Arms Control

In the current arms control negotiations, the Trump administration proposed

that a future treaty cover all Russia, Chinese, and US warheads and include more-intrusive verification

Russia, through its Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, rejected the proposal out of hand.

Since Russia has shown itself not serious about arms control, perhaps we should engage in a new bout of arms control via rapid arms development and buildup. That won’t produce prompt results, but it will result in a new and stricter arms control régime just as surely as the Reagan Strategic Defense Initiative build up did with the Soviet Union.

Obama-Biden Economy vs Trump Economy

Here’s the long and the short of it from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances as summarized by The Wall Street Journal. These data are pre-Wuhan Virus-related shutdowns, but there’s no reason to expect different outcomes as we reopen, at least in those non-Progressive-Democrat jurisdictions are actually opening.

“[F]amilies at the top of the income and wealth distributions experienced very little, if any, growth” in net worth between 2016 and 2019 “after experiencing large gains between 2013 and 2016,” while “families near the bottom of the income and wealth distributions generally continued to experience substantial gains.”

Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve Board has resolved to hold interest rates artificially low—as opposed to letting them float with market demand—at least until the economy’s overall inflation rate reaches the Fed’s target rate of 2%.

There are questions concerning whether such a move reduces the Fed’s ability to deal with asset bubbles (whether the Fed should deal with bubbles at all is a separate question) and whether artificially suppressed rates encourage non-market driven levels of risk-taking.

There is, though, a reason why such suppression is simply wrong.

Guaranteed Income “Experiments”

The headline and subhead accurately summarize the article in The Wall Street Journal, which tries to segue into universal basic incomes.

Cities Experiment With Remedy for Poverty: Cash, No Strings Attached
Guaranteed income comes without work requirements; some worry about work disincentive, high cost

This, in the article’s closing paragraph, though, shows the utter irrelevance of such experiments:

[M]ost of the experiments are relatively small, temporary, and reliant on philanthropy.

Alternatives

In an op-ed in Friday’s Wall Street Journal centered on the foolishness of “sustainable” investing, Burton Malkiel had this remark:

The most effective way to reduce an economy’s carbon intensity is to change the economic incentive to pollute.

Not at all. The most effective way to reduce an economy’s carbon intensity—even assuming that’s a useful thing to do—is to provide viable alternatives to carbon intensity. So far, all the Left and their Progressive-Democratic Party is willing to offer is punishment for carbon intensity.

All that does is punish the successful because the less successful don’t or can’t keep up or do better.

Bait and Switch

Recall the trillions of American taxpayer dollars already committed to dealing with the Wuhan Virus situation, including $139 billion sent to State and local governments explicitly for that situation.  It turns out

blue states and Democratic mayors are also using the money for their pet causes.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) is spending millions on free college for more than 600,000 essential workers.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell (D) agreed to spend $629,000 to hire 15 community relations specialists.
Democratic St Paul Mayor Melvin Carter recently announced a guaranteed income program for low-income families using $300,000 in CARES Act money….

The Lady Misunderstands

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY) says it’s total BS that the Progressive-Democrat proposed $1 trillion in Federal Wuhan Virus stimulus monies aimed at State and local governments would benefit public sector unions. Whether public sector unions should or should not benefit is a separate matter.

It’s generous, though, to suggest that such an intelligent woman actually misunderstands.

Adding a trillion dollars—or any other amount of money—to a budget means—work with me, now—that budget has those added dollars to spend. Earmark the trillion for specific purposes, or bar it from being used for public unions. Do that by sending the money as cash and tracking serial numbers. That still lets the recipient government move a different [trillion] of dollars from a different part of its budget to benefit its public unions. That’s the fungibility of money. It can be moved around.

Some Prosperity Data

Courtesy of the Census Bureau, via Just the News and The Wall Street Journal. These data concern the last year.

  • median household income rose to more than $68,700 just over the last year, a 6.8% year-on-year rise
  • black median household income rose to $66,500—up 7.9%
  • Hispanic median household income rose to $56,100—up 7.1%
  • women median income rose to $47,300—up 3%
  • poverty rate fell to 10.5%
  • child poverty rate fell to 14.1%

These are all highs (or lows) over the last several decades, and the sizes of the changes are historically large, also.

Insufficient

Recall that Oracle and ByteDance have a proposal on the table for Oracle to take a minority partnership position in ByteDance’s TikTok.  In response to objections to that, some

Trump administration officials are looking to give American investors a majority share of the company that will take over the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok[.]

Senators Marco Rubio (R, FL), Rick Scott (R, FL), Thom Tillis (R, NC), Roger Wicker (R, MI), Dan Sullivan (R, AK), and John Cornyn (R, TX), object to that, too.

A TikTok Partnership

Oracle Corp has become the frontrunner in the race to do a deal with the People’s Republic of China company ByteDance, which owns TikTok, for an acquisition of that app. That status seems solidified by ByteDance having submitted a proposal to the US government that lays out the terms of a deal in which Oracle would become the junior partner in a TikTok-Oracle(-ByteDance?)…alliance.

Recall that President Donald Trump has required that ByteDance divest itself of TikTok as a condition of TikTok’s being allowed to continue operating in the United States. Trump’s objection to TikTok is centered on the app’s scooping up of a vast range of personal and personally identifying data and the subsequent transmittal of those data to back to ByteDance inside the PRC.