Saturday, November 16, 2019

No one ever wins a trade war--by Kyi May Kaung (Ph.D.)--cartoons from Internet


Cartoon, Rob Rogers.

No one wins a trade war, plus the U.S. trillion dollar deficit.
Lessons for Burma—by Kyi May Kaung, (Ph.D.)

I never thought I’d live to see the day, yet here I am, wondering about American democracy/Indian democracy and market and socialist economies, while some of my colleagues and mentors have already passed on.
My classmate since 5th grade or standard, Daw Khin Aye Than, with an ABD (All But Dissertation) from Wharton School of Business, died in 2015.  A few years ago, U Roland Khin, who wanted to phone me to relay news of Jasmine’s passing, also died himself, from a fall in his garage.
Believe it or not, in 1987, Merrill Lynch[1] came looking for us, Jasmine and me, because they were keen on opening up a stock market in Burma.  For three weeks, during which we were paid $700 a week (our Fulbright was $700 per month), we were at the Merrill Lynch HQ on a very high floor of one of the two World Trade Center Towers—I don’t remember exactly which one. 
I looked out the wide plate glass windows onto the sparkling waters, and Lady Liberty looked like a small chess piece on my brother’s chess board.  I made a crayon sketch, but now I can’t find that small piece of paper either.
Jasmine and I used to stand near the office receptionist’s desk, she in a Burmese longyi, and chat in Burmese.  I wore pants suits, because many people get mugged or attacked on the subways of New York and Philadelphia.  Penn police told us always to wear shoes and clothes we could run in.  How to stay safe.  To have a money clip with $20 in it to throw at muggers and then run in the opposite direction.
People, including university students from overseas, still get shot on the streets of West Philadelphia.  My friend moved out after her fiancé was robbed two times with an AK 47.
It was high summer, and quite hot.
The N.Y. subways smelled bad, and the tarmac on the streets was sticky, as if melting.
At lunch time, I went down to the fountain in the courtyard and ate lunch.
The centerpiece sculpture of the world on its axis[2] is now in the W.T.C. Museum.
The Sphere immediately after 9/11.
Jasmine said Mrs. Hla Aung told her, “The higher the floor, the more important the person/business.”  I did not talk of my husband’s business associate, who was in a small cubby-hole on a lower floor—may be it was one of those rent-by-the-hour.  I am told they exist.
As for the high floors, we all know how these very same towers became death traps on 9/11.  When my other colleague and I visited Saya and Mrs. Findlay in Nov. of 2002, Ma Ma Jane said, “Osama bin Ladin must have been khaung kyain ne te, in the caves of Tora Bora,” and Saya said, “If I were the Taliban, I’d just lie low and then come back after some years.”
They told me they went to the W.T.C. a week before 9/11 to show friends around.
Life is all random and chance.
In 1987, the stock market was at an all-time high, and a few weeks later would crash altogether.
No one paid any attention to us Burmese students, though we were obviously selected because we were Fulbright grantees, and from Burma. 
“If they wanted anyone else,” Jasmine said, “they would have found them.”
Reasonable enough.
Jasmine, with her usual extroverted nature, made friends with the M.L. librarian and did some research on privatization, her favored topic.
I talked to the only other intern, an American man, who was planning for his girlfriend’s visit (I was planning for my husband’s first visit) and about doing a museum crawl on 5th Avenue.  He was at loose ends too, just like us.
I went to the bookstore on Church St.[3] near the small old cemetery, and bought a book on stock market and Wall Street terms.
One night quite late, my son and his friend D. and I walked back from Chinatown to Wall St. via Church St. and then to my lodgings in Murray Hill.[4]
The M.L. employee named Annalisa, supposed to be “looking after us” wanted to shunt me across the bridge to Brooklyn Heights, but I said I was afraid of street crime, and needed to cook my own food, and so we got separate studio apartments with kitchenettes in Murray Hill, which I found by reading a “relocate” to NY City booklet which I still have.
I asked my 2 first cousins, not siblings themselves, both working at the UN, about Brooklyn Heights and they shook their heads.
 I think A. was just trying to shunt business towards a friend of hers with rooms to let.
She also asked what I considered to be a racist comment, “Where did you live in Burma?”

