Friday, March 24, 2017
Learning from the past
If the past is indeed a capable teacher, it would seem there is much to be learned from America’s industrial lions of the early 20th century – people like Andrew Mellon, Henry Ford, and Andrew Carnegie.
Most men today do not argue that as the 49th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Andrew Mellon knew more than his fair share about the philosophies and policies needed to stoke the engines of economic prosperity. It was Mellon, more than almost any other, who put the economic roar into the Roaring 20’s. And he did it by employing the business theories espoused by Adam Smith.
More than a century before, Smith – an economist, author, and philosopher – poured the concrete foundations for what would become classical free market economic theory. In “The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression,” author Amity Shlaes quotes a passage from Andrew Mellon’s book that harkens back to Smith and rings forth to us today:
“Does anyone question that Mr. Ford has made more money by reducing the price of car and increasing his sales than he would have made by maintaining a high price and a greater profit per car, but selling less cars? The government is just a business.”
Free market economic theories have just as much to teach us in the Twenty-first Century as they did in the Twentieth during Mellon’s day and the Eighteenth Century of Smith. You don’t have to be an economic genius to grasp Mellon’s principles: lower taxes allow business to expand. When a business expands, it hires, it produces things, it essentially puts money in the pockets of its people.
Intuitively, Americans know this. We love a bargain; lower prices equal more sales. And so, when we transfer these ideas to the behemoth now known as the American economy, we can and should expect positive results.
This week a new health care plan comes before Congress. It may not be perfect, but it’s obvious to all that the old one was crumbling before our very eyes – and in a very short time.
As well, a new budget is put before lawmakers. Yes, there are cuts involved. But anyone who is in debt up to their ears knows that at some point the belt must be tightened. And right now, the United States of America has unimaginable debt. The gross U.S. federal government debt is estimated to be $20.1 trillion, at the end of the fiscal year 2017.
I’m not advocating on behalf of either of these pieces of legislation. But I am saying we should look at what has worked for us in the past. The American economy is the proverbial Titanic. It will take a long time to turn it around, but heaven forbid we don’t see the iceberg ahead and at the very least try and avoid it.
So, if all politics is personal, my family member and I may not agree how to turn the ship around, but we both instinctively know that we are not headed in the right direction. The only question then becomes: Do we turn right or left to avoid hitting that wall of ice?
The Misplaced Compassion of 'Sanctuary Cities'
Once again the Left’s engagement in fantasy instead of fact leaves rationale people shaking their heads in utter disbelief. A mere four days after two criminal aliens were arrested for brutally raping a 14-year-old girl in a Rockville, Maryland high school, the state legislature passed a bill declaring Maryland to be a “sanctuary state,” affording illegal aliens more protections from deportation. As Mark Alexander noted last week, the “sanctuary” charade certainly makes these places safer for criminal aliens. Maryland’s Republican governor Larry Hogan, who promised to veto the bill, angrily responded to the crime and called for Montgomery County to “immediately and fully cooperate with all federal authorities” as they investigate the “heinous crime.”
To add insult to injury, it has been learned that one of the illegals had been previously detained in Texas for illegally entering the country, but was subsequently released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Obviously he should never have been released.
This past Monday, the Department of Homeland Security released a list, which is by no means exhaustive, of “jurisdictions that have enacted polices which limit cooperation with ICE.” A majority of the jurisdictions were located in Texas, but not surprisingly Montgomery County, Maryland, was also included on the list. Donald Trump has been working to expose just how big the problem of lawless local governments aiding and abetting of illegal aliens has become.
Denying the growing illegal alien crime epidemic will only create more suffering for law-abiding citizens. Lawlessness unchecked leads only to greater and more severe criminal acts, as the Rockville rape case attests. The great fallacy preached by many on the Left is the insistence that to be the truly compassionate one must ignore “lower-level” lawlessness. The assumption being that a nation committed to the Rule of Law is inherently socially unjust.
Leftists continue to double down and ignore the genuine plight of the innocent victims who have been begging for protection and the enforcement of the law. Where is that great “compassion” from the Left for law-abiding American citizens?
The New Democratic Party
Where is the Democratic party? The party of political giants like FDR, LBJ and JFK is missing in action along with the letters that defined its heroes. This is now the party of Obama, Schumer, Pelosi - a facsimile of the past and a party without direction and policy guidelines.
America needs a two-party system. Differences are desirable within a Constitutional framework. Parties have served the nation well; albeit exceptions abound.
