Joanne Butler | All Articles

Joanne Butler
Joanne Butler
Former Staffer, House Ways and Means Committee
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      Joanne Butler

      Joanne Butler is a senior economics fellow at the Caesar Rodney Institute of Delaware. You can email her at [email protected]

Speaking The Truth About The Economic ‘Recovery’

A security guard walks in front of an image of the Federal Reserve following the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting in Washington, DC, U.S. on March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo - RTSOOZF

Finally, a Federal Reserve official has spoken out on the so-called recovery in the American economy.  He’s Eric S. Rosengren, the president of the Boston Federal Reserve Bank.  [The Fed has its headquarters in D.C. and regional banks that provide input to the Fed’s monetary policy.]  Rosengren is known as a maverick by Fed-watchers, and his remarks delivered today in Boston confirm this.

Hillary’s Greek Tragedy

3:00 PM 10/10/2016

Last night was a 2016-style Greek Tragedy for Hillary Clinton.  The women who claim Bill Clinton abused them and Hillary mocked them were watching, their eyes on Herself.  Yes, they were a silent chorus, but their message was clear:  your husband physically hurt us and YOU did worse than nothing – you and your toadies smeared us as being less than human.  For the first time in her life, Hillary had to look at the people her husband had harmed – and see them as human beings, not ‘bimbos,’ ‘trailer park trash,’ etc. Even if Hillary wins in November, I think she lost the respect of many Americans last night.

EPA Makes Excessive Rules, Plants Close, Jobs Move Away

11:36 AM 09/26/2016

Last June, I wrote about how Obama’s EPA was driving stained glass makers out of business.  The EPA’s diktat forced firms to install expensive equipment to limit cadmium emissions – without bothering to inspect each firm’s emissions situation. Apparently the EPA found it easier to declare all firms guilty and not bother with inspections. But I did get something wrong in June when I predicted production would move to China.  Mexico, not China is the winner for now.

HRC & JFK: Candidates With Medical Cover-Ups

11:53 AM 09/14/2016

The buzz over Hillary Clinton’s medical condition reminded me of how John F. Kennedy’s campaign successfully covered up his serious adrenal problems – and continued to do so even after his assassination in 1963.  JFK’s situation was serious, as according to the National Institutes of Health, adrenal hormones “regulat[e] blood pressure; metabolism, the way the body uses digested food for energy; and the body’s response to stress.” Severe ‘adrenal insufficiency’ can be fatal.

Soldiers, Seniors, And Trade

6:22 PM 09/09/2016

Donald Trump has announced that one of his priorities will be a military buildup – spending more money on the defense sector.  Does he realize how that buildup will further subsidize our trading partners, who benefit from needing to spend less on their defense when Uncle Sam picks up the tab?  Plus there’s the senior issue:  people wonder if Social Security will go broke, yet billions of dollars are available for the military and defense contractors.  I wonder when seniors, who have worked a lifetime for their benefits, will ask why they’re being shoved at the back of the line when it comes to national priorities?

A Mitch Daniels Presidency

3:57 PM 09/02/2016

What a difference four years can make. In 2012, then-Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels considered running for President, but was scorched over his comments that Republicans needed to have a ‘truce’ on social issues – to have more focus on fiscal ones. At the 2016 GOP national convention, a gay man gave a speech and received a standing ovation. Four years ago, some questioned Daniels’ marital situation; his wife had left him, married another man, divorced him and returned to Daniels. Today, we have a GOP presidential candidate who’s been divorced twice and married thrice. In sum, Donald Trump has made the GOP world safe for a future Mitch Daniels candidacy.

Mr. Trump: We Need A Modest, Growth-Focused Fed Chair

12:06 PM 08/26/2016

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.

Obamacare’s Slow-Motion Car Crash That Everyone Saw Coming

11:23 AM 08/17/2016

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.

2016: Two Nixons, One Election

3:49 PM 07/13/2016

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.

Why Trump Is Right On Trade

3:23 PM 07/01/2016

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.

Are Brexit Voters Lying To Pollsters?

3:40 PM 06/20/2016

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.

The Obama Administration’s War On Stained Glass

10:58 AM 06/06/2016

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. 

Lessons For Trump From General Patton

3:21 PM 05/04/2016

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.

A New Culture For U.S. Trade Negotiations

9:45 AM 04/26/2016

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?

How Would Hillary Govern?

10:45 AM 04/21/2016

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.

Disability Benefits As An Economic Escape Hatch

12:23 PM 04/04/2016

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 Give It Up And Go Back To Virginia

11:43 AM 01/14/2016

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.

Two Paul Ryans, One Speakership

5:18 PM 10/20/2015

As Paul Ryan edges closer to his House speakership decision, which half of his personality will come out? The controller or the corporatist?