Obamacare Replacement

One aspect of the plan on offer in the House is this:

…whether it includes enough reform to arrest the current death spiral in the individual insurance market.

Notably, the bill includes a new 10-year $100 billion “stability fund” that allows states to start to repair their individual insurance markets. Before ObamaCare, it wasn’t inevitable that costs would increase by 25% on average this year, or that nearly a third of US counties would become single-insurer monopolies. With better policy choices, states can make coverage cheaper and more attractive for consumers and coax insurers back into the market, and the stability fund is a powerful tool.

Tax Rates and Tax Credits

One illustration of the value of the relationship between the two is provided in Laura Kusisto’s piece, Tax Overhaul Threatens Affordable-Housing Deals, in a piece in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal.

The possibility of a tax-code overhaul is casting a shadow over the $10 billion affordable-housing industry, which receives tax credits so valuable they often determine whether or not projects get off the ground.

Members of Congress and President Donald Trump have proposed reducing the corporate tax rate to 15% to 20% from the current 35%, dimming the allure of a credit investors such as big banks and insurance companies receive to offset income taxes.

It’s a Start

The Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system as part of a broad review of measures to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile threat, a senior US official said on Monday.

The sanctions supposedly include economic sanctions against People’s Republic of China banks and other businesses having intercourse with northern Korea and northern Korean entities.

Separately, I have to ask in the current environment: how does this sort of thing get leaked?

A Thought on Free Trade

…which I’ll assume for this post is structured between participant nations as fair trade, since it’s possible to have free and unfair trade, and it’s unfair trade that should be anathema.  Not all free trade is unfair; the parameters of any trade agreement, parameters that make the trade fair or unfair, are matters of mutual agreement (or perhaps not so mutual in the case of unfairness) among those participants.

Don Boudreaux triggered my thought with his piece in US News & World Report.

Republican Gadflies

Karl Rove talked about health care coverage prospects in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, and that triggered a thought in my pea brain.

Senator Tom Cotton (R, AR) has announced that the House plan on offer, a plan designed to be passable through reconciliation, with later phases of repeal and replace for completing the task, is dead on arrival, and the House shoe start over and produce a more comprehensive plan in this first phase.  But Cotton has chosen to not offer a plan of his own, or outline what a plan acceptable to him would look like other than to address taxes and to more fully repeal right damn now Obamacare, or even to offer the tactics he’d use to get the new plan—which could not be done through reconciliation—past a Progressive-Democrat filibuster.

Well, It’s About Time, Ollie

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has spoken up in a way contrary to his predecessors regarding our policy—our very attitude—toward northern Korea.

Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended[.]

That’s not just on Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, though.  Our various administrations have tried for 20 years, or more, the idea of talking, cajoling, bribing (to the tune of $1.35 billion in “aid”) northern Korea’s various Kim dictators.  Baby Kim, in glad response, has only accelerated his drive for sticking nuclear warheads on ballistic missiles (he already has the warheads and the missiles).

Partial Immigration Moratorium

The irrationality of some Federal District judges is being made palpable by their rulings against the latest Executive Order involving a temporary moratorium on folks from six terrorist- and terrorism-supporting countries.  Here’s one example, from US District Judge Derrick Watson in Hawaii:

The illogic of the Government’s contentions is palpable.  The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.

Yet he chose not to explain his own logic, nor did he deign explain the limiting principle he holds underlying this claim.  Indeed, he explicitly refused to explain himself:

New PRC Policy

Robert Blackwill, writing for The National Interest, has suggested we need one.  He’s not far wrong, because as he puts it,

there is no real prospect of building fundamental trust, a peaceful coexistence and mutual understanding, a strategic partnership or a new type of major country relations between the United States and China.

The core of his new policy is this:

  • revitalizing the US economy to nurture those disruptive innovations that bestow on the United States asymmetric economic advantages over others
  • substantially increasing the defense budget and consequently shifting US defense resources to Asia

The Trump Tax Leak

Host Rachel Maddow said the two-page summary of Trump’s federal return for that year was first obtained by journalist David Cay Johnston, who gave MSNBC a first look at the documents.

It is unclear who leaked them. Johnston, with the website DCReport.org, said only that he found the documents “in the mail.”

If you believe that the leaked return just sort of showed up like that, maybe you’ll believe that I have some beachfront property north of Santa Fe to sell you.

Dismembering Government?

If the advance word leaks about President Donald Trump’s upcoming budget proposal can be believed, it would appear that his swamp-draining and Government downsizing are about to get start.  And “news” outlets like CNN are getting their panties bunched over the prospect.  This is from this outlet’s piece, tellingly headlined Trump’s plan to dismember government:

It would codify an assault on regulatory regimes over the environment, business and education bequeathed by former President Barack Obama, and attempt to halt decades of steadily growing government reach.

And this: