Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Can Americans discuss race?

There is a Newsweek article here under the title 'FEEL HOW THAT FEELS' A young woman of color’s take on why the fight against racism has to start with owning it written by a black woman called Nadira Hira.  It starts from the view that we are all racists to some degree, a view long held by most psychologists.  She includes herself and other blacks in that. And she thinks we should talk about it.

The article is long and rambling so I won't reproduce any of it here but I think I can see a large problem in it. A large part of what she writes hinges on definitions.  There are many ways you can define racism and it matters. She strongly argues that whites normally define racism too narrowly -- as bad things done by bad people -- and that blacks tend to disown their racial biases also.  So she wants all of us to discuss openly the many ways we are racist -- in the view that we will make it less harmful by doing so.

But there is a big obstacle to that.  Leftists ALREADY define racism very broadly and, the way they do it, no dialogue will ever come out of it. Leftists call just about EVERYTHING they disagree with racist and condemn it sweepingly.  If she wants to get any dialog about race going, she has somehow to shut up the race-baiting Left. And that will be hard -- as the Left are so bereft of ideas that they would often be left with nothing to say if you took that robotic insult away from them.

So it's an essay that I mostly agree with but it is pissing into the wind.  The Left have effectively shut down almost all intelligent dialog about race in America. Just mentioning the word "race" will normally expose you to a tirade of abuse. And the claim that blacks are racist too will cause many of them them to go completely off their brains


Did Trump Rallies Really Increase Hate Crimes by 226%?

The short answer is "of course not." And you don't even have to work very hard to debunk it.

After the tragedy in El Paso, the media went absolutely berserk.


"The president cannot be absolved of responsibility for inciting the hatreds that led to El Paso," read a  New York Times piece. Democratic presidential contenders echoed this sentiment, with Beto O'Rourke  saying Trump's rhetoric "has a lot to do with" the shooting and Kamala Harris  alleging that Trump was "tweeting out the ammunition" used by the El Paso shooter.

Blaming the words of controversial politicians for the acts of terrorists and lunatics without hard evidence is not new. However, a recent academic paper, reported on by numerous outlets before it went through the peer-review process, suggests that Trump actually is to blame.

What the...? Read on, Macduff:

Studying the effects of Trump's many campaign rallies on reported hate incidents, three professors at the University of North Texas and Texas A&M—Ayal Feinberg, Regina Branton, and Valerie Martinez-Ebers— claim that Trump rallies are associated with a 226 percent  increase in such incidents.

Naturally, their study went viral. Vox, The Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and CNN all published articles reporting that Trump's words are so bad that exposure to them leads to a wave of hate crimes.

What in the wide, wide, world of sports are those numbskulls saying?

Using the same data and statistical procedures as Feinberg et al.,  we replicated their study's headline result. Since we did not have access to the original paper's data and code, this involved collecting each of the variables mentioned in the original paper, and then independently performing the same analysis. Wherever possible, we copied the decisions that are mentioned in the original paper. Our headline results were very close to those reported in the original paper.

So Trump rallies really do increase "hate crimes"? In the immortal words of Defense Secretary Albert Nimziki from Independence Day, "that's not entirely accurate":

Using additional data we collected, we also  analyzed the effect of Hillary Clinton's campaign rallies using the identical statistical framework. The ostensible finding: Clinton rallies contribute to an  even greater increase in hate incidents than Trump rallies.

This should be enough to give any reader pause. The implied reasoning of those who cited the initial study was that Trump's caustic and seemingly racist rhetoric contributed to a crueler, more discriminatory climate, ripe for hate crimes.

If this interpretation is correct, why did Clinton inspire as many, if not more, hate incidents as Trump did? Did calling millions of Americans "deplorables" promote violence?


As you can see, the left brings Mark Twain's words to life: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." In this case, you have to ask are the professors that stupid? Or do they think that we are?

Trump makes use of the phrase "fake news" all too often. But this is definitely one instance that Trump would be correct in calling out the media for reporting "fake news." It's not only "fake," it's an outright lie.



