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….

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….

A Thought on Tax Reform

The Wall Street Journal‘s piece by Laurence Kotlikoff, a Boston University economist, on tax reform had this subhead [emphasis added]:

The House proposal beats Trump’s plan, which is more regressive and would induce huge tax avoidance.

There are a number of questions considered in the article, but the prior question, it seems to me is that tax avoidance bit.  The question of tax avoidance is an interesting non sequitur.  Kotlikoff (or the WSJ‘s headline writer), like too many others, is tacitly assuming Government is entitled [sic] to our money; he is giving not the least particle of thought to the need to establish, first, that Government even needs the money before there can be any tax to be avoided.

Expanding their Empire?

The SEC—the Securities and Exchange Commission—doesn’t have enough power; it wants to convince more private companies, over which it has no jurisdiction, to go public so it can regulate them, too?

To spur more companies to go public, the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission has turned to a veteran Silicon Valley lawyer whose career has involved some of the biggest deals in history.

SEC Commissioner Jay Clayton seems to be sincere in this effort, but he won’t be around forever, and his predecessor had different regulatory ideas, and so likely will his successors.

Then there’s this:

The USPS and Price Increases

The United States Postal Service lost more than $560 million in the previous quarter (!), and it wants a pay raise to pay for it, a rise in the price of stamps by a penny.  Now, a penny might not seem like much, especially against the current price for a first class stamp on a 1oz letter, but it is symptomatic of a much larger problem: the USPS, a protected monopoly in the first class mail niche and so lacking actual competition and associated innovative pressures, is a money-losing (to the tune of two and a quarter billion dollars each year) proposition.

Going Soft

Senate pseudo-Republicans are balking at one good item that was contained the House-passed American Health Care Act: repeal of Obamacare’s trillion dollars’ worth of taxes.  These guys actually don’t see the value of that repeal.  Senator Susan Collins (R, ME) is typical:

I don’t see how you can repeal all of the pay-fors…and still meet the goal of providing health-insurance coverage for people who truly need assistance[.]

Aside from the false premise of needing Federal government “pay-fors” as a default position, rather than a last result, the Lady from Maine and her fellows plainly either don’t understand free market principles, or they have no confidence in free markets.

Getting Rid of Federal Government Rules

A couple of random thoughts triggered by a Wall Street Journal article.  The Republican Congress has been using the Congressional Review Act to rescind rules enacted by various Executive Branch agencies.  The Act allows Congress, by simple majority vote (no Senate filibuster) and Presidential signature to rescind rules so long as the rescission is done within 60 days of the rule’s promulgation in the Federal Register or formal reporting to Congress.  There are potsful of rules that haven’t yet passed that threshold, and so Congress can reach back years for rescissions under the Act.

Senate Democrats have insisted the rules have lengthy debate time….