American Elephants


Nancy Pelosi Wants to Raise Your Taxes, Among Other Things. by The Elephant's Child

I have long believed that Democrats simply don’t understand economics at all, but day by day it is becoming clear that is not only true, but drastically underestimates the situation.

Only today, a confident House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) predicted that in the upcoming ‘mid-terms’ in November, Democrats will take back the House and immediately push for amnesty for the so-called ‘Dreamers’ and more gun control legislation. She said that Democrats would “revisit” Donald Trump’s tax cuts and push for an infrastructure bill to “build the infrastructure of America—housing, schools, bridges, water.” You will note that “infrastructure” is always the magic word. She also spoke about building the country’s “human infrastructure,” including education and health care for young people and pension security for their families. She said Democrats will run on “fairness and justice.” Sure they will.

Bernie Sanders goes even farther. He advocates government jobs for everyone, free college, free healthcare, family leave, more generous social security, and probably lots more free stuff, but I couldn’t write that fast.

How does that work? Of course, it doesn’t. Democrats believe that they are the smartest people in the country. Hillary explained quite seriously that they were the enlightened, brilliant, caring and the people who voted for Trump were retarded, ignorant, racist backwoods “deplorables.” (She also said innocently that she had used that line at all her campaign meetings in the Hamptons and everybody thought it was a funny line.)

Back to economics. Guess which economic forecaster accurately predicted growth in 2017? Back at the end of February, the White House released the annual Economic Report of the President. Democrats like Jason Furman who served as the top economic adviser in the Obama White House, say President Trump’s forecasts were way too optimistic.  Mr. Trump says his tax cuts and deregulation will restore robust growth, and Mr. Furman called the Trump estimates “absurd.” James Freeman at the Wall Street Journal referred reporters to the report in which the Trump team predicted 2.3% real economic growth for the calendar year 2017. Which was right on the button.

How do you make an economy grow? Obviously something has to change. In the past the great moves forward have come in response to major innovation:  the Erie Canal opened the Midwest, the telegraph connected the coasts, the continental railroad, and now the internet and information technology. Trump has cut taxes for everyone, but the budget is still way too big and the national debt isn’t any smaller and Trump wants to build a wall clear across the southern border.

Quietly, Trump has begun to whittle away at the power and permanence of the ruling class by slashing regulations and limiting powers that Congress foolishly allowed the state to take over. The bureaucracy has a say over nearly every aspect of American private and commercial life with no accountability. Democrats are screaming bloody murder over Scott Pruitt’s actions at the EPA—sure that he is destroying the environment. He is not.

The EPA had moved to enhance government control over — the nation’s “navigable waters” which they construed as anything that flowed from your downspout into a stream that flowed into a river that eventually made it into a real navigable water. That’s an enormous amount of “control.” Bureaucracies issue “guidance documents” that provide business with directions about how to comply with the law. Sounds innocent, but Congress makes the law and leaves it up to the bureaucrats to implement them, so their suggestions pretty much have the power of law. For business, the removal of overbearing, useless regulations has been huge, because useless regulations come with a cost of compliance. Apply that freedom across the government, and no wonder business is passing out bonuses and raising salaries and having the money and freedom to expand and innovate.

Bad news for Democrats and the anti Trump mob. Jobless claims are near a 45 year low, job openings are near a record high, and growing shortages of skilled labor are forcing companies to increase pay or improve benefits to attract or retain employees according to Market Watch. The lead Democrats had at the end of last year is gone. Issues like gun control and immigration are not working. Most voters are crediting Trump, not Obama, with the strong economy.

The Mueller probe is falling apart as a federal judge has raised concern over the scope of Robert Mueller’s investigation. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson questioned whether Rosenstein’s “directive appointing Mueller granted him more authority than Justice Department regulations appear to permit” because Justice Department rules require that a special counsel be notified of a “specific factual matter” to pursue. Mueller’s team were even searching Manafort’s home and storage locker before Rosenstein broadened the special counsel’s purview in an August 2017 memo. The Nunes Committee is finally getting the information they have been seeking after threats of impeachment and disgrace, and it’s not pretty. Stormy Daniels was supposed to be the final nail in the Trump coffin, but it appears that the Trump voters don’t really care about an aging porn star.

Republicans are not inclined to fall in love with presidents. They approve or disapprove of what the administration is doing. They recognize American presidents as simply ordinary men with all the flaws and faults that means—called upon for a special job, and hope that they will measure up and do at least part of what needs doing. And we call upon the Constitution to keep them in line and instruct them in how to do the job. We seem to know a little more history than the Left does, and recognize that the desire for ever more control leads inevitably to tyranny. Freedom is messy. People say things that you don’t like, they argue, they may call you names, they try to regulate, to tell you what to do, to force you to do it their way — but to be free, to pass freedom on to your children, you have to tolerate a little mess.

