Nixon speechwriter Ben Stein made a brief but memorable appearance in the '80s coming-of-age classic "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off." In his dreary monotone, Stein taught his half-asleep class some basic economics:
"In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the... Anyone? Anyone?... the Great Depression, passed the... Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered?... raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this."
Donald Trump was rather busy in the '80s what with his surefire investments in the USFL and Atlantic City casinos, so perhaps he and Ivanka didn’t make it to the theaters. But the president and his economic advisers might want to pick up a "Ferris Bueller" Blu-ray to learn the lessons even a high schooler will understand.
Washington reacted to President Trump’s proposed budget with horror.
EPA funding would be cut by 31%. Agriculture and labor were down 21%. He would eliminate all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
He wants to increase spending only for Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D–N.Y., said, "It kills the middle class. It cuts education funding. It cuts transportation and infrastructure funding. It cuts money for scientific research."
“It is clear that this budget proposed today cannot pass the Senate," Sen. John McCain, R–Ariz., said, while Sen. Lindsey Graham, R–S.C., added, "It's dead on arrival– it's not going to happen.”
Chief Executive magazine has released their 10th annual survey of CEOs concerning their views of the best states and the worst states for business. More than 500 CEOs graded states on their tax and regulatory regimes, quality of the workforce, and quality of life.
I created a graphic of the 10 best and the 10 worst. The results may surprise you:
(Just kidding — the results aren’t surprising at all.)
All states in the Top 10 have GOP governors; Seven of the Bottom 10 are run by Democrats. Those three GOP-led states in the Bottom 10 all went for Obama in 2008 and 2012.
Where does your state rank?
In a 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, Barack Obama uttered a prophetic statement about energy prices. “If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.” The senator added, “under my plan… electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
The candidate was talking about his cap-and-trade scheme which Congress shelved long ago. But the president’s EPA is going around democratically elected legislators and their constituents to attack the coal industry administratively.
The EPA has mandated that new coal plants use expensive and unproven carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology despite angry resistance from coal states and their representatives. Now the administration admits that the new rules will drastically increase electricity prices.
Trader Joe’s wanted to build a new store in Portland, Oregon. Instead of heading to a tony neighborhood downtown or towards the suburbs, the popular West Coast grocer chose a struggling area of Northeast Portland.
The company selected two acres along Martin Luther King Blvd. that had been vacant for decades. It seemed like the perfect place to create jobs, improve customer options and beautify the neighborhood. City officials, the business community, and residents all seemed thrilled with the plan. Then some community organizers caught wind of it.
Like many 11-year-old girls, Madison Root has braces. Wanting to help her parents’ pay the orthodontist, Madison decided to sell little pieces of mistletoe she clipped off bushes at her uncle’s farm.
Last Saturday morning she stood at the well-trafficked Portland Saturday Market and sold the holiday favorite, each hand-wrapped and tied with a red bow. That’s when security personnel arrived.
A private security guard told Madison that her entrepreneurial initiative was a crime. The market is held in a public park and Portland city ordinance bans little girls from selling mistletoe without proper approval from city bureaucrats.
Little Madison committed the shocking crime of practicing capitalism without a license.
The New York Times asked its readership “What Does Black Friday Mean for You?” A few choice comments reveal the tone of the other 318:
To me it means getting in the car with my spouse and adult daughters and heading to Cape May...Birding! None of us buy into this nonsensical consumer binge day.
When Washington raised the debt ceiling this week, the Beltway media breathlessly reported that the fiscal crisis had ended. Lawyers danced in hallways, bureaucrats twerked on the Metro, congressional aides kissed strangers in the streets — the Tea Party has been defeated! It was like VJ day for wonks.
As our political class exchanged high fives and reporters praised a return to “sanity,” I wondered how these odd creatures defined insanity.
America’s fiscal crisis is not that our debt ceiling was too low, the fiscal crisis is that our debt is too high. When I mentioned this to left-leaning folks, they seemed indifferent. “Obama lowered the deficit.” “I think Bush spent more.“ “It’s Reagan’s fault!”
So I made this infographic:
By popular request, here is a high-resolution version of a chart I created for Ricochet.com.
You can find the actual column below the fold...
There was panic at supermarkets over the weekend. Low-income Americans in 17 states were turned away from cash registers due to a computer outage affecting their electronic food-stamp cards.
Outrage erupted in store aisles and even on Twitter.