American Elephants


Tax Time is Approaching: Why Are Your Payroll Taxes So High? by The Elephant's Child

Congress will soon be embarking on changing the tax code. They want to reduce taxes. If taxes are cut in such a way that they act to make doing business easier for businesses in the economy, the government will take in more money, rather than less. That seems highly improbable to the left who always want to tax the rich and big business much more, but when businesses are free to stop sending all their money to the government, they can do more business, expand and create, and they make more money than they would have under heavy regulation and restrictions on what they can do. The free market and free people produce prosperity.

 



The Coming Religious Wars by The Elephant's Child

ap_16313812863044-sized-770x415xt“Progressivism is not a political doctrine, it is a religious doctrine.” That quote was from Paul A. Rahe, Historian and author. and professor at Hillsdale College, but I’ve seen the same theme widely expressed today. And they are right. You have to believe. They see themselves as pursuing a great good where everyone will agree and there will be peace, and harmony when they are able to put all their wondrous ideas in place and are fully in charge.

It’s clearly an authoritarian state they’re after, but when they finally get all of us whipped into shape, they won’t need to be so authoritarian anymore. If you think communism or socialism, you’re not too far off—though they would undoubtedly deny it. It’s just that they really don’t like human nature, which clearly needs improvement. They are not all that much for freedom, either, because people get to thinking that they can disagree and not do what they are told.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a conservative suggest putting the Leftists into camps, but they come up with that idea for us quite regularly. They just hate disagreement. Partly because they are so sure they are right and partly because they don’t have good responses to good economic ideas and good evidence from the right.

Just think about the simple subject of energy. Our country runs on so-called fossil fuels—natural gas, petroleum, coal. They want it to run on cheap, free wind and solar energy from the sun which are unable to supply a significant amount of energy due to their own intrinsic failings.

Wind only blows sometimes, not all the time. And it doesn’t blow a lot in the places where it is needed, and the wind may be free but the land and the giant wind turbines and the power plants to convert wind to electricity and the power lines are not cheap. It delivers only a minuscule portion of our energy needs. Solar energy is too diffuse to be effective, the sun sinks beneath the horizon at night, and there is the problem of clouds. Nuclear energy is effective and cheap, but way too scary for the left. You see, it is a religious faith.

The Left is meant to be in charge. Hillary was going to extend the reign of the Left for another 8 years. They were not just confident, but found the idea of Donald Trump laughable, and he made fools of them. The election was clearly unfair. Popular vote. Electoral college. Russian interference. How dare they suggest there was vote fraud. (Because it has been well documented for years? )

Democrats lost 63 House seats, 11 Senate seats, 947 State lawmakers and 13 Governors. They haven’t really absorbed it yet. Their initial response is to try to bring down Donald Trump. They have brought down presidents before—Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, they didn’t get George W. Bush out, but they demonized him so much that people began to think that he was a failure as a president. Somebody remarked that our military deaths were back in the headlines for the first time since G.W.Bush, and it’s true. This is a concerted attack on Donald Trump, talking points distributed and the Democrats have marshaled their forces and gone to work.

Here’s one of the funnier examples from Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: She declared that “her party, the Democratic Party, does the will of God, while Republicans dishonor their Creator.” And the blog from SFGATE (The Chronicle) ran a piece titled “Week One of Go to Hell, America: the Trumpocalyse so far, in a grotesque – and rather terrifying nutshell.” It only took 10 days for Obama to start criticizing his successor, and after he promised too. Hillary is going to write a book about how she lost the election and will go on a national speaking tour. Will she draw huge audiences, or does she just not realize that it’s over. Even the majority of white women, 57%, voted for Trump, and only 42% for Hillary. But it is their religion, and they don’t give up.



