Currency Valuations and Economic Growth

There’s an interesting piece in The Wall Street Journal that looks at the economic theory that suggests that a nation’s devaluing currency, by making its exports cheaper, would spur domestic production and so economic growth.  As the article says, Great Britain is offering a real-time experiment that tests that theory.

In that experiment, the pound has lost value in the exchange markets to a significant degree, but exports—and the British economy—have not expanded as much as was expected by some under the theory.  This “failure” of the theory is being blamed on globalization.  For example,

A Couple of Disparate Thoughts

Thoughts triggered by a piece by Richard Fernandez on the dislocation of the Left…triggered…by The Brits voting to leave the EU, Donald Trump’s election as President, Emmanuel Macron’s election as French President, the resounding defeat of Theresa May and her Conservative party’s defeat in Britain’s snap elections, and Macron’s La République En Marche! party’s in-progress accession to strong power in the French National Assembly.

One thought is this.  Van Jones, ex ex-President Barack Obama’s advisor, complained about the selfishness of Democrats’ spending in the last Presidential campaign season while speaking to a crowd at the People’s Summit in Chicago’s McCormack Place.

Wages or Benefits

Every month, the Labor Department’s jobs report helps shine a light on the growth of overall wages, which has been slow in recent years. But what gets far less attention are the other components of compensation—health insurance, paid leave, retirement benefits—that in recent years have generally outpaced wage growth, as shown in new Labor Department data released Friday.

And isn’t that a travesty?  Used to be, in the ’50s and early ’60s, these benefits—including the pensions that were those retirement benefits were perks an employer used to induce top performers to work for him and not someone else.  Remember when “full dental” was such a big deal?

General Reform

25% of us don’t see doctors because that costs too much.

32% of older millennials (is there such a thing?  Gad) skip the doctor.  13% of Americans don’t have any health coverage plan at all—paying the penalty is more valuable to them.  Half of us don’t think we’ll have affordable health insurance much less Obamacare’s health coverage welfare.

This, together with today’s other post, just illustrates the fact that no single part of our economy—or of our Federal government—can effectively be treated in isolation: not Obamacare alone, not Federal spending alone (especially not by “cutting” through reducing the rate of growth in spending), not taxing alone, not debt handling alone.

Losing Health Coverage

The CBO and Progressive-Democrats in Congress loudly claim that millions will lose their health coverage plans under Republican plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

What the Progressive-Democrats are carefully ignoring (the CBO not so much; they weren’t tasked with comparing the Republican plans and Obamacare) are the real millions that already are losing or are about to lose their health coverage plans because Obamacare is collapsing now.

The nation’s second largest health insurance company, Anthem, will extract itself from the majority of the ObamaCare market in the state of Ohio by 2018, the company announced Tuesday, raising questions about the future of its exchange participation.

The Rich Are Out Of Money?

They are in Connecticut, anyway, or at least out of trust in the State’s government regarding their money.  Or the State is out of rich.  Aetna, Inc, one of the giants of health and dental coverage that’s headquartered in Connecticut is looking hard at joining the exodus from the State, having grown tired of being the State’s tax piggy bank.

Governor Dannel Malloy (D) says he’ll match other states’ financial incentives—not exceed—if only Aetna will stay, but as The Wall Street Journal put it, “taxpayer money can’t buy fiscal certainty and a less destructive business climate.”

Another Hypocrisy of the Left

Among the tax reforms in the current plan before Congress is the elimination of the state and local tax payments as deductions from individuals’ Federal income tax returns.  Who actually benefits from these deductions, though?  Taxpayers in New York, California, and a couple of others.  States dominated, for the most part, by the Progressive-Democratic Party.  There’s an ox being gored.

Who else benefits from these deductions?

…88% of the benefits in 2014 flowed to taxpayers who earn more than $100,000, while 1% went to those who earn less than $50,000….

Some Thoughts on the Paris Climate Accord

Some information provided by Matthew Dalton in The Wall Street Journal is illuminating, if not in the way he—or the WSJ—might have intended.

The US’s willingness under the Obama administration to propose major emissions reductions and put money on the table helped solidify global consensus behind the deal. It also helped persuade politicians world-wide of the need to seek more ambitious cuts and channel more money into the fight against global warming, officials and experts say.

“About That ‘Gutting the Safety Net'”

That’s the title of a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed.

Critics are accusing President Trump’s 2018 budget of “gutting the safety net” with cuts to food stamps and disability insurance. In reality, the White House is proposing long-needed reforms that would fix a dysfunctional disability system that traps Americans in dependency.

The editor is right as far as he goes, but he doesn’t go far enough.  It isn’t just our social security disability system that is a welfare trap, it’s our entire welfare system.

On Whose Side Are These Guys?

There is a move afoot in Congress to “overhaul” Dodd-Frank, at least to the point of adjusting the threshold size that banks would need to exceed in order to become subject to strict rules on “the capital, mergers, and other business” in which Government will permit these otherwise private enterprises to engage.  Under the present threshold of $50 billion or more in assets, some 37 financial institutions are subject to such Government diktat.

The trick will be reaching a compromise on what should come next.