Friday, June 30, 2017

Greece, Venezuela, Illinois

What is the endgame of the left's big government program?  The ingredients are all in place:  more rules, more regulations, demonizing the rich, physical intimidation of opponents, eliminating free speech, claiming to speak for the poor -- these are all things that we have heard in Greece, in Venezuela, and in Illinois.

Using tactics like this, the left has thoroughly implemented their economic and political programs in Greece, Venezuela and Illlinois.  How are things going now?  How are the poor doing?  How is anyone doing?

In Greece, garbage piled up in Athens threatens the health of all, but especially the poor.  There are no longer any real public services in Athens.  In Venezuela, people fight daily in the streets for food to feed their children.  Civil war has effectively broken out in Venezuela.  Illinois, currently at an earlier stage of disaster, no longer pays routine bills to hospitals and schools.  Soon, these facilities will close.  Already the murder rate in Chicago rivals third world statistics.  Violence in Chicago is common place among the poor.

So, how is the Sanders-Warren-Obama-Chavez-Papandreou  program working out?

When free people are put in straightjackets, free speech suppressed routinely on college campuses, political language used to incite fierce anger against the business community, the end result is always and inevitably the same.

If you want a glimpse of America's future under the left, visit Athens or Maracaibo today.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How to Mislead Readers

Check out Eduardo Porter's article on US health care in today's NY Times.  It is completely misleading and, no doubt, designed to deliberately mislead it's readers.  This is becoming commonplace in the NY Times.

The article is about health care in the United States and compares US outcomes to those in other countries.  For example, obesity is one of the "health care" problems.

Porter writes as if  "obesity" is some kind of medical problem that can only be dealt with by constant trips to the doctor and to the hospital. Apparently, Professor Porter thinks obesity just happens. It's something that individual habits have nothing to do with.  If one person is not overweight and is healthy, but another is not, the reason, suggested by Porter, is that the first person has a doctor or a hospital nearby, while the other does not.

Exactly what the finest doctors and hospitals can do to prevent "obesity" is not clear, but Porter's analysis suggests that lack of doctors and hospitals is the main cause of obesity.  Is there anyone out there that believes that?

As is well known in the health care field, the availability of doctors and hospitals is not the most important determinant of health outcomes.  Personal habits, diet and so forth are far, far more important than availability of medical facilities.  That is well known, but, apparently, Professor Porter has no knowledge of this.  Makes you wonder why the NY Times picked him to write about a subject of which the most important facts are unknown to him.

I think we all know the reason for Professor Porter's duplicity and for that of the NY Times.  In the rush to expand government's control over everyone's daily life, the NY Times will say or do anything, irrespective of truth or relevance.

A Glimpse Into the Democratic Wonderland -- the State of Illinois

Currently, the state of Illinois has $ 14.6 billion in unpaid bills.  That's right.  You read it right!  Illinois is currently not paying its bills and the shortfall is staggering.  The state is grinding to a halt. 

Soon to be followed by other states: New Jersey, California, and, yes, New York.  This outcome is not a "likely" outcome, it is an "inevitable" outcome.  It is just a matter of simple arithmetic.

Massive wealth transfers and an increasing non-competitive regulatory environment lead to economic stagnation and financial collapse.  Greece and, down a short road, Spain, Italy and France are on that road.  But, the US is a player in the game as well.  Detroit was the opening bell.  Now comes the state of Illinois (and the city of Chicago).

None of this should be a surprise.  It's been in the numbers and predicted by rational observers for decades.  At the national level, social security and medicare are on the same road. These programs have no hope -- none -- of providing today's young workers anything at all.  Yet, Democratic politicians are still singing the praises of these soon-to-be-bankrupt programs.  You can't make this stuff up.  This is the real world.

Promises unpaid for.  That's the game.  Detroit, now Illinois, are the inevitable outcome.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

What Free Tuition Really Means

If you are watching the extra-curricular sideshows taking place on college campuses these days, you already know that it's not your grandfather's (or grandmother's) college campus.

Shouting down speakers you disagree with and kangaroo courts designed to punish those who you suspect of bad behavior or whose political views you don't share is becoming common everywhere in academe.

So, what about free tuition?  The argument for this is normally phrased as a discussion about education.  But, is that what is really going on at America's colleges and universities?  Or is the modern campus life more about political indoctrination and less about education in the sense of math, literature, history, foreign languages, chemistry, physics, engineering and so forth.

What to make of all the new majors that are essentially "identity" education?  Since most academics know nothing about these topics, all kinds of new academics have been minted to fill the faculty slots that these new majors have created.  If you have been following this evolution, you know that the vast majority of the newly minted academics are essentially political creatures with a predominantly left-wing agenda.  Not much real research, in the classic sense of that term, is going on in the new world of "identity" education.

So, free tuition is likely to mainly fund a whole new group of political activists and do little or nothing to promote the kind of educational advancement that has traditionally been provided in Amerca's colleges and universities.  For those on the far left, this is great!  Indeed, this is the plan.

The wonder is that wealthy folks continue to pour fantastic sums into these hotbeds of single mindedness in the bizarre view that they are furthering education.  All of the money pouring into these places is simply funding the revolution.  Virtually none of this money goes to education of the type that flourished a generation ago.  It's all new-age "identity" education.  Turn on your TV and you will see it in action on a regular basis, as folks whose views don't fit the new "identity" world are shouted down, beaten and driven from the campus.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fed "Raises Rates" ..... yawn

The Fed moved up the overnight repo rate another 25 basis points by continuing to be the borrower of last resort.  By putting an arbitrary minimum on repos done on their own account they force a minimum onto the market.  Big deal.  No other rates, other than overnight rates, budged.  So much for the Fed raising rates.

The massive excess reserve position of the US commercial banking system precludes any real tightening policy as over $ 3 trillion of bond sales would be required to accomplish that.

Not going to happen.

Instead, we just have more conversation from the Fed and the Fed watchers.  Much ado about nothing.

Friday, June 16, 2017

And...For Those Who Lack an $ 18 skill set?

The left now proposes that anyone who does not have at least an $ 18 skill set (remember that social security payments are mandatory for all employees) can no longer work in their state and/or the USA. At least twenty percent of the American population fails that test and therefore are legally prohibited from working in any profit-seeking business.  Thus, the poorest among us are told that if you seek to improve your skill levels by learning on the job, you are a criminal.  That's what the $ 15 minimum wage law says and does.

Of course, the left thinks companies that seek profits are evil.  But, unfortunately for that narrative, not everyone can live off their parents and/or the taxpayer.  At the end of the day, someone has to support all of this and that someone is the profit-seeking part of the economy.  The government and Mom and Dad can only do so much.

Criminalizing the effort to improve one's life chances is the main program of the left.  Letting people freely accept pay in the form of work training as opposed to cash is against the law already.  The left simply wants to make such laws more punitive by prohibiting an increasingly large part of the poorest Americans from having any real hope of improving their financial position.

Criminalize the act of being poor.  That is the program of the left.

Anonymous Lies Repeated in a Vicious Cycle

The Washington Post and the NY Times now make it an everyday practice to simply invent news.  The news they invent feeds their ongoing narrative.  The truth, to the Post and the Times, is irrelevant.  They have an agenda and they want to fit the stories to that agenda.  If the facts in the story are completely false, the Post and the Times don't care.  As long as it feeds the narrative, anything goes.

So, you wonder why people don't trust the media anymore.  Why should they?  Lies begin in the Washington Post and/or the NYTimes, are repeated by the main-stream media and then blared out all day long on CNN and MSNBC.  When, as is almost inevitably the case, the truth comes out and the lies are exposed (See the Feb 14th NY Times article about supposed collusion between the Trump team and the Russians as a poster-child example of the lies masquerading as a news story), there is never a retraction or an apology.  Instead, WAPO simply moves on to the next lie and the cycle repeats itself.

The same practice occurs in the reporting of economic and financial news.  The truth is no longer what matters to the media.  If you want to make your case against something, just invent facts that can fit that case and publish those false facts so that you can make your case.

Truth and integrity are no longer relevant to a media that simply wants to pursue an agenda.  This media has no interest in facts or truth.  They have an agenda and that is all they care about.  Who are we talking about: ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, the NYTimes, Washington Post and the Financial Times.  Truth is largely irrelevant to this group.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

NY Times Publishes Deliberate Lies

On February 14th of this year, the NY Times ran a story with the following headline:

"Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence"

This story was written by Michael Schmidt, Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo.

