Archive for the ‘Capitalism’ Category

This week, President Obama tried taking credit for what Maria Bartiromo has titled “the Trump Boom.” The truth is that President Obama’s policies have nothing to do with the reinvigorated economy. In fact, businesses are saying the opposite. According to Ms. Bartiromo, “Corporate earnings have risen and corporate behavior has changed, measured in greater capital investment. Businesspeople tell me that a new approach to regulation is a big factor. During President Obama’s final year in office the Federal Register, which contains new and proposed rules and regulations, ran to 95,894 pages, according to a Competitive Enterprise Institute report.”

These businesses certainly know why they’re doing what they’re doing. What they’re saying with their actions and their words is that President Obama’s regulatory policies stifled growth, not entirely but significantly, by adding tons of regulatory compliance costs. When capital formation shrinks, job creation shrinks, too.

Others have noticed that there’s been a change and have adjusted accordingly:

For the first time in a long time the world is experiencing synchronized growth, which is why Goldman Sachs and Barclays among others have recently predicted 4% global growth in 2018. The entire world benefits when its largest economy is healthy, and the vibrancy overseas is reinforcing the U.S. resurgence.

This paragraph is especially enlightening:

Much has changed this year. Companies from Broadcom to Boeing have announced they’ll move overseas jobs back to the U.S. American companies hold nearly $3 trillion overseas and may soon be able to bring that money home without punitive taxation. Businesses have begun to open up the purse strings, which is why things like commercial airline activity are rising substantially as executives seek new opportunities. Companies are looking to invest in growth.

Investing in growth requires employees participating in the rewards. When corporations get into ‘merger and acquisition mode’, employees suffer. It’s easier for companies to merge with foreign corporations, then get taxed at lower rates. Democrats can whine about them doing that but it’s their own fault. It’s easier to work with corporations than trying to punish them. The government never wins in those match-ups.

Obama recently said that President Trump doesn’t have an answer for how he’ll get the economy growing. Either Obama is an economic illiterate or he’s intentionally lying. President Trump’s answer is to lower taxes and reduce regulations. That facts speak for themselves. Economic growth has virtually doubled under Trump’s watch. Consumer confidence is soaring. Companies are moving back from overseas. Contrary to what President Obama said, this isn’t a coincidence:

Finally, there’s this:

The Federal Register page count is down 32% this year. Mr. Trump says red tape becomes “beautiful” when it is eliminated, and people who manage businesses certainly agree.

I’m not alone in thinking that Trump’s policies are working. I’m predicting that President Obama’s policies will be discredited within another year.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

This LTE explains in very personal terms why tax simplification is required. A few paragraphs into the LTE, it says “But the tax reform proposal introduced by the U.S. House could undo much of that success. It breaks a bipartisan deal agreed to at the end of 2015 to phase down the wind energy Production Tax Credit by 2020. House lawmakers are looking to re-write the rules in the middle of the game, and that puts our economy and U.S. workers at risk.”

There’s no disputing that the new tax legislation will put some businesses at risk. Entrepreneurship requires taking risks. Why should a renewable energy business not face risk but farmers live with the prospect of getting wiped out every minute of their lives?

It’s time that the federal government got out of the corporate welfare business. If a product is a quality product and it’s essential to enough people, it will succeed. If it isn’t that essential, people might ignore it, in which case the company will soon be bankrupt. That’s capitalism and it’s the best economic model in the history of mankind. Here’s what Milton Friedman thinks of capitalism:

Congress developed the PTC to help wind developers gain access to the private investment capital they need to build wind farms. That in turn keeps U.S. factory workers busy making new wind turbines, and it keeps construction businesses like ours stay busy installing them. Our workers depend on these orders, and the PTC has helped keep our construction queue full.

What this company is apparently lobbying for is lower corporate tax rates and corporate welfare, too. Taxpayers shouldn’t shoulder the burden on whether a company succeeds or fails.

This is crony capitalism at its worst. For the foreseeable future, companies will introduce studies that highlight the benefits of corporate welfare:

That’s why American wind power added jobs nine times faster than overall economy last year, and keeping the investment policies stable will create an additional $85 billion in economic activity through 2020, according to Navigant Consulting. It will also grow an additional 50,000 American jobs, including more 8,000 jobs at U.S. factories, by the end of President Trump’s first term.

