Tax Reform and Legislation

Business CEOs want tax reform.  They’re right, even though to an extent their wish is self-serving.  Or because of that—Adam Smith’s invisible hand, and all that, where every economic actor seeing to his own self interest aggregates to the benefit of all the actors, including those not party to a particular arrangement among particular actors.

Which brings me to a (not very) tangential point regarding a remark by Business Roundtable President & CEO Joshua Bolten regarding target tax rates:

15% would be terrific….  But it doesn’t have to end up at 15% for Business Roundtable companies to be happy about it.

Tax Incentives and Taxes

New York City is offering almost $10 million in tax breaks to get Aetna Inc to move from Connecticut to Manhattan, and this is in addition to $24 million the state is offering.

It’s a good deal, for Aetna, but it’s not a good deal for the people of New York City, or for the citizens of New York State or for the citizens of the United States.  The reason is hinted at by Anthony Hogrebe, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the New York City Economic Development Corporation:

False Premise

Budget mavens, politicians, and the NLMSM have one regarding our national tax code.  The Senate is considering a budget that sets an outer bound on the size of Federal tax cuts.

A budget with a tax plan that is revenue-neutral would effectively pay for itself, meaning any reduction in tax rates would be offset by reducing breaks or other revenue-raising measures.

No.  “Revenue neutral” must also consider what’s done with the revenue collected.  Revenue neutrality can be achieved, also, with sufficient spending cuts so that revenue collected meets or exceeds spending outflows.

The PRC and Bitcoin

The behavior of the People’s Republic of China regarding bitcoin has purpose far beyond controlling bitcoin.  As background, The Wall Street Journal had this assessment of the PRC’s financial industry:

China has digitized its financial sector faster than any other nation.

The reason for their rapid pace is this according to Li Lihui, a spokesman for the National Internet Finance Association of China, and it has nothing at all to do with a sovereign nation’s legitimate desire to control its own currency and money supply:

A goal of China’s monetary regulation is to ensure that “the source and destination of every piece of money can be tracked[.]”

Huzzah

Regular order—it lives, sort of, at least on spending measures, in the House.

The House on Thursday voted to send 12 appropriations bills to the Senate. The chamber approved four of these 2018 spending measures prior to its August recess, and the remaining eight were debated and passed as part of the broader Thursday vote. They had previously passed out of committee. This is the first time since 2004 that a House Republican majority has passed all of its individual spending bills….

Eat the Easter Bunny

Peter Rabbit, too.  Because that’s better than having actual food in the stores, in the pantry, and on the table, like a free market would produce in abundance.  At least according to Venezuelan strong man Nicolas Maduro, who caused the food shortage.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has introduced a “Rabbit Plan” that encourages people to start eating rabbits rather than keep them as pets in a bid to tackle the country’s food shortages.

Heads up, Bambi.

Nonsense

The National Park Service is handing $100,000 to UC Berkeley in a “research” grant to “to ‘honor the legacy’ of the Marxist revolutionary group the Black Panther Party.”  Worse, it did so without following its usual competitive bidding process for research grant money.

This cooperative research project between the National Park Service (NPS) and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) on the Black Panther Party (BPP) is anchored in historical methods, visual culture, and the preservation of sites and voices.  The project will discover new links between the historical events concerning race that occurred in Richmond during World War II and the subsequent emergence of the BPP in the San Francisco Bay Area two decades later through research, oral history, and interpretation.

Medicare for All

Senator Bernie Sanders (I, VT) is beating that drum, again, and has support from some Progressive-Democratic Party Senators.

The health proposal, dubbed Medicare for all, would offer the same suite of medical benefits required for some insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act and eliminate most out-of-pocket costs. Mr Sanders argues that although taxes would likely rise to support the new system, families would save money by no longer needing to purchase health coverage. The government, he says, could also secure lower prices for medical services.

State’s Obligations

These are the flip side of the 10th Amendment States Rights mantra that State government personnel are starting to tout.  And that makes State governors’ and legislators’ objections to the Trump administration’s moves to clip the intrusive wings regarding investment advice to retail investors and who should be permitted/required to give it a bit ridiculous.

[T]he Obama Labor Department’s fiduciary rule requires brokers to act in the best interests of retirement savers rather than sell products that are merely suitable and potentially more lucrative for the brokers.

Barbara Lee Wants Her Obamaphone

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D, CA) thinks it’s cold blooded to view an economy in terms of dollars and sense.  In particular, she thinks President Donald Trump is “heartless” for taking that perspective on an economic question.

When it comes to federal spending, one thing has become clear over the past month. Republicans and this heartless president, they think about budgets in terms of dollar signs and decimal points, but as I’ve said over and over again, budgets are moral documents. They put on paper the principles and the priorities of the nation[.]