Another Government Overreach

In a recent op-ed piece, The Wall Street Journal correctly decried the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s CARDS program. This program, cynically named “Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System,” is a program that wants to require all of our brokerage houses to report to FINRA massive amounts of data concerning our investment accounts, including what we’re doing in (with?) those accounts.

The op-ed correctly objected to CARDS’ massive collection of data, saying

FINRA says the ocean of data will help it spot a problem almost in real time, far earlier than if it showed up during a regular examination. …

A Precious Union

The Metropolitan Opera singers union resumed contract talks on Monday after a two-month hiatus, but union officials said they had little hope of reaching an agreement before a threatened lockout.

And no wonder, with such an awesome sense of entitlement.

“He doesn’t want to help us maintain our instruments,” said chorus member Jean Braham, commenting on the effect [Met General Manager Peter] Gelb’s proposed high-deductible health plan could have on singers’ voices and bodies.

“We are the artists,” Ms Braham said, her voice cracking. “We are the product. The fact that he accepts no responsibility and no accountability is just incredible to me.”

Another Reason

…to disband the NLRB.

McDonald’s Corp could be treated as a joint employer with its franchisees in labor complaints, according to a National Labor Relations Board legal determination….

The relationship between a franchisee and the parent franchisor varies in the details of the franchise contract. However, the general nature of the reputation is quite limited. The franchisee gets to use the franchisor name and the franchisor’s marketing and accounting assistance, and it gets the franchisor’s market power in holding down the cost of supplies. In return, the franchisee is bound to the franchisor’s rules regarding the use to which the franchise name is put and the nature, quality, and standardization of the product being sold. The franchisee also is required to refrain from activities that would result in denigration of the franchise name.

The Progressive Second Economic Bill of Rights

Here they are, via

1. We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it.

Because We Know Better than you. A free market can’t possibly be as good as government; we citizens acting on our own imperatives in that free market just aren’t smart enough to act without Big Government oversight.

Certainly, a case can be made for tougher enforcement of existing law. However, we have enough such laws and rules; we don’t need more. Indeed, enforcement would get much simpler were the extraneous laws and rules—vis., Dodd-Frank’s rules regarding who is allowed to extend credit, and the requirements that must be met independently of the terms freely agreed by the participants to the contract—rescinded.

Paul Ryan’s Expanding Opportunity in America

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s “Expanding Opportunity in America” proposal can be seen in full here. I’ll only comment on parts of it in this post.

On the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, then, we should reexamine the federal government’s role. For too long, the federal government has tried to supplant, and not to support, the people fighting poverty on the front lines—families, neighborhoods, community groups. In the fight against poverty, the people ultimately are the vanguard, and government is the rearguard. Government protects the supply lines. But it is the people themselves who take to the front lines.

False Tax Premises

Edward Kleinbard, a USC law professor, had some thoughts on tax inversions, the process whereby a domestic company merges into a foreign company and moves its headquarters to that foreign company’s domicile in order to avoid high domestic taxes. The subject has come up in the last few weeks in the context of US companies doing the inversions. Dr Kleinbard, though, is proceeding from some false premises.

He argues, for instance,

Firms that invert argue that the deals are…harmless to US tax-revenue collection, and a necessary response to our anticompetitive world-wide corporate tax system. ["Harmless" is] demonstrably false…..

A Thought from the Border Crisis and Immigration Generally

…it’s not limited to those topics, but it was triggered by a quote by Dr Manny Alvarez in his piece about the bias of the Latino press in its coverage of the current children border crisis. What Alvarez said was this:

The crisis reminds me of that old saying: “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”

Alvarez offered this aphorism in the context of needing to address the root cause of the crisis, not merely treat the symptom that is what the crisis is.

College Isn’t for Everyone, Revisited

I touched on this a while ago. Here’s another look.

Dakota Blazier had made a big decision. Friendly and fresh-faced, from a small town north of Indianapolis, he’d made up his mind: he wasn’t going to college.

“I discovered a long time ago,” he explained, “I’m not book smart. I don’t like sitting still, and I learn better when the problem is practical.” But he didn’t feel this limited his options—to the contrary. And he was executing a plan as purposeful as that of any of his high-school peers.

Define “Fair”

Some think the mortgage interest deduction from our income taxes is unfair. After all, says one such,

I can easily construct a situation in which a taxpayer essentially enjoys no [mortgage related] tax benefits whatsoever. How about the single individual or possibly a married couple without children, who make just enough to make ends meet but still cannot save to buy a house? Or possibly, they prefer renting to the onerous commitment of home ownership. There doesn’t appear to be any tax breaks for them.


US corporate income is taxed at the highest rate in the world. “Inversion” is the process of American companies packing up, usually through merger with foreign entities, and reincorporating (if not physically relocating) in a foreign country in order to avoid US corporate income taxes.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew wants the inversions stopped. Writing to the Senate and House tax-writing committees, he said he said those two bodies “should enact legislation immediately…to shut down this abuse of our tax system.”

His letter went on: