Views on the News

Views on the News*

May 16, 2015


American government at all levels is losing the legitimacy it needs to function or some segments of the government have already lost it.  From Ferguson to Baltimore, minority residents have little or no faith in the justice system.  Tens of millions of Americans believe the IRS routinely abuses its authority to attack political opponents of the administration.  Just about everyone is disgusted with crony capitalism with officials and agencies handing out contracts and favors to help political friends and hurt opponents.  It’s disgusting when the path to riches in America comes from lobbying politicians rather than serving customers.  Distrust of government has become an all-American activity.  People from all walks of life share the belief that the tools of official power are being used in an unfair and discriminatory manner.  The well-connected get to play by one set of rules with the aid of those in power, while the rest have to navigate a tougher road with government opposition.  Until people can trust government, the government cannot enjoy the necessary consent of the governed.  That’s true whether the distrust comes from a black teenager in Baltimore or a Tea Party leader in Texas.  For government in America to regain its legitimacy, government officials must change their behavior.  People may gain power by winning an election, getting a badge or landing a job with the IRS, but legitimate authority is something that has to be earned every day.  The legitimacy problem is not that Americans don’t respect authority; it’s that those with power don’t respect its limits.

(“The Legitimacy Crisis” by Scott Rasmussen dated May 8, 2015 published by Real Clear Politics at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/05/08/the_legitimacy_crisis_126530.html )

Democrats and other lefties can’t govern, and after 100 years of the Progressive experiment in action from Baltimore to Havana to Ho Chi Minh City to Beijing, we now know why.  Poll after poll shows Washington lacks the consent of the governed, a bad sign considering the recent string of electoral upsets showing actual elections a lot less friendly to the Left than pre-election polls.  Why does it seem that the Left’s efforts at governance, enabled mostly by a combination of favorable demographics and a public willing to give them a try after conservative parties run out of political gas, nearly always end in failure?  The answer can be found in seven lessons the Left steadfastly refuses to learn.

·    You’ll never eliminate income inequality, or any other inequality for that matter. We are all created equal in the eyes of the law.  All humans are different: we vary in our attributes, we master different skills, we’re brought up differently by our parents, and we have different desires and pursuits.  To everyone other than the Left this is what’s known as diversity and it’s considered a feature of civilized society.

·    People, who don’t want to be indoctrinated, won’t be. The Left has put a great deal of effort into Gramsci’s March Through the Institutions, and as a result it controls the three major industries thought to drive the public’s thoughts: the news media, pop culture, and academia.  American millennials, while without a doubt the worst-educated generation in the country’s history and displaying some truly ridiculous cultural predilections, are also less trusting of the Left’s institutions than anyone else.

·    It’s no fun ruling over a ruin. When the last Republican mayor left office in Detroit, the Motor City was the richest major burg per-capita on the planet.  Detroit’s black community, as it happened, was the richest per-capital on the planet, but the institution of left-wing policies: confiscatory taxation, the refusal to enforce the law, overregulation of the business community and the like, drove the middle-class voters into the suburbs just like has happened in every other major town the Democrats have seized control over.

·    The more laws you make, the more law-breaking will happen. Utopians are pretty good at selling the idea that if we just pass a law we can eliminate behavior we don’t like, but the only law that achieves full compliance is the Law of Unintended Consequences.

·    Dividing people by class and race can win you elections, but only for a while. The problem with playing interest-group politics on a state or national level is that while you might be able to drive the folks who aren’t in your coalition out of a city or county and consolidate power locally, it’s a lot harder to do that on a larger scale. States don’t just contain the big city the Democrats have driven the Republicans out of, they also contain the suburbs and exurbs the Republicans moved to and the small towns where urban progressive politics just don’t sell.  The voters are exhausted with interest-group politics and just want to see someone who can govern.

·    Govern what you have, not what you wish you had.  Britain put out a welcome mat for as many Third World immigrants as could make landfall upon its shores in the knowledge that the quick embrace by the welfare state would bind those immigrants to Labour in a sizable bloc of voters and thus lock Labour into power forever.  Turns out the middle class resists the competition for jobs, housing, education, and other economic commodities made scarce by large-scale immigration.  Now, Labour is on the outs in the UK because the British middle class resents it as the party of crime, poverty, and radical Islam.

·    If you demonize productivity, you’ll get less of it. The interesting thing about creating a left-wing culture based on racial and sexual grievance, free stuff for everybody, and blocking economic activity in the name of environmental activism is that nobody within that culture builds or makes anything anymore because who wants a target on their back?  That means sooner or later nobody has a job, nobody is making money, and nobody is happy.  The Left spends an inordinate amount of time creating miserable folks, and then is surprised to find them a political burden.

That the Democrats and their international ilk never learn these lessons makes them a pestilence on Western civilization and politics, to be sure.  

(“Seven Lessons the Left Will Never Learn” by Scott McKay dated May 12, 2015 published by The American Spectator at http://spectator.org/articles/62678/seven-lessons-left-will-never-learn )


