Small Island States & Climate Survival

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 12/14/2018 12:21:00 PM
Trying not to go underwater: Kiribati and company.
You sometimes have difficulty finding "good guys" at year-end UN climate negotiations. On one hand you have rich countries unwilling to cut emissions despite already being wealthy like the United States. They are largely indifferent to worsening the plight of poor countries which must bear the brunt of climate change, like those in sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand, you also have developing countries that do not want to sacrifice anything to economic growth despite having among the world's most polluted cities on the face of the Earth. I'm talking about you, China and India.

But there are "good guys" here: Out of the sheer necessity of survival, small island nations at risk of being submerged by higher sea levels worldwide are leading the charge at climate negotiations to save them from literally disappearing off the map. Let's say their work is cut out against the likes of the United States--promoting coal at a climate conference, what a joke--and China and India who are quite callous to the plight of fellow developing countries. So much for third world solidarity...
The ongoing negotiations on how to implement the Paris Agreement aren’t going well. The world’s largest economies and top greenhouse emitters remain mired in decades-old arguments about who is responsible for addressing climate change and its impacts.

Now, a group of small island nations have stepped in to save themselves. Countries like Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands aren’t your typical geopolitical movers and shakers, but here at the United Nations climate change conference in Katowice, Poland these highly vulnerable countries have managed to reshape discussions with a simple but poignant reminder: if the world fails to halt global warming they may disappear for good.

“We are not prepared to die, and the Maldives have no intention of dying,” Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives told reporters in Poland. “We are going to do everything in our power to keep our heads above the water.”
They try, but the message sometimes falls on deaf ears:
To do that, these countries have launched a last-minute blitz to rouse higher-emitting and slower-moving countries to action. They are pushing their counterparts to demand a more aggressive agreement in a series of closed-door bilateral discussions. And they’ve launched a messaging campaign to signal that they will not let other countries off the hook if they hold back.
I am obviously sympathetic to small island states, but I do have to scratch my head about what kind of political leverage they can apply to get what they want achieved during these international talks. Literally, they are the smallest of fishes in a very big pond.

On PRC Retaliation for Detained Huawei Exec

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 12/10/2018 05:23:00 PM
"Free Meng Wangzhou" is the new PRC (technology) battle cry.

In case you missed, it, Canadian authorities have detained Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou due to American pressure over that Chinese company dealing with Iran in violation of US sanctions. She is due for extradition to the United States. This major diplomatic dust-up comes on top of massive uncertainty over the fate of world trade as the United States slaps China silly with tariffs. Whereas the tariffs deal with supposedly unfair Chinese trade practices, these efforts to cut Chinese technology firms down to size are part of an effort to slow China's technological advancement, which Trump and company would argue come from "stealing" American know-how anyway.

Just as China has retailated against US tariffs by slapping some of its own on American products, what's to stop the PRC from harassing American executives, too? More than one nation can play the trumped-up economic harassment game. Bloomberg offers the following nightmare scenarios for American investors in China: 
Imagine you’re a product engineer for a U.S. device brand based in China. You’ve had to submit your passport for annual visa renewal.

Without it, you can’t travel. And with heightened concerns over security and a crackdown on VPNs (which enable users to bypass Chinese censorship of the internet) your company has decreed that all sensitive product discussions be done in-person back at HQ. But that visa renewal is taking a long time and you’re stuck in Shanghai, with your product cycle being extended by the day.

In Shenzhen, where your devices are assembled, the factory has just been raided for the third time that month. Inspectors are looking for breaches of occupational health and safety. You’ve worked hard to keep things up to code, though the rules seems to shift constantly. Minor rust on a pipe at the back of the site was all the authorities needed to shut you down pending a fix. Your site manager can’t even find any mention of rust in the regulations, and that pipe is in no worse condition than the previous two scheduled inspections. Now it’s a problem and production is halted.
Sounds fun, huh? Well, that's not the end of it...
A new focus on capital controls has frozen offshore remittances. Local profits can’t be sent overseas, and you’re having trouble getting money to suppliers in Japan and South Korea. They won’t ship to your China factory without it.

