Special Favors For Businesses Don’t Benefit Taxpayers

shutterstock_439358455Interesting story here.

This election cycle has stunned even the most seasoned political prognosticators. Voters are clearly fed up with the “Washington Way,” lashing out like never before. If voters truly want to shake up the political landscape, they should start by demanding separation between big government and big business.

Corporate favoritism is when government takes taxpayer money and gives it to big businesses in the form of handouts, a practice that is rampant in America. Almost every day of the year, you can find a story about government at some level—be it federal, state, or local—doling out hardworking taxpayers’ money to a big corporation. The aim is to convince that company to relocate to, expand, or simply stay in their area. Some have coined this “press release economics,” where politicians cut ribbons and deliver statements about the jobs they are creating with these handouts.

But the consequences of corporate favoritism are dire. Since 2005, Tennessee taxpayers have handed over $1.75 billion to big businesses via handouts. All too often, corporate favoritism lines the pockets of millionaires with the tax dollars of the middle class. But most Americans would agree a company’s success should rely on what good or service it provides, not who its executives know.

These corporate handouts also mean we have less money for true government services. Every dollar forked over to a massive company is one less dollar that can be invested in maintaining our roads, educating our children, or keeping the public safe. It’s not the role of government to prop up large businesses with taxpayer money, yet more and more dollars are being redirected from other government services to do just that.

Every dollar forked over to a massive company is one less dollar that can be invested in maintaining our roads, educating our children, or keeping the public safe.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, sometimes those big businesses even take the money and run. We all remember Solyndra, a name that has become synonymous with failed corporate bailouts. In 2009 the solar company misled the federal government to obtain more than half-a-billion in federal stimulus grants, only to go belly-up two years later.

via Special Favors For Businesses Don’t Benefit Taxpayers

All true, and indeed it’s always been true to some extent, at least as long as there has been big business. Not that it is entirely their fault, as someone said during the Credit Mobliér scandal in the nineteenth century, we paid the bribes but we aren’t the ones that accepted them.

But just how widespread is this bad, antithetical, and anticompetitive practice? Well, James Bessen has some information on that, and a chart.

Profits are up. …is it good news for society?

…the rise in profits might represent a decline in…economic dynamism. …Firms engage in political “rent seeking”—lobbying for regulations that provide them sheltered markets—rather than competing on innovation. If so, then high profits portend diminished productivity growth. …In a new research paper, I tease apart the factors associated with the growth in corporate valuations.

I find that investments in conventional capital assets like machinery and spending on R&D together account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits, especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.

I find that investments in conventional capital assets like machinery and spending on R&D together account for a substantial part of the rise in valuations and profits, especially during the 1990s. However, since 2000, political activity and regulation account for a surprisingly large share of the increase.

[And the chart]

w1056

via: A Very Depressing Chart on Creeping Cronyism in the American Economy

How’s that for depressing, corporate America is making nearly as much money, playing the regulatory system, as they are from using their own money. And this is nearly part of the damage. A lot of what they do in the regulatory system is to use the government to stifle competition. We’ve said many times, and if you have any sense, you know it as well, that a large elephantine corporation can’t change direction quickly enough to respond to a dynamic market. But if they can use the government (and their guns) to suppress competition, it no longer matters. But the lost profits to the suppressed companies, and whatever they might have done with the profits (which we simply can’t quantify) are completely lost to us.

And so we have a triple loser here, from the standpoint of the individual taxpayer.

  1. We have the wasted tax dollars (like Solyndra)
  2. We have unresponsive, too big to fail corporations (yes, banks as well)
  3. We lose whatever products and payroll those other competitors (who were suppressed) might have provided.

Hard to see how we taxpayers could get a worse deal, it would literally be better for us, if they burned $100 bill to heat the capitol.

Progressivism Is a Long-Term Threat to the Rule of Law

Many know how much I dislike Donald Trump. It predates the 2016 campaign. He strikes me as an opportunist who plays the system, without ethics, or morals, and as a blowhard, with very few redeeming social qualities. I wouldn’t care to even have a beer with him, let alone any closer association.

