Pick One

The PRC’s stock market, such as it is, is continuing to fall, despite the government’s best efforts to intervene. And intervene they must because, as AEI scholar Derek Scissors put it in an interview posted on AEIdeas,

The Chinese government is reacting as if stocks crashing when it doesn’t want them to crash is a personal affront….

Well, alrighty then. And so, of course,

Early Wednesday, the Chinese authorities rushed out another raft of emergency measures to halt what is turning into a crisis of confidence in leaders’ ability to steer the economy.

Another VA Failure

An ex-Army scout and Iraq War veteran tried at two separate Veterans Administration clinics to get treatment for his PTSD. Does he actually have PTSD? I’m spring-loaded to believe so, but I don’t know. And neither does this veteran, unless he’s been previously diagnosed. The problem is that he can’t get that treatment, or even a diagnosis and so effective treatment for what medical problem he might really have.

“The VA isn’t taking new patients.” He got that at both of the Georgia clinics he tried. If you follow the link to the video he recorded, the relevant action starts at around 6:45.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s Free Speech

Not directly, because this Oregon law predates Kennedy’s Obergefell ruling, but this is the inevitable outcome of his ruling on free speech.

Aaron and Melissa Klein, bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, lost in an Oregon court and have been ordered to pay $135,000 in “emotional damages” to the couple for whom they refused the baking. Administrative Law Judge Alan McCullough, who found for the victimhood couple, ordered the fine, but nothing further.

People’s Republic of China’s Stock Market Drop

The PRC’s Shanghai Composite Index, which is an index of the stocks that trade on that country’s major stock exchange, the Shanghai Stock Exchange, has fallen by some 28% in the last week. This is the second time since 2007 that this index has fallen this far (in 2007 it dropped by roughly 2/3 over the course of 13 months beginning in October 2007). In response, the PRC has decided to close the market to IPOs until the central planners in Beijing decide conditions are suitable for IPOs.

This central planning foolishness got me wondering. How big a deal is the Shanghai Stock Exchange for the PRC’s economy?

Europe and Greece

Peter Müller and René Pfister have a piece up in Spiegel Online International concerning German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s handling of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and of the Greek financial crisis. Müller and Pfister’s central thesis is that Merkel has mishandled the situation, and rather apocryphally, they suggest that any resulting failure of the euro will be the fault of Merkel’s policy regarding Greece.

Müller and Pfister are operating from the false premise that, beyond Merkel’s supposed mishandling of Greece and of Greece itself, the euro is fundamentally sound.

Obamacare….

…again. The claimed purpose of Obamacare is to get every American covered by a health plan.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, with its mandate that all Americans purchase insurance and requirement for businesses to offer employees insurance plans, many small companies provided coverage by directly reimbursing medical costs or for the cost of private insurance plans. Businesses do it because that’s a less complicated process than dealing with an official health insurance plan….

An IRS Rule (remember these guys and their rules?) that took effect on 1 Jul punishes those businesses for helping their employees.

US Access to Space

Last weekend, a SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the Space Station exploded while staging after launch. This follows an Orbital Sciences resupply rocket explosion last fall and a Russian resupply rocket failure last spring.

USAF General (Ret) William Shelton, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, is lamenting legislation barring the use of Russian rocket engines in our launchers, and his concern is sparked by those failures.

Rents and Rental Ownership

New York City is going to do it, again.

Mayor Bill de Blasio appears poised to deliver on a campaign promise to freeze rents for more than one million tenants protected by New York City’s rent-stabilization laws.

Both landlord and tenants leaders said they expect the Rent Guidelines Board to approve the freeze, affecting one-year apartment leases beginning on or after Oct 1, on Monday….

Never mind that

…an annual report showed that landlord operating costs only rose 0.5% due to falling fuel prices. Excluding volatile fuel costs, overall costs rose 3.6%.

The Supreme Court Erred Again

Heads up: long post. I have some thoughts on the Roberts Court’s ruling concerning the IRS’ tax credits.

Chief Justice John Roberts again rewrote the Patient Protection Affordable and Care Act to suit what he thought it should say rather than staying within the bounds of what it actually says. In these comments I’ll leave aside Roberts’ guiding principles that health plans that are independent of the risk being transferred are, somehow, insurance plans; that possession of a health plan is a universal so good it must be mandated; and that the folks who need a health plan the least—the healthy—must also be required to possess such a plan. Those matters have been well addressed elsewhere. I’ll confine my remarks to his position on the IRS’ tax credits.

The SEC and Judges

The SEC doesn’t like it when the ones it charges with miscreancy object to the cases being heard solely by SEC administrative judges. One statement in particular in the WSJ article at the link, though, jumped out at me.

The SEC accused several defendants of “judge shopping” by trying to get a case heard in a particular court and in another instance asked one of its own judges to submit a formal statement about whether he has ever felt pressure to favor the agency.