Trade Grows—Without the U.S.

“…a closer look at just how global trade has been re-aligning suggests that it’s likely to keep growing with or without us – and increasingly, it’s without us. Globalization is alive and well, regardless of whether the trade routes run through the US. And if an ‘America First’ White House does start to retrench and retreat, there’s a good chance the biggest loser will be America itself,” Parag Khanna writes for Politico.

“An example already in the public eye is Obama’s signature international economic effort, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). With the previous administration unable to push it through Congress and Trump ditching it in one of his first executive orders, most of the other signatories are moving ahead anyway in a ‘TPP minus one’ format. Even more significantly, more than a dozen Asian countries have rekindled their efforts towards advancing an alternative megadeal – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – which differs from TPP in one crucial way: At the center lies not the US, but our economic arch-rival China.”

How States Can Fight Climate Change Without Washington

The Boston Globe: “Massachusetts was already planning for a Trump presidency way back in 2008. It just didn’t know it yet.”

“That year, the Commonwealth and neighboring states began readying a new plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks, which form a growing share of the state’s overall contribution to global climate change.”

“Now it’s time to dust off that study. The ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency probably spells an end to all federal leadership on climate change for the next four years. States have to pick up the slack, and reviving the program — known by the jargony term ‘low-carbon fuel standard’ — would be a good way to start.”

How Immigrants Are Helping Detroit’s Recovery

The Economist: “‘We are proud of our Muslim community in Michigan,’ says Rick Snyder, the state’s Republican governor, sitting in his office in the grandiose Cadillac Place, the former headquarters of General Motors. Ever since his first state-of-the-state address in 2011, Mr Snyder has emphasised the importance of welcoming people from across the world to this large midwestern state.”

“Mr. Snyder and Mike Duggan, the mayor of Detroit, are making population growth a gauge of their efforts to revitalise a state that is slowly recovering from a ‘lost decade’ and a city devastated by the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. Between 2000 and 2010 Michigan lost nearly 800,000 jobs, income per head fell from America’s 17th-highest to 39th, and residents fled. In the same period the population of Detroit, a city built for 2m, plunged to just over 700,000. By the start of the next decade the city’s roads had fallen into disrepair; public schools were among the worst in the country; thousands of households had no running water and tens of thousands of building plots were derelict or vacant.”

“In his most recent state-of-the state address last month, the governor set the goal of reaching 10m state residents again in the next three years. He proudly pointed out that, in the past six years, Michigan had gained 50,000 new people. ‘Immigrants account for all of that population growth,’ explains Steve Tobocman, head of Global Detroit, a non-profit organisation promoting immigration.”

What Brookings Experts Are Saying About Obamacare Repeal/Replace

Brookings Institution: “Now that Republicans control both Congress and the White House, talk of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (aka ‘Obamacare’) has accelerated. But as Americans nationwide voice concerns in congressional town halls about repeal, the process may not proceed as rapidly as ACA opponents had hoped. What are the pitfalls to repeal, and what are the possibilities for reform, of the Affordable Care Act? It’s a subject that Brookings experts have long-studied and on which they have many policy recommendations. A collection of some of the most recent analyses and recommendations are presented below…”

The Next Financial Crisis Might Be in Your Driveway

Bloomberg: “Lured by low interest rates, low gas prices, and a crop of seductive vehicles that are faster, smarter, and more efficient than ever before, American drivers are increasingly riding in style. Don’t be fooled by the curb appeal, though—those swanky machines are heavily leveraged.”

“The country’s auto debt hit a record in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, when a rush of year-end car shopping pushed vehicle loans to a dubious peak of $1.16 trillion. The combination of new car smell and new credit woes stretches from Subarus in Maine to Teslas in San Francisco.”

“Another way to look at: Every licensed driver in the U.S., on average, owes about $6,100 in car payments.”

No, Robots Aren’t Killing the American Dream

New York Times: “At a recent global forum in Dubai, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said some of the economic pain ascribed to globalization was instead due to the rise of robots taking jobs. In his farewell address in January, President Barack Obama warned that ‘the next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good middle-class jobs obsolete.'”

“Blaming robots, though, while not as dangerous as protectionism and xenophobia, is also a distraction from real problems and real solutions.”

“While breakthroughs could come at any time, the problem with automation isn’t robots; it’s politicians, who have failed for decades to support policies that let workers share the wealth from technology-led growth.”

How Readers React to Political News Stories They Don’t Like: By Ignoring Them

New York Times: “…a new analysis of the web traffic of 148 news organizations shows something subtler: Publications across the political spectrum broadly cover the news events of the day, but their readers appear to gloss over the stories they don’t want to see.”

“That analysis comes from Chartbeat, a web analytics company used by hundreds of online media publishers, including The New York Times. Chartbeat’s real-time dashboards display the articles that are being read most at any given moment, along with where those readers came from and how long they stayed. Because so many organizations use the service, Chartbeat has insight into overall news traffic that few other companies have.”

How Mike Pence Used Obamacare to Halt Indiana’s HIV Outbreak

“When then-Gov. Mike Pence faced the worst public health crisis to hit Indiana in decades, he turned to Obamacare — a program he vilified and voted against,” Brianna Ehley writes for Politico.

“In 2015, as a rash of HIV infections spread through rural southern Indiana, state health officials parachuted into Scott County and enrolled scores of people into Obamacare’s expanded Medicaid program so they could get medical care and substance abuse treatment. Many were addicted to opioids and had contracted HIV by sharing dirty needles.”

“Two years later, Pence is helping to lead the Republican effort to dismantle the program that helped him halt the deadly outbreak in an impoverished swathe of Indiana.”

Is the ‘Deep State’ Out to Get Trump? We’re Not There Yet

Doyle McManus: “In a country controlled by the deep state, members of the armed forces and intelligence agencies can overthrow presidents they don’t like; that’s what happened in Egypt in 2013. They hold veto power over major decisions. They often run large parts of the economy, or at least enough government contracts to make their families rich. And they’re rarely held accountable for their actions. They act with impunity.”

“U.S. intelligence agencies, on the other hand, are restrained by law. Sometimes they overstep, but eventually they are reined in. The officials who leaked the details of Flynn’s conversations knew that Trump would order the FBI to track them down. They put themselves at risk.”

“Trump’s problem isn’t the deep state; it’s the broad state. He’s facing pushback not only from intelligence agencies, but from civilian bureaucracies, too.”

Here Comes the Next Wave of the U.S. Oil Boom

“U.S. oil companies didn’t merely survive OPEC’s attempt to drown them in low prices. The energy industry is emerging from this dark period of bankruptcies and job cuts much leaner and ready to thrive, even at prices that were once too low,” Matt Egan writes for CNN Money.

OPEC’s decision in November to abandon its strategy of flooding the world with excess supply allowed oil prices to stabilize above $50 a barrel. That bottom in prices has allowed the U.S. shale oil producers that have driven the boom in American oil production over the past decade to once again start pumping more oil. And many have even started to rehire some of the thousands of workers laid off during the downturn.