January 17, 2019

The Future of Brexit

Prime Minister Theresa May won a confidence vote in the British parliament on Wednesday… Lawmakers voted 325 to 306 that they had confidence in May’s government, just 24 hours after handing her European Union withdrawal deal a crushing defeat that left Britain’s exit from the bloc in disarray.”

See past issues

From the Left

The left urges a softer Brexit, arguing that a no-deal one would be economically disastrous.

“This day spent debating the no-confidence motion now leaves Parliament with the same problem [it] started with: The UK still doesn’t have a Brexit deal — and maybe never will.”

“Theresa May just can’t win. Theresa May just can’t lose… Despite the denials and ultimatums from all sides, a host of alternative paths forward—including a softer Norway-style Brexit, a no-deal Brexit, and a new referendum—are all very real possibilities. It also seems possible the deadline could be extended and British politicians will continue to debate the intricacies of the Irish backstop until Earth is engulfed by the sun. Theresa May will probably still be prime minister when that happens.”

“Immediately after Wednesday’s vote the prime minister offered talks with leaders of opposition parties to break the impasse. It is a welcome shift in tone, but there is no indication from Mrs May’s record that she has the diplomatic skills required to make such a consultation fruitful. She has clung compulsively to her original negotiating ‘red lines’ and still seems unaware that the Brexit model they defined is beyond resuscitation…

“There are models of a soft Brexit that have been developed by groups of Labour and Tory MPs… It is not enough to affect a change of tone in the aftermath of a fierce parliamentary debate. The shift in style is welcome and long overdue. But the prime minister must now urgently show readiness to compromise on the very substance of Brexit.”
The Guardian

If there does end up being a second referendum, it “shouldn’t be just a binary choice between stay or leave, but must acknowledge two very real things: the actual price tag of leaving and the long-term economic harm, and an explanation of what the EU must do to address genuine issues of national sovereignty if the U.K. stays. Regardless, the nation must confront the pre-referendum promises made by leave advocates, strip out the ones that have since been proven false, and work with what’s left.”

“After almost 45 years in the customs union neither Britain nor its trading partners have in place the infrastructure that you need to operate a border, even a friendly one. If you aren’t in a customs union — if goods have to clear some kind of border procedure — you need to have a sufficient number of customs inspectors, an adequate computer network, and so on. Without those you’ll experience massive delays…

“While the long-run effects of Brexit would probably be moderate… the short run could be much worse — both for Britain and for the E.U.”
New York Times

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right is critical of May’s proposed deal, arguing that a no-deal Brexit would be preferable.

From the Right

The right is critical of May’s proposed deal, arguing that a no-deal Brexit would be preferable.

“2.5 years after the Brits narrowly voted to leave the European Union, lawmakers still have no consensus on what Brexit means or what they would want from a potential deal.”
Washington Examiner

“The reason that a majority of Britons voted to leave the EU was the simple and reasonable demand that the decisions that govern their lives be made by representatives they can vote for or against in elections. Brexit was, at its heart, about democracy and sovereignty

“[Meanwhile] May’s deal offered only a two-year transition period - with a multi-billion-pound price tag attached - that would essentially keep the UK subject to key aspects of EU law, prevent the UK striking independent trade deals, and defer the big decisions about the future relationship with the EU to a further round of negotiations. Her ‘Brexit deal’ was no such thing: it was not really a deal and it didn’t deliver Brexit.”
Fox News

The best chance for Brexit success was for the Tories to embrace the will of the people in 2016 and sell the public on the reforms necessary to turn Britain into a magnet for investment and human capital. Even now a hard Brexit could succeed if some Tories showed any desire to lead public opinion like Margaret Thatcher rather than follow it. But no one has been willing to make that case, not even the most ardent Brexiteers. Thus everybody has defaulted to Mrs. May…

”Even the 118 Conservatives who opposed [May’s] EU deal supported her as PM, as did the 10 members of the Northern Ireland Democratic Unionist Party who prop up her government but also opposed her on Brexit. These folks enjoy griping from the sidelines about Brexit policy, but no one else wants to catch the spears that go with being in charge of the process.”
Wall Street Journal

“The media, the establishment, and an unstable Remain majority of MPs want to avoid a No Deal Brexit — or in ordinary English, Brexit — at almost all costs. Their difficulties are that all the other options have major and perhaps even disabling flaws… All these parliamentary maneuvers by Remainers, moreover, are being proposed and discussed under the shadow of the fact that public support for Brexit refuses to change more than marginally despite an astonishing barrage of Remain propaganda.”
National Review

One former UK Independence Party candidate writes, “A hard Brexit is still the simplest, easiest option for the UK… [The] default is [leaving] without a deal. That's what the current law is. We invoked Article 50, we're leaving. It takes a positive act for anything else to happen [which] needs a majority in the House of Commons. But there is no majority in the commons for anything.”
Washington Examiner

“Trump should be overjoyed. Tariffs are taxes paid by Americans on the things Americans buy. The only way China can be paying any of them is if something else, something extra, then happens — like the yuan dropping. This makes all imports into China more expensive for Chinese citizens. That's China paying for Trump's tariffs when the yuan falls. Without this happening, only Americans pay. With the yuan dropping, China pays as well. This is the claim Trump has been making all along, that China's really paying those trade taxes — now they are… Imposing significant export tariffs on a country should mean the value of that currency falls. This is what is happening. Why is Trump complaining about it?
Tim Worstall, Washington Examiner

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

Outside Hong Kong, the silence Is deafening… Some protesters in Hong Kong today are adopting the British Union Jack flag, the American flag and the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ as symbols, yet that doesn’t seem to have stirred our collective imaginations… Americans are preoccupied with fighting each other over political correctness, gun violence, Trump and the Democratic candidates for president. To be sure, those issues deserve plenty of attention. But they are soaking up far too much emotional energy, distracting attention from the all-important struggles for liberty around the world…

“It’s 2019, and the land of the American Revolution, a country whose presidents gave stirring speeches about liberty and freedom in Berlin during the Cold War, remains in a complacent slumber. It really is time to Make America Great Again — if only we could remember what that means.”
Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg

On the bright side...

Pa. police department is looking for a few good people to get drunk.
Penn Live

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