American Elephants

When You Don’t Understand the Economy, You’re Not Apt to Provide Correct Solutions! by The Elephant's Child


When the economy seems dismal, and nothing seems to be going right, you may have noticed that reasons start appearing why we just have to settle for a less prosperous world. Obama’s answers in his speech to the UN General Assembly are particularly interesting. We have to make the global economy work better for all people, not just those at the top. Open markets and  capitalism have raised standards of living around the globe, but globalization and rapid progress and technology have weakened the position of workers and their ability to secure a decent wage. Unions have been undermined and manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Here’s Obama:

But I do believe there’s another path — one that fuels growth and innovation, and offers the clearest route to individual opportunity and national success.  It does not require succumbing to a soulless capitalism that benefits only the few, but rather recognizes that economies are more successful when we close the gap between rich and poor, and growth is broadly based. And that means respecting the rights of workers so they can organize into independent unions and earn a living wage.  It means investing in our people — their skills, their education, their capacity to take an idea and turn it into a business.  It means strengthening the safety net that protects our people from hardship and allows them to take more risks — to look for a new job, or start a new venture.

Forgive me, but this is pure claptrap. “Soulless Capitalism” indeed. That benefits only a few? Too much time going to Socialist meetings, and a deep ignorance of basic economics. Robert Barro, professor of economics at Harvard and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute corrected the president:

The Obama administration and some economists argue that the recovery since the Great Recession ended in 2009 has been unusually weak because of the recession’s severity and the fact that it was accompanied by a major financial crisis. Yet in a recent study of economic downturns in the U.S. and elsewhere since 1870, economist Tao Jin and I found that historically the opposite has been true. Empirically, the growth rate during a recovery relates positively to the magnitude of decline during the downturn, economist Tao Jin and I found that historically the opposite has been true. …

On average, during a recovery, an economy recoups about half the GDP lost during the downturn. The recovery is typically quick, with an average duration around two years. For example, a 4% decline in per capita GDP during a contraction predicts subsequent recovery of 2%, implying 1% per year higher growth than normal during the recovery. Hence, the growth rate of U.S. per capita GDP from 2009 to 2011 should have been around 3% per year, rather than the 1.5% that materialized.

The Left is burdened with the ideas that things need be done by government, that those in government (themselves) know better how to manage businesses and direct trade, and decide what needs to be done in the future. They are so filled with themselves and their self-admiration that they cannot conceive of letting people be free to pursue their own ideas and ambitions. Yet this is the very way you welcome growth and invention. Economist Dierdre McCloskey points out that:

“two centuries ago, the average world income per human (in present-day prices) was about $3 a day. It had been so since we lived in caves. Now it is $33 a day—which is Brazil’s current level and the level of the U.S. in 1940. Over the past 200 years, the average real income per person—including even such present-day tragedies as Chad and North Korea—has grown by a factor of 10. It is stunning. In countries that adopted trade and economic betterment wholeheartedly, like Japan, Sweden and the U.S., it is more like a factor of 30—even more stunning.”…

Over the past 200 years, the average real income per person—including even such present-day tragedies as Chad and North Korea—has grown by a factor of 10. It is stunning. In countries that adopted trade and economic betterment wholeheartedly, like Japan, Sweden and the U.S., it is more like a factor of 30—even more stunning.

The capital became productive because of ideas for betterment—ideas enacted by a country carpenter or a boy telegrapher or a teenage Seattle computer whiz. As Matt Ridley put it in his book “The Rational Optimist” (2010), what happened over the past two centuries is that “ideas started having sex.” The idea of a railroad was a coupling of high-pressure steam engines with cars running on coal-mining rails. The idea for a lawn mower coupled a miniature gasoline engine with a miniature mechanical reaper. And so on, through every imaginable sort of invention. The coupling of ideas in the heads of the common people yielded an explosion of betterments.

Another article by Dierdre McCloskey covering many of the same ideas is available at The New York Times. Both may be behind subscription barriers, but you can find them on Google. It’s worth trying to track them down.  I love Matt Ridley’s brilliant description of  “ideas having sex.” But that’s how it works. You suddenly put two ideas previously unconnected— together and suddenly you have a new and different thing. And it’s how people and nations get rich as well.

