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Republican Embarrassments

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Free-marketers are right that tax cuts stimulate economic growth that in turn lead to expanding production and eventually more federal tax revenue.

But the problem traditionally has been that to obtain tax reductions, Republicans also have had to sign on reluctantly to larger expenditures. Or, worse, they willingly believed they could spend more, simply because more money poured into the federal treasuries.

George W. Bush doubled the national debt. After running against Bush profligacy (remember the Chinese credit card trope), Barack Obama doubled it again by doubling Bush’s levels of borrowing. Conservatives blasted Obama for his even greater lack of thrift. The Tea Party movement emerged in reaction to reckless expenditures and borrowing to fund Obamacare.

Now Donald Trump is caught in the same old matrix. His deregulation, tax cuts, and energy expansion will likely increase federal revenue. But his various budget concessions and his own proposed increases in defense spending and infrastructure would likely bleed the budget at a far greater rate than the growing federal revenue.

Once again, new spending will discredit conservative vows of budget prudence and supply-side economics. (Budget-wise, what good does it do to expand the economy if the political price is acquiescence to ever greater and costlier government?)

Trump is blasted for not filling federal positions and for his threadbare staff. In reality, he probably gains support for the mere appearance of parsimony. He should press that advantage by enacting a government hiring freeze and a pay-as-you-go philosophy, even if at first it is only symbolic.

If Trump wants to build the wall and “make Mexico pay for it,” why not simply slap a 10 percent tax on the $50 billion in remittances that flow annually to Mexico and Latin America, largely from illegal aliens and foreign nationals? In addition, the government could help fund the wall with fees and fines from DACA qualifiers who seek green cards.

If Trump wants a huge private-public partnership to build infrastructure, why not, at a time of record oil production, increase the federal gas tax for three or four years to pay for the project? What better way to ensure the entire idea does not end up like California’s stalled and ever more costly high-speed rail project? If Trump wants family leave and other popular entitlements, why not calibrate the costs as users’ fees paid out from an individual’s future Social Security payments?

Eight years of traditional stimulus such as massive budget deficits, near-zero interest rates, and huge increases in federal spending did not lead to much economic growth. But those policies did result in record debt. As the economy grows, we will see interest rates rise and growing deficits that are not so easily serviced.

Trump may not have run as a budget cutter, but he did campaign against traditional Republicanism that, hand-in-glove with Democrats, had ballooned the national debt to $20 trillion. The populist move would be to protect the public and stop the massive borrowing.

Finally, if Republicans believe that the public does not care about deficits and debt, or that belt-tightening before an election is suicidal, then let them at least stop harping about spendthrift progressive policies when out of power. Yappy ankle-biting is not an endearing trait.

Why Republican Stereotypes Are Stereotypes
George W. Bush, a good man without malice, nonetheless last week illustrated why Donald Trump is president.

While in Dubai, Bush criticized the Trump Administration’s lack of progress on immigration reform. Then he weirdly noted, “Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want to put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that.”

Where to start when Republican elites confirm their own stereotypes?

First, Republicans should agree with Churchill’s dictum about the inadvisability of criticizing one’s government while in a foreign country: “When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the Government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.” Bush repeatedly followed that guidance when he insisted that he would not attack Barack Obama—even at home. But not now.

Second, Bush is far more critical of Trump’s efforts to reach a compromise on DACA and border security than he was of Barack Obama’s illegal and politically expedient 2012 pre-reelection executive order nullifying immigration law and enforcement. Whether he intended it or not, Bush’s “woke” emergence as a megaphone after eight years of hibernation, confirms the impression that Republican elites were always much closer in spirit to their Democratic counterparts than they were to their own so-called grassroots conservative base. Translated, they mildly were displeased with the Obama agenda, but loathe Trump’s.

Third, how incoherent were Bush’s cotton-picking riffs! (He may not have realized it, but Bush put a 21st-century spin on 19th-century plantation owners’ pleas that they needed imported chattel African labor because American workers were neither acclimatized to heat nor inexpensive enough to pick cotton in scorching Southern temperatures). Bush substantiated the stereotype of crass corporate concern (note the inadvertent contempt in “willing to do that”) that trumps both the law and the idea of promoting the wages of U.S. entry-level workers—as well as general popular cluelessness about illegal immigration in general.

To wit, cotton picking (which I used to do as a child in the 1960s on my father’s small 40-acre cotton allotment) has been widely mechanized for over 50 years. And agriculture now only accounts for about 10-20 percent of illegal alien labor.

Mechanization has revolutionized farming, even in crops once deemed impossible to automate such as nuts, olives, raisins, and delicate Napa Valley wine grapes. New computerized and laser-calibrated breakthroughs will likely mean that even soft fruit and vegetables will soon be mechanically picked, matching ongoing labor reduction in weeding and irrigation.

More importantly, it was not just the Trump tax and deregulatory reforms that have fueled economic growth and prompted workers’ wages to rise, but also the substantial drop in illegal immigration. In the new psychological climate that’s followed, employers are beginning to believe it is no longer worth the risk to hire illegal aliens, as they scour the economy to find citizen workers (in the inner city, the red state postindustrial swath, and the barrio) and pay them more to reenter the workforce.

When the country has a 63 percent labor participation rate, there are more able-bodied workers than we assume, even as unemployment measured by traditional rubrics is about to fall below 4 percent.

The old Republican idea that illegal immigration is a good thing because noble foreign nationals work hard and cheaply for businesses in a way unemployed Americans “will not do” is not a sustainable factual, ethical, or political position. About half of illegal immigrant households use some sort of government assistance, for example.

Mechanization, automation, and higher wages for labor are the future of the American workforce. If we learned anything from the 2016 election it is that we should reject the calcified idea of corporate importation of inexpensive laborers from impoverished countries, profiting from their peak productive years, and then as they age, tire, and become ill, passing them on to the social welfare industry to rely on taxpayer-subsidized health, legal, and education services—even as firms seek out yet a new, young, and recyclable cohort from Mexico and Latin America.

Fantasies of a new Bracero Program are the pipe dreams of those who did not grow up with it. Few remember how workers often physically resisted returning home, how the Mexican government stole guest workers’ wage deposits, how illegal labor coexisted with sanctioned imported labor (what would a bracero do when he decided not to return home?), how corrupt was the distribution of braceros to particular farms, and how an entire protest movement, from documentaries like “Harvest of Shame” to Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee,” reduced the program in the public mind to something like Spartan helotage.

To promote something like “that” while abroad in Dubai of all places, home of multi-billionaires and impoverished guest workers, and in the context of “people” who are to “pick cotton at 105 degrees” reflects why both Barack Obama and Donald Trump were elected and why a traditional Republican will probably not win again in our lifetimes.

Republican Culture Trumps Politics
We rightly associate the elite disdain for the clingers, irredeemables, and deplorables with progressives like Obama and Hillary Clinton. But politics is incidental to the matrix; more essential is class.

It was Mitt Romney who said he could not work with 47 percent of the population and wrote them off as hopelessly lost voters. It was David Brooks and Bill Kristol who caricatured the white working class as near Neanderthal and romanticized illegal aliens (often by deliberating conflating them with legal immigrants.)

If one were to read carefully through the disparagement of Americans in the texts of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, with their slurs against hillbilly Virginians and Texans and smelly Trump supporters, one can see that Strzok appears likely to be a suburban Republican or independent of the sort who would vote for John Kasich.

The point is not that Strzok and Page are hyperpartisans, but that they are comfortable with candidates who foremost reflect their cultural tastes and proper cursus honorum. And as we have witnessed with some in the NeverTrump movement, for these sorts, being grateful that new economic policies might reinvigorate the old rust-belt and the hinterland is more than offset by the concomitant price of an ascendant working class that lacks the tastes of the elite and the romance of the deliberately distant poor and minorities.

The Trump catharsis has shown that about 10 percent of the Republican Party, the NeverTrumpers, was largely apolitical. That is, former cornerstone positions of deregulation and tax reform, oil and gas production, charter schools, deterrent foreign policy, restoring friendship with Israel and moving the embassy to Jerusalem were apparently always secondary to the more important criterion of offering a mild, sober and judicious frown to progressivism, through discerning losers like George H.W. Bush, John McCain, or Mitt Romney.

Such a Republican elite was so embedded within American establishment institutions as to be both immune from the economic stagnation of an Obama neo-socialist revolution (remember income inequality soared under Obama) and in no real need of a Reagan revolution or Trump’s often messy radical push-back against progressivism.

Its creed was not really, as advertised, the ethics of “losing nobly is better than winning ugly,” but rather the snobbery of “losing a cultural image is worse than winning a political agenda.” Put more bluntly, it is better to put up with a socialist with a “perfectly creased pant” than a prairie-fire conservative in rumpled Walmart slacks.

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269 replies
  1. Bob
    Bob says:

    Infrastructure, correctly done, is an investment, and one which is well over do. Obama promised it, and never delivered. Trump promised it, and my bet is he will deliver. MAGA cannot be done apart from this.

    • SupplyGuy
      SupplyGuy says:

      Yes, it is an investment, but one done better at the local level. There is very little infrastructure that the federal government should be involved in. The national highways are an example, but there is already a federal gas tax in place that pays for this.
      This strikes me as a buzz word that people use to justify government spending.
      That being said, a border wall is definitely infrastructure spending that I could get behind.

  2. SmartProf
    SmartProf says:

    In a war, victory often goes to the side that wants it more.
    The GOPe never “wants it more” than the Democrats.

  3. Old exJarhead
    Old exJarhead says:

    When Ronnie left office (’89) The GOP was America’s favorite party (32% to 39%, ave of “reliable” pols 36%) D second (ave 32%) and independents 3rd (ave 15%). When Don entered the WH (’17) The GOP was third (15% to 23%, ave 17%) . A progressive liar in the WH is the reason; this leftists initials GWB!

  4. Dave781
    Dave781 says:

    Now all of a sudden VDH is concerned about deficits. Did he ever really believe that Trump was going to balance the budget? Of course Trump wants to let Social Security go bankrupt, and VDH supports that too. How is he going to use future SS payments from a bankrupt system to pay for family leave?

    The idea of taxing remittances to pay for the wall is stupid. How is this going to be accomplished? Money is fungible. Is VDH going to tax ALL money going to Mexico? What will that do to international finance?

    But at least VDH is honest about raising the gas tax, but why do we need a massive new taxpayer funded boondoggle?

  5. Mr. Ed
    Mr. Ed says:

    Bush is almost worse than Obungles. Is the best word for him now “dolt”, or “traitor”? He also is, almost by definition, the classic, conservative “cuck”! LOL

    • Dave781
      Dave781 says:

      A dolt or a traitor? Why, because he doesn’t support Trump? Trump ran against everything Bush stood for, so why shouldn’t Bush respond? He doesn’t owe Trump anything.

      And what is the definition of a “cuck”?

      • J David Krauser
        J David Krauser says:

        Woebomba was still running against, and running down, Dumbya four years after taking office. Woebomba even insulted Dumbya at his first Inaugural in 2009. Nary a peep from Dumbya. Only attacks President Trump.

