Domestic Protectionism

Illinois State Congressman Michael Zalewski (D), after consulting heavily with General Motors, wants car makers to be able to operate self-driving taxis—which, of course, those same car makers would make.


His bill, introduced February 8, would limit access to the business to companies that make their own vehicles. That means GM would be eligible, but not tech companies like Uber Technologies Inc that are developing their own self-driving cars and don’t make their own vehicles.

Nor would Google be allowed in.  Or Lyft, were they to want to get into the business.  Or an IBM, should it want to build a Watsonmobile.  Or….

Immigration—Whose Rights?

Here’s Mexican Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, on the question of whether NAFTA should be renegotiated:

Logically, there wouldn’t be incentives to continue collaborating on the issues most important to national security in North America, such as the issue of migration[.]

And this:

[T]he Trump administration’s effort to step up deportations have already prompted an aggressive campaign by some Mexican officials, governors and public figures to fight the policy by jamming up US immigration courts.

That particular bit of business has been noted earlier.

A Thought on a Thought on Bank Reserves

Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and active member of the Federal Open Market Committee, had the thought that’s the object of my thought in a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

…increase capital requirements on the biggest banks—those with assets over $250 billion—to at least 23.5%. It would reduce the risk of a taxpayer bailout to less than 10% over the next century.

No.  Have the banks publish their reserve holdings and the total of the loans outstanding in their portfolio together with the per centages of the latter that are current, late, or in default.  Let each bank’s creditors—depositors and other lenders—and investors make their own assessments of the bank’s viability.  Government need not be involved.

A Carbon Tax Proposal

No less a pair of lights than George Shultz and James Baker III have one regarding atmospheric carbon emissions.  They’re prefacing their case on their then-boss, President Ronald Reagan’s successful negotiation of the Montreal Protocol to rein in the failures of atmospheric CFCs that were destroying the ozone layer.  Not that the two have anything to do with each other, but it makes for good obfuscation.

Shultz and Baker have four “pillars” to their proposal:

What Should a Health Plan Cover?

Anna Wilde Mathews wondered about that in her piece in The Wall Street Journal.  First, a couple of asides.  Notice the tacit acknowledgment that we have no health insurance plans available.  That industry was eliminated in toto by Obamacare, which replaced the industry with a Federally mandated, publicly/privately funded health coverage welfare program.  Next, notice the tacit assumption in the piece’s subhead: that the law should mandate business decisions.

To the piece itself:

The 2010 health law created a new set of federal requirements for plans sold to individuals and small businesses, including a list of 10 benefits, among them prescription drugs, mental-health services and laboratory tests. It also mandated that plans cover preventive services such as vaccinations at no cost to enrollees.

Free Markets and Medical Care

Under Obamacare we have no free market in medical insurance or in medical care itself.  In fact, before Obamacare we had no free markets in those two industries, either: individual States controlled the premiums they would permit (within bands, but it was the States’ bands) and the measures required to be covered within each premium band.  Medical care was subject to what doctors and hospitals would be reimbursed by the insurance companies.  And insurance policies could not be sold across State borders, for all that insurers like Blue Cross\Blue Shield could sell substantially similar policies in various States: if someone moved, they could not take their original policy with them—even if they’d gotten it through their employer and in the new State they worked for that same employer—they had to buy the new policy.

Regulators Against Market Competition

Their obstruction sometimes has lethal consequences, and sometimes those consequences kill the least of the least among us: babies.

A little bit ago, in Salem, VA, a 24-weeks pregnant woman was taken to the ER suffering what turned out to be a placental abruption, a condition in which the placenta has detached from the uterus.  It’s often deadly for both the mother and the baby.  This hospital was not equipped to handle this sort of emergency, but six miles away, there was a hospital, Carilion Medical Center, that was so equipped, including an ambulance with incubators that could sustain the necessarily untimely ripped baby during transport to the other hospital.

The New York Times Misunderstands

Again.  This time the paper is hyperventilating over the coming end of the world order as we know it because the UK and the US are reaffirming our special relationship through the mechanism, as the NYT‘s headline has it, of British Alignment With Trump….

Great Britain’s relationship with the US spells doom because, as seen through the lens of the NYT‘s TDS, Great Britain’s dependency on Europe will be upset, and the European Union is key to world stability.  For instance:

“Stock Market Gained $2T in Wealth Since Trump Elected”

That’s the headline on a Fox News insider report of Club For Growth founder Stephen Moore’s claim about one outcome of President Donald Trump’s election.  It’s certainly true that the market has run up hard since the election (although it’s had other periods of sharp gains, too, that are unrelated to elections).  Moore also was quoted as saying,

This could be the start of a big bull market rally[.]

There are a couple of things about this, one bigger than the other.  The lesser thing is that the stock market has been in a bull run for most of the year.

Bigotry from Ignorance

The Owners of Strata Plan LMS 4025* owns a building in City of Vancouver, British Columbia, that houses among other businesses a restaurant that went out of business.  Mengfa International, which owns a small restaurant chain known as Moby Dick’s, wants to open a Moby Dick’s restaurant in that space, but the strata won’t allow it.

It insisted “that the word ‘Dick’ in Moby Dick was an offensive term[.]”

Mengfa demurred (and is suing the strata):

It says that the Moby Dick name and logo are “not offensive to the public, given its literary significance and fame.”