This illustrated edition is overflowing with the best takes on Trump’s triumphs at the G-7 and in Singapore. I am so loving the Trump presidency!
The economic news out on Friday provides a ready-made slogan for Republicans going into the 2018 midterm campaign this Fall.
Trump, keeping yet another one of his campaign promises, has given us an “unexpected” booming economy (except that those of us who believe in low regulation, low taxes, and high optimism were not surprised at all). His combination of economic optimism, deregulation (which is happening despite the Left’s attempt to block it through the courts), and lower taxes have had their inevitable effect:
The economy added 313,000 jobs in February, crushing expectations, while the unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent, according to a Labor Department report Friday that could help quell inflation fears.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had been expecting nonfarm payroll growth of 200,000 and the unemployment rate to decline one-tenth of a point to 4 percent.
An increase in the labor force participation rate to its highest level since September helped keep the headline unemployment number steady, as the number of those counted as not in the workforce tumbled by 653,000 to just over 95 million.
The total counted as “employed” in the household survey surged by 785,000 to a record 155.2 million.
A separate measure that takes into account those out of the workforce and the underemployed — sometimes referred to as the “real” unemployment rate — held steady at 8.2 percent.
Stocks surged following the report, with the Dow industrials up 375 points Friday afternoon after being slightly negative before the news.
You realize, of course, that the 2018 midterm campaign slogans now write themselves: [Read more…]
I want to help inner city residents and minorities learn that the Democrats are not their friends — and that Trump is. I’ve tried to do so in this letter.
If you look at economic numbers for the years from 2008 through 2016 (when Democrats-controlled Congress or when President Obama was making rules without running them through Congress first), you will notice a few very clear trends:
- The overall economy was bad following the 2008 recession.
- The overall economy never recovered for people living in inner cities, especially blacks and Hispanics. These groups had the highest unemployment and the lowest wage recovery. Incidentally, inner city communities, Hispanics, and blacks are all loyal Democrat voters.
- The communities that did spectacularly well during that same time — enjoying high employment, high wages — were government workers in and around Washington, D.C. and a whole bunch of Democrat white people clustered in places like the San Francisco Bay Area or the wealthy suburbs of New York and Chicago. Many of these rich white Democrats, by the way, got rich(er) thanks to policies that allowed them to grab lots of government money. These people, too, are overwhelmingly Democrat voters.
Conclusion: Democrat policies are great for Washington bureaucrats and Democrat rich people and not so great for inner city residents, blacks, and Hispanics.
In the year since Trump became president, there have been a few more very clear trends:
- The overall economy has grown spectacularly.
- When it comes to jobs, the biggest beneficiaries have been blacks and Hispanics.
- Under Donald Trump, the number of government employees is shrinking drastically: employees who quit aren’t being replaced; employees who do a terrible job (for example, Veterans Administration employees who let vets die without medical care) are getting fired; and President Trump is challenging and sometimes firing upper level employees in the FBI, the IRS, the DOJ, etc., who refuse to acknowledge that he is president or to work with his administration.
- The people protesting most loudly against Trump, and the ones pouring the most money and energy into destroying him, are those same people who got rich (or richer) during the Obama years and who are now seeing their cozy relationship with government vanish. That is, they want to restore their glory years, not preserve and protect yours.
Conclusion: Democrats don’t care about you. If they did, they would embrace President Trump’s policies because those policies are benefiting you in ways Americans haven’t seen since the 1980s. Instead, they care only about themselves and this is true no matter how often they insist that they, and not Donald Trump, have your interests at heart. [Read more…]
While not all of the links in this post discuss the Second Amendment, most do. There’s other stuff too, about health care, the economy, etc. It’s all good.
