Reforging American Greatness

We’ve spoken of the things we do here many times, and it’s nice to have another voice. David L. Hunter raises his voice in The American Spectator. He makes his case well, and I agree with his diagnoses. While I see merit in his remedies, they are indeed far better than what we are doing, they are, to me at least, much too government-centric. In my opinion, we need to unleash the beast that built this country, devil take the hindmost, not simply give it a longer leash. The leash itself is a large part of the root problem. Still, this is very worthwhile.

Politically, what’s the definition of insanity? Electing the same types of people doing the same things, but expecting a different outcome.  (Thus, perhaps the main reason Donald Trump was elected president, in 2016, is neatly explained.)  More to the point, on an economic level, what’s the definition of insanity—other than doubling-down on what has been done previously? Thanks to President Trump, and the promise of Republican tax cuts, the tide—superficially—has started to turn. However, a record-setting Wall Street is not the same thing as a booming Main Street. After all, Wall Street is based upon the return on investment by stockholders. That’s rather far removed from real-life factors like creating homegrown American businesses, generating highly skilled domestic jobs or providing Americans opportunities to advance up the socioeconomic ladder. So, the true test of a strong economy is an expanding, upwardly mobile middle class. Yet, this all-important demographic has been declining for more than 40 years:

“After more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number [read: statistically equivalent to] by those in the economic tiers above and below it. In early 2015, 120.8 million adults were in middle-income households, compared with 121.3 million in lower- and upper-income households combined, a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data.”

It’s true, we have many more so-called upper class (based on income) people about, and many more what we call working class, as well. The middle has been hollowed out, and it works to our detriment. Why?

 

[…] What’s also apparent is that generally speaking, American companies are being outcompeted by their international counterparts for the world’s largest market share.
How is that happening?  It’s because U.S. businesses rely upon financial shell games designed to generate profits on their balance sheets. This has the superficially positive effect of artificially buoying the stock price (benefiting executives’ salaries and stockholders’ investments), while inversely gutting the real-world ability of a company to compete in the global marketplace. If that is not the case, why do American corporations widely participate in cost-slashing measures like corporate inversion, using inferior components in U.S. products (read: bailed out GM’sIgnition Switch Scandal) and outsourcing jobs?
Contrast that mindset with fundamentally producing products and services that excel at satisfying one or more customer needs for a true competitive advantage in the worldwide market. Instead, U.S. companies engage in modern-day finance-based parasitic behavior: absorbing weaker firms, often stripping them of their employees and selling off divisions for quick infusions of cash to elevate the “almighty” stock price. In popular culture, this dynamic was immortalized by the contentious exchange between corporate raider Edward Lewis (Richard Gere), and embattled “old-time” business owner Jim Morse (Ralph Bellamy) in “Pretty Woman” (1990):
Morse: “Mr. Lewis, if you were to get control—and I don’t think you will—but if you did, what do you plan to do with the company?”
Lewis: “Break it up and sell off the pieces.”
Morse: “I’m sure you’ll understand I’m not thrilled at the idea of your turning years of my work into your garage sale.”
Lewis: “At the price I’m paying for this stock, Mr. Morse, you are going to be a very rich man.”
Morse: “I’m rich enough. I just want to head my shipyard.”
We’ve touched often on this before, from the viewpoint of one inside the machine. Many are, and can see what needs to be done, but can’t because it might impact the quarterly bottom line. Eventually, it’s going to kill any business with the infection, and almost all big businesses, and many mid-size and small ones have it. What to do about it? Mr. Hunter thinks this is the answer.
How does one achieve this elusive key to lasting success? For that answer, one must look to Ronald Reagan’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness, circa 1985. Remarkably, this forward-thinking president was troubled by the overt financialization of the U.S. economy, and specifically, its adverse impact on American competitiveness. In response, Reagan launched a then-classified initiative known as the Socrates Project with the mission of transitioning the U.S. back to technology-based planning—and away from the type of financial shenanigans mentioned above.  It was so astonishingly effective that it far surpassed what countries like Russia, Japan and China were executing or could execute in the foreseeable future.
In turn, the Socrates Project developed the Automated Innovation System. Today, it can map global technology—high-tech, low-tech, “no”-tech –in real time. In function, it operates like a digital four-dimensional chessboard showing foreign organizations’ and countries’ plans for exploiting worldwide technology.  Specifically, it details the full range of present and future technology opportunities, and constraints, that can be exploited by U.S. public and private organizations for the essential competitive advantage to bring true and lasting economic prosperity back to America.
He may be right, at least to a point but I’m as always leery of panaceas, and this rather smells like one. More expert systems telling experts what to do strikes me as mostly more elite bullshit. Better than what we do now, but hardly the answer.
In truth, I do not think there is an answer. In the singular, that is. This a big diverse country, it works best when it has a goal and everybody leaves it alone and lets it see what it can accomplish.
Bigness is often an advantage, but just as often a disadvantage, the ability to marshal large amounts of money and groups of people offset by the elephantine measures necessary to manage such a group, rather than lead it.
And that is the answer, and where we are failing, leadership. The kind of leadership that can see an opportunity, and come hell or high water or even Washington bureaucrats and Wall Street idiots, drive on to success. Where are they? I don’t know, maybe school and college drove that spirit out of them, but I doubt it, they’re out there, thinking of better ways to do better things, and wondering how they can get from here to there.
A  good start would be to simply get the government back in its place, you know what Jemmy Madison said,
[…] to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.
That’s government’s job, and nothing else, anything else the government does is done to the detriment of some citizen, usually many citizens. Prosperity is something we are required to do for ourselves.
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Trump v. the Administrative State