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Life’s Little Surprises Always Await Us. by The Elephant's Child

In the Wall Street Journal today, James Freeman brought up the historic tax reform that Trump signed in December may turn out to be his finest hour, ‘trumping’ even  the firing of James Comey. So many companies have reported positive news from the tax law, even though it’s barely four months old.  The Journal calculated that the four giants of American retail banking— JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of America have saved a total of $2.3 billion in the first quarter thanks to the new federal corporate tax rate of 21%, down from 35%.

Is that a big deal? Nancy Pelosi is arguing that the tax cut is a useless disaster, and when the Democrats get back in they will promptly raise taxes back to where they should be. (This is a campaign promise? Why?)

Wages have been growing. “Kroger, Walmart, Target Corp. and other food retailers are investing savings from the federal tax law to boost worker pay and benefits, ” the Journal reported recently. John Kartch at the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform has been keeping a running tally of businesses (now 507) responding to their lower tax bills by announcing pay raises, bonuses, and higher 401K matches. The good news began to arrive almost as soon as President Trump signed the legislation.

Democrats seem to have a hard time getting their minds around the basic consequences of economic incentives. The Labor Department has reported that this is oficially the best job market for those seeking work in the history of  U.S. government statistics. Lefties are quite sure that the best results come from soaking the rich, by which they seem to mean the Koch Brothers, rather than themselves and their friends and supporters.

Ann Althouse notes that a new WaPo poll “finds that the gap between support for Deocatic vs. Republican House candidates dropped more than half since the beginning of the year.” A WaPo/ABC News poll found that 78 percent of registered voters considered voting for a candidate whose views on gun rights and gun control matched their own was either very or extremely important. 21% said it was somewhat or not important at all.

Investors Business Daily reported in an editorial on the macroeconomic effects of the tax reform bill. The Congressional Budget Office admitted that they had vastly overestimated the cost of the Trump tax cuts, because it didn’t account for the strong economic growth they would generate.

In any case, the CBO now expects GDP to be $6.1 trillion bigger by 2027 than it did before the tax cuts.

The CBO report also makes clear that this faster-growing economy will offset most of the costs of the Trump tax cuts.

In a table buried in the appendix of the CBO report, it shows that, before accounting for economic growth, the tax cuts Trump signed into law late last year would cut federal revenues by $1.69 trillion from 2018-2027.

But it goes on to say that higher rate of GDP growth will produce $1.1 trillion in new revenues. In other words, 65% of the tax cuts are paid for by extra economic growth.

Well, goodness. There might just be some reason to question conventional wisdom. The Center for Immigration Studies reported a few weeks ago that Trump’s Wall on our Southern Border would, over time, pay for itself, because illegal immigrants add a lot of cost with their dependence on welfare, crime, benefits and health care.  Who knew?  One can only urge Ms. Pelosi to keep railing about the necessity of raising taxes.

Among other surprises, a previously unknown asteroid the size of a football field had a near miss with Earth on Sunday. It came within one half of the distance to the moon.  It was the largest known asteroid to pass that close to Earth in observational history. Life always has interesting little surprises for us, even if we are paying attention.



We Aren’t Recognizing the Anger and Despair! by The Elephant's Child

Former FBI  Director James Comey’s new book is being released today, and he will be on a long book tour trying to push the book. He hates President Trump, whines like a 9-year-old, and reflects badly on the organization that he formerly headed. He expected Hillary to win, his wife was really excited about having a female president. He has not behaved well, and serious FBI people are concerned for the reputation of the agency.

Democrats clearly expected Hillary to win, but for the most part they seem to be pretty much done with her. I think that it wasn’t so much Hillary’s loss, but that red map of all the counties in the country that went for Trump. I suspect that they didn’t even consider the possibility that Trump might win, it was unthinkable. All those Republicans, a despicable bunch, and most of the Democrats had particular Republicans to hate, but the idea that Trump could triumph attacked all of their sureties, their world view, the things he espoused were beyond the pale — cutting taxes, closing the border.