A great book about the Second Amendment. This post focuses heavily on the Second Amendment because, once again, Progressives are using an evil act to justify depriving Americans of a singularly important Constitutional right. I’m therefore opening by shilling my own little book on the subject: Our Second Amendment Rights In Ten Essays. The ten essays are
- A Typical Discussion With Gun Grabbers; Or, What Second Amendment Supporters Are Up Against
- Guns Are Most Dangerous When The Government Is The Only One That Has Them
- America’s Founding Fathers Ratified The Second Amendment Because They Knew That Government Is Dangerous
- A Self-Defended Society Is A Safe Society
- Gun Grabbers Ignore That Guns Not Only Take Lives, They Save Lives
- Beware Of Arguments Comparing American Gun Crime To That In Other Nations; These Arguments Are Always Dishonest
- The Only Way Gun-Control Activists Can Support Their Position Is To Lie
- Disarming Americans Is A Racist Thing To Do; Therefore, Second Amendment Supporters Are Anti-Racists
- Jews, Of All People, Should Always Support The Second Amendment
- If We Really Want To Protect Our Children, We Shouldn’t Ban Guns, We Should Ban School Buses
Those who took the time to review the book were good enough to say nice things:
“An exceptional set of essays addressing with the common progressive attacks on our Second Amendment right, as well as the historical origins of the right and its tremendous importance to our “free state.” In light of the stated intent of certain of our politicians to overturn the Heller decision and make a nullity of the Second Amendment, I would recommend that you read these essays closely.”
“A quick read, but packed with commonsense tracing the history & variously failed implementations of gun control in contravention of our Constitution.”
“Read it, live it, breathe it … for freedom. History shows time and time again that only despots want to disarm citizens. The result? Learn from history.”
“An excellent and incisive book written by one who has a firm grasp of both the subject and the issues at stake.”
“Well written, understandable, and timely. Excellent information.”
“Read this. Your freedom is a risk.”
“Well written and quite thoughtful.”
At the risk of sounding immodest, as the Progressives’ increase their strident demands that we turn all of our weapons over to Donald Trump (yes, that’s effectively what they’re demanding), this book has some useful ways of thinking about guns and a civil society that may help you rebut the insanity.
Nothing like a little data to reveal the stupidity behind gun control. If you haven’t already heard about and read Leah Libresco’s anti-gun control opinion piece at the WaPo, you must. It’s an honest acknowledgement that everything that the gun control crowd argues is wrong — and it comes from one who once supported those arguments until her data studies revealed they had no basis in reality:
Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.
Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns. (Emphasis mine.)
Professional licensing requirements look very unconstitutional when government power supports monopolies without benefiting either licensees or consumers.
Almost a decade ago, in a post entitled “The scam what am,” I described one of the few things that make me, a rather temperate person, start ranting like a crazy woman:
If you want to witness the interesting spectacle of my going from a fairly mild-mannered, motherly lawyer type, to a screaming, foaming-at-the-mouth harridan, mention one acronym: MCLE. This stands for Minimum Continuing Legal Education, which I found an inconvenience when I was a big firm attorney and that I find an economic and time burden now that I’m a solo.
Continuing legal education did not used to be a mandatory requirement for practicing law in California. When I started out as a lawyer, legal organizations and legal publishers would put together seminars and send out fliers in the hopes that lawyers would attend. Often lawyers did attend because the seminars involved the lawyer’s practice area, and they promised to be interesting or to give the lawyer an edge professionally. Lawyers took the classes on a strictly as needed basis, so that a lawyer who was just plodding along in a single area, reading the cases as they came out and churning through relatively uninteresting legal cases, might attend one seminar a year. For example, a litigator might attend an annual half day seminar on new pretrial procedures. (Or he might just read the new legislation emanating from Sacramento every year, or check the update to his favorite legal treatise, which would spell out all of the new procedural requirements.)
Then, in the late 1980s, the California State Bar suddenly announced that, if lawyers want to keep their licenses, they were required to take 36 hours worth of seminars over a three-year period (a requirement since lowered to 25 hours over the same three years). Not only that, but lawyers couldn’t just take classes in areas that might benefit them as practitioners. Instead, they also were (and are) required to take several hours of classes in law practice management, legal ethics (which could theoretically help some lawyers out there), substance abuse, and identity politics — oh, sorry, that last should be “Elimination of Bias.”
Over the years, in addition to lowering the number of required hours, California also allows lawyers to complete all of their hours online. Thankfully, the free market, which sees online providers throughout the United States competing for customers, means that I can get 25 hours of MCLE for a mere $60. Of course, the “classes” I take have nothing to do with my practice area but, for $20 per year and some boring background noise while I cook or do laundry, I can live with it.
