Thursday, October 18, 2018

Is Elizabeth Warren an 'Honest Injun'? 

As Elizabeth Warren lays the groundwork for her long-denied 2020 presidential bid, she’s out — again — with another defense of her claimed “Cherokee ancestry,” this time with a contrived DNA test. Clearly, she would like to get her “Fauxcahontas” lie out of the way before 2020.

We’ve previously called out her “identity” issue, but now, according to her fanboys at The Boston Globe, “Warren has released a DNA test that provides ‘strong evidence’ she had a Native American in her family tree dating back 6 to 10 generations.” By the end of the day, the Globe issued this correction: “Due to a math error, a story about Elizabeth Warren misstated the ancestry percentage of a potential 10th generation relative. It should be 1/1,024.”

Furthermore, buried in the report is this gem: “To make up for the dearth of Native American DNA, [Stanford University professor Carlos D. Bustamante] used samples from Mexico, Peru, and Colombia to stand in for Native American.” Nevertheless, to tell the difference, “Bustamante said he can tease out the markers that these South Americans would have in common with Native Americans on the North American continent.” So she’s definitely at least 1/1,024 Mexican, Peruvian, or Colombian. Or something.

Vindication? Hardly. “By that measure,” observes Matt Walsh, “almost everyone in America is a minority.” In fact, most white Americans have twice that much “native” DNA.

Recall Donald Trump’s challenge to Warren: “I will give $1 million to your favorite charity … if you take the test and it shows you’re an Indian.” Fact is, by Warren’s definition of “Native American,” it is highly probable that Trump has more native ancestry than she does.

Our friend Michelle Malkin suggests, “1/1024 ‘Native American’ indirectly derived from South American genetic markers is ‘proof’ of Native heritage? 1/1024 of $1 million = $976.56. President Trump should donate that amount in Monopoly money, which is as genuine as Warren’s claim.” We suggest he donate it directly to her campaign, and we recommend this old Cher song, “Half Breed,” as Warren’s campaign theme song!

Brazenly, Warren is now calling on Trump to pay up: “Remember saying on that you’d give $1M to a charity of my choice if my DNA showed Native American ancestry? Please send the check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.”

Actually, Trump said if “the test … shows you’re an Indian.” We will defer to the Cherokee Nation elders for their opinion on that.

On behalf of the Cherokee Nation, its Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin protested: “Using a DNA test to lay claim to any connection to the Cherokee Nation or any tribal nation, even vaguely, is inappropriate and wrong. It … dishonors legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven. Senator Warren is undermining tribal interests with her continued claims of tribal heritage.”

Trump responded, “Now Cherokee Nation denies her DNA test… Even they don’t want her.”

As partial penance for her shameful lie, it is Warren who should send a check to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

So, Warren thought this charade would lay her disputed claim to rest? On her promotion of the DNA report as “proof” of her native ancestry, conservative commentator Allie Beth Stuckey observed, “This is like spiking the ball after scoring a touchdown in the other team’s end zone.” It’s a permanent stain on her campaign.

More important than Warren’s pitifully weak ancestry “proof” remains the primary question about how she used this faux ancestral claim at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. She declared herself to be Native American at both institutions and fooled them, so, in keeping with her elitist arrogance, she is certain she can fool her Democrat constituents!

Clearly, among her genetic markers is a significant one for lying. Warren is a wealthy, disingenuous socialist, and that’s about as un-American as it gets.



Lindsey Graham to take DNA test to find Native American roots: 'I think I can beat' Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is ready to show up Sen. Elizabeth Warren, saying Tuesday he plans to take a DNA test to find out whether he has more Native American heritage than she does.

“I’m going to take a DNA test,” Graham told “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday. “I’ve been told my grandmother was part Cherokee Indian. It may all just be talk.”



2017 tax law continues to bring benefits

Even before enactment, anticipation of passage spurred investments, jobs and growth

Mark Murphy

Not long ago, a dentist called seeking advice about investing in new equipment for her practice. Business had been strong, but she envisioned enhancing the customer experience and growing her practice even further. The experience will set her apart from many other dentists, allowing her to retain existing clients and attract new ones. New state of the art dental technology would allow her to jump-start the process.

The dentist is part of a wave. Across the country, small and mid-sized business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups are primed to invest in and expand their businesses.

These new provisions in the tax law are a godsend to business owners. They’ve have been asking for this, they’ve been heard, been provided for and are now anxious to spend and invest.

