Friday, February 22, 2019

Do Leftists Believe What They Say?
Truth is not a left-wing value. I first discovered this as a graduate student studying the Soviet Union and left-wing ideologies at the Russian Institute of Columbia University School of International Affairs. Everything I have learned since has confirmed this view.

Individuals on both the left and right lie. Individuals on both the left and right tell the truth. And liberalism, unlike leftism, does value truth. But the further left one goes, the more one enters the world of the lie.

Why does the left lie? There are two main reasons.

One is that leftists deem their goals more important than telling the truth. For example, every honest economist knows women do not earn 20 percent less money than men for the same work done for the same amount of hours under the same conditions. Yet leftists repeat the lie that women earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn. Why any employers would hire men when they could hire women and get the same amount of work done at the same level of excellence for the same number of hours while saving 20 cents on the dollar is a question only God or the sphinx could answer.

So, when New York Times columnists write this nonsense, do they believe it? The answer is they don’t ask themselves, “Is it true?” They ask themselves, “Does the claim help promote the left-wing doctrine that women are oppressed?” Whatever serves that end is morally justified.

The second reason is leftism is rooted in feelings, not reason or truth. From Karl Marx to Bernie Sanders, left-wing preference for socialism over capitalism is entirely rooted in emotion. Only capitalism creates wealth. Socialism merely spends what capitalism creates. Do leftists not know this? Even if they know it, the emotional pull of socialism prevails.

Do leftists believe there are more than two sexes? Of course not. That’s why they renamed “sex” “gender” — and then redefined “gender” to mean whatever one wants it to mean.

So then, on the left, truth is subservient to two higher values: doctrine and emotion. This leads to the question of this column: Do those on the left believe their lies?

Do leftists believe global warming will destroy the world as we know it in 12 years, as recently suggested by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? I don’t know. They seem to talk themselves into believing their hysterias. But they don’t act on them. Here’s a simple proof that the left is lying about the imminent threat of global warming to civilization: Leftists don’t support nuclear power. It is simply not possible to believe fossil fuel emissions will destroy the world and, at the same time, oppose nuclear power. Nuclear power is clean and safe. Sweden, a model country for leftists, meets 40 percent of its energy needs with nuclear power. If you were certain you were terminally ill yet decline a medicine that is guaranteed to cure you, the rest of us would have every reason to assume you didn’t really believe you were terminally ill.

Here’s more evidence the left doesn’t believe its global warming hysteria: How many leftists with beachfront property anywhere in the world have sold it? If leftists really believe global warming will cause the oceans to rise and soon inundate the world’s coastal areas, why would any leftist not sell his beachfront home while he could not only make all his money back but make a profit as well?

Another example of left-wing rhetoric leftists don’t act on: The left tells us that colleges are permeated by a “rape culture,” yet virtually all left-wing parents send their daughters to college. If you were to believe any place has a culture of rape, where 1 in 4 or 5 women is raped or otherwise sexually assaulted, would you send your 18-year-old daughter there? Of course not. So how do any left-wing mothers or fathers send their daughters to college? The answer would seem to be they know it’s a lie — but that doesn’t matter, since the left views telling the truth as incomparably less significant than combating sexism, sexual assault, misogyny, toxic masculinity and patriarchy.

One more example: “Walls don’t work.”

It is inconceivable that people who say this — especially those with walls around their home — believe it. Yet leftists say it with the same degree of ease Stalin labeled Trotsky a fascist, even though Trotsky and Lenin were the fathers of the Bolshevik Revolution.

The question is not whether truth is a left-wing value. The only question is whether leftists believe their lies. And, believe it or not, I still don’t know. So, conduct the following tests and decide for yourself:

Ask anyone you know who says global warming will destroy most life on Earth in 12 years why they don’t advocate nuclear power. If they tell you it’s too dangerous, you know they are hysterics, not followers of science.

Ask anyone you know who believes the global warming threat is an existential one and owns beachfront property why they aren’t selling their beachfront property.

Ask anyone who believes colleges have rape culture why they sent (or are sending) their daughter to college.

It is possible to love truth and be liberal, conservative, libertarian, an atheist, a believer, a Jew, a Christian, a Muslim or a Hindu. But you cannot be a leftist.



More (better) Immigration Plus a Border Wall Make Economic Sense

It was no surprise that President Trump reiterated his demand that Congress pass funding for a wall on the Mexican border during his State of the Union address. The surprise was his off-script comment that he’d like to see increased legal migration to the United States. Increased legal migration in exchange for a border wall makes both political and economic sense.

