Tag: Obama

Election contrast

Republicans are set to release a second round of tax cut proposals heading into the November elections.  Actually, it’s not so much a second round as it is taking the individual tax cuts and making them permanent.  Republicans estimate it would add another 1.5 million jobs to an already pumping job market.  That would cause wages to continue their rapid growth as well as employers have to offer more pay and benefits to keep good help.  Passage isn’t guaranteed as deficit questions remain.

GOP to propose making tax cuts permanent

Meanwhile, the party of tax and spend is at it again.  Democrats have promised to repeal the Trump tax cuts and double national spending to achieve their goals of Medicare for all, free tuition, and guaranteed employment.  They have hinted at massive new taxes as well to try to cut into their proposed $4 trillion annual deficit.  They would in fact need to double taxes on every person and business to avoid the country going bankrupt by the end of Trump’s second term.

But there’s plenty of opportunity for Democrats to tax things.  In fact, they can hide a lot of taxes behind what they believe are good causes.  California is getting ready to break their promise with the beverage industry by raising billions of dollars in new soda taxes.  The ballot measure is expected to show up in 2020.  Soda taxes, gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, marijuana taxes, the Democrats have a lot of options when it comes to taxing sin.  But they also want to tax the good stuff.  Ministry giving and clergy housing is certainly a target of pro-tax liberals as well.  They supported tariffs, until Trump did it.

Democrats look for things to tax, target soda in California

Former President Obama said in his speech last week that Republicans are having a hard time “calling Nazis bad”.  We don’t.  Nazis, along with mass murdering minority populations, supported things like universal healthcare, guaranteed employment, regulations on businesses to prevent greed and profits, and confiscation and redistribution of wealth.  They also liked to divide people based on race and use those divisions to control the masses.  Nazis were Socialists.  So Conservatives and Libertarians find it easy to say Nazis are bad.

What I want to know is how hard is it for Obama to say Socialists are bad?  Communism, which is another form of Socialism, has resulted in 100 million dead over the last century.  Put that up against Hitler’s murder of 6 million Jews.  Socialism, in the form of Communism, killed at the same rate as Hitler.  But the Left struggles to say Socialism is bad.  They, like today’s Neo-Nazis, simply maintain that it hasn’t worked because it hasn’t been tried right.  In fact, today’s Neo-Nazis are out there rallying and screaming and acting generally like fools, but with no masks and no violence.  Antifa Anarcho-Communists meanwhile are donning masks, attacking cops, and beating anyone who comes near them who might have an opposing viewpoint.

Nazis are bad.  Communists are bad.  Socialists are bad.  It’s easy to say.  How about you, Mr. Obama?  Can you say it?

Communists are bad, they killed more than 10 times as many as Hitler’s Nazis.

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What if Mueller doesn’t have another shoe

All summer Mueller has remained relatively quiet when it comes to Trump and his inner circle.  While the media speculates about the worst case scenarios, what has actually materialized is a couple small time process crimes, a couple corrupt businessmen who made bad deals a decade ago, about a dozen Russian hackers, and a guy who was bled dry and threatened until he plead guilty to a crime he didn’t commit.

It seems like every other week there is a story about how someone else is definitely flipping on Trump.  In fact, there has been so much fake news about this investigation, it’s easy to ignore the headlines.  Meanwhile, there has been very little reporting about the ongoing inspector general investigation into the handling of the Clinton email case.  You might have even forgotten that was still going on.

Now the media is suggesting Mueller may not even subpoena Trump if he refuses an interview.  They are basically admitting that Mueller doesn’t may not actually have any compelling reason to interview Trump.  There was speculation the investigation would end this week with a big move by Mueller.  I have to hand it to him.  Either he’s done a great job of not giving anything away, or the media has gone so insane over this story and it’s just now becoming apparent to them how much was simply made up.

