Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Economy • Energy • Environment • Post • Technology

The Democratic Washing Machine

Hang onto your legacy appliances. Call your appliance repairman. Maintain what you’ve got, because you surely will miss it when it’s gone.

What on earth is a Democratic washing machine? Is it a metaphor? Is it to say the Democrats and their social justice cadres are washing away our history and traditions and culture? Is it conjuring the image of Democrat machine politics, selectively laundering corruption into barely legal schemes, backed by avaricious billionaires? Maybe it’s the Democratic media, brainwashing America’s gullible half?

No. Nothing so grand. The Democratic washing machine is just that: a washing machine. The sort of washing machine you will find on the display floors of retailers throughout California, coming soon to the rest of the nation. An over-engineered monstrosity, inflicting inconvenience and expense into something that, for earlier generations, had become easy and cheap.

The Democratic washing machine is so named because it was Democrats who decided to ruin a durable product in a mature industry. In the name of saving electricity and saving water, they couldn’t save just a little electricity and a little water. No, they had to force manufacturers to create a product that used almost no water. And to save electricity, they turned the control panel on the washing machine into something resembling the bridge of a starship, with so many options you have to study a detailed manual even to figure out how to turn on the device. Do you want to delay its start cycle in order to wait for a low-electricity price today? Select Option 7 from Menu 3, unless it’s after 6 p.m., in which case select blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah . . .

Who came up with this crap? A Democratic washing machine in its default setting can take over an hour to do a single wash cycle, assuming you successfully have overridden its programmed default to connect to the internet and check the spot price of electricity before starting.

The Democratic washing machine is front-loading instead of top-loading, because that will save a few gallons of water, but your clothes flop around inside a drum that’s on a horizontal axis. Clothes get damaged and they don’t get very clean, and you have to get onto your knees on the floor to load and unload them, but hey, if you do this, the ice caps won’t melt, right?

Some especially over-engineered Democratic washing machines, presumably taking their inspiration from the military’s V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, are top-loading, and then once the lid is shut the drum rotates 90 degrees to establish that water sipping horizontal axis. Flop, flop, flop. But unlike a V-22 Osprey, the Democratic washing machine—although absurdly expensive—is not engineered to military specifications. Things break regularly. Better buy a warranty.

Did someone say “warranty”? How quaint. We’re not supposed to purchase washing machines anymore. Instead, manufacturers think we should “subscribe” to our washing machines. This way, as the greenie/techie axis comes up with ever more “innovations,” the lucky consumer can install the new module, or receive an entirely new unit. Sometimes upgrades can be remotely downloaded onto the platform (oops, “washing machine”) because we all know that washing machines need to be filled with chipsets and firmware and connected to the internet!

What is this madness? Since when was it in the interest of consumers to use washing machines that are confusing to operate, difficult to load and unload, do a poor job washing clothes, damage fabrics, break down every few months, can’t really be repaired at home by “owners,” and inflict lifetime costs many times what legacy machines cost?

Blame the Democrats.

Yes, there is a Republican washing machine. Do you remember those television commercials with the Maytag repairman, sitting at an empty workbench in his shop, surrounded by shelves filled with unneeded spare parts, bored out of his wits? That was a rare example of honesty in advertising. Because in response to foreign competition, but before the Democrat coalition of greenies and techies got out of control, washing machines were built to last. Not for three years, or even 10 years, but for 30 years or more.

The Republican washing machine takes 20 minutes to do a wash cycle instead of 60 minutes, it starts when you push the “start” button, and it doesn’t take several seconds to “boot” its software systems because it doesn’t have any software systems. Its lid is on the top so you don’t have to be a contortionist to load and unload it, it does a good job washing clothes, it doesn’t cost much, and it lasts pretty much forever.

Why? Because Republicans don’t try to micromanage our lives for the most part. Because Republicans don’t have the audacity to hide behind trial lawyers working for big environmentalist nonprofits and grasping high-tech “entrepreneurs” who want to force people to buy their components so they can get even richer.

The Democratic washing machine may or may not be a metaphor for liberal attempts to erase and rewrite our history, or for crooked machine politicians, or for the brainwashing media, but it is nonetheless a metaphor. It represents every overwrought, “wired,” overcomplicated product that’s being crammed down our throats. Ostensibly the point is to save the planet, but really it’s just to pad corporate profits with the support of Democratic politicians.

It has its counterparts everywhere.

Faucets that you have to wave your hands in front of to turn them on, which (maybe) will issue eight thin, 1-millimeter-diameter jets of water that can’t possibly rinse away soap, and will stop after a few seconds before you have to start waving your hands in front of them again.

Light switches that look like a cell phone menu instead of a simple mechanical on/off switch, that once you’ve figured out how to turn them on, they turn off automatically after a few minutes unless you find the right option to disable that feature. Yes. These types of light switches are now required by law in new construction in counties throughout California.

And of course never forget that the Democratic washing machine is not only “washing” your clothes, it’s watching you. Collecting data designed to “help” you live a more productive and earth-friendly life. Expect a smart and observant Democratic toilet in the near future.

Never mind that all indoor water used is by definition impossible to waste, since it flows to a treatment plant where it is either discharged right back to a river ecosystem or aquifer, or it is further treated and pumped right back uphill. What an inconvenient truth!

The sad fact is we could build appliances today that use the latest innovations to cut back on water and energy consumption without having to go to extremes, that are easy to use, that last even longer than the legacy products, and cost less. But we choose not to.

Blame the Democrats.

It’s time to push back, hard, against products that put consumers through these absurdities. Meanwhile, hang onto your legacy appliances. Call your appliance repairman. Maintain what you’ve got, because you surely will miss it when it’s gone.

Donald Trump • Economy • feminists • Post • Republicans

Lara Trump Tries to Fix Her Party’s Woman Problem

Last week, one month before she was set to give birth to her second child, Lara Trump came to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania to kick off the 2020 Women for Trump coalition, planting a flag, or at least an olive branch, in some of the least Trump-friendly terrain in the Keystone State: suburban Philadelphia.

Poised, witty and sharply on message, President Trump’s daughter-in-law is a natural in a position she says is far removed from her modest upbringing. “I grew up in a middle-class family in North Carolina, and I couldn’t have ever imagined that I would be a part of anything like this,” she told me.

Her job is both simple and complicated: keeping the old female voters and persuading the new ones for her father-in-law, who, to be frank, has a woman problem. The foundation of his base has been and continues to be men, explained Jeff Brauer, a political science professor at Keystone College. “Particularly married men, who voted for Trump nearly 20 points higher than Clinton in 2016,” he said. “To be accurate though, it is not just a Trump problem. Single women, who make up almost half of the women in the country, tend to be strongly Democratic. In 2016, Clinton won unmarried women by almost 30 points.”

Single men also went to Hillary Clinton but by a tiny two-point margin.

“So the real key is married women. They will decide the next presidency,” said Brauer.

Lara Trump says her biggest challenge isn’t retaining the women who voted for her father-in-law in 2016; instead, it’s winning the votes of women who didn’t vote for him but now find they like his policies while disliking his comportment.

“I think there are a lot of people, men and women alike, who feel that way out there,” she said. “The reality is that you don’t have to love everything about this president, but you sure can love the direction that he’s taking this country.” She rattled off his policies, from tax cuts to national security. She landed on the age-old question “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

“You might not love everything he tweets, but you never have to wonder what this president is thinking. He’s very transparent,” she said, days after critics and supporters alike cringed at a tweet he lobbed at the “squad” of new Democratic congresswomen.

“I think because he is unconventional, he’s been incredibly effective,” she said. “You don’t have to follow all of the old rules in Washington, D.C. He’s beholden only to the American people, not to lobbyists, not to special interest groups.”

The campaign’s decision to kick off Women for Trump in Montgomery County, a suburban Philly county that supported Clinton in 2016, was no accident. It plans to make inroads with married suburban women, because it has to win reelection in 2020.

For two decades, married women have gravitated toward Republican presidential candidates.

In fact, Republican candidates have won the married women vote since 1996, said Brauer: “In 2012, Romney beat Obama with this demographic 53 percent to 46 percent. However, this trend changed in 2016. Clinton was able to edge out Trump with married women 49 percent to 47 percent—still a decent showing for Trump running against the first woman major candidate.”

Brauer said evidence of Trump’s suburban-women voter problem emerged in the results of last year’s midterm elections and in part comes from his uncensored use of Twitter. “Some of this erosion is due to his brash comments about and to prominent women and racial minorities, and some is due to his policy stances, such as his efforts to repeal health care reforms and the treatment of migrant families on the border,” he said.

Given all that, it is a smart and critical initiative for the Trump team to begin specifically courting women’s votes, especially in places like suburban Philadelphia. And Lara Trump’s visit was the beginning of the initiative, said Brauer.

“These suburbs have a strong demographic of married women who tend to vote Republican but are willing to vote Democratic for the right candidates. So their votes must be earned,” said Brauer.

The strongest message for married women is probably an economic one: This demographic knows firsthand the struggles of maintaining a career and raising a family, especially to give their children more opportunities than they had.

“The message should be all about the booming economy, especially low unemployment/high job opportunities, increasing wages/salaries, tax cuts and the ability to retire with the growth of 401(k)s,” said Brauer. “They need to be convinced their families and children will have a better economic life with a second Trump term.”

If the Trump team can successfully make that argument, then perhaps these women will overlook the president’s foibles and their disparities with him, said Brauer. “It is an effort worth undertaking.”


Photo credit: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Economy • Elections • Political Parties • Post • Republicans

Party, Personality, a Big Name, and a Primary in Western Michigan

Peter Meijer’s decision to run for Congress in Western Michigan was a surprise to no one who knows the 31-year-old Grand Rapids native.

He is the great-grandson of Hendrik Meijer, who opened a tiny thrift store attached to his barbershop during the Great Depression, which has since grown into a chain of groceries, department stores, and gas stations across the Midwest. But Peter has always had his own idea of where his life is headed.

Instead of choosing a safe path within the family business, Meijer (rhymes with “dryer”) pursued and earned an appointment to West Point, only to leave after his first year and enlist in the Army Reserves.

“I like to say that going there was the best decision I ever made and leaving was the hardest,” he said of his resolution. “I loved the Army. I loved the military. But I really wanted to have the experience of being enlisted. But feeling like everything that I have I’m truly earning it . . . that nothing is given to me because of my rank or because of any other factors but that at every step of the way, I could look back and know that what I am is because of what I’ve done and only that.”

Meijer said he was in Iraq in 2010 and 2011 with his Army Reserve unit and then went to Afghanistan with an NGO two years later.

Since then, Meijer has been involved in a series of veteran advocacy groups including Team Rubicon and has jumped on an advisory board of a political action committee called With Honor that focuses on electing veterans.

Meijer knows well the incumbent, Justin Amash, and has supported him in the past. Amash’s behavior convinced him to run. Specifically, Meijer says he felt compelled to run once Amash turned his focus to complaining about Donald Trump and took his focus off serving the district.

“One of the things that people in West Michigan really prize is just the sense of working together,” he said. “This is not a fussy, dramatic part of the world. The community leaders spend a lot of time really supporting the community.”

Grandstanding about feelings doesn’t fit in.

He said: “I feel obligated to continue to find a way to contribute to my country. I’m not so arrogant as to think that running for Congress is a valiant exercise in self-sacrifice, but I feel like I’ve had some very formative and strong experiences, and that having more of those experiences in Congress is going to help.”

Meijer is one of five candidates running for the GOP nomination that is now open after Amash announced he would run as an independent. Three Democrats have also declared including Nick Colvin, a former Obama staffer.

Amash, who has also teased the idea of a run against Trump for president, faces a series of challenges in his own state. For years, Michigan has had straight-ticket voting: Press one button and you vote for every Republican or every Democrat or every Libertarian or whatever you want.

In 2018, Michigan didn’t have straight-ticket voting; the Republican legislature and former Republican governor had taken it off. Ballot Proposal 3, which passed overwhelmingly in the state in 2018, put straight-ticket voting back into the state constitution.

In short, the voters themselves chose to empower a two-party system. That makes winning as an independent very hard.

Meijer said bluntly: “I haven’t lost faith in the Republican Party. I think we can be the party of the future. We can represent and offer better solutions to the problems facing the United States that are founded on conservative principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.”

He added: “I think in the political process today we spend way too much time on the right dismissing problems or mocking Democrats when they offer a solution instead of offering solutions of our own. And that’s something that I really think we need to do if we’re going to especially appeal to younger generations.”


Photo credit: Getty Images

Center for American Greatness • Economy • Environment • Post • Progressivism • The Left

The Left’s Industrial Counter-Revolutionaries

George Santayana famously said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” He should have added that the ahistorical are also immune to irony, as in the case of the Left calling itself “progressive.”

In the continuing quest to note that the Left is not progressive but, in fact, regressive, let us cast our gaze back to early 19th century Great Britain during the infancy of the Industrial Revolution, say, between 1811 and 1816. At the time, many of the crown’s subjects were adamantly opposed to the emergent technological wonders because of their concomitant and unpleasant ramifications. These original industrial counter-revolutionaries were known as “Luddites” and their rejectionist movement was termed “Luddism.”

While Luddism had many sympathetic adherents in the arts and in the press—those who were chiefly concerned about the loss of a wholly romanticized bucolic England—the ranks of the Luddites were composed of textile workers whose foremost concern was the economic harm to themselves caused by the increased use of machinery in the production of goods. Rightly worried they and their skills would be rendered obsolete, Luddites expressed their displeasure in protests and by sabotaging the offending machines, in a futile effort to spare their jobs from the flood of economic progress that ultimately improved the lot of humanity.

Fast forward to the early 21st-century Left, wherein reside the ideological progeny of the Luddites: namely, the industrial counter-revolutionaries of the climate change cult.

True, there are distinctions between the 19th-century Luddites and the Left’s 21st-century industrial counter-revolutionaries. Unlike the original Luddites who were concerned about saving their jobs, today’s industrial counter-revolutionaries aren’t particularly concerned about workers’ jobs, airily promising those at risk of losing their “blue collar jobs” that “green collar jobs” will replace them—someday.

So, too, though there is some overlap, today’s industrial counter-revolutionaries should not be confused with Neo-Luddites, which is a philosophy encompassing “one or more of the following practices: passively abandoning the use of technology, harming those who produce technology harmful to the environment, advocating simple living, or sabotaging technology.”

No, the industrial counter-revolutionaries do not condemn all past, present, and emerging technologies—only those they deem culpable in contributing to human-made climate change, such as those powered by fossil fuels. Theirs is a long list of offending technologies, nevermind that these once unimaginable innovations have enhanced people’s quality of life and, yes, have saved lives.

Thus, what their cumulative objections and demands constitute is a rejection of the Industrial Revolution in favor of a romanticized—indeed, delusional—future unsullied by any of what they arbitrarily deem “climate-destroying” technologies. But this is not really a vision of the future; it is an embrace of the past prior to the Industrial Revolution.

Consider the industrial counter-revolutionaries’ “cure” for my hometown of Detroit.

Founded by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in 1701, Detroit began as a farming and Great Lakes port town. By the 20th century, the “Motor City” was renowned as the city whose workers “put the world on wheels”; and, during World War I and World War II, as the “Arsenal of Democracy” after it shifted domestic manufacturing production to help win those wars.

Sadly, since that time, Detroit has experienced many difficult moments, including race riots, a mass exodus of population, the loss of manufacturing jobs and facilities, and other ills that finally culminated in bankruptcies of two of its “Big Three” automakers and, later, the city, itself.

While many across the political spectrum supported the people of Detroit and worked to find solutions for returning manufacturing jobs to the city, in particular, and America, as a whole, the Left’s industrial counter-revolutionaries were less sanguine about the city’s quest to return to its former manufacturing greatness. Detroit was viewed as the epitome of America’s Industrial Revolution—and everything the industrial counter-revolutionaries hated about it, however real or imagined.