      • Wiffle
        Wiffle says:

        “cuck” is a shortening of an old English word, “cuckold”, that you’ll find in Shakepeare in multiple places, as a running gag. A cuckold is a weak man, who does not care if his wife sleeps around and will expend effort to raise other people’s children his wife becomes pregnant with. He’s a man that noone can respect because if he cares about anything, he cares only for money. He can’t even value what he should hold dear (his wife and children)

        So if you’re looking to improve your vocab, go with “cuck”. ;)

          • Wiffle
            Wiffle says:

            He refused to defend our borders out some sort of weird “compassion” thing. His primary focus during his Presidency was in fact the free flow of money in global markets, using the US as a conduit.

            That he rushed to defend Islam after 9/11 is classic cuck behavior. Cucks have no loyalty or any interest in blood ties. While I certainly wouldn’t want him to bang the war drums, his focus that somehow America was about ready to run out and bomb every mosque is not about loyalty to his culture and nation.

      • Mr. Ed
        Mr. Ed says:

        He’s a dolt…cotton hasn’t been harvested by hand in DECADES. “Cuck”, most graciously, is a RINO. And, so much for the supposed graciousness of not denigrating your president while being overseas! LOL

        • Dave781
          Dave781 says:

          Why is GWB a RINO? The answer is that he isn’t, and that lie isn’t very “gracious” either. And why should anyone be gracious toward Trump? Trump is not gracious toward HIS opponents is he? And you Trumpkins see his lack of graciousness as something you like.

    • Edgar Bakersfield
      Edgar Bakersfield says:

      I’m almost thinking Bushes and Obama’s and Clintons and others know something we don’t.
      Maybe they know there’s a killer asteroid heading to earth that’ll hit in 20 years…and simply don’t care about financial responsibility?.
      Maybe we’re the one’s in the dark?

      • Afterheart
        Afterheart says:

        Well the Book of Revelation does speak about Wormwood striking the Earth in the future.

        “Wormwood” is the name of a star in Revelation 8:10-11:
        “The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a
        torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of
        water—the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned
        bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.”
        This is the third of the “trumpet judgments” described in Revelation.

        • Edgar Bakersfield
          Edgar Bakersfield says:

          I was inferring Trump was one of the same crew. My deepest and most sincere apologies for not clarifying my statement .

  6. RJones
    RJones says:

    Great piece…not sure I agree the never trumpers are apolitical though…just this morning idiot boy Goldberg was on NPR to discuss the Kelly/Porter wife beating non-scandal. What better issue to cover compared to one of, say, sedition, committed by a former administration? What a bunch of laughable, useless, fake-republicans, posers those idiots are. Don’t really see how they can live with themselves. Too ashamed to call themselves progressives, too stupid to actually be conservatives.

      • Wiffle
        Wiffle says:

        One could make a case that many modern conservatives, particularly pundits, were merely liberal traditionalists. All that old fashioned culture and civilization stuff is nice, but certainly not worth the saving.

        • BigGuy1949
          BigGuy1949 says:

          I would edit your using the term “modern day conservatives”, to read “modern day moderate liberals who try to disguise themselves under the conservative label”. I see very little that RINOs support that is true conservative since their overarching actions are almost always those that enlarge central government.

  7. Flying Spaghetti Monster
    Flying Spaghetti Monster says:

    The Tea Party was not based on fiscal issues. It had its roots in opposition to the skin color of the 44th president. Spending was just a cover.

      • reality check
        reality check says:

        Many of us recognize that hurling childish insults without providing direct,rational rebuttals to comments you don’t agree with only proves that you have nothing logical to respond with. BTW, We are willing to wait till the 2018 election results are in before declaring anyone a ‘winner’ or ‘loser’. Are you?

  8. Lee Holland
    Lee Holland says:

    The senate republican RINOs don’t really want to change anything or be held responsible for making a decision. For the RINOs it’s all about “kicking the can down the road” as they have been for decades while hanging onto their power and big money supporters.

    Term Limits is our only salvation.

  9. Edgar Bakersfield
    Edgar Bakersfield says:

    Who doesn’t love Santa Claus? Even those of us who grew up dirt poor and watched as our parents took on way too much debt for the family to sustain…they still went out and bought a boatload of Christmas presents; we loved Santa Claus. Ruined the family, but the mythology of spending in excess and making everyone smile…rules the day, even in America.

  10. Ozark_Lee
    Ozark_Lee says:

    “If Trump wants a huge private-public
    partnership to build infrastructure, why not, at a time of record oil
    production, increase the federal gas tax for three or four years to pay
    for the project?”

    Has there ever been a tax in this country – ever – that has actually sunsetted without a renewal?

  11. MackeyDIngo
    MackeyDIngo says:

    This article ignores Kansas and Oklahoma.
    Both instituted HUGE tax cuts and huge spending cuts. Both states are in total free fall. Can’t fix their roads. Can’t keep their schools open. Can’t pay their bills.

    Look for yourself. Kansas and Oklahoma. That’s how well tax cuts spur economic growth.

    Its another lie from the right to give even more money to the global elites.

    • Flying Spaghetti Monster
      Flying Spaghetti Monster says:

      Reagan cut taxes, then had to raise them 11 times to prevent a recession. Even at that, Old Man Bush was forced to raise taxes again.

    • DisgustedwithElitism
      DisgustedwithElitism says:

      Just for the record, government spending transfers far more money to global elitists (they are hardly elites) than tax cuts ever will.

    • major tom
      major tom says:

      I actually live in Kansas. I see no evidence of bad roads or closing schools. And for two years now I received a check in the mail for property tax refund. Where do you live?,

  12. Bob Haze
    Bob Haze says:

    Trump signed the GIANT spending bill.
    (Trump CAVED…and that should be near the TOP of this article.)
    We know Ryan and McConnell cave in to RINOs.
    Trump was NOT supposed to!
    ——-
    I blame Trump for this.
    And if he gives AMNESTY, I will blame him for that, too.
    We still have ObamaCare…..and we still have NO progress on a WALL.

    • Flying Spaghetti Monster
      Flying Spaghetti Monster says:

      I’m sure Mexico’s check was lost in the mail, and theyare cutting a new one as we speak.

          • Flying Spaghetti Monster
            Flying Spaghetti Monster says:

            But if the money is going to come from Mexico anyway, why should we pay first? And if we pay first, what incentive will Stormy’s john have to force Mexico to pay?

          • Bob Haze
            Bob Haze says:

            wow…..shallow as a puddle in the desert, FSM……..
            no time to explain it to you…it’s SIMPLE…..
            Build the WALL.
            Take it out of Mexico’s hide.
            Simple, easy.

          • Flying Spaghetti Monster
            Flying Spaghetti Monster says:

            Once the wall is built, President Backtrack will have no incentive to move on Mexico’s hide.

          • reality check
            reality check says:

            You can buils the wall as high as Trump tower the entire length of the border and you still will have to deal with the facts that 40% of ALL illegal immigration comes from visa violations and entering the US thru seaports and airports. Also ,if people want to enter via the southern border they will find a way,
            under ,over or around the wall. The bottom line is that the wall is NO solution to what is REALLY bugging you guys. Your problem is FEAR OF CULTURE DISLOCATION! Sooner, rather than later whites will become a minority in this countr and there is NOTHING you guys can do about it! Most of the rest of us don’t worry about that at all.

          • Wiffle
            Wiffle says:

            “Your problem is FEAR OF CULTURE DISLOCATION! Sooner, rather than later whites will become a minority in this countr and there is NOTHING you guys can do about it! Most of the rest of us don’t worry about that at all.”

            Seriously, if you’re Jewish, please stop being your own stereotype. Also, it’s this type of statement upon which I reject Jewish conspiracy theories, because because for all that supposed IQ, y’all aren’t that bright.

            Jewish culture flourishes in stable Christian European societies. Black Americans have no use for Jews (perhaps correctly because in the colonial US, they ran the slave markets, just like Jews now run diamond markets in NYC). France now has a huge population of African Muslims which are literally causing France’s historically large Jewish population to flee to Israel.

            If you’re Jewish and white, reality check time: the only groups that tolerate you are white and Christian. Worry a lot okay? There’s no protective bubble that makes you immune if the ship called Western Civilization goes down to the balkalinization you don’t think matters.

          • D4x
            D4x says:

            Everyone made money off America’s colonial slave markets. “[…] The participants in the Atlantic slave system included Arabs, Berbers, scores of African ethnic groups, Italians, Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, Jews, Germans, Swedes, French, English, Danes, white Americans, Native Americans, and even thousands of New World blacks who had been emancipated or were descended from freed slaves but who then became slaveholding farmers or planters themselves[…] The claim of Jewish domination first came to wide attention with the Nation of Islam’s 1991 book, The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Volume One. […]” https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/jews-and-the-african-slave-trade/

            “France’s historically large Jewish population” is mostly immigrants, and their progeny, from former French colonies of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria since 1948.

          • Wiffle
            Wiffle says:

            “Everyone made money off America’s colonial slave markets.”

            Yes, and? Many colonial slave markets closed on Jewish holidays. They were the middle men, like Jews are in today’s NYC diamond markets. It’s not some sort of sin that singles them out in particular. It’s only annoying that somehow modern Jews try to exempt themselves from it.

            “France’s historically large Jewish population” is mostly immigrants, and their progeny, from former French colonies of Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria since 1948.”

            First, France did actually have substantial Jewish population before 1948. Second, whenever they arrived, they’re leaving in droves thanks to France’s Muslim population, even if I was wrong about the first. That point about the mad rush to multiculturalism biting Jews on the behind still stands.

          • reality check
            reality check says:

            “the only groups that tolerate you are white and Christian.” You can read your own comment and you will see you just contradicted yourself: “France now has a huge population of African Muslims which are literally causing France’s historically large Jewish population to flee to Israel.” Isn’t France mostly white & Christian? BTW, the KKK & the John Birch Society also was mostly ‘white & Christian & had little use for Jews. Correct me if i am worng but weren’t the Jews in the forefront of the civil rights movement and still today most Jews support rights for all minorities including Muslims, and the Afro Americans know it?
            Also weren’t most of the populations of Germany, Poland, Austria,Lithuania and Hungary ‘white & Christian’?

  13. DisgustedwithElitism
    DisgustedwithElitism says:

    Bipartisan compromise such as the 2018 budget deal are reminiscent of the nation’s most significant compromises:
    * 1787 – African-Americans are counted as 3/5 of a person
    * 1820 – Missouri Compromise – Missouri as a slave state, Maine as a free state
    * 1850 – Clay’s “Great Compromise” – among other things, a fugitive slave law

    The result of those compromises? The American Civil War in which ~600,000 Americans lost their lives.

    Character and integrity matter; core principles matter; and so do deficits, debt, and interest rates. All who participated in the sell out in 2018 should be ashamed of themselves.

      • DisgustedwithElitism
        DisgustedwithElitism says:

        You missed the point. Covey was right when he said a smarter goal is Win-Win, in which everyone gets what they want, rather than compromise in which everyone gets screwed.

        • Nixon's Back
          Nixon's Back says:

          Naw see I don’t think so, all policies have trade-offs. It is virtually impossible to come up with a win-win compromise. You compromise because you have two sides and neither wants to budge. I mean think of the Connecticut Compromise, it still gives smaller rural states’ citizens more power than larger urban states. Trade-offs. That’s the only way to move forward.