You could try to get a loan from a Japanese bank to cover, but that takes time and the holiday shopping season is approaching. You might be forced to source locally, but nothing made in China matches your specs. To get local suppliers up to standard you’d need to invest considerable time and money, and probably purchase equipment on their behalf.
I sympathize with China more on trying to move to more advanced, less polluting forms of production. As wages rise together with China's level of development, they will become less competitive with labor-rich countries cost-wise in making less-advanced products. It is only natural for the Chinese to attempt to move up in terms of development by making more advanced products. The Us stifling this understandable motive can have potentially dire consequences for the world economy.

To paraphrase a certain saying, if China cannot obtain technological advancement through peaceful means, then it may have to resort to using force--a scenarion I think we should all want to avoid. How China's self-described "peaceful rise" can be accommodated in the technological realm is certainly a pressing matter, and this Huawei imbroglio may have brought it to a head. 

Warmer Planet: India Adopts Air-Conditioning

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 12/07/2018 04:24:00 PM

Like many others, I am of two minds about this phenomenon. As with practically everywhere else on Earth, India is warming. Most of the country was already warm to begin with, but with climate change, it's only getting warmer. What's more, economic development in that country has made it more possible for more folks to afford relatively costly air-conditioning units and the electricity bills associated with them.

A downside to all this comfort, however, is obviously further demand for power:
With India's AC market expected to explode from 30 million to a billion units by 2050, the world's second-most populous country could become the planet's top user of electricity for cooling. India is already the number-three spewer of greenhouse gases, burning through 800 million tonnes of coal every year -- and the predicted AC boom could mean the country would have to triple its electricity production to meet demand, experts say.

But for the hundreds of millions of Indians enduring scorching, even deadly, summers, the air conditioners are a godsend. "Summers make our life miserable," said Kumar, a 48-year-old laundryman earning $225 a month who this year installed an AC unit in his two-room house in the town of Behror in the baking-hot desert state of Rajasthan.
The paradox we must confront with A/C, as with many other modern conveniences, is that we make the Earth less convenient overall by using these electricity-dependent appliances. The user may feel cooler, but the environment becomes warmer overall:
The irony is that as humans try to stay cool, the refrigerants inside AC units and the generation of electricity needed to power the appliances are exacerbating global warming. That is, unless India can switch out of highly polluting fossil fuels for power generation:

In addition, studies -- including by the World Health Organisation and UN-Habitat -- show that the heat-generating motors inside AC units can themselves push up temperatures in urban areas, where the appliances are widely used, by a degree or more.

As demand grows, the amount of energy consumed globally by AC units could triple by 2050, requiring new electricity capacity equivalent to the combined current capacity of the US, the EU and Japan, the International Energy Agency says.

India currently generates about two-thirds of its electricity with coal and gas, and despite ambitious plans for renewable energy the country is set to remain highly dependent on hydrocarbons for decades to come.
If there is anyplace on Earth where renewable energy is most needed, it will be India as its demand for air-conditioning soars together with ambient temperatures, electricity demand and the production of carbon dioxide.

