been the leaders in wealth creation. Biotech, software, and communications systems have made fortunes for many and changed the world we live in.

It has resulted in a mad rush to capitalize on the “next big thing.” And that is creating a global patent bubble.  The chase of Intellectual Property (IP) has created the next “irrational exuberance.”  If the term rings a bell, it’s because it was the phrase that Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan used when warning about stocks being overvalued during the DotCom Bubble of the 1990s.

Since Microsoft burst onto the scene, IP has been seen as the next gold rush. Companies, venture capitalists, private equity shops, and universities worldwide are searching for new patents and copyrights that will create killer returns.

Patent Bubble Numbers Don’t Lie

patent bubble

The prices being paid for patents are all over the place. In 1975, more than 80% of an S&P 500 company’s net worth was based on tangible assets (real estate, machinery, receivables, etc.). By 2010, that number has completely flipped to 80% of the net worth being based on intangible assets (patents, goodwill ,etc.).

The numbers are clear. Intellectual property  now accounts for over 38% of the U.S. economy, but interestingly only 12% of exports. If that’s not the start of a patent bubble forming, I don’t know what is.

It seems that the race to patent a product has overshadowed the product itself. I am not discounting the importance of patents, however, when almost 40% of the economy is about protecting the right to make a product (rather than the product itself), there is something wrong.

95% of Patents Don’t Make a Dime

Accelerating patent valuation is the sign of a patent bubble.The common perception is that patents are a path to riches. If an inventor or entrepreneur files a patent, he can then build a successful technology company under the protection of that patent and eventually sell out to companies like Apple and Facebook.

Nothing can be further from the truth. A patent does not create a shield or grant you freedom to operate without competition. It gives you a tool to attack a competitor that you believe is infringing on your patent. Enforcing your patent is typically a nightmare, even for well funded corporations.  It can take up to 5 years and cost up to $5 million to actually win a patent litigation.  And that’s if there isn’t an appeal. And you better pray that the company infringing on your patent isn’t too comfortable in a courtroom.  They can make your life a living hell and make you wish you never filed for a patent in the first place.

Ever Heard Of The Tulip Bubble?

tulip bubble patent bubble

The Tulip Bubble is regarded as the first record of a widespread financial bubble in history. In the early 1600s, Tulips were newly introduced in the Dutch Republic and investors scrambled to get on board. At the peak of the bubble a single tulip bulb could sell for ten times the annual income of a skilled craftsman. Tulips were the fourth largest Dutch export! This was at a time when food and clothing absorbed almost the entire bulk of national income. In this environment where most people had barely enough to eat, it was simply bizarre that a useless luxury item absorbed such a huge chunk of Dutch wealth. Then in 1637 the bubble burst and the price of tulips fell to 1% of their former value. The Dutch economy crashed and the consequences were felt throughout Europe.

The bursting of the Tulip Bubble didn’t just affect those who owned and traded tulips. It caused a deep recession and a liquidity crisis in the Dutch Republics. The tulip bulbs were leveraged by finance, just as we leverage homes and commodities in the United States today. When a widespread bubble bursts, it up-ends the balance sheets of the entire nation.

The price of tulips never recovered, as you can see for yourself at any WalMart in Spring. You can buy them by the dozen for under five bucks.

The Crash of 1929 and the Mortgage Crisis Were Bubbles

The great Stock Market Crash of 1929 was brought on by similar forces. Investors were makingpatent bubble housing bubblehuge returns all through the 1920s. The stock market was the place to be if you wanted to get rich quick. People borrowed heavily to purchase shares. And then it all came crashing down.

The Mortgage Bubble, which burst in 2008 showed us the same pattern again. Following 1999, when the Tech Bubble burst, the safe place to put your money was into homes. Prices were bid to unsustainable levels. All of it was commodified for investment purposes. When it crashed, almost every major bank in the U.S. and Europe found themselves in negative territory. On paper they were bankrupt. They owned a bunch of mortgages tied to homes with inflated values. The government had to step in with cash to keep the banks afloat.

The bursting of the Mortgage Bubble led to the deepest economic downturn since 1929 and its aftermath is still felt throughout the U.S. economy.

The Patent Bubble Will Hurt the Entire Economy

patent bubble can hurt us allIt is my opinion that when the Patent Bubble bursts, it could be far worse than the housing bubble.

