Automakers Won’t Add More U.S. Factory Jobs Until They Get These 3 Things From the President Joann Muller Jan 24 2017


GM CEO Mary Barra, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and Ford CEO Mark Fields at the White House. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

There were a lot of polite smiles and nods around the table at the White House this morning as President Donald J. Trump urged the chief executives of General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to build more of their vehicles in the United States.

“I want new plants to be built here for cars sold here!” the president tweeted early Tuesday ahead of his meeting with GM’s Mary Barra, Ford’s Mark Fields and FCA’s Sergio Marchionne.

But despite Trump’s browbeating of the industry and his assertion during the meeting that “it’s happening – bigly,” the automakers are not going to shift production to the U.S. until it makes economic sense for them to do so.

The reason automakers are building cars in Mexico (and to some extent, Canada) is that it’s too expensive to do so in the United States, where regulatory burdens put a squeeze on profit margins. Even with higher transportation costs, the advantage of cheaper Mexican labor (less than $6/hour vs. $28 for U.S. assembly workers) is a big advantage. Mexico also has something the U.S. lacks: liberal trade agreements with 44 countries, which makes it an ideal location to produce cars for export. That’s a big reason why foreign automakers have selected Mexico over the U.S. for their newest North American factories.

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  Russia in power-broking role as Syria peace talks begin in Astana – Patrick Wintour Monday 23 January 2017 04.03 EST


Indirect talks between Syria’s rebels and representatives of Assad’s government seen as test of Moscow’s power

Representatives of the Assad regime and rebel groups assemble for Syria peace talks at Astana’s Rixos President hotel on Monday. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Representatives of the Assad regime and rebel groups assemble for Syria peace talks at Astana’s Rixos President hotel on Monday. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Indirect talks between Syrian rebel factions and government representatives have opened in Kazakhstan, as Russia takes on the role of Middle East power broker.

The meetings, scheduled to last two days at a luxury hotel in the Kazakh capital, Astana, will focus on how to extend the ceasefire negotiated after the opposition’s crushing military defeat in Aleppo at the hands of the Russian air force and Iranian-backed militias.

It had been hoped the talks would lead to a face-to-face meeting between opposition fighters and representatives of Bashar al-Assad’s government. However, rebels said on Monday they had no plans for direct talks.

The talks are sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran. The US, the EU, Saudi Arabia and the UN are, for the moment, largely marginalised. Russia faces a new set of challenges as it attempts to move from participant in the conflict to peace broker.

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Meet The Republican Governors Who Don’t Want To Repeal All Of Obamacare – NICK CASTELE January 23, 2017 4:53 AM ET


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Ohio Governor John Kasich at a White House event in Nov. 2016. in Washington, DC. President Obama hosted the Cavaliers to honor their 2016 NBA championship. | Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As Congressional Republicans begin work on repealing the Affordable Care Act, many of the nation’s governors want to make sure that their state budgets don’t take a hit during the dismantling process.

They’re most concerned about Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor that’s run jointly by the states and federal government. As a result of a Supreme Court decision, states were allowed to decide whether they would expand Medicaid under the ACA. 14 million people have gained health insurance coverage through Medicaid since eligibility for the program was expanded.

While 19 states declined the expansion, primarily due to the opposition of Republican governors and lawmakers, several Republican governors did choose to expand the program. Now they’re lobbying to keep their citizens covered and billions of dollars of federal Medicaid money flowing.

Among them is Ohio Gov. John Kasich who, along with several other Republican governors, met with GOP members of the Senate Finance Committee last week for a closed-door discussion about the healthcare law.

Kasich has been anything but quiet on the subject.

In a letter to Congressional leaders, Kasich recommended that Medicaid expansion not be repealed, while indicating he’s open to some changes, such as in income eligibility. Kasich urged Congress in an op-ed on Time.com to pass an Obamacare replacement at the same time as a repeal.

“For the millions of Americans who have gained health coverage since 2010, it’s safe to assume that their idea of fixing Obamacare does not involve ripping away their own health care coverage without a responsible alternative in place,” wrote Kasich.

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The Jacksonian Revolt – By Walter Russell Mead January 20, 2017


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For the first time in 70 years, the American people have elected a president who disparages the policies, ideas, and institutions at the heart of postwar U.S. foreign policy. No one knows how the foreign policy of the Trump administration will take shape, or how the new president’s priorities and preferences will shift as he encounters the torrent of events and crises ahead. But not since Franklin Roosevelt’s administration has U.S. foreign policy witnessed debates this fundamental.

Since World War II, U.S. grand strategy has been shaped by two major schools of thought, both focused on achieving a stable international system with the United States at the center. Hamiltonians believed that it was in the American interest for the United States to replace the United Kingdom as “the gyroscope of world order,” in the words of President Woodrow Wilson’s adviser Edward House during World War I, putting the financial and security architecture in place for a reviving global economy after World War II—something that would both contain the Soviet Union and advance U.S. interests. When the Soviet Union fell, Hamiltonians responded by doubling down on the creation of a global liberal order, understood primarily in economic terms.

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The business of “Bob’s Burgers”: From labor issues to the cost of meat, the offbeat family cartoon rings true – Ashlie D. Stevens SUNDAY, JAN 22, 2017 02:30 PM PST


Fans in the restaurant industry feel Bob’s pain on everything from “helpful” advice to policies that affect staff

The business of "Bob's Burgers": From labor issues to the cost of meat, the offbeat family cartoon rings true

Jesse Huot, the co-owner of Grind Burger Kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky,  says if he had a dollar for every time someone said to him “Oh my god, you guys are just like ‘Bob’s Burgers,’” he’d have enough money to buy a pack of plain white t-shirts and a mustache comb.

The “you guys” are Huot and his wife, Grind co-owner Liz Huot. With a new baby and a burger shop, the couple really is just two kids shy of becoming Bob and Linda Belcher, owners of the Fox cartoon’s titular burger shop. But Huot says episodes of the show also mimic their lives in a different way, namely by showcasing various socioeconomic concerns that face real-life restaurant owners on a day-to-day basis — a topic that feels particularly resonant as industry uncertainty mounts in the days leading up to the beginning of President Donald Trump’s term in the White House.

There are many animated shows that register as more consistently political than “Bob’s Burgers.” As opposed to long-standing series like “South Park” and even “The Simpsons,” this is a program that centers around the offbeat drama of the Belcher family — like in last week’s episode, which explored how eldest daughter Tina’s sprained ankle affects her teen-angst-ridden relationship with Jimmy Pesto Jr., the son of Bob’s longtime restaurant rival — rather than skewering political figures or current events.

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