Here's the first line of the story:

"Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials."

The headline and the quote are deliberate lies by the authors and the NY Times.

Here's what James Comey had to say under oath this week about the NY Times fabricated story:

"In the main, it was not true.  The challenge and I'm not picking on reporters, about writing stories about classified information is the people talking about it often don't really know what's going on and those of us who actually know what's going on are not talking about it."

In other words, the story was a complete (and, no doubt, deliberate) fabrication designed solely to damage the United States in the eyes of its citizens and in the eyes of the world.

The NY Times has yet to apologize for the story.  No doubt they are proud of it, because the pack of lies they ran on February 14th led to the appointment of a special counsel and fueled an enormous firestorm led by a dishonest and corrupt media.  All based upon deliberate lies by a formerly-respected news organization.

What else is left to say about the NY Times as a journalistic source?

Theresa May Deserved Her Defeat

Theresa May, the British PM, lost her majority in Parliament this past week in a stunning upset.  The Conservative Party, of which she is the leader, fell 10 seats short of a majority, forcing May to cut a deal with some other smaller party in order to form a new government.

May deserved to lose.

May spent much of her political career explaining that she didn't really believe in free markets and could care less about economic growth.  The voters believed her apparently.

May should be replaced by the Conservative Party with a leader who cares about the economic plight of the average Brit and less about being politically correct.  The "kindler, gentler" approach to conservative leadership, begun under Bush 1 in the US, leads to electoral catastrophe, as May found out this week.

You either believe in free markets or you don't.  May doesn't.  Good riddance.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Economic Growth (sic) in the Euro Zone

Today's news, ignoring the plight of James Comey and Theresa May, includes the revised upward economic growth numbers in Europe.  For the first time in a long time, Europe is experiencing 2+ percent growth.  This is cause for celebration in Europe, whose economy has barely had a pulse for the past decade or so.

It takes 3-4 percent to do anything for folks at the bottom of the pile, so there is no reason for those folks to celebrate.  But, the well-to-do and job-protected bureaucrats and academics can take heart.  There will be, for a while, enough government largesse to keep them going.  Pity those without the protections these folks have.

The overburdening regulations in Europe guarantee that folks at the bottom will never escape, similar to the game plan by the left in the US.  This keeps a ready supply of voters who are mislead, ironically, by the constant drumbeat of income inequality.  If folks at the bottom were given a decent chance to change, for the better, their economic prospects, the left would never win another election.  Thus, the regulatory apparatus designed, in part, to keep the poor in place.

Meanwhile, the Trumpian efforts to get economic growth restarted in the US are sidetracked partly by Trump's foolish behavior and partly by the press, whose main interest these days seems to be an attempt to overthrow the Trump presidency.

Meanwhile, the folks at the bottom of the economic pile, both in Europe and in the US, are left to languish without much hope for a better life.  So, Europe celebrates improved economics for the wealthy and the protected, while America focuses on a non-existent Russian threat.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Comey is the Leaker! Wow!

James Comey gave his notes on a meeting with the President of the United States to a buddy of his (a left wing professor at Columbia University) to be released clandestinely to the Washington Post.  Wow!  A great example of a deliberate effort to undermine the government of the United States by the former director of the FBI.  He deserved firing.  Comey is a disgrace to the country.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Federal Reserve Policy is Ridiculous

The Federal Reserve is embarrassing and Janet Yellen and her cohorts would produce more social good if they put off meeting again for a few years, rather than to continue the absurdities that have come to be known as Fed Policy.

The Fed now claims it is on a path to raise interest rates.  Could of fooled me.  Every interest rate of any relevance to the economy has come straight down during the Fed "rate raising" process.  Maybe if they "raise rates" again they can get the ten year yield under two percent.  Would the Fed consider that a successful exercise in "rate raising?"  Mortgage rates have plummeted.  Is that another example of a successful "rate raising" process?

You have to wonder if this is some loud joke being played on all of us.