  14. Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ
    Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ says:

    Two very important concepts here. The cursus honorum (I wish I’d come up with that) and the U-shaped bell-curve of elite preferences–the “romanticized” aliens and urban minorities on the left side and their own Martha’s Vineyard crowd on the right side. We Deplorables are smack in the middle of the trough, so we’ll never get support from these ersatz patricians.

    Sometimes I wonder what is in store for us after Trump. There are legions of Obamas on the horizon, as well as legions of geldings in the Kasich/Bush/Rubio stamp. But who will be the next Trump? The dissident Right will have to start grooming its own, or else it will be dark days ahead indeed. I can never see myself voting for another GOPe capon.

    To finish with a Classical analogy, Trumpism is the political equivalent of seeing life in color in Plato’s Myth of the Cave. I can’t fathom being again contented with Bushism’s shadows on the wall.

      • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ
        Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ says:

        Oh, don’t get pedantic on me. It has been called both throughout history and in different languages.

        • Nixon's Back
          Nixon's Back says:

          Not pedantic, the difference between a myth and an allegory is not nominal. I guess you could call it a myth, but that assumes that there is some sort of explanation of how we learn or what we learn.

          • Bill
            Bill says:

            Nit-picking and pedantry on forums are effectively synonymous. Trying to rationalize what comes across as pedantry as something else is nit-picking even if the objector is “technically correct,” and therefore simply reinforces the perception of pedantry. Moral – you can never win that kind of point on a forum, it’s like wrestling with pigs.

          • Nixon's Back
            Nixon's Back says:

            Lol I know what you are saying, so why not call it a parable or a fable? Because it’s not, words have meaning and that’s all I was saying. Point taken though…

          • RCPreader
            RCPreader says:

            Sorry, but for centuries it has been routinely referred to as “The Myth of the Cave,” whether “myth” is the best term or not. The writer is using a common title for the story and is hence correct.

          • Nixon's Back
            Nixon's Back says:

            No actually for centuries it was called “The Allegory of the Cave,” “The metaphor of the Cave,” or “The parable of the Cave.” It is more allegorical than anything. I was being a bit nit-picky, but it was actually just called the cave in Republic.

          • RCPreader
            RCPreader says:

            Sorry, but this is a simple basic checkable fact that you cannot deny. It has gone under many titles, but “The Myth of the Cave” has been an extremely common one, probably the most common in popular use over the long-term.

          • Nixon's Back
            Nixon's Back says:

            It hasn’t, as I said it has gone by many names. I checked and saw it has gone by many names. It is more allegorical than mythical too.

    • allangen
      allangen says:

      What indeed is in store for us after Trump? If we simply let the Republican establishment have it’s way we’ll be back to square one. We had better start grooming the next generation of deplorable leaders or the swamp will reclaim everything and Donald will just be a memory.

      • sikologik
        sikologik says:

        I don’t mean for this to sound racist, though I expect some arse such as Peter1-5 will show up and call me one for stating it… but the Ds better stand behind a white woman in that case, because after Barack, I don’t think another non-white will win for quite some time.

        Actually, I’ll temper that somewhat. An Asian-American could possibly win, regardless of gender, but I don’t see us electing another African-American.

        • Duodecimo
          Duodecimo says:

          “I don’t mean for this to sound racist.” What will you say next? Ben Carson is a credit to his race? Some of my best friends are black? The only reason someone wouldn’t vote for another African-American for President based on President Obama having been President, are those who were racist to begin with.

          • Duodecimo
            Duodecimo says:

            Typical Trump supporter. Doesn’t understand what he’s read. Completely misses the point, completely sailing clear over his head.

          • sikologik
            sikologik says:

            Buddy, I did everything. I warned you that there was a hole. I put up at least four orange cones. I circled the hole with a rope. It was literally impossible for you to accidentally fall in. Yet you did just that. And now that you’re literally covered in sht, you’re down there in that hole rolling around acting like you don’t stink. Your mama raised a fool.

          • Duodecimo
            Duodecimo says:

            Yep. A name-calling tantrum. You sound like a two-year old. What’s next, are you going to call me a “poo-poo head”? LOL!

          • Duodecimo
            Duodecimo says:

            LOL! Why do you even care so much, wee man? You’re taking this a bit too seriously. Are you perhaps….Triggered?!
            LMFAO! “Best counter-punch” GTFOH!

          • sikologik
            sikologik says:

            Apparently it was your best counter-punch, because this one’s even weaker. I wonder how you’d feel if you were smart enough to realize how stupid you are.

          • Jim Croft
            Jim Croft says:

            No I voted for obama twice but wasn’t paying attention till ‘14. Then his racism discussed me after that.

          • brian_in_arizona
            brian_in_arizona says:

            Not so fast. I voted for Obama in 2008. I did not vote for him in 2012. The reason for the change was in no small part my reaction to every criticism of Obama’s policies being labelled “racist” by his supporters, especially his black supporters.

            Once the “r word” has been invoked, the speaker is saying there is no need for reasoned argument nor room for honest disagreement. I do not recall Obama ever telling members of the Black Caucus that labelling his opponents racists was wrong both morally and politically.

            I would have a hard time voting for another black Democrat for president.

          • brianOO7
            brianOO7 says:

            Yeah, the next black president will have to be Republican. Probably same for female, after Hillary’s near-miss. Dems just don’t comprehend how they poisoned the water for both women and blacks.

          • brianOO7
            brianOO7 says:

            And the evidence of the massive corruption of his administration, under his direction, is only beginning to ooze out.

          • USInfidelPorkEater
            USInfidelPorkEater says:

            Say what you will but they say that the cream rises to the top. If Obummer was an example of the cream of the Blacks, * I am not open to the next one.

            *Blacks … I will never understand why they wish to be called as such.

    • Wiffle
      Wiffle says:

      Great post! Totally agreed. Trump declaring his candidacy was like a brilliant ray of sunlight we didn’t even know was missing. Hard to adjust to at first, but then impossible to want to go back to the old way after.

      And yes, I don’t know what comes after Trump. I’ve had the same thoughts pass through my mind.

      • LegallySpeaking
        LegallySpeaking says:

        What comes after Trump? What came after Andrew Jackson or Theodore Roosevelt?

        I’m hoping one of Trump’s kids pick up the baton. Ivanka or Don Jr. taking the next eight years to smash the deep state.

        • Sparky
          Sparky says:

          So the constant lying and ignorance doesn’t trouble you? How about the numerous answers Jared came up with after meeting with the Russians.

          • LegallySpeaking
            LegallySpeaking says:

            rofl. “constant lying and ignorance” is all that comes from the D’s, the Deep State, and the #NeverTrumpers, kiddo. Oh, and this Russia Conspiracy Theory as to how “perfect candidate” Hillary lost.

            But nice try with the projection.

            *giggle*

        • Stephen K
          Stephen K says:

          I like the kids, but we are a Republic! We wouldn’t have Trump if not for Americans saying ”Enough!” to dynastic BS! Have you learned nothing from the past 30 years?

          • LegallySpeaking
            LegallySpeaking says:

            I’ve learned that the Republicans have been deliberating throwing the game for the last 30 years. And the Deep State has been helping the D’s to win.

            Merely because someone is part of a dynasty doesn’t make them a bad leader. It’s being a bad part of a bad dynasty, such as the Clintons, the post-RFK Kennedys, and the Bushes.

    • SupplyGuy
      SupplyGuy says:

      Presidents like Trump are the exception not the rule. If you look through our history you will see only a handful of truly great presidents. There was a 28 year gap between Reagan and Trump. A 20 year gap between Eisenhower (a middling to good president) and Reagan. A 24 year gap between Coolidge and Eisenhower.
      And going back to the 19th century, Presidents tended to be very weak and effectual w/ the expceptions of Jackson, a terrible President, but strong and effective in getting what he wanted, Lincoln and then Teddy Roosevelt who straddled the centuries.

    • Historybuff
      Historybuff says:

      Maybe we won’t have a wife-beating, draft-dodging, business cheating, scamming, liar for president? Maybe… our national debt will go down, and not up? Maybe… America will return to it’s roots of decency, morality, integrity as national values? Maybe… we won’t be afraid to tell our children & grandchildren… “be like the President’?

      Post trump will most likely only get better. Hard to get much worse.
      HB

      • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ
        Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ says:

        Yeah, and maybe we’ll have fewer trolls menstruating hysterically over otherwise-intelligent commentary. Blocked.

      • sikologik
        sikologik says:

        Post Trump likely will get better, given that current Trump is certainly an upgrade in the areas of business cheating, lying, decency, morality, integrity, and certainly national values. As for the possibility of getting worse, we had Barack just 13 months ago! Perhaps your history doesn’t go back that far.

        • Overcoming#Resistance
          Overcoming#Resistance says:

          Not to mention the prospect of the most evil politician in my lifetime having a chance at moving the furniture back into the White House along with the pant suits and Mao jackets.

      • CosmotKat
        CosmotKat says:

        Still typing while under the influence of hate and self loathing, I see?

        How would the decency, morality, integrity as national values be improved by people who think and act like you?

      • SonofaGip
        SonofaGip says:

        This column is ridiculous based on the awful, huge debt increasing budget Trump just signed and the infrastructure boondoogle he introduced today.

      • MoreFreedom2
        MoreFreedom2 says:

        “Maybe we won’t have a wife-beating, draft-dodging, business cheating, scamming, liar for president?”

        Trump looks like an upgrade considering the past 5 presidents. Thanks for pointing it out.

      • Kill the King
        Kill the King says:

        Nobody ever told me to be like the President.Who tells their kids to be like a politician?Why not tell your kid to be like a crappy lawyer

      • Overcoming#Resistance
        Overcoming#Resistance says:

        You should try to come to grips with waking up in the morning before trying to think. You might just be able to do it.

    • Ghost Dog
      Ghost Dog says:

      Agreed but there will be no second act. Collapse and violence in some combination will be in the future. Timing will be unpredictable. Like Rome the Visigoths will crash the party eventually.

    • sikologik
      sikologik says:

      My sincere hope is that the current Trump will give Republicans a blue print for actually standing up for what they espouse. Of course, this piece by VDH more than suggests that this will not happen, given that most of the rest of the R party is really just D-lite (GW sure has shown such colors in the past year). Let the cracks in the R party appear though, and perhaps a new type of R will show up that is true to that which it espouses,as DT has been. Short of that, you’re probably right: we’re as good as fukt.

      • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ
        Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ says:

        Alas, I believe that what Republican *career politicians* actually espouse is only the perpetuation of their access to power. Once they become members of the club, the very idea of being “public servants” becomes repugnant to them. In that, the only difference from Dems is little more than cosmetic. This is why it took an ousider to govern (or try to) for the benefit of the country rather than donors and self.

    • Tanuge
      Tanuge says:

      You actually believe a president who lies more times in a single tweet than Obama did in 8 years is “the light at the cave’s mouth”?

      And as far as you “deplorables” receiving no support, you have government-funded Medicare, you have government-funded Social Security, and if you live in a red state other than Texas, your local economy is probably about 50% dependent on government spending, partly from those entitlements, and partially through the vast, socialist make-work program that is the Department of Defense.

      And no, you’ll never get another Trump. He’s spent his entire adult life learning self-promotion and image-manipulation. If he actually had any substance, someone could take up where he left off, but tweet-whining about Obama all day every day isn’t going to work as well for someone without Trump’s long years of experience in lying.

