Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Why Trump drives the DC establishment nuts

A friend was researching a story, and the more questions she asked the more she felt she really didn’t know anything about the subject. She discovered neither did anyone else she was asking.

That reminded me of Apple founder Steve Jobs’ epiphany, which goes something like this:

"When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is, and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to fit in, and everything will be OK. That’s a very limited life.

Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again."

This explains the root of the Washington Establishment’s dysfunctional relationship with President Trump.

The antipathy is deeper than “he’s not our kind of people,” or policy disagreements. Consider Jobs’ epiphany.

The Washington Establishmentarians went to the finest schools where they learned “the world is the way it is,” the world being “the trans-Atlantic alliance,” “the international rules based trading system,” “the post-war architecture and institutions,” concepts formulated 70 years ago and considered sacrosanct in the empyrean precincts of Washington and academia.

The gilded reptiles of the swamp make a comfortable living as experts on the world The Way It Is. They don’t “bash into the walls” – they know their place and they fit in.

Then along comes Donald J. Trump. Rather than “Try not to bash into the walls,” he’s made a living bashing down walls, quite literally, and doesn’t apologize for it.

Unlike previous candidates who ran as outsiders but went with the Washington status quo once elected, President Trump doesn’t accept “the world is the way it is.” Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it.

President Trump didn’t accept the received wisdom on China that let Beijing get away with cheating, stealing and breaking every promise it made. He knew that China policy was made by people who were no smarter than he and that he could change it.

President Trump didn’t accept the status quo with NATO, a 70-year-old military alliance against a Soviet threat that no longer exists. The Establishment experts told him he deserves to be impeached, convicted and removed from office for suggesting allies pay their fair share. But then the allies ponied up more.

President Trump doesn’t accept America’s decline is inevitable, nationalism is bad, nations are outdated, and we are merely cogs in a “global economy without borders.” Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it.

Washington is full of people who base their self-worth on issuing great pronouncements telling us “the world is the way it is.”

President Donald J. Trump doesn’t accept “the world is the way it is,” and it drives them nuts that he has the gall to change it.



Stephen Moore is a pro-growth economic champion

Stephen Moore is an anti-establishment voice and critic of the D.C. swamp. It should come as no surprise that economists who never stray from mainstream, “acceptable” positions on the role of the Federal Reserve are also vehemently opposed to Moore’s nomination to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. After all, to challenge the Fed’s orthodoxy is to challenge the Washington establishment.

President Trump won in 2016 by going against the established order. His victory showed the nation that what the “experts” want is not always what is best for the American people. His victory was a wake-up call to the nation that establishment experts are no longer unassailable. Having made a career of challenging the established order in much the same way, Stephen Moore is the dissenting voice so desperately needed on the Federal Reserve board today.

Respected economists warned that under President Trump, the U.S. would enter a recession almost immediately upon assuming office. Under Trump’s pro-growth economic policies, though, the United States has entered an era of prosperity it hasn’t seen in years. Tax cuts that many warned would severely damage the economy have instead resulted in the largest wage increases in years, record decreases in unemployment, and widespread investment that has benefited main street America and corporations alike.

Stephen Moore was one of the architects behind the crafting of President Trump’s tax cut and deregulatory agenda. These weren’t new ideas, though. They were simply the laissez-faire economic principles that had been discarded years ago in favor of the false consensus of big government, Keynesian ideas that slowed the growth of our economy. Moore has been a well known supply-sider throughout his entire career.

Moore, like President Trump, understands that prosperity comes not through government intervention, but through hands-off economic policies that provide for a pro-growth business climate. Challenging the orthodoxy of so many establishment economists, the same ones who oppose Moore’s confirmation, have instead benefitted millions of Americans.

Moore has written extensively about the dangers of politicians becoming too involved in the economy. He cites the administration of Herbert Hoover as an example of how things can go drastically wrong when America moves from laissez-faire economic policy to a command and control approach. Instead of buying into the faux orthodoxy of big government economists and pundits, he wants to unleash the American economic potential made possible when the government steps back.