Living with it, though, doesn’t mean I like it. That’s why, when I had the opportunity four years ago to hear Clark M. Neily, III, speak, his talk really resonated with me:
The subject of his talk was the poisonous effect of the “rational basis” analysis that the Supreme Court has mandated for cases involving government infringement on an individual’s right to work.
In other words, Neily thinks that courts are imposing an unconstitutional test that unconstitutionally deprives people of their livelihood, all in order to enable professional monopolies that freeze out newcomers:
If you protest a state or federal law imposing such a great burden on your profession that you cannot run a viable business, or that imposes ridiculous impediments as a predicate to holding a certain type of job, the federal court judge hearing your case will ask the government to justify the law. Fortunately, for the government, the standard, known as the “rational basis test” is so low that it requires no facts or analysis, just imagination. Worse, it turns the judge into an active part of the government’s defense team. Or as Neily explains:
Unlike strict and intermediate scrutiny, it does not involve a search for truth but rather an exercise in creativity. Instead of trying to determine what the government is really up to, as they do in other cases, judges applying rational basis review are required to accept — and even help invent — purely imaginary explanations for the government’s actions. (p. 50.)
Here’s how this standard played out in a real case that is near and dear to Neily’s heart. Sandy Meadows was a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, widow with one marketable skill: she could arrange flowers. We’re not talking the fancy flower arrangements you see in the lobby of deluxe hotels. She put together the little posies at the local supermarket and was paid a livable salary to do so. Unfortunately for Meadows, the state of Louisiana requires that florists — with a florist defined as anybody who assembles more than two flowers and sells them — to have a license.
Meadows took the license test five times and failed it five times. Lest you think she was an ignoramus, she wasn’t. She didn’t have a problem with the 50 written questions. Her problem was with the practical exam. In Louisiana, anyone who wants to put together posies for profit must assemble four arrangements that are then judged, not by some bureaucrat (which would be bad enough), but by a panel of florists who are given a chance to size up potential competition. That’s where poor Meadows failed every time. She wasn’t alone. I believe Neily said that the floral panel passed only 37% of test-takers. Neily compared this to Louisiana’s State Bar pass rate, which is 61%. In other words, it’s easier to become a lawyer in Louisiana than to become the gal who puts together bouquets at the local Piggly Wiggly.
Neily, on behalf of the Institute of Justice, took on Meadows’ case . . . and lost. He lost because the “rational basis” test meant that the government could come up with any nonsense it wanted to justify a monopolistic licensing requirement and, when the judge wasn’t convinced by the government’s arguments, he was able to come up with his own, even sillier, reason for having the state put its giant thumb firmly on the scale on the side of florists.
I’m not putting up today’s post just to rehash the glories of my past posts. Instead, I’d like to introduce you to a lawyer friend of mine who is fighting an MCLE battle. [Read more…]
Without diving into the details, there are two central flaws with this poster that negate everything it advocates: It assumes (1) that the money Bernie wants to spend belongs to the government, not the taxpayers, and (2) that the government will spend that money better under Bernie’s aegis than you would spend it for your own benefit or that past governments have spent it for the “public good.” One needs only to look at the history of socialism everywhere to realize that, when it comes to managing money (your money, that you earned), the government (which simply took it at gunpoint) does a lousy job and that individuals make smarter decisions.
Let me turn the rostrum over to Milton Friedman:
I’m baaack! We returned from our weekend trip to Yosemite late last night. Having disposed of the four loads of laundry the family managed to generate with three days of travel and two days of hiking, I’m ready to blog — and what I want to blog about is the way in which the National Park Service (“NPS” or, as I periodically think of it, the Nazi-o-nal Park Service) teaches about freedom and the free market.
