Medicaid Block Grants

The Trump administration is planning to set up procedures for allowing States to convert the Medicaid funding they receive from the Federal government from matching funds to block grants.

The new procedures would represent a large change.

Medicaid funding is open-ended, meaning the federal government matches state spending. If that funding is converted to a block grant, a state could get a limited, lump sum of federal money instead.

There are two key differences here. One is that the funding would go from strings-attached matches to no-strings block grants. The other is that the decision to go to block grants would be each requesting State’s, resulting in less Federal control over that State’s internal affairs.

A Telephone Merger

The Wall Street Journal wrote about roadblocks in the form of nine Progressive-Democrat-run States’ lawsuit against a T-Mobile-Sprint merger.  In commenting on the article, a fellow reader wrote in part,

What about the customers?

His concern was centered on quality of service that would—might—flow from the merged company as well as the number of alternatives from which to purchase cell phone service.

Customers are an important factor, but businesses are obligated to make money for their owners, Progressive-Democrats’ virtue-signaling notwithstanding.

The importance of the customers will be exercised by their staying with the merged company or moving on if the post-merger business isn’t better.

Fiscal Management

In Tuesday’s Progressive-Democratic Party primary debate, Joe Biden made the claim that he couldn’t afford child care in 1972 on his then-income of $42,000/year.

Jan Brewer, ex-governor of Arizona, had a thought on that via Twitter:

“Jan Brewer @GovBrewer · 12h
“Biden just said he couldn’t afford child care in 1972 when he was making $42,000/yr. Today, that’d be $256,000/yr.  Really Joe?  If you can’t run your own household efficiently, I don’t think you can run our country!

“Vote @realDonaldTrump!”

Universal Basic Income

It’s creeping ever more deeply into the Progressive-Democratic Party’s psyche and ideology. It’s an idea that was first dreamed up in the ’70s, and it remains an idea that can only fail were it to be implemented.

Giving everyone a basic income won’t improve anyone’s income; it’ll only incentivize employers to pay a wage diminished by the amount of the guaranteed government payment.  But the failure runs much deeper than that.

Such a scheme is inflationary: the outcome can only be a spike in inflation followed by price stabilization at a higher price level.

Contradictions?

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D, MN) condemns our sanctions against Iran—sanctions against that nation’s government, various members of that government, and against that government’s oil sales and other business’ international activities.

calling them “crippling” and asserting they would “starve the Iranian people.”

Of course, the crippling nature of the sanctions is the point of them: to convince the men of the Iranian government to change their ways, to in President Donald Trump’s words, stop trying to kill Americans, stop trying to kill our friends and allies, and to stop trying to get nuclear weapons. If sanctions were not crippling, they’d have no effect. Omar knows this.

Private Charity

Readers of this blog know that I’ve long championed private charity as better suited to working our social ills than Government welfare—better economically, better for individual liberty, better for personal responsibility/morality.

Karl Zinsmeister, Editor in Chief of Philanthropy Magazine, offered some ways in which this is shown empirically to be true in his Wall Street Journal op-ed, which was adapted from his piece in the magazine’s winter 2020 issue.  One statistic that jumped out at me is this one:

77 million citizens volunteer time and labor [annually]

Population and Income Redistribution

People are moving from politically blue States to politically red ones, and they’re taking their money with them.

Four states have lost population since 2010 including West Virginia (-3.3%), Illinois (-1.2%), Vermont (-0.3%) and Connecticut (-0.2%), but 10 experienced declines last year. New York was the biggest loser as a net 180,000 people left for better climes. Over the last decade New York has lost more of its population to other states (7.2%) than any other save Alaska (8%), followed by Illinois (6.8%), Connecticut (5.6%) and New Jersey (5.5%).

And

European Keynesianism

Europe’s investors are hoping for some Keynesian stimulus—or what passes for Keynesian stimulus—in the coming year to continue 2019 boomlet in stocks.

Getting stocks to propel higher however, may require faster growth. Some see that slug of faster economic activity coming from a possible government ramp up in stimulus spending.
“Whichever way you slice it, there is a much greater burden on governments to do more” said Anik Sen, Global Head of Equities at PineBridge Investments.

It’s a Start

TikTok is a People’s Republic of China company (for all its public moves to resite its headquarters outside the PRC) that’s a popular social-media app that’s used for posting short videos.

However.

TikTok collects information about its users, including data that could be used to track the location and movements of individuals….

As a result, tour military is banning the use of the app on government devices; the Coast Guard and Air Force have joined DoD, the Navy, the Army, and the Marines in the ban.