American Elephants

Is the U.S. Tax System Fair? by The Elephant's Child

Published on Sep 29, 2016

Is the U.S. tax system fair? Are the rich paying too little or too much? What about the middle and lower class? New York Times bestselling author Amity Shlaes answers these questions, and offers a tax solution that most Americans could get on board with.

Did You Hear What Hillary…Of Course You Didn’t. The Only News Was That Trump Said Something Crude. by The Elephant's Child

More releases of Hillary e-mails, and more than 2,500 e-mails from John Podesta, Hillary’s Campaign Chairman*, were released by Wikileaks, with more promised. The Podesta e-mails included excerpts from Hillary’s speeches to Wall Street groups. Podesta was a former Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, a longtime antiwar activist of the New Left, and is currently the President and CEO of the Center for American Progress. His most lasting contribution to the Left’s cause was:

his promotion of a strategy that White House aides dubbed “Project Podesta.” This was a system that enabled the Clintons to push through unpopular policies that neither Congress nor the American people wanted. Its implementation marked a dramatic tilt in the balance of power, giving the executive branch an unprecedented ability to force its will on the legislative branch.

Project Podesta enabled the President to bypass Congress through the use of executive orders, presidential decision directives, White-House-sponsored lawsuits, vacancy appointments to high federal office, selective regulatory actions against targeted corporations, and a host of other extra-constitutional tactics.

Hillary went to ground, and lo and behold, an audio of Donald Trump being crude about women surfaced just in time to keep the media talking about the awfulness of Trump and overshadowing anything that Hillary might have said in those speeches she was so reluctant to talk about. Just a coincidence of course.

Donald Trump is a flawed candidate, not my first choice, nor the first choice of many others. The fact that he said something crude about a woman in a tape from 2005 in a private conversation with another man is not exactly a surprise. We all knew that Trump was frequently crude. Hillary said in a 2013 “private” speech to the National Multifamily Housing Council that it was important to hold two positions on political issues — a “public” one and a separate “private” one. That’s hardly a surprise either.  We all knew that her public pronouncements were just for public consumption. Truth and accuracy are not among her better known characteristics.

The reaction from major Republicans has been outrage and horror that they might get tarnished with the effluent from Trump’s “shocking” remarks. There seems to be some extra importance to the fact that his crude remarks were about women. Would there be as much outrage if he had made crude remarks about men? Or don’t the advances women have made in the way of equality count when they require the extra consideration due simply because they are female?

Donald Trump is not the first politician to make crude remarks. I give you LBJ, who was remarkably crude, And Bill Clinton has been accused of far, far worse. Hillary told executives at a Brazilian bank in a private speech that:

My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders,” Clinton says in an excerpt from a speech to Unibanco Itau, a Brazilian bank. “We have to resists protectionism [and] other kinds of barriers to market access and to trade.”

The EU has been such a colossal failure that it’s hard to imagine anyone actually believing a common market in this hemisphere would be desirable. Free markets and trade, of course, but a common market run by the usual corrupt and unaccountable bureaucrats — is one of the dumber ideas I’ve ever heard. No wonder she didn’t want anyone to know what she said in her speeches, to get such big donations for the Clinton Foundation.

Donald Trump has said some rude things, that he shouldn’t have said. Hillary has played fast and loose with our national secrets to get enough payola to afford her walled estate, and the lifestyle among the rich and famous that is so important to her. I was astounded the other day when I heard a woman on a radio show remark that” Hillary had done so much for women.” I couldn’t imagine what she was talking about.

Like so many on the Left, Hillary believes that the recession (the worst since the Great Depression) was caused by George W. Bush’s tax cuts. Collapse of the Housing Bubble? Never heard of it. They also believe firmly that extended unemployment benefits and food stamps help to grow the economy — which is apparently why we have had such a marvelous recovery. Taxes, especially on the rich, bring lots of “government money” which when spent on, oh, global warming and  welfare benefits and food stamps, circulates through the economy, growing as it passes through each hand. Nancy Pelosi explained the economics carefully in a speech at the Brookings Institution. You can look it up.

