The Budget Deal

…was just passed in the small hours of Friday morning.  The high points of what it does is provide funding for the Federal government into late March, provide a budget good for two years, raise the debt ceiling a smidge, and increase spending authorization for defense by $165 billion over the next two years and for domestic items by $131 billion over those two years.  It does not include anything regarding immigration, particularly DACA, despite House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D, CA) 8-hour speech Thursday, nor does it include anything regarding welfare reform.

Welfare Reform: MIA

Senate Republicans and Progressive-Democrats agreed in principle to a two-year budget deal that sets outer bounds on spending allocations that are yet to be debated and passed in the two Houses.  The deal increases defense spending by $165 billion over the next two years, and it increases domestic spending by $131 billion over those two years.

But at what price?

One price is the potential for a return to $1 trillion deficits.  To an extent, that’ll be reduced by a growing economy as the tax reform law begins to take effect.

Deep States, Bureaucrats, and Incumbency

Whether the current idea of a Deep State plotting against the current administration is accurate or not, it has been clear for some period of years that bureaucrats who have been in Federal employ for too long become entrenched and begin working at cross purposes with those of their agency bosses.  The latter, being political appointees, are, at least indirectly, selected by the Federal government’s employer, us citizens.

While we can cure the overt incumbency problem of our politicians by electing others in their stead, the incumbency of bureaucrats, none of them elected, is both generally unseen and harder to correct.

The New Tax Law and Bankruptcy

The Wall Street Journal is quick to point out how the tax reform bill passed last December does little to help failing businesses.

The new tax law is a boon to most US businesses, but it will make life harder for one type of company: those that are struggling financially or at risk of filing for bankruptcy.

The new tax law was never intended to help failing businesses, though, it was designed to help the rest of us individuals and our businesses—and to help those who are failing do better next time.

A New Welfare Trap

This one is in the offing at the State level, and comes as a result of the punitive tax for not buying health coverage was repealed last December.

At least nine states are considering their own versions of a requirement that residents must have health insurance….

And

Maryland lawmakers are pursuing a plan to replace the ACA mandate, which requires most people to pay a penalty if they don’t have coverage. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia, are publicly considering similar ideas.

Working for a Living

Indiana has joined Kentucky in getting approval to add a work requirement to its Medicaid program (separately: Federal approval should not be a requirement; the program should be a State-run and -funded program only).

Of course, there are objections.

Democrats and consumer groups are decrying the GOP push, saying it is antithetical to Medicaid’s goal of expanding health care.

Disparate Impact

High-tax States, principally States run by Progressive-Democrat regimes, don’t like the tax reform’s cap on State and local taxes.

The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut said on Friday that they would sue the federal government to overturn the new US tax law, saying the measure unconstitutionally discriminates against Democratic-leaning states.

This is just the raw sewage of disparate impact being spread across a tax bill—never mind that the tax reform is uniformly applied across all States, across all businesses and individual taxpayers.  Never mind, too, that if some taxpayers, if some taxing jurisdictions, are impacted differently than others, it’s solely a result of the conscious individual, business, and State and local government choices.  At least when “disparate impact” is imputed to matters of race, the alleged victims have no choice in their position in the differences alleged.

PRC Economic Opening

Liu He, head of the People’s Republic of China’s Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, says,

We’ll open wider to the world across the board[.]

Liu promised that the PRC would

  • “substantially” open up the services industry, particularly the financial sector
  • let foreign securities firms own majority stakes in their Chinese ventures and…scrap foreign ownership limits on Chinese banks
  • reiterated past promises to relax restrictions on foreign companies in manufacturing, including in railway equipment, and to gradually lower tariffs on imported products such as automobiles

More Jobs

JP Morgan Chase says it’s going to spend its tax cut savings to

develop hundreds of new branches in the US, increase wages and benefits for hourly US employees, make increased small business and mortgage lending commitments, add 4,000 jobs, and increase philanthropic investments.

Nor is this a one-shot affair.  It’s a five year, $20 billion investment.  So much for pocketing the money and cutting out charity work, the loud Leftist refrain during the debates over tax reform.

Taxing and Spending in New York

Bookending (in more than one sense of the term) California’s move to confiscate business’ tax cuts, New York’s Progressive-Democrat governor Andrew Cuomo wants to increase the taxes levied on that State’s citizens by $1 billion.  He’s claiming, in all seriousness,

You can’t possibly get anywhere near where you want to be on education and health care unless you raise revenues.  It’s just too big a deficit, and the choice of cutting education or cutting health care I don’t think is a place anyone wants to go to this year. So you have to raise revenue.