Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Yes, Donald Trump Is the Most Pro-Black President

By Herman Cain [who is black]

Mark my words: Donald J. Trump will be the most pro-black president in our lifetime.

Democrats have spent decades paying lip service to the black community while doing absolutely nothing to lift us up. It’s been all pandering with no progress.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s policies are bringing real, positive change to the lives of black Americans across the country — and we are taking note.

A Rasmussen report released last week revealed that Trump’s support among black Americans has doubled in the last year to 29 percent. This is just the latest sign that our community is giving the president a second look as he continues to make good on his economic promises and works to implement long-overdue reforms.

Interestingly, it was just a week after Trump’s election that BET founder Robert L. Johnson raised a very simple yet profound idea. “Why shouldn’t we, as black voters, reject the notion that we are locked into one party which undoubtedly limits and dilutes our voting power? We should, instead, use the power of our vote to support and elect whichever party that best serves our interests,” Johnson wrote.

Right now, that party is the GOP under Trump’s leadership.

The proof is evident wherever you look.

In April, the black unemployment rate dropped to a historic low of 6.6 percent, followed by another record low of 5.9 percent in June, the first time in history it fell below 6 percent.

Meanwhile, the worker pay rate just hit its highest level since 2008, and the Trump administration is making every effort to ensure our community has the skills necessary to compete in the 21st century economy.

The Democrats want to shield these facts from the black community. Their bitter refusal to clap when Trump touted historically low black unemployment during his State of the Union address should tell you everything you need to know about their motives. They would rather see Trump fail than see blacks succeed.

But the reality is that millions of black Americans are now experiencing unprecedented prosperity and opportunity under Trump. This new economic climate also means less government dependence, less crime, more social cohesion and an overall improved quality of life.

Thankfully, the president’s vision for black America reaches far beyond our economic revival. It includes his bipartisan criminal justice reform initiatives, which aim to right the wrongs of mass incarceration. For far too long our young men have had their futures stolen from them for low-level drug offenses.

Last week, Trump endorsed a prison reform compromise plan that Republicans hope will attract enough Democrats to pass in the Senate. The legislation would combine the First Step Act — a prison reform bill supported by Trump and passed by the House in May — with four more bipartisan sentencing reform plans.

“We passed the First Step Act through the House, and we’re working with the Senate to pass that into law. And I think we’ll be able to do it,” Trump said at the meeting.

The compromise bill would add to the First Step Act — which creates a way for prisoners to earn early release for good behavior and provides funds for expanded re-entry programs — new provisions that seek to put an end to mass incarceration and reduce mandatory minimum sentences.

Just as important, Trump isn’t just giving new hope to black Americans through overdue economic and justice reforms, he’s correcting errors of the past and providing new opportunities that will benefit generations to come.

For far too long, we have been used as political pawns and taken for granted by the Democrats. Election after election, they have preyed on our hope and promised us change — but they never delivered.

For the first time in decades, we are seeing real, positive changes take hold throughout black America, and we refuse to let bitter, Trump-hating politicians tell us otherwise. It’s the Democrats’ worst nightmare: an empowered black community that will never again fall victim to their empty promises and false hope.

When Donald Trump said he would be the president for all Americans, he meant it. The black community today is a testament to that promise.

Herman Cain is former CEO of the National Restaurant Association and a former presidential candidate.



MSM Makes Mountain Out of White Nationalist Molehill


Leading up to the nothingburger of a white supremacist rally that saw less than two dozen white nationalists show up in Washington, DC, on Sunday, the mainstream media sought to inflate the significance of the event in an attempt to further its long-running "Donald Trump is a racist" narrative. Prior to the event, which was intentionally scheduled to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Charlottesville riot, Trump issued a statement condemning all racism: "The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!" That wasn't good enough for the Leftmedia, which stoked division anyway.

Also showing up for the poorly named "Unite the Right II" rally — poorly named because it serves the MSM's conflation of white racism with conservatism — were thousands of counterprotesters who stood shouting down both the white supremacists and Trump. The leftist, violence-seeking agitators known as antifa also showed up clearly prepared for a fight. They screamed chants such as, "Any time, any place, punch a Nazi in the face." Fortunately, the strong police presence combined with the minuscule size of the white-nationalist contingent proved to thwart their efforts.

