Thursday, August 27, 2015

One of the boys

There’s a good reason you don’t know your coworkers’ wages and benefits. The rivalry and envy such comparisons invoke would kill office morale, especially for men, for whom buying power corresponds with sexual capital, or his potential for love, marriage, and family, through which he extends the horizons of life beyond limited, short-lived sexual impulse. George Gilder writes in Wealth and Poverty:

Money so profoundly shapes the prospects of our lives, our position in the community, our attractiveness to friends; because money is a primary index of value in capitalist society; because it is the key arbiter of status, to flaunt our riches is to assert our superiority in a way beyond easy appeal.

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The man’s earnings, unlike the woman’s, will determine not only his standard of living but also his possibilities for marriage and children—whether he can be a sexual man. The man’s work thus finds its deepest source in love.

An argument between two men over who makes more money is impolite enough. It’s the equivalent of butting heads for sexual supremacy in the herd. It’s perverse when a woman butts heads with a man.

“I think I actually make two to three times more than he does per second ... so when he learns to read and write, he can text me,” [Rousey] said in the TMZ video while out walking her dog.

When pressed by TMZ on whether she makes more than Mayweather does, Rousey responded, “Yeah, I’m just more efficient.”

Put aside that Rousey isn’t factoring the thousands of hours of training and preparation in her per-second earnings in the octagon. We know why money is important to Mayweather. Let’s not assume it’s equally important to Rousey. To how many eligible bachelors is her buying power more important than her appearance or her readiness to settle down? She knows her appeal has some foundation in her attractiveness, so her aggressiveness towards Mayweather comes off as unfeminine and gratuitous. Perhaps her capitalistic utility is unattractive in the sense that it puts her out of most men’s league. Even if you make $100,000 a year, how are you going to maintain the attention of a jet-setting woman worth $10 million?

Camille Sold makes £10 an hour, but that matters not a whit to her £25-million soccer star boyfriend.

The management and marketing student from Strasbourg, who began dating her countryman earlier this year, was pictured at work wearing a United shirt with his squad number 28 and her first name.

She earns £15,000-a-year working on the tills and the shopfloor of the store, whereas the midfielder, 25, pockets more than £5 million, according to The Sun.

If he loves her and she sensibly parlays his affection into long-term commitment, she will command a greater fortune than Rousey has earned on her own. So, who is in a better position? The fighter who makes “$100,000 per second” in the octagon, or the woman whose rich husband loves her? Just saying, earning doesn’t mean the same thing to women as it does to men. In the game of life, typically men compete for status, women compete for men.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Savers’ tears lift all boats

Lawrence Summers makes a Keynesian argument for holding the interest rate to zero:

Tightening policy will adversely affect employment levels because higher interest rates make holding on to cash more attractive than investing it. Higher interest rates will also increase the value of the dollar, making US producers less competitive and pressuring the economies of our trading partners.

This is especially troubling at a time of rising inequality. Studies of periods of tight labour markets like the late 1990s and 1960s make it clear that the best social programme for disadvantaged workers is an economy where employers are struggling to fill vacancies.

The grave ills Summers cites as reasons to not raise the interest rate are already facts of reality because of the low interest rate. Cheap money policies, making access to liquid cash easier for those who qualify for loans, are what boosted inequality to start with. The increased money supply isn’t passing through hands, jumpstarting trade and economic activity; money velocity has fallen since ZIRP was implemented. Why does Summers think more of the same will change these trends? (Insert Einstein quote about doing the same thing expecting different results.)

In a functioning economy, the rich risk their money in free market experiments implemented by hired men. Inequality rises as the rich’s capital gains outpace workers’ rising wages and rising standard of living. That’s not the kind of inequality we’re experiencing now. In a nonfunctioning economy, the rich park their wealth in sumps and bubbles, like the stock market, out of the reach of the worker offering his labor in exchange for wages. For example, Caterpillar sales dropped for 31 straight months, but its stock price increased until quantitative easing tapered in 2014. Share “value” was driven not by productivity but by stock buybacks in a gravity well of cheap money. Since QE ended last October, Caterpillar shares have fallen 20 percent, finally reflecting economic fundamentals.