Sources For Everything You Need to Know on Constitution Day by The Elephant's Child

Where can you get a copy of the United States Constitution? The Cato Institute has dandy pocket Constitutions — 3½” x  5″ for $4.95 each, or 10 copies for $10 — including the Bill of Rights and all the amendments. Make sure each of your kids or grandkids have their own copy, and that they read it.

Birthdays or Christmas, get them a copy of An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power by John Steele Gordon. It explains why things happened the way they did, and why a free people, whose freedoms are guaranteed by the world’s greatest constitution, are the envy of the world.

Here’s a list of the 20 questions kids ask most on Constitution Day.

Here’s a list of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention who signed the Constitution into law, and a brief biography of each one, and of the three Delegates who refused to sign.

Here’s a brief 10 question quiz to test your basic knowledge of the Constitution, and if you don’t excel, refer back to where you get a copy.

Don’t forget that the Constitution was preceded by the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. The Library of Congress has an excellent overview of the Articles, and  you can read the Articles of Confederation at Yale’s Avalon project to see why we needed a do-over. And here are copies of The Federalist Papers, in many different editions.

Progressives don’t really like the Constitution, as their aim is a socialist paradise of some kind with themselves in charge. Free people and Free Markets just don’t fit into their vision, and apparently they don’t read enough or keep up with the news enough to grasp the long dismal histories of socialist countries — evidenced by Obama’s efforts to make nice with Cuba, or the current situation in Venezuela where the people are starving. Or North Korea, Russia, China, Vietnam, etc., etc. They always believe that those other people just didn’t do it right. That, in itself is a very basic reason to bone up on the Constitution, if you value being a free person in a free country.


Happy Constitution Day! by The Elephant's Child

Today is Constitution Day, September 17, celebrating the ratification of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787.  If you are unfamiliar with the day of celebration, you may be forgiven, for it was only established in 2004, and to further confuse matters, if it occurs on a weekend it is celebrated in schools and government offices on the closest weekday, so they supposedly celebrated yesterday. Check with your child if you have one in school.

The law establishing the American federal observance was created with an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004, and mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions, and all federal agencies provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on September 17, 1787. It is also Citizenship Day, commemorating the coming of age or by naturalization, of those who have become citizens. (What? You’re not a citizen until you turn 18?)

Iowa schools started celebrating in 1911, and there’s a long history of attempts to make it a national celebration, which aren’t really important anyway. What is important is that a recent survey determined that most college students had no idea who James Madison was, or why he was important. And were astonished to learn that slavery was not practiced only in the United States. No idea of Muslim raids on the British Isles to capture British slaves, or of Muslim slave traders caravans up from ‘darkest Africa’, nor of  American Indian slaves. Schools across the country have become very lax in the teaching of American History. And our college students have no idea why the Constitution is a big deal. Oddly enough, the institution that makes the most of American history and the study of the Constitution is Hillsdale College, which receives no federal funding at all. Here is Dr. Larry  P. Arn, President of Hillsdale College explaining why they study the Constitution.

The Campaign Is Not Addressing the Real Issues! by The Elephant's Child

This has not been the presidential campaign I would have chosen. These are not the candidates I would have chosen, but here we are. I heard on the radio today, a black woman who is deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s lack of respect for women — which seems to mean his lack of deference to Hillary because she is a woman — one who just accused his voters of being a “basket of deplorables,” bigoted, racist, intolerant. I guess Hillary will blame that misstep on her pneumonia.

Sorry, Hillary, believing in immigration laws and insisting on preventing the flow of illegal aliens is not bigotry, but common sense. It’s high time the President of the United States and his administration start to take terrorism seriously. The Jihadists do take it seriously, and want to destroy Israel and the United States, and are working seriously towards that goal, while we succumb to political correctness and being afraid to criticize Muslims. That is immediately controlled with cries of “Islamophobia.” The most important thing is never to offend?

