Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Market, Energy, And Political Page, T+2 -- June 2, 2018


Later, 12:33 p.m. CDT: in the original post below I noted that the Trump administration was able to thread the needle when it came to healthcare. Had they repealed ObamaCare, Trump would have inherited a disaster. In fact, ObamaCare was never repealed. It was, in the eyes of some, improved; in the eyes of others, made worse. But all Congressional bills are tweaked over the years, including Social Security and VA benefits. So, we have ObamaCare. Now, a couple of hours after posting the original note, this is the top story over at Yahoo!Finance, certainly no friend of Trump. The embedded link takes you to a video which I did not watch.

Had ObamaCare been repealed, this would have said, "Why TrumpCare will cost you more next year."

Original Post

Making America great again. Folks were really, really surprised by the jobs report yesterday. Obama apologists were gobsmacked and were at a loss for words. Even Obama was asking whether he was wrong. LOL. At last that proves he is a sentient being. It is difficult to keep up with all that has happened in the last eighteen months with regard to the job market. It has been impossible to keep up with the list at this post. Just scroll down that list, and realize that so much has not been posted.

Chaos in the White House. Personal experience in the US Air Force and watching re-runs of VEEP on DVDs tells me a lot about the Trump White House. The press is obsessed with what to them appears to be a chaotic White House. Of course, their very presence -- the White House press corps -- contributes to that chaos, or should we say, appearance of chaos. Assuming it is chaotic, one wonders if that is bad. Walking into a kindergarten suggests things are chaotic, but you know, things seem to get done and every spring there's another kindergarten graduation and kids move up to the first grade just fine. They say chaos is self organizing. At least some say that. I thought about all that chaos when I saw a Drudge Report link overnight that suggests Trump is preparing for a summit with Putin.

Trump, for being an old man, certainly seems to be running circles around his predecessors and his current adversaries. Remember, he is doing all this at the same time an independent counsel -- who has been at this for over year, has a gazillion lawyers, and has spent over $17 million to date -- is trying to throw him out of office or send him to jail.

For a White House in chaos, and defending himself against the independent counsel and fighting his own Congress, the administration certainly is getting a lot of things done. One wonders, again, exactly what was Obama doing for eight years in office?

This White House in chaos? Hardly. The White House:
  • is planning a Trump-Putin summit even as it is putting together a summit with North Korea just ten days from now
  • orchestrated an $800 billion stimulus program the first year in office -- the Trump tax cut
  • threaded the needle on ObamaCare -- never got it repealed -- it's still called and still is ObamaCare -- it was never repealed, but Americans now have great latitude -- some Americans might even get their own doctors back and get their old insurance programs 
  • can take credit for the jobs picture. Under this administration, job reports have never been so impressive -- one might have to go all the way back to the years following WWII to see these kinds of gains
  • gets no credit for so much. Hardly mentioned: unemployment among African-Americans at an all-time low
EPA. I would have missed this story had our local homeless shelter not been delayed opening this morning. It's a long, long story, not worth repeating. But this is worth reporting. Buried in The New York Times from a couple of days ago:
The Trump administration took a major step toward dramatically weakening an Obama-era rule designed to cut pollution from vehicle tailpipes, setting the stage for a legal clash with California that could potentially split the nation’s auto market in two.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday submitted its proposal to roll back climate change rules that required automakers to nearly double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles to an average of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025. The rules, which would have significantly lowered the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, were opposed by automakers who said they were overly burdensome.
However, the proposed Trump rule could lead to unintended and unwanted consequences for those same car companies. The Obama-era regulations would have forced automakers to make and sell far more electric and hybrid vehicles, but the new proposal could end up leading to two separate sets of fuel economy regulations within the United States, creating what automakers say would be an even greater regulatory burden.
Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for the E.P.A., confirmed on Thursday that the agency had sent its proposed regulatory rollback to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review. Typically that is the final step before a proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. The rules are then open for public comment before taking effect, during which the terms could still be modified.
But before we get too excited, this is exactly what I have been suggesting for quite some time:
Dr. Stavins said that while the rollback could give automakers the looser regulations they had sought, it could well backfire by creating two different sets of regulations where there had been one. The uncertainty, he said, “ could haunt U.S. car producers at a time at which they are already worried about the effects on their production costs of Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs,” Dr. Stavins wrote in an email.
One of the central and most controversial elements of the proposed rule would formally challenge California’s special status under the 1970 Clean Air Act to set its own vehicle pollution standards. California has said that it will continue to enforce the stricter, Obama-era pollution standards, a move that would create two separate auto markets in the United States — one with the tougher emissions requirements, and another with looser rules.

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