You Talking to Me?

You say I have “White Privilege.” You claim all the nation’s wealth is based on slave labor. We all need to make a sizable wealth transfer to Blacks to make amends. I don’t know, my ancestors came to this country well after the civil war. They came from countries where life wasn’t any walk in a park. Freedom and advancement just didn’t exist there for them. So they took a big chance and found some spots in steerage and came to the place where they were free to improve their lot in life. They never owned slaves or even lived south the Mason Dixon Line until some retired in Florida. They supported the NAACP and actively participated in civil rights activities. All were proud of the part our then-Senator Everett Dirksen played in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Bill. Yet, that isn’t enough, you’re white so you’re responsible for all the bad things in the lives of Blacks. You tell us the Declaration of Independence and Constitution my forebearers studied to become citizens, are bogus documents written by frauds. Well, those immigrants didn’t come to a place they thought was perfect, only the one place they knew they would have a chance to succeed. Those “frauds” and what they created may not have been perfect but it was good enough to give a better life to millions from all over the world. People who realized it was better here than where they came from. To this day far more people of all backgrounds, races, and religions want in than ever leave the US.

My ancestors came to a place where they didn’t have to watch every word they said. Here you had free speech. They could say bad things about leaders and still, keep their freedom and their lives. Now you tell us we can’t offend anyone. People need safe places where they are protected from offending ideas. Universities, where ideas should be espoused and debated, should now ban “unpopular” beliefs. Those with offending ideas need shouted down and driven off.

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Catching Up

Howard Shultz closed shop on a possible independent presidential run. We received his lengthy email explaining why he had to drop out. After many paragraphs explaining why we needed an option for the vast middle of the country, he bailed because he was terrified of being seen as a Jill Stein taking votes from a possible moderate Democratic candidate. An odd assertion for an independent seeking to draw votes from both parties. He also mentioned back problems but it’s hard to see how he could be less effective with a bad back than he was when he was healthy. At no time did he put forth any ideas or program to appeal to the middle of the electorate. It wasn’t because he wasn’t offered any. We and many others favoring a third option proffered a wide range of ideas to solve the nation’s problems. Not one idea ever saw the light of day. A strange way to run for President. His run was more about Democratic Party politics than a truly independent run. The only thing he accomplished was diverting efforts and resources away from other possible independents and third parties.

Shultz’s maybe run was so bizarre, it brings forth possible conspiracy theories. We’ll offer ours. The recent Democrat debate shows most of the oomph is on the far left, with only the doddering but somewhat closer to the middle Joe Biden having a chance to prevent a far-left candidate. Betting on Joe finishing the race is a poor wager, leaving the nomination to someone on the left fringe. This was what Shultz claimed he was against. He must be convinced some more moderate Democrat will appear at the last moment to save the day. Was all this to help pave the way for Michelle Obama? Remember we’ve been predicting for years the 2020 nominee will be Michelle. Maybe Howard thinks the same way. Maybe this is what it was all about.

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Something About the New York Times 1619 Project

What do you think about this? The question referred to the multiple articles comprising the New York Times “1619 Project,” appearing mainly in the August 18th Magazine Section. In the following days, we noticed echos of the series in many other publications such as USA Today, other Gannet Papers, the Washington Post, and The Week magazine. To our mind they all sought to make two major points, Slavery is “Americas Original Sin” so all whites are still sinners and Slavery underpinned our Free Enterprise success. Matthew Desmond’s contribution to 1619 is titled “To Understand the Brutality of American Capitalism, you have to start on the plantation”, while the Week’s Briefing Section on 1619 is titled “America’s original sin.” Reading through the articles, we concluded the Project was a lot of effort to produce a pile of bad history. However, we felt others would see the obvious errors and therefore no reason for us to pile on. We were wrong. What we saw was a lot of people saying the project was right on but maybe we did better later. For instance, one would think Eric Erickson of the Resurgent would be one to take on the NY Times about almost anything. Instead, he agrees right off the bat,” Slavery is America’s Original Sin”. The Headline of Reason Magazine’s rebuttal is “The Founders Were Flawed. The Nation Is Imperfect. The Constitution Is Still a ‘Glorious Liberty Document.” If you confess you’re a sinner and the US was badly flawed from the onset, you’ve already lost the argument. We think America has a much better case. A simple timeline should help set the record straight:

