Autonomous driving is dumb. In my surveys of asking family members and friends, there's a whole ZERO percent interest in autonomous self-driving cars.
Most Americans don't even want a chip on a credit card let alone a car that drives itself.
Technology companies think they are smarter than consumers. Tech companies believe that once they wow us with the reality of self-driving cars, we're all just going to go out and buy one like a bunch of sheep, sheep led to the slaughter like this guy.
Josh Brown, a Navy Seal who served on Seal Team 6 (the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden), died from autonomous driving technology.
The big news last week was that Intel announced that it would be joining the push to create fully autonomous vehicles, investing over $250 million in the next two years to facilitate this development.
Tech gone wrong is tech that develops without much concern for producing what the public wants. Reality check: the average person doesn't care about autonomous driving and believes it's downright dangerous.
How are autonomous cars going to respond to an ambulance racing through an intersection? What about an electrical component on a circuit board in the autonomous driving car going out? Are you going to have about 2 seconds to grab the wheel to take control before a crash occurs?
Capitalism sometimes gets out of whack where you have greedy geniuses running around trying to force the public on a ‘fantastic' new technology. Remember the tech wearables market that was supposed to explode higher? The only thing it did was implode. Intel is laying off a major portion of its wearables group.
Technology bloggers like to write about new technologies like autonomous driving cars. Mainstream media groups like to report on autonomous driving cars because it's something interesting that people like to read about in horror and fascination. But where the rubber meets the road is what consumers want. In all the self-driving car hype, I see little evidence that consumers are willing to spend thousands of more dollars on a self-driving car.
I see billions of dollars being spent on autonomous driving technology and I see tepid consumer interest at best. That's a dangerous combination for investors, and I think we could see the autonomous driving car fad die out after tech companies finally realize that most of the public doesn't trust or want self-driving cars.
Hillary Clinton and Democrats promised to wage war on pharmaceutical companies and do things like price controls on drugs and products of the biotechnology industry.
In California, there was a ballot measure to impose price controls on the sale of pharmaceutical drugs in the state.
Both Hillary Clinton's probability of winning, and California's ballot measure to impose price controls on the sale of drugs, weighed on pharmaceutical and biotechnology stocks leading up to the election.
Donald Trump did not promise a war on pharma. Trump promised increased funding for research and development and modernizing the FDA to ease the development, commercialization, and costs of bringing life-saving drugs to market.
Donald Trump won, and biotech stocks have been rallying ever since.
Democrats created shortages in the health care industry with ObamaCare, and they almost created the same shortages in pharmaceutical drugs. Let's look at why price controls create market shortages.
A price control (or a price ceiling) occurs when the government puts a legal limit on how high the price of a product can be. For a price control to be effective, it must be set below the natural market equilibrium.
Using a hypothetical perfectly competitive market called pharmaceutical drugs, let's examine the microeconomics of price control.
When a price control or price ceiling is set, a shortage occurs. The red horizontal line markets the price ceiling that is set by the government.
The price control forces the price down from P to P2. At the lower price, more people can afford the drug and so the quantity of the drug demanded goes up from Q to Q2 (point A).
The suppliers of the drug (pharmaceutical company) immediately cut back on supply (point B) as they are now paid below what the equilibrium market price established. Instead, these suppliers focus on supplying most of their drugs to other consumers, perhaps in other states that pay the full market price for the drugs they make. A shortage is created by the difference in the quantities of drugs demanded, versus the quantities of drugs supplied as illustrated by the shaded area. Shortages within the pharmaceutical industry would likely result in deaths, depending on the drugs needed.
The government set a price ceiling of P2 and so quantity supplied contracted to point B. However, at that supply level, consumers would be willing to pay a price of P3. Since P3 is greater than P2, deadweight loss occurs. The deadweight loss is the elimination of trading between both suppliers and consumers.
Price controls are a bad idea. If the government sets a price ceiling, there will be a shortage.
Donald Trump said he would block the AT&T and Time Warner merger if he becomes president, arguing that such media combinations leave too much power concentrated among too few companies. What Trump is describing is monopolistic behavior. As Bloomberg writes…
Trump also suggested he would favor a breakup of NBC and Comcast Corp., a merger completed in 2013. Such deals, he said, are “poison” to democracy and result in companies “telling the voters what to think and what to do.”
The problem of monopolies is growing beyond just the media industry.
Technology giants are continuing to gobble up the competition. As Bloomberg reports…
30.3 percent of the market capitalization of the Nasdaq is now accounted for by just five companies — Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. (Google's parent), Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc.
Let's examine what a monopoly is from a microeconomics perspective using a hypothetical Lemonade market.
Here's the market for Lemonade in a perfectly competitive equilibrium at a price of Pe and the quantity of Qe. Now, because there are numerous buyers and sellers in this perfectly competitive industry, what do you suppose will happen if any one firm tries to raise its price above Pe?
