American Elephants


About Human Prosperity by The Elephant's Child

Marxism

The Stock Market pretty much ignored the cut in interest rates taken to rally the market. But former Vice President Joe Biden’s strong Super Tuesday performance over Bernie Sanders and signs of a coordinated response to the coronavirus reassured investors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose nearly 1,200 points as all 30 stocks in the index climbed. The results suggested that Mr. Biden could be a more formidable opponent to Sen. Bernie Sanders than was originally anticipated—according to the Wall Street Journal.

A leading physician praised the administration response to the Corona virus, saying quick actions to close the borders, quarantine those coming from areas where the pandemic is raging, have undoubtedly saved lives. On the other hand, Nancy Pelosi held back the Coronavirus Funding Bill so the DCCC could run Super Tuesday ads against the GOP. President Trump, who donates his presidential salary entirely, directed the 4th quarter payments to the Corona virus fight. Facts are sometimes troublesome, as desperate Democrats desperately try to blame the Coronavirus on President Trump, and Vice President Pence. So a few more lives lost, all in the cause of returning the Democrats to power is worth it? “During her weekly press conference last Thursday she said: “Lives are at stake. This is not a time for name-calling or playing politics.”

I’ll borrow a couple of good paragraphs from Matthew Continetti at the Free Beacon:

The global economy is far more integrated than in the past. And a worldwide broadcast, digital, and social media exist that would have been fanciful to President Wilson. This system distributes misinformation, incentivizes hysteria and partisanship, and expects immaculate performance from the government while ignoring, dismissing, and excusing its own failures. Dealing with “community spread” is hard enough. Try doing it while watching Don Lemon.

We were better off when the media focused on impeachment. Now that it is interested in coronavirus, a familiar pattern will set in. Data will be publicized without the slightest sense of proportion. The most outrageous scenarios will receive the most attention. Speculation will be paraded as fact. And every conceivable negative outcome, from infections to deaths to plunging stock values, from reasonable and warranted travel bans to unanticipated diplomatic and economic fallout, will be related back to the president in an effort to damage his reelection.

That struck me as a pretty accurate assessment. Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill “to transfer all funding for @real Donald Trump’s racist border wall” to coronavirus defense. There are a number of Coronavirus cases in the Mexican border states. But then, Joe Biden got more votes , and on Super Tuesday, she didn’t finish in the top two even in her home state.

Sounds as if the American people are not all that enthusiastic about Marxism. Millennials may have no understanding of what Marxism is, but we have a lot of refugees from the countries who have played around with it. Cuba, of course. Nicaragua, Venezuela if they can manage to get out. Do people forget that we had Stalin’s daughter (recently passed on) and (I think it was) Gorbachev’s son. How there can possibly be any enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders is a mystery. Or for that matter how Bernie Sanders can manage in this day and age to be a Marxist. Here’s a good, recent article from the Hoover Institution by historian Niall Ferguson on “The Essence of Marxism,” for those needing a refresher.

The Hoover Institution is embarking on an essay series on “The Human Prosperity Project“about Socialism and Free-Market Capitalism. The abstract:

Despite the fundamental distinction between the two, misunderstandings of capitalism and socialism — and their implications for freedom — abound, and usually in favor socialism. In these circumstances, a return to the basics is warranted. The 17th-century writings of John Locke in defense of political and economic freedom and the 19th-century critique by Karl Marx of political and economic freedom represent classics of the genre. Fresh examination of their ideas brings into better focus the case for freedom and the reasons for concluding that the defense of the free market is central to the securing of individual freedom and equality under law.

You can download the .PDF at the website, for yourself or your millennial.



Hillary Wants To Remove “Barriers” to Citizenship for Illegal Aliens by The Elephant's Child

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Hillary is moving farther and farther to the left to compete with Bernie Sanders as she pushes for votes in New York. The former Secretary of State announced that she would make it easier for immigrants to become citizens in a meeting with New York activists. She promised to “make it a priority to create a new federal agency which would knock down  ‘all the barriers’ to citizenship, especially for all those Americans in Waiting who are in the country illegally.”

“The hassle of becoming a citizen is sometimes overwhelming,” Clinton said, referring to the millions of immigrants in the United States who are eligible for citizenship but have not applied. “We should not add a series of barriers.”

“I’m using this campaign to knock down all the barriers,” she added.

Clinton touted her plan to create a new federal agency called the Office of Immigration Affairs to streamline services to both legal and illegal immigrants in the Manhattan meeting, which was timed just ahead of a New York primary in which support of the Latino community will be important.

