Poverty and Concern for the Rich

Recall the Progressive-Democratic Party-controlled legislature with their Progressive-Democrat governor who run things in California.  In response to the just-passed tax reform bill’s capping of state and local tax deductions on the Federal income tax form at $10,000, these worthies have introduced a bill that would create a State-run “charity” foundation into which California citizens could make “donations” and receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit that they could then apply to their SALT requirements that exceed those $10,000.

Never mind that, as The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board pointed out last Friday,

A Test

Recall the false alarm about an inbound ICBM that a functionary of the Hawaii State government apparatus triggered last weekend.  I’m not interested, here, in how the false alarm got triggered in the first place, or why it took so long—38 minutes—to send out a false alarm notice, or why the State apparently chose to not even consider sending out an All Clear notice and figure out the false alarm aspects later.  There’s another question that seems to be getting ignored.

The Rogue EPA

Glider trucks are freight-hauling trucks with used, rebuilt engines and drive trains installed in new cab-chassis.  Then-President Barack Obama’s (D) EPA, led by the paragon of green envy virtue, Gina McCarthy, decided that these used trucks actually were new trucks and held them required to meet that EPA’s emissions standards for new trucks.  After all, the Environmental Protection Act exempted used trucks from those standards, and the Obama crowd and its cronies like Volvo didn’t like that.

In late 2017, in order to prove the legitimacy of the claim, some holdover folks of the EPA ran a test on a couple of glider trucks and found them to meet/exceed EPA standards for new truck emissions.

Nuclear Weapons Proliferation

President Donald Trump has moved to fix or withdraw from ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) Executive Agreement with Iran, cosigned by the leaders of a number of European nations, covering Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Folks can argue that this step has taken too long (and the terms of Obama’s EA have not been fixed, yet, nor have we canceled it; the deadline for that is next May), and I’m among the impatient.  However, the delay isn’t all bad (so far), since discussions of the Agreement, both public and behind the scenes (I assume), over the course of this delay have made the problems with it plainly evident, and the other parties to the deal no longer have excuses—they’ve have plenty of time to make their positions plain.

Projection

Kentucky has decided to take advantage of new Federal Medicaid rules and add a work requirement to those receiving Medicaid payments in order for them to be eligible for continued payments.  Recipients in the typical working age range of 19-64 must do 80 hours—two weeks—of what the State terms “community engagement.”  There are, of course, exceptions for those who cannot work.

As Kentucky’s governor Matt Bevin (R) noted in his tweet about his decision to approve the new rule,

There is dignity associated with earning the value of something that you receive. The vast majority of men and women, able-bodied men and women … they want the dignity associated with being able to earn and have engagement.

A Justice Misunderstands

The Supreme Court heard arguments the other day on an Ohio voter registration law.  That law removes voters from the roll if they haven’t voted over a two-year period and don’t respond to a follow-up notice from Ohio’s Secretary of State.

It’s a partisan case from the Left’s perspective: those opposing the law argue, with some justification, that those who live in urban regions (and who happen to vote Democratic) relocate more frequently than do those who live in the ‘burbs and out in the country (and who happen to vote Republican).  This would seem to put Democrats at a disadvantage in elections since they’re more likely to have not voted over a two-year period and not responded to the follow-up notice.

It’s a Start

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has been instructed by President Donald Trump to adjust its rules to allow the States to adjust their own rules to require work for Medicaid payments.

This is a very good start.  There are two remaining steps, though.  The funds transferred to the States in support of Medicaid need to be converted to block grants with no strings attached.  Each State knows its own medical support needs far better than does the Federal government.

Privacy Innovation

The FBI’s management says it supports strong encryption, but out of the other side of their mouth they claim that the FBI’s

inability to access data [is] “an urgent public safety issue” that requires “significant innovation.”

Here we go again.  Heads up for FBI Director making plain what he’s now only hinting at: he wants a backdoor into our encryption so Government can enter whenever it takes a notion to.

FBI Director Chris Wray is seeking to reboot the privacy-versus-security debate surrounding law enforcement’s inability to access data on electronic devices protected by powerful encryption.

The Price of Labor

…is also a cost to labor.  Minimum wage mandates took effect at the start of the year in 18 States and in 20 cities.  These mandates have drastically raised the cost to labor.

Late Monday, casual dining chain Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB) announced that it would eliminate bus boys at 570 restaurant locations, a move that is expected to save the company an estimated $8 million over the course of the coming year. The company’s chief financial officer said the decision was made in order to “address the labor increases we’ve seen.”

Congressional Districts and Gerrymandering

North Carolina’s Congressional districts are illegally drawn, says a special three-judge court.

A special three-judge court invalidated the North Carolina map after finding Republicans adopted it for the driving purpose of magnifying the party’s political power beyond its share of the electorate.

I’ll leave aside the disparate impact sewage that local districts must reflect the larger State’s electorate “demographics.”  The larger problem is with the underlying premise of gerrymandering: that some groups of Americans need their political power enhanced relative to other groups of Americans because some groups are, in some sense, fewer in numbers than other groups.