Category Archives: Current events

Words Speak Louder Than Actions?

Why so much hate for the Donald? If we look only at his actual policies they are in fact no different than any of his predecessors. Differences that may exist are in degree, not kind. Or non-existant at all. For example ICE deportations are both up and down under Trump when compared to Obama. They are up from FY2016 (61,094 vs 44,512) but dramatically lower under Trump than under Obama’s first years (averaging over 225,000 from 2008-2012). The point being before you start jumping up and down about what a monster some president is in comparison to “your guy” chances are high that “your guy” at some point did the exact the same thing or far worse. That goes both ways my Democrat and Republican friends. That’s because they are all the same. Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump – they’ve all been responsible for murdering innocent civilians in other countries by the truck load. But nobody cares because we wave the flag and chant “US interests” or “national defense” as if somehow that incantation is supposed to bring absolution. We’re all too eager to protest the president over something he said (mere words) but then stand silent with respect to their horrendous actions (murdering innocents). I guess actions don’t speak louder than words when it comes to Presidential concerns, at least where it concerns Trump.

Clinton, Bush, Obama, and now Trump have all escalated the drug war. They have all been responsible for caging millions of people for the “crime” of having in their possession something that some other people think they shouldn’t have in their possession. If we threw people in cages for owning certain books there would be a groundswell of public outcry; yet change that word from “book” to “drug” and somehow it all makes perfect sense. There is no constitutional amendment (like alcohol prohibition had supporting it) mandating a drug war, so any of these presidents with the stroke of a pen could have ended this senseless and costly “war” on drugs. That not one of them has serves as a testament to their cowardice and wickedness.

So it is not Trump’s policies that the left finds so objectionable but rather his delivery. Indeed when he shuts up and bombs people the press fall all over themselves praising how “presidential” he is. For shame. Killing people is presidential? Trump is crude and blunt when he speaks. Not at all how we picture our Hollywood presidents to be. The press and the left would like someone from central casting (like Obama) filling the role – someone who just “seems” presidential. This crudeness is perhaps Trumps only redeeming quality. It puts the lie to the notion that presidents are somehow better, smarter, and wiser, than the rest of us and are worthy of the power we bestow upon them. They are not. With Trump we see the Everyman President. And it scares us. And it should. But it should scare us no matter who occupies that office. Do not be so easily duped by the silver tongue of the professional politician. If you focus on their deeds and not their words then perhaps we might one day reign in their power.

Riding the brakes?

Do you remember when those hurricanes hit Texas and Florida last month and since some people couldn’t access their money to buy food and other supplies the government just waived the law against theft so people could get what they needed more quickly? Yeah, me neither. But in fact the government did waive one law last month: the Jones Act. This waiver applied to affected ports in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico.  But I thought laws were the very immovable bedrock upon which society was based. How can such pillars of civilization be summarily set aside? The answer is that such “laws” are not really law at all. They are but mere whims and cronyist preferences of those with the power to rule over we mere peasants. These “laws” rather than preventing victimization they instead create victims by benefiting one party at the expense of another.

The Jones Act of 1920 artificially restricts the transport of goods between US ports to only those vessels owned, operated and principally manned by US citizens. In other words no “ferners” can move goods from US port to US port. It was established for putative national security interests post World War I, predicated (as all such protectionist measures are) on a fear of the big “what if” nightmarish scenario of US goods being transported mainly by foreigners….shudder. Of course such a policy is amenable to the autarkist interests of any nation eager to engage in war.

So while the Act has benefited the US merchant marine industry, it has been at the expense of consumers, principally those on US protectorate islands (like Puerto Rico) who by necessity must have nearly all goods brought in by ocean. A 2012 study showed that it cost nearly twice as much to ship to Puerto Rico from the US as it would were a non-US vessel permitted to make such shipments. Another study showed it costs Puerto Rico $537 million per year. In other words $537 million more goes to US vessels (seen benefit) and $537 million fewer dollars goes to those businesses and industries (unseen harm) where that money would have been spent had it stayed in the pockets of the Puerto Rican people.

If a law becomes an obstacle in times of distress then think of what it does in normal times. Although one can get from point A to B while riding the brakes on a full tank, does it really require running on fumes to realize perhaps this constant braking is not a good idea? It is time to remove all such artificial drags on the economy. The role of government is to protect our rights, not to benefit one group at the expense of another.

