Consumer Friendly

We’re bad with names so we forget who at NRO makes this point over and over again.  We’re pretty sure Mark Perry is on this case too.  We’re also late reading The National Review.  In the latest edition, Dan McLaughlin says [third paragraph], “Since 1978 the Republicans have built their economic message around tax cuts and business-friendly regulations …” [emphasis added]

Dan is right about tax cuts but absolutely wrong on the bold part.  The GOP’s message is about consumer or market friendly regulations.  Of course, the GOP is responsible or partially responsible for a number of business-friendly regulations like Dodd-Frank, tariffs, and many restrictions on economic freedom created by the federal government.  Those regulations are business-friendly because they protect existing businesses.  But the GOP message is about economic freedom which means consumer friendly or market friendly regulations like eliminating requirements for opening businesses.  The GOP is not perfect but its message is economic freedom.  That is the opposite of business friendly.

Punctuation

We can’t resist.  We saw a Nancy Pelosi tweet.

Too many Americans are struggling with a rigged economy. Democrats are committed to giving them [hashtag]

We think the correct punctuation moves the period:

Too many Americans are struggling with a rigged economy Democrats are committed to giving them.

Our excuse is that it was fun.  We doubt 2018 will be fun with the old, dismal Democrats versus grumbling GOP.  It is possible the choices in 2018 will be even less inspiring than the presidential ones in 2016.  The good news is that the stakes are lower without a president to elect.

 

Speaking Of Pro-Market

As we said recently, we are pro-market and the left is anti-market.  The Boston Globe has an example, Jeffrey D. Sachs:

Our current political travails can be traced to Reagan. In his jovial way, Reagan would quip, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” With his sneering disrespect for government, Reagan ushered in nearly four decades of tax cuts, deregulation, and rising inequality that now threaten to devour our future. Trump, Ryan, and McConnell are the scheming and vacuous politicians at the end of a long process of decline.

It would be hard to be jovial and at the same time have a sneering disrespect for government.  He did make some progress on tax cuts and deregulation (Jimmy Carter helped on deregulation) but much has been undone since he left.  Here is a recent example of the undoing.  We’re not sure about Trump but certainly Ryan and McConnell have been complicit in the regulating and taxing of the USA.

What is the left worried about an economic irrelevancy like income inequality?  Perhaps they see it as a path to power?  Envy is a common disease.  We need to fight for economic freedom and remind folks that absolute economic success is what we should pursue.  Eating the rich is not a useful way to accomplish that.

For example, in year one A earns $50,000 and B earns $50,000 and have no income inequality.  In year two A earns $100,000 and B earns $150,000 so there is income inequality as B has 60% of the income.  Both A and B should prefer year 2.

Economic freedom and the related economic growth are the solutions to our economic problems.  We need to use the effective tools like markets and see that the growth fairy lives.

 

 

Markets Versus Business

Veronique De Rugy returns to one of her favorite topics on The Corner at NRO: The difference between being pro-business and pro-markets:

It is unfortunate that so many Republicans, conservatives lawmakers, and pundits conflate being pro-market with being pro-business. These are two separate things. Unfortunately, this confusion has produced thousands of government handouts and privileges to companies in the name of being pro-business — and these companies have developed a sense of entitlement. Worst of all, for many of them, government-granted privileges are an inherent part of their business models.

Our view is that the confusion on the right is limited.  Most of the decisions to abandon economic freedom by the right are made with full knowledge.  Folks see the political advantage in giving up economic freedom.  It is too bad, for example, that Marco Rubio supports sugar subsidies but we believe he understands what he is doing even if he does not admit it.

Where the real problems come is in the debates between left and right.  It is in that comparison that we need to make the distinction between pro-markets and pro-business.  The left is usually pro-business for a limited set of business but are never (can anyone think of a counter example?) pro-markets.  The right always starts out as pro-markets but sometimes some of them ends up as pro-business based on status quo arguments.

