American Elephants


Will Obama Get His 16-Year Era Of Progressive Rule to Fundamentally Transform America? by The Elephant's Child

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I received my copy of The Claremont Review of Books summer edition in the mail today, and a paragraph in the editorial statement caught my eye. Charles Kesler reflected on the campaign season.

For President Obama , the stakes are clear. As he told Politico recently; he wants his legacy to include “a 16-year era of progressive rule” that would upend the Reagan Revolution and fulfill his promise in 2008 to transform the country “fundamentally.” Obama’s own achievement, in other words, depends on eight years of a Hillary Clinton Administration, its agenda shoved further left by Bernie Sanders’s “political revolution.”Whether Obama likes it or not, if Change doesn’t continue, Hope will die, above all his hope of being the progressive Reagan.

I am continually amazed at the ignorance of the benefits of free market capitalism that is necessary to believe in a glorious Progressive future. But then, Christiana Figueres, Secretary General of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, cheerfully admitted that they weren’t really interested in saving the Earth from a forthcoming climate disaster, but that it was their best chance of ridding the world of Capitalism.

How do they continually banish the clear evidence before their eyes of the results of progressive governance? People are voting with their feet to leave the states where the administrative state reigns. Companies cannot make a go of it under confiscatory taxes and ever-increasing regulation. 9,000 businesses have packed up and left California for less regulation and lower taxes. The Cities that have been run by Democrats the longest, are the cities with the highest murder rates, the most dysfunction. There is a long and ugly history of socialism, but they just didn’t do it right? Obama has tried to open up Cuba with a visit and promises of closer relations, and the Castros simply said fine, but we’re not changing anything.

Venezuela is a classic example—an oil rich country that cannot feed their people who are breaking into the zoo to kill the starving animals for food. The absence of toilet paper has been the most celebrated, but there is little food in the stores, and long lines when the slightest truck loads come in. Nicholas Maduro has tried to confiscate all weapons — as he has some idea of his future.

Steven Hayward captured the essence of the administrative state in one paragraph.

Here’s Richard Epstein on “The Perils of Executive Power.

David Harsanyi  writes about “California: The Ultimate Nanny State.”

 



Be Grateful for Income Inequality. It’s a Precursor Of The American Dream. by The Elephant's Child

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The United States government spends over a trillion dollars a year that it doesn’t have. To make that number go away, you either have to reduce spending or increase revenue.

Our wealthiest citizens, the top 20% of the economic pie, pay 70% of all taxes. The poorest 20% pay 3/5ths of one percent of all taxes. So we have to raise taxes on the wealthiest citizens to be “fair” or “balanced.”

There is, however, a problem. If you confiscate the entire wealth of the richest citizens — every penny the  Forbes 400 have — it would cover one year’s federal deficit.

Raising tax rates on everyone in the top 2% of the wealthiest citizens would not cover one year’s federal deficit.

Washington borrows $188 million every hour.

I wrote this down a while back, I’m not sure just how long ago, but I can assure you that nothing has improved.  Food for thought.

—  How You, I, and Everyone Got the Top 1 percent All Wrong by Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

—”Greedy’ Rich Actually The Most Generous Among Us” by Kerry Jackson, Investors Business Daily

— Obama orchestrated a massive transfer of wealth to the 1 percent,” by Matthew Gray, New York Post

There is, of course, an answer. Wealth is created by the free market and capitalism. Free people are endlessly inventive, and the hope of improving your financial situation, making a new idea the next big thing, becomes in a free market the opportunity to succeed. Where did Uber come from? Or telephones unconnected to phone lines that are actually tiny computers keeping track of everything and entertaining you as well?

Getting rich or richer, improving your situation, or changing your life is commonplace in America, yet in many parts of the world it is impossible to move beyond the status into which you were born. I cannot understand why the Left cannot think beyond “income inequality.” They are still stuck back in the French revolution railing against the opulence of the King and all his court. “It’s not fair” they whine.

Some people simply want to get rich —  that probably accounts for all the Powerball tickets sold. Some want to accomplish something worthwhile. Some want to move to a better neighborhood. Some want to build something important, others want to discover something new. If you know or are convinced that you can never move beyond where you are — I guess envy is all you have left.



Never Enough, or What’s Wrong With the Welfare State? by The Elephant's Child

one-dollar-bill-largeFrom William Voegeli’s Never Enough:

“The socialist dream of organizing an economy around the purposes of advancing social welfare, as it is governmentally determined and meted out, seems destined to remain an abstraction, irrelevant to the world’s political and economic needs. One strange result of the collapse of socialism, and the absence of any other credible way to avoid relying on markets is that the welfare state is heavily dependent on the health of capitalism. The government cannot disburse wealth that never gets created, and creating the wealth required for modern, prosperous societies without the knowledge conveyed by prices set in markets appears to be impossible.”



