Republicans Losing on the Tax Issue

GOP rising star Dan Crenshaw (R, TX) criticized the proposed 70% income tax rate by Dem rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY) was rebuffed by her and a swarm of her defenders.

Dem RS: 1, GOP RS: 0.

If Republicans can’t win on the tax issue, they are in trouble. They messed up on another pocketbook issue, healthcare.

Even when handed a gift in the form of a shortfall of income tax receipts in NY.


China Falters on Economic Liberalization

Is China’s economy more of a paper tiger than an Asian tiger?

Dan Mitchell:

Video on CNBC is embedded in there.

1. China’s economy is weak because of insufficient liberalization.

2. Trump’s unthinking protectionism hurts both sides, but China may be more vulnerable.

3. China’s cronyism presents a challenge for supporters of unilateral free trade.

4. Trump should have used the World Trade Organization to encourage Chinese liberalization.

5. The imperfect Trans-Pacific Partnership was an opportunity to pressure China to reduce cronyism.

6. Additional Chinese reform is the ideal outcome, both for China and the rest of the world.


The FDA’s Assault on Tobacco Consumers

This is a multi-part series by Sheldon Richman.

If your attitude is, “well, I don’t smoke so it does not concern me”, or, “smoking and tobacco are bad so I support this effort”, these articles are for you.

Part 1:

For the last 10 years the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been writing draconian rules governing the makers, sellers, and ultimately consumers of cigars, smokeless tobacco, pipe tobacco, and even the pipes themselves (which of course are not made from tobacco) in what appears to be part of an effort aimed indirectly at eradicating these products from the marketplace. The fanatical campaign, reminiscent of America’s earlier crusade to prohibit alcoholic beverages, ought to concern everyone, including nonsmokers, because if it succeeds, other products could well be targeted on the grounds of public health. It is not just tobacco users who need to worry about the regulatory state’s tactics. . . .

As Thomas Szasz showed throughout his career as the top critic of what he dubbed the “therapeutic state,” this assault is moral, cultural, and political, not scientific or medical.


Part 2:

A bill introduced in the U.S. House last month would ban the flavoring of any “tobacco product.” The targets are vaping devices (vapes, e-cigarettes), but also cigars and pipe tobacco. (Flavored conventional cigarettes, other than menthol, have already been banned.) The Food and Drug Administration deems vaping devices “tobacco products” even though they contain no tobacco. Introduced without sponsors by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the bill would allow an exception for some vaping products, but it is one that would be all but impossible to qualify for.

The rationalization for the prohibition is that flavoring attracts underage consumers to the products. Yet this seems implausible because it suggests that without flavoring teenagers would be uninterested in e-cigarettes (not to mention conventional cigarettes). Yet kids have long been attracted to conventional unflavored cigarettes. (And unflavored marijuana has no troubling winning favor among the young.)

Progressive Dream for America: Law of Jante

Face it. Progressives hate America and Americans who don’t conform to their strict code of conduct. They attack anyone who does not conform, including institutions such as corporations and institutes. Of course, these entities are run by people so the message is really to them.

Since some progressives have expressed admiration for Nordic countries, I present their code of conduct.

The Law of Jante is a code of conduct known in Nordic countries, that portrays doing things out of the ordinary, being overtly personally ambitious, or not conforming, as unworthy and inappropriate.

Used generally in colloquial speech in the Nordic countries as a sociological term to denote a condescending attitude towards individuality and success, the term refers to a mentality that diminishes individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while simultaneously denigrating those who try to stand out as individual achievers.

Intro to the ten rules:

There are ten rules in the law as defined by Sandemose, all expressive of variations on a single theme and usually referred to as a homogeneous unit: You are not to think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than us.

The ten rules.

The ten rules state:

You’re not to think you are anything special.

You’re not to think you are as good as we are.

You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.

You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.

You’re not to think you know more than we do.

You’re not to think you are more important than we are.

You’re not to think you are good at anything.

You’re not to laugh at us.

You’re not to think anyone cares about you.

You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

This is not America.



Why Americans Pay Too Much for Healthcare

Overcharged explains that hospitals and pharmaceutical companies can charge such outrageous markups solely because government grants them anti-competitive monopoly powers and encourages widespread third-party payment, where nobody has an incentive to curb excessive prices.

If you ever read the EOB’s (Explanation of Benefit) from your health insurance company you might see something like this. Even so, it still doesn’t explain the whole story:

After being bitten on the foot by a snake while taking out the garbage, Eric Ferguson went to the Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, where he was given anti-venom and monitored. The hospital’s list price for the medication was $81,000. The discounted price his insurer negotiated was about $20,000. The retail price of anti-venom online? $750.

The government grants and maintains monopolies to hospitals, drug companies, etc. That’s not even the whole story.

We need to let “consumers—rather than politicians and employers—control the $3.9 trillion Americans spend on health care each year. “



Survey: Half Of Doctors Considering Leaving Medicine

The survey says the doctors blame the insurance companies.

Researchers with Aimed Alliance, a non-profit that seeks to protect and enhance the rights of health care consumers and providers, say that doctors are so fed up with the constant headaches caused by insurers, two-thirds would recommend against pursuing a career in medicine, and nearly half (48%) are considering a career change altogether.

Well, of course. This organization, Aimed Alliance, is a partisan organization against the insurance industry.

But the insurance companies are mere agents who work on behalf of politicians, doctors and other health professionals, and consumer advocates, who insist that it is government’s function to interfere in the health insurance market. They claim healthcare is a right. But it cannot be, and their attempts to make it so are the reason for the frustration of doctors and patients.

Look at tit this way. We rely on the market process to provide the goods and services we need and want, from a loaf of bread to the internet itself. They come in various price ranges and quality levels. Yet, for some reason, some people think healthcare is different. Its not. And the problem is that, as a result of government interference, doctors and other providers have one eye on the insurance companies and the other eye on the patient. Since the patient doesn’t pay, the provider’s attention and loyalty is divided.

A market process would solve this problem. Products and services would vary more to suit the situations of patients, rather than being stuck in a narrow band based on insurance payments.

Another distortion is that Medicare pays providers and guides them to specific treatments, overriding the provider’s expertise based on his or her local knowledge of the patient’s condition. This distorts the entire healthcare marketplace. Politicians and Medicare bureaucrats do NOT know what’s best for everybody. But they like to exercise their power.

UPDATE: see this post.


Jeff Bezos’s Charity

This pitiful advocacy article masquerading as “news” in the NY Post by Isabel Vincent shows how little she knows. Vincent gets a quote from a local NYC legislator:

“The record of both Amazon and Jeff Bezos reveals that they are takers, not givers,” said Queens City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district includes Long Island City, where Amazon plans to set up a corporate headquarters. “When they make promises of how generous they will be, I look at what they have done in the past to know what the truth really is.”

A politician calling another person a “taker”. ROFL. Politicians are the biggest takers anywhere. Government, by definition, takes. And politicians are the biggest takers.

Bezos, and other business-people are by definition givers — they build businesses, create jobs and products and services, and these give joy and meaning to their employees and customers.

Bezos, as well as others who have built fortunes, know better how to allocate resources for their optimal use better than any politician or other critic.

As for the people who make larger donations, they must demonstrate their donations provide a tangible benefit or else they’re merely making themselves feel good — virtue signalling. Do they wish to receive accolades and be feted at gatherings and balls and events? Giving will do that. Is there a lasting, durable benefit? Are they bereft of ideas for growth and resigned to just giving it away?