 

Fallacies

Just as the warm, moist air of late summer engenders the destructive fury of hurricanes, so too do these storms bear the perennial fruit of economic ignorance. Like clockwork the talking heads either eagerly forecast economic prosperity or decry the mendacity of the evil price “gouger.” Or both. The former is the classic example of the broken window fallacy, which like a case of herpes, will never be fully expunged from humanity’s collective consciousness. The error lies in focusing on seen benefits while ignoring unseen harm. We are implored to consider the benefits of jobs that will be created as we set about rebuilding lost homes, towns, and infrastructure. But this economic activity is not enhanced; rather merely diverted. All the money spent on rebuilding would have, absent the hurricanes, been spent on other goods and services. It is those markets and industries that will in turn see economic decline as fewer people spend in those areas. Even if argued that the rebuilding funds come exclusively from the savings coffers of insurance carriers therefore it wasn’t going to be used anytime soon, that still does not change the economic dynamics. A huge influx of “new” cash competing for a fixed amount of supplies does nothing but cause prices to rise for everyone else (e.g. building supplies will be in higher demand therefore all users of such supplies nationwide will experience higher prices). These higher prices mean, again, fewer dollars to spend on other goods. The only sense in which one could argue that net economic activity increases is if we assign no value to leisure. Certainly if one works 12 hours a day rather than 8 to both rebuild what was lost and maintain what one still has, then output is indeed greater. But is that the world we want to live in, where we sacrifice leisure in the name of economic output? Why we don’t need a destructive storm to achieve that, just pass a law enforcing a 16 hour work day and we could double GDP overnight! Destruction is not the path to an economic free lunch. Everything has a trade-off. The only path to prosperity is through savings, capital accumulation, and investment of that capital toward avenues that make production more efficient (i.e. cheaper).

The price gouger fulfills a valuable economic role, namely the rationing of constrained supplies in direct correlation to need. The feedback is immediate and perfect. There is no need for the imprecision of someone overseeing how much has Person A bought in such and such time period if rationing is imposed by pubic or private diktat. This issue is not so much of a fallacy since people do generally understand principle that if supply goes down prices will go up. Rather, it is more of an issue of emotion; each person’s barometer of what a “fair” increase amounts to varies. The fallacy is in believing that someone charging an “unfair” amount deserves to be thrown in a cage. As much as people would like to redefine words, “victim” does not describe someone who paid more than they would have preferred. So, no victim, no crime and thus any laws against price “gouging” are themselves victimizing when those with a true need find nothing but empty shelves. Trading willfully unobserved harms for spurious benefits leaves us all vulnerable.

Vain Pursuits

It is a curious artifact of American politics that the showcasing of a soldier’s widow (as Trump did during his recent address of a joint session of Congress) has the opposite effect one might imagine. If little Johnny were brought before the class by his teacher to show them how he lost a finger playing with firecrackers, one might expect that frightful outcome would instill in the other children a sense that perhaps holding a lit firecracker in your hand is perhaps not a good idea. We would not expect the children to feel emboldened to engage in the same activity.

Likewise, shouldn’t parading the grieving loved ones of fallen soldiers instill in our “leaders” an instinct to be more parsimonious when using this scarce human capital? We would hope they would become progressively less inclined to engage in bellicose rhetoric that necessitates sending soldiers into harms way. But no, it has the opposite effect. In order ensure the recently departed have not “died in vain” and to defend the “honor” of the country, the leaders become even more inclined to retaliate or engage in new overseas adventures with the supposed goal of “furthering US interests” or “consolidating US power.” Why is that? Because for all the high-minded sounding rhetoric (equality, peace, freedom) and apparently “civilized” structure of the modern democratic state these political decisions still turn on raw emotions. The same emotions that drove primitive bands of hunter-gatherers to raid each other’s villages today drive men in suits sitting under gold domes to murder people half a world away. There is no logic, there is no thought, just raw, visceral emotions of revenge, anger, and pride, all wrapped up in some twisted nationalistic package we label patriotism and uniformly applaud like trained seals when shoved in our faces.

Patriotism, literally “love of one’s country” drives not just American leaders but every other country’s ruling elite to engage in the stupidest, most ill advised behavior – from hot wars to trade wars – all to advance the goal of autarky in an “us vs. them” board game. I suppose it is true what they say, “love is blind,” but in combination with political power this aphorism becomes lethal if love of country blinds one to reason and logic. In the war on terror reason and logic would dictate that blowback and the desire to control others is the proximate cause of virtually the entire problem of terrorism. Stop throwing rocks at the hornet’s net if you want to stop getting stung; beating it harder only makes the problem worse.

