Monday, February 6, 2017

Shutting Out Immigrants Could Cost America Trillions

President Donald Trump’s immigration ideas may have already cost America trillions of dollars — with perhaps even more economic damage on the way.
Reputation to Protect
See, America has a reputation. And that reputation is worth something. Quite a lot actually. A nation with a good reputation — such as one of tolerance and trustworthiness — has enhanced influence to achieve desired economic and geopolitical outcomes without force or cutting checks. A decent rep also makes a country a more attractive destination for capital, both financial and human.
So how do you think Brand America is doing these days?
It was actually pretty strong before the 2016 election, at least as imperfectly measured by Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index. America’s global ranking jumped from seventh to first when Barack Obama was elected and has remained at or near the top since.


The Problem with Employing People for Employment's Sake

Here’s a passage from this Wall Street Journal report on Trump’s meeting today with pharmaceutical company executives:
The industry has been trying to present itself as a valuable part of the U.S. economy, employing tens of thousands in high-skilled positions and contributing important innovations….
That is, the pharmaceutical industry employs high-skilled people and, in doing so, increases their prospects of innovating in ways that improve human well-being. This feature of the pharmaceutical industry is indeed a positive. But what good economists understand and what most non-economists don’t, is that the pharmaceutical industry would be an even more valuable part of the U.S. economy if it generated its important innovations with fewer high-skilled workers. Indeed, if the industry were such that its current stream of breakthroughs in medications and medical devices could be kept going, but with the employment of only one unskilled worker, that would be close to ideal.


Imports Create Jobs and Trade Deficits Don't Matter

In his 1985 book, Competing Visions, Richard McKenzie offered the following argument against trade restrictions:
Proponents of protectionism maintain that import protection is indeed in the public interest because through it, jobs are saved.  Although we might agree that import protection can save jobs in protected industries, we cannot conclude (as protectionists incorrectly do) that imports force a contraction in the country’s total employment opportunities.  We must not forget that such countries as Japan want to be paid for their exports with something we produce.  As a result, imports, which surely destroy jobs in the import sector, give rise to exports, which just as surely create jobs.  Furthermore, this country’s (and other countries’) greater real income that arise from open international trade should add to the demand for U.S. goods and services simply because greater real income translates into greater purchasing power for all trading partners.

How Fewer Manufacturing Jobs Can Be Good for Workers and the Economy

Politico reports that Donald Trump may not have a Council of Economic Advisors, the White House’s in-house think tank. Upon hearing that, former Obama White House CEA chair Austin Goolsbee tweeted: “If you never want to hear-even privately-that your idea will cost X/have these effects/needs more thought, you should definitely ban the CEA.”
Which got me thinking: What sorts of things might a proper Trump CEA tell Trump? Maybe that superfast economic growth is very, very hard.  Maybe that we can’t grow out way out of the entitlement debt problem. Maybe that selling health insurance across state lines won’t revolutionize the insurance marketplace.
And maybe the CEA economists would show Trump these two charts:


Innocent Victims of the War on Money Laundering

Innocent Victims of the War on Money Laundering


President Trump says he wants to roll back the burden of regulation. Given the morass of red tape that is strangling the economy, this is a very worthy goal.
It’s also a daunting task. Fixing the sprawling regulatory state is the modern version of cleaning the Augean stables and I’m not brimming with confidence that Trump and his appointees have Herculean powers.
That being said, if they’re deciding where to focus their deregulatory efforts, a cost-benefit analysis would be a very useful guide. Simply stated, go after the red tape that imposes the highest costs while yielding the fewest benefits.
And if that’s the approach, so-called anti-money laundering regulations should be on the chopping block. Banks and other financial institutions are now being forced to squander billions of dollars in order to comply with laws, rules, and red tape that require them to spy on all their customers. The ostensible purpose of AML policies is to discourage criminal behavior, but experts have concluded that this approach has been a failure.


Romania's Politicians Have Literally Legalized Corruption

In 2016, there were three very worthy candidates for the highly coveted Politician of the Year Award.
  • In May, I gave the prize to Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected president of the Philippines, because he assured voters that none of his mistresses were on the public payroll. Gee, what a swell guy!
  • In July, I had to reopen the balloting since it was revealed that the follicly-challenged President of France, Francois Hollande, was squandering more than $100,000 per year on a hair stylist.
  • And that same month, the Prime Minister of Malaysia became a strong contestant when it was revealed that hundreds of millions of dollars were mysteriously diverted from the government’s cronyist investment fund.

Does Gorsuch Stand with Scalia on Sodomy Laws?

An issue the Supreme Court candidate should address.

Neil Gorsuch 
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/NewscomDuring his Senate confirmation hearings, Neil Gorsuch may be grilled on such legal topics as due process, enumerated powers and stare decisis. I'm hoping the discussion will also get around to a less arid subject: sodomy.
Not that I care what the Supreme Court nominee does under the sheets, and the dialogue I envision would probably qualify as PG-13. But his view of two major rulings on state laws banning certain types of sexual conduct is worth investigating. A candid discussion might make Americans wonder whether the judicial philosophy he upholds is quite as appealing as it sounds.
In nominating Gorsuch, President Donald Trump wanted to duplicate the late Justice Antonin Scalia's "image and genius." Gorsuch described Scalia, whose death created the vacancy he was chosen to fill, as a "lion of the law." In a speech last year, he embraced him as a model. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that the two are as different as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.


