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.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The "Hacked Election" Narrative

The evil Russians, apparently, hacked the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.  Shame on them.  Imagine one country trying to hack another!

And look at the evil things the Russians did.  They exposed the fact that the news media was totally linked to the Clinton campaign and their reporting was simply an arm of that campaign.  No one denies this.  The evil Russians exposed the truth of the hypocritical US press.  Is the suggestion that voters would be better off believing something that wasn't true?

What else did the evil Russians do?  They exposed that the DNC was doing everything in their power to defeat Bernie Sanders and nominate Hillary Clinton.  It turns out that was true also.  I suppose the suggestion is that Democrats and other voters would be better off believing something else -- that was patently false -- that the DNC was neutral between Clinton and Sanders.

So, the argument apparently is that voters in America would have been better off believing lies than learning the truth.  Interesting argument.

Meanwhile, is there someone who doesn't believe that the US, China, Russia and every other major country aren't trying to hack each other every day?  Who out there doesn't believes that?  Who believes that hacking will stop?  So, why all the nonsense.

If you don't like the hacking, beef up your security and quit bellyaching.  Maybe voters, having the truth at their disposal, are better informed than believing the Clinton-DNC-AmericanPress pack of lies.  Lies that Wikileaks exposed them for what they are.

Where is the harm?  Hacking attempts will never stop.  Get real.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Apocalyptic News Stories

I am a regular reader of the NY Times and the Washington Post -- alas!   Online, the headlines daily are frightening.  It seems, according to these venerated newspapers, that the election of Donald Trump is the single worst thing that ever happened to the American republic.  Why? Because Trump has the effrontery to suggest that average Americans should have more control over their own lives.

The idea that individuals should be free to decide for themselves is apparently a truly frightening prospect, according to the Times and WAPO.  As Hillary Clinton noted time and again, the average American is a racist, a bigot, a deplorable.  Why should you let people like that control their own lives? 

If you believe in freedom, then you must accept the proposition that people should be free to make their own mistakes.  That people make mistakes is not a call for government action.  People learn.  But they won't learn if government is always looking over their shoulder and making decisions for them.  That simple idea -- that ordinary Americans should have the freedom to make their own mistakes -- is the cornerstone for a free society.  That idea makes the Times and WAPO apoplectic.

According to the Times and WAPO, only the elite (and, of course, they include themselves) know what's best.  That's why it did not bother them that the Democratic Party regularly colludes with key figures in the media to present a united front in opposition to the Republican Party.  This is the substance of the Wikileaks from the DNC.  The press is covertly and explicitly aiding one political party over another.  Shame on the evil Wikileaks folks for exposing the truth, say the Times and WAPO.

When you and only you know the the correct path, then why have freedom and democracy?  That is esentially the argument presented by the NY Times and the Washington Post.  Thus, the Trump election upsets this simple paradigm.  How can this intruder question the received wisdom?

In order to combat the Trump revolution, the Times and WAPO daily pour calumny and invective onto Trump, his aides and cabinet picks and the millions of Americans that voted for him.  Instead of simply accepting the election results and moving on, the Times and WAPO are behaving as if letting ordinary Americans have a say in their own lives is the worst thing that ever happened to the country.