So what was the industrial counter-revolutionaries’ “solution” to Detroit’s economic situation?

To turn the Arsenal of Democracy into an urban farm.

Leftist pundits hailed this proposal as a visionary “reimaging” of the Motor City. It wasn’t. It was a return to 1701.

So why was such idiocy entertained, let alone hailed by the climate change cult? Because this unhelpful and illusory “solution” would advance the industrial counter-revolutionaries unhelpful and illusory goal of replacing capitalism with a return to socialism’s “hunter-gatherer” economy, where the government hunts and gathers your money in order to give it to its cronies.

On the plus side, the new socialist government will protect you from the scourge of air conditioning, if not from America’s enemies who are not so cavalier about the fates of their arsenals, which have nothing to do with democracy.

Speaking of air conditioning, this calls to mind another distinction between 18th-century Luddites and their 21st-century heirs: the original Luddites didn’t luxuriate in the benefits of the Industrial Revolution’s technological advances during their hardscrabble lives. Not so today’s wealthier industrial counter-revolutionaries, who can take to their laptops on a private jet or yacht to bitch about someone else’s carbon footprint and call for the repeal of the Industrial Revolution.

Which brings us to one more distinction between the original Luddites and today’s industrial counter-revolutionaries: hypocrisy, a vice rife throughout history.

Yet, despite such distinctions, what ideologically links an original Luddite and today’s “progressive” industrial counter-revolutionary and motivates their mutual regressive quest to return to a pre-industrial world is their fear of the future.

Nevertheless, perhaps I’m mistaken about the climate change cult’s industrial counter-revolutionaries. If so, after we don’t implement socialism in time and climate change kills us all in less than 12 years, then I’ll apologize.

But what I’ll never do is fear the future.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

Photo Credit: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

America • Democrats • Economy • Post • The Left

Democrats 2020: Trillions and Trillions and Trillions More

We’re currently witnessing one of the greatest attempts at mass bribery in history. With each passing week the Democrats running for the 2020 nomination offer yet another bribe for winning more votes.

The most recent is Senator Kamala Harris’s $100 billion dollar plan for black home ownership. But this is child’s play compared to everything else the Democrats have either proposed or endorsed.

Consider the 10-year cost estimates for some of the major plans that most, if not all, of the potential 2020 nominees have already embraced: Medicare for All, otherwise known as socialized medicine, is $32.6 trillion. The Green New Deal, also known as coercive environmental socialism, is $93 trillion. Universal basic income, in which people would become paid wards of the state, is $38 trillion. Slavery reparations would cost $14 trillion, but once that Pandora’s box is opened, where do you actually draw the line and decide who would get money and why? As for erasing college debt and free college, that’s about $2.4 trillion in the first decade—which counts as “modest” in this context.

The cost of all of those plans combined in the first 10 years is $180 trillion. That’s just one decade. Consider the fact that many government run programs are nowhere near actual estimated costs but typically run well over.

In what world do Democrats live? It’s definitely not the world of reality.

It’s hard to get perspective on how massive $180 trillion is. It’s almost nine times our current national debt of $22 trillion, and that’s also a hard figure to grasp. If you want perspective on even what one trillion dollars looks like, one could spend $1 million a day from the birth of Christ until now and still not have spent $1 trillion. Now multiply that by 180. There’s not even enough Monopoly money currently in circulation to put a dent into $180 trillion. (Trust me, I did the math: 215,000,000 estimated Monopoly games have been sold, with the standard game containing $20,580 per game.)

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, that great economic genius, has proposed we pay for all of this with the simple trick of just printing more money, because—of course—governments can print as much money as they wish. So let’s run those printing presses 24/7 and pay for it all; ain’t life grand?

Except that’s not how it works, as most mature adults know. In short, fiat money only has value if people perceive that the government printing the money is sound and has a strong economy—that is, the permanence and economic resources required actually to back the value of the money. Moreover, that country has to continue generating real wealth and productivity.

You don’t create value by printing trillions of dollars. All you do is kill a lot of trees and create hyperinflation. Ocasio-Cortez would do well to observe Venezuela where money has been devalued by massive inflation, or 1920s Weimar Republic Germany, where the government printed up massive amounts of paper money and people were paying for a loaf of bread with literal wheelbarrows of money because the Deutschmark had almost no value.

In a normal world, with a real mainstream media interested in giving the American people the truth instead of propaganda, these Democratic candidates would be treated more as inmates on leave from the insane asylum than as serious people. Honest and competent journalists, who would actually know something about history and economics and monetary policy, would be perplexed, even astounded, by the madness being proposed.

Instead, the leftist propagandists masquerading as journalists and reporters are working overtime to act as though there’s nothing unusual about any of this. They are far more interested in continuing their reprise of the role of the deranged Captain Ahabs in pursuit of the great white whale, Donald Trump, than in the inconvenience of tracking down real news.

What Democrats propose would be catastrophic and a complete change from anything that has ever been understood as real policy in this country. Forget foreign powers bringing us down and destroying the greatest constitutional republic the world has ever known: if left to their own devices, the Democrats can and will do that all on their own.

Add to their crazy fiscal policies their ideas to do away with the Electoral College, pack the Supreme Court, and open our borders to unlimited immigration, and one would be forgiven for thinking they are deeply un-American, every last one of them.

This is what’s at stake in 2020: who will we be as a people in the years and decades to come. Donald Trump has made it clear that in all things he puts Americans first and last. Democrats? Who knows who these Democrats are running to represent and or in what country they think they’re running for president? Apparently it’s not to represent the American people and their best interests.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

Photo Credit: REB Images/Getty Images

America • Democrats • Donald Trump • Economy • Energy • Environment • Post

Street Smarts in the White House

President Trump went to an Ivy League school, but he came out still talking like a New Yorker, with his street smarts intact. What does it mean to have street smarts? It’s knowledge of how to spot trouble coming, how to cope with mean bastards, and thrive. It is knowledge gained from gritty life, which gives you “a bank of courage to depend on when you are tested.” Your knowledge is based in your life experience, not conventional wisdom or academic notions, so it is actually real.

Street smarts combines common sense, self-preservation, and assertiveness. Think President Trump.

The person with street smarts has a great bullshit detector. You know how to deal with bullies and cheats, whether they be elite media or political opponents. As Willie Dixon put it, “You can’t mess with the messer, the messer’s gonna mess with you.”

Trump’s success dominating his dirty-dealing opponents has amazed and dumbfounded Democrats and the old GOP alike. They don’t understand his strengths. Like a martial arts master, Trump doesn’t absorb his enemies’ attacks. He transforms their assaults into his own energy to win.

President Trump’s street smarts go way beyond dealing with enemies. It is the key to how he carved his own successful path in life, and in the White House. The key to street smarts is noticing life as it is and dealing with it. In high falutin’ psychology terms, it is reality testing, the highest order of brain functioning.

Reality testing is essential to good judgment and effectiveness in life. It means dealing with the world as it is, not as you want it to be, nor as you fear it to be. No socialism, no global warming, no free lunch.

Good judgment requires facing things as they are. Democrats lack it almost entirely. President Trump has it in excess. Reality testing is a rare gift. It is called common sense, but it is not common.

This is why President Trump has managed to accomplish so much that was deemed impossible in the two difficult areas of the economy and foreign affairs. He pays no attention to the received truths of other people. He looks simply and without equivocation at what’s in front of him. Like any builder, President Trump has his two feet solidly on the ground at all times.

It has been a delight to conservatives to discover that President Trump is against suffocating government not because of ideology, but as a practical man. A bloated government sucking up the wealth of the country and churning out stultifying regulations is not a force for good. It is not good for the economy or opportunity or fairness or freedom. So, he’s done more to deregulate than any president before him.

Common sense without courage gets you nowhere. President Trump also has uncommon courage. He loves to be loved, but if you are in the opponents’ camp, he doesn’t give a damn about what you think of him. His big ego, for which he gets so much flak, enables him to focus on his goal, laughing at the screaming and hysteria around him. They just make it more fun and satisfying to win.

Consider: what did it take for President Trump to turn America into an energy superpower in two short years? The simplicity of accepting reality: we need energy, we have energy, energy development is good. Demonizing fossil fuels is nonsense. So, President Trump had the smarts and the guts to set a reality-based goal of a booming energy sector.

This one policy is crucial to America’s self-interest, to our economy, and to our national security. It took courage to ignore decades of stupid energy policies enacted by play-it-safe, conformist Republicans and Democrats corrupted by green energy boondoggles.

Courage, common sense, love of country.

Kim Jong Un is nearing nuclear weapons and threatening Japan and our West Coast? North Korea is a real threat, which means it has to be dealt with, not just going through conventional and useless diplomatic motions. Trump understands punk psychology. Give Kim Jong Un the respect and security he craves, while punishing his bad behavior until it is untenable. The handshake across the DMZ was brilliant diplomatic theater, but very real progress.

President Trump’s successes in stabilizing the Middle East show the same character traits of common sense, courage, and coping with bullies. Funding terrorism had to stop. Allowing ISIS to grow had to stop. Encouraging Iran to develop nuclear weapons had to stop. It’s basic reality testing, backed by the guts to follow-up with the necessary actions.

Trump’s iconoclasm went far beyond reversing Obama, although that was the first gutsy step. It was a no-brainer to reverse Obama’s phony war against ISIS, in which the rules of engagement rendered our forces vulnerable and impotent. It was a Trump no-brainer to reverse Obama’s anti-American, pro-Iran policies.

Trump broke with decades of bipartisan consensus. He stopped kowtowing to the oil sheikhs and their toadies in the European Union. Previous presidents, Democrat and Republican, turned a blind eye to the Saudi financing of terrorism. They humiliated America by pandering to Arab anti-Semitism and anti-Israel aggression. That was their idea of an energy policy.

President Trump knows you can’t survive on the streets and be intimidated by bullies. And he’s too proud of America to cringe before threats. He has the reality testing to realize that cringing brings attacks, not safety. He stands his ground.

He easily faced down the alarmist warnings the Middle East would explode like a powder keg if he kept his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem, where it clearly belongs. The embassy moved, world leaders fell in line, powder keg fizzled, and the Palestinians were forced to live in the real world. Another notch on President Trump’s belt. And the world is safer for it.

President Obama, the unhappy Marxist prep school kid, stayed in his comfort zone of preachy rhetoric, not reality. Obama spoke about national unity, while pushing identity politics, the war on cops, racial animosity, demographics is destiny, and all his underhanded ways of dividing the country. For eight years, Obama did nothing on the economy, ISIS, China, Korea and Russian expansionism. He didn’t do a thing for the black community except sabotage their police protection and incite racial division.

Trump is the polar opposite of Obama. Trump the builder is all about getting things done. He has delivered the best job numbers in history for the very minorities Democrats claim to champion.

Trump has the confidence, energy, and aggression to take on every challenge and move toward victory. Democrats don’t even believe in victory.

President Trump earns his bragging rights. If he then enjoys bragging with gusto, so what? His supporters share his happiness in all he has accomplished for them as individuals, and for the country. They are richer, freer, and more secure because of his capable leadership, and they are grateful, even giddy.

Democrats think they can smear, bribe, bully and cheat their way to the White House. Their voters like the hate, the bull, and the promises of free stuff, and they did very well with those weapons in the midterms. But nothing the Democrats warn about or promise is real. In 2020, they will be coming up directly against President Trump, a master of reality. Reality is a stronger hand.

Photo Credit: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Administrative State • America • Economy • Identity Politics • Post • Progressivism • The Left

From Bake Sales to Boardrooms, ‘Woke’ Is Good For Business

Historically, Republicans have been known as the “party of the rich” making them the “oligarchs” and “fat cats” of American politics in the eyes of many voters. It was never true, but Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren talk as if even the caricature were still current. Tired clichés such as this one are almost as old as they are.

That’s right. The wing tip is on the other foot. The richest Americans today work in Big Business, Big Tech, high finance, university administration, and government bureaucracy—all of which increasingly are dominated by an “educated” class that hails from America’s universities or, as Dennis Prager properly calls them, “leftist seminaries.”

Increasingly, these fields have come to mirror the identity politics that dominate classrooms. Students spend years thinking about “diversity” issues like feminism and LGBT rights in the “correct,” which is to say, the dictated manner. When they graduate, they take hold of America’s institutions and corporations, and impose their lesson plans on the under-schooled masses they suppose they are divinely entitled to rule.

It’s a two-pronged approach. There are woke fundamentalists who insist on conformity because of their sincere belief in “tolerance.” Then, there are the number crunchers who know that this particular brand of woke culture is good for business. As Tucker Carlson has noted, the smart kids in the ruling class tend to work as corporate executives or finance (the number crunchers); the dumb kids become the priests of conventional morality (now “wokeness”) in the media.

In recent weeks Netflix has suggested it might discontinue filming in Georgia because its governor recently passed a bill that would outlaw abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. NBC Universal, Walt Disney, AMC Networks, CBS, Showtime, Warner Media, and Viacom could all be next. This would be a mean a loss of revenue to the tune of millions in corporate tax dollars.

The CEOs of 180 Fortune companies also signed a letter condemning Georgia’s bill. Their reasoning was chillingly clear: “When everyone is empowered to succeed, our companies, our communities and our economy are better for it.” In other words, women who terminate their pregnancies are more productive in the workplace because they are less distracted by the demands of childcare. If more women abort their babies, companies won’t have to pay as much in maternity leave, either.

This is not the first time America’s corporate overlords have exercised the puritan/number cruncher interest model on our unwitting population. Thanks in large part to Big Business, the public view of same-sex marriage has altered drastically, moving from the fringes of public opinion to the ultimate expression of public virtue.

When Arizona signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law in 2014, all businesses were deemed free to exercise their religious liberty with regard to sexual morality. Immediately, the Campaign for Human Rights voiced intense opposition to the bill. Their primary reason? “This bill is bad for business.”

Soon, sociologist Darel Paul notes, Verizon, American Airlines, Apple, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Arizona Tech Council released letters and issued phone calls to advise against the bill. RINOs like John McCain joined the chorus, as well as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Only a few months later, Paul continues, Indiana passed a similar religious liberty law. That is, until Salesforce, Eli Lilly, Cummins, the Indiana Pacers, and the NCAA threatened to leave the Hoosier State. Religion was now just a “cover for bigotry.”

Even Mike Pence had to tone down his original support for RFRA.

This year during Pride Month, corporations have signaled their virtue in no uncertain terms; just look at the sponsors for this year’s pride parade in San Francisco. The LGBT community has moved from bake sales to boardrooms.

As with abortion, we have the puritan/number cruncher model at work. Some have correctly reasoned that public advocacy for LGBT rights is good for business—after all, the LGBT community has a buying power of nearly $957 billion with a median income $63,000 above the average household income of heterosexual couples. Some, however, are true believers who are committed to coercing the agenda—angry activists who work as middle managers in corporations, or as pundits in the media, or with cushy jobs in nonprofit rackets like the Human Rights Campaign or the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Today’s oligarchs think normal Americans will fold to their radical agenda because they control the corporations that give us so much wealth, comfort, and happiness.

In a sense, they might be right. Most people do not have the stoic courage of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado now going through the courts for a third time in defense of his religious liberty. He has lost nearly half his business as a result of this harassment.

While it is good to stand with the brave few who dare stand up to the progressive menace (who among us has made the ultimate sacrifice of canceling Netflix?), there are other strategies conservatives should begin to consider.

One should begin by asking why Netflix was ever in a red state like Georgia in the first place? The answer: low taxes, low regulation, and a lucrative Area Standards Agreement.

While states like California and New York have hired legions of bureaucrats to turn their lands into a progressive paradise, it is notably difficult for companies like Netflix to live under their tax and regulatory regime. These companies pledge fealty to progressive pieties, but they are required to swim in the sewer down in Georgia if they ever wish to cut a profit!

