Fare Share and Other Signs of Envy

Even a well-publicized crisis that turns out to be more hype than fact can serve a noble purpose. This is the way it should be with the well-publicized widening gap between the rich and the rest of the populace. Wealth inequality is said to threaten the ties that bind our society together. Based mostly on the work of economists, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, the expanding gap is menacing not only the United States but all of the rich world. The latest addition to this argument is presented in the new book by Saez and Zucman, “The Triumph of Injustice.” These two advisors to Elisabeth Warren’s Presidential campaign, are revered across the progressive world. The widening disparity between rich and poor is taken as gospel, bringing forth demands the rich “pay there fair share.” Unfortunately, much as it was with Piketty’s 2013 book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” this book is riddled with false assumptions and poor methodology leading to erroneous conclusions. Don’t take our word for it; recent articles in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, and by the Cato Institute, among others, do an excellent job of dismantling this thesis brick by brick. Just leaving out the effect of transfer payments and taxation was bound to have it go off the rails. Apparently, you can find academics to back up any point of view no matter how far out, if you look hard enough. Logic and experience needn’t get in the way of currying political favor. How else can you explain Trump’s trade advisor, Peter Navarro?

Yet, increasing the general individual wealth is a worthy goal. It’s just taking it from the successful and giving it to others after the government takes a healthy processing fee that’s self-defeating. That idea relies on a deadly sin, envy. We’re better than that. In any case, this never works. Any community is far more vibrant top to bottom with more wealthy entrepreneurs. Any community adopting policies and taxes that force them to leave can only be more impoverished. Remember our rule, “if people are clamoring to get in, you’re doing something right, and if they’re rushing to get out, you’re doing something wrong.” Instead of beggaring your more affluent neighbor, it would be better to consider ways to make you wealthier. Does the government assist you in finding better economic conditions, or does it in fact work against you?

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Now that Deval Patrick and possibly Michael Bloomberg are entering the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Why not? None of the multitudes already running has wowed the populace. The nominal leader, Joe Biden, is suffering from a wound named Hunter. As we’ve pointed out, you simply can’t go for impeachment with a leader so ethically compromised. As the Dems push impeachment, the Republicans can point to the Bidens. Saying they did nothing wrong, just insults the electorate. Joe Biden’s only real source of strength is the Black vote. This arises out of his association with Barrack Obama. Patrick has a much older friendship with the former President, and he’s black. This can’t help but diminish Biden’s black support. This will further fragment the delegate totals for those running, probably leading to a hung convention. After two ballots, the nomination we think will go to Michelle Obama by acclamation. For years we’ve predicted Michelle would be the nominee, and Patrick’s entry in the field is just another Obama cool move. In any case, the Dems are committed to promising endless spending and crushing taxes. Michelle only has to appear to be a little less extreme.

Forcing both parties to the extremes is a given with our present primary system. As we’ve pointed out in our series “the Future Party” (series available on this site), our failing nominating system gives us less acceptable candidates. Instead of the parties offering capable candidates with broad appeal, we have populist Trump facing candidates at the other extreme. The lack of fiscal restraint is indicative of the lack of sound thinking. The present President is running trillion-plus deficits, yet any of the Democratic contenders make him look like a miser.

At the forefront of the Dems proposed eye-popping spending is healthcare. Cost estimates in the tens of trillions are offered to replace our present system or slightly less to significantly expand it. Nowhere is there any reasonable elements in any of the plans to actually cut the real costs of healthcare. Rationing, along with price controls and caps, we are told will bring prices down. They claim eliminating the profit motive will make healthcare much cheaper. One doesn’t have to recall the failure of the USSR’s command society to know this is the path to long waits and shortages. We just have to look at the current crisis in Britain’s single-payer health service. Presently, almost a quarter of a million have been waiting 6 months or more for needed treatment. Remember, Britain has only 1/6th of the Us population. Worse, 25% of cancer patients failed to start treatment on time even though timely treatment is often the difference between life and death. Do we really want needless deaths on the national conscience? We want better for our loved ones.

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Cold War II

We were asked if we’re slipping into a new cold war. Our answer is you haven’t been paying attention, it’s already started. It probably started even longer ago, but when Xi was named President for life, it was inevitable. Anytime you have a president for life or anything close to it, the situation already is off the rails. You just don’t get liberalization with the rule of law when you can’t change the people at the top. What you get increasing repression. As we’ve pointed out in our “More” series, top-down one-party states are inherently inefficient as the elite substitute their judgment for that of free markets and the choices of free people. As they fall further behind, the people become restive, and the rulers have to make a choice between ceding power or crushing dissent. Too often, the latter wins out. So it appears with China. 

Given the actual state of things, what should we be doing? Decouple as soon and as thoroughly as we can without upending our and the world’s economy. That was the beauty of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While increasing free trade among the members and protecting intellectual property rights, it makes it more expensive to make or buy in China. Unless China changed its ways, it would become increasingly isolated. This would’ve given everyone time to adjust without sudden dislocation. Unfortunately, the Trump administration dumped TPP and instead levied stiff tariffs. This is causing pain on both sides without isolating China. Evidently, the Trump administration thinks we can continue to have linked economies with just some adjustments. That wouldn’t have worked with the old Soviet Union, and it won’t work with China.