*I said John Podesta was Hillary’s campaign manager. That was incorrect. He is Campaign Chairman. Campaign Manager is Robert Mook. Corrected.

Hillary’s Pathetic Claim About Trump’s Taxes was the Feature of the VP Debate. e by The Elephant's Child

1003_kaine-pence-composite-1000x625The Vice-Presidential Debate was last night. It doesn’t matter much in the larger scheme of things, but it’s nice to get a look at them both. I was impressed with Governor Pence and his calm ability to stay on message. The task for each candidate was to defend their principals.

Tim Kaine played the attack dog role. He tried hard to echo Hillary’s most dramatic accusations, and to make a big deal out of the New York Times revelation that Trump, years ago, lost nearly a billion dollars on his investments in Atlantic City Casinos, as Hillary had.

Unfortunately, the issue demonstrates one of two realities. Either Hillary is massively ignorant about business, for she keeps trying to claim that anyone who lost a billion dollars in business is unfit for the office of the Presidency.

Well, surprise. It’s not uncommon at all. Try companies like Amazon, GE, Chevron, Exxon-Mobil. That’s why there is a provision in the tax code to allow companies who have suffered a major loss to recoup, and put things back on a sound basis to become profitable again. Such tax deductions play out over several years, and Donald Trump was not required to pay taxes to demonstrate his empathy, he was required to pay, and did, exactly what the law prescribed.

After claiming that when Trump paid no taxes, he wasn’t supporting the military and was taking food from the mouth of babies, Hillary went on to claim that any businessman who lost a billion dollars shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the nuclear codes.

So tell that to GE, Chevron, Amazon and Exxon-Mobil and dozens of other companies. Hillary tried to make a big deal of the fact that he lost money on — an Atlantic City casino. If she does know that Atlantic City was a disaster for all the casinos, then the other alternative is that she is demonstrating her massive contempt for her voters. The common people will fall for anything.

Not Constrained Anywhere Nearly Enough! by The Elephant's Child


We want so badly to understand just what is going on. Reports vary from “run for the hills” to “nothing to see here,” just move along. It’s pretty clear that the economy is not thriving, no matter how often Mr. Obama insists that it is. We are not happy with our economy, we are not happy with our government, and we’re not happy with each other.

Have you read the comments on any major website? It’s getting truly nasty out there. Black Lives Matter is successfully causing riots and attacks on police. Seventeen year-old Brian Ogle is fighting for his life after he dared to post “Blue Lives Matter” on his Facebook page. He was attacked and beaten and is in critical condition with three skull fractures.

We have an ideological war going on. The Democratic Party elite have moved far, far to the Left. I don’t know if the rank and file of the party is in line with that. There’s talk of globalists and anti-globalists, immigration and open borders, terrorism and inviting in unlimited numbers of Syrian refugees who cannot be reliably assured are even from Syria, or are not ISIS fighters. Matthew Continetti took that one on:

What is a “globalist’? They are, according to the Times, the “advocates of a more densely enmeshed world,” “concerned internationalists,” “humanitarians, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, donors, investors, app peddlers, celebrities,” a cast of managers, bureaucrats, apparatchiks, media figures and billionaires working across borders to solve problems such as climate change, the Syrian refugee crisis, Third-World poverty;, racial and sexual injustice, and interplanetary colonization. They are the busybody winners of the knowledge economy. And they are feeling glum.

I have a lot of articles attempting to explain what is going on, sitting on my desk, from John Fonte’s “Liberal Democracy vs. Transnational Progressivism: The Future of the Ideological Civil War Within the West”, to Ernest Sternberg’s “Purifying the World: What the New Radical Ideology Stands For.” to Angelo M. Codevilla’s “After the Republic” and from the anonymous Decius: “The Flight 93 Election”.
All excellent, a lot of reading, but worth your time if you have plenty to spare.

