A Speech

Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Je Biden gave a speech in Philadelphia Saturday at his first official rally.

I have some comments on excerpts from his speech—excerpts because he repeated a few themes time after time after time for 30 minutes.

Instead of debating our opponents, we demonize them.  Instead of questioning judgments, we question their motives.  Instead of listening, we shout.  Instead of looking for solutions, we look to score political points.  …  This politics is pulling us apart, ripping this country apart at the seams.  Our politics today traffic in division, and our President is the Divider in Chief.

Modern Monetary Theory, Taxes, and Inflation

Japan is examining MMT in its debate over its upcoming sales tax increase [emphasis added].

Some members of Parliament, led by ruling conservative-party lawmakers, argue Japan doesn’t need higher taxes because the country’s inflation is less than 1%. The theory suggests tax increases are needed only when inflation is out of control.

Notice that: MMT says increasing taxes is a means of controlling inflation.  The idea is that taking money away from the citizens reduces demand and so inflationary pressure.  There are a couple of problems with this concept.  One is that government revenue gets spent so Keynes’ aggregate demand goes unchanged, except for a bit of Government-as-middle-man friction.

A Textualist Justice Makes Folks Uncomfortable

Apple v Pepper is an antitrust case in which the plaintiffs argue that Apple’s requirement that all iPhone apps must be sold through Apple’s app store is a monopoly that Apple abuses by charging excessive commissions on app sales.

The Wall Street Journal has its editorial knickers in a twist because Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority, rejected Apple’s plaint that the case be dismissed. The result is that the case continues in trial court.  Yet the editors are upset that Kavanaugh’s ruling “gutted four decades of precedent,” as though precedent cannot be erroneous and so must be unchanging for the ages.

A Shift May Be Beginning

As the tariff volleys in the People’s Republic of China’s years-old economic war (of which trade is just one component) against us begin to grow, some potential changes in international trade and production for trade are becoming visible.  If these apparent changes represent the beginning of a solid trend, the changes and the trend will not be to the PRC’s benefit.

It’s true that consumer prices might start to rise in both our nation and in the PRC, but as a population—and as a people—we’re better able to absorb those increases than is the population of the PRC.  Our per capita GDP is $62,500, more than three times the PRC’s $19,520.

Much Ado about Nothing

Oxford Economics is worried about the costs of President Donald Trump’s tariffs as he fights back against the People’s Republic of China’s long economic war (trade, intellectual property theft, technology transfer extortions and thefts, etc) against us.

The move to 25% tariffs on imports from the PRC, coupled with the PRC’s answer of tariffs on its imports from us would cost our economy $29 billion and the global economy some $105 billion by 2020, Oxford Economics claims.  The CBO estimates our GDP to be $22.77 trillion; the projected tariff costs work out to 0.1% of our economy.  Taking the global economy as the OECD’s, the 2017 global GDP was some $49.6 trillion; the projected costs work out to roughly 0.2% of the world’s economy.

Consternation Among Investors

The English Channel island of Guernsey has long been a haven for low tax rates and lower regulation.  Now the island is serving as a bypass of EU regulations mandating transparency in bond transactions.

On Guernsey, those rules don’t apply. A key flashpoint for investors is the use of password-protected websites to restrict access to company financial information. Unlike in the rest of the EU, where companies with publicly listed shares or bonds must make financial reporting readily available to the public, bond issuers in Guernsey can keep such information under virtual lock and key and can restrict who has access.

Medicare for All

Senator and Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I [sic], VT) has the canonical version of Medicare for All; the other Progressive-Democrat candidates have only slightly varied versions of it.  Here’s Sanders on his Next Big Idea for health care provision and health care coverage:

You will have a card which has Medicare on it, you’ll go to any doctor that you want, you’ll go to any hospital that you want.

Right.  Been there, done that.  Both claims were straight up lies then, too.  There is a major difference, though, between Sanders’ two lies and ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) two lies: Sanders would make private insurance illegal—both the selling and the possessing.  That, though, only potentiates the power of Sanders’ lies.

Puzzling Through Tax Breaks

The Progressive-Democrats, and too many Republicans, in Congress are trying to sort out what should be done about expiring tax breaks.

Here are some of the expiring or about to expire tax breaks:

  • incentives for biodiesel production
  • deductibility of private mortgage insurance
  • tax credits for investing in low-income areas
  • employers’ family-leave plans
  • expansion of the earned-income tax credit

The answer is really quite simple and straightforward, if extremely difficult politically: let them all expire. Our Federal tax code should not be used for social engineering; it should be used solely for its constitutionally mandated purpose: to fund our Federal government.

Favorable Jobs Report, Therefor Cut Interest Rates?

That’s the latest push, this time by Vice President Mike Pence.  He’s as wrong, though, as President Donald Trump, for all that he’s more genteel in his push.

There’s no inflation happening here. The economy is roaring. This is exactly the time not only to not raise interest rates, but we ought to consider cutting them[.]

Pence made this remark on the heels of Labor’s employment report announcing strong job growth, rising wages, and 3.6% unemployment.

Socialism and Good Intentions

Carol Roth, in her op-ed for FOXBusiness, said that Socialism begins with good intentions.

No, socialism does not.  Perhaps the first attempts did, but with its unbroken history of wealth concentration, power concentration, and utter failure—even for those in the concentrated top—before us and well known, that much is clear.  On the contrary, those proselytizing for and instigating socialist regimes have as their sole goal the accretion of wealth and power to themselves—and this time it’ll be different, this time they’ll pull it off.

Roth’s piece had a number of internal contradictions that illustrate the origins of socialist regimes, even though she seems to have missed them.