Tax Reform and Legislation

Business CEOs want tax reform.  They’re right, even though to an extent their wish is self-serving.  Or because of that—Adam Smith’s invisible hand, and all that, where every economic actor seeing to his own self interest aggregates to the benefit of all the actors, including those not party to a particular arrangement among particular actors.

Which brings me to a (not very) tangential point regarding a remark by Business Roundtable President & CEO Joshua Bolten regarding target tax rates:

15% would be terrific….  But it doesn’t have to end up at 15% for Business Roundtable companies to be happy about it.

More Mueller Leaks

Even Howard Kurtz seems to be catching on, as he wrote for Fox News.

Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation leaks are continuing apace.

Suddenly, there are a whole lot of leaks about Paul Manafort.

Could this, just possibly, be the special counsel’s way of putting pressure on President Trump’s former campaign chairman?

And

[T]he detailed nature of the leaks is also troubling. As a onetime Justice Department reporter, I can tell you that such leaks in a criminal investigation are rare, as well as illegal.

Tax Incentives and Taxes

New York City is offering almost $10 million in tax breaks to get Aetna Inc to move from Connecticut to Manhattan, and this is in addition to $24 million the state is offering.

It’s a good deal, for Aetna, but it’s not a good deal for the people of New York City, or for the citizens of New York State or for the citizens of the United States.  The reason is hinted at by Anthony Hogrebe, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the New York City Economic Development Corporation:

False Premise

Budget mavens, politicians, and the NLMSM have one regarding our national tax code.  The Senate is considering a budget that sets an outer bound on the size of Federal tax cuts.

A budget with a tax plan that is revenue-neutral would effectively pay for itself, meaning any reduction in tax rates would be offset by reducing breaks or other revenue-raising measures.

No.  “Revenue neutral” must also consider what’s done with the revenue collected.  Revenue neutrality can be achieved, also, with sufficient spending cuts so that revenue collected meets or exceeds spending outflows.

Antifa, a Gang

David Pyrooz and James Densley had some thoughts on this in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.  They’re on the right track in that they urge Antifa be formally designated a gang with all the social—and legal—ramifications that would flow.

There are a couple of points I’d like to make or emphasize.

[D]on’t be fooled by Antifa’s diffuse structure. Conventional street gangs are pretty disorganized too.

Diffuse isn’t, of necessity, disorganized: the Bloods and Crips, which Pyrooz and Densley cite in their piece; the Black P-Stone Nation; al Qaeda; and the Daesh all are diffuse, by design, and well organized.

The PRC and Bitcoin

The behavior of the People’s Republic of China regarding bitcoin has purpose far beyond controlling bitcoin.  As background, The Wall Street Journal had this assessment of the PRC’s financial industry:

China has digitized its financial sector faster than any other nation.

The reason for their rapid pace is this according to Li Lihui, a spokesman for the National Internet Finance Association of China, and it has nothing at all to do with a sovereign nation’s legitimate desire to control its own currency and money supply:

A goal of China’s monetary regulation is to ensure that “the source and destination of every piece of money can be tracked[.]”

Our Pledge of Allegiance and God

A Detroit teacher is forced onto leave now because she forced a student to stand for the class’ routine recital of our Pledge of Allegiance.  Used to be, such disrespect was handled in exactly this way, and quite properly so.

The boy actually had a good reason, though, even if he misunderstood what the pledge of allegiance is about:

God said don’t worship anything other than me, don’t worship any idols, and pledging to a flag would kind of be like worshiping it[.]

What Else?

Adjunct Professor Michael Issacson at the John Jay College, a part of the City University of New York system and a used-to-be prestigious school has expressed his disdain for and hopes for violence against police officers, tweeting

He then showed he meant it, telling the New York Daily News regarding his tweet,

Oh, that s—?  Everybody dies.

The college management’s response?  President Karol Mason in her press release:

Manufactured Racism

A Democratic congresswoman said drawing attention to a colleague’s first job in the fast food industry is racist.

Seriously.

Congressman Joe Wilson (R, SC) was talking up the value of a fast food job as a means of gaining valuable experience and life/work lessons while on the job, and he mentioned that Senator Tim Scott (R, SC) had started out in such a starter job in a Chick-fil-A franchise, and now he was a sitting Senator.

[Franchises] provide entry level jobs for people to have first-time employment, improve themselves, and succeed.  In South Carolina we particularly recognize this. US Senator Tim Scott had his first job at a Chick-fil-A franchise.

Discrimination

Now FEMA is doing it, and it’s religious discrimination.  Churches, bastions of succor in times of disaster—like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma—suffer their own damages in those disasters, as they did in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  However, unlike other charitable organizations in similar straits, churches are being denied FEMA assistance to recover.

Law on this is not clear because separation of church and state, New York University Law Professor Burt Neuborne is claiming.

The difficulty is that the Constitution has two provisions in it. It has a freedom of religion, but it also has kind of a freedom from religion which prevents government money from being used for religious purposes, worship purposes.