Economics 101: The Dismal Science & the Trump Tax Cuts

Everything You NEVER Wanted to Know About Economics

(but were afraid to ask)

Economics 2GNP, GDP, National Income, the trade deficit, inflation rate, strength of the dollar, unemployment, growth, productivity, recession.  Economics is a buzz-kill.  That’s why 18th-century economist Thomas Malthus coined it “the dismal science,” the analysis of conditions connected with unemployment, shortages and plain old human misery.

But economics is fundamental to each human’s wellbeing.  Will I have a job?  Will my income keep up with inflation?  Can I afford a new mortgage, and will the equity in my house grow enough to help me retire successfully?  That’s why politicians sprinkle their rhetoric with economic promises, and sometimes sleight of hand.

Donald Trump ran and won on a straightforward economic platform: more high-paying jobs.  Basically, everything else (except perhaps national security) supports that; immigration control, infrastructure reinvestment, smarter trade deals.  And so far the news is pretty good.

Economic bellwethers have looked strong during the opening months of the Trump administration.  Overall economic growth exceeds 3%, the best in over two years.  Unemployment is about 4 ½% and has been declining throughout the year (many economists consider 5% to be “full employment”).  Inflation is tame at less than 2% (keeping in mind it was 11-13% in the Carter era) and holding, resulting in low interest rates that make home mortgages and financing new business investments affordable.  And the index of leading economic indicators—used by economists and the government to forecast future economic performance—is positive and improving.

Now we’re not out of the woods yet.  We still need more “good” jobs, paying enough to provide workers the standard of living that has become customary in America.  And there are still too many people under-employed—working in low-paying jobs beneath their level of skill and training—or simply discouraged and out of the workforce.

With this as a backdrop, the administration has announced it’s tax reform initiative, to be taken up quickly by Congress.  There are two main features: simplification and rate reductions.

Just about everyone agrees with the need for simplification.  The average person who itemizes is incapable (like me) of navigating the American tax code.  Here is an actual example of a paragraph from an IRS tax publication:

For purposes of paragraph (3), an organization described in paragraph (2) shall be deemed to include an organization described in section 501(c)(4), (5), or (6) which would be described in paragraph (2) if it were an organization described in section 501(c)(3).

It gets worse from there.

The second feature is an across the board reduction of taxes and tax rates for businesses and individuals.  It is designed to put more money back into the hands of individuals and businesses, both in the interest of fairness and under the well-founded assumption it will be largely re-spent, thereby spurring the creation of new and better jobs.

The risk is that, at least initially, tax revenues will go down, increasing the deficit and potentially leading to other serious problems down the road.  The hope and expectations are that the cuts will stimulate enough new jobs and income to replace those revenues, not through higher tax rates, but simply through greater incomes for everyone.  It’s definitely a risky move by the president.

The Democrats, as only they can, are trying to paint an ugly face on what should be seen as good for everyone.  They are characterizing the president’s plan as a cut for the wealthy (it isn’t), pro-business and anti-middle class (it isn’t).  They are simply livid that the Republicans are doing something to help average Americans.  We shouldn’t believe them.

Will Trump’s strategy work?  It’s clearly a risk that could lead to higher inflation, interesteconomics 5 rates and the resumption of the boom-bust-boom cycle that has plagued the American economy in the past.  For my money, it’s worth the risk and, like Presidents Reagan’s and Kennedy’s famous tax cuts, could launch us on a better path to ongoing prosperity.  Let’s give it a try.

 

Our Anthem, the Flag & Black Lives

The HardWired News staff is back from a two-week vacation in Ireland just in time for the NFL “taking a knee” histrionics.

1st amendmentTo set the record, we have no problem with First Amendment free speech, as long as it is legal and does not physically harm others (it doesn’t mean we agree with all protesters).  Riots such as seen in Missouri or Baltimore or North Carolina (to name a few) involving beatings, firebombing, looting, other personal property destruction and the like are another thing altogether.  Assaults on police or other public officials are sickening.  There is no constitutional right to harm others to make a point.

flag burnerBut like it or loathe it, disrespect for symbols has a long tradition in America.  Remember flag burning during the Vietnam era?  How about flying the flag upside down, defacing historic statues or monuments, or simple graffiti on public buildings?  Or burning your draft card.  You can name others.  We at HardWired News have no training in psychology or sociology.  But we have plenty of good old-fashioned experience with people and situations.  And it seems to us the knee-takers are trying to do something so offensive to the public that their message is noticed, whether the action makes sense or not.  After all, if they were distributing handbills, marching around with signs or posting on Facebook, there wouldn’t be much if any national media hysteria.  This way their message is heard.  Still, and ironically, this type of offensive behavior, while attracting attention, undermines public support for their cause.

