Thursday, July 30, 2015

Obamanomics. The Worst Expansion Since World War II

Eric Morath, WSJ.  An excerpt . . .

The economic expansion—already the worst on record since World War II—is weaker than previously thought, according to newly revised data. 
From 2012 through 2014, the economy grew at an all-too-familiar rate of 2% annually, according to three years of revised figures the Commerce Department released Thursday. That’s a 0.3 percentage point downgrade from prior estimates. 
The revisions were released concurrently with the government’s first estimate of second-quarter output
Since the recession ended in June 2009, the economy has advanced at a 2.2% annual pace through the end of last year. That’s more than a half-percentage point worse than the next-weakest expansion of the past 70 years, the one from 2001 through 2007. While there have been highs and lows in individual quarters, overall the economy has failed to break out of its roughly 2% pattern for six years. . . 
Full Story 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Dodd-Frank is a Failure

After Five Years, Dodd-Frank Is a Failure An excerpt

 The law has crushed small banks, restricted access to credit, and planted the seeds of financial instability. . .  
Too-big-to-fail institutions have not disappeared. Big banks are bigger, small banks are fewer, and the financial system is less stable. Meanwhile, the economy remains in the doldrums. . .
Full Story

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Unaffordable Care Act

Premiums are spiking around the country. Obama is in denial. WSJ. An excerpt,

The Affordable Care Act was supposed to make insurance, well, more affordable. But now hard results are starting to emerge: premium surges that often average 10% to 20% and spikes that sometimes run as high as 50% or 60% or more from coast to coast. Welcome to the new abnormal of ObamaCare. 
This summer insurers must submit rates to state regulators for approval on the ObamaCare exchanges in 2016—and even liberals are shocked at the double-digit requests, or at least the honest liberals are. Under ObamaCare, year-over-year premium increases above 10% must also be justified to the Health and Human Services Department, and its data base lists about 650 such cases so far. . . 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Democrats Want Socialism

Nearly 10,000 people turned out to hear Bernie Sanders in Wisconsin. Why? Apparently, many Democrats want socialism.  
An excerpt.  Sanders is the Vermont senator who is running for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.  
Sanders calls himself a "democratic socialist," not to be confused with New York City mayor Bill de Blasio's preferred label, "social democrat," but both believe that more power and wealth in the hands of government (and less in the hands of free people and the free market) is a good thing. They just don't want you to think they're dictators like Stalin. They may institute terrible economic policies, but they'll have the backing of voters.  
More Democrats say they plan to vote for Hillary Clinton, but she's already sounding more socialist to ward off the Sanders challenge . . . 
Full Story

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hillary Plays The Victim in CNN Interview

Hillary Clinton still comes across as guarded, quibbling, and pokerfaced under the TV lights. - Lloyd Grove - Daily Beast.  An excerpt . . .
Widening her eyes and nodding at times like a bobblehead doll—occasionally emitting a percussive laugh—Clinton dodged one policy question after another, pretended Sanders barely exists, and proclaimed her “total respect” for the pesky press—the same press that her campaign aides actually lassoed with ropes in the middle of a New Hampshire street in order to keep them away during a July 4th parade. 
“I’m not running my campaign for the press. I’m running it for voters,” Clinton explained to Keilar, an edge to her voice. That at least sounded truthful. But then Clinton added, with apparent insincerity: “I totally respect the press, and what the press has to do.”

Full Story

Monday, July 6, 2015

Renewable-Energy Fantasy

Decarbonization using today’s technology is beyond astronomical Rupert Darwall - WSJ An excerpt,

There is no objective cost-benefit analysis that could justify the president’s target for renewable energy. . .  Recently Bill Gates explained in an interview with the Financial Times why current renewables are dead-end technologies. They are unreliable. Battery storage is inadequate. 
Google engineers came to a similar conclusion last year. After seven years of investigation, they found no way to get the cost of renewables competitive with coal. “Unfortunately,” the engineers reported, “most of today’s clean generation sources can’t provide power that is both distributed and dispatchable . . .  If Mr. Obama gets his way, the U.S. will go down the rocky road traveled by the European Union. . .
There is no rational justification for policies favoring renewables. In 1972 environmentalist guru E.F. Schumacher wrote “Small Is Beautiful,” taking as his guide what he called Buddhist economics, which he’d discovered in Burma. . .
Mr. Obama’s renewable target is a triumph for Shumacher’s Buddhist economics—which amounts to being poor and staying poor. It does not produce jobs, growth or prosperity. 
Full Story

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Greece Disaster Socialism Fails Again

Think Greece can’t happen here? You’re wrong

An excerpt - Most Americans look at the rerun of the Greek euro crisis with something between smug amusement and condescending disapproval. When will those profligate Greeks get their economic house in order and stop looking to others to bail them out? 
But, should people living in glass economic houses really throw stones?
After all, just like Greece, the United States government has been living beyond its means, running up an enormous debt that will eventually need to be repaid. 
True, our budget deficit this year will be lower than it has been, just $486 billion compared to $1.4 trillion as recently as 2009. But this is just a temporary respite. Within the next couple of years the deficit will start to rise again. By 2025, we will again face trillion-dollar shortfalls. . .  
As government grows, the private sector contracts. Greece has one of the most inhospitable business climates in Europe, ranking 84th in the world in the most recent Economic Freedom of the World Index. Meanwhile, as the United States continues to increase taxes and regulations, we have fallen from the second highest economic freedom ranking just 15 years ago to 12th place. 
Full Story

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Puerto Rico is a failed welfare state - WSJ

An excerpt,
The U.S. has its own version of Greece in Puerto Rico, and the meltdown could be nearly as ugly when it arrives. . . the territory’s $72 billion debt “is not payable.” Europeans will notice the Greek-like reasons: excessive borrowing, anti-growth policies, human and capital flight, and the refusal of local politicians to address the failure of entitlement state politics. Oh, and don’t forget the policy damage from Washington. 
Puerto Rico’s economy has been contracting for nearly a decade, and employment has shrunk by 14% since 2005. Its 12.4% jobless rate would be higher if not for its astonishing 40% labor participation rate, compared to 63% nationwide. The island’s population has declined by roughly 300,000 in a decade as young people flee to the mainland, where they can work as U.S. residents. . .  
Rich welfare benefits provide a disincentive to work. A household of three can receive $1,743 per month in food stamps, Medicaid, utility subsidies and welfare compared to minimum-wage take-home pay of $1,159. Employers are required to provide 15 days of vacation and 12 sick days annually and a $600 Christmas bonus. Government employees make up a quarter of the island’s workforce. 
To pay for all this, politicians have borrowed and taxed to the limit. Public debt has tripled since 2000 and exceeds 100% of gross national product. In 2006 the territory instituted a 7% sales tax, which this year was raised to 11.5% and next year will become a value-added tax. Since 2013 Mr. Padilla Garcia has raised the petroleum tax to $15.50 from $3 per barrel, imposed a 1% tax on insurance premiums and the gross income of financial institutions, and increased sewage rates by 60%. 
Puerto Rican officials like to blame destructive Washington policies, and they have a point. The U.S. minimum wage is a killer for a territory with relatively low labor productivity. A 1992 study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that Congress’s 1974 minimum wage hike reduced Puerto Rican employment by 8% to 10% compared to what it otherwise would have been. . . 
Full Story