American Elephants


“Crumbling Infrastructure” Is Just Another Lefty Lie! by The Elephant's Child

crumbling-infrastructure-2

Once again, we are back to “crumbling infrastructure,” This has been the one big thing Obama has had on his “to do” list since 2008. So important and he thought it would create all kinds of new jobs for his union supporters — but for six years it has been just talk. It seems to be the only Keynesian idea he has for creating jobs.  As usual, it’s all talk − no action.

What he wants is to confiscate 14% of the earnings of American corporations that is parked overseas. He claims a one-time tax that would be directed to repairing our “crumbling infrastructure.”The tax is a non-starter, of course, but who in their right mind would allow the federal government to confiscate money in banks around the world for just “one time? ”

Profits earned by an American company overseas are taxed in the country where they are earned. When what’s left after paying taxes to the host country is repatriated to the U.S., this country taxes it again. Our corporate tax is already the highest in the industrialized world, at 39.1%. The average for other countries is 25.1%. When companies pay lower taxes, they are more able to grow and hire and earn more, and so the income to the government rises — incentives. Democrats simply cannot get their minds around this phenomenon.

According to an OECD report, the United States spent 3.3 percent of its GDP from 2006-2011 on infrastructure. The European Union, with a larger GDP, has spent 3.1 percent. By the CBO’s statistics, infrastructure spending has been between 2.3 percent and 3.1 percent of GDP since 1956. Our infrastructure is in good shape, and the “crumbling roads and bridges” has been a leftist talking point to the point where everybody believes it, with no evidence whatsoever.

The president dramatically claimed “We’ve got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare.” Cute talking point, but a recent Reason Foundation study examined 20 years of state highway data to find that the condition of America’s state-controlled roads had improved in seven key areas. The percentage of deficient bridges in the country had fallen from 37.8 percent in 1989 to 23.7 percent in 2008.

The federal Highway Trust Fund, however, is running out of money. Some senators see this as a problem demanding a rise in the gas tax. But the fund is depleted because the money is being spent on frivolous things like bike lanes, rapid transit, light rail. even Amtrack. The fund was established to use gas taxes and tolls to keep up the highways.

Randall O’Toole is an expert at Cato on transportation issues. He writes:

Contrary to popular reports, our highways and bridges are in great shape. Despite the fact that Congress has diverted well over a fifth of gas taxes to non-highway projects, the number of bridges considered “structurally deficient” has declined by more than 50 percent since 1990 and the average smoothness of our roads has increased every year.

President Obama brags on the decrease in the deficit, and credits his fiscal management. At the same time he wants to eliminate the strictures on spending caused by the sequester — which is what forced a decrease in the deficit —that he has whined about ever since they were enacted. Obama says it’s time to end the “mindless austerity” and start spending again — just not on national security.

In fact, Obama just wants more money to spend. His budget proposals are meant as demands. He has already added more to the National Debt than the accumulated spending of all previous presidents put together — so now he wants to add another $6 trillion over the next ten years.



Drumming Up Grievance About Income Inequality is a Political Racket! by The Elephant's Child

You surely understand by now that the Left has only your own best interests in mind. You can tell that to be the case because they are so valiantly trying to make everybody equal.  No one should be better off than you are, and if you just turn things over to them, they’ll make everything fair. The goal is equality.

That is not true. The goal is to make you concerned about income inequality. Economic disparities and gaps are automatically treated as inequities, and you are supposed to be resentful. If you are resentful enough, you will elect Democrats to fix the inequities that are so troublesome, and make things “fair.” Tom Sowell:

If one racial or ethnic group has a lower income than another, that is automatically called “discrimination” by many people in politics, the media and academia. It doesn’t matter how much evidence there is that some groups work harder in school, perform better and spend more postgraduate years studying to acquire valuable skills in medicine, science or engineering.

If the economic end results are unequal, that is treated as a grievance against those with better outcomes, and a sign of an “unfair” society.

The rhetoric of clever people often confuses the undeniable fact that life is unfair with the claim that a given institution or society is unfair.

Children born into families that raise them with love and with care to see that they acquire knowledge, values and discipline that will make them valuable members of society have far more chances of economic and other success in adulthood than children raised in families that lack these qualities.

When your mother told you that “Life is not fair,” she knew what she was talking about. People in their prime earning  years make more than those who are just starting out. People who work harder and acquire important skills earn more than those who don’t work hard and don’t study. Beautiful people get ahead on their beauty. Is it fair when someone else is prettier than you are?

A little known regulation in the Dodd-Frank Bill to be finalized later this year forces companies to disclose how many times more their Chief Executive Officers earn compared to rank and file employees.

This provision is backed by labor unions like the AFL-CIO, which aims to “shame companies into lowering CEO pay. The ” pay ratio disclosure rule” originally found in section 953(b) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform of 2010, requires all publicly traded companies to disclose the ratio of the CEO’s salary compared to the median salary of all employees at the company in the company’s annual report. The aim of the requirement is clearly meant to arouse envy and demands for “fairness.”