If one is to think about it, and one should, what is the biggest impediment to starting or growing a business today in the United States? The answer is subtly different in the UK, but not much, I think. The answer is that we all do far too much paperwork for the government, and essentially it is on our own time, cause we don’t get paid to do that and there’s no profit in it anywhere.

In PowerLine yesterday, Steven Hayward, talked about this as well.

Last month I noted here and in the Los Angeles Times that the Trump Administration is conducting the most serious effort at de-regulation and true regulatory reform (as opposed to mere temporary relief) since the Reagan Administration, and in some ways superior to the Reagan efforts. (Though to be fair, many of the worst excesses of executive branch regulation have grown up since the Reagan years.)

Yesterday my regulatory rabbi Chris DeMuth took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal with a long feature explaining in his usual lucid way exactly what is going on. This is one of those times when you really ought to buy a copy at the newsstand because of the subscription paywall if you’re not a subscriber.

Which is fine and I would if there was anyplace out here that carried it, but the subscription is a bit high, even though I grew up reading it, so I’ll just have to suffer along with you. Chris says,

Consider three leading indicators. First, Mr. Trump has appointed regulatory chiefs who are exceptionally well-qualified and are determined reformers. . .  Second, the Trump administration is turning back from unilateral lawmaking. Mr. Obama made several aggressive excursions into this dangerous territory. . .  Each was justified by legal arguments that administration officials conceded to be novel and that many impartial experts (including those who favored the policies on the merits) regarded as risible. Each ran into strong resistance from the courts.

A third indicator is the introduction of regulatory budgeting, which sounds tedious but is potentially revolutionary. . .

Many readers may be puzzled that our tempestuous president should preside over the principled, calibrated regulatory reform described here. I have a hypothesis. Perhaps our first businessman-president, whatever his troubles in dealing with Congress, foreign leaders and other outside forces, is comfortable and proficient in managing his own enterprise, which is now the executive branch. He devoted unusual personal attention to his regulatory appointments, including those whose programs did not figure in his campaign strategy. He gives his subordinates wide running room, checks in with questions and pep talks, and likes management systems and metrics. He may even understand that modern presidents have become too powerful for their own good and can benefit from sharing responsibility with Congress.

Makes sense to me, whatever Trumps various difficulties, and I see them as surprisingly minor, he does know how to select executives (mostly) give them a mission and watch them run. I’ve been impressed.

