American Elephants


Are You Surprised at How Low the Democrats Will Go? by The Elephant's Child

Desperate, desperate, desperate Democrats. They have called President Trump every name in the bad name book, they have used every gimmick from Kathy Griffin holding up the mock bloody severed head of the President of the United States, to huge diapered baby balloons, marches on the Washington Mall, with rude signs indicating the hatred and despair of a (not quite) united American womanhood at the resident of the White House, and of course, leaving the usual mess behind for someone else to clean up.

A Special Counsel was appointed to investigate the possible collusion of the President of the United States with Russia, for that nation to interfere in the elections because if Vladimir Putin had not interfered, Hillary would have won. The President needed to be impeached, and Mr. Mueller was supposed to come up with the evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. but in order to be authorized to investigate impeachment, there first has to be some evidence of a high crime. Ooops.

Devin Nunes is Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and they are looking into the strange behavior of the leadership of the FBI. Devin Nunes has been attacked by the Democrats here and in California, and now President Trump has ordered the documents of the Russian collusion investigation released to the public with redactions removed, except those essential to national security. It seems to be panic time, and oddly, John Brennan, former Director of the CIA seems very upset.

With all this hullabaloo going on, President Trump seems to be doing a rather splendid job in office. Vice President Mike Pence said the economy is booming because the Trump administration is rolling back Obama administration policies. Not, former President Obama, because you started the boom. More than four million jobs created since Trump took office, record low black and Hispanic unemployment, wages rising at the fastest pace in a decade , and the highest middle class income in recorded history. The Left’s war on energy is over, red tape is being destroyed and unnecessary regulations eliminated. The economy is growing at a healthy four percent, and President Trump is keeping his promises to the people.

Democrat propaganda has supposed to have turned the people against this unworthy (he tweets) occupant of the White House, and it’s not happening. His tweets are supposed to be “unpresidential” and unbecoming to the dignity of the office. Nobody seems to have noticed that they are largely strategic.

A President of the United States is just an ordinary man (or, at some point a woman) with all the flaws and foibles of an ordinary human being. We’re electing him as a CEO of the country to tidy up the place and keep things running and keep us out of trouble for four years, and if he does a good job, we’ll give him another four years. If you look back through the long list of presidents, there aren’t very many outstanding ones. We make a big mistake by falling in love with a president. We are not electing royalty, but a plain — one of us. We have kind of assumed that someone qualified for the presidency needs to have experience in government, but that may be wrong. We’ve thought that governors are our best bet, but we’ve got a large number of governors that are making a colossal mess of their states. It would seem that we need someone who knows how to manage things and get things done, in spite of political and media warfare.  Need I remind you that President Trump is donating his salary to the country?

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We Know the Economy is Growing: Here’s the Proof by The Elephant's Child

The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report on U.S. Income was released on Wednesday, and it underscores how the Obama administration’s policies of redistribution retarded growth for years. From the Wall Street Journal:

Real median household incomes ticked up 1.8% to $61,372 between 2016 and 2017 while the poverty rate dropped 0.4 percentage points to 12.3 % according to the Census Bureau. Income gains were strongest among Hispanic households (3.7%). The poverty rates for blacks and Hispanics fell to 21.2% and 18.3% respectively, the lowest since at least 1972.

Incomes increased across the distribution range with the share of people earning less than $15,000 declining 0.3 percentage points to 10.7, the lowest level since 2007. The proportion of households earning more than $150.000 increased by 0.7 percentage points to 14.7%.

Investment earnings have driven up incomes at the higher level. At lower levels the income growth appears to be due to more people working more. Last year the number of people with employment earnings rose by 1.7 million last year, the numbers of people working full-time and year-round grew 2.4 million. This has lifted nearly one million people out of poverty in 2017.

Former president Obama tried to take credit for the surge of good news, but the slower growth over the past 8 years has meant that lower-skilled people who were working part time have moved to full time jobs, though that has slightly depressed the statistical growth in median earnings for full-time workers. Employers are scrounging for workers with job openings hitting a record high of 6.9 million in July.

Democrats are always sure that economic growth is simply the rich growing richer, for they assume that is who gets the tax cuts. They are sure that more direction from those in charge, and more regulation will help business to grow. But freedom is always the spark. The people who have built a business and grown it, know what they need, and a little more freedom to keep a little more of their own money usually means they invest it where it will do the most good.