We need to understand that the left is anti-markets and the right is pro-markets.  The pro-business stuff comes from different directions too.  The left wants to determine economic winners.  The right, sadly, wants to pick political winners.  Pro-freedom except for sugar (we exaggerate slightly) makes you a senator.  We can’t be content about that but we need to accept that it is currently true.  Economic conservatives, as with the health care bill, need to decide if they can accept some small portion of a loaf as an improvement.  The health care bill will be one of many difficult choices for economic conservatives in the near future.

Healthcare And Binary Choices

In our last post we were sucked in to the healthcare maelstrom.  Soon we will be down to a binary choice: The GOP proposal or the status quo.  But we are not there yet.  We would like to discuss George Will’s support of the Pat Toomey amendment.

First George talks about the critical need to rein in entitlements:

It required tenacity by Toomey to insert into the bill a gradually arriving, but meaningful, cap on the rate of growth of per-beneficiary Medicaid spending. It is requiring of Toomey and kindred spirits strenuous efforts to keep it there, which reveals the Republican party’s itch to slouch away from its uncomfortable but indispensable role as custodian of realism about arithmetic.

We agree 100% that entitlements including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security need to be brought under control.  We have no choice and it is easier to do it early rather than to wait.  Then he tells us what Pat did:

In the Senate draft, for eight years the growth of Medicaid spending would equal inflation in the health-care sector (somewhat more spending for the elderly and disabled). After eight years, Toomey’s measure would lower the growth rate of per-beneficiary spending to meet the normal measure of inflation — the basic consumer price index.

Color us much, much less excited.  It doesn’t say how this rate of growth reduction will happen.  It sounds to us like this is or will lead to price controls and revives George’s question of why do we need Republicans if this is the best they can do?

Still, it will eventually come down to a binary choice: GOP or the status quo on healthcare.  This attempt to reform healthcare might be better than the status quo and we might support it but we would prefer a process to limit entitlements.  An optimist might say that the process will follow the restriction.  George is being much more optimistic than usual.

Kimbrel Amazes

Whoops, I wrote this on a timely basis but it didn’t publish.

Craig Kimbrel is having an amazing season as the Red Sox closer.  He has converted 23 of 25 saves, has an ERA of 1.19, and a WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) of 0.50.  A WHIP of under 1.00 is very impressive but a half is off the charts.

Tonight against the Rays he was at his best.  He pitched one inning and threw eleven pitches.  Nine were strikes and he struck out all three batters.  Corey Dickerson managed a foul ball for strike two and Evan Longoria stuck out on a foul tip.  That was all they could manage.  He is averaging 1.8 strikeouts per inning.

Closers are rarely considered for the Cy Young award but if Craig keeps this up then he deserves serious consideration.  It also depends on how the starters do.  In the NL, Kershaw and Scherzer had a great first half.  In the AL only Chris Sale (11&4, 2.75 ERA and 0.90 WHIP), Craig’s teammate, is close having a starting season that would eliminate any closer.  Craig has a chance.

Baseball Oddities In Toronto

The Red Sox 15-1 victory at Toronto today had at least three oddities in it.

First, Fernando Abad got a save in the blowout.  Usually it has to be a close game but the save rules allow one when pitching three innings which Abad did.

Second, Glenn Sparkman had a bad day on the mound.  In his second appearance, his ERA went from zero to 63 by giving up seven hits to eight batters.  All seven runners scored an earned run.  He was not the only Blue Jay pitcher to give up seven runs in the game but it took Biagini five-and-a-third innings to do it.

Third, Mookie Betts, the Bosox lead-off hitter had eight RBIs.  We doubt that is a record but, it appears, according to MLB, to set a Sox record and tie an MLB record:

Betts became the first leadoff hitter in Red Sox history to amass eight RBIs, and the first in MLB since Ronnie Belliard for the Rockies in 2003. Only five players including Betts have accumulated eight RBIs while batting first.

The ninth place hitter had two RBIs making a total of ten for the first and ninth hitters.  Go Sox!