We should close the Fed down and replace the Fed with a simple monetary rule, such as has been proposed by Stanford economist John Taylor,  With the exception of the virtuous Fed Policy led by Paul Volcker from 1989 to 1987, the Fed has either created instability or unproductive distortions in the American economy.

Andrew Jackson was right.  The US does not need a central bank.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Without a Patsy, No Agreement

The European Union and China failed to reach any "climate pact" agreement as their meetings broke up in disarray yesterday.  As reported in today's Wall Street Journal, the expected role of China, supplanting the US as the new "leader" of the climate change partisans never materialized.  Why?

There is no patsy at the table willing to pay for all of this.  Now, the emerging markets look to the EU and China to foot the bill for their climate change activity and guess what?  The EU and China are unwilling to backfill the US commitment.  Since they made no commitment of their own, that leaves no money for the infamous "Paris Accords."

Naturally, this story was not reported by the "fake news" sources known as the New York Times and the Washington Post.  These "fake news" organizations only report stories favorable to their ongoing narrative that all the world is ready to make sacrifices for the climate change agenda except the US.  In fact, it turns out, no one is willing to make such sacrifices, other than, of course, Obama and he is out of power.

The "Paris Accords" was nothing more than a wealth transfer from the US to the rest of the world, as President Trump noted in his speech withdrawing from the accords.  Now, without a patsy to foot the bill, the entire charade is collapsing.

Where is the EU?  Where is China?  The same place that they have always been.  Spewing forth rhetoric about why the US should fund everyone else, joined, of course, by the Obama-Clinton-Schumer-Pelosi-Warren chorus.  America be damned, say these folks.  Hooray for those who want our money, but are unwilling to make any sacrifices at all in the name of climate change.

Trump did the right thing.  When will the NY Times and the Washington Post report the news truthfully and without bias?  The answer .... never.  Thankfully, there are other sources to get our news.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

It's Only Voluntary

The NY Times today lambasted President Trump in an editorial for walking away from the Paris Accords.  At least, for once, the attack on the President wasn't a news story.  Instead, this nonsense was found in an editorial where it belongs.

What is their argument? 

 "In truth, the agreement does not require any country to do anything," says the NY Times editorial.

That's their argument. 

So, if the Paris Accords are meaningless, what possible difference can it make if Trump walks away from it?  The rest of the editorial makes no sense.

If it is voluntary and therefore amounts to nothing, as the NY Times editorial argues, then why all the vitriol.

Is policy just a pose?  Are the Paris Accords, just a statement of sentiment with no real teeth?  That's what the NY Times is arguing.

As usual, it is all about a narrative and zero about policy.  That is so typical of the NY Times.

The truth is that the Paris Accords inflict enormous damage upon the US economy without doing a single thing for the world's climate.  That's the truth, whether the NY Times likes it or not.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The New "Clean Energy Jobs" Myth

Critics of Trump's actions on the Paris Accord argue that America will cede "clean energy" jobs to China and other countries.  This argument is completely absurd.  Who produces "clean energy" products has nothing at all to do with where the demand is.  If that were the case, Switzerland would be a major gold producer and the US would import virtually no textiles or furniture.

The left stoops to arguments like this that make no economic sense in a deliberate effort to mislead the public.  Free speech permits such nonsense, but common sense should limit the impact of nonsense arguments.

Where "clean energy" products can be produced most efficiently will determine who produces and who dominates the "clean energy" business, not where the demand is coming from.  The most significant "clean energy" product of the past twenty years is natural gas.  The US is far and away the leader in this "clean energy" product, despite the best efforts of Obama and his liberal pals to curb natural gas production in the US.

There is no longer any kind of reasonable political or economic debate or dialogue in the US, thanks to the closed-mindedness of the far-left-dominated news media.  But, the truth, fortunately, will emerge in spite of biased organizations like the NY Times and the Washington Post.

The News Accounts -- After Trump Drops the Paris Accords

As one might expect, the media lambasted Donald Trump for walking away from the Paris Accords.  Virtually all of the articles attacking Trump have no facts in them at all and seem to completely misunderstand the accord as well as the substantive issues in the "climate change" debate.  Ignorance, apparently, is bliss when it comes to reporting the news.

There is one article that stands out for its misleading commentary -- the WAPO article this morning by Glenn Kessler and Michele Lee.

