Jeh Johnson and Terrorism

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said allowing the agency to lose its federal funding after Friday could jeopardize the US efforts to thwart a domestic terror attack by the Islamic State and will result in 30,000 employees being furloughed.

“It[‘s] including people I depend on every day to stay one step ahead of” the Islamic State, he told NBC’s Meet the Press.

Johnson carefully elided the small detail that 200,000 DHS employees—including all of his security forces—would remain on the job. More importantly, he would do well to direct his concern to his fellow Democrats in the Senate. Those worthies are busily filibustering a bill that fully funds Johnson’s DHS.

Another Perspective on Minimum Wage

Mark Perry has one in his Carpe Diem column for AEIdeas.

In a recent post, I posed the question: rather than calling it “an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 (or $15) per hour,” if we instead called it “imposing a $2.85 (or $7.75) per hour tax on employers who employ or hire unskilled workers,” would it make any difference to those who support “an increase in the minimum wage”? Maybe not for some of the strongest advocates of a higher minimum wage, but perhaps it would make a difference for some weaker advocates who were never challenged to think of it that way?

More Excessive Government

US financial regulators are focusing renewed attention on Wall Street pay and are designing rules to curb compensation packages that could encourage excessive risk taking.

Regulators are considering requiring certain employees within Wall Street firms hand back bonuses for egregious blunders or fraud as part of incentive compensation rules the 2010 Dodd-Frank law mandated be written, according to people familiar with the negotiations. Including such a “clawback” provision in the rules would go beyond what regulators first proposed in 2011 but never finalized.

Congress created a bureaucracy, and it expanded it enormously with that Dodd-Frank. Now the bureaucrats have to do something to justify their existence. Regulators gotta regulate. And so we get this.

Return of the Excess Profits Tax

Excess profits taxes are taxes on profits that government decides for itself is too much. They were first tried in the US by individual states during our Civil War. They went national under Progressive governments during WWI and WWII and were not repealed until after WWII. Another Democratic administration revived them for the Korean War, and that one disappeared at the end of 1953—over 60 years ago.

Now another Progressive President, Barack Obama, wants to revive it, and without even war as justification: he just wants the money because he Knows Better the use of that money than do those companies that actually earned it. Under his 2016 Budget Proposal, Obama insists that companies

Middle Class

While we’re on the subject of President Barack Obama’s alleged concern for the middle class of Americans (OK, only Obama makes the allegation with any seriousness, but work with me here), Investor’s Business Daily has another take on the Obama Recovery.

The graph below is a good summary of that take:ObamaEconomicChallenge

The Obama recovery is worse than four years behind Obama’s promised schedule. It hasn’t caught up. It hasn’t caught up with the Reagan Recovery, with his “failed” Reaganomics. It hasn’t even caught up with the average of the recession recoveries we’ve been through since WWII, a period of some 70 years, 3+ generations of Americans.

Here Comes the Extortion

Nice business you got there. Be too bad if it got shut down for some reason.

The United Steelworkers union told its workers at nine US refineries and chemical plants to strike early Sunday morning….

And they’ve gone ahead and walked out, trying to shut down nine refineries from Houston to LA. For demurring on paying the union vig. USW’s threat to the viability of these refineries ultimately could affect

30,000 workers at 230 refineries, oil terminals, pipelines, and petrochemical plants[.]

Unemployment and Unemployment “Benefits”

From the Abstract of the Naitonal Bureau of Economic Research’s just-released paper, The Impact of Unemployment Benefit Extensions on Employment: The 2014 Employment Miracle? by Marcus Hagedorn, Iourii Manovskii, and Kurt Mitman [emphasis added]:

An Implication of the Greek Elections

Greece is nearly bankrupt, it has defaulted on one round of national debt since the global Panic of 2008, it has received two bailouts from the rest of the European Union and from the IMF in partnership with various EU institutions (one of which included that default), and it’s demanding another round of…debt relief…against which the current troika of the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission are refusing to certify that Greece is ready and able to handle another loan. This current crisis reached its fullness last fall, and the then Greek government collapsed, necessitating Sunday’s snap elections.

Even the AP Is Catching On

They fact-checked President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, and they found these things.

OBAMA: At this moment—with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry and booming energy production—we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.

THE FACTS: Job growth has been…fueled in part by lower-paying jobs…which have replaced many higher-paying positions…. Part-time jobs also remain elevated: there are still 1.7 million fewer workers with full-time jobs than when the recession began in December 2007.

An Intolerance from Anti-Discrimination

Atlanta Fire Department Chief Kelvin Cochran has been fired from the Department altogether by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Cochran’s reprehensible crime? He wrote a book, Who Told You That You Were Naked?, about morality from the Bible’s perspective. He also wrote about his views of homosexuality as informed by the Bible.

Reed suspended Cochran for a month over that book, and then on the day Cochran was to return to duty, Reed fired him. Reed said he did it because

I profoundly disagree with and am deeply disturbed by the sentiments expressed in the paperback regarding the LGBT community. I will not tolerate discrimination of any kind within my administration.