Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What Free Tuition Really Means

If you are watching the extra-curricular sideshows taking place on college campuses these days, you already know that it's not your grandfather's (or grandmother's) college campus.

Shouting down speakers you disagree with and kangaroo courts designed to punish those who you suspect of bad behavior or whose political views you don't share is becoming common everywhere in academe.

So, what about free tuition?  The argument for this is normally phrased as a discussion about education.  But, is that what is really going on at America's colleges and universities?  Or is the modern campus life more about political indoctrination and less about education in the sense of math, literature, history, foreign languages, chemistry, physics, engineering and so forth.

What to make of all the new majors that are essentially "identity" education?  Since most academics know nothing about these topics, all kinds of new academics have been minted to fill the faculty slots that these new majors have created.  If you have been following this evolution, you know that the vast majority of the newly minted academics are essentially political creatures with a predominantly left-wing agenda.  Not much real research, in the classic sense of that term, is going on in the new world of "identity" education.

So, free tuition is likely to mainly fund a whole new group of political activists and do little or nothing to promote the kind of educational advancement that has traditionally been provided in Amerca's colleges and universities.  For those on the far left, this is the great!  Indeed, this is the plan.

The wonder is that wealthy folks continue to pour fantastic sums into these hotbeds of single mindedness in the bizarre view that they are furthering education.  All of the money pouring into these places is simply funding the revolution.  Virtually none of this money goes to education of the type that flourished a generation ago.  It's all new age "identity" education.  Turn on your TV and you will see it in action on a regular basis, as folks whose views don't fit the new "identity" world are shouted down, beaten and driven from the campus.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fed "Raises Rates" ..... yawn

The Fed moved up the overnight repo rate another 25 basis points by continuing to be the borrower of last resort.  By putting an arbitrary minimum on repos done on their own account they force a minimum onto the market.  Big deal.  No other rates, other than overnight rates, budged.  So much for the Fed raising rates.

The massive excess reserve position of the US commercial banking system precludes any real tightening policy as over $ 3 trillion of bond sales would be required to accomplish that.

Not going to happen.

Instead, we just have more conversation from the Fed and the Fed watchers.  Much ado about nothing.

Friday, June 16, 2017

And...For Those Who Lack an $ 18 skill set?

The left now proposes that anyone who does not have at least an $ 18 skill set (remember that social security payments are mandatory for all employees) can no longer work in their state and/or the USA. At least twenty percent of the American population fails that test and therefore are legally prohibited from working in any profit-seeking business.  Thus, the poorest among us are told that if you seek to improve your skill levels by learning on the job, you are a criminal.  That's what the $ 15 minimum wage law says and does.

Of course, the left thinks companies that seek profits are evil.  But, unfortunately for that narrative, not everyone can live off their parents and/or the taxpayer.  At the end of the day, someone has to support all of this and that someone is the profit-seeking part of the economy.  The government and Mom and Dad can only do so much.

Criminalizing the effort to improve one's life chances is the main program of the left.  Letting people freely accept pay in the form of work training as opposed to cash is against the law already.  The left simply wants to make such laws more punitive by prohibiting an increasingly large part of the poorest Americans from having any real hope of improving their financial position.

Criminalize the act of being poor.  That is the program of the left.


Anonymous Lies Repeated in a Vicious Cycle

The Washington Post and the NY Times now make it an everyday practice to simply invent news.  The news they invent feeds their ongoing narrative.  The truth, to the Post and the Times, is irrelevant.  They have an agenda and they want to fit the stories to that agenda.  If the facts in the story are completely false, the Post and the Times don't care.  As long as it feeds the narrative, anything goes.

So, you wonder why people don't trust the media anymore.  Why should they?  Lies begin in the Washington Post and/or the NYTimes, are repeated by the main-stream media and then blared out all day long on CNN and MSNBC.  When, as is almost inevitably the case, the truth comes out and the lies are exposed (See the Feb 14th NY Times article about supposed collusion between the Trump team and the Russians as a poster-child example of the lies masquerading as a news story), there is never a retraction or an apology.  Instead, WAPO simply moves on to the next lie and the cycle repeats itself.

The same practice occurs in the reporting of economic and financial news.  The truth is no longer what matters to the media.  If you want to make your case against something, just invent facts that can fit that case and publish those false facts so that you can make your case.

Truth and integrity are no longer relevant to a media that simply wants to pursue an agenda.  This media has no interest in facts or truth.  They have an agenda and that is all they care about.  Who are we talking about: ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, the NYTimes, Washington Post and the Financial Times.  Truth is largely irrelevant to this group.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

NY Times Publishes Deliberate Lies

On February 14th of this year, the NY Times ran a story with the following headline:

"Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence"

This story was written by Michael Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo.

Here's the first line of the story:

"Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials."

The headline and the quote are deliberate lies by the authors and the NY Times.

Here's what James Comey had to say under oath this week about the NY Times fabricated story:

"In the main, it was not true.  The challenge and I'm not picking on reporters, about writing stories about classified information is the people talking about it often don't really know what's going on and those of us who actually know what's going on are not talking about it."

In other words, the story was a complete (and, no doubt, deliberate) fabrication designed solely to damage the United States in the eyes of its citizens and in the eyes of the world.

The NY Times has yet to apologize for the story.  No doubt they are proud of it, because the pack of lies they ran on February 14th led to the appointment of a special counsel and fueled an enormous firestorm led by a dishonest and corrupt media.  All based upon deliberate lies by a formerly-respected news organization.

What else is left to say about the NY Times as a journalistic source?


Theresa May Deserved Her Defeat

Theresa May, the British PM, lost her majority in Parliament this past week in a stunning upset.  The Conservative Party, of which she is the leader, fell 10 seats short of a majority, forcing May to cut a deal with some other smaller party in order to form a new government.

May deserved to lose.

May spent much of her political career explaining that she didn't really believe in free markets and could care less about economic growth.  The voters believed her apparently.

May should be replaced by the Conservative Party with a leader who cares about the economic plight of the average Brit and less about being politically correct.  The "kindler, gentler" approach to conservative leadership, begun under Bush 1 in the US, leads to electoral catastrophe, as May found out this week.

You either believe in free markets or you don't.  May doesn't.  Good riddance.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Economic Growth (sic) in the Euro Zone

Today's news, ignoring the plight of James Comey and Theresa May, includes the revised upward economic growth numbers in Europe.  For the first time in a long time, Europe is experiencing 2+ percent growth.  This is cause for celebration in Europe, whose economy has barely had a pulse for the past decade or so.

It takes 3-4 percent to do anything for folks at the bottom of the pile, so there is no reason for those folks to celebrate.  But, the well-to-do and job-protected bureaucrats and academics can take heart.  There will be, for a while, enough government largesse to keep them going.  Pity those without the protections these folks have.

The overburdening regulations in Europe guarantee that folks at the bottom will never escape, similar to the game plan by the left in the US.  This keeps a ready supply of voters who are mislead, ironically, by the constant drumbeat of income inequality.  If folks at the bottom were given a decent chance to change, for the better, their economic prospects, the left would never win another election.  Thus, the regulatory apparatus designed, in part, to keep the poor in place.

Meanwhile, the Trumpian efforts to get economic growth restarted in the US are sidetracked partly by Trump's foolish behavior and partly by the press, whose main interest these days seems to be an attempt to overthrow the Trump presidency.

Meanwhile, the folks at the bottom of the economic pile, both in Europe and in the US, are left to languish without much hope for a better life.  So, Europe celebrates improved economics for the wealthy and the protected, while America focuses on a non-existent Russian threat.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Comey is the Leaker! Wow!

James Comey gave his notes on a meeting with the President of the United States to a buddy of his (a left wing professor at Columbia University) to be released clandestinely to the Washington Post.  Wow!  A great example of a deliberate effort to undermine the government of the United States by the former director of the FBI.  He deserved firing.  Comey is a disgrace to the country.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Federal Reserve Policy is Ridiculous

The Federal Reserve is embarrassing and Janet Yellen and her cohorts would produce more social good if they put off meeting again for a few years, rather than to continue the absurdities that have come to be known as Fed Policy.

The Fed now claims it is on a path to raise interest rates.  Could of fooled me.  Every interest rate of any relevance to the economy has come straight down during the Fed "rate raising" process.  Maybe if they "raise rates" again they can get the ten year yield under two percent.  Would the Fed consider that a successful exercise in "rate raising."  Mortgage rates have plummeted.  Is that another example of a successful "rate raising" process.

You have to wonder if this is some loud joke being played on all of us.

We should close the Fed down and replace the Fed with a simple monetary rule, such as has been proposed by Stanford economist John Taylor,  With the exception of the virtuous Fed Policy led by Paul Volcker from 1989 to 1987, the Fed has either created instability or unproductive distortions in the American economy.

Andrew Jackson was right.  The US does not need a central bank.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Without a Patsy, No Agreement

The European Union and China failed to reach any "climate pact" agreement as their meetings broke up in disarray yesterday.  As reported in today's Wall Street Journal, the expected role of China, supplanting the US as the new "leader" of the climate change partisans never materialized.  Why?

There is no patsy at the table willing to pay for all of this.  Now, the emerging markets look to the EU and China to foot the bill for their climate change activity and guess what?  The EU and China are unwilling to backfill the US commitment.  Since they made no commitment of their own, that leaves no money for the infamous "Paris Accords."