I should start by exposing my bias: I’m completely un-American in that I don’t like Yosemite. I’m certainly impressed by Yosemite. The gigantic solid slabs of granite that reach hundreds of feet into the sky should impress anybody. It is a magnificent example of Nature’s raw power. I had to stop myself from laughing every time Mr. Bookworm reminded the kids that the vast walls rising above us, and the monstrous granite boulders strewn on the valley floor were all products of retreating glaciers. I kept wanting to shout out “Global warming! Climate change!” I kept quiet, though. He’s a true believer and he will always believe that this century’s experience with slight warming and climate change is not part of a natural pattern but is, instead, all our fault — with the only remedy being living in a cold house and buying taxpayer subsidized electric cars.
92,000 104,000 116,000 121,000 130,000 142,000 160,000 people and counting. I must have hit a nerve here…. Welcome to all of you, even the trolls (of whom there are many, and yes, dear trolls, I am ignoring you in the comments section).]
My older Little Bookworm can vote in the upcoming election, so she’s paying a bit of attention to things. She told me that, on her SnapChat and Facebook pages, all of her friends are mesmerized by Bernie and most of them are getting information from a website called “I Like Bernie, But….” I checked out the website, didn’t like it, and created my own website called “I Don’t Like Bernie, Because….” The following is my first post at the new website:
The website I Like Bernie, But… takes it upon itself to answer concerned readers who ask “Isn’t Bernie a socialist?” It assures these people that Bernie isn’t a socialist socialist. Instead, he’s a democratic socialist, which the website promises is something entirely different:
The above conclusions are just wrong, and they’re so very wrong that they need to be corrected and explained in a lot of paragraphs. Here goes:
To begin with, you need to understand what it really means to be a socialist. Only then can you understand that putting the word “democratic” in front of “socialist” doesn’t change anything.
So what is a “socialist” system? Think of the realm of available politics as a line moving from left to right. On the far left side are totalitarian regimes, which means government has all the control and the people have none. At the far right side is anarchy, which means there is no government at all, although the resulting chaos usually means that people have no control either. (Ironically, anarchy usually ends when a strong man takes over and creates a totalitarian regime.)
This is a post about Obamacare, but I think it needs to start with my daughter’s great insight about our neighborhood grocery store, which recently sold out to a so-called “high-end chain.” So far, the only thing high about the store under its new ownership it is the prices its charging. It’s selling the same meats Wal-Mart sells (not that there’s anything wrong with that), except that it’s promoting them as boutique specialty meats and pricing them accordingly (and there’s a lot wrong with that). When the neighborhood moms get together, they don’t have a lot of nice things to say about the newly configured market.
I decided to ask my teenage daughter what her peers in the neighborhood had to say about the new store at the same old location. Her answer, which I’m quoting verbatim, was marvelous, and should be read by every Leftist in America:
It’s okay. I like the soups. But otherwise, it’s really expensive. Now that my friends and I are all driving, if we want food, we either go to a restaurant where we can totally order what we want, or we go to Safeway, which is a lot cheaper. Basically, the local market is the kind of place you go when you’re spending other people’s money — like yours, Mom.
Could there be a more perfect statement of the problems that arise from government handouts?
Her little statement resonated especially strongly with me today, because of a discussion I had with a pro-Obamacare person this morning. What sparked the discussion was the fact that both Forbes and the New York Times had Obamacare offerings. Forbe’s offering is an article Steve Moore wrote about the false statements Obama made in a speech claiming that Obamacare was a success. The New York Times offering is a 35-minute-long video following the healthcare travails of a diabetic man in Kentucky, both before and after Obamacare went into effect.
Charlie Martin, who has a real knack for simplifying fairly complex mathematical concepts, has a post today about the fact that, when it comes to Obamacare versus math, math wins every time. I’d like to add my mite to that, which is that, when you have no dog in the fight, you don’t care how expensive the fight is. As you’ve gotten used to, I’m going to make the journey from the specific (that would be me and my experiences) to the general (a wholesale condemnation of big government, which is the same as bad economics.)
I go to a different dentist from the rest of my family, because I started going to him 15 years ago, and never saw any need to change when they jumped ship to a different guy. I like the man, I like his office staff, and I like the care I’ve been getting there.
Because we have dental insurance, I’ve never once written a check to my dentist’s office. I get my teeth cleaned twice a year, like clockwork, and I have no idea how much it costs.