With all due respect, we don’t know that. I’m certainly not willing to trust a self-serving report. Companies that commission these types of reports frequently can’t survive without corporate welfare.

It’s time to cut this cord.

Headline of the day? This headline might get unanimous support from the Fraters crew:

Wisconsin Man Locked in Beer Cooler Cited for Drinking

The headline is great. The article is pretty good too.

Apparently, this nation has undergone a significant transformation from being a confident nation that loved free trade to being a nation that thinks the middle class gets screwed over by every free trade agreement. It’s sad to see the Party of Reagan getting duped into believing that we’re a nation that can’t compete by our party’s nominee.

Let’s unclutter this argument. Do you trust Donald Trump more than you trust Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman? That’s what this comes down to. Ronald Reagan took over a struggling economy, cut taxes and dramatically reduced regulation while negotiating trade deals. As a result of President Reagan’s economic policies, the US economy created over 20,000,000 jobs in 8 years. In September, 1983, the economy created 1,100,000 jobs.

Compare that with Donald Trump’s record of failed businesses and bankruptcies. That’s right. That isn’t a comparison. That’s more like Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. It isn’t much of a fight. That’s before getting into Milton Friedman’s lecturing Phil Donahue on the virtues of capitalism and free trade:

Here’s what Milton Friedman told Donahue:

In the only cases in which the masses have escaped the types of grinding poverty that you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history, and where they have had capitalism and largely free trade.

Anyone that thinks that Trump knows what’s best compared to President Reagan and Dr. Friedman isn’t dealing with reality. The biggest reasons why jobs have moved overseas are the overtaxation and overregulation, the increase in regulatory compliance costs here in the United States and the lowering of marginal tax rates in other countries. Add into that Obamacare and this administration’s war on cheap energy prices (think Solyndra and Hillary’s statement that she was going to shut down coal plants) and it isn’t surprising that companies are leaving.

Without question, we’ve hesitated to call trading partners out when they’ve broken the agreement’s provisions. That’s proof of political spinelessness. It isn’t proof that trade agreements are counterproductive.

Anyone that trusts a man who opened a casino in flush economic times, then saw that casino go bankrupt, more than they trust the greatest president of the last 125 years and one of the most accomplished economists in modern history is a blithering idiot. I’ll trust President Reagan and Dr. Friedman over Donald Trump any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

Prior to Super Tuesday’s primaries and caucuses, Donald Trump’s ceiling of support seemed to be in the 35%-36% range. He won handily in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. It’s particularly noteworthy that those 3 states were open states where Democrats were allowed to cause mischief or where independents could vote.

Yesterday’s events were closed events, with only Republicans voting. This table shows yesterday’s results:

Combining the 4 events together, Sen. Cruz got 41% of the votes cast. Meanwhile, Trump got 33.3% of the vote.

I haven’t hidden my disgust with Trump. If I were king for a day, I’d banish him to Gitmo and throw away the key to his cell. I’ve got great company in not respecting Trump. Steve Hayes’ article lowers the boom on Trump, especially this part:

The worst of these moments may have come when Trump mocked the disability of a journalist who had criticized him. At a rally in Sarasota last November, Trump was discussing Serge Kovaleski, a reporter for the New York Times. “The poor guy, you’ve got to see this guy,” Trump said, before flailing in a manner that resembled a palsy tremor. Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects the movement and positioning of his joints.

When Trump was criticized, he said he couldn’t have been mocking the reporter because he was unaware of Kovaleski’s condition. That wasn’t true. Kovaleski had interviewed Trump a dozen times and said they had interacted on “a first-name basis for years.” Trump then accused Kovaleski of “using his disability to grandstand.”

This came up last Friday, as I drove my 8-year-old son to see the Washington Capitals play. I’ll be gone on his birthday, covering presidential primaries, so this was an early present.

My son and his older sister have followed the campaign, as much as kids their age do, and they’re aware that I’ve traded barbs with Trump. So we sometimes talk about the candidates and their attributes and faults, and we’d previously talked about Trump’s penchant for insulting people. On our drive down, my son told me that some of the kids in his class like Trump because “he has the most points,” and he asked me again why I don’t like the Republican frontrunner.

I reminded him about the McCain and Fiorina stories and then we spent a moment talking about Kovaleski. I described his condition and showed him how physically limiting it would be. Then he asked a simple question:

“Why would anyone make fun of him?”