From Steve again

Footnote: In my Los Angeles Times piece earlier this month, I wrote that “It is inconceivable that any of the other leading Republican candidates from the 2016 cycle would have governed as boldly as Trump has.” I had in mind things such as repudiating the Paris Climate Accord, and the EPA’s move to end the corrupt “sue-and-settle” lawsuit racket, which should have been done in the last Republican administration led by someone named Bush.

And you know, that is so much of the business cycle, how you feel about it when you get up to go to work, sometimes you can’t wait, and sometimes you’d rather not bother, and it really doesn’t depend on externalities like the weather. It depends on whether you think you’ll accomplish something, as much as anything. If you think all you’ll accomplish is another pile of government paperwork, it is easy to say “the hell with it” and over the last eight years many of us did.

That’s a lot of the traditional disdain for overreaching government instilled very deep in many Americans, we see it (truly, I think) as still another artificial constraint placed on us.

But because Trump is lifting the miasma from the swamp, at least some, we are seeing growth numbers that were inconceivable under Obama, because we believe things will get better, instead of the last eight years, when we always assumed worse.

And, as always, as the numbers go up, another one goes down, unemployment, however you measure it, yes, some are more honest than others. But we’re growing now at a rate now that would please China, let alone the UK.

Draining the swamp is a large part of making America great again.

Week in Pictures: Moar Cowbell

Let’s start with something that is becoming more obvious every day.

Had enough of the sex scandals, real and imagined? Yeah, me too. We’ve decided reached moar cowbell, both here and in Britain, but I fear it’s going to be running for some time, and has just gotten to DC. Swamps are like that. I’m also afraid that we are going to hear some awful stories involving pedophilia. That’s where most of the week went.

Right over left, or left over right

WASHINGTON—In response to radio personality Leeann Tweeden’s allegations of being inappropriately groped by Al Franken during a 2006 U.S.O. tour, Democratic Party leaders issued calls Thursday for a convincing amount of condemnation for the Minnesota senator. “I urge my fellow Democrats to renounce Senator Franken’s unacceptable behavior in the absolute most plausible way,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, adding that he hadn’t ruled out taking steps to eventually look into the matter. “It’s imperative that we unequivocally go through the motions of rejecting any and all forms of sexual misconduct, and I’m confident that all Democrats will join me in denouncing the senator’s actions in the strongest believable terms.” Schumer also said that party leaders would remain steadfast in their lip service even if additional Democrats were accused of sexual assault.

Broken Cat

Thanksgiving is Thursday – best start thawing that Turkey

Of course

As usual, most from PowerLine and Bookworm.

 

Lillie Langtry and American Judges

I haven’t said anything much about Judge Roy Moore, or in fact, most of the others, who it seems are being hounded out of public life, both here and in the United Kingdom. Nor do I intend to. Jay D. Homnick writing in The Spectator tells you why.

Judge Roy Moore has always come across as an anachronism, a frontier character letting chips fall as they may and consequences be damned. It is hard to think of him without harking back to Judge Roy Bean, the quirky Justice of the Peace who ruled with an iron and ironic hand, dispensing a brand of justice from his saloon in Southwest Texas during the waning days of the 19th century. Unlike other jurisdictions which sentenced horse thieves to death, Bean would impose the commonsense sanction of making the man return the horse.

Bean was the father of four children, but he was so infatuated with the image of English actress Lilly Langtry that he left her a lasting monument in naming the town of Langtry, Texas. Eventually Miss Langtry paid a visit to her namesake municipality, ten months after old Roy had passed on to his reward.

Our Roy has appeared to be cut from the same cloth, at least in his ability to stand up to the critics and the naysayers. He has stood up for what is right countless times, often paying high prices. […]

So now we are confronted by accusers who ascribe to him inexcusable sexual behavior from four decades ago, before his marriage. And suddenly everyone is angrily encamping on opposing battle lines to believe the victims or discredit their accounts.

