Another Easy Binary Choice

Kevin D. Williamson writes with his usual clarity and wisdom on economic matters at NRO in “[The Frontrunner]: Make America Great Again.”  Of course you should read the whole thing.  You should read everything that Kevin writes.  His article compares the similarities between Biden’s recent speech and The Donald.  He is absolutely right that The Frontrunner and The Donald have much in common on the economic front.  For us capitalistic orphans or friends of economic liberalism, as Kevin calls them, the 2020 election will not be a feast.

Where we disagree with Kevin is on the choice.  Kevin says:

For the friends of economic liberalism, 2020 is going to be a choice between testicular cancer on the left or testicular cancer on the right.

We would like a whole loaf.  We would be delighted with a half a loaf to feed us economic orphans.  With The Donald we get a slice, perhaps the heel, while with The Frontrunner we get nothing.  To paint them both with the same brush Kevin has to stretch the evidence.  For example:

Trump is more of a born-again Republican on taxes today, but in 2016 he complained long and loud about Wall Street traders beating the tax man,

The Donald has reduced taxes, and most importantly corporate taxes, grudgingly renewed NAFTA, and reduced regulations.  He is far from what Keven and MWG wants but he is the dominant solution in a binary choice.  The Donald should be an easy choice for economic liberals and capitalistic orphans in 2020.  It is likely to be a tougher choice for us in 2024 with folks like Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley.

The Orphanage Strikes Back

In our administrative duties at the university we often found it useful to have a third person in the room during contentious meetings.  The reputation of faculty members for nasty rhetoric is not unwarranted.  The faculty lounge was Twitter before it was invented.  The third person in the room would deflect the rhetoric because we would not be forced to respond directly to the rhetorical charges.

We felt that way about Ryan Streeter’s “The New Forgotten Man” in the National Review.  From the title on down it is, at best, a misleading criticism of capitalism and what us capitalistic orphans stand for.

Sidebar One: We know Ryan’s article was a long time ago pundit-wise.  It was in the 3/9/20 issue.  We wanted to try and be as calm as possible.  End Sidebar One.

Ryan’s title, of course, is from Amity Shlaes’ great book.  You should read it.  Amity is welcome at the orphanage.  Here is a summary from Wikipedia:

The book begins with an anecdote of the 1937 recession, eight years after the Depression began, when Roosevelt adopted budget-balancing policies indistinguishable from the stereotype of what Hoover supposedly did. Shlaes presents her arguments in part by telling stories of self-starters who showed what the free market could have accomplished without the New Deal.

A better title for Ryan would be forgetting the forgotten man.  Ryan starts out well when he is first describing the forgotten man as:

These are the shop owners, self-employed workers, small-scale entrepreneurs, and salaried employees who save their money and improve their credentials hoping to branch out and move up. They have long been at the heart of American economic growth, collectively creating massive numbers of jobs every year and keeping the American dream alive for themselves and others.

It is nice to see Ryan agree with us that  innovation and economic growth are important.  This clip would make him welcome at the orphanage.  Unfortunately, for us orphans, he soon reverses course and smears the orphanage by saying:

The aftermath of the Great Recession, followed by Trump’s 2016 election, produced a new group of pro-worker conservatives [let’s call them reform cons] who advocate a combination of protectionism and industrial policy, expanded wage subsidies, new forms of unionizing, and new family benefits such as paid parental leave and more generous child tax credits and cash allowances. They have arisen in opposition to those—let’s call them the “traditional Reaganite conservatives” [the capitalistic orphans]—who endorse low taxes, limited government, and other policies [we are unsure what these other policies are but the previous sentence suggests free markets and free trade] that favor CEOs and managerial elites ostensibly in the name of economic growth.  [Emphasis added]

This is the paragraph that took us weeks to get over.  We haven’t read every issue of the National Review but we doubt there was ever a paragraph quite this misleading in the history of that august journal.  And, yes, that is our reaction after calming down.

Sidebar Two: Reagan, like all politicians, is not a pure free marketer.  He is, however, fairly regarded as a free marketer despite his occasional lapses.  We think Ryan fairly identifies him and his followers as free market and free trade folks we call capitalistic orphans.  End Sidebar Two.

