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.

Funding the Police

Senator Josh Hawley (R, MO) wants to do that, so he’s introducing the David Dorn Back the Blue Act that would authorize DoJ to

raise the salaries of state and local police forces all across the country—except in cities that have chosen to defund law enforcement in the wake of nationwide protests and riots.

And

If the bill becomes law, police departments will have new federal funding at their disposal allowing them to increase the salaries of officers “up to 110 percent of the local median earnings, and would exclude cities that defund their police[.]”

The Size of the Drift

ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos is the latest member of the media to portray Senator Kamala Harris (D, CA) as a moderate choice for Joe Biden’s running mate.

Stephanopoulos went on to add

Kamala Harris comes from the middle of the road, moderate wing of the Democratic party….

Harris’ positions include

  • supporting vastly raising tax rates, beginning with—but not ending there, rescinding the 2017 tax rate cuts
  • eliminating private insurance altogether and replacing it with Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I, VT) Medicare for All
  • limiting, in contravention of the 2nd Amendment, Americans’ access to weapons of which she personally disapproves

Pen and Phone

The editors at The Wall Street Journal expressed worry about President Donald Trump’s use of his “pen and phone” over the weekend to render the Congressional Progressive-Democrats’ obstructionism regarding Wuhan Virus relief for Americans irrelevant. They think he’s aping too closely ex-President Barack Obama’s (D) pen and phone.

It’s true that Trump is using his pen and phone. The differences between his actions and Obama’s, though, are two: Trump is undoing Obama’s pen and phone actions, not creating new things—with this exception, which is the other critical difference: Obama’s actions were largely illegal, struck down on legal challenge; Trump’s have proven legal, in the main, upheld on legal challenge.

Progressive-Democrats and Economic Recovery

Progressive-Democrats don’t seem to care about economic recovery, only about using the current Wuhan Virus situation and the economic dislocation the virus has spurred for their own political power gain.

This is made plain by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA) in an interview she gave to CBS NewsFace the Nation Sunday.

…what we will not support is the following. What they’re saying to essential workers, you have to go to work because you’re essential. We’ve place no responsibility on your employer to make that workplace safe and if you get sick, you have no recourse because we’ve given your employer protection.

A Misunderstanding

In an article centered on reports that President Donald Trump is planning to withdraw 9,500 troops from Germany—relocating at least some of them to Poland—Bernd Riegert had the following:

[T]he US personnel [to be removed from Germany] essentially work within the framework of NATO for the Pentagon’s European and Africa Commands. They operate the Ramstein airbase, a military hospital and a military training facility. They are important pillars of NATO infrastructure, but they do not, strictly speaking, contribute much to Germany’s national defense.

Wow.

New Jersey Wants Federal Dollars

But it’s not a bailout, Governor Phil Murphy (D) insists.

“I wouldn’t call it a bailout. I would just say this is a war, we’re at the front lines,” Murphy said, stressing that his state does not want federal help at this time for “legacy” budget issues that predate the pandemic.
“We know what we got to do with the old legacy stuff, we need help with the here and now: educators, police, fire, EMS, the front-line stuff.”

Bernie Budget

Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders (I, VT) has released the outline of his budget, which he claims would pay for all of his Free Stuff spending.  Here are a couple of the high points of his budget.

  • tax the investing process
    • 5% tax on stock trades
    • 1% fee on bond trades
    • 005% fee on derivative trades
  • wealth tax on the “top 0.1%”

These, without inhibiting investments, including those of the mutual funds in our 401(k)s, 403(b)s, etc, are supposed to raise more than $6 trillion over ten years, and—poof—there go all college expenses and housing costs. Never mind that this would drive up the cost of investing by a factor of five—but no, there’d be no effect on investing.

Contradictions

Japan raised its sales tax—consumption tax/value added tax—and promptly saw a 6.3% year-on-year drop in GDP in the last quarter of 2019. Consumer spending (did I mention that the tax was a consumption tax?) fell by 11.5% that quarter.

Color me—and hosts of others much smarter than me—unsrurprised.

Now come the contradictions, from the just US Congress-revived IMF, yet.

The International Monetary Fund thinks the consumption-tax rate will have to rise to 15% over the next decade, and to 20% by 2050. But first the fund’s wizards say Tokyo must expand its Keynesian spending to make the economy “strong” enough to bear the tax hikes to pay for the spending.

Protections through Cuts

That’s how President Donald Trump’s budget proposal represents support for his campaign commitment to protect programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

[The proposal] targets $2 trillion in savings from mandatory spending programs, including $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription-drug pricing, $292 billion from safety-net cuts—such as work requirements for Medicaid and food stamps—and $70 billion from tightening eligibility access to federal disability benefits.

Medicare is threatened with bankruptcy nearly as badly as is Social Security, but that doesn’t mean Medicare would disappear—only that benefit payouts would be reduced to what payroll tax revenues could support, rather than what’s currently available from those tax revenues plus earnings and principle from its trust funds.