This is in contradiction of their alleged pieties which easily could be exploited by the flyover states. Georgia—and all the other states who may soon come under threat from corporate boycotting (Idaho, perhaps)—should form a compact with each other, disallowing any corporation from working there if they ever plan to flout boycotting power over acts of sensible self-government.

This week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey showed how this might work with his response to Nike’s capitulation to Colin Kaepernick’s demand the company cancel its special edition Betsy Ross sneaker. Ducey promised to revoke all the incentives the Arizona Commerce Authority offered Nike for locating in the state. If Nike wants to play the game of “woke capital,” surely its executives would have no objection to the people of Arizona playing back.

The message should be clear: if your company wants to insist on California pieties, you can pay the California price.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Economy • Education • Elections • Post • The Left

Why Free-College Schemes Won’t Fly

In their newest attempt at mass bribery, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and his fellow socialists are now loudly touting their plans to erase $1.6 trillion in college debt and make college free for everyone. It’s just the latest “plank” in the 2020 Democratic platform of “Free Everything for Everyone Until We Run out of Other Peoples’ Money.”

There is so much wrong with the idea it’s hard to know where to begin. Perhaps we should start with the “free” aspect of it. At least Breadline Bernie is being semi-honest when he says he’ll fund his plans by taxing Wall Street—as in someone gets taxed to pay for the “free.” Do people not understand that they might get “free college” and then pay more in taxes for the rest of their lives in order to pay for that “free?”

But one of the fundamental problems with the whole scheme can be summed up in this question no one asked at the Democratic debates this week: Why are taxpayers even involved at all?

Put another way: Why should taxpayers be victims of the fraudulent behavior of the colleges and universities? This is between the kids and the colleges; the taxpayers have nothing to do with it.

If Bernie and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are so concerned about college debt, they should demand student reparations from the colleges and the universities sitting on endowments of hundreds of billions of dollars and then actually address the real problem: the fact that most colleges and universities are charities, getting significant tax breaks while then accepting government loans that incentivize price inflation.

The higher education establishment borders somewhere between the neighborhoods of collusion and fraud; collusion between the colleges and government to create easy loans and price inflation, gouging the sucker kids and parents, and fraud with the colleges saddling students with sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for worthless degrees that don’t get them jobs in the real world.

Seriously, in what world does it make sense to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a degree in something like women’s studies, especially in light of what’s coming our way with automation? And to be blunt, most 18 year olds should not be empowered to make life decisions with six figures on the line.

It’s time to re-examine the entire process by which student loans work, but also to take a hard look at nonprofits which offer services we are pleased to call “education.” How do they compare to other nonprofits that offer services?

The majority of our hospitals are nonprofits, and an even greater majority of our colleges and universities are. Up until recently with Trump’s executive order regarding pricing transparency for healthcare providers, there has been little attempt to demand hospitals be transparent about what their real costs are. When a nonprofit offering services reaches a certain level or incoming revenue, perhaps there needs to be a trigger point where they are no longer considered charities and convert to S-corps or C-corps.

In the meantime, President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin should change the tax regulations governing nonprofits that offer services and insist that such organizations that make $20 million or more in annual revenues need to disclose the exact costs and prices of everything. That would shine a light on what real costs are, increase competition, and expose the price gouging taking place. Because let’s face it, that is what is taking place. While our leaders have been asleep at the wheel, healthcare costs and higher education costs have exploded, leaving us in this situation.

As is typical of the infantile socialists, however, their response is not to deal with the root issues.

Of course, Bernie and company would never force colleges to pay reparations out of their own endowments: why damage the indoctrination centers of higher learning that are producing so many mush-minded followers for them? No, instead, they imagine it’s far better to use middle class taxpayers as their ATM to further themselves politically.

Let’s face it: with everything they are proposing right now, from Medicare for All and the Green New Deal to free college and to universal basic income, it’s not really about solving real problems. It can’t be. None of their ideas are based in reality. All of the Democrats’ talk about free this and that boils down to stealing someone else’s money and giving it to others in hopes of winning votes and consolidating political power.

But they have a problem: there’s more than one way to get “woke.”

Taxpayers—especially the middle-income earners—have gotten very woke. They are sick of the abuse that has been heaped upon them. While most of the Left and mainstream media are still befuddled why a brash billionaire who’d never run for office before won in 2016, it’s really not that hard to understand. The taxpayers and workers of this country have been abused, have been sold out by immoral leadership in both parties. They are tired of a government they fund not working for them and not prioritizing their interests.

So if the lefties and “democratic socialists” want to continue pushing crazy ideas like taxpayer-funded “free college,” I say to them: knock yourselves out. All you’re doing is putting the taxpayers’ and workers’ seething resentment on steroids . . . and  just in time for the 2020 elections.

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America • Democrats • Economy • Elections • Hillary Clinton • Post • Republicans • Trade

Richard Trumka and Big Labor Try to Come Home

Richard Trumka needed to come home.

Walking into the union hall at the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers building along the Monongahela River, the AFL-CIO president shed the twisted expression on his face as he shook hands with his rank-and-file organizers. With the older union hands, there were no handshakes but instead familiar hugs.

Trumka, the son and son-in-law of coal miners, grew up in the Western Pennsylvania region, working the coal mines himself, in the hollers of the mountains before heading off to college.

He rose up the ranks of the United Mine Workers of America union during the bloody strikes in the 1980s and eventually became the head of the 12.5 million-member AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor union.

His passionate speech on race and labor in support of Barack Obama in 2008 is legend around these parts.

Trumka seems to recognize the men and women in the room here are the men and women who were ignored in the last presidential election. Hillary Clinton ignored them, not because she didn’t want their vote but because she took it for granted. Clinton’s campaign even persuaded union leadership that microtargeting voters on gender issues was more important than peer-to-peer communication among union families on the issues of jobs and opportunities.

Clearly, it wasn’t. The blue wall of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin crumbled in 2016. Exit polls showed Clinton did win union households, but her shortfall among these households, compared with Obama’s numbers, was her downfall in Michigan, at least.

Democrats had lost sight of what mattered to working people, and they had made the union bosses forget as well.

During the 2016 election, labor leaders got caught in the middle of several transitions, explained Paul Sracic, a political science professor at Youngstown State University: “For years they walked lockstep with the Democratic Party. This made sense, because most Republicans were tone-deaf to the concerns of labor, and the Democratic Party still had enough social conservatives in it to allow union members, many of whom were very socially conservative, to not feel out of place.”

As the Democrats rapidly moved to the left on social issues and embraced identity politics, rank-and-file union members began to feel alienated from their own party. Economic interests, including trade, kept many of them in the party, but they were leaving even before Donald Trump.

When Trump went after trade, however, they got the push that they needed to join Trump’s party, explained Sracic. “Leadership, however, was busy in Washington D.C. and had longstanding relationships with Democratic politicians,” he said. “Hanging out with Republicans seemed unnatural, and in fairness, most of the Republicans in Congress, especially the Senate, wouldn’t have much to talk about with someone like Richard Trumka.”

In a way, though, the union leaders got co-opted and just went along with the leftward shift on social issues.

And as the Democratic Party became more coastal, its core voters became increasingly internationalist, including on trade.

Obama papered over these differences, running on anti-trade rhetoric to please people like Trumka and then governing as a free trader.

“The rank-and-file union members lost faith in the Democrats, and now leaders like Trumka are in a difficult position,” Sracic said.

Trumka kicked off a three-day tour, beginning in Pittsburgh Monday and followed with stops in Youngstown, Akron, Cleveland and Toledo in Ohio, as well as Detroit, in the following days. Why? To reconnect with “the people.” He wanted to hear what workers think about the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade agreement to replace the hated NAFTA.

“This tour is the people purpose. One it is to inform our members of the state of the negotiations we’re at with the trade agreement. And two, it’s to hear from them—get some instructions back from them,” he said.

Darrin Kelly, president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, said the AFL-CIO affiliate was pleased by Trumka’s visit. “It is important that we are heard. And we want everybody to know that the Rust Belt still has a strong voice in organized labor,” he said.

Dave Green was at Trumka’s roundtable visit in Youngstown. Green is the president of UAW Local 1112 and one of the final seven UAW workers to turn out the lights at the now-shuttered General Motors Lordstown Assembly Plant. He does not think labor failed the workers in his area in the last election. “I think the Democratic Party failed labor,” he said. “They did not talk about jobs, or opportunity, or the dignity of work.”

“And that’s why Trump won in my hometown, because that’s all he wanted to talk about: jobs and opportunity,” said Green, who himself did not vote for Trump.

It’s unclear who will earn labor’s support in 2020, but it’s crystal clear to Trumka what union leadership has to do, and he tells me his plan before he approaches the podium: “Listen.”


Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

America • Economy • Post • Trade

Free Trade and the ‘Cheap Goods’ Delusion

Between 1348 and 1352 a monstrous plague—the Black Death—ravaged Europe. The disease struck young and old, men and women, saint and sinner alike. Half the population died. Whole cities disappeared. Western Civilization was on the brink of collapse.

What caused this plague? Bad smells. Foul odors. The stench of decay. This was considered unequivocal, scientific fact—that is until we invented the microscope and discovered that an entire world of miniature animalcules existed right under our noses. In time we realized that these creatures caused illness: germ theory was born, and with it died the centuries-old miasma theory of disease.

Received wisdom—no matter how venerable—should always be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism. This is especially true when it comes to economics, as money brings out hucksters who sell snake-oil bottled as genuine emollients.

Bluntly: many economists are crooks and liars.

The biggest lie they tell us is that international free trade makes stuff cheaper. It doesn’t. It simply enriches the white-collar gangsters who run our banks—the very people who so often fund “libertarian” think tanks. Go figure.

The Bigger the Lie . . .
Free-trade theory is based on the work of the two titans of economics: Adam Smith and David Ricardo. In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith explained that prosperity is a function of productivity, and productivity is itself a function of labor specialization: more specialization means more productivity, and more wealth.

Smith fleshed out his idea in his now-classic example. Imagine two pin workshops. In one workshop each artisanal worker makes his pin from start to finish, meticulously stretching the wire and hammering-down the pinhead. At that rate each man “could scarce, perhaps, with his utmost industry, make one pin a day.” In the other workshop the men divide their labor so that each handles one simple task:

One man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head . . . the important business of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about eighteen distinct operations . . . I have seen a small manufactory of this kind where ten men only were employed . . . [and by dividing their labor] those ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins a day.

For Smith, the key to prosperity is an efficient division of labor. Likewise, the key to economic growth is to divide labor—to break production steps into smaller and smaller chunks. This works, but only in the short term. In reality, Smith’s pin-makers can only subdivide their task so many times before the process is maximally efficient. Once this point is reached, additional economic growth is impossible according to Smith’s theory.

And yet economic growth continues unabated. Why? Because technology drives long-run economic growth, not labor specialization. This fact is painfully obvious.

For example, books used to be made in monasteries. Lone monks would meticulously ink each word in delicate calligraphy, and illuminate the manuscripts with indigo dyes and beaten gold. The Book of Kells is one of the most glorious examples of this art.

By the dawn of the Renaissance, books were big business. Workshops filled with scribes copied texts, while binders bound the volumes, and illustrators illuminated the pages. Adam Smith would have been proud. By roughly 1450, the Europeans had maximized the division of labor in bookmaking—it was the end of the line for Smithian growth.

Then along came the printing press. Suddenly, whole pages could be printed in seconds by an illiterate peon. This increased productivity exponentially and dramatically reduced prices. In Renaissance Florence, for example, a scribe could produce a copy of Plato’s Dialogues for one florin. In 1483, the Ripoli printing press opened up shop. It could produce 1,025 copies of Plato’s Dialogues for three florins—the price to print this book plummeted by a multiple of 341, or 99.71 percent!

This is not an isolated incident: the same thing happened with the invention of railroads, forklifts, and computers. Technology, not labor specialization, is what drives long-run economic growth. This explains why the Soviet Union, despite its comically bad allocation of labor, was an order of magnitude richer than Victorian Britain, whose division of labor was par excellence—and infinitely more prosperous than Mycenaean Greece, despite the latter’s sophisticated and “internationally” integrated market economy.

Although this is news to most economists, my point is not new. Robert Solow in 1956 found that technological progress accounted for 80 percent of the long-term rise in America’s per capita income. The remaining 20 percent was caused by capital accumulation. How much was caused by a more efficient division of labor in a Smithian sense?


This is a big problem for free traders, who argue that free trade makes America richer by increasing the available labor supply, and thus increasing the degree to which we can specialize our labor. Not only is this wrong, it lacks even the faintest air of reality—and yet propaganda mills like the Cato Institute churn out reams of articles dedicated to pushing this myth on the American public.

“Man . . . How Ignorant Art Thou in Thy Pride of Wisdom!”
In his magnum opus On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, David Ricardo explains that international free trade enriches countries by allowing them to maximize their comparative advantage. The theory of comparative advantage is the linchpin of the free trade movement. Unfortunately, comparative advantage is a sham.

At its heart, the theory is straightforward: countries should trade things they are relatively good at making for things they are relatively bad at making. This makes the economy more efficient, and therefore makes everyone richer.

To illustrate his point, Ricardo concocted a now-classic example: suppose there are two countries, England and Portugal. Both make cloth and wine. It takes England 100 man-hours to make a bolt of cloth and 120 hours to make a barrel of wine (220 hours to make one unit of each). Clearly England is relatively better at making cloth than wine.

Meanwhile in Portugal it takes only 90 hours to make a bolt of cloth and 80 hours to make the wine (170 hours to make one unit of each). Although Portugal is absolutely better at making both products, it is relatively better at making wine than cloth. Thus, Portugal has a comparative advantage in making wine, and England has one in making cloth. Ricardo concludes that each country should specialize in making what they are best at (England, cloth; Portugal, wine) and trade with each other to acquire the rest.

Mathematically, comparative advantage makes some sense. If neither country specialized, it would take 220 hours for England to make one unit of cloth and one unit of wine, while Portugal would take 170 hours. But if they both specialized and traded, then the same labor could make 2.2 units of cloth and 2.125 units of wine—like magic, specialization and trade makes everyone richer.

Free traders argue that this logic applies globally. If every region specialized in making goods for which it has a comparative advantage, then the global economy would be maximally efficient and we would all be richer.

The extrapolation is mistaken.

Ironically, the best critique of comparative advantage comes from David Ricardo himself, who acknowledges that his theory is domain-specific—it only applies when certain antecedent conditions are met. Ricardo writes:

. . . it would undoubtedly be advantageous to the capitalists [and consumers] of England… [that] the wine and cloth should both be made in Portugal [and that] the capital and labour of England employed in making cloth should be removed to Portugal for that purpose.

Ricardo says explicitly that comparative advantage suggests that it makes sense for England to import both cloth and wine from Portugal, and that England’s cloth-making industry should be—to use modern parlance—offshored to Portugal.

Of course, Ricardo knows this would be a losing strategy for England. If England imported everything and made nothing, it would have no economy. Further, England would be vulnerable to foreign suppliers. Ricardo adds an intellectual buttress to ensure that the temple of trade will not collapse. He writes: “most men of property [will be] satisfied with a low rate of profits in their own country, rather than seek[ing] a more advantageous employment for their wealth in foreign nations.”

There you have it, comparative advantage—global free trade itself—is based on the assertion that men love their country more than money, and will invest domestically because they are patriotic. Fat chance. Gordon Gekko was right: “greed is good.” Greed is the name of their game.

Ricardo also used a more technical defense of comparative advantage from this obvious flaw. He argued that offshoring is impossible because capital is immobile—England’s textile mills could not move to Portugal. This is the antecedent condition I mentioned earlier. Comparative advantage is domain-specific because it only applies when capital is immobile and thus offshoring cannot occur.

