American Elephants

The Life Of Julius: How Unions Hurt Workers by The Elephant's Child

Here’s the sequel to Obama’s “Life of Julia,” the poor soul who is utterly dependent on the government for life. Or rather, an invitation for  you to become dependent, so the wise people in government can help you until you can go to work for the government. A sad tale of the loss of individual liberty and a wasted life.

Julius is a fictional character like Julia, but his aspirations, hopes and values are shared by every American. He wants opportunity and economic security. He wants his years of hard work to mean some level of comfort in his retirement. As Iain Murray writes:

Unfortunately, labor-union bosses, and the politicians and laws they support, continually frustrate Julius’s prosperity in ways both large and small, both obvious and subtle. Labor unions have a political stranglehold on the economy in hundreds of ways that affect every single worker, whether they are union members or, like Julius, never belong to a union in their entire life. …

What we’ve tried to do with ”The Life of Julius” is to illustrate how the way unions are run today hurts workers at every stage of their working life — even if they are never a member of a labor union.

Political Correctness Strikes Again, In Politically Correct Washington State. by The Elephant's Child

I’m so embarrassed. Washington State is in the news again, and the lightweights in the state capitol in Olympia, having nothing better to do in a time of economic downturn and vast unemployment, have secured our new governor’s signature as the final piece of a six-year effort to rewrite state laws using gender-neutral vocabulary. No more crass use of terms such as “fisherman” to describe those hardy souls who head off for northern waters to bring in a load of our iconic salmon. They are now “fishers”, the gender-neutral replacement.

Our colleges and universities will no longer have “freshman classes”, but only “first-year students.” Elementary schools will no longer teach “penmanship” but only “handwriting.” That last is a lie, because our schools aren’t teaching handwriting either. Now that computers are ubiquitous, our education establishment has concluded that cursive writing is no longer necessary, and once kids can print they abandon the penmanship effort entirely. You have probably noticed if you’ve been around kids — they can’t write.

“There’s no good reason for keeping our legal terms anachronistic and with words that do not respect our current contemporary times,” Kohl-Welles, the 475-page bill’s sponsor, told Reuters.

They won’t change “airman” or “seaman” because of objections by the state’s Washington Military Department. They couldn’t find substitutes for “man hole” and “man lock”.  We apparently  have a 40-man person Washington Code Reviser’s Office to get all such vocabulary changes into the Washington State Code. The people will go on  using the same vocabulary they’ve always used.

This, of course, has nothing to do with “sexism” or “gender-neutrality,” it is political correctness run amok. Or even more accurately — it is cultural Marxism, an effort that has been going on since World War I. It is a tale of the perpetually discontented, the victims in our world. The victims are feminists, gays, blacks, Hispanics, and they rewrite history, invent statistics, embroidered with lies and demands. Americans must be fearful of what they say, of what they write and what they think. If they use the wrong word, they may be denounced as offensive, insensitive, racist, sexist and/or homophobic.

The United States Air Force Academy removed words that stood at the base of a ramp that cadets walked up on their first day at the academy — a symbolic threshold between an old life and a new one. The words had stood for 39 years; 10 letters, each of them two feet tall” “Bring Me Men” — the first words of a poem written in 1894  by Sam Walter Foss, “The Coming American” — “Bring me men to match my mountains, Bring me men to match my plains, Men with empires in their purpose, And new eras in their brains.” Those words were taken down in 2003, so the academy could be more “gender-neutral.” Uni-sex bathrooms? Women in combat? It is all of a piece.

John Steele Gordon recently wrote about the politically correct effort to remove Christ from the calendar and replace the terms AD and BC with CE and BCE. CE stands for ‘common era’ and BCE for ‘before common era,’ since roughly half the world’s population is non-Christian, we shouldn’t use loaded terms such as AD (Anno Domini) and BC (Before Christ).

Mostly we just laugh at this stuff, or are embarrassed when some guy in the office is hauled down to Human Resources for a lecture because he had the nerve to compliment a woman. Or a first-grader is suspended from school for chewing his Pop Tart into a shape that resembles a pistol. The examples are all around us. Officialdom descends on us and tells us that we are — offensive, insensitive, racist, sexist and/or homophobic. Police have been called to deal with little kids that have water-pistols or plastic army-men.  People are fired for being politically incorrect. Then it’s no longer a laughing matter.