China Aside, Trump's Many Other Trade Wars

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 12/04/2018 02:33:00 PM
China may be the main "belligerent" identified by the US, but it's hardly the only one.
Trump and the Chinese government not being particularly known for their communicative openness and transparency, there is some confusion as to whether the US-China trade war is about to de-escalate or otherwise after Trump-Xi talks at the recently concluded G-20 meeting in Argentina. What's going to happen with regard to these two countries? Beats me, pal. Lest you think that China is the only victim of Trump's anti-trade mentality, rest assured that the rest of the world has been subject to aggressive action from the US government at Trump's obvious behest. But before we get to that, let's review what kinds of actions countries have typically used to sanction others' "unfair" trade practices:
A tariff is a tax on a foreign product designed to protect domestic producers in an effort to boost local economies. But under international trade laws, the US can't just implement them willy-nilly, they need to provide a reason why the tariff is necessary and investigate it fully. Until recently, the vast majority of US tariffs were justified as countervailing and antidumping duties.
  • Countervailing duties level the playing field when a foreign industry has been unfairly subsidised
  • Antidumping duties level the playing field when a foreign industry has been flooding the US market with its products
Not all investigations lead to tariffs - at some point during the process, the US may decide they don't have grounds to be implemented. But many do.
While we keep hearing about China all the time, note that it's practically everyone else also being hit by Trump's trade angst:
Under President Trump, the Department of Commerce has begun 122 investigations into anti-dumping/countervailing duties. These tariffs have targeted all corners of the globe, reaching 31 countries in total and affecting some $12bn (£9.4bn) in imports. China has borne the brunt of US scrutiny, with about 40% of countervailing/antidumping investigations targeting Chinese products ranging from aluminium alloy to rubber bands to silk ribbons. Other countries have found themselves in Mr Trump's crosshairs as well.
Aside from China, the countries hit by US trade actions range far and wide:
A far-reaching investigation into citric acid touched three continents, with tariffs issued for Belgium, Colombia and Thailand. The chemical compound mimics the sour tang of lemons and is used in a large amount of common candies and drinks, from Sour Patch Kids to 7Up...

Another massive investigation into biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia led to tariffs being issued on $1.5bn of imports. The fuel, which is made from plants, is used in diesel cars and lorries, as well as airplanes and trains. The market has huge growth potential in the US, which is a major grower of corn and soybeans, and the tariffs could ostensibly help grow the industry.
Whereas American companies had to tell the government to investigate foreigner's alleged violations of trade rules, the Department of Commerce under Trump is now attacking all and sundry others even without corporate complaints. What's more, he's using traditionally taboo reasons for imposing sanctions since they give him more leeway--"national security" concerns being foremost of these against such national security "threats" like Canada, Mexico, etc.
And in a significant change in protocol, officials are no longer waiting for companies to petition for help. Last November, the Department of Commerce self-initiated investigations in Chinese common alloy aluminium.

It was the first time the department acted on its own regarding antidumping or countervailing duties, without a complaint from industry, in decades, and a sign of a shift in the department's policy under the new administration.

"[President Trump] isn't willing to wait for companies to come forward. He wants to do it himself, he wants to have the government decide," says Chad Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"So he starts self-initiating cases but also... he says we're going to start using other laws where there are much more presidential discretion." But by far the biggest shift in US trade policy has been Trump's willingness to buck with tradition if it will let him get tariffs through faster.

Rather than go through lengthy antidumping/countervailing investigations - and risk his tariffs being overturned - Trump has introduced hundreds of billions of tariffs under little-used aspects of trade law.
The upshot here is that even if US-China trade relations improve somewhat, there are so many other countries being targeted that it's hardly a cessation of the trade wars Trump is busy engaging in against practically the entire world.  

Trump to Foreign Students: “Get Lost”

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 11/26/2018 03:19:00 PM
AMERICA FIRST = COLOREDS OUT in plain English...and that includes foreign students.
It should be of no particular surprise that the United States is becoming an increasingly unattractive place for foreign students to study in. On the financial side, a strong US dollar is making other Anglophone countries comparatively attractive like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. I've always been bemused by Brexit plunging the British pound to recent depths and in the process benefiting UK educational institutions. On the security side, the mountebank President Trump's barely-concealed hatred for all things foreign--and foreigners themselves--has understandably caused apprehension among would-be students in the US. Recent numbers of new students tell the tale:
[T[he number of students enrolling for the first time at American colleges in fall 2017 dropped nearly 7 percent compared to the previous year, according to the 2018 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, an annual survey taken by the Institute of International Education. New foreign student enrollment in the U.S. dropped by 3 percent during the 2016-17 school year.
American officials at the State Department [surprise!] emphasize competitive factors for the slowdown in new foreign students:
The authors of the report, which has been supported by the State Department since 1972, downplayed the role of politics — including Trump’s policies — in the slowdown. They instead blamed intensifying competition from universities in other countries and the rising cost of college in the U.S. “We’re not hearing that students feel they can’t come here,” said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of IIE. “We’re hearing that they have choices. We’re hearing that there’s competition from other countries.”
However, American universities are more willing to pin blame on the real culprit here: Trump and his xenophobic rhetoric and policies. To no one's real surprise, Anglophone competitors for international students are really happy about this state of affairs:
American colleges have largely blamed Trump because foreign competitors use the president’s anti-immigration rhetoric to aggressively recruit international students and faculty who would have typically come to the United States for their higher education. Universities in Canada, China, New Zealand, Japan and Spain all have seen gains.