The Federal Reserve’s policies didn’t support the recovery, such as it is. They are the recovery. Every effort to normalize Fed policy results in market panic, which necessitates the continuation of abnormal policies like QE and ZIRP. Fed justification for continued intervention is a tidy logic circle: Intervention revives the economy, signaling the Fed to normalize policy, which degrades the economy, necessitating Fed intervention, which revives the economy, and so on. If equities could stand on their own, they wouldn’t tip over when the training wheels come off.

The “slowdown” economists doomsay is the inevitable withdrawals of an unsustainable high dropping back to reality. In short, there is no real recovery. There’s no real recovery to protect with Keynesian stimulus. Maintaining ZIRP would contribute to rising inequality, declining innovation and economic activity, and the displacement of real investment by speculation in sumps of wealth. The best thing for the real economy is to restore a rational cost of money to make savers whole and to allow genuine price discovery.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Odds and ends 8/24/2015

Robert Weissberg gets us back on track:

This hodgepodge is a recipe for electoral disaster but far worse, the scattershot approach can only detract from the deeper problem we now face: radical egalitarianism, and it is that ideological disease, not ephemera like treating all people with respect (Kasich on same-sex marriage) is what self-defined conservatives should be addressing.

Radical egalitarianism asserts that people of different backgrounds possess equal ability and in an ideal world, there should be no differences in accomplishment. And if such variations exist, they, almost by definition, result from discrimination, racism, stereotypes, and similarly reversible evils. Thus, the medical staff at a top hospital is supposed to look like a cross section of America and, since this Utopian outcome rarely occurs, it is up to a coercive government to bring it about.

The bad news is that radical egalitarianism is metastasizing and the damage inflicted far outweighs anything the 17 GOP candidates mention, including Trump’s horror stories of criminal illegals.

Radical egalitarianism is easily detected. As Soviet apparatchiks had their specialized vocabulary (e.g., false consciousness) American egalitarians have theirs. Be on the lookout for gaps, as in the gap between whites and blacks in home ownership. Then there are ceilings, the most famous being the glass ceiling that prevents women from occupying the top rungs of industry. Add tests to sort out abilities that egalitarians denounce as “barriers” as if testing for physical strength is a ruse to hinder women from becoming firefighters. But, of all the tip-off words, the most revealing is diversity as in “diversity is our strength,” a sure sign that racial/gender quotas are on the way.

Wisdom is the true ends of knowledge. Control is the progressive ends of knowledge.


Andrew Levinson channels Pope Paul VI in an excellent article on sexual nature and the sexual revolution:

Most of us take atomistic individualism for granted, in contrast to the ancient understanding of man as the political animal. “Who are you to say what two consenting adults can and cannot do in private?” is taken to be an unanswerable rejoinder to traditional understandings of sex and marriage. Sex seldom remains a purely private affair, especially in the era of social media. Among other things, sex can lead to love, marriage, hate, murder, children, disease, happy homes, broken homes, social cohesion and social disintegration.

As Pope Paul described it:

Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.

In other words, marriage was once considered a more public institution than it is today, not through legislation but through social convention. Young men were incentivized to make themselves good husband material if they wanted sex and children. Young women were encouraged to remain chaste and marry young. Divorce was unthinkable for our great-grandparents. Then, as now, women were much more ruthless about slut shaming than men.

Above all, marriage was ordered toward children:

Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. “Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents’ welfare.

In paragraph 17, Pope Paul predicts the consequences of the contraceptive mentality:

Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Players and sluts ye shall always have with you, but the world now incentivizes us to be this way. Men must constantly perform or else their unhaaaappy wives will blow up the marriage for cash and prizes. That is, if men choose to marry at all. Fewer do, and in all honesty, I can hardly blame them. Why should they? If they want sex, they can find plenty of willing ladies provided they have even a modicum of game, and they won’t have to risk losing their homes, their jobs, their children, and their sanity in the divorce grinder.

Women too have grown to devalue men. Would the carousel exist to the extent that it does if it weren’t for the pill? If they can have consequence-free sex, then they will pursue the apex alphas and ditch the frustrated betas who were the good husbands and providers of yesteryear. Women are more exquisitely sensitive to social pressure than men, and the social cues that existed in our great-grandparents day aren’t there anymore.

