Has Just In Time’s time come?

From the New York Times: “Just In Time has amounted to no less than a revolution in the business world. By keeping inventories thin, major retailers have been able to use more of their space to display a wider array of goods. Just In Time has enabled manufacturers to customize their wares. And lean production has significantly cut costs while allowing companies to pivot quickly to new products.

“These virtues have added value to companies, spurred innovation and promoted trade, ensuring that Just In Time will retain its force long after the current crisis abates. The approach has also enriched shareholders by generating savings that companies have distributed in the form of dividends and share buybacks.

“Still, the shortages raise questions about whether some companies have been too aggressive in harvesting savings by slashing inventory, leaving them unprepared for whatever trouble inevitably emerges. …

“And many businesses have combined a dedication to Just In Time with a reliance on suppliers in low-wage countries like China and India, making any disruption to global shipping an immediate problem. That has amplified the damage when something goes awry — as when an enormous vessel lodged in the Suez Canal this year, closing the primary channel linking Europe and Asia.”

Is the confusion a feature or a bug?

That probably depends on where you stand. All I know is that you should only read those sections of the Internal Revenue Code that deal with international taxes if you have no regard for your own sanity. The wounds on my brain from taking International Tax at law school over thirty years ago have not healed.

Most members of Congress don?t understand the first thing about the international corporate tax system and won?t have the bandwidth to figure it out.

When sorrows come, they come not single spies

Belize, Fiji and Mozambique (among many other countries) “owe staggering amounts of money to various foreign lenders. They face staggering climate risks, too. And now, with the coronavirus pandemic pummeling their economies, there is a growing recognition that their debt obligations stand in the way of meeting the immediate needs of their people — not to mention the investments required to protect them from climate disasters.”

It’s not stimulus, it’s relief

Paul Krugman in the NYT: “While coronavirus relief legislation is often called ‘stimulus,’ that’s not what Biden is trying to do. The economy in 2021 isn’t like the economy in 2009, depressed because there isn’t enough demand; we haven’t fully recovered because we’re still on partial lockdown, with some activities curtailed by the risk of infection.

“The goal of policy in this situation isn’t to pump up spending, getting people to eat out and travel. It is, instead, to help people, businesses and local governments get through the difficult period until widespread vaccination lets us go back to business as usual.

“And we know, as certainly as we know anything in economics, that the economy will be depressed at least into the summer and probably beyond. The last package didn’t provide remotely enough aid to get us through those months. Asking whether that package boosted the economy therefore completely misses the point; it’s obvious that America needs another round of disaster relief.”

Why there will be no pandemic relief bill: blame Mitch

Paul Krugman in the NYT: “You might think that Republicans would set the plutocratic imperative aside when the case for more government spending is compelling, whether it’s to repair our crumbling infrastructure or to provide relief during a pandemic. But all indications are that they believe — probably rightly — that successful government programs make the public more receptive to proposals for additional programs.

“That’s why the G.O.P. has tried so frantically to overturn the Affordable Care Act; at this point it’s clear that Obamacare’s success in cutting the number of uninsured Americans has created an appetite for further health care reform.

“And that’s why Republicans are unwilling to provide desperately needed aid to economic victims of the pandemic. They aren’t worried that a relief package would fail; they’re worried that it might succeed, showing that sometimes more government spending is a good thing. Indeed, a successful relief package might pave the way for Democratic proposals that would, among other things, drastically reduce child poverty.”

Bidenomics?? How about Biden’s economic proposals?

Paul Krugman in the NYT:”But if you’re trying to assess the candidates’ economic claims, you should know that Trump’s predictions of a Biden bust lack credibility, not just because Trump lies about everything, but because Republicans always predict disaster from progressive policy, and have never yet been right.

“And you should also know that Biden’s assertions that his plan would give the economy a significant boost are well grounded in mainstream economics and supported by independent, nonpartisan analyses.

“So Biden’s economic claims are, in fact, credible; Trump’s aren’t.”