Phil Honeywood — CEO of the international education association in Australia, one of America’s biggest competitors — told POLITICO earlier this year that “We don’t actually need to be negative about the American academy, as President Trump is doing more damage to ‘brand America’ on his own than any competitor country ever could.”
Make no mistake, big money is at stake here should Trump target foreign students directly like Chinese students accused of being spies for the PRC. As bad as things are for American universities no thanks to Trump, they can get even worse:
The new student enrollment slowdown could pose economic risks. International students at U.S. colleges and universities contributed $39 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 455,622 jobs during the 2017-18 school year, according to a separate report released Tuesday by NAFSA: Association of International Educators...

China yet again sent the most students in 2017 — 363,341, nearly a third of all international students in the U.S. That marked a 3.6 percent enrollment bump, even as the Trump administration has been especially aggressive toward China, going so far as to consider banning student visas for Chinese nationals. 

The Great PRC Bum Rush to Beat Trump's Tariffs

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 11/12/2018 03:51:00 PM
"In the Red[s] corner, the heavyweight exporting champion of the world..."
The veritable explosion of exports from the PRC to the United States is definitely related to the Trump administration's tariff-slapping ways. At the moment, the Yanks have applied 10% tariffs to $250B worth of China-made goods. At the start of 2019, if matters do not change substantively, these rates are scheduled to be raised to 25%. Having established supply chains deep in the PRC, what's an American importer to do? So far at least, may have decided to front-load imports while tariffs are still *only* 10%:
China’s imports into the U.S. hit a monthly record in September, with the fourth quarter setting up for more potential records. Along with container import and trucking demand data from U.S. import gateways, the trade figures show the first round of tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods have done little to dissuade U.S. customers.
Instead, they sparked a “pull forward” effect by shippers to beat deadlines for tariffs on Chinese goods. The effect has not been uniform across all imports, with only some segments showing unusual growth. But the effect could pick up speed though the rest of the year as higher tariffs start in 2019.
The total dollar value of Chinese goods imported into the U.S. hit $50 billion in September, according to Department of Commerce figures released last week, up 10% year-on-year. Year-to-date, the dollar value of Chinese goods coming to the U.S. are up 8% to $394.7 billion. 
As front-loading implies, there will be hell to pay once this surge ends with the presumed imposition of 25% tariffs forthcoming as PRC-US trade dries up:
Analysts have said the practice by Chinese exporters of accelerating production and shipment now to avoid the upcoming tariff increase – or “front-loading” orders – is one probable reason behind China’s strong export performance since Washington started to levy its first round of tariffs on Chinese imports in early July.

The practice may be widespread, because Chinese exports of chemicals, non-ferrous metals, plastics and special industrial machinery were the fastest-growing Chinese export categories in September, according to Chinese customs data, despite all of them being included on US tariff lists. But fulfilling next year’s orders so far in advance could lead to a significant slowdown in future sales if US clients reduce their next orders accorditongly. China’s official purchasing manager’s index has shown new export orders have been contracting since June.

