“Trump is a symptom, not the cause”

Ex-President Barack Obama (D) said that in his Friday speech at the University of Illinois.  I agree with him, but not for the reason he might think.

President Donald Trump might have triggered our economic recovery with lower taxes and reduced regulation.  He might have begun restoring our nation’s position around the world with his firm rhetoric regarding responsibilities and his refusal to apologize—indeed, his willingness overtly to celebrate—American uniqueness and greatness.

But his election, and his performance in office, are symptoms of the malaise under which our nation labored during eight years of Obama’s economic failures, constant apologies for our nation’s historic successes around the globe, and timidity in enforcing even the most glibly offered red lines.

Nike

Nike makes shoes, among other things.  It also has chosen to use Colin Kaepernick in its new Just Do It campaign.  You recall Kaepernick: ex-49er quarterback who’s the instigator and leader of the NFL players’ campaign of contempt for our national anthem and our flag and of insult for the generations of our veterans who’ve fought, been maimed, and died for our freedom, including these players’ right to be stupid and to engage in contemptible and insulting behavior.

Trust Us

It seems that Alphabet and Mastercard have hooked up: Mastercard seems to have agreed to share its customers’ shopping habits with Alphabet’s Google in return for Google’s separately accumulated data on those same customers.  The subhead on Bloomberg‘s piece is instructive:

Google found the perfect way to link online ads to store purchases: credit card data

The hookup is this:

For the past year, select Google advertisers have had access to a potent new tool to track whether the ads they ran online led to a sale at a physical store in the US. That insight came thanks in part to a stockpile of Mastercard transactions that Google paid for.

Governance by the Left

It’s only light bulbs, so who cares?  The Know Betters of the EU care, and the subhead on the Deutsche Welle article at the link says it all.

The sale of halogen lightbulbs is being banned across the EU, as LEDs are touted as greener alternatives. Advocates insist the move will save consumers money in the long run and lead to lower carbon emissions.

If that were true, then LEDs would have no trouble competing in a free market and supplanting halogens quite rapidly and freely.

However.

On Keeping the Senate Informed

…to the level Senators deem appropriate.  In a Wall Street Journal article about the fate of the newly negotiated trade agreement between the US and Mexico, there was this plaint from one Senator among others:

Lawmakers from both parties have complained that the Trump administration has broken with precedent by not regularly briefing with Capitol Hill and leaving them largely in the dark about crucial details of the negotiations. “Who knows what’s happening,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R, TN), the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, with a shrug.

A Minimum Wage

David Neumark, an Economics Professor at the University of California, Irvine, thinks he has an idea on how to implement “fairly” a minimum wage.  Unfortunately, his idea isn’t even good enough to be bad satire. He wants to

provide a tax credit of 50% of the difference between the prior minimum wage and the new minimum wage for each hour of labor employed. It would phase out at wages above the new minimum wage and, as wage inflation erodes, the value of the new minimum wage.

Irony

Her name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY), a candidate for the House of Representatives.  Recall that Ocasio-Cortez is an ardent supporter of minimum wage laws, and as a start wants the minimum to be $15/hr.  New York City already has mandated that minimum wages in the city rise to $15/hr by the end of this year.

She went by her favorite coffee shop, The Coffee Shop in Union Square (which employs 150 folks), over the weekend to shoot the breeze because, she says, she used to work there. Then she discovered the place is closing this fall…because it can’t afford the rising labor costs on top of high rent and high regulation costs.

Interesting Graph

A recent Wall Street Journal article concerned the duration and potential durability of our current stock market bull run.  The bull has lasted

3,453 days since the S&P 500 hit its low of 666 on March 9, 2009. Since then, the broadest US blue-chip index has more than quadrupled in price terms….

What’s interesting to me, though, is this graph that was presented early in the piece.

Notice the gray line, which represents the Shanghai Composite Index.  The People’s Republic of China’s index representing the PRC’s stock market, such as it is, bottomed out some months earlier than did our market and those of Europe (Stoxx) and Japan (Nikkei)—and since then it has never really recovered, rising only slightly since that bottom.

Free Stuff

In some places, that apparently includes free labor.  At least that’s Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro’s view.  He’s going to

raise wages by nearly 6,000% and…devalue the already-embattled currency by 96%….

Let me get this straight.  The bolívar fuerte (ironic name, that; it translates to “strong bolívar”) already is next door to worthless, Maduro is going to replace it with the sovereign bolivar that’s as much closer to worthless as he can get it (taking five(!) zeros off the face value of each piece of paper, which the sovereign bolivar does—the mechanism of the devaluation), and then he’s going to give workers even more of this useless “wage.”

Corporate Free Rides

Alex Sanchez, Florida Bankers Association President and CEO, is worried about corporate welfare.

The problem with modern American credit unions boils down to a simple question: why should a family of four pay more income taxes than a $90 billion financial institution? That’s the total amount of assets held by Navy Federal Credit Union. Yet it is exempt from federal and state corporate income taxes, as well as sales taxes (and, in my home state of Florida, intangible taxes). This is corporate welfare.