Mueller may not get his Trump interview

2018 is becoming less of a referendum on Trump and more on Socialism.  With the successes of Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Andrew Gillum in Florida, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, the Democrat party has taken that dreaded turn towards the extreme radical left of their party.  Many within the DNC had complained about Ocasio-Cortez’s rise and subsequent flubs, and some openly cheered when Democratic Socialists lost a string of primaries.  But now Beto and Gillum are giving the movement a little more credibility, despite the fact that one has a spotted past and the other is under an FBI investigation.

Meanwhile, in Sweden the Socialist Democrats are experiencing extremely low popularity.  Part of that has to do with the government’s failure to keep up with their welfare promises.  Patients are waiting years for vital medical care.  The welfare state is being especially harmed by the large influx of immigrants who have not been able to incorporate into Swedish society.  Socialism is failing them.

Swedes enjoy world-class healthcare, when they can get it

Trump hasn’t done a great job of qualifying his statements every time and consistently.  For example, when Trump said that the Press was the enemy of the people, he also tweeted that he mean fake news was the enemy of the people and that he would take fake news over censorship.  But the media, as though they are happy to prove his point, has continued to zero in on his “enemy of the people” comment.

But while Trump is openly critical of the press, he hasn’t been the enemy of the press that Obama was.  If anything, Trump has been a far more open target of the media and hasn’t really backed down from the challenge.  Rather than closing off lines of communication, Trump has held a one sided press conference with the entire country every night from about midnight to 4am.  In fact, Trump may go down as the President who communicated the most directly with the American people.  His digital fireside chat happens just about every night and has made millionaires over at CNN and MSNBC.

Reporters started war with White House

Why we need Jeff Sessions

The frustration Trump has with Jeff Sessions is not unreasonable.  In fact, it’s felt by many on the right, and some on the left who are concerned with stopping crime.  In case you missed it, we have a former FBI director who worked in concert with a former Attorney General to protect a political candidate and exonerate her of criminal mishandling of classified materials at all costs.  Comey pulled out all the stops to make sure Hillary Clinton faced nothing worse than a strong rebuke for her obvious and willful negligence.  Comey had to at least say something.  Other people were going to jail for the exact same thing.

But Comey knew Loretta Lynch was never going to prosecute Hillary Clinton.  And he knew, according to his own testimony, that Hillary Clinton was going to be the next President.  So he suppressed evidence.  He offered plea deals to Hillary’s attorneys that included destroying the evidence of a coverup on their laptops.  He let her attorneys be in the room when he interviewed her to make sure they got their stories straight.  When Loretta Lynch told him he couldn’t use the word “negligent” in his testimony, he substituted the made up legal term “extremely careless”.  But it didn’t matter, cause he knew Hillary was going to win.

When Weiner’s laptop surfaced, Comey lied to congress.  He said the FBI examined every email on Weiner’s laptop.  In reality, they barely touched 1% of them.  Later in testimony, Comey said the only reason he reopened the investigation with Weiner’s laptop was because he knew Hillary was going to win and he didn’t want the discovery to somehow leak out and be a cloud over Hillary’s presidency.  As FBI director, Comey had set himself up for a sweet deal in the new Clinton administration.  But it never happened.

Comey then wrote a book trying to exonerate himself.  He told about how honorable he was and how dishonorable Trump is.  He suddenly found himself with memos about conversations he had with Trump.  Private conversations with the President.  He used his memos to get his friend Robert Mueller appointed as a special counsel.  When Mueller headed the FBI, he fed contracts to Comey’s employer Lockheed Martin and Comey made $6 million in one year on those contracts.  Comey and Mueller have a history of enriching one another.

So what does this have to do with Sessions?  We see all of this obvious corruption before our eyes, even documented in Congress and the press.  We see Inspector General Horowitz reading Peter Strzok’s texts about stopping Trump and saying those texts weren’t politically biased.  We see all of this injustice and the Left gloating about Hillary Clinton getting away with her illegal activities.  We see Hillary Clinton using campaign funds to collude with Russia through a foreign spy in the creation of the Trump dossier and her friends in the FBI using that dossier to get FISA warrants to spy on her opponent.  But we see no justice.