I went recently for a cleaning (you’d be dazzled by my smile) and, as always, didn’t pay. My husband also went recently and, as always, didn’t pay. The insurance statements for both our treatments came in on the same day. These statements revealed that both dentists charge more than our coverage allows for a cleaning, and that both dentists accepted as payment in full the coverage maximum, even though it was less than their “official” charge. One could say that this proves that insurance works, since the dentists’ willingness to cut their price to the insurance maximum shows that dental insurance controls costs. Maybe….
What was just as interesting, though, was the fact that my dentist charges $36 more for a cleaning than my husband’s dentist does. (If that dollar amounts sounds interesting to you, that’s also the recent decrease in food stamp money for a family of four over the course of a month.) My husband was upset that my guy charges more. I wasn’t: (a) I’m not paying it and (b) the insurance company “stiffed” both guys, so it’s the dentists who should care.
The really important point, and the one that completely eluded my husband was that — and I’m repeating myself here — I didn’t care. I get the services, but I don’t pay. I have no incentive whatsoever to shop around for a cheaper, yet still good, dentist, and my dentist has no incentive to change his prices. Either the insurance pays him his rate or it doesn’t. If it does pay his rate, his high charging gamble paid off; if it doesn’t . . . well, he tried, so no harm no foul.
This is a marketplace distortion, where there is no connection between services rendered and money paid. The problem isn’t greedy insurance companies; it’s disinterested consumers. As for the insurance companies, they don’t negotiate either. They just set caps and that’s the end of it.
I had the same situation years ago, when Kaiser paid for a jaw guard for me because I was grinding my teeth to dust. I made two visits to the dentist, the first to get a mold for the jaw guard, and the second to get the jaw guard fitted. The total time I spent there was about 40 minutes. I saw the dentist for less than ten minutes, total. I paid for the guard myself ($250 in lab costs). Kaiser just paid for the dentist’s time and services. I should add that this took place in the early 1990s, when money had more meaning. The dentist charged Kaiser $800 for his time and service — and Kaiser paid every cent. I actually called Kaiser to complain. I was pleased with my jaw guard, but this was still highway robbery. Kaiser was unmoved. The dentist’s charge fitted into its chart, and that was the end of that.
That event, incidentally, was when I figured out that the problem with America’s healthcare market wasn’t rising medical costs or greedy insurance companies (although both are factors). It was that the customer doesn’t pay, so the customer has no incentive to shop around or strike bargains. Because the person getting the services couldn’t care less about the price (it’s other people’s money), there is no competition and there are no cost controls.
My realization about medical costs twenty years also started my turn towards conservativism. That’s because I figured out that the more things that the government pays for, the worse the market distortion. The government is not using its own money, it’s using your and my money. We care about our money, but the government doesn’t. If it overspends, it just uses its police power to demand more money from us. That’s its nature, just like the scorpion’s nature. The only way to control this is to make sure that government is responsible for paying for the smallest number of things possible.
What frustrates me is that people in my neck of the woods don’t get it. I suspect we have one of the highest concentrations of MBAs in the world right here in Marin, and that we’ve probably got a fair percentage of American’s with STEM backgrounds too. But try to explain market realities (engaged consumers, competition, and distortion) to them, and you can see the moment that logic flees and faith takes over. Their eyes start whirling in their heads and they say “No, government is big enough to force price cuts.” Worse than this economic lunacy is the fact that they don’t recognize that they are advocating tyranny by applauding government’s coercive power to force free citizens to offer services to the government for lower than market prices. (In this regard, please note that Democrats now want to force doctors who, last I checked, weren’t slaves, to accept patients who will bankrupt them.)
If you want more information about government’s deleterious role in the marketplace, check out Wolf Howling, who calls Obamacare the “mother of all market distortions.”
In a lucid 3:48 long speech, Rep. Rogers tears about the health care plan, and talks about American freedom and initiative:
Although the camera didn’t show it, I’m pretty sure many of the Democrats were sitting there with their fingers in their ears, singing “la, la, la” in an effort to ignore him.
Hat tip: Zhombre