Today, a company’s most valuable asset is  its intellectual property. Their wealth is in their patents. These patents are held on their balance sheets as intangible and undisclosed assets. They attract investment, issue bonds, and obtain credit based upon those numbers.

These patent bubble assets are not liquid and they do not trade easily. It isn’t like selling a publicly traded security. Patent assets do not trade frequently and don’t have any valuation consistency.  If a company fails, it is forced to liquidate these patent assets at fractions of their assumed value.  When Kodak filed for bankruptcy, experts were predicting patent portfolio sales of $1.8 billion to $4.5 billion.  They sold between $94 million to $525 million.  Quite a difference. There was nothing unique about the way Kodak was valuing its patents. They were just following accepted accounting principles. Imagine Kodak happening over and over again. It would create an international liquidity and balance sheet crisis.

Don’t Confuse Inflated Prices with Economic Growth

Higher patent valuation is not necessarily good.Too much money chasing the same sector results in price inflation. Those inflated prices are always unsustainable. When this patent bubble bursts, it will hurt the entire economy.

This is the opposite of productive investment, which has given us tremendous growth and a high standard of living. Investment in goods and services for reasonable returns is vital to economic growth. Investment in paper monopolies, patents and copyright, can be good for the economy. But when it gets out of balance, as it is now, it can lead to very bad economic outcomes for the global economy.

Why isn’t anybody sounding the patent bubble alarm?

When bubbles are on the rise, a tremendous amount of wealth is created. Even a pure Ponzi scheme created plenty of profit for the early investors. During the Housing Bubble, many on Wall Street and in government knew that housing prices were unsustainable.  Even Federal Reserve made comments suggesting that the economy was now “different” and there would be a soft landing.

SUBMIT YOUR IDEA TODAY

Well the economy wasn’t different. Ponzi Schemes and bubbles always end the same way. Traders like Nassim Taleb, who wrote the influential book “The Black Swan”, and made a killing by investing against the home mortgage industry, were laughed out of the room. They were called alarmists or even branded as negative and destructive. But of course, Ponzi Schemes always fail. Everybody wants to believe it is different this time. But, it never is.

There is one thing for sure. We are in a Patent Bubble right now and history always repeats itself.

EDITORS NOTE: Learn more about World Patent Marketing.

law scales judges

Judge Blocks Oppressive Overtime Regulation by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Only days before the enforcement was to begin, Texas federal judge Amos L. Mazzant III has blocked the imposition of the Obama administration’s egregious overtime regulations that have already had a terrible effect on American businesses and workers.

The judge said, essentially, that the Department of Labor did not have the authority to issue these regulations. It had no mandate from Congress to do what it did. It was the worst form of regulatory overreach by administrative edict – an archetype of the arrogant, technocratic, top-down rule by the deep state that has been so harmful for jobs, wealth creation, and economic growth.

The Harm Is Done

This injunction is cause for great celebration, but let’s not forget the harm that the threat alone created over the last several months. Under the new regulations, which were to be enforced beginning on December 1, the salary limit below which workers and businesses fell under government mandates was raised from $23,660 to $47,476.

It’s just a change in one number, but it profoundly affected millions of lives. Most large businesses have already retooled, reshuffled, and renegotiated the employment terms of  millions of people, with nothing but bad results.

Ambitious workers who work more than 40 hours per week were told they can no longer do so without putting companies in legal jeopardy. This cuts off their career plans and harms productivity.

Workers on salary were downgraded to working on a per hour basis to avoid added costs of employment. This is a terribly demoralizing thing to happen to anyone mid-career. It causes personal bitterness and a profound sense of loss.

Many people already received the raise to $48K, which sounds like a wonderful thing, but it is a two-edged sword. The raise comes with new duties and demands, and added stress, essentially undoing what the Department of Labor claimed to be doing. Moreover, think about it: who wants their salary raise to be imposed by administrative edict as versus being earned by virtue of professional success?

And let us never forget the people who were not hired as a result of this rule. Forced raises drained resources needed to hire new people at starting wages. Many companies who might have done year-end hiring had to change their plans to fund forced raises for others.

And then there are also millions of people who once earned salary and had a side gig that paid wages. But the downgrading of people from salary to wages means forgoing the moonlighting in order to work longer hours to feed the beast of the main job.

Regulatory Chaos

And this small list cannot possibly capture all the chaos that this seemingly small regulatory change brought about. From the perspective of a bureaucrat in Washington, this might have seemed like a small thing: let’s give millions of people a raise or more free time just by imposing a new rule!