You only have to look at two of the recent happenings to two of our prominent business institutions, the NBA and Disney. Each fearing a loss of Chinese profits has bent their American Principles into a pretzel. Given our ideals, is there any reason not to know where Americans should come down on freedom. Houston Rockets general manager knew Daryl Morey and twitted his support for the people of Hong Kong. China had an immediate meltdown and used full force to bend the NBA to its will. Disney under similar pressure made changes to content to please China. In both cases, these entities initially chose profits over integrity. In doing so, they have lost any moral authority to speak out on anything at home or abroad. Unless you’re willing to pay the price of speaking up against injustice everywhere, you can’t really speak out anywhere. Nobody needs to listen to hypocrites.

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Hunter Biden has informed us he is cutting ties with the Chinese investment firm that the Chinese Government saw fit to give $1.5 Billion. We had no idea he was still raking it in from his dad’s vice-presidency. As we pointed out in our last post, Hunter gained lucrative positions in which he had zero qualifications solely on his dad’s situation. With his dad’s presidential run, we would’ve thought this swamp creature behavior had stopped long ago. He claims to have done nothing wrong and then promised never to accept offshore positions and money if his dad becomes President. Why would he? There would be far more lucrative positions available to him at home in a Biden presidency. No need to travel far. For his part, his dad also claims they did nothing wrong. Yet, his proposed ethics code outlaws this type of behavior precisely. Maybe this isn’t even needed. According to Washington Post writer Marc Thiessen, the Code of Federal Regulations bans this conduct. It states, “a relative with whom the employee has a close personal relationship” and “the circumstances would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question his impartiality in the matter, the employee should not participate in the matter.” Yet, Joe Biden forced the firing of the prosecutor investigating the Ukrainian gas company employing his son. Whether he was right or wrong in this case, he was forbidden to take this action. Simply, Joe Biden can’t do stuff where his impartiality could be questioned. If he had adhered to this rule, he wouldn’t be in such a fix. He broke the regulation. When you break the rules, you have done something wrong. In any case, both say they won’t do any more foreign deals if Joe gets to be President, wuld you really believe them when they can’t even own up to past transactions? They seem to think they are entitled to big unearned paychecks just because of high position. The rotten apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

In any case, as predicted, Joe is fading. The Bidens mantras of we didn’t do anything wrong, we’ll never do it again, and we’ll make these activities illegal if they weren’t already shown appalling judgment. You just can’t have the ethically challenged Joe Biden being the face of the Democrats when they’re trying to impeach a president. The Democrats are all in on impeachment, so Joe has to go.

That leaves the rising but unelectable Elizabeth Warren as the front-runner. Our prediction 2020 Democratic nominee will be Michelle Obama is looking better every day. Doubters should be aware a recent New Hampshire poll shows her well ahead of the field. Remember you heard it here first years ago.

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Another Historic Failure?

At first, we thought of “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, but that fiasco was due to miscommunication. A better analogy is the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The vainglorious George Armstrong Custer attacked a massive group of allied native Americans lead by Chief Crazy Horse. Inadequate information and bad tactics doomed the endeavor. A divided force led to an uncoordinated attack. The rest is history. “Custer’s Last Stand” has long been held as an example of poor leadership resulting in a disaster by failing to respect an enemy. The current blind charge of the Democrats into impeachment seems destined to have the same result. Custer’s scouts told him the village he was approaching was by far the largest they had ever seen. A quick calculation should’ve alerted him to a superior force and little chance of victory. He attacked anyway. Similarly, the rush to impeachment stands little chance of success in the face of superior Republican numbers in the Senate. Custer could’ve waited and joined other forces in the area to fight later on more favorable terms. With an election just a little over a year away, why give President Trump a big Senate victory on election eve? Adding this latest Trump stumble to the long list of reasons to not re-elect him would seem a more prudent course. After all, he’s a relatively unpopular president, and the Democrats had a sizeable victory in 2018. Why not just build on your advantages?

The impeachment inquiry is based on our President asking the Ukrainian President in a phone call to look into the circumstances of Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s employment in his country. The charge is this asking a foreign country to provide dirt on a political opponent. Possibly this would be an illegal campaign contribution. The President says he was only talking about corruption, but military aid was on hold at the time. It just looks bad. Trump’ s speech and actions often lack clarity. However, the President didn’t ask a question many other people were dying to ask. Hunter Biden, in 2013, was dumped out of the US Navy reserves for testing positive for drugs. Soon after, he lands a job on the board of a possibly corrupt large Ukrainian gas company. He was paid $50,000 to $83,00 a month over three years. Before this employment, he had no known record of expertise in the Gas Industry or even Ukraine. Lots of people want how they can get a deal like that. During that time, guess who was the US’s point person dealing with and controlling aid to that troubled country? Oh, it was Vice President Joe Biden. Just on the face of it, this looks like a classic example of the DC swamp people hate. Joe Biden claims he broke no laws. In any case, he says never discussed business with Hunter. There he is playing golf with Hunter, another board member of the same gas company. Who are you going to believe, Joe or your lying eyes?

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