Category Archives: Economics

Another Successful Reflight, And Relanding

Eric Berger has the story. As he says, reusability isn’t a fad, we’ve finally gotten to the point at which it’s clearly the future.

There is a little tension because Elon announced shortly before the launch that this would be the most challenging entry yet (probably to downplay expectations). It landed, but not quite on the bullseye. But close enough. This was the first rocket to land on both the east- and west-coast ASDSs. We’re planning to go up to Vandenberg Sunday for the Iridium launch. It should be better weather than the last time, in January. If successful, it will be two launches for the company almost within forty-eight hours. They’re finally getting to the launch tempo they need to work down their backlog.

A 3-D Laser Printer

GE is building the world’s largest one:

The prototype Atlas printer, announced on Wednesday, can print objects up to one meter long using titanium, aluminum, and other metals instead of the plastics, resins, and filaments that many commercial and consumer 3D printers use. That means it could print an entire engine block for a car or truck, for example, replacing the specialized machines and tooling that are currently required to make those types of products in a factory.

GE said it plans to unveil the Atlas in November. The prototype can only print objects up to one meter in two directions, such as length and width, but once the production version is ready next year, it will be able to print objects up to one meter in any direction.

Seems like just the thing for cheap rocket engines.

The Senate Health Plan

It appears to be ObamaCare Lite:

At a fundamental level, the Senate plan accepts Obamacare’s premises about the nature of health insurance and the individual market. It works from the assumption that the only way to make expensive health insurance cheaper is to subsidize it through the federal government. It is a plan that subsidizes, and therefore disguises, unaffordability, rather than attempting to bring down costs directly.

Republicans are useless.

[Update a few minutes later]

Bob Zubrin has a more radical plan:

…the problem that we face is not that there are too many people who lack health insurance, but that there are too many people who have it. If we want to get health-care costs under control, we need a system where the majority of medical expenses are paid for by informed individuals who shop for value and are free to choose what they want to buy accordingly.

So what should Congress do? The most effective action the government could take would be to simply ban health insurance and enact transparency laws forcing medical providers to clearly advertise their prices for services rendered. This would crash health-care costs overnight.

Unfortunately, things are not so simple. Health-care costs differ from grocery costs in one key respect: They are unpredictable, which means that for most people catastrophic health insurance would still be warranted. What’s more, there would still be indigent Americans unable to pay for health care even at the greatly reduced rates such a system would provide. Such people, however, could be given medical stamps, analogous to food stamps, to help cover all or part of their medical bills.

The recently failed Trump-Ryan health-care bill was useless, because it simply perpetuated the current nonsensical system in slightly altered form. To truly fix health care, we would need to build a new system from scratch with two cornerstones: the free market and a safety net — the former to drive down costs, and the latter to protect the most vulnerable.

Yup. The whole system is a disaster, and has been for decades, ever since employee-insurance and union demands completely warped the very concept of health insurance.

[Mid-morning update]

Well, here’s a different opinion:

California’s Minimum Wage

It’s already devastating the restaurant industry, and it hasn’t even fully kicked in yet:

Christopher Thornberg, director of UC Riverside’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Development, told the San Bernardino Sun that politicians should have adopted a regional approach. He said it would been better to adapt minimum-wage levels to varying economies – something like the Oregon model, the nation’s first multi-tiered minimum-wage strategy.

Oregon’s minimum-wage law is phased, with increases over six years. By 2022, the minimum will be $14.75 an hour in Portland, $13.50 in midsize counties and $12.50 in rural areas.

“That makes sense,” Thornberg told the Sun. “That’s logical.”

California is even more varied economically than Oregon. Thornberg believes hiking wages in blanket fashion will spark layoffs and edge low-skilled workers out of the job market.

It’s not “logical.” It’s just slightly less insane. And this is why a federal minimum wage is even more insane.

Our Failed Political Class And “Elites”

Some links and thoughts from Instapundit:

We need to take a serious look at how we select these people. Our current method is not working.

Well, it’s working for them. For now.

[Update a few minutes later]

OK, Bob Mueller is looking worse and worse:

Four top lawyers hired by Mueller have contributed tens of thousands of dollars over the years to the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates, including former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton.

One of the hires, Jeannie Rhee, also worked as a lawyer for the Clinton Foundation and helped persuade a federal judge to block a conservative activist’s attempts to force Bill and Hillary Clinton to answer questions under oath about operations of the family-run charity.

Campaign-finance reports show that Rhee gave Clinton the maximum contributions of $2,700 in 2015 and again last year to support her presidential campaign. She also donated $2,300 to Obama in 2008 and $2,500 in 2011. While still at the Justice Department, she gave $250 to the Democratic National Committee Services Corp.

Rhee also has contributed to a trio of Democratic senators: Mark Udall of New Mexico, Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

Congress should ask him to testify about this.