Here is an example of their reasoning:

"Trump also suggested that the United States was treated unfairly under the agreement. But each of the nations signing the agreement agreed to help lower emissions, based on plans they submitted. So the U.S. target was set by the Obama Administration."

The suggestion is, of course, that anything the Obama folks did would be fair to America.  That misses the entire point of the last election.   Virtually ever action taken by the Obama Administration from the Iran Deal to the Russian Reset to the Syria red line to the appeasement of North Korea to the Paris Accords was "unfair to America."  Obama rarely, if ever, stood up for America, its values or its interests.  That's one of the main reasons that Trump won the election.

WAPO is not a newspaper.  It is an arm of the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party.  Everything they write is written from that perspective without regard to facts or to history.  WAPO would like to see a decline in American living standards and a retreat in America's role in the world.  Fortunately, Trump was elected, destroying the WAPO dream.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Trump Did The Right Thing

President Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Accords.  Had this been a legitimately ratified treaty, Trump would have been unable to do this.  But, in fact, this was not a treaty, according to the Obama Administration, and therefore they never sought Senate approval, as is required under the US Constitution for the ratification of any treaty.  This was just one more unilateral action by Obama, authorized by no one else and with zero consultation with the Congress.  No wonder such an arrangement could be easily tossed aside.

Why wasn't the Paris Agreement sent to the Senate for approval?  Three guesses.  Such a one-sided agreement would never have gotten through the US Senate, even if Democrats were in charge. 

Supporters of the agreement argue that global temperatures would drop by two-tenths of one degree by 2100.  Whoop-te-do!

But it would beggar the United States and reduce our economy to a pitiful shell of itself.

No gain, all pain.

Three cheers for President Trump!

Climate Change -- Whatever That Means

As President Trump prepares to announce his decision on the Paris Climate Accords, it's worth pausing to think about what is at issue.

Without consulting with Congress or submitting the Accord to the Senate for ratification, Obama unilaterally signed this agreement with a "public be damned" attitude that all but ensured that the agreement would become a flash point for future political debate.  There was no effort by Obama to gain consensus.  Instead, this was just Obama, once again, unilaterally legislating an astounding set of new rules, taxes and other growth-defeating initiatives on a country already limping along economically after the hammer blows of Dodd-Frank and arbitrary EPA directives.

The arbitrariness, one might say lawlessness, of the Obama Administration was a key reason that Donald Trump became President.  Right or wrong, to treat the public like the Paris Accords are none of their business hardens attitudes and guarantees future political turmoil.  The Obama folks are now seeing much of their legacy overturned.  This is to be expected since no consensus was ever sought by the arrogant band of elitists in the Obama White House.

What, in reality, would the Paris accords accomplish?  Even to its defenders, the Paris accords would accomplish almost nothing useful for future temperature levels.  And, at what cost?  No other country would be required to live up to the agreement except the United States.  Thus, other countries could vastly accelerate their production of carbon emissions, while the US economy sank into the quagmire, burdened with draconian restrictions on their energy usage.  How is this in the best interests of the United States?

The "climate change" bandwagon is lead largely by folks who know absolutely nothing about science or about the environment.  They are largely wealthy folks who, themselves, have a huge carbon footprint, but want others to live a dramatically lower standard of living to satisfy the desires of the wealthiest among us.  Al Gore and Hillary Clinton come to mind.  Will these folks ever make any sacrifice for the environment, or is it only working Americans that must pay the price for the latest left-wing pipe dream.

No one is really sure what "climate change" really means.  But, the one thing we know for certain is that folks that push this cause want to silence any dissent or any disagreement with their position.  "Climate change" is a religion pushed largely by ignorant left-wingers who have never taken the trouble to inquire about the basis for their views.  Had they done so, they would question a so-called "scientific consensus," that is no consensus at all.  Silencing legitimate debate is reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition, which the "climate change" advocates appear to resemble in attitude and open-mindedness.

Trump should walk away from the Paris accords and, in the future, a treaty agreed to by US leaders should be submitted to the US Senate, as required by the US Constitution.  Additionally, matters as important as the future of our environment should not be dogma.  Science should be free of political bias and open to debate, not something with which the left appears to be comfortable.