Pandemic? What pandemic? Trade war? What trade war? Despite being ground zero for the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese economy is laughing in dollars, euros, and yuan by how much it exported to the world during a turbulent 2020. Some of its biggest exports were face masks and medical supplies. Oh, the cruel irony in the global marketplace. As Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote in Notes from Underground, “I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
In December, China’s trade surplus widened 3.67% to $78.17 billion, up from $75.4 billion in November. Exports surged 18.1% year-over-year in December to $281.9 billion, beating the market forecast of 15%. Beijing shipped electronic products for working from home, medical products, and rare earths. Imports ballooned 6.5% to $203.7 billion, coming in higher than the median estimate of 5%. The world’s second-largest economy acquired more coal and natural gas last month.
On an annual basis, China’s imports fell 1.1%, but its purchases from the U.S. soared nearly 10%. The nation’s exports rose 3.6% in 2020, with sales to America climbing 7.9%.
The General Administration of Customs celebrated the data, writing in a statement that “China made outstanding achievements in foreign trade, which did not come easy.” But authorities warned that the global economic situation remains “grave and complex.”
All eyes will be on the fourth-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Early estimates suggest an expansion of 6.1% in the October-December period, as well as annual growth of 2.1%. Overall, China will be the only Group of 20 nation to record positive economic growth last year.
Uh, Savings? Please Hold!
How much do you pay for your monthly wireless service? It might not seem like it, but your average monthly bill has fallen more than one-quarter since 2008, according to a new report from the Tax Foundation? The problem is that wireless taxes have skyrocketed 50%, with taxes, fees, and surcharges accounting for 22.6% of the average U.S. bill.
In total, Americans are paying more than $100 a month extra for their cellphone bills.
For years, states would collect hundreds of millions of dollars per year by taxing landlines. Now that households are ditching their Western Electric dial metal wall phones and substituting them for iPhones, governors had to find an alternative source. As a result, state legislatures imposed obscene penalties on voice and text portions of mobile plans.
Illinois consumers are punished with the highest wireless taxes: 32.2%. This is followed by Arkansas (30.04%) and Washington (29.66%). Idaho (12.54%), Oregon (12.82%), and Nevada (13.29%) residents enjoy the lowest wireless levies.
It might be time to rely on pigeons, smoke signals, and mental telepathy to communicate. It would be cheaper! Why does the government ruin everything that is good?
In only two days after targeting President Donald Trump and thousands of conservative and libertarian accounts, Facebook and Twitter lost more than $51 billion. The former shed $47.6 billion, while the latter erased $3.5 billion in market value. This is what happens when you choose to censor a specific group of people because of their political leanings.
Investors are concerned that the decision will lead to a stampede of pro-Trump users to leave these websites and search for other platforms. But how can that be possible when the Big Tech goliaths remove the competition?
As Liberty Nation recently reported:
“For years, conservatives and libertarians have been told by modern-day digital Red Guard servants that if they do not appreciate being shut down or gagged, they should launch competing platforms. Entrepreneurs called their bluff and launched multiple online venues, including Gab, Parler, Rumble, and many other internet properties. In a short period, these web portals blossomed and allowed those on the right to communicate with each other without fear of being blacklisted.”
Amazon put the kibosh on Parler, arguing that it failed to rein in its users over the Capitol Hill riots and prevented further incitement of violence. Of course, this is a bunch of malarkey, as research has found Facebook played a critical role in coordinating the events. If Silicon Valley wished to be intellectually consistent, everyone would be grabbing their digital pitchforks and demanding the end of Mark Zuckerberg’s $716 billion baby.
That said, even if $50 billion is a drop in the bucket for Big Tech, at least the markets are sending a signal that censorship will cost you money in direct and indirect ways.
Read more from Andrew Moran.