Stephen Moore from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Mon, 01 Jun 2020 08:29:57 -0700 Stephen Moore from Creators Syndicate c73b70e28b14afbb9a2fcf9e80bd2b8e The Lockdown Democrats for 05/26/2020 Tue, 26 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>America is starting to reopen for business across the country &#8212; except for a handful of states where lockdown orders are expected to remain in place for weeks to come. With very few exceptions, the cities and states that have ordered their businesses to remain comatose and their millions of workers to go without paychecks are blue, blue, blue. This list includes New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California and Oregon. They all have Democratic governors.</p> <p>Once great and mighty cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Manhattan are ghost towns. They all have Democratic mayors. <p>Updated: Tue May 26, 2020</p> bf5c02fd7379b9e7c63bcc71d06afdd3 The Weird Andrew Cuomo Boomlet for 05/19/2020 Tue, 19 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Usually, when a CEO severely underperforms peers, he or she is fired or handed a gold watch and given a quick retirement party. In the Democratic Party, a rotten performance is a qualification for the presidency.</p> <p>I'm referring to the bizarre infatuation inside Democratic circles with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a possible replacement for Joe Biden at the top of the ticket. Democratic operatives are increasingly nervous that the party has tethered itself to a fatally flawed nominee. Cuomo is now heralded as the sure bet to beat President Donald Trump this November.</p> <p>The love affair began when Cuomo began holding nationally televised addresses on the state of affairs with the coronavirus in the Empire State. The media fawned: He is so eloquent, so smart, so charming, so factual. He is everything, they gushed, that Trump is not.<p>Updated: Tue May 19, 2020</p> 9285f535b7601974fbf21d0b4a8855c8 Grading the Governors on Economic Response to COVID-19 for 05/12/2020 Tue, 12 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The U.S. economy is at last moving into the recovery stage from the coronavirus, at least in most states.</p> <p>One definite pattern has emerged: Republican states are reopening much more swiftly than Democratic states. A most notable case in point is the revival strategies of the four largest states. California and New York are closed for weeks to come; Florida and Texas are getting back in business now.</p> <p>Unfortunately, most blue-state governors, with a few notable exceptions, are imperiling their states' recoveries and the very survival of their businesses by remaining shuttered.<p>Updated: Tue May 12, 2020</p> 58e9bf96f64205c3c31b34945b95d992 The Federal Government Cannot Bail Out the Blue States for 05/05/2020 Tue, 05 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Battle lines are getting drawn up between the two parties on the next round of "stimulus" for the economy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are demanding as much as $1 trillion more in federal money to bail out state budgets. The blue states of California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York are lining up to be first at the trough. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said there should be "no blue state bailout," and he is right.</p> <p>The whole idea of the federal government giving money to states is a foolish one. It is based on the fiscal illusion that the politicians in Washington magically have some multitrillion-dollar stash of money that it can pass out to businesses, mayors and governors. But this is an obvious fiction. The federal government doesn't produce anything, which is why it is called "the swamp." Congress and the White House can only "give" money to states by taking it from states and their people in the first place. Any money from the federal government is a redistribution of income from taxpayers in some states to governments in other states. For every state that is a winner, there is, necessarily, a state that is a loser.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">So, which states will win, and which will lose? Gee, that is no mystery. We know the states that have been hardest hit are the blue states such as New York, of course, and California, Illinois and New Jersey.</span> Except for Louisiana, the hardest-hit states are all the bluest of blue. We also know the states with the largest unfunded liabilities in their public pension programs are California, Illinois, New Jersey and so forth. These states handed out massive pension benefits that, in some cases, pay $100,000 or more per year to former government workers, which generally ranges from 30% to 50% &#8212; and in some cases, 100% &#8212; more than private sector workers (who pay the government workers' salaries) get.