A Survey of Southeast Asian Nations

This one was done by ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute a research institute established by the government of Singapore.

Organizers sent the survey late last year to government officials, academics, and other stakeholders from the 10 countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Here are some interesting tidbits from the report. First, the nations’ overall concern about the situation in the South China Sea:

Notice that—even concerns about a US-PRC confrontation are a distant 3rd to concerns about the PRC’s misbehaviors. And of those 12.5% concerned about our own military presence, Singapore (6.3% [of those 12.5%]), Vietnam (4.6%), and the Philippines (4.5%) have little qualms about it. These are the nations most directly threatened by the PRC’s acquisitive adventurism.

The Biden Budget

Carol Platt Liebau, Yankee Institute for Public Policy President, wrote in her Friday Wall Street Journal op-ed about President Joe Biden’s dangerously expensive Wuhan Virus “relief” bill. A truly Pyrrhic relief it would be, too, even were it not occurring on an already dangerously expensive pair of “relief” bills enacted over the prior year.

She had one statement, though, that particularly jumped out at me, perhaps because it centers on a matter I’ve been on about for a bit already.

President Biden wants to send $350 billion in unrestricted cash to state and local governments to fill their budget holes.

A Treasury Climate Czar

That’s what new Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen wants to set up. That’s not necessarily a bad idea.

A climate risk office inside Treasury actually could be useful—were its purpose properly targeted.

The risks that are worth assessing and which realizations worth planning for, though, are political and economic, not climatic.

The political risk is from government overreacting with laws and regulations to the overhyping of climate.

The economic risk is from businesses overreacting in anticipation of such political overreactions.

Somehow, though, I doubt that’s Yellen’s intention for her new office.

Cent Wise and Euro Foolish

Barron’s has an example, centered on Europe’s very own Wuhan Virus situation.

The EU economy shrank last year by 6.3%, according to the latest EU forecast, published on Thursday. That amounts to about €877 billion ($1.1 trillion) of lost gross domestic product last year. Or about €17 billion a week.
Compared with this, the total bill of vaccines procured until now by the EU—based on contracts signed, and vaccine prices confidential in principle but tweeted last December by the Belgian health minister—would amount to €20.5 billion.

The finally agreed vaccine bill amounts to a bare day-and-a-half over a week’s lost GDP—and how many lives.

Another Example

…of the folly of doing business with companies domiciled inside the People’s Republic of China.

The particular company is Ant, a financial institution that PRC regulators lately decided its owner Jack Ma was getting too impudent regarding government actions—was getting too big for his britches—so the regulators blocked Ant from going public unless and until it massively reorganized and at least to significant extent downsized.

Now let’s back up in time a little bit.

Yet More Spending

This time on “child care” checks written by the IRS.

The [House Progressive-Democrats’] 22-page bill proposes that the Internal Revenue Service provide $3,600 to every child under the age 6 and $3,000 per child ages 6-17 to families earning less than $75,000 per year, or couples earning less than $150,000. The payments would be distributed monthly, over the course of a year, beginning this July.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D, MA) compounds the cynicism of this move:

Well, NSS

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka might be getting buyer’s [sic] remorse over the election of now-President Joe Biden (D).

Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, wishes President Biden hadn’t canceled the Keystone XL oil pipeline his first day in office, agreeing the move will cost a thousand union jobs and 10,000 projected construction jobs.

Especially:

If you destroy 100 jobs in Greene County, Pennsylvania, where I grew up, and you create 100 jobs in California, it doesn’t do those 100 families much good. If you’re looking at a pipeline and you’re saying we’re going to put it down, now what are you going to do to create the same good-paying jobs in that area?

“Employment Levels”

Candidates to replace term-limited Bill de Blasio (D) as mayor of New York City are coming out of the woodwork like the city’s rats. The opening sentence of a Wall Street Journal article covering their plans to “job recovery” is riddled with irony.

More than three dozen New York City mayoral candidates are vying for one of the toughest jobs in the country: leading the nation’s largest city back to pre-pandemic employment levels while trying to find the funding to do so.

Opposition

Republicans in the Senate put Progressive-Democrats on the record on a number of amendments to Party’s budget reconciliation move—itself a deliberate act to sideline any dissent—which Republicans offered during a Thursday afternoon through Friday morning vote-a-rama. Party’s budget reconciliation then was voted up strictly along party lines.

Here’s some of what the Senate’s Progressive-Democrats oppose. Notice that every one of these would have enhanced Americans’ national security, economy, and individual liberty had they had the support of even a single Progressive-Democrat.

  • 50-50 on a failed amendment to support the border wall
  • 50-50 on a failed amendment supporting the free exercise of religion

Needed Stimulus

or not. Mostly—nearly entirely—not.

real per capita disposable income in [Wuhan Virus situation-ridden] 2020 grew 5.5%

The Wall Street Journal noted that this is all before the December-passed $900 billion stimulus “took effect.” It’s also after that stimulus—which still hasn’t had much effect since much of that money hasn’t even been sent into the economy by Government.

What happened to the $2.6 trillion Government had already lobbed into the economy?

Preliminary data for 2020 show total savings for 2020 was $1.6 trillion higher than in 2019.  And that was before the $900 billion stimulus.