Veronique de Rugy from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 23 Jun 2018 00:47:13 -0700 Veronique de Rugy from Creators Syndicate b492a0116f2b47541a20de5a84463dc6 Eliminate, Don't Expand, Electric Vehicle Credit for 06/21/2018 Thu, 21 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For manufacturers of electric vehicles, you might expect the accomplishment of moving their 200,000th unit to be met by celebration. However, because the threshold triggers the reduction of a juicy federal handout that props up electric vehicle sales, we're getting hand-wringing instead. There's even a push to expand the giveaway and keep taxpayers on the hook in perpetuity.</p> <p>The $7,500 tax credit applies to the first 200,000 electric vehicles sold per manufacturer &#8212; a threshold both Tesla and General Motors are about to hit &#8212; at which point it is then phased out over the course of the subsequent year. The tax credit, along with many other renewable-energy inducements and incentives, unfortunately survived last year's tax reform. But that's not enough for its beneficiaries.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 21, 2018</p> 5cb0c079e126b3043783c105533893f3 It's Time to Tame Trump's Tariff Temper Tantrums for 06/14/2018 Thu, 14 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Another week, another bumbling trade declaration from President Donald Trump. After a very confrontational G-7 meeting, he threatened to cut all member countries &#8212; Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom &#8212; off from the U.S. market if they don't reduce their tariffs on American exports. He told the press,?"It's going to stop, or we'll stop trading with them."</p> <p>As a reminder, this whole drama started when President Trump imposed stiff steel and aluminum tariffs on everyone, including our closest trading partners, friends and security allies. Adding insult to injury, he argued that imports from these friendly countries are a security threat to the United States, even though the Department of Defense said they are not.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 14, 2018</p> c0a0ef842a556f39da3992cba8d99457 Jumping From the Free Trade Ship to the Protectionist Fair Trade Ship for 06/07/2018 Thu, 07 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Are there any free market principles Republicans won't abandon at the altar of political expediency? They certainly have long stopped standing up for fiscal responsibility, and though they held on to their free trade principles for some time and seemed to understand that trade "remedies" (such as tariffs) mostly hurt the American people rather than foreign exporters, that didn't last long after Donald Trump took office. It's astonishing what the Trump presidency has done to the GOP's position on trade.</p> <p>But really, this all started during the presidential campaign, when Trump's constant railing against trade and trade agreements seemed to prod other Republican candidates, such as Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, to talk about "fair" trade (protectionism) as opposed to "free" trade.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 07, 2018</p> 8401105d1a63835bddf17be39202cae6 Air Travel Protectionists' Wings Clipped by Open Skies Agreements for 05/31/2018 Thu, 31 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Though competition is great for consumers &#8212; as they get more and better goods and services for less money &#8212; some companies dislike the constant pressure it creates for them to stay ahead. When that's the case, it's no surprise when they call on the government to squash annoying competitors. Case in point: the big three U.S. airlines' attempts to limit the pressure by Persian Gulf carriers on their price and quality. Apparently, flying the friendly sky is all about U.S. airlines making money on the backs of their captive consumers.</p> <p>This all started when Delta, American and United hatched a big plan to limit flights to the United States by the airline Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. The intent was to eliminate options for American consumers. Delta, the anti-competition gang leader, hoped to limit the foreign airlines' ability to offer lower prices, as well.<p>Updated: Thu May 31, 2018</p> 6bd4fbc54f8daa2f716c6671d920e0ce Are Health Officials Strangling the Lesser of Two Evils for the Benefit of the Greater? for 05/24/2018 Thu, 24 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Tobacco kills 480,000 people a year in the United States. Yet when an innovative alternative that delivers nicotine and eliminates 95 percent of the harm of smoking is available, the wary Food and Drug Administration fails to embrace this revolutionary lifesaving technology. All in the name of the children, of course.</p> <p>Using e-cigarettes, known as vaping, has been around long enough for respected health authorities to conclude after many studies that it is eminently safer than smoking cigarettes. Britain's Royal College of Physicians called any attempts by public officials to discourage smokers from switching to vaping "unjust, irrational and immoral."