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The Protectionist Fallacy

from National Review, Who Will Protect Americans from the Protectionists? by George Will

The tiny print on the back of iPhones accurately says they are “assembled,” not manufactured, in China. The American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis notes that parts come from South Korea, Japan, Italy, Taiwan, Germany, and the United States. Components of Boeing airliners’ wings come from Japan, South Korea, and Australia; horizontal stabilizers and center fuselages from Italy; cargo-access doors from Sweden; passenger-entry doors from France; landing-gear doors from Canada; engines and landing gear from Britain.

Navarro’s “unwinding and repatriating” is, to say no more, part of an improbable project: making American greater by making Apple, Boeing, and many other corporations much less efficient and less competitive. This will further slow economic growth, making even more unattainable the 4 percent (more than double the economy’s average growth this century) or higher growth that the administration says will enable it to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure (including a $15 billion or so wall on the Mexican border, begun after nearly a decade of net-negative immigration from Mexico), while substantially increasing military spending, leaving entitlements unreformed, and delivering enormous tax cuts. Cuts that, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (co-chaired by Republican Mitch Daniels and Democrat Leon Panetta, both former directors of the Office of Management and Budget), will reduce revenues by $5.8 trillion over ten years. This, as the Congressional Budget Office projects that even without any of the administration’s proposed spending spree and tax cuts, under current law the national debt would increase by $9.4 trillion.

HKO

Trade is my biggest concern of Trump. It is a minor part of the employment issue if it has any effect at all.  It can be especially onerous if handled with the utter lack of diplomacy that he has shown so far.

 

 

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The Left’s New Journey

Before the election there was a very small group who called for Texas to secede from the Union.  There was never any real chance of this proceeding but it made for amusing divisive stories in the press.  It fulfilled the stereotypes some had of Texas and the South.

Today there are stories about elements of the wounded elite calling for California’s secession; also not very likely, but certainly a distinct shift.

Hillary’s concession speech referred to the famous reply from Benjamin Franklin when asked what form of government the framers selected; “A republic if you can keep it.”  This was a quote you would have more likely heard from a conservative before the election.

The left is discovering constitutional limits on executive power; a subject they chose to ignore for the last eight years.  I try to console my liberal friends in their post Trump depression by suggesting that they will now witness the true power of our constitution.

If Trump puts constitutionalist conservatives on the court the left will discover the wisdom of states’ rights.

Trump’s election heralds a political change that is rare.  Like other historical pivots the causes were brewing well in advance, but the outcome is a change in the way the parties function and identify themselves.

Democrat’s power has been eroding since the congressional elections of 2010. The decline of the elites has also been in play. Their rejection is the brightest light of democracy seen in some time.

The framers saw the need to limit democracy.  Perhaps now the progressive left which has long seen majoritarian democracy as a higher value than constitutional liberty will rethink that as well. Criticizing the electoral college is not an effective solution. Hillary feared she would win the electoral vote but lose the popular vote and cause her victory’s legitimacy to be questioned.  What would have been the electoral skeptic’s response to that?

The left has been far more concerned with the acquisition and use of power than any constitutional constraints that each of them swore to uphold.  This will likely change as well.

All of this assumes that Trump will be able to deliver on his promises.  The left is torn between concern if he fails or if he succeeds, They would be better served to read the constitution and books about its origins.

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In Search of Better Masters

From Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish, The Right to Be Better People:

Free people fight for independence. But the left’s revolutions are struggles for tyranny. They protest for better masters. They violently agitate for rulers who will run their lives better.

And that too is in the air here. Obama didn’t give you enough. Vote Bernie. BernieCare will do everything that ObamaCare didn’t. And if it doesn’t, there’s SteinCare. Or the NHS.

The left claims to be rational, but Bernie is playing on emotions. He’s agitating for outrage. And he’s angry. The thing that he is angry about may not really be health care. It probably isn’t. Radicals channel personal anger into political outrage. How many of the anti-Trump marchers really hate Trump. How many of them hate their parents or their meaningless lives.

No society can be better, more able to make good decisions, than the people it is composed of.