Congressional leaders are proposing a deal that would secure $1.4 billion for a border wall—far short of the $5.7 billion President Trump requested. But President Trump’s State of the Union remarks hint that both he and Congressional Democrats can do better than this.

He went off the official script when he said, “Legal immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally.” His script didn’t include “in the largest numbers ever.” It’s precisely through increased legal migration that he can make a political bargain, better secure the southern border, and improve our economy.

Republican bills that bundled border-wall funding and decreased legal immigration in exchange for a path to legality for people brought to the United States illegally as children, so-called Dreamers, failed to pass even when the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress last year. To get bipartisan support, border-wall funding should be coupled with both a path to legality for Dreamers and increased legal migration.

Increased legal immigration could also enhance the effectiveness of any wall in securing the border. Net migration from Mexico has been negative since the Great Recession, according to the Pew Research Center, but economic immigrants looking for better opportunities still flow north in caravans from other Latin American countries. If more immigration visas were issued for people from these countries, they would all come through legal checkpoints. That would put much less pressure on law enforcement and the border.

Law-enforcement resources would be freed up for real criminals, drug-cartel members, and other people ineligible for visas. In short, more visas would dry up legitimate immigrants’ demand to cross the border illegally and any money for a wall or enforcement would become all the more effective at preventing entry by those who intend harm.

An immigration deal along these lines would also improve our economy.

A path to legality for the Dreamers is an obvious no-brainer. They are already in the United States, not going anywhere, and would become more productive if they were granted legal status. This need not be viewed as amnesty by law-and-order Republicans. Normal criminal law holds children to different standards than adults who break the same laws. Why should a child who violated an immigration law, often without any choice in the matter, not also be held to a different standard?

Trump is right that immigrants “enrich our nation.” Immigration, just like international trade in goods, allows Americans to earn more by specializing in those jobs that we’re most productive at. Like trade, it changes the mix of jobs, not the number of jobs, performed by Americans.

Neither does immigration decrease wages for the vast majority of Americans. To the extent that low-skilled immigration harms anyone, it tends to be natives without a high school degree, but even then the impact is small and only temporary.

Studies on the fiscal impact of immigration are more mixed, but most responsible ones find only mild effects in one direction or the other. To the extent that budgetary impacts are a concern, they could easily be addressed with a modest tariff on immigration visas. President Trump seems to be a fan of tariffs.

The United States has been due for immigration reform for over a decade, but partisan politics has stood in the way. If the president means what he said about increasing legal immigration, a path forward exists. Funding a border wall in exchange for increased legal immigration and a path to legality for Dreamers makes both political and economic sense. Politicians on both sides of the aisle should embrace a deal like this.



Ocasio-cortez’s policies are already costing lost jobs and low wages

It is called political risk in investment analysis. It is the risk of what the government is going to do to your investment in a country once you make it.

Political risk in America has generally been low to non-existent. That is because we have a long, highly successful, heritage of free enterprise and capitalism, and officially recorded, constitutionally protected property rights. When we have had wise leaders who have reduced taxes and unnecessary regulations, maximizing economic liberty, the American economy has boomed, creating the broadest, most prosperous middle class and working people in world history.

That is why the American people have always been wise to reject even the hint of socialism in America. They know from first-hand experience that capitalism has made America the richest nation in the history of the planet.

That is not something to be ashamed of, as the socialist Democrats are, because they don’t understand it. America’s wealth and prosperity is not stolen, but produced, by the hard work, skill, and entrepreneurship of the American people. That is what makes us such an insistently independent and free people.

But every time Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her unmasked socialist cohorts openly spout their ignorant, uninformed, poorly thought through socialist lunacies, like raising income taxes back to 70 percent or even 90 percent, raising Social Security payroll taxes on jobs and wages to their highest levels in American history, imposing “wealth” taxes for the first time ever in America, with double taxing death taxes hiked as high as 77 percent, and raising government spending, deficits and debt to the highest in world history (these nuts and dopes say that is fine because we can always print more money), they are creating political risk scaring off those who would bear the burden. They scare off the very investors from around the globe who would invest in America, and create millions of new jobs, and rising wages.

Ms. Cortez, meet President John F. Kennedy, who led Congress to cut income taxes across the board for all, rich and poor, by an equal 23 percent, producing the booming 1960s. Meet President Ronald Wilson Reagan, who led Congress to cut income taxes by 25 percent across the board for all, and then more with bipartisan tax reform to reduce income tax rates all the way to 15 percent for the middle class, and 28 percent for those doing better, creating the booming 1980s. Reagan also introduced zero federal income taxes for the poor. (That policy has resulted in zero federal income taxes for close to 50 percent of all Americans).

