Hindsight

…and learning from it for better anticipations.

Federal Reserve officials grappling with the legacy of expansive stimulus would find it difficult to return to the central bank’s precrisis role on the sidelines of financial markets, analysts and central-bank watchers say.

Well, NSS.  Frankly, these worthies should have known the outcomes likely from their intervention before they intervened.

Aside from the magnitude of the necessary rollback and its attendant difficulty—the Fed’s balance sheet has expanded four and a half times, from $1 trillion to $4.5 trillion since right before the Panic of 2008—there’s the human engineering aspect of personal political power:

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Isn’t Dead

The remaining 11 nations of the erstwhile TPP have made it clear that they intend to press on with the agreement, US participation or not, but that the US would be welcome back in, and other nations who could “meet the high standards in the TPP agreement” would be welcome, as well.

Todd McClay, New Zealand Trade Minister:

It’s clear that each country is having to consider both economic values and strategic importance of this agreement, but in the end, there is a lot of unity among all of the countries and a great desire to work together to come up with an agreement among 11 that…delivers for all of our economies and the people of our countries….

When Were They Not?

All IT Jobs Are Cybersecurity Jobs Now goes the headline on a recent Wall Street Journal article, and the subhead reads The rise of cyberthreats means that the people once assigned to setting up computers and email servers must now treat security as top priority.

It’s like these folks—both in the IT arena and in the reporting media—have just had an epiphany.

The global “WannaCry” ransomware attack that peaked last week, and has affected at least 200,000 computers in 150 countries, as well as the growing threat of Adylkuzz, another new piece of malware, illustrate a basic problem that will only become more pressing as ever more of our systems become connected: the internet wasn’t designed with security in mind, and dealing with that reality isn’t cheap or easy.

Safe Spaces and Clarity of Thought

As The Wall Street Journal pointed out in an interview with Northwestern University’s President Morton Schapiro, the University of Chicago’s President Robert Zimmer has a view of the nature of safe spaces and the relationship between them and collegiate education.

incoming freshmen [should expect] to expect discomfort—not safe spaces—on his campus.

Schapiro, instead, wants to coddle his pupils as though they’re still two years old.

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro takes a gentler approach.

He believes that because learning is frequently uncomfortable, students need safe spaces—which for him means places where people who share an identity can retreat, relax, and recoup.

Budget Cuts and Bribery

…or budget cuts and coercion, depending on your perspective.

The president’s budget, due for release Tuesday, will spare the two largest drivers of future spending—Medicare and Social Security—leaving trillions in cuts from other programs. That includes discretionary spending cuts to education, housing, environment programs, and foreign aid already laid out by the administration, in addition to new proposed reductions to nondiscretionary spending like food stamps, Medicaid, and federal employee-benefit programs.

What’s going to be ignored in the inevitable hoo-raw over these allegedly terrible cuts to various aspects of our nation’s “safety” net is the truly terrible downside of those aspects.

Yet Another

…Alinsky-esque distraction by the Ctl-Left.  This one is on the matter of Obamacare subsidies to health coverage providers to compensate them “for reducing out-of-pocket costs for some low-income consumers who sign up for plans on the exchanges.”

The Obama administration paid billions of our tax dollars to these providers, the amount for this year alone looks to be in the neighborhood of $7 billion, with the annual payout looking to rise to $16 billion in 10 years.

The House has sued to block further payments because no funds were appropriated for them, and so they’re illegal.  A number of State AGs are seeking to intervene in the suit.

Foolish

President Donald Trump is willing to talk to the Progressive-Democrats in Congress in order to achieve tax reform, and it might seem like a good idea.  In the present situation, though, it’s a waste of time.

As the Trump administration reached across the aisle on tax reform for the first time Wednesday, Democrats communicated some requests of their own regarding the tax overhaul. Those requests included a middle class tax cut and that the overall bill not be part of a reconciliation package….

Heckler’s Veto

It’s alive and well in Canada, too.  A Canadian named Lorne Grabher had a vanity license plate on his car, one that he’s had for 25 years.  The plate had his name, GRABHER.  You’d think there’d be no problem here, both on its face and from the fact that there’s been no problem for that quarter century.

But no.

The Toronto Sun, as cited at the link, says that “at least one person complained” about that plate, and that’s all it takes.  One special snowflake with more time on her hands than productive work decided she was going to be offended by the plate—she decided it reminded her of then TV star Donald Trump’s remark about where to grab women—and she went crying to the Canadian authorities.  Those authorities agreed with her.

It Just Keeps Getting Better and Better

…or worse and worse, depending on your perspective.  Not only is the Veterans Administration continuing to make bad/false/improper payments, they seem to be getting acceleratingly worse about it.  The Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General reported that the VA made $5 billion in “improper” payments in 2015, and then while that drew attention, the VA increased their improper payouts to $5.5 billion in 2016.

To show how terrible the rates can be, here are some data from James Clark at the above link:

  • the VA Community Care had 75% of their payments as “improper” payments in 2016

Medicaid Cuts?

Some conservative Republican Senators are looking to cut Federal transfers to the States earmarked for those States’ Medicaid programs.  Others are concerned.

[T]he [conservative Senate Republicans’] Medicaid plan could affect many more people and shift significant costs onto hospitals and states.