Understanding the Madness of the Left by The Elephant's Child

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My favorite pastime is not trying to figure out why Democrats, the Left, are doing whatever it is that they are currently doing. I have better things to do, and more pleasant  things to pursue. But clear explanations seem important as they continue to go bat s##t crazy. It would seem that the current antics would drive any sane person into Republican arms permanently, but “sane” seems to be the key word.

The idea of requiring every citizen to vote comes up every once in a while, but is dropped because we really don’t want those who do not pay attention, and have no clue about events, to vote. We believe in an informed citizenry, but for the last eight years we have had a press wallowing in their slobbering devotion to the first black president. Even Barack Obama told them in his last days that they weren’t supposed to be sycophants. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.

Victor Davis Hanson says “Everything is in flux in a way not seen since the election of 1932 in which Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Herbert Hoofer. Mainstream Democrats are infuriated. Even Republicans are vexed over the outsider Trump.”

Polls, political pundits and “wise” people, guilty of past partisan-driven false prognostications, remain discredited. Their new creased-brow prophesies of doom for President Trump are about as credible as their past insistence that a “blue wall” would keep him out of the White House.

There. The first explains  why they are doing what they are doing, and the second one explains clearly why Donald Trump is insisting on a wall. You’ll be able to explain to your angry family and friends, but they probably won’t be able to hear you, and that’s explained as well.



“It’s a Republic If You Can Keep It” by The Elephant's Child

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Over at Powerline, Steven Hayward wrote that he stumbled across a speech that President Reagan gave in 1977 that describes our modern predicament very well:

But how much are we to blame for what has happened? Beginning with the traumatic experience of the Great Depression, we the people have turned more and more to government for answers that government has neither the right nor the capacity to provide. But government, as an institution, always tends to increase in size and power, not just this government—any government. It’s built-in. And so government attempted to provide the answers.

The result is a fourth branch added to the traditional three of executive, legislative, and judicial: a vast federal bureaucracy that’s now being imitated in too many states and too many cities, a bureaucracy of enormous power which determines policy to a greater extent than any of us realize, very possibly to a greater extent than our own elected representatives. And it can’t be removed from office by our votes.

That gets into the problem of the Administrative State which has become an increasingly larger problem under the Obama administration.

We go to hear their speeches and attend their events and vote for them for public office, and they begin to think that they are special, and if we reelect them, it increases, and newsmen call them by their title and print what they say and before you know it they start believing they are essential, and we start talking about term limits, and making rules that say that they cannot move from holding office to becoming highly-paid lobbyists valuable to their employers quite specifically because they know all the senators and representatives with whom they used to work, and thus the ability to influence them.

When they leave office, do they return home—or do they stay on in the nation’s capitol—unable to part with the power they once had? You see what an incestuous and closed circle it all becomes.

It’s easy to propose term limits for people of the other party, but term limits for your own favorites are another question. You may believe in them as wise legislators who advocate for causes you believe in, who are particularly valuable because they know their way around Congress. At what point do you agree to send them back home and elect a fresh new face who may or may not turn out to be as valuable? Hard questions.

If our government is to be, in Lincoln’s words, “a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” then it will be a constant battle and a constant question, but we have to opt for the people and for generations to come.

I can think of a number of members of Congress who have been returned to Congress by their constituents for years and years that are, frankly, just plain dumb. Is that pure party loyalty? No appealing replacement? Why keep sending them back? Term limits would take care of that, but you’d lose your favorite too.

Do you have a copy of the Constitution? Have you read the whole thing? The Cato Institute (Libertarian) sells a dandy little pocket Constitution which includes the Declaration of Independence as well.  Single copies are $4.95 or are cheaper in quantity. There’s a special on 10 copies for $10.00.

Why would you want ten copies? They make nice gifts for high school seniors off to college or off to the work world. No guarantee that they will read it, but everyone should have their own copy, on the off-chance that they might find it useful to refer to from time to time.

It was Ben Franklin who once said: “It’s a republic, madam, if you can keep it.”