For the last 8 years, we have had Attorney Generals who did what the President said.  They protected the President.  Holder was the first Attorney General held in contempt of Congress and resigned shortly after the Justice Department started illegally seizing phone records of journalists.  In fact that was one of the only times Holder recused himself.  The other times had to do with criminal investigations into clients he had once represented, like Roger Clemens and a Swiss bank being used for tax havens.  Loretta Lynch never recused herself, even after her secret tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton during the Hillary Clinton investigation.

Holder and Lynch never would have appointed a special counsel to investigation wrongdoing by Obama.  Even the thought of that seems ridiculous.  They certainly wouldn’t have recused themselves.  Sessions felt that because he had been part of Trump’s campaign, he should not be involved in these investigations.  In doing so, Sessions has left the Department of Justice in the hands of the conspirators who sought to take Trump down.  McCabe, Strzok, Ohr, Comey, Page, Yates, we know all the names because we’ve seen their internal communications plotting to take Trump out.  The fact that Trump is still standing without a single charge against him and not even being the target of the investigation demonstrates that the justice system overall is working.

But there’s still no justice against criminals like Hillary Clinton.  All we can do is be patient.  In the meantime, I applaud Jeff Sessions for not being like Holder and Lynch.  We know that the result of Mueller’s investigation is not skewed by partisanship to the right.  We know that Sessions’ DOJ is going to be fair.  We don’t have to worry about a situation like we had with Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch where we knew justice was an illusion and the system was rigged to protect Obama and his potential successors.

As painful and frustrating as that is to conservatives, Trump supporters, and those who truly love justice, it is necessary.  The last 8 years have destroyed our confidence in the United States justice system.  Sessions has helped restore that confidence by going back to a policy of abundant non-partisanship and avoiding the appearance of evil.  For that, as hard as it is to say this, we are thankful.  We need more good people like Jeff Sessions in the Department of Justice.

Impeachment? The answer is still no

Michael Cohen is on his way to jail for a very long time.  But as his ship sinks, he and his attorney are grasping for straws to reduce that sentence.  Cohen has agreed to sing if it means a reduced sentence.  But Mueller already passed on a Cohen plea bargain.

But what if everything Cohen is saying is true?  Is Trump in trouble?  According to precedent, the answer is no.  Let’s start with John Edwards.  Friends and megadonors paid nearly $1 million to Edwards’ mistress to cover up his affair right before an election.  The DOJ brought the charge that those were reportable campaign contributions because they were made to benefit Edwards’ campaign and influence the election.  Edwards was acquitted.  The DOJ could not successfully make the argument that those amounts to pay off his mistress should have been reported.

President Obama found himself in hot water after failing to report $1.8 million in campaign donations made through normal channels and for keeping donations that were in excess of allowed limits.  His campaign paid a $350,000 fine, the largest in history, and moved on with life as though nothing happened.

Bill Clinton lied about an affair during a sexual harassment trial that suddenly fell into the scope of the White Water special counsel.  But he was under oath.  He actually committed perjury.  But nothing happened to him.

In Trump’s case, he paid Michael Cohen a retainer as an attorney to represent him and to deal with issues like paying off people he had an affair with.  Does that make Trump a Clinton grade slimeball?  Of course.  Who didn’t know that already?  But even the leftovers from Obama’s DOJ are going to have a hard time turning a $130,000 payment into something they couldn’t get with the million dollars spent on Edwards’ mistress.  Additionally, the liar and singer Michael Cohen, who stated in the past that Trump didn’t know about the payoffs, never had affairs, etc is going to have to provide hard evidence.  So far the Cohen tapes have disappointed in that area.