      • Overcoming#Resistance
        Overcoming#Resistance says:

        The Obama Administration was spying on Trump’s people, which it the highest crime this country has ever seen. Anyone who is worried about the things you are has no sense of proportion.

        • Tanuge
          Tanuge says:

          You mean the FBI was spying on Trump’s people’s communications with Russian intelligence operatives. That’s what the FBI does. That’s their job.

          Meanwhile, you think that the wholesale stealing and leaking of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails were nothing because… well because… because of Obama.

          What was that you were saying about proportion?

          • Overcoming#Resistance
            Overcoming#Resistance says:

            The FBI also specializes in investigation (you know, the “I”). And investigation 101 is where one learns that something like the Steele/FusionGPS/Clinton dossier is nothing but nonsense without corroboration AND a media interview of Steele is NOT corroboration. Using an uncorroborated “dossier” to obtain a FISA warrant, ESPECIALLY not disclosing that the “dossier” originated with oppo research paid for by a POLITICAL OPPONENT is what Russians, Third World countries, and, apparently, Democrats do. This makes the Obama admin. abuse of the IRS for political purposes look like child’s play.

            So, due to your comprehension problem, I will help you by saying no part of the government had any legal right to be spying on Trump or his people. If you don’t understand the 4th amendment and the problem with government overreach, you must have slept through the last 25 years…..if you are old enough for that.

            When you find evidence that Clinton’s emails were hacked or leaked by the Trump campaign, then we can discuss that too. You haven’t and neither has anybody else. Completely different issue.

            That’s what I was saying about proportion. What was that you were you saying about “what the FBI does?”

          • Tanuge
            Tanuge says:

            First of all, what more evidence do you need on Hillary Clinton’s e-mails? Trump’s son was meeting with Russian operatives to discuss the e-mails’ release four months before they were made public. Trump’s guy Roger Stone was in contact with the people who released them. And yet, somehow you pretend that these facts simply don’t exist (I guess, because the right-wing media doesn’t scream about them 24/7)

            On the dossier, what part of this do you not understand? The FISA court was informed that the dossier “was the product of research by one of the major political parties.” How you can continue to believe and claim that they weren’t informed is beyond me. I guess because the right-wing media doesn’t scream the actual facts at you 24/7.

            Your basic problem is that you are imprisoned by the virtual reality simulation created by the right-wing media. Your entire world is asymmetrical. The right-wing media lies constantly and with complete impunity, while the FBI, Mueller, the FISA judges don’t go on FOX News and scream sound bytes at you 24/7. You therefore have an opinion that is not only one-sided but deliberately constructed and marketed to you by propagandists who have no interest in the truth.

            You actually get your “information” from sites that tried to claim there was a”secret society” within the FBI based on a text that was clearly a joke. They actually pushed that line for a week- real National Enquirer stuff- seriously, the same story was literally in the Enquirer (right above a story about how Hillary Clinton has already been indicted).

            That was called “brazen lying.” It was clearly a deliberate attempt to lie to you, and yet, you simply shrug it off and move on to their next tabloid story. After all, that was just a day in the life of the right-wing media. I could sit here all day and list examples of that kind of childish b.s.

            Mueller may not go on FOX News all day every day, but he obviously has stuff that you don’t know about. He has the testimonies of Michael Flynn’s and George Papadapolous, and he has whatever was found on the legally obtained wiretaps on Carter Page (I say legally obtained because the last time I checked, it’s the judicial branch of government and not FOX News that decides whether or not a wiretap is legal). He also has a good read on Trump’s incredible debt to Russian banks. From the looks of it, Trump would have gone under completely in 2009-10 but the Moscow branch of Deutchebank and a bunch of Putin-cronies flush with oil money bailed him out. How you’ve managed to stay ignorant about this is also beyond my understanding.

            You can rest assured that there must be an awful lot there– think about it: would the Trump media apparatus be spending all day every day trying to discredit Mueller if they knew there was nothing there to find?

            REALITY CHECK: You have allowed a cyber propaganda campaign to convince you to side with Russian intelligence agencies against the American FBI. Is that sinking in on you at all?

          • Overcoming#Resistance
            Overcoming#Resistance says:

            I stopped after you tried to explain what “my problem” is. You have no standing there, and so it is obvious that you will say ANYTHING, without regard to veracity.

            Up to that point I read 2 obvious lies. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. discussed anything about emails. ZERO. SMH

            Second, I know exactly who released the emails. There is no serious debate about that. And there is absolutely no reason to believe Roger Stone should NOT have been in touch with them….they are very accessible. Would you like their email address?

            Can you please inform me where you have found a copy of the dossier? I’ve been anxious to see it. Thanks for that. What you claim it says is nothing more than a wild claim by a nobody (you, in case you couldn’t figure that out).

            The FISA court was informed? You typed a nice little quote, but there is no reason to believe you have a clue. There is reason to believe that you are willing to type a LOT OF NONSENSE that you or someone of equal intelligence made up. You really have nothing other than an apparent unlimited supply of Hot Air.

            So, here is the thing. That you and I are subjected to enormous amounts of nonsense in the media/internet is clearly true. But, there is a YUGE (no, I didn’t for for him, and certainly not her either) difference between you and me. I KNOW it is mostly nonsense. With that difference being completely obvious, you bore me. I am interested in new ideas that are the product of facts or of serious critical thinking, whether they challenge my viewpoint or not. You don’t have any of that to offer (facts, thinking, introspection). So, I am going to attempt to get through the rest of my life without having to rely on you for intellectual stimulation. It will be hard, but I will get by….somehow.

            Never was it so obvious, so soon, that someone was as full of it as you are.

    • MoreFreedom2
      MoreFreedom2 says:

      “But who will be the next Trump?”

      Rand Paul. Hated by both the Democrats and RINOs, and Trump’s first target in the debates. Yet, Rand advises Trump often and works with him. He’s the only candidate who consistently votes to cut government spending, embarrassing all the RINOs that told voters they would, but vote for all spending bills with everything funded including Obamacare (what’s left of it), Planned Parenthood, the Export Import Bank, NPR and other crony liberal boondoggles.

      But Paul, like Trump, can do little until we replace the lying congressional RINOs with fiscal conservatives. The RINOs have a huge majority in the GOP.

    • Alphonsus Jr. ✠ Dᴇᴜs ᴠᴜʟᴛ
      Alphonsus Jr. ✠ Dᴇᴜs ᴠᴜʟᴛ says:

      A plague is ravaging the West, a plague far deadlier than the Black Death of the 14 century; namely, the pathological complex of white ethnomasochist oikophobia and suicidal xenophilia (WEOSX). Those pathologically altruistic creatures infected by WEOSX harbor the burning fantasy of being eternally and publicly gang raped by Paco, Jamal, and Abdul as the ultimate form of virtue-signaling. Pitiful. Just pitiful.

      Until the plague of WEOSX is eradicated, we don’t stand a chance. Indeed we may even be beyond the point of no return. I recently fled the hell of “diversity” in SoCal for a notorious “whiteopia.” Yet even this +90% white (formerly called simply American) state is full of “diversity” loving ethnomasochists. Perhaps it’s because they’ve yet to be “enriched” by the horrors of “diversity.” (“Diversity” is of course code for white genocide; wherever “diversity” is pursued, the ultimate goal is precisely less white people.)

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2fca924d06b859f834a55b5c0121bd2c0557404e3fdd0e25136958189486cf19.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5145487b17927be1e9749fd05dea8966a7844c8eebaaf09ffc6ef84d5eb9053a.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/14c381500e8bea889a1cd979e874201c3ea4865e1f4bfac40283b5482b670d0b.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/774a6c7f2b1b85b822f5829e921b855e4854cc4d8383cf84f1d4383be88307a0.jpg

    • RJ
      RJ says:

      It is good to know that others read the Classics. As to the next “Trump” I suggest you keep your eyes peeled on Senator Tom Cotton.

      As for the Bushes, they had their time, now it is over. Same with the Kennedys.

      As for those people of color who wish to follow B. Hussein O’s path…good luck with that! (Note to Eric and Corey: we really, really don’t like either of you, just go away, far away!)

    • jack dobson
      jack dobson says:

      Brilliant comment. If I didn’t misconstrue him, Professor Hanson doesn’t believe another GOPe gelding can be elected. And whether I misconstrued that portion or not, I don’t believe we will suffer another Establishment Republican. We have entered an age of identity/class politics and while squishes may resist it, the Republican Party no longer can win on the basis of an appeal to better angels real or imagined. It’s all war all the time now. To be blunt, many of us did not view W as “a good man without malice,” just a cowardly virtue signaller who reserved his battles for those ostensibly on his side. That’s not coming back, particularly as details surface about the Obama Machine’s transformation of the federal government into a police state. The issue now is whether than genie can be rebottled. It won’t be settled with niceties.

      • Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ
        Monsieur Voltaire✓ᴰᵉᵖˡᵒʳᵃᵇˡᵉ says:

        I agree, although I never underestimate the power of bread ( = plenty, easy life) and circuses ( = a collective with its already-short attention span drugged by mindless entertainment and social media). May the Gods hear your words.

    • Dragan Ostojić
      Dragan Ostojić says:

      Who came after Raegan. Nobody of consequence. In 30 years we’ll remember Trump as one of the great conservative leaders with nobodys in between.

  15. rlhailssrpe
    rlhailssrpe says:

    Who will you vote for next time? A candidate who says he will spend like a drunken sailor or the one who says he will cut government spending but then spends like a drunken sailor? Other than office size and a nice window view does it matter which party holds Congress? It matters to those who struggle to pay the bills laying on the dining room table.

    We must face reality. Washington is going to grow. We are going to live through high inflation, everything will get expensive. The market just wiggled; it is forward looking.

  16. 1crappie2
    1crappie2 says:

    Agree that the gov’t ought not to be funding family leave, but neither ought the gov’t take it out of their social security. Families are, after all, the very glue that holds any society together. We need to encourage family growth. Tax pets if you wish to provide massive revenues.

    • reality check
      reality check says:

      “Tax pets”? While your at it, why not tax indoor plants instead? Most of us have many more plants than pets. At least many pets will protect us from home invasions. I never heard of a plant emitting CO2 to ward off intruders.

      • Wiffle
        Wiffle says:

        There’s actually nothing wrong with his idea. Americans have way too many dogs and not nearly enough children. If you can afford a pet, you can afford the taxes on it.

  17. MackeyDIngo
    MackeyDIngo says:

    So, wait, you criticize Bush for doing (out of office mind you) what Trump did while he was SITTING PRESIDENT?
    Its not surprising to see this site engage in blatant hypocrisy, but its pretty insulting to think your readers don’t remember this past summer.

    Let me help refresh your memory:
    You said,
    “First, Republicans should agree with Churchill’s dictum about the inadvisability of criticizing one’s government while in a foreign country: ‘When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the Government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.'”

    But you seem to have forgotten Trump defending murdering thug Putin while on board AF1 from Hanoi to DaNang and saying US Intelligence services are run by hacks.

    Save your breath defending him. The point is CRITICIZING AMERICA WHILE ABROAD. And the point is your hypocrisy.