During those three weeks, I went to the Guggenheim,[5] a beautiful snail-shaped building, and saw the Joan Miro[6] exhibit (A man, first name pronounced “Hwann”).  Also to the Cloisters[7] which were brought from France, all that stone, by Rockefeller, and rebuilt in Fort Tyron Park at the northern tip of Manhatten.
For anyone who knows Economics at all, especially if you were a student of Dr. Ronald E. Findlay,[8] you have to know that the Theory of Comparative Advantage is the economist’s equivalent of the Holy Grail.[9]
Trump had a GPA of 2.00 at Wharton as an undergraduate.  He got in because his father ingratiated himself with the admissions officer[10].  (On the other hand, my friend Jasmine and I got into the Wharton School of Economics (of the University of Pennsylvania) and the Univ. of PA,  all on our own, after 20 years of nothing-to-read but the few volumes in the small Institute of Economics (formerly Ford Foundation) library in Rangoon.  And we did not have millionaire fathers either.  At Penn, during our time as Fulbright scholars, if you got a C or 2.00 in any subject, that was a failing grade.  We had to maintain B+ every semester.
You will probably know if you follow the news at all that in 2016 Trump lost the popular vote to Mrs. Clinton, but won through something called the Electoral Vote.[11]  Before Trump won, I did not know it existed.
I have heard of a Burmese-American woman who cried when Trump won.
I myself was in shock.
I walked to the lunch buffet at Whole Foods, where they weigh the food, subtract the cost of the container, and you pay by the pound.  I always choose expensive foods like beef and berries, and avoid rice and bread, which I can’t eat anyway.
At Whole Foods, now owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post (he bought 2 adjoined houses next door to the Burmese Embassy in the Kalorama Section of D.C.)[12], I ran into a woman P. who I think is married to a Congressman. 
She looked just as shell-shocked, and said, “Now I don’t know what to do.”
Trump started facing mass demonstrations in NY and DC the morning after the election in Nov 2016.  Women in pink hats with ears blocked his motorcade when he went to CIA HQ.
There were demonstrations in front of VP Mike Pence’s house where he was renting near me, before he moved into official quarters inside the Naval Observatory Grounds.
I use the Naval Observatory clock to check my watch and clocks when the time changes in the fall and the spring.
At the Washington Nationals baseball game last week and a wrestling match he was loudly boo-ed and spectators chanted “Lock Him Up.”[13] During the 2016 campaign Trump’s followers chanted “Lock her up” about Hilary, and they continue to do so at all of Trump’s rallies.  This was just a few days ago on Saturday.[14]
People (i.e. Democrats) do not like Trump due to his anti-Muslim ban, his border wall, “his” ICE,[15] his tariffs, the ballooning deficit and his obvious dementia/Alzheimers condition.
By the time of the 2016 election (Nov.) I had already deleted my Facebook account.  I went back to Linked In for a while, and then rejuvenated my Twitter account.
#ImpeachTrump, # ImpeachTMF, #ImpeachTrumpPenceBarrPompeoMulvaney
have been trending on Twitter continuously for the last six weeks.
Here are some e.g.s of people’s comments, copied and pasted—

And just like that #Trump will disappear leaving behind a $ Trillion deficit and rock bottom interest rates with nothing to fight the slowdown and all the time he will shouting it wasn’t me[16]

Replying to
Do we want more public-sector jobs? Is that a Republican talking point now? Isn't the GOP supposed to be the small-government, fiscal-responsibility party? We're running trillion-dollar deficits. This is not okay.

Replying to
How are the numbers on supply side economics holding up after almost 40 years? National debt now 23 Trillion and annual deficit about 1 Trillion. Are you saying Warren's fiscal record would be worse than GOP's?

Replying to
I'm not blind to a 3 trillion dollar deficit. Manufacturing in a recession. Coal mines still filing bankruptcy. Taxpayer money bailing

Replying to
I'm not blind to a 3 trillion dollar deficit. Manufacturing in a recession. Coal mines still filing bankruptcy. Taxpayer money bailing out farmers. No infrastructure plan. No health care plan. Nuclear proliferation. His Violating the Constitution. He's done more harm than good

33.3K Tweets

voting blue in 2020 #resist
trump makes me
... No DMs please.
Ohio, USA
Joined July 2016

With only one year left until the 2020 election, Republicans in Washington seem more committed to protecting the President than protecting our country and the integrity of our elections. #DefendOurDemocracy #ForThePeople

Today, the 5th of November, is #ElectionDay. Let your LOUDEST boos be booming from the ballot box. Grab a friend and GO VOTE!!! #VoteBlue

Today there are gubernatorial elections in Louisiana, Kentucky, & Mississippi, state legislative elections in New Jersey and Virginia, & hundreds of local races across the country. Their outcomes could give us fairer district maps and much more. Go vote!