Josh Hawley and Rick Scott’s bizarre support for socialist price controls

Democrats are reaching as far to the Left as possible to appease their radical liberal base heading into the 2020 presidential primaries, whether it’s through "Medicare for all," the Green New Deal, or Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plans for “big, structural change” in America. Unsurprisingly, Republicans are attempting to frame the 2020 election cycle as a fight to defeat socialism. But are they really committed to that effort?

Not all of them. Senate Republicans such as Josh Hawley of Missouri and Rick Scott of Florida are pushing for socialist price controls on prescription drugs that would cause shortages and make it financially impossible for drug innovators to invent new life-saving medications. Both of these senators were strongly opposed to a government healthcare takeover at the beginning of this year, but have since changed their positions.

Welcome to the swamp.

Hawley and Scott want the Department of Health and Human Services to control drug prices under Medicare Part B using an International Pricing Index. The index would set drug prices based on their costs in other countries, many of which have socialized healthcare systems. This includes the cost of lifesaving medications such as vaccines and cancer treatments.

In other words, they’re basically saying, “Believe in the principles of small government and free markets, but only sometimes.” This is not a message that will inspire the Republican base to show up at the ballot box in 2020. When Republicans abandon their small government principles, they take a beating at the polls

This is more GOP hypocrisy: Price controls are the antithesis of a free market.

Hawley and Scott are trying to have it both ways, but they cannot support individual freedom in one breath and call for a government takeover of the healthcare market in the next. Republicans understood this when they unified in strong opposition to Obamacare. Why the sudden change in position? Why are state-mandated price controls suddenly fine now?

The Republican Party needs to get its policy agenda in order, or they risk heading into the 2020 elections missing one key component that will make or break their success on election night: credibility.

When Republican lawmakers seeking reelection stand for nothing, their words mean nothing on the campaign trail. This is the root of frustration among our entire FreedomWorks community of grassroots activists — it’s the reason why citizens are putting their support behind dedicated free market conservatives who will take the fight to big government policies put forward by either party.

Many of these principled conservatives, and future leaders of the Republican Party, are members of the House Freedom Caucus. They understand the swamp has a way of making lawmakers forget what ideas got them sent to Washington in the first place. They are committed to holding each other accountable to the promises they made to constituents back home.

If the Republican Party wants to restore its credibility with fiscal conservatives in 2020, it needs to stop echoing the ideas of socialist Democrats and strengthen its commitment to free markets by going back to its small government roots. When it comes to healthcare, Hawley and Scott offer a perfect example of what not to do.



With Their 'Wealth Tax' Plan, Democrats Put A Bull's Eye On Those Without It

Taxing the rich is to tax investment and there is no economic progress without investment.  And investment means job creation

Who knows who coined the phrase, but “W-2 wealth” and “you don’t get rich off of W-2 income” is increasingly a thing. Or it seems that way. Executives (W-2) are often extraordinarily well-to-do, but if you want to be truly, filthy rich you must have an equity stake in something. Professional baseball players are W-2 rich and can sometimes claim tens of millions worth of annual income, but their employers are generally billionaires.

There’s rich, and then there’s superrich.

All of this rates discussion in consideration of how prominent Democrats increasingly view taxation. A recent Wall Street Journal report explained their vision for taxing the rich, and it's apparent that income will no longer be enough. Democrats recognize that size amounts of wealth can’t really be found in W-2 income, but in ownership wealth. Ownership of a business, equity in a certain business, or highly appreciated shares in a company. About the rich, the Journal reports that the “Democrats want to shift toward taxing their wealth, instead of just their salaries and the income their assets generate." Translated, the Democrats want to go after the wealth of billionaire MLB owners. The millionaire players aren't rich enough.

Voters should be worried. Or skeptical. Or something. There’s no escaping taxation, and that’s true even if the vast majority of us won’t be taxed. If the Democrats ever succeed in imposing a “wealth tax” that actually succeeds in confiscating the wealth of the richest, watch out. No one will be spared.

Many moons ago Joseph Schumpeter observed that the “means required in order to start enterprise are typically provided by borrowing other people’s savings.” This shouldn't require explanation, but companies and the jobs they must create in order to grow are a consequence of abstinence. That's why everyone is victimized when politicians go after the rich. Think about it.

