Trump, Boudreaux, and Trade

Don Boudreaux, at Cafe Hayek, recently took issue with President-Elect Donald Trump on the question of trade.  While there’s much about which to argue with Trump about his potential trade policies, here I must take issue with Boudreaux.  Boudreaux argued that a Trump remark in a PBS interview about the EU beating [his emphasis] the US in trade demonstrates Trump’s ignorance of trade matters.

I suggest that Boudreaux has demonstrated his lack of understanding of what Trump believes it means to be beaten in trade.  Boudreaux based his argument on a free market environment in which I have bags of peanuts, you have pears, the two of us agree on an exchange, and thus

Government-Mandated Fuel Standards

This post comes from one of The Wall Street Journal‘s earlier debate/point-counterpoint pieces.

Carol Lee Rawn, who runs the Transportation Program at Ceres, made her argument in favor of this Government intervention into the free market (many of you can guess my position on fuel standards set by Government rather than by market).

First, the standards benefit consumers and the economy. The standards set different mileage goals for different sizes of cars and trucks.

A Market Prediction

Because hubris—I has it.

In an article on the future relationship of Central Banks with economies and markets, The Wall Street Journal had this datum tossed in:

…shares in the S&P 500 are currently trading at 17 times the earnings they are expected to generate during the next year, compared with a 10-year average of 14.4[.]

That’s not a very large premium; all this P/E ratio means is that, in the coming year, stock market growth will be slower than in the last couple of years (recall that I’ve written, too, about the disconnect between the stock market and the underlying economy in the last few years).  Prices will slow their rise as earnings catch up; prices won’t fall back toward earnings.

Obamacare Subsidies

In a case involving Federal government payments to Obamacare insurers to “reimburse” them for health coverage plan discounts the government requires those insurers to provide low-income plan buyers, a Federal district court judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (which gives the judge’s ruling nationwide jurisdiction) ruled those payments to be unconstitutional—the payments had been being made even though no funds had been appropriated for the purpose by Congress.

A Redistribution

Erik Cafarella had a Letter to the Editor in Friday’s The Wall Street Journal in which he took notice of the added costs of ethanol mandates for our gasoline fuels.  The headline of his letter suggested that ethanol should be required to compete in a free market rather than be given a free ride via government mandate.

I offer a redistribution alternative that Progressives and their Democrat cronies should love.

Tax ethanol-laced gasoline, in that competitive market, at a higher rate than unadulterated gasoline.  Then send the extra tax money to the poor, whose food costs are elevated by the Federal mandate to produce ethanol.

Four Pillars of a Health Care System?

The Wall Street Journal posited this in a Wednesday op-ed.

1. Provide a path to catastrophic health insurance for all Americans.

The WSJ then supports this with old saws: being covered generally leads to better medical results, health insurance is good for the wallet, and so on.  Then they want a government solution—while they carefully avoid saying how they would pay for it:

The ObamaCare replacement should make it possible for all people to get health insurance that provides coverage for basic prevention, like vaccines, and expensive medical care that exceeds, perhaps, $5,000 for individuals.

Foreign Investment Risk

The People’s Republic of China seems about to illustrate one form of this risk.

The State Council, China’s cabinet, will soon announce new measures that subject many overseas deals to reviews of “strict control,” according to people with direct knowledge of the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Targeted for particular scrutiny by the pending measure are “extra-large” foreign acquisitions valued at $10 billion or more per deal, property investments by state-owned firms above $1 billion, and investments of $1 billion or more by any Chinese company in an overseas entity unrelated to the investor’s core business.

Times to Invest in the Market

My personal stock market investing mantra has always gone like this: “The best time to invest was yesterday; the second best time is today; the worst time is tomorrow.”  I decided to take check that and see how accurate it might be, so I built a simple Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet to take a back of the envelope look.

Obamacare’s Cost Increases

As even President Barack Obama (D) has finally confessed, Obamacare plan premiums and deductibles are skyrocketing.  But the Democrats and their Progressive fellows are cynically obfuscating the matter.  Here’s a typical remark, by HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Kevin Griffis:

Headline rates are generally rising faster than in previous years…headline rates are not what they [recipients of Obamacare subsidies] pay.

Indeed not.  Those rates are what you and I and our fellow taxpayers who don’t get subsidies pay, and they’re rates for which we pay a second time in the form of the subsidies Obamacare passes on to potsful of Obamacare plan purchasers.  We pay for those subsidies with our tax payments.

Be Quiet

Your Betters are working.

Elon Musk, who as CEO of Tesla Motors, which is building self-driving cars, has a personal, vested interest in the matter, says we must stop criticizing self-driving cars—they’re going to save lives.  One day.

In the meantime, we’re to keep our critiques—which would actually make the cars better, safer, and more consumer friendly—to ourselves.  He knows what he’s talking about; we don’t.  And we’ll kill people if we don’t shut up with our comments.

If, in writing some article that’s negative, you effectively dissuade people from using autonomous vehicles, you’re killing people[.]