Republicans aren’t all that inclined to fall in love with presidents. They recognize that presidents are only ordinary men, with all the flaws and faults of ordinary men, perhaps a little more so, when they suddenly become “the leader of the free world.” The “Never Trumpers”, certified members of the ruling class, were appalled by his tweeting, although many of them were on Twitter as well, but a president—tweeting? Clearly beneath the dignity of the office! His speech offended! Dan Bongino, who is from Queens, said Trump talked like someone from Queens who was in the construction trade. Trump told the people what he thought, and who he did not like nor trust. Beneath the dignity…

Barack Obama was, as someone said—a real good talker. Flowery words, designed to rouse the emotions, but fairly devoid of meaning. But people were thrilled, including the Nobel Prize committee, Not much follow through.

I think it’s that map. The Democrats lost control of practically everything, a huge,  immense loss. Their reason for everything is control. They are the intelligentsia. They are destined to run everything as soon as they dispose of the annoying Republicans. They went to the best schools, they run the biggest companies, they have the most billionaires, and all the movie stars, and the Republicans are backwoods people, racists, sexists, deplorables from flyover country. Who even knows what is down there when you fly from one enlightened coast to the other? Hillary thought it was her due, her destiny. She’s still out complaining, but the Democrats are done with her, and looking for someone who can restore their rightful place in the universe.  Joe Biden?



The Left: Explained! by The Elephant's Child

Here is a speech by Dennis Prager, given a few years ago, in which he summarizes, or explains the Left. Do you find yourself wondering a lot— why are they doing this? Why are they saying this? What is the matter with these people?

Not much has changed in the past seven years. The Left is still Left, searching for more power so they can get rid of those pesky Conservatives who are so annoying, and so wrong about everything.

Oh, new terminology pops up now and then, but they continue to regard us as uneducated racists from flyover country. They seem unable to consider or recognize consequences. Life is full of miseries, but if we just let them be in charge, they would all be fixed.

In spite of all evidence to the contrary, they remain sure that if only they don’t have to be bothered with the dissent from us, they will create a brave new world where everyone is equal and there are no more wars and everything and everyone is properly diverse, and no one will be poor or needy and…

It’s a 40 minute video, so watch it tonight if you must, but it’s really worth your time.



California: A Failing Utopian Vision by The Elephant's Child

California is becoming the most watched state in the union. The worst-managed state. threatening secession, or division, insisting on whatever the rest of the country is doing, they will go in another direction. And Washington State is trying to follow in their wake,

Here’s Victor Davis Hanson trying to explain what’s gone wrong and why. Our most populous state, a sanctuary state, broke, and people and businesses are fleeing the state for anywhere where taxes are lower and housing costs are sane. People are living in motor homes, sheds, turning a single apartment into a dormitory. Facebook and Google are apparently building a new town to house their workers.



Empathy, they claim. But Generosity Requires Wealth With Which To Be Generous. by The Elephant's Child

In the countries that most enthusiastically embraced capitalism” some two hundred years ago, real, per capita economic growth has increased by 1.5 percent annually. Owing to the miracle of compound interest, this increase has meant a 19-fold increase in living standards over the past two centuries which, she contends, is a “change in the human condition” that “ranks with the first domestication of plants and animals and the building of the first towns”… this enormous economic result had a cause that was cultural rather than economic. Humans did not suddenly become more acquisitive or creative. Rather “when people treat the marketers and inventors as having some dignity and liberty, innovation takes hold.” The new respectability of bourgeois life, the belief that the creativity of capitalism’s creative destruction more than offset its destruction, was the decisive attitudinal change that rendered human life in the past two centuries decisively different from what it had been throughout the preceding millennia.

This is from William Voegeli’s The Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal CompassionAbout Economist Deirdre McCloskey. The quotations are from McCloskey. Voegeli adds: In McCloskey’s view, “I don’t much care how ‘capitalism ‘ is defined, so long as it is not defined a priori to mean vice incarnate.” The default position for modern thinking, however, characterizes :commercial society at the outset to be bad by any standard higher than successful greed.”

You will find Voegeli’s Never Enough on the same page. I recommend both highly. They’ve been out for quite a while so there are very inexpensive used copies as well.



The Impossible Dream of Socialism and Social Welfare by The Elephant's Child

From William Voegeli’s Never Enough:

“The socialist dream of organizing an economy around the purposes of advancing social welfare, as it is governmentally determined and meted out, seems destined to remain an abstraction irrelevant to the world’s political and economic needs. One strange result of the collapse of socialism, and the absence of any other credible way to avoid relying on markets is that the welfare state is heavily dependent on the health of capitalism. The government cannot disburse wealth that never gets created, and creating the wealth required for modern, prosperous societies without the knowledge conveyed by prices set in markets appears to be impossible.”




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