My answer is simple: none of the above. I refuse to include this into the duties of the voter. With thirty days to go before an election, we must suddenly invest our attention in an extra-judicial process to listen carefully to a prosecution and a defense delivered in press conferences, then take on the role of judge and jury.

I refuse to play. I enjoy the Eyes for Lies blog as much as the next guy, but trying to be a human lie detector is not a job for the masses, and certainly not one to be assigned to the voting public. No one has the right to demand that I sit and listen to the audio of a he-said-she-said dispute and to vote on the basis of whose voice had a more genuine quaver.

Precisely, as a Christian, I prescribe to the same code, learned at my parent’s knee long ago, our countries will be fine if run on the basis of the ten commandments.

The behavior which many of the men are accused is morally, ethically, and legally wrong. The place for this is the Grand Jury room, in these cases almost uniformly a score of years ago. If you didn’t report it then, you’re after something other than justice now, and that makes your complaint irrelevant. If they actually acted this way, and you had done the right thing and reported it, even signed a police complaint, maybe just maybe you could have saved some other woman the same distress, humiliation, even victimhood. But you didn’t care about anybody but yourself then, especially not another woman, and so you put yourself outside of my circle of responsibility. You made this mess, you can clean it up, or you can live in it. Not my problem. Yep, I’d vote for Judge Roy Moore, not only because I agree with a fair amount of what he says, but because the cretins in (and leading) Congress don’t. Time to put a spoke in their wheel.

Now, about Lilly Langtry, Old Judge Roy Bean may or may not have been the best justice of the peace in Texas, but he was certainly a competent judge of the physical beauty of women, even those he had not met. 🙂

Conservatives Rising

Kurt Schlichter lays it out on Townhall just in case any of our so-called representatives would be interested in what the people that elected them think. I admit it’s unlikely, the gravy train and cocktail circuit in Washington is so much more fitting to their self-image. Here be ground truth or if you’re a Washington insider, monsters on the horizon, and they may be closer than you think.

I guess now we’re not supposed to be fighting culture wars anymore – man, it’s so hard to keep up with these ever-changing new rules! I’m old enough to remember way back to 2016, before Trump got nominated, and I could have sworn Conservative Inc., was gung-ho for the whole culture war thing. But then Trump actually fought it, taking on the big, soft target that is the spoiled, semi-literate athletes who like to rub their contempt for the flag we love in our faces in the guise of woke wokedness. Now we suddenly discover that fighting back is horribly uncouth and déclassé and “Oh, well I never!

Gosh, I would have thought from all those cruise panels about how our crumbling culture is slouching toward Babylon and the need to resist the liberal onslaught that maybe we ought to actually resist the liberal onslaught, but see, that was my mistake. I took it seriously when Conservative, Inc., promised to fight the leftist blitzkrieg against normal Americans. It was all a scam, a lie, a pose for us rubes. The Tru Cons didn’t actually mean it.

Jokes on them though, we meant it when we elected them, they’re replaceable, and I think some (maybe not enough) will be. We’ll find out soon enough. Yesterday, Alabama voters told us what they think.

Conservativism forgot about the real world conservatives we expected to line up behind us. While we were talking about free trade, we were ignoring that GOP voter who fought in Fallujah, came home, got a job building air conditioners, raised a family, and then one day watched the video of the oh-so-sorry CEO – who looked remarkably like Mitt Romney, because all these guys look remarkably like Mitt Romney – sadly informing his beloved employees that their jobs were getting shipped to Oaxaca. And our response to the 58-year old Republican voter who asked us how he was going to keep paying for his mortgage and his kid in college? Pretty much, “Well, that’s how free enterprise works. Read some Milton Freidman and go learn coding.

That’s not a response, not for a political party that requires people to actually vote for it. That’s an abdication, but what did Conservative, Inc., care? Priorities! “There’s this new tapas place in Georgetown everyone is talking about – the other night, my buddy from the Liberty Freedom Eagle Institute for Liberty, Freedom and Eagles saw Lawrence O’Donnell there getting hammered!