You’d think we all want no more widows and orphans resulting from pursuing inane policies. That should have been the point of shoving into the face of Congress the results of their polices. If we keep wasting these fine men and women in vain political pursuits, we will one day find no one left to defend us from an actual external attack.

Tyranny of the Do-Gooders

In 2012 Jeffrey Dallas Gay, Jr. (age 22) died of an overdose of prescription drugs. There is little more tragic than death resulting from something so easily preventable. As a parent the instinct is strong to stamp from the face of this earth that which our child became entangled in. But just as setting a national 5 mph speed limit would be a counterproductive response to death by automobile accident, so too are the knee-jerk reaction of legislators when faced with these sorts of drug related tragedies. Senate Bill 81 was recently introduced into the Georgia General Assembly with the stated goal of trying to eliminate opioid overdoses. As with all such intrusions by the state into the lives of individuals, it leaves in its wake the collateral damage of individual lives sacrificed on the altar of the greater good.

The bill preamble first cites a scary-sounding decontextualized statistics (that roughly 30,000 die annually from opioid overdose – context: 0.008% of the US population) it then moves headlong into the “solution.” Now, if 30,000 people a year were dying because some enemy was lobbing bombs at US cities, then yes, the government should do something about that. But we aren’t dealing with an external foe, rather an internal one, ourselves. Laws on gambling, prostitution, drugs, alcohol, compulsory health insurance, etc. all share in common the well-intentioned desire to protect us from ourselves. But such laws undermine the very idea of a free nation built on individual rights. Do you sell your soul to save your life?

SB 81 purports to solve, or at least mitigate, the opioid “epidemic” by limiting first time opioid prescriptions in the state of Georgia to no more than a 5 day supply. Additionally every pharmacist is required to log all such prescriptions into a statewide database (cough, Big Brother, cough) so usage can be tracked to prevent someone buying “too much” (whatever that may be). Just as someone today can hit a wall if they try to buy “too much” Sudafed so too will the unintended consequence be that some must suffer in agonizing pain because their prescription is “too much” under the eyes of “the law.” But hey, who cares about individual suffering if we think our policy might help someone. What’s next, tracking our grocery purchases to be sure we aren’t “abusing” our bodies by buying the food that makes us less healthy and leading to higher health care costs? The greater good of “public health” would surely allow for such reasoning. Yes, laugh now, but it’s coming one day.

Of course these legislators want their cake and eat it too. The paragraph stipulating no more than a 5-day supply is quickly followed by a paragraph supporting the right of a physician to prescribe whatever they deem medically necessary. So once again politicians get to bask in the limelight of “doing something” while not actually doing anything other than adding yet another layer of bureaucracy for doctors who are already over-burdened with a mountain of regulatory paperwork they have to comply with from the local, state, and federal level.

The sad fact that no one wants to face is there no way to solve the opioid overdose problem other than getting people to follow the prescription on the bottle. And that’s not going to happen because people are people and some people just can’t follow directions. People “abuse” antibiotics as well by doing the reverse, not taking enough. This promotes antibiotic resistance. Indeed, nearly as many people (23,000) die each year due to antibiotic resistance. Why no bills designed to solve that “crisis”? Perhaps because no one is getting high off antibiotics? The desire to stamp out any possibility of artificially induced pleasure seems to be the driving force behind drug policy in this country. Anyone who needs a medication should not be made to suffer the hardship of additional hurdles just to get what they need because a handful of people can’t act responsibly. If you want to make a meaningful inroad toward ameliorating this problem, lobby the FDA to remove rules on side effect disclosures that require events with a 0.00001% chance of happening being listed. This leads to information overload and people just tune out everything. If the warning listed only actual hazards – like death from overdose – people would pay attention. Thus unintended consequence of government meddling leads to “solutions” like SB 81 which will invariably lead to more unintended consequences which can only be solved by yet more rules and legislation. The state cannot remake man through the pen. It must stop trying to do so.