In a perfectly competitive market, any Lemonade vendor that attempts to raise his price above the equilibrium established by supply and demand would see his quantity demanded quickly fall to zero. Such a vendor would rapidly lose market share as his customers would go to the cheaper priced competition.
The consumer surplus is the triangle C, and the producer surplus is the triangle E. Consumer surplus measures the difference between what consumers would have been willing to pay and what they actually pay. The producer surplus is the difference between the price at which producers would have been willing to supply a good and the price they actually receive.
Now suppose a monopolist corners the Lemonade market and raises the price to Pm. In this case, quantity falls to Qm.
Consumers have to pay more for less quantity, and the rectangle B is transferred to the monopolist. That means consumers are poorer and the monopolist is richer.
What portions of consumer and producer surplus represent the loss of allocative efficiency from monopoly pricing?
The efficiency loss on the consumer side comes from the consumption of lemonade that is forgone under monopoly pricing. The loss of efficiency on the producer's side comes about by a reduction in output and an undersupply. The loss of consumer surplus is measured by the triangle C while the loss of producer surplus is measured by the triangle E. Together, the triangles C and E measure the loss in allocative efficiency from the monopoly pricing. The loss in allocative efficiency from the monopoly pricing is called the deadweight loss.
A monopoly exists when there is only one seller in the market selling a product for which there are no close substitutes.
In such a case, the monopolist is not a price taker as was our perfectly competitive Lemonade firm. Instead, it is a price maker which means that it exerts considerable control over what the market price will be. The monopolist has this power because it controls quantity supplied in the market.
The market structures of most industries in the US fall somewhere in between a monopoly and pure competition as illustrated below.
From this example, you can see why relatively free, democratic governments do not like monopolies. Monopolies not only transfer income from the many to the few, monopolies also create an efficiency loss in the process.
Through microeconomics and supply and demand graphs, we have proven that a perfectly competitive market yields the most efficient use and allocation of resources, as embodied in productive and allocative efficiency. For further reading, I did another lesson on monopolies here.
Protectionist policies in the form of tariffs and quotas are coming from a Trump Administration. It seems appropriate then that we examine tariffs and quotas from a macroeconomics perspective.
The two most common ways of restricting trade are with tariffs and quotas. From a political point of view and to prevent a trade war, a Trump Administration should consider the use of quotas over tariffs in some cases.
Continue reading “Trump Administration and Tariffs Versus Quotas”
I predict that a Trump win means down for the economy at first, then upward as the US consumer strengthens from domestic job growth.
The down first move in the economy will come from inefficiencies caused by forcing multinational corporations to bring domestic production facilities back to the US or face steep tariffs.
Several traders have emailed me asking what stocks are good to short or go long in a Trump Administration.
Here is how a Trump win is likely to impact industries negatively.
Tesla is the big driver of autonomous vehicles. Tesla is shipping all new Model 3 cars with the hardware for full autonomy. These autonomous cars are also electric cars. Tesla's new Model 3, after tax credits, was priced for under $30,000. The Trump Administration is likely to be unfriendly towards companies like Tesla that benefited under the Democrats crony capitalism. The Trump Administration will likely offer few proposals for combating climate change. Trump will likely not pursue “green policies,” which means the discontinuation of “green” tax credits like the kind Tesla benefits from. Without these generous tax credits, Tesla automobiles will be more expensive which will slow purchases and slow the spread of the self-driving car.
Industrial IoT trends have been towards automation and replacing human workers with machines and robots. Trump has promised to renegotiate trade deals to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US. If IoT trends are taking away US jobs, it's a pretty good bet that a Trump administration will advocate against industrial machines and robots that replace human labor.
Trump has threatened to cut off remittance send from the US to Mexico until Mexico pays for a border wall. Trump is considering forcing Mexico to pay for the wall by invoking the US Patriot Act to cut off portions of the flow of money between the US and Mexico until Mexico makes a one-time $5 billion to $10 billion payment for the wall. Mexico is the largest receive destination for US remittances, cashing an estimated $25 billion in 2015. Western Union recently doubled the size of its retail network in the country, and MoneyGram unveiled a product in partnership with Walmart to make it easier and less expensive to send money from the US to Mexico. Cutting off the flow of money from the US to Mexico, even temporarily, would negatively impact Western Union and MoneyGram.
A Trump Administration will focus on bringing manufacturing back to America, specifically targeting firms like Ford and Apple to build products in the US rather than in Mexico or China. To implement a plan of bringing manufacturing back to the US, a Trump Administration will need to use tariffs and issue tougher manufacturing restrictions. This will likely cause a major decrease in international business spending as more businesses are either unable to make transactions due to restrictions or unwilling to pay the extra fees.