That suggests that perhaps the bureaucrats in D.C. don’t really know more about running a business than the deplorable folk out there actually doing it. The small businessmen of America are not the ones getting in trouble for improperly using campaign funds on vacation travel.

Then I ran onto this article about Hillary’s five point plan to “build an economy that works for everyone.” It’s an excellent run-down of all the reasons we didn’t vote for Hillary.

A 100-days jobs plan: Break through Washington gridlock to make the boldest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II. Hillary will fight to pass a plan in her first 100 days in office to invest in infrastructure, manufacturing, research and technology, clean energy, and small businesses. She will strengthen trade enforcement, and she’ll say no to trade deals like TPP that don’t meet a high enough bar of creating good-paying jobs. And she will make the U.S. the clean energy superpower of the world—with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of her first term and enough clean, renewable energy to power every home in America within 10 years of her taking office.

There’s more wonderfulness, do read the whole thing. Its an excellent summary of why Democrats just don’t understand free market economics.



The Mysteries of the Butterfield Paradox by The Elephant's Child

First published in January 2013, but it seems time to do it again. Nancy Pelosi has made it clear that as soon as the Democrats get back in power, they will immediately raise taxes back to where they should be, because she is quite sure that Trump’s despicable tax cuts went only to the very rich. If you cut the taxes of someone very rich by 2%, the amount of  money saved will be larger than the amount of the 2% cut for someone who pays a small amount of taxes because they don’t earn very much.

Democrats simply do not seem to understand simple economic facts, or basic math for that matter, which is why their big ideas never, never work. Franklin Roosevelt did not save us from the Great Depression, and winning the war may have had more to do with the fact that George Marshall was his chief-of-staff throughout the war, and made it a policy never to laugh at FDR’s jokes. Yes, the Marshall who was responsible for the Marshall Plan.

Obama is making a round of speeches to rouse up the Democrats to vote as many times as they can in the mid-terms, to take back the House. He’s quite sure that his economic programs are what has brought on the current boom, and he is furious that the ignorant Donald Trump is simply taking credit for what were his (Obama’s) excellent actions. Here’s how things really work:
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Have  you heard of the Butterfield Fallacy?  It is rooted in ideological prejudice, and well known to conservative commentators.  Fox Butterfield was a reporter for the New York Times  “whose crime stories served as the archetype for his eponymous fallacy.”

“It has become a comforting story for five straight years, crime has been falling, led by a drop in murder,” Butterfield wrote in 1997. “So why is the number of inmates in prisons and jails around the nation still going up?’  He repeated the trope in 2003: “The nation’s prison population grew 2.6 percent last year, the largest increase since 1999, according to a study by the Justice Department. The jump came despite a small decline in serious crime in 2002.” And in 2004: “The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.”

The Butterfield Fallacy consists of misidentifying as a paradox, that which is a simple cause-and-effect relationship. You put more bad guys behind bars, and crime goes down. The typical New York Times reporter disapproves of sending people to prison because, among other reasons, they think it is racially discriminatory. “In 2004 almost 10 percent of American black men ages 25 to 29 were in prison” and, it diverts tax money from what should be higher priorities.  In 1997, “already California and Florida spend more to incarcerate people than to educate their college age populations.” Here, Reynolds Law comes into play:

The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

New York Times business reporter Reed Abelson wrote yesterday with bewilderment that insurance premiums are rising sharply as ObamaCare’s insurance regulations begin to take effect:

Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers.

Yuval Levin wrote of Ableson’s surprise that health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. Ableson was bewildered at the Butterfield Fallacy. as Levin wrote under the perfect title “Even Though.” Some people think this might have something to do with ObamaCare’s basically outlawing actual insurance and replacing it with an economically  incoherent substitute. The article also notes with surprise that businesses that now have to have their prices approved by regulators have adopted a  peculiar practice by which they first propose higher prices than they expect to end up with and then work down toward their costs. Levin adds “sources say that supply and demand may be related in ways that influence prices, but this remain unconfirmed.”

When health care bureaucrats reduce the price that will be paid to providers for their services, oddly enough, the cost of insurance will go up.