What if the Minimum Wage Increase Is a Fraud?

Politicians ignore the economic consequences of central planning and hope voters will reward them for it.

Fight for $15 minimum wage.
What if the latest craze among the big-government Owsspawg/Dreamstime.comcrowd in both major political parties is to use the power of government to force employers to pay some of their employees more than their services are worth to the employers?
What if this represents an intrusion by government into the employer-employee relationship? What if this consists of the government's effectively saying that it knows the financial worth of employees' services better than the employers and the employees do?
What if the minimum wage, now on the verge of being raised to $15 per hour everywhere in the land, is really the government's using threats of ruin and force to transfer wealth? What if the $15-per-hour figure is based on a political compromise rather than on free market forces or economic realities?
What if these wealth transfers will have profound unintended economic consequences and will negatively affect everyone? 


The Fourth Amendment Is Supposed to Work for the People, Not the Government

The FBI thinks the constitutional right to privacy is a pain in the neck and they'd prefer to do without it.

Fourth Amendment Blues 
NSA / Wikipedia CommonsWhile Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are battling in their final round in the Democratic primaries and Donald Trump is arguing that Clinton should be in prison for failing to safeguard state secrets while she was secretary of state, the same FBI that is diligently investigating her is quietly and perniciously seeking to cut more holes in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
That amendment — which requires the government to obtain a search warrant issued by a judge based upon some evidence of criminal wrongdoing, called probable cause, before the government can search persons, houses, papers or effects — is the linchpin of the right to privacy, famously referred to by Justice Louis Brandeis as the right to be let alone.


Trump’s Executive Orders on Financial Regulation Are a Great First Step

Trump’s Executive Orders on Financial Regulation Are a Great First Step


President Donald Trump signs an executive order to review financial regulations of the Obama administration era. (Photo: Aude Guerrucci/CNP /AdMedia/Newscom)
President Donald Trump has vowed to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act, and on Friday he signed two executive orders to get that process moving. All Americans should be encouraged by this start, especially since the president is only two weeks into his administration.
One of Friday’s executive orders deals with a single Obama administration rule, but the other one sets the table for much broader reforms.
The former order lays out a path to rescind or revise what’s known as the fiduciary rule, a regulation designed to provide a single standard for anyone providing retirement investment advice.
The Dodd-Frank Act required the Securities and Exchange Commission to study the need for a new, uniform federal fiduciary standard for brokers and investment advisers. Despite this provision and a lack of evidence that there was any problem to fix, former President Barack Obama’s Department of Labor issued its own fiduciary rule.

Neil Gorsuch Could Rule on These 3 Big Cases If He Joins Supreme Court Soon

Neil Gorsuch Could Rule on These 3 Big Cases If He Joins Supreme Court Soon


Judge Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court, greets reporters Wednesday with Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.(Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)
President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court could have a say in rulings on religious freedom, transgender bathrooms in schools, and private property rights, if he is confirmed before April 16.
“If you can, Mitch, go nuclear,” @POTUS says.
Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other senators Wednesday at the Capitol less than 24 hours after Trump announced his nomination.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., however, has vowed to filibuster the nomination.

3 Reasons Neil Gorsuch Is an Ideal Successor to Scalia

3 Reasons Neil Gorsuch Is an Ideal Successor to Scalia

Judge Neil Gorsuch has been critical of the "Chevron" doctrine, a judicial principle developed in the 1980s that Gorsuch says divests the courts of their obligation to “say what the law is." (Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto/Sipa USA/Newscom )
Justice Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat.
“Millions of voters said this was the single most important issue to them when they voted for me for president,” President Donald Trump said last Tuesday night.
And Trump then went on to make one of the best choices of his young administration. Judge Neil Gorsuch of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit is a tremendous pick for the Supreme Court.
First, Gorsuch is unquestionably qualified.

Rogue Federal Bureaucrats Threaten Trump’s Agenda

Rogue Federal Bureaucrats Threaten Trump’s Agenda

President Donald Trump is confronting a federal workforce hostile to his administration's policies. (Photo: Michael Reynolds//EPA/Newscom)
Recent scandals in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service demonstrated that it’s almost impossible to fire federal employees, many of whom reportedly intend to go rogue by not implementing President Donald Trump’s agenda.
“It’s hard to argue we have an accountable government when someone can’t be fired for years at a time,” @bgwilterdink says.
Conservatives are hopeful the time has come for civil service reform that would rein in this permanent class of government workers who have voiced outright hostility to the new administration. Some have even called it the “fourth branch of government” or “alt-government.”
“This is a situation where people voted and elected a president who is lawfully trying to complete those tasks [he promised in the campaign], while unelected bureaucrats are willing to overturn the will of the people,” Ben Wilterdink, director of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Task Force on Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development, told The Daily Signal.

Don’t Let the Democrats Fool You About a 60-Vote Threshold for Neil Gorsuch

Don’t Let the Democrats Fool You About a 60-Vote Threshold for Neil Gorsuch


Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is one of 12 Democrats who voted for Neil Gorsuch's confirmation in 2006. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)
This week, I had the pleasure of being at the White House when President Donald Trump introduced his nominee to be associate justice of the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
It shouldn’t surprise anybody that the president delivered on a promise made during the campaign when he listed 21 people that he would choose from. Everybody knew ahead of time what sort of a judge he would put on the court for this vacancy or any future vacancy.


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