The naivete (or just arrogant overreach) is truly breathtaking. This kind of rule profoundly destabilizes a highly sensitive area of life itself: the relationship between workers and managers. That anyone could have believed that this rule could be passed without causing massive confusion and harm illustrates a core problem with public policy today.

What now? Large companies have already prepared for the change in the law that apparently is not going to happen now. The Chamber of Commerce has said that it considers the rule dead.

But read this intriguing paragraph from the New York Times coverage. Here is where you discover the complexities of the politics of regulation. Given that big companies have already responded with raises:

It is rare for employers to reverse such pay increases, making large employers potentially sympathetic to an overtime compromise that would effectively extend the salary increase to some of their smaller rivals.

Did you catch that? Large companies might actually push for an imposition of a new rule to use as a bludgeon against smaller companies. In other words, the initial victims of the rule might become the victimizer.

A Problem of Knowledge

This speaks to a more fundamental problem, which is the existence of a regime that imagines itself capable of managing the relationship between workers and companies at all. It’s not that this new rule went too far; it’s that the Department of Labor has such power to begin with. Not only the new rule needs to be stopped; the old rule was also terrible.

I recall all too well one of my first jobs when I wanted to work more than 40 hours at the prevailing minimum wage. I had the time and I wanted the money. The boss said no. I couldn’t believe it and I couldn’t understand it. He said that he would have to pay time and a half. I said, this is not necessary. He said he had no choice. Already, I experienced what it means to have your personal ambitions cut off by a regulatory knife.

Government does not possess the knowledge, much less the wisdom, to exercise this kind of power. The knowledge necessary to manage the salaries, wages, and employment terms of millions of American workers and businesses is not accessible to public employees ensconced in a marble palace in DC. Such knowledge is localized, dispersed, and best managed by people with skin in the game.

All these regulations need to go.

Here is more on Overtime Rules.

Jeffrey Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education and CLO of the startup Liberty.me. Author of five books, and many thousands of articles, he speaks at FEE summer seminars and other events. His latest book is Bit by Bit: How P2P Is Freeing the World.  Follow on Twitter and Like on Facebook. Email.

You can download his books in epub format for free here:

trian-wreck

Government Transportation is Literally a Train Wreck by Jairaj Devadiga

In March of 2015, Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed into a mountain, killing all 150 people on board. On November 20 of this year, the Indore-Patna Express derailed after a suspected rail fracture, killing at least 149 people. Both events were tragic and probably preventable, but the responses to these tragedies couldn’t be more different.

Germanwings Flight 9525

This was the first and only fatal accident in the 18 years of the airline’s operations. The co-pilot locked himself in the cockpit and deliberately flew the plane into the mountain because he was depressed and wanted to commit suicide. His doctor had deemed him “unfit to fly’, but he had hidden this information from the airline.

Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, offered an initial sum of 50000 Euros (₹36.25 lakh) to the families of the victims to help cover immediate costs. For families of German victims, the amount was 95000 Euros (₹68.89 lakh). This was separate from the compensation, which amounted to $206 million in total, or ₹1.4 crore per family. Many families are not satisfied with this compensation offer, and have filed lawsuits, so Lufthansa may actually end up paying substantially more.

In the aftermath of this incident, Lufthansa and other airlines introduced more stringent background checks. They put in place several safety measures, such as requiring two crew members in the cockpit at all times. They did their best to make sure that such a tragedy is never repeated.

This phenomenon isn’t unique to Germanwings and Lufthansa. Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 crashed in 2014 due to a malfunction, which the pilot was unable to handle. As with Germanwings, this was the only fatal accident in the airline’s history. The airline similarly offered an initial compensation of ₹16.42 lakh for immediate expenses, on top of the ₹68 lakh it offered to each of the victims families. As with Lufthansa, they might end up paying more once all the lawsuits are settled.

Following the accident, the airline implemented improved training programmes for its pilots so they can respond more effectively in the future and avoid such a tragedy.

The Indore-Patna Express Derailing

Unfortunately, the derailing of one of India’s publicly owned railways was not the first time this had happened. Thousands die every year in rail accidents, and far more are seriously injured. In 2014 alone, more than 25000 people were killed in rail accidents.