Don’t get us wrong.  We are deeply offended by the affront to America, her flag and anthem.  And protesting police behavior, which is controlled by states and communities—not the federal government, by denigrating our nation is preposterous.  The knee-takers are, in our view, disloyal and their animosity toward our country misplaced.  But their protests are still peaceable and legal.

The concerns of black people in general with the issue of disproportionate severe enforcement by police is understandable.  We doubt that there is any generalized behavior by police as an institution that is hostile to African-Americans, although individual malfeasance is always a possibility.  But if it is your son or cousin or nephew, father or brother, or you that is roughed up or worse, it naturally assumes gigantic proportions.  Doubtless many if not most African-Americans know someone personally who has had these experiences with police, justified or otherwise.  And the legacy of slavery, segregation and blatant discrimination that is part of their history must be difficult to shrug off.  Clearly, there is a problem in the black community itself that makes that population statistically more likely to be convicted of serious crimes, drop out of school, or have children out of wedlock, all things that can lead to misery.  And in our view, the long-term solutions need to come in large part from changes within that community.  Nonetheless, we can understand their concerns about the treatment of blacks at the hands of police, even if we don’t always agree with their conclusions as to the causes and remedies.

In short, taking a knee appears to us as a legal if offensive way to protest.  In our view, itKnee takers should simply be ignored as rude and inappropriate.  Elevating the behavior in the media as tantamount to a national crisis (not to mention blaming it on Trump) is silly and unnecessary, and our outrage at the disrespect shown our flag and country plays right into the hands of the protesters’ need for a platform.  For those of us who are offended, the best thing would be to ignore it.  And if you’re like me, move on to patronizing something other than professional football, at least until this stuff blows over (which it surely will, as all the theatrics before have done).

Hillary’s Blame Game

What Happened 2Hillary Clinton’s new book of excuses for losing the election, What Happened, will soon be available to readers.  That hasn’t stopped commentary on leaked—intentionally or otherwise—passages from making it into the news.

The coverage has been intense and will likely increase upon the book’s actual release on September 12.  So HardWired News won’t repeat all of what has already been reported or is likely to be in the days ahead.  From what we’ve seen, the amazing thing is simply that Hillary continues to blame everyone but herself.  Oh, there’s the soft disclaimer along the lines of sure, I guess I share some of the blame.  But most of the recrimination is directed at others.  That alone is not surprising, given Mrs. Clinton’s penchant for finger pointing and denial.  But what I found amazing is that she blames Democrats, women and the Washington establishment more than she does Donald Trump or the Republicans.  Here are a few gems taken from Fox News coverage of the pre-release.

Bernie Sanders for running a spirited campaign

“resorting to innuendo and impugning my character” and comparing him to a “deranged hitchhiker”

Sanders’ goal was not “to make sure a Democrat won the White House, he got in to disrupt the Democratic Party.”

President Obama for protecting Sanders

“(Obama) warned…not to ‘hit back against Bernie’s attacks’ because they ‘didn’t want to alienate Bernie’s supporters’ “

Joe Biden

For saying Hillary’s message “did not talk about what (Democrats) always stood for — and that was how to maintain a burgeoning middle class”

FBI Director James Comey on the email scandal investigation

“…Comey had badly overstepped his bounds…”

Her own campaign staff

“My team raised concerns (about confronting Comey publicly)…In the end, we decided it would be better to just let it go and try to move on. Looking back, that (her team’s advice) was a mistake.”

Vladimir Putin

Saying he was on a “personal vendetta” against her

The pollsters

Claiming she was a “victim” of being considered a “sure-thing”, thereby keeping many of her supporters from turning out

Perhaps most amazing of all, WOMEN

“One would think that the first female presidential nominee would keep solidarity with her fellow women, especially after thousands of them marched in opposition to Trump shortly after his inauguration…where (were) those feelings of solidarity, outrage and passion during the election?”

And finally, uber-liberal NBC personality and lapdog interviewer Matt Lauer

“Lauer was supposed to focus his questioning on my (Clinton’s) stances on foreign policy, but instead immediately brought up the email scandal…’Now I was ticked off. NBC knew exactly what it was doing here. The network was treating this like an episode of The Apprentice in which…Trump stars and ratings soar…Lauer turned what should have been a serious discussion into a pointless ambush.’”