<p>Updated: Tue May 05, 2020</p> ce06d65c365955ccf66c690dfd493915 China Deserves Stringent Financial Penalties for its Role in the COVID-19 Outbreak for 04/28/2020 Tue, 28 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>We've known for years that China lies and cheats and steals when it comes to international trade. Now we've learned that it also spread the deadly disease COVID-19. Donald Trump ran for president five years ago as the ultimate China hawk on trade, and he was way ahead of the curve for protecting against China's devious behavior. He saved countless lives here in the United States by shutting down travel from China back in February.</p> <p>But even Trump didn't see how mendacious this tyrannical regime under President Xi Jinping could be in terms of concealing a disease that has killed close to 200,000 people. And the number of body bags grows by the day.</p> <p>My former colleague, Holman Jenkins at the Wall Street Journal, has chronicled Beijing's misbehavior and cover-up. He notes that internal records recently made public reveal the politburo in China knew by early January that Wuhan, a city of more than 10 million people, had a fast-spreading and, in some cases, fatal disease on the move. He writes that by mid-January, "China's government took steps to expel certain foreign reporters from Wuhan, and then from the country, as well as to silence and threaten with arrest doctors, scientists and local journalists who sought to track the outbreak."<p>Updated: Tue Apr 28, 2020</p> 478bdeb21816daf00040f1fc97ca5faf Save Our Energy Industry by Slashing Royalty Payments and Energy Taxes Now for 04/21/2020 Tue, 21 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>America's domestic energy producers are under siege. The price of oil fell to below $5 a barrel on Monday, down from roughly $50 a barrel a year ago. This 90% drop in price is sending nearly the entire oil and gas industry into bankruptcy.</p> <p>What is going on here?</p> <p>Saudi Arabia and Russia have flooded the international market with cheap oil at the very time of a massive drop in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic. This "perfect storm" for America's drillers sent prices into this unprecedented tailspin.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 21, 2020</p> 8c4efb47163152b1dc6d5a4f3f5ae412 Beware the Left's 'Degrowth' Movement for 04/14/2020 Tue, 14 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>It would be natural to believe that nearly everyone on the planet is horrified by the death and economic destruction wrought from the COVID-19 pandemic. But some see the body bags and the shutdown of economic production as a weird kind of blessing in disguise. </p> <p>These are the proponents of a radical and increasingly chic movement on the left called "degrowth." This is the idea that economic growth and increased prosperity are the root CAUSE of massive ecological destruction and health pandemics. The agenda is to shut down industrial production and industries like fossil fuels, automobiles and airline travel that contribute to global warming. COVID-19 and the economy lockdown are seen as a kind of test run for the theory.</p> <p>For example, professor Natasha Chassagne of the University of Tasmania and a disciple of this movement gushes that "we can draw many lessons and opportunities from the current health crisis when tackling planetary warming."<p>Updated: Tue Apr 14, 2020</p> d9320f484f1ebb2d04f82659a73e2a26 Don't Put Uncle Sam in Corporate Boardrooms for 04/07/2020 Tue, 07 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There is nothing worse than the government bailing out private industries. I've spent a career opposing corporate welfare giveaways. When an industry gets in financial trouble because of its poor business practices, the owners, shareholders and executives should bear the cost &#8212; not the taxpayers.</p> <p>The coronavirus crisis is a bit different because the government has ordered many industries to, in effect, shut down for many months. In the case of the major airlines, such as United and Delta, the government has precluded many passengers from boarding planes and even shut down many flights. That's why the government took steps in the recent $2 trillion aid package to keep these companies out of bankruptcy. It's providing grants (a bad idea) and loans to be repaid (a better way to provide temporary assistance) to the tune of up to $50 billion. American Airlines, for example, is eligible for up to $12 billion in aid.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 07, 2020</p> ec1adcabdc484079a506e54e79952fd4 Atlas Is Shrugging for 03/31/2020 Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"Government help to business is just as disastrous as government persecution. ... The only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off." &#8212; Ayn Rand</p> <p>Congress has just approved an economically bloated $2.2 trillion spending relief bill, an amount more substantial than the GDP of all but a handful of countries. It is only the third massive relief bill, and we've been told several trillion dollars more would have to get spent. Then there are the trillions of dollars more of Federal Reserve Board liquidity injections. We are starting to talk about real money here.