But of course, capital is highly mobile in today’s economy—a factory can be relocated from the United States to China virtually overnight and transportation for bulk goods is unbelievably cheap. Despite this obvious, and explicit limitation, the free-trade brigade routinely trots out the theory of comparative advantage in defense of free trade as if it were a prize stallion. In reality, it is a dead horse.

Because free trade has nothing to do with long-run economic growth, it necessarily has nothing to do with long-run reductions in consumer prices. As such, the entire “freer trade means cheaper goods” argument is nothing but a myth perpetrated by jesters and charlatans. Be warned.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Economy • Elections • Elizabeth Warren • Identity Politics • Political Parties • Post • The Left

2020 Has Echoes of 1996 for the Opposition Party

The Democrats have assembled a field of candidates for 2020 as large as it is unimpressive. From the slick Robert “Beto” O’Rourke and the media creation Kamala Harris to the Woodie Guthrie wannabe Bernie Sanders, to the fake folksy chameleon Joe Biden, it’s amazing such a large group of candidates is collectively so devoid of charisma, intellect, or interesting ideas.

I’ve loathed the Democratic Party since junior high school, but even I could recognize the common touch of Bill Clinton and the cool, disciplined demeanor of Barack Obama. Hell, even Hillary Clinton was obviously bright, though so haughty and mechanical that she lost an election she was supposed to win.

It is telling that the best the Democrats of 2020 can come up with is the slippery retread Biden, whose 1987 run for the presidency ended in disgrace when news broke of his plagiarism. He and the rest of the bunch are not exactly the stuff dreams are made of, even with the demographic tail winds that spell disaster for the Republican Party and the republic before long.

The Electorate Is Similar to Past Elections
In spite of the changes to the country’s population, the electorate is a lagging indicator. While the country has been rearranged with a mass influx of foreigners, their ability to vote takes some time, as mere presence and even legal residence does not equate to citizenship.

Indeed, misunderstanding the persistence and importance of legacy America had much to do with the Democrats’ failures in 2016. They thought the coalition of the ascendant would take them over the finish line. They learned instead that lots of Americans were sick of being force-fed nonsense about transgenderism and being bullied about “white privilege,” as they struggled to maintain a middle-class existence.

Most elections since 1988 or so have the same basic feel. The South is mostly solidly Republican. California, Illinois, and the Northeast are solidly Democratic. The Midwest is what typically swings between elections, along with the mercurial bellwether of Florida, whose people are an amalgamation of the rest of the country.

Clinton won in 1992 by being a popular, moderate Southern governor. The addition of Ross Perot and a modest recession combined to keep the prize from the incumbent, George H.W. Bush. The elder Bush also had the demerit of being seen as a fair weather friend to “movement conservatives,” who dominated the Republican Party after Reagan. Even so, Republicans were angry at this turn of events, which seemed irrationally to repudiate the Reagan economic miracle and Bush’s Cold War victory.

Clinton, Like Trump, Was Hated for His Style
From 1992 to 1996, the white hot passion with which Republicans loathed Clinton cannot be overstated. His style, his support for abortion and gun control, his uneasy approach to the military, and his push for national health care made him very unpopular with ideological conservatives and Republicans.

With the demise of the Soviet threat—a common enemy for conservatives of all stripes—Clinton became the substitute bogeyman. He was cast as an extreme liberal, which appears exaggerated in retrospect. He was merely a moderate, hated as much for who he was and his style as for any of his policies.

The Republican Party of the 1990s, like the Democrats of today, had a problem. Although the party was united in opposition to Clinton, it was divided internally between the “establishment” and its own far Right, exemplified by Pat Buchanan.

George H.W. Bush was no Ronald Reagan, and Buchanan challenged Bush in the 1992 Republican primary and pioneered a nationalist vision for the post-Cold-War GOP. Buchanan was critical of Israel, free trade, mass immigration, interventionism, and addressed other issues that make up the “national question.” He was, however, ahead of his time. Most of the effects of mass immigration and globalization would only be felt more fully in the future, and small government, pro-business, and low-tax views remained the consensus view among Republican voters.

In 1996, Buchanan at first represented a formidable force. He won the New Hampshire primary and, in doing so, scared the hell out of the Republican establishment. The establishment had several possible candidates to choose from, including Lamar Alexander, Steve Forbes, and Richard Lugar. But Bob Dole, a longtime U.S. senator from Kansas and previous presidential contender in 1988, had everything the establishment wanted: experience, predictability, and, it was thought, electability.

Dole was not a fire-breathing conservative, but a mainstream Republican with a distinguished war record, a long career in the Senate, and many friends and allies. He eventually became the nominee and lost miserably to Bill Clinton.

Clinton won for a variety of reasons. The main reason, despite histrionic Republican condemnation, is that he did not do such a bad job his first term. After 1992, the economy emerged from the recession and shifted into high gear during the “dot-com” boom. Clinton ended the pointless Somalia intervention and dragged his feet on getting involved in the Bosnian quagmire. While the military shrunk with the reduction of our Cold War commitments, the modest tax hikes of Clinton’s first term led to balanced budgets and eventually a government surplus. Employment went up, and many of the concerns of the era—tax rates, Monica Lewinsky, and welfare reform—seem picayune compared to today’s threats of Islamic terrorism, the hollowing out of American industry, or the illegal immigrant hordes pouring over our Mexican border.

Clinton carried more Southern states than is typical for a Democrat—Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida—but also won the Midwestern battlegrounds of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Iowa. These Midwestern states are moderate and practical, defined as much by their largely German-American population and concern for order and efficient government than the more libertarian tendencies of the Deep South and the Mountain West. These practical, middle-of-the-road folks are not especially ideological or consistent in their voting patterns. They are the quintessential swing districts.

Trump Benefits From a Strong Economy and Relative Peace in 2020
The objective facts favor Donald Trump’s reelection for many of the same reasons Clinton was a favorite in 1996. The economy is doing quite well, and his tax cuts and regulatory reforms appear to be at least part of the reason.

Of course, he has not delivered on his main campaign promises, but he appears to his supporters at least to be trying, even in the face of bipartisan resistance. His deviations from promises appear aligned with rather than opposing public opinion.

Also, Trump rather decisively defeated ISIS’s caliphate in Syria, but has so far avoided calls for getting involved in another Middle Eastern war. Even Obama could not avoid this temptation, in spite of running as the “peace candidate” in 2008.

In short, we were warned that Trump would destroy the economy, the norms of good governance, and possibly act recklessly with his “finger on the button” in the event he became president. Instead, everything feels quite normal, prosperous, and predictable.

The gap between the Democratic Party’s hatred of Trump and his results mirrors the chasm between Republican Party’s Clinton hatred and the relatively modest evils of Clinton’s first term as president. Then, as now, there is some “outrage fatigue” among ordinary Americans, who are not nearly as partisan or engaged as the political press, volunteers, and donors who follow politics like a sport in both parties.

More important, by combining this background of ideological fervor and a “ho hum” candidate, Dole failed to excite the base, even as Republican rhetoric alienated those in the middle and within the Democratic Party.

The Democrats seem to be undertaking a similar strategy, coalescing around the well-known Joe Biden. Biden, Obama’s vice president, is avuncular and superficially moderate, having slowly followed his party as it moved further leftward while maintaining a connection to the Democratic Party’s past. He comes from working-class roots and makes much of his connection to middle America.

Of course, Biden is odd and, having been around a long time, he has said things directly contradicting his views today. Today’s Democratic Party, after all, is radically different from that of yesteryear. It underwent a shift to more identity politics, reflecting both the leadership of Obama and the party’s increasingly diverse voter base. But Biden’s status as a frontrunner demonstrates a combination of realism by Democratic primary voters arising from their desire to defeat Trump at all costs, as well as his exploitation of the divisions among the others.

The alternatives have significant obstacles and each only capture a portion of the party’s primary electorate. Sanders gets the alienated anti-corporate Left, Harris presumably garners a strong swath of the diversity voters, and someone like Beto appeals to the romantic spirit of Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” campaign.

Elizabeth Warren has already been flummoxed by her “stolen valor” with regard to her Indian heritage, even though she otherwise would have been a compelling voice for economic populism. So, if Biden wins the nomination—which appears likely right now—he will do it for reasons similar to the ones that led Republicans to unify around Dole. Biden, like Dole, would be a familiar, older, predictable figure in a party unified in its hatred of the Republican president, but strongly disunified on ideology and much else.

Biden’s Hurdles
Biden in 2020, like Dole in 1996, would face an objectively similar presidential legacy. The economy is doing well, and no new wars are underway. Clinton himself won by saying, bluntly, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Everyone knows the economy matters and its fortunes are attributed to the president, as irrational as this may be.

Biden’s attack on Trump will focus chiefly on his character and demeanor, his style, and scandals familiar to partisans, just as Republicans obsessed over “Slick Willie” and his Whitewater and travel office imbroglios. Republicans deemed Clinton the apotheosis of Baby Boomer self-absorption, but his record was not bad by any objective measure.

Biden also has to fashion a positive policy message, now that the failing Iraq War or the media-generated romanticism about Obama can no longer can be the centerpiece of Democratic campaigns. This will be a problem, as the Democrats’ redistributionist message thrives on economic anxiety.

But Trump’s hybrid policies—standard Republican approaches to taxes and regulations coupled with aggressive negotiating with trading partners—appear to be working. We were told his election would tank the stock market, instead the market as well as the broader economy have continued to improve, despite Trump inheriting the mature recovery of Obama’s second term.

Criticism by Biden of Trump’s immigration and border policies would also alienate middle-of-the-road voters in both parties uneasy with mass immigration. Even Trump’s tariffs would prove a wedge issue, as they are pro-worker and were once a popular Democratic issue, particularly among the party’s working-class voters in the industrial swing states of the Midwest. Tariffs also have garnered respect among Republicans, who are increasingly aware of the national defense aspects of our trade conflict with China.

Further, no Democratic policy agenda can easily unify the various identity and economic factions of the Democrats, while simultaneously appealing to the “woke capitalism” of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, while also appealing to moderate swing voters in the swing states of Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida. The Democratic coalition is full of ideological die-hards who easily may opt to stay at home when too much is done to appeal to opposing factions within that coalition. In other words, there is a lot of inherent tension between urban career women, destitute welfare cases, “woke” ethnic chauvinists, and cozy government workers, and whatever unites them may prove too much for the fringes and also swing voters to bear.

Clinton touted his economic achievements and the absence of foreign policy failures in his 1996 reelection campaign. In so doing, he could appeal to objective facts. Dole and other Republicans could only invoke highly abstract ideological arguments against him or appeal to some risk of a future economic or national security disaster.

Dole, like Biden today, had the benefit of being familiar and well liked within his party. But like Dole, Biden also has the demerit of not appearing to stand for anything in particular and failing to inspire his party’s ideological fringes. Biden’s message, like Dole’s in 1996, seems to be that it’s his time and that he can win.

A safe candidate appears to make a certain amount of sense, logically speaking. But, for the same reasons, it also makes sense for voters to retain an incumbent when the country objectively is better off than ever before.

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America • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Economy • Environment • Post • Progressivism • Republicans • The Left

How the Left Embraced Globalization

On November 30, 1999, the largely theoretical question of globalism exploded into reality with the spectacle of 50,000 demonstrators shutting down a major meeting of the World Trade Organization in Seattle. News coverage of this unexpected sensation, with expertly rendered video montages of police phalanxes, black-clad anarchists, smashed glass, snarled traffic, accompanied by animated commentary, provided American television media with a daily potboiler for a few days. Then globalism was again forgotten.

In 1999, America’s progressive Left viewed globalism as the root cause of poverty, environmental destruction, and the disintegration of ancient cultures. They perceived globalism as the movement by multinational corporations, and their client organizations, the supranational World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, to control the development and growth of supposedly sovereign nations.

Instead of allowing developing countries the opportunity to grow diverse, self-sufficient economies, in the hallowed name of “free trade,” they were force-fed loans that required them to spend on mega-projects, cash crops, mines, dams, low-wage manufacturing plants—all built by multinationals that destroy the economic independence of the countries they enter.

In 1999, Americans who bought running shoes produced by slave labor overseas, ate hamburgers made from cattle that grazed on the lands of a former rainforest, or drank coffee grown in pesticide drenched monocrops where cloud forest once stood, could only with effort conceive of such remote despoliation. What was obvious was the cheap footwear, fast food, and excellent coffee.

Globalization, to the extent Americans thought about it at all, was perceived only as providing material benefit. The catastrophes wreaked elsewhere in the world were abstractions. At the time, one of the core missions of the populist progressive Left was to expose globalization, and stop it in its tracks by changing American public opinion.

That was then. Today the progressive Left has become the champion of globalization, joining, perhaps unwittingly, America’s establishment uniparty in supporting its updated agenda: open borders, free trade, and “climate action.”

While the progressives may disagree with the establishment on questions of degree—how much redistribution of wealth, how many migrants, how aggressively to implement climate action—they’re in remarkable agreement on the premises.

Today the foes of globalization are on the Right. The same black-clad anarchists who used to smash glass to disrupt the meetings of the WTO, IMF, and World Bank, now take to the streets to silence the anti-globalist Right.

What happened?

Probably the most significant change was the growing realization that economic globalization was not simply a matter of developed nations exploiting developing nations. The reality is far more complex.

In general, free trade is supposed to optimize the rate of global economic growth, but the primary beneficiaries are the less developed nations. Exporting jobs to less developed nations with cheaper labor may have been characterized as exploitation of those workers, but the big surprise was that most of them didn’t see it that way. Just compare the rates of economic growth in developing nations between 2000 and today—China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia—to the growth rates over the same period in developed nations including the United States, Japan, and members of the European Union. But for a while, the topic of globalization faded from the public mind.

The events of September 11, 2001 and the War on Terror that followed took center stage, pushing globalization to the sidelines. Then, right about the time the public had begun to get used to the new era of endless wars, came the great recession.

Until the great recession, the downside of globalization hadn’t really struck Americans. Sure, at the same time as jobs were being exported to low wage nations, citizens of the high wage nations were losing those jobs. If you don’t have a job, it doesn’t matter if the giant flat screen television made in China is available at Walmart for $600 or $1,200. But for years, millions of Americans compensated for lower income by borrowing money on their bubblized home equity. That came to a screeching halt in 2009.

Where was the progressive Left during the great recession?

Yes, there was Occupy Wall Street and a succession of encampments around the country to protest the injustice of a financial industry that escaped almost any consequence for derailing the economy. But to a large degree, the Obama presidency obscured the transition of the Left from foes of globalization to proponents of globalization.

Barack Obama’s charisma, his status as the first African American president, and his ability to pacify his leftist critics with big legislative initiatives such as Obamacare, somehow either overshadowed, justified, legitimized, or overcame objections to his other policies, which were to be just as globalist as those of his predecessor. It wasn’t until Trump came along in 2016 that the debate over globalization returned to center stage. But this time it was a very different debate.

Donald Trump disrupted the debate over globalization by focusing on the impact it was having on Americans. He challenged what had become truisms for the establishment—trade deficits don’t matter or can actually be beneficial, free trade is always good, mass immigration helps more than it harms.

What the establishment had ignored was that the benefits of trade deficits are financial bubbles (as American asset prices are bid up by foreign investors) that only enrich wealthy speculators. Free trade isn’t free when other nations cheat. Mass immigration only benefits businesses who want cheaper labor. Meanwhile, homes became unaffordable debt traps, good manufacturing jobs migrated overseas, and immigrants took away jobs from America’s most vulnerable workers.

Trump also clarified the debate over globalization by forcing the progressive Left to reveal its true colors. It became clear that the Left’s only concern was how globalization affected the developing world, and exposed their indifference, even hostility, toward the workers in their own nations.

You can make a moral case that globalization should harm the workers of the developed nations more than it harms the workers of developing nations. You can turn that unavoidable truth into an altruistic virtue, although one that is rather hard to defend in the nations that are being harmed.