Why indeed?

I’d flip this around a bit. I’d ask what qualities or policies would convince me to vote for Mr. Trump. In terms of national security policy or taxes, regulations, federalism, the Constitution and the rule of law, I find Mr. Trump utterly deficient. Listening to Trump answer a question on national security is torture. At times, he’s said that he’d “bomb the s— out of ISIS.” At other times, he’s said he’d talk Putin into taking out ISIS. Bombing the s— out of ISIS sounds great but that’s just part of the threat ISIS poses. That does nothing to stop ISIS from radicalizing Muslims in Europe or the United States. Apparently, Trump hasn’t figured that out, mostly because he doesn’t even have an elemental understanding of foreign policy.

On national security, Trump says he’ll be strong and frequently pronounces himself “militaristic.” But he doesn’t seem to have even a newspaper reader’s familiarity with the pressing issues of the day. He was nonplussed by a reference to the “nuclear triad”; he confused Iran’s Quds Force and the Kurds; he didn’t know the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah. The ignorance would be less worrisome if his instincts weren’t terrifying. He’s praised authoritarians for their strength, whether Vladimir Putin for killing journalists and political opponents or the Chinese government for the massacre it perpetrated in Tiananmen Square. To the extent he articulates policies, he seems to be an odd mix of third-world despot and naïve pacifist.

Like Steve Hayes, I’m a proud member of the #NeverTrump movement. While pundits like Sean Hannity and Andrea Tantaros talk about Trump like he’s a conservative god, I won’t. That’s because I care more about the principles that make conservatism and capitalism the most powerful forces for positive change.

Why anyone would vote for a disgusting, immoral liberal like Donald Trump is mind-boggling. Personally, I won’t.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve got news for all the people talking about the new pope in glowing terms. The Vatican has lost its way. Badly:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday, immediately sparking Israeli ire and accusations that the move hurt peace prospects.

The treaty, which concerns the activities of the Catholic Church in Palestinian territory, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.

The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes official diplomatic recognition. “Yes, it’s a recognition that the state exists,” said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

The Israeli foreign ministry said it was “disappointed.” “This move does not promote the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations,” the ministry said in a text message.

It’s pretty pathetic that the Vatican would recognize the Palestinians without demanding that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. That isn’t the only mistake the Vatican is making:

Pope Francis’ closest adviser castigated conservative climate change skeptics in the United States Tuesday, blaming capitalism for their views.

Speaking with journalists, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga criticized certain “movements” in the United States that have preemptively come out in opposition to Francis’s planned encyclical on climate change.

“The ideology surrounding environmental issues is too tied to a capitalism that doesn’t want to stop ruining the environment because they don’t want to give up their profits,” Rodríguez said, according to the Boston Globe’s Crux blog.

As an evangelical Christian, I don’t understand what climate change has to do with a person’s religious faith. It doesn’t have anything to do with the 2 greatest doctrines of the church, the Great Commandment or the Great Commission.

As for Cardinal Maradiaga’s vilification of capitalism, that’s warped thinking, too. It’s impossible to think that Cardinal Maradiaga could fashion a persuasive argument that one economic system is less sinful than another.

Though there isn’t tons of material to base opinions of Pope Francis off of, there’s still sufficient material to say that he’s wading into political issues more than all other popes prior to his papacy in my lifetime. There’s little doubt, too, that Francis is the most liberal pope of my lifetime.

I wrote this post in December about a proposed condo development in downtown St. Cloud. At the time, I thought it inconceivable that an entrepreneur would propose such a monstrosity. I was wrong. An entrepreneur has proposed this project. Here’s something that I wrote in response to the first Times Our View editorial:

The Times editorial board isn’t too bright if they think this is worthy of serious consideration. The former Dan Marsh Drugs building is less than 100 yards from 5 major bars (the Red Carpet, the Press Bar & Lounge, DB Searles, The Office and MC’s Dugout). There are other restaurants and delis within a stone’s throw from where Dan Marsh used to sit. All of these businesses are open well past midnight.

Why would anyone aspire to live that close to businesses that will keep them up well past midnight?

This week, the Times Editorial Board wrote this editorial singing the praises of this project:

First, when the condo project is built, the city will begin to receive property tax payments from the owners of the 46 units. The units range in price from $165,000 to $200,000. Even if it takes time to sell those units, the immediate benefits go far beyond just the tax collection.

