Sunday, July 30, 2017

GDP Growth Uptick -- 2.6% Second Quarter

Well, well.  The second quarter GDP growth estimate is 2.6% (that's an annualized number), well above the pundits' expectations.

It is possible that this is simply a statistical aberration and that nothing is going on.  But, what if?

Recall that the Obama years were stuck at the < 2 percent average for his entire presidency.  Trump is already doing better?

Why was growth so slow during the Obama years?  Was it Obamacare?  Was it high taxes?  Maybe.  But a far more likely explanation is the extreme anti-business rhetoric from the Obama White House and the massive new regulatory environment strangling business formation and expansion.

The real engine of economic growth and employment comes from start-up and small businesses.  The Obama years sapped the vitality from that engine by overburdening regulations.  Rich folks and bureaucrats welcomed the regulatory overkill.  After all, it was all a big plus for them.  The rich no longer feared competition from other folks trying to get rich and the bureaucrats were in hog heaven, finding new regulations to promulgate daily.  Life was grand.

But, the regulatory regime doesn't hit everyone the same.  The rich and powerful love new regulations, regardless of their source.  Elitists like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have never heard of a regulation that they couldn't get behind -- no matter the impact on average Americans.  

But for average folks (those not rich or sitting in protected bureaucratic or academic jobs), the Obama years were an unending nightmare.  Rising health care costs and rising deductibles forced many Americans to forego health care entirely thanks to Obamacare.  For others the higher premiums forced some tough family decisions.  (Bureaucrats have their health care paid and are unconcerned about higher health care costs -- not their problem). 

Meanwhile regulations dampened economic activity and job growth leading to huge numbers of Americans choosing to give up looking for work.  The only records set during the Obama years were: 1) Massive increases in student loan debt; 2) Massive increases in food stamps; 3) Health insurance costs; 4) National debt.  Any measure of well being for average Americans showed lost ground during the Obama years.

But now the Trump Administration, for all of its woes, is waging war on the regulatory state.  This is all for the good and should dramatically open up free markets and economic growth.

Maybe things have changed.  We will have to wait for more numbers.

Spain's Recovery (sic) Turns a Corner?

Europe has an economy that has done nothing for decades, even though the pundits love it.  Must be the food.  It certainly is not the economy itself.

Today's NYTimes, as usual, finds things to praise about Europe.  Spain!

According to the NY Times, Spain is on the mend. But, the facts, even those in the article say otherwise:

"The unemployment rate remains above 18 percent and is near 39 percent for younger workers. Some 4.25 million people in a nation of 47 million are officially looking for work. Even in areas of growth, fraught labor negotiations and frequent strikes attest to the insecurity of work and the pain of diminished wages."

How's that for a strong recovery!  It works for rich folks and bureaucrats, but for everybody else, those are depression statistics -- not statistics that show an economic recovery.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Next Stop -- Single Payer Medical Care in the US

The collapse of the Republican effort to replace Obamacare leaves only one road ahead -- single payer health care.  That will put nearly 70 percent of the American economy under the thumb of various levels of government.  America is becoming Europe.

The price for this will be paid by the poor and lower middle income folks.  Warren Buffett and his pals will continue to have the best health care, because they won't be in the single payer system.  Left wingers who claim to believe in public schools, but send their children to private schools, will also use the private health care system, not the single payer system.  But the majority of Americans will be forced to suffer the indignities of a single payer system that decides, arbitrarily, who lives and who dies.

The public is being treated daily to what happens in the UK health care system, where the bureaucrats are planning to put to death a small child over the wishes of that child's parents.  The arguments that these bureaucrats are using could be used to put anyone to death.  Life and death decisions become the purview of the elite bureaucrats, running rough shod over what families may desire.  No citizen, not in the top echelons of wealth, will be safe from this "death squad" approach to health care.