You can also embrace globalization on those terms because it does the bidding of the wealthy elites and multinational corporations who are most enriched by “free” trade and open borders.

America’s progressive left did both. They’ve disguised their desire to see the traditional American worker disenfranchised in their own nation with attacks on “white nationalism.” They’ve come to accept the premises of free trade economists that they’d once despised, with the caveat that climate activism and all that it entails—namely, the mass redistribution of wealth—will mitigate the impacts of globalism on developing nations which had once bothered them so much.

The fatal flaw in the Left’s new embrace of globalization, however, is that socialist redistribution has never made societies better off, and achieving 100 percent renewable energy would be environmentally disastrous to say nothing of economically impossible.

These unresolvable conflicts doom the undeclared alliance between progressive leftists and economic globalists. The result? A steady stream of defections by progressive leftists into alternative platforms, many of them likely to embrace the various forms of nationalism they now claim to deplore. Just watch.

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Administrative State • Economy • Post • Technology

Hasn’t the Government Done Enough for Elon Musk?

Elon Musk may very well be one of the largest beneficiaries of America’s generous system of corporate welfare. Between his two companies—SpaceX and Tesla—Musk has received nearly $9 billion in taxpayer-funded federal subsidies. And that doesn’t even take into account the billions of dollars he’s accumulated in the form of government contracts. All in all, the United States government has invested far more money into SpaceX and Tesla than Elon Musk ever could, and his businesses are all the better for it. But are his results any better for it?

The federal government has done more than enough to ensure Musk’s success. (Talk about picking winners and losers.) You would be forgiven for expecting Musk to be grateful at least for all those American taxpayer dollars. Some might even hope that Musk would begin the process of weaning himself from federal subsidies and move toward market profitability, as most businesses must do in order to survive. But those people would be sorely mistaken. Musk’s appetite for federal dollars is more voracious than ever, and he has shown he will go to great lengths to get what he wants, even if that means suing the government.

On May 17, SpaceX, Musk’s private aerospace company, filed a lawsuit against the federal government, protesting its contract bidding process. Details surrounding the litigation are difficult to come by since SpaceX requested that any information regarding the suit be kept under seal. Nevertheless, journalists have pointed out that the lawsuit coincides with a government aerospace program called the Launch Service Agreement (LSA). And given that the United States Air Force is currently moving ahead with contract bids for the LSA project, the Launch Service Agreement’s bidding process is almost certainly the subject of the lawsuit.

But why would Musk decide to sue the federal government over an ongoing project like the Launch Service Agreement? It would appear that Musk feels entitled to the federal dollars the program provides. In October 2018, despite being the odds-on favorite to be awarded an LSA contract, SpaceX was not selected to participate in the program’s initial phase. SpaceX, in true “give me what I want” style, decried the decision and unsuccessfully lobbied Congress to alter the Air Force’s selection. Its previous attempts having proved unsuccessful, SpaceX is apparently redoubling its efforts to remain on the federal government’s dole.

What’s more, this isn’t the first time Musk has sued the federal government to get what he wants. SpaceX has filed numerous lawsuits against the United States in the past. Most recently, Musk initiated a separate 2019 suit challenging NASA’s decision to award a $150 million contract to the company’s foremost competitor. Within the official protest, Musk asserted that SpaceX deserved to be chosen because—according to Musk—it was the superior option.

The argument for SpaceX’s superiority is becoming harder to make, however, as the company is struggling to perform. Recently, Musk’s aerospace firm suffered a catastrophic setback when its Crew Dragon shuttle exploded during testing. The mishap spooked the U.S. military and NASA, creating the potential for serious delays of America’s manned spaceflight to the moon. That severe failure, coupled with the Crew Dragon’s inadequate parachute testing results, have raised serious concerns about SpaceX’s viability as an aerospace contractor moving forward.

SpaceX’s performance with the Launch Service Agreement was no better. When discussing SpaceX’s LSA bid, Musk openly admitted that his company missed the mark by presenting a subpar proposal. Again, according to Musk himself, SpaceX was not selected to receive an LSA contract because its performance wasn’t up to snuff. But did that deter SpaceX from suing? Of course not. Musk’s desire to secure federal funding was apparently too strong to do anything but fight for money that his company doesn’t deserve.

Despite Musk’s purported hunger for government contracts and subsidies, the American taxpayer owes him nothing. The United States has already provided Musk’s companies with ample funding. But it seems like Musk’s aerospace firm, in particular, is determined to squander the opportunities and good will it was given. By attempting to force itself into the Launch Service Agreement, SpaceX is only highlighting its worst qualities: a penchant towards entitlement in the face of failure and unwavering reliance on federal money. Neither of which do a reliable government contractor make.

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America • California • Economy • Identity Politics • Post • Republicans • The Left

Cure for America’s Socialist Mania: Prosperity

America, President Donald Trump vowed during his State of the Union in February, “will never be a socialist country.” Well, we have some good news and some bad news about that.

First, the bad news. A new Gallup poll finds that four in ten Americans are favorably disposed to socialism in “some form.” Just over half—51 percent—say they believe socialism “would be a bad thing” for the country. That’s a pretty slim majority.

The usual caveats apply, of course. Gallup surveyed 1,024 adults, as opposed to registered or likely voters, the most reliable sample group. And the poll was conducted by phone across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., with a bias toward cell phone users.

So, who knows? When in doubt, cast a cold eye.

For example, Gallup found 47 percent of the people it surveyed would vote for a socialist candidate for president. In other words, nearly half of Americans would vote socialist in 2020.

Seriously? Self-described Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders is currently pulling around 18 percent of Democrats nationally, according to the RealClearPolitics poll average. He’s trailing former Vice President Joe Biden—no socialist, he—by 20 points or so . . .

Read the rest at the Sacramento Bee

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China • Democrats • Economy • Foreign Policy • Post

The China Problem—Or Is It the Joe Biden Problem?

Joe Biden is a nice guy, they say, but his statement on China should alarm not just his campaign staff but the rest of us as well. After all, he might (if the gods are snoozing) become president.

Last week, the former vice president said this: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. They can’t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the east, I mean in the west. [Those pesky directions.] They can’t figure out how they are going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what, they’re not competition for us.”

That’s dumb, man.

Or maybe devious. Readers of Peter Schweizer’s book, Secret Empires: How the American Political Class Hides Corruption and Enriches Family and Friends, may remember the account of Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, flying to China with his then-vice president father and 10 days later signing an exclusive mega-deal with the Bank of China, the most powerful financial institution in the country. No wonder Joe Biden doesn’t want folks focusing on China.

It is true that Biden’s comments may reflect the received wisdom on China of 20 years ago (when he was 56), but not now. Which raises the question: Is Biden simply out to lunch, covering for his son, or is he perhaps . . . a Chinese agent?!

Bob Mueller: Call your office.

While Biden has been snoozing, China has been developing cutting-edge military technology. As a U.S. defense intelligence analysis makes clear, although China’s double-digit economic growth may have slowed recently, it has served to fund several successive defense modernization five-year plans. In addition, China has sought to acquire technology by any means available.

As has been reported repeatedly in the U.S. press, China has required foreign partners of Chinese-based joint ventures to “share” their technology in exchange for the right to do business in China’s lucrative market. China has also used other means (e.g., theft) to secure technology and expertise useful to its military buildup.

The result: China is on the verge of fielding some of the most modern weapon systems in the world. In some areas, it already leads the world.

China also has a fast-growing economy (which has supported its military efforts), aided often by theft of intellectual property. The Chinese are investing heavily in tech talent. China has eight times as many STEM graduates as the United States has. Three of the top eight internet companies are Chinese, including Tencent, Ali Baba, and Baidu (which most Americans have never even heard of). The four largest banks in the world are Chinese. Last year the Chinese bought twice as many German luxury automobiles as we did.

During the Cold War there was a saying: if command economies worked, we’d all be speaking Russian. We’re not speaking Chinese, yet, partially because we still have freedom and the rule of law. And we live in a system that makes decisions democratically. But democracy has its own built-in challenges.

Ivory tower economists are always telling us that trading with China isn’t dangerous because trade deficits don’t matter. Trade deficits, they say, are an accounting concept. In markets with transparency and without tariffs or tariff-like requirements, a deficit doesn’t matter. Most discussions of “trade deficits” focus on the deficit in goods, where economists point out that there may be a surplus in payments for services (the “other ledger”). The usual “offset” is that when the U.S. purchases more from one country than that country purchases from the United States, the mirror image of that deficit in goods is a surplus of payments to foreigners.

Question: What are the foreigners going to do with the money (i.e., the claim on U.S. resources)? Often, but not always, they invest it in the United States, and often in real estate.

No problem, here, folks. Keep moving.

The real takeaway, however, is this: trade is making the Chinese rich. It’s rather odd to hear economists tell us that trading with China isn’t dangerous, when the economists have told us for years, and are still telling us, that trade makes nations rich.

Exactly! Trading with China has made them rich and will make them richer in the future, raising the question: Why do we want to make China rich?

Trade may not be the only way the Chinese are becoming rich: abandoning collectivism and the Communist economic system has assisted them dramatically, of course.

But the central question remains: Why should the U.S. trade with China if China is our enemy? Would the United States be poorer if it stopped trading with China? Of course. But we are so much richer than the Chinese that we could take that hit to our economy far more easily than the Chinese could. They may start discovering that this week.

The lesson here is at least that President Trump should drive a hard bargain in our trade negotiations with the Chinese.

Our democratic system may be far superior to theirs, both for encouraging production and for living free. But our system makes it vastly more difficult to have (i.e., to get Congress to pass) a defense budget that is adequate to meet the threat from our enemies; a governance problem China doesn’t have.

And still won’t have even if Joe Biden gets elected president. Everyone says Biden is a nice fellow. That may be, but that’s not enough.

Asked about a potential Biden-Trump match-up in 2020, Rudy Giuliani said, “Joe Biden is a moron. I’m calling Joe Biden a mentally deficient idiot.”

Asked by CNN’s Chris Cuomo why he had said that, Giuliani asked, “You mean that he’s dumb?”

“No,” said Cuomo, “that would have been a compliment.”

Giuliani explained: “I didn’t mean [that he was mentally deficient]. I meant he’s dumb. . . . Joe was last in his law school class.”

Cuomo attempted to rehabilitate: “He wasn’t last in his class. He was low.”

Giuliani: “Actually, he was second to last, and then the other guy died.”

Guess Biden’s not a Chinese agent after all, just a guy (and a devoted father) who finished last, or second to last, in his law school class.

Whatever. Biden, and our economist friends who are still promoting “free” trade with China, need to wake up and smell the rice paddies—before we have to fight in them.

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Cultural Marxism • Democrats • Economy • Energy • Environment • Post • The Left

A New Way to Deal With Green Oligarchs

As it stands today, more than half of the Democratic candidates for president support the Green New Deal, a “deeply ambitious” plan that backers say would bring America to “net-zero” carbon pollution by the middle of the century.

While the Green New Deal is framed as a selfless effort to save the planet, it is really just another political hustle. One need look no further than at the monied interests behind the bill to see that Democratic donors get the goldmine and the rest of the country gets the shaft.

The billionaire class happens to support the idea because it also happens to speculate in the market for renewable energy.

Take Tom Steyer, a left-wing billionaire who poured nearly $100 million into the Democratic campaigns of 2016. As the founder of Farallon Capital and a former coal investor, Steyer is now looking to protect his investments in clean energy—even as he crows about saving the planet and mobilizing the country’s resources to stop climate change.

When speaking to reporters last month, Steyer made it clear that “there’s no way we’d support somebody who wasn’t absolutely crystal clear and credible on climate. If they’re not a climate warrior, we’re not for them. Period. Period, the end.”

And like clockwork, just as Washington Governor Jay Inslee made climate change the single issue of his fledgling campaign, Steyer pounced to provide immediate financial support from his SuperPAC.

The list of billionaires does not end with Steyer. Nathaniel Simons, founder of the Meritage investment group who is heavily invested in “net-zero” real estate, is also a top donor to environmental causes promoted by the Democratic Party.

But affirming before God and man the benefits of green energy are not just a run-of-the-mill sacrament to our country’s billionaires. For some members of the professional class, it is also a highly lucrative jobs program.

Green energy legislation is a prime case of corporate cronyism—where trillions of dollars in taxpayer money will be moved to the tech sector, the wind and solar industry, and other well-connected lobbies for the purpose of producing clean energy tools and zero-carbon technologies.

Wherever green energy legislation is passed, the activists, media tycoons, researchers, and academics working in the green-industrial complex are sure to escape unemployment.

And just as the Green New Deal would benefit much of the professional class, the impact of the bill on America’s middle class will be equally devastating. The plan as envisioned by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her democratic-socialist friends would affect the way normal Americans produce energy, farm land, raise cattle, construct homes, drive automobiles, and manufacture products—things city-dwelling liberals will likely never do in their lives.

According to a Heritage Foundation forecast, the Green New Deal would:

  • Decrease employment by 1.4 million jobs
  • Bring on a total income loss of more than $40,000 for a family of four
  • Increase the average electricity bill by 12-14 percent

In other words, green energy harms working-class families. They are the ones who spend a much higher percentage of their household income on energy for their homes and would be unable to afford green energy vehicles.

If you want to see how green energy policies would impact the working- and middle classes of America, look no further than Australia. In the Land Down Under, you see a development in their Labor Party that is similar to the affliction now consuming America’s party of limousine liberals.

“The Labor Party and its putative green allies have been transformed into an instrument of the bureaucracy and ‘progressive’ gentry, well-positioned to flourish in a hyper-regulated state,” wrote Joel Kotkin at City Journal.

As for Australia’s middle class, Kotkin notes, the number of households “earning between three-quarters and double the average income—has been dropping by more than a percentage point per decade since the 1980s.”

Australian elites, meanwhile, have little stake in the domestic forms of production which center on Australia’s natural resources. They continue to profit “from the flow of natural resources to East Asia, through tax policies or financing deals, or by pushing climate-change mitigation programs . . .”

Could not the same be said of the professional classes of America and the new political tensions  with the country’s “deplorables” working in the coal industry and in fossil fuels?

What Kotkin hints at, but does not fully develop in this piece, is how this new party divide goes far beyond economics—a commitment to green energy penetrates the social fabric of a country by making family life more difficult.

All across America, even in places like New York City, the Green New Deal would increase land use regulation and drives up the costs of housing. In some cities, especially high-cost places like New York and San Francisco, small families making less than $100,000 a year would be priced out completely.

The professional classes, meanwhile, will continue to afford a traditional conception of the American dream, while embracing policies that unwind it for the less fortunate. Having a family, a four-bedroom home, and a couple of cars would be a luxury available only to a privileged few. Everyone else, lawmakers suggest, should get used to multi-family homes and use public transportation.

For anyone who does not have a stake in building this green utopia, there is a remedy: we must continue to drive the class wedge in American politics between labor and the elites, while expanding the issue to encompass middle-class interests, which include access to things considered (until recently anyway) mainstays of American middle class life.

Just as those who traditionally vote for the Labor Party in Australia have found no place in the Labor/Green alliance, the coalition of GOP voters that continues to emerge in the United States has no stake in a green energy future. Preserving the portfolios of liberal and leftist billionaires is unlikely to be a winning issue in our democratic republic.

The good news is that the appeal to working-class voters for Republicans may not stop with the white working class. Minority groups, too, may soon ask themselves how they benefit from green energy policies.

Last year, for instance, when former U.S. Representative Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) lost to Green New Deal champion Ocasio-Cortez, many commentators saw his defeat as a sign that a new, “diverse,” wave of voters, enthusiastic for green energy, were ready to take the country by storm.

What few mention, however, is that Crowley beat Cortez among African American voters at a rate of more than two-to-one. Further, contrary to the identity-politics narrative, an Irish guy named Joe managed to split the Hispanic vote with Ocasio-Cortez almost right down the middle.

