Higher Education Improvement

The Wall Street Journal has a summary of the House’s The Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity Through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act, to be proposed this week.  It’s aimed at

filling that gap [in college graduates’ skills, with 6 million jobs left begging] by both deregulating parts of the sector and laying the conditions for shorter, faster pathways to the workforce. The act focuses on ensuring students don’t just enroll in school, but actually graduate with skills that the labor market is seeking.

Highlights include these:

A State Runs a Budget Deficit

Louisiana, run by Progressive-Democrats since Bobby Jindall was term-limited out of office, is facing a $1.5 billion deficit as “temporary” tax increases implemented earlier begin to expire.  Jay Dardenne, the center-left Republican Commissioner of Administration, Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards’ chief budget officer, says that “devastating” spending cuts would be necessary absent a renewal of the tax increases or enactment of other tax increases.

Tax Deductions

Republicans disagree among each other about the deductibility on Federal personal tax returns of property and sales taxes levied by States, with most of the objections coming from Republicans whose constituents are in high-tax States (which is to say, primarily Progressive-Democrat-led States like New York and California).  I’ve written elsewhere about the nature of that beef.

In my infinite wisdom, I offer a couple of alternatives for compromise.

One is to allow Federal income taxpayers to deduct either their State’s property tax or its sales tax, but not both.  Another is to allow the deductibility of both, but only part of the taxes—say 50%—not all of them.

False Premise

Budget mavens, politicians, and the NLMSM have one regarding our national tax code.  The Senate is considering a budget that sets an outer bound on the size of Federal tax cuts.

A budget with a tax plan that is revenue-neutral would effectively pay for itself, meaning any reduction in tax rates would be offset by reducing breaks or other revenue-raising measures.

No.  “Revenue neutral” must also consider what’s done with the revenue collected.  Revenue neutrality can be achieved, also, with sufficient spending cuts so that revenue collected meets or exceeds spending outflows.

Huzzah

Regular order—it lives, sort of, at least on spending measures, in the House.

The House on Thursday voted to send 12 appropriations bills to the Senate. The chamber approved four of these 2018 spending measures prior to its August recess, and the remaining eight were debated and passed as part of the broader Thursday vote. They had previously passed out of committee. This is the first time since 2004 that a House Republican majority has passed all of its individual spending bills….

Nonsense

The National Park Service is handing $100,000 to UC Berkeley in a “research” grant to “to ‘honor the legacy’ of the Marxist revolutionary group the Black Panther Party.”  Worse, it did so without following its usual competitive bidding process for research grant money.

This cooperative research project between the National Park Service (NPS) and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) on the Black Panther Party (BPP) is anchored in historical methods, visual culture, and the preservation of sites and voices.  The project will discover new links between the historical events concerning race that occurred in Richmond during World War II and the subsequent emergence of the BPP in the San Francisco Bay Area two decades later through research, oral history, and interpretation.

Prioritize, Guys

President Donald Trump’s national infrastructure plan centers on glorified seed money directed to the localities looking to improve/build out their infrastructure.  The idea is that the locals know their needs best, those needs should be funded primarily locally or from within the nation’s private economic sector, and the building out will aggregate into a vastly improved national infrastructure—real bottom up development, with a little help from the Feds.

To that end, Trump is going to propose $200 billion in Federal spending be committed to a total $1 trillion infrastructure development collection of projects (OK, considerable help).

Bank Bailout, Italian Style

Italy has nationalized Monte dei Paschi di Siena, a major bank that otherwise would have gone into bankruptcy. In the process, the bank’s €26.8 billion ($32.5 billion) “nonperforming loans” will be “disposed of,” and the Italian government taxpayers will feed the bank €5.4 billion and get a 70% stake in the failing bank.

Under the bad loan disposal plan, €26.1 billion will be bundled and sold at 21% of gross book value, the vast majority to the government-organized Atlante II fund, while the bank retains 5%.

General Reform

25% of us don’t see doctors because that costs too much.

32% of older millennials (is there such a thing?  Gad) skip the doctor.  13% of Americans don’t have any health coverage plan at all—paying the penalty is more valuable to them.  Half of us don’t think we’ll have affordable health insurance much less Obamacare’s health coverage welfare.

This, together with today’s other post, just illustrates the fact that no single part of our economy—or of our Federal government—can effectively be treated in isolation: not Obamacare alone, not Federal spending alone (especially not by “cutting” through reducing the rate of growth in spending), not taxing alone, not debt handling alone.

Budget Cuts and Bribery

…or budget cuts and coercion, depending on your perspective.

The president’s budget, due for release Tuesday, will spare the two largest drivers of future spending—Medicare and Social Security—leaving trillions in cuts from other programs. That includes discretionary spending cuts to education, housing, environment programs, and foreign aid already laid out by the administration, in addition to new proposed reductions to nondiscretionary spending like food stamps, Medicaid, and federal employee-benefit programs.

What’s going to be ignored in the inevitable hoo-raw over these allegedly terrible cuts to various aspects of our nation’s “safety” net is the truly terrible downside of those aspects.