How about the guy who wanted to be a roofer in Fontana but he couldn’t because the contractors were only hiring illegals? What was our answer to him? “Oh well, the big corporate donors need their serfs, and if some pack of tatted-up MS-13 dreamers gang-rapes your daughter that’s just a price we’re willing to pay!

They try to crush our religion and Conservative, Inc., cowers because Apple’s CEO might say mean things. “Just bake the cake,” they say – it’s not worth the fight! They demand our tax money to kill babies and Conservative, Inc., passes the spending bills – “Gosh, we can’t risk the WaPo saying we’re mean!” They diss our National Anthem, we react, and Conservative, Inc., wags its soft, spindly fingers – “So, so very unpresidential! My word!

You know what is (not very) funny? I’ve got a lot of British friends who feel exactly the same way about the Tories, especially as led by Mrs. Dismay. You should hear them, some of them make Col. Schlichter sound very mild, indeed. They envy us though, because they’ve known enough Americans that they know we’ll do something about it, one way or another, and that we have the tools, and the experience, and yes, the guts to actually do it, not talk about it. I’m not calling them wusses, mind. They’d walk through fire for a conservative government that would tell the Frogs and the Krauts, not to even mention the Islamic terrorists, to sod off. That why they voted for Brexit. They envy us Trump, as well, and can’t see how such a figure could get to be their Prime Minister. Sadly, they have much right in that belief.

What’s coming after is militant normalacy, the not-so-polite demand that the lackwits and failures who style themselves as our betters stop dumping on us normal Americans who work hard and play by the rules (Gosh that sounds familiar, like it used to be a winning electoral recipe, if only I could remember where I heard it before).

Who are the normals? The Americans who built this country, and defended it. When you eat, it’s because a normal grew the food and another normal trucked it to you. When you aren’t murdered in the street or don’t speak German, it’s because a normal with a gun made those things not happen. We normals don’t want to rule over others. We don’t obsess about how you live your life, but also we don’t want to be compelled to signal our approval or pick up the tab. We are every color and creed – though when someone who is incidentally a member of some other group aligns with normals, he/she/xe loses that identity. The left drums normals who are black out of its definition of “black,” just as normal women get drummed out of womanhood and normal gays get drummed out gayhood. In a way, the left is making E pluribus unum a reality again – to choose to be normal is to choose to reject silly identity group identification and unite. Instead of saying “normal Americans,” you can just say “Americans.” [..]

That’s why the shameful abdication of Conservative, Inc., in the cultural fight is both important and irrelevant. It demonstrates that the first loyalty of many folks in the conservaracket is to the ruling caste to which they belong, and it also demonstrates that these wimps’ absence from the battle means nothing. […]

But we’re not giving up, and we’re not going to sit back and just take it. Militant normalcy is the result of normal people roused to anger and refusing to be pushed around anymore. We prefer a free society based on personal liberty and mutual respect. But if you leftists veto that option, that leaves us either a society where you rule and oppress us, or one where we hold the power. So let me break this down, both for the left and for their fussy Fredocon enablers: You don’t get to win.

Not for nothing did General Creighton Abrams, back when he was a Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 37th Tank Battalion, in the 4th Armored, as it led Patton’s 3rd Army to the relief of Bastogne, when he was informed that Bastogne was surrounded, say,

“They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor Bastards” 

 

Why the South Is Rising Again

Robert Stacy McCain posted an article Monday, that is I think, pretty close to required reading. It’s pretty close to the best (if it isn’t) exposition of the differences between those of us trying to make a living and those trying to make a living off us. It’s a bit long, but you’re a fearless bunch, so get going.

“These Democrats will do whatever they have to stop the president.”
“Now they’re making a big deal about statues? Who cares about statues!”

That exchange between two guys in a diner in Long Island, N.Y., was overheard by a former Democratic congressman, Steve Israel, who is no fan of Donald Trump, but who is smart enough to understand why the Charlottesville riot didn’t hurt Trump’s support among his voter base. Rep. Israel said Trump has been “diabolically brilliant” in appealing to the sentiments of working-class whites who elected him.