Green energy legislation, and the urban activists who represent it, are really nothing more than a wave of Millennials moving in to gentrify the district. That is, the “AOC vote” is mostly childless, white, university-educated liberals, whose tony parents will pay their energy bills no matter how high the costs may soar.

Demonstrating how liberal Democrats have become a class-conscious party, with the Green New Deal as their instrument, may be the best way to siphon off the traditional Democratic base against the professional class. We may soon have a healthy majority, united in scorn against the new green oligarchs.

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Economy • Foreign Policy • Post • Trade

The U.S. Doesn’t Need China to Prosper

The latest numbers on U.S. economic growth are astonishingly good. The land of the free enjoyed 3.2 percent annual real GDP growth for the first quarter of 2019. It would have been even higher—3.5 percent—without the government shutdown.

The numbers vindicate President Trump’s position on trade. The dealmaker-in-chief has been saying for decades that a trade deficit is a drag on growth. And we now learn that almost 1 percent of our GDP growth was a result of a reduction in imports.

Imports are down because Trump’s tariffs are driving down the trade deficit with China. Now that he’s increased tariffs on $200 billion more of Chinese goods, expect the U.S. economy to grow even faster.

Even investors, who have long been wary of tariffs, are now beginning to understand this. Despite the uncertainty surrounding trade with China, the stock market has experienced only modest losses, reflecting the overall strength of the U.S. economy.

The United States has put up with Chinese economic aggression for far too long, under both Democrat and Republican presidents. The Trump Administration has taken a decidedly different tack, pursuing an economic nationalist agenda that insists:

  • We must defend ourselves against China’s relentless cyberattacks on American businesses, and its theft of hundreds of billions of dollars in intellectual property each year.
  • We must stop China’s state-owned, state-subsidized and state-controlled enterprises from the wholesale dumping of products. Flooding foreign markets with steel and aluminum, not to mention autos and robotics, is only the first step. The end game is the destruction of free-market capitalism altogether.
  • We must stop China from forcing America companies to hand over their cutting-edge technology as a condition of doing business there. Forced technology transfer is theft, pure and simply.
  • We must stop China from manipulating its currency to gain an unfair advantage in trade.
  • Finally, we must defend Americans from the flood of fentanyl and other dangerous opioids that are killing them by the tens of thousands. The first two Opium Wars were waged by Great Britain against China. The Third is being waged by China against the United States and its people, and it must stop.

For the past two years, President Trump has sought to reach an agreement with Xi Jinping on these and other issues. And when Xi, meeting with Trump at the G20 Summit in Argentina, asked for more time, the president generously extended the tariff deadline by six more months. The Chinese agreed.

As that June 1 deadline approached, Trump stated publicly that he was looking forward to inking a trade deal with Xi before the end of the month. But the Chinese quickly rebuffed the idea, suggesting that the U.S. president was simply trying to pressure them into a deal.

Then Chinese leaders reneged on large parts of the trade agreement that had already been negotiated—literally at the last minute.

It was a textbook example of bad-faith dealing.

Did Xi ever intend to keep his promises, or was everything he said in Buenos Aires a strategic deception, intended to lull the United States into complacency about China’s intentions and buy time?

Communist strongmen generally hold Western politicians in contempt. Xi may have believed that Trump would go for a soft deal that China could ink and then go back to cheating as usual. Or that he could string out the negotiations until the 2020 presidential election.

If so, it didn’t work. It was evident to Trump—as it should by now be evident to every American—that China simply refuses to play by the rules.

Indeed, in internal party documents, China’s leaders scoff at the very notion of “the rule of law,” viewing it as a Western plot to undermine their continued rule.

Fortunately, we have a president who is now more determined than ever to defend us, our jobs, and our industries from this unprovoked Chinese aggression.

And the first line of defense in the war of aggression being waged by China is tariffs.

The tariffs are bad for China but very good for America. American companies that in the past would have offshored production to China will stay put. Some companies that have already left will be coming back. Whatever the opposite of “offshoring” is—inshoring? reshoring?—we are about to see it happen.

We should expect that China—the Bully of Asia—will try to retaliate. In fact, they have already begun to threaten to do just that. It’s unlikely that President Trump will back down, however. He understands that we buy $5 worth of goods from China for every $1 the Chinese buy from us. That gives us much more leverage.

As far as the soybeans and other grains that China will no longer buy from us, Trump has already announced a plan to make sure that America’s farmers are not hurt. Some of the tariff money will be used to buy and ship grain to parts of the world suffering from chronic food shortages.

If there ever was a time for politics to stop at the water’s edge it is now. The good news is that there is growing bipartisan support for the president to stand up to China.

After decades of cheating in every way imaginable, China has finally worn out its welcome in Washington.

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Economy • Foreign Policy • Post

Freedom at Stake in the Emerging U.S.-China 5G Fight

As the China trade talks apparently have stalled, we would do well to remember what a very real part about this struggle with Beijing is about: it’s not just trade and jobs, but about who will control the technology of the future.

Above all, we are talking about the coming global 5G cellular networks. By all accounts, 5G is set to revolutionize industries. The question is who will control the networks and set the standards for 5G when it comes to privacy and the free flow of information.

China’s proxy in the fight is Huawei, which is really just an extension of the Communist government. One of our proxies in the struggle is the chipmaker giant Qualcomm. Yet in spite of the willingness of the Trump Administration to take this question seriously, one real danger to U.S. leadership on 5G is our own Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its baseless lawsuit against Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has been the worldwide leader in mobile technology—leading the development of technology and it set the standards for 3G and 4G, most recently. According to many experts, Qualcomm currently has the advantage in leading 5G development for the world—giving the United States a strong position.

China’s Huawei, however, is making aggressive moves to catch up—with the unlimited support and finances of the Chinese government behind them. Allowing Huawei to win the battle for 5G would pose a danger for our national security and America’s economic interests.

Yet here we are. The Obama FTC launched an 11th-hour lawsuit against Qualcomm on questionable antitrust grounds, which were criticized by many antitrust experts, including Maureen Ohlhausen, the one Republican commissioner on the FTC at the time. She, and others, argued that there was no evidence of harm to consumers who preferred Qualcomm’s competitors from Qualcomm’s market position or actions and that the FTC was merely testing legal theories. Given Qualcomm’s critical role in American 5G leadership, it is dangerous to target the leading American 5G company with baseless lawsuits on novel theories.

In a bizarre move, the FTC even kicked off its lawsuit (which has now concluded and is awaiting a ruling from the judge) with a Huawei executive as its lead witness. We are turning to China’s lead 5G company—which our government has labeled a national security threat—to testify against a leading American company. Only in Washington D.C., a world detached from reality and common sense, would this even come close to making sense.

Just recently, Qualcomm and Apple reached a major settlement of all their legal disputes around the world. Apple will pay Qualcomm an undisclosed amount and the company reached a licensing deal for Qualcomm to supply 5G chips for Apple’s phones. This is a fantastic development that will help advance U.S. 5G leadership as Qualcomm will help Apple deliver 5G phone capability to its customers. The FTC’s complaint was virtually identical to many of the issues raised by Apple in this dispute—and Apple lobbied hard for the FTC to launch a case against Qualcomm. The settlement of these key issues between these two powerful companies presents a great opportunity to bring an end to the FTC’s case and remove the threat hanging over our leading 5G company.

A Wall Street Journal editorial after the settlement lauded the “peace in the tech patent wars” and argued that the FTC, “should now drop its lawsuit against Qualcomm to prevent more harm to markets and innovation.” The Journal argued that continuing the case would only give Huawei a competitive advantage.

In a sign that there is a great deal at stake in this FTC lawsuit, the Trump Department of Justice submitted a filing late last week asking the judge to grant a hearing on possible remedies should she rule against Qualcomm. The filing makes clear that the Justice Department is worried that an overly aggressive remedy would harm American innovation and 5G leadership. In the filing they wrote, “[t]here is a plausible prospect that an overly broad remedy in this case could reduce competition and innovation in markets for 5G . . . .” They added it may harm, rather than help competition.

While thankfully the Trump Administration appears to be taking the right steps on the Qualcomm front, it should also be remembered there is another key aspect to winning the 5G battle: the potential merger of Sprint and T-Mobile.

While some have argued that allowing that merger would amount to government intervention, what it actually would do is allow the new company to join AT&T and Verizon as a third strong competitor for America on the 5G front. It would lead to an innovation “arms” race and deployment, which benefits the American people on the domestic front, but also promotes and protects our national interests, and quite frankly, our standards on speech and the free flow of information on the international stage.

Make no mistake: China is coming for us. The world’s largest authoritarian police state wants to displace the world’s greatest free market economy as the center of the world’s economy, and if they succeed, it will make us, essentially, a tributary state. Whereas previous administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have actually participated in helping China reach this goal through terrible trade deals and the almost consequence free theft of intellectual property, Donald Trump has said, “No more.”

We can no longer tolerate this behavior. Let us hope for all of our sakes, and for the future of our children, that he is successful in bringing China to heel. Our future freedoms depend on it.

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Administrative State • California • Center for American Greatness • Cities • Deep State • Democrats • Economy • Elections • Government Reform • Post

Public-Sector Unions: The Other Deep State

When government fails, public-sector unions win. When society fragments, public-sector unions consolidate their power. When citizenship itself becomes less meaningful, and the benefits of American citizenship wither, government unions offer an exclusive solidarity.

Government unions insulate their members from the challenges facing ordinary private citizens. On every major issue of our time; globalization, immigration, climate change, the integrity of our elections, crime and punishment, regulations, government spending, and fiscal reform, the interests and political bias of public-sector unions is inherently in conflict with the public interest. Today, there may be no greater core threat to the freedom and prosperity of the American people.

In the age of talk radio, the Tea Party movement, internet connectivity, and Trump, Americans finally are mobilizing against the uniparty to take back their nation. Yet the threat of public-sector unions typically is a sideshow, when it ought to occupy center stage. They are the greatest menace to American civilization that nobody seems to be talking about. Ask the average American what the difference is between a government union, and a private sector union, and you’re likely to be met with an uncomprehending stare. That’s too bad, because the differences are profound.

While America’s labor movement has always included in its ranks varying percentages of crooks, Communists, and thugs, it derived its mass appeal based on legitimate and often compelling grievances. Most of the benefits American workers take for granted—certainly including overtime pay, sick leave, and safe working conditions—were negotiated by private sector unions.

Over time, private sector unions overreached, negotiating pay and benefits packages that became unsustainable as foreign manufacturers slowly recovered from the devastation of World War II and became competitive. The diminished influence of private sector unions parallels the decline in American manufacturing, a decline only partially caused by insufficient flexibility on the part of union negotiators in a changing world. Properly regulated, private sector unions may still play a vital role in American life.

Differences Between Public and Private Sector Unions
Public-sector unions are a completely different story. If Americans fully understood the differences between public and private sector unions, public-sector unions would probably be illegal.

Public-sector unions do not negotiate with management accountable to shareholders, but instead with politicians whom they help elect and, therefore, are accountable to the unions. Moreover, politicians, unlike corporate executives, typically occupy their offices for shorter periods of time. And politicians, unlike corporate executives, don’t own shares that might be devalued after they leave office due to decisions they made while in office.

Not only are politicians far more accountable to the unions they negotiate with than to the people they serve, but the consequences of giving in to outrageous demands from public-sector unions are much less immediate and personal for the politicians. When a corporate executive gives in to union demands that are unsustainable, the corporation goes out of business. Union negotiators know this, and in the private sector, the possibility of business failure tempers their demands.

But the survival of government agencies doesn’t depend on efficiently competing in a market economy where consumers voluntarily choose to purchase their product or service. When government agencies incur expenses that exceed revenues, they raise revenues by increasing taxes. Consumers have no choice but to pay the higher taxes or go to jail.

If electing their own bosses and compelling taxpayers to guarantee revenue sufficient to fulfill their demands weren’t enough, public-sector unions have another advantage denied private sector unions. They operate the machinery of government. Their members run our public schools, our transportation agencies, our public utilities, our administrative bureaucracies including code enforcement and construction permitting, our public safety agencies; everything. This confers countless unique advantages. Depending on the intensity of the issue, the percentage of unionized government employees willing to use their positions as influencers, educators, gatekeepers, and enforcers may vary. But within the permanent bureaucracy of government, it doesn’t take a very large minority of committed operatives to wield decisive power.

Public-sector unions epitomize the establishment. Politicians come and go. But like the deep state, public-sector unions are permanent, embedded in the bureaucracy, running the show.

How Public-Sector Unions Arose
While the rise of public-sector unions paralleled the rise of the private sector labor movement in the United States, it lagged behind by decades. Apart from the postal workers’ unions that emerged in the late 19th century, or the Boston police strike of 1919—which was decisively suppressed by then-Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge—there wasn’t much support for public-sector unions in the early 20th century.

During the 1930s, as private sector unions acquired federal protections via the Wagner Act of 1935, public-sector unions remained unusual apart from the postal workers. Historians disagree about President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s position on public-sector unions, but it is reasonably clear that even if he did support them, he did not think they should have the degree of protection afforded private sector unions. His most quoted remark on the topic was in a 1937 letter to the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees:

All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters. Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.

The fact that FDR, a pro-labor Democrat, had a nuanced position on public-sector unions, believing that collective bargaining had “distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management,” ought to be strong evidence that they are problematic. Not quite 20 years later, in 1955, none other than George Meany, founder and long-time president of the AFL-CIO, flatly stated that it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government,” and that the AFL-CIO did not intend to reach out to workers in that sector.

But where common sense and propriety inhibited some of the most illustrious supporters of organized labor from unionizing the public sector during the first half of the 20th century, circumstances changed during the century’s latter half. Corruption, opportunism, and a chance to achieve decisive power for the Democratic Party gave rise to new laws that enabled unionized government.

The modern era of public sector unionism began in the late 1950s. Starting in Wisconsin in 1958, state and local employees gradually were permitted to organize. Today, there are only four states that explicitly prohibit collective bargaining by public employees, and only 11 additional states place any restrictions on collective bargaining by public employees.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7.2 million employees in the public sector belonged to a union in 2018, compared with 7.6 million workers in the private sector. Union membership among public-sector workers is more than five times higher (33.9 percent) than that of private-sector workers (6.4 percent). After a slow start, public-sector unions now wield far more power than their private-sector counterparts.

How Public-Sector Unions Fought for Clinton in 2016
Everyone knows that in 2016, Donald Trump—and Bernie Sanders, for that matter—were not “establishment” candidates. But what is that? America’s so-called establishment today is a political alliance favoring bigger, more authoritarian government at all levels—local, state, federal and international. It unites transnational corporations, global financial interests, and government unions. It is an alliance that finds its primary support from members of these elites and the professional classes who serve them, and acquires a critical mass of additional popular support by pandering to the carefully nurtured resentments of anyone who is deemed a member of a “protected status group.”

While “protected status groups” now include nearly everyone living everywhere in America, those people living in urban areas are more susceptible to the union-sponsored propaganda of identity politics, because they are more exposed to it.

For over a generation, especially in California’s urban centers, but also in Chicago, Seattle, Miami, New York City, and hundreds of other major American cities, government unions have exercised nearly absolute control over the political process. This extends not only to city councils but also to county boards of supervisors, school boards, and special districts ranging from transit systems to departments of water and power. Most government funding is spent at this local level. Most government jobs are at this local level. And the more local these jurisdictions get, the more likely it is that only the government unions have the money and the will to dominate the elections.

In America’s cities, where the union agenda that controls public education trains Americans to be hypersensitive to any alleged infringements on their “identity,” big government is presented as the guardian of their futures and their freedoms. In America’s cities, where poor education combined with over-regulation has resulted in a paucity of good jobs, welfare and entitlement programs are presented as the government’s answer. And the more poverty and social instability we have in America, the bigger government gets.