Naturally, this story was not reported by the "fake news" sources known as the New York Times and the Washington Post.  These "fake news" organizations only report stories favorable to their ongoing narrative that all the world is ready to make sacrifices for the climate change agenda except the US.  In fact, it turns out, no one is willing to make such sacrifices, other than, of course, Obama and he is out of power.

The "Paris Accords" was nothing more than a wealth transfer from the US to the rest of the world, as President Trump noted in his speech withdrawing from the accords.  Now, without a patsy to foot the bill, the entire charade is collapsing. 

Where is the EU?  Where is China?  The same place that they have always been.  Spewing forth rhetoric about why the US should fund everyone else, joined, of course, by the Obama-Clinton-Schumer-Pelosi-Warren chorus.  America be damned, say these folks.  Hooray for those who want our money, but are unwilling to make any sacrifices at all in the name of climate change.

Trump did the right thing.  When will the NY Times and the Washington Post report the news truthfully and without bias.  The answer .... never.  Thankfully, there are other sources to get our news.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

It's Only Voluntary


The NY Times today lambasted President Trump in an editorial for walking away from the Paris Accords.  At least, for once, the attack on the President wasn't a news story.  Instead, this nonsense was found in an editorial where it belongs.

What is their argument? 

 "In truth, the agreement does not require any country to do anything," says the NY Times editorial.

That's their argument. 

So, if the Paris Accords are meaningless, what possible difference can it make if Trump walks away from it?  The rest of the editorial makes no sense.

If it is voluntary and therefore amounts to nothing, as the NY Times editorial argues, then why all the vitriol.

Is policy just a pose?  Are the Paris Accords, just a statement of sentiment with no real teeth?  That's what the NY Times is arguing.

As usual, it is all about a narrative and zero about policy.  That is so typical of the NY Times.

The truth is that the Paris Accords inflict enormous damage upon the US economy without doing a single thing for the world's climate.  That's the truth, whether the NY Times likes it or not.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The New "Clean Energy Jobs" Myth

Critics of Trump's actions on the Paris Accord argue that America will cede "clean energy" jobs to China and other countries.  This argument is completely absurd.  Who produces "clean energy" products has nothing at all to do with where the demand is.  If that were the case, Switzerland would be a major gold producer and the US would import virtually no textiles or furniture.

The left stoops to arguments like this that make no economic sense in a deliberate effort to mislead the public.  Free speech permits such nonsense, but common sense should limit the impact of nonsense arguments.

Where "clean energy" products can be produced most efficiently will determine who produces and who dominates the "clean energy" business, not where the demand is coming from.  The most significant "clean energy" product of the past twenty years is natural gas.  The US is far and away the leader in this "clean energy" product, despite the best efforts of Obama and his liberal pals to curb natural gas production in the US.

There is no longer any kind of reasonable political or economic debate or dialogue in the US, thanks to the closed-mindedness of the far-left-dominated news media.  But, the truth, fortunately, will emerge in spite of biased organizations like the NY Times and the Washington Post.

The News Accounts -- After Trump Drops the Paris Accords

As one might expect, the media lambasted Donald Trump for walking away from the Paris Accords.  Virtually all of the articles attacking Trump have no facts in them at all and seem to completely misunderstand the accord as well as the substantive issues in the "climate change" debate.  Ignorance, apparently, is bliss when it comes to reporting the news.

There is one article that stands out for its misleading commentary -- the WAPO article this morning by Glenn Kessler and Michele Lee.

Here is an example of their reasoning:

"Trump also suggested that the United States was treated unfairly under the agreement. But each of the nations signing the agreement agreed to help lower emissions, based on plans they submitted. So the U.S. target was set by the Obama Administration."

The suggestion is, of course, that anything the Obama folks did would be fair to America.  That misses the entire point of the last election.   Virtually ever action taken by the Obama Administration from the Iran Deal to the Russian Reset to the Syria red line to the appeasement of North Korea to the Paris Accords was "unfair to America."  Obama rarely, if ever, stood up for America, its values or its interests.  That's one of the main reasons that Trump won the election.

WAPO is not a newspaper.  It is an arm of the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party.  Everything they write is written from that perspective without regard to facts or to history.  WAPO would like to see a decline in American living standards and a retreat in America's role in the world.  Fortunately, Trump was elected, destroying the WAPO dream.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Trump Did The Right Thing

President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Accords.  Had this been a legitimately ratified treaty, Trump would have been unable to do this.  But, in fact, this was not a treaty, according to the Obama Administration, and therefore they never sought Senate approval, as is required under the US Constitution for the ratification of any treaty.  This was just one more unilateral action by Obama, authorized by no one else and with zero consultation with the Congress.  No wonder such an arrangement could be easily tossed aside.

Why wasn't the Paris Agreement sent to the Senate for approval?  Three guesses.  Such a one-sided agreement would never have gotten through the US Senate, even if Democrats were in charge. 

Supporters of the agreement argue that global temperatures would drop by two-tenths of one degree by 2100.  Whoop-te-do!

But it would beggar the United States and reduce our economy to a pitiful shell of itself.

No gain, all pain.

Three cheers for President Trump!

Climate Change -- Whatever That Means

As President Trump prepares to announce his decision on the Paris Climate Accords, it's worth pausing to think about what is at issue.

Without consulting with Congress or submitting the Accord to the Senate for ratification, Obama unilaterally signed this agreement with a "public be damned" attitude that all but ensured that the agreement would become a flash point for future political debate.  There was no effort by Obama to gain consensus.  Instead, this was just Obama, once again, unilaterally legislating an astounding set of new rules, taxes and other growth-defeating initiatives on a country already limping along economically after the hammer blows of Dodd-Frank and arbitrary EPA directives.

The arbitrariness, one might say lawlessness, of the Obama Administration was a key reason that Donald Trump became President.  Right or wrong, to treat the public like the Paris Accords are none of their business hardens attitudes and guarantees future political turmoil.  The Obama folks are now seeing much of their legacy overturned.  This is to be expected since no consensus was ever sought by the arrogant band of elitists in the Obama White House.

What, in reality, would the Paris accords accomplish?  Even to its defenders, the Paris accords would accomplish almost nothing useful for future temperature levels.  And, at what cost?  No other country would be required to live up to the agreement except the United States.  Thus, other countries could vastly accelerate their production of carbon emissions, while the US economy sank into the quagmire, burdened with draconian restrictions on their energy usage.  How is this in the best interests of the United States?

The "climate change" bandwagon is lead largely by folks who know absolutely nothing about science or about the environment.  They are largely wealthy folks who, themselves, have a huge carbon footprint, but want others to live a dramatically lower standard of living to satisfy the desires of the wealthiest among us.  Al Gore and Hillary Clinton come to mind.  Will these folks ever make any sacrifice for the environment, or is it only working Americans that must pay the price for the latest left-wing pipe dream.

No one is really sure what "climate change" really means.  But, the one thing we know for certain is that folks that push this cause want to silence any dissent or any disagreement with their position.  "Climate change" is a religion pushed largely by ignorant left-wingers who have never taken the trouble to inquire about the basis for their views.  Had they done so, they would question a so-called "scientific consensus," that is no consensus at all.  Silencing legitimate debate is reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition, which the "climate change" advocates appear to resemble in attitude and open-mindedness.

Trump should walk away from the Paris accords and, in the future, a treaty agreed to by US leaders should be submitted to the US Senate, as required by the US Constitution.  Additionally, matters as important as the future of our environment should not be dogma.  Science should be free of political bias and open to debate, not something with which the left appears to be comfortable.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Trump is a Throwback to Truman

The pilloring that Donald Trump is getting from all sides is reminiscent of the nightmares that Harry Truman endured as President.  Truman was so hated by the press and what media there was in the early 1950s that he chose not to even attend the Democratic National Convention of 1952 when he certainly would normally have been considered a candidate for re-election.  Republicans and Democrats alike piled on as Truman achieved the lowest poll numbers in modern times.  Why?

The press wanted Tom Dewey, the urbane Governor of New York.  They thought he was going to win in 1948 and that Truman would be demolished.  After all, Truman was a hick politician from Kansas City and didn't have the political polish of the smooth-talking Dewey.  Fortunately for America, Truman won the election and proved to be one of the best Presidents in American history, though vilified by the press throughout his nearly eight years in the White House (he took over from Roosevelt in the first year of FDR's fourth term).

Truman was brave, intelligent and plain spoken.  He did not look like he came out of central casting for the role of President.  Ditto for Donald Trump.  Who would have thought?

But Trump is the President.  He has a bold agenda.  He has appointed a truly outstanding cabinet -- perhaps the best cabinet in modern time.  He may not be the guy you want to sip tea with in the afternoon, but he is headed politically in the right direction.  He should be given the chance that Truman never got from a hateful and angry press corps.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Venezuela -- the LIberal End Game

Almost everything proposed by the left reduces incentives.  Given enough of that stuff, the economy eventually collapses.  The old Soviet Union, the old China and today's Venezuela are textbook cases of how destroying incentives destroys a country's economy.  Today's Russia and today's China, having brought back a substantial amount of economic incentives, are, today, far, far better places for their average citizens.

This is a persistent, historical theme.  It sounds great to provide free stuff.  But, providing free stuff eliminates the incentives necessary for an economy to grow.  In time, the economy, absent incentives begins to slip into collapse.  Venezuela shows the path.

Venezuela was the dream of the left.  The election of Hugo Chavez promised to provide free everything for everyone and to throw out the capitalists.  That program succeeded and, today, the outcome is visible to see: riots in the streets, people starving, an economy crumbling.  This is what happens when incentives are stripped from an economy.