</p> <p>The politicians believe that sending $1,200 checks to people will "stimulate" the economy. Among the many mistaken provisions of this new law is a welfare benefit to workers that pays them more money if they quit and become unemployed than if they stay on the job.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 31, 2020</p> 9f1dbc6853d2f6ff54f6a8b4dbcb4b86 $5 Trillion Down the Drain for 03/24/2020 Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, everyone should read Robert Higgs' economic classic "Crisis and Leviathan." The critical warning of this masterpiece is that government always uses a crisis &#8212; from the Civil War to the Great Depression to World War II &#8212; to expand power, not only during the emergency but also afterward. Emergencies tend to ratchet up the cost and power of government permanently.</p> <p>That expansion of government authority is especially unwise now, given that when this coronavirus fiasco is finally over, it may go down in history as one of the greatest government screwups in American history. That's saying a lot.</p> <p>As a nation, we spend just short of $5 trillion a year in Washington and at least another $1 trillion at the state and local level. Our government spends 1 of every 3 dollars that passes through the U.S. economy. It is the largest enterprise in the history of the world.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 24, 2020</p> acfb6ef373919d1fd178585005f4645e Please, Not 'Shovel-Ready' Projects Again! for 03/17/2020 Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>It was just a little over 10 years ago, at the height of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said one of the dumbest things in modern times. The best way to stimulate the economy, she declared, was with "unemployment insurance and food stamps." Right. Paying people not to work will get more people to work.</p> <p>Now here we go again. In the throes of the COVID-19 financial crisis, Pelosi is still spreading her economic pixie dust. Maybe it is just an inviolable rule of politics that politicians never seem to learn from their past mistakes.</p> <p>The economy is now partially paralyzed from fear of the virus, so Republicans and Democrats want to do something to juice the economy. President Donald Trump's big idea is to cut taxes.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 17, 2020</p> dc8e4b76a5cba9ee54efa495689fe5b3 Biden and Bernie to Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia: Drop Dead for 03/10/2020 Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Democratic presidential field is down to two old, white males, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Though they are said to represent two polar-opposite wings of the party, on one issue, they are in complete agreement. They both have solemnly pledged to destroy millions of blue-collar jobs across Middle America's oil patch.</p> <p>Each has pledged to stop oil and gas development dead in its tracks. This anti-shale and gas movement has the zeal of a religious crusade. If that green agenda comes to pass, it will reverse the economic renaissance in states such as New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. These states have all become energy powerhouses thanks to new technologies in fracking and horizontal drilling.</p> <p>It would be a stunningly stupid thing to stop these practices, because they come at the very moment that America has arrived at energy independence. We have now become a net exporter of natural gas. This shale revolution has neutered the OPEC nations that once had a blade at our necks, as well as other hostile countries such as Russia and Iran. It is no exaggeration to say that the people who would benefit most from Biden and Sanders' foolishness would be Vladimir Putin and the Arab oil sheiks. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 10, 2020</p> e448c633da6ca779839f568b385f99fe Mass Transit Is Making Gridlock Worse for 03/03/2020 Tue, 03 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Why in the world is the federal government, 20 years into the 21st century, continuing to pour tens of billions of tax dollars into little-used mass transit rail projects? In a digital age with increasingly popular and affordable door-to-door ride-sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft, universal use of cars by all income groups and the revolution of smart driverless vehicles around the corner, subway systems and light rail are as old-fashioned as the rotary phone. The federal government and urban planners in at least 25 cities are frantically spending money to lay down tracks that, in 10 or 20 years, they will have to rip right out of the ground.</p> <p>The scandal here is that mass transit is adding to traffic congestion problems across America. It is also blocking mobility as we divert billions of gas tax dollars, which are supposed to get spent on road repairs and expansions, to white elephant transit projects with minuscule ridership that, in most cities, is shrinking.