  • 3500 BC 1st record of slavery in Sumer Mesopotamia
  • 73-71 BC Spartacus’s Slave Revolt
  • 650 AD Arab African Slave Trade begins
  • 1501 1st Enslaved African arrived in the New World
  • 1619 1sr slaves sold in Virginia
  • 1651 Hobbes “Leviathan” Published
  • 1689 Locke’s 2nd Treatise on Government” published
  • 1772 The Somerset Case helps launch British Abolitionism
  • 1776 Declaration of Independence
  • 1776 Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” published
  • 1780-4 5 States abolish slavery (AS= Abolishes Slavery or serfdom)
  • 1787 Constitutional Convention
  • 1787 US bans slavery in NW Territory
  • 1791 Bill of Rights ratified
  • 1794 Cotton Gin Patented
  • 1807 UK outlaws International Slave trade
  • 1808 US outlaws International Slave trade
  • 1839 UK AS takes effect
  • 1846 UK Repeals Corn Laws
  • 1848 Austria ,France & Denmark AS
  • 1852 Argentina AS
  • 1853 Peru & Venezuela AS
  • 1860 British Raj Indian indenture System Abolished
  • 1861 Russia AS
  • 1864 Poland AS
  • 1865 US passes 13th Amendment AS
  • 1866 US Indian Territory Tribes AS
  • 1874 Gold Coast AS
  • 1888 Brazil AS
  • 1895 Egypt AS
  • 1896 China AS
  • 1906 French West Africa AS
  • 1922 Morocco AS
  • 1924 Turkey AS
  • 1936 British Bechuanaland (Modern Botswana) AS
  • 1948 Kuwait AS
  • 1962 Saudi Arabia &Yemen AS
  • 1970 Oman AS

The first thing evident from the timeline, slavery is hardly an American original. In fact, slavery had been around for over 5,000 years before the first slave set foot in Virginia. Can you imagine asking for a patent on something in use worldwide for that length of time? Nor as we can plainly see, was it in any way unique to America.

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Big, Not Little Lies

As interested people searching for policies that just might work, we’re keenly aware of how important finding some bedrock facts on which to build. So it has shaken us to find the contempt facts are held in by some wishing to lead us into the future. Two cases especially are “nails on the blackboard” cringe-worthy. Our President endlessly tells us China, not American importers are paying his tariffs and two leading Democratic Presidential candidates inform us Michal Brown of Ferguson, Mo infamy was murdered. Lies such as these are just plain toxic to good policy. A closer look will show the devastating effect these two falsehoods will have going forward.

We warned if Trump was elected, Republicans would ultimately face a major dilemma. Judges, lower taxes, and regulatory reform could go a long way for many to hold their noses and go along with the President. We warned at some point, though, the other parts making up Trump’s policy views, protectionism, free-spending, favoritism, and a schizophrenic world view had more in common with the Democrats. Now that these have come to the fore, Republicans have to ask themselves what they actually stand. Worse they threaten to undo any good accomplished. The world economy appears to be slowing across the no small part because of Trump’s ongoing trade wars. Remember, trade is one of the three ways we get More” and anything that impedes it will ultimately result in “Less.’ By slapping on tariffs willy-nilly, he has upset world trading and investment patterns without an apparent long-range plan. This weapon is an especially strange as it ‘s a large tax paid by Americans. Regardless of Trump’s claims otherwise, only US registered firms sending money to US Customs. Other than Trump, no one believes otherwise. Even his own Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, distanced himself from this whopper. He and most other economists are well aware of the harmful contributions tariff wars and their accompanying competitive devaluations made to the great depression. These weapons have been described as a gun with two barrels, one firing forward and one firing back at you. A truly foolish weapon to use.

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The Worth of “Net Worth”

With rising wages for the entire spectrum of workers, the professional faultfinders have had to find something else to complain about. They seem to have found it in the wide disparity in net worth. After all, 90% of the population has only 25% of the wealth (net worth), while 10% has 75%. How unfair is that? We agree, on the surface, it seems a small number of people are leading a decent life and the rest has bupkis. A closer look, however, might lead to a different conclusion.

First, it is good to renumber how we calculate wealth, Assets-liabilities=Net worth or wealth. What is important to realize is in many cases net worth has little or nothing to do with income. It has everything to do with what we have left after we deduct what we owe. For instance, X earns $50,000 a year, but rents, owns a fully paid for a clunker and pay all bills in full on time. X has some savings and contributes to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. These savings total approx. $10,000. With no debt that amount constitutes X’s net worth. Y earns $100,000 a year, has a $500,000 residence with a $400,000 mortgage, is paying off a $50,000 BMW over 5yrs and has $25,000 in student debt. With the payments required Y has put aside only $5,000. On paper X has more wealth than the deeply underwater Y. The later actually has a negative net worth of well over $400,000. Yet, who do you think appears wealthier? Early on in life, we obtain many of the good things in life by borrowing. As our life goes on many of us pay down our debt, as our assets such as our homes, retirement and savings accounts, investments, and maybe ownership in a business gain in value. Our net worth changes from negative to positive. This accounts for much of the wealth disparity between households. 20-35 olds average net worth is $100.800 and the 52-70 group’s 1,210,100. Of course, some simply continue to borrow against any appreciated assets and never get positive which drags down both group averages.

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