Donald Trump is quite clearly not a racist, but that’s a charge the Left drags out in every election. Bill Clinton just snidely said “Make America Great Again” is racist. “If you’re a white Southerner, you know exactly what it means, don’t you,” he told voters in Orlando last Wednesday.“What it means is, ‘I’ll give you the economy you had 50 years ago, and I’ll move you back up on the social totem pole, and other people down.” What that means is that Democrats are fuming at Trump’s outreach to Blacks. They cannot defend their own appalling record at bettering black lives,

Democrats cannot run on the Obama-Clinton economy — a growth rate of 0.95% can’t really even be called a recovery. They can’t run on ObamaCare, which is about to collapse. (Hillary called it “one of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama, the Democratic party and of our country.”) Uh huh, prices are rising dramatically, as much as 50% in some areas, and health insurers are dumping the exchanges. The goal of ObamaCare as a way to switch to single-payer health care is absurd in the light of Britain’s NHS nearing collapse, and killing far too many of their patients. They surely cannot run on their defeat of terrorism and keeping America safe.

They’ve not got much left but the race card to run on. And that is not proving very successful as the black body count rises in Chicago, as the police step back. Heather MacDonald reported yesterday that in 2016, nearly 3,000 people have been shot in the city, an average of one victim every two hours. That’s not improving the lives of black Americans, nor is it something that can be blamed on guns.

“President Obama takes every opportunity to accuse police of racially profiling blacks and Hispanics. The media, activists and academics routinely denounce pedestrian stops and public-order enforcement—such as dispersing crowds of unruly teens—as racial oppression intended to ‘control African-American and poor communities,’ in the words of Columbia law professor Bernard Harcourt. Never mind that it is the law-abiding residents of High crime areas who beg the police to clear their corners of loiterers and trespassers.” MacDonald continues:

The media blame poverty, racism and a lack of government services for the growing mayhem. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blames lenient prison sentences for releasing Chicago’s gun criminals onto the streets too soon. The Illinois Legislature’s Black Caucus, however, blocks any effort to mandate stricter sentences for gun-toting felons—in a sub rosa acknowledgment that the vast majority (80%) of Chicago’s gun criminals are black.

But neither Mr. Johnson’s lax-sentencing explanation nor the media’s systemic-injustice explanation aligns with the timing of Chicago’s surge in violence. Sentencing protocols did not weaken in 2015 when crime started rising. Nor did poverty or alleged racism grow worse. What did change was the intensity of antipolice ideology, driven by the Black Lives Matter movement, relentlessly amplified by the press, and echoed by President Obama.

The solution to Chicago’s violence is for at-risk kids to be raised by mothers and fathers. Until that starts, the only hope lies in police regaining control of the streets.

Denouncing the phony “Black Lives Matter” campaign which is designed only to make Blacks believe that Republicans are racist so they will vote for Hillary, would be a help, Their claims of police brutality are clearly false, but the violence stirred up makes the police pull back from the enforcement needed by innocent Black families.

The Mind of the Left and Nebulous Nitwittery. by The Elephant's Child


There are some pieces that pop up in the country’s leftist media that simply leave you shaking your head. This one hits all the necessary notes — feminism, climate concern, gender , research, health, the professoriate, vegetarianism, Dietary Guidelines, and a smidgen of male bashing. The essay, by one Danielle Paquette, (she should be ashamed of herself ) appeared in The Washington Post’s wonkblog under the title “Your manliness could be hurting the planet.” It begins:

Researchers have known for decades that women tend to beat men on environmental metrics. They generally use less fuel and energy. They eat less meat. They’re more concerned about climate change.

James Wilkie, a business professor at the University of Notre Dame, wanted to understand what drives this gender eco-friendliness gap. After years of exploring psychological bias, he and his colleagues developed a theory.

“Men’s resistance may stem in part from a prevalent association between the concepts of greenness and femininity and a corresponding stereotype (held by both men and women) that green consumers are feminine,” they assert this month in the Journal of Consumer Research. “As a result of this stereotype, men may be motivated to avoid or even oppose green behaviors in order to safeguard their gender identity.”

If you are eager to learn more about the thinking of the Left, or if you totally agree that environmentalism is a feminine concern and men are all blockheads, you may enjoy the article. If you actually read it to the end, you will find more articles from Wonkblog linked, which all sound equally —  nevermind.