Net neutrality is the concept that all data transmitted over the internet should be treated equally. Trump has not released official statements about the topic of net neutrality, but he has expressed distaste for President Obama’s approach. A Trump Administration could push to change the FCC’s net neutrality rules which would result in different price points for various data types and enable service providers to throttle data delivery.
In a Trump Administration, technology companies will likely be forced to change encryption policies to provide backdoor access to the US government. Trump supported the court order calling for Apple to facilitate access to an encrypted iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter and asked consumers to boycott the company until it complied. Civil liberties groups are likely to take the Trump Administration to court. Requiring companies to provide backdoor access to the US government would violate consumers' trust and likely lead to a decline in users of these companies’ products at first. Over time, though, consumers will likely not care.
Policy changes by a Trump Administration would harm tech companies that manufacture overseas, like IBM and Apple. Apple's iPhone is likely going to become much more expensive for US consumers.
Apple and Google make more of their revenues overseas than within the US. Higher tariffs and protectionist policies could make it more expensive for tech companies to move and sell their products around the world. The broader use of trade tariffs would likely spur more countries to invest in domestic technology sectors within their own countries and to reduce their reliance on US technology providers, which would further hurt US tech multinational corporations.
Large mergers between service providers and digital content companies could face greater scrutiny. Trump said that the $85 billion AT&T and Time Warner merger would not be approved by a Trump administration because “it's too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.” A Trump Administration could lead to a decrease in M&A activity.
The technology sector has been granting more H-1B immigration visas to highly skilled workers with STEM backgrounds.
A Trump Administration will likely include fees that will make it more expensive for companies to hire foreign workers through the H-1B visa program. If such fees are enacted, it would likely drive up wages for highly skilled IT talent even further across the technology sector.
Protectionist policies and tariffs will increase the cost of goods. Trump wants to tax US companies that choose to manufacture goods overseas. Such a policy would harm retail companies that manufacture their goods overseas. Most retail companies will raise their prices to offset these tax penalties and the added cost of building manufacturing plants in the US.
E-commerce companies are pushing to deliver products to consumers as fast as possible. Think Amazon, and it's Amazon Prime membership with free two-day delivery as well as its drones for remote area deliveries. This fast delivery involves automation within distribution centers. A Trump Administration will likely move to protect American workers from being displaced by machines thus forcing e-commerce companies to invest in traditional forms of labor over cheaper and faster new ones.
While a Trump Administration will be great for the US economy long term IMO, short term, I think we get a pullback in the economy while corporations adjust to higher costs and lower sales.
Miley Cyrus as a young girl actor made her popularity by appealing to young Christian girls in the Disney series Hannah Montana (2006). As soon as she came of age, she abandoned God for fame. Miley Cyrus rushed for the spotlight and lost her religion in the process.
Miley Cyrus caused thousands of Christian girls to cry as they saw her abandon her religion for fame.
Miley Cyrus did everything she could to get Hillary Clinton elected as President. Miley Cyrus, along with other Hollywood ego-maniac types, came out in full-throat support of Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton paraded these Hollywood types at her events and thought she could persuade Americans to vote for her because of the likes of Miley Cyrus.
Here is Miley Cyrus crying because Hillary Clinton lost the election:
The next day, Miley Cyrus posted this pick on Instagram saying she was done crying about Trump (look closely at her eyes):
Miley Cyrus talks about having love in her heart and for others, but can't see the incredible love that was manifested by Americans in electing Trump as President. One could say that Trump's campaign was all about love, that is love of country and love of Americans. Trump demonstrated that love by running for office. He's a billionaire. He didn't have to go through the public nightmare of running for President and having the mainstream media slander and spin his positions into hate filled rhetoric. Trump loves this country enough, loves Americans enough, to step out of his billionaire shell and run for public office. Most people run for office as a step up, to acquire power and wealth. Trump already had these things and so running for office was probably a step down for him in terms of acquiring wealth.
Miley Cyrus lacks the love of God in her life, and so she's attempting to compensate that missing love. People love replaces God love in her life. That in part is why she is crying and so devastated about Hillary Clinton losing. Hillary Clinton has in some ways become her God.
Look closely at Miley Cyrus' eyes in the Instagram image above. Notice how her pupils are dilated. Miley Cyrus is on some stimulant drug in this photo. Notice the rapid bipolar behavioral swing from crying one day, to being gleefully happy the next, often another side-effect of drug use.
Miley Cyrus needs to get her own life under control before trying to control everyone else's by stepping into politics. Politics is much too rough for someone in Cyrus' condition.
Someone in the Cyrus family needs to do an intervention before this beautiful young lady spirals out of control.
I hope, no I pray, that one day, Miley Cyrus finds her way back to God before it's too late.
Henry Davis says it all :)
Increases in government regulation, taxes, environmental regulations, and ObamaCare on businesses, shifted the aggregate supply (AS) curve inward and thus reduced aggregate demand (AD).
Continue reading “Here Comes Supply-Side Economics and the Laffer Curve”