Kentucky has decided to take advantage of new Federal Medicaid rules and add a work requirement to those receiving Medicaid payments in order for them to be eligible for continued payments.  Recipients in the typical working age range of 19-64 must do 80 hours—two weeks—of what the State terms “community engagement.”  There are, of course, exceptions for those who cannot work.

As Kentucky’s governor Matt Bevin (R) noted in his tweet about his decision to approve the new rule,

There is dignity associated with earning the value of something that you receive. The vast majority of men and women, able-bodied men and women … they want the dignity associated with being able to earn and have engagement.

A Justice Misunderstands

The Supreme Court heard arguments the other day on an Ohio voter registration law.  That law removes voters from the roll if they haven’t voted over a two-year period and don’t respond to a follow-up notice from Ohio’s Secretary of State.

It’s a partisan case from the Left’s perspective: those opposing the law argue, with some justification, that those who live in urban regions (and who happen to vote Democratic) relocate more frequently than do those who live in the ‘burbs and out in the country (and who happen to vote Republican).  This would seem to put Democrats at a disadvantage in elections since they’re more likely to have not voted over a two-year period and not responded to the follow-up notice.

It’s a Start

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has been instructed by President Donald Trump to adjust its rules to allow the States to adjust their own rules to require work for Medicaid payments.

This is a very good start.  There are two remaining steps, though.  The funds transferred to the States in support of Medicaid need to be converted to block grants with no strings attached.  Each State knows its own medical support needs far better than does the Federal government.

Facebook Revamp?

Christopher Mims had a piece on this, that Facebook MFWIC Mark Zuckerberg says he’s interested in doing.  Mims opened his article with an important question:

So here’s the multibillion-dollar question: is Mr Zuckerberg willing to sacrifice revenue for the well-being of Facebook’s two billion-plus users?

Unfortunately, his piece centered on the potentially addictive nature of Facebook (among other virtual, interactive social media).  Important as money is to running a business, and important as addiction is to handle, Mims missed a number of larger questions—which bear on addiction, but not exclusively so.

Trade Reciprocity

When the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US refused to approve a deal between the People’s Republic of China’s Ant Financial Services Group and MoneyGram International Inc, wherein the former would acquire the latter, Anjani Trivedi in a Wall Street Journal article lamented the demise of “deal making” between American companies and PRC companies.

Beijing has softened its attitude somewhat recently, relaxing its foreign-investment policies to lure more capital into specific sectors, including financial services. With the CFIUS decision on Ant and MoneyGram, it’s clear such moves aren’t going to be met with much reciprocity.


A Thought on Student Loans

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is taking steps to redress the Obama administration travesty of a student loan program, but these can only be interim steps and by themselves are entirely insufficient.

Unfortunately, the student loan programs are entirely dysfunctional and want complete revamping. My high-level suggestions:

  1. student loan discharge only via bankruptcy, no special treatment of these loans
  2. let schools and students write their own loan agreements, including interest rates and payback provisions, without Government interference
  3. hold those schools and students to those agreements
  4. if Government guarantees any student loans, do so IAW the following:

Spotify and Crony Capitalism

Spotify AB wants to do an initial stock offering, an IPO, on the New York Stock Exchange, and the company wants to do it without benefit of bank underwriters.  Oddly, the NYSE has to ask the SEC for permission to amend its own rules to allow this.  Even more strange, the SEC is dithering over granting that permission—to allow the private enterprise, the NYSE, to conduct its own business as it sees fit, and more proximately, to allow the private enterprise, Spotify, to conduct its business as it sees fit.  The SEC is claiming, with a straight face, that it has until the middle of February to make up its mind.

Whose Information Is It?

Information belongs to the government of the People’s Republic of China, apparently.  Especially when it’s investment information, information that might facilitate the prosperity of individual citizens and their businesses, information that might lessen their dependence on and control by, that government.

A Chinese quasi-regulator told the country’s top raters of investment funds to stop publicizing the sizes of money-market mutual funds, in what is being seen as another attempt by Beijing to slow the industry’s rapid pace of asset accumulation.

Because an informed investor can make his own decisions instead of the decisions Government wants him to make.

Job Cut Worries

The Left has them in the Department of Education.  It seems that the DoEd is sharply cutting back staff in its Office for Civil Rights.

[C]ritics say the move will blunt the office’s response to issues like sexual assault on college campuses and racial discrimination in public schools.


Some civil rights advocates are…saying the buyouts [to encourage departure] are determined by department chiefs who they say are targeting the civil rights office.

I certainly hope so.

Law enforcement and crime, including sexual assault, are matters for the police and the DoJ.  DoJ also has its own civil rights section. DoEd has—or should have—nothing to say on these matters.

Good for Workers, Good for Business

Recall the National Labor Relations Board’s case of a couple of years ago, Browning-Ferris Industries.

Browning-Ferris concerned a recycling center staffed by contractors. The original [NLRB] ruling found the contractors were jointly employed by a staffing firm and Browning-Ferris.

This ruling, if allowed to stand (the case also is in the Federal court system) would have allowed contractors like those at Browning-Ferris, McDonald’s, and any other franchise-centered corporation not only to form unions at individual franchises (which they’ve always been able to do), but also to form a grand union across the corporation.