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The War on the Middle Class

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Victor Davis Hanson writes in National Review, Plutocratic Populism Pays

In mid-October, Hillary Clinton gave a short lecture at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas bewailing the crushing costs of a university education. “Higher education,” Clinton thundered, “shouldn’t be a privilege for those able to afford it.”

One reason tuition and student indebtedness have soared — UNLV’s tuition is set to go up by 17 percent next year — is that universities pay exorbitant fees to multimillionaire speakers like Hillary Clinton. College foundations sprout up to raise money for perks that might not pass transparent university budgeting. Clinton — or her own foundation — reportedly charged a university foundation $225,000 for a talk lasting less than an hour. For that sum, she could have paid the tuition of over 320 cash-strapped UNLV students. Is there a Clinton Tuition Fund, to which Hillary contributes a portion of her honoraria to exempt herself from the ramifications of her own accusations?

Could not Barack Obama blast billionaires somewhere else than at the homes of billionaires? If Hillary Clinton is going to deplore high college costs, could she not settle for $25,000 an hour rather than ten times that? Could not Mark Zuckerberg live among those he champions rather than driving up housing prices by buying a multimillion-dollar housing moat around his tony enclave? If Joe Biden swears that hedge funds and Wall Street are toxic, mightn’t he at least first advise his brother and son to steer clear of such tainted cash?

Modern liberalism is an ideology of the super-wealthy in alliance with those who need government assistance — often in opposition to the less liberal middle class, which bears the brunt of higher taxes, more regulations, and zero interest on savings. The vast growth of local, state, and federal government and their workforces, the huge increase in pensions and benefits, the spectacular rise in the number of people on government support, coupled with zero interest for those with modest savings, represents a huge transference of wealth from the middle class to those classes beneath them — even as the resulting booming stock market has enriched the already rich. In some sense, strident populist rhetoric is a psychological tic, an acknowledgment that Obama progressivism has all but destroyed the middle class. When Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg talk like populists, then we know populism is dead.

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An Ad Agency for Central Planning

kevin williamson

Kevin Williamson writes The Unmanageable Man in The National Review.

Excerpt:

This is a particularly acute problem for the Left, because central planning, variously mutated, is at the center of the Left’s political program. With the collapse of Marxism as a bedrock intellectual model, the Anglo-American Left, and to a lesser extent its European and Asian branches, has been reduced to very little more than performing public-relations work on behalf of a collection of parochial economic interests and sundry tribal enthusiasms. The Democratic party is in effect an advertising agency for central planning, tasked with selling its worst failures as its most notable successes (public schools, Medicaid, financial regulation), and, being fortunate in the nature of its main antagonist, its salesmen have done a better job than one might have expected convincing the American public that it really does like New Coke after all.

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The True War on Science is Not Coming from the Right

Sheldon uses his friendship algorithm

Sheldon uses his friendship algorithm

One of my favorite blog postings this year is The Left is Too Smart to Fail by Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish.  Science is for Stupid People is equally worthy and an excellent companion piece to the first article.

Excerpts:

Tysonism is why ObamaCare suffered a disastrous launch, why the VA reorganization didn’t work and why we’re back in Iraq. Technocrats don’t make mistakes. They can’t. They’re only at the top because they’re smart. If they ever admitted to being stupid, they would lose their right to rule.

Like Lysenkoism, Tysonism uses ideology to determine the outcomes of science. That’s how we keep ending up with Global Warming as settled science no matter how often the actual science contradicts it.

Tysonism appropriates science without understanding it. Its science consists of factoids, some right and some wrong, which simplify and clarify everything. Its manufactured intelligence makes people feel smart without actually giving them the critical tools to question the false assumptions of a Tyson.

What the left calls science is really a hypothesis accepted as a fact without the skepticism. Its intelligence is a conclusion without bothering to determine whether it’s true. Science and intelligence are perpetual processes that are never truly settled. But in law and government, as in all other fields, the left discards the process and asserts an inevitable outcome by virtue of its superiority. 

Intelligence as ideology is at the heart of the left. Its Orwellian twist discards the need for using intelligence to question its ideology by asserting that the issue is settled. To be smart is to be left and to be left is to be smart. And only stupid people would question that.

There is no need to think about anything because the smart people have already done all the thinking. You can show you are smart by accepting their conclusions or show your stupidity by questioning them.

Science and skepticism are the tools of stupid people. As Socrates put it, I know that I know nothing. We have the most to fear from the smart people who don’t know and will never admit how little they know.

 

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Political Priorities

HKO_A

Political issues follow a simple priority.

  1. Security
  2. Economy
  3. Social
  4. Cultural

When our security is threatened we will address that foremost.  If necessary we will raise taxes, incur debt or whatever we need to do to protect out nation. While we need to look ahead to security issues in order to be prepared to address them when they are released upon us, the voters will tend to overlook the cost of weak security until action such as 911 wakes us up from the slumber.

When we feel relatively secure we will focus more on the economy and economic prosperity.  While there may be very different opinions on the means at least the ends will take priority in the voters’ minds.  A strong economy is essential to be able to withstand security shocks, but it will take a major security event to make the economy a less essential political issue.

The social and cultural issues will take a higher priority when we feel secure and prosperous. Gay marriage, voting rights, and precepts of social justice will be more important in the voters mind when the first two become less important.  The great advance in civil rights and feminism happened after WW II and during the economic boom of the 50′s and 60′s.  The Cold War seemed like less of existential threat until our young in Vietnam started coming back in body bags and then Viet Nam was the dominant political issue.

Voters may sacrifice their preference on social issues when security and economic issues are current causes of concern.  Claims of racism, sexism, and the war on women may make great news fodder but I gather than in the real world these issues are far less of a concern.

Women make a majority of college graduates and are well represented in the high paid professions of law, medicine and accounting.  Blacks are represented in the highest levels of government and increasingly in the 1%.  (Oprah, Dr Dre, Tyler Perry)  The problem of race has been supplanted by the problems of the poor and the uneducated regardless of ethnicity.

We should be happy when we are able to focus on social issues, but I would propose that these would be bother less of a perceived problem and more important to the voters if Security and the economy were in better hands.

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Protecting the Entrenched

uber

The government’s protection of the entrenched is most noted by local efforts to ban Uber and the Tesla distribution model.  Of course, like most protectionist legislation, the stated objective is to protect the public, but the end game is to protect the existing companies from the competition of better ideas.

Recently in Louisville I called a cab for a ride to the airport. 45 minutes later a dirty cab- inside and out- driven by a man in his pajamas, still yawning from being called to work from  his deep sleep, arrived.  This is what they are protecting.

For slightly more than the price of a dingy cab, Uber will send me a clean SUV. No cash is exchanged.  The cab industry will have to improve or die.

Tesla is in demand and efforts to thwart their simplified distribution model will not likely be thwarted by efforts to protect their competition,

The younger more tech savvy voter will lean toward the party that refuses to stand in the way of market progress and their choices.

Electronic Car Maker Telsa Reports Quarterly Earnings