Your reminder that the
Administration is suing to eliminate health care coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Dems, on the other hand, passed legislation to lower generic drug costs as part of our #ForThePeople agenda. #TuesdayMorning Thoughts
Quote Tweet
Pre-Existing Condition Alert
· 2h
Many health insurers consider receiving mental health counseling a pre-existing condition, even though 19.2 million Americans have received mental health counseling. If the GOP succeeds in repealing the ACA, their lives are on the line.

Trade war continues to take its toll. Last month, Deere laid off 163 workers in Iowa and Illinois. Now, 120 workers in Texas lose their jobs at Caterpillar due to tariffs.

I follow mostly Democrat politicians, organizations and media personalities, such as the comedians, like Trevor Noah, who once did a Burma spoof wearing a taikpon aingyi (jacket), Saturday Night Live, and people like Jim Acosta whose press pass the Trump WH tried to revoke, using a doctored video.
I watch all the Hearings in real time in detail.
Yesterday, there were gubernatorial elections for state governors, in Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, traditionally blue collar conservative states, supposed to be “red” or Republican.  But KY has already swung Blue, to Democrat.[17]  Now the hash tag #BlueWave is trending.
Here from Wikipedia:
The terms "national deficit" and "national surplus" usually refer to the federal government budget balance from year to year, not the cumulative amount of debt. A deficit year increases the debt, while a surplus year decreases the debt as more money is received than spent.

Here from the same Wikipedia article are the definitions:
The national debt of the United States is the total debt, or unpaid borrowed funds, carried by the federal government of the United States, which is measured as the face value of the currently outstanding Treasury securities that have been issued by the Treasury and other federal government agencies.
The terms "national deficit" and "national surplus" usually refer to the federal government budget balance from year to year, not the cumulative amount of debt. A deficit year increases the debt, while a surplus year decreases the debt as more money is received than spent.
There are two components of gross national debt:[1]
  • "Debt held by the public" – such as Treasury securities held by investors outside the federal government, including those held by individuals, corporations, the Federal Reserve System, and foreign, state and local governments.
  • "Debt held by government accounts or intragovernmental debt" – are non-marketable Treasury securities held in accounts of programs administered by the federal government, such as the Social Security Trust Fund. Debt held by government accounts represents the cumulative surpluses, including interest earnings, of various government programs that have been invested in Treasury securities.[18]
The Social Security Trust Fund is where our social security (pension) deductions are held.  In our working years, if we are U.S. citizens, our employers deducted Social Security monthly or fortnightly based on our salaries.  These are paid into the SSTF.
What that is:
The Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund (collectively, the Social Security Trust Fund or Trust Funds) are trust funds that provide for payment of Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance; OASDI) benefits administered by the United States Social Security Administration.[19]
When you reach a certain specified age, your benefits are pro-rated based on the number of years you worked and at which pay level.  Then “points” are calculated.
It will never be as much as income from work, but it will help.
To return to the USA’s total national debt, reporters have reported that underneath the Capital Building is a special office room where Treasury Bills are printed and sold.  Most of the US National Debt is help by foreign countries.
China's maximum holding of 9.1% or $1.3 trillion of US debt occurred in 2011, subsequently reduced to 5% in 2018. Japan's maximum holding of 7% or $1.2 trillion occurred in 2012, subsequently reduced to 4% in 2018.[20]

I once saw a cartoon in which all of America’s national debt is piled on a carpet owned by China, and one day the carpet will be pulled out from under us.
China’s President Xi Jinping and his wife have had 2 State Dinners with President Obama, where Mrs. Michelle Obama wore a red Alexander McQueen dress.  The color matters.  Melania also wore red and Ivanka tried to sweet talk Xi by having her daughter come in and say Hi in Mandarin, but the dinner was at their Mar a Lago resort in Florida.

State Dinner, President and Mrs. Obama with President Xi.