My business consultancy has received a steady flow of calls from many such owners. While diverse in geography, size and focus, they are all eager and optimistic. And they are all inspired by one thing: the new federal tax law. Like the dentist, they are finding that the incentives created by the statute make reinvestment and expansion a smart move.

In the less than a year since it was passed, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is fast becoming one of the biggest incentives to US business growth in at least a decade. Unemployment has reached lows not seen in decades.

After a strong push from the Trump Administration, the law went into effect in December 2017. It includes several features designed to relieve tax burdens on businesses of all sizes. Of particular note, the corporate tax rate reduction has leveled the playing field for US-based companies when they compete with foreign based companies in the global economy. Lower taxes are passed to the consumer.

Another popular provision – affecting over three quarters of small companies – allows a 20% deduction for all pass-through businesses. Another much-heralded clause slashes the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. Yet another allows businesses to deduct up to 100% of investments in new business equipment costs during the first year.

A broad range of business owners seek to take advantage of the new law. The head of a small technology company showed us a proposal to expand its marketing. A service company presented us questions about how it could expand by 25% in the next two years.

Our dentist wants to expand into vacant space in her building. This law is turbo-charging the entrepreneurial spirit of our business owner clients.

In each instance, the owners were able to key in on particular provisions of the new tax law that apply to their unique situations. Together with them, we have found ways to use the law to their advantage.

Just as important as particular features of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the overwhelmingly positive climate it is helping to create. Owners who have felt shackled for years by a restive investment environment and too many taxes and regulations are now encouraged to pump more money into their businesses.

A good example is the Rabine Group, a collection of small constructions companies based in Illinois.  This year they have pledged to commit more resources to hiring, research and development, and expansion. They are also offering employees far bigger raises this year than in any of the previous eight years. All of these moves are a result of the new tax law, the owners have reported.

That spirit of optimism has already brought signs of vibrancy that the US economy has not seen in years. Business investment is set to rise by 7% this year, following a robust 5.3% increase in 2017, on the heels of timid, desultory growth the previous decade.

As businesses expand, so do their needs for new employees. More than 134,000 new jobs were added in September 2018, bringing an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent. The average hourly earnings gain is now 2.8% year over year. Retail sales are up, too; they are projected to reach 4.2% this year.

These gains are all inspired by the new tax breaks and reduced federal regulatory fervor. Tax cuts do pass down to many levels and spur spending. That’s a basic economics axiom.

Some say the new law favors major corporations over small business owners. That’s understandable. It’s a party line and core belief among some.

Indeed, thus far, the biggest tax savings resulting from the new law have been posted by the biggest US banks. In all, the six largest Wall Street banks – Bank of America, Citi Group, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley – have reported a total of nearly $5 billion in savings, according to their Second Quarter reports.

The new law has allowed the banks to cut their tax rates from as high as 31% to just 10 or 11 percent.

Large multinational corporations have slowed their borrowing, lessening the amount of debt they issue, according to the Wall Street Journal, using data from Goldman Sachs. The Fed analyzed share buybacks of non-financial firms with large cash holdings – and they have doubled, mimicking a similar tax holiday 15 years ago.

However, the strong gains posted by banks and other corporations actually mean everybody wins. The gains have contributed to a buoyant economic mood, which in turn is inspiring corporate employees and other consumers to spend more on their personal lives. Much or most of that spending has gone to small and medium-sized companies.

The corporate tax cut and gradual repatriation of trillions of dollars into the US economy has also helped mitigate fears that more jobs are going overseas. That is encouraging consumers to focus on retirement planning, invest in new cars or other goods – or in their companies – or take much-needed vacations. This too benefits smaller businesses.

Many businesses have undoubtedly not fully researched the ways the tax code can benefit them. As with any new statute, they need time and expert advice to understand the law’s fine print.

However, the smartest owners are moving quickly. Like the dentist, they have discovered that the time to take advantage of the new tax law is now, or at least as soon as they can grasp the new law’s opportunities, intricacies – and potential pitfalls for the unwary.

Via email


When Health Policy Neglects Economic Principles, Patients Suffer

The healthcare sector of the U.S. economy is extraordinarily dynamic and complex, providing constant challenges for policymakers and regulators working to improve healthcare markets. However, recent research and policies suggest the greatest challenges for policymakers might be their misunderstanding of economic fundamentals.

