Payback

Recall that when President Donald Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, he allowed Russian photographers to take pictures but not photographers from the American NLMSM.

Now the Washington Post is claiming that President Trump “revealed highly classified information to [the] Russian foreign minister and ambassador” in that Oval Office meeting.

What’s being ignored in the manufactured hysteria over this is that WaPo very carefully used only anonymous sources for their claims: current and former US officials and officials and a US official familiar with the matter and a former senior US official and an official with knowledge of the exchange and a former senior US counterterrorism official and [a] former intelligence official and on and on.

Briefly

President Trump has promised to roll back the regulatory state, but he’ll need the help of a judiciary that has for decades deferred too eagerly to executive agencies.

Indeed.  As the WSJ op-ed at the link says, that’ll require the judiciary to recognize its role in the Federal government and, in particular, its position in the hierarchy.

The proximate matter here is a DC Circuit ruling in US Telecom Association v Federal Communications Commission which used the Chevron Deference doctrine (which holds that the Court should be spring-loaded to uphold an Executive Branch agency rule rather than considering its constitutionality—its legitimacy—de novo on its merits) to find for the FCC.  Judge Brett Kavanaugh dissented, and he based his dissent in large part on decrying that deference doctrine.  The WSJ asked

This is Why

…we can’t have nice schools.

Students at the University of New Hampshire [boycotted] final exams after a student uploaded a picture of another white student in what appears to be a bedtime facial mask, implying it’s “blackface.”

The university caved in to the students’ demands, and postponed the exams.

The right answer would have been to hold the finals as scheduled, let the pupils who skipped them—for whatever reason—receive failing grades on the exams, with attendant consequences for their course grade for the semester and for their graduation.

Senate Democrat Obstructionism, More of

Present Donald Trump, as many of you are aware, has nominated 10 conservative persons to judgeships in a number of Federal districts and Federal appellate courts.  Senate Progressive-Democrats are, of course, objecting.  One of those nominees (David Stras) is a Minnesota judge nominated to the 8th Circuit.  Senator Al Franken (D, MN) is…concerned…because nobody consulted him on the matter, and he’s threatening to block Stras.  There’s no petty, precious arrogance there.  Mm, mm.  Not a bit.

Senator Dick Durbin (D, IL) is more broadly “concerned.”

[A]s long as we have the [blue-slip] authority, we’ll use it if necessary.

A Thought on Tax Reform

The Wall Street Journal‘s piece by Laurence Kotlikoff, a Boston University economist, on tax reform had this subhead [emphasis added]:

The House proposal beats Trump’s plan, which is more regressive and would induce huge tax avoidance.

There are a number of questions considered in the article, but the prior question, it seems to me is that tax avoidance bit.  The question of tax avoidance is an interesting non sequitur.  Kotlikoff (or the WSJ‘s headline writer), like too many others, is tacitly assuming Government is entitled [sic] to our money; he is giving not the least particle of thought to the need to establish, first, that Government even needs the money before there can be any tax to be avoided.

Expanding their Empire?

The SEC—the Securities and Exchange Commission—doesn’t have enough power; it wants to convince more private companies, over which it has no jurisdiction, to go public so it can regulate them, too?

To spur more companies to go public, the new head of the Securities and Exchange Commission has turned to a veteran Silicon Valley lawyer whose career has involved some of the biggest deals in history.

SEC Commissioner Jay Clayton seems to be sincere in this effort, but he won’t be around forever, and his predecessor had different regulatory ideas, and so likely will his successors.

Then there’s this:

The USPS and Price Increases

The United States Postal Service lost more than $560 million in the previous quarter (!), and it wants a pay raise to pay for it, a rise in the price of stamps by a penny.  Now, a penny might not seem like much, especially against the current price for a first class stamp on a 1oz letter, but it is symptomatic of a much larger problem: the USPS, a protected monopoly in the first class mail niche and so lacking actual competition and associated innovative pressures, is a money-losing (to the tune of two and a quarter billion dollars each year) proposition.

Going Soft

Senate pseudo-Republicans are balking at one good item that was contained the House-passed American Health Care Act: repeal of Obamacare’s trillion dollars’ worth of taxes.  These guys actually don’t see the value of that repeal.  Senator Susan Collins (R, ME) is typical:

I don’t see how you can repeal all of the pay-fors…and still meet the goal of providing health-insurance coverage for people who truly need assistance[.]

Aside from the false premise of needing Federal government “pay-fors” as a default position, rather than a last result, the Lady from Maine and her fellows plainly either don’t understand free market principles, or they have no confidence in free markets.

Getting Rid of Federal Government Rules

A couple of random thoughts triggered by a Wall Street Journal article.  The Republican Congress has been using the Congressional Review Act to rescind rules enacted by various Executive Branch agencies.  The Act allows Congress, by simple majority vote (no Senate filibuster) and Presidential signature to rescind rules so long as the rescission is done within 60 days of the rule’s promulgation in the Federal Register or formal reporting to Congress.  There are potsful of rules that haven’t yet passed that threshold, and so Congress can reach back years for rescissions under the Act.

Senate Democrats have insisted the rules have lengthy debate time….

Confusion

The latest whiner pundit to weigh in on President Donald’s tax reform principles, laid out in a concise one-pager.  And yet these pundits pretend to confusion over it.

President Donald Trump’s plan is silent so far on crucial details Americans need to calculate their tax bills, including the personal exemption and the size of the tax brackets.

And

The president’s latest plan for middle-income households…has left tax experts puzzled. That is because his one-page tax outline released in April is silent on essential details, including how the tax code will treat the personal exemption that reduces taxable income depending on family size. It sets tax brackets of 10%, 25%, and 35% without establishing the income levels that divide them.