The third person we have invited into the room is Richard M. Reinsch II from National Affairs.  He sets the story straight in his published comments from debating another reform con,  Oren Cass:

We are all consumers, but we are not all manufacturing workers [or any other favored group]. The need to serve the consumer is key to the dynamism and creativity that epitomizes a market economy. While meeting this need can be challenging — and the price can be steep for those who fail — a market economy nonetheless provides the best jobs program on offer. After all, the choices of consumers determine which products or economic actions will work to our comparative advantage and which will not. Through this process of discovery, investors ultimately learn where to invest, workers learn where to work, and producers learn what resources they will need to bring goods and services to the market. This is how millions of new jobs are created — jobs in industries that previously did not even exist. This is not a neoliberal conspiracy or a degraded form of American consumerism, but a crucial feature of how trade increases the wealth of a country.

As Richard’s comments show, Ryan mischaracterizes both his group, reform cons, and the orphans in one short paragraph.  The reform cons are not pro-worker.  They are strongly supportive of a few workers while harming most of them.  They also have little to offer the entrepreneurs that Ryan extolls in the first quote.   Protection and industrial policy hurts most workers while helping some.  Contrary to what Ryan says protectionism and other market restrictions are exactly what the CEOs and managerial elite want.  That is one of the reasons they spend so much money trying to influence governmental policy.

Free markets and free trade is what consumers want.  CEO’s and the managerial elite fight against them both because they don’t want it.  Capitalistic orphans want free markets and free trade because it helps consumers.  Yes, it also leads to economic growth that Deirdre reminds us is crucial to our current well-being and that of our children and grandchildren.  We should see the reform cons like Ryan for what they are.  They are trying to build a majority by giving big benefits to some while hoping that the damages to the majority will go unnoticed.  It is an old formula and one that, unfortunately, often works.

 

 

 

Price Controls

We reported with great sadness that Wisconsin had set up a mechanism to try to identify and punish price “gouging”.  We are even more distressed to find out that Michigan is trying to take action:

LANSING, MICHIGAN — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has accused home improvement chain Menards of price[“] gouging[“] during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sigh!  Not only is the state of Michigan not helping its citizens but it is actively trying to stop companies from getting products to consumers.  We had hoped for bipartisanship but Dana, like The Suit, is a Democrat.  Don’t worry because bipartisanship is out there on this issue.  As The Frontrunner has made identity a critical criteria for nominations and Dana fits multiple criteria  we might see her name again.

Gel in and gel out when you go there but we would encourage you to go to Menards and buy something ASAP.

Accounting And Economic Actions

Regulation and regulatory capture are interesting issues.  The challenges are being played out in real time today.  We saw this on InstaPunditfrom a business guy:

Just a little Covid tidbit from the small business world. My bank reached out to me early this week and said that they were allowing all of their commercial customers to go to interest only payments simply by sending them a request. They called back today to say that their regulator, the OCC [Office of the Comptroller of the Currency], had informed them that they would consider any such modifications TDR ( Troubled Debt Restructuring). Needless to say, the bank can no longer do it. It’s almost as if the bureaucracy is actively working against us.

There are several parts to unpack in the quote. What is a TDR?  It is a good deal to the debtor and a loss to the creditor to hopefully prevent the expense of bankruptcy.   Why would the bank no longer do the deal if it was a TDR?  Because the bank would have a large loss.  The bank would not have a loss in the reported situation so something is bogus.  Perhaps the bank just changed its mind.

We think the OCC, if they actually said it, is wrong that allowing loans to go interest only is a TDR.  The real issue is will the bank collect the principal.  The bank must record probable losses even if there is no TDR agreement to reduce the principal.

Sidebar: We no longer have full access to FASB pronouncements so we may not up to date on all the details here but they are NOT relevant to the regulation issues for accountants.  End Sidebar.

The FDIC has taken action.  The FDIC is a government agency while the FASB is a non-governmental organization that sets accounting standards.  InstaPundit referenced a memo the FDIC sent to the FASB urging delays in accounting actions.  Here are the bullets from the memo:

  • Excluding COVID-19-related modifications from being considered a concession when determining a troubled debt restructuring (TDR) classification;

  • Permitting financial institutions currently subject to the current expected credit losses (CECL) methodology an option to postpone implementation of CECL given the current economic environment; and

  • Imposing a moratorium on the effective date for those institutions that are not currently required to implement CECL to allow these financial institutions to focus on immediate business challenges relating to the impacts of the current pandemic and its effect on the financial system.