Nevertheless, I may find myself voting for him. Why? Because Hillary is far worse. Let John O McGinnis explain.

Many people are concerned about Donald Trump’s commitment to the rule of law, a concern I share. But the other choice in this election is a Progressive one, and Progressivism by its nature lacks that commitment. Moreover, its history shows that it permanently damages the constitutional foundations of the United States. And the United States suffers from the fevers of progressivism more than any time since the 1960s.  Thus, this election pits a candidate lawless by virtue of temperament against one lawless by virtue of ideology and emboldened by the spirit of the times.  The rule of law is under threat, whoever wins.

Progressivism has proved a greater long-term danger than any single individual, because it is born in part out of systematic rather than personal hostility to the Constitution. Federalism and separation of powers are obstacles to the social engineering at the heart of progressivism, and thus progressivism has tried to eviscerate these restraints. Packed with FDR appointees in the 1930s, the Supreme Court gutted the enumerated powers. The administrative state has eroded the separation of powers, making the executive ever more powerful in domestic affairs. The theory used to justify these departures from the original constitution, living constitutionalism, is itself a threat to the rule of law, because it devalues the formal rules laid down by the Constitution.

via Progressivism Is a Long-Term Threat to the Rule of Law – Online Library of Law & Liberty

I’m not a fan by any means of voting for the least evil, over the years, I’ve often abstained, and in fact, may do so this year. But what I claim as an act of conscience, is, at least in part, “Screw you, a plague on all your houses.” Childish and petty it may well be, but it is my right to withhold my approval for any candidate. Whether I do so depends on the situation.

One reason that I can do that is simply that I live in the 3d Nebraska Congressional district, Trump will win whether I vote, don’t vote, or set fire to my polling place. I’ll likely vote because there are down ticket races I care about, and I have the illusion that my wishes might matter there.

This is not ideal, except for Republicans seeking office, just as for Democrats in the big cities, it often leads to temptation, and to corruption. As we keep saying, a loyal opposition is necessary to the proper operation of the government. It doesn’t matter what party or group is alone in charge, it tends to forget its mission and start granting favors. I think it’s simply human nature.

This is why, I think that the Founders, especially Washington, were so opposed to faction, what they really desired was each man striving openly for his own ideals. Frankly, Washington was much too good a man to be a political theorist or a politician; most men lust after power and money and always remember that one can be exchanged for the other. Trump and Clinton definitely included.

So something to think about as we watch the politicians make fools of themselves in Cleveland this week, how do we fix, really fix our broken system?

The State: and Terrorism

marcus-cicero-freedomSo, on Bastille Day, the French version of Independence Day, which far more than ours represents a revolt against the authorities, a guy named Mohamed, decided that a crowd of people in Nice, France  were having too much fun so he drove his truck over them, and then committed suicide by cop. It was pretty obviously an Islamic terrorist attack. You haven’t read much about it here, simply because I see little point, in rehashing things we all know. I’m as appalled and angry as any, I just wait until I know enough to write about things, and there’s little point to being the 684th to say something.

What matters to us, as a society, is what we do about these things. Horrific things haves always been done, often in the name of Islam. They’ve been done in the name of Christianity too, in the past, but several centuries ago, Christianity seemed to grow up, and no longer feels the need to torture and kill people. Any that can’t see that distinction are either delusional, or that have other motives.

Who gains from terrorism? ISIS at least thinks they do, and right now, it appears to be working as a recruitment tool. Someday, that will likely change, if their subjects ever figure out that the leaders don’t do suicide attacks, they live much too well, but send the sons and daughters of the poor and oppressed to do them. Or if western society ever gets their earplugs out and blindfolds off, and takes care of business. As westerners, that should be our concern, there’s no fixing ISIS, any more than there is stupid; evil is as evil does.