The above runs counter to what’s taught in economics class, or what’s read in the newspaper. What we read and what we're taught is that tax cuts only work if they're directed toward middle earners and the poor since each demographic will spend a lot of the untaxed income. But consumption doesn’t power economic growth. Investment is the source of growth. Tax the rich who have enormous unspent wealth, and you're taxing investment.

Readers should remember this the next time some dopey economist or economist-worshipping pundit claims that consumption powers economic growth. To believe what is absurd is the equivalent of believing that Haiti’s poverty is a function of the people not getting the consumption memo from economists. No, Haitians consume very little precisely because they produce very little.

Importantly, another economic truth that cannot be refuted is Schumpeter’s about savings being a requirement for starting a business. For there to be entrepreneurs there must be abstinence on the part of someone or many someones so that an idea can morph into reality. And if anyone disagrees with any of this, please produce the list of prominent businesses that got that way sans copious investment.

So the Democrats want to tax wealth? That’s what they say. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and others say they want to go after the wealth of the superrich. It’s only fair, or something like that. They’re only going after the big fortunes. Ok, but if they do they’re saying they want to tax opportunity for everyone else. Sorry, but it’s true. Those with immense wealth have the means to invest immense amounts of wealth. Behind every great business is a story of a visionary founder or CEO finding the investment necessary to stave off bankruptcy. If wealth is taxed as the Democrats claim they’d like to do, there will necessarily be fewer dollars finding their way to innovative businesses with expansive visions for growth.

Notable here is that some Dems are allegedly more moderate, claim their vision is one of boosting the middle class, but their message is really no different from those more up front about their redistributive visions. Joe Biden comes to mind here. Though it’s unlikely he touches a fraction of the common hands he claims to, Biden fancies himself a man of the people. Apparently the truly naïve believe him. Eager to curry favor with the regular people, Biden argues that the “middle class” built America, not Wall Street. Actually, that’s not true. Wall Street’s core function is directing the savings of others to today’s and tomorrow’s companies. What investment bankers do is kind of heroic with the latter in mind, and very pro-middle class. Businesses are endlessly in search of unspent wealth, and Wall Street’s crucial role is one of skillfully helping large, small, and in-between corporations to attain capital in ways that maximize their ability to grow.

Biden is making the same argument as Sanders and Warren, but in stealth fashion. Yet anyone with a pulse should be able to see through the argument. They’re all saying they love jobs and opportunity, but with forked tongues. Out of the mouth’s other side, they’re saying opportunity will somehow be abundant in concert with the confiscation of wealth held by the proverbial MLB owner. Except that what they promise cannot be.

It’s the unspent wealth that is the source of all company formation, expansion, innovation. Abstinence once again fuels economic growth and the Democrats want to tax abstinence. Unknown is if any of the Democrats promising to tax savings will be asked about this obvious contradiction during the debates. The question is rhetorical.

Still, readers shouldn’t be fooled by the Dems' rhetoric. Opportunity springs not from the W-2 rich, but from the owner/investor/inherited wealth rich. Keep this in mind the next time some politician promises to spread the wealth around through force. We all suffer taxes levied on those with the most.



Socialism Runs Wild: NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio Mulls Requiring Licenses For Bicyclists

From the same man who brought “Meatless Monday” to New York City schoolchildren, Mayor Bill de Blasio seeks to expand the choking death grip of socialism to Big Apple residents with another authoritarian idea.

Hizzoner’s 2020 presidential run has imploded like the farce that it always was and now that he has inhaled the gaseous emissions from other socialist candidates, he has plenty of time to focus on additional ways to inflict misery on his own constituents.

Now de Blasio is mulling mandating bicycle riders to be licensed by his crooked big city government and to face serious consequences if they fail to comply with his coming decree.

“We have to think about what’s going to be safe for people first, but also what’s going to work,” the mayor said of the helmet requirement. “Is it something we could actually enforce effectively? Would it discourage people from riding bikes? I care first and foremost about safety




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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