The benefits of growth without the growth

Andy Puzder explains in a Real Clear Politics column why Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s policies would not lead to the benefits she promises.

After Monday’s debate, one thing remains crystal clear: Secretary Clinton believes that government can create the benefits of economic growth without any actual economic growth. Burdened by politically motivated policies that are incapable of producing genuine economic growth, what else could she believe? …

… So, to get GDP back on pace, we need to understand why economic growth has been so anemic. According to the US Commerce Department, one of the primary causes has been a decline in investment. Faced with the world’s highest corporate tax rate and looking to a future of 2% growth, businesses are understandably reluctant to invest.

Trump’s solution is to incentivize business investment by lowering the corporate tax rate and encouraging businesses to invest their foreign earnings in the US. As Trump stated in the debate, “I’ll be reducing taxes tremendously, from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses.” He would also reduce the growth destroying regulatory burdens American businesses must bear, keep our energy dollars and jobs in the US by an “all of the above” energy policy, and negotiate more equitable trade deals to reduce our massive trade deficits. If the idea is to increase business investment, drive economic growth and create jobs, this is a “tremendously” effective approach.

Clinton, on the other hand, would raise taxes on “the wealthy” to “make the economy fairer”, further discouraging investment and condemning us to prolonged abysmal economic growth. She would also further enlarge the regulatory state and destroy energy industry jobs in the name of global warming. In her efforts to make the economy “fairer”, Clinton would sacrifice even the potential for economic growth.

Lacking that potential, Clinton turns to government mandates as the means to address stagnating wages, the decline in good paying jobs, the shrinking middle class, and growing income inequality. Her policy proposals include government mandates raising the federal minimum wage, forcing businesses to share more of their profits with employees, and increasing paid family leave and sick days. In other words, she would try to provide employees with the benefits of economic growth (increased wages and benefits) without any actual economic growth.

These proposals certainly have political appeal but there is a serious problem. When, as Clinton proposes, government attempts to create the benefits that come from economic growth without the underlying growth necessary to support the increased costs, businesses must act to reduce those costs. The simple solution is to reduce the number of their existing employees. Another solution is to reduce growth as increased labor costs decrease profit margins and discourage investment. In other words, fewer jobs. The minimum wage, if you don’t have a job, is zero (and there are no benefits).

Federalist column highlights EMP danger

Those who heard James Carafano‘s recent presentation for the John Locke Foundation will not be surprised by a new Federalist column from James Hyde. It explains the real danger emanating from North Korea’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

… [I]gnoring Kim Jong Un is an error we may not live to regret.

What kind of an attack could Kim hurl at us, you ask? One that could kill between 75 percent and 90 percent of our population, relegating Americans to endangered society status and transporting those surviving back in time to the mid-1800s—if we’re lucky. …

… [I]t’s not the threat of a nuclear missile attack that concerns Dr. Peter Pry (who heads the Taskforce for National and Homeland Security, and for which I volunteer some of my time), ex-CIA director James Woolsey, Center for Security Policy Founder and President Dr. Frank Gaffney, and others who closely monitor nuclear developments in the DPRK. We are all deeply concerned about the horrendous potential for Kim Jong Un to use just one device—one which poses a threat far more devastating than a full-on Russian nuclear attack. …

… EMP stands for “electromagnetic pulse,” and it is truly devastating to anything and everything that has a microchip in it or is part of the crumbling, antiquated, and hopelessly snarled convergence of wires we call our electric grid.

The grid comprises three major sections: the Eastern Interconnection, which provides the nation with 75 percent of its power; the Western Interconnection; and the Texas Interconnection, all of which hopelessly lack the kind of hardening we need to protect them.

An EMP-based weapon would do a good deal of damage. But if the last two DPRK tests involved thermonuclear devices, they could become Super-EMPs. When those are put aboard a satellite and detonated 300 miles above the center of the U.S., just one of them would impale technology addicts on a painful and sharp withdrawal spike, while tossing our urban and suburban populaces into abject panic and chaos.

Stepping up the government’s role in maternity leave

Hadley Heath Manning understands the typical conservative arguments (involving costs and constitutionality) against federal government involvement in maternity leave. She also understands that nonconservatives reject those arguments. So her Washington Examiner column offers other reasons to reject a federal government role in addressing this issue.

Americans who believe that government maternity leave programs would improve their lives and help people in need are focused on just that: How would this affect people like me? The national budget and the Constitution are at best secondary considerations. …

… [T]his issue presents an opportunity for conservatives to explain the tradeoffs that come with government entitlement programs and explain how the real problem with government leave programs is that they won’t actually improve Americans’ lives. In fact, they could backfire on the very women they are intended to help.

A government takeover of maternity leave – whether it’s a mandate on employers or an entitlement program – would limit women’s opportunities and our freedoms. The best argument against government maternity leave is that it would come with serious downsides for women’s lives. And when women hear about an alternative, free-market solution, they prefer it to one-size-fits-all mandates.

In the case of maternity leave mandates, often proposed by Democrats, the result would be clear: If you force all employers to offer paid leave, some employers will be less likely to hire and promote women, as this requirement raises the cost of employing women. Mandates limit the flexibility of women to negotiate individualized compensation plans with their employers (and the majority of employers offer some form of paid leave benefits without a government mandate).

Trump’s proposal to use unemployment insurance to fund maternity leave is much less intrusive than the plans offered by Democrats. Even so, it represents a costly, government-centric solution to a problem that would be better solved by the private sector, where women are free to find the work-life balance that best suits their preferences, their family’s needs, and their budget.