But who else benefits from Islamic terrorism? Western governments do. No, not as representatives of the people, but as the rulers of the people. You’re going to have to think through this with me. We like to think our governments represent us. I submit they don’t, they rule in our name, but for their own benefit, whether elected or civil service, their good is not our good. Our good would be best served if they stayed out of our business, and left us alone, to succeed or fail, and get back up and try again.

But the government’s interest is best served by regulating any and all aspects of our life that they can get away with. What you do for a living, for recreation, marriage, sports, everything. Not to metion how you do literally everything. In addition, their meddling has made our formerly productive enterprises, whether steel, automotive, clothing, what you eat and drink, whether your doctor can help you, or almost anything else you can think of uncompetitive, mostly because of government’s interference in the free market. Many want to claim that they’ve made life better or safer, or some such claptrap. That may be true, for those unwilling to work to eat, for the competent, the willing, and the productive they have made it nearly impossible.The old saying is: if it moves regulate it; if it doesn’t paint it. With an overpaid (and underskilled) painter, of course.

And so over the years, terrorism has multiplied the benefits of government over the people they used to serve, from the execrable TSA, to the NSA, to the militarized police, both local and federal, terrorism has allowed the government to grow, and to intrude into our lives.

Many have come to the conclusion that a breakdown in morals is responsible for where we are. Well, they’re right, sort of. The breakdown of morality is a symptom, not a cause. It is in the direct interest of the state to destroy the family, it leads to the populace being dependent on the government, not the family (or the individual) finding its own way through life. In exactly the same way, Christianity, which forms the basis of our morals, and ethics, has come to be seen by the government as an enemy of the state.

We’ve said it before, If you cannot fail, you cannot succeed. And that is where we are, the safety net is so expensive and close beneath our feet, that we can no longer fail, instead we fail at leading a life which we can be proud of, not necessarily getting rich, but having a fulfilled life, that is what our governments have stolen from us, using our money to do so.

Falkland once wrote, “What should not be changed, must not be.” Very true, and like all deep truths, so is its opposite, “What cannot be changed, must be”.

And soon, if free societies are to survive. That will be difficult, I say it is our right, nay it is more, it is our duty to do so.

Five Years and Counting

patriotism_-_rooseveltFirst, thanks, Jess. Always seems like much too little, to do or say, when your best friend does something like her post yesterday, but really what else can one do?

She touches on something, though. Back in 2011, when I started this, we had problems, and we were fairly fed up with the administration, but we had faith in Congress, once we flipped it, to fix it. Well, how’d that work out? And that is part of the problem, we all feel pretty much cheated out of our voice by Washington. Thus both Trump, and Sanders. We’re not alone, either. As Jess alluded to, Brexit turned on the hinge of the people controlling the government.

Most young people have never known any thing else, and I suspect that’s why they either voted remain or simply didn’t vote. But their parents remembered, like we do, something different, when government was at least kind of, sort of, responsive to the voters, not to mention that the obvious contempt, for those of the shire, rankled. I sort of predicted that leave would win, and that was why: I could feel the resentment. Yes, part of it was a repudiation of experts. There like here, they’ve been almost wholly wrong, so why would anyone, who doesn’t make money from them, continue that path?

I note that Mrs. May so far appears very surefooted, her cabinet choices appear to have satisfied almost everyone but the left, who were never going to be satisfied, by anyone, who made it on her own, and a Vicar’s daughter, forsooth. But I must say, the more I see of her, the more impressed I become. Her record says she’s at best a statist, but then again, Churchill was a liberal.

I think the British may have started something that we’ll have something to say about. If you’ve been here more than about two minutes, you know I’m not a Trump supporter. But I do understand why so many are, and unless something very strange happens, I’ll likely end up voting for him. Why? Because he might be held to account by the press, which will never pay any attention to anything Hillary does wrong, which is most things. And who knows, he might be a decent president, I’d be surprised, but at least it would be a pleasant surprise. With Hillary, we know all about it, and it’s all bad.