Five More Days Of Obama’s Frantic Efforts to Make an Imprint on History by The Elephant's Child

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The Democrats haven’t behaved this badly since they started a war to keep the institution of slavery, which they considered essential to their economy and way of life. It didn’t end well for them that time either.

Democrat hack John Lewis announced that he was not going to attend the inauguration, because Trump was not a legitimate president. A smattering of other Democrats said they also will not attend. Mr. Lewis seems to think that the Russians elected Mr. Trump. A newer villain seems to be the National Enquirer and other newsstand periodicals  which changed the votes of the Deplorables when they saw them as they were checking out their groceries.

Large groups of far-left protesters will try to disrupt and sabotage Donald Trump’s inauguration by creating blockades, destroying public property. A group called #DisruptJ20 is advertising for people to join them in a “bold mobilization.”  They claim” It must be made clear to the whole world that the vast majority of people in the United Stated do not support his presidency or consent to his rule.” They got that one wrong, the majority of votes have nothing to do with anything. Our presidents are elected by the Electoral College, according to the Constitution. Hillary’s slight lead in the popular vote came entirely from California, which is in part why we have an electoral college.

There are groups with names from the past like Occupy and Blocs. There’s a Motorcycle group coming to the aid of Donald Trump. The Metropolitan Police Chief confirmed that security forces would be able to handle it all. It’s really quite embarrassing, and cringe-making.

In the meantime forgetting his promises to make the transition easy and graceful, President Obama is trying to use his executive power to somehow get a real imprint on history. Last week he designated three new national monuments, expanded another two including a school for freed slaves in South Carolina and a forest in the Pacific Northwest. He ended the wet–foot, dry–foot program for escapees from Cuba, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Vice President Biden, and announced sanctions against 18 Syrian officials for their role in using chlorine as a chemical weapon in 2014. Many departments of the government have increased hiring in case Trump freezes hiring.

As of January 13, Obama has issued 571 economically significant rules. (To be economically significant actions must have at least $100 million worth of economic impact. He can still do more).

The 1996 Congressional Review Act allows Congress to reverse a rule within 60 legislative days of its enactment, and prohibits agencies from issuing a “substantially similar” rule once it was overturned. So we will see. It is going to be interesting. Mr Obama will stay in Washington DC until Sasha finishes school, and apparently plans to lead the opposition.



Squeezing in as Many Last-Minute Orders as Possible! by The Elephant's Child

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There are only eight days until the inauguration. President Obama has given his farewell speech to a few thousand of his most enamored fans, who loved every single word, most of which were “I”.  President Obama has a legacy to shore up. So far, there’s not much there. Liz Peak, who usually writes for The Fiscal Times wrote a piece for Fox News on “Obama’s full-blown, year-end temper tantrum

Let’s be honest: President Obama is throwing a good old-fashioned foot-stomping world class temper tantrum. He is just beside himself that the stupid American voter elected Donald Trump. How could the country willfully dismiss the erudite recommendation of nearly every news organization in the nation – as well as Obama’s personal plea that not electing Hillary would be a personal insult to him? How could young people not respond to Obama’s call to “bend the arc of history in a better direction?” It is beyond comprehension.

But it happened, and Obama is having an extremely difficult time dealing with what may be his first-ever serious setback. …

So he is attempting to squeak in everything he possibly can in these last few days. He announced that his administration is ending the longstanding immigration policy that allowed Cubans fleeing their communist country to remain in this country if they can get here. The change means that Cuban nationals who come to the U.S. illegally will be returned to Cuba to face torture or death. “The future of Cuba should be in the hands of the Cuban people” Obama said. Unfortunately it is not in the hands of the people but in the hands of Raul Castro and his police forces, and they don’t like dissent.