It is possible for free elections to destroy a country: Venezuela is an example today; Turkey will be an example tomorrow.  More important than free elections is a commitment to individual liberty and free markets -- check out Singapore if you need an example. 

Singapore does not have free elections to determine the country's future, but Singapore does have free markets and individual liberty that most countries, including the US, do not have.  Yes, Singapore is not perfect.  But, where would you rather live -- Singapore or Venezuela (or Detroit or Chicago)?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Greece Economy Plunges Again

The EU bailout of Greece has all but guaranteed a generation of misery for the Greek people.   Greece is now entering its fifth recession in a decade, after announcing another two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth.  This is the Merkel-Sarcozy bailout legacy.

Greece should have defaulted on their debt.  No bailout was required.  Bailouts prolong agony, curing nothing.

Note that Puerto Rico and Detroit defaulted.  That proved therapeutic for Detroit and will do the same for Puerto Rico.

Get the politicians out of the way. A normal bankruptcy process is the key to future prosperity.  That and free markets.  Meddling politicians with bailout solutions produce economic stagnation.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Whiff of Inflation

Yesterday's PPI number -- 0.5 percent -- was mildly shocking to the markets.  A six percent annualized inflation rate would change things considerably.  No one, of course, is expecting PPI number to be anything other than an aberration.  But, what if it isn't?

In one important way higher inflation could be therapeutic.  Inflation lowers the "real" value of debt and, ultimately, inflation may be the only mechanism to reduce the absurd sovereign debt levels in the western economies.  Inflation euthanizes sovereign debt in a way exactly equivalent to taxing the principal value of the debt.  It just looks different and often goes unnoticed.  The public won't agree to taxes to lower the value of debt, but they may well not notice that inflation is eating up the value of the debt.

The true economic problem with inflation arises to the extent that it is "unexpected."  Future commitments make assumptions about future economic values, including the "expected" future inflation levels and interest rates.  If these latter two variables prove to be widely different than earlier expectations, there could be real economic dislocation.  Expected and constant inflation poses few problems since contracts can be adjusted to reflect such inflation, but unexpected inflation can be disastrous because it makes so many past decisions look foolish in retrospect.  Resources get consumed in a wasteful manner, if expectations are too far off the mark.

So, keep an eye on inflation indicators.  They could be game changers.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Single Family Home Boom Coming

Two factors combine to suggest that a boom may be underway in the single family home market: 1) the tax laws; 2) the massive excess reserves in the commercial banking system.

The tax laws still provide for deductible mortgage interest payments and essentially tax free capital gains on the vast majority of home sales.  No other asset on the planet has that kind of special tax treatment. 

Meanwhile, Bernanke's policy of buying over $ 4 trillion in fixed income assets has resulted in over $ 4 trillion of excess reserves in the banking system.  This level of excess reserves would permit a huge expansion in residential mortgage lending without running into reserve or capital limitations.  This is a fuse ready to be lit.

Since 2009, the home owner percentages have fallen, but that may be coming to an end.  There are already signs of booming prices in many residential markets.

We learned nothing from the pre-2008 real estate boom.  All of the tax bonanzas that led to the boom are still in the tax code and Fannie and Freddie are alive and well.

History will repeat itself in the housing market.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

What Macron Should Do First

The newly elected French President, Emmanuel Macron, should begin immediately to unwind the European Union's bailout policy for profligate members.  If that isn't done the European Union has no hope of survival.  The EU may have little or no hope anyway, since EU member country debt levels have exploded beyond sustainable levels.

The Greek bailouts are symbolic of an arrogance and a lack of understanding of simple economics that permeates officialdom in the EU.  As long as the EU provides a bailout apparatus, two conclusions follow automatically: 1) There is no incentive for member states to behave in a fiscally sensible manner, since bad behavior is rewarded by a bailout mechanism; 2) Sovereign debt levels will continue to increase with no limits until ultimate disaster occurs.

It is unlikely that Macron will bring sanity to the EU, but hope springs eternal.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Textbook Case of Fake News -- Todays NYTimes

In today's NY Times, there is an article in the business section written by Reed Abelson and Katie Thomas that seems to have no other purpose than to deliberately mislead readers.  The headline:  "In Rare Unity, Hospitals, Doctors and Insurers Criticize Health Bill."

That headline would suggest that doctors, as a group, oppose the health care bill that passed the House last week.  As everyone not living in a cave knows, doctors overwhelmingly oppose Obamacare and support the House bill passed last week. 

In an incredible exercise of fake news, the Times' article provides no support at all for the statement that "doctors," acting "in rare unity" are criticizing the health bill.  That statement is nothing more than a deliberate lie.  Isn't that the definition of "fake news"  -- a deliberate lie.

Worse, all this article does is quote two or three insurance industry lobbyists, who see some things they don't like about the House bill.  Jeez, is there anyone on the planet who thinks the House bill is perfect. I don't think a bunch of lobbyists for the insurance industry speak for doctors "in rare unity."

Once again, simply to buttress their own political viewpoint, the Times has deliberately set out to mislead its readers by presenting false and misleading headlines accompanied by an article that has nothing to do with the headline.  That's fake news.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Kings of Fake News: CNN, MSNBC, and the NY Times

It's worth acknowledging that the news media is succeeding in its effort to abandon the normal news media role of providing information to the public.  Anyone who wants to know facts is wasting their time watching CNN or MSNBC or reading the New York Times.   These folks are no longer providing their readers with true information and actual facts.

Instead, these media giants are primarily involved in a daily hatchet job, attacking their political enemies and praising their political friends.  It is all about politics and little else.  Blatantly false and misleading stories, told only from one, usually very extreme, political viewpoint are ubiquitous in these media outlets.

The nonsense news in these media forums extends to economics, politics, even sports.  No subject is immune to the political bias of CNN, MSNBC, and the NY Times.  Reporting about economics is so misleading and false in these media outlets that it would be difficult for someone using only these sources to have any idea about the true situation about the American economy or economies beyond our shores.

The problem with these media outlets is not simply that all stories are told from a single, extreme, point of view with often fabricated "facts."  That is only part of the problem.  The hatred for objective, balanced, news is palpable in the daily reporting.  Note that these media outlets have largely ignored the "freedom of speech" issues that have engulfed university campuses.  The media, like the modern university, abhors any diversity of thought or opinion. and will use every weapon at its disposal to crush free speech and free inquiry.

Admittedly, Fox News has its obvious slant.  But Fox News gives the opposing views air time and seems a paragon of objectivity compared to CNN, MSNBC, and the NY Times.  One can at least watch Fox News and come away knowing the essential facts about the American and world economy and about daily political activity of the country.  That's not possible with CNN, MSNBC, and the NY Times.

Monday, April 24, 2017

So....Where Are Interest Rates Now?

"Fed Raises Rates" says the headlines in the mainstream press.  Nothing could be more nonsensical.  All the rates that matter -- mortgage rates, the yield on the ten year treasury, and others -- are at their lows and have moved dramatically lower since "the Fed raised rates."

So how does the financial press explain itself.  The answer is that they don't bother.  Articles about the Fed are typically strongly worded expressions about the future of the macro economy that bear no resemblance to what later transpires.

Not to say that rates might not rise at some point in time, but that will have nothing to do with anything going on at the Fed.

The Fed should be replaced with a simple monetary rule.  It hardly matters which rule.  Nothing could be worse than the record of Federal Reserve policies since Paul Volcker stepped down as Fed Chairman in 1987.

Macroeconomics has become more "witchcraft" mixed in with political opinions.  See Krugman, Yellen and Stiglitz for a flavor of the current state of macroeconomics.  It is utter nonsense with zero relevance to any economy in the modern world.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hubris Destroys the European Union

The European Union was a good idea.  In theory, having a common currency, open borders, and free movement of goods and people brought Europe the advantages that the US has always enjoyed.  But bureaucracy, hubris and incredible stupidity will, in time, bring the Europe Union experiment to an ignominious ending.  Well deserved.

The arrogance of the leaders of the European Union are hastening the end of the European Union.  There was never a need to bail out Greece or Ireland and there is no need to bail out Italy, Spain, etc.  These countries should be permitted to declare bankruptcy (as Detroit did in the US). 

The absurd bailout programs put the savings of hard-working Europeans in jeopardy to bail out countries like Greece, notorious for squandering public and private wealth.  That policy had no chance of working and inevitably posed the question as to what value there was in EU membership.

To make matters worse, Merkel and Sarcozy and the Brussel bureaucrats initiated the refugee policy that has de-stabilized almost every European country and has created domestic economic and political problems for all the of the larger members of the EU.  There was no reason to adopt this absurd policy and the EU will not survive it.  As it shouldn't.

As in the Obama nightmare in the US, the Merkel-Sarcozy nightmare in Europe placed bureaucrats in control and average citizens were left to bear the brunt of arrogant, unfeeling, absurd policies.  The Obama bureaucrats and the EU bureaucrats live in leafy neighborhoods and are funded by average taxpayers who have to contend with atrocious policies that they have been foisted upon their countries.

So, a good idea became a political and economic disaster. A replay of the Obama nightmare that the US is only just beginning to escape from.  Europe will make its escape as well.  Watch what happens in the French elections on Sunday.  The French want their country back.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Once Again: Fed Raises Rates and Rates Fall

It used to be:  when pundits announced that the "Fed raises rates," that interest rates actually went up.  No longer.

Mortgage rates and ten year treasury yields have collapsed since the recent "Fed raises rates" announcement.