Yep, there’s barely a mention of Trump or the Republicans.  The tell-all book Shattered, Shatteredan inside look at her doomed campaign, paints a much different picture of an unlikable candidate with no resonating message and a well-earned reputation for sleaziness.  And leaders of her own party are growing weary of her bawling tantrum over her loss.  Recently Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was quoted as saying

“When you lose to somebody who has 40% popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself.”

Monopoly Money Man
Clinton

My own view is she doesn’t care as much about exonerating herself as she does about making money on this book, a thing at which she has proven very good in the past.  Afterall, the money chase is what the Clintons have always been about.  If you voted for somebody other than Hillary last November, congratulate yourself.  Nobody wants a crybaby loser for a president.  Personally, I’m happier with Donald Trump, warts and all.

Left-Winged Chickens Come Home to Roost at Liberal Colleges

chickens_at_roost2_sm
Left Winged Chickens

Most people agree that, with a few notable exceptions, university campuses are the redoubts of liberals—faculty, staff, and students.  And that seems to create an incubator for left wing violent and disruptive protests, seen by the college administrators and national media as a justifiable if boisterous outcry against obvious injustice; i.e. any conservative person or idea.

HardWired News has written before that conservatives are people who believe a nation based upon market capitalism, a socio-economic system of rewards and consequences, limited government, and personal freedom has been and will continue to be the best road to America’s success for her people.  They also believe in a strong social safety net for those people needing help.  Conservatives are correctly most frequently associated with the center-right wings of the Republican Party and Libertarians, although many so-called political independents fit the bill.  Despite the bigoted beliefs of some on the left, groups such as the Neo-Nazis, KKK, skinheads or other white supremacist groups find no harbor among the conservative establishment.  The left’s view of conservatives as haters is as politically self-serving and ironic as it is bogus. (See HardWired News: The Ascent of Bigotry)

MissouBut more and more the tolerance shown the extreme left by liberal colleges is turning back against them.  At the University of Missouri, between 2010 and 2015 a few isolated and in some cases unsubstantiated racial confrontations led to a series of increasingly unruly (and arguably baseless) protests.  Emboldened by the lack of restraints from the University or local law enforcement, the protests became increasingly frequent, threatening and demanding.  While the school had done nothing to cause or condone the alleged racial incidents and had Missou protestbent over backward to placate the protesters, nonetheless the administration acceded to the demands with the president and chancellor resigning as de facto racists.  At Evergreen State College in the uberliberal state of Washington, violent protests erupted after the college would not agree to demands that white students be banned from campus during a planned event on racism.  The Washington Post said

“The public university in Washington state has attracted national attention in recent days after protests over race erupted and video of the unrest on campus went viral. Last week, students of color confronted a professor who had objected to a request by school officials that white people consider avoiding campus on a day of discussions about race. They called him racist and angrily demanded that he be fired. Demonstrations continued the next day with a standoff with the college’s president and other officials.”

But now both universities are facing a backlash.  Alumni financial support is declining.  Applications from incoming students are dropping.  The University of Missouri has been forced to slash budgets and implement layoffs.  Fox News explained:

“Now Evergreen State has experienced a decline in enrollment that has resulted in a $2.1 million budget shortfall, forcing the liberal arts school to announce layoffs…

(At Missouri), freshman enrollment has plunged by 35 percent, and donations to the athletic department have dropped 72 percent over the year before…The University of Missouri had to temporarily close seven dormitories – renting them out for special events, such as homecoming games – and planned to cut 400 jobs.”

The left, as one would expect, blames the problems on public reaction to the universities’ racism, while others (more reasonably, it seems to us) cite public disgust with the schools’ coddling of disruptive students, acquiescing to preposterous demands, and general inability to maintain a wholesome learning environment.

Either way, it seems poetic justice of sorts for the maudlin, liberal schools and their weak-kneed administrations.  We’ll see if the university community can learn from its mistakes.

The Ascent of Bigotry

How the Left is Fomenting Hate and Violence

charlottesville 4Just about everyone has heard the news of the sad events in Charlottesville over the past weekend.   A violent clash of protesters from the political left and radical right occurred over the display of a Confederate statue.  The events culminated in the death of a young woman and injury of many others.  The deadly violence was perpetrated by a young man identified with white supremacists who intentionally rammed his speeding car into a group he believed represented the left, leaving the woman dead and others in critical condition.