In response to the accident, politicians offered cliched statements of condolences to the bereaved families. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu promised that the guilty would receive the “strictest possible punishment”. Narendra Modi announced a compensation of a measly ₹2.5 lakh to the families of the deceased.

This has been sequence of events following train accidents for many years, regardless of who was in charge of the government at the time. Few, if any, proper measures have been taken to improve the safety of rail travel.

Accountability in the Marketplace

Why is it, that airlines take steps to make flying safer and provide more generous compensation to those affected while railway officials seem so callously indifferent to the safety of their passengers?

The airline companies and aircraft manufacturers have to pay millions of dollars in compensation to the victims families. When company profits take a hit, the CEO does not get a bonus that year. Those who were responsible for the accident lose their jobs. The shareholders receive smaller dividends, if any dividends at all, that year.

The airlines voluntarily offer compensation over and above the legal requirements to encourage customers to continue to fly with them. They improve pilot training and aircraft design for the same reason.

Markets are savage and unforgiving masters to those who disregard the consumer’s interests. They hold people accountable and provide incentives to make products and services more reliable. That is why flying is so safe and is becoming safer every year.

Government-run railways, on the other hand, have had an abysmal safety record over the years. Why? Because the bureaucrats responsible did not lose their jobs. They continue to receive their pay even if they don’t perform. They will still receive promotions based on seniority regardless of how well they performed their duties.

What about the politicians? When Modi and Suresh Prabhu announce compensation to victims and their families, they are not paying out of their own pockets. Taxpayers, are on the hook for that money. Every time a bureaucrat or politician commits a monumental and expensive blunder, we pay for their mistakes.

The railways won’t go bankrupt, because like every government venture, they will be propped up with taxpayer money. The manufacturers of the trains and tracks will not go bankrupt. They get contracts from the government, based not on quality, but on political connections.

Government employees operate under the same lack of incentives to improve that their political bosses do, so those working in the Indian railway system have little reason to ensure passenger safety.

The solution is obvious. The railways must be privatized, not only to ensure better quality of service but more importantly, to save countless precious human lives.

Jairaj Devadiga

Jairaj Devadiga is an economist who looks at the less obvious, but devastating, effects of government policies. When he is not bashing governments and advocating free markets, he enjoys reading about medicine, computers, astronomy, and law among other things.

united-nations-flag

Trump has power to stop refugee flow, will he slow the flow of our tax dollars to UN?

All over the country, as we have been reporting, refugee advocates are having pow-wows and crying sessions about what Donald Trump might do about refugees on January 21st.

Many of those advocates have gotten comfortable, and felt safe in their jobs, through several Presidents including Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama, but all that is expected to change.

This is a story from New Hampshire Public Radio (Clinton country) where experts try to predict what is coming.

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Asst. Professor Ruxandra Paul (Amherst)

The first quotes are from Chris George from the New Haven, CT resettlement agency. We told you about him here last week.  He is hoping we still take in Obama’s last wish—110,000 this fiscal year.

Asst. Professor Ruxandra Paul (Amherst): Trump on solid ground to cut flow of refugees, but she worries that other countries will follow suit. However, one thing never mentioned is that we are far and away the world leader in PERMANENTLY resettling refugees, most countries, including most European countries, do not admit permanent refugees.

Then we hear from a law professor who argues that we have given Presidents too much power.  As far as the Refugee Act of 1980 goes, the crafters of the law (all Dems) gave the President power. Congress was expected to “consult” and weigh in, but that body has until very recently ignored its role.

(Only Senator Sessions held a required hearing on Obama’s plan, the House has been silent under Rep. Trey Gowdy’s chairmanship of the immigration subcommittee.)

New Hampshire Public Radio:

“A president can exercise the highest level of authority, when it comes to border control or foreign policy,” says Sudha Setty from Western New England University Law. “So in terms of setting that refugee ceiling for future fiscal years, future President Trump does have the authority to set that ceiling very low.

Setty said Trump’s freedom to exercise sweeping decisions, like banning Muslims from entering the U.S. continues a disturbing trend of the last two administrations.

“The lesson of the last 15 years has been that we have given the president a tremendous amount of power.And we have not put into place a lot of accountability measures when it comes to anything that is deemed to be national security or terrorism or national security related, and that’s not changing any time soon.”

Next up is another assistant professor with a little nugget that is useful.  The UN High Commissioner for Refugees gets $1.5 BILLION a year from us (and not mentioned here is the fact that the UN is choosing most of our refugees).

