This morning, the Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, Janet Yellen, is giving a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she will make a pronouncement on whether the Fed will raise interest rates. Ms. Yellen has a quiet demeanor and looks like a moderately stylish grandmother. But the financial media are covering this event as if Yellen is a rock star.
Joanne Butler | All Articles
Aetna announced this week how it’s drastically scaling back participation in Obamacare – just like big insurers Humana and United Health have done. Aetna’s reasons are the usual ones: not enough healthy people signing up, not enough subsidies, and not able to raise rates to cover their losses. Aetna, Humana, United Health and others have made a sound economic decision that Obamacare is not a right fit for their firms. What puzzles me is how they couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see this train wreck coming from the beginning.
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are using Richard Nixon’s 1968 campaign playbook, but they’re reading different chapters. In my opinion, it’s Hillary who’s more Nixonian than the Donald.
Donald Trump’s trade speech this week was an eye-opener for me. It was the first time a politician spoke realistically about trade policy, instead of the globalist nostrums we’ve heard from both parties for decades. Plus: he spoke knowledgeably about using enforcement tools that are already available under U.S. law – tools that, frankly, administrations of both parties have avoided using.
Weekend polling in the United Kingdom has indicated a rise in favor of remaining in the E.U., after last week’s assassination of a ‘Remain’ supporting Member of Parliament by a man with neo-Nazi ties. But the ‘Remain’ faction should not count on a victory over the ‘Leave’ side on Thursday. If they do, they are forgetting how people lie to pollsters when telling the truth is uncomfortable.
Recently, artists were shocked to learn about the upcoming closure of Spectrum, a small business north of Seattle – because for 40 years it’s been a major supplier and exporter of stained glass. Spectrum found it was unable to comply with new diktats from Obama’s EPA while simultaneously coping with a sluggish economy. As a result, 124 workers will lose their jobs when Spectrum closes its doors in July.
When Donald Trump invoked General George S. Patton, Jr. yesterday as a sidebar in his attack on Hillary’s fitness for the Presidency, he was right on the mark, even if he didn’t realize it. When Trump said generals ought not to talk to the media, Patton was the perfect example. Patton’s brilliance in the European theatre in World War II was dimmed by his tic of blabbing to the press. But there are other lessons Patton can teach Trump – especially when it comes to dealing with Mexico.
Trade is a big topic in this election cycle, but I wonder if the trade negotiation process will change when the shouting’s over. Inside-the-Beltway people are used to their old ways. As the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is within the Executive Office of the President, it will be up to the new President to change the negotiation culture. Culture change is hard work: will they have the focus and determination to do it?
After her big win in the New York primary, some are musing on Hillary’s governing style if she became president. My one sentence analysis: she’s the high priestess of the power of experts.
Friday's positive jobs report for March 2016 has some liberals scratching their heads, wondering why voters are so angry. Part of the answer is: the jobs number looks better than it should, as so many people have exited the workforce completely – shrinking the pool of available workers. For example, according to Social Security’s statistics, from January 2012 through last month, about 5.7 million people were awarded Social Security disability benefits.
Rick Santorum needs to enter a 12-step program for those who are addicted to running for president – could someone please start one now? How he can flit around Iowa and tell folks with a straight face that he’ll be the nominee? But I can guess why he does it: he’s still sore over Senate loss ten years ago.
Wednesday’s terrorist attack in San Bernardino prompted the usual reactions: more gun control versus more guns carried by citizens. It’s time we looked at different answers – from the United Kingdom.
As Paul Ryan edges closer to his House speakership decision, which half of his personality will come out? The controller or the corporatist?
As the ink dries on the Trans-Pacific-Partnership (TPP) deal, some U.S. winners and losers are beginning to emerge. U.S. workers in sugar-utilizing industries: sorry, you lose. U.S. sugar producers: you win. The reason: while the United States made concessions in other areas, America’s protectionist system for sugar suffered only minor tweaks. Plus, Marco Rubio likely is very pleased with the sugar deal – will it effect his election chances?
With the many “pre-eulogies” of President Jimmy Carter, here’s mine: he actually deregulated a major sector of the U.S. economy. Yes, Carter did create the Energy Department, cobbling a bunch of energy-related agencies together (similar to George W. Bush’s creation of the Department of Homeland Security). But Carter’s deregulation of the transportation sector remains significant and historic, but unlikely to be noted by the mainstream media at the last.
As President Obama’s trade bill limps to a vote in the House, some conservatives are upset at how House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has used many pivots and head-fakes to get votes for an Obama trade deal that many members haven’t read (it’s locked in a secret room in the Capitol). Amazingly, Ryan unwittingly echoed Nancy Pelosi when he admitted yesterday that the secret deal would be made public after it was passed.
Now that candidate announcement season is fully upon us, a question hangs in the air. Could these people actually govern the behemoth of the federal government? Governing has nothing to do with artful stage backdrops and speechifying. But it has everything to do with success; if a president can’t get his or her policies implemented properly and timely, he or she is a failure. Thus I pose this challenge to the Republican candidates and those in waiting: can you obtain a list of Obama appointees who have ‘burrowed in’ and are now career civil servants?
As it’s National School Choice Week, I wanted to see how Republican presidential hopefuls measure up on their actions to increase school choice (versus just talking about it). My specific focus: how charter schools are faring in their home states. Some states are doing well, others are muddling through, and still others are failing. (You can view a state-by-state matchup on charter schools here).
Last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris brought back the disturbing memory of an attack in D.C., by a sect of Black Muslims on several institutions, including B’nai Brith’s headquarters and D.C.’s City Hall. The disturbance was prompted in part by anger over a film about Mohammed. A city councilman caught a stray shot, which may have helped in his campaign for mayor a year later. The councilman was Marion Berry, and the year 1977.