Bigotry from Ignorance

The Owners of Strata Plan LMS 4025* owns a building in City of Vancouver, British Columbia, that houses among other businesses a restaurant that went out of business.  Mengfa International, which owns a small restaurant chain known as Moby Dick’s, wants to open a Moby Dick’s restaurant in that space, but the strata won’t allow it.

It insisted “that the word ‘Dick’ in Moby Dick was an offensive term[.]”

Mengfa demurred (and is suing the strata):

It says that the Moby Dick name and logo are “not offensive to the public, given its literary significance and fame.”

Trump, Boudreaux, and Trade

Don Boudreaux, at Cafe Hayek, recently took issue with President-Elect Donald Trump on the question of trade.  While there’s much about which to argue with Trump about his potential trade policies, here I must take issue with Boudreaux.  Boudreaux argued that a Trump remark in a PBS interview about the EU beating [his emphasis] the US in trade demonstrates Trump’s ignorance of trade matters.

I suggest that Boudreaux has demonstrated his lack of understanding of what Trump believes it means to be beaten in trade.  Boudreaux based his argument on a free market environment in which I have bags of peanuts, you have pears, the two of us agree on an exchange, and thus

The Financial Stability Oversight Council

Ryan Tracy, writing in The Wall Street Journal, thought Republicans should love this Council and be at pains to keep it, even as they look to “quickly scal[e] back Obama-era policies.”

I demur.

Tracy suggested

Consider the powers [FSOC] grants the Treasury secretary: As chair of FSOC—whose members include the chairs of the Federal Reserve and Securities and Exchange Commission—[Treasury Secretary nominee Steven] Mr Mnuchin  can convene a meeting of the top financial regulators at any time, and set the agenda.

SecTreas already can do this.  While he can’t compel attendance, the regulators would have hard time declining to attend or explaining to the rest of us their decision to stay away.

“How Barack Obama rescued the US economy”

That’s the headline on a recent Financial Times piece (sorry, the FT has a paywall) by Martin Wolf.  It’s a silly headline, for a silly article.

How should we assess the economic success or failure of Barack Obama’s presidency?

This is a difficult question to answer.

Polemics vs Reasoned Argument

As the Congress considers import taxes as part of its general tax reform agenda, toy sellers are expressing their concern: they import most of what they sell; their products are manufactured overseas.  Import taxes are surely a thing worth discussing and debating thoroughly, whether they’re essentially cost of goods sold neutral, as Doug Holtz-Eakin argues (the dollar will rise from the tax change and economic growth, and so the dollar cost of imports will fall; the cost of goods sold will simply emphasize taxes more and import costs less), or they’re dangerously like protectionist tariffs, as others argue.

Growing Irrelevance of the World Economic Forum

The rising income gap and growing rifts in Western societies that led to the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit vote are the main global risks, according to a report by the World Economic Forum ahead of its annual forum in Davos next week.

Climate change and technological disruption were also listed as important risks in a survey of 750 law makers, business leaders and academics carried out by the WEF….

Oil-and-Gas Industry and Tax Breaks

Here’s another post comes from a Wall Street Journal debate/point-counterpoint piece.  This time, though, I think the question itself is too narrow, limited as it is to oil and gas subsidies.  The imbalance in the WSJ question is illustrated by this claim from President-On-The-Way-Out Barack Obama (D):

Not only has President Barack Obama repeatedly called for a repeal of much of the oil-and-gas industry’s favorable tax treatment, his budget proposal for fiscal 2017 included a new $10-a-barrel fee on oil to help fund low-carbon infrastructure projects.

Government-Mandated Fuel Standards

This post comes from one of The Wall Street Journal‘s earlier debate/point-counterpoint pieces.

Carol Lee Rawn, who runs the Transportation Program at Ceres, made her argument in favor of this Government intervention into the free market (many of you can guess my position on fuel standards set by Government rather than by market).

First, the standards benefit consumers and the economy. The standards set different mileage goals for different sizes of cars and trucks.

Tax Rates

James Pethokoukis had a piece on this at AEIdeas, but I want to focus on just a small part of it.

[W]hat would be the economic case for lower rates for the 0.1%?

Pethoukis doesn’t object to these lower rates; he just has other job-growth priorities.

I have, though, two questions in answer to this question: what would be the economic case for excluding this or that group of Americans from an otherwise general tax policy?  And the obverse: what would be the economic case for forcing inclusion of this or that group of Americans into an otherwise limited tax policy?

Fair Share

Here, via AEIdeas, are some more data on the relative shares of income taxes members of various economic strata pay. 

The 1,400 citizens in the top one-thousandths of one per cent of income tax payers paid 30% more in taxes across the class than did the 70 million citizens in the bottom 50%.  Singling out the top 400 for special consideration, they paid 78% of the total that those in the lower half paid in aggregate.

It works out, too, to $35.6 million per Privileged One compared to $540 per Poor Downtrodden one.