The Fed has arbitrarily used its unlimited purse strings to raise the one-day repo and funds rate, but no other rates followed.  Interest rates are lower today -- much lower -- on things that matter -- mortgages, ten year treasuries, high yield debt, commercial loans, whatever -- than they were before December, 2015 when the Fed began "raising rates."

Once again, economists use of terms like "raising rates" doesn't really mean raising rates for any interest rate that might be relevant to the economy.  Economists have a narrative. If the facts don't fit the narrative, economists invent new (false) facts.

Interest rates are down, not up.  The Fed has done nothing of consequence through their recent "interest rate increases."

Economics Non-Think: Raising Prices Increases Demand

The economics profession is increasingly a cacophony of bizarre, frequently illogical, slogans.

One of the more absurd of these slogans is the concept of "rent-sharing" by an ongoing business.  The idea, broadly, is that company profits are actually rents in the sense that they are unearned and unresponsive generally to market forces.  This absurd notion was the outgrowth of "research" that purported to show that workers of similar talent receive widely different compensation depending upon the profitability of the businesses they work for.

The idea that similarly skilled workers make disparate compensation is, at best if true, a static, temporary, phenomenon.  But, more likely, this "research" outcome is simply another example of far-left academics in search of a nonsense "fact" that supports an ideology.  In this case, the ideology, by further stretches, extends to the minimum wage discussion.

Minimum wage laws say, among other things, that if a company wishes to pay an employee in skill training, as opposed to cash, it is breaking the law (and so is the employee, who wishes to gain skill training).  As everyone, not drinking the "progressive" kool-aide knows, low income folks do not have access to colleges and universities where all the "progressives" hang out.  Rich and upper middle class Americans (which constitute the demographic of the American "progressive") luxuriate in leafy colleges and universities and cruise their way into the employment world.

But, the poor don't have the luxuries that are provided to high income "progressive" college students and their mentors.  The poor often don't even have high school diplomas.  If they are going to learn a skill, it will have to be through on-the-job training -- an opportunity that "progressives" have fought to prohibit by law.

Using the bizarre notion of "rent-sharing," the modern "progressive" academic economist argues that divvying up profits between labor and capital is largely unrelated to market forces.  Thus, within wide limits, firms should pay much higher wages (in cash only, not skill training) to their lowest skilled employees.  It must be nice to sit in a plush office, making six figure salaries, with six months off every year and opine about what rights poor people should or should not have.

Why not let poor people decide for themselves?  Why, instead of cash payments, can't poor people have the same rights as these wealthy, "progressive" economists?  Why can't they work for peanuts while gaining job skills that will transform their economic status.  Why are "progressives" opposed to that?

"Progressive" economists increasingly substitute logic and sound research for a search for conclusions that fit their "progressive" narrative.  The "progressive" insistence on outlawing the right of contract to poor people through their insistence on minimum wage laws only serves to perpetuate inequality and limit opportunities for the poorest among us.  Meanwhile, the "progressives" sit back in luxury and feel good about themselves as they trample the hopes and dreams of the poor with absurd slogans and bizarre "research."

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Political Monetary Policy

So what's changed?

From the Fall of 2008 until November 8, 2016, the Federal Reserve was content to build up a $ 4.5 trilllion balance sheet and leave short term rates below one percent.

What is different now?

According to today's Wall Street Journal, the Federal Reserve is now, for the first time since 2008, contemplating reducing the Federal Reserve balance sheet.  Not only that, the Fed has raised the repo and funds rate this year already and promises to repeat the exercise twice more this year.  Why?

What makes 2017 the appropriate year?  What facts are different that leads the Fed to want to raise rates and reduce borrowing capacity in the economy (reducing the Fed balance sheet will, of necessity, reduce the level of excess reserves in the commercial banking system)?

Guess who Janet Yellen voted for?  That's right -- Hillary Clinton.

Does anyone really believe in Fed independence?  What a joke.

The (political) Fed should be abolished and monetary policy should be replaced by a fixed rule. 

The Fed is just one more political animal threatening the economic and political health of the country.  Get rid of it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

NYTimes is King of Fake News

The article in today's NY Times by Edward Wong takes first prize in the contest run daily in the NY Times to see which article contains the most fake news.

Here's the headline: "China Poised to Take Lead on Climate After Trump's Move to Undo Policies."

Now you would think that the headline would be followed by a story that shows China actually doing something regarding Climate Change.  You would be wrong.

What the article does is quote various Chinese political hacks and leaders saying that they are committed to the Paris Climate Accords.  Of course they are.  The Paris Accords impose absolutely no restrictions on the Chinese regarding carbon emissions or anything else related to Climate Change.  Naturally, the Chinese will stay committed to an agreement that imposes no restrictions whatsoever on their behavior.

The Chinese are the biggest polluters on the planet and have no intention of reversing that behavior.  Maybe, Mr. Wong should take a trip to Beijing to understand what real pollution is all about (or numerous other Chinese cities as well).  Large numbers of average Chinese citizens in China's largest cities daily wear gas masks because of the unbelievably high levels of air pollution.  Those are the facts (left out of Mr. Wong's absurd article).

So,. where are the facts in the article.  There are none.  Typical NY Times fake news.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The FBI and Criminal Investigations

The only crime, admitted by all in yesterday's hearings, was the criminal leaking of information by present and former US government officials in the Michael Flynn case.  The other matters were all innuendo and slander including the charges of collusion between the Trump Administration and Russian operatives and the President's assertion that he had been wiretapped by the prior administration.  There was zero evidence of the commission of a crime in these latter cases, but the revelation of the outing of Michael Flynn's private communications was unquestionably criminal, as Comey admitted repeatedly.

Comey refused to acknowledge that the FBI was investigating the admittedly criminal activity by US government officials, past and present, that lead to Flynn's ouster.  If Comey is not investigating this, then section 702 that gives the CIA and the FBI authority to monitor foreign conversations should not be renewed by Congress, because, otherwise, no American conversation with a foreign person or entity can be considered private.

All of this nonsense has served to deflect America's attention away from its real enemies -- Iran and North Korea and toward a country that in no way threatens the US -- Russia.  Russia is a real threat to Europe, but zero threat to the US.  Europe, who spends little or nothing to defend itself, expects the US to stand up and counter the Russians.  Nonsense.  It is past time that Europe expected the US to shoulder the burdens of Europe.  Let Europe defend itself.

Russia - Trump collusion is complete nonsense and an effort by the Democratic Party to confuse the public and promote the interests of Iran, which Obama and the Democrats have done much to promote.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

More Bad Reporting on the Fed and other Central Banks

The articles that are appearing almost daily about central banking are incredibly inept and reflect poorly on the financial news media.  The central fact that is missing from every single one of these articles is that the commercial banking system, both in the US and in Europe, is awash in excess cash reserves and could easily provide incredible amounts of additional commercial lending, if the demand was there and the regulatory authorities would relax.

Instead the articles are all about how easy money is going away.  Really?  Prior to the current regime, easy money was always and forever defined as a condition of massive excess cash reserves in the commercial banking system.  That condition is not going away -- not in the US and not in Europe.

Increasing the one day interest rate in the banking system is a stupid policy and has, so for had no effect for good or evil, as elementary logic would suggest.  That doesn't keep Draghi and Yellen from spouting nonsense.

What keeps commercial lending down is deliberate government policy.  US policy, encased in cement in Dodd-Frank, is that banks are now agents of the US government and are no longer intended to play their traditional role as financial intermediaries.  The result of that absurd policy is the the moribund economic performance of the past eight years.

It's time the financial press got some new voices, who get beneath the PR utterances of political hacks like Draghi and Yellen, and tell the public the facts about monetary policy, instead of these air-brushed ignorant (of the facts) stories that are incredibly misleading. 

Monetary policy remains absurdly loose and that fact will not change until excess reserves are drained from the system, both in the US and in Europe.  But, easy money won't matter as long as bureaucrats are hell-bent on prohibiting economic growth and the expansion of commercial bank lending.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Fed and the Facts

Once again, the media missed the story.  The headlines say:  "Fed Raises Rates."  What exactly did the Fed do, since ten year yields and mortgage rates are lower today than yesterday?  They certainly didn't raise those rates.  And, by the way, those rates matter.

Instead, the Fed now pays one percent on all commercial bank reserves parked at the Fed.  That arbitrarily forces the Federal Funds rate to one percent, since it is illogical for a commercial bank to loan reserves out to another bank at a lower rate than what the Fed is offering.  Whoop-te-do.

Of course, that isn't all the Fed did on Wednesday.  The Fed agreed to do (a limited amount of) repos at a minimum of 75 basis points.  Whether this works or not is anybody's guess since it is hard to imagine the Fed taking on 10 trillion in repos just to avoid looking stupid.

In any event, neither of these actions have implications for the broader rate spectrum.  One-day rates have been going up since December, 2015, but nothing else seems to be going with them.

Where is this story in the financial press?

The Fed announced that they do not intend to reduce their $ 4.6 trillion balance sheet, which ballooned over the Bernanke-Yellen years, from under one trillion to the current ridiculous levels.  And, why?  What economic theory suggests that anything virtuous is going to occur by the Fed arbitrarily expanding their balance sheet?

This whole business is ridiculous, has no support in economic theory and no empirical support.  This is equivalent to witchcraft.  Except that witchcraft is acknowledged to be absurd.  This isn't.  Yet.