Meanwhile in Charlottesville, hundreds of leftist activists took to the streets to ostensibly protest white nationalism and racism — a protest in which no white supremacists were given permission to rally and none showed up. It became increasingly apparent that protesting the police was also on the menu, as numerous protesters chanted, "Cops and Klan go hand in hand," while others toted a banner that read, "Behind Every Cop, A Klansman." The irony was that unlike last year, when police presence was severely limited and much fighting was allowed to occur unchecked, the police presence this year was heavy and clearly aimed at preventing any violence.

If anything, this past weekend demonstrates just how vacuous is the MSM's assertion of Trump's presidency being responsible for stoking latent masses of white racists. The identity politics of promoting and provoking racial grievances is embraced by Democrats and the Left. It is clearly not popular with conservatives and the vast majority of Trump supporters, no matter how much the Leftmedia claims otherwise.



Steel and aluminum prices are up, but it’s not showing up in consumer and producer prices, and the Trump economy is still booming

By Robert Romano

One of the conventional wisdoms to do with the tariffs and duties levied by the Trump administration on steel, aluminum and lumber is that they will lead to higher prices and inflation, hurting producers and consumers, thus stunting economic growth.

For example, billionaire Charles Koch warned on July 30 that the tariffs would lead to a recession.

So far, however, that does not appear to be the case. In the second quarter of 2018, the U.S. economy boomed at an inflation-adjusted 4.1 percent annualized. And the latest consumer and producer prices, taking into account the period when many of the tariffs were levied, do not show the predicted price hikes.

Consumer inflation is up 0.8 percent the past six months, below the Fed’s 2 percent 12-month target.

As for producer prices, if you look at finished goods for final demand by commodity less energy and food, you see a 1.44 percent increase the last six months, averaging 0.24 percent a month. That is slightly below the historical average of 0.27 percent a month dating back to 1974.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning commented on the numbers, saying, “the six-month tracking demonstrates that the economic growth spurt generated through President Trump’s economic policies have not spurred higher costs to consumers. Just one more piece of welcome news that defies so-called expert predictions.”

To be fair, since the steel and aluminum tariffs were recommended in February by the Commerce Department, announced in March and taken effect in May, steel and aluminum prices have increased on commodities markets.

For example, Aug. 2018 contracts on hot rolled coil steel on NYMEX increased from about $690 to $901 as of this writing, a 30.5 percent increase. And Sept. 2018 contracts on aluminum MW U.S. premium platts on NYMEX have increased from $0.13 to $0.195, a 50 percent increase.

But what has not happened is it impacting overall consumer and producer prices and hindering growth overall, as seen by the latest numbers. That is because steel and aluminum only make up a small part of overall consumer and producer prices, such that an increase in demand for U.S.-produced steel and aluminum could lead a price increase, but not at all slow economic growth or trigger inflation.

As for lumber, it is true that after the President Donald Trump announced the tariff on Canadian lumber in April 2017, Sept. 2018 contracts on lumber futures on NYMEX did increase from about $350 to $624 on May 27, but guess what? The prices since then have crashed dramatically by 33.7 percent back down to $414.

It was a speculative bubble. Perhaps driven by the announcement of the tariffs, but a bubble nonetheless that turned out to not be sustainable when real market factors were taken into consideration by investors. The futures prices after all on commodities markets do not take into account taxes. They are a pre-tax price, and in any event, the U.S.-produced commodities in question are not being taxed at all.

All of which serves as a cautionary tale for those investors that drove the futures prices up on steel and aluminum, as that increase may not be long-lived. Market factors explain it too. As U.S.-based steel and aluminum producers take advantage of the current trade advantages and increase market share, they will also ramp up production. This will in turn of eventually bringing prices down to what the market can bear.

Meaning, although there are obvious market impacts brought on by the tariffs, at the end of the day, they are taxes on foreign-produced goods and commodities. The incentive is to purchase the U.S.-made products instead, which is what is happening. It’s the whole point of the policy.

What it won’t lead to, however, is 1970s-style overall inflation or impede economic growth, no matter how many times the alarmists make such predictions.



Big Legislatures are bad too

Government by egotists

Jeff Jacoby

WHEN ROGER WOLCOTT, the 39th governor of Massachusetts, delivered his inaugural address in 1897, he urged state legislators to stop spending so much time on Beacon Hill, trying to justify longer and longer sessions by introducing more and more bills.

"The volume of legislation is a poor criterion of its necessity and wisdom," he told the senators and representatives assembled before him. "It is difficult to believe that five months of legislative session and 700 printed pages of acts and resolves are annually necessary. A shorter session and [fewer bills] would not be unwelcome to our people."