I think it evolves down to a simple fact: The radical Left does not like human nature, and they want to fix it. Our founders gave a lot of thought and worry to devising a Constitution to guide our country. They recognized man’s urge for power, the desire to enhance one’s own position and reputation, and they tried to insert checks and balances to keep us on the straight and narrow.

Leftists do not like the free market, which relies on the individual decisions of thousands of people making their own choices. They do not trust mass choice, they want control. Free people have ideas about how things can be improved or about a new product that they are sure will be popular. Rich people often support a new product by paying exorbitant prices to have the newest thing — which in turn makes it possible to begin mass production and bring the cost of the product down. The Left doesn’t want rich people to be free to buy high priced goods, they want to tax their money away to be given to the needy.

The Left does not like needy people being needy, but they are unwilling to leave them free enough to begin the climb to their own riches. They are wrapped up in their own empathy, and feeling good about taking your tax money to succor the world’s poor. As Thomas Sowell wrote — the anointed, or self-consciously elite, are sure that they know what is good for society and who think that the good must be attained by expanded government action. It’s always a ‘crisis’ that must be solved by government action, and they, of course, are always correctly the government who solves stuff. Remember the crisis when it was said that some of our school children were obese?

Human nature: people are tribal. They belong to countries with borders and a language, and customs, and food, and a history and traditions. We establish our own smaller tribes as well, from bridge clubs to neighborhoods, to political groups and football fandom. We seek out those who share our ideas and interests. Haven’t you noticed the extent to which the government is trying to dictate where we live and with whom we associate? If our interest groups are not sufficiently diverse, they may come after us, and we will be called racist, or homophobic or Islamophobic.

They don’t like human nature, they don’t like freedom, they want to control everything — so they can shape us into something they like better. The problem is those three separate branches of government set up to prevent exactly that control. You have noticed, I am sure, how far the Obama administration has gone in bypassing the three branches, ignoring the Constitution and custom and the traditions of the office. He has made a study of what he can get away with by executive orders, actions by federal agencies, and other means to avoid having to work with Congress. He wants to do what he wants, without interference. Which is surely one of the reasons why we have Donald Trump and a lot of very angry Americans.

Hillary is Biased, Partisan, Shameless, Dishonest and Corrupt, But You Should Turn The Economy Over to Her to Run? Oh Please! by The Elephant's Child

Over 80 million people watched the debate last Monday. The most ever. Which seems quite splendid until you stop to realize that the population is over 300 million. But of course everybody has been talking about it ever since. Michael Barone listed some of her ideas:

Hillary Clinton started off with a laundry list of incremental economic programs — none of which would promote economic growth. Some have already been legislated (equal pay for women, 1963), others are tilted to the upscale (debt-free college). A possible exception: the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which she has renounced but which she might, as Donald Trump predicted, manage to find acceptable once elected.

What about the “investments” she called for? Infrastructure spending employs a few high-skill workers and may, some day, provide facilities. Other “investments” usually turn out to be subsidies for Democratic-supporting public employee unions. Revive the economy by building solar panels? The government tried that with Solyndra and lost $535 million.

But then, she believes the 2007 financial crisis was caused by Bush’s tax cuts which is beyond absurd.She apparently believes that “clean energy” is a viable way to power the economy cheaply and reliably, because she’s going to go after the coal miners if there are any of them still working. She said so.

The financial crisis of 2007 began when the housing bubble burst. The bubble was caused by government efforts to get more poor people into their own homes, and lending standards were reduced to accomplish that. The Fed kept interest rates artificially low for too long, and the bad loans were passed around creating an economic collapse. It had nothing to do with incentivizing business investment to generate economic growth. Hillary even dragged out the old saw about “trickle-down economics”, trying to pin it on Trump as “Trump Trickledown Economics” in an effort to be clever. Didn’t work.

