A Warren Buffett Acolyte

Patriotic Millionaires Chair Morris Pearl doesn’t want his taxes cut as part of a reform of our tax code.

Well, those of us who are less wealthy spend their money, they don’t invest it in assets. Investing in assets is not what grows the economy. Spending money is what grows the economy.

This is where he parts company with his sensei, though: he appears not to understand how a free market, capitalist economy works.

From where does Pearl think the things on which people spend money come—the turnip tree? From where does Pearl think folks get the money to spend—the dollar tree?

More Obama Fiat

And the failures just keep coming.

This time, it’s President Barack Obama’s (D) effort to sabotage the oil industry as thoroughly as he’s done the coal industry.  Obama’s latest bit of I Know Better And Congress Be Damned is an Executive Order that is intended to ban

federal offshore drilling and mineral leases on some 3.8 million acres from Virginia to Maine and 115 million acres off the coast of Alaska, including some of the world’s great untapped repositories of hydrocarbons.

And he’s bragging that he thinks the move is permanent.

It’s a laughable as it is delusional.

The EU Strikes Again

In a 130-page decision from August that was made public on Monday, the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, asserted that two Apple units registered in Ireland brought in $130 billion in profit over an 11-year period that should have been taxed at Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate, but instead remained largely untaxed anywhere.

As the WSJ noted, this is an early volley in the struggle by European Union authorities to impose their tax will on scofflaw sovereign nations who are so impertinent as to apply to multinational corporations doing business within them national tax schemes and such emoluments as these nations deem useful rather than acceding to their EU Know Betters.

A Disingenuous EPA

Talk about cost shifting.

The EPA is proposing a rule that will shift the cost of complying with its diktats—Superfund cleanups this time—onto private enterprise.  The rule

would cost the [mining industry] industry $171 million a year and save the EPA $527 million over 34 years

were the rule to be finalized.  Notice that: The EPA would save $527 million dollars over the 34 years–$15.5 million per year—while those $171 million per year inflicted on the industry works out to more than $5.8 billion over the 34 years.  And that’s per the EPA’s own Regulatory Impact Analysis.

A Redistribution

Erik Cafarella had a Letter to the Editor in Friday’s The Wall Street Journal in which he took notice of the added costs of ethanol mandates for our gasoline fuels.  The headline of his letter suggested that ethanol should be required to compete in a free market rather than be given a free ride via government mandate.

I offer a redistribution alternative that Progressives and their Democrat cronies should love.

Tax ethanol-laced gasoline, in that competitive market, at a higher rate than unadulterated gasoline.  Then send the extra tax money to the poor, whose food costs are elevated by the Federal mandate to produce ethanol.

Of Course It Is

Now that the Obama administration’s end is near, and a new guy is being put forward to run Obama’s EPA, that agency is changing its mind about the impact of fracking.

Fracking can affect drinking water supplies in certain circumstances….

The report, written by Environmental Protection Agency scientists, includes findings that are more open-ended than those in a draft version last year, when the agency said fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, isn’t having “widespread, systematic impacts on drinking water.”

A Bad Deal in the Offing

The Wall Street Journal had a piece on a potential deal concerning the FCC.

We hear Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democrat Harry Reid are negotiating for an FCC transition in which Chairman Tom Wheeler would leave in January. GOP leaders would then reconfirm two commissioners: Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, whose five-year term has expired; and Republican Ajit Pai, who is not up until next year and is in the mix to be the next chairman.

The WSJ suitably addressed the foolishness of the overall deal.

An Impact of Artificially Low Interest Rates?

Recall that, since shortly before the Panic of 2008, the Fed has been suppressing interest rates to artificial, and very low, rates.  I’ve written about other impacts of these government-manipulated rates.  The table below could well be an illustration of an unrolling of the failure in the insurance industry first mentioned in the linked-to article.

It seems that two of the smaller insurers in the long-term care sector of the health insurance industry are about to be liquidated, proximately because they badly miscalculated the costs involved in paying out on long-term care policies.  Gary Hughes, American Council of Life Insurers General Counsel, had this on the reasons for the failures:

Some Context For The Latest Headline Unemployment Rate

Here are some graphs, via The Wall Street Journal, that show why that headline rate of 4.6% isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.outdidelaborforce

The WSJ emphasized two points here, aside from the fact that this age group being outside the labor force has nothing to do with retirement or being in school:

First, a small but ever growing minority of 25-54-year-old men are no longer in the labor force. In the 1960s, just 2.7% of men that age were outside the labor force. As of November, it’s 11.5%.

Four Pillars of a Health Care System?

The Wall Street Journal posited this in a Wednesday op-ed.

1. Provide a path to catastrophic health insurance for all Americans.

The WSJ then supports this with old saws: being covered generally leads to better medical results, health insurance is good for the wallet, and so on.  Then they want a government solution—while they carefully avoid saying how they would pay for it:

The ObamaCare replacement should make it possible for all people to get health insurance that provides coverage for basic prevention, like vaccines, and expensive medical care that exceeds, perhaps, $5,000 for individuals.