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Uranium One

from Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal,  America’s Decadent Leadership Class:

Think of how he’s experienced them the past few years. Readers of these pages know of the Uranium One deal in which a Canadian businessman got Bill Clinton to help him get control of uranium mining fields in Kazakhstan. The businessman soon gave $31 million to the Clinton Foundation, with a pledge of $100 million more. Uranium One acquired significant holdings in the U.S. A Russian company moved to buy it. The deal needed U.S. approval, including from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

 While it was under consideration the Clinton Foundation received more money from Uranium One. Bill Clinton got a $500,000 speech fee. Mrs. Clinton approved the deal. The Russian company is now one of the world’s largest uranium producers. Significant amounts of U.S. uranium are, in effect, owned by Russia. This summer a WikiLeaks dump showed the State Department warning that Russia was moving to control the global supply of nuclear fuel. The deal went through anyway, and the foundation flourished.
Peter Schweizer, who broke the Uranium One story, reported in these pages how Mrs. Clinton also pushed for a U.S.-Russian technology initiative whose goals included “the development of ties between the Russian and American people.” Mrs Clinton looked for U.S. investors and found them. Of the 28 announced “key partners,” 60% had made financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation. Even Russian investors ponied up.
from an Oct 15 WSJ –  Hillary’s corruption was astounding,  This story should have killed her candidacy by itself.
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The New Normal is the Same as the Old Normal

From Marc Levinson at The Wall Street Journal, Why the Economy Doesn’t Roar Anymore:

Historically, boom times are the exception, not the norm. That isn’t true just in America. Over the past two centuries, per capita incomes in all advanced economies, from Sweden to Japan, have grown at compound rates of around 1.5% to 2% a year. Some memorable years were much better, of course, and many forgettable years were much worse. But these distinctly non-euphoric averages mean that most of the time, over the long sweep of history, people’s incomes typically take about 40 years to double.

Today, that is no longer good enough. Americans expect the economy to be buoyant, not boring. Yet this expectation is shaped not by prosaic economic realities but by a most unusual period in history: the quarter-century that began in the ashes of World War II, when the world economy performed better than at any time before or since.

What explains the global downshift in productivity growth? Some of the factors are obvious. Once tens of millions of workers had moved from the farm to the city, they could not do so again. After the drive for universal education in the 1950s and ’60s made it possible for almost everyone in wealthy countries to attend high school and for many to go to university, further improvements in education levels were marginal. Projects to widen and extend expressways didn’t deliver nearly the productivity pop of the initial construction of those roads.

But there is more to the story. Productivity, in historical context, grows in fits and starts. Innovation surely has something to do with it, but we have precious little idea how to stimulate innovation—and no way at all to predict which innovations will lead to higher productivity.

Here is the lesson: What some economists now call “secular stagnation” might better be termed “ordinary performance.” Most of the time, in most economies, incomes increase slowly, and living standards rise bit by bit. The extraordinary experience of the Golden Age left us with the unfortunate legacy of unrealistic expectations about our governments’ ability to deliver jobs, pay raises and steady growth.

HKO

A sobering thought- but what if the tepid growth in productivity and wages is tempered by a sharp drop in consumer prices? Then the  slower growth would be virtually pain free.  If tepid growth is the norm, then we will have to face a great reckoning with government expenses and pension liabilities.

 

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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.