What is the goal of these three bullets?  Is it to help the debtors get relief or to save the banks from investors finding out how much trouble they are in?  The first bullet might reasonably help debtors from being harmed by overzealous regulators like the business owner in the first quote.  The second and perhaps the third seem much more problematic.  Debtors are going to have problems in the coming months.  That means banks are going to have problems.  Accounting needs to reflect that.  We need the FDIC, FASB, and especially all the auditors to step up and fairly report the bad news so investors and others can make good choices.  Hiding bad news will not help the economy recover.

 

Silly Folks

We were visiting some friends and they were talking about how busy one grown child and spouse was with multiple young children.  Dinner preparation was a problem.  Both the adults in the young family are college educated professionals.  We forget if Blue Apron was mentioned explicitly but those types of options were rejected because they had too much packaging.  We are not making this up.  Do they go to the grocery store to see what the packaging is when products arrive there?  Do they go to Blue Apron to see what packaging arrives there?  They probably don’t to package stores either.  Cost would be a much better way to evaluate efficiency.

There is a cock-up in Iowa results to the Democrat caucuses.  It appears that the Iowa Democrats created an app for that purpose and it didn’t work.  An app for results seems like a really bad idea given the concerns over hacking election results.  Now the Democrats will have to cheat the old fashion way.  We await to see the degree of resistance to Iowa results.  Even folks at CNN have jumped ship:

The caucuses are an embarrassment to the Democratic Party and the United States. This is no way to pick a nominee.

The latest headline at CNN is that Iowa Democrats promise a majority of the results soon.  These are happy days for The Donald.

Sheila Bair is trying to make the Republican Case for Elizabeth Warren at the WSJ.  She is trying to help her friend Liz.  It nice of the WSJ to encourage editorial diversity.  The sub headline says:

She has independence and integrity and is no socialist. She just wants the market to work for everyone.

We want to emphasize the second sentence in the sub headline.  First, Sheila calls it the Republican case rather than the conservative case.  We are not sure that a majority Republicans have ever been believers in the market but certainly in the age of The Donald it seems unlikely.  Sheila says:

Indeed, [Liz] is more market-oriented than the incumbent president, whose economic policies rely on near-trillion-dollar budget deficits, aggressive monetary policy, more tax loopholes, and government-managed trade.

For us capitalistic orphans we are not even sure of fidelity of a majority of conservatives to the market.  So we don’t know if Shiela is taking the right direction to convince Republicans.

Here is Sheila on Liz’s wealth tax:

A 2% tax on fortunes above $50 million and 6% on those above $1 billion won’t break a Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos, who can surely generate returns far in excess of those modest assessments. And by making it more expensive to stockpile wealth, the tax would give the rich an incentive to spend their money, which helps the economy.

Liz is not making the market work.  Do we really think that spending is better than investment.  We are not sure if Bill and Jeff can continue their investment success but why would we want to discourage our most successful investors to stop?  And, of course, Liz will need to build that wall to keep Bill and Jeff as US taxpayers.

Sheila doesn’t mention Liz’s proposals for the environment and fracking.  She is going to ban fracking “everywhere” on her first day as president.  To quote George Will, “Well.”  Support for the Green New Deal is second on Liz’s list of policies.  We agree with Sheila that there are some shortcomings to The Donald but Liz’s anti-market and crony capitalism proposals make The Donald look like Milton Friedman.  Sheila might find some Republicans to support Liz but if she did it would be for the wrong reasons.

There are lots of silly folks around like our friends, Iowa Democrats and Sheila and Liz.  The 2020 presidential Democrat primary and general election will be interesting.  Silly folks will assure us of that.

 

 

Climate And A Carbon Tax

We written less recently because all of the oxygen seems to go to discussions of impeachment that bore us to tears.  The good news is that we read more books and reviews will be coming shortly.  We needed something optimistic to start the political and economic juices flowing like the always interesting Holman W. Jenkins, jr. at the WSJ.  Of course, you should read the whole thing.  He is discussing the Australian wildfires when he says:

And yet the zeitgeist, I think, is changing (and I like to think this column played a role). “Denier” is getting a last go-round in Australia at the hands of some whose wrong-footedness is their most salient quality, but the term is increasingly recognized as a sleazy way to refer to people whose views are perfectly compatible with the lower-end estimates of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We hope Holman is right.  We are not convinced as we see the silliness of impeachment, the behavior of the folks seeking the Democrat nomination for president (especially their statements on climate change), and The Donald’s rhetoric as evidence that the zeitgeist is, at best, changing very slowly.

