While the media-driven scandals du jour roll on, President Trump quietly goes about reshaping the U.S. economy. Case in point: Last week, Trump directed the EPA to cut even more red tape for manufacturers. And he’s not done yet.
The idea is not to get rid of air quality standards, but to make sure that the science behind them is transparent and reliable — and not just part of someone’s political agenda, as has often been the case in the past.
The White House says that U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards constitute “outdated and unnecessary barriers to growth.” Under the new standards, EPA will process state-submitted plans within 18 months, for instance, giving regulated industries a clearer idea of what they can and can’t do, quickly. And the permitting process for individual projects will eventually be limited to a year. Continue reading
Today Americans for Tax Reform, along with a number of center-right organizations, sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives in support of the Music Modernization Act, which will update copyright law benefiting America’s creative community.
The Music Modernization act ensures that music creators get paid for their work, and makes it easier for streaming services to find and compensate artists. The Act will also create protections for sound recordings that were made before 1972 that currently do not have federal copyright protection. This helps the creators of these works receive long overdue royalties.
Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced the Music Modernization Act in December. The Bill is pending in the House Committee on the Judiciary. Continue reading
By Mona Charen • National Review
When 450 students arrived at Anacostia High School in the District of Columbia’s southeast neighborhood on April 4, they found that few of the sinks or toilets were functioning and the cafeteria was flooded. They were advised by the Department of General Services to use the facilities at a middle school two blocks away until repairs could be completed.
Exasperated teachers organized an impromptu, hour-long walkout to protest, which is why this particular dysfunction made the news. A casual reader might note the plumbing fiasco and chalk it up to neglect of poor students and poor neighborhoods. That is the interpretation urged by D.C. Council member Trayon White, Sr. who attended the walkout and declared that, “The students and teachers need support from the leaders of the city because of the constant neglect happening at Anacostia.”
But it’s far from so simple. The District of Columbia has one of the worst-performing public-school systems in the country. It is also one of the most generously funded. Anacostia High School itself received a $63 million renovation in 2013. According to the Department of General Services website, the project included “Full modernization and renovation of the existing high school using an adaptive re-use approach. Continue reading
by Stephen Moore • Investor’s Business Daily
Is it possible that Donald Trump is winning on trade?
Last week, Trump apparently delivered two underappreciated victories as a result of his threat of stiff tariffs and renegotiated trade deals.
First, Seoul has agreed to reduce long-standing non-tariff trade barriers that have reduced American exports to Korea. Though the details are still sketchy, the Koreans have agreed to buy more Ford and General Motors Co. cars and trucks and other U.S.-made products. This can only be good news for American workers. The Koreans have also agreed to increase reimbursement rates to American drug and vaccine producers.
Even The New York Times grudgingly conceded that the deal “represents the type of one-on-one agreement that Mr. Trump says makes the best sense for American companies and workers.”
Also in recent days, China appeared to stand down in response to Trump’s jarring announcement of a record $50 billion of tariffs on Chinese products. Premier Li Keqiang pledged to improve American companies’ access to Chinese markets. He also said in a news conference that China would treat foreign and domestic firms equally. And what’s more, Beijing has promised that it would stop forcing foreign firms to transfer technology to China and would strengthen intellectual property rights enforcement. That was a smart and encouraging response. Continue reading
We keep hearing about how short-term health plans are “junk insurance.” Really? Compared to ObamaCare’s high-deductible HMOs, or Medicaid’s long and often deadly waits?
A new study finds that at least 21,900 people on Medicaid have died waiting for treatment in states that expanded Medicaid eligibility under ObamaCare.
The reason, the Foundation for Government Accountability report says, is that ObamaCare opened Medicaid up to millions of able-bodied non-poor adults. That created a surge in demand for scarce Medicaid resources, forcing the poor to wait longer for services.
An insurance plan that you can’t use? That’s junk insurance. Continue reading
By Jibran Khan • National Review
Numerous jurisdictions are suing energy companies. Not for fraud or white-collar crime, but for the effects of climate change.
Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York, recently added his city to the list — and also started to divest the city’s pension funds from fossil-fuel companies. But the phenomenon is primarily a California-centric one. In an address at SXSW earlier this month, even Arnold Schwarzenegger joined the fray.
Presumably, this will soon be a cause célèbre. But it is unlikely to succeed, and lawsuits are a poor way to address the environmental harms of energy production anyhow.
As David Bookbinder at the Niskanen Center notes, while all of the complaints are grounded in the energy companies’ alleged accountability for rising sea levels, they fall into two essential categories. Continue reading
Chicago recently started taxing users of increasingly popular ride-sharing services so it could spend more on its increasingly unpopular mass transit rail service. This sort of thinking only makes sense to government officials.
When app-based ride sharing services Uber and Lyft started to catch on, cities thought they posed a dire threat to their local monopoly taxi services and tried to thwart them. But while ride sharing did cut into taxi ridership, it is also having a big impact on mass transit.
In Chicago, for example, ridership fell almost 4% in 2016 and another 3.5% last year. Ridership on weekends has plunged even further.
New York’s subway system lost ridership in each of the past two years, something that is virtually unprecedented in the city.
In Washington, D.C., ridership on its buses and subway system was down 12% in February, compared with two years ago. And in Boston, ridership dropped 3.3% from 2015 to 2017. Continue reading
Some Republicans were complaining that they didn’t know what was in the massive $1.3 trillion “omnibus” spending bill they voted on this week. But it’s what’s not in the bill that’s the most troubling.
Republicans used to love to trot around copies of ObamaCare, pointing out how its massive size — around 2,300 pages — was a sign of runaway government.
The spending bill Congress just approved is nearly as big, weighing in at 2,232 pages. And, like ObamaCare, no one who voted on it had read the bill before casting their ballots.
Then there’s the amount of money we’re talking about. That $1.3 trillion is what will be spent in just the next six months. And that represents just a fraction of what the government will spend, since it doesn’t include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare or welfare. Continue reading
Thanks to a revived economy spinning out jobs, the number of people on food stamps dropped by 2 million people last year, according to a new report. That’s great news, both for those who are leaving food stamps and for taxpayers. And more can — and should — be done.
Those who get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits declined from 44.219 million in 2016 to 42.182 million by the end of last year, a drop of just over 2 million or about 4.6% in one year, the Washington Free Beacon reports. In a back of the envelope calculation, the Beacon estimates the decline will save U.S. taxpayers around $3 billion a year.
This is a good start, the result more than anything of good economic policies such as tax cuts and deregulation that make it easier for businesses to hire and for those using welfare services to go back to work. No question, we have economic tailwinds at our back. With this, comes the possibility of bigger, structural reforms to welfare. “Ending welfare as we know it,” as it used to be called. Continue reading
Brian Ellis • Investor’s Business Daily
Employers have until Thursday to implement new tax withholding guidelines, which determine how much they withhold from pay for federal taxes.
Fortunately for many Americans, job creators are already seeing lower rates and distributing larger paychecks. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin estimates more than 90% of working Americans will see greater take-home pay because of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s new withholding guidelines.
It’s further proof that tax cuts are working for the middle class. To date, more than 330 U.S. employers have publicly announced tax-induced wage hikes, 401(k) increases, and generous bonuses. While Apple and Wal-Mart grab the headlines, many beneficiaries of the Republican tax bill are small businesses, which account for two-thirds of new jobs in the country.
Missouri-based Dynamic Fastener, a construction hardware supplier, is rewarding employees with bonuses of up to $1,000, while also opening a paint shop, buying new equipment and Continue reading
By Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The Treasury Department plans to eliminate nearly 300 outdated tax regulations, getting tax rules off the books that in some cases have not applied since the 1940s.
The department announced its proposal to eliminate unnecessary tax regulations this week, in compliance with two executive orders signed by President Donald Trump last year to reduce regulatory burdens and simplify the tax code.