From our analysis, the only charge Cohen has made that could put Trump in serious trouble is that Trump knew about the DNC hack before it happened.  Even then, knowing about it is a far cry from causing it.  But that could get Trump into enough trouble that a Democrat run House could at least introduce impeachment charges.  They would never get 75 votes in the Senate.  But more importantly, we’d have to see more than the word of a man on his way to jail being advised by Bill Clinton’s personal attorney, Lanny Davis.  Cohen would need to produce a tape of Trump talking about the DNC hack along with timestamp proof that it was before the hack took place.

I’m pretty sure if that existed, we would have heard it by now.  But who knows, maybe it’ll be an October surprise.

Ocasio-Cortez bans the press so the people will feel “safe”

It wasn’t Trump who banned the media from a recent townhall.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez banned the media from a recent press conference claiming that it was a “non-story” and that she did it so that her potential constituents could “feel safe discussing sensitive issues in a threatening political time.”  So far no one in the media has thought to ask her if she thinks the press are the “enemy of the people”.  But many media members weren’t buying her reasons.

Ocasio-Cortez bans the press so the people can feel safe

James Clapper, Leon Panetta, and several other former CIA directors and Obama administration big wigs joined 70 former CIA leaders in ridiculing Trump for taking away John Brennan’s security clearance.  Apparently their argument is that former intelligence officials should be able to use their unclassified information to hit the President with partisan attacks.  However, security clearance is usually maintained for those who “need to know” so that their successors can go to them for help and information.  But it is doubtful that anyone from the Trump administration is going to be going to hostile John Brennan for help.

Former intel agents upset about Brennan’s clearance being revoked

The jury in the Manafort trial is home for the weekend, but Judge Ellis is not revealing any information about their identities.  Apparently the jury had expressed to him that they feared their identities being released.  That’s probably a good move.  The media and public opinion has already condemned Manafort, and any verdict that sets him free is sure to cause riots.  As it is, the Manafort trial has been a disappointment for many on the Left.  He is in trouble for tax and bank fraud, but the massive Russian collusion has once again failed to materialize.

Manafort jury fears the press

Cuomo: America was never great

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is in hot water for countering Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan with one of his own: “America was never that great”.  I don’t know how far that’s going to get him with the majority of Americans, but it will play well with the radical Democratic Socialists on the Left.  Just yesterday Bernie Sanders said America is “fundamentally immoral and wrong”.  Andrew Cuomo’s brother and CNN commentator Chris Cuomo recently got himself in trouble suggesting that punching right-wingers was morally justifiable.

Democrat governor says America was never great

Economists are taking Elizabeth Warren to task over her far fetched Accountable Capitalism Act.  Warren, who opposes free market capitalism, came up with the idea of having corporations have to obtain a “Federal charter” to operate.  The license, in addition to the hoops they have to jump through to work in their state, would raise $1 billion in fee taxes.  Warren’s so-called “charter” would require corporate directors to consider not just their stakeholders, but also their employees and communities.

Of course, this is moronic.  Any well run company has to consider the well-being of their employees and communities or the free market will eliminate that company from competition.  In fact, that point was made by none other than BET co-founder Robert Johnson.  The Black Entertainment Television co-founder said “Most companies and most boards look at all of their stakeholders, not only their shareholders. They look at their employees, they look at the community where they reside and do business, they look at even the vendors that they do business with. So I think it’s a solution in search of a problem that’s absolutely not necessary,”

What Warren’s bill, along with the exemptions for friends of the ruling party that we have seen with previous Socialist overreaches, would create a new avenue for crony capitalism.  In other words, to get an exemption for your federal charter or to guarantee you have your charter maintained, you have to stay friendly with the party in power.  We saw the same thing with ACA where Obama’s biggest supporters received exemptions to various new labor rules.

Warren’s new socialist measure to control businesses gets a failing grade

Trump is implementing what Obama failed to do with his new Buy America push.  Trump is planning on using an executive order to create rules to ensure that federal agencies use American made goods and services for their projects.  There are questions about the legality of the executive order and sure to be legal challenges.  There are also issues of increased costs to the taxpayers if the government has to buy more expensive American goods.