Democrats are beside themselves with fear of what they see as “the new authoritarianism” of the incoming administration. Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has been an outspoken advocate of charter schools, which the teacher’s unions oppose, but is for kids stuck in poorly performing schools, a lifesaving step for poor black children. She is also an opponent of Common Core. Reporters and Democrat activists advocated donations to the ACLU and other organizations devoted to civil liberty in the wake of an authoritarian government. It seems that Betsy DeVos has donated extensively to F.I.R.E. (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education), a splendid organization that protects students’ rights to free speech, and is seeking to overturn an Obama administration policy that made it easier to discipline students accused of sexual harassment or assault. Way too many false accusations, and FIRE advocates for the interests of both the accuser and the accused, rather than just expelling students after kangaroo court show trials as activists demand.

Democrats in the House and Senate have proposed new legislation that aims to ensure that companies pay taxes on “excessive” employee pay. It’s meant to stop senior employees fro getting huge bonuses that the companies can deduct from their corporate tax bill each year. Nothing in the legislation to affect the excessive employee bonuses in federal agencies meant to use up the appropriated funds, so the agency can get a bigger appropriation next year. Under current law, companies can deduct employee salaries from their taxable income as long as the pay does not exceed $1 million a year.

President Obama has designated three new national monuments having to do with the Reconstruction era and the civil rights movement. He announced the establishment of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument, the Freedom Riders National Monument and the Reconstruction Era National Monument. The Birmingham Civil Rights Monument protects the historic A.G. Gaston Motel. The Freedom Riders National Monument in Anniston, Alabama includes a Greyhound Bus Station and a site where the bus was firebombed. The Reconstruction Era includes four sites which will tell the story of  Reconstruction after the Civil War. He also announced the expansion of other national sites, the California Coastal National Monument and the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The federal government is anxious to turn ever more private land over to the government to control. The problem is that the federal government does a lousy job of taking care of its parks and monuments.

ObamaCare is still trying to sign up the young. The failure of ObamaCare to sign up enough younger and healthier individuals to offset the cost of covering older and sicker enrollees is one of the big problems with the program. Trouble is Millennials aren’t anxious to buy coverage to pay for those older and sicker people. Which is just one of the reasons that ObamaCare is collapsing and Republicans want to repeal the law.

It’s all rather embarrassing. If Congress does not choose to ignore them and they become law, it is unfortunate and takes time to undo. If Congress reacts, that takes up their time that could be spent doing other things. Remarkably petty. But that’s Obama.

ADDENDUM: Obama is having the Justice Dept. Inspector General look into Comey’s  release of information about Hillary’s “private” insecure email systems at her home, run by some haywire operation in Colorado. It perhaps spread information about her emails a little wider, but her emails had been public knowledge for some time. Seven more days. Obama will cram in as many more regulations and executive orders as he can. So much for the peaceful transition.



“We Will Resist” Intoned Minority Leader Chuck Schumer by The Elephant's Child

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Shocked by the Left’s response to the election of Donald Trump, we have  responded badly, with calls of “poor losers” as if they were mere spoiled children, or spoilsports in a childhood game. This is not a game, these are not children. These are adults who are old enough to know better. They are not innocents demanding their own way simply because they are frustrated, kicking and screaming with clenched fists and red faces. They are the real thing. Tyrants.

Chuck Schumer, the new Senate Minority Leader, made clear in a speech on the Senate floor that he intends to do everything he can to use his 48-seat minority as a bulwark against Donald Trump’s agenda.

Mr. Schumer offered up the possibility of compromise on “issues like infrastructure, trade and closing the carried interest loophole,” though the public-works spending must be “significant, direct spending,” not tax credits. You almost have to admire his Stakhanovite dedication to the tiny carried interest tax provision, though we’re willing to bet Mr. Schumer will find other reasons to oppose a serious tax reform that eliminates it.

But that was it for the olive branches, saying that on most Republican priorities “we will resist.” He laced into Mr. Trump’s appointees as “stacked with billionaires, corporate executives, titans of Wall Street, and those deeply embedded in Washington’s corridors of power.” He did not mention that two of those “titans” hail from Goldman Sachs, source of many donations to Senate Democrats.