A Chief Executive’s pay package is determined by the Board of Directors of a corporation subject to approval by the shareholders. And is not really the government’s business. Good CEOs can be invaluable to business, and those who can make significant difference for their company deserve good remuneration. The Leftists who increasingly inhabit the faculty lounges have long been deeply envious of CEO pay. In the firm belief (they have PhDs) that they are smarter than any businessman, they find this deeply unfair.

I have never understood the envy. I have always known people personally who are much poorer and less fortunate and people who are somewhere up in the One percent, as did both my parents. My life is mine to develop. What can I accomplish with my own skill and determination? Some thing won’t work out, some will be disasters and some will work very well indeed. As Frank Sinatra used to sing —”I did it my way.”

Other than that, you can get a good agent and/or a good lawyer. That seems to work for sports stars and movie stars.



Why Socialism Does Not Work! by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), in a debate at the Oxford Union on April 29, 2014. He is an outspoken advocate of freedom, a conservative in the European Parliament who is opposed to the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union, and a partisan advocate for America.  Wonderful speaker.

Don’t miss this.



And a Politically Incorrect Merry Christmas to You by The Elephant's Child

Protesters are marching in Manhattan because they think they want “social justice” rather than real justice.

There is no such thing as “social justice.” We have only one kind of justice — which is embodied in the law. The laws established by the people and their representatives come with no guarantee that they will make people feel good about the outcome. Societies need rules, no law will cover every situation, and often the outcome may seem unfair, or be unfair. The police are there to enforce the law, and keep you safe, not to make you feel good.

The childish inability of the Left and their useful idiots to accept the fallible, imperfect nature of humanity endures. They do not truly recognize that there is evil in the world, and they are not prepared to deal with it. You cannot regulate niceness, kindness or peace. You will be offended if you allow yourself to be. Our constitutional freedom of speech does not guarantee that you will not be offended — it guarantees that you will have to put up with speech you don’t like.

I have never understood why anyone should be protected from being “offended.” Part of life is learning how to cope with being insulted, having your feelings hurt, being treated unfairly, or bullied. You wll probably get fired at some point. Some bosses are tyrants. Life is unfair. Surely your mother told you that. You will have your feelings hurt, and protection doesn’t come from some social-engineering regulation passed by leftist loonies, but from your own internal armor and stoical resignation that recognizes the imperfect humanity of the world.  Not everybody is nice, even nice people are sometimes mean, and there is real evil in the world. Get used to it. You can always try to be nice yourself, that might help.

The United States has recognized that there are many religions in the world, though we remain a Judeo-Christian nation. Our very first settlers were seeking religious freedom to practice their own religion free from the dictates of the state. They were escaping a long, long siege of religious wars. Catholicism, Church of England and Scottish Presbyterianism fought bloody, chopping off heads wars, and Puritans, Pilgrims, Shakers, Mennonites, Quakers, Episcopalians, Jews, Dutch Reformed, German Reformed, Irish Catholic, Scots-Irish Presbyterians, and all sorts of odd sects came to America and some new ones arose here, and for the most part they learned to get along, with a few notable exceptions here and there. Comparatively speaking, we Americans are pretty outstanding in the getting-along department, and in the public bellyaching department as well.

It seems to me that we have become more sensitive to offending by the mention of religion only in the wake of 9/11. We cannot say anything unkind about radical Islam because of the freedom of religion clause, which was written to assure that we never established a state religion. It has been twisted into the idea that religious expression is impolite. So we are left with immigrants from Muslim countries whose goal is to establish a state religion — Islam, and Sharia law.

Europe is dying of political correctness. Because of declining birthrates they do not have enough young people to support an aging population, so they have invited in vast numbers of immigrants, a large percentage of whom are Muslim, who want to come to Europe because their native countries are poverty-ridden dysfunctional tyrannies. The Western societies have no long experience in turning immigrants into Hollanders or French or Swedes. The immigrants remain Moroccans, Egyptians or Somalis living in European countries. This comes just at the time when the continent is embarked on a program of making everybody into ‘Europeans’ with open borders, common currency and common laws in the hope of ending the constant wars that have decimated the continent for centuries.

Michael Walsh wrote recently about far-right populist politician Geert Wilders, who will be tried in the Netherlands for inciting racial hatred. He asked the crowd at a rally after local elections if they wanted ‘fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?’ The crowd said ‘fewer.’ He responded “we’re going to organize that.” Later, in a TV interview, he referred to ‘Moroccan scum.’ Apparently now, Moroccans are a ‘race.’ You can see that assimilation is not going well.