Later on Holman comes to agree with us on a modest carbon tax:

It may take five more years, but you probably won’t even notice the debate that eventually spawns a U.S. carbon tax. A carbon tax equivalent to 13 cents per gallon of gasoline would have let Republicans in 2017 realize their fondest tax-reform hopes.

Holman’s carbon tax of 13 cents is particularly modest as we would support a carbon tax almost 50 percent higher.  We support eliminating the federal gas tax (18.4 cents) and replacing with an equivalent tax on all carbon.   Taxing carbon should lead to a reduction in government support for non-carbon based energy sources.  That is, less crony capitalism.

Holman doesn’t explain why he picked it but his time frame of five years is interesting.  Five years would mean 2025 after The Donald has finished his second term.  We are not convinced that The Donald riding into the sunset will help change the zeitgeist but we hope Holman is right.

Details On Common Good Capitalism

Us capitalistic orphans are, as we discussed in a previous post, a small faction.  We are unwelcome among the Democrats and rarely a priority with the GOP.  Over the last forty years the GOP had capitalism as a goal although action was less regular.  Now that is changing as contenders for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination like Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley are disavowing capitalism.  Marco’s speech on what he calls Common Good Capitalism has been a lightening rod.  Some folks like it while others, including MWG, don’t.  In the last post we discussed the principle.  Today we take up Ramesh’s nine questions about Marco’s proposal.

First: Should government intervene in markets to advance the common good?

We have a hard time believing it but Ramesh seems to have made an article error. We wish we had a sidekick to confirm this because somebody at NRO should have noticed.  It would be like confusing a doctor with The Doctor.  Ramesh gives highways as an example of an indefinite common good.  We can debate if the government should build highways but that is not what Marco is talking about.  From Marco:

What we need to do is restore common-good capitalism – a system of free enterprise in which workers fulfill their obligation to work and enjoy the benefits of their work, and where businesses enjoy their right to make a profit and reinvest enough of those profits to create dignified work for Americans.  [Emphasis added.]

We don’t see why Marco is worried about reinvestment.  When money is distributed to stockholders it is not lost.  Those humans are unlikely to bury it in their backyard.  They will invest it or spend it.

Marco says The common good requires firms to reinvest profits to create dignified work for Americans. We have been a laurel picker (you don’t pick it when it is flowering), newspaper deliverer, egg collector, and live chicken handler as well as a professor  We are not sure if any of those jobs are dignified work.

We vote no on the first question.

Second: How badly has our economy been performing?

We think Ramesh’s answer is about right but we think he misses something although he gets at it in question four.

This question isn’t decisive: Even if the economy has enabled many blessings, it might be possible to undertake reforms that would yield more of them; and even if our performance has been as bad as Rubio suggests, it does not mean he is on the right track in fixing it. But an accurate assessment of the economy is necessary to get a sense of the scale and nature of our problems, and Rubio’s is too pessimistic.

What Ramesh misses is the title of Jonah’s article, Opponents of “Unfettered Capitalism” Are Fighting a Phantom.  We are, as Heritage says, a mostly free economy. The bigger question is what direction should we go.

Our answer is that the economy has done well in the long term and OK recently.  We think it is likely that The Donald’s more (nowhere near entirely) capitalistic approach has helped.

Third: How important is economic growth anyway?

We can answer this one by ourselves.  It is crucial.  It doesn’t fix all the problems but it provides the resources to fix them.

Fourth: To the extent the economy has been unsatisfactory, how many of our dissatisfactions are the result of trusting free markets too much?

This is related to the second question.  Our first answer is none.  It is possible that there is a specific exception but we would need evidence.

Fifth: Should companies be run for their shareholders?

Yes.  The fact that there is lots of evidence that shareholders worry about a variety of things doesn’t change this.  It is their choice.  They might be trying to con us or they might be trying to help.  It is still their shares.

Sixth: How should economic policies change to promote the common good better than they currently do?

