When It Comes to Climate Change, Wealth Equals Adaptation

“Adaptation and the development of low-carbon energy generation technologies will both be required to address and mitigate the challenges of man-made climate change. And yes, the world is slated to get warmer, but humanity is not running out of time to avert a harrowing climate future.

Again, when bad weather meets poverty, people die. The recipe for successfully adapting to climate change is continued economic growth and technological progress.”

China joined rules-based trading system — then broke the rules

“It’s been 20 years since China entered the global trade body, the World Trade Organization, a move that gave it access to the international trade system.”

“China’s WTO accession has rendered the U.S. undeniable gains. Consumers have enjoyed two decades of relatively inexpensive imported consumer goods, which boosted their buying power and the economy. A 2019 analysis by the London School of Economics of the impact of China’s WTO entry on U.S. consumer prices concluded that “each US household saw its annual purchasing power increase by $1,500 thanks to lower prices caused by increased trade with China from 2000 to 2007.”
WTO-brokered access to the Chinese market for U.S. agricultural products has reaped an export boom for farmers and agribusiness. And the U.S.-China Business Council’s 2021 member survey revealed that “ninety-five percent of respondents report that their China operations were profitable over the last year.”

But there is compelling data that China’s WTO entry helped accelerate America’s deindustrialization. A 2020 analysis by the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute, a labor-oriented think tank, estimated in January 2020 that the U.S. trade deficit with China resulted in the loss of 3.7 million jobs from 2001-2018.

The Chinese government’s willingness to push its economy to a more market-oriented setting broadly ground to a halt by around 2008. And that may have been the plan.

“When we promised to adopt a market economy, we made it absolutely clear that it would be a socialist market economy,” Long Yongtu, China’s chief negotiator for WTO accession, said in an interview in May. That effectively meant that China exploited foreign market access while blocking the U.S. from the Chinese market through measures largely outside of the WTO’s supervision and enforcement mechanisms.”

“Practically..the WTO may be incapable of bringing China’s unfair trading practices to heel because all 164 member nations — including China itself — need to accede to any new agreements.

“I don’t think the WTO can adequately discipline Chinese government practices because the rules of the WTO are now old,” Barshefsky said.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Add More Than $250 Billion to the Deficit. Does Anyone Care?

“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the legislature’s nonpartisan number-crunching agency, says the bipartisan infrastructure bill would add about $256 billion to the deficit over 10 years. The real figure is likely to be higher, because the package contains a few gimmicky elements that are designed to trick the CBO’s forecasting metrics.

The biggest of those gimmicks is the promise that Congress will reallocate more than $200 billion of COVID relief funds to cover infrastructure costs. It remains unclear exactly what unused COVID funds will be redirected, and the bill only rescinds $50 billion in actual budget authority from previously passed COVID relief bills, according to an analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB).

Other proposals to save and redirect federal dollars to pay for the infrastructure bill are also unlikely to materialize. Take the $49 billion lawmakers plan to “save” by further delaying an already-delayed Trump administration regulation altering how prescription drug discounts are applied by health insurers. “Because the Congressional Budget Office projected that the so-called rebate rule would increase federal spending in Medicare and Medicaid by about $177 billion over a decade, due to a rise in Medicare premiums (and therefore, taxpayer-funded subsidies for Medicare premiums), lawmakers get to count a further delay in the rule (beyond the Biden administration’s one-year delay) as ‘savings’ for the federal government,” explains the National Taxpayers Union.”

“When you filter out the gimmicks designed to game the CBO score of the infrastructure bill, the CRFB says the package will probably add $340 billion to the deficit over 10 years.”

“But as the CBO’s report makes clear, actually paying for the infrastructure makes those benefits bigger than they otherwise would be. A fully offset infrastructure package would boost GDP by an estimated 0.11 percent over the next 30 years while a deficit-financed package would barely break even. That’s because, as the CRFB notes, running higher deficits to pay for infrastructure spending will reduce private investment over the long term and, thus, lower future economic growth as well.”