No Surprise

Howard Kurtz was on the right track when he wrote that Republicans shouldn’t be surprised that President Donald Trump cut a deal with Congress’ Progressive-Democratic Party* leadership regarding our debt ceiling and financial aid for Harvey and Irma victims.

However, Kurtz’ laying the blame on House Speaker Paul Ryan (R, WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) is misplaced, though.  Ryan did get one Obamacare compromise repeal passed in the House.  McConnell did get 49 out of his 52 Senators to vote for that bill.  It’s the rank and file—the party as a whole—who are failing their duty.

Another Bit of Foolishness

And another incentive for businesses to relocate.

San Francisco is looking to tax robots because they are taking rote jobs that humans do.  They’re not the first to consider such a thing, but it’s still foolish.  Never mind, especially with minimum wage laws pricing the unskilled and/or poorly educated out of work, that robots do the jobs more cheaply.  Robots are more reliable, too, as Security guard Eric Leon noted about a security robot:

He doesn’t complain.  He’s quiet.  No lunch break.  He’s starting exactly at 10.

Dithering

A brief word.  There are three speeds that are important in this world: the speed of politics, the speed of business, and the speed of national security.

The speed of politics can be useful when trying to build Congressional and Congress-White House coalitions to enact legislation of a general domestic nature.  Such a speed can be useful, for instance, in developing such coalitions to enact legislation for local and national infrastructure repair and development, or for serious tax reform, or for reducing Federal spending (as opposed to reducing the rate of growth in Federal spending), or for immigration reform.

Prioritize, Guys

President Donald Trump’s national infrastructure plan centers on glorified seed money directed to the localities looking to improve/build out their infrastructure.  The idea is that the locals know their needs best, those needs should be funded primarily locally or from within the nation’s private economic sector, and the building out will aggregate into a vastly improved national infrastructure—real bottom up development, with a little help from the Feds.

To that end, Trump is going to propose $200 billion in Federal spending be committed to a total $1 trillion infrastructure development collection of projects (OK, considerable help).

Republicans and Obamacare

Too many now are begging for surrender on repeal and replace.

[F]ew congressional Republicans have signaled they are ready to let the health-care market deteriorate while their constituents are still battling higher premiums and fewer insurers to choose from on the individual marketplace.

This means those Republicans are signaling that they don’t have the stomach to repeal Obamacare at all, which would be the ultimate deterioration of it.

This is a betrayal of their constituents along two dimensions: the cynical destruction of their promise to repeal and replace, and their decision to continue inflicting Obamacare with its steadily increasing premiums and fewer insurers to choose from on their constituents.

Some Labor Day Questions

First published in 2015, I’ve updated it for today.  In an ideal world, I’ll be able to update it again next year, with a more optimistic tone.

The Wall Street Journal asked some questions on Labor Day 2012, and supplied some answers.  Here are some of those questions and answers, which remain as valid this Labor Day.

Chips and the PRC

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US seems to be preparing to block the purchase of Lattice Semiconductor Corp, a maker of chips for civilian electronics, by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, a company backed and funded by the government of the People’s Republic of China.  This is upsetting the deal’s backers.

Lattice management and other deal backers think we should all be “satisfied with their efforts to address national security concerns,” and they’re preparing to appeal to President Donald Trump to overrule the expected CFIUS decision.  This is nonsense.  Canyon Bridge is an arm of the PRC government; it isn’t possible to address successfully national security concerns when the government of an enemy is involved in buying one of our technology companies.

Financial Crises and Regulation

The increasingly politicized Federal Reserve Bank is getting politicized, and its Chairman, Janet Yellen, and her Vice Chairman, Stanley Fischer, are upset over financial deregulation.

They’re…misguided.  Here’s Yellen’s plea for retaining current, irrelevant and unuseful regulations:

Already, for some, memories of this experience may be fading—memories of just how costly the financial crisis was and of why certain steps were taken in response.

Here’s her deputy’s pretense of superiority:

[O]ne can understand the political dynamics of this thing, but one cannot understand why grown, intelligent people [would] reach the conclusion that [should] get rid of all the things you have put in place in the last 10 years.

Sale of a Stock Exchange

Good idea?

The Chicago Stock Exchange wants to sell itself to Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group, a Chinese conglomerate whose parent is CHX Holdings Inc.  Never mind that this would be a camel’s nose of the People’s Republic of China into our financial system and expose it to PRC hacking, disruption, theft, etc, etc, etc.

Fortunately, a collection of Congressmen persuaded the SEC to indefinitely delay the sale and purchase.  Unfortunately, the deal hasn’t been killed altogether.

Casin…says it is independent of the Chinese government.

Of course it is. In a nation that is increasing its autocratic control over its economy and the businesses in it.  Sure.

Corporate Taxes

The US has one of, if not the, highest tax rate on businesses in the world, at 35%.  As a result, our internationally operating businesses book their profits in their overseas jurisdictions and leave those profits there.  This much is well known.

Republicans want to lower the corporate-tax rate and let companies bring future global profits home without paying US taxes on top of foreign taxes. They are searching for a way to do that without giving companies an incentive to move more operations and profits to countries with far lower taxes.

Or so they say.