The Racist in the Room

I recently read Black students at New York University (NYU) are demanding separate living quarters. This brought back memories of the civil rights cause during my college years. It was in a land long ago and faraway called Northwestern University. In my years there 1955-59, Civil rights were at the forefront. Brown v. Board of Education had just been decided in May 1954, opening the floodgates against “Separate but Equal.” Northwestern had only recently dropped quotas in admissions. This was especially important to Jews and probably allowed me to be admitted. At the time, reformers felt allocations unfair, even unAmerican. People should be judged not on religion, Race, or sex, but on their own merit.

The next year, a picture was no longer required to accompany admittance applications. We felt this would make it harder to discriminate, especially against people of color. More students might go to a school that formally banned or limited them.

During my years on campus, we did away with the divided Greek rush. At the time, many national Fraternities and Sororities banned pledging people of specific racial and religious backgrounds. Greek houses were forced to remove these restrictions, or they would have to leave the campus. Jewish fraternities, heretofore rushed separately, were included in one combined rush week. Our house over the following years and most others became integrated. We felt this was a great accomplishment. This was college as it should be. Bringing people of different backgrounds and ideas together to broaden our outlook and improve our critical thinking. Bull sessions got a broader perspective.

One might ask why Jews and their organizations were at the forefront of these reforms? The simple answer is Jews were no strangers to discrimination. We thought the wider freedoms were spread, the better and safer it would be for us. Where it was legal to discriminate anywhere, it always adversely affected Jews. Best to get rid of the restrictions and let people be free to live and grow wherever. The more we mingled together, the more we would see each other as individuals. We might find we have more in common than what divides us.

It was in this vein, Jews were strong supporters of the Civil Rights Movement. They provided significant financial backing to the NAACP. My Aunt and Uncle were always holding fundraising meetings at their apartment. On-campus we did the same.

Continue reading

Myths Lead to Bad Policy

What we think we know for sure may not be right at all. If this is the case, we will make policy based on the wrong facts and data. You might think this doesn’t mean you, but let me throw a few commonly held beliefs that aren’t true. These are ones in no particular order that irritated me this past week. Truth is especially crucial in an election year.

The Middle Class is shrinking. This is true, but not for the reason most people think. The implication is people are falling out of the middle class and ending up in the lower levels. The truth is both the lower and middle classes have shrunk. Where did the people go? To the upper-middle class. According to a study published by the Bookings Institute, since 1967, the upper Middle Class grew from 6% to 33%. in 2016. Instead of the dark world of falling or stagnant incomes, we keep hearing about, the truth is quite good. Those who think African Americans have been left out, their participation rose from 1% to 14% in the same period. Like the TV show, “the Jeffersons” many are moving up to the East Side. They finally got a piece of the pie. In any case, this should’ve been evident by observing more people buying better cars and bigger houses.

Automation Cost the U.S. more jobs than Globalization. We are manufacturing just as much as always. We’re just doing with more robots and fewer people. Elites have given this excuse for a dismal China Policy on both sides of the aisle. They claimed the Clinton Administration’s welcoming China into the World Trade Organization didn’t really do much harm to U.S.manufacturing workers. This argument has always seemed questionable. People across the rust belt said they were feeling the pain. Former Senator Rick Santorum even wrote a book, “Blue Collar Conservatives,” about what was happening in states like Pennsylvania. Few read it. Elites claimed the data said otherwise. One who did read the book was Donald J. Trump. He saw how these people suffering real harm. He fit into his Mercantilist economic view. He hammered Globalization in the ’16 election and won. The Rust Belt went for him. 

Elites claimed Trump conned the people with a lie. It turns out Santorum by listening to his constituents was right. A study by Susan N. Houseman, Director of Research at the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Points out the data so many relied on was faulty. Instead of manufacturing remaining steady in the face of Globalization, she showed the data recorded healthy growth only by how one industry was handled. Computers led to distortion. Houseman provides us with two charts that tell the story. 

The automation argument was always dubious. How could we be so automated when we badly trail Korea, Singapore, Japan, and Germany in the number of robots in use? 

