Foreign Business Inside the PRC

The Qualcomm’s acquisition of NXP Semiconductors is supposedly in jeopardy as the People’s Republic of China threatens approval of the acquisition in its prosecution of its long-term trade fight with the US.

But wait—Qualcomm is an American company, and NXP is a Dutch company.  Why does the PRC even have a say in this?

[The PRC] is the last of nine markets where Qualcomm and NXP need approval from competition authorities….

Auditors and Regulators

American regulators regularly inspect American auditors—particularly the Big Four accounting firms, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers—in order to give confidence to investors and the market at large that the auditors are giving accurate and balanced reports on balanced and accurate audits of the companies they audit.

Inspecting the auditors in the People’s Republic of China is a different matter.

Big Four accounting firms use their Chinese and Hong Kong affiliates to do significant work on the yearly audits of dozens of US companies doing business in China, including Walmart, Pfizer, and 3M, according to regulatory disclosures the auditors recently made for the first time.

Musical Desks

The Acting Director of the Veterans Administration is replacing his acting head of Veterans Health Administration with another acting head.  The current acting head needs replacement, not through any malfeasance, but because the incumbent acting head is moving to take another position within the VA.

Bad as the VA is, it isn’t helped by this instability in its management team.  Not a bit.

This continues to illustrate the waste of resources that is the VA.  Get rid of it, and use its current and future budgets for vouchers for our veterans.

Veteranos Administratio delende est.

Free Food Stamps

The House passed a farm welfare bill that includes a requirement for food stamp recipients to work for their welfare payouts last month, and the Senate passed its version—carefully without that requirement for actual work. Or perhaps just timidly passed, since Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts (R, KS) was intimidated by Progressive-Democrat Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D, MI) and couldn’t find the backbone to oppose her.

Now the two bills go to conference for resolution, and the outcome doesn’t look promising for work.

In today’s tight employment environment, that work would be easy to find, too, and in light of that, The Wall Street Journal‘s Editorial Board made the comment

Pick One

Tony James, Blackstone Executive Vice Chairman, thinks his Progressive-Democratic Party needs to become a party of growth and inclusive prosperity.

The problem is that the Party is a Progressive one and becoming a socialist one.  This is not contradictory; the two ideologies are political allies if not siblings, too, and they’re not far apart economically.  The Party’s embrace of the former is demonstrated by Barack Obama’s, Hillary Clinton’s, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D, CA), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D, NY), Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D, MA), Senator Kamala Harris (D, CA), newly ascendant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ (D, NY), and a host of others’ loud and enthusiastic embrace of progressivism.  The Party’s embrace of the latter is demonstrated by the strength of Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I, VT) and Ocasio-Cortez’ socialism within Party circles.

A Related Note

I wrote recently about the Court’s ruling on Janus v AFCME Council 31, which eliminated public service unions’ ability to collect “agency fees” from non union members.

The dissent by Justice Elena Kagan and joined by her three cohorts in the Court’s liberal wing is instructive, and it foreshadows the kind of government we can expect from today’s “liberals,” should they succeed in gaining control of one or both Houses of Congress and then of the White House.

The Supremes Get One Right

Resoundingly so.  Janus v AFCME Council 31 is a case originating in Illinois concerning a public service union’s ability to collect a per centage of ordinary union dues—agency fees—from non-union members who work alongside the union’s bargaining unit in for a government agency.  A 40-year-old Supreme Court precedent, Abood v Detroit Board of Education, upheld this ability.

The Court’s opinion (a 5-4 majority) is summarized in the syllabus:

The State’s extraction of agency fees from nonconsenting public-sector employees violates the First Amendment. Abood erred in concluding otherwise, and stare decisis cannot support it. Abood is therefore overruled.

The Supremes Get Another One Right

Sort of.  Mostly.

A deeply divided Supreme Court upheld President Donald Trump’s latest ban on travel to the US by people from several Muslim-majority countries, in a ruling Tuesday that hands the White House a victory on one of its most central—and controversial—initiatives.

Small point, and it’s on The Wall Street Journal, not the Supreme Court: it’s not a ban on travel, it’s a moratorium.  The moratorium will be lifted on each of those countries when it becomes possible to accurately vet travelers from those countries.  A ban is broad and permanent.

Protecting US Technology

The Trump administration is moving toward a set of rules that would heavily restrict the People’s Republic of China’s ability to acquire American technology-developing companies and American technology.

Of course, there are objections to protecting our stuff.

Industry groups…are mainly concerned that the export controls could negatively affect their businesses by preventing them from using their technological edge.

If such groups were truly serious about this, they’d be truly serious about hardening their member companies’ facilities against hacking.

And

While many object to the investment restrictions, they are seen as having less practical impact because Chinese investment has fallen off so drastically.

Another Obamacare Episode

The Justice Department has declined to defend Obamacare in the suit against it brought by a large number of States in the aftermath of Congress’ repeal of the Individual Mandate penalty tax.  Recall that Chief Justice John Roberts rewrote the law in 2012 to recreate the penalty as a tax in order to preserve the IM as constitutional, and thereby to preserve all of Obamacare as constitutional because of the inseverability of all parts of the law.

With the repeal of the IM’s…tax…that inseverability should doom the rest of Obamacare.

As a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision not to defend the law,