<p>Updated: Thu May 24, 2018</p> 7ac54187052cec9ecd238d8b13cccec0 The Seattle Head Tax Is Idiotic for 05/17/2018 Thu, 17 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The tyranny of local government was on full display this week. The culprits are some greedy members of the Seattle City Council. Backed by their union friends, they just voted to impose a "head tax" on large employers, such as Amazon and Starbucks. The real victims, of course, will be the companies' employees.</p> <p>Thanks to Seattle's many thriving businesses, its revenue base has been growing much faster than its population. Unfortunately, the City Council is doing what it does best and, rather than look into streamlining and cutting its ineffective spending programs in order to combat Seattle's homeless problem, is looking for fresh cash. Seeing as large companies have it, the council set out to take it.<p>Updated: Thu May 17, 2018</p> 4c9d6c4adbea75657739db19b7dcf4a0 Taming the Tyranny of the Agency for 05/10/2018 Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The tyranny of the administrative state is real and hard to tame. Americans would be horrified if they knew how much power thousands of unelected bureaucrats employed by federal agencies wield. These members of the "government within the government," as The New York Times' John Tierney describes them, produce one freedom-restricting, economy-hindering rule after another without much oversight. These rules take many forms, and few even realize they're in the making &#8212; until, that is, they hit you square in the face.</p> <p>Take the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's rule that effectively banned car dealers from giving auto loan discounts to customers on the claim that they might lead to racial discrimination (a dubious conclusion reached using flawed statistical models). Dodd-Frank, the legislation that created the CFPB, prohibited it from regulating auto dealers &#8212; so the CFPB quietly put out a "guidance" document to circumvent due process and congressional oversight.<p>Updated: Thu May 10, 2018</p> 2087f6dac1f52c96f8890afc4158e777 Is Ethanol Cronyism on the Ropes? for 05/03/2018 Thu, 03 May 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>While then-candidate Donald Trump did participate in the usual campaign ritual of bending knee to Iowa farmers with a promise to protect the renewable fuel standard, there was reason to hope his pledge to drain the swamp would extend to ending or reforming the beleaguered mandate that requires most gasoline to be blended with ethanol. After all, the once seemingly unstoppable political clout of Iowa's agricultural interests was notably weakened when Ted Cruz defied convention by openly opposing the renewable fuel standard and won the Republican Iowa caucuses anyway.</p> <p>Perhaps Hawkeye State voters are no longer as into cronyism as the cronies and their representatives, which fuels hope that Trump may yet push for RFS reform.<p>Updated: Thu May 03, 2018</p> db65c6e066475470e6ed2c77c5da7461 Kelo's Demolished 'Little Pink House' Stands as a Monument to Injustice for 04/26/2018 Thu, 26 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The United States is supposed to be the "land of the free," a country where individualism and private property are sacrosanct. Yet it's difficult to maintain this belief while watching Courtney Moorehead Balaker's newly released movie, "Little Pink House."</p> <p>The film portrays the real-life story of the determined families who fought to protect their homes in New London, Connecticut, during and after city officials' shameful attempts to evict them starting in 1998. Shockingly, in 2005, it was the Supreme Court that inflicted the ultimate defeat to the homeowners, who lost everything in the process.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 26, 2018</p> 44462a79e9ec451591d888548fdc7bb8 Are the Supremes Ready to Rule on Online Sales Taxes (Again)? for 04/19/2018 Thu, 19 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>If you think internet companies aren't paying any taxes for online sales and that's killing bricks-and-mortar retailers and states' budgets, you, my friend, have been duped. Nothing could be further from the truth. The internet isn't a tax-free zone, nor is the lack of revenue the issue with state budgets. There is, however, a battle about whether state and local governments should be allowed to collect taxes from out-of-state companies.</p> <p>A 1992 Supreme Court decision (Quill Corp. v. North Dakota) reaffirmed a previous decision that a business must have a significant presence in a state before that state can require it to collect sales taxes. That means a mother selling handcrafted goods on Etsy doesn't have to collect sales taxes from her consumers unless they are physically located in her state. However, Amazon collects sales taxes from customers in all 45 states that have a statewide sales tax because of its vast distribution network.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 19, 2018</p> f2e65e87d311bb8861aacffea5a6e92e To Infinity and Beyond: Are Trillion-Dollar Deficits the New Norm? for 04/12/2018 Thu, 12 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Trillion-dollar deficits are coming back faster than originally projected. Though it's fair to complain about the impact of the recently enacted tax cuts on our red ink, the ultimate culprits for our upcoming debt crisis are lawmakers who continually refuse to reform entitlement programs.