In Sweden 20% of the once homogenous population are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Sweden attempted to give shelter to the oppressed, but they are not turning them into proud Swedes. Mass immigration has dissolved Sweden’s social cohesion and overburdened the welfare system. The government cannot or will not cope. The people want immigration reduced. There is deep hostility between the aging indigenous population and the very fertile immigrant one. Demographers say that by 2050, Europe will be Muslim. Are we going to follow down that path?

We are deeply conflicted with the problems of political correctness, diversity, inequality, social justice, race, gender, ethnicity and an antagonism towards religion. Are we to follow the failures of the European idea, or continue to assimilate and turn immigrants into proud Americans? The founders, correctly, emphasized equality of opportunity — not equality of outcome. We all have a chance to make of ourselves what we choose. We’ll make mistakes, some will fail, some will make very bad choices. But we are human and striving, and being human is an imperfect business.

The vision of the Left won’t and cannot work. Diversity does not reside in skin color nor  gender, but in what is in our heads. Appreciate the differences and learn from each other. Some of the richest people have the least money. Redistributing income won’t fix anything. Redistribute excellent teachers instead. Get the kids to the library where they can encounter a world of opportunity.

And this Christmas go out and offend — wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Sing a carol or two. Redistribute some extra cash into the Salvation Army’s red buckets. Appreciate the natural diversity of the mass of humanity of this world. You cannot fix them. It’s hard enough getting along with your own relatives.



You Want Social Justice? Who Decides Who Gets What? by The Elephant's Child

big-brother-1984-e1394429742415

Funny how some things in common parlance become so common that we really don’t pay attention to them any more. The protesters in some  cities across the country claimed to be protesting for “justice” for Michael Brown. Justice is a matter of our nation’s laws and the Constitution, as determined  in this case by a Grand Jury investigation, which was conducted at length according to the law. The results of the labors of the jury are justice.

What the protesters were demanding was, instead,”social justice.” Social Justice is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “justice in the form of the distribution of wealth, opportunities and privilege within a society.” There’s the rub. We are not talking, as the Declaration of Independence states, of the equal opportunity to pursue Liberty and Happiness — but of an equal outcome.

The Urban Dictionary defines social justice as:

Promoting tolerance, freedom, and equality for all people regardless of race, sex, orientation, national origin, handicap, etc… except for white, straight, cisgendered males. Fuck those guys, they’re overprivileged no matter what. “In the name of social justice, check your privilege.”

Same source, second definition:

Mob violence, usually associated with a victim group.
1969 Stonewall riots.
1992 LA riots.

Mostly the term is undefined, but it sounds good doesn’t it? The academics who used to have to teach at least 15 hours a semester now have a lot more free time, and the faculty lounge is afloat with theory. The distribution of advantages and disadvantages in society. This supposes that there is some normal state to which everything must be distributed to make things fair and equal.

The word equal, in English, is derived from the word equitable, suggesting fairness, but what is fair doesn’t necessarily mean equal, but what is proportionate to the efforts of each.  In France, on the other hand, the word is Égalité which means the “equals sign.” What is on one side must be equal to that which is on the other side. This is very different from the English idea of “equitable.”

Social justice is often associated with the idea of the “common good.” Which brings up some questions. Who decides what is fair? Who determines what is equal? Who decides what must be distributed from who and to whom? If these questions are turned over to the government, as the idea of “the common good” would suggest — because who else is going to do it — then you’ve got trouble, or more accurately Socialism, Communism, Dictatorship, Tyranny in one form or another. Giving someone or some group the power to decide, and once decided, it must  be enforced, and there you go.

Free Market Capitalism does not promise equal outcomes, only the opportunity to do with your life what you choose to do, or what you can do with the opportunities you find. We have  plenty of  examples of those who have been born into poverty, and the ghetto and who rise through hard work and determination to the very highest levels of society. You can probably come up with a list easily. And we are a society with a lot of empathy and compassion and arrange to help those who are in need of help. Americans are the most generous people on Earth.

That said, I don’t get the envy part. Isn’t life a struggle with yourself to see what you can make of it? Is life suddenly made wonderful if you win the lottery? The stories of those who did suggest that it doesn’t work out so well. What makes life good is not the material things you are given, but what you accomplish with what you’ve got in your own determination and character.



That Was Then, This Is Now. No Principles! by The Elephant's Child

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice to Deceive! by The Elephant's Child

JonathanGruberI’m glad that MIT economist Jonathan Gruber has been so forthcoming with his opinion of American voters, and the lies the Left had to tell to get even the Democrats to pass the bill. He not only said that we’re stupid, he repeated it over and over. Something of a blabbermouth, but he earned a cool $5.2 million from his advisory efforts.

The State of Vermont which had just hired him as a consultant on their health care program, has just concluded their association, and other consulting jobs may turn out to be a little scarce. Who wants or needs their deepest secrets exposed?




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,963 other followers

%d bloggers like this: