Thursday, February 9, 2017

Barack Obama Handed a Lethal Deportation Machine to Trump's Gang of White Nationalists

Forced expulsions, family incarceration and border militarization all expanded under the Obama administration.
Photo Credit: Gregory Reed / Shutterstock, Inc.
On January 18, Barack Obama used his final press conference as president to pledge to the public that he will speak up if the administration of Donald Trump crosses a line, whether that's imposing “systematic discrimination” or silencing the press. “There’s a difference between that normal functioning of politics and certain issues or certain moments where I think our core values may be at stake,” Obama told journalists assembled in the White House briefing room. “I would put in that category efforts to round up kids who have grown up here and for all practical purposes are American kids, and send them someplace else, when they love this country.”


Mr. Trump, don't build those walls!

Millions of words have been written analyzing Donald Trump's election to be the 45th U.S. president. I join all sensible people in being grateful that Hillary Clinton was denied her bid to unleash from the Oval Office her economically destructive policies. Nothing but ill could have come from her absurd faith in the power of politicians and bureaucrats to engineer us all to greater happiness.
Yet I fear Trump's presidency. Although political realities will ensure he's unable to implement all of his campaign promises, much of his program will likely be put into place. Yet too much of it makes no economic sense. 

Where Scalia was wrong

WASHINGTON
With an asperity born of exasperation, Justice Antonin Scalia once wrote, “If you want aspirations, you can read the Declaration of Independence,” but “there is no such philosophizing in our Constitution,” which is “a practical and pragmatic charter of government.”
Scalia was wrong, and much depends on Neil Gorsuch not resembling Scalia in this regard. Gorsuch can endorse Scalia's originalism without embracing Scalia's misunderstanding of this: There is no philosophizing in the Constitution — until the Founders' philosophy is infused into it by construing the document as a charter of government for a nation that is, in Lincoln's formulation, dedicated to a proposition that Scalia implicitly disparaged as impractical and unpragmatic. 

Trump, Reagan & nukes

On Dec. 22, Donald Trump tweeted at 10:50 a.m., when throngs were heading to malls: “The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”
Several hours earlier, Vladimir Putin said he planned to “strengthen the strategic nuclear forces” of Russia.
The morning after his tweet calling for the U.S. to increase its 4,500 nuclear warheads, Trump expanded on his statement with “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski: “Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.” 

The real cost of protectionism

WASHINGTON
When the president speaks of closed factories scattered like “tombstones” across America, has he noticed the shuttered stores in shopping centers and entire malls reduced to rubble? He promises “protection” to prevent foreigners from “destroying” manufacturing jobs by exporting to America things that Americans want to import. Does he know that one American company might be “destroying” more American jobs than China is? And that this supposed destruction is beneficial? 

Inequality's unpleasant solutions

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WASHINGTON
Tight labor markets shrink income inequality by causing employers to bid up the price of scarce labor, so policymakers fretting about income inequality could give an epidemic disease a try. This might be a bit extreme but if increased equality is the goal, Stanford's Walter Scheidel should be heard. His scholarship encompasses many things (classics, history, human biology) and if current events are insufficiently depressing for you, try his just-published book “The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century.” Judge this book by its cover, which features Albrecht Durer's woodcut “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” 

Free Speech

A loss for Americans & Mexicans

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I'm all for cutting taxes. But I oppose selective tax breaks given to a particular business in exchange for that business agreeing to act in ways that it would not otherwise. Such selective tax breaks are merely bribes to entice particular businesses to do the government's bidding.
Such a bribe was negotiated by President-elect Donald Trump and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence (still governor of Indiana) to be paid by Indiana to Carrier's parent company, United Technologies, in exchange for abandoning plans to move 1,000 jobs to Mexico. 

Matt Drudge: ‘Republican Party should be sued for fraud. No discussion of tax cuts now’

The media mogul says, ‘Back to basics, guys!’
Matt Drudge (Associated Press/Brian K. Diggs) ** FILE **
Matt Drudge (Associated Press/Brian K. Diggs) ** FILE ** more >
Media mogul Matt Drudge lit into congressional Republicans on Wednesday over fears they are waffling on campaign rhetoric regarding tax cuts and Obamacare.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and a host of other Republicans will likely feel heat from constituents after Mr. Drudge — who rarely tweets — issued a blistering critique of their leadership.


Richard Blumenthal: Judge Gorsuch should condemn Trump publicly

Richard Blumenthal: Judge Gorsuch should condemn Trump publicly

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., holds a thumb drive during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, with petitions calling for the Senate to reject Attorney General-designate Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ** FILE **
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., holds a thumb drive during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, with petitions calling for the Senate to reject Attorney General-designate Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) ** FILE ... more >
Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Thursday said he accurately depicted what Judge Neil Gorsuch told him privately about President Trump’s recent attacks on a federal judge and called on Judge Gorsuch to make his criticisms public.
“I absolutely accurately stated what Judge Gorsuch said to me, as confirmed by his own spokesman,” Mr. Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, said on CNN’s “New Day.”


Private money-like products gain traction amid mistrust of government

As government currencies lose value, interest grows in private money-like products

Illustration on the value of the dollar and its alternatives by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times
Illustration on the value of the dollar and its alternatives by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times more >
We all think we know what money is, but economists have many different definitions of money (e.g., M1, M2, M4, and others) — and the problem is getting worse. Is the U.S. paper dollar you have in your wallet money? How about a one-ounce gold $50 coin minted by the U.S. government, which has a current market value of roughly $1,200? Or digital “bitcoins” in your computer?
Money has three functions. The first is to serve as a medium of exchange in order to facilitate transactions, rather than bartering one good for another. The second is to serve as a store of value. The third is to serve as a unit of account, which enables it to serve as a common measure of value of the goods and services being exchanged.


What economists see that most don't

What economists see that most don't

Economists see the world differently than non-economists. Often, that involves nothing more than our habit of looking not only at the most obvious facts of reality but also at the less obvious facts.
For example, when Americans buy more imported steel, everyone sees that some steelworkers in Pennsylvania and Ohio lose their jobs. Economists, of course, also see these job losses. But unlike most non-economists, economists see the jobs that are created in America as a result of greater imports. Economists see that foreigners use dollars earned selling steel to us to buy American exports or to invest in America. Each of these uses creates jobs in America. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Five Things You Need to Know About Donald Trump’s Protectionist Trade Policies

Five Things You Need to Know About Donald Trump’s Protectionist Trade Policies

Donald Trump's Protectionist Trade Policies
Donald Trump talks trade at a rally (The Blade)
By Daniel J. Mitchell
I was recently interviewed on Fox Business Network about Trump’s policies and the economy, and the discussion jumped around from issues such as border-adjustable taxation to energy regulation. Though the central theme of the discussion was whether Trump had good ideas for American jobs and business competitiveness.

Given my schizophrenic views on Trump, this meant I was both supportive and critical, and I hope certain people in the White House paid attention to my comment about there being no need for the “stick” of protectionism if Trump delivers on the “carrot” of tax cuts and deregulation.


Future Mexican Ambassador to US Is a NAFTA Hard-Liner

By: Elena Toledo - 

Trump is pleased with the recent nomination of Geronimo Gutierrez as Mexican ambassador (
Geronimo Gutierrez will aggressively represent Mexico’s interests during NAFTA renegotiation (Desafuero).
US President Donald Trump has approved the nomination of Genimomo Gutiérrez as Mexico’s ambassador to Washington, according to US government sources.
“President Trump granted Mr. Gutiérrez’s nomination to be Mexico’s ambassador to the United States,” a White House official said.
Nevertheless, Gutiérrez still has to be approved by the senate of Mexico which must happen in the following days. The diplomat, who could be the new ambassador of the Aztec country in the United States, is a supporter of the National Action Party (PAN). He was the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs for North America under the government of Vicente Fox and currently serves as the managing director of the Development Bank for North America (NADB), and is also a close friend of the current chancellor, Luis Videgaray.


