Daily Clips: March 17, 2017

Sean Hannity once pulled a gun on Juan Williams: You cannot make this up. The man is truly odd.

The wrong way to lower health-insurance premiums:

For proponents of the American Health Care Act, perhaps the most encouraging nugget in the Congressional Budget Office’s otherwise critical analysis is that insurance premiums could fall by 10 percent on average by 2026. Even this prediction is more mirage than reality, however, in part because of an obscure concept known as “actuarial value.”

David Brooks thinks highly of Steve Bannon…seriously:

Back in the good old days — like two months ago — it was fun to watch Bannon operate. He was the guy with a coherent governing philosophy. He seemed to have realized that the two major party establishments had abandoned the working class. He also seemed to have realized that the 21st-century political debate is not big versus small government, it’s open versus closed.

Bannon had the opportunity to realign American politics around the social, cultural and economic concerns of the working class. Erect barriers to keep out aliens from abroad, and shift money from the rich to the working class to create economic security at home.

15-an-hour minimum wage in California? Plan has some worried: How original.

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Daily Clips: March 15, 2017

Ready to Run? Overwhelming interest in seminar for women who want to seek office

No, we don’t need higher interest rates:

Why does the financial community want higher interest rates? So that banks and other creditors can make more money, of course. And to head off inflation that for the moment is mostly imaginary. And to keep down worker pressure for higher wages. Just what you’d expect of financial elites.

What suddenly lit a fire under the Fed? A bubbly market?

Monitoring wages for signs of nascent inflationary pressure is a classic case of rearview-mirror forecasting. (Prices lead wages, not the other way around.) That’s why the Fed would do us all a favor if it discarded some of the platitudes and used Wednesday’s statement to outline its strategy, not just its goals.

We know the Fed is going to raise rates. We just aren’t sure what changed in a short period of time to create a sense of urgency.

Only 24% of voters support GOP health care plan: 49% oppose it.

Steve King says racist things because he knows the GOP won’t call him out on it

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Daily Clips: March 14, 2017

69 percent of Americans say they have less than $1,000 in savings: How is this possible? And how have our people been so badly duped into supporting politicians that lead them to this reality?

A $1 increase in the minimum wage would reduce teen pregnancies by about 2 percent:

That would mean about 5,000 fewer births annually, and the number could go higher if the increase climbed over $1, according to Lindsey Rose Bullinger, the study author and an associate instructor and doctoral student at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Michael Gerson realizes that his old party has left him behind:

Day by day, Republicans are lowering their standards of sanity to defend an administration seized by conspiracy thinking. If they do not stand up to this trend, they will be defining lunacy down.

Emboldened by Trump, minimum wage opponents fight back:

In Washington state, business groups, including the National Federation of Independent Business, filed suit claiming that the recently passed minimum wage initiative—which, like Arizona, raises its minimum to $12 an hour by 2020 and institutes mandatory paid sick leave—violated the state’s constitution because it addresses more than one issue, and because the measure’s title on the ballot failed to accurately describe its contents.

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Daily Clips: March 13, 2017

Virginia earns bragging rights — as the best state for illegal gun trafficking:

“Virginia had a law on the books for 19 years limiting gun purchases to one a month, but — despite its success in helping to curtail the illicit gun trade and an appeal from Virginia Tech families — it was repealed in 2012. Efforts to restore the limit — as well as enact other common-sense measures that have popular support, such as universal background checks — have been killed by a General Assembly that is captive to the gun lobby. It is way past time for Virginia to come to its senses and plug this gaping hole in the public safety net. Unless, of course, it enjoys the bragging rights of Virginia as a place for gun runners.”

Minimum wage increases being attacked by businesses:

Opponents of raising the minimum wage give various reasons for wanting to change the new wage laws: Voters didn’t realize what they were voting on; some of the ballot initiatives were unconstitutionally pieced together; others would unconstitutionally affect the state budget. But most of the opponents share a common theme: They don’t think raising the minimum wage is, on the whole, beneficial for their state.

Should Seattle tax sugary drinks?

Trump wants faster growth. The Fed isn’t so sure: 

The rate is expected to remain below 1 percent, and interest rates on consumer and business loans will still be remarkably low by historical standards. But the Fed is moving months earlier than markets had expected at the beginning of the year, precisely because the economy appears to be gaining steam.

Paul Ryan being a moron:

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Daily Clips: March 10, 2017

David Brooks finally realizes that Republicans only ever cared about tax cuts: Truly remarkable that it took him this long.

White evangelicals believe they face more discrimination than Muslims: The false victimization of the Christian Right always astounds me. They are so convinced that they are the persecuted in every situation. It’s bizarre. It’s dangerous. And it shows an incredible lack of empathy.

The economic ‘mess’ Trump says he inherited continues to add jobs: Sigh.

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Daily Clips: March 9, 2017

The misunderstanding at the core of economics:

In the 1950s, Arrow and others proved a theorem that, many economists believe, put a rigorous mathematical foundation beneath Adam Smith’s idea of the invisible hand. The theorem shows — in a highly abstract model — that producers and consumers can match their desires perfectly, given a particular set of prices. In this rarified atmosphere of “general equilibrium,” economic activity might take place efficiently without any central coordination, simply as a result of people pursuing their self-interest. It’s an insight that economists have used to argue for de-unionization, globalization and financial deregulation, all in the name of removing various frictions or distortions that prevent markets from achieving the elusive equilibrium.

Yes, stocks are up. But 80 percent of the value is held by the richest 10 percent: Important to remember.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt says carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming: Laughable.

Uber and Airbnb are not the future of capitalism:

Even the three best-known “sharing economy” companies have found there are limits to peer-to-peer sharing. Asking early adopters to share is a great way to bootstrap a new online business. But beyond a certain point, continued growth often requires professionalization.

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Daily Clips: March 8, 2017

How to beat the robots: Terrific article in NYT. Here’s a paragraph I particularly enjoyed

The problem, at least for now, is not that there isn’t enough work — there is, but it is very different from the kind of work technology is displacing. Manufacturing and warehousing jobs are shrinking, while jobs that provide services (health care, child care, elder care, education, food) are growing. “We are far from the end of work, but face a big challenge redeploying people toward addressing our society’s very real needs,” Mr. Brynjolfsson said.

The GOP’s plan is basically a $600 billion tax cut for rich Americans: We live in a very troubling time. But…

AARP comes out against House GOP health care bill: At least we have old people on our side!

The Republicans’ $370 billion cut to Medicaid:

According to a new estimate, the House Republican health plan could lead to $370 billion in lost federal support for Medicaid over the next decade. Unless states came up with that money themselves—and the fair assumption is that they wouldn’t—millions of low-income people would lose their coverage.

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Daily Clips: March 7, 2016

NYT Editorial—Muslim Ban Lite: 

The new order no longer bans citizens of Iraq. It also exempts people from the remaining six countries who have a valid American visa. The revised ban includes no mention of religious preferences and makes the ban on Syrian refugees temporary. Like the initial order, the new one reduces the number of refugees the United States is willing to admit this year to 50,000, down from last year’s ceiling of 110,000.

Democrats urge EPA not to reopen vehicle fuel efficiency rules:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and 11 other Democrats said on Tuesday it was “critical” that the Trump administration leave in place new vehicle fuel efficiency rules, saying the higher standards were achievable.

Solar power growth leaps by 50% worldwide thanks to US & China: Amazing.

Study—Statewide legal same-sex marriage reduced suicide attempts for gay, bisexual youth: Including people leads to better results, folks.

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