Friday, May 26, 2017

Canadian Dairy and the Effects of Supply Management

This is an interesting piece by a Canadian dairy farmer, which shows how differently that country manages dairy industry.  Canada uses a supply management system, which sounds similar to the system ASCS managed for our tobacco industry until this century.

To me the bottom line is that supply management can work for a number of years, as it did for Canadian dairy and American tobacco and peanuts, if "work" means maintaining smaller producers. It doesn't work if the priority is innovation and efficiency over the long range.

How To Influence Congress: Townhalls

The Congressional Management Foundation has a helpful post.

An Understatement of the Month?

Keith Hennessey (GWB's former economist) is commenting on the Trump budget and apparent disagreements between OMB Mulvaney and Treasury Mnuchin:

"Two trillion dollars is a lot of money..."

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ukrainian Skippers--Really??

The operation of the human mind (at least my mind) is a puzzle.  I was reading this NYTimes piece this morning, which describes how richer people can hire boats and skippers to smuggle them into Europe:
"The family of six had paid about $96,000 to travel from Afghanistan to Turkey. The last leg of their journey, a cramped week’s sail through the Aegean and Mediterranean seas aboard a cerulean 15-meter yacht, the Polina, piloted by three Ukrainian skippers, cost $7,000 a head. It dropped them in Sicily in relative style."

What struck me was the "Ukrainian" bit, which was the only nationality of skippers described in the article.  I was sure that the Ukraine was this land-locked country, so how in the world would they have people with expertise in navigating smaller boats?  

The short answer is: the Black Sea.  Ukraine is one of six countries with ports on the Black Sea.

I don't know whether I was confusing Ukraine with Belorussia, which is indeed landlocked, or just had a poor mental image of the map of Eastern Europe.

Factoid: did you know you can sail from the North Sea to the Black Sea (Rhine-Danube canal).

Post Readers Are Knee-Jerk Liberals?

Not so, at least on this evidence.  The background: Christine Fair is an activist who was at an exercise club where she saw Robert Spencer also exercising.  She raised a stink and the club banned Spencer. Today she has a post in the Post defending her actions.  When I checked about 1 pm she had drawn more than 450 comments.  When looking at the comment threads sorted by "likes", the top threads (maybe 5 or 6, didn't bother to scroll down through all of them) were all anti-Fair.

Count me in their camp--as long as Spencer was lifting according to the club rules, he should be left alone.  You want to protest his views, which are terrible, fine, but do it at his office or his speeches, etc.  And even his speeches, I'd follow the recent Notre Dame precedent, attend then walk out, or vocally protest for 10 minutes, then allow him to talk. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Is Perdue on Board With Trump Budget?

The answer, it appears, is "no", according to this piece on his testimony today to the House appropriations.

Beer in Chinese Tanks Via Erie Canal

Via Northview Diary, here's a newspaper piece on the travels of Chinese beer tanks.

Apparently the US can no longer fabricate the large fermentation tanks needed for an expansion of a brewery, the Genesee brewery in Rochester.  So they were made in China, shipped through the Panama Canal, up to Albany, then on the Erie Canal (where the Northview blogger took photos) to Rochester.  The tow, carrying 2 tanks, is over 400 feet long. In total there are 12 tanks, which will make a lot of beer. 

Drink Genny.  Be a real man.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump Budget for USDA

Tim Mandell at the Rural Blog copies the gist of Chris Clayton's early analysis of the Trump budget--big cuts, including  payment limitations on crop insurance and farm programs.  USDA takes a 20.5 percent cut in discretionary, the biggest of any agency except State.

Dead on arrival and already starting to smell.

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Always More Complicated

That's my rule in approaching generations about humans--society or history, at least it's the rule I try to remember.

Lyman Stone has a post here in which he challenges and complicates the story of immigrant groups outearning whites, which Mark Perry of American Enterprise Institute has pushed based on census data.

You need to read it all, if you're at all interested in the subject, but a quick and possibly flawed summary has two points:
  1. "ancestry" and "race" are separate categories and shouldn't be used in the same comparison because of the way the data are collected. 
  2. for many ancestry groups the comparison being made is flawed because it's based on "household income" and there's wide variation in the size of households among the different groups.
Based on some calculations Stone did it seems the best generalization is that immigrant Russians do have an exceptional record in earning, but otherwise it's complicated.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Overstaffed Congress

" "People think Congress has all these resources and staff. In fact Congress hasn't increased its resources since 1974, and the House of Representatives cut its budget by 20 percent since 2011 for each Member office."

From Congressional Management Foundation 

Part of the problem is the (mostly Republican) Congressional desire to be seen as responsible trustees of the taxpayers' dollar. The one thing they can control is the staff and their salaries.  And then they complain about lobbyists and the power of the bureaucracy.