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Vox Sentences: A budget for happiness

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The Trump administration uses tariffs to pressure Mexico on immigration; New Zealand’s budget prioritizes well-being over the economy.

Soon, guac could be extra everywhere

Possible Border Shutdown Would Deplete US Avocado Supply In Three Weeks Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
  • President Trump announced he will impose tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico until the country helps suspend the flow of migrants into the US. [Politico / Anita Kumar and Ian Kullgren]
  • The tax will go into effect June 10, and the tariffs will be raised 5 percent each month for three months “if the crisis persists.” They will remain at 25 percent until Mexico cracks down on migration. [NYT / Annie Karni, Ana Swanson, and Michael D. Shear]
  • The US has not detailed the specific criteria that Mexico needs to meet in order to dodge the tariffs. Broadly, the Trump administration is asking the government to secure the border, crack down on organizations that help migrants travel, and offer itself as a safe place for people fleeing Central America. [Vox / Matthew Yglesias]
  • These tariffs would have a significant impact on the automobile industry because American auto factories heavily depend on Mexican parts to build their cars and trucks –– meaning that customers can expect higher price tags when buying cars. It could also affect the price of produce such as avocados, a significant portion of which the US imports from Mexico. [CNN / Chris Isidore]
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has made it clear that he wants to avoid confrontation with the US. He’s announced that he will send a foreign minister to Washington to negotiate a deal before the June 10 deadline. [USA Today / David Jackson]
  • This could also be a blow to Trump’s plan for USMCA, the NAFTA successor trade agreement, that he’s trying to move forward this week. A massive trade war with Mexico is certainly not the best way to convince Canada or Mexico that Trump is ready for a free trade agreement. [CNBC / Yen Nee Lee]

New Zealand invests in well-being

  • New Zealand has become the first Western country to design its budget around well-being over economic growth. [AP / Nick Perry]
  • Future government spending proposals must meet five priorities: improving mental health, reducing child poverty, “addressing the inequalities faced by indigenous Maori and Pacific islands people, thriving in a digital age, and transitioning to a low-emission, sustainable economy.” [NYT / Charlotte Graham-McLay]
  • Mental health received the largest funding boost on record, with a significant chunk dedicated to “the missing middle” — those who suffer from mild to moderate anxiety and depression but do not qualify for hospitalization. [Guardian / Eleanor Ainge Roy]
  • About $200 million will also be dedicated to addressing sexual and domestic violence. [Quartz / Eshe Nelson]
  • Opposition lawmakers, however, have called the whole budget a marketing ploy with little substance. They have also warned of their economy facing risks following the US-China trade war and Brexit. [Al Jazeera]
  • When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was elected in 2017, she had promised an agenda of social justice and an economy that would work for everyone. [Reuters / Charlotte Greenfield and Praveen Menon]
  • This budget proposal shows how she and her government remain a stronghold for progressive ideas during a global rise of populism. [NYT / Charlotte Graham-McLay]


  • Looking for an expensive diamond ring? Costco could be your newest destination. [Bloomberg / Matthew Boyle]
  • People love to blame cellphones for societal problems. A new theory, however, suggests that they might have helped reduce gang violence in the ‘90s. [Atlantic / Alexis C. Madrigal]
  • Is spray cheese a staple food? The Trump administration thinks so. [Washington Post / Tim Carman]
  • Baby Saybie was the smallest surviving baby in the world when she was born, weighing about as much as a large apple. Earlier this month, she left the hospital as a healthy 5-pound infant. [CNN / Lauren M. Johnson]
  • Femm, a fertility app, purports to helps women track their menstrual cycles while also encouraging them to avoid hormonal birth control. Turns out anti-abortion and anti-contraception religious groups had been funding it. [The Verge / Ashley Carman]


“We are measuring our country’s success differently. We are not just relying on gross domestic product (GDP), but also how we are improving the wellbeing of our people, protecting the environment and strengthening of our communities.” [New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson on the new budget]

Watch this: The photo that prevented a nuclear war

... after nearly starting one. [YouTube / Coleman Lowndes]

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