Government-Mandated Fuel Standards

This post comes from one of The Wall Street Journal‘s earlier debate/point-counterpoint pieces.

Carol Lee Rawn, who runs the Transportation Program at Ceres, made her argument in favor of this Government intervention into the free market (many of you can guess my position on fuel standards set by Government rather than by market).

First, the standards benefit consumers and the economy. The standards set different mileage goals for different sizes of cars and trucks.

A Market Prediction

Because hubris—I has it.

In an article on the future relationship of Central Banks with economies and markets, The Wall Street Journal had this datum tossed in:

…shares in the S&P 500 are currently trading at 17 times the earnings they are expected to generate during the next year, compared with a 10-year average of 14.4[.]

That’s not a very large premium; all this P/E ratio means is that, in the coming year, stock market growth will be slower than in the last couple of years (recall that I’ve written, too, about the disconnect between the stock market and the underlying economy in the last few years).  Prices will slow their rise as earnings catch up; prices won’t fall back toward earnings.

Obamacare Subsidies

In a case involving Federal government payments to Obamacare insurers to “reimburse” them for health coverage plan discounts the government requires those insurers to provide low-income plan buyers, a Federal district court judge in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (which gives the judge’s ruling nationwide jurisdiction) ruled those payments to be unconstitutional—the payments had been being made even though no funds had been appropriated for the purpose by Congress.

A Redistribution

Erik Cafarella had a Letter to the Editor in Friday’s The Wall Street Journal in which he took notice of the added costs of ethanol mandates for our gasoline fuels.  The headline of his letter suggested that ethanol should be required to compete in a free market rather than be given a free ride via government mandate.

I offer a redistribution alternative that Progressives and their Democrat cronies should love.

Tax ethanol-laced gasoline, in that competitive market, at a higher rate than unadulterated gasoline.  Then send the extra tax money to the poor, whose food costs are elevated by the Federal mandate to produce ethanol.

Four Pillars of a Health Care System?

The Wall Street Journal posited this in a Wednesday op-ed.

1. Provide a path to catastrophic health insurance for all Americans.

The WSJ then supports this with old saws: being covered generally leads to better medical results, health insurance is good for the wallet, and so on.  Then they want a government solution—while they carefully avoid saying how they would pay for it:

The ObamaCare replacement should make it possible for all people to get health insurance that provides coverage for basic prevention, like vaccines, and expensive medical care that exceeds, perhaps, $5,000 for individuals.

Times to Invest in the Market

My personal stock market investing mantra has always gone like this: “The best time to invest was yesterday; the second best time is today; the worst time is tomorrow.”  I decided to take check that and see how accurate it might be, so I built a simple Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet to take a back of the envelope look.

Be Quiet

Your Betters are working.

Elon Musk, who as CEO of Tesla Motors, which is building self-driving cars, has a personal, vested interest in the matter, says we must stop criticizing self-driving cars—they’re going to save lives.  One day.

In the meantime, we’re to keep our critiques—which would actually make the cars better, safer, and more consumer friendly—to ourselves.  He knows what he’s talking about; we don’t.  And we’ll kill people if we don’t shut up with our comments.

If, in writing some article that’s negative, you effectively dissuade people from using autonomous vehicles, you’re killing people[.]

Racism of the Left

Again.  Still.

A Black-owned bakery, Fat Cupcake, baked up a batch of cupcakes to honor our President, an American who happens to be black; they titled the cupcakes “Mr President.”  Fat Cupcake described their confection on their menu as an

Oreo (™) Cookie baked inside white cake, cookies n’ cream buttercream.

It didn’t take long for the Left to start manufacturing a racist beef where none exists, thereby displaying their own racism.  Via Yelp, for instance:

Very troubling. They were serving a cupcake called the “Mr President” that had an Oreo cookie inside. When I tried to point out the racism implied, they claimed that “our current president loves Oreos.”

Apparently Bureaucrats Don’t Have Enough Control Already

The European Commission is considering unilaterally expanding the scope of its authorities.

The European Union’s antitrust authority on Friday said it was considering changes to its merger review rules to include a wider swath of technology and pharmaceutical deals that normally wouldn’t fall within its purview but could possibly harm the bloc’s internal market.

…the European Commission said it was fielding opinions from the public on whether the regulator should also probe mergers involving companies with smaller revenues.

Because instructing the big companies on the business decisions the Commission would permit them to take doesn’t have enough juice for them anymore.

Government Needs to just Butt Out

A bipartisan group of senators is pushing to include municipal bonds in bank-safety rules, the latest wrinkle in a continuing fight over how safe—and salable—the debt of states and localities would be in another financial crisis.

The proposed regulation would “allow” banks to include municipal bonds on their balance sheets in the category—mandated by existing rules requiring banks to have sufficient (government’s definition) cash to fund operations for 30 days in the next “financial crisis.”  The proposed regulation also specifies the safety rating for those munis: the banking rules’ “high quality liquid assets” category, albeit at the lowest level of “high quality.”