  18. J David Krauser
    J David Krauser says:

    Was never happy with Dumbya even though I voted for him twice. With the alternatives being fatuously unctuous Al Gore, or John (I marry money) Kerry I really had no choice. But Dumbya began to lose me almost immediately with No Child Left Behind (which has accomplished absolutely nothing positive), then essentially cemented the estrangement with his “Five Years in Iraq War” with no end in sight or any vision of what the end result should be. To drive the final stake through the heart of my support he kept fighting for “comprehensive immigration reform” which meant endless amnesties and no border control whatsoever. Then he embraced Bill “Sticky Fingers” Clinton terming him “my brother by another mother” and now criticizes President Trump from cushy digs in Dubai. At least Woebomba was upfront in despising traditional America..

  19. MisterEd13
    MisterEd13 says:

    If it’s true, at least President Trump’s increases will be for things the Founders would approve of.

  20. NASArefugee
    NASArefugee says:

    The last President to truly balance the budget — and pay off the debt accrued from WWII in the bargain — was Dwight David Eisenhower. Eisenhower did it by raising taxes when the post-war economy was booming, with the top marginal tax rate exceeding 90%.

    Tax increases worked in the 1950’s, but that calculus has fundamentally changed: Kennedy promptly slashed taxes and, for the first time (under the heady intellectualism of Keynesian economics), introduced peacetime deficit spending as a tool to stimulate the economy. It worked, and like a neophyte gambler who wins his first bet, we were hooked.

    A scant 20 years later, the national debt had become a real concern. Ronald Reagan pointed out that tax increases cannot reduce the debt, because for every additional dollar raised through taxation, Congress spends another $1.20, so raising taxes to reduce the debt is like buying a drunk a drink to cure his drinking problem. Reagan’s record proved the accuracy of this observation, because in the decade bracketing his tax cuts, the total tax revenue collected by the Federal Government more than doubled, but so did the national debt.

    Trump has to be aware of all this. The question of fiscal policy he must answer is “How do we get there from here?” Clearly, we have to cut spending, but the more people we appoint to government agencies (to spend money), the more money they spend. We have to dramatically shrink the size (and scope) of the federal government. I think that is Trump’s underlying strategy; everything else is window dressing. This is terra incognita, so it’s anybody’s guess whether such a thing can be accomplish non-catastrophically.

    • reality check
      reality check says:

      “The last President to truly balance the budget….was Dwight David Eisenhower”. Actually the last president to show a yearly surplus, by ANY accounting standards was Bill Clinton from 1998-2001. The reasons why are different subject but that fact stands all by itself. BTW, Trump is aware of NOTHING unless it is specifically about him or has his name printed in CAPS somewhere in that policy. Sooner or later you guys will realize that.Hopefully before it’s too late!

      • CosmotKat
        CosmotKat says:

        Clinton lowered taxes after his re-election and coupled with welfare reform and a booming economy, balanced the budget. This all occurred after the Republicans took control of congress and Clinton triangulated to the anger of the Democratic base. Hatred toward Trump does not change those facts. The economy is growing again and it is largely due to eliminating onerous regulations, tax reform, and renewed enthusiasm by the consumer who has more money to save and spend and businesses have a partner in the white house..

      • NASArefugee
        NASArefugee says:

        Technically you’re correct, but that was only after Clinton redefined budget balancing solely in terms of discretionary spending (which continues to this day, along with substituting U3 unemployment for U6).

        If you measure real deficits in terms of growth in the national debt, the President with the best record on the deficit in recent times was George HW Bush. So despite Clinton’s “reductions” (which were better the his successor, George W Bush), in reality he didn’t improve on his predecessor.

        They’re all playing games. It’s not a partisan phenomenon

  21. Tanuge
    Tanuge says:

    The idea that Obama “doubled Bush’s level of borrowing” is pretty dumb. He never actually passed anything except Obamacare, and that reduced the deficit according to the CBO.

    From 2001-2007, we created an entire new cabinet level agency- with no new funding at all.
    We created an entire new prescription drug entitlement– again with no explanation of how it would be paid for.
    We doubled the military defuse budget– the largest line item in discretionary spending.
    Then, on top of that, not only did we not provide any funding source whatsoever for all of this massive new spending, we actually CUT taxes.

    After doing all of that, what exactly did people think the national debt was going to do in the following decade? The annual deficit came DOWN under Obama, not up- although Paul Ryan is the one who desires credit for it.

  22. Phil Ostrand
    Phil Ostrand says:

    The first sentence of this article is a lie. Tax cuts do not lead to more tax revenue. That has been demonstrated as mostly false. The only time it worked was when the rate on the top tax payers was cut from 90% to 55% under JFK. Other than that, tax cuts have ALWAYS lead to less revenue.

    • SupplyGuy
      SupplyGuy says:

      Leftard troll alert.
      So tell us leftard troll, why has France abandoned their 90% tax rate if it was so great at bringing in revenue?

    • CosmotKat
      CosmotKat says:

      You are confused. During the Reagan administration tax receipts rose substantially. To wit:
      “In 1987, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 took effect, cutting corporate income tax rates.
      Among other changes, income above $1.4 million was taxed at 40 percent
      instead of 46 percent. In 1988, it was cut even further to 34 percent.
      Except for one, every quarter from 1987 to 1989 experienced annualized
      economic growth above five percent. Inflation-adjusted corporate income
      tax revenue rose every year over the same time period: 28.3 percent in
      1987, 8.2 percent in 1988, and 4.3 percent in 1989. As a percent of GDP,
      corporate income tax revenue rose from 1.4 percent to 1.8 percent in
      1987, and then increased slightly again in 1988 and 1989.”
      http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/three-times-revenue-increased-after-tax-cuts/article/2557140

      In the last 30 years there have been three tax cut events and in each, economic activity increased as did tax revenue. Spending is the problem.

      Obama raised taxes and it increased revenues, but along with tax increases, he also raised spending and regulations. Result? Eight years of less than 2% economic growth.

  23. Peter63
    Peter63 says:

    All this is very true, as usual with the peerless Professor Hanson; although I do think a lot of GOP/Republican Establishment disdain for President Trump and his voters has plenty to with a social bottom line and a financial bottom line.

    People like G W Bush associate with other people like themselves: very rich, very privileged, very protected.

    They don’t spend a large percentage of their time traveling round (say) the Rust Belt and listening to regular Americans there.

    In the circles they DO frequent, any time Mr Trump’s name is mentioned, it will invoke ‘the sober and judicious frown’ of which Prof. Hanson writes; and it will be coming from the rich folks around them – chief donors of their party, big players in the Chamber of Commerce.

    Those who are still running for office, at present or the near future, don’t want to cheese the big donors off. Those who have nothing left to lose in that regard (e.g. Presidents Bush, John McCain, &c) don’t want to be dropped off the list of the right parties and other big-wheel gatherings.

    The British ex-king Edward VIII had an awesomely empty life after he abdicated. He and his wife were major trophies – in the jet-set Demi-Monde, but well knew that they weren’t going to the parties which mattered and meeting the people who counted. They were frosting on the cake of gatherings where their presence lent a certain dingy off-colour glamour to high society’s outlaws.

    (In their case of course they had deserved this dreadful doom. He had been the silliest playboy of playboys, shocking a country where hundreds of thousands of men had lately given their lives or lost their limbs [in the Great War of 1914-18] out of a sense of duty; while he could not feel enough duty to anyone or anything to deny the impulse to go to bed with other men’s wives [a-plenty throughout the 1920s and ’30s] and marry someone who took up and dropped husbands like broken old china. She was the original gold-digging moth who flitted too near a bright candle and got her wings burnt off.)

    The Republican Establishment types have, by contrast, not got the character to endure that sort of fate, even though NOT trashing their own party’s supporters, NOT impugning the President those supporters have voted for, and NOT selling the Republic out, would actually be a sacrifice to make in the cause of virtue rather than self-indulgence.

  24. gda
    gda says:

    The real test will come after the mid-terms, when the GOP have 60+ Senate seats plus the House. Then there will truly be no excuse.

  25. Puddle_Glum
    Puddle_Glum says:

    Any analysis of current events w/out the advantage provided by a good historian is pitiable. That said, thank you!

    I thought the same thing when I read the 105 degree comment by Bush. Chernow mentions the white folk can’t do that kind of work rationale in his biography of Hamilton. I don’t doubt slaves were better at working the land in intense heat than those who weren’t accustomed to it but that’s no argument for the establishment of chattel slavery.

    If we’re not a Country then businesses in the land have a right, so to speak, to cheap labor. If we are a Country then they don’t.

    Another thing that struck me is Pelosi’s Pet making project with the tale of her grandson’s wish for dark skin and dark eyes. The inflection in her voice when she was speaking about it was cringe inducing and there had to be more than a few Hispanics who became queasy when listening to her.

      • Wiffle
        Wiffle says:

        Yeah, but is he wrong? Have you heard Bill Kristol lately? He really did criticize Trump a year or two ago while on vacation in Israel. Edit: I think he was on vacation in Israel during the week of July 4th. That’s what made my jaw drop.

        • SupplyGuy
          SupplyGuy says:

          yeah Bill Kristol is an @$$hole but so are a lot so-called Christians and atheists. His religion/heritage has nothing to do w/ it.

          • CosmotKat
            CosmotKat says:

            Yes, it does. Jews are and have always been very active politically, it goes back to the dawn of their time. I know I live in a very large Jewish conclave. They state unequivocally they believe they know more about politics than anyone else and will argue till the cows come home to prove they are right. They always agitate against the government they live in especially if the government is being run by those they disagree with and hate.. .

          • reality check
            reality check says:

            Aside from the fact that your statement is there very definition of stereotyping, which has a tiny shred of truth but is mostly nonsense, it is clearly obvious that you don’t live in a very large or any size Jewish enclave. ANY Jew who reads and most others that know any jews at all, knows you are LYING or at least made this garbage up! Not only is there NO about consensus politics or government among Jews but the differences are more different among them than by most other ethnic groups. Hasidim, Ultra Orthodox, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and non practicing Jews go from undying support for Trump to total disdadin for the present government. Jews support or agitate for or against the govt when it is in their interest to do so, just like everyone else. It seems obvious that Jews certainly don’t “hate” the govt nearly as much as YOU hate them. But that’s your problem, not ours.

          • Wiffle
            Wiffle says:

            Stereotypes come from observing the patterns of groups. Of course no group is a monolith. Let’s take something less explosive than the Jewish sterotype and go with Catholic.

            It really does turn out that it’s a Protestant work ethic. Americans who are attracted to mainstream Protestantism do generally work harder and keep more of their money than Catholics, who in America are literally joe average. Now I could go nutty as a Catholic and deny such a pattern exists or could shrug my shoulders and say “Yeah, you’re right.”

            I know wealthy Catholics who buck the pattern and I even attend a wealthy parish. The fact that no group is a monolith or 100% their stereotype does not change the overall pattern people have noticed about Catholics.

            “Jews support or agitate for or against the govt when it is in their interest to do so, just like everyone else. It seems obvious that Jews certainly don’t “hate” the govt nearly as much as YOU hate them. But that’s your problem, not ours.”