Obama tried and failed to pass a buy American provision in 2009 and again in 2011.  He backed off of the provision in 2009 after American companies who sell overseas swayed him away from the influence of the US labor unions with fears of foreign retaliation.  When Obama flopped back to supporting Buy American, the Jobs Act of 2011 was squashed by the GOP.

Our opinion?  It was wrong when Obama tried it, it’s wrong now.  Free trade produces lower prices for consumers and taxpayers, and competition helps American producers to be efficient.  A better way to help American producers is to cut taxes and regulation so that they can compete on the high end of the global scale.  But Trump is doubly wrong by doing this as an executive order rather than through Congress.  Many Democrats support Buy American provisions.  Labor unions love it.  By going it alone, Trump will alienate conservative and free market GOP members, but I doubt he’ll receive any recognition from the left.  Democrats also supported protectionist tariffs, until Trump did it.  All around this is poor strategy and contrary to free market principles.

Trump to accomplish Obama agenda item with Buy American executive order

Supply, Demand, and Economic Cycles

Before engaging in political debate, it’s good to have a knowledge base built up to help your arguments.  It is also helpful to challenge your presuppositions and make sure that you have a good foundation from which to build your positions.  One of the issues that throws off both sides of the aisle is a basic lack of understanding when it comes to economic cycles.  For example, without a good understanding of cycles someone would look at the Clinton economy and Bush economy and think that Bush had bad economic policy while Clinton had good economic policy.  That is a simplistic understanding if you don’t factor in the cycles that played into their success and the difficulties they overcame.

To understand economic cycles, let’s start with a brief discussion of supply, demand, and equilibrium.  Equilibrium is the price at which those who sell and those who buy come to agreement to the point where every product produced is sold and every buyer is satisfied.  As you can imagine, equilibrium is more theoretical than practical.  Whenever the market is not at equilibrium, there is a vacuum that drives economic decisions to produce more, seek alternatives, etc.  For example, if you have five people buying and four bananas for sale, the price of bananas will go up until only the people who want the bananas enough to pay more will buy them.

In a free market society, producers will produce what consumers want and need at a price they are willing to pay.  While the market finds it’s way towards this ideal, there is a vacuum between equilibrium price and surplus on one side or shortage on the other.

Economic growth and retraction occurs in this vacuum.  When there is an oversupply, producers will cut back production to stabilize the price and bring it up.  When there is a shortage, producers will find ways to produce more to take advantage of higher prices, which will drive the price down.  This means economic growth or retraction.  On the flip side, when prices are too high buyers will seek alternatives.  When prices are too low, buyers will increase consumption.  These also lead to economic growth, enrichment, and opportunity.  When a pricey product is replaced by a better or lower cost product, this leads to the enrichment of the innovator and losses by those who previously had control over the market.  This idea of self correction was the idea behind Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

Forces exterior to the free market can also have an effect.  For example, if the government lowers taxes, that puts more money in the pocket of consumers and shifts the demand curve.  That means they can buy more because they can afford higher prices.  Equilibrium price goes up and producers produce more.  When the government takes money out of the economy, the opposite happens.  If there is a discovery of new sources of a product or commodity, for example the innovation of the shale industry, the supply curve shifts and prices go down.

Economic cycles happen as the vacuum in the supply and demand system flips from prices being too high to prices being too low, or when we go from shortages to surpluses in the market.  We saw this with the housing market in 2006.  Supply could not keep up with demand, so prices of real estate went up.  There were winners, those who sold high, and losers, those who had to buy less house for their money.  Then in 2008 we saw a reversal of fortunes.  The winners were those picking up foreclosures and cheap houses off an oversupplied market, while the losers were those stuck in a house they couldn’t afford in the first place.

John Maynard Keynes believed the government could play a role in efficiently managing economic cycles.  For example, he understood that deficit spending by the government artificially grew the economy.  Higher taxes and less spending would slow down an overheating economy and soften the blow of a future crash.  When Clinton left office, we were heading for a severe market correction caused by the tech bubble crash and 9/11.  Bush, a Keynesian, cut taxes and increased spending to turn the economy around.