It is worth noting that in the UK case, had the parents been Warren Buffett, there would be no decision to be made by bureaucrats because the baby would have been in a private hospital, where bureaucrats cannot arbitrarily put people to death.  So, wealthy liberals need have no fear.  They will not be subject to the laws that they impose on others.  Their children will survive, while the children of the poor can, depending upon the whims of the bureaucracy, be put to death under a single payer system.

These past few weeks represented the last real hope of stopping socialized medicine from becoming a reality for the US.  Now, it is hard to see much hope for free market health care.  Ironically, it was mainly Republicans who closed the door on reform.  Not for the first time.

Friday, July 14, 2017

More Nonsense About Russia

Pretty amazing.  Obama and his administration rolled over for Vladimir Putin -- twice. Obama permitted Putin a free hand in the Ukraine and refused to lift a finger to help the Ukrainians.  Then, as if he hadn't made his point, he invited Putin into Syria, effectively leaving that part of the Middle East in Russian (and Iranian) hands. 

So, now the Democrats argue that Putin favors Republicans?  If so, they are the dumbest folks on the planet.

Mark Warner and Tim Kaine can no longer discuss any real political issues, so away they go on the nonsense about Russia. 

These political hacks (Warner and Kaine) are pretending that Russia represents a real threat to the US.  That is ridiculous and they know it.  Iran and North Korea represent real threats (and perhaps the Chinese), but not Russia.  Russia threatens Europe, not us, and Europe, especially Merkel, treats Putin as if they are best friends.

Trump is the only person on the planet standing up to Putin (and Iran and North Korea).  The Democrats are wasting their time on a completely implausible story line.  Why?  Because their economic program is bankrupt and they know it and they have nothing else to talk about.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Healthcare in the US

The right way to allocate health care expenditures is the same way that any scarce resource should be allocated.  Let the free market do the allocation.  The result will be better products, lower prices and better patient-doctor relationships.

The wrong way is to have the government do it, either through a bureacratic nightmare of insurance regulations or through a single payer system.  The result will be a dramatic worsening in health care quality, availability and the elimination of any patient-doctor relationship.  We've already observed this in today's health care system.  The pressures of costs will ensure that compensation for medical personnel will fall and, as a result, people who might consider trash pick-up for a career will become, instead, America's care givers.

The free market can't deal with "pre-existing" conditions  It is simply not possible.  Thus, if you wish to deal with "pre-existing" conditions you need a separate welfare program designed strictly for pre-existing conditions.  It won't be first class.  No government program ever is.  But that's the price you should pay if you fail to insure yourself until you have "pre-existing conditions."  That leaves medicaid for those who truly cannot afford insurance and/or  health care.

Dealing with "pre-existing conditions" and providing care for the indigent is actually a relatively small problem.  The difficulties in the current morass have to do with trying to extend regulations into the great middle class.  That won't work.  That will simply destroy health care access and quality for middle class Americans and will increase health care costs dramatically.  The result: an incompetent, corrupt, and inefficient health care system.

Insurance companies should be free to sell whatever insurance policies they wish to sell and consumers should be free to buy whatever insurance policies they want to buy.  Period.  So long as there is no fraud in representation, the free market should be allowed to work unhindered without government bureaucratic interference.  Ditto for health care.  Absent fraud, doctors and hospitals should be free to offer whatever products they wish at whatever prices they choose.

Hospitals should not be required to take in patients who can't pay.  If it is desired to provide care for those who can't pay, then state-funded hospitals should be built to provide care for patients who cannot afford free market hospitals.

If the steps described herein are taken, health care will be top quality, available to all and relatively inexpensive -- much cheaper than what we observe today.  Going the other way means incredibly poor health care, poor access for middle class and lower income Americans, the elimination of any patient-doctor relationship, and outright denial of health care services for many services that would be routinely provided in a free market health care system.

This is not rocket science.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Simple Truth

"The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.”

In that single phrase, President Trump, speaking in Poland, addressed the real issue that separates the right and left so bitterly in America and throughout Europe. 