If two guys eating breakfast in a New York diner get it, and if even a Democrat like Steve Israel gets it, why don’t the media get it?

Ask yourself a few questions: Does the typical “swing” voter who made the difference for Trump in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin consider monuments to Robert E. Lee a major social problem? Whoever you might be, or wherever you live, try imagining yourself as a white working-class resident of suburban Pittsburgh, Detroit or Milwaukee. Is such a person “racist”? Well, if judged by the standards of the elite media, perhaps so, but this doesn’t mean the Trump voter thinks of himself that way; he just doesn’t buy into the liberal elite’s interpretation of the nature and causes of racial problems in America. That white guy in Michigan who lives near the bankrupt crime-plagued disaster of Detroit isn’t likely to believe racism is the universal explanation for every problem facing the black community. No, that white guy in Michigan watches the local TV news out of Detroit, and then he sees the national news about protests over Confederate memorials, and he has the same common-sense reaction as the two old guys in that Long Island diner: “Now they’re making a big deal about statues? Who cares about statues!”

Save your Confederate money, because the South is rising again: “The latest wave of polling shows that the president’s overall job-approval rating has inched upwards since the controversy, that a sizable majority of Americans support maintaining Confederate memorials instead of tearing them down, and that a notable minority agree with the president’s use of ‘both sides’ language during Tuesday’s press conference.”

What we have witnessed since Charlottesville is an “elite Mass Hysteria Bubble,” Professor Glenn Reynolds says. This madness originated in academia, and the news that the University of Texas at Austin has taken down statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate figures shows how widespread this elite hysteria has become. My immediate reaction was to wonder if Texas A&M will now remove the statue of Gen. Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, a much-beloved campus landmark. And what will become of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas?

The panicky reaction to Charlottesville among certain Republican politicians reflects a deficient understanding of the political landscape. At times of crisis, when the liberal media are trying to gin up a phony controversy to smear Republicans, it would behoove GOP leaders to consult Vox Day’s wise advice in SJWs Always Lie: “Do not try to reason with them” and “Do not apologize.” If you are not a Nazi sympathizer, why panic in response to ludicrous accusations that you are responsible for the actions of a random idiot at a white supremacist rally?

Furthermore, who are you, Mr. Republican Senator, to dismiss the grievances that might cause some misguided people to think that joining a bunch of nutjobs like Vanguard America is a smart thing to do? The liberal media expected Americans to sympathize with Black Lives Matters mobs, while Democrats made excuses for rioters in Ferguson, Baltimore and Charlotte, and yet President Trump was supposed to ignore “antifa” thuggery? Certainly, no Republican politician can endorse Jew-hating or race-baiting, but isn’t it possible that the so-called “alt-right” rally in Charlottesville signified something other than racial hatred?

Pardon me for caring about “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,”without regard to whether I believe their grievances are legitimate, or whether I approve of the “redress” they might seek. If the AFL-CIO convention demands an increase in the minimum wage — which they do, year after year — my advice would be to ignore them. While I might sit here at my computer and blog about why raising the minimum wage is a bad idea, I’m certainly not going to assemble a frantic mob of libertarians and try to storm the AFL-CIO convention hall. Likewise, when neo-Nazis gather to blame an international Zionist conspiracy for everything wrong in the world — which they do, year after year — my advice is to ignore them. Maybe I would write a blog post urging the neo-Nazis to go storm the AFL-CIO convention, although I’d only suggest this as a joke. On the other hand, wouldn’t a massive brawl between Nazi thugs and union goons be an amusing spectacle to watch? But I digress . . .

When President Trump said “both sides” engaged in violence at Charlottesville, he was simply stating a fact, and “facts are stubborn things,” as John Adams famously said, as an attorney arguing in defense of British soldiers accused of killing civilians in the Boston Massacre.

See what I mean? Continue reading here.

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