Speaking Monday at The Heritage Foundation for the final installment in his six-part series on understanding Trump and Trumpism, Gingrich described the president as “the new presidential”—delivering on what he said he would.
Support comes from those alarmed about trade deficits, those who want a “level playing field,” and those who call for “free trade but fair trade,” whatever that means.
Some American companies relocate in foreign lands because costs are lower and hence their profits are higher. Lower labor costs are not the only reason companies move to other countries.
Life Savers, a candy manufacturing company, was based in Holland, Michigan, for decades. In 2002, it moved to Montreal.
Trump’s making good on a promise to repeal 75 percent of federal regulations, including rolling back most of the $900 billion in regulations issued by agencies, like the Environmental Protection Agency, during the Obama years.
One provision in Trump’s order could have massive implications for the EPA—whose methodology for crafting regulations has come under fire in recent years—by standardizing the way different agencies measure the costs and benefits of new rules.
Trump ordered the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to issue guidances “standardizing the measurement and estimation of regulatory costs.” On top of that, OMB will control how agencies go about repealing two rules for every new one issued.
OMB will set “standards for determining what qualifies as new and offsetting regulations; standards for determining the costs of existing regulations that are considered for elimination; processes for accounting for costs in different fiscal years; methods to oversee the issuance of rules with costs offset by savings at different times or different agencies; and emergencies and other circumstances that might justify individual waivers of the requirements of this section.”
This is a big win for Republican lawmakers who had concerns Obama’s EPA was fudging the numbers to make regulations look more cost-effective than they would otherwise be.
Republicans have long criticized the EPA for counting “co-benefits” of regulation toward its cost effectiveness.
The cost of the EPA’s mercury rule for power plants, for example, outweigh the benefits by ratio of 1600-to-1 when looking at reductions in mercury emissions—the whole point of the rule.
But the EPA claimed the $10 billion mercury rule would yield between $37 billion to $90 billion in monetized health benefits a year. Virtually all of this comes from the “co-benefits” of reducing other pollutants, like fine particulate matter.
Republicans have argued counting “co-benefits” opens up the possibility of double-counting emissions reductions.
Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso accused the EPA of double-counting the co-benefits of reducing fine particulate matter in its Clean Power Plan rule to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
Barrasso cited a statement in the EPA’s draft regulatory analyses claiming “it is possible that some costs and benefits estimated in this RIA may account for the same air quality improvements as estimated in the illustrative [National Ambient Air Quality Standards] RIAs.”
The EPA says the Clean Power Plan will cost $8.4 billion per year in 2030 and yield public health and climate benefits of $34 billion to $54 billion per year—$14 billion to $34 billion of which come from reducing air pollutants that have nothing to do with global warming.
EPA officials, however, said they did not double-count any co-benefits.
Utah Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz asked the EPA why it massively inflated the estimate it uses for calculating its “Value of Statistical Life” (VSL) measure—the monetary value to every estimated life that would be saved by an agency rule.
The EPA has used different VSL estimates for different rules over the past decade without any apparent explanation.
“EPA’s use of VSL appears to have changed dramatically in recent years, at a rate well in excess of inflation and inconsistently with other agencies,” Chaffetz wrote in a 2015 letter to the agency. “Since 2000, other agencies have used a variety VSLs, including $3 million and $5 million.”
“For example, for EPA’s 2015 ozone regulation, EPA assessed at least $4.1 billion in benefits and $2.2 billion in costs using a VSL of $10 million in 2011 dollars for a life saved in 2020,” Chaffetz wrote. “Applying the Department of Transportation’s 2005 VSL proportionally to EPA’s analysis, the estimated benefits decline well under $2 billion, at which point the EPA’s own analysis would indicate the regulation was not worth pursuing.”
“The president-elect has been clear about the U.N.,” presidential transition team spokesman Sean Spicer told The Daily Signal Wednesday during a conference call with reporters. “We will demand reform and change to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
Spicer said that Trump’s designee for secretary of state, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, and pick for U.N. ambassador, Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., would both press the case.
A number of leaders and foreign policy experts also say the U.N. needs serious rethinking and reform.
Currently, only five of NATO’s 28 members—the U.S., Greece, Britain, Estonia, and Poland—meet the alliance’s target of spending at least 2 percent of their own gross domestic product on defense, a fact that is especially concerning, experts say, because of Russia’s aggressive behavior.