</p> <p>Consider the numbers. According to the Congressional Budget Office's newly released report titled "The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2018 to 2028," the U.S. deficit will reach $1 trillion by next year. That's three years sooner than projected last year. This year's deficit projection was also revised, increased to $804 billion, or about $300 billion more than projected last year. By 2028, the deficit will be north of $1.5 trillion. Ouch.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 12, 2018</p> df60f90d495d13f8ef1f030743a1283a Trump's Tit-for-Tat Trade Policy Could Leave the Economy in Tatters for 04/05/2018 Thu, 05 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet that "trade wars are good, and easy to win." Unfortunately, the Chinese government's swift response to his administration's decision to impose tariffs on 1,300 Chinese goods with its own set of tariffs on U.S. goods sent to China tells us that his claim may be put to the test sooner than we think. The reality, I'm afraid, is that trade wars are always costly, and the pain is magnified when trade wars are waged against authoritarian regimes, such as the one in China.</p> <p>Tariffs imposed by any government are, first and foremost, penalties on its own citizens who buy imports (or import-competing domestic goods, whose producers can then freely raise their prices to just under the new price levels set by the import tax). President Trump's tariffs are therefore penalties imposed on Americans. Yes, some Chinese companies will suffer from the imposition of these import taxes. But make no mistake; this policy set by Uncle Sam will force Americans to pay higher prices for goods they choose to buy, and it will also cost American jobs.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 05, 2018</p> ea6a6095bde87c7ef337a2d2d4d076d8 Not Even Confession Is Good for the Soul of the Steel Industry for 03/29/2018 Thu, 29 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In light of President Donald Trump's announcement of new tariffs for China, I thought I'd share one thing I've learned this year about those who believe in protectionism. Don't be fooled; even though they claim that America benefits from protectionist policies, many of them know that those policies hurt us all. Occasionally, they even admit it in public.</p> <p>Here's a recent example. A few weeks ago, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross expressed his opinion that everyone should relax about the Trump administration's giving a handout to its friends in the steel industry, because the tariffs will only hurt our whole nation a little. The pain, he says, will be "negligible." That's easy for him to say from the comfort of his federal government office.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 29, 2018</p> 9cddb403cef4b2af656a5a05c8af7064 Swamp Spending 101: The Omnibus Spending Bill for 03/22/2018 Thu, 22 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Republicans are once again proving why they actually deserve the label of the biggest swamp spenders. The latest gigantic omnibus spending bill would fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year &#8212; with a price tag of $1.3 trillion. That doesn't include entitlement funding or payments for the interest on our debt &#8212; which continue to grow and drive our debt higher, as Republicans have apparently given up on slowing down spending.</p> <p>Most Republicans favor the bill as a way to avoid the self-inflicted risk of another government shutdown. Never mind that members have had no time to read the 1,000-page bill and figure out what is actually in it. They just have to take Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's word. He said, "It has some things no one likes, and it has a lot of things not everybody likes but most people like. It was a fair compromise."<p>Updated: Thu Mar 22, 2018</p> bdb2c936f58ed4f751297007a4408a7f Telling the Truth on Tariffs for 03/15/2018 Thu, 15 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>It was frustrating and depressing to watch President Donald Trump recently announce misguided import taxes on steel and aluminum. Aside from the bad economics behind the decision, the saddest part of the pronouncement was to hear the president promise steel- and aluminum-workers standing behind him, "We're going to have a lot of great jobs ... coming back into our country." I wouldn't count on it.</p> <p>Tariffs are import taxes. Their immediate effect will be to jack up the prices of the metals in the United States. That sounds like good news to the 140,000 steelworkers and 28,000 aluminum-workers. But it's bad news for the more than 6 million people who work in the two metal-consuming industries. Their companies will now face higher costs, which could lead to layoffs and factories moving abroad.