A Nation Of Charlie Browns

To give Joe Biden victories in the coming election, most Americans will have to become Charlie Brown. The ever-optimistic Peanuts character believes Lucy won’t pull the football away when he tries to kick it. Charlie never gets Lucy’s character. He always ends up on his back.

Since Joe Biden has been in politics and even earlier, he has s had an estrangement with the truth. Finding the plagiarized British socialist leader Neil Kinnock’s speeches derailed his earlier presidential run. Stealing another man’s work aligns with Joe’s lack of ethics.

Biden has led us to believe he came from a Scranton, Pa., blue-collar family. Joe’s father grew up well off. He had a white-collar managerial job in Scranton. A down period for the family followed World War II, but it didn’t last long enough that Joe couldn’t attend a top-notch Catholic School. Rather than an economic struggle, Joe had cars to chauffeur friends and dates. His father had become a top used-car salesman. 

Joe claimed he had a stellar undergraduate career. None of it was true. He was in the top half of his law school class. 76th out of 85 is far from the top half. One of the reasons for the low standing was he was found to have plagiarized a law review article.

With this background, the idea that Joe would use his position to sell influence doesn’t seem far-fetched. The Biden family, including Joe, benefitted from routing payments through his son. Hunter. Of course, Joe claimed he never discussed “business” with his son.

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Returning to An Alternate Universe

Since returning to the States from a trip abroad, I’ve had this weird feeling things aren’t right. Instead of people acting rationally, the opposite is true. Take the recent inflation victory party on the White House lawn. While the administration was lauding the passage of “The Inflation Reduction Act,” we saw split-screen evidence inflation is still going strong. The market was dropping a whopping 1,200+ points in anticipation that the Federal Reserve had no choice but to jack interest much higher or lose control. 

What were the revelers celebrating? There’s the $300+ billion in programs and subsidies for the “Green New Deal” that, as others have pointed out, don’t do anything to lower the earth’s temperature. The bill caps some medical costs, but price controls always end up costing more down the road. Neutral observers have noted the law does not reduce our present inflation problem. 

In the face of hard evidence, some believe we must spend these vast sums to save the planet. They claim to see doom if we don’t accept all their proposals. But this argument rings hollow. If you thought the earth was in immediate danger and things might not move fast enough to stave off disaster, wouldn’t you be looking for a plan B? After all, we’re facing extinction. What if temperatures start quickly rising as they predict? Shouldn’t we be looking for a backup action?

 Some people think this would be prudent. Solar geoengineering creating a planetary sunshade isn’t a new idea. A team of Harvard Researchers wanted to experiment with calcium carbonate over a Swedish Space facility. A decade earlier, British Researchers wished to do a similar experiment. Neither got off the ground due to massive opposition from the green crowd. What could [ossibly arouse such hostility? Some dust in the atmosphere can provide cooling at a very reasonable price. If we’re about to become extinct, entertaining some ideas that might save us is a good idea.

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Returning To A World Of Woe

On the third try, we finally took an Iceland cruise. The island lies closer to Europe, so we had several fellow passengers from the British Isles and the continent. Brits, especially, always are eager to talk. While we in the U.S. have increasing doubts about our institutions, Brits have similar concerns. The response to the covid pandemic is primarily to blame. The question on both sides of the pond was a complete shutdown necessary.

Readers know where I’ve stood on this issue since the series on Covid started in March of 2020. Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially favored an approach akin to Sweden’s; protect the at risk as much as possible but maintain everyday life. The dire predictions by the Imperial College echoed by the government’s medical establishment panicked Johnson into a reversal.

The same thing happened to Donald Trump. The funding of massive disruptions with vast public expenditure undertaken by both governments. Now we are evaluating the lost years due to our institutional actions. Did we follow the data? Were there better alternatives? It’s good to know we aren’t alone in our inquiry.

The astonishing reports on our loss in life expectancy and our children’s education greeted us on our return. No longer can we ignore the poor path our government elites lead us down. Indeed, a soul-searching dive into the many agreeing on courses of action with disastrous results is mandatory.

Instead, we see the same elites claiming we didn’t know what to do. Only later did we realize schools presented little Covid danger, and older vulnerable are more likely to die. Now we know we protect the at risk and go about our business. The latest CDC advisory is the opposite of the lockdown strategy. Has Covid gone away? It’s spreading, but nobody except China wants to repeat the lockdown foolishness. 

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Shouldn’t We Get Something For Our Money?

It’s hard to keep up with the Biden debacles. While we wait for the administration to explain the latest fiasco, the raid on Trump’s Florida residence, we need to continue evaluating Build Back Better, oops, the Inflation Reduction Act. While the Congressional Budget Office (C.B.O.) points out that the legislation does nothing to reduce inflation, the claim is it will save the planet. Just ask the New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman. 

Too bad the $380 billion spent on this march to the Green New Deal will make no noticeable difference in the earth’s temperature by the end of the century. Wall Street Journal contributor Bjorn Lonberg ran the numbers and found that the most optimistic case lowers the temperature by 0.028 degrees Fahrenheit. The pessimistic case is 0.0009. 

This result is understandable once you realize nothing we in the U.S. does will make any difference in the earth’s temperature as long as the third world, China, and India continue to expand the use of fossil fuels massively. Nations desiring to improve the lives of their people understand the need for cheap reliable energy. Suppose it’s locally sourced; so much the better. That isn’t the windmills and solar panels we’re pushing.  

To make the pain equal worldwide, The World Bank is lobbying for a single world carbon tax. Even though this idea has support in some quarters, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finds a slight increase in world G.D.P. at the turn of the next century from a lower temperature wouldn’t be worth the pain getting there. 

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Widget’s Revenge

Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer have agreed on what they call “the Inflation Reduction Act.” This bill is a slimed down but a still expensive version of the multi-trillion dollar “Build Back Better.” At the core is a minimum of 15% tax on over-billion dollar corporations. The revenue from this tax pays for much of what’s in the legislation.

Democrats and much of the media have applauded this provision as only fair. After all, many big corporations pay no tax. How can that be fair? At least they can give a pittance. !5% isn’t too much to ask from these wealthy corporations. 

Maybe there is more to the story. Let’s look at what I’ll call The Internation Widget Corp (IWC). In my days in Business school, a widget was the stand-in for anything produced. Company A Turns out 100 widgets an hour, but company B only 75. How can B match or exceed A?  

How would this “Inflation Reduction Bill” affect this mythical company? Demand for widgets outstripped production, leading to inflationary supply-chain disruptions. Investment in increased production is necessary to fill orders and maintain the company’s competitive position. IWC will post a profit in 2022 of a billion dollars from selling this essential to many industries.

IWC is investing $4 billion in plant and equipment to meet the challenge. Three billion borrowed. Trump’s 2017 tax reform let it offset its tax liability by rapidly depreciating this investment resulting in zero tax. It’s committing all the company’s profits and the maximum money it can borrow without losing its excellent credit rating.

Expansion means more jobs and economic activity- More taxable income down the road. Trump understood it takes invested capital to create viable employment. Business investment underpinned the Trump boom before the pandemic. In any case, expanding supply to meet demand curtails inflation.

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