The key here is that artificial contraception radically separated marriage and sex from child rearing. Marriage used to be a recognized public institution that carried with it certain legal and social obligations to which the couple was expected to conform. If children are removed from the occasion, then marriage becomes all about romantic feelings.

If marriage is nothing but a public declaration of romantic feelings, then two consequences follow: if the feelings go away, that’s a legitimate reason to end the marriage; and if sodomites have romantic feelings for each other, then what reason do we have to exclude them from marriage?


Part of the war on men is the decision whether to have the child is exclusively hers. Michael Bargo, Jr. touches on this in his piece cataloging the war on men’s reproductive rights. I’m not being ironic when I say that. Bargo, Jr. writes:

Men have no reproductive rights with regard to saving the life of their child from abortion. The plain fact is if a woman becomes pregnant the right to abort is hers alone. The man involved, even the husband, has no legally enforceable right to prevent the abortion. This is particularly painful for men who, during courtship, told their fiancé they wanted to have a family.

Elizabeth Price Foley notices the Republican establishment’s fecklessness and hypocrisy:

They are now taking the position that deporting illegal immigrants is wrong. Oh, how the establishment loves to talk tough on immigration when it suits its purposes of ginning up conservatives on election day. But when a candidate comes along who actually wants to do something about the issue—and isn’t afraid to defy political correctness to do so—the GOP establishment suddenly cries foul, and brands him a fool, dictator, or police state zealot. The necessary implication is that the GOP establishment is all hat, no cattle on immigration.

Pat Buchanan calls this the issue of the century:

The six-page policy paper, to secure America’s border and send back aliens here illegally, released by Trump last weekend, is the toughest, most comprehensive, stunning immigration proposal of the election cycle.

The Trump folks were aided by people around Sen. Jeff Sessions who says Trump’s plan “reestablishes the principle that America’s immigration laws should serve the interests of its own citizens.”

The issue is joined, the battle lines are drawn, and the GOP will debate and may decide which way America shall go. And the basic issues—how to secure our borders, whether to repatriate the millions here illegally, whether to declare a moratorium on immigration into the USA—are part of a greater question.

Will the West endure, or disappear by the century’s end as another lost civilization? Mass immigration, if it continues, will be more decisive in deciding the fate of the West than Islamist terrorism. For the world is invading the West.


Who are these “some” who think San Antonio should legalize prostitution?

This week’s arrest of a San Antonio man who preyed upon college-age women is just the latest prostitution bust in Texas, but now some are wondering if it's time to end the war on working women.

“States have an obligation to ensure that sex workers are protected from exploitation and can use criminal law to address acts of exploitation,” human rights group Amnesty International writes.

The idea is that, when you take away the fear of being arrested, women are more likely to report abuse and seek health care. But groups that work with victims of human trafficking believe this would do more harm than good.

“If you decriminalize prostitution, you’re giving traffickers more ammunition and more fuel,” Kim Van Hooser tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI.

The founder of the group Ransomed Life says the way that traffickers get control of women is through blackmail. They threaten to expose the sex work to friends and family if they try to escape. And for that reason, she says decriminalization will not work, because there is still the fear factor.

“You can’t decriminalize prostitution without going after the demand,” she explains.

That’s true. Men would turn to Ashley Madison or online porn to fill their need. There are lots of sources to sate lust and loneliness. Anti-prostitution laws exist to protect women. The fringe benefits of prostitution include disease, abuse, drugs, and pregnancy.


Esther Goldberg writes the best article on the conservative thinking set’s consternation over Donald Trump that I’ve read, via the American Spectator:

The problem for Ruling Class Conservatives like Will and Cooke, is that the Left has emasculated them. They tremble lest they let slip a faux pas that the Left can jump upon. They must at all times show that their Conservatism is “intellectually respectable and politically palatable,” and worry that Trump will make them look bad to the Liberals and their media. They are unable to grasp the fact that, notwithstanding all their efforts, the Left will never regard them as respectable and palatable. To achieve that goal, they must first become Liberals themselves.