Moore’s career demonstrates a willingness to challenge this economic orthodoxy revered as sacred by the Washington establishment. He has remained an ardent believer in small government, pro-growth economic policies that empower consumers and businesses alike. This is reason enough to trust him as Trump’s pick for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Among the many reasons to confirm Stephen Moore is that he believes in sound money. The Federal Reserve Board thinks it better instead to aggressively expand money supply. The quantitative easing that the Fed implemented following the 2008 financial crisis has initiated the slow-motion destabilization of the American Dollar.

Sound money is the basis for economic prosperity. Sound money is only possible with a return to the gold standard or a system where the value of our dollar is tied to a real commodity, something for which Moore has advocated. Without an anchor for the American dollar, inflation caused by the Fed’s tinkering with the money supply will lead to economic uncertainty, as it has for decades

Moore couldn’t disagree more with a central tenet of the Fed’s doctrine, quantitative easing. The Washington establishment puts far too much emphasis on the necessity for the central bank to tinker with our money supply, thus undermining the American dollar. Therefore, Moore’s voice of reason is much needed on the Federal Reserve Board to ensure a stable currency, the building block for free markets and economic prosperity.

By going against the D.C. status quo, Stephen Moore has shown he’s not afraid to embrace the anti-establishment background that has made him a breath of fresh air when it comes to American economics. As we’ve seen in the past few years, the Washington establishment has a poor record of getting it right. Stephen Moore’s confirmation to the Federal Reserve Board would bring another round of much-needed change to Washington.



Trump administration moves to stop 'dark' regulations from federal agencies

The Trump administration will take action Thursday to crack down on federal agencies’ ability to issue rules, memos and other documents that can have a binding regulatory effect without ever being reviewed by Congress.

Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought is issuing new guidance to all agencies on complying with the Congressional Review Act, a 1996 law that requires “major” rules be submitted to Congress at least 60 days before they take effect.

A senior administration official told The Washington Times that the Trump administration has found, with Government Accountability Office reports, that “agencies sometimes under-comply with CRA.”

“We decided that some additional guidance from OMB is necessary to the agencies to help them comply with the law,” the official said in an exclusive interview. “Many agencies often don’t know how the CRA works. Agencies often don’t even know to ask.”

While the administration isn’t characterizing the move as a broadening of the CRA, the official said the action “will result in additional items being sent to the Hill.”

OMB’s action will replace guidance for a 1999 Clinton-era executive order that the official described as the “cornerstone of OMB review” standards. The official said the new action will “create a uniform set of procedures” by having OMB review all major rule determinations, even those from independent agencies.

OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has authority for the review of executive branch regulations and other proposals.

The CRA gives lawmakers the ability to reject proposed rules, which can cover anything from classifying independent contractors as employees to offering discounts on auto loans. The Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews Jr. has referred to such actions, often issued as bulletins or memos, as “regulatory dark matter” because they require compliance without ever having been subject to a period of public comment and review.

“When you’re a regulated party, if an agency is telling you ‘This is how I intend to enforce this rule,’ you’re going to treat it pretty much as binding,” said another administration official. “It often does impose very significant obligations.”

During the first 60 days of the Trump administration, congressional Republicans used the CRA to undo 14 of the Obama administration’s last-minute regulations, many involving new workplace burdens on employers.

In addition to proposed rules subject to “notice and comment,” the senior official said, “there are other regulatory actions and guidance documents that also fit within the definition of the scope of the Congressional Review Act.”

“This memo will make clear that those items also must go up to the Hill,” the official said.

The GAO reported in 2008 and 2009 that federal agencies had failed to submit more than 1,000 rules to Congress.

Heritage Foundation analyst Paul Larkin said federal agencies cannot say they weren’t warned about complying with the CRA.

“Federal agencies cannot demand that the public comply with the law, including agency rules, if the agencies are free to disregard the law and their own rules,” Mr. Larkin said.

He added that under the CRA, agency “rules” that have not been submitted to Congress as required are not “in effect” and therefore are null and void.

“Agencies therefore have an incentive to comply with the CRA so that their rules can have legal effect,” he said.



The Republican Never Trumpers after Mueller

For much of the past two years, this constellation of Republican lawmakers, conservative pundits and policy wonks, and GOP operatives had hoped Mueller would help rid them of, as they saw him, the crude political rube who had hijacked their beloved Grand Old Party. Some campaigned loudly for Trump’s demise, on Twitter and cable news. Others, however, operated mostly in the shadows. Like dissidents in an authoritarian country, they held secret meetings in a conference room of a little-known Washington think tank called the Niskanen Center. About once a month, they shared private polling data on Trump, passed along the names of political activists around the country who opposed the president and, perhaps most important, discussed potential primary challengers who could lead the “Dump Trump” movement.