Employment and Unemployment for July, 2015. by The Elephant's Child

So the job situation for the month of July remains — dismal. There were 215,000 new jobs in July, a little less than the expected 225,000. 93,770,000 working-age people, 16 and older, aren’t working. This takes us back to 1977 levels of employment, and we are a bigger country now. This is a 36-year low. A record 56,209,000 women are not in the work force.

Since 2007, 1.4 million manufacturing jobs have been lost. There are 1.4 million new waiter and bartender jobs that have been created in the same time period.

Possibly a more interesting discussion for the debates? How are you going to fix this one?

Unemployment



The Amazing Success of Africa. Botswana Is the Fastest Growing Country in the World. by The Elephant's Child

Leon Louw is an author, policy analyst, and executive director of the South Africa-based think tank: The Free Market Foundation. “Thank goodness people are ‘exploiting ” Africa by buying things from it, by investing in it, by employing people in it,” he said. “The worst thing that would happen is if people decide to stop exploiting Africa.”

The statement might sound provocative, but Louw is responding to a a pair of critiques he hears often: That economic development is akin to exploitation and that the gap between rich and poor is growing dangerously large. But Louw says that the focus on economic inequality is a distraction from a more important metric.

“The world is experiencing the most amazing accomplishment of humanity: The virtual elimination of poverty,” says Louw. “It’s strange that as that happens, we are talking about it as if there is more of it.”

Another illustration of “One of the Most Remarkable Achievements in Human History.”Some good news to be celebrated. The Decliners are sure that there is more poverty, more unfairness, more decline. About 9 minutes long. It is getting really hard to get a straight, true look at the state of the world. Those things which are hard and bad are ignored, misunderstood, and the dangers made light of. And the good things? We don’t even know they are happening. It would be helpful if there was way less talk about the supposed gap between the rich and the poor, and a lot more appreciation for free market enterprise that moves people out of poverty.



One of the Most Remarkable Achievements in Human History by The Elephant's Child

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Here is a chart of one of the most remarkable achievements in  human history: the 80% reduction in world poverty in only 36 years. In 1970,  26.5% of the world’s population were living on $1 or less (in 1987 dollars) to only 5.4% in 2006 — led by the 97% reduction in the poverty rate in East Asia (excluding Japan and Hong Kong) from 58.8% to  1.7% over that time period.  (Mark Perry: AEI)

It’s the greatest achievement in human history, and you never hear about it.

80 percent of the world’s worst poverty has been eradicated in less than 40 years. That has never, ever happened before.

So what did that? What accounts for that? United Nations? US foreign aid? The International Monetary Fund? Central planning? No.

It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short, it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.

I will state, assert and defend the statement that if you love the poor, if you are a good Samaritan, you must stand for the free enterprise system, and you must defend it, not just for ourselves but for people around the world. It is the best anti-poverty measure ever invented.
(Arthur Brooks, President, AEI)

 



Treasury Will Pull Out All The Stops to Enforce Economic Patriotism! by The Elephant's Child

The Treasury Department could act as early as next week to stop companies from moving their headquarters out of the United States for tax purposes. “Economic Patriotism.” Where is these companies’ economic patriotism? Representative Sander Levin, ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax issues warned that “They’re preparing to act and they’ll act as soon they are ready.”

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Levin on Wednesday that he would not necessarily wait for Congress to go home before he would take unilateral action.  Wonder where he learned that trick?

With his brother Senator Carl Levin, (D-MI) Sander Levin has written legislation to” tighten the rules restricting so-called tax inversions, which are tax maneuvers in which U.S. businesses buy a company in a low-tax country to move their headquarters there.”

It’s the Burger King deal with Tim Horton’s Coffee Shops, and the move of their corporate headquarters to Canada, where total tax costs will be 46.4 percent lower, that has driven Democrats to start writing more confiscatory laws immediately. Burger King will continue to pay taxes on business done in the United States.

The Obama administration and Congressional Democrats have raised the alarm over possible consequences to the U.S. tax base.  Republicans  have been suggesting for some time that they should lower or eliminate the corporate tax, because the U.S. corporate tax is not only the highest in the industrial world, but the U.S. also taxes income earned abroad —which no other country does.

There is a long history going back to Martin Van Buren, of administrations that helped an economy to recover from a recession by cutting taxes. Cutting taxes allows companies more confidence in the future, and they are more apt to grow, expand, and hire — creating a better business climate— which in turn grows the economy.  Canada’s corporate tax was 43 percent in 2000, and is 26 percent today, and their economy is booming.

Democrats are fundamentally unable to grasp the idea that cutting taxes could  produce more income and make the economy grow. It simply does not compute. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew trained as a lawyer, but has simply moved through the corridors of government as a bureaucrat in one office or another. He got all huffy about the Burger King move, in a video at Bloomberg, mentioning all the advantages the U.S. provides —roads and bridges (you didn’t build that) and infrastructure!

So far as I can tell only 9 companies have actually done a tax inversion. A number have started to and backed out after being threatened.

Speaker John Boehner and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch have warned that any Treasury measure that would be effective would likely lie beyond Lew’s authority.




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