The Russian Attitude Toward Rule of Law

And the value of any contract with Russia.  These are demonstrated by Russian behavior regarding Russian natural gas flowing through Ukraine to western Europe.

Having won an arbitration dispute with Russian-controlled Gazprom over natural gas shipments to Ukraine, Gazprom and the Kremlin decided not to honor the ruling or the commitment:

Russia is tearing up its contracts to supply Ukraine with natural gas, sparking another stand-off between Moscow and Kiev and raising fears of new gas supply shortages across Europe during the winter.

In response,

An Economic Misunderstanding

In the wake of Georgia’s decision to halt special tax treatment for Delta Air Lines, Inc, over the company’s decision to cut ties with the NRA, Fox News economics pundit Neil Cavuto asked whether the State’s action “was an example of government interfering in the free market”.

This misunderstands what’s happening.  The government interference in the free market was the State’s gerrymandering its tax code to give special treatment to a particular company.  Stopping a particular special treatment is a step back from that government’s interference, not an extension of it.

Buybacks and Tax Cuts

Who benefits most and what was the value of the Trump administration’s tax cuts, if all that companies are going to do with their tax cut related income boost is use it to buy back shares?  This seems actually confusing to some folks on the Left.

Here are some of the happy totals.  Share buybacks have run to some $200 billion in the last three months.  Moreover,

Tariffs and National Security

In response to President Donald Trump’s of tariffs to be applied to imports of steel and aluminum at some unspecified in the (presumably relatively near) future and coming from as yet unnamed nations, Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said

I believe there is absolutely no impact on America’s national security from imports of steel and aluminum from Japan, which is an allied nation.

I agree in principle with the generally negative attitude toward tariffs.

However, Seko has misunderstood the national security question. Stipulate that Japan (and the Republic of Korea, another staunch ally and key exporter of steel to us) is a strong and reliable ally.

Big Government and Responsibility

The Progressive-Democratic Party-run States and the Republican-run States are demonstrating what they think of the intelligence and capability of ordinary American citizens.

The roughly half of states controlled by Republicans are therefore moving aggressively to roll back the law widely known as Obamacare, while the smaller number of Democratic states are working to bolster it.

One party does not believe that Americans in a free market, here for health care and for health care coverage plans, are capable of making sound decisions.  They need Big Government to think and act for them.  The other party believes the opposite: the ordinary man is fully capable of thinking for himself and doesn’t need Big Government to tell him what to do.

Agency Fees

These are fees unions in a raft of jurisdictions are allowed to charge non-union members as a condition of those workers’ right to work at all.  Ostensibly, the fees are for the unions’ labor efforts in negotiating wages, benefits, and working conditions for everyone in the workplace.  The Supreme Court is considering a case, Janus v AFSCME, concerning whether such fees are constitutional.

It’s already the case that

Agency fees already are forbidden from paying for advocacy and other political activity.

Statutes, Judges, and DoJ

The Supreme Court last Tuesday heard a case between Microsoft and DoJ concerning whether the emails of an alleged drug dealer must be turned over to the government pursuant to a search warrant to that effect.  The catch is that the emails are stored exclusively on servers in Ireland—nominally beyond the reach of the US’ long arm of the law.

The statute in question is the Stored Communications Act, enacted 30 years ago before email and similar electronic communications were available.


The Treasury Department wants to keep Dodd-Frank’s “orderly liquidation” power, albeit with “tweaks.”  The authority was designed so the Federal government could take those financial institutions the government itself decided were “systemically important” and shut them down if the same government, in sequence with that SI claim, decided the business was not performing up to government-dictated standards.

That’s a lot of “decides” in government hands.  It also deliberately bypasses existing bankruptcy law that has done a fine job with business failures generally and would do a fine job with financial institutions in particular, were government not putting itself in the way.

A Satirical Paean to the CFPB

Todd Zywicki, a professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School, has written one for The Wall Street Journal.

Yet despite its rocky start, the original promise of the CFPB is sound: to protect and empower consumers, promote fair and competitive markets, and stabilize the financial system.

At least, I hope it’s satirical; it’s hard to believe that Zywicki could be this naive.  Some examples:

Working with the private sector and Congress to reverse this growing exclusion of Americans from the financial sector is a moral imperative.

Student Loan Debt

This is appalling, and it says a lot (albeit it’s not the only thing able to be said) about the morals of those we’re “graduating” from college and university these days.

A study released Friday by the Brookings Institution finds that most borrowers who left school owing at least $50,000 in student loans in 2010 had failed to pay down any of their debt four years later.

Scofflaws. They need their wages garnished. If they’re unemployed, they need to be put into work programs–there are always highway rights of way that need cleanup, and ditches that need digging. They also can be put into AmeriCorps VISTA.