James Taranto noted another example from the Associated Press:

A bluefin tuna sold for a record $1.76 million at a Tokyo auction Saturday, nearly three times the previous high set last year–even as environmentalists warn that stocks of the majestic, speedy fish are being depleted worldwide amid strong demand for sushi.

The reporter, Malcolm Foster, was too caught up in environmental sentimentalism to notice that this is basic supply and demand at work. When the supply of something is low, prices go up.  Imagine that.

Addendum: John Hinderaker reported at Powerline, that “just this morning the Labor Department announced more great news:”

American wages unexpectedly…

Unexpectedly!

…climbed in August by the most since the recession ended in 2009 and hiring rose by more than forecast, keeping the Federal Reserve on track to lift interest rates this month and making another hike in December more likely.

Average hourly earnings for private workers increased 2.9 percent from a year earlier, a Labor Department report showed Friday, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg survey and the median projection for 2.7 percent. Nonfarm payrolls rose 201,000 from the prior month, topping the median forecast for 190,000 jobs.

When the economy is booming, unemployment reaches new lows, companies are having trouble finding qualified employees, they may have to offer a little more money, and offer more to their own employees to keep them from applying elsewhere you naturally get an increase in average hourly earnings. Basic!, But not for Democrats who don’t understand basic economics. Mr. Hinderaker was just back from trying to explain to the Joint economic Committee on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Minnesota’s economy.



Just About What I Expected. Former President Obama Speaks. by The Elephant's Child

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Former President Barack Obama received an ethics in government award at the University of Illinois, and took advantage of the occasion to trash Donald Trump, claim that  any recovery that was happening started in his administration, and criticized everything about Trump’s presidency, calling it a “dark period” in American history. Periods of progress in America were frequently followed by periods of resistance to change and a “step back”.

Gosh, I can remember back to Obama’s Inauguration, and an excited young black woman was thrilled that she would not have to worry about paying her bills, because Obama was going to pay them. Many black Americans had not believed that a black man could be elected to the presidency, and were justifiably proud and thrilled that it could happen. Many Americans who did not vote for him, thought that having the first black president was probably a good thing for the country.

Obama helped out our black citizens by giving them welfare and health care, and raising taxes to pay for it. Donald Trump has given them jobs—real, good paying jobs, 201,000 new jobs just in August, as worker wages have surged to a nine year high. The new unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9%.

Obama was grateful that President George W. Bush remained quiet during his presidency, and did not criticize him, and promised to stay quiet during the Trump administration, but the horrors of a surging economy and thousands getting off of food stamps was just too much for him.

Over the past few decades the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican party.

Obama referred to Trump as a “bully” who deserved to be rejected by the American people. Republicans, he said were appealing to “tribe”by trying to divide people by race and gender. Excuse me, Who is trying to divide Americans by race and gender? That theme seems to be coming out of our universities, and last time I looked, they are not havens of Republicans or conservatives.  He even blasted Republicans for “cozying up to the KGB” He pointed to a rise in white-nationalism and racial division, and attacked Republicans for stoking resentment in order to remain in power.

We are Americans, we’re supposed to stand up to bullies, not follow them,” he said. “We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers.

After any president’s tenure in office, everyone tries to sum up what worked, and what didn’t. Any administration will have high points and failures. George W. was wise to refrain from comment in recognition that future historians will evaluate and sum up the job he did, and his present comments won’t help, and could hinder. Good lesson, Obama might take notice.

More than anything, he attempted to take credit for today’s surging economy.  Good luck with that one.

(slightly updated for clarity)



Maybe it’s Time to Put Away the “Not Presidential” Idea by The Elephant's Child

The Left in general, and the Never Trumpers in particular, complain that President Trump is “not presidential.” The “presidential” part seems to mostly be directed at his habit of “tweeting.” We are told that the president has trained himself to operate on only six hours of sleep, so he can get more done. Other presidents didn’t tweet, and it’s rude, and crude, and not “presidential”. You’ve got 140 characters, so what you say has to be brief and snappy. And as far as other presidents, Twitter is just coming up on its sixth birthday, so Obama is the only other acting president who could have tweeted, and he does. Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet on March 21, 2006.

According to Twitaholic, the current five most popular Twitter accounts are: ladygaga: 33,265,051 followers, justinbieber: 33,262,987 followers, katyperry: 31,495,485 followers, rihanna: 27,928,899 followers, and BarackObama: 25,963,9666 followers.  It’s also important to note that a lot of these followers are fake. Lady Gaga has 32% fake followers, Barack Obama has 23% fake followers.

What most observers fail to notice is that President Trump’s tweets are strategic. He is letting the world know that he is personally paying attention. He is also letting the world know that he is not predictable.  And the world is paying attention, and they don’t know what to expect. “South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) appear to have walked back ambitious proposals for “expropriation without compensation —for the present — as a result of a controversial tweet by President Donald Trump.” Italy and Hungary Create an ‘Anti-Immigration Axis’. Don’t know if that is a response to a tweet, but it surely has something to do with America having their back. On the Palestinian Refugee Issue, President Trump is Magnificently Right. In Florida, a big boost for Rep Ron DeSantis came from President Trump’s endorsement. and GOP Gov. Rick Scott won an important victory at the polls.

The Washington Times observes that 83% of business executives say business is better, 76% see more growth coming. Stocks are at a record high and Wall Street is growing more optimistic that trade tensions are easing.

Many have seen President Trump as a reality TV star, or a New York raconteur, without understanding of the politics and deep experience of being a builder in New York City. I suspect that dealing with building codes, city bureaucrats, property owners, the legal establishment and who knows what else just might be a better training for political leadership than being a state legislator or even a governor.



The Once Prosperous State of Venezuela. by The Elephant's Child

I didn’t see who came up with this, but it is all too painfully correct. Venezuela was once the richest state in South America, and then Cuba offered to help them out.



Here Are the Democrats’ Current Talking Points by The Elephant's Child

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They have decided that the situation that gets the most reaction from voters is the “ripped from the arms of their mothers” line about the Border. Chelsea Clinton, now sorta-kinda intimating that she might consider running for office, was in Edinburgh for a Book Fair, I guess pushing a book or books in the “she persisted” thought line. She went on at great length about how truly awful it was of Trump to allow little children at the border to be “ripped from the arms of their mothers.” A really emotional line for female voters, but fact-free.

The second talking point is the absence of any mention of impeachment, which polls very well for Republicans. The public does not like all the talk about impeachment, so the word will not cross the lips of any Democrat.

The third, you have already heard: Trump is an unIndicted co-conspirator.  If you haven’t heard that in the last two days, you haven’t been paying attention. What it means is another matter entirely—which is nothing, nothing at all, but it sounds important.

David Horowitz explained it very well in his book Take No Prisoners. He wrote:

Politics is always a gamble. No one be sure what tactic will succeed, which is why we have to respect each other and keep our coalition strong, even when we disagree.

I said we were not good at politics. Actually we’re pretty terrible at politics. Whenever a Republican and a Democrat square off, it’s Godzilla versus Bambi. They call us racists, sexists, homophobes, and selfish pigs, and we call them….liberals. Who is going to win that argument? They spend their political dollars calling us names and shredding our reputations; we spend our political dollars explaining why the complicated solutions we propose will work and why theirs won’t. But when you are being called a racist, an enemy of women, and a greedy S.O.B., who will listen to your ideas about the budget? Who is going to believe you when all your motives are portrayed as vile?

Yes, they’ve called us names, vile names. The pessimistic view doesn’t stick. Better economic policies are the primary reason the economy has improved since 2016. If pro-growth policies continue, the economy’s strong performance will continue. Republicans are on the march.

U.S. economic performance is the strongest in years. One policy driving this turnaround is the substantially lower corporate-tax rate, which has made the U.S. more competitive with other countries. Regulatory changes—such as the partial rollback of Dodd-Frank and new leadership within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—also have proved helpful, particularly for small businesses, which are benefiting from lower record-keeping and compliance costs. Meanwhile, the number of regulatory pages in the Federal Register has been cut by a third since President Obama’s last year in office. That’s a major reason the National Federation of Independent Business reports that more small-business owners are hiring than ever. They’re also increasingly optimistic about the future of the U.S. economy.

As the two hallmarks of recovery are still rising, the economy likely has not reached its new, higher growth path. This means that the U.S. can expect above-normal growth in the coming months, possibly even years.
 …………………………………….Lee Ohanian and Edward C. Prescott




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