Earlier this year, the Annals of Internal Medicine journal published a paper which found the prices increased for nearly 100 drugs while they were in a shortage between 2015 and 2016. The paper also notes these “price hikes” (price increases) were less severe in markets with comparatively more competitors (defined as more than three drug providers).

Although the authors consider these findings “mysterious,” they confidently offered policy recommendations to correct “the imbalance between supply and demand.” As they stated in their conclusion, “If manufacturers are observed using shortages to increase prices, public payers could set payment caps for drugs under storage and limit price increases.”

The situation described above, and the folly of its policy prescription, are no mysteries for anyone who understands basic economics.

A shortage occurs when there are too few goods available to satisfy too many consumers. Shortages dissipate when prices increase, motivating more production and less consumption. Competition among producers is an indispensable component of this process, working to provide more (and often better) goods to consumers.

Economic principles also teach us that “payment caps,” more commonly called price controls, do not resolve shortages. Instead, by keeping prices from rising, price controls remove the incentive for competing producers to supply more goods and for consumers to buy less.

For credible scholars to display such a blatant misunderstanding of economic principles is dumbfounding. And for such mistakes to be published in a peer-reviewed journal deemed “the most cited general internal medicine journal and one of the most influential journals in the world” is especially troublesome.

Unfortunately, misunderstandings of elementary economics also pervade contemporary health policymaking. EpiPens, which provide potentially life-saving treatment for patients with severe allergies, have been in a severe shortage in the United States since April. When children returned to school recently, parents struggled to send them back with much-needed emergency medicine, and pharmacies faced long backorders while trying to provide them.

In response, the Food and Drug Administration issued a statement asking pharmacies to extend expiry dates for EpiPens by four months. While this might lengthen periods between prescription refills, it will not lead to more EpiPens and does not address the primary cause of the shortage.

That cause is a lack of competition stemming from overregulation.

From 2011 to 2016, EpiPen’s manufacturer received three patents, granting it extended monopolist status and preventing competition from entering the market. Over roughly the same period, EpiPen prices increased about 500 percent. However, without competition stepping in to increase production, shortages persist.

Thankfully, around the same time, the FDA also approved a generic version of EpiPen. Introducing a generic competitor will increase EpiPen’s availability and reduce the shortage. However, the lack of competition and the current shortage are due to the FDA’s previous regulations. Most importantly, the consequences of these regulations are entirely predictable with only a minimal understanding of economics.

Determining effective health policy is incredibly difficult, and elementary mistakes cause widespread damage. However, understanding the origins of shortages, the role of competition in the market, and how prices guide resources to socially desirable uses to allocate resources are the backbone of doing any policy work. Recent events indicate an urgent need for researchers and policymakers to relearn the basics.



Trump's North American Trade Triumph

For those on the left and right who were certain that President Donald Trump's presidency meant the end of global free trade ... think again. Though Trump's critics have dismissed the significance of the new Mexico and Canada trade deal, it's hard to deny that it is a welcome advance for the economy of the entire continent.

The pact will extend for years a (mostly) tariff-free North American trade zone. This was Ronald Reagan's vision nearly four decades ago — and that legacy can now live on for hopefully many years to come.

Here's just one example of the importance of this agreement. In the area of energy production, the integration of our economies and the freer flow of energy investment capital across our southern and northern borders means more pipelines, more LNG terminals, more oil refineries and more exploration. North America is poised to be the new Middle East for energy production for the next 50 years, with all the related economic advantages that confers on our region.

One of the most favorable outcomes of the new trade pact is the provision that locks in 10 years of patent protections for new pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines. While some critics are portraying this as a sell-out to the big drug companies, the opposite is true. Patent protections for drugs invented in America reduce costs for American consumers by forcing foreign countries to help pay for the research costs (about $1 billion for each new drug brought to market) and stop free riding on our innovation.

As University of Chicago professor Tomas J. Philipson puts it in a 2018 study on the drug industry: "There is no free lunch. If neither Americans nor foreigners pay for the R&D to develop new drugs, then soon nobody will receive new treatments."

One research team that found that price controls and inadequate patent protections will prevent the development of six new blockbuster drugs each year by 2020 and more than a dozen a year by 2050. No one can benefit from a drug to cure cancer, MS, Alzheimer's or epilepsy at any price if it hasn't been invented.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will both save lives by accelerating medical research and reduce drug prices at home by ensuring that foreigners no longer enjoy medical innovation without paying their fair share.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


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