Flip-Flop or Copycat?

Here’s Democratic Party Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on international trade.

As Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton helped negotiate the yet-to-be-ratified Trans-Pacific Partnership and gave some 45 public speeches for TPP [TransPacific Partnership].

Then

…to fend off the Sanders challenge, she renounced the final TPP text in October 2015….

This isn’t new.  When Bill Clinton was pushing NAFTA, so did Hillary Clinton, and she repeated that in her memoir.  Then in her first Presidential campaign, she vowed to “renegotiate” NAFTA.

Do We Really Need Four More Years?

Here’s what nearly eight years of Progressivism, accomplished by President Barack Obama (D) and his Progressive-Democrat acolytes in the Democratic Party, have done.  As The Wall Street Journal put it:

  • largest stimulus spending bill in decades
  • Obamacare
  • nationalized the student-loan industry
  • turned the banks into public utilities answerable first to government

All of these have created the slowest recession recovery since WWII.  The nominally low unemployment rate that has been achieved is measured against the backdrop of the lowest labor participation rate in 40 years—in two generations.  Banks as government-managed public utilities, no longer responsive exclusive to the banks’ owners and creditors—which includes us individual savings and checking account holders?  That’s just another means for government to collect revenue.

Government’s Market Interference

I wrote about this matter just a bit ago.  Now DoJ has gone ahead and filed its lawsuits seeking to block the mergers between Anthem Inc and Cigna Corp and between Aetna Inc and Humana Inc.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s rationale for this is this:

If these mergers were to take place, the competition among these insurers that has pushed them to provide lower premiums, higher quality care and better benefits would be eliminated[.]

And

They would leave much of the multi-trillion dollar health insurance industry in the hands of three mammoth insurance companies, and restricting companies, and restricting competition in key markets[.]

Because More of the Same

…will correct the failures of that same.

[T]he International Monetary Fund on Thursday issued an “urgent” call for the world’s largest economies to roll out more growth-boosting policies.

Those growth-boosting policies already in place these last eight years since the Panic of 2008 have worked so well.  The easy money from the various central banks have done so well to spur growth.  Regulation from the center has done so well to spark national economies.

Yeah, that’s why there’s this “urgent need” for more.

With experts like these, who needs the amateurs of free markets?

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.

At Least He’s Consistent

Recall that President Barack Obama (D) touts his Stimulus Bill, with its explosion in national debt (which is still growing these 7+ years later), as good for our economy.  That it’s an economy still mired, these 7+ years later, in a pseudo-recovery that’s the slowest since WWII and that has a smaller per centage of Americans in the labor force than at any time since the Jimmie Carter (D) years is lost on, or ignored by, him.

EU, Great Britain, and Taxes

Some…suggestions…from continental leaders regarding Great Britain’s departure from the EU and the Exchequer’s suggestions of British corporate tax rate reductions, via The Wall Street Journal:

  • German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble: we can’t have a “race to the bottom, now can we?”

Why not, I ask—what are you so terrified might result from letting those who earned the money keep more of it?

  • Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs: let’s not have any of this “exacerbated(?) fiscal competition between ourselves” nonsense.

The Other Supreme Court That’s in the Election Balance

This one is the National Labor Relations Board, a Democrat/union-dominated entity that is nearly the last word on what employers are allowed and required to do.

It’s the NLRB that threatened Boeing with labor unrest expensive lawsuits for its effrontery in wanting to build an aircraft manufacturing plant in the right-to-work state of South Carolina and forced Boeing to keep primary manufacturing in the union state of Washington.

It’s the NLRB that decided that franchise employees actually are jointly employed by the franchise—a McDonald’s burger joint, for instance—and the franchisor—McDonald’s corporate headquarters, for instance—a complete rewrite of the prior NLRB view of franchise employment.

Labor Costs Up, Prices Up

Starbucks is sharply raising its total compensation for its employees in the Seattle area.  Total compensation from wages and stock options is going up some 5% to 15%.  Carefully buried in the very last paragraph of The Seattle Times piece is this little nugget:

Last July, Starbucks raised its prices 3.5 times as much in Seattle as in the rest of the country.  It raised the price of its typical coffeeshop purchase across the U.S. by 1%, but in Seattle by 3.5%.

Hmm….

Economy and Integrity

The PRC is demonstrating the relationship between integrity and a centrally managed economy.

When China let Dongbei Special Steel Group default on a bond payment this spring, it was supposed to mark a new determination to allow long-coddled state industries to suffer the consequences of their bad decisions.

Three months later, the result has been…nothing. The ailing steel mill has missed five more payments on its $6 billion in debt, but has yet to formally file for the equivalent of bankruptcy protection, close unproductive units, or start a restructuring of its operations.