National Security and Economic Relations with the PRC

The Fiscal Times had a thought.

There is an emerging danger that rivalry for strategic influence in the western Pacific will damage trade and investment relations.

As if this is a bad thing.  “rivalry for strategic influence in the Western Pacific” is a euphemism for the PRC’s seizure and occupation of the South China Sea and the islands in it, and the PRC’s terraforming of many of those islands and subsequent construction of military bases on them.

A Good Thing about Price Wars

…on the geopolitical stage.  Dan Strumpf and Jenny Hsu talked about a broader question in their piece in The Wall Street Journal; I want to focus on one aspect of it.

Stiffening competition from countries such as Russia and Iran is threatening Saudi Arabia’s longtime hold over markets including China, Japan, and India.

Ballistic Missile Defense—Who Needs It?

No one, according to George Friedman in Geopolitical Futures.  The US has installed and brought on line a ballistic missile defense system site in Romania, but Friedman evidently misunderstands the purpose and the need.

The system is designed to block one or a few (the precise number is likely unknown) missiles targeted toward a large area.  This would be ineffective against Russia, should it wish to launch a nuclear strike against Europe, because the system would be easily saturated by a relatively small number of missiles….

Wealth Redistribution

Now it’s threatening to spread to our education institutions.

Lawmakers have a new solution for the high cost of college: make the wealthiest universities pay for it.

Of course.  Because competition among colleges to bring down costs, or reducing Federal funding for them under [pick an excuse] programs to reduce the non-student population money available to drive up costs just can’t be done.  Too many special interests would be perturbed by such a thing.

Elite US schools have grown richer since the 2008 financial crisis by investing their endowment money in everything from California vineyards to Chinese startups.  State and federal policy makers now want to tax those profits….

An Arms Race

And we should welcome it.

Russia is creating three new divisions to counter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s planned expansion along its eastern flank, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday, in a move that comes amid rising tensions in the region.

Moscow has threatened it will respond to NATO plans to boost its troops’ presence along its border with Russia.  Western officials said last week the alliance will send four battalions—about 4,000 troops—to Poland and the ex-Soviet Baltic countries.

These three divisions are being created, in part, by adding men and equipment, and they’re being created, in part, by reassigning men and equipment from existing units.  It’s the latter that’s instructive.

Federal Bailout “Prevention”

Asset managers such as Pacific Investment Management Co look set to lose hard-fought protections against the cost of a bank failure, when the Federal Reserve on Tuesday proposes yet another rule aimed at preventing taxpayer bailouts for financial firms.

How disingenuous does this sort of administration get?  No rules are needed to prevent taxpayer bailouts for financial firms, or any other enterprise, government (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, for instance) or private.  There’s no need for preventing what ought not exist in the first place; there’s only need for firing politicians and bureaucrats who keep trying for taxpayer bailouts.

The Left Doesn’t Like Free Speech

Especially when it differs from the Left’s holy writ.

The political left is threatening to boycott companies that contribute to a GOP convention that could nominate Donald Trump.

Color of Change, MoveOn.org, CREDO and UltraViolet, et al., are threatening to job businesses that support this year’s Republican convention, but not this year’s Democratic convention.

Of course, the rank cowardice of today’s business “leaders” contributes to the Left’s assault.

The campaign appears to have already succeeded in getting Coca-Cola to limit its GOP convention support to $75,000 this year, compared to $660,000 in 2012.

And

Schooling

Recently, some $35 million was raised to support private schooling, in particular Success Academy charter schools.  Naturally, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, thinks this is a terrible idea, an assault.

[It’s] part of a coordinated national effort to decimate public schooling.  Wealthy donors and their political allies [are] pushing unaccountable charter growth in urban centers while stripping communities of a voice in their children’s education.

She’s wrong about the effort to decimate, even if what passes for schooling in the teachers unions’ public schools warrants it.

Obamacare Strikes Yet Again

Insurers will seek significant premium hikes under President Barack Obama’s health care law this summer….

For example, in Virginia, a state that reports early, nine insurers returning to the HealthCare.gov marketplace are seeking average premium increases that range from 9.4% to 37.1%.

And

The health law’s nagging problems center on lower-than-hoped-for enrollment, sicker-than-expected customers, and a balky internal stabilization system that didn’t deliver as advertised and was already scheduled to be pared back next year.

Who is truly surprised by this?  Oh, yeah….

Market Choice?

Can’t have that.

The Obama administration is locked and loaded for a fresh push on gun control initiatives—reportedly moving to advocate for so-called “smart gun” technology….

Smart gun technology research may well be a good idea, and having smart guns—weapons that can be fired only by their legitimate owners—certainly seems like a good idea.

Even Government involvement in funding basic research—the secrets of the universe kind of thing—or doing its own basic research might be a good idea.

However, Government involvement in engineering research, which smart gun tech development surely is, and Government involvement in determining, or even merely jawboning, what products it wants in a free market most assuredly are not legitimate.