“We continue our work to ensure that our tax regulatory system promotes economic growth,” said Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “These 298 regulations serve no useful purpose to taxpayers and we have proposed eliminating them.”
“I look forward to continuing to build on our efforts to make the regulatory system more efficient and effective,” he said. Continue reading
By Tripp Mickle • Wall Street Journal
Apple Inc. AAPL 1.65% said it would pay a one-time tax of $38 billion on its overseas cash holdings and ramp up spending in the U.S., as it seeks to emphasize its contributions to the American economy after years of taking criticism for outsourcing manufacturing to China.
The world’s most valuable publicly traded company laid out its plans Wednesday in a statement that was full of big-dollar figures, though it said that much of the money reflected Apple’s current pace of spending.
Apple said it would invest $30 billion in capital spending in the U.S. over five years that would create more than 20,000 jobs. The total includes a new campus, which initially will house technical support for customers, and $10 billion toward data centers across the country. It also will expand from $1 billion to $5 billion a fund it established last year for investing in advanced manufacturing in the U.S.
All told, Apple said it would directly contribute $350 billion to the U.S. economy over the next five years, with the bulk—about $55 billion this year, for example—coming from ongoing spending on parts and services from U.S. suppliers. That number also includes the federal tax payment and capital spending.
By Daily Caller•
With tax reform now in the rear view mirror on President Donald Trump’s list of priorities, it is clear now that he has another mishandled federal issue in his sights – the U.S. Postal Service. In a tweet posted just before the New Year, the President asks why the USPS is, “charging Amazon and others so little to deliver packages, making Amazon richer and Post Office dumber and poorer?”
This consternation refers to an analysis conducted by CitiGroup, which found that Amazon deliveries received an astounding average subsidy of $1.46 per package. Multiply this giveaway by hundreds of millions of packages that are captured by the secretive deal (known as a Negotiated Service Agreement) and it appears that USPS’ package losses surely are tremendous.
Even worse, Amazon may also be causing the integrity of USPS to deteriorate. In fact, reports from California, Utah and Georgia indicate that the Postal Service has been falsifying Amazon package deliveries. Continue reading
A record-setting stock market is just one of the big effects Trump's policies are having.
By US News•
The supposedly smart people said Donald Trump would destroy the U.S. economy if he were elected president.
They were wrong. On Thursday, the Dow broke 25,000 for the first time in its history – a meaningful expression of investor confidence in the future. Trump’s policies of deregulation, which have been moving ahead at full steam even before the tax cut bill passed just before Christmas, have helped push the stock market up by a third which, economist Arthur Laffer estimates, works about to about a $6 trillion increase in the nation’s net wealth.
That may not be historic – there may be periods in which wealth has increased at a faster rate – but it sure is impressive. Especially since the same smart people who’ve been telling us Trump would wreck the economy spent the Obama years explaining annual growth at less than 3 percent (and likely closer to 2) was the new normal.
It’s still a little early to proclaim “happy days are here again” but, as the Magic 8 Ball puts it, “all signs point to ‘Yes'” as far as whether there will be a period of protracted economic growth. That Continue reading
By Binyamen Appelbaum and Jim Tankersly • New York Times
WASHINGTON — A wave of optimism has swept over American business
leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new
plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs
job creation — and may finally raise wages significantly.
While business leaders are eager for the tax cuts that take effect this year,
the newfound confidence was initially inspired by the Trump administration’s
regulatory pullback, not so much because deregulation is saving companies
money but because the administration has instilled a faith in business
executives that new regulations are not coming.
“It’s an overall sense that you’re not going to face any new regulatory
fights,” said Granger MacDonald, a home builder in Kerrville, Tex. “We’re not
spending more, which is the main thing. We’re not seeing any savings, but
we’re not seeing any increases.”
The applause from top executives has been largely reserved for the
administration’s economic policy agenda. Many chief executives have been
publicly critical of President Trump’s approach to social and cultural issues,