American Elephants


Infrastructure, Legacies, History and Personal Insults by The Elephant's Child

New York Times correspondent Peter Baker’s new book Obama: The Call of History was recently updated to include the information that “former President Obama took President Trump’s win and Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016 as a personal insult.”

Obama has talked a lot about his “legacy.”  Most presidents, I imagine, are concerned about how history will view the challenges they faced and the job they did. But once they’re done, that’s up to the historians. Obama has had rather glorified ideas about his presidential library, and quite a battle with the city of Chicago and his selection of a prime piece of parkland, much to the distress of the neighbors. Democrats expected Hillary to win, and it was undoubtedly a shock to Obama.

There’s a favorite saying of political consultants: “It’s the economy, stupid.” The Wall Street Journal remarked yesterday that “The best news is that the beneficiaries of this tight labor market are the folks who struggled during the slow growth Obama years.” Government actions are not abstract things that are only important to the hovering newspersons. They have a major impact on the American people’s pocketbooks and well-being. Many people are now working who were living on food stamps.

Obama never, in eight years, achieved even 2% growth, but doubled the national debt. It was the slowest and most sluggish recovery under Obama, in history. They talked about it, and Obama’s economists said that times had just changed and there was no hope of ever getting back over 2% growth.

President Trump is going to meet with Pelosi and Schumer to talk about “infrastructure” which they supposedly think is important. Trump wants $1 trillion, but Schumer says Trump is going to have to get rid of some of those tax cuts. I keep saying that Democrats do not understand free market economics, and they keep insisting that I’m absolutely correct. Can’t have this booming economy, it makes the Democrats look bad. The Wall Street Journal:

Many of the robust job gains came in businesses that hire those with less education. Construction added 33,000 jobs last month, for example, and has added 256,000 over the last year. Most of the new construction jobs last month were in nonresidential and heavy civil engineering work, which suggests that business investment may be picking up after a weak first quarter.

In a separate report earlier this week, the Labor Department reported that worker productivity increased 3.6% in the fourth quarter and 2.4% from a year ago, the fastest rate since 2010. This continues the productivity-growth trend from 2018, which has followed faster capital investment after tax reform and deregulation. This bodes well for faster wage gains over time. increased 3.6% in the fourth quarter and 2.4% from a year ago, the fastest rate since 2010. This continues the productivity-growth trend from 2018, which has followed faster capital investment after tax reform and deregulation. This bodes well for faster wage gains over time.

Everybody talks about “infrastructure” but not about just what infrastructure they are so anxious to build.  Before you start casually spending another trillion dollars, please explain just what you have in mind. How about a nice wall at the southern border?



Just About What I Expected. Former President Obama Speaks. by The Elephant's Child

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Former President Barack Obama received an ethics in government award at the University of Illinois, and took advantage of the occasion to trash Donald Trump, claim that  any recovery that was happening started in his administration, and criticized everything about Trump’s presidency, calling it a “dark period” in American history. Periods of progress in America were frequently followed by periods of resistance to change and a “step back”.

Gosh, I can remember back to Obama’s Inauguration, and an excited young black woman was thrilled that she would not have to worry about paying her bills, because Obama was going to pay them. Many black Americans had not believed that a black man could be elected to the presidency, and were justifiably proud and thrilled that it could happen. Many Americans who did not vote for him, thought that having the first black president was probably a good thing for the country.

Obama helped out our black citizens by giving them welfare and health care, and raising taxes to pay for it. Donald Trump has given them jobs—real, good paying jobs, 201,000 new jobs just in August, as worker wages have surged to a nine year high. The new unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9%.

Obama was grateful that President George W. Bush remained quiet during his presidency, and did not criticize him, and promised to stay quiet during the Trump administration, but the horrors of a surging economy and thousands getting off of food stamps was just too much for him.

Over the past few decades the politics of division and resentment and paranoia has unfortunately found a home in the Republican party.

Obama referred to Trump as a “bully” who deserved to be rejected by the American people. Republicans, he said were appealing to “tribe”by trying to divide people by race and gender. Excuse me, Who is trying to divide Americans by race and gender? That theme seems to be coming out of our universities, and last time I looked, they are not havens of Republicans or conservatives.  He even blasted Republicans for “cozying up to the KGB” He pointed to a rise in white-nationalism and racial division, and attacked Republicans for stoking resentment in order to remain in power.

We are Americans, we’re supposed to stand up to bullies, not follow them,” he said. “We’re supposed to stand up to discrimination. And we’re sure as heck supposed to stand up clearly and unequivocally to Nazi sympathizers.

After any president’s tenure in office, everyone tries to sum up what worked, and what didn’t. Any administration will have high points and failures. George W. was wise to refrain from comment in recognition that future historians will evaluate and sum up the job he did, and his present comments won’t help, and could hinder. Good lesson, Obama might take notice.

More than anything, he attempted to take credit for today’s surging economy.  Good luck with that one.

(slightly updated for clarity)



Just How Do You Measure “Better Off” Anyway? by The Elephant's Child



The Problem is Having to Live With The Choices We Made by The Elephant's Child

Former President Barack Obama has returned from his South Seas vacation, ready to resume trying to tear down the administration of his successor. Valerie Jarrett has reportedly been directing the resistance in his absence. Obama, meanwhile, has snagged a $400,000 fee for an hour long speech for a Wall Street firm, and a very large advance for books from Michelle and himself, so funds are not a worry.

It’s a sharp contrast with his own predecessor. George W. Bush gracefully left the limelight to avoid causing problems for his successor, and has refrained from comments on the Obama administration, appearing in public only with his programs of bike trips with recovering vets, and to talk about his new hobby of  painting, apparently inspired by Winston Churchill’s book Painting as a Pastime. President Bush has painted the world leaders with whom he engaged, and more recently, the heroes of the wars who fought under his responsibility in Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors.

President Bush recognized that history would judge what he had accomplished and where he had failed, and left it in the hands of the historians. Who will argue endlessly.

An ex-president hanging around and trying to run the opposition is something new and not very attractive. Americans are inclined to do some summing-up at the end of an administration, and it’s not often the admiration and attention that one hopes for. By the time a president leaves office, the public is usually thoroughly tired of them and hopeful that the new president can do a better job. Granted, that this year the Democrats, out of office and out of appealing candidates, out of ideas were insanely furious that their expected continuum with Hillary didn’t happen, because they don’t like Trump and cannot understand why Hillary didn’t win.

President Donald Trump has done quite well. His first 100 days have been celebrated by his supporters who are far more pleased than the media wants to acknowledge. His cabinet appointments have been outstanding, are in a position to offer excellent advice, and have hit the ground running. Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court is a triumph. Nikki Haley has quickly taken charge at the U.N. and is proving to be a star. Syria has been put on notice, and the president is determined to reduce the corporate tax to 15% which will give the economy a boost. The ignorant leftist media is already gasping that the government won’t have any money.

Never fear. Corporations don’t really pay taxes. We do. When a corporation’s taxes are raised, they raise prices for their goods and we pay for it. When they don’t have to raise prices or do more of their business overseas to pay the taxes, their funds go for expanding and innovating and the economy improves. We currently have the highest corporate tax rate in the world, and it has been a drag on the economy. Between 1974 and 2001 average growth in the economy was 3.3%. A return to 3% from the dismal performance of the stagnant Obama economy would mean the economy could expand to $38.3 trillion by 2040.

The weeks of Obama’s vacation have been filled with the scandals of the Obama administration exposed, and they are not pretty. I understand that they want Sasha to finish high school at Sidwell Friends, but trying to occupy the media’s attention may not be wise.




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