The Truth About Free Trade, Free Markets and Capitalism


The current political campaign for the U.S. presidency has brought out the worst in both the personalities and the policy positions among many of those running for that high political office, and this has been especially the case with international trade and the global economy.
Listening to the presumptive Republican and Democratic candidates for the White House, the average voter would think that international trade and investment is a zero sum game in which there is a “winner” and a “loser.” Their economic policy assumption is that other countries are gaining at the international trade game at the expense of the United States.
The fact is America is economically interconnected and interdependent with the rest of the world. About 20 percent of the American work force is employed in foreign trade and investment related jobs, and represents more than 25 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product.


Government “Free” Trade Deals Don’t Promote Freedom


So called “free” trade deals between governments are immoral—because they destroy companies’ freedom to trade freely with whomever they see fit. As Lawrence Solomon explains in an excellent Financial Post column, such trade deals do not promote free trade but “fixed trade.” They are just another way governments intervene in the markets and curtail our freedom, and therefore our ability to flourish and prosper.
Truly free trade can only take place in free markets, not in the prevailing mixed economies where governments pick favored trading partners:  nations whose companies get a preferred status, whether they are they are the most competitive or not (in terms of price and quality of their products).


“Black Lives Matter” Is Focused on the Wrong Culprit and the Wrong Solution


As an American and specifically a black American, I am glad that we are having a national discussion about the devaluation of many black lives.
Unfortunately, the movement leading this discussion — Black Lives Matter (“BLM”) — is focused on the wrong culprit and the wrong solution.
“African-Americans are Americans and we are not treated like that. We’re not treated as if black lives matter,” president of BLM’s Worcester chapter, states. But who isn’t treating black lives as if they matter?
Experience and data tell me that the group that most devalues my life is not abusive law enforcement nor white racism — though these exist and should be fought — it is black criminals.
There are many forms of devaluing life, but none compares to murder. And here’s the terrifying statistic: if as a black man I am murdered the chances are 9 out of 10 that my killer will be a black criminal as against a white, Hispanic, or Asian criminal. 9 out of 10.

Patrolmen Without Borders

If I drive across a U.S. border, I expect to stop at a Border Patrol checkpoint. But imagine driving to the grocery store, or Mom’s house, well inside America, and being stopped by the Border Patrol. Many Americans don’t have to imagine it — it’s how they live.
Even as the federal government fails to control the southern border, it sends the Border Patrol farther into the interior, where Americans complain that agents harass people who are already U.S. citizens.
It’s legal. The Supreme Court ruled that the Border Patrol can set up “inland” checkpoints anywhere up to 100 miles from an external border of the United States. That’s what government now considers a “reasonable distance” from the border.


Immigration Is American


Conservatives rightly point out that America is a nation of laws. No one should be exempt. That’s why many oppose amnesty and other paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are here now.
“If they want to be in America,” the argument goes, “they ought to return to their own countries and apply for a visa legally. America should not reward law breaking.”
That sounds sensible — but what happens when the immigrant does that, goes to the U.S. embassy and says, I’d like to work in America legally?
He gets paperwork to fill out and is told to go home to wait. And wait. A Forbes investigation found that a computer programmer from India must wait, on average, 11 years. A high school graduate from Mexico must wait an average 130 years!


Documented Irresponsibility


People who entered the United States illegally may be called “undocumented” in politically correct circles, but what is all too well documented is the utter irresponsibility of both political parties in dealing with immigration issues.
Both Democratic and Republican administrations have left the border with Mexico porous for years — porous not just for Mexicans but for anybody else, including terrorists from the Middle East.
Two very different issues have gotten jumbled together in the political stew called “comprehensive immigration reform.” The first and most fundamental issue is whether we are going to have an immigration policy at all. The second issue is: Just what should that immigration policy be?
If we do not control our own border, then we do not have any immigration policy. We may have immigration laws on the books, but if anybody can cross the border that wants to, those laws are just words on paper and a bad joke.