Continue reading

Counting Your Chickens

The Democratic Ticket is now complete with the naming of Senator Kamala Harris as their Vice Presidential candidate. A large part of the press is looking forward to a Republican general election rout . Maybe it will work out that way. After all, we’re in a pandemic t caused depression. Fair or not, you can’t blame voters for lashing out and demanding change. Yet, the Democratic Convention next week may mark that party’s high point. The press and the Democrats might be fooled by their echo chamber. Just because they believe and promote something, doesn’t automatically make it accurate, Truth has a funny way of sneaking out.

Take the almost across the board press support of the idea Harris is moderate. Her most progressive in the Senate Senate voting record says the opposite. She outdistanced the likes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. If elected, she would be a heartbeat of a 78yr old away from the presidency. Biden doesn’t even have to die in office, just be unable to continue. Joe Biden’s announced plan is already far to the left. He has said he’ll be the most progressive President ever. Harris, if possible, would be even more so.

Up till the Coronavirus struck the US, the economy was firing on all cylinders. Presidents generally get re-elected in good times. With virtually everyone doing well, they don’t rock the boat mentality takes over. Now, with double-digit unemployment, the President is on the defensive. He’s the boss, and the buck stops with him. The whole world is suffering in some way from COVID 19. A few countries did better than others, but everyone is affected.

Trump was ill-served by the permanent bureaucracy. The CDC and the FDA initially handled testing for the virus in the worst possible way. We have never caught up. First, the same bureaucrats, pooh-poohed mask-wearing, only to do a one-eighty later on. To date, we have never provided the help needed to protect the most vulnerable. Far too many elderly and those with underlying conditions are still dying. These bureaucratic failures would’ve hobbled our response no matter who was President. Never the less, it happened on his watch.

Continue reading

You Say Class, I Say Caste

When prominent people take the extreme step of abandoning their longtime political party to support the other party’s standard-bearer, it’s generally for irreconcilable policy differences. They usually write a lengthy explanation of why they now agree with the other party’s positions. Winston Churchill switched twice, and you knew at length what the policy differences were. In my last two posts, I’ve shown this isn’t the case for those switching to support Biden. I’m not seeing well thought out explanations why the policies of Joe Biden and the Democrats are so much better for America. Instead, they claim Trump is dangerous and has destroyed the Republican Party.

Two Political Action Committees (PAC) have been leading the effort to help the Democrats crush Trump. Republican Voters Against Trump (RVAT) and the Lincoln Project are actively campaigning to bring down the present President. The former puts its efforts into dumping Trump while the latter also works against down-ballot Republicans. It’s a distinction without a difference. If both get their wish and Trump loses in a landslide, both houses of Congress would almost certainly be in Democratic hands. With complete control, nothing would stand in the way of enacting the whole progressive agenda. Some form of the Green New Deal, packed courts, and government healthcare are among many other things that would become law. With two more states, a newly renamed District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, good luck winning back the Presidency. Neither of these PACs has offered any detailed explanation of why thy now favor these policies.

Two of the leading Republican defectors are syndicated columnist George Will and former Ohio Governor John Kasich. Will has loudly announced becoming a Democrat, while it’s reported Kasich will actually speak at the Democratic Convention. I’ve enjoyed Will’s well-reasoned articles for more years than I’d like to admit. If Kasich had won the Republican nomination, he would’ve had my vote. Surely these communicators have statements of their reasoning.

Continue reading

Adding It Up

In my last post, I gauged the Trump administration has a more robust awareness of the world dangers facing us. It seems more appreciative of the goals of the leaders of China, Russia, and Iran. Nothing in the Obama-Biden administration’s history showed they were genuinely apprehensive of these players’ real motives. Biden may surprise us, but a man with no deeply held principles will probably do as he has always done. He will go where the current wind is blowing. Trump seems closer to the traditionally conservative world view. For this group of pro-Biden conservatives, the reasons for their move must lie with domestic policy.

Conservatives, if they are known for anything, stand for smaller government. A government not invading all facets of our lives. Governments are intrusive by expanding regulations. In the wake of the Great Recession, the Obama-Biden significantly increased rules in most areas. Many conservatives saw these as the main reason for the worst recovery from a recession in history. The regulations made it more difficult and expensive to do business. It showed a particular disdain. The “you didn’t build it” attitude.was hardly welcoming. Remember, business goes and grows where it’s welcome. Many economists give more credit to a better regulatory climate than tax cuts to the high employment pre-COVID-19 economy.

Continue reading