Trump makes it clear that he doesn’t give a damn what Liberals think of us. And everyday people of all political persuasions applaud when he stands up to the self-important elitist media, just as they did with Newt Gingrich in 2012. It’s time for the Right to man-up.


Jesse Colombo writes in the Fiscal Times about current market conditions and Fed futility:

Along with the persistent selloff in China and a collapse in commodity prices that has dropped crude oil below $41 a barrel for the first time since 2009, this suggests a sea change could be underway. Investors could be realizing that more cheap money stimulus isn’t coming... or isn’t going to work this time. If so, the long-term uptrend that has held stocks aloft since late 2011 is at risk, as shown above.

Indeed, a recent research paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds that after six years of quantitative easing that swelled the Fed’s balance sheet to $4.5 trillion, the policy “has been ineffective in increasing inflation” and only seems to have boosted stock prices. Moreover, the policy could’ve very well driven the inequality gap noted by so many.

Correct.


There’s a lot of hot air in this Texas Monthly article bemoaning “partisanship” in expanding pre-K in Texas. Here’s the issue in a nutshell: Public education doesn’t work on the scale that its proponents need it to work. The problem is children not having family that supports their education. The fix isn’t getting kids into school earlier, it’s making sure children have a mom and dad who care that their kids learn something.


“No such thing as ‘equality’ has ever existed in the history of human civilization, nor will any measure endorsed by the Left bring about ‘equality’ in the future. The insistent demand for ‘equality’ is nothing more than a pretext for political aggression that the Left uses to gain power by pandering to those who hope to gain some advantage from the enactment of radical egalitarian policies.” – Robert Stacy McCain
“Any organization which is invaded by SJWs and directed towards social justice goals loses its ability to perform its primary function as a direct consequence of its new SJW-imposed priorities.” –Vox Day

This old First Things article sets the record straight on the Crusades:

It is generally thought that Christians attacked Muslims without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. The Crusaders were Europe’s lacklands and ne’er-do-wells, who marched against the infidels out of blind zealotry and a desire for booty and land. As such, the Crusades betrayed Christianity itself. They transformed “turn the other cheek” into “kill them all; God will know his own.”

Every word of this is wrong. Historians of the Crusades have long known that it is wrong, but they find it extraordinarily difficult to be heard across a chasm of entrenched preconceptions. For on the other side is, as Riley-Smith puts it “nearly everyone else, from leading churchmen and scholars in other fields to the general public.” There is the great Sir Steven Runciman, whose three-volume History of the Crusades is still a brisk seller for Cambridge University Press a half century after its release. It was Runciman who called the Crusades “a long act of intolerance in the name of God, which is a sin against the Holy Ghost.” The pity of it is that Runciman and the other popular writers simply write better stories than the professional historians.

So we continue to write our scholarly books and articles, learning more and more about the Crusades but scarcely able to be heard. And when we are heard, we are dismissed as daft. I once asked Riley-Smith if he believed popular perceptions of the Crusades would ever be changed by modern scholarship. “I’ve just about given up hope,” he answered. In his new book he notes that in the last thirty years historians have begun to reject “the long-held belief that it [the Crusade movement] was defined solely by its theaters of operation in the Levant and its hostility toward Islam—with the consequence that in their eyes the Muslims move slightly off center stage—and many of them have begun to face up to the ideas and motivation of the Crusaders. The more they do so the more they find themselves contra mundum or, at least, contra mundum Christianum.”

One of the most profound misconceptions about the Crusades is that they represented a perversion of a religion whose founder preached meekness, love of enemies, and nonresistance. Riley-Smith reminds his reader that on the matter of violence Christ was not as clear as pacifists like to think. He praised the faith of the Roman centurion but did not condemn his profession. At the Last Supper he told his disciples, “Let him who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me, And he was reckoned with transgressors.”

St. Paul said of secular authorities, “He does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.” Several centuries later, St. Augustine articulated a Christian approach to just war, one in which legitimate authorities could use violence to halt or avert a greater evil. It must be a defensive war, in reaction to an act of aggression. For Christians, therefore, violence was ethically neutral, since it could be employed either for evil or against it. As Riley-Smith notes, the concept that violence is intrinsically evil belongs solely to the modern world. It is not Christian.

