They’ve Been Called Out

The Left is always on about the need to raise taxes, the need for folks (especially the rich, but in general, too) to pay more to government in order to get all the services government is supposed to provide.

Now they’ve been called out and their hypocrisy exposed empirically, at least in one nation that our own Left wants us to emulate.

Hammered by the opposition for slashing taxes and going on a spending spree with the country’s oil money, the center-right government [of Norway] has hit back with a bold proposal: voluntary contributions.

Misguided Reporting

A Dodd-Frank requirement to report the pay ratio between a company’s leadership and its rank and file—specifically, the total earnings of the chief executive compared with those of the median employeeis on the chopping block.

Supporters of the rule, part of the post-financial crisis Dodd-Frank Act, hope disclosure at an individual-company level might focus more attention on inequality and sky-high CEO pay.

This sort of pay ratio metric may well have value to a company’s investors, but it has no value at all to the Federal government beyond a cynical social-justice virtue signal kind of mandate from the Progressive-Democrats.  The requirement needs to be chopped (along with the whole of Dodd-Frank, but that’s a different story).

Food Stamps and Work

Now that the Obama administration’s waiver of work requirements for families without dependent children in order to be eligible to obtain food stamps has been rescinded, the vast numbers of recipients are being greatly reduced.  Alabama, for instance, this year resumed the work or work training requirement in a pilot program involving 13 of its counties and has seen its food stamp enrollment fall by 85%.  Georgia is running a similar program, and it’s seen a 58% drop.

Bank Bailout, Italian Style

Italy has nationalized Monte dei Paschi di Siena, a major bank that otherwise would have gone into bankruptcy. In the process, the bank’s €26.8 billion ($32.5 billion) “nonperforming loans” will be “disposed of,” and the Italian government taxpayers will feed the bank €5.4 billion and get a 70% stake in the failing bank.

Under the bad loan disposal plan, €26.1 billion will be bundled and sold at 21% of gross book value, the vast majority to the government-organized Atlante II fund, while the bank retains 5%.

The New Protectionism?

A deep cultural divide between the US and Europe in their approaches to Silicon Valley has thrust European officials into the role of global tech-industry cops.

Notice that.  The EU is looking to dictate to the world how other nations’ businesses must conduct themselves, whether in Europe or not.  This “thrust” is an economic matter, too, so the question arises concerning just how much culture actually plays—or is it an economic matter.  And since the economics of the thing is aimed at protecting EU companies, the underlying question comes clear: is the EU protecting against unfair practices, or is it just protecting its domestic businesses from competition, a competition EU companies lose because they can’t keep up—especially under the costs inflicted by, for instance, the EU’s own labor laws?

The Health Care Choice

The Wall Street Journal has the right of it, and it’s a stark one for the Republican Party and for us Americans.  The House and the Senate bills for getting rid of Obamacare and replacing it with something better are far from perfect, but they are significant improvements over the Obamacare assault on Americans’ access to health care, and on individual liberty and responsibility.  Further, the House plan has always been billed as the first part of a three-part effort at complete repeal and replacement; it’s never been claimed to be a final answer.  And the Senate bill on offer is not one, either.  Senate Republicans are well aware of this.

Universal Basic Income

Emeritus Professor Richard Wallace, of Wofford College, is enamored of Mark Zuckerberg’s universal basic income proposal.

Here’s the quick and dirty of the thing, beginning with a quote from Wallace’s letter.

The strongest arguments for universal income center on its elimination of work disincentives by the unconditional nature of such grants.

Leave aside the fact that free money is its own disincentive to work. A UBI will only increase demand—all that seemingly added money with which to buy stuff from necessities to goodies—without increasing supply. The resulting price inflation will very quickly reduce the buying power of the UBI to the same level that the current poverty-ridden man possesses. A UBI will not make anyone better off.

Another Refusal to Engage

…rather, another decision by the Progressive-Democrats in Congress to turn their backs and obstruct.  In follow-up to the March meeting between the Congressional Black Caucus and President Donald Trump, Trump invited the CBC to another meeting.  The CBC refused.

CBC Chairman Congressman Cedric Richmond (D, LA) wrote in a letter to Trump that proposals in the president’s budget would “not only devastate the communities that we represent, but also many of the communities that supported your candidacy.”

Medicaid-Receiving Companies Object to the Senate Bill

The Senate is proposing an overhaul of Obamacare and an improvement to the health coverage providing industry, and one of those improvements is a rollback of the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid and an eventual capping of Federal funds transfers to the States’ Medicaid programs.  There are objections to this.

The primary objections are from insurers and hospitals, et al., who get a significant fraction of their income from the guarantees of Medicaid payments; they don’t want to have to compete in the open market.  They prefer the supposed safety of that guaranteed income, paltry though it is, especially compared to the income available from a free market, and they don’t care what that “safety” costs those who must pay for it.

More on Foolish

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said Tuesday that the U.S. central bank can wait until the end of the year before making the decision to raise rates again, while adding it could start reducing the size of its balance sheet before that.

Indeed.  We could wait a decade, too.  Both delays are about equally foolish.

Increasing interest rates on debt, whether market rates of Federal Reserve benchmark rates, are inherently inflationary.  Thus: the Fed needs to set its rates to levels consistent with target inflation, and then sit down, and be quiet.