The collective American consciousness could not but be horrified by this kind of murderous cruelty.  But the aftermath of politically motivated and misplaced recrimination is symptomatic of a more pervasive and deeply rooted problem in our country.  A problem of rampant bigotry perpetrated increasingly by the left.

The term bigotry is generally understood as the deep dislike or even hate of a group because of a belief, often self-serving and always false, that they universally share despicable characteristics.  The most infamous case may be the persecution of the Jews by Nazi Germany.  But its targets have also included other peoples including African-Americans, Muslims, LGBT, and those with a particular ancestry or national origin viewed as problematic by the bigots.  Of course, science and common sense tell us all such large groups include people of various abilities, morals and the like.  It is patently false to characterize all or even most members in a particularly negative way.

UC Berkley riots 2
UC Berkeley

Unfortunately, the extreme political left element is climbing on the bigotry train big-time.  And they are doing it with violence.  Conservatives—who usually believe that market capitalism and personal freedom advance the well being of most everyone—are labeled as haters and as such, fundamentally evil.  Right leaning speakers invited to the University of California at Berkeley have been met with clubs, mace and firebombs in the interest of assuring peace and kindness on the campus.  Hollywood griffin-trum-head.jpgis doing an excellent job of fanning the flames, as Johnny Depp asks if it is time for an actor to (again: John Wilkes Booth) assassinate a president (Trump) while Madonna declares to a gathered cheering throng she seriously considers blowing up the White House.  And who can forget so-called comedian Kathy Griffin posing with a faux severed Trump head?

Institutional bigotry on the left has risen to a new high with the recent Charlottesville events.  Donald Trump, seen by the media as the poster-child of the right, is being falsely accused of siding with the far right extremists.  Anyone who has seen the film footage of the events knows that both sides came looking for trouble, donning helmets and wielding clubs.  Violence between the groups quickly occurred, instigated in many instances by those demonstrators on the political left.  Nothing justifies the horrible deadly assault with the automobile, and no one has even implied as much.  But because President Trump said there was blame for the unrest due to the conduct of both sides, the left and their mouthpieces in the liberal media have branded him an apologist for the white supremacists.

It is noteworthy that Trump has consistently condemned and disavowed racism and associated groups, while speaking up for the rights of people of color and vowing to unite America.  His concern with terrorism originating from the radical Muslim world, and illegal entry over our southern border is equated by the liberal media to racism, while his policies are clearly anti-crime, and not anti-people.

The constant and increasingly violent condemnation by the left of people with a more egalitarian political view on the right is nothing short of bigotry.  And one of the problems with this type of institutionalized bigotry is that it legitimizes it, giving a sort of permission to those who would characterize other groups who they in turn hate, such African-Americans or gay people.  In this way, the extreme element on the left is fanning the flames of division, hatred and violence in the country.  And it seems to be spreading. Let’s hope and pray that bigotry can be ended on all fronts, or we face a very grim future.

How the Russians Colluded in the Last Election, and WON!

Putin 2The standard narrative in Washington is that Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia to hand him the election.

This storyline is underpinned by several things.  There is the soft-on-Russia rhetoric of his campaign juxtaposed with Hillary Clinton’s tough talk.  Then there was retired general Mike Flynn’s meeting with the Russians immediately following the election, and lying about it (for which he was fired and could be prosecuted).  There were the embarrassing DNC and Clinton campaign hacked and leaked e-mails.  Then the disclosure that Trump Jr. had met with a Kremlin connected lawyer after the primaries and before the Republican Convention.  And most damning of all, against all odds Hillary LOST!  After all, what else could explain the impossible other than Russia?  Had she won, none of this would be an issue.

Now personally I’m a conservative Republican who, like many others, does not particularly like Donald Trump because of what I see as his narcissism and lack of qualifications in government.  Nonetheless, I voted for him because I agree with many of his policies, and he is nowhere near as flawed as Hillary Clinton.  But it is crystal clear he did not collude with Russia, and any Russian interference that might have occurred had no impact on the outcome.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines collusion as a secret agreement…for an illegal or deceitful purpose, substantially the same as the legal definition.  It is true that the campaign policy toward Russia was a sort of détente, not unlike Reagan’s with GorbachevRussia Reset Button or Obama/Clinton’s “reset button” approach.  Further, it is neither illegal nor even unusual for candidates to meet with representatives of foreign governments to build rapport and discuss future policy approaches.  What was absent in the case of Trump was any evidence of agreement, payment, a quid pro quo, conspiracy to commit any illegal act, or any other action that could conceivably be labeled as illegal.  And it is not just an absence of evidence that could have been cleverly concealed.  With all the leakers, admitted wiretaps of Russian conversations, and the unrelenting campaign on all fronts to implicate Trump—if there were evidence, it is impossible it would not have come out.  And even Obama’s own intelligence experts testified they could find no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.  Yet we have nothing but innuendo, attaching nefarious purposes to benign events.