And so the story continues, many of them, including the ones we’ve talked about here, where Mitt dropped the ball in 2012, we had recovered the House by then, and the Senate in 2014, but found that the Republican we thought were on our side, well they weren’t, were they? The Brits found the same thing outside London, they call it the bubble, and it seems as if the ‘posh tory boys’ ruled in their own interest, not the people’s. But they screwed up, and gave the people a vote, and the people spoke, rather decisively. I think our people are tired of lecturing as well, and so I think the Donald will win, maybe, perhaps, but he will surely lose if he suddenly turns into an establishment republican.

We shall surely see, and keep this in mind: Things are rarely as dire as we think, nor are they ever as good as we hope. Life is sort of a middle-of-the-road experience, so keep your chin up and as always, keep up the skeer.

And remember, as Bruce Anderson reminded us in the Spectator this week, “Why it takes more thinking to be a Tory than a socialist.

John Stuart Mill did not describe the Conservatives as the stupid party. He merely said that although not all Tories were stupid, most stupid people voted for them (cf. Brexit). But at any level above automatic loyalty at the polling box — not to be deprecated — Conservatism is no creed for the intellectually limited. It requires hard thinking. The socialists have an easier life. First, they have a secular teleology: socialism. Second, assuming that history is on their side, many lefties feel entitled to lapse into a complacent assumption of moral superiority. That helps to explain why there has been no serious left-wing thinking in the UK since Tony Crosland in the 1950s.

Though Tories may envy the complacency, they are condemned to stress. Without a political teleology, they have no way to simplify history. Their challenge is as complex as the human condition. There are a few useful maxims. Falkland: ‘When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.’ Berlin: ‘The great goods cannot always live together.’ Oakeshott: ‘Civilisation is only a collective dream.’ Wisdom, certainly, but what should Tories actually do? How should they decide when it is necessary to change, or which great good should take priority? As for civilisation, dreams and nightmares, the task of preventing our era from turning into the Dark Ages plus weapons of mass destruction is best entrusted to Tory tough-mindedness, and there is no guarantee of success.

True then, now, and always. True in the UK, and true here in the US. It takes far more effort to keep the fire going than to roast wienies on your neighbors’.

So, thanks again, Jess, my dearest friend, and my partner here, I’ll never be able to tell anyone, how important it is to me that you share this place with me, and now, after we have published 3005 articles of one kind or another, we still go on. I had to mention that, because even with a year’s head start, Jess’ own blog has almost caught up, and yes, it passed us in readership years ago, as it deserved to.

And so, as we’ve been saying here for five years, good luck, and keep the faith, we’re going to need it. Chesterton reminds us that

I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.

Night shall be thrice night over you,
And heaven an iron cope.
Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?

But Mother Julian answers for us:

If there is anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love.

And in God’s good time:

All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.

 

American Society on the Brink

Victor Davis Hanson recently wrote an article in National Review which makes a good follow-on for yesterday’s article here. Overall, VDH isn’t as optimistic as Brandon Smith. He sees the racial divide (and the racialism) in America as approaching (or perhaps past) the tipping point, that will divide the country for a long time to come. I think his point is valid and shows us what may well be in store.

We watched the other week as Britain nearly tore itself asunder, as the Remainers acted badly as a result of losing the referendum, and I probably don’t need to remind many Americans that the Republican Convention is next week, in Cleveland. There are many threats flying about the internet, and while many are just big talk, it won’t take many to make even more of a mess of it than the party has done on its own. Here’s some of VDH.

“Punish our enemies” characterized Obama’s approach to race and bloc voting. Each time an explosive racial confrontation appeared on the national scene, Obama — always in his accustomed academic intonations — did his best to exploit the issue. So the Skip Gates farce was leveraged into commentary about police stereotyping and profiling on a national level. The police officer in the Ferguson shooting was eventually exonerated by Obama’s own Justice Department, but not before Obama had already exploited the shooting for political advantage, as part of a larger false narrative of out-of-control racist cops who recklessly shoot black suspects at inordinate rates to the population (rather than in the context of their national incidence of contact with police).

