Why Would Anyone Want To Do Business with the Illinois Government?

A bit less polemic (but only a bit); however, the Illinois government is being openly dishonest in its business dealings.

The Land of Lincoln has accrued a $111 billion unfunded liability for government workers’ pensions—up 75% from five years ago. There is an additional $56 billion of unfunded debt to cover health benefits for the state’s retirees. Illinois today is already spending more of its general fund on pensions than on K-12 education. One in four tax dollars pays for its retired workers’ benefits. Last year the state had to defer paying $7 billion owed to contractors. All this after Democrats in 2011 raised income taxes and corporate taxes by 67% and 30%, respectively.

“Green” Energy, Competition, and Consumers

Technologies that can’t compete in the market place aren’t ready for market, nor are they ready for our consumption. Subsidizing these not-ready techs is one way of plusing them up. Another way is to penalize their competition for being too successful.

The New York Times tells this tale, albeit carefully buried in the nether regions of Katharine Seelye’s article. Overarching all of this is this:

New England [Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont] already pays the highest electricity rates of any region in the 48 contiguous states because it has no fossil fuels of its own and has to import all of its oil, gas, and coal.

The PRC’s Territorial Aggrandizement

This is an example of the People’s Republic of China’s practice of Rule by Law, rather than Rule of Law.

Among other moves and countermoves involving the PRC’s attempts to seize and annex the South China Sea, here at the expense of the Republic of the Philippines, the latter haled the former into arbitration under the UN’s Law of the Sea Convention. The proximate case was the PRC’s military aggression against the RP over Scarborough Shoal, a collection of islands and rich fishing waters well within the RP’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Do We Want To Do Business with Racist Europe?

That’s a bit polemic, but this is an important matter.

Leicester City Council in England last month voted to boycott goods made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. All services run by the council will be free of any product or technology made in any of the settlements. The motion “condemns the Government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of Palestine’s East Jerusalem and the West Bank” and resolves “to boycott any produce originating from illegal Israeli settlements.”

And more “Zionistfrei:”

A Thought on Immigration and Human Progress

Over at AEIdeas, James Pethokoukis has an article titled Has human progress stalled? And if so, what can we do about it? In it he talks about the apparent stagnation in human technological progress, and mentions the fact that American “productivity growth averaged nearly 3% during the period 1947-1973,” and we haven’t approached that rate since.

He quoted Aeon:

A Free Market Solution to Immigration?

Guy Sorman wrote about a Gary Becker idea for this in a recent CapX article. According to Sorman, Becker’s idea runs something like this:

The immigrant takes a risk, and often pays intermediaries to have access to the accumulated capital available in the host country. Becker therefore proposed that the right to enter a country, and apply for a work visa for various periods of time, should be priced and sold. This is already the case in most developed countries, but it only concerns wealthy investors. Fixing a price on all work visas would allow poorer people—who may get into debt to invest for their future—to have access to privileges now reserved to the wealthiest. This right to a paying visa would suppress most of, if not all, illegal immigration and make border controls, as well as the war on evaders (who would become rarer) easier.

Good for Amazon

‘Way last July, amazon asked the FAA for expanded outdoor testing permits (Amazon Petition for Exemption – Docket No. FAA-2014-0474) so the company could engage in serious testing of its planned drone-based delivery system. To date, the FAA has chosen not to respond. Amazon has renewed its request and advised the agency that continued unresponsiveness will force amazon to take its development out of the country [emphasis added].

Another Argument for Disbanding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on Monday announced details of a controversial plan to allow some first-time homeowners to obtain a mortgage while putting down just 3% of the price of the home.

We’ve not finished recovering from the Panic of 2008, and these entities want to resume an underlying component of the last housing bubble and burst that contributed so heavily to that.

But wait:

Fannie Mae said the loans that allow for 3% down payments will be held to the same eligibility requirements as other Fannie loans, including underwriting, income documentation and risk management standards.

Massachusetts’ Native American Senator Elizabeth Warren Objects

The Democrat from Massachusetts is saying that

House Republicans were threatening to shut down the government if they didn’t get a chance to repeal part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law.

What Warren objects to is a provision in the proposed House funding bill—which funds the entire government, mind you—that would “undo the Dodd-Frank provision that prohibited bank units within the federal financial safety net from betting on derivatives.” This is critical because only Progressives like Warren know how to run a bank, or any other private enterprise. We’re seeing today how well government-run (VA) hospital businesses are doing, how well government-directed medical practices are working out, how well government-mandated health coverage plan businesses are doing.

Obamacare and Doctoring

If you liked your doctor, you could keep your doctor. Maybe. If you were lucky, and your Obamacare Plan still had him on its cut-rate, cut-service list of acceptable (to the government) doctors.

Or, if you like the hospital that now employs him (which doesn’t guarantee you get to see him; the hospital will make that decision). After all, the government’s Obamacare

architects believe that doctors, to better bear financial risk, need to be part of larger, and presumably better-capitalized institutions.