Amherst College Political Scientist Ruxandra Paul is watching both sides of the Atlantic right now. She says if U.S. leadership changes direction on its decades long commitment to refugee resettlement, more global uncertainty is sure to come.

“Donald Trump has been suggesting that the US has contributed too much and that allies from western Europe are not covering their share of the burden.”

Last year the U.S. gave the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) more than $1.5 billion. The European Union next in line, followed by several European countries, gave in the hundreds of millions. [We gave a half a billion here just in July—ed]

From a legal perspective President Donald Trump will be on solid ground if he chooses to lower the refugee ceiling. If he does, Paul says, it’s possible other countries will do likewise.

Nikki Haley?

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Nikki Haley (right) with Senator Lindsey Graham

In light of that bit of information, that the UNHCR gets $1.5 billion a year from us, is Nikki Haley going to be tough enough and would she be able to deal with the refugee issue which The News & Observer, a North Carolina paper, says is one of four major UN issues she will have to confront?

Ambassador to the UN is not a little out-of-the-way job and will depend greatly on who Trump picks for the Secretary of State which she will be reporting to! Placing Haley there is not putting her in a place to simply keep enemies close. A deputy assistant job in the Labor Department would have been a better fit.

If Trump does go hardline on refugees and wants the UN funding cut would Haley resign and cause him a PR embarrassment down the road?  I think she would (and the likes of Senator Lindsey Graham will be cheering her on from the sidelines as they prepare for 2020)!

Here The News & Observer ponders the question about refugees:

Trump wants to end Muslim migration to the U.S. until terrorist threats are addressed, banning refugees fleeing violence in countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. This policy directly violates international law, which stipulates that other countries have an obligation to take in people seeking refuge from persecution in their home country and cannot bar refugees based on origin. [Trump (we hope) will follow US law which gives him the power to limit refugee flow, not international law!—ed]

Although Haley opposes Trump’s outright Muslim ban, she was among 30 governors who demanded Syrian refugees not be resettled in their states, citing security concerns. A spokeswoman for the governor said last year that until refugees can be properly vetted “it’s not appropriate for them to be sent to South Carolina or any other state.” [Just words and they all knew it!—ed]

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Incoming U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Refugees are not allowed into the country until they pass a series of background and health checks, a process that can take up to two years. Governors can’t legally stop refugees from being resettled in their states. [For the umpteenth time, the Syrian screening has been reduced to 3 months and we do admit refugees with TB and other diseases.—ed]

Incoming U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres is likely to resist any American efforts to dismantle refugee programs. He formerly served as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and is a strong advocate for wealthy countries doing their fair share to help the most vulnerable. He will take office Jan. 1.

This last makes me wonder (again) whether the Trump transition team has any idea of what they are up against at the UN and how those of us who voted for Trump feel about the ‘world body.’

Endnote:  If you were digesting your Thanksgiving meal and didn’t read my post last night, here it is. Islamists say their long game is to take America down through immigration and out-breeding us!

RELATED ARTICLE: Students at William and Mary pushing for refugee resettlement for Williamsburg, VA

graphene

Graphene Military Labs Unites Ambassador Dell Dailey and World Patent Marketing CEO Scott Cooper

Imagine computer screens that can be rolled into a tube for transportation, batteries that charge in seconds and hold their charge for days, gels that can soak up oil spills and radioactive waste, membranes that are impermeable to water and gasses, yet weigh almost nothing. It’s the world of graphene, the hottest new material to hit research labs in decades.

Ambassador Dell Dailey and World Patent Marketing's Scott Cooper

Up until now, Graphene Military Labs has been one of World Patent Marketing’s best kept secrets. It is the brainchild of Ambassador Dell Dailey and World Patent Marketing CEO Scott Cooper.  Graphene is commonly known as the “next wonder material” with the potential to revolutionize the world as we know it. Graphene Military Labs is moving forward on research for military applications, particularly in the area of infantry equipment and technology.

It has been known for some time that “invention powerhouse” World Patent Marketing isn’t the traditional product development company.  The composition of its military and politically influential Board of Advisers never really added up.  World Patent Marketing CEO Scott Cooper has always had close ties to Israel as a Director of The Cooper Idea Foundation and has always had unique access and close relationships with elements of the political, military and intelligence establishments in the United States. The need for such access was never known or discussed up until now. The company gave a “one-two punch” with last month’s release of its Military Defense and Security Inventions video supporting the US Fight Against the War on Terror and quickly followed up with the launch of Graphene Military Labs.