All the Crusades met the criteria of just wars. They came about in reaction attacks against Christians or their Church. The First Crusade was called in 1095 in response to the recent Turkish conquest of Christian Asia Minor, as well as the much earlier Arab conquest of the Christian-held Holy Land. The second was called in response to the Muslim conquest of Edessa in 1144. The third was called in response to the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem and most other Christian lands in the Levant in 1187.

In each case, the faithful went to war to defend Christians, to punish the attackers, and to right terrible wrongs. As Riley-Smith has written elsewhere, crusading was seen as an act of love—specifically the love of God and the love of neighbor. By pushing back Muslim aggression and restoring Eastern Christianity, the Crusaders were—at great peril to themselves—imitating the Good Samaritan. Or, as Innocent II told the Knights Templar, “You carry out in deeds the words of the gospel, ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’”


For the third time in 3 years, I’m trying to read Wealth and Poverty by George Gilder. The problem with Gilder is that he packs so much brilliance and insight into each chapter that I need frequent breaks to appreciate what I just read, hence my two failed attempts to even get halfway through this dense tome. The paradigm of selfless giving in supply-side economics that he describes in chapter 3 has influenced me tremendously.

Gilder’s exposition of the other-centered creativity of producers as the basis for non-entropic growth in wealth echoes James:

The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical. (James 3:17)

The greater the gift, the greater the growth. God gave His Son, the greatest gift, to His chosen people so that we may grow into Him and flourish. I don’t think this conflation of the fruits of faith with Gilder’s extolling of giving is inapt. The faith and good works of the Christian are founded on the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Paul writes:

Your faith and love have arisen from the hope laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard about in the message of truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as in the entire world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing among you from the first day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth. (Colossians 1:5-6)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Supply side

This excerpt from a 2009 AP article, from the middle of the Great Recession, illustrates the savers revolution that was then underway:

Grace Case, 38, of Syracuse, N.Y., is a self-described recovering creditaholic. For 13 years, she charged it all—cars, clothes, repairs, vacations. She’d make only the minimum card payments to sustain her buying spree for her and her family, which includes her husband and two children.

But after being laid off 2½ years ago from her job as an accountant, she landed another accounting job that cut her salary from $60,000 to $40,000. It was impossible to meet minimum payments on her card balances.

Now, the Cases are on a strict budget. They take “staycations,” grow their own vegetables, buy only used cars and pre-pay cell phones. Case hasn’t used a credit card in two years. And she’s saving more.

“It’s really a liberating feeling,” she said. “If you want something, you have to have the money for it.”

She’s making a third less and she’s happier than before because her outlook is dominated not by debt, but by the possibility of seizing opportunities that consumption on credit forbade her. It’s a bummer that Keynesians discourage the opposite: ever-increasing debt, ever-decreasing responsibility, to fuel aggregate demand. The economy can’t grow without some entity, either households or the government, not practicing sound economic principles, so it goes.

The Keynesian formula for growing the economy—stimulate wealth creation by stimulating demand—holds economic growth hostage to debt. Levels of consumption must be maintained to sustain economic growth, Paul Krugman argues. What about America’s $60 trillion in credit market debt? How this can go on, Krugman doesn’t say. The point at which debt interest crowds out private investment is Keynesian economics’ terminus. It is not a sustainable formula for growth.

Demand-side economics supposes the wealth of future generations will be built on consumers’ backs. But the creativity of the free market is all on the supply side. Let’s go back to 2008. Uncle Sam’s stimulus checks have arrived in the mail and America is ready to go shopping. They’re still limited in what they buy by what producers provide. The next big innovation or invention, the thing people don’t imagine they want until it’s put in their hands, someone has to take the risk to bring that to market. If all the economy is is a response to aggregate demand, nothing surprising is created that displaces old inefficiencies or technologies, that brings a net increase in value. It’s an entropic view of the system, doomed to stagnation and decay. Demand-side economics erroneously displaces the creativity of producers with the voraciousness of consumers.

So is savings—demand short of supply—truly a detriment to the economy? George Gilder writes in Wealth and Poverty:

Saving is often defined as deferred consumption. But it depends on investment: the ability to produce consumable goods at that future date to which consumption has been deferred.

