Raymond Richman - Jesse Richman - Howard Richman
Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog
Don't miss Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout on the Watt's Up with That Blog today
Howard Richman, 2/27/2014
Don't miss Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout on the Watt's Up with That Blog today. It's got humor and wisdom.
It starts by showing how Greenpeace founder Dr. Patrick Moore has been written out of Greenpeace history -- much as Stalin wrote out his fellow Bolshevik leaders. Then it goes on to some very wise testimony by Moore to the Senate about climate change. Here's how his testimony begins:
Public Citizen's Fact-Check of Obama Administration Claims about TPP
Jesse Richman, 2/21/2014
Public Citizen's Eyes on Trade blog recently posted an excellent fact-check on claims made by the Obama administration about its trade policy. It's a good read.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman tried in a speech yesterday to defend the Obama administration’s beleaguered trade policy agenda: the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) pacts and an unpopular push to Fast Track those sweeping deals through Congress. The list of those publicly opposing the Fast Track push includes most House Democrats, a sizeable bloc of House Republicans, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and 62% of the U.S. voting public.
In attempt to justify the administration’s polemical pacts, Froman resorted to some statements of dubious veracity, ranging from half-truths to outright mistruths. To set the record straight, here are the top 10 Froman fables...
Hospital layoffs continuing
Howard Richman, 2/16/2014
Health care has been a booming field. With baby-boomers aging, the demand for health care has been increasing. Young people who wanted to find a sure-fire job have been going into nursing and other medical disciplines knowing that the market for healthcare workers was growing. But that market suddenly changed in December due to the onset of Obamacare.
In order to hold down the costs of Obamacare, government administrators are placing price ceilings on government healthcare payments. Also, some healthcare consumers, facing higher costs for insurance, are cutting back on their elective procedures.
As a result of these two factors, hospitals are being forced to cut back on the services that they offer and are laying off workers. The result will be fewer hospitals and clinics and fewer services offered by the remaining hospitals and clinics. As healthcare supply decreases, customers will increasingly encounter long waiting times and other forms of healthcare rationing.
The last two monthly employment reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirm that the new trend began shortly before I first spotted it in the December 20th American Thinker (Jobless Claims Up). After going up month after month, hospital jobs started declining in December from 4,797,500 in November to 4,792,800 in December to 4,788,300 in January (on a seasonally-adjusted basis).
An article in a Nevada newspaper explains why these layoffs are occurring (Problematic hospital funding leads to layoffs, reconsiderations):...
Voters not Sold on Fast Track
Jesse Richman, 2/12/2014
A new poll on trade policy preferences concerning Fast Track was recently released. Overall these results are resoundingly consistent with previous surveys. Public support for policies that continue to promote imbalanced "free" trade has been and remains very low. Public support for granting the president authority to pursue a fast track to a bad deal is also very low.
There is some interesting material in the poll. In particular, Republican rhetoric against Obama's assertion of unilateral presidential authority appears to be deepening Republican voters' opposition to granting the president Fast Track authority. The numbers are quite striking. Republican members of the House should clearly think twice and three times, and check if they have a primary challenger, before voting for Fast Track.
Republicans and conservatives especially believe that fast-track authority gives the president too much power. Among Republicans, 87% find the argument that fast track gives the president too much power a very or fairly convincing reason to oppose fast-track authority (85% among conservatives). Similarly, 61% of Republicans say their single greatest concern about Congress giving the president fast-track authority is that it would give the president too much power (64% among conservatives).
Overall the poll finds much more opposition than support. 62 percent of respondents oppose granting fast track authority versus 28 percent who favor granting that authority.
Voters highest priorities for trade deals are preventing U.S. jobs from moving overseas (49 percent including 55 percent of Republicans) and preventing unfair competition that lowers workers wages....
How to Reduce Inequality of Income and Wealth
Raymond Richman, 2/11/2014
The inequality of income has been raised as a political issue but neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have proposed anything resembling a reasonable policy to reduce it. The Dems would raise the rates of the personal income tax and increase entitlements while the Republicans argue that lower taxes would create more equality by helping achieving full employment. Both are partly right. But both overlook the fact that much of the income of the very wealthy is not really taxed at all. You would not suspect that the principal reason there are so many millionaires and billionaires is, believe it or not, the Corporate Income Tax.
And the solution is simple, treat corporate income as we treat partnership income. Partners report their share of partnership profits as personal income. There is no separate partnership income tax as there is for corporations. Corporate shareholders should report their share of corporate profits as personal income. Small corporations, so-called S corporations are now permitted to elect to have their earnings treated as the personal income of their shareholders. What we propose is that shareholders of all corporations treat their shares of corporate income as personal income for tax purposes. ...
Terrence P. Stewart calls for balanced trade in Senate testimony
Howard Richman, 2/4/2014
Terence P. Stewart of the Washington-based international law firm Stewart and Stewart called for balanced trade agreements in written testimony to the Senate Finance Committee. I have not yet read his testimony, but I did read his law firm's press release about it.
The title of the press release cites a disturbing fact: "United States Transforms from a Nation with Balanced Trade to a Country that Imports Approximately 50 Percent More than it Exports." The press release elaborates:
“The reality is that the past 40 years have expanded trade but at the direct cost to Americans of millions of manufacturing jobs,” Stewart wrote. “Indeed, using U.S. Department of Commerce figures … the trade deficit in 2013 cost the United States over 3.75 million jobs in that year alone.”
The press release recommends the following provisions to balanced trade:...
Pat Buchanan ties together GOP establishment's immigration and trade policies
Howard Richman, 2/3/2014
In a commentary last week (How the GOP Lost Middle America), Pat Buchanan ties together the Republican establishment's positions on immigration and trade. He wrote:
To understand why and how the Republican Party lost Middle America, and faces demographic death, we need to go back to Bush I.
At the Cold War’s end, the GOP reached a fork in the road. The determination of Middle Americans to preserve the country they grew up in, suddenly collided with the profit motive of Corporate America....