However, in my opinion, the nation has entered a new phase in party history. The Democratic party has become the party of NO. It stands against Trump, but it offers almost nothing of substance. A party that was the incubator of ideas is now bereft of them. More importantly, the Democratic party is intent on using any method in its quiver to hurt Republican counterparts. Politics may not be bean bag, but it wasn't a bloodsport until recently. Now Democrats view Republicans as the "enemy" and, of course, enemies must be defeated.
There was a time when Republicans were merely "foes" and "rivals." Those days have passed. Now lies, character assassination and personal vindictiveness are fair play. Anything goes in a world where winning is all that counts. What this means, of course, is that partisanship makes it far more difficult to govern.
During the 2012 campaign Senator Harry Reid said Mitt Romney did not pay his taxes. This claim was a bald faced lie. In fact, Mr. Reid admitted as much. Yet he also claimed this tactic was acceptable. For Reid, it shows something about political verve. What it shows is that lying is okay as long as it undermines the enemy.
This is the path to a political nightmare in which crushing the opposition is all that counts. But politics is not Vince Lombardi football; the opposition stays in the halls of Congress, continues to play a role and may be needed to get legislation passed even after electoral defeat. How can a modicum of cooperation be engendered in the present environment? Moreover, Democratic leadership has made up its mind that the present anti Trump strategy will be to resist. Tom Perez and Keith Ellison, the two newly named heads of the Democratic National Committee, have made it clear that they will resist this president even before a political offer is made. This is the politics of preemption. Reject even those offers that might benefit your party and could benefit the country.
It is instructive that two of the most radical voices in the Democratic party now represent its leadership. So far in the hard core left direction have Democrats gone that Mr. Ellison who once supported Reverend Farrakhan and who routinely made anti-Israel and - some would contend - anti-Semitic comments is supported by Senator Charles Schumer, a self-described moderate and a booster of Israeli-American relations. Schumer can read the handwriting on the wall. The party is in thrall to the hard left leaving in the dust an organization that was thoughtful and largely pragmatic.
This is the new Democratic party, one that shuns pragmatism and embraces ideology. In fact, the former head of the Democratic National Committee at the last party convention could not distinguish between socialism and Democratic positions. Alas, few Democrats can - the party is ensconced in the febrile left with little room for any other position.
What this means is that the Democratic party is working vigorously to be a marginal organization operating at the fringes of politics. Winston Churchill understood why this movement to the left is bound to fail by noting: "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."
"Racist" Trump to appoint Indian Appeals court judge
The White House announced Tuesday that Trump intended to nominate U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
Thapar, son of Indian-American immigrants and a former federal prosecutor, now serves as a federal judge in the Eastern District of Kentucky. Bush appointed him in 2008.
The announcement for a nomination comes as Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, is going through his confirmation hearings in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Appeals court judges can be nearly as important as Supreme Court judges since the high court is limited in the number of cases it accepts.
There are 19 appellate court vacancies across the United States that Trump could fill, and 96 on federal district courts, according to Elizabeth Slattery, a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
There are also two vacancies on the U.S. Court of International Trade and six on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. There are a total of 677 authorized district judgeships and 179 total court of appeals judgeships.
“This is a great sign that President Trump takes lower courts seriously,” Slattery told The Daily Signal. “The last administration did not make lower court judges a priority, and that ended up being good for conservatives because it has left Trump with a lot of opportunities. There was a lot of thought that the president would wait until the Gorsuch nomination reached its conclusion.”
Given his position on the Trump campaign’s Supreme Court list of 21 names, this could be grooming Thapar for the Supreme Court, said Curt Levey, president of the Committee for Justice, a conservative legal group, and a senior legal fellow for FreedomWorks.
“Everyone on that list was ranked somewhere from good to great as far as being a constitutionalist,” Levey told The Daily Signal. “Certainly if he is qualified to be on the Supreme Court, he is qualified to be on an appeals court. He would be the first Indian-American on the Supreme Court. There is no better way to give him credentials.”
Thapar began his legal career in private practice. He clerked for Judge S. Arthur Spiegel on the District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and then with Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, to which Trump has selected Thapar to serve on. Thapar received his bachelor’s degree from Boston College in 1991 and his Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley.
Trump was ‘wire-tapped’ after all
Devin Nunes, the Republican Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, revealed overnight that some of the US President’s personal communications had been caught up in “incidental” surveillance involving a foreign power in the months after the election.
Nunes said the information, which he said was obtained from a source he did not identify, was collected legally in November, December and January — from the November 8 election to Trump’s January 20 inauguration — but the names of some Trump officials involved had been “unmasked” and the communications “widely disseminated” within spy agencies.
And the Donks are now in full hate-speech mode against Rep. Nunes
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.
Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Pictorial) or here (Personal)
Posted by JR at 1:34 AM