We are not in urgent need for more citizens, and the path to citizenship should be somewhat difficult. We need future citizens who really want to become Americans, who are willing to learn the language, learn something about our history, and something about our customs and laws. That is not a barrier to becoming a citizen, Hillary, but a blessing for the citizen to be, and an important thing  for our country.

Hillary apparently, once upon a time, passed the bar exams and became a practicing lawyer. Surely she had to read the Constitution at some point. But then Obama claims to have taught Constitutional Law, (he apparently taught Alinsky instead) and has been engaged for over seven years in finding ways to get around the Constitution with executive orders and administrative law.

We have a federal agency that deals with exactly those problems. It’s called Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and could use some support from the administration. The last thing this country needs is another federal agency. If our elected officials and office seekers fail to take the rule of law seriously, I suppose they don’t see it as important for new citizens either. Do we need another president who fails to enforce our laws—just the ones she or he likes?



The Sunday Funnies by The Elephant's Child

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Is Income Inequality Really “The Defining Challenge of Our Time”? Why? by The Elephant's Child

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Last week, President Obama had a fundraiser in the San Francisco Bay area, in the Atherton home of a major Democrat donor, where he told the presumably wealthy donors ( tickets for the event cost $33,400) that Income Inequality is “the defining challenge of our time.” But then Climate change has also been the defining challenge.

Hillary and Bernie both complain about excessive CEO pay. The election is supposed to be driven by envy. In one of Hillary’s campaign ads, the narrator tells us “On average it takes 300 Americans working for a solid year to make as much money as one top CEO. It’s called the wage gap.” Last month Bernie Sanders wrote in a Tweet that “In the United States, CEOs make 300 times what their workers make. That is simply immoral and must be dealt with.”

Hillary and Bernie like to compare a few of the very highest paid CEOs, who head the largest multinational corporations with thousands of employees rather than the average CEO. There are something in the realm of 100 million hourly workers in the country, and most of them don’t work for a huge international corporation.

How about comparing the average American worker to the average CEO? In 2014, there were 21,550 Chief Executives working full-time managing a company or enterprise. Those CEOs earned, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average annual salary of $216,100. That’s about the same annual salary of $201,030 for the average orthodontist.

The average annual pay for the 100 million hourly workers who are employed at private companies, small, medium and large, is $48,920, (based on an average hourly pay of $24.46). There are very highly paid hourly workers as well — the workers who operate those cranes that lift the containers off the container ships make over $100,000. but then you’d have to pay me a lot to climb all those ladders— scary.

Your average CEO doesn’t make anywhere near Apple Computer’s Tim Cook’s $10 million salary either. But then the market value of Apple’s stock is greater than the entire stock market of Brazil ($490 billion). A three-star general makes $164,221 per year, and a four-star general gets $179,700. The Secretary of State gets $203,700. A Senator gets $177.000, but there are allowances for mail, staff, travel and other amenities. Alabama’s head football coach Nick Saban is the highest paid football coach for 2015 at $7,087,481. And top fashion models rake in well over a million.

Hillary Clinton’s minimum speaking fee is reportedly $225,000 for a one-hour talk. Hourly pay. The average CEO makes less than Hillary’s speaking fee — with that grating voice.

For the most part, the disparity in wealth is a factor of demographics. Young people just starting out don’t make much. Older folks with a lifetime of building skills and contacts and savings have more. Education matters, skill matters, talent, looks, and smart money sense matter as well. The occupation you choose matters, but then there are people who started out flipping hamburgers at McDonalds and have ended up owning numerous McDonalds franchises.

Democrats envision the perfect world of the future in which everybody is equal at last. They don’t like competition. Trophies for everyone! They want to be in charge, because the next regulation will fix things, won’t it? Or maybe not. What matters is how you are doing with the choices you have made. Are you happy or envious? If you are envious, you might think about what, if anything, that is doing for you?



Is Income Inequality Really the Burning Issue of Our Times? by The Elephant's Child

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A constant theme for the Democratic presidential race has been income inequality. Democrats always want to increase envy in the minds of their loyalists, and what better way than to insist that America’s affluent got rich, unjustly, at the expense of the poor and the middle class. Envy and resentment stoke the fires of class warfare, and the Obama Administration’s lackluster economy and slow growth make people feel helpless and more inclined to blame others for their circumstances.

Liberals want to address income inequality by redistributing wealth from the well-to-do and giving it to the poor. It’s comforting to believe that the misfortunes of your life can be blamed on someone else. But natural demographic changes and lifetime income cycles distort the estimates of income inequality.