The left wishes to decide for others how they everyone should lead their lives; the right wishes to leave it up to the individual to direct their own existence and everything that goes with it.

The left thinks it know all of the answers -- hence paperwork and regulations are their mantra.  The right would like to be left alone to make their own mistakes if they so choose.  Why not?  It's their life.

Making a mistake is not nearly so dreadful as not having the right to make that mistake.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

NY Times is a Daily Embarassment

The NY Times cannot let a single day go by without publishing something that is either an outright falsehood or something that appears deliberately designed to mislead the reader for partisan political purposes.  It is not uncommon for multiple "political" articles of this type to appear on a daily basis in the NY Times.  The Times appears to have completely lost its role of being a "news" organization. 

The Times is now little more than a political organ devoted to promoting the interests of the far left and constantly lauding other countries critical of the United States, its history and its culture.  The treatment, for example, of the facts about the medical systems in other parts of the world is invariably based upon fabrication and misleading information.  In a rush to promote a single payer medical system for the US, there is little the NY Times would not do to distort the record and mislead the public.  The Times is a paper with a mission.  Reporting the news is no longer part of that mission.

One (but only one) of today's misleading articles is the one by Nelson Schwartz entitled "Hopes of 'Trump Bump' for US Economy Shrink as Growth Forecasts Fade."  Here we are in early July and Schwartz is blasting the Trump Administration because economic growth is not above 4 percent.  Schwartz is a little premature since no second quarter numbers are even available.  But, he can't wait to throw darts at the Trump Adminstration -- facts or no facts.  The Times must make its political point regardless.

What are the facts.  First, Trump was not the President in the first three weeks of January, so is the economic record of those three weeks his responsibility?  Yes, according to the NY Times in a tortured piece of nonsense.  Second, even the first quarter numbers were not likely influenced by an Administration that had been in place a few weeks with few if any of its programs in place. 

Not to be deterred, the Times is quick out of the gate to decry the slow economic growth of the Trump Administration,   Of course, the Obama record was nothing but slow economic growth.  Schwartz never criticized the Obama Administration a single time for their abysmal economic record.  Quite the reverse.  The NY Times always and consistently praised the Obama record which, in fact, produced the slowest economic recovery in American history.  That is a fact.  What the Times reports and says is fiction at best and more likely consistent deliberate distortion.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Promote Ignorance Says the NY Times

An article in the NY Times by Natasha Singer (dated curiously as June 27, 2017) pushes the thesis that Americans should not educate their children if that education provides benefits to the business community.  This article is a clear expression of the anti-capitalistic ethic and anti-American ethic of the NY Times and its writers.

The main thrust of this article is that Silicon Valley has been providing significant funding to American public schools to promote the development of "coding" skills.  That, apparently, borders on the criminal, according to Ms. Singer, since Silicon Valley itself might benefit if more Americans had coding skills.

Ms. Singer, I suspect, probably doesn't approve of teaching Americans to read or write either, since, heaven forbid, American companies might derive some benefit from an educated populace.  Better to keep people ignorant and lacking in skills, so goes Ms. Singer's thesis, so that no business can derive any benefits from hiring Americans.

Ms. Singer would then, one supposes, argue that we need to bring in millions of new immigrants, legal or otherwise, from countries that despise Americans and let them do the coding and fill the jobs that we wish to deny young Americans.  That solves both of Ms. Singer's and the left's main agenda -- eliminating jobs for Americans and bringing massive number of immigrants to America who despise our customs, history and can't speak our language.

The NY Times definitely has an agenda and this article makes it loud and clear.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Now Connecticut, New Jersey -- Even Maine!

More government shutdowns loom in states that have made a practice of confiscating middle class income and are mired in waste and corruption.  Connecticut, New Jersey and Maine will join Illinois within the next two months as "failed states."  Watch out!  New York and California are not far behind.