But That’s The Point

Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General for the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division, on the proposed mergers between Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp and between Aetna Inc and Humana Inc, called them “game-changers” and added that it was necessary for Government to interfere with the mergers

to make sure we aren’t making a mistake in which shareholders benefit and the consumers pay the cost.

It’s certainly true that consumers should be protected from fraudulent behaviors and from price gouging.  However, it is those consumers who, as customers, pay for the goods and services companies provide—which ultimately pays those shareholders, too—else the companies don’t survive, and the consumer/customer has no good or service available to buy.

Leave it to Obama

…and his fellow Progressives, including his proud acolyte, Democratic Party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The Obama administration is working on a series of agreements with foreign governments that would allow them for the first time to serve US technology companies with warrants for email searches and wiretaps—a move that is already stirring debates over privacy, security, crime and terrorism.

And

Under the proposed agreements described by Mr [Brad, Deputy Assistant Attorney General] Wiegmann, foreign investigators would be able to serve a warrant directly on a U.S. firm to see a suspect’s stored emails or intercept their messages in real time….

Tony Blair Misunderstands

Great Britain’s Ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair has sensed danger from the Brits’ vote to leave the European Union.

Blair said in a Friday column in The Daily Telegraph that the future of the United Kingdom is at stake as the country faces negotiations on the terms of leaving the European Union.

Of course there’s danger—there always is when a change as large as this is embarked on.  But Great Britain didn’t get to be as great as it was and still is by being timid.  This move is a great opportunity for the nation, much more so than it is a risk, however real that risk is.

Another Government Overreach?

Before the government can measure the size of the gig economy—or is it the sharing economy? The digital economy?—the sector needs to be defined.

No, it doesn’t.  It doesn’t even need to measure the size of the gig economy; government has shown it’s not going to do anything useful, or freedom-promoting, with that measurement.

And this misconception, by Commerce Department Acting Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Justin Antonipillai:

In order to have good policy making, you have to have good data[.]

Again, no.  Government doesn’t need to make any policy in this area.  Not at all.  Government just needs to butt out, and let American entrepreneurs make their own way.

This is News?

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged Britain and the European Union to manage their divorce responsibly for the sake of global markets and citizens….

Kerry said

The most important thing is that all of us, as leaders, work together to provide as much continuity, as much stability, as much certainty as possible[.]

Empty remarks by the motorboat skipper who sits in the Secretary of State’s chair.  After all, what else would he say—that the EU and Great Britain should go for each other’s throats, and the first slash wins?

Boeing, Iran, and Aircraft Sales

Iran reportedly reached an agreement Sunday to buy 100 planes from Boeing, pending the final authorization from US Treasury officials.

These are passenger aircraft, ostensibly destined for Iranair and other Iranian airline companies.

There are a couple of questions about this deal, though.  One is where will the money (in the neighborhood of $17 billion) come from with which Iran will pay for these aircraft?  Who will lend Iran the money?

Laughingstock

The Pentagon held a video-teleconference with Russian defense officials Saturday, two days after Russia bombed Pentagon and CIA-backed rebels not once, but twice on Thursday near Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan.

And especially [emphasis added]

The second wave of strikes occurred after the US military called Russia on an emergency byline established following Russia’s deployment of dozens of fighter jets and attack helicopters to Syria in late 2015.

This is how seriously Russia takes President Barack Obama’s (d) administration.  This is the contempt Vladimir Putin has for this President and for Democratic Party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her Reset that she wants to extend.  A Reset that is too expensive, indeed.

States Competing for Corporations

Competition is at the heart of America’s economic success, but not every type of contest benefits society.  Consider the growing trend of businesses cajoling states and politicians to compete for who can dole out the most corporate welfare.  It’s especially frustrating because there are already plenty of ways to promote job growth without robbing taxpayers.

And

States could start with eliminating tax carve outs and replacing them with lower-overall tax rates and lighter regulatory burdens.  Federal lawmakers could also do their part by lowering America’s highest-in-the-developed-world corporate tax rate.

And

Embracing these policies would protect taxpayers…multinational firms with multimillion-dollar profit margins.

The Fed’s Rule by Fiat

Federal Reserve officials strongly signaled they will be toughening big-bank capital requirements even further than they have since the 2008 crisis, a move that will further increase pressure on the largest US banks to consider shrinking.

Fed governors Daniel Tarullo and Jerome Powell, in separate public comments Thursday, said the Fed will require eight of the largest US banks to maintain even more capital to pass the central bank’s annual “stress tests.”

Notice that they’re acting by rule and moving sharply away from their knitting, which is to concern themselves with maintaining price stability and full employment.  With this rule, they’re nakedly broadening their interference in the free market place.

Some Climate Thoughts

Here are the comments of a number of those pushing climate change/global warming/global cooling without regard to whether humans play any sort of significant role in…whatever it is.

Stephen Schneider:

On the one hand we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but, which means that we must include all the doubts, caveats, ifs and buts.  On the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings as well.  …  So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.