The best analogy is to suppose you intended to raise the price of all fruits and vegetables and your policy was to bid $ 3 for every apple brought to you (assuming that apples were a dollar apiece, when you began the policy).  Okay, if you bought enough apples (heaven knows what you are going to do with them), you could force the price of apples to $ 3.  But, is there some predictable effect on the price of carrots or oranges or grapefruits.  Not likely.

The Fed should be abolished and replaced by a simple monetary rule and stop all the costly shenanigans.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Is Health Care A Right?

You often hear people argue that health care is a right.  Is that true?  If so, why?

Imagine two different people: one lives a healthy life style, saves their money, purchases health insurance; the other smokes and drinks, becomes heavily overweight, saves nothing and has no health insurance.  If health care is a right, then the first person is legally required to use their savings to provide health care for the second person.  How fair is that?  People make choices.  Should they be insulated from the results of those choices?

You might argue: how can people who have made bad choices be taken care of?  Historically, the answer has been charity.  Charity hospitals once were ubiquitous in America.  But they disappeared when medicare and medicaid took over.  Charity hospitals provided excellent care because they were usually the breeding ground for future doctors, who did internships in the charity hospitals.

Imagine this idea: if someone deliberately contracts a terminal disease -- deliberately -- that costs billions of dollars to cure one person.  Should society foot that bill?  Why?

By forcing those who play by the rules to pay for those who don't play by the rules, inevitably, you will end up with many more people not playing by the rules.

It is different, if through no fault of their own, someone has a debilitating disease without the funds to get treatment.  Then, it seems that, within limits, society has an obligation to help those who are ill through no fault of their own.   But, this is a very, very tiny group of people and would cost very little in the aggregate to provide for this group.

Our health care system is burdened down with people who consciously made decisions that they knew would result, later, in serious illnesses.  I don't see the case for forcing taxpayers, who consciously made good decisions to fund those who deliberately and knowingly made bad decisions.  I can see the argument for private charity in these cases, but not public charity.

Those who disagree with this have a simple solution.  Give your own money to help fund folks who made bad decisions, but don't require lower middle income families, playing by the rules, struggling to support their families, to bankroll bad behavior.  That's what medicare and medicaid does.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Ryan Bill Will Get a Lot of Health Care Reform Done

The main criticism of the Ryan Bill on "Repeal and Replace," coming from the Freedom Caucus, has to do with the tax credits that are designed to help lower and middle income Americans afford insurance.  These credits replace the direct subsidies that were in Obamacare.

The Freedom Caucus argues that health insurance and health care costs will not decline if the Ryan Bill passes, because of the tax credits.

While it is true that the tax credits create more demand, than would otherwise be the case, there are other parts of Obamacare and of the American health care system that are probably far, far more important in determining insurance costs and health care costs.  And, at the very least, the tax credits can be defended as suppportive of lower and middle income Americans and serving to even the playing field with current tax-favored employer plans.  It is not a transfer to favored classes of people, which is a characteristic of a lot of existing health care as well as of Obamacare

Where to begin?

Obamacare requires all eligible health insurance sold to have certain coverages that apply to some buyers but not others.  If buyers were free to choose the health insurance they would never, ever choose insurance that cover illnesses that they cannot possibly acquire.  Almost every single Obamacare insurance plan does not fit the buyer.  Thus folks are paying for something that they don't need.

Obamacare implicitly forbids the sale of health insurance across state lines.  What conceivable reason could exist for this cost-increasing requirement.

Obamacare refused (in the Congressional admendment process) to consider limitations on frivolous lawsuits that drive up health care costs  in two very important ways: 1) requires gargantuan medical mal-practice insurance premiums for doctors who, innocently, make mistakes (is there some busines that doesn't make innocent mistakes); 2) effectively forces doctors to peform unneccesary procedures, require unnecessary tests and, often, perform unnecessary surgeries -- for no other reason than to limit medical mal-practice lawsuits.  A huge amount amount of these unnecessary items have no medical justification at all.  They are a sop to the trial lawyer industry.

Obamacare extended Medicaid to 10 million recipients in the most inefficient possible manner.  Ignoring the plain fact that currently one-third (and growing) of all physicians refuse medicaid patients, letting states designed the best system for their state -- which is in the Ryan bill -- can make medicaid dramatically better for recipients, as well as keep costs under control.

There are many other things about the current state of US health care and of Obamacare that will disappear eventually from HEW changes brought about by Secretary Price and further legislation that is already making its way through the House of Representatives.

The Freedom Caucus should swallow hard and accept the tax credits in the Ryan Bill and move on.  They will never win this issue politically, but they could win all of the other issues outline in this post.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The US Economy May Be Starting a Run

With the shackles of heavy-handed government regulations being loosened, the US economy is beginning to exhibit a new spark.  The jobs number today of 235,000 jobs for the month, while modest, is definitely an improvement over the Obama jobs numbers.  Hopefully, more progress lies ahead as the albatross of big government is sloughed off and capitalism is permitted to do its thing.

The critics of the current administration seem viscerally opposed to economic growth.  They are content with the status quo.  This is completely understandable.  Critics in the bureaucracy and the academy and the Soros-Buffett types gain nothing from economic growth.  Their prosperity is based mainly upon hegemony over the masses.  They like the no-growth economy and they work hard to make certain that sufficient impediments are placed along the roadside to keep the economy stagnant and to maintain their own positions of control.

The average American is not protected by inherited wealth (yes, Soros and Buffett are both beneficiaries of inherited wealth) and not protected by tenure rules in the academy and in the bureaucracy.  The average American does benefit from economic growth.  Free markets mainly benefit the poor and lower middle income.  They don't do much for wealthy folks.  Check out Latin America -- wealthy folks and bureaucrats do great! -- average folks are mostly in poverty.  That's the world that heavy handed bureaucracy gives you.  The Venezuela path -- the leaders and the powerful prosper -- the poor pay the price.

So three cheers for the return of freer markets and economic prosperity -- long overdue.  But, don't expect the protected classes to join in the cheering.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Steve Ross - The Death of a Legend

Steve Ross is perhaps the greatest economist of the past 50 years not to have won a Nobel Prize.  Ross passed away at his home in Connecticut yesterday of a heart attack.  Just a year ago, Ross delivered a lecture in my class on Behavioral Finance at the University of Virginia (defending the Efficient Market Hypothesis, I might add).  Later that evening, Steve had dinner with six of our top undergraduates.  Ross was a genius, but he was also humble, affable and articulate in the extreme.

We will miss Steve Ross -- a wonderful, kind, brilliant man.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Iran In; US Out at Oscars

Giving the Oscar award to the wrong aspirant was a fitting tribute to a collection of wealthy, pampered, out of touch, multi-millionaire Hollywood types bent on an evening devoted to attacks on freedom and liberty and extolling the virtues of Iran and other totalitarian, thuggish, regimes.  The evening celebrated an Iranian statement condemning the US, while decrying any effort to celebrate anything American.  As is typical of Hollywood, freedom and individual liberty are so passe.  What is in is: forced compliance with the mores of Hollywood -- mainly drug use, infidelity, anti-semitism, intolerance of others and an obvious hatred of anything American.

In Iran, most of the movies celebrated last night at the Oscars would not pass the Iranian censors.  Maybe these wealthy, jet-setting, limousine-loving, Hollywood-types should move to Iran and see what life is like when freedom is quashed and the kind of nonsense rhetoric that Hollywood-types love is the law of the land.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trump and the Press

I read the Washington Post and the NY Times every morning.  These two newspapers have been among the press targets of the Trump Administration in recent weeks.  Is Trump being unfair, or, as some leftist pundits suggest, un-American?

How probable is it that every single thing that the Trump Administration or the Trump family does is wrong, done with bad intentions, and exhibit incompetence?  Every single thing? 

Well, if you read the Post and/or the Times that's what you get.  On no occasion has the Trump Administration or the Trump family done anything competent, fair, or in the interest of the American people, if you believe the Post and the Times.  Does anyone really believe that?  Is that the outcome you would expect of a fair-minded press?

The Post and the Times have become the embodiment of a daily far-left political tract.  The goal of both newspapers is to demonize the Trump Administration and the Trump family.  There is no effort to be truthful.  Stories are often simply made up out of no facts and then followed up as if, once invented out of whole cloth, they sport a life of their own. 

The "Russian" story is perhaps the best example.  There has never been a scintilla of evidence that anyone in the Trump camp has any relationship of substance with Russia, other than normal and legitimate business interests.  Yet, the Post and the Times have created Russia as the newly found American enemy. 

Those same rags view Iran and other major sponsors of terrorism as our friends. 

Russia, in no way, threatens America.  Were it not for Obama's incompetence, Russia would not now threaten the middle East or eastern Europe. Russia is a paper tiger with nowhere near the strength of modern-day Iran and nowhere near the threat to America that is represented by Obama-Post-Times' friend, Iran..

The Post and Times are political rags.  They are not newspaper in the traditional sense of that term.  They make no effort to present news, but instead are primarily focused on advancing the political agenda of the far left.

Trump is right.  The mainstream media is an untruthful and unfair.  The Post and Times are untruthful and unfair and do not provide their readers with news.  Instead they simply present political diatribes, mostly untruthful, on a daily basis.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Lament of a Harvard "Economist"

Today's NY Times has an article written by Harvard Professor Sendhil Mullainathan lamenting the fact the Council of Economic Advisors is no longer represented in the cabinet.  The Trump Administration has booted the CEA down a notch.  This disturbs Mullainathan because he thinks the economics profession needs to be represented at the cabinet level.

It is easy to see why "academic economics" is accorded so little respect in the world of practical people these days, leading to this cabinet rebuff.