DeVoss vote a proxy for freedom, choice

The Democrats waged a bitter campaign against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Ultimately they lost that battle when Vice-President Pence cast the deciding vote in a split Senate. But this battle had less to do with DeVos the women (indeed, perhaps one can only be a misogynist if they oppose Democrat women) and more to do with the concept of “school choice.” Ah yes, the Democrats, the party of “choice” when it comes to women and their bodies are decidedly anti-choice when the debate shifts to where you send your children to school. Because DeVos has expressed support for school vouchers, that means she is a blood-sucking monster who wants to see children die. This is no hyperbole in characterizing the oppositions rhetoric – noted Democrat film critic Richard Lawson tweeted “voucher programs will lead to more suicides, Betsy DeVos’s policies will kill children. That is not an exaggeration in any sense.”

The tweet has since been deleted. But you get the idea. These people literally believe that if we don’t all meekly line up single file like cattle to go to our assigned schooling center, then the very fabric of society will be rent.

Apparently allowing parents the freedom to decide where their children go to school means the public schools will be unable to function by virtue of decreased revenue. But this makes little sense on its face. If a school has 1,000 children and 500 leave for another school then both revenue and expenses have fallen in concert. This is why if you choose to eat at McDonalds and not Burger King no one says your actions are “defunding” Burger King – as though Burger King has some superior claim to your money that for the good of society necessitates you eat there. Why if you don’t eat at Burger King then they may have to fire people, and unemployment is bad for society, therefore we will tell you when and where to eat, shop, live, and go to school. Even though schooling is the only active part of that hypothetical edict, logically there is no reason this greater good argument can’t be used for any other economic activity.

School choice means that if money is directed away from public schools that are not satisfying the parent’s desire for a good education, then those public schools will have to fire teachers and (gasp!) administrators. Fewer public school teachers mean fewer public school union members. Unions oppose school voucher programs not because they genuinely think it will harm children. No. They oppose it because they genuinely think it will harm their current position of political clout.

Fortunately the American public sees through the self-interest of the unions and past their spurious claims of wanting what is best for the children. A recent poll found that 68 percent of Americans are firmly in the school choice camp. Indeed it is often claimed that school choice is a clandestine method of re-establishing segregation in schooling again, but don’t tell that to the 72 percent of blacks and 75 percent of Latinos who are pro-school choice. For many of them it is the only life-line they have to escape the failing schools they have no choice but to attend by accident of their zip code. The Democrats claim to stand for the interests of the poor and underprivileged, but they are all too willing to sacrifice those ideals upon the altar of political expediency in praise of their god the unions (indeed, the Department of Education was established by President Carter to reward the strong support he received from the teacher’s unions). But there’s still hope for the anti-DeVos camp; throw your support behind Rep. Thomas Massie’s bill H.R. 899 which will abolish the Department of Education.

“Mr. Gorbachev, give us this wall”

Throughout Trump’s campaign he repeatedly promised that “we” would build a wall and that Mexico would pay for it. The details of that boast were conveniently omitted. But class is now in session and the homework is due, so at long last we have been made privy to his “secret” method of getting Mexico to pay for this wall: tariffs. Trump plans on imposing a 20% tariff on imported Mexican goods coming into the US. The proceeds are earmarked for paying for said wall. There’s just one problem with this little scheme of course: it won’t work, or at least not the way Trump imagines. In other words, as with all government actions, there will be unintended consequences. One of the central tenants of economics is that incentives matter. Closing a door just means now the window doesn’t look so bad. Like rats from a sinking ship, there are numerous routes to avoid the tariff. To offset the tariff Mexican exporters may raise prices, which of course means US buyers will shoulder the cost (although magically increases in minimum wage never incline one to increase prices). But higher prices mean US buyers may then opt to forego the purchase or to seek alternative goods; the net effect being no tariff earned and decreased sales for the Mexican company employing, you know, Mexicans (homework assignment: what effect might increased Mexican unemployment have on the demand to enter the US looking for work?). Or if the Mexican company decides to absorb the cost then that means they’ll either have to cut costs by potentially scaling back their work force or slowing the rate of hiring – all of which puts more Mexicans out of work (again see homework assignment above). The more you turn up your stereo to drown out your neighbor’s music, the more he does likewise in a perpetual game of one-upmanship until you both go deaf.