Market-rate housing downtown will provide the missing piece of a strong, ongoing rebound for downtown.

With the River’s Edge Convention Center expansion has come a boost in downtown bars, restaurants and some retail. On the west end of downtown, the continued success of the Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center has been a strong anchor.

The proximity of downtown offices, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Technical & Community College and St. Cloud Hospital makes the condo project attractive to several demographic groups, including young professionals, retirees and single people.

The downtown bars are still within a stone’s throw of the proposed condo. They’re still noisy well past midnight. Here’s the key phrase:

Even if it takes time to sell those units, the immediate benefits go far beyond just the tax collection.

It’s unlikely that this condo project will take off quickly. There’s a decent chance it won’t take off. That being said, if this company wants to build this white elephant, that’s their right. They should know, however, that they won’t get a bailout from the taxpayers if it fails.

After reading this part of this article, it’s clear that Mitt Romney shouldn’t be the GOP presidential nominee:

He said Mr. Obama and Clinton would have America “walk back from red lines…lead from behind…[carry] a small stick.” He ticked through the world’s hotspots: Libya, Iraq, Ukraine, Iran. “Terrorists are not on the run,” he said. In a “post-Obama era,” he argued, the next president will need to use economic and diplomatic strength to shape events around the world and “make the world safer for freedom.”

Mitt’s right that President Obama’s red lines are seen by President Putin as being more of a rose color than red. Mitt’s wrong that diplomacy is what’s needed to shape world events, especially with terrorists and Putin.

What’s needed with President Putin is a combination of supplying Ukraine with arms to defend themselves against President Putin’s expansionism and the US announcing plans that they’re building a natural gas pipeline to Ukraine. Couple those things with hitting reset on Hillary’s reset button. That isn’t done with a cheesy-looking red button. It’s done by putting US missiles in Poland, Romania and throughout the Baltic States. That doesn’t mean going to war with Russia. It simply means confronting Putin’s expansionist initiatives. Better yet, it means acting proactively to prevent Russia from attempting to expand its influence.

President Putin is acting like a superpower. The West’s mistake is in treating Putin’s Russia like they’re a superpower. They aren’t. They never will be. Their economy can’t produce the wealth they need to compete with an economic and military superpower.

This paragraph highlights what went wrong with Mitt’s 2012 campaign:

On the third principle, he said, “We’re an abundant nation. We have the resources” to lift people out of poverty. He didn’t say precisely how he would accomplish that without increasing the size of the government, but he argued that Mr. Obama’s policies have not worked. “They work for a campaign, but they don’t get the job done,” he said. Only conservative principles like a focus on family formation and education, he added, would “end the scourge of poverty in this great land.”

That’s exceptionally timid. Just blast it out there. Capitalism is the only economic system that lifts families out of grinding poverty. Mitt’s biggest personal weakness is that he’s an apologetic capitalist. What he needs is a lesson like this from Milton Friedman:

Republicans need a candidate who a) isn’t bashful about being a capitalist, b) loves explaining the virtues of capitalism vs. the tyranny of collectivism and c) highlights the times where capitalism has improved people’s lives.

In 2015-16, that means highlighting how Obama’s EPA has hurt the coal, the natural gas and oil industries and how private citizens and local governments have made life significantly better for people. Highlight how North Dakota’s state policies have helped the Bakken lead a fossil fuel comeback that led to cheap gas prices. The GOP presidential nominee needs to remind people of the Democrats that said we “can’t drill our way to cheap gas prices.’

Mitt won’t make that case. That’s why he’s wrong.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ed Morrissey’s post about Hillary’s intellectually dishonest statements about who creates jobs is statistically enlightening. Here’s what I’m talking about:

In June 2007, the Household Survey of the BLS showed that the US economy had 146.063 million jobs in June 2007, just before the increase took place. Last month’s data showed that the US economy had 146.6 million jobs, an increase of less than 500,000 in over 7 years, not “millions of jobs” as Hillary claims here. In fact, the 146.6 million is the highest it’s ever gotten since the passage of that law. In the same period, the civilian workforce participation rate has gone from 66% to 62.7%. On a population basis, there are a lot fewer people working after the last minimum wage hike, not more, and wages are actually down, not up.