The Minority Leader saved his most partisan remarks for MSNBC, aptly enough, where he all but promised to block any Trump nominee to the Supreme Court. “We are not going to settle on a Supreme Court nominee. If they don’t appoint someone who’s really good, we’re gonna oppose him tooth and nail,” he said. When the MSNBC host asked if Mr. Schumer would do his best to keep the current vacancy on the High Court open, he responded “absolutely.”

Mr. Schumer’s real objections? Democrats don’t like the Constitution, the envy of the world, preserving our freedom from tyranny. What’s wrong with that splendid document? Democrats don’t like free speech. It allows people to say things that Democrats don’t like. They don’t like religious freedom—they want to do away with religion, and the family, freedom of association. They don’t like freedom of the press because that allows things like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

They most particularly don’t like the right to keep and bear arms. They worked against guns on the basis that it was only for militias, but that didn’t work, and now they are just going for the guns themselves, as if guns were running around and shooting people without any human collaboration. In a government under the tyranny of the Left, I could be put in prison for writing a post like this. Or  killed. It has happened in many previous tyrannies. Cuba. Venezuela. North Korea—Kim Jong Un actually assassinated one of his people with a howitzer. Boom, you’re dead! Then there’s most of the countries in the Middle East, Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Pol Pot. There’s a long, long list of governments that want complete control of all the people and no disagreement whatsoever.

They don’t learn from what is happening in the world either. Britain’s National Health Service—deeply admired by democrats—is killing off its old people with neglect, dehydration and lack of attention. You can read about the failures in the British papers regularly. Chicago has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the country and a murder rate higher than New York and Los Angeles put together.

A simple study of the rules of economics demonstrates why raising the minimum wage by government regulation does not help those workers, and acts as an unemployment program for young blacks, but Democrats call Republicans “racist” for opposing the raise—but then that’s just their standard epithet. If repeated often enough, people start to believe it, despite the falsehood.

So why would anyone want to be associated with the Democratic party. Law Professor Glenn Reynolds’ column for USA Today, today, was about “New Status Anxiety fuels Trump Derangement.”

It’s been nearly two months since the election, and Democrats and leftists still haven’t settled down. The campus safe spaces and cry-ins immediately after the votes were counted were bad enough. But the craziness is still going on.

Why are they so upset?  I think it’s because of status anxiety. Our privileged, college-educated left — what Joel Kotkin calls the gentry liberals — feels that its preeminent position in American society is under threat. And people care a lot about status.

What’s more, the people who seem to be lashing out the most are, in fact, just those gentry liberals: academics, entertainers, pundits, low-level tech types, and so on. As journalism professor Mark Grabowski reported, another academic texted him on election night: “Oh my God! We will be the ones ostracized if he wins.”

In Chicago,  a vicious hate crime has been whitewashed by the press. President Obama deplored the incident, but remarked that race relations had improved under his administration. Unfortunately, Obama has disagreed with the findings of Grand Juries in case after case, agreeing with the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” falsehood of events in Ferguson, and celebrated #Black Lives Matter, inviting the group to the White House, and confirming the racist nature of each of the events, which were rejected by Grand Juries who painstakingly investigated. Obama did suggest that Black children needed Black fathers in the home. The President seems to be a very good father himself,  But he didn’t follow through with the issue of black fathers, and the responsibility to be there for their kids as much as he might have.

Steven Malanga took on the subject back in July for an excellent article on the problem. Democrats have continued, at White House direction, to fling the epithet “Racism” around, repeating it over and over, even when there is not the slightest evidence. It is not surprising that recent studies show that Black Democrats believe that Donald Trump is racist, and that they will suffer under his presidency.  If Black Democrats were not encouraged to believe that Republicans are racist, they might not vote for the Democratic party. That’s the way it works.




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