Another alternative to one-size-fits-all government intervention would be to allow families to save tax-free for a family leave period. This type of savings account, called a “Personal Care Account” (PCA) is more popular with the public than government meddling in maternity leave.

The danger of … Harry Potter?

Katherine Timpf of National Review Online highlights the latest case of campus craziness.

A student at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse filed a report with the campus “Hate Response Team” claiming that a mural of a Harry Potter character on campus was transphobic, ableist, and a representation of “white power.”

According to Heat Street’s Jillian Melchior, the apparently controversial mural was painted by two students and shows one of the characters from the Harry Potter films, Neville Longbottom, transforming from a nerdy boy into a good-looking man — and another student had a huge, huge problem with that.

In fact, that student (whose name was redacted from the reports that Melchior received) actually went so far as to file a complaint stating that the painting “represents our ideal society and everything I am trying to fight against.”

It represents white power. Man power. Cis power. Able power. Class power. ECT [sic] etc. I am angry that I know the people who put this mural up, and I am anger [sic] because I know the people who let this mural be put up. Like I said earlier, maybe I am being a little sensitive, but it is how I feel. This represents, to me, our society, and I do not want it up on this wall. Why do we need a BEFORE and AFTER?

Listen, kid. If that’s how you “feel,” then fine. Well, at least kind of fine, because I’d say if you really are so “angry” about having to even “know” people who put up a Harry Potter painting, then you probably have some anger issues you need to address. It’s not like they’re ISIS, relax. But in any case, the biggest problem about all of this isn’t even the fact that this kid seems to “feel” a level of anger over a painting that seems like it would be more appropriate to feel over something like terrorism. It’s the fact that he or she goes right from “it is how I feel” into “I do not want it up on this wall” — right from “I feel like this” into “I am telling you I want you to take it down just because of the reasons I just outlined, those reasons being my feelings.”

The limits of Trump’s appeal

Ian Tuttle of National Review Online offers a scathing analysis of Donald Trump’s shoot-from-the-lip approach to communicating an electoral message.

The current pope, unlike his predecessor, has the gift of gab. But he has discovered, in his new role, that there is such a thing as talking too much. The secular media’s knowledge of the Catholic Church being what it is (read: nonexistent), the pope’s offhand comments are regularly interpreted as enunciations of doctrine.

But what is not true of the papacy is true, to a degree, of the presidency. The line between policy and pontification is fuzzy. When President Obama speculates about tax hikes, the markets dip. When he sympathizes with Black Lives Matter, beat cops retreat. When he talks about “commonsense gun reforms,” people in flyover country buy firearms. When he talks about U.S. foreign policy, leaders abroad take notice.

Given that reality, Donald Trump’s filibustering performance at Monday night’s presidential debate should be a source of alarm. In the first 30 minutes of last night’s debate, Trump succeeded — if that is the word — largely by being so pugnacious that he made it difficult for Hillary Clinton to get a word in edgewise. But that strategy was not built to last, and it didn’t. After the forum’s first half hour, Trump was at his near-worst: thoughtless, rambling, self-contradictory, and hostile — not only to his opponent but to moderator Lester Holt, President Obama, and any number of other enemies real and imagined, up to and including Rosie O’Donnell and a former Miss Universe contestant. It was obvious by the 45-minute mark that Clinton had managed to get under Trump’s skin, particularly on the subject of his personal finances. He spent the second half of the debate alternately snarling and flailing, completely devoid of the swagger and insouciance that he used to great effect during the primary debates.

New Carolina Journal Online features

Don Carrington reports for Carolina Journal Online on the Raleigh attorney who says his legal fight with the State Bar could have implications for other N.C. licensing boards.

Rick Henderson’s Daily Journal examines the “myth” of doom-and-gloom arguments about the economic impact of North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2.

More thoughts on the Cumberland County ballpark

Last week, I wrote about Cumberland County’s plan to take funding that had previously been allocated to schools and instead build a ballpark.  Incredible, I know, but that is indeed the plan.

In doing some further reading this week, I came across a column in the Fayetteville Observer by Myron B. Pitts in which he advocates for the ballpark.  He talks about filling out a survey on things like ticket price and how often he’d take his family.  And then he says this:

Among other things, it asked about season ticket prices, how much I’d be willing to pay.

$900?

Definitely not.

$750.

Nope.

$500.

Unlikely, unless I fall into a lot of money. And financial windfalls at our house have a way of being magically re-routed to our kids and their needs.

I think that’s true of pretty much every family.  People spend extra money providing for their families, because that’s the thing they value most.  They certainly value it more than baseball.

And that is why the last thing Cumberland County should do is divert money from schools to a ballpark.  It just doesn’t make sense.

CBO Says Medicaid Expansion Will Not Significantly Improve Hospitals’ Bottom Lines

The National Review breaks down the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on assessing Medicaid expansion’s financial impact on hospitals:

The report provides several reasons why Medicaid expansion will not cure hospitals’ financial woes. Whereas CBO assumed that exchange plans would reimburse hospitals above their average costs, “Medicaid’s payment rates are below hospitals’ average costs.” Medicaid revenues will likely grow more slowly over time, as Medicaid payment rates cannot exceed Medicare levels — and Obamacare dramatically slowed those Medicare reimbursement levels. Moreover, CBO estimated “that the use of hospitals’ services among the newly insured will increase by about 40 percent as a result of having insurance.” If Medicaid pays hospitals less than their average costs, then inducing additional patient demand by expanding coverage could actually exacerbate hospitals’ shortfalls, not improve them. 

Read the full report here.