Young people just beginning a career not only don’t earn very much, but they want to get married and buy cars and houses and have babies. And they go into debt to do so. Their parents have been saving all of their lives, educating their children, and gradually building up some wealth. U.S Census data show a clear relationship between age and median net-worth in every quintile, Moreover, the death rate has fallen sharply — people are living longer, and there are more of them. Young people have less retirement savings, and the old folks have a far higher homeownership rate. Older workers have more skills built up over a lifetime, and are worth more to employers because they are more productive.

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Economist Thomas Sowell has explained:

Only by focusing on the income brackets, instead of the actual people moving between those brackets, have the intelligentsia been able to verbally create a “problem” for which a “solution” is necessary. They have created a powerful vision of “classes” with “disparities” and “inequities” in income, caused by “barriers” created by “society.” But the routine rise of millions of people out of the lowest quintile over time makes a mockery of the “barriers” assumed by many, if not most, of the intelligentsia.

The Left believes in government, not in the free market, which they don’t understand at all. The only way that government can create jobs is to hire more people — which they do regularly by creating more regulations and more agencies — all of which is paid for by the taxpayers, thereby reducing the wealth of the people and the economy. This is what they call progress.

Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns are based on finding ever more ways to redistribute wealth, taking more money from more productive people and giving it to the less productive.

Raising the minimum wage is one way. “No one can raise a family on the minimum wage” they say. No one is supposed to. Minimum wage jobs are meant to be jobs for first-time workers. How many people do you suppose are qualified to wipe off tables, sweep the floor and punch labeled keys on the cash register at a fast food restaurant? Conversely, how many people do you suppose are qualified to manage 20,000 employees in 20 separate divisions of a giant corporation in fierce competition with other giant corporations in the same business?

“But it isn’t fair!” is the cry. Your mother probably told you that life is not fair. She was right. The young person who graduates from college and graduate school with excellent grades and an advanced degree is going to have a different life than the young person who dropped out of high school without graduating, and has had trouble finding a steady job. That isn’t about fairness.

In actuality, the middle class is just fine, and still driving the economy. What is happening is more a result of how the researchers  divide up the quintiles into which they separate Americans. You have the poor, the lower middle class, the middle class, the upper middle class and the rich. Pew Research, for example, takes the median income in a given year, with half richer and half poorer. And how you define “middle income” can create all sorts of mischief and all sorts of interesting headlines.  Pew’s definition of “middle income” isn’t anchored to any fixed standard of living, but in fact represents a rising standard of living over time. And surprisingly, everybody is substantially better off than they were 45 years ago.

Poverty has decreased across the world, and in 2015, food prices are down by 19 percent in just the last year. Food is more abundant, probably due to  slight increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a natural fertilizer for plants which is greening the world.



The Silly Season: Campaign Speeches and Promises. by The Elephant's Child

Hillary%20explains_HillaryExlainsDemocrats are a constant puzzlement to me. They march in lockstep, seldom disagree with one another, and operate on the same talking points, which is regularly proved when they all use the same words to describe their position on an issue. Do they fight quietly in the fabled back rooms, never allowing their disagreements to reach public attention? I’m beginning to suspect that their connection to real issues currently before the public — is a little scanty.

Republicans are always all over the map, squabbling about who is conservative and who is not conservative enough, who is a RHINO, and its hard to get agreement on any single issue. That is supposed to be a fault, but it is simply the voice of freedom, and the way things are supposed to be. We are humans with human failings.

Hillary Clinton spoke on Saturday at the “Blue Jamboree” in Charleston S.C.. She said if she is elected president, she can create enough green energy to power every home in America by the end of her second term.

By the end of my first term, we will have installed a half a billion more solar panels, and by the end of my second term, enough clean energy to power every home in America.

She said her plan to subsidize alternative sources of energy would not entail a middle class tax hike. In fact, she would reduce taxes for working class families. She’s going to be fighting for that.

She said her plan to reform health care would bring costs down without raising taxes. And accused Republicans who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act as being driven by “political ideology” rather than a desire to “take care of people.” She would be willing to hold “senior level executives of companies accountable when they make decisions that cause the rest of the economy the troubles that we saw.”

Good Grief! The slightest familiarity with the news of the world would tell her that Spain and Germany started out years ago with just such exaggerated claims, and discovered, over time, that it didn’t work. The largest and most advanced $2.2 billion high-tech solar array in the Mojave Desert, Ivanpah,  is a colossal flop, producing only 40% of the promised electricity.

Solar energy produces a grand 0.3 or three-tenths of one percent of America’s electricity. If the governmental subsidies end, the solar arrays shut down, but Hillary is going to fix that and have everybody running on the vastly more expensive form of electricity from solar panels. Uh huh.  If that doesn’t work just throw America’s CEOs in the pokey.  And Republicans are driven by “political ideology?”