**************************

Multicultural societies — from 19th-century Austria–Hungary to contemporary Iraq, Lebanon, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda — have a poor record of keeping the peace between competing tribes. They usually end up mired in nihilistic and endemic violence.

The only hope for history’s rare multiracial, multiethnic, and multireligious nations is to adopt a common culture, one that artificially suppresses the natural instinct of humans to identify first with their particular tribe. America, in the logical spirit of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was exceptional among modern societies in slowly evolving from its original, largely European immigrant population to a 21st-century assimilated, integrated, and intermarried multiracial society, in which religious and racial affiliations were incidental, not essential, to one’s public character and identity.

But such a bold experiment was always tenuous and against the cruel grain of history, in which the hard work of centuries could be easily torn apart by the brief demagoguery of the moment. Unfortunately, President Obama, ever since he first appeared on the national political scene in 2008, has systematically adopted a rhetoric and an agenda that is predicated on dividing up the country according to tribal grievances, in hopes of recalibrating various factions into a majority grievance culture. In large part, he has succeeded politically. But in doing so he has nearly torn the country apart. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to suggest that no other recent president has offered such a level of polarizing and divisive racial bombast.

Most recently, without citing any facts about the circumstances of the police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana, Barack Obama castigated the police and the citizenry on their culpability for racial disparity and prejudicial violence. “[T]hese fatal shootings are not isolated incidents. They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal-justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve.” Obama did not yet know the race of the policemen involved (as in the case of Baltimore, the Minnesota shooting involved non-white officers), the circumstances that led to the shootings, or the backgrounds of either the officers or their victims.

Shortly afterwards, twelve Dallas law-enforcement officers were shot, and five of them killed, by a black assassin who declared solidarity with Black Lives Matter and proclaimed his hatred for white law enforcement. That outbreak prompted Obama to take to the podium again to recalibrate his earlier message. This time he amplified his gun-control message, and somewhat delusionally added that the upswing in racial polarization did not imperil national unity — in much the same way that, in years past, he had announced that al-Qaeda was on the run, we were leaving behind a stable Iraq, and ISIS was a jayvee organization. Note the Obama editorial method in the case of police incidents, from Skip Gates to Louisiana and Minnesota: He typically speaks before he has the facts, and when subsequent information calls into question his talking points and theorizing, he never goes back and makes the corrections. Nor does he address facts — from Ferguson to Dallas — that do not fit his political agenda. Finally, a police shooting of an African-American suspect is never an “isolated event,” while the shooting of an officer by a black assassin is isolated and never really thematic of any larger racial pathology.

via American Society on the Brink | National Review

And still, it needs to be said that the police shoot, in both absolute terms and as a percentage of those they come in contact with, more white males than any other group. But of course, facts don’t matter, especially if it conflicts with the narrative. By the way, I suspect we are all aware that that the homicide rate in the US is lower than it has been since 1973 or so, even with the war zones we call Chicago, Detroit, and others.

So, we are simply being fed a line, by our administration, and by the news media (redundancy alert, of course), even after the administration said flat out that they are a bunch of semi-useful idiots.

It comes down to this: Whoever or whatever team Obama is playing for, it’s not the team that wants to promote racial harmony and self-sufficiency in America. And you can safely bet that the unfriendly part of the world is watching, and laughing at us as America tears itself, and western civilization apart.

The reasons why the globalists are destined to lose

quiblepenglobalismThis is quite interesting. I’m not sure if I completely follow his reasoning (I think I do in the main). His supposition comes down to the old one that there is something innate in human beings to seek after liberty, which is I think, beyond rational debate. So, read carefully, it is a bit dense at places; and enjoy. I surely did.

Under the surface of almost every sociopolitical and economic event in the world there burns an ever-raging, but often unseen, war. This war, for now, is fought with fiction and with truth, with journalistic combat and with quiet individual deeds. It is defined by two sides which could not be more philosophically or spiritually separate.

On one side is a pervasive network of corporate moguls and elites, banking entities, international financial consortiums, think tanks and political puppets. They work tirelessly to reshape public psychology and society as a whole into something they sometimes call the “New World Order;” a completely and scientifically centralized planet in which they control every aspect of government, trade, life and even moral compass. I often refer to them simply as the “Globalists,” which is how they at times refer to themselves.

On the other side is a movement that has developed organically and instinctively, growing without direct top-down “leadership,” but still guided through example by various teachers and activists, driven by a concrete set of principles based in natural law. It is composed of the religious, the agnostic and even some atheists.  It is soldiered by people of all ethnic and financial backgrounds. These groups are tied together by a singular and resounding belief in the one vital thing they can all agree upon — the inherent and inborn rights of freedom. I call them the “Liberty Movement.”

There are those who think they do not have a dog in this fight, those who ignore it and those who are completely oblivious to it. However,everyone can and will be affected by it, no exceptions. This war is for the future of the human race. Its consequences will determine if the next generation will choose the conditions of their environment and maintain the ability to reach their true potential as individuals or if every aspect of their lives will be micromanaged for them by a faceless, soulless bureaucracy that probably does not have their best interests at heart.

As you can probably tell, I am not unbiased in my examination of these two sides. While some of the more “academically minded” cynics out there do attempt to marginalize the entire conflict by accusing both sides of simply trying to impose “their ideology” on the rest of humanity, I would say that such people are generally ignorant of what is at stake.

There is in fact an elemental force behind this war. I would even call it a conflagration between good and evil. For a more in-depth analysis on the evil behind globalism, read my article “Are Globalists Evil Or Just Misunderstood.”

Some people don’t adhere to such absolutes or they think good and evil are fantasies created by religion to keep society in check. I have no intention of trying to convince them otherwise. All I can say is, I have seen and experienced these absolutes first hand and, therefore, I have no choice but to remain a believer.

I would also point out that the general experience of most men and women is that the act of organized and legitimate oppression is inherently evil and such actions in the name of satisfying delusional elitist narcissism are even more evil. While these experiences are subjective, they are also universal, regardless of the culture, place or time in history. Most of us feel the same horror and the same defiance when facing rising tyranny. We can’t necessarily explain why, but we all know.

While I am firmly on the side of liberty and am willing to fight and trade my life to stop the “New World Order” the globalists are so obsessed with, I will not turn this examination of their tactics into a blind or one sided farce. I will point out where the elites are effective just as I will point out where they are ineffective. It would do more harm than good to portray the globalists as “stupid” or bumbling in their efforts. They are not stupid. They are actually astonishingly clever and should not be underestimated.

They are indeed conniving and industrious, but they are not wise. For if they were wise, they would be able to see the ultimate futility of their goal and the world would be saved decades of tragedy and loss. Their cultism has dulled their senses to reality and they have abandoned truth in the name of control. Here are some of the primary strategies that the globalists are using to gain power and work towards total centralization and why their own mindset has doomed them to failure.

Globalism vs. “populism”

via The reasons why the globalists are destined to lose – Personal Liberty®

One thing I would caution the globalists amongst us about is this. Almost everybody harboring these type of dreams, sees themselves as in control, they won’t be, in probably 99% of the cases, the will simply be given enough power to do what they are told to do, without any authority at all to think. Strikes me as a very sterile existence.

The US government was expressly designed to guard against this type of thing, and that is why ‘Job 1’ for these types is to subvert “Rule through and under the law”, always remember that, you don’t have to believe the conspiracy (I too think it is mostly ephemeral, not explicit) to see the dangerous results.

And a word of caution, not everyone who makes noises like they belong to what the author calls ‘the Liberty Movement’ does, many are simply mouthing the words for their own gain. You (and I) need to make our own choices about who really wants freedom. Many are simply contesting who is in charge. And be assured, the media is most assuredly not on the side of freedom.

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