The immigration “problem” is one of positive feedback. Actions designed to decrease an effect actually make it grow. The irony here is that Trump of all people doesn’t see the problem. He is quite fond of blaming China for harming the US economy and putting people out of work by flooding the US market with cheap goods. However, he fails to see the US has been doing the exact same thing to Latin America for decades. That area of the world is less developed and so depends much more on agriculture production to support its economy. Any factors (such as cheap imports) in that agricultural market will have an outsize effect in that region. The US has a long history (since the depression) of agriculture subsidies to US farmers. Subsidies lower the cost of US agricultural products, allowing US farmer to export heavily into the Latin American market where local farmers can’t compete. That darn NAFTA! Yes, NAFTA enabled cheap imports in both directions. These imports had the obvious effect of putting them out of work whereupon they are left with little choice but to move to where there is a demand for low skilled labor – the US.

The inconvenient truth is that the solution to most of the immigration “problem” is to simply end all agricultural subsidies. But no, we’d rather scratch our heads as to why so many keep coming here, shrug our shoulders, and then set about building a wall to keep “them” out. Farm subsidies have become such a political lighting rod in this country that it is actually easier to subsidize foreign farmers (the US sends subsidies to Brazilian cotton farmers!) than to scale back subsidies to our own farmers.

If Trump really wants to stem the tide of Mexicans entering the US he needs to make Mexico great again – great enough that their economy becomes a magnet to all expatriates, drawing them home to where the jobs are. Perhaps Carrier should build that Mexican plant after all.

Eyes Wide Shut

Trump’s most recent executive order (EO) regarding entry to the US of aliens and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries has sparked a level of public outrage we have not seen since, well, a week ago during the “Women’s March”. At least this time the protestors have a legitimate reason to complain. This heavy-handed approach to preventing terrorist attacks in the US by barring entry of potential terrorists rests on the ill-advised principle that it is better that a thousand innocents be punished lest one guilty party go free. Some have argued that the choice of countries barred is illogical since there have been no known terrorists attacks in the US from citizens of those countries while citizens of Saudi Arabia who were involved in 9/11 are not on the list. But I would go one further: it doesn’t matter which country you put on the list, this process will be wholly ineffective. Actual terrorists trying to get in would not take the lengthy 2-year route of refugee status or try to travel commercial air where they would be quickly identified. They would find any number of other clandestine means to enter. The radicalized, but as of yet inactive, terrorist will easily pass. Lying is quite effective since we have no way to read minds or predict future events. Indeed, this EO would have not prevented the three most recent terrorist attacks in this country (Boston, Orlando, San Bernardino).

Now for the part people don’t want to hear. This action of Trump is what the state does every day: harms innocent people. For every supposed “beneficial” state action that you can point to as being “good” there are a multitude of unseen victims, sometimes unintended, sometimes intended. In that regard I’m glad Trump implemented this EO. It has finally awakened my friends on the left from their 8-year slumber. They are once again outraged when the state victimizes the individual on the altar of the nation or society. But, this reawakening will only have lasting effects if they can see and admit to themselves that what Trump is doing is a difference in degree, not kind, when compared to the actions of Obama in this arena. The US has always had policies that restricted travel of certain individuals. Sometimes when those policies were enforced innocent people were unfairly barred from entry. And sometimes those policies would arbitrarily change on a dime. Indeed just a week before he left office Obama ended a long-standing policy that would have permitted Cuban refugee (and many more just like him) Alexander Gutierrez Garcia entry into the US. Many were literally mere steps away from crossing the US-Mexico border when the order came down, crushing their dreams of freedom. So you see, a Democrat can also unfairly impose arbitrary rules that harm innocent individuals with hopes of living in the land of the free and the home of the brave. To my liberal friends, please try to remember that in 4-8 years when “your guy” (or gal) is back in office. I’ll be waiting.

The March on Windmills

The Women’s March on Washington DC (and around the world) this past January 21 was supposed to “send a message” to the new Trump administration. But rather than address his actually harmful stated goals (tariffs, wall building, etc.) they’d rather tilt at the imaginary windmills of things he never even touched on once. The inanity of it all cries out to be addressed; therefore I give my blow by low critique from their entire Unity Principles. Enjoy.

“We believe that Women’s Rights are Human Rights and Human Rights are Women’s Rights.”

Well duh, hard to argue with a tautology.

“We must create a society in which women”

So that would cover all women, irrespective of all other sub-categorizations, right? No, ok, so apparently “women” is unclear and you find it necessary to further qualify it…

“including Black women, Native women, poor women, immigrant women, disabled women, Muslim women, lesbian queer and trans women”

You forgot short women, skinny women, fat women, old women and young women. So I guess those women don’t qualify for the right to be

“free and able to care for and nurture their families, however they are formed, in safe and healthy environments free from structural impediments”

I wasn’t aware women are not being permitted to care and nurture their families was a thing. When did they pass that law?

