Federal Funds and Sanctuary Cities

Within days of President Trump’s executive order to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities, San Francisco had filed a lawsuit opposing the order [to block federal funding for them]….

We also have this regarding…coercion…by the Federal government.

Last year, a federal judge in Illinois ruled that it was unconstitutional for the Department of Homeland Security to force local jails to detain suspected undocumented immigrants without a warrant. And in a 1997 Supreme Court decision, Printz v US, a 5-4 majority held that the federal government “may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.”

A Thought on a Thought on Bank Reserves

Neel Kashkari, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and active member of the Federal Open Market Committee, had the thought that’s the object of my thought in a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

…increase capital requirements on the biggest banks—those with assets over $250 billion—to at least 23.5%. It would reduce the risk of a taxpayer bailout to less than 10% over the next century.

No.  Have the banks publish their reserve holdings and the total of the loans outstanding in their portfolio together with the per centages of the latter that are current, late, or in default.  Let each bank’s creditors—depositors and other lenders—and investors make their own assessments of the bank’s viability.  Government need not be involved.

A Terrible Nightmare for Bureaucrats

Here’s Joe Pizarchik, ex- Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Director in the Interior Department, for all of the Obama years:

My biggest disappointment is a majority in Congress ignored the will of the people.  They ignored the interests of the people in coal country, they ignored the law and they put corporate money ahead of all that.

Wow.  Just wow.  Because the people, exercising their will in electing the majority of Congress—all the members of Congress, come to that, every single one of them—had their will ignored when the majority that they elected executed on their will by rejecting a bad regulation.

Is the Department of Education Living on Borrowed Time?

Probably not but Congressman Thomas Massie (R, KY) has introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to eliminate it.  It’s unlikely to pass, more’s the pity, but we can hope.  Massie’s bill is short and sweet, too, consisting of this in its entirety:

The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.

I’d add a second sentence, though: “All employees and associates of the Department of Education shall be returned to the private sector and not reassigned elsewhere in the Federal government.”  I’d also add a third sentence: “All rules and letters promulgated by the Department of Education shall be null and void.”  The third one may be unnecessary from a strictly legal standpoint, but I think it’s necessary for absolute clarity.

A Carbon Tax Proposal

No less a pair of lights than George Shultz and James Baker III have one regarding atmospheric carbon emissions.  They’re prefacing their case on their then-boss, President Ronald Reagan’s successful negotiation of the Montreal Protocol to rein in the failures of atmospheric CFCs that were destroying the ozone layer.  Not that the two have anything to do with each other, but it makes for good obfuscation.

Shultz and Baker have four “pillars” to their proposal:

A National Parental Leave Policy

AEI has a piece on this; unfortunately, their piece proceeds from some false premises.

Developing a National Paid Parental Leave Policy

It’s interesting that folks of a bent proceed from such claims. They always decline to establish, for instance, that we need a national policy for parental leave. It’s such a widespread failure that I have to conclude it’s deliberately Alinsky-esque in its attempt to control the discussion.

The United States is one of two countries without a national policy providing new mothers with rights to paid leave following the birth of a child.

The Noise of Freedom

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is worried.  The European is afraid of any relaxation of banking regulations in the US; it might cause some instability.  Never mind that instability is a Critical Item for innovation and growth, whether economic, political, technological, or anywhere else.  As he testified before the European Parliament Committee on Economic Affairs,

The last thing we need at this point in time is the relaxation of regulation….

The fact that we are not seeing the development of significant financial stability risk is the reward of the action that legislators and regulators and supervisors have been undertaking since the crisis erupted[.]

Transparency or Government Snooping?

Senator Ben Cardin (D, MD) had a letter to The Wall Street Journal‘s editor over the weekend.  He’s objecting to Congress’ removal of his (and Senator Richard Lugar’s (R, IN) Cardin-Lugar piece of Dodd-Frank that required public companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments.  Ostensibly, this was to track bribery actions, but like the rest of Dodd-Frank, it overstepped.

There’s nothing like a Democrat desperate to protect his legacy (Lugar was not silent on the matter; he voted for its repeal).

There is no unreasonable burden to businesses in asking them to track operating payments that should be part of the normal course of legitimate business.

What Should a Health Plan Cover?

Anna Wilde Mathews wondered about that in her piece in The Wall Street Journal.  First, a couple of asides.  Notice the tacit acknowledgment that we have no health insurance plans available.  That industry was eliminated in toto by Obamacare, which replaced the industry with a Federally mandated, publicly/privately funded health coverage welfare program.  Next, notice the tacit assumption in the piece’s subhead: that the law should mandate business decisions.

To the piece itself:

The 2010 health law created a new set of federal requirements for plans sold to individuals and small businesses, including a list of 10 benefits, among them prescription drugs, mental-health services and laboratory tests. It also mandated that plans cover preventive services such as vaccinations at no cost to enrollees.

Judge James Robart’s TRO

Some of you may have heard that Judge Robarts, of the Western District of Washington, has issued a Temporary Restraining Order in favor of Washington and Minnesota (which joined the case after its initial filing by Washington) blocking the Federal government from enforcing President Donald Trump’s Executive Order delaying entry into the US of immigrants from seven terrorist or terror-sponsoring nations in the Middle East.  The EO was intended to create a pause in the flow of people from that area into the US until our vetting procedures could be examined and improved as much as might be.