Every small child can tell you that if a price goes up, you will buy less of the product.  No surprise here.  But, what do academic economists have to say when asked if minimum wage increases lead to employers hiring less labor?  At least half of these academics say that increasing the minimum wage either has no effect on hiring or actually increases hiring!

Is it any wonder that this type of nonsense loses credibility in the real world.  But, that is the state of modern "academic economics."  It is mostly political and mostly nonsense.

President Trump did the right thing in excluding these absurdities from the cabinet.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Not Since 1973

The US economy posted the lowest initial jobless claims number since 1973.  This doesn't mean that much, since there are no specific Trump policy enactments that could have done anything yet.  But, the atmosphere has definitely changed since Trump was elected and a new spirit of business optimism may have been a factor.  No one really knows.

The big debate will be whether economic growth can be increased above and beyond the 3 percent level.  Many, mostly Keynesian, economists don't think so.  But, other economists disagree.  Do free markets matter?  That really is the penultimate issue.

The attitude since the inauguration of the first George Bush has been that free markets really don't matter and government intrusion is irrelevant to the performance of the economy.  That view is about to be put to the test.

Forecasts of economic disaster and stock market collapses that were routinely made prior to the Brexit vote and prior to Trump's election proved to be among the worst forecasts in history.  Those who thought that the government was the route to prosperity predicted that free markets would torpedo economic growth.  Folks with that view do not have history on their side.

The state of academic macroeconomics is so pitiful that is unlikely that economists have much to say about economic performance any longer.  Witness Bernancke's soothing statements in 2008 just prior to the collapse of the economy.  Yellen's forecasts have been no better.  Economists can't seem to be able to out-do a straight-edge in predicting the future of the economy.  That doesn't keep them from trying.  Mostly they simply put forward their political views based upon not much economic science.

But, the economy is beginning to feel pretty good.  Potential repeal of Obamacare, rollback of excessive regulation of the financial sector and the energy industry, lower and simplified taxes all point to a potential rebirth of the historically powerful American economic engine.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Ground Is Shifting

There is a new energy in the American economy.  It hasn't shown up in the statistical data, yet, but it can be felt by those in the private sector.  The bureaucratic left, of course, can't sense it.  But, the average American worker and/or businessman can feel a new, fresh breeze in the air.

The negativity of the news media and the political antics of the anti-Trump factions (both within the Democratic Party and within a small, disgruntled section of the Republican Party) cannot overshadow the strengthening of economic activity that seems to be taking place.

The current administration constantly praises business success and has brought into key positions folks that have been successful in the business world.  These things are game changers.

No doubt, those who hide in the bureaucracy or carp from their protected havens in academia are terrified by the idea that free speech and economic freedom now have supporters at the highest level of government.  The Obama holdovers in government will continue to leak top secret information to their pals in the news media, but, in time, even they will be neutered by the strong winds of freedom that are sweeping the country.

Hatred, ad-hominem attacks and the silencing of free expression have been the hallmark of those controlling the bureaucracy and the academic community for nearly a generation.  These folks are now starting to lose their hold. They are fighting back with personal attacks, violence, whatever it takes.  They feel that only they have the right to speak and hold opinions.  Their contempt for average Americans is everywhere on display.

But, there is change on the way.  Free expression and free markets have their defenders and they now have the upper hand at the White House.  No wonder the opposition is going ballistic.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Breaking Up the Family?

In a nation of laws, if someone breaks the law, presumably they should be prosecuted and the full force of the law should be applied.  What if incarcerating someone, who has clearly broken the law, would mean a hardship for their family?  Would that be an excuse for not enforcing the law?

Maybe that should be the new defense for those accused of a crime -- "I have a family.  You can't break up my family."  That seems to be a growing battle cry for those who prefer to pick and choose which laws to enforce and which not to enforce.  Taken at face value, this would mean a free pass for any lawbreaker with a family.

A country with "selective" law enforcement is, by definition, a lawless country.  If you don't like the laws, change them.  But, don't ignore the ones that you don't agree with, using the flimsy excuse that the lawbreaker has a family.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fed Chair is Not Independent

The Federal Reserve is supposed to be an independent agency.  But, it is not.

Yesterday, Janet Yellen, the current Fed Chairman, was openly partisan in describing her total opposition to rolling back the oppressive Dodd-Frank regulatory regime.  Her views are not much different than her political compatriot Elizabeth Warren.  None of this, of course, had anything at all to do with monetary policy.

The Fed is supposed to be about fighting inflation, but that isn't what the Fed does these days.  The Fed should be replaced by a simple monetary rule which would make the Fed truly independent and far less destabilizing on the American economy.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Flouting the Rules at the EU

The European Union, a union that is mostly known for not paying it bills, has a rule that all member nations must keep their deficits below 3 percent of GDP.  How's that rule doing?

Like most laws in the EU, the 3 percent rule is mostly violated.  France, according to today's Financial Times, last had a fiscal deficit that obeyed the rule in 2007 and is expected to violate the rule this year as well as next.

Does anyone care?

No, no one cares.

So, what is the point of having rules if they are observed mainly in the breach, while Angela Merkel winks and nods her tacit approval.

There is simply no reason for the 3 percent rule.  No one really pays any attention to it and sovereign debt is racing to the moon in the European Union.  Meanwhile the bailout artists are readying their bailouts.  This will only end with the dissolution of the European Union.

There is no reason for the coming EU breakup and the collapse of the Eurozone.  Simply let countries go bankrupt without bailouts.  That way, countries who behave badly will pay the price and learn from their mistakes. 

The insanity of the current EU rules is a typical outcome of the arrogance of elitist European politicians who lack the most basic sense of honor and truthfulness.  Compared to these Euro politicians, the Trump Administration looks like a pillar of virtue.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mandating Worker Benefits -- The European Experience

A recent article in the NY Times entitled "Feeling Pressure All The Time on Europe's Treadmill of Temporary Work," February 9, 2017, spells out in detail what happens when generous worker benefits are encoded in law.

Higher minimum wages, expanded family leave benefits, guaranteed health care, mandated flexible hours and work locations, and various job security mandates all sound great to voters.  That is, until reality sets in.

As the article notes: "...more than half of all new jobs created in the European Union since 2010 have been through temporary contracts."  The article goes on: "Under European labor laws, permanent workers are usually more difficult to lay off and require more costly benefit packages, making temporary contracts appealing for all manner of industries, from low-wage warehouse workers to professional white collar jobs.  For those stuck in this employment netherworld, life is a cycle of constant job searches.  Young people talk of delaying marriage and families indefinitely."

This is just simple economics.  If you mandate costs on employers for permanent employees, employers will provide fewer jobs for permanent employees. No big surprise here.

Hence massive job insecurity and hopelessness for the vast majority of young folks looking for work in the European Union.  Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer would like to bring this insecurity and hopelessness to America's shores.

If you want employers to hire workers and raise their pay, then government needs to butt out so that it is financially attractive to employers to provide good paying jobs for workers.  Drafting punitive laws on employers simply makes businesses reluctant to make permanent hires.  That's the lesson to be learned from the well-documented European Union experience.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Big Business Fat Cats Oppose Trump

Did you check out the Super Bowl ads?  One big business after another stumbled over themselves to show their opposition to the Trump Administration.  Think of the largest businesses in America -- Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple, etc.  Where do they line up?

The rich, the powerful, and the elite are solidly in the anti-Trump camp.  None of these groups have much truck with free market capitalism as they move around comfortably in their limousines, yachts and jets.

Look at the opposition to the Betsy DeVos nomination as education secretary -- the rich fat cats, the teachers' union.  These folks get to send their kids to private schools, yet they trumpet their personal support for public schools -- from a distance, of course.  Heaven forbid that poor children have the same opportunity as the rich.  DeVos represents giving the poor a fair shake in the educational system.  Naturally, the elites oppose this.

But the average American, not moving from one mansion to another, sees the Trump Administration as a blessing, designed to promote free markets and free people and a quality education for everyone -- not just the rich and powerful.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Taking the Axe to Dodd-Frank

The Dodd-Frank legislation that crushed America's financial institutions and was probably the number one cause of the pitiful economic recovery after 2009 is now the target of the new Trump Administration.

Average Americans have borne the brunt of the oppressive new regulations that accompanied Dodd-Frank.  Dodd-Frank is probably the number one reason that income inequality has grown over the past eight years.

But, relief -- at last -- is on the way.

President Trump signaled today that the oppressive Dodd-Frank regulatory regime is about to be rolled back.  Once again, Trump shows a strong predilection to support free markets and to oppose big government intrusions into the markets. 

Three cheers for President Trump!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Deregulation -- At Last!

No matter what your politics, at one time or another, everyone has come up against the regulatory state.  Some regulations, of course, are essential for any society.  The question is: how much regulation do you need?  Why?  Because almost every type of regulation reduces individual freedom and very likely reduces economic output as well.  There are costs.

So, what are the benefits?  The European Union forbids anyone in the EU under the age of 8 to blow up a balloon.  What are the benefits of this regulation?

So often, regulations are made by folks that have no experience in the real world, but are regulation careerists.  Their incentives are such that they believe more regulations are always better than fewer regulations.  Costs are often irrelevant to the regulators, because they don't bear any of the costs.  At least, that's what they seem to think.

Absent regulations, the American per capita income might be $ 200,000 per year.  Who knows?  That might also mean polluted air and water and mayhem in many facets of ordinary life. Where is the tradeoff?