Take another look at this map that depicts the absolute vote margins by county in 2016. From viewing this map, it is evident that the split that was exposed on November 8, 2016, was not simply urban versus rural. It was government union-controlled areas versus places relatively free of government union influence.

From the above map, only a few places stand out as decisive factors in Clinton’s popular vote victory—Seattle, Miami, New York City, and most prominently, Los Angeles and Chicago.

In Los Angeles County, Clinton received 1,893,770 votes versus 620,285 for Trump. In Chicago’s Cook County, Clinton received 1,528,582 votes versus 440,213 for Trump. Let that sink in for a moment. If just a few blue counties—not blue states, blue counties—were taken out of the equation, the popular vote would have been a toss-up. The political systems and the public schools in all of these blue counties are controlled, many informed observers would say absolutely, by public-sector unions.

Government Union Agenda vs. the Public Interest
It would be cynical and unfair to suggest that politically savvy members and leaders of public-sector unions are consciously supporting policies that undermine America’s democracy, prosperity, freedoms, and culture. But that’s what’s happening.

It doesn’t matter all that much what union members and leaders think; the institutional momentum of their organizations have this effect. The primary agenda of a government union, like any organization, is to survive and thrive. For government unions, this means to acquire more members, collect more dues, and acquire more power and influence. The only way this can be accomplished is for government to expand.

This is where government union reform should be a nonpartisan issue. Because even big-government advocates have the expectation that expanded government programs will be effective. But government unions actually become more prosperous and more powerful when government fails—and, for that matter, when society fails. The worse things get, the more calls there are for new government programs to solve them. The bigger the crisis, the greater the opportunity. And at the forefront of these calls for bigger government to solve every problem are the government unions, using all of their considerable power and influence to make the call.

We see this at the local level all the time. Thousands of local tax and bond measures are placed on ballots across the nation every election cycle, as well as between elections, during primary season, and in special elections. Opposing these proposed new taxes and bonds are the usual hardscrabble assortment of local anti-tax activists; typically a handful of volunteers with almost no money. Supporting these new taxes and bonds are public-sector unions, with standing armies of professionals and, for all practical purposes, unlimited funds. Also supporting the new taxes are the private contractors that stand to gain from the increased spending, as well as the government bureaucrats themselves, who use municipal budgets to fund “information outreach” to voters. But for these unions, the victory is sealed when the new taxes and bonds are approved. If the new revenue they collect and spend fails to solve the problem, it doesn’t really matter.

At the state and national level, it is easy to see the influence of government unions corrupts public policy.

Immigration and climate change are core issues where the inherent interests of government unions are in conflict with the public interest. Immigration to the United States in the 21st century should consist of highly skilled and highly educated immigrants, since America already has millions of unskilled residents who need to choose jobs over welfare. But while the American people would benefit by inviting scientists, engineers, and doctors to immigrate and fill advanced positions for which there is a shortage of qualified applicants, it would not benefit government unions.

The more difficulty America has in assimilating newcomers, the more government jobs are created. If immigrants don’t speak English, public schools must hire teachers with foreign language certifications. If they live in poverty, public schools must develop free-meal programs. If these immigrant communities fail to achieve the educational results that make them employable, the government will need more social workers and welfare administrators. If the ongoing poverty breeds higher crime rates, more police, judges, bailiffs, prison guards, and probation officers are the answer. The worse things get, the more government employees and government benefits become necessary.

And, of course, as these communities fail to become prosperous, they are taught by leftist, unionized social studies teachers that it’s not their responsibility, but rather the fault of their white male oppressors, and they’d better vote for Democrats in order to guarantee their reparative handouts. And to enforce “diversity” quotas—unionized government bureaucrats.

With climate change, the conflict between government unions and the public interest is equally stark. Here again, there is also a strong connection between connected government contractors and the public-sector unions. Instead of building subsidized housing, special needs school facilities, and more prisons—which come with marginally assimilable immigrants—these contractors supply solar farms, wind farms, “smart” appliances, and everything else that comes with mandated climate change mitigation. It doesn’t matter if any of these mandates accomplish anything, so long as profits are made. And overseeing it all are the government unions, who hire more code inspectors, environmental consultants, and a byzantine monitoring and enforcement bureaucracy.

While immigration and climate change are core drivers of government union endorsed government expansion, they aren’t the only factors. In every area of policy and spending, government unions benefit when things are harder for ordinary families and small businesses. In all areas, taxes, borrowing, spending, and regulations, the more there is, the more the government unions benefit.

The Financial Power of Public-Sector Unions
One of the primary reasons government union activists exercise influence disproportionate to their numbers is because behind these activists are billions of dollars in annual dues, collected from government payroll departments across the nation.

In California alone, government unions collect and spend nearly $1 billion a year. Nationwide, government union revenues are estimated to total at least $6 billion per year. Apart from private sector unions, no other political special interest enjoys access to a guaranteed, perennial torrent of money of comparable magnitude. This money is not just spent on federal elections; most of it is directed at tens of thousands of state and local election campaigns.

With this perpetual torrent of funding, fueled almost exclusively through membership dues, government unions engage the permanent services of the finest professionals money can buy. While much of their spending is explicitly political, even more is spent on community organizing and “educational” advocacy which is not reportable as political spending. Thousands of lobbyists, political consultants, grassroots organizers, public relations firms, opposition researchers, academic researchers, and other freelancers are on-call to these unions.

If you study money in politics, you soon realize there is a rough parity between major political donors who contribute to causes and candidates on the Right versus those who contribute to the Left. But the election of Donald Trump in 2016 revealed the so-called Right to be nearly as bad as the Left, as libertarians and NeverTrump Republicans abandoned their base. This abandonment was especially obvious among donors, whose only apparent unifying political theme was lower taxes for wealthy people. Trump and his supporters exposed the libertarian and NeverTrump Right for being just as committed as the establishment Left was to importing workers to drive down wages and exporting jobs to increase corporate profits. As a result, donations to Republicans, while remaining roughly at parity with donations to Democrats, were for the most part not supporting an America First agenda.

An illustration of how this schism within the American Right, and especially among big libertarian donors, persisted into the 2018 midterms is exemplified by their withdrawal of key financial support for pro-Trump candidates. And here’s where the union money becomes decisive. Into the political conflict between Left and Right, between Democrat and Republican, into a battle for financial supremacy already skewed, because half the Republican donors are now exposed as being more committed to a uniparty establishment than to Republican voters, ride the unions. And almost all of the union money goes to Democrats.

The lack of parity in political power and political advocacy becomes further lopsided when accounting for the role of nonprofits and government bureaucracies. Much has been made of the educational nonprofits supposedly beholden to right-wing donors. Their collective spending is indeed impressive, led by heavyweights like the Heritage Foundation, along with well-known stalwarts such as the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation, and several others at the national level along with a growing number of state focused organizations such as the many member organizations of the State Policy Network.

But contrary to the wailing of the establishment media and left-wing pundits, the influence of these organizations is overstated.

First, many of them must adhere to orthodox libertarian principles in order to keep their donors. This makes them useless on immigration and trade, which are two of the defining issues of our time.

Second, because arrayed against these organizations is the entire rest of the nonprofit universe, which while mostly self-declared as nonpartisan, is in reality a part of that great mass of establishment organizations that have reached a consensus on open borders, “free” trade, and climate change activism consistent with the big government coalition: corporations, government unions, and the financial sector.

To provide one example, the combined budget of just a partial list of the major U.S.-based environmentalist nonprofits and foundations totaled over $4 billion per year as of 2018.

The Financial and Cultural Consequences of Unionized Government
Spokespersons for government employee unions perpetuate a myth of staggering absurdity and tragic consequences—that they are protecting hard-working Americans from wealthy corporations and wealthy individuals.

The reality is that government employee unions are focused on one thing: expanding government employee pay, benefits, and privileges. This requires expanding government, and that priority comes in front of everything else, including the cost to society at large. In states where government unions have taken control, such as California, expansive environmentalist regulations have made prices for housing and utilities the highest in the nation. In California, America’s poster child for union control, excessive compensation packages for unionized government workers have resulted in chronic deficits and accumulating state and local government debt that by some measures already exceeds $1.5 trillion. High taxes and over-regulation have made California consistently rank as the most inhospitable place in the nation to run a small business.

Exactly how does any of this protect the poor from the wealthy?

It doesn’t, of course. But the deeper story is how government employee unions are not only failing to “protect” the aspiring multitudes in California, or anywhere else in America, but are in fact enabling the wealthy special interests they claim to protect us from. The most entrenched and massive corporate entities are not harmed by excessive regulations, because they can afford to comply. An obvious example would be calls to increase the minimum wage– a movement almost exclusively restricted to states with powerful public-sector unions. Large corporate entities like McDonald’s will simply automate a few positions, tinker with the menu and recipes, incrementally raise prices, and go forward. Large corporations can hire attorneys and lobbyists, they have access to capital, and when the smaller players go out of business they gain market share. They benefit from over-regulation, but the consumer and workers suffer.

Less obvious but far more consequential is how the financial sector also benefits from an overbuilt, financially irresponsible, unionized government. When excessive rates of pay and benefits consume government budgets, financial institutions step up to extend debt. Bond underwriters collect billions each year in fees to issue new debt and refinance existing debt. When excessively generous pension plans are granted to unionized government employees, pension funds pour hundreds of billions into Wall Street investment firms, earning additional billions in fees. As for “carbon emissions auctions,” also rolling out inexorably in blue states, as that ramps up, virtually every BTU of fossil fuel energy consumed will put a commission into the hands of a financial intermediary. Trillions are on the table.

Unionized government hides behind environmentalism to justify increasing pay and benefits over-investment in infrastructure—which after all is environmentally incorrect. As the cost-of-living inevitably rises through artificial constraints on the supply of land and energy, the unionized government workers negotiate even higher pay and benefits to compensate, and the corporate monopolies that control existing supplies of land and energy get more revenue and profit. And of course the resultant asset bubble is healthy both for pension funds and wealthy investors, even as low and middle-class private-sector workers are priced out of owning homes—or even automobiles—and struggle to make ends meet.

It is crucial to perceive the irony. Government unions empower the worst elements of the capitalist system they persistently demonize. The crony capitalists and speculative financial interests benefit from an overbuilt, over-regulating, state and local government populated with overpaid unionized workers. Those virtuous capitalists who want to compete without subsidies are successfully lumped together with these robber barons, discrediting their support for reform. Those small business owners who want to grow their enterprises are harassed and marginalized.

If government employee unions were illegal, the most powerful political force in California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, and a host of other smaller blue states would cease to exist. But losing these government unions wouldn’t “turn government over to the corporations and billionaires.” Quite the opposite. It would take away the ability of those corporations and billionaires to collude with local and state government unions who currently control the lawmakers. It would force them instead to compete with each other, lowering the cost of living for everyone. It would restore balance to our debate over environmental policy, energy policy, and infrastructure investment.

Wherever government unions become as powerful as they have become in California, their domain increasingly becomes a feudal state, where the anointed and compliant corporations build monopolies, government workers lead privileged lives, the rich get richer, the middle class diminishes, and the poor become dependent on government. Nobody who is serious about reversing California’s decline into feudalism—or America’s potential decline—can ignore the fundamental enabling role unionized government is playing.

It is important to emphasize that the most ominous consequence of unionized government is its complicity in the asset bubbles that, if abruptly deflated, threaten to plunge the United States, if not the world, into a liquidity crisis. Government unions in the United States control the directorships managing trillions of dollars of public employee pension funds. These pension funds are the biggest single player in the U.S. equity markets. They are also major investors in real estate and bonds. One may argue all day as to just how inflated all these asset classes have become, but regardless of your stance on the question, one thing is indisputable: public employee pension funds are dangerously underfunded despite the fact that there has been a bull market in stocks, bonds, and real estate for over a decade. They will use all their influence to keep the bubbles inflated—and that includes ongoing support for extreme environmentalist regulations to create artificial scarcity of everything—houses, energy, water, food, commodities—buoying their prices which boosts profits, as well as mass immigration to create unmanageable demand for homes, also buoying prices and investor profits. The insatiable need for perpetually increasing asset values constitutes an identity of interests between public-sector unions, multinational corporations, and international investors and speculators that is as obscure as it is inviolable.

Government Union Abuses That Provoke Bipartisan Opposition
“Bipartisan” isn’t what it used to be. Now that America’s political establishment has been exposed as supporting with bipartisan unity, regardless of party, the policies of importing welfare recipients, exporting jobs, fighting endless wars, and micro-managing all forms of energy production under the pretext of saving the planet, the term “bipartisan” doesn’t evoke quite the same transcendent connotations it once did. With that noted, it remains true that with respect to public-sector unions, establishment Democrats are worse than establishment Republicans. When it comes to fighting the influence of public-sector unions, most Republicans lack the courage of their convictions, whereas most Democrats have no convictions at all.

Two exemplary issues, however, have the potential to bring Republicans and Democrats together in opposition to public-sector unions. Those issues are public education and pensions. These issues are not only capable of fostering productive, bipartisan reform efforts, but that eventuality is almost inevitable because the status-quo is not sustainable.

Public Education: In blue states, union control over public education is almost unassailable despite strong opposition. California’s failing school districts face insolvencycaused by a combination of administrative bloat and out-of-control costs for pensions and retirement health benefits. The academic achievement of California’s schools is hard to measure objectively. California’s average SAT score, 1076, places it in 34th place among states. According to a study sponsored by U.S. News and World Report, California’s K-12 system of public education was ranked 26th among states.

But this average performance obscures a bigger problem in California’s union controlled public schools. Union work rules are causing the schools in the most vulnerable communities to get the worst teachers. In 2012 a coalition of mostly Democratsfiled a lawsuit, Vergara v. California, attempting to change these rules. Claiming that education was a civil right, they tried via litigation to revise three union work rules; tenure (a job for life) after only two years, dismissal rules (almost impossible to fire an incompetent teacher), and layoff rules (seniority over merit).

The impact of these three rules was, and is, a relentless migration of the worst teachers into the worst performing schools, since they can’t be fired, but they can be transferred. View the closing argumentsof the plaintiffs for a compelling description of how these three union work rules are destroying California’s public schools. In 2016, after a favorable district court ruling, the appellate court ruled againstthe plaintiffs, and California’s Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal. The schools harmed the most by these corrupt union rules are those in the burgeoning low income immigrant neighborhoods of Los Angeles, where literally hundreds of thousands of children are denied a quality education.

For better or for worse, these kids are America’s future. But who wins when society fails? The government unions win. As demographically ascendant low-income immigrant subcultures are permanently handicapped because their children got indoctrinated instead of educated, taxpayers will have to hire more unionized public servants to redistribute wealth and preserve the peace.

The good news? Increasing numbers of Americans of all ethnicities and ideologies are realizing the impact of union controlled schools is denying future opportunities to a generation of children. The battle over charter schools, home schooling, and union work rules in traditional public schools is far from over.

Public Employee Pensions: With pensions, reform is even more inevitable, because financial reality will compel reform. According to Pew Research, in 2016 state and local government pensions plans disclosed assets of just $2.6 trillion to cover total pension liabilities of $4 trillion. This understates the problem. These pension plans assume they can earn, on average, 7.5 percent per year on their invested assets, yet, as discussed, despite nearly a decade of a bull market in stocks, bonds, and real estate, these pension plans are less than 70 percent funded.

Pension finance isn’t as complicated as the experts would have you believe. What “pension liabilities” refers to is how much money would have to be invested, today, for these pension plans to earn enough interest over time to eventually pay all of the future pension benefits that have been earned so far. Think of pension assets as a growing tree, nourished by the water and sun of investment earnings, supplemented by the fertilizer of regular taxpayer contributions, and pruned each year by the payments going to retirees. If this tree is less than 70 percent of the size it needs to be, then it’s going to get pruned faster than it can grow. Eventually, there won’t be any cuttings to provide pensions to retirees.