Along the way, Reagan found the time to win the Cold War without firing a shot, in British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s famous phrase, with the Soviet Union’s Evil Empire breaking down and disintegrating by 1989.

Economics is not an all or nothing matter. Economics works at the margin. Somewhere in the world, millionaires and billionaires were considering investing in America, creating jobs and demand for labor, increasing wages. But with nonsense growing from socialists calling for socialism in America, some have already been scared off.

Think about the silliness of these Democrats calling for socialism in rich and wealthy America, while workers in Venezuela, formerly the richest country in Latin America, have been reduced to rioting in the streets for food right before our eyes, three hundred miles to the south. Those who are represented by these nutcase socialists: Your fellow Americans say shame on you for betraying us, even if you didn’t vote for them.



Emergency Declaration: Demo States File Obstructionist Lawsuit

Claiming his declaration of a national emergency creates a constitutional crisis, Democrats sue

As President Donald Trump predicted when he announced his decision to declare a national emergency over securing the border, 16 states filed a lawsuit on Monday with the leftist Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump has “veered the country toward a constitutional crisis of his own making,” the states allege. California fronts the list, which includes Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. Notably and not surprisingly, all of these states have Democrat attorneys general and all but one have Democrat governors.

But conservatives have been divided over Trump’s decision as well, with many raising objections over questions surrounding the constitutionality of his action. Others have questioned whether the long-running illegal-immigration and border-enforcement problem is in fact a national emergency.

The National Emergencies Act of 1976 does not define by what parameters a “national emergency” may be determined; rather it grants that authority to the president. What the law does limit is what the president can do once an emergency has been declared. So, to reiterate, the declaration of a national emergency is entirely up to the president’s discretion, but once an emergency has been declared, the actions the president is authorized to take have been limited by Congress. The Federalist’s Sean Davis does a nice job highlighting the two most important statutes related to questions of the president’s authority regarding national emergencies: “one authorizing the president to declare national emergencies (50 U.S.C 1601 et. seq.) and the other authorizing the president to reprogram existing federal appropriations in response to an emergency declaration (10 U.S.C. 2808).”

In our view, Trump has thus far operated fully within the narrow bounds of established federal law. Debating if he should or should not have declared a national emergency is a legitimate argument to have, though conflating “should” with “can” serves only to confuse the matter. Whether his decision will have positive or negative political consequences is another matter entirely from questions of constitutionality or statutory authority.

The better argument to have is over the constitutionality of the law Congress passed in 1976. National emergencies have been invoked 59 times by presidents since, and a total of 18 times by George W. Bush and Barack Obama over their terms. As the legal challenge works its way through the courts, we hope the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the law itself. Until then, blaming Trump for taking advantage of the authority the law grants him is misplaced outrage.



How Many Times Trump’s Predecessors Declared a National Emergency

The push for a border barrier marks President Donald Trump’s fourth declaration of a national emergency—about a third as many as his three immediate predecessors in their two terms.

The number of declared emergencies puts Trump on a par with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

President Gerald Ford, who signed the 1976 National Emergencies Act, did not declare an emergency under it. His successor, Jimmy Carter, made two such declarations during his single term—one of which is still in effect.

In all, 32 presidential declarations of a national emergency remain in effect, counting Trump’s action Friday, while 21 expired or were canceled.

The overwhelming majority of national emergencies involved either blocking access to U.S.-held assets for bad actors on the world stage or preventing financial transactions with those countries or with international entities and individuals.

Trump’s three immediate predecessors—Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton—each served two four-year terms.

Obama declared a national emergency 13 times and nine of those emergencies are still in effect, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The younger Bush declared a national emergency 14 times, and 10 are still in effect. Clinton made 14 declarations, six of which remain in effect.

Reagan, during two terms, and the elder Bush, during his single term, each declared four national emergencies. None is still in effect.

Although declaring a national emergency is nothing new, Trump’s action faces litigation in part because, unusually, it comes after Congress didn’t provide the amount of border wall funding he requested.

The president said Tuesday in the Oval Office that he isn’t too concerned. He noted that he rightly predicted a lawsuit would be filed in a district court under the jurisdiction of the liberal 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

“I have the absolute right to call a national emergency,” Trump said, adding: “I actually think we’ll do very well in the 9th Circuit … because it is an open-and-closed case.”



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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