Compare this to the “trickle-down” era of the Reagan presidency. When Reagan took office in January 1981, the US economy had 99.995 million jobs and the participation rate was 63.9%. By the end of his presidency in January 1989, the US economy had grown more than 16 million jobs (116.708 million total) and the participation rate had leaped to 66.5%. That covers nearly the same length of time since the last minimum wage hike (96 months vs. 89 months), but both include about five years of technical economic recovery.

At the end of the article, Ed made this statement:

At some point, Democrats are going to have to come to grips with the fact that their front-runner is not just a lousy campaigner, but perhaps just as incompetent as the President from which they’re all attempting to run away at the moment.

There’s no doubt that Hillary is a terrible campaigner. That’s a subjective opinion, though. The job creation and labor force participation rates earlier are objective, quantifiable statistics.

Another part of that last commentary is that Democrats will “have to come to grips with the fact that” their frontrunner is just “as incompetent as the President” that they’re running away from. I suspect that they already know that. I’m betting that they simply don’t care whether she’s competent or not. I’m betting that their support for her will be based totally on whether she can win in November, 2016. If the answer to that is yes, they’ll support her. If the answer to that question is no, they’ll try finding a better alternative.

The point I’m making is that today’s Democratic Party is based almost entirely on fulfilling their ideological checklist, not on doing what’s best for America. It certainly isn’t about creating jobs or making life better for the average American.

Republicans everywhere need to repeatedly remind themselves that Democrats are almost totally about gaining, then maintaining control of the levers of government. Public policy is a distant priority that they generally don’t get to.

Here’s the video of Hillary’s boneheaded statements:

It’s terrifying to say but Hillary and Obama are no Bill Clinton. That’s a frightening thought.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Watching all the ads being run by Nancy Pelosi’s PAC, the Franken campaign, the Nolan campaign and all the anti-business rhetoric coming from the Dayton campaign, DFL chairman Ken Martin and other anti-business parasites, there’s only one conclusion you can draw. The DFL and its candidates hate employers. Joe Soucheray’s column highlights the DFL’s silliness perfectly:

It’s to the point of comedy that the national Democratic Party has raced to Minnesota to help Nolan out with television ads that feature yachts and private airplanes and white sand beaches. I guess the voter is supposed to believe that Mills sits around all day and has grapes fed to him as he pages through the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog pining for a new Maserati Ghibli S Q4.

Whether it’s Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC or Rick Nolan’s campaign, the hard left’s disdain for companies is unmistakable. It’s in each of their ads against Stewart Mills. What’s most appalling is that the DFL’s agenda doesn’t have a thing in it that says they’re pro-capitalism. In fact, when the DFL held their state convention, Iron Range Democrats wanted the state party to ad a simple sentence to their party’s platform. That simple sentence was to say that the DFL supports mining.

After hours of negotiations, aka Metrocrats intimidating the Iron Range delegation, that simple sentence was dropped because Alida Messinger declared that statement was too controversial. Nolan isn’t the only 1970s reject that thinks companies are evil:

The Franken camp says that as an investment banker, McFadden has brokered the sales of companies that have resulted in the loss of jobs. Well, that can be true in some cases. In other cases, there will be a gain of jobs. Besides, once a company is bought or sold, what does McFadden have to do with it? The Franken camp also insists that McFadden has been involved with companies that have committed the mortal sin of tax inversion by moving their headquarters overseas. No. McFadden’s company represented a foreign company being bought, not the U.S. company moving abroad. That’s business, however unfamiliar Franken might be to business.

In Franken’s thinking, the problem isn’t that the tax code is filled with special favors. It’s that small businesses, aka the rich, aren’t paying a high enough tax rate. The thing is that Franken and Nolan haven’t started a business that requires sound judgment. That’s why they don’t know that many of these small businesses owners work 60-75 hours/week to build a business, paying their employees first, then paying their bills before they can start funding their retirement and their kids’ college education.

After sweating through tough times before getting to the point of profitability, then idiots like Dayton, Franken and Nolan accuse them of being greedy and of “not paying their fair share.”

The truth is that Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden have done more to improve middle class families’ lives in 5 years than Dayton, Franken and Nolan have done in a lifetime. Long-winded politicians haven’t paid for their employees’ health insurance or contributed to their employees’ retirement accounts or paid them a good wage that put a roof over their employees’ families’ heads. Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden have.

When Dayton, Franken and Nolan do that for a generation, then I’ll listen, not a minute before.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,