With his 2.00 (a C grade) GPA, it’s not clear whether Trump knows that tariffs hurt U.S. consumers and U.S. farmers.
No one ever wins a trade war.
Everyone benefits from international trade.
I mean the legitimate kind, not crimes like drugs and human trafficking or trade in illegal items such as endangered animals like pangolins or elephant ivory or rhino horns.
About the total amount of national debt, again from Wiki;
Historically, the US public debt as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) has increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. The ratio of debt to GDP may decrease as a result of a government surplus or due to growth of GDP and inflation. For example, debt held by the public as a share of GDP peaked just after World War II (113% of GDP in 1945), but then fell over the following 35 years. In recent decades, aging demographics and rising healthcare costs have led to concern about the long-term sustainability of the federal government's fiscal policies.  The aggregate, gross amount that Treasury can borrow is limited by the United States debt ceiling.
As of June 2019, federal debt held by the public was $16.17 trillion and intragovernmental holdings were $5.86 trillion, for a total national debt of $22.03 trillion. At the end of 2018, debt held by the public was approximately 76.4% of GDP, and approximately 29% of the debt held by the public was owned by foreigners.[8] The United States has the largest external debt in the world. In 2017, the US debt-to-GDP ratio was ranked 43rd highest out of 207 countries. The Congressional Budget Office forecast in April 2018 that debt held by the public will rise to nearly 100% of GDP by 2028, perhaps higher if current policies are extended beyond their scheduled expiration date.
In the agricultural sector, China buys soybeans from the USA, and pork is also exported to China.  Here is a pork farmer talking about the tariffs.
In 2018 crops were rotting in the fields due to the reciprocal tariffs instituted by China.
Almost all our clothes and small electrical appliances and other consumer goods are imported from China.

In Sept. Trump announced he would hold tariffs at 25-30%[21]

The Point: China exempts U.S. pork, soybeans from further tariffs

•Sep 14, 2019
This is Chinese government TV.
And with those images, I leave you to decide for yourself whether what exiles like me write are relevant or not.
Burma is close to China and is an export-dependent country.
America, India and China are all world-class industrialized countries.
As a “footnote”—open Impeachment Hearings for Donald J. Trump are starting next week.
Trump golf trips alone have cost taxpayer $100 m.[22]
China says tariffs must be cut to reach a trade deal.[23]
Chinese exports down.[24]
Obviously, I am writing and submitting this as I think I have something to contribute.  I am told that certain persons close to Daw Suu did not even know who Bishop Tutu was.  Another discussion was about T-shirts, the discussants did not know why it was called a “tea shirt.”  It’s not a tea shirt to wear at tea time.
Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, whose farm Daw Suu visited, is in the middle of a major scandal right now.  You don’t know when what you don’t know might hurt you.
I wrote this for my good friends and Institute of Economics alumni—thank you for the kadaw gifts.  All the opinions and mistakes if any are mine and only I am responsible.
Senator Mitch McConnell[25] and Daw Suu in Rangoon. 
Sen. McConnell is currently the Senate Majority Leader.  For a very long time, he was known as the formulator of US-Burma Policy.  Support for the NLD was bipartisan.

Kyi May Kaung holds a doctorate in Political Economy, and an MA in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.[26]  Her dissertation can be read here.[27]  She also holds an MA and a BA (Gen. Hons.) in Economics from Rangoon University.
She worked as a Sr. Research Analyst and Radio Broadcaster from 1997-2001in Washington, D. C., and with The Burma Fund as a Sr. Fellow from 2001-2010. 
She wrote, compiled and edited A Plan for Democracy and Development for Burma, commissioned by The Soros Burma Project, in 2008-9.  The Plan is in the appendix of her memoir, A Time to Write.[28]
Dr. Kaung’s official website is
She has traveled extensively for Burmese scholars, had over a dozen art shows internationally, read poetry in Lafayette Park (near the White House), six wearable-art shows.
Her play Shaman was praised by famous playwright Edward Albee.  She won the PA Council on the Arts Award, the William Carlos Williams Award of the Academy of American Poets, was a Pew Finalist in Literature twice, and won 2 human rights awards from Northeastern Illinois Univ. in Chicago.

She deleted her Facebook account in 2016, so if you see anything, it’s a fake account and don’t click on it.

[2] The Sphere is 25 feet (7.6 m) high and cast in 52 bronze segments.[3] Koenig called it his "biggest child".[3] It was put together in Bremen, West Germany and shipped as a whole to Lower Manhattan.[3]
The artwork was meant to symbolize world peace through world trade, and was placed at the center of a ring of fountains and other decorative touches designed by WTC architect Minoru Yamasaki to mimic the Grand Mosque of Mecca, Masjid al-Haram, in which The Sphere stood at the place of the Kaaba.[4] The structural engineers who took a part on this project were Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA), who helped make the globe able to rotate once every 24 hours.[citation needed]
From Wikipedia.

[12] The Obamas have also bought a house there.  Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting.
I used to go there, because the houses Bezos bought used to be the Textile Museum, and in my other life, one of several, I make collector-level opera coats.
[16] I have edited for grammar and spelling.
[20] From wiki

"I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” Trump said before his election. In fact, he has visited golf clubs 224 times since taking office, including over 3 months in total at Mar-a-Lago. These trips have cost taxpayers over $100 million"


My archive at IISH, Amsterdam--