Well, that and the related what is an economic policy, is the question.  Some Marco’s items like the child credit and timing Social Security benefits are transfer schemes. The economic impact is uncertain and perhaps none.  Writing off the cost of investment (we think they mean the cost of plant and equipment) immediately suggests that economic growth improves the common good.  Nurturing a domestic rare-earth (or any other) industry is a bad idea.

The problem is that defining the common good is troublesome.  Finding priorities within the common good is even more daunting.

Seventh: Assuming that in principle the federal government has a broad role in pursuing the common good, is it prudent to grant it that role?

No.  Ramesh notes that Kevin D. Williamson scorches Marco for his previous behavior on sugar quotas (Ramesh doesn’t offer a link so we won’t but scorch is a fair description).  Ramesh puts the problem for conservatives:

But notably absent from [Marco]’s speech is the notion that what we know about government should make us cautious and restrained with respect to government power.

If we agree with Marco in principle then all is lost? Perhaps.

Eighth: How many of our problems are economic to begin with?

We agree that there are economic aspects to problems like opioid abuse but these problems are not primarily economic.

Ninth: Is this really the future of the Republican party? Republican voters have never been the dogmatic free-market fundamentalists of caricature — which is why all those previous attempts to redefine the party were conceivable and sometimes partially successful.

We have included the sentence after the question because it summarizes our thoughts.    We know that we will be conservative orphans.  We have never controlled the GOP and it is unlikely that we ever will.  We doubt Marco will change his mind before 2024. We hope there is a market champion out there that we can support.  Otherwise we will confront the dilemma that led folks to decide Never Trump.  We haven’t gone Never Marco yet and we hope we don’t need to consider it.

 

Crony Capitalism As A Principle

It seems Ramesh Ponnuru was a Never Trump person.  He wrote an article back in 2016 entitled “Never Trump.”  It ends:

In the end, though, the most important reason to back a conservative third-party run if Trump gets the nomination is not to affect the outcome of the November elections. It’s to demonstrate that conservatism stands for something better than Trump. Which is also a reason to strive to keep him from getting the nomination in the first place. [Emphasis added]

Well, it is a muted trumpet but everyone has their own writing style.  Because of Ramesh’s history we were interested to read his take on Marco Rubio call for crony capitalism (called Common Good) at NRO titled “Common Ground on Common Good.

Sidebar: We didn’t see any reference to Never Trump in Common Ground.  We wonder if he has changed his mind against Never in general or Never Trump?  We don’t know but we are curious.  End Sidebar.

Ramesh sets up to play the peacemaker.  He reminds us (we already knew) that us capitalistic orphans (people with a priority for free markets, free trade, and rule of law) are really orphans.  The left hates us and the right tolerates us but, as Ramesh details, doesn’t take us seriously so we don’t have much of a choice and rarely get what we want.  The Donald is far from perfect on economics but he has exceeded our expectations by reducing corporate tax rates and easing regulations.

Ramesh is telling us that Marco is just a little worse than previous GOP presidential nominees.  He is looking to find a majority because capitalistic orphans are a small group.  There is also a chance that we orphans might convince Marco to be more sensible over time.  The 2024 nomination is a long way away.

We shall see if Marco moves in a sensible direction.  Currently, we are considering Never Marco because he is opposed to us in principle.  He is against capitalism and we are for it.  It is going to be hard to split the difference.

In 2016 we voted for The Donald in the general election because he was a dominant choice.  He had positions rather than principles.  We didn’t like his behavior or position on trade but we would say the same of his opponent.  We did like his positions on corporate taxes, regulation, and judges.  And after clearing away all the hyperbole, we were closer to him on immigration.  So, for us, voting for The Donald did not involve any soul searching.  Pulling the lever for Marco looks to be a problem.  We think, to paraphrase Ramesh, that conservatism stands for something much better than Marco’s proposed economic policies. Making a decision to vote for either Marco or Josh in the general will be a tough decision because we would rather have the Democrat make those mistakes.

Next time we will talk about Ramesh’s nine questions.

 

Warren’s Proposals

We have tried to ignore the silliness on the left with regards to energy with the Green New Deal and all of that.  It seems to us that those were dead ideas and that is a really good thing.  Now we see some of the worst of those ideas coming from a serious contender for the Democrat nomination for president.    We concur with Jay Nordlinger at the NRO Corner:

Early last month, Elizabeth Warren issued a tweet that sent a chill down my spine: “On my first day as president, I will sign an executive order that puts a total moratorium on all new fossil fuel leases for drilling offshore and on public lands. And I will ban fracking — everywhere.”