The governor's words had no effect. The Massachusetts Legislature stayed in session that year for 158 days; lawmakers, who had convened on January 6, didn't adjourn until June 12. In 1900, Wolcott's last year in office, the Legislature hung around until July 17. The new century brought more session creep. By the 1950s, it was routine for the Senate and House to stay in session until September or October. Eventually Massachusetts ended up with the General Court it has today — the one that, like a horror-movie mummy, refuses to die. The Legislature is in formal session for 18 months out of every 24, but remains in "informal" session even after it has supposedly called it quits.

You thought a five-month Legislature was an "unwelcome" nuisance in 1897, Governor Wolcott? You should see what Massachusetts is cursed with now.

Massachusetts is one of only a handful of states in which the Legislature effectively never adjourns. That handful just happens to include some of the worst-governed, highest-taxed, biggest-spending, and/or most heavily-regulated states in the nation — among them, California, New Jersey, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. The Legislature's year-round sessions also come with extravagant salaries. Massachusetts lawmakers are paid more than their counterparts in 44 states — their base salary is $62,548, but they also receive tens of thousands of additional dollars in the form of expense allotments and "leadership" bonuses. For a bunch of characters who don't actually construct, produce, improve, grow, or manage anything, it's an awfully sweet deal.

In most of America, this would never be tolerated. Legislators in normal states convene for just a few weeks or months each year, hammer out a budget, pass whatever legislation is needful, and go home. In some truly enlightened states, the legislature is in session for only a few weeks every other year. I remember a note I received in November 1995 from the late Barbara Anderson, who for years was the Bay State's most tenacious taxpayer advocate. She wrote from Nevada, marveling at something she had seen during a visit to the state Capitol in Carson City. In the empty House chamber, a notice was posted at the Speaker's rostrum: "Next session, January 1997."

Yet Massachusetts persists in the delusion that legislating is a full-time job, requiring "professional" lawmakers with staffs, offices, and full-time salaries. That superstition is continually being contradicted by the Legislature's subpar performance.

Last month, for example, the Senate and House approved a $42 billion budget for fiscal year 2019. The most expensive spending plan in the state's history was rubber-stamped by lawmakers less than seven hours after it was released from committee, which says a lot about the (lack of) diligence with which the Bay State's well-paid professional legislators perform their job. It says even more that the budget was almost three weeks overdue — fiscal year 2018 ended on June 30. Every other state had its 2019 budget finalized before Massachusetts did; many finished the job months ago.

In the real world, people who blow off crucial deadlines pay a price. (If you doubt it, try sending in your taxes or making your mortgage payment three weeks late.) But in the Massachusetts General Court, the legislative show that never closes, what's another missed deadline? Senators and representatives don't have to worry about their pay being docked if they do a lousy job. Most of them don't even have to worry about being challenged for reelection.

There are better options.

New Hampshire has always rejected the idea that legislating must be left to professionals. It pays its lawmakers just $100 per year — that's not a typo — and its 400-member House of Representatives — that's not a typo either — encourages participation in government by a remarkably diverse array of citizens, few of whom regard politics as a career. Unlike Massachusetts, where many legislative candidates are attracted by the prospect of status, influence, money, and a steppingstone to higher office, New Hampshire's statehouse tends to attracts true citizen-lawmakers — independent, civic-minded volunteers who choose to serve with no ulterior motive but good governance.

New Hampshire is a tiny state, but Massachusetts can learn from big states, too.

"Texas's part-time legislature . . . has been a key factor in its economic success," concluded reporter Jon Cassidy in a 2016 essay for the Manhattan Institute's City Journal. Research shows that states without year-round legislatures are more resistant to government spending, and the Texas experience bears that out. With a political culture notorious for cronyism, Texas has never been a model of saintliness. Yet the government's ability to do damage is checked by a system that deliberately keeps lawmakers from having too much power in the first place, and thereby leaves more room for civil society to flourish. The Texas constitution limits legislators' pay to just $7,200 a year (plus expenses) and limits their sessions to just 140 days per biennium. Can a state succeed with so trammeled a legislature? If the booming Texas economy and the steady surge of newcomers are any indication, the answer is an unqualified yes.

Massachusetts has many blessings, but its full-time Senate and House of Representatives are decidedly not among them. A year-round Legislature filled with underperforming careerists has done Massachusetts no good. Beacon Hill would be far healthier if it took less inspiration from New Jersey and more from New Hampshire. It might even get its budget done on time.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL 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.

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