Systemic Risk Sources

The Wall Street Journal has identified one.

…the US Justice Department is seeking a fine of up to $14 billion for selling mortgage-backed securities between 2005 and 2007. That is well beyond Deutsche Bank’s ability to pay, given its $18 billion market capitalization before the story broke.

A Deutsche Bank bankruptcy from this raid would thoroughly disrupt the EU’s economy.  But never mind that, because Panic of 2008, and somebody’s gotta pay.

No.  This is nothing but another raid on OPM by Obama and his coterie of Progressives, whose motto harks back to an earlier time: “Anything that ain’t nailed down is mine, and anything I can pry loose ain’t nailed down.”

Oil in a Free Market Economy

When oil prices began to plunge two years ago due to a global glut of crude, experts predicted US shale producers would be the losers of the resulting shakeout.

But the American companies that revolutionized the oil and gas business with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling are surviving the carnage largely unbowed.

Though the collapse in prices caused a wave of bankruptcies, total US oil production has only fallen by about 535,000 barrels a day so far this year compared with 2015, when it averaged 9.4 million barrels, according to the latest federal data.


Government Needs to just Butt Out

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing to include municipal bonds in bank-safety rules, the latest wrinkle in a continuing fight over how safe—and salable—the debt of states and localities would be in another financial crisis.

The proposed regulation would “allow” banks to include municipal bonds on their balance sheets in the category—mandated by existing rules requiring banks to have sufficient (government’s definition) cash to fund operations for 30 days in the next “financial crisis.”  The proposed regulation also specifies the safety rating for those munis: the banking rules’ “high quality liquid assets” category, albeit at the lowest level of “high quality.”

Discretionary Spending

Much is made of the limits imposed on the Federal government’s discretionary spending by such “mandatory” spending items as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and interest on the national debt.  Indeed, after mandatory items—these three major items and a few others—discretionary spending amounts to only 33% of total Federal spending as of 2015.

A Thought on JASTA

JASTA is the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, passed overwhelmingly by each house of Congress and just vetoed by President Barack Obama (D).  The bill would allow the survivors of the 9/11 victims to sue in American courts the Saudi Arabian government and members of it over their alleged role in the terrorist attacks and to seek recompense for those participations.

Without commenting on the legitimacy such suits, or on the likelihood that enough Democrats will roll over for their leader to sustain his veto, I have this on an argument against the bill.

Another Thought on Clinton’s Death Tax

This one by Brad Anderson, ex-Best Buy CEO.

This is a devastatingly stupid idea…. I worked for a guy who was a high school graduate, created a company—it didn’t make money for 20-years. And after 20 years it finally starts to build up. He has a dream that he’s trying to build, that includes passing some of it along to his family and if you take that away, why does he pay the price?

And why does that man’s family pay an even bigger price?

It’s Not the Family’s Money

It’s the Government’s.  Never mind that Government didn’t build and earn that wealth, the family did, along with their associates.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would impose a 65% tax on the largest estates and make it harder for wealthy households to pass appreciated assets to their heirs without paying taxes, according to an updated version of her tax plan released Thursday.

This is the Progressive view of property rights and property ownership.

Some Data on the Obama Economic Recovery

And on Democratic Party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s policy impact on that recovery from the Panic of 2008, since Clinton has promised, proudly, to continue and extend President Barack Obama’s (D) economic policies.  These data are via Robert Barro’s (Harvard University economics professor and American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar) piece in The Wall Street Journal.  He and a colleague, Tao Jin, looked at

macroeconomic disasters in 42 countries, featuring 185 contractions in GDP per capita of 10% or more. These contractions are dominated by wartime devastation such as World War I (1914-18) and World War II (1939-45) and financial crises such as the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The Entire Island

Repair crews worked through the night trying to restore electricity to Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million people early Thursday after a fire at a power plant blacked out the entire U.S. territory.

Officials said they hoped to restore service by morning….

It turns out that they didn’t make by the morning, and the outage extended into a second day—lengthened not just by the severity of the problem, not unique in itself to Puerto Rico, but also by Puerto Rico’s lack of money with which to fund repairs or even parts and equipment to replace the damaged/failed parts and equipment.

Obamacare Fail

The headline of this Wall Street Journal piece pretty much says it all: Average Cost of Employer Health Coverage Tops $18,000 for Family in 2016.

The sub-head, with careful reading, adds clarity: Pace of cost increase slowed by accelerating shift into high-deductible plans, new survey shows.

That cost of employer coverage, buy the way, refers to the premiums employees must pay: $18,142 for a 2016 typical employer-offered family plan, and employees have to pay 30% of that, typically, up from 29%.  Like a sergeant I once worked with liked to say, sort of, “Holy cats.”