            Ironically, this is a pretty typical Jewish reaction (assuming that’s what you mean by “ours”), to do a sort of gaslighting on the subject. I mean, you could point out that secularized lefty WASPs have the same bad habit of political activism, which is why secularized Jews and WASPs get along so well. But instead it’s “You’re a terrible person (“HATER!”) to even notice an ethnic group joined by a common culture and religion might fall into a recognizable pattern.” It gets old.

          • Wiffle
            Wiffle says:

            Story to add to your comment: I was discussing why “Christian” perfectly describes the religion of Western Civilization and why it’s not “Judeo-Christian” on a different article. A self identified Jew jumped on a with some rebuttals and we had a good conversation…until he informed me he had written the local Bishop and Pope Benedict urging that us Catholics return to the Latin Mass. You can’t make this stuff up. A guy who rejects Christ’s divinity (okay, a reasonable stance) thought he would inform us silly knuckle draggers who do think Christ is the Son of God what would be the proper Mass. And I think he genuinely thought we could bond over that idea. I literally have no clue where his headspace was.

          • Wiffle
            Wiffle says:

            There is a pattern with Jews historically, though, that’s real. I’ve thought through and my issue with the JQ always is the collapse of the vast majority of governing elites that gives those of Jewish ethnicity/religion power. Such a small minority could never take any sort of power or have influence unless the powerful became indifferent and lazy.

            For a view of what people are thinking about with the JQ, read the story of Joseph in Genesis from the POV of an Egyptian farmer. Imagine you’ve slaved at your farm for 7 years and had your food taken away in taxes, only to find a foreigner demands you sell yourself into slavery to get back the food you grew. That the next scene opens with Jewish slavery is not shock if you add the Egyptian POV to the story. It seems to me that the story of Joseph is the story of Jews since Temple destruction in 70AD until the reformation of Israel, over and over again. And I think it would be obvious why there would be resentment about such an obvious group.

            But what’s clear in that story is Pharoah is either literally insane or he has almost complete abdicated his role as protector of Egypt. No even vaguely responsible ruler plucks a stranger out of jail and puts him in charge of something as important as a food rationing program. (Which in and of itself is not rocket science, if we’re honest.) Jews are almost always scapegoats for a governing elite that has collapsed. And it maybe we’re square in the middle of history again. :(

  26. stephwain
    stephwain says:

    VDH seems to think he has to thump the tub a bit on ‘cheap labor lobby’ to keep his cred. But the real and valid point of the article is how populism on the right has put the final nail in the coffin of any chance of avoiding an eventually *really* ugly US govt debt crisis. True, self proclaimed conservatives never managed to get the debt under control. But rightist populists absolutely don’t care. So it’s up to the Democrats to solve the issue? God help us.

  27. SupplyGuy
    SupplyGuy says:

    Spot on analysis.
    People like GWB and the other Never Trumpers would have thrown millions of lives away at the end of WWII invading Japan instead of using the atomic bombs that killed less than 1 million, because of the optics.
    Logic isn’t their strong suit.
    GWB was still better than the alternative, but he’s dead to me now.
    And how racist is it to think it’s ok to pay an illegal less than the going market rate? That’s the very definition of exploitation.

    • Dave781
      Dave781 says:

      That is a truly inane comment. What makes you think that GWB and other NeverTrumpers would have not used the atomic bomb? Of course they would have. Logic doesn’t seem to be YOUR strong suit.

      The decision to use the bomb was not made by some Trump-like madman.

    • NutherGuy
      NutherGuy says:

      Why would an illegal WORK for less than the market rate for the labor of an illegal?

      You know the answer: Illegal labor is worth less. That’s neither racism nor explotation: It’s math. An employer who offers less than market pay has no workers.

  28. Wiffle
    Wiffle says:

    “George W. Bush, a good man without malice, nonetheless last week illustrated why Donald Trump is president.”

    Given how he’s acted since Trump became President, I think “good man without malice” is an opinion that’s up for serious debate.

    • jack dobson
      jack dobson says:

      It was an opinion open to debate prior to Trump’s election. W was at best a puppet and at worst a malevolent failure. In some ways his re-emergence is positive since those of us who kept quiet during his disastrous presidency can now heap our derision on him.

  29. Kinuachdrach
    Kinuachdrach says:

    Strange to think that I once admired George W. Bush. But that was then. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that Bush not only insulted the country he once “led”, he also insulted his hosts in Dubai. The Emiratis are nice people, but they have the problem of “jobs Emiratis won’t do” in spades. Hence Dubai is filled with Indians, Filipinos, Eurotrash doing all the jobs Emiratis won’t — like driving trucks, and working in shops. Jobs that Americans are proud to do.

    So rude of Bush to bring up that topic in Dubai. But what was he doing at a “summit” organized by a disgraced ex-convict anyway? Does Bush need money that badly?

  30. Rich Bailey
    Rich Bailey says:

    Great article. It takes time for a culture to home in on solutions. Teasing out the thread that leads to workable solutions is VHD’s talent. Taking a long view helps.

    Andrew Bracevich referred back to the 1990s: “Three specific propositions made up the elite consensus that coalesced during the initial decade of the post-Cold-War era.” These included “[u]nfettered neoliberalism plus the unencumbered self plus unabashed American assertiveness: these defined the elements of the post-Cold-War consensus . . . .”(https://www.salon.com/2017/08/09/slouching-toward-mar-a-lago_partner/)

    Senator Bernie Sanders harkened back further in his comparison of the open borders crowd to “positive good” advocate John C. Calhoun:

    “. . . [T]he open-borders crowd sometimes comes embarrassingly close to making the kind of argument that was once deployed in defense of slavery: Sure, they have a tough life in this country, but it must be so much better for them here than it was in their old country.” (https://berniesanders.com/open-borders-a-gimmick-not-a-solution/)

    Open borders advocates include strange bedfellows whose only common connection seems to be perceptions honed during their time at Yale (including Calhoun.) David Bratt’s 2014 campaign message was: I will work for you, not corporations chasing low wages via open borders. This is widely recognized as the first sign of the sea change that led to the Trump election and today’s border security landscape.

    Taking the long view can help. In the long run, abusing noncitizens to suppress wages is a strategy that will always crash and burn.

  31. Historybuff
    Historybuff says:

    Unfortunate.

    Apparently… Dr. Hanson has never had to build a staff that will function. The very first criteria to consider in building a staff is selecting the individual staff members… their integrity, teamwork, competence, and ethics. Experienced Executives know that the quality of ‘function‘ delivered is directly related to the quality of staff selected….

    America selected a staffer for President of the United States’donald trump. Clearly a cheating, lying, incompetent, ego-driven, immoral person. The executive staff of America… is now set at a ‘trump’ level. Resultantly, America is slowly, directly, steadily continuing its decline.

    Dr. Hanson should realize such… and focus on such.
    HB

  32. Roy_Lofquist
    Roy_Lofquist says:

    As long as I can remember, going on 70 years now, people have been screaming that deficit spending was greasing the skids on the road to perdition and the bridge around the next corner was out. Guess what? We’re still here and doing rather well, thank you very much.

    Got me to thinking. Turned me into Dr. Strangeguy or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Debt. The debt is absolutely necessary for the health of our economy. Why? Let me count the ways.

    1. It makes our currency the strongest in the world. Currency is only as strong as people think it is. Can they exchange it for something of value? The gold bugs say that only precious metals can guarantee repayment but all the gold in Ft. Knox has a value of less than $200 billion and the gold market is a casino. Dollars are ultra safe because they can always be exchanged for Treasury notes which have never defaulted, have always payed interest, and are backed by the whole US economy through the taxing authority. Good as gold? No, much better.

    2. Treasuries comprise the lion’s share of capital reserves for our financial institutions. This adds tremendous confidence in the overall stability of the system.

    3. Treasuries are a stable, safe, productive haven for capital at rest. It is a great place to accumulate retained earnings until they can be used for expansion.

    4. The Federal Government, unlike private enterprise, does not have a capital budget. This means that something like the Interstate Highways, or the B-52 bomber fleet, or dams, etc. have to either come out of current revenues or be financed through deficit spending. Do you really think that our gubmint has the discipline to save up for these things?

    There’s more but I think you get my drift. There are perennial scare stories about China or somebody suddenly cashing in their treasuries. Can’t happen. Treasuries are not demand deposits. They have set maturity dates and the treasury is under no obligation until that date. The maturity dates are balanced over 30 years, the maximum period for a note, so that we know far in advance when the obligations come due and for how much.

    Money, in and of itself, is pretty useless. It doesn’t even taste very good. It is only useful when it greases the wheels that carry us into a beautiful tomorrow.

    • W_T_P
      W_T_P says:

      “It makes our currency the strongest in the world. ”

      So you’re saying creating more of something (increasing supply) makes it more valuable. If this is the foundation of your point, it is quite clear that you have no idea what you are talking about.

      • Roy_Lofquist
        Roy_Lofquist says:

        Paraphrasing an argument in a manner that completely distorts its meaning, creating a strawman to be attacked, is the kind of sleazeball trick employed by the hatchet men prominent on such venues as CNN and MSNBC.

        • W_T_P
          W_T_P says:

          What, you want me to refute the rest of your statement as well? I really haven’t that much time but I could fisk all four of your points for paragraphs and pages for hours. What I stated is essentially what you are saying. It is not a mischaracterization of your point. Creating more debt, which the government does by printing money, does not make the inflated currency stronger. It is the very meaning of the word “dilution”. This is basic economics. Odd that you would reference CNN or MSNBC as you are making the very kinds of arguments that are popular, and wrong, at those venues.

          • Roy_Lofquist
            Roy_Lofquist says:

            I hardly consider your comment a refutation so much as a smart ass crack from a kid who took econ 101 and thinks he has some answers. So, why don’t you explain for the class what contributes to the stability of our currency, taking into account the Bretton Woods agreement of 1948, Nixon closing the gold window and the resulting stagflation.

          • W_T_P
            W_T_P says:

            Smart ass crack kid yourself. I’ve studied and lived economics for the last 35-40 years, ever since graduating from college where I was taught much of the BS that you’re selling here, only to truly learn out in the real world of hard knocks how wrong so much of it is. A currency’s only purpose is to provide a fungable store of value and to retain some degree of that value until it is exchanged for some other desired asset. Currency is worthless otherwise. Just green pieces of paper. Much the same could be said for gold. Giving Bretton Woods and (leaving) the gold standard, etc. credit or blame for the resulting economic situation is a huge exaggeration. Economics is far more involved, far more complex than what economists, academics, journalists, etc. would like to believe.

            But even given all of that, you’re completely misunderstanding what gives a currency its value. You’re simply repeating things that you were taught in school without understanding the underlying fundamentals. The idea that some great and powerful wizards can stand behind a curtain and pull economic levers is simply a soft form of socialism.

  33. redmanrt
    redmanrt says:

    “the economic stagnation of an Obama neo-socialist revolution”

    Better: the economic stagnation of an Obama stealth communist revolution

  34. BurkeanMama
    BurkeanMama says:

    “A good man without malice.” Really? Remember when W. Bush was President and Republicans were outraged at all of those who criticized him on foreign soil. “Politics ends at the water’s edge” every Republican said. Now here is President W. Bush criticizing President Trump and his supporters in that beacon of Freedom in Dubai.

    Not a good man, filled with malice.