For the past several decades, the view of the regulators has been that the economic costs of the regulations are irrelevant.  In fact, some -- Elizabeth Warren comes to mind -- seem to feel that regulation should actually be designed to be punitive, striking at the "bad guys."  Warren seems to think lowered income for the average American is a small price to pay if she can punish folks she doesn't like.

So, regulation has come to be used as a political weapon to punish your enemies.  Dodd-Frank is the poster child for this regulatory regime.  Dodd-Frank crushed the commercial banking system with regulations and the Obama's attorney general imposed arbitrary fines on the banking system and transferred many of the cash proceeds to political allies.  The result: the slowest economic recovery in American history.  Who paid?  You paid!  And, the average American suffered.  But Senator Dodd and Congressman Frank (and Elizabeth Warren) prospered.

Now, under Trump, we have a chance to roll back regulations that serve no other purpose than to punish one's political enemies.  Three cheers!

Monday, January 30, 2017

What Caring Means

We constantly hear that if our country truly cared we would do this and do that.  The people that make these arguments often don't care enough to do anything on their own.  Instead, their idea of "caring" is to make others pay for things that they want, but those who pay, don't want.  In other words, caring requires no sacrifice of your own.  It requires sacrifice by those who don't agree with you.

The "illegal immigrant" debate has this same strange dichotomy.  Those urging increasing "refugee immigrants" from war-torn countries make sure that when these immigrants arrive in Europe and the US, they are placed far, far away from themselves.  In the US, these "refugee immigrants" are re-located almost exclusively in "red" states in the midwest and primarily in small towns.  Virtually none of these immigrants are initially located in "sanctuary cities."  Those advocating increasing refugee immigration make sure that these new immigrants do not live in their neighborhoods.  Our former president relocated himself far, far away from any communities where these "refugee" immigrants are likely to end up.

Many small communities in the US and Europe are now saddled with hundreds of thousands of newly arrived immigrants who don't speak their language, abhor their culture, and have little or no interest in adopting their values.  The elites who push these policies have almost none of these folks in their neighborhood, so they are generally unaffected.  That's why they don't really care about hordes of refugee immigrants coming into the country.  Folks who push these policies will never suffer the costs and trauma of dealing with their relocation.  So, why not have more, they say.

Ditto for spending money on grandiose projects that "help" poor people.  Those pushing these, mostly failing, projects are asking taxpayers to fund these projects.  Why don't the supporters fund them on their own.  They claim that most Americans agree with them.  So, why don't the folks that agree with these projects pay for them on their own, instead of requiring those who disagree to pay for them.

How is it charitable to require the guy down the street to fund your pet projects?  How is it humane to bring in refugees, but relocate them in poorest, smallest communities in your country, but far, far away from yourself and your family?

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Coming Collapse of the European Union

"Arrogance."  A single word encapsulates the problem with the European Union.

What Brexit and the Trump revolution have in common is that they are both a response to arrogance by the ruling elites.  The wealthy and the elite have no respect for the average citizens in Europe or in the United State and have consistently ignored their interests for more than a generation.  It is clear from reading the NY Times or the Washington Post that this lack of respect continues.

The European Union and the Euro were terrific ideas and should have succeeded.  Both concepts promised improved economic performance for Europe and its citizenry.  So, what went wrong.  Two things went wrong.

First, the elites decided that the Greece debt should be prolonged and enlarged.  A simple bankruptcy would have resolved the Greek financial crisis relatively painlessly.  But, the elites would have none of it.  Merkel and Sarcozy arrogantly imposed austerity on Greece in exchange for bailing out the hedge funds that owned Greek debt.  Now the situation in Greece is a disaster and the financial health of Germany and France is much, much weaker because of their underwriting of Greek debt.  Everyone has lost, thanks to the arrogance of the elitists.

Second, the EU arbitrarily admitted millions of immigrants from cultures that despise western society and whose communities are the source of terrorists and terrorist agitations.  These millions were dumped unceremoniously on community after community throughout Europe.  This was the final straw for Britain.

The elitists never had to contend with immigrants whose culture has little or no respect for women or children, because the immigrants are always placed far from the homes and communities of the elitists.  Average Brits were left to contend with the enormous political and cultural battles that hordes of immigrants posed.  But the elite leaders could return comfortably to their leafy neighborhoods, cruising comfortably in the limousines.  Average folks were left to contend with the real problems created by the elites. 

A similar dynamic has taken place in the United States.  The vast bulk of terrorist-infested immigrant groups were placed in small mid-western towns far from the comfortable wealthy suburbs of the elitists.  Meanwhile, of course, the elitists castigated the culture and the dreams of average Americans from their limousines and jets.

Enough is enough.  So, two good ideas -- the European Union and Euro -- will die because of the arrogance of the elites.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The UK After Brexit

Remember what the media (including Paul Krugman) said would happen if the Brits left the European Union?  Brexit would destroy the British economy.  Right?

So, what happened?

The fastest growing economy in the developed world post-Brexit is, in fact, the United Kingdom.  They clocked in at an annual growth rate of 2.4 percent, according to numbers released yesterday.  Their stock market has been booming since Brexit and the pound is on a roll.

So, what's not to like?

Where are the Brexit critics these days?  They have moved on to other hysteria.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Morning in America

The shackles are coming off of the American economy.  The once dynamic US economy is going to be able to breathe again.

The Obama nightmare is over.  Small businesses will be free to expand, make capital commitments, borrow money, and hire employees.  These are things that have been almost impossible during the last eight years. The pitiful economic growth since 2009, especially compared to all other economic recoveries in American history, has left most Americans feeling distressed about their economic future.

Not so, of course, for bureaucrats, elitists in academe and elsewhere, and the wealthy limousine left.  These folks thrived at the expense of the taxpayer during that past eight years.  That will be ending, at last.

Some professors at the University of Virginia announced this week that they were not going to teach their classes on Friday in protest of the Trump inauguration.  This attitude is typical of the elite.  They get to choose when they want to work and when they don't want to work, without any threat of losing their job. These people live in a protected bubble and have nothing but contempt for folks that actually work for a living and don't get to pick and choose every day whether or not they want to do their job. 

The arrogance of the elite is breath-taking.  But that arrogance is about to get its come-uppance.  The average American is finally going to have a chance again, thanks to the incoming administration.  Freedom and prosperity is on the way.  It is morning in America.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Trump is His Own Worst Enemy

True Trump fans think that all of his bloopers are actually a good thing.  They point to the war on political correctness as a breath of fresh air.  But is it?

During the campaign, Trump's late night tweeting was mostly an embarrassment.   The polls have consistently shown that the public reacts negatively to the Trump tweets.  So why is there a sense out there that the Trump bizarre behavior is working?

Overshadowing Trump's behavior is the public's anger at the over-regulated, over-taxed and over-politicized world that we now live in.  Obama and the democrats have made life unbearable for many Americans and they rally to Trump -- like him or not -- as an alternative to the progressive(?) decline of the country that they live in.

There is no question that America is a far different country than it was a few decades ago.  Economic opportunities have eroded for average Americans, though the wealthy and elitist bureaucrats have thrived.  This is what drives Trump's continued strength, even though his behavior is appalling. It also explains why the wealthy and comfortable are contemptible of the incoming Trump administration.

If you've done well under Obama, it is hard to relate to those who haven't.  If you live in academia, or in the government bureaucracy, or are incredibly wealthy, then life has been great.  If you don't fit those categories, life has become increasingly more difficult.

It isn't that people like Trump.  A majority of Americans dislike Trump.  But they are tired of being treated as if they don't matter by the Obama-Clinton-Buffett-Soros-Streep elites.  So, Trump has become the default choice for those who don't live in the "protected" classes.  

The public schools are a disaster for most Americans.  Job opportunities are pitifully inadequate for most Americans.  Health insurance and health care costs have exploded under Obama.  Economic growth is half what it has normally been in prior years (and a quarter of that under prior economic recoveries from recessions) under Obama.

Terrorist attacks within the US have become a routine reality, though Obama seems oblivious to it.  The Middle East has become the playground of Russia and Iran with the US holding very little influence.  Russia and China have become much, much more aggressive and North Korea is building a missile system that will soon be able to nuke Los Angeles.

Thousands upon thousands of immigrants, legal and illegal, many of whom despise America and its institutions are now walking the streets of many American small towns, demanding services, providing a breeding ground for domestic terrorism, and objecting to an American culture that treats women as full-fledged citizens.  City upon city has agreed to protect criminals that are in the country illegally, providing "sanctuary" and tax dollars for folks who have violated American laws.  If you are not here illegally, you get no such protection.  You must be here illegally to get these benefits.

Is it any wonder that almost anyone looks better to the average Americans than the democrats?

Choosing to back Donald Trump, in spite of his behavior, becomes the only chance left for many Americans who believe that what once was the "City on the Hill" and "The Land of Opportunity" is fast becoming little more than a playground for the affluent and the protected bureaucrats and elitists.

Meanwhile, the elitists and the wealthy increasingly view the average American as beneath them and not worthy of their time or interest.

The divisiveness is America is based upon real issues, not on personalities.  Trump is winning on the issues, not on his personality.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Democrats Boycott Inauguration

For the first time in American history, prominent members of one of the two major political parties are boycotting the inauguration of the newly elected US president.  I guess it shouldn't be much of a surprise.  The scorched earth policy of Barrack Obama and key democrats continues apace.  "Do unto others....as you would never wish them to do to you" appears to be the motto of the defeated and angry democrats. Not many statesmen in this crowd of losers.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Protesting Elites

For eight years, Barrack Obama and the elites in the Democratic Party and the Media have lorded it over the average American. Sitting back in their comfortable homes in government, in academia, and in the Media,  the elitists avoided any contact with the poor, the middle class, minorities, the unemployed, the business community, and the average American.  Their contempt for these groups has been ever-present.