“Increased demand for shipments has pushed up shipping rates and some exporters are even having trouble finding any space on cargo ships,” Ding said. But the situation could quickly turn bad next year, he warned, as exporters face a double blow from fewer new orders and a sharp depletion of existing orders.
Where Chinese firms used to sending stuff Stateside will go to next if tariffs are hiked once more is an open question. For now, though, it's as though PRC concerns are making and shipping stuff to America like there's no tomorrow...or at least next to no orders come early 2019.

Depopulation R Us: Ending US Birthright Citizenship

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/30/2018 03:22:00 PM
Maybe the white supremacist xenophobe Trump will soon ban multicultural baby dolls, too.
Hey, perhaps Trump is an IPE Zone reader, of all things possible in this strange world. Just yesterday, I discussed how Canada's "human stimulus" is allowing that country to keep up with rising interest rates Stateside as growth is being fueled in Canada by an influx of work-ready migrants. Apparently not content with keeping coloreds out in attempting to Make America White Again, Trump has a new plan to avoid citizenship privileges for those born in it.

As a new anti-immigration gimmick, Trump is signaling that he want to issue an executive order terminating birthright citizenship in the United States of America, or jus soli:
President Trump is planning to use an executive order to strip birthright citizenship from America's laws, rather than trying to change the Constitution through an act of Congress. The potential move, which would likely trigger numerous legal challenges, would seek to end the conferring of citizenship to children of non-citizens who are born in the U.S. — which is currently guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

"It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don't," Trump said. He discussed the plan in an interview with Axios on HBO that is slated to air Sunday.
The American constitution is pretty clear on this matter, though, so it's going to be a more difficult task than, say, starting multiple trade wars to deny citizenships to those born on U.S. soil:
Birthright citizenship is granted in the 14th Amendment's first sentence: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

The concept is based on jus soli — "right of the soil" — meaning that any child born in the U.S. has a claim to citizenship, even if their parents lack legal documentation to be in the country.
In any event, Trump claims he can single-handedly rescind the 14th Amendment:
To change the law, Sherry said, you would need to either amend the 14th Amendment through Congress or ask the Supreme Court to overturn their earlier interpretation of the law and limit its benefit to people who are in the U.S. legally.

The president says he has the power to act on his own. "You can definitely do it with an act of Congress," Trump said in the Axios on HBO interview. "But now they're saying I can do it just with an executive order." He added, "We're the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits. It's ridiculous. It's ridiculous, and it has to end."
To recap, the Trump administration is already using various means to significantly limit legal and illegal immigration to a country whose demographics are unpromising, with a birth rate well below the replacement rate of 2.1 births per woman. On top of that, Trump is proposing to disallow citizenship to a not-inconsequential number of those giving birth Stateside.

So, who's going to be left in America at this rate to pay for all the retirement benefits of these old, angry white Trump voters? Like Trump, they have no seeming appreciation of basic economics unless they intend to work till age 80. To draw retirement benefits, there must be persons of working age paying into the system. If natives aren't willing to have children doing so, and you limit non-natives from working who can do so--as well as their children--then the system is unsustainable.

Canada's 'Human Stimulus': Inward Migration

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 10/29/2018 05:38:00 PM
Don't want to be treated like #$%^ because you aren't a white male 'Christian'? Then go to Canada, not Trump's America.
Bloomberg has an interesting report about how Canada is taking the opposite tack to what the United States is doing under Donald Trump. The current US president knows what got him elected: spewing barely-concealed hatred against everyone except white so-called 'Christian' males like him. You name it: women, people of color, people of different faiths, people of different sexual orientations have been singled out for Making America Worse Right Now compared to some fantastical golden age when white 'Christian' males ruled and all these inferiors knew their subordinate place in the US of A. As you would expect, restricting the inward migration of all these people--legal or otherwise--has become a Trump administration policy priority.