For clarity, take the metaphor one step further. What if this undersized tree had been enjoying a decade of abundant water and sunshine—the generous investment returns of the bull market—but suddenly that changes, as it always has and always will? What if this undersized pension asset tree now has to endure years of drought and cloudy weather, stunting its growth at the same time as the pension payment pruning for retirees continue at the same pace?

This is what America’s public employee pension funds are already confronting. The tree is too small, and in response more and more fertilizer—payments by taxpayers—have to be applied to keep it alive. This data compiled by the California Policy Center explains what’s coming:

A city that pays 10% of their total revenues into the pension funds, and there are plenty of them, at an ROI of 7.5% and an honest repayment plan for the unfunded liability, should be paying 17% of their revenues into the pension systems. At a ROI of 6.5%, these cities would pay 24% of their revenue to pensions. At 5.5%, 32%.” To restate—according to this analysis, at a 5.5 percent annual return for the pension funds, 32 percent of total tax revenue would have to go straight into the coffers of the pension funds, just to keep them solvent.

These are staggering conclusions. Only a few years ago, opponents of pension reform disparaged reformers by repeatedly asserting that pension costs only consumed 3 percent of total operating expenses. Now those costs have tripled and quadrupled, and there is no end in sight.

The looming pension crisis is already uniting fiscal conservatives, who want smaller, financially sustainable government, and conscientious liberals, who want to protect their cherished government programs from being eliminated in order to pay the pension funds. And as out-of-control pension costs become a problem too big to ignore, it casts a spotlight on the entire question of overcompensation for unionized government employees. Government employees, on average, retire 10 years sooner and enjoy annual retirement benefits two to five times greater than private sector workers. In California, on average, they make twice as much in pay and benefitsduring the years they work, and veteran employees are eligible for as many as 58 paid days off per year, not including sick leave.

A harrowing example of just how skewed political discourse has become can be found in the government union campaign against California’s Proposition 6, placed on the November 2018 ballot by tax reformers. The proposition was struck down by voters, who were barraged with union-funded flyers and television ads featuring a rugged firefighter, in uniform, explaining how public safety would be jeopardized if voters approved Prop. 6. But nobody told the rest of the story, how this firefighter, as readily verified by publicly available online data, made $327,491 in 2017. That’s only a bit unusual. The average firefighterin a California city in 2015 made $200,000 in pay and benefits. It would be interesting to compile more recent data. The number certainly has not fallen.

Teachers and firefighters are our heroes. They are our role models. But the best among them are unrecognized, because the worst among them are not only nearly immune to being fired, but make exactly as much money as the best. The only thing that matters is seniority. It is likely that the finest teachers are underpaid. But overall, and especially with respect to the cost of retirement benefits, unionized public employees are overpaid, and the cost is becoming too much to bear.

These two issues, quality schools and financially sustainable pensions, represent the wedge that could eventually roll back, if not break the power of public-sector unions. Everyone cares about public schools, because their success or failure governs our children’s future. Everyone cares about public employee pensions, or will care, because if they aren’t reformed, they will bankrupt our cities, counties and states. The primary reason public schools are underperforming, and the primary reason public-sector pensions are not reformed, is because public-sector unions fight reform at every turn.

But all their power cannot deceive voters forever. Change is coming.

Fighting Back
In June 2018, in the landmark case of Janus v. AFSCME, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that public sector employees cannot be compelled to pay anything to unions as a condition of employment, not even the so-called agency fees. In the months leading up to this case, public-sector unions made Janusout to be a catastrophe in the making, fueled by “dark money” and poised to destroy the labor movement.

In the months prior to the Janus decision, the mainstream press played up the panic. The Economistreported that “Unions are confronted with an existential threat.” The Atlantic went with “Is This the End of Public-Sector Unions in America?” Even the Wall Street Journal was caught up in the drama, publishing a report with the ominous title “Supreme Court to Decide Fate of public-sector unions.”

Maybe some union officials actually thought an unfavorableJanusruling would destroy their organizations, but more likely, they saw it as an opportunity to rally their base and consolidate their power.

The Janus ruling has come and gone, but public-sector unions are as powerful as ever. In ultra-blue states such as California, they still exercise nearly absolute control over the state legislature, along with the city councils and county boards of supervisors in nearly every major city and county. Their control over school boards is also almost absolute.

In a just world, public-sector unions would be outlawed. Until then, their agenda and their impact must be exposed for all to see.

This pattern repeats itself across the United States, especially in ultra-blue states. For example, following the 2018 midterms, fourteen states had democratic “trifectas,” where Democrats controlled both houses of the state legislature, plus the governorship. These would include the powerhouse states of California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Illinois, along with Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware. These states have one overwhelming political variable working in their favor—the politics of their major urban centers are dominated by public-sector unions.

It has been long enough since the Janus decision to assess the initial impact. As of July 2018, unions could no longer collect “agency fees” from workers who didn’t want full membership. Comparing monthly payroll deductions from early 2018 to those from late 2018, one analysis indicated the unions were not very successful in converting these agency fee payers to full members. It is likely that the impact on public-sector unions based on losing their agency fee payers may have caused their revenue to decline by between five and ten percent. That’s a lot of money. Or is it?

In almost any other context, reducing the annual revenue of a network of political players by somewhere between $300 and $600 million per year would be a catastrophe for the organizations involved. But these are public-sector unions, which still have well over $5 billion per year to work with. Losing most of their agency-fee payers clearly had a permanent and significant impact on union revenues, but for them, and only them, it might be most accurately described as a one-time loss of manageable proportions.

The bigger impact that the Janusruling might have regards what is going to happen to their rates of full membership. It is now possible for public-sector union members to quit their unions. But will they? And if they want to, will the unions be forced to make that an easier process?

Some of the tactics the unions have adopted to make the process of quitting more difficult are being challenged in court. These cases would include Uradnik v. IFO, which would take away a public-sector union’s right to exclusive representation, or Few v. UTLA, which would nullify many steps the unions have taken to thwart the Janusruling. How those cases play out, and whether or not public-sector unions can remain accountable enough to their members to keep them in voluntarily, remains to be seen.

Public-Sector Unions and America’s Future
With America’s electorate split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats, between liberals and conservatives, between socialists and capitalists, between Right and Left—however you want to express those polarities, it doesn’t take much to alter the equilibrium. But wherever you identify powerful forces shifting the balance, you find the public-sector unions are the puppeteer.

Should America import millions of highly skilled immigrants whose children will excel in public schools no matter what? Of course not. Private success requires no public money.

Should America reform its financial house of cards before a liquidity crisis crashes the global economy? No. Because pension solvency requires asset bubbles.

Should public-private partnerships fund new infrastructure so private investors can competitively develop new cities on America’s vast reserves of open land? Not a chance. Artificial scarcity keeps property tax revenues up, and helps prop up the real estate asset bubble.

Should incompetent bureaucrats and teachers be fired? No, because the union protects them.

To understand how intractable this problem has become, it’s worthwhile not only to identify the differences between public and private sector unions, but also the differing philosophies that guides them. To be sure, these structural differences are profound: unlike private-sector unions, public-sector unions elect their own bosses, are funded through coercive taxes instead of competitively earned profits, are rewarded by inefficiency and failure which they use as justification to expand government, and operate the machinery of government, which allows them unique powers to harass their opponents.

But these structural differences need to be viewed in the context of the ideological differences between unionized workers in the public and private sectors. These ideological differences are not absolute, but they are nonetheless very real and impact the political agenda of public-sector unions versus private sector unions. There are at least three areas of ideological differences:

Authoritarian vs. Market Driven: Workers for the government exercise political power, whereas workers in the private sector exercise economic power. A private sector union can cause a company to go out of business, an economic threat, whereas a public sector union can cause their manager—the elected politician—to lose their next election, a political threat. This basic difference makes if far more likely that private sector union workers will have a better appreciation of the limits of their power, since if their demands have a sufficiently adverse economic effect on the company they’re negotiating with, that company will go out of business and they will lose their jobs.

Another related manifestation of the authoritarian core ideology among government workers is the simple fact that the government compels people to pay taxes and provides only one option for services, whereas corporations must persuade consumers to voluntarily purchase their products if they want to stay in business. Private-sector union members understand this difference quite well, because they live with the consequences if their company fails in the market.

Environmentalist Restriction vs. Economic Development: Workers in the private sector benefit from major construction projects and resource development. These projects create new jobs, and they yield broad societal benefits in the form of more competitive choices available for basic resources; energy, water, transportation, and housing.

When more development occurs, this increases supply and lowers prices. Development creates jobs and lowers the cost of living. Private sector union members understand this, but public sector union members have an inherent conflict of interest. This is because public sector workers benefit when roadblocks are placed in the way of development. An extended process of permitting and review, labyrinthine regulations impacting every possible aspect of development, creates jobs in the public sector.

The harder the public sector can make it to build things, the more fees they will collect and the more government jobs they will create. Ironically, the public-sector unions have an identity of interests with the most powerful monopolistic corporations on earth in this regard, because they both benefit from barriers to competitive development. Private sector union members just want to see more jobs and a lower cost of living, which development ensures.

Internationalist vs. Nationalist: This area of ideological differences between public and private sector unions is perhaps the least mentioned, and the most subject to overlap and ambiguity. But identifying this difference is crucial to understanding the differing agendas of public- and private-sector unions.

For example, the ideological agenda of the unions controlling public education in the United States are dramatically out of touch with the values of a great many Americans. In states where public education is controlled by powerful teachers unions, classroom materials and textbooks routinely demonize the role of the United States and Western Civilization in current affairs and world history. Their emphasis is to mainstream the marginalized, at the expense of teaching the overwhelmingly positive role played by democracy and capitalism in creating freedom and wealth. Another critical example is how job losses to foreign manufacturers affect members of these respective unions; it has an immediate, deeply negative impact on members of private-sector unions, but is something that has no effect on a public-sector worker.

Members of public-sector unions who consider themselves in favor of free markets and resource development, and harbor pro-American patriotic sentiments, would do well to examine carefully how the leaders of government employee unions have powerful incentives to promote policies in direct opposition to these values. And that is where there might be hope.

The precarious equilibrium between Right and Left in America is maintained not only by virtue of powerful public-sector unions pushing as hard as they can in favor of the Left; public employees themselves constitute a critical swing vote in America’s electorate. Including federal workers, there are nearly 20 million government employees in America, and nearly all of them vote. If you include households with government workers in them, you likely could double that number. These Americans have a tough choice to make: Will they vote for more government, because more government will create more career opportunities for themselves and their loved ones, or will they only ask themselves what political choices will offer the most benefit to all Americans?

Public employees, like all Americans, are awakening to the propaganda that passes as mainstream journalism. Despite rampant suppression of the truth, they can see what has happened to Europe thanks to mass immigration. Despite endless rhetoric coming from the press and public institutions, they realize that campus radicalism and identity politics are a nihilistic dead end. Despite nightly “news” that spends more time on celebrity gossip than global events, they can see the where socialism leads in the devastated nation of Venezuela. They’re even realizing that climate change activism is a cover for globalist rationing and wealth redistribution. They see the hypocrisy.

Public-sector unions are the brokers and enablers of corporate power. As politicians come and go, and business interests rise and fall, they are the continuity, decade after decade. In every city and state where they’ve been allowed, they are the deep state. They are globalist instead of nationalist, authoritarian instead of pluralistic, they favor rationing and regulation over competitive development. They want to make everything harder, scarcer, more expensive. They prefer cultural disintegration and chaos to unity because it empowers them when things get bad. In a just world, public-sector unions would be outlawed. Until then, their agenda and their impact must be exposed for all to see.

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America • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Donald Trump • Economy • Post

How to Talk to Capitalists About Millennials

Being a Millennial is a gorgeous morphine joy. We explore ourselves through vivifying and unpaid internships, usually beached in unapologetically expensive cities like London, New York, and San Francisco.

If we do get paid, half of our salary goes on renting some substandard box room in the “vibrant” or “up-and-coming” quarters of playgrounds reserved for the rich.

We get to pretend. Maybe one day we will join them. For now, we filter and tweet and like and lacquer.

Our parents, bequeathed the greatest civilization in history, flourished themselves mercilessly throughout their own youths. But what is ours is also theirs. We need to move out. We need to have children. Weirdly, they pry into our apparently fallow sex lives. Why can’t Millennials be more like the Boomers?

I can see the comments already. I need to pull myself up by my bootstraps. Pluck myself from my safe space. Plod on and stop prattling.

Perhaps, I do.

But we were shunted into different planes of reality. Our parents had it made.

That was before they sent the factories abroad. Before they ramped up debts and left us the bill. The Boomers broke capitalism. And Philip Larkin had a point.

Dear reader, forgive me. Not all Baby Boomers are bad. And Millennials, an unedifying portion at least, do need to grow up.

And that we did. We grew up during the Great Recession of 2008. A depression in all but name. And, like those who bore the Depression, it lived with us. And will forever. This is why Millennials save more. Millennials invest more. We live below our means.

Hence the limbless jibe of “socialist” offers only puzzlement to a great many of us. We are the umbilical children of Silicon Valley, the high-priests of which would blood the cheeks of Ayn Rand. Few industries are inoculated from the Valley’s “creative destruction.” Ask a cab driver.

Some do get this. A recent essay in City Journal offered an anthropological dig into the Millennial mind:

The generation that turned 21 in 2006 had a rough decade. In 2010, the jobless rate for 25 to 34-year-old men stood at 21.8 percent. Two years later, the rate had fallen only to 19.8 percent. Even by 2018, after almost a decade of recovery, joblessness among young men remained alarmingly high: 13.9 percent. This long period of high joblessness coincided with wage stagnation. Real median wages for men over age 16 were lower from 2010 to 2016 than they had been in 2009 or 2001—or 1982.

Millennials, like all generations, want a capitalism that works. A capitalism that rewards those who do indeed pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Doesn’t everyone?

Because what we have right now is the worst of both worlds—a hijacked economy fattened in the shadows of a morbidly obese government.

When Millennials say they prefer socialism to capitalism, they don’t mean Venezuela. They mean America before Me-Me-Me.

They mean an economic revolution that doesn’t leave half of Americans unable to afford a $400 emergency. Nor a country in which they are half as wealthy as their parents were at age 30.

And, for once, it isn’t all about them. Working Americans haven’t seen a real wage increase in decades. The American Dream, I’m sad to say, is a mirage for all but vanishingly few.

Something is not right. Between 1948 and 1973, productivity spiked by 96 percent, while wages kept pace at 91 percent. Then this country, and Great Britain, lost their marbles.

Since 1973, and until just two years ago, productivity rose by 77 percent. The hourly pay of workers rose by a gruelish 12 percent. Productivity now outpaces wages by six times. Something is broken.

And someone had better fix it. Millennials are clotting into America’s largest voting bloc. Those mawkish paeans to Gordon Gekko aren’t really our thing. Even the fictitious Mr. Gekko would lament the anti-capitalism too many insist is the real thing.

All is not lost. As the City Journal essay portends: Millennials are capitalists. And true capitalists should be busy denouncing corporate captivity of the market. Anyone with sense knows a true capitalism is forever superior to the primitive socialism of the Democrats’ more combustible wing.

Yes, President Trump’s economy hums along. Wages recently jumped to average $27 an hour. But Trump is not forever.

After 2024, the GOP will have to become something a majority of Americans find appealing, and not just fawn the moneyed whims of special interests.

What that might be should center upon things about which Americans are actually concerned. Things that would inspire them to vote for Republican candidates.

Whether conservatives actually want to win (and, heavens, conserve something) is another matter. Perhaps they should have a glimpse at the modern Democratic Party. And at what America would look like if it ever depraved to the adolescent resentments of such hazardous rabble.

Or, they could just tell Millennials to suck it up. But they should know that we have stopped listening.

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