Just weeks before the Mueller news, a group of lobbyists, congressional aides and policy experts from conservative think tanks spent an entire session talking about how to sell free trade and fiscal restraint to voters in the age of Trump. Now, these Republicans face a reinvigorated and vengeful standard-bearer, fully embraced by a party establishment no longer encumbered by the looming threat of a criminal indictment from Mueller. “The cloud hanging over President Trump has been removed,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham.

Publicly, the Never Trumpers say their unlikely cause endures. “This was never about Mueller or the Russia investigation,” says Rick Wilson, the Florida-based Republican operative and author of Everything Trump Touches Dies. “It’s about his unfitness for office.” “He’s incompetent and really bad for the party,” says Mike Murphy, the veteran GOP strategist, “and he’ll hand the country over to a party that’s going full socialist.”

“We need to see the Mueller report,” conservative commentator Bill Kristol wrote on Twitter, echoing Democrats on Capitol Hill. The evidence “will confirm he ought not be re-elected.”

But privately, members of this group acknowledge the dream is dying, if not already dead, with the herculean task of bringing down an incumbent president from inside the party now infinitely harder, if not impossible. Yes, a bevy of other investigations in state and federal prosecutors’ offices, as well as in Congress, are proceeding on everything from hush money payments to money laundering to illegal donations, and Mueller’s confidential report—Barr has vowed to release a public version in the coming weeks—may yet contain damaging details about Trump’s conduct.

But for the moment, it seems the single, largest bullet is gone. After nearly two years of Russia-gate frenzy and impeachment talk, Democratic leaders are moving on, attempting to pivot to health care and other kitchen-table issues. And Trump and the GOP are now the ones on the offensive, with the president pledging to investigate the “treasonous” people behind the Mueller “witch hunt.” A Reuters/Ipsos poll found Trump’s job approval jumping 4 points, to 43 percent, in the wake of the findings.

Some Never Trumpers asked for anonymity to speak freely post-Mueller, an acknowledgment of the changing political currents and Trump’s new lease on life. “I’m not going to deny that this is a win for Trump, a big win. And it makes our job harder,” said one leading Never Trumper. “He’ll get a bounce from this. The question is: Will he piss it away by being Trump?”

Dumping Trump has always been a quixotic effort. Throughout his tumultuous presidency, he has remained overwhelmingly popular among registered Republicans. His approval rating among party members is 84 percent, according to a recent Harvard CAPS/Harris poll.

GOP critics, like former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, soon found their own campaigns foundering when they questioned the president, his positions or his appointees. “This is very much the president’s party,” Flake, who decided not to run for re-election to Congress last year, told The Hill. “When you look at the base and look at those who vote in Republican primaries, I think that is clear.”

But while much of the rank and file who supported others in the 2016 primaries got over their shock—winning the general election tends to heal a lot of political wounds—a significant minority didn’t, haunted by the image of Trump accepting the Republican nomination to the sounds of the Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”



Leftists never change

I came across the following report from 2003.  It could have been written yesterday.  The Left never can handle reality

Last year, at the ancient Valhalla Cinema in Glebe, the veteran documentary-maker David Bradbury premiered his latest film, Fond Memories of Cuba - and got more than he bargained for.

It was a Friday night. The theatre was full. Bradbury was there to answer questions afterwards. He's a '70s lefty but he witnessed, during several visits to Cuba, the gradual failure of the revolution which has been controlled by the same dictator for more than 40 years. The documentary concludes with the aggressive breaking up of a pro-democracy demonstration by police.

As the credits rolled, the insults flew. "Shame!" cried one woman as Bradbury walked on stage. "Bullshit!" shouted someone else amid other catcalls. A lively colloquium followed in which Bradbury had to defend his progressive credentials from attack by hard left throw-backs who can always rationalise away why the "people" don't need free elections.

Warning: never stand between inconvenient facts and utopian ideals. And never, ever, underestimate the power of preconceptions. Especially during the heightened reality of wartime.



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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