“Women deserve to live full and healthy lives, free of all forms of violence against our bodies.”

Wait so men don’t deserve these things? I thought women’s rights were human rights and men are human… so why not be a bit more inclusive here with “people deserve”? Oh right, identify politics derives its power from the notion that we must separate ourselves into little political fiefdoms rather than accept the proposition we are all simply human beings with identical individual rights.

“We believe in accountability and justice in cases of police brutality and ending racial profiling and targeting of communities of color. It is our moral imperative to dismantle the gender and racial inequities within the criminal justice system.”

Can’t disagree with that… then again this sort of thing grew substantially during Obama’s 8 years… where were the marches and protests by millions of women highlighting his actual failures to address this vs. your mere fear that Trump might not focus on it.

“We believe in Reproductive Freedom. We do not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on our ability to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion and birth control for all people, regardless of income, location or education.”

Right, in other words “I have a right to free stuff… it is my right that you use a gun to take money from people in order that I don’t have to suffer the indignity of being asked to actually pay for $20 worth of birth control pills”

“We firmly declare that LGBTQIA Rights are Human Rights and that it is our obligation to uplift, expand and protect the rights of our gay, lesbian, bi, queer, trans or gender non-conforming brothers, sisters and siblings.”

So LGBTQIA people don’t have the right to vote, hold a job, own a home, get married, get a driver’s license, go to school? Wow, that’s news to me. What rights is it they don’t have again?

“We must have the power to control our bodies and be free from gender norms, expectations and stereotypes.”

Right, body control is fine as long as you use it in those ways officially sanctioned by the left. Two bodies engaging in trade requires “regulation” (the market). A body being forced to labor for another is perfectly fine (taxation). The right to “be free of people thinking x about me” is the right to use violence to control the bodies of others by curtailing their free speech and free thought lest someone’s feelings get hurt… cause hurt feelings are the worst possible thing in the world. Far worse than Obama drone-bombing brown women and children on an almost daily basis. But we only care about brown women and children in the United States. Those in other countries aren’t Americans so we don’t care about them. We don’t march for them.

“We believe in an economy powered by transparency, accountability, security and equity”

What does this even mean? Today’s menu consists of word salad.

“All women should be paid equitably”

They are already, if they weren’t then female unemployment would be 0% and it’s not, so case closed.

“with access to affordable childcare, sick days, healthcare, paid family leave, and healthy work environments.”

“Access” – another euphemism for “point a gun at that guy so he gives me stuff I want for free”. To claim you have a right to anything that can only exist by the labor of another is to say you own the labor of others. We have a word for that. I’ll let you figure it out on your own.

“All workers – including domestic and farm workers, undocumented and migrant workers – must have the right to organize and fight for a living minimum wage.”

Sure, fight all you want, but you don’t have the right to use violence, at the individual or state level, to get what you want. Of course let’s just ignore the fact that this thing that you want to control (the state) so you can have your grab bag of “rights” is also the thing that defines people as “undocumented” or “migrant” and limits their rights to begin with.

“We believe Civil Rights are our birthright, including voting rights, freedom to worship without fear of intimidation or harassment, freedom of speech, and protections for all citizens regardless of race, gender, age or disability.”

And these things don’t already exist? I’m sorry, I must have missed the part when Trump campaigned on a platform of repealing the Civil Rights Act and the 1st Amendment.

“We believe that all women’s issues are issues faced by women with disabilities and Deaf women.”

You already included “disabled women” above in your laundry list of female subgroups. But I guess the irony of treating the disabled differently by pointing them out in particular is lost on you. Oh, and when did deafness not become a disability? So blind women are disabled but deaf women are not? So confusing…

“Rooted in the promise of America’s call for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we believe in immigrant and refugee rights regardless of status or country of origin. We believe migration is a human right and that no human being is illegal.”

Agreed – of course Obama deported more “illegals” over 8 years than even Bush. So there’s that. But why let partisanship get in the way of holding your leaders accountable.

“We believe that every person and every community in our nation has the right to clean water, clean air, and access to and enjoyment of public lands.”

