The Uncertainty Tax and Friction Costs

Trump maybe correct in recognizing China’s destructive trade policies, but he is wrong to think that alone justifies a trade war.  He is wrong to think that Twitter is an acceptable negotiation platform, and he is wrong to think that he is the only national leader with stubborn pride.  Xi does not face an election in 2020 and has the political advantage of waiting him out, even if there are in a weaker economic position.

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Abandonment of Common Sense

Half of Trump supporters like his anti-elite, control the narrative, fearless and aggressive posture.  Half of his supporters have great problems with his style, lack of diplomacy, thoughtless tweets, and divisive rhetoric; but fear the radical ideas that are pouring from the barrel of Democratic candidates like liberal tourettes.

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Five Brief Book Reviews

Founders considered the Electoral College their crowning achievement of the Constitutional Convention.  The divisions by state make the system less corruptible;  the hanging chad problem in Florida was limited to one area of one state.  The system requires a candidate to appeal to a broad range of interests, not just the interests of a small if heavily populated area.

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Anti-History and History

I look at a news story and wonder of the likelihood of today’s headline ever being noted in a history book. The 24-hour news cycle is an outrage machine designed to generate clicks. It is not to inform and certainly not to provide perspective or understanding.

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Political Thoughts 2019 08 17

Identity Politics is just a politically correct form of racism.  We should not be surprised to hear more accusations of racism in response to greater reliance on identity politics as a political strategy.  The more that racism is used as a political weapon the less moral authority it retains.

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Europe Needs Doughnut Shops

Europe is at a crossroads of slow economic growth from a post war period of regulation and high taxes and the creation of a new growing underclass of immigrants that are not being absorbed. Avoiding the ensuing financial, social and political costs is unimaginable. England embraced Brexit for several reasons; most often stated was the loss of sovereignty and control of their destiny. They may simply be the first to leave a sinking ship.

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Zero Interest rates challenge our economic assumptions

There is a mismatch between countries with stable financial structures and countries with great growth opportunities. Emerging nations have more room to grow but business owners in third world and some second world countries prefer to hold their cash in more stable economies increasing the supply of cash.

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Real vs Hypothetical Evil

“…the real evils of censorship and suppression are considerably worse than the hypothetical troubles that a more liberal attitude toward unpopular speech might risk.”

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Regressive Redistribution

“Therefore ameliorative government becomes a magnet for factions muscular enough, in money or numbers or both, to bend government to their advantage. When government embraces redistribution, it summons into existence factions eager to get in on the action.”

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Ersatz Economics

” Contrary to a widespread impression among noneconomists, though, understanding the vocabulary of economics is not the same as understanding economics.”

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The Suicide of Identity Politics

This is the slow-motion suicide of identity politics. When everything is about race or sex it loses its power because it becomes impossible to identify. The Squad cannot even disagree with its own party and leaders without attributing differences to racism. Pelosi tried to minimize the power of these few House Democrats yet was unable to pass a meaningful anti-Semitic resolution against the support these few actors garnered. Yet they had little trouble passing a resolution condemning Trump’s ‘racist’ comment.

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Discourse and Anti Discourse

“..the desire for popularity is the original sin of the American intellectual: When he subordinates his independent mind to the demands of the herd, he ceases to perform any useful function. He abandons culture for Instant Culture, discourse for antidiscourse, and truth-seeking for status-seeking.”

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The Source of Judicial Controversies

“Regulation by agencies is relatively simple to promulgate—it merely takes the time and patience necessary to announce a rule, take comments, and show that the comments were in some way taken into consideration. Navigating bureaucratic procedure and red tape is easy compared with cobbling together a majority (or supermajority) of both houses of Congress and winning the president’s support. “

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Non-Delegation and the Administrative State

James Madison stated in Federalist #47, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” In 1933 two laws were struck down on the non-delegation principle, the effective delegation of legislative authority to unelected regulatory agencies. The recent court has prepared to revisit that principle.

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Poverty and Inequality

The prioritization of inequality over poverty is attributed to envy in some cases but more often to a violation of some sense of fairness. But just as we should care not the think of the poor as a single entity, we should be even more cautious not to group the rich or even the super-rich as a single faceless group. Some of the super wealthy have benefited us all, and some have abused the system to their advantage while providing little value. We should distinguish between the rent seekers and the rich who have improved our lives.

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The Wealth Curse

Class warfare as political policy negates the need to articulate limits, acknowledge tradeoffs, understand the process of wealth creation, or do real math that measures and acknowledges real costs and revenues.

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Prosperity and Democracy

“..the longer a successful society is stable, the more numerous are the successful factions—not the poor, or the unemployed, or the new entrepreneurial risk-takers who are trying to gain a foothold against established competitors—who become deft at gaming the political system for advantages.”

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Holding Progressivism Accountable

The essence of conservatism is the recognition and acceptance of the flaws in human nature, and the need to build a political structure that mitigates it. Once government accepts a mission to improve upon his nature, the moral threat of power is muted. Once democracy is in the hands of unlimited political power, tyranny is almost assured. The founders understood this. Progressives rejected the political nature of man and replaced it with a mythical general will, antithetical to individual rights.

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Facing the Limits of the Administrative State

This leads to a rethinking of the Administrative State in line with lessons learned and new thinking on how such organizations function.  Regulators are OK for executing clear laws, but terrible at designing systems and regulations  to advance unproven political theories.

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Three Core Defects of Socialism

“The third problem is that socialism, following Marx’s dialectical theory of history, lends itself to a theory of inevitability or preordination that leaves no room for dissent, and that leads in consequence to the elevation of a political class that responds to failure by searching for wreckers and dissenters to punish. “

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