Tax Credits in the Obamacare Replacement Proposal

In the main, I’m opposed to these on a couple of grounds.  One is that it’s just more welfare; we need to find a way to move folks off welfare and into the labor force and jobs rather than keeping them trapped in the welfare cage—like we did when we originally reformed the food stamps program by requiring recipients to get a job or lose the stamps.  That reform not only reduced overall unemployment, it put recipients back into jobs (and off that welfare program).  These weren’t make-work jobs, either; net prosperity for those recipient families increased.  (Then the Obama administration withdrew the work requirement, and we got record numbers of folks back on food stamps).

Misguided

In light of whose DoJ it’s been doing this most recently, it’s easy to say it was nefarious.  But the whole thing could be eliminated with either of a couple of steps and a change in underlying procedure.

What is “it?”  It’s a secret (or merely secretive) slush fund fed by settlement proceeds from DoJ civil suits against large banks.

When big banks are sued by the government for discrimination or mortgage abuse, they can settle the cases by donating to third-party non-victims. The settlements do not specify how these third-party groups could use the windfall.

Of Course They Did

The US, France, and Great Britain presented to the UN Security Council earlier in the week a resolution to apply economic sanctions against all of 11 Syrian military commanders and officials, as well as on 10 government and related entities” for their roles in the Bashar al-Assad government of Syria’s use of chemical weapons against Syrians.  The sanctions also would have barred the sale or supply of helicopters to the regime.

Naturally, Russia and the People’s Republic of China vetoed the sanctions.  Both did it to oppose the US.  Russia did it for the additional reason that it would interfere with getting peace in Syria—by which Russian President Vladimir Putin meant, in issuing his instruction to Russia’s UN Ambassador, peace on Russian terms.

Who Should Control American Foreign Policy?

One answer is indicated by the Trump administration’s de-emphasis of the World Trade Organization as the primary arbiter of our international trade policy.  A draft policy document, if the leak of it is a legitimate one, and if it’s being accurately described in the NLMSM might represent a promising start.

The Trump administration is developing a national trade policy that would seek to diminish the influence of the World Trade Organization in the US and champion American law as a way to take on trading partners it blames for unfair practices, according to a draft document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

A Bank Gets One Right

The city of Seattle, WA, is upset with Wells Fargo because the bank is a lender to the Dakota Access Pipeline project.  They’re so upset, in fact, that they’ve advised Wells that Seattle won’t renew its financial services contract with the bank when it expires at the end of next year.

Phillip Smith, Executive Vice President and Head of Government and Institutional Banking at Wells Fargo, isn’t worried, though.  He responded to the city via letter, saying that

if the city really wants out, the bank will sever its contract with the city immediately, with no penalty, and will help the city find a replacement[.]

Hysteria or Hypocrisy?

You pick ’em.  The latest example of irrationality (which is a superset of both hysteria and hypocrisy) comes via V the K at GayPatriot.

Recall that the Progressive-Democratic Party that runs Philadelphia passed a massive sugar tax to be levied against soft drinks sold in the city.  Recall, too, the high school economics teaching that if you raise the price of something, demand for that something falls off.  Finally, recall that applying a tax to that something is the same as raising its price.

The [soda] tax is huge, amounting to a 45% to 100% increase in the final consumer cost of typically affected beverage products.

Call Them on Their Obstructionism

Heather Higgins, CEO of Independent Women’s Voice, says go big or go home regarding Obamacare.  Republicans in Congress should quit dithering, should not play reconciliation games, and should simply put an Obamacare repeal and replace package up for vote.  This would force the Democrat obstructionists—especially those #NeverTrumpNoHow and #NeverRepublicanNotEver Progressive-Democrats in the Senate on the record as by-name blocking reform of the Obama program that is in its death spiral, the endpoint of which will leave millions of Americans without health coverage and without even coverage providers to which to appeal.  Especially put those 10 Progressive-Democrats pretending to moderacy in order to protect their precarious reelection chances in 2018 on the spot.

Of Course He Does

California has an infrastructure failure problem that involves everything from its roads to its dams and other water control facilities.  Governor Jerry Brown (D) says it will cost $187 billion to fix its infrastructure, and he wants $12 billion per year of Federal funding to help with that.  In actuality, Brown doesn’t want Federal funding, he wants what Federal funding consists of: money taxed by the Federal government from the good citizens of financial straitened New York to help pay for his needs, he wants money taxed by the Federal government from the good citizens of nearly bankrupt Illinois to help pay for his needs, he wants money taxed by the Federal government from the good citizens of fiscally responsible and so flush Texas and Utah to help pay for his needs.

Domestic Protectionism

Illinois State Congressman Michael Zalewski (D), after consulting heavily with General Motors, wants car makers to be able to operate self-driving taxis—which, of course, those same car makers would make.

However.

His bill, introduced February 8, would limit access to the business to companies that make their own vehicles. That means GM would be eligible, but not tech companies like Uber Technologies Inc that are developing their own self-driving cars and don’t make their own vehicles.

Nor would Google be allowed in.  Or Lyft, were they to want to get into the business.  Or an IBM, should it want to build a Watsonmobile.  Or….

Immigration—Whose Rights?

Here’s Mexican Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, on the question of whether NAFTA should be renegotiated:

Logically, there wouldn’t be incentives to continue collaborating on the issues most important to national security in North America, such as the issue of migration[.]

And this:

[T]he Trump administration’s effort to step up deportations have already prompted an aggressive campaign by some Mexican officials, governors and public figures to fight the policy by jamming up US immigration courts.

That particular bit of business has been noted earlier.