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The old adages on the importance of thrift are true, not only because they signify a quantitative rise in investable funds, but because they betoken the imagination and purpose which make wealth.

Capital investments, which fund free market experiments, which grow wealth by acquiring knowledge and, when successful, by adding value to people’s lives, are made with large sums acquired over time (i.e., savings). Gilder writes further:

Saving, in fact, signifies a commitment to the future, a psychology of production and growth. Since World War II the countries that have saved most, preeminently Japan and other Asian capitalist lands, have grown fastest.

Confirming David Stockman’s analysis that savings brought the U.S. economy out of the Great Depression, not New Deal aggregate demand. The savings rate was 35 percent by the end of World War II. The average person saved a third of his money, unheard of in the modern era. The saving rate today of roughly 5 percent is the highest since the ’90s. This money accumulated as disposable income that funded and launched millions of free market experiments, setting the economy on course after years of New Deal market meddling and malinvestment.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Savers revolution

Since the Great Recession, America has been on a savings binge. While federal government debt-to-GDP rose from 77 percent to 103 percent in the last 6 years, non-federal government credit market debt fell from 289 percent to 231 percent. The federal government debt rose half as much as non-federal credit market debt fell! America as a whole hasn’t been less indebted since the summer of 2007, and debt-to-GDP continues to creep lower. Americans aren’t taking out loans, they’re paying off debt and saving at rates not seen since the ’90s.

What this long-term decline in debt reveals is the American people’s rejection of the consumer economy and a commitment to living for the future as much as for the present. This also has ramifications for Keynesian economists. The central concern of Keynesians is how to stimulate demand to maintain growth and employment in the face of declining demand, or “consumers” not consuming. Tejvan Pettinger summarizes this “paradox of thrift”:

Faced with prospect of recession and unemployment, people take the reasonable step to increase their personal saving and cut back on spending. However, this fall in consumer spending leads to a decrease in aggregate demand and therefore lower economic growth.

You can stimulate demand by:

  • Government spending
  • Mandating consumption
  • Cheapening the currency

We have been fully engaged in all three. Don’t let the lowest federal budget deficit since 2008 fool you. Federal and total government spending have been holding steady at $3.5 trillion and $6 trillion, respectively, since 2009. The spike in government spending coincided with the Great Recession years of 2008 and 2009. Instead of going down, crisis spending levels have been maintained, belying the “recovery.”

Don’t let John Roberts fool you, either. Obamacare is a fine on non-participation in the health insurance market. Obamacare creates demand by legislative fiat; the demand is manufactured, but it is demand nonetheless. Eight million “customers” have been added to insurance agencies’ customer base.

Finally, zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) has cheapened the cost of money and debt. Federal Reserve policy is to tempt capital investors with cheap loans and to push savers to invest their disposable income in a reach for yield, rather than watch it lose value. Easy access to money means more spending, stimulating demand, in theory.

The Keynesian economy has been going full force for 6 years. The economy should be burgeoning with demand, overflowing with purchases and money changing hands thanks to the above policies. But record low money velocity shows money is going to sumps of wealth, heretofore stocks, bullish for 6 years but finally liquidating. Why is GDP growth at a paltry 2 percent? Why is labor participation at its lowest since the ’70s? Why are worker productivity and wages stagnant? A Keynesian might point at the debt-to-GDP ratios and say Keynesianism hasn’t failed, it just hasn’t been tried enough. After all, the federal government picked up only half the slack in credit market debt.

Signs point to not a shortfall of demand, but a fundamental shortcoming of the theory of demand as the engine of the economy. The last 6 years highlight the futility of Keynesian planners in the face of the market responding to the changes in attitudes and behaviors of hundreds of millions of people acting with the newly acquired knowledge that they cannot spend their way to prosperity. Real growth and prosperity is in the supply side, the innovations people risk to bring to the market.