In Washington it is said if a lie is repeated often enough it becomes the truth, and this is the case with the hollow Trump-Russia connection.  It is clear the Democrats are hysterical over Hillary’s loss and desperate to discredit the hated Trump.  They are seeking a way to sabotage his conservative agenda and take back power from a disgraced administration in upcoming elections.

So how, as the headline to this story states, did Russia win, and with whom did they collude?  Obama’s own head of national intelligence, James Clapper, testified that the Russians have tried to influence elections for years.  Their purpose, according to Clapper and others in the intelligence community, is not to determine the winner—they know that is impossible in America—but to undermine the process, create doubts in the public mind, and weaken the administration.  Clapper and the others made clear no election results were altered by the Russians.  And the embarrassing e-mail leaks were minor ripples in the Clinton campaign, already awash in scandal and blunders (see the new Clinton campaign tell-all bestseller Shattered).  It’s now obvious why Hillary lost, and just about everyone agrees it had nothing to do with Russia.  But now Washington and the public are galvanized by Russia-Trump investigations and accusations.  Little is being accomplished, other than by executive order.  The Russians have clearly accomplished their goal.  The celebration in the Kremlin must be epic.

And with whom did they collude?  Clearly not Trump.  No, Russia co-opted the unwitting Schiffbut willful assistance of the Democratic Party, particularly attack-dog-designate Adam Schiff , Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  These people have led the disloyal effort to sweep aside national unity with a false narrative of knowingly baseless accusations, all designed to undermine the constitutionally elected president.  And in so doing, paralyze the nation and deliver to Russia exactly what they wanted.

How America longs for the days of a loyal opposition of patriots dedicated to the best interests of the country rather than their own power.

 

Top Ten Things Trump Will Do if California Secedes

Calexit 3

Maybe it’s sadly just human nature to dislike people “different” from us.  Remember the 90s, when the Hutu tribal people of Rwanda slaughtered a million Tutsi people because…well, they weren’t Hutus?  Or the Serbs’ war on Bosnians.  How about book burning in Nazi Germany, where not only people but ideas were rounded up and destroyed, in the pursuit of a purified Aryan nation.

Like you, I’d prefer to believe civilized societies have progressed beyond that kind of vitriolic idiocy.  America, after all, is a mixing pot, a nation of free speech and ideas where differences are not only tolerated but embraced.  Peace, love, kindness and tolerance, the mantra arguably of the progressive left.

Only…not in uberliberal California, the land of plenty where dudes and dudettes can “chill” year-’round in the warm sunshine and invigorating ocean spray.  Where self indulgence, materialism and instant gratification have been elevated to the status of religion.  At the University of California at Berkeley, people with different ideas—political conservatives invited to the campus to speak—are met not with dissent, but with mace, clubs, and fiery riots.  “Keep the haters out!” they scream, backing it up with sticks and stones, the sole reason apparently because the conservatives, the “haters”, simply don’t think like them.  All done in the name of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and love.

Of course we all know conservatives—Reagan, Bush, Eisenhower—aren’t haters.  They simply see a different path to national well being than do the liberals.  But like the Hutus, Nazis and Serbs of yesterday, Californians don’t see it that way.  And now our West Coast cousins have had a bellyful of us all.  A move is underfoot in California to secede from the Union, from the United States of America.  It’s called Calexit, a clumsy takeoff of “Brexit” where Britain voted to leave the European Union.  Now many of us would say “so what,” no harm—no foul.  Don’t let the door hit you in the rear on your way out.  In fact, an ingenious man has now started a business to help conservatives escape from La-La Land and relocate in sane and safe Texas.

But President Trump, always a step ahead, has developed a strategy for dealing with Calexit.  And here are his Top Ten strategies if California secedes:

Calexit

It’s great to know America is prepared for any eventuality!