I guess the irony is lost on you that you are beseeching the government to maintain this right when in fact it one of the world’s biggest polluters. It also uses as a perennial excuse it’s own failure to protect the environment to justify even more funding. Normally doing a poor job gets you fired, not a raise.

“We believe that our environment and our climate must be protected, and that our land and natural resources cannot be exploited for corporate gain or greed – especially at the risk of public safety and health.”

Yes it would be far better to let everything in the world lie fallow and unused. This is Snow Globe Environmentalism – the notion that the Earth is a static bubble that man must not disturb. Everything has a trade off. The balance is found through the discovery process of the market price system. Not by top down edicts that would condemn 95% of the human race to death if they got their way (through elimination of electricity and mechanized agriculture).

We now return you to our regularly scheduled apoplectic Trump bashing for things we think he might do.

A Kontradiction

A recent Washington Post article purports to bail Paul Krugman (New York Times columnist and Nobel-winning “economist” aka water boy for Hillary Clinton and the DNC) out of a glaringly breathtaking contradiction. Krugman’s 180° flip involves his sudden hawkish attitude toward budget deficits whereas when it looked as though Clinton’s coronation was imminent last fall it was “spend baby spend” time. A one Matt O’Brien with the Post now tries to rescue Krugman from his own Kontradiction (def. Kontradiction: the fairly regular phenomenon whereby Paul Krugman supports the exact opposite of something he previously wrote while himself remaining unaware of his own hypocrisy). For a complete takedown of Krugman on this issue listen to ContraKrugman.

The core of O’Brian’s defense of Krugman’s reasoning is that at a Federal Funds rate of 0.25% government borrowing exerts no upward pressure on interest rates (because the private sector is not borrowing). But at a rate of 0.50% now magically the reverse happens; more, not fewer, businesses are interested in borrowing at a higher rate (?) and so government borrowing will exert upward pressure on rates and crowd out private borrowing. So because rates are today a hairs-breadth higher than last fall a flip on deficit policy is warranted. The special pleading is strong with this one. His argument only works if you carve out this nonsensical exception to the normal laws of supply and demand. Government borrowing at any interest rate will crowd out the private sector and cause rates to rise. This doesn’t magically change the closer one gets to a rate of zero.

However, that is not the most inane contention in O’Brian’s article. He states:

“If businesses won’t borrow even when interest rates are zero, the government can do so without having to worry that it’s using money the private sector wants.”

Let’s just tick off everything wrong with this statement. Businesses are still borrowing; to suggest otherwise is dishonest to put it mildly. Second, the Federal Funds rate (0%) is reserved exclusively for interbank overnight loans at the Federal Reserve. So no, businesses were not stupidly passing up 0% rate loans. Lastly, government borrowing would impact money the private sector is competing for even if somehow the government was the only borrower. Borrowing equals taxation. Although one-half of the borrowing equation is voluntary, the other unseen half (repayment) is not. This is a classic case of Bastiat’s “seen and unseen”. Every dollar someone lends to the government is one dollar less they have to spend elsewhere. It shifts spending from those industries otherwise favored by individuals and toward those favored by government. Although the individual lending favors investment, their investment dollar is still directed to government ventures rather than private ones. Whether you agree or disagree with how the funds are redirected is irrelevant, the fact of the matter is it occurs, therefore the private sector is impacted. The next unseen effect is loan repayment. Government bonds, and the interest they earn, can only be paid back by either (a) increased borrowing or (b) increased taxes. To the extent more of (a) occurs than (b) debt will skyrocket into a death spiral. This is our present situation. But if (b) is used to return funds then obviously all we have done is shift the tax burden from the present into the future. Future taxpayers must then support themselves and us.

I agree with 2017 Krugman. Deficits do matter. Deficits are an immoral act of violence. Deficits are the product of borrowing and borrowing is political cowardice. It takes no courage to give your constituents gifts that their grandchildren will have to repay. Government debt is even more morally repugnant than taxation. At least with taxation the present generation must bear the burden of the policies it puts in place. If the burden becomes too great, then democratic methods (in theory) will push for a change in policy. But borrowing unfairly shifts our burden onto a generation that never had a voice in the decision. Borrowing breaks the democracy feedback loop and permits unlimited dumping of the costs of current policy onto the future. There is so much concern over how our actions today affect the climate for future generations but ironically no concern whatsoever how our spending today will impact the standard of living for future generations who are forced to repay our profligacy. But I suppose Krugman would find no Kontradiction there.