Ambassador Dell Dailey is a senior member of the World Patent Marketing Advisory Board and perhaps its most prominent member.  Ambassador Dailey was the head of the State Department’s counterterrorism office from July 2007 to April 2009 after a 36-year Army career.  The board consists of other notable figures including Vice Admiral and nuclear submarine Commander Al Konetzni, Former US Attorney Matthew Whitaker appointed by President Bush, General Nitzan Nuriel of the Israel Defense Forces, Dr. Aileen Marty, a member of President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council, Congressman Brian Mast, Pascal Bida Koyagebele, former Presidential Candidate for the Central African Republic and Eric Creizman, a legendary New York attorney.

“Graphene is one atom thick and 200 times stronger than steel.  It is one million times thinner than a strand of hair.  It is quite simply going to be the next gold rush.” said Cooper. “Sixty years ago the scientific community believed that graphene was theoretical and could not be isolated.  Today the Ambassador and I believe that graphene will lead to some of the greatest human accomplishments.  It’s going to push the boundaries of just about everything.”

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“Graphene may be the solution the military has been waiting for,” said Ambassador Dailey. “First of all, it is light and durable. Adding graphene as a composite to standard equipment could reduce the weight and improve performance by a factor of four times or more. Besides, graphene may lead the way to the next generation of lightweight batteries, which charge faster and last longer.  And as we have started researching the material, primarily as a lightweight composite, I have become more and more intrigued by the sensor capabilities. Graphene patches can be designed that allow our soldiers to know instantly if an area is contaminated with radiation or chemical weapons, even when those levels are extremely low. And that can provide our troops the minutes they need to take precautionary action and protective maneuvers. We are talking about breakthrough military technology and invention ideas; that can save soldiers’ lives.”

Graphene May Produce the Strongest Lightest Military Technology Ever

Graphene is the strongest material ever discovered. It can be formed into a membrane that is so thin; it weighs almost nothing. A sheet that weighs less than a single cat whisker can support the entire cat. Graphene can support mass several thousand times its’ weight. It is far stronger than steel, it is quite simply when calculated by weight to strength, the most powerful substance on earth.

Graphene military technologies can create flexible screens.

Graphene is superconductive and can transfer information up 200 times faster than silicon. It has a low thermal rating due to its thin layer which provides amazing insulation properties.

It is being used in biomedical research in a variety of ways, including as a scaffold to help repair damaged nerves. Rats that were previously paralyzed with severed spinal cord injuries were able to heal and walk again fully.

And, it is being developed as a sensor for chemicals and pollution. It also has possibilities for research with DNA and cellular biology.

Graphene military technologies can be used in displays.

Graphene was first identified in the mid-twentieth century, but scientists had no way to isolate it in quantities that were large enough to use. It wasn’t until 2004 that Andre Geim and his research students, at the University of Manchester, found a way to isolate the substance in quantities that allowed them to do research. It was hailed as the first 2D material ever discovered. Graphene could form a solid sheet, just one atom thick.

Almost immediately, research labs around the world began working with Graphene. They discovered that this is one of the most bizarre substances yet created.

While it is the strongest material ever found, a little impurity or flaw leads to breakage. And even when perfect, it can be brittle and shatter like glass. A 2D membrane is stable and impermeable; even hydrogen cannot pass through the tight lattice that forms graphene. But, a 3D layer can be created that allows water and gas to go through it as if the graphene wasn’t even there.

Researcher with flexible graphene screen.

Because of its superconductivity, up to 200 times faster than silicon, there was early interest from computer chip makers. But their initial expectations foundered on another unusual property of graphene. It conducts quickly, but it can’t be turned off. Logic chips, the basis of modern computers, have to turn on and off. A switch that turns on and stays on isn’t worth a nickel with current technology.

Pushing the Boundaries of Military Technology

While graphene failed to be the sought-after replacement for silicon chips, it was quickly discovered to have a host of properties that are more than promising. The material may be revolutionary in many fields. Ultimately, it may completely change the equipment of infantry soldiers and dramatically increase their capabilities.

Graphene tubes used for nanotech.