  35. J K Brown
    J K Brown says:

    Robert Lewis Dabney wrote of “Northern” conservatism in 1897 a description the Republican “elite” follow today

    This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader.
    http://americandigest.org/mt-archives/american_studies/northern_conservatism_thi.php

    One need only reflect on the “wins” of conservatism in the intervening 120 years to see the validity of this observation.

  36. msher_1
    msher_1 says:

    Victor Davis Hanson puts his finger exactly on the divide. One I know well, because I embody BOTH halves.

    By education and taste I am an urban professional/elite. I have graduate degrees from prestigious schools, had Wall Street career, like huge cities and urban pursuits and my cultural tastes run to ballet, opera and classical music. BUT my values align with rumpled Walmart Trump supporters: country, family, virtue, hard work, the American Dream, etc., etc. And Trump embodied every policy I wanted politically – more than any candidate in my lifetime.

    Unfortunately few people share both these two halves. I find myself a fish out of water in urban America, and in red America!

    • hollywood
      hollywood says:

      If you have been paying attention, Trump’s only policy is Trump First. That’s it. You’ve been kidding yourself.

    • D4x
      D4x says:

      There are more of us than we know. It would help if a few pundits with echo would stop reacting to the invented rumors that pass for news and analysis, and somehow break through with the significant real news that I read at state.gov and whitehouse.gov. I’ve been waiting for 25 years for realist foreign policy, so, no time to follow domestic issues. More pundits covered Bush43 in Abu Dhabi than SecTillerson in Austin, Texas on February 1, 2018 “U.S. Engagement in the Western Hemisphere” University of Texas at Austin
      https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2018/02/277840.htm which built on VP Pence at the Panama Canal on August 17, 2017: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-vice-president-panama-canal/ Did no one notice when then Sec Kerry pronounced the “Era of Monroe Doctrine in Latin America is over” on Nov. 19, 2013? https://www.upi.com/Kerry-Era-of-Monroe-Doctrine-in-Latin-America-is-over/46411384844400/

      Instead of endless coverage of intentional distractions, we could be having a national tutorial on how leveraging private investment for energy security can bring prosperity and security to hundreds of millions, from the USA to Argentina to the nations of the Three Seas Initiative, which hosted POTUS on July 6, 2017: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6ab08117c8f421ce7fc09239de0aa5b0ca340909a632119ed0d34baf9d278bf1.jpg
      Americans have lost a year of learning, because the media does not just create ‘fake’ news, they disappear the news, enabled by the credentialed pundits (and U.S. Senators) in a bizarre alliance of Wilsonians and neo-cons. As for the debt? The GOP is still in thrall to ‘starve the beast’, having refused to listen to Sen. Tom Coburn, or any governor of Indiana. What used to be the Democratic Party destroyed medical care in 2009 by sacrificing their Blue Dog fiscal conservatives, and what is still called the GOP still does not understand that access to medical insurance has nothing to do with access to medical care, where the real problem is in the how, not the codes or the writing of prescription drugs.

      Still, the urgency is creating echo for reality. I actually have more confidence in WalMart, where you can buy almost everything online cheaper than Amazon. My epiphany came when I needed Larabar chocolate coconut chews, and Whole Foods stopped selling them. To my surprise, WalMart.com was Larabar’s source. It is an entirely different store online!

      Too bad they do not offer a community forum for over-educated independent thinkers. I had such hope for amgreatness. Just wanted you to know you are not alone. We get shunned by both halves.

    • Albertus Magnus
      Albertus Magnus says:

      Same here. Ph.D. in chemistry and a generation in academia.

      But I think I have been getting along much better with “red” (read: real) Americans.

      At least you don’t have to “keep your opinions in a paper bag” as Thomas Sowell once advised me.

      • msher_1
        msher_1 says:

        Yeah, but I need to be able to speak a sentence and have people around me understand the vocabulary, syntax and concept and know who the people and places are. I need to make references in my conversation to,say, Shakespeare or Churchill or Da Vinci or Newton or Aristotle or Machu Pichu, or quantum physics (not that I can apply it) etc. etc. If I talk about stock market or investing, I want to talk to people who understand the market, markets and trading. (I have JD and MBA and worked most of my corporate career with or for household-name financial institutions) I need to be able to go to opera or ballet or symphony or Broadway because I have zero interest in pop or popular culture. So I live in blue state urban/professional America (or at least a suburb of it). Of course I can’t mention politics. I was in supermarket today. It has some sort of ” Monopoly” game you can play at checkout counter. Customer in front of me started ranting that this was some sort of “Trump New York thing.” Huh? I like my friends, but also have a certain contempt for them for their limousine liberal politics. But in their personal lives they are nice, kind people even though many of them will not listen to a word I say politically – hell, they won’t even let well me say a word.

        It is truly discouraging as I don’t align well in either world.

  37. TrumptheFool
    TrumptheFool says:

    “…increase the federal gas tax for three or four years to pay for the project?”

    Hanson of all people should know that there is nothing more perman3nt than a temporary tax.

  38. Skep41
    Skep41 says:

    I generally am in total agreement with VDH but this time I will demur. The trillion and a half spent on infrastructure is much needed. Dubya spent wildly on the Medicare Part D entitlement…maybe a benefit but, unlike infrastructure spending, one with no impact on the economy. Who better than a guy who has spent his life building things to repair bridges and highways? Unlike the Community Organizer (who actually never organized any communities) who preceded him Trump won’t hand the money over to public employee unions and then shrug and say there aren’t any ‘shovel-ready’ projects to be found. It’s not how much you spend, it’s what you spend it on. In the hands of the Progressives all spending is a waste because of their utter incompetence; Trump is different.

    • odys
      odys says:

      I disagree about infrastructure. It is best done by state and local governments and paid for by them as the locals use it most often.

      Democrat cities and states are seeing pension bombs going off so they are hollowing out education, infrastructure and health care. Which is why Democrats are frantic to get the federal government to take over education, infrastructure, and health care.

    • stephwain
      stephwain says:

      There’s a desperate need for reform in how public infrastructure spending is done, true. But Trump isn’t into details like that, and even if he was, it would take a lot of time and be a huge political battle itself.
      The more basic problem though is more ‘much needed’ spending *that is just running up the debt*. It’s all well and good (though somewhat wishful thinking) to say ‘tax cuts will pay for themselves’ (unlikely to entirely pay for themselves). But you can’t seriously contend tax cuts will pay for a spending explosion, ‘needed’ or not.

      • Skep41
        Skep41 says:

        Trump talked about federal-state partnerships and changing the process to get projects started without so many bureaucratic delays. A guy who spent his life building things is going to be more effective than a lawyer. Tax cuts always generate high revenue but if the infrastructure starts to crumble so will the economy. Maybe we could cut some giveaway programs instead of things we need.

    • Dave781
      Dave781 says:

      We do not need to spend a trillion and half on infrastructure. Or infrastructure is NOT “crumbling” and any new spending on infrastructure should be justified on a cost/benefit basis.

  39. Don Anastas √ #WAR
    Don Anastas √ #WAR says:

    Increase the gas tax for 3 – 4 years??? It would never get repealed! I have a Vonage phone as a back up. Base package is $12.99 per month. Add two different taxes it’s $19.99 per month! Next time you pump gas check the tax posted on the side of the pump. Please don’t douse yourself with gasoline.

  40. urbanegorilla
    urbanegorilla says:

    ‘Free-marketers
    are right that tax cuts stimulate economic growth that in turn lead to
    expanding production and eventually more federal tax revenue.’ .. I honestly don’t see any proof or even reasonable assumptions that tax cuts stimulate economic growth… Check these charts:

    http://bit.ly/2EXs4hF

    http://bit.ly/2Ez1y0l

    If you ask me, handing back cash to the wealthy is silly if your real intention is to stimulate the economy… Ask yourself how much more Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, the Koch Brothers, or the Walmart heirs, will spend with their new found wealth? Will they suddenly run out and buy more at Target..perhaps buy two Lamborghini this year? That’s patently absurd. If what you really want is to stimulate the economy, you give money to those who WILL spend it… The poorer among us… The GOP claim that this will stimulate the economy is pure BS meant to excite those of us with simple minds while just doing what they always try to do.. Hand over cash to their big donors: This Jun 2017 headline says it all: Koch network ‘piggy banks’ closed until Republicans pass health and tax reform | US news | The Guardian

    http://bit.ly/2rXPbl3

    • W_T_P
      W_T_P says:

      “Ask yourself how much more Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, the Koch Brothers, or the Walmart heirs, will spend with their new found wealth? ”

      So what are you saying? That they’re burying that wealth in mason jars in their back yards? They invest it in the economy to make it larger. Wealthy people spend a very, very small fraction of their wealth. And even when they do spend it, how is it “more spent” at Target than buying steak dinners at expensive restaurants or even blowing it on hookers? You don’t get wealthy spending money, you get wealthy investing it to make more money.

      • urbanegorilla
        urbanegorilla says:

        Why don’t you tell me what you think the wealthy do with excess cash…. You can’t seriously think they spend a few extra billion dollars on groceries do you? They park it in places that generates wealth for them…. Here’s a simple article that explains what everyone should know.. That tax cuts DO NOT IMPROVE THE ECONOMY.. unlike paying those Americans who actually would spend everything they get ..and THAT WOULD IMPROVE THE ECONOMY.

        https://www.politico.com/interactives/2017/gop-tax-rate-cut-wealthy/

        • W_T_P
          W_T_P says:

          I just told you what they do. They invest it in more productive uses. Elon Musk, not that I’m a big fan per se, took the money he made from Zip2, a web software company, sold it to Compaq for $340 million, then founded a company that became PayPal, which he sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. Then he founded SpaceX…you may have heard of them. This is how capitalism works. Capitalism improves the economy. Socialism OTOH, creates failure after failure after failure. Which is why it is so popular with people who are failures.

          • urbanegorilla
            urbanegorilla says:

            And I provided 2 charts and an article that clearly spells out why that old dog doesn’t work. If you want to boost the economy give the 325 million Americans out there money…. THAT kicks the economy into gear. how hard is that to understand?

          • W_T_P
            W_T_P says:

            Giving people other people’s money has failed time and time and time again. Twisting numbers to fit the results that you want to see in a graph is not proof of anything. Proof is out in the real workd. In Venezuela, Cuba, etc. etc. etc. Your simple repetition of leftists mantras will never change that reality. Wealthy people, those who build businesses in free societies, are not taking anything from anybody. If anything they are providing new wealth. Wealth is not a constant. Economics is not a zero-sum game. Just because some pied piper comes along and tells you what you want to believe, stories about some Big Rock Candy Mountains, doesn’t make that real anywhere except inside your head.

          • urbanegorilla
            urbanegorilla says:

            And once again.. No support for your ‘opinion’.. Just more hot air and repeating of RW nonsense. Venezuela fell apart not because it’s a socialist nation.. It fell apart because free-wheeling crony capitalism handed all the wealth to the 1% and let the people suffer… And because we (the US) and the world Bank imposed onerous penalties on them… Cuba is similar… Your ‘opinion’ fails the smell test.. and exposes your lack of understanding of what really happened.