Some take it too far.  Obama believed he could eliminate economic cycles through massive government stimulus and regulation.  His theory actually worked.  For nearly 8 years the natural economic cycle was suppressed.  Unfortunately this was while we were due a recovery.  Once Trump cut taxes and lifted thousands of burdensome regulations, the economy resumed it’s normal cycle by overcoming years of repressed growth.

Socialists, the most extreme of which are the Communists, believed that government could effectively control equilibrium prices by controlling supply.  As a most egregious example, Communism determined exactly what a person needed and attempted to provide it.  Unfortunately the government could not provide what it did not have, and without a free economic cycle there was no impetus outside of government force to cause people to produce.  Eventually as resources run out and incentives are withheld, Communist systems beyond the tiniest scales will collapse.

More moderate Socialist systems such as Liberalism rely on marginal incentive by only seeking to control certain aspects of the economy.  However, even in these modules of the economy, the loss of incentive to produce or value of the product is devastating.  For example, in the education system Liberalism creates artificial demand.  They do this by hiding the true cost of education from the consumer.  As a result, the increase in demand produces a higher price point.  The higher price point draws more suppliers into the market, but there is no economic impetus to produce a superior good.  As a result, we have high cost education with a reduction in quality.

Every economic decision should be considered in light of how it affects the supply and demand dynamic.  For example, allowing bankruptcy for student loans sounds great on paper.  But when you do that, it means there will be an artificial increase in demand.  The artificial increase causes the price of student loans, or the interest rate, to go up.  Government control over interest rates causes suppliers to be artificially repressed which also puts pressure on prices to go up.  When the government runs out of suppliers for a regulated product like student loans, the government must become the supplier in order to maintain the product.  But government can’t just print student loan dollars without devaluing the dollar and crashing the economy.  Someone has to pay.  Now suddenly bankruptcy on student loans means taxpayers are being forced to subsidize a product regardless of demand.  Consumers no longer have the freedom to choose whether or not to buy student loans; they are compelled to through taxes.

Libertarians tend to hold to Adam Smith’s view of the economy.  Give consumers choice and liberty, and the economy will correct itself.  If the government doesn’t build roads, consumers will demand roads and suppliers will build them.  Bridges to nowhere won’t exist because there will be no demand for them.  Those who cannot afford roads will invent alternatives.

Republicans and some of the most moderate Democrats hold to Keynesian economic models.  Republicans tend to see tax cuts as the way to spur economic growth, while leaving the consumer with freedom to buy what they demand.  Democrats look to spending increases to spur the economy.  Stimulus and government programs inject dollars into the economy.  The consumer buys what the government compels them to, such as healthcare, failed solar companies, and someone’s old “clunker” car.

In the extreme of Marxism, the government under the false guise of representing the “people”, seizes the means of production and controls supply and price regardless of consumer demand.  In these models, most recently touted by Democratic Socialists, the government gives you what the government believes you need.  Much like a slave, you receive food, shelter, government approved education, and government guaranteed income.  And like a slave, you are required by the government to do your duty to the people by working, buying and supplying as the government sees fit. Those who do not fit within the system are eliminated from the system because there is no other way.  This is why every Communist regime devolves into intense human rights abuse, and often genocide.  In lesser extremes we see penalty taxes for refusing to buy and vilification of those who have untaxed means.

Every political question of economics should be viewed through the lens of supply and demand, and the validation of good policy should take into account where we sit in an economic cycle.  Generally, the freer the market, the faster the growth, retraction, recovery cycle will go.  But in the end, the most important thing is economic liberty for the consumer and the supplier.  Liberty for the consumer creates an efficient market where people can choose to buy what they want and need.  Liberty for the producer allows them to freely produce what consumers desire or create new products for lower prices that exceed consumer expectations.  This is what creates wealth and consumer satisfaction throughout an entire economic system.