This growth is a pittance compared to the historic average of 3.3 percent.
Examining these numbers, and several other factors, it is clear that Obama and the mainstream media’s recent attempt to convince America that we have a thriving economy is farcical at best.
Over the last eight years, federal debt has nearly doubled, falling just short of $20 trillion.
Trump should issue such an executive order, and he should rescind former President Barack Obama’s executive actions on sexual orientation and gender identity that created many of these problems in the first place.
On Sunday, Iran “welcomed” President Donald Trump into office by conducting a medium-range ballistic missile test in defiance of United Nations Resolution 2231, which endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (i.e. the Iran nuclear deal) and lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.
Iran’s actions are destabilizing to the region and underscore the United States’ need for the development of a comprehensive ballistic missile defense system.
“This is a stolen seat,” Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said Monday of the vacancy Trump was about to fill. “This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat. We will use every lever in our power to stop this.”
Merkley was referring to President Barack Obama’s thwarted nomination of a U.S. appeals court judge, Merrick Garland, to fill the Supreme Court seat of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February.
Celebrating Human Action—Ludwig von Mises’s Masterpiece
By Robert Murphy
Let’s begin with the title itself, which I remember struck me as an odd choice for a book on economics. Yet Mises explains in the opening of his treatise that the narrow subject matter of technical economics is not a self-contained discipline. Instead, Mises argued that the subjectivist revolution ushered in by Carl Menger (as well as Léon Walras and William Stanley Jevons) required placing the study of market phenomena within the broader context of a study of purposeful human behavior, or what Mises simply called action. Here is how Mises explains this development in the social sciences:
We Need Free Enterprise in Banking
By Robert Murphy
Who’s the Bigger Witch Doctor? Gerald Friedman or Paul Krugman?
By Robert Murphy
Conflict has erupted among left-progressive economists over a study touting the alleged benefits of Bernie Sanders’s proposals. Specifically, the Sanders campaign was happily citing UMass at Amherst economist Gerald Friedman’s 53-page analysis (released on January 28) that projected the eccentric candidate would deliver amazing economic performance–especially for the middle class and poor–over the first ten years.
On February 17, former Council of Economic Advisor chairs for Democratic presidents (Laura D’Andrea Tyson, Christina Romer, Austan Goolsbee, and Alan Krueger) published an open letter to Prof. Friedman and the Sanders campaign, scolding them for their unsupportable promises. Here is a flavor of their upbraiding:
We are concerned to see the Sanders campaign citing extreme claims by Gerald Friedman about the effect of Senator Sanders’s economic plan—claims that cannot be supported by the economic evidence. Friedman asserts that your plan will have huge beneficial impacts on growth rates, income and employment that exceed even the most grandiose predictions by Republicans about the impact of their tax cut proposals.
As much as we wish it were so, no credible economic research supports economic impacts of these magnitudes. Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic. These claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.
Mises, Military, and Market
By Robert Murphy
September 29 is the birthday of Ludwig von Mises, one of the giants of the Austrian School of economics. In my book Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action, I distill the work of Mises as presented in his masterpiece, Human Action. Elsewhere I have summarized his contributions to economic science, so in the present post I will focus on a single topic where Mises fundamentally changed my own worldview: the military and the market.
Before I encountered Mises’s analysis, I was a young conservative/libertarian with a strong affinity for the free market. However, although I knew that (say) minimum wage laws wouldn’t really help unskilled workers, and that rent control laws weren’t effective ways to provide affordable housing, nonetheless I made a big exception for genuine emergencies like a world war. In particular, I was not confident in trusting “market forces” with resource allocation for a major undertaking such as fighting the Nazis. In this situation (so I thought), of course you would need a powerful federal government to override price signals and make sure enough steel, rubber, gasoline, etc. went into the war effort.
Trump’s Wall—an Attempt to Insult and Humiliate Mexicans
By Robert Higgs
Suppose the Canadians were to build a wall to keep Americans out of their country, making it clear that Americans are simply not decent, productive, peaceful people and therefore the fewer of them who enter Canada the better. Might Americans take justifiable offense at such treatment?
Why does anyone imagine that Mexicans feel any differently?
I spent more than a decade of my career largely engaged in studying the history and economics of U.S. racial differences and race relations. (See, for example, my book Competition and Coercion.)