When I look back at the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 60s, I marvel at how naïve I was that the passage of major legislation was going to “solve” the problem of discord between the white and black race.  A recent poll found a resounding 96% of adults said it was likely there would be additional racial disturbances this summer.  To nobody’s surprise, blacks and whites “viewed the situation differently.”  Baltimore has a black Mayor, a black police chief, and many blacks among his force.  If the issue was the police, then no city in America is safe and that is just not so.  Unfortunately, the foolishness of Baltimore’s Mayor, who told the force to stand down and let the rioters have their way, was then demonstrated by her request that the Department of Justice (DOJ) launch an investigation of the city’s police force.  It is far more likely that the outcome will be more political than demonstrative of trends.  I have come to the view that the most racially divisive leader in America is our first African-American President.  Why else has Reverend Al Sharpton become his most visible “adviser” and why are administration figures less likely to be found honoring fallen police officers than the alleged black victims?  Trillions was spent on liberal programs, personified by LBJ’s “War on Poverty” that have not succeeded in reducing poverty and have contributed to creating whole populations that live off of government handouts of one sort or another.  While the Great Society’s billions were creating a culture of dependency, South Korea, with its emphasis on trade and global competition, rose from the ashes of a terrible war to become the world’s 12th largest economy.  This occurred over the same time period the liberal dependency programs and liberal governance of many U.S. cities created this inner city problem.  Are their differences between whites and blacks?  Yes, but they are economic.  Middle and upper class blacks share the outlook of their white counterparts.  They look at the inner cities and they understand that decades of liberal governance has driven out businesses large and small, along with anyone who could afford to leave.  Yes, there was “white flight”, but they were joined by blacks who saw there was no future to be had there for their children.  The rest are trapped.  Not until this nation returns to the high levels of respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day will we see a cessation of such events.

(“Endless Racial Discord” by Alan Caruba dated May 13, 2015 published by Canada Free Press at http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/71911 )

The country is beginning to focus its attention on the 2016 presidential election as politicians start formalizing their campaign intentions.  Like many previous elections, 2016 will give voters the chance to once again choose between the failed policies of redistribution and the proven policies of growth.  Our optimism about the future is grounded in the evolving “death of liberalism.”  The US has been moving, albeit slowly, towards prosperity/growth and away from stagnation/redistribution since 2010.  2016 could prove to be the final blow to liberalism unleashing an economic prosperity not seen in over thirty years.  The good news for investors is that markets are not fully priced for such an economic growth future.  The US bond market is currently pricing in a real growth rate near 0%.  While the US stock market is making new nominal highs, in real terms US stock indexes are roughly 30% from highs seen in 2007.  Both the US bond and stock markets are telling the same story and are priced for a low to no growth economic future.  A Laffer style, pro- growth policy plan will change all of that; it will unleash a US equity bull market not seen since the 18X stock market advance during the 80s and 90s, and it will once and for all pop the US bond market bubble as interest rates rise to reflect higher growth rates.  We cannot remind readers enough that this reality is within reach.  Laffer inspired Presidential candidates are finally listening to the voters and offering a menu of real pro-growth policy solutions.  The death of liberalism is not only coming, it is already here in the US.

(“Welcome the ‘Death of Liberalism’” by James Juliano dated May 15, 2015 published by Reading the World at http://www.rtwnewsletter.com/welcome-the-death-of-liberalism/ )

By administrative legislation, Obama is attempting to give the most precious right of citizenship, the right to vote, to illegals who don’t give a damn about the sacrifices of our fallen heroes.  Illegals already have many (and even more) government benefits than citizens.  Benefits do vary from state to state but here is a rundown of state and national government overt and de facto benefits for illegals in NY.

·    Education - By a 1982 Supreme Court decision, states are required to provide K-12 public education for students without legal immigrant status. SUNY tuition policy states that undocumented aliens who attend New York high schools for at least 2 years and graduate from them may be eligible for the in-state tuition rate.

·    Health - Proof of citizenship is required to qualify for Medicaid, unless a woman is pregnant, or the situation is considered an "emergency." New York State law requires that hospitals treat everyone who requires emergency care.

·    Labor - Believe it or not, illegal immigrants are eligible for workers' compensation, but not unemployment insurance.  Labor standards laws also still apply to illegal aliens, such as the minimum wage, hours of labor, or prevailing wage on public construction projects.

·    Welfare - Illegal aliens are not legally entitled to most benefits, but do in fact receive them.  Federal rules generally bar illegal aliens from participation in state and local public benefit programs, unless the benefit is for the treatment of an emergency medical condition, or needs emergency disaster relief or immunization. Reality is an entirely different story because the burden of determining lawful status in the U.S. is on the shoulders of county social services employees who have neither the legal jurisdiction nor the practical ability to determine one's immigration status. Therefore, the law is usually overlooked and illegal aliens manage to qualify for state and local benefits.         

Moreover, it is not as if illegals have no impact on the quality of life of U.S. citizens.  It is not just that the availability of massive numbers of illegal immigrants depress wages, it is the fact that their sheer numbers keep wages from rising over time and that is the real harm experienced by citizen workers in the low skilled labor market.  The Obama administration won‘t even let states ask for proof of citizenship on voter registration forms, a bald-faced attempt to get the illegal vote.  The Obama administration is using every administrative ploy/inducement they can get away with to get the illegal vote.  Lumping legal immigrants in with illegals under the rubric of “non-citizens” is part of their rhetorical obfuscation.  The attempt is to make it seem that initiatives to prevent illegals from voting is a xenophobic assault on legal immigrants.   It is the illegals that are the problem because legal immigrants tend to follow the rules.  Just as their forefathers fought and died for their rights as citizens, their sons and daughters and descendants had better learn that the fight never ends, which means voting and supporting candidates that put U.S. citizens’ rights and interests first and honor those fallen heroes who died to protect those same rights.

(“Obama Cheapens the Legacy of Our Fallen Heroes” by Richard Butrick dated May 9, 2015 published by American Thinker at http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/05/obama_cheapens_the_legacy_of_our_fallen_heroes.html )


* There is so much published each week that unless you search for it, you will miss important breaking news.  I try to package the best of this information into my “Views on the News” each Saturday morning.  Updates have been made this week to the following sections:

·     Foreign Trade at http://www.returntocommonsensesite.com/fp/trade.php


David Coughlin

Hawthorne, NY