Republican Gadflies

Karl Rove talked about health care coverage prospects in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, and that triggered a thought in my pea brain.

Senator Tom Cotton (R, AR) has announced that the House plan on offer, a plan designed to be passable through reconciliation, with later phases of repeal and replace for completing the task, is dead on arrival, and the House shoe start over and produce a more comprehensive plan in this first phase.  But Cotton has chosen to not offer a plan of his own, or outline what a plan acceptable to him would look like other than to address taxes and to more fully repeal right damn now Obamacare, or even to offer the tactics he’d use to get the new plan—which could not be done through reconciliation—past a Progressive-Democrat filibuster.

Tax Credits in the Obamacare Replacement Proposal

In the main, I’m opposed to these on a couple of grounds.  One is that it’s just more welfare; we need to find a way to move folks off welfare and into the labor force and jobs rather than keeping them trapped in the welfare cage—like we did when we originally reformed the food stamps program by requiring recipients to get a job or lose the stamps.  That reform not only reduced overall unemployment, it put recipients back into jobs (and off that welfare program).  These weren’t make-work jobs, either; net prosperity for those recipient families increased.  (Then the Obama administration withdrew the work requirement, and we got record numbers of folks back on food stamps).

Hysteria or Hypocrisy?

You pick ’em.  The latest example of irrationality (which is a superset of both hysteria and hypocrisy) comes via V the K at GayPatriot.

Recall that the Progressive-Democratic Party that runs Philadelphia passed a massive sugar tax to be levied against soft drinks sold in the city.  Recall, too, the high school economics teaching that if you raise the price of something, demand for that something falls off.  Finally, recall that applying a tax to that something is the same as raising its price.

The [soda] tax is huge, amounting to a 45% to 100% increase in the final consumer cost of typically affected beverage products.

Call Them on Their Obstructionism

Heather Higgins, CEO of Independent Women’s Voice, says go big or go home regarding Obamacare.  Republicans in Congress should quit dithering, should not play reconciliation games, and should simply put an Obamacare repeal and replace package up for vote.  This would force the Democrat obstructionists—especially those #NeverTrumpNoHow and #NeverRepublicanNotEver Progressive-Democrats in the Senate on the record as by-name blocking reform of the Obama program that is in its death spiral, the endpoint of which will leave millions of Americans without health coverage and without even coverage providers to which to appeal.  Especially put those 10 Progressive-Democrats pretending to moderacy in order to protect their precarious reelection chances in 2018 on the spot.

Domestic Protectionism

Illinois State Congressman Michael Zalewski (D), after consulting heavily with General Motors, wants car makers to be able to operate self-driving taxis—which, of course, those same car makers would make.

However.

His bill, introduced February 8, would limit access to the business to companies that make their own vehicles. That means GM would be eligible, but not tech companies like Uber Technologies Inc that are developing their own self-driving cars and don’t make their own vehicles.

Nor would Google be allowed in.  Or Lyft, were they to want to get into the business.  Or an IBM, should it want to build a Watsonmobile.  Or….

Immigration—Whose Rights?

Here’s Mexican Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, on the question of whether NAFTA should be renegotiated:

Logically, there wouldn’t be incentives to continue collaborating on the issues most important to national security in North America, such as the issue of migration[.]

And this:

[T]he Trump administration’s effort to step up deportations have already prompted an aggressive campaign by some Mexican officials, governors and public figures to fight the policy by jamming up US immigration courts.

That particular bit of business has been noted earlier.

A Thought on a Thought on Bank Reserves

Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and active member of the Federal Open Market Committee, had the thought that’s the object of my thought in a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

…increase capital requirements on the biggest banks—those with assets over $250 billion—to at least 23.5%. It would reduce the risk of a taxpayer bailout to less than 10% over the next century.

No.  Have the banks publish their reserve holdings and the total of the loans outstanding in their portfolio together with the per centages of the latter that are current, late, or in default.  Let each bank’s creditors—depositors and other lenders—and investors make their own assessments of the bank’s viability.  Government need not be involved.

A Carbon Tax Proposal

No less a pair of lights than George Shultz and James Baker III have one regarding atmospheric carbon emissions.  They’re prefacing their case on their then-boss, President Ronald Reagan’s successful negotiation of the Montreal Protocol to rein in the failures of atmospheric CFCs that were destroying the ozone layer.  Not that the two have anything to do with each other, but it makes for good obfuscation.

Shultz and Baker have four “pillars” to their proposal:

What Should a Health Plan Cover?

Anna Wilde Mathews wondered about that in her piece in The Wall Street Journal.  First, a couple of asides.  Notice the tacit acknowledgment that we have no health insurance plans available.  That industry was eliminated in toto by Obamacare, which replaced the industry with a Federally mandated, publicly/privately funded health coverage welfare program.  Next, notice the tacit assumption in the piece’s subhead: that the law should mandate business decisions.

To the piece itself:

The 2010 health law created a new set of federal requirements for plans sold to individuals and small businesses, including a list of 10 benefits, among them prescription drugs, mental-health services and laboratory tests. It also mandated that plans cover preventive services such as vaccinations at no cost to enrollees.

Free Markets and Medical Care

Under Obamacare we have no free market in medical insurance or in medical care itself.  In fact, before Obamacare we had no free markets in those two industries, either: individual States controlled the premiums they would permit (within bands, but it was the States’ bands) and the measures required to be covered within each premium band.  Medical care was subject to what doctors and hospitals would be reimbursed by the insurance companies.  And insurance policies could not be sold across State borders, for all that insurers like Blue Cross\Blue Shield could sell substantially similar policies in various States: if someone moved, they could not take their original policy with them—even if they’d gotten it through their employer and in the new State they worked for that same employer—they had to buy the new policy.