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Defining illegality down

If Donald Trump disappeared in the polls tomorrow, he will have rendered a tremendous service by exposing Marco Rubio’s duplicity on illegal immigration. Rubio was elected to the Senate in part on the strength of his criticism of “immigration reform,” code for politicians’ betrayal of their sworn duty to protect American citizens against a de facto invasion. His post-2012 flip-flop and collaboration with Chuck Schumer and John McCain on illegal alien amnesty wounded Republicans deeply. This was part of a transparent, humiliating attempt to convince Hispanics that Republicans aren’t the racists that liberals have been calling them for years. Republicans’ desire for “amnesty” from the racism charge, paid for by schilling for all or part of the destructive liberal agenda, has been liberals’ play all along. It’s brilliant political strategy. At worst, the amnesty ploy fails amidst great outcry and it legitimizes the slander.

At the heart of Rubio’s pander is a disqualifying lack of conviction—an obsequious caving to nebulous public support, as opposed to the returns of creativity and personal risk of true leadership, which creates its own public support. The more Trump keeps illegal immigration in the spotlight, the worse Rubio looks. He opposes “repealing” birthright citizenship, as if it’s settled law, as if it’s explicit in the Constitution. We’re talking about asserting control over whom we confer citizenship, fixing the current ridiculous interpretation that illegal aliens create jurisdiction for U. S. citizenship based on their illegal entry. The argument for why the children of illegal immigrants should not be automatically conferred citizenship by virtue of being born inside the United States is sound. The author of the citizenship clause, Sen. Jacob Howard, wrote:

Every person born within the limits of the United States, and subject to their jurisdiction, is by virtue of natural law and national law a citizen of the United States. This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.

Thus does Cal State political science professor Edward J. Erler, in his written testimony before Congress conclude:

Congress is fully competent, under the fourteenth amendment, to pass legislation defining those who are “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States. It does not require a constitutional amendment to withhold citizenship from children born in the United States of illegal alien parents. Their parents are not “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States and they seek citizenship for their children without the consent of the nation. It defies logic to insist that an illegal act on the part of parents can confer the boon of citizenship upon their children.

That describes Rubio’s logic and his habitual, defeatist maneuvering at the expense of conviction.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Blotting out the past

Confederate and progressive symbols are being whitewashed from the University of Texas main campus thanks to the bored totalitarians of the anti-Confederate movement:

The University of Texas at Austin said it would delay plans to relocate the statues of Jefferson Davis and Woodrow Wilson, after the Sons of Confederate Veterans requested a temporary restraining order in a state district court on Friday afternoon.

The decision came a day after university officials announced they would move the statue of Confederate President Davis from the center of its campus in Austin, but allow the statues of other Confederate figures, including one of Robert E. Lee, to remain.

The Davis statue is scheduled to be installed at the University of Texas Briscoe Center for American History, where officials have said that it will become part of an educational exhibit.

A site for the Wilson statue, which will be relocated to maintain symmetry on the campus’ Main Mall, has not been determined.

On the face of it, Wilson was as big a racist as Davis, and definitely a bigger racist than Lee. Wilson believed in eugenics. He segregated the military. He screened Birth of a Nation in the White House. He was also a progressive, post-Constitutional technocrat, and war socialist. He was father of the income tax, the Federal Reserve, and the United Nations. He left a legacy of racist soft tyranny. I’ll gladly trade a Davis statue for a Wilson statue, even if it is just to maintain “symmetry.”

That’s all beside the point. Wilson was president of the United States. Davis was president of the Confederacy. For good or ill, they’re part of history. Everyone knows people as property is bad. It was as true in biblical times as it was true in 1860 (indentured servitude closely approximates the ancient Israelite institution). A Jefferson Davis statue doesn’t argue contrary to that moral truth, nor does it relitigate the Civil War. It pays homage to Davis’s civil authority and place in history, not to his views of slavery and the Bible that were fashionable among Southern gentlemen at a particular time.

That I wouldn’t build a Jefferson Davis statue today doesn’t give me the right to remove one put there yesterday. A good person can disagree with his predecessors without blotting out the past. It’s an old cliche, but it’s true we don’t know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve been. That must be why Leftists have no idea where their ideas will lead the country next, so groundless in truth and our history is their ideology. Intentionally diminishing our cultural heritage shortens our sense of who we are a people. The past is the fulcrum on which the present pivots. The shorter the past, the further afield the present swings.

Related: “History robbers” and “Slippery slope.”