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 15, 2018</p> 43e49985270ca29e2be435b8bb09dad7 Uncle Sam Continues to Stick His Head in the Sand on Entitlements for 03/08/2018 Thu, 08 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Social Security and Medicare are the two biggest programs driving the growth of our debt. What's more, they provide benefits for senior Americans generally, without regard to need. It's time to change the way we think about these programs.</p> <p>It's difficult to overstate how much of our budget goes toward these programs. Numbers from the Congressional Budget Office show that in the past 10 years, 70 percent of real spending increases have gone to Social Security and Medicare. In fiscal 2017, the federal government spent $4 trillion. Of that, 40 percent &#8212; $1.5 trillion, or 8 percent of our gross domestic product &#8212; went to Social Security and Medicare. These two programs will consume $3 trillion in the next decade, and that doesn't include the interest charged on Uncle Sam's credit card.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 08, 2018</p> aa90ab23500d26e594b85186426e3b10 A Peaceful, Easy and Just Prescription for Growth for 03/01/2018 Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Will the economy grow at 3 percent and sustain this rate over 10 years? That's the question on everyone's mind. In the swamp, answers to that question can often be predicted based on one's political affiliation.</p> <p>The original claim comes from the Trump budget released a few weeks ago. On the pro side, we have Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. He makes a serious case that under President Donald Trump's policies, 3 percent annual real growth could be a floor. On the con side, you have a former chairman of the CEA under President Barack Obama saying that the economic forecast in the budget is the most absurd he's ever seen.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 01, 2018</p> 86bac9b8250835a7e62e781f87eb7cf2 Should Infrastructure Spending Be State, Local or Federal? for 02/22/2018 Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>With the Trump administration's proposal to add $200 billion of federal funding for transportation projects over the next decade, there's a renewed debate about whether we should raise the federal gas tax. One side makes the argument that a 25-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax is needed and long overdue; the other side says the hike would cost consumers $71 billion, or 60 percent of the expected gains from the recent tax cuts. But neither side is asking a more fundamental question: Should the federal government be involved in infrastructure spending at all?</p> <p>Yes, it is true that the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon hasn't been raised since 1993. It is also true that when adjusted for inflation, it has less purchasing power now. It is also correct that the gas tax hasn't been enough to cover the annual amounts that Congress has authorized to be spent on transportation infrastructure in recent years.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 22, 2018</p> 4d5bc1c89466c0b9cb362304f2470f3e The US Should Welcome More Investor Immigrants for 02/15/2018 Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>There's a deep political divide over how to handle immigration, and clashes over the issue have contributed to two government shutdowns &#8212; albeit one lasting mere hours &#8212; thus far this year. Battles relating to illegal immigration, including the question of border security and the status of so-called "dreamers" &#8212; those brought into the United States illegally as children &#8212; are receiving the most attention. But the fight over the legal immigration system could also prove to have a significant impact on the U.S. economy.</p> <p>President Donald Trump has called for an end to the diversity lottery program, which offers visas to those from nations that have relatively few immigrants in the United States. He also wants to end the heavy use of family-based visa programs.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 15, 2018</p> 9fc1317905d001d2877f5b0c403ed8bf Making the Federal Government Lean Again for 02/08/2018 Thu, 08 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>We are not in a full-scale war. We are not in a recession or fighting a high unemployment rate. But the federal government is spending as if we were a teenager with a parent's credit card. Trillion-dollar deficits are coming back soon, so this is the perfect moment to start talking about government austerity.</p> <p>According to the Congressional Budget Office, even before taking under consideration the budget impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the added spending from the budget deals, we are about three years away from the next $1 trillion deficit. Also, this year, the Department of the Treasury will inevitably have to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to pile on top of our already eye-popping $20.6 trillion of gross debt, which is public debt plus the debt the federal government owes to other accounts, such as Social Security. That's over 100 percent of our gross domestic product. It will also have to request yet another increase to its borrowing limit.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 08, 2018</p>