“Our first introduction to graphene was on a project for the energy industry.” said Cooper, “Five years ago crude oil prices were over $120 per barrel.  Prices tanked within a few years to below $40.  The global energy industry is still in a state of confusion.  Notwithstanding the market’s optimism about an agreement being reached in Vienna at the end of November, the oil cartels are a perfect example of an industry that could greatly benefit from the commercialization of graphene.”

“Graphene carries an electrical charge and is already being used in cell phone screens. What I want to see is a touch pad for military purposes, that is flexible so that it can be rolled up like a scroll,” said Ambassador Dailey.

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Researchers are experimenting with what they call an aerogel. It isn’t soft like a gel, it is more like a sponge, it looks like a semi-translucent block. But it can absorb more than 600 times its weight of oil. Imagine what that could do to prevent environmental disasters. And they are working on graphene gels that absorb radiation. The possibilities are endless.

Cooper and Ambassador Dailey believe that graphene may eventually improve almost every item carried by an infantry soldier. They envision body armor and protection with graphene composites. Because it is impermeable to water and gasses, it is an ideal material for electronics housings and cases, and perhaps even for uniforms and protective gear.

Graphene offers possibilities for flexible and semi-transparent displays and military equipment coated in graphene has the potential to change color with an electric charge, and camouflage coatings may make tanks, planes, and ships, all but invisible to the human eye.

As Graphene Military Labs and World Patent Marketing push boldly into the future, the vision of Ambassador Dell Dailey and World Patent Marketing CEO Scott J. Cooper will help to give the military the fighting edge needed for safety and security, now and in the future.

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Prognostication on Trump Administration Immigration/Refugee Policies

This morning I figured I would just go back to business reporting the news from across America and across the world on what was happening with refugees and specifically refugee resettlement here and abroad.  But, all the news everywhere (typical of most of the media) was about immigrants/refugees (and groups like CAIR) freaking out.  In the case of one particular story from Baltimore, The Sun article caused my computer to freeze up for about a half an hour. (Don’t you just hate those sites, even Breitbart does it, where they run videos that simply pop up and stall your computer!).

Does anyone think that a law created by Senators Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden (signed by Jimmy Carter) is worth saving? Is it in the best interests of your towns and cities? No! Tweaking the numbers is not sufficient. I say blow it up and start over!

ted-and-joe

So instead of sorting through all the scare stories, I read what Roy Beck (NumbersUSA) said about Trump on immigration, but will have to beg to differ if this is really what Trump plans on refugees.

Geez, is the honeymoon over already?

And, so begins a new phase for Refugee Resettlement Watch!  Will we have to be the conscience—the nag—for an administration that purports to be on our side?

And what is my side? It is my job to advocate for what I believe needs to be done, not to find the compromise!

First, let me tell you what Roy Beck says in an otherwise good piece on immigration control and the American worker.

See here on Refugees:

Trump would continue refugee resettlement at more traditional lower numbers*** than the Obama Administration has sought and would emphasize a higher priority on helping more refugees in their home regions.

During Trump’s Phoenix, AZ speech in August 2016 he advocated for creating safe zones for refugees instead of permanently resettling them in the U.S.: “For the price of resettling one refugee in the United States, 12 could be resettled in a safe zone in their home region. Which I agree with 100 percent. We have to build safe zones.”

Trump has also said he will end the practice of forcing refugee resettlement on local communities against their wishes. [Easier said then done! What? take a vote in town? See who comes out with more activists in dueling rallies in the town?—ed]

Just lower the numbers?  No way!

The entire structure of the Refugee Act of 1980 is flawed and my wish is for it to be scrapped altogether.  The system of sending millions (billions!) of taxpayer dollars to non-profit ‘religious’ groups to, in cahoots with the US State Department, secretly place them (chosen by the UN!) in hundreds of towns and cities in 49 states is wrong!

Now, if Congress with the President deem it in our national interest to admit some permanent refugees, then they must repeal the original act (build a new program) or completely overhaul it.  I have ideas on what could be done, if that is what the soon-to-be-powers in Washington decide to do.

But, simply reducing the numbers and restricting a few countries won’t cut it! This entire flawed system must be blown up first and I will continue to advocate for that outcome.

***If you want to talk “traditional” numbers, the refugee industry will be quick to say that the RAP (Refugee Admissions Program) admitted much higher numbers in the past, in some years twice what we bring now under Obama.  So you can’t stick to the strict ‘reduce numbers’ meme with this program. And, indeed, if Trump is turned out of the White House in 4 years, then the next administration will simply up the numbers again.