Fortunately, the United States' northern neighbors are not practicing discrimination to such an extent. Both are generally in the same boat since they have below replacement total fertility rates which imply population declines going forward absent further migration. That is, where will all the workers come from to replace those all those aging white 'Christian' male Trump voters? Canada is way more open to migrants right now, and that's helping it hike interest rates to follow those of the United States:
The U.S. has its fiscal stimulus. The Canadian economy? Well, it has its human stimulus. The biggest population increase in six decades, driven by international migration, is one reason the Bank of Canada has been able to match the Federal Reserve hike-for-hike since June 2017 -- making the two easily the most hawkish central banks in the Group of Seven. In its latest increase Wednesday, the Ottawa-based central bank highlighted how the surge has bolstered consumption and housing activity.
“Labor income is being boosted by the larger population,” the Bank of Canada said in a report Wednesday that accompanied its decision to increase borrowing costs for a third time this year, keeping pace with the Fed’s three moves.

Under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada’s population has jumped by 1.4 percent over the past year, double the U.S. pace, driven by a surge in non-permanent residents like students and higher immigration levels. “We’ve called it the ‘human stimulus,’” Brett House, deputy chief economist at the Bank of Nova Scotia, said in a phone interview.
The larger point is that monetary stimulus--like Trump's tax cuts--boosts growth mostly in the short run. Say, two to three years in a significant way at most. How about human stimulus? In contrast, that should last closer to the working yeaers of the person brought into the country to stay for good. That these are young, well-educated folks helps too:
Stefane Marion, chief economist at National Bank of Canada, said it’s not just the sheer number of people entering Canada, but also the quality of immigrants the country has been able to attract: younger, more educated people who help drive household formation and contribute to the economy’s resiliency.

“Of all the OECD economies, Canada has the most aggressive immigration policy that brings in work-ready immigrants,’’ he said. “We didn’t get fiscal stimulus on the same scale, but we’re still benefiting from the multiplier effect of the type of people we’re able to get from overseas.’’
I am more sanguine on the future of Canada than that of the United States. Unsustainable budget deficits don't strike me as a long-term growth strategy, while bringing in young folks who can get the job done and enliven the economy in the process can.

Trade War Worries? Leave China for Southeast Asia

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/22/2018 06:24:00 PM
"Made in China" gives way to "Made in Southeast Asia"?
The "balloon effect" is a demonstration of the phenomenon of displacement. Say you push down on manufactured exports emanating from China. Because demand for these goods still exists Stateside and in other destinations, other parts will inflate with the targeted activity. And so it is with American efforts to punish Chinese transgressors over supposedly unfair trade. Instead of these trades stopping altogether--or production moving back Stateside as Trump fantasizes--the end result is production moving to even lower-cost destinations elsewhere in Asia.

Among the beneficiaries of the trade war as a result of this "balloon effect" are countries of Southeast Asia that aren't hit with tariffs on PRC-made products, according to Bloomberg:
Southeast Asia is seeing a boom in foreign direct investment as the intensifying trade war between the US and China prompts companies to shift production to the region. Vietnam saw manufacturing inflows jump 18% in the first nine months of 2018, driven by investments including a $1.2 billion polypropylene production project by South Korea’s Hyosung Corp, according to a Maybank Kim Eng Research Pte note on Monday.
Supposedly, even the Philippines and its drug warrior of a president are benefiting:
Vietnam saw manufacturing inflows jump 18% in the first nine months of 2018, driven by investments including a $1.2 billion polypropylene production project by South Korea’s Hyosung Corp, according to a Maybank Kim Eng Research Pte note on Monday. In January through July, Thailand’s net FDI rose 53% from a year earlier to $7.6 billion, with manufacturing inflows surging almost five times, according to central bank data.