Now, the empire strikes back.  The unlikely leader of the citizen revolt is none other than billionaire Donald Trump.  Surprisingly, Trump's cabinet picks are devotees of free markets and are largely drawn from the pool of successful American business men and women.  Barrack Obama's cabinet was full of elitist hacks, who had spent hardly a moment in the private sector.  Obama's inner circle were largely Ivy League elitists and hacks who despise the average American -- Hillary's deplorables.

It must be galling for the elites to lose out to beer drinking, truck driving Americans, most of whom have an annual income that is less than the monthly stipend that government (that is, the taxpayer) provides for the elitists in the bureaucracy.  From their leafy neighborhoods in Washington DC, the elitists opine on what is best for folks in Nebraska and Iowa.  After all, the elitists are not elitists for nothing.

January 20th will be a great day for America, but a tragic one for the elitist.  You can see  the elitists singing the blues daily as we approach the end of their hegemony over the average American.

There are good things coming.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Obama Is a National Disgrace

The pathetic figure of an angry Barrack Obama heaping as much dirt through lies and inuendo upon the President-elect is without precedent in American history.  Obama is doing everything in his waning power to discredit America's 45th President. 

The main effect of the Obama actions is to leave a lasting legacy of hatred, dishonesty, and sour grapes.   The failed Obama presidency was a natural outcome of electing someone armed with little more than rhetorical skills to the highest office.  Fortunately, the US has term limits.  Time is running out on this hateful, incompetent administration.  The end cannot come soon enough.


Friday, January 13, 2017

The DemoMediaCratic Party Pulls Out All The Stops

Having been completely discredited, the Democratic Party and the Media have not given up in their effort to damage the US and its interest both domestically and globally.  Inventing fake stories and finding phantom actors in an effort to pretend that they really won an election that they lost overwhelming, the left and the media thunder on.

Tune in to CNN or MSNBC if you want to see a group of people that despise America and despise Americans. Their heroes are dictators around the world -- Iran, Cuba, for example and their enemies are Americans, that they see as "deplorables," racists, bigots and on and on.

They don't believe in the nation's laws or in its history.  They see America as the evil empire and they see Ayatollah and the Castro brothers as their friends and soul brothers.  American police are the enemy to this crowd, but those who gun down police should be understood and excused, according to the media and the Democratic Party.

These folks have crossed the line from debate to pure, unadulterated hatred for the US and its values of freedom.  They prefer dictatorships and elite rule, especially if they are in power.  This is what the Democratic Party and its handmaiden, the media, have become. No wonder their election victories are few and far between and they have taken to hatred, villification, dishonesty and to the streets with their views that no longer have much in common with American traditions of freedom and respect for law and for individuals.

The Democratic Party and the Media are increasingly a very small echo chamber with little relevance for the average American.

The End Game for Greece

What's next?--revolution?  dictatorship?  The Greek economy is near collapse.  Today's article in the Wall Street Journal by Nektaria Stamouli describes the plight of the formerly middle class Greek families. They have run out of money.  Done.

All of this was completely unnecessary.  When Greek public debt became un-payable six years ago, they should have simply defaulted.  Then some kind of workout with their creditors could have been put in place and their debt would have been totally extinguished. The losers?  Those who were foolish enough to make loans to Greece.  They deserved to lose.  Unfortunately, they didn't lose.

Enter -- Angela Merkel.  She used Germany's public credit to force a bailout of Greek creditors -- an absurdly stupid and callous move.  Now the German economy is saddled with un-payable debt and the Greek economy has collapsed, exactly what one would expect from the Merkel bailout.  No surprises here.  Just more bureacratic stupidity by politicians who know little or no economics.

The Eurozone has no hope as long as each country is presumed to bailout each other country.  It's as if the US were poised to bailout Illinois, New York and California, when their inevitable bankruptcy appears on horizon.  Fortunately, the US states will just go bankrupt without a bailout and the US will survive, unlike the Eurozone.  The problem is not that Europe did not properly integrate.  The problem is that Eurozone assumed member country debts.  Such a policy doomed the Eurozone just as surely as it doomed Greece and will doom Spain and Italy in time.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ethics Office is Absurd

Walter Shaub, the head of the "Office of Government Ethics" said yesterday that Donald Trump's plans for removing himself from his businesses is "wholly inadequate."  This is completely ridiculous.

What Shaub and the Democrats would really like to have is a law that says that anyone who is a successful business person should not be permitted to hold high office.  That's what they really mean.

Notice that Hillary Clinton's regular use of her office at the State Department to line her pockets and that of her foundation by trading American influence for cold, hard cash never bothered Walter Shaub or his Democratic cronies.  That was A-Okay.  But for a businessman to keep his business running.  That is not A-Okay.

So, maybe if Trump just sold influence to foreign countries and received cash in direct payment, as Clinton did, Shaub would relax as he did during the Clinton cash-grab.

What an absurdity.

The right answer is full disclosure.

Full disclosure solves all problems and would have solved the obvious Clinton conflict of interest.  (Now we know the real reason for the private server used by Hillary Clinton.  It made it easier to hide the sale of US government influence for cash). Instead, hiding behind partisan agencies, such as the "Office of Government Ethics," just turns conflict of interest policy into a partisan rule that prohibits successful business folks from holding higher office.

No one holding high political office should have to divest of anything.  They should not be required to set up blind trusts either.  They should merely have to fully disclose any transactions of significance while in office.  That's it.  If the voters don't like it, they can throw the bums out (as they implicitly did last November).  Having bureaucrats weigh in on this is ridiculous. Bureaucrats don't understand successful people and would prefer that successful people would be unsuccessful people.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Intelligence Services and the Media

Apparently the US intelligence services have no problem providing daily information to members of the news media, but refuse to provide the same information to the President-elect and to the Congress.  Daily, these leaks are presented as "news" stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post.  This strikes me as far more serious than anything alleged about Russia.

US intelligence agencies should not be compromising their own work by daily communication, totally unauthorized and completely illegal, with members of the media -- none of whom have security clearances. 

Hopefully, Trump will bring a big broom to the US intelligence agencies, who now seem to be little more than an arm of the Democratic Party.  Obama and Clinton should be ashamed of their role in all of this.  More than anything related to the Russians, the Obama-Clinton effort to tarnish the incoming Trump Administration, by illegal and unauthorized leaks to their pals in the press, poses the real threat to our country.

Good Riddance

The long Obama goodbye is getting tiresome.  Within a few days, free markets are going to begin to be re-introduced into the American economy and the bureaucratic autocracy of the Obama years is finally, finally coming to an end.

The elites are horrified.  No longer will they be able to lord it over the average American, who they feel nothing but contempt for.  The wealthy elitists, protected bureaucrats, Hollywood egomaniacs are finally going to be pushed aside so that the average American can breathe again.

Finally.  The elitists are leaving and free markets are returning.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

An American Embarrassment

If the Obama Administration incompetence had not been sufficiently displayed for all the world, the release this week of the "intelligence" on Russian hacking of the election left no doubt that the Obama folks haven't got a clue.

Where has Obama been?  Do they think they are not going to get hacked?  What world do they live in? 

Instead of whining about Russian hacking, how about beefing up US defenses.  No amount of whining is going to make a bit of difference. (The DNC itself made no effort to protect itself, even after the intelligence services warned them. They are equally as stupid as the Obama Administration).

The not-so-subtle effort to pin so-called Russian hacking on Donald Trump is ludicrous.

Two more weeks and this ridiculous and embarrassing administration will finally come to an end.  I can't wait.  Hopefully, Trump will bring a big broom. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Replacing Obamacare -- A Piece of Cake -- Look to the Free Market

So how hard is it to replace Obamacare?  In actual fact, replacing Obamacare with a free market in health care is absurdly trivial.  All that needs to be done is eliminate each and every mandate imposed by Obamacare.  Done.

What about folks with "pre-existing" conditions?  Such folks can enter a high-risk insurance pool that is partially subsidized. (That's how auto insurance is handled).  Folks who choose not to get health care insurance at all can take a number and wait their turn. At some point, folks have to show enough initiative to do something.  Absent that, it is unlikely the health care system can do them much good anyway.

How about insurance companies dropping coverage?  Insurance companies can sell two kinds of policies -- those that can drop coverage and those that can't.  Obviously, these kinds of policies will have different prices, as they should.  If you want a policy that cannot drop coverage, then pay for it.

Meanwhile, folks should buy whatever insurance policies that they want to buy.  Period.  There should be no minimum requirements for health care insurance, which is the case with auto insurance (except for liability coverage for which there is no analogue in health care insurance).

Should a hospital be required to take on anyone who comes in the door? Absolutely not,  A private hospital should be run on profitable basis.  The hospital should decide on its own whether or not to  take someone in who cannot pay and the hospital and staff should not be liable for any mistakes or problems with the care provided to non-paying patients. 

If you want hospitals to take in all comers, then build hospitals for that specific purpose.  Don't destroy private hospitals by insisting that they take all comers.

Meanwhile medicare should be replaced by health insurance vouchers and get the government out of that business as well.

If you want an industry to provide quality and low prices, put the industry in a free market.  If you want incompetence, corruption, poor service and high prices, turn it over to the government.