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the public is increasingly infuriated by traffic gridlock. In 2018, the average driver lost $1,348 by sitting in traffic. Traffic congestion is now nearly a $100 billion annual tax on the economy. In cities such as Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, drivers lose the equivalent of three to four weeks a year sitting in traffic. By the way, every one of those cities has new or expanded transit systems that were designed to ease traffic congestion.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 03, 2020</p> 0d69962fb9eec6952b20f9cec33c73b3 Natural Gas Is Crushing Wind and Solar Power for 02/25/2020 Tue, 25 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The U.S. Energy Information Administration just announced some spectacular news that should be banner headlines across the country: The price of natural gas has fallen to its lowest February level in 20 years. The data shows that natural gas prices fell to $1.77 per million British thermal units. In inflation-adjusted terms, the price of gas has plunged by some 80% since its high of $13.60 12 years ago. The price is down 90% since 2005, when prices hit nearly $20. (Quick: Can you think of anything else that now costs one-tenth of what it did 15 years ago?)</p> <p>The Energy Information Administration also reports that U.S. natural gas production has hit an all-time high this year.</p> <p>The shale oil and gas revolution keeps rolling on &#8212; but no one is talking about it. This boom in production has affected the economy of every state, from Ohio and Pennsylvania to Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and the Dakotas. By the way, oil prices have also fallen considerably, bringing gas prices at the pump to nearly $2 a gallon in some states. Prices are so low now that the drillers aren't making any money and are starting to shut down wells. They are victims of their own success.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 25, 2020</p> 6b8831c60c67f5be3dca4eab59f13746 Trump's Critics on the Economy: So Wrong, So Often for 02/18/2020 Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>There's an old saying about baseball and life that no one ever had a 1.000 batting average. It turns out that's not exactly true. At least when it comes to the Trump economy, anti-Trumpers defied the near-impossible statistical odds and somehow have batted 1.000 on their predictions. They managed to get it wrong every time.</p> <p>A chorus line of President Donald Trump's critics, including the best and brightest minds of the liberal intelligentsia, predicted an economic and stock market free fall if Trumponomics were implemented. They weren't just wrong; in many cases, they were fantastically wrong. So wrong that Paul Krugman, the leader of the Armageddon brigades four years ago, recently had to cry uncle.<span class="column--highlighted-text"> He begrudgingly admitted the Trump economy is doing "pretty well," which is like saying that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a "pretty good year." Then, he insisted that Trump is a moron.</span></p> <p>Having worked as an economic adviser to the 2016 Trump campaign, I had to go to battle almost every day with the whiz kids who predicted economic apocalypse if Trump won. "Under Trump, I would expect a protracted recession to begin within 18 months," moaned former presidents Bill Clinton's and Barack Obama's chief economist Larry Summers. Well, where is it?<p>Updated: Tue Feb 18, 2020</p> b5e43bec645e60e512c09842375cecef Defusing the Debt Bomb for 02/11/2020 Tue, 11 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>President Donald Trump's new budget confirms that without corrective action, trillion-dollar deficits will be with us for years and perhaps decades to come. Trump's budget plan has many smart and urgent spending reforms. But will Congress ignore them once again?</p> <p>Alas, probably, but the longer we wait, the shorter the debt bomb fuse. But step one in solving this crisis is to recognize the facts about it and to dispel the pervasive mythologies about what caused this ocean of systemic borrowing and how best to deal with it.</p> <p>Myth 1: Trump created these deficits. No, no, no. These were the deficits that Trump was facing the day he entered office. The debt, according to the Congressional Budget Office, was expected to be this high and steadily growing every year for the next two to three decades. This was all baked into the cake, and everyone in Washington knew it. But for years, Congress did nothing to prepare for the impending retirement of some 80 million baby boomers. Trump can take the blame for not doing more to cut spending (by vetoing budget bills), and I'm happy to join that chorus.