In the Philippines, net FDI into manufacturing surged to $861 million in the same period from $144 million a year earlier. “The US-China trade war may be attracting more firms to set up in Asean to circumvent the tariffs,” Maybank economists Chua Hak Bin and Lee Ju Ye said in the note. “Sectors such as consumer products, industrial, technology & telecom hardware, automotive and chemicals have indicated interest in Southeast Asia.”
While the Chinese may lose out here on the face of it, the status quo is largely the same for importers of these Asian-made goods insofar as multinationals are making the same things in the wider Asian region. Meanwhile, Southeast Asian countries stand to benefit indirectly from the trade war. I suppose China wanting to move up the value-added ladder means giving up these lower-value-added activities to others. Hence, American trade belligerence arguably just sped this inevitable process.

California Apart, the US Economy is Pretty Blah

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/17/2018 06:10:00 PM
I was watching Bloomberg TV when they brought on one of their journalists to expound on the condition of the American economy. If you were to listen to Trump, the reason why the United States economy is doing better is because of ridding of all sorts of regulations, permitting unlimited pollution, detaching from the rest of the world via trade wars, deporting en masse people willing to work, embracing Stone Age technologies like coal, etc. That is, making America great again is a distinctly backward-looking activity from Trump's point of view.

Actually, the fact of the matter is this: If you separate supremely performing, high-technology, forward-looking California from the rest of the United States, the latter's economic performance is rather mediocre. The Golden State, which Trump hates with a passion (a sentiment California returns back), is buoying the rest of the US:
Trump attributes the prosperity of the U.S. economy during his 17 months as president to his evisceration of environmental regulations and other consumer protections, abandoning the Paris climate accord, aggressively deporting undocumented immigrants, prohibiting people from certain nations (mostly majority Muslim) from emigrating to the U.S., prosecuting sanctuary cities for protecting immigrants, cutting taxes most for corporations and the rich, and appointing a Supreme Court justice who just wrote the 5-4 decision limiting the rights of tens of millions of workers.
Evergreen California Governor Jerry Brown has taken the opposite tack to nearly everything Trump does. So, is California the American laggard? On the contrary, it's doing better than every other state:
Jerry Brown, California's longest-serving governor, takes the opposite approach, and his state thrives. California is the global leader among governments committed to safeguarding the planet from climate change. Corporate California's revenues from clean energy companies dwarf those of the other 49 states or any country. The state's auto emissions law, now contested by the Trump administration, is the nation's most stringent. The legislature voted to become a sanctuary state, preventing police from participating in federal enforcement or asking people about their immigration status. The same assembly also made California the first state to declare a $15-an-hour minimum wage and to require solar panels on new homes. Its citizens approved Proposition 30, temporarily raising personal income and sales taxes to fund education.
The implications are clear. Wouldn't gains be more evenly distributed Stateside if other states acted like California? By not following Trump, maybe everyone else in the US would be doing better too. It's not my place to tell Americans what to do, but weighing the votes of Trump-suopprting primitives instead of those actually driving progress does not seem to be the way forward:
Remove California from the job market and U.S. employment rose only 2.62 percent, a little better than Japan's 2.48 percent and less than Austria's 2.82 percent. The 19 countries that use the euro showed an increase of 2.41 percent. Subtract California's big and small companies from the rest of the nation's and something similar happens. During the same 22-month period, the market capitalization of the companies in the Russell 3000 Index of large, medium and small companies increased at an average rate of 46 percent. California's Russell 3000 companies appreciated 64 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg...  
What do California and Illinois have in common aside from voting decisively against Trump? Their companies are committed to global trade. Among companies reporting sales in the Russell 3000, California firms received at least 48 percent and as much as 66 percent of revenues from their exports (accounting for disparities in corporate reporting) while Illinois-based companies got between 44 percent and 53 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
For reasons inherent in their political (electoral) system, the danger is that the Trump-voting primitives drag down California instead of California being allowed to pull up the rest of the laggards. Here California is showing an example of forward thinking...and the Trumpian cave-dwellers not only ignore it but try to bring it down to their level of barbarism.

10/18 UPDATE: Thinking about it more, on the balance, Trump's policies have likely hurt than help the United States. If the country is doing reasonably well, look at parts of it that are faring the best--like California. It's doing so despite rather than because of what Trump is doing.