May 29 was the date when the Obama administration had to concede that the U.S. auto fleet cannot practically consume enough ethanol to fulfill Congress’s quotas. So Obama announced a new program so motorists can consume more ethanol. The U.S. must subsidize ethanol because the U.S. already subsidizes ethanol. Ethanol is corrosive and damages the engines and fuels systems of today’s cars and trucks (damages not covered by factory warranties), and damages ordinary pumps, piping and storage tanks.

The Agriculture Dept. will pull dollars from a New Deal outfit, the Commodity Credit Corp. that was created in 1933 to “stabilize, support and protect farm income and prices” for grants for states to build special equipment to service the 6 out of every 100 vehicles that can run, maybe, on the higher ethanol blends. A little government hokey-pokey there, but the point of the subsidy seems to be saving the subsidy — not the taxpayers.

You have probably seen pictures of the thick smog in China, and the Chinese people wearing gas masks. That is not carbon dioxide pollution. CO2 is not a pollutant, but what we exhale. You learned, supposedly, in high school biology about photosynthesis. You exhale CO2, the plants take it in as fertilizer and release the oxygen.  It’s a good thing, and completely unrelated to “global warming.”

Bernie Sanders called, on Saturday, for the Republicans to abandon the corrupting influence of the Koch Brothers and other wealthy energy magnates. “This is a party that rejects science and refuses to understand that climate change is real.” Bernie is quite sure that the rise of ISIS can be attributed to global warming. But then way back in 1941, a scientist was claiming that global warming caused Hitler. Warmer temperatures “may produce a trend toward dictatorial governments.People are more docile and easily led in warm weather.”

So there you go. Nothing new under the sun. Same old, Same old.



Bernie Sanders Misguided and Really Dumb Ideas by The Elephant's Child

How did we get here? A candidate for the presidency who is calling himself a Socialist is capturing a significant amount of support for the Democratic nomination. And they claim that Republicans are standing on the wrong side of history!  David Harsanyi said it well:

But what if there were a party whose economic case rested on undermining the most successful, poverty-reducing, prosperity creating idea ever known to mankind? What would history say about that?

We wrote in November of 2014 that “It’s the greatest achievement in actual history, and one you probably never heard about.” Extreme poverty in the world fell to 15% in 2011, from 36% in 1990. The credit goes to the spread of capitalism. The past 25 years have witnessed the greatest reduction in global poverty in the history of the world. An 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years.
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Bernie thinks we should imitate Denmark.  But Denmark has been rigorously working to eliminate socialism for some time. They’re now ranked a notch higher in economic freedom than we are — reflecting Denmark’s strong property rights, relative freedom from corruption, low public debt, freedom of trade and investment and a corporate tax rate that is way lower than ours.

Bernie wants free college education for everyone, universal government-run healthcare, expanded Social Security, paid family and medical leave, which adds up to some $18 trillion over ten years.

It’s a standard pattern for Democrats. You win elections by promising to give voters good stuff. That makes the Democrats feel good, because that’s what Democrats do, is give good things to the people. Because the rich don’t have enough money to pay for all the things Democrats want to give away to stroke their own egos, the gifts don’t actually lift anyone out of poverty, or give anyone a better life, or improve the economy. Innumeracy and Keynesian economics? Inattention to what is actually going on in the world?

You might instead look at Venezuela, or Cuba. Venezuela is having a hard time keeping the lights on in spite of an abundant supply of oil. Grocery store shelves are mostly bare and there are frequent riots over food distribution. Oddly enough, Hugo Chavez’s daughter has reportedly stashed away a cool $4.2 billion, but then the leaders of socialist nations usually get very rich while their people suffer. Occasionally the people string them up. Cuba is a new tourist destination for the Left. They find the charm of all those old 1950s cars irresistible and the crumbling buildings charming. But that’s all the Cubans have. John Hinderaker remarked:

Socialism is the worst idea, and the greatest tragedy, in human history. It is responsible for more than 100 million deaths and almost unimaginable suffering and poverty. And yet…somehow, it keeps making a comeback.



Why Don’t They Ever Learn? Socialist Economies Never, Never Work. by The Elephant's Child
July 5, 2015, 6:37 am
Filed under: Economy, Freedom, Socialism | Tags: , ,

Greece-Sanders-copy“Twenty-five years after the most oppressive empire in human history collapsed because socialist economies don’t work, 49 percent of American youth , according to a recent  Pew poll; think socialism is a good system. …We won the Cold War, but we didn’t drive a stake through the communist heart. As a result the vampire of “social justice” has risen to fight another day.” ..
…………………………………………………(David Horowitz: Take No Prisoners)




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