How To Talk to The Black Community Or Not by The Elephant's Child


An article by Allen West in Townhall pursues the same problem, titled “The Super-Secret Handshake of the Black Community.” He says “something is happening in this presidential election cycle that has some folks totally up in arms. A white GOP presidential candidate is addressing the issues in the black community.” Only white liberal progressive socialists are provided with the handshake.

What amazes me is that here we have someone challenging the failed progressive policies of the inner city and his sincerity is questioned? Why has no one EVER questioned the sincerity of the Democrats who have run the inner cities of America for decades? Easy answer, they have the secret sauce and Hillary Clinton even admitted she carries it in her purse. When the left, (or the appointed black gatekeepers) are challenged on their policy shortcomings in the black community, the retort is racism. That is the means by which suppression of the discussion is sought. If you are a black conservative, then you are told you are not really black, only a token, Oreo, sellout, Uncle Tom and several other denigrating titles that are too vile to repeat here. …

So, it becomes very apparent that one does not talk about the decimation of the black family. No one needs to know that, prior to the policies of Lyndon Johnson, the two parent black household was at 75%-77%. Even a white, liberal Democrat senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Monyihan, admonished Johnson against instituting the policy of government checks for out of wedlock children, caveated by the condition that no man could be in the home. Monyihan obviously did not know the super-secret handshake because he was attacked and demonized for speaking out. I am reminded of his famed quote, “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.” The fact is that many of the issues in the inner city, the black community, stem from the destruction of the black family. But, if you are not part of the secret club, you best not speak of that, lest you are attacked. …

Unless you have the super-secret handshake code, you cannot talk about black on black shootings and murders. Matter of fact, it is about the gun, not the socio-economic factors creating the violence. And, you had best tow the talking points line, or else have your membership card revoked — which is what we see from the liberal progressive media. Their propaganda is not focused on the real issue. How many shootings and deaths occurred in Chicago this past weekend? The message from the leftist media is all about maintaining the status quo, the 21st century economic plantation. It is about the perpetuation of the dependency society, the welfare nanny-state. They will never challenge the notion of economic enslavement to the government masters.

Uncomfortable truths.  Do read the whole thing.

ADDENDUM: See also “Chicago’s Murder Rate Spirals Out of Control” by Jack Dunphy.

Black Lives Matter: A Hashtag Of Lies by The Elephant's Child

Bill Whittle demolishes the campaign of #Black Lives Matter in just under 7 minutes. Mr. Whittle is excellent at providing the facts, backing them up and summarizing a disgraceful attempt to get Black voters to the polls to support the Democrats.

Most Black Americans do not live in the inner city, are not on welfare but successful members of the middle class and the filthy rich. When it is election time, however, residents of the black inner city’s problems suddenly become entirely caused by white Republicans. The facts indicate something else, but propaganda often works better.

Heather MacDonald took on the subject In the Wall Street Journal on Monday. She wrote:

Speaking in West Bend, Wis., on Aug. 16, only days after the recent riots in Milwaukee, Mr. Trump observed that during “the last 72 hours . . . another nine were killed in Chicago and another 46 were wounded.” The victims, as in other cities with rising crime, were overwhelmingly black.

Bringing safety to inner-city residents should be a top presidential priority, Mr. Trump said: “Our job is to make life more comfortable for the African-American parent who wants their kids to be able to safely walk the streets and walk to school. Or the senior citizen waiting for a bus. Or the young child walking home from school.” Mr. Trump promised to restore law and order “for the sake of all, but most especially for the sake of those living in the affected communities.”

The reaction was swift. The progressive website Crooks and Liars deemed Mr. Trump’s speech a “mashup of Hitler and George Wallace.” On CNN the activist and former Obama adviser Van Jones called it “despicable” and “shocking in its divisiveness.” Historian Josh Zeitz told USA Today that “the term law and order in modern American politics is, ipso facto, a racially tinged term.”

Do read the whole article (subscription barrier), it provides the supporting facts and the  bias lurking behind the response.


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