Jay goes on to discuss the impact of such ideas on the Saudis and our allies.  We”d like to discuss why seeing Elizabeth’s tweet sent a chill down our spine and it should send one down your spine too.  It makes us glad we are not on Twitter.

We would like to look at the two sentences individually.  In the first she has a method, executive order, and a goal, no NEW leases offshore or on public lands, that seems consistent with the method.  It is a really, really bad idea and it will probably be challenged in court but it might happen.  Mark Perry at Carpe Diem consistently covers the increase in US oil output and here is an example.  Our guess is that most of this output comes from private lands so Elizabeth is being foolish and engaging in some cronyism to help her friends and donors in “alternative energy” but she hasn’t proposed anything catastrophic.

Well, she hadn’t proposed anything catastrophic until the next sentence.  There are three terrifying parts of the second sentence.  First there is “everywhere.”  Perhaps “everywhere” is just a little political overstatement but we hope she doesn’t think she can ban it globally.  Second there is the unspecified process that will allow her to ban fracking.  Some folks have been worried by the authoritarian impulses of The Donald and the 44th president.  This would take the imperial presidency to a whole different level.  And worst of all there is the banning of fracking.  It is a disaster on many levels that it is impossible to create a comprehensive list but here are a few.  There is all the value generated by fracking.  There are all the folks and organizations that support fracking.  There are all the organizations, like manufacturing, that benefit from cheap energy.  There is the environmental impact of reduced CO2 from using cleaner natural gas.  There are the international problems for the US and our allies of being back under the control of Russia and the Middle East.

Sidebar: The Donald is often accused of being an agent of Russia despite his actions.  We think Elizabeth is just a fool but her behavior in banning fracking would support Russia’s most important goal, increasing the price of energy.  End Sidebar.

An executive order to forbid new energy from public lands is ordinary political stupidity like The Donald’s trade war.  Elizabeth has moved to a whole different level when she says she will ban fracking.  It is astonishing that people take her seriously.

Trade Among The States

We support free trade.  Everyone should but some folks think it is a problem to buy stuff from other countries.  It is not.  It makes us all richer.  People who oppose free trade, like The Donald, are pretty silly.  We had not, until today, found anyone who thought that trade among the states of the US was a problem.  That person is Dave Skoloda writing in the La Crosse Tribune.  Dave says and we are not making this up:

By one estimate, because we have to ship in almost all our fossil fuels, our energy deficit amounts to some $14.4 billion per year in the cost of importing coal and petroleum products.

That’s money that could benefit the state economy if power could come from in-state sources, according to a report by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, a UW-Madison-based think tank. Wisconsin has one of the worst energy deficits of all the states, according to the COWS report.

Eeekkk!  People in Wisconsin buy stuff from other states?  Of course it will not help the Wisconsin economy to pay extra for Wisconsin based energy.  An no, we should not care about our energy deficit or our avocado deficit or our cheese surplus.  We might have a frat sand surplus but that has controversy surrounding it. [Check the picture.  The chairperson doesn’t look like a Tiffany.]  Of course, you know what Dave wants to do.  He wants money and regulations from the state for his friends  It is crony capitalism although we are hard pressed to understand why folks use capitalism in the phrase to describe such behavior.  Dave says:

The growing evidence that renewable energy production makes economic and environmental sense begs the question why the Legislature doesn’t wake up and devote some energy to spurring the transition with such things as higher goals for renewables and incentives for electric cars.

If it made economic sense it wouldn’t require an act of the legislature to create it.  Dave wants to charge the citizens of Wisconsin more for less reliable energy and spend their tax dollars to benefit his friends.  We have a much better idea. Let’s sell sand (and milk etc.) to other states and buy their gas (and avocados etc).

Sidebar: Eeekk!  The avocados might come from Mexico rather than New Mexico.  We have no problem with Wisconsin prospering along with Mexico.  You may but surely you have no problem with Wisconsin and North Dakota prospering together.  Do you? We have rewritten many parts of this to make it way less sarcastic.  This is the best we can do on this topic.  End Sidebar.

Both states will be better off.  Dave has a really bad idea but to be fair it is even a worse rationale.  We need to think up a name for an award for ideas like Dave’s.