The EU has decided to put a lid on the cost of phone calls.
The European Parliament has approved new telecommunications rules that will cap prices of intra-EU phone calls….
And those Parliamentarians are proud of themselves for this. MEP Constanze Krehl, who speaks for the German Social Democratic Party on matters related to telecommunications:
It was high time to cap the sometimes outrageous prices for international calls in the EU[.]
Just like rent controls, though, this will serve only to stifle maintenance and improvement. Quality will lag and eventually go outright downhill as the cost of providing the service eats more and more into the revenue—now maxed out—gained from providing it.
Amazon.com has made its selection (-s, plural as it turns out) for its alternate corporate headquarters: Arlington County, VA’s Crystal City and New York’s Long Island City, with a booby consolation prize—or a scrap bone—tossed to Nashville, TN.
I have a couple of thoughts about this.
San Antonio, in Texas, had misgivings and declined to play Amazon’s game.
“Blindly giving away the farm isn’t our style,” wrote San Antonio officials in an open letter to Mr Bezos.
Others openly groveled and kissed the ground on which Amazon officials walked when those worthies deigned visit.
The ramp-up in political spending across Facebook’s social networks, which also include Instagram, is breathtaking: In 2014, digital ad spending was 1% of all political ad spending. Now it’s 22%, or about $1.9 billion, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Facebook says that politicians have spent nearly $300 million in the US on Facebook ads since May.
Politicians who want to reach the same voters their competitors are reaching on Facebook have little choice but to go there, too.
The Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling favorable to the State’s charter schools last Thursday. The question before the court was whether those charter schools were violating the State’s constitution by receiving funding from the State’s lottery facilities. Writing for the court, Justice Mary Yu wrote in plain words,
Charter schools are not rendered unconstitutional just because they do not operate identically to common school[.]
She expanded on that in addressing the plaintiffs’ argument that the charter schools lacked voter control, holding that, as The Seattle Times paraphrased her,
The Wall Street Journalwrote in its Thursday edition that the US was “refusing” to resume trade negotiations with the PRC until the latter made a formal offer to us. That’s a bit of a misnomer, though, since there’s nothing about which to negotiate until the PRC makes an offer. Absent that, any discussion about trade would be just idle musings over an afternoon tea, a whiling away of some time between more important things.
A couple of other things jumped out at me in that article, too.
Alexander Acosta, Steven Mnuchin, and Alex Azar, respectively Secretaries of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services, are in the process of offering one. They’re putting together a rule that would expand HRAs, Health Reimbursement Arrangements. These are plans that allow employers to reimburse employees for certain qualified health expenses. Their expansion consists of two parts:
permit[ting] employers to offer HRAs to reimburse employees for health insurance purchased in the individual market—allowing employers to provide a contribution as significant as they would have made for the premiums of a traditional employer-sponsored plan.
The Trump administration has proposed a rule that would require companies advertising drugs to provide the list prices of those drugs in their advertising—including their television advertising. Big Pharma is opposed, and wants instead to be left to voluntarily provide pricing information by having links in their advertising that would guide folks to a separate Web site.
I sympathize with Big Pharma on this. Government regulation already is out of hand; the Trump administration is reducing that, and this is an unnecessary addition.
With a Mexico-US trade agreement in nominally in hand (our two nations’ legislatures have ratify it, and our own Progressive-Democrats in the Senate are already saying #NO, #RESIST, and too many Republicans are acquiescing, though), Mexico wants Canada to join the agreement. Mexico’s President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, after speaking with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
There is still time to achieve a trilateral agreement[.]
We hope they reach that understanding so that it will be a trilateral agreement.