Hillary wants federal “retraining” of local police and believes that racial disparities in law enforcement are due to “systemic racism” from you and me, rather than the documented racial disparities in criminal behavior. Is that the way to bring out the black vote? I thought people who live in dangerous neighborhoods wanted more police protection. Encouraging protests and riots against police has already proven to be disastrous.

She has endorsed the “Iran Deal” as a way to keep a lid on their nuclear weapons program, rather than the pathway to weapons to attack Israel and the United States, which they candidly admit is their goal.

She believes firmly that “government can create the benefits of economic growth without any actual economic growth. Working Americans are clearly suffering economically. Economic growth is beyond anemic, and the absent recovery is the worst recovery period since World War II.  GDP is averaging about 1% so far this year, with no signs of relief.

The Federal Reserve Board is projecting GDP growth going forward at a pitiful 2% annually. The economy is so weak that the Fed is afraid to raise interest rates by even a quarter of a point. One of the primary causes has been a decline in investment. We have the world’s highest corporate tax rate, and with projections of only a mere 2% growth going forward, companies are reluctant to invest.

Mr. Trump believes in offering incentives to encourage growth. He wants to reduce taxes from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, big and small. He wants to reduce the regulatory burden that is keeping investment low, keep an “all of the above” energy program. If increasing business investment will drive economic growth and create jobs this is a HUGE and effective approach that has always worked.

Hillary wants to raise taxes on “the wealthy” to “make the economy “fairer” without any understanding that jobs are created by people who actually have money to invest. Poor people do not create jobs.

Hillary will turn to government mandates to address stagnant wages, by forcing businesses to share more of their profits with employees. In other words she wants to increase wages and benefits without any actual economic growth to make those increases possible.

FBI director James Comey testified that Hillary seemed to not have much understanding of technology, and blamed much of her troubles on her ignorance. She doesn’t have much understanding of economics either, and her ignorance could cause us all some very real trouble.

This Is A Very Peculiar Election Year by The Elephant's Child

The peculiarities of this election continue to amaze. Here there just aren’t any Clinton or Trump signs. Went to the grocery store a few days back, and someone had just put up a raft of Trump signs on the median of our main East-West street. Returning 20 minutes later, they were all gone, some in ragged piles.

Have seen a few sad Bernie bumper stickers on Priuses, but essentially no bumper stickers at all. A video of a gentleman who got tired of someone tearing down his Trump sign, and wired it up for a mild electric shock is all over the internet. And a farmer somewhere in the Midwest Mowed a HUGE Trump sign in his lawn that could be appreciated from space.

The Arizona Republic endorsed Hillary Clinton, the first time they had ever endorsed a Democrat, and the subscription cancellations were pouring in every ten minutes.

Who Is Killing the American Dream— and How Are They Doing It? by The Elephant's Child

Some viewers of Monday night’s debate found Hillary more practiced at debating, and assumed that made her more “presidential.”  Yet the policies she proposes are exactly what is killing the American Dream.

The stagnant wages, the rising crime rate, killing coal-fired power plants, stifling and excessive regulations that hamstring business, promising non-existent jobs in “infrastructure” and “installing solar panels,” increasing taxes by trillions of dollars, and increasing the national debt will not create jobs or growth.

Government spending trillions of tax dollars extracted from the economy certainly does not create jobs or grow the economy. Hillary actually told us that it was tax cuts that caused the financial crisis of 2008 and that Trump’s proposed tax cuts would cause the loss of 3.5 million jobs, and cause another recession. If you believe that flapdoodle, head for your nearest Public Library and ask for a good book on basic economics.

When you cut tax rates, you create incentives to create jobs and expand businesses. This has been proved by John F. Kennedy, and by Ronald Reagan who created a 20 year expansion. It puts to shame President Obama’s worst economic recovery since the Great Depression— something Hillary wants to expand upon.

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