Political Correctness is cultural Marxism, or Marxism translated from economic terms into cultural terms. It is a totalitarian ideology, and nowhere is the totalitarian nature of political correctness revealed more thoroughly than on our college campuses, where speech codes triumph and legal organizations have been created to protect the civil rights of students and faculty (F.I.R.E.).

Cultural Marxism says that all of history is determined by power, by which groups are defined in terms of race, sex, etc, and have  power over other groups. Nothing else matters. Power? When a white student is denied admittance to a college in favor of a black or Hispanic who isn’t as well qualified, the student is expropriated. When a contract is denied to a white-owned company because the contract is reserved for a company owned by a Hispanic or a woman, that’s an example of power. When a bankruptcy denies the legal rights of bondholders to first claim on a company’s assets and instead gives a third of the ownership of the company to the unions (whose excessive benefits were largely the cause of bankruptcy) — that’s power, and the goal of political correctness, gender-neutrality, deconstruction of our great books, and the last obstacles  to the creation of a Marxist paradise — the end of capitalism and of Western civilization itself.

An Accuracy in Academia address by Bill Lind explains the origins of political correctness clearly and in depth. (It’s not long) Or Bill Whittle explains it, he calls it “the narrative,” in the following video.

Lazy Language — Like, You Know… by The Elephant's Child

Uncertainty, Uncertainty and More Uncertainty. by The Elephant's Child

“Unexpectedly” U.S. economic growth expanded in the first quarter at the sluggish annual rate of 2.5 percent,  the Commerce Department said on Friday, missing economists’ forecast of a 3.2 percent growth rate.  The fourth quarter nearly stalled at 0.4 percent. This is all before the sequester went into effect.

The recession (“the worst recession since the Great Depression”) officially ended in June, 2009. The stock market is soaring, hitting record levels, the rich are getting richer — and the poor are getting poorer. What’s happening? Why is there no recovery? Economies, the results of millions of transactions in a free market, like to recover. When an economy is thrown off track by some major error — in this case the housing debacle — once the downturn stops going down it usually recovers fairly swiftly. So what’s going wrong?

Many small businesses and companies are in good shape and have money to spend, but they are not pumping capital back into the economy. In today’s Wall Street Journal Bill McNabb, chairman and CEO of the Vanguard Group says:

Quite simply, if firms can’t see a clear road to economic recovery ahead, they’re not going to hire and they’re not going to spend. It’s what economists call a “deadweight loss”—loss caused by inefficiency.

Today, there is uncertainty about regulatory policy, uncertainty about monetary policy, uncertainty about foreign policy and, most significantly, uncertainty about U.S. fiscal policy and the national debt. Until a sensible plan is created to address the debt, America will not fulfill its economic potential.

I’m certainly not an economist, but I’ve noticed that every time there is a positive move by the administration or Congress that should encourage growth,  the administration is either issuing major new regulations, attacking an industry, raising some tax, raising the cost of energy. To be at lest partly fair, I don’t think the administration understands the consequences of many of their actions.

When the administration forces coal-fired power plants out of business, it raises the cost of electricity. Low cost electricity powers our economy. Increased prices affect everything. Approve the Keystone pipeline. Don’t raise taxes until the economy recovers, not even little taxes. Stop playing sequester games. Back off. You’re taking in more revenue than ever before.

Concern about the national debt, and about excessive spending, are heightened by the president’s refusal to consider any reduction in spending and his demand for more taxes. The President is creating the uncertainty himself, that is holding the economy back.

The economists who measure uncertainty point out that both parties blame each other, and each sees the other position as false.

  • Republicans are blaming the President and Congressional Democrats for creating regulatory uncertainty and introducing harmful regulations.
  • They further accuse the Democrats of failing to face up to the main long-term drivers of rising debt and press for the reform of social security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social insurance programs.
  • Democrats, in turn, accuse Republicans of obstructionism, political brinksmanship and an obsessive focus on tax and spending cuts.
  • They fault Republicans for a lack of meaningful detail on their healthcare reform proposals, and for failing to embrace a mix of both spending cuts and tax hikes in order to respond to US fiscal imbalances. ( click to enlarge)

index of policy uncertainty

It doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t some mysterious economic trick. Knock off the regulation. You have enough regulation to govern every action for the next century. It’s just a compulsion to tell other people what to do, and you don’t know enough about running a business to tell anyone what to do. Just leave them alone. They do know how to run their businesses, and how to grow.

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