            For your education, here’s a list of the top socialist nations today.. You won’t find any failure there.. In fact, most are much better off than we are here. If anyone is ‘twisting numbers’ it’s you: : http://blog.peerform.com/top-ten-most-socialist-countries-in-the-world/

            And, even in our so-called capitalist nation, ‘giving people’ money actually does benefit not only the people who enjoy the largess, but society as a whole.

            – Without the interest and property tax deduction my wife an I could not have purchased our new home when interest rates were 16%. It still is a valid transfer of wealth that allows new buyers to be able to afford a new home. The benefit to society is of course a new tax paying homeowner.

            – The child tax credit provides for families to be able to have kids.. the benefit of course are more workers, and future contributors to Social Security and Medicare.

            – Tax credits for solar cells and energy efficient vehicles.. Obviously a reduction in fossil fuel use and our nations’ dependence on foreign supplies..

            I could go on, but clearly, you are wrong. Handing out money can and does provide benefits to all of us.

          • W_T_P
            W_T_P says:

            Yeah…I gave perfectly acceptable support for my position. Reality. You just want to live in a denial of such where absurdly you call failures of socialism “capitalism”. People cannot have a conversation when one side can’t accept the meaning of words nor accept reality. You have trouble with math and accounting, numericy, etc. You are simply nothing more than a ranting troll. No other way to describe you. Like the meme about playing chess with a pigeon.

          • urbanegorilla
            urbanegorilla says:

            You need to go back and re-read what you posted.. All you did was post your ignorant opinion. Show me something substantial that doesn’t come from Breitbart, InfoWars or redneck bumper stickers to SUPPORT YOUR STATEMENTS! Good luck with that…

          • W_T_P
            W_T_P says:

            The usual leftist rant. Lefitsts have the “facts” and others are just “opinions” . To you it’s a “fact” that Venezuela and Cuba are examples of bad capitalism. As I said, no playing chess with a pigeon. And yet another idiot leftist with nothing to add but who simply has to have the last word.

  41. LegallySpeaking
    LegallySpeaking says:

    VDH gets closer to seeing why the Alt-Right uses the term “cucks” for #NeverTrumpers.

    Sooner or later, he’ll be able to admit that the R’s who oppose Trump are designed to be the Washington Generals: to lose on all fronts to the Left, as bought-and-paid-for jobbers. And this is why Trump scares them: he’s in it to win it. And he’s not done winning yet.

  42. blatantplayer
    blatantplayer says:

    My only quibble with VDH’s piece is that he says the Tea Party started in response to Obamacare. The Tea Party started under Bush’s prolifigate spending. It revved up under Obama in response to the insane “stimulus” and the final straw otherwise known as Obamacare. However, Bush’s drunken boozy spending is absolutely and correctly cited by VDH.

  43. BGJ 1
    BGJ 1 says:

    Trumps comment on cotton was the same as McCain’s comment when he was running for President that “Americans wouldn’t pick cabbage for $500/hour.” I can’t believe that none of his primary opponents didn’t say “Sign me up.” It was such an insult to the working men and women of this country to say that honest work was beneath them.

  44. Alphonsus Jr. ✠ Dᴇᴜs ᴠᴜʟᴛ
    Alphonsus Jr. ✠ Dᴇᴜs ᴠᴜʟᴛ says:

    A second Operation W e t b a c k, modeled on Eisenhower’s 1954 Operation W e t b a c k, is desperately needed. In the glorious original operation, almost 10 times as many fled in horror than were actually deported. Self-deporting is real. The second OW should include certain strategic deportations of high profile illegal alien invaders in order to instill yet more terror in the invaders, along with of course a wall, e-verify, prosecutions and even executions for those who knowingly hire illegal alien invaders, etc. Start reading the great Vdare site for really real commentary on the ongoing third-world invasion–via both illegal AND LEGAL immigration. For example, see Alexander Hart’s essay entitled “Cuckservatism: The Cuckoo in the Conservative Movement’s Nest”

    Just how much more “enrichment” via “diversity” can we take? So many suicidally xenophilic white ethnomasochists there are today, even among those claiming to be conservative, whose supreme fantasy consists of being eternally and publicly gang raped by Paco, Jamal, and Abdul as the ultimate form of virtue-signaling…. Sickening. And just plain pitiful.

    Understand this at last: “Diversity” is code for white genocide. For wherever “diversity” is pursued, the ultimate goal is less white people. “Diversity” ≠ strength. “Diversity” = weakness, tension, chaos, and death. For whites. Thus many whites are increasingly fleeing “diversity.” There’s nothing more rational than “white flight.” And there’s nothing more insane than the virtue-signaling pathological altruism behind suicidally xenophilic white ethnomasochism. Pitiful. Just pitiful.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8cadff3345371a65786b0744a21dd2df69f496c0731f0d7b74f0cd65e2ea2e54.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/db2a43a567b8f455f6df757e693cd205f1f5bc5623b0008a24401743aeb68bf2.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/14c381500e8bea889a1cd979e874201c3ea4865e1f4bfac40283b5482b670d0b.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bb53efc5916bcecd39c6bdd39e2f2e680bea9ef8b84e894430bd6b97fd884d95.png

  45. jstrong365
    jstrong365 says:

    I have a simple question. Who ran a better government. Was it Ronald Reagan who taxed the economy at a rate of 17.3% of GDP after his tax cuts. Or was it George W. Bush who taxed the economy at a rate of 16.5% of GDP after his tax cuts. Was it Ronald Reagan who averaged deficits of 4.2% of GDP. Or was it George W. Bush who averaged deficits of 2.5% of GDP.

    For fiscal conservatives, the answer is clear. George W. Bush hands down. Still, he is reviled by the author and many conservatives.

    The effects of economic policy by the current administration will play out over the next 6 years. They seem to be on course for deficits that exceed the Reagan administration. The debt bomb will eventually explode. The current administration doesn’t seem to care.

  46. Sparky
    Sparky says:

    VDH fails to mention Reagan in the group of GOP Presidents who blew up the debt. They all run on shrinking it. Until they get elected.

  47. hamburgertoday2017
    hamburgertoday2017 says:

    As usual, VDH hits the nail on the head. There are two ‘dirty words’ that are never to be uttered in ‘polite conversation’ about politics in the US: class and power. In the Middle Ages, the relevant distinction was not between ‘the rich’ and ‘the poor’ but between ‘the powerful’ and ‘the poor’.

    These modern-day ‘patricians’ (thank you Monsieur Voltaire) understand that power is the real currency of the real world, wealth is just a sign of that power (always and everywhere). The class with power (and the material benefits that accrue to that power) are not (and never have been) interested in losing power. Truth be told, no one is. In a democratic society, — where ultimate sovereignty likes with ‘the polis’ — the rulers are invested in creating and maintaining the ‘There Is No Alternative’ illusion.

    The problem for the ruling class is that the entire point of popular sovereignty is capacity of the People to political creativity, to create that which is not and to undo that which is. The Left, for all their failings, have been perfectly aware of this problem for some time. They use different language and have very different objectives from the Deplorables, but the insight is the same: At the root of all politics is power, who has it, who doesn’t, how it can be created, destroyed, maintained and applied.

  48. jack dobson
    jack dobson says:

    “Its creed was not really, as advertised, the ethics of “losing nobly is better than winning ugly,” but rather the snobbery of “losing a cultural image is worse than winning a political agenda.” Put more bluntly, it is better to put up with a socialist with a “perfectly creased pant” than a prairie-fire conservative in rumpled Walmart slacks.”

    Brilliant analysis as always, professor, but as to the above excerpt aren’t those prongs the same? Aren’t both of those reasons just inane virtue signaling to appear better to peers? As you noted, Never Trump simply is the last gasp of a discredited and irrelevant form of Republicanism the general public rejected long ago and the GOP formally buried in 2016, but the autopsy is important.

  49. Arlo Falconbrook
    Arlo Falconbrook says:

    In fact the mechanization of manual work is a direct consequence of NOT importing slave labor. To be competitive in those areas with 3rd world countries (which not only pay less in wages but also do not wear the cost of large scale regulation and worker safety requirements), 1st world countries have to innovate and do things much smarter.

    But if a big company doesn’t have to compete for local labor but can just bring in hundreds of thousands of low skilled workers from 3rd world countries who will toil away using 19th Century work methods then why bother innovating or working smart? That is the problem at the heart of the Rino open borders sell out. Bush’s big company friends don’t want to work smarter or innovate to keep ahead of 3rd world countries. They would rather turn the US into a 3rd world country with a small elite owner class (themselves) and the rest of the nation recast as serfs. They believe this will reduce their costs and make them more money.

    Perhaps in the short term but the flaw in that idea is that you need a middle class with purchasing power in order to buy the products you are now making cheaper and the Rino open borders elites are busily exterminating the middle class so who will buy their crap made by slave labor? The Chinese?

    And, of course, the innovating doesn’t just stop because the US stops doing it – the countries that are still innovating and competing for skilled and semi-skilled labor will eventually supplant their US competitors simply because they will come up with the next big thing and the next big thing after that and the US will be reduced to making cheap copies which they will sell overseas because there will be no middle class left in the US to sell those things to. The destruction of America as a first world power would be complete at that stage. Bush 43 could learn something from his fellow former republican president – It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than speak and put the matter beyond all doubt (with suitable apologies to either honest Abe or Mark Twain depending on who you believe originated the saying)

  50. Cymbaline
    Cymbaline says:

    “If Trump wants a huge private-public partnership to build infrastructure, why not, at a time of record oil production, increase the federal gas tax for three or four years to pay for the project? ”

    Because the tax won’t be for 3 or 4 years. It will never go away. We all know that there’s nothing more permanent than a temporary government program.

  51. SeaMonster
    SeaMonster says:

    W Bush seems to be really resentful of President Trump, probably because Trump beat Jeb Bush like a rented Mule in the primaries.

  52. USInfidelPorkEater
    USInfidelPorkEater says:

    Considering the Republican’s behavior over the last ten or twelve years, my opinion is that they don’t deserve to win any elections … again, … or ever. They are at best, accommodating Democrats and at their worst treasonous bastards. Does this mean that I am turning into a DA Dimocrat or pro Dimocrat. Not, no but, Hell no. Only God can save us from ourselves … and he has no real reason to do so.

  53. Azarkhan
    Azarkhan says:

    When Obama was sh*tting on Bush for eight years, Bush kept his mouth shut. Now the reptile crawls out from under his rock to attack Trump. What a complete a-hole.

  54. Ted R. Weiland
    Ted R. Weiland says:

    Fiscal conservatism officially ended in 1787 when the constitutional framers replaced Yahweh’s unchanging moral law (including His economic and tax statutes) for capricious man-made Enlightenment and Masonic traditions, making it inherent that America would find itself where it is today: on the precipice of moral depravity and fiscal destruction.

    For more on how Yahweh’s immutable moral law applies and should be implemented today, see free online book “Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant” at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/law-kingdomFrame.html.

    Then “A Biblical Constitution: A Scriptural Replacement for Secular Government.”

  55. David_Swadell
    David_Swadell says:

    Hanson is wrong wrong WRONG about Bush being responsible for deficits. Look at the US Budget historical tables. The “Bush tax cuts” increased revenues and cut the post tech wreck and 9/11 deficits to nearly nothing … and then the idiots put Democrats in charge of Congress (and the budget) again and deficits exploded!

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