Socialism degrades the people and enters a failure cycle in which it is less able to live up to its promises with every descent into deeper government control. In health care, Socialism gradually corrupts the system into a hybrid over-regulated mess that raises costs until only the government can fund it. And then only the government can ration it. But de-socializing medicine is too painful and scary. It’s easier to try and tinker with it, to “repair” ObamaCare instead of getting rid of it.

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Overreach of Bureaucratic Power

from The National Review, Matthew Continetti writes Who Rules The United States:

Here was a case of current and former national security officials using their position, their sources, and their methods to crush a political enemy. And no one but supporters of the president seems to be disturbed. Why? Because we are meant to believe that the mysterious, elusive, nefarious, and to date unproven connection between Donald Trump and the Kremlin is more important than the norms of intelligence and the decisions of the voters.

Nor is Flynn the only example of nameless bureaucrats working to undermine and ultimately overturn the results of last year’s election. According to the New York Times, civil servants at the EPA are lobbying Congress to reject Donald Trump’s nominee to run the agency. Is it because Scott Pruitt lacks qualifications? No. Is it because he is ethically compromised? Sorry. The reason for the opposition is that Pruitt is a critic of the way the EPA was run during the presidency of Barack Obama. He has a policy difference with the men and women who are soon to be his employees. Up until, oh, this month, the normal course of action was for civil servants to follow the direction of the political appointees who serve as proxies for the elected president.

How quaint. These days an architect of the overreaching and antidemocratic Waters of the U.S. regulation worries that her work will be overturned so she undertakes extraordinary means to defeat her potential boss. But a change in policy is a risk of democratic politics. Nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the decisions of government employees are to be unquestioned and preserved forever. Yet that is precisely the implication of this unprecedented protest. “I can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this,” a professor of government tells the paper. That sentence does not leave me feeling reassured.

But here’s the difference. Legislative roadblocks, adversarial journalists, and public marches are typical of a constitutional democracy. They are spelled out in our founding documents: the Senate and its rules, and the rights to speech, a free press, and assembly. Where in those documents is it written that regulators have the right not to be questioned, opposed, overturned, or indeed fired, that intelligence analysts can just call up David Ignatius and spill the beans whenever they feel like it?

HKO

Eisenhower warned of the Military Industrial Complex.  An independent and unaccountable federal bureaucracy is a far greater threat,

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Liberalism Abandoned

From Robert Zubrin at Richochet, America Needs a Liberal Party:

America needs a new Liberal Party because both major parties have abandoned liberalism. Neither adequately supports international free trade or the defense of the West — the two pillars of the liberal world order since 1945. Both lack commitment to constitutionally limited government, separation of powers, free enterprise, and human equality and liberty under law. Each supports its own Malthusian antihuman collectivist ideology: for Democrats, it is ecologism, for Republicans, it is nativism.

Ecologism — the advocacy of state-administered collective sacrifice for the putative benefit of nature — is so obviously antiliberal, reactionary, and indeed, antihuman, that I will leave it to the would-be liberals of the left to figure out how they ever got roped into adopting it as part of their core ideology. As a result, the party that once proudly proclaimed itself the defender of the poor now centers its program on ultra-regressive sales taxes of fuel and electricity, while boasting of its ability to throw entire industries and their workers on the scrap heap. Furthermore ecologism serves as a justification for the expansion of the powers of the state to intrude into every aspect of public, commercial, and private life, reinforcing monopolies, impairing initiative, and destroying opportunities at every turn.

Nativism, on the other hand, is the ideology that brought the Trumpist Trojan horse into the conservative citadel. A mirror image of the Democrats environmental Malthusianism, it asserts that rather than natural resources, it is human opportunities that are in limited supply. It is not a conservative ideology, because it is anti free enterprise and anti Judeo-Christian. Our nation’s founding creed is that of inalienable rights granted to men created equal by God. How can a movement which explicitly denies that faith be considered conservative, or even traditionally American? In fact it isn’t conservative at all. It is Alt-Right. But what is the Alt-Right really?

HKO

An excellent post and should be read slowly and completely.