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 11, 2020</p> 2221113ccafab50fe838b9621698b5dd Don't Regulate the Rail Industry for 02/04/2020 Tue, 04 Feb 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>President Donald Trump rightly touts the economy-wide savings from his deregulation initiatives. But one federal agency didn't get the memo. Some members of the Surface Transportation Board, which has oversight over the nation's network of freight railroads, wants to resurrect price controls on the industry.</p> <p>It is a truly awful idea, and to understand why, it is vital to harken back to the bad old days of the 1960s and 1970s, when almost all modes of transportation operated under the stranglehold of Soviet-style price regulation. These rules nearly bankrupted the freight railroads, and a government takeover of the industry seemed inevitable.</p> <p>Instead, in the late 1970s and 1980s, Congress acted to lift the price controls on the airlines, the shippers and the railroads and allow the market to set shipping rates. The Staggers Rail Act deregulated prices and saved the dying freight trains, although it led to dramatic consolidation. Remarkably, these laws were even initiated by liberals such as the late Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and economists in the Carter administration. (Yes, Jimmy Carter got something right.) The Reagan administration accelerated the process.<p>Updated: Tue Feb 04, 2020</p> dac79a1db234cede0ffa6a75e7f2c394 The Economy's Unsung Hero Is Low Interest Rates for 01/28/2020 Tue, 28 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, President Donald Trump again talked positively about negative interest rates. That's not a very good idea considering negative interest rates are a warning signal of deflation, which can be as bad for an economy as runaway inflation.</p> <p>But Trump was right to herald this era of low nominal interest rates and inflation. If you want to understand how the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen from a low of 800 to a high of 29,000 in four decades, look at the&#160;<a href="" target="">Federal Reserve's graph of the 10-year treasury rate</a>&#160;&#160;showing the sharp and relentless decline in interest rates between 1980 and 2020. Think about how the world has changed. In 1981, 10-year Treasury bills paid an interest rate of 16%. Now they are at 2%.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 28, 2020</p> 9d69fd5e9d867c8dbcafaeb34b931ea5 Working Hard Versus Hardly Working for 01/21/2020 Tue, 21 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Almost all of us know (because President Trump boasts of it in nearly every speech) that our 3.5% unemployment rate has reached a 50-year low. But this official decline in joblessness doesn't tell the entire story of the improvement in the job market in the United States. And it doesn't fully capture the change in direction between what happened under President Barack Obama and Trump.</p> <p>In the Obama years, the unemployment rate kept falling after 2010. That's great. But the untold story was that the number of people moving from the living room couch into jobs was exceeded by the number who dropped out of the workforce, or, as was the case with millions of 20-somethings, never got a job. From January 2009 to December 2016, almost 10 million jobs were added, but amazingly, 1.6 million working-age people dropped out of the workforce.</p> <p>The percentage of people participating in the labor force fell from 65.7% to a low of 62.7% under Obama. Generally, in a recovery, job seekers rise as jobs reemerge.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 21, 2020</p> afc95ea9905dc69ec4d54e17dffda3ca Why Does Washington Demonize Drug Companies? for 01/14/2020 Tue, 14 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Over the holidays, I read Elton John's biography, "Me." He writes about his friendship with Freddie Mercury, the ultratalented lead singer of the rock group Queen. Mercury tragically died of AIDS at the age of 45 in 1991. Mercury was one of the last people to die of the disease in Britain during the epidemic years. John writes sadly and almost offhandedly that if Mercury had lived one year longer, he probably would have survived because of the AIDS medication that eventually saved millions of lives.</p> <p>Then, a few days ago, we all read on the front pages of newspapers the amazing story that cancer death rates (age-adjusted) have fallen to their lowest level in decades. Millions of lives saved. We are winning the race for the cure remarkably quickly. The decline in the death rate is due in part to the considerable drop in smoking, but it's also because of new drug therapies and treatments to combat tumors.</p> <p>Deaths from heart disease have also fallen dramatically in recent decades, though in recent years, obesity in America has slowed progress. Still, new wonder drugs to deal with strokes and diabetes have played a major role. According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the total age-adjusted mortality rates per 100,000 people changed from 266.5 in 1999 to 165.0 in 2017 for heart disease; from 61.6 to 37.6 for stroke; and from 25.0 to 21.5 for diabetes."<p>Updated: Tue Jan 14, 2020</p>