America • Infrastructure • Post • Technology • Trade

Boeing Max 8 Lesson: Why Domestic Manufacturing Is Vital

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On March 10, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed outside of Addis Ababa, killing all 157 passengers and crew. This followed October’s crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, which killed all 189 onboard. Both crashes involved Boeing’s 737 Max 8 jetliner.

China, Indonesia, and Ethiopia grounded the aircraft on March 10, suspecting the crashes were caused by technical problems. The European Union followed on March 12. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all U.S. flights the next day.

Investigators revealed that the crashes likely were caused by mistakes in the plane’s software, which pushed the planes into uncontrollable dives because of bad data from a single sensor. Evidently, no software or hardware redundancies were in place.

Bloomberg reports that the Max Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) and flight-testing software, was in no small part written and developed by Indian subcontractors who had little or no prior experience in the aviation industry. Why would Boeing hire Indian subcontractors to tackle critical tasks? Because American engineers cost between $40 and $80 an hour. Their Indian replacements, in contrast, worked for  $9 an hour.

Boeing assumed that by moving its production to the Third World, it could exploit cheap foreign labor. This would allow Boeing to undercut its competitors, thereby gaining market share, boosting profits, and benefiting consumers all at once. No downside.

But that’s not how the world works. Everything has a price. In this case, while Boeing saved money on labor it also burdened itself with extra complexity and exposed itself to more “O-ring” vulnerabilities.

My Kingdom for an O-Ring
In 1993, Michael Kremer, a Harvard-educated developmental economist, wrote a paper called “The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development” in which he tried to explain why workers in some countries earn exponentially more than workers in other countries, despite doing the same job.

The theory also sheds light on how complexity can destroy not just a business, but the economy itself. Let’s start with an example.

Pretend you own a factory that makes glass vases. Two workers can make one vase: one blows the molten glass while the other paints the vase. If the vase is dropped then it shatters and becomes worthless.

You hire four workers. Two never drop vases and two drop them half the time. How should you divide your workers for maximum productivity? We instinctively want to pair a good with a bad worker—each team will have someone competent guiding it. Bad idea. If you do this then both teams will break half the vases.

Instead, you should pair the good workers together and let the droppers make a mess. Why? Together the good workers would succeed 100 percent of the time, while the droppers would succeed 25 percent of the time. On average, the teams would make vases 62.5 percent of the time—much better than half!

There are two lessons worth noting. First, vase production is fragile—a mistake at any point in the production-chain destroys the whole vase. This means that the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Second, increasing the production chain’s complexity will increase the fragility in a nonlinear way. How?

Imagine you must also paint the vases. Although the two good workers succeed 100 percent of the time, they’re now forced to work with a dropper. Suddenly the factory’s productivity decreases to just half—one dropper ruins everything.

Now pretend you must varnish the vases too, adding a fourth step. Because your last worker is also a dropper, the factory’s output plummets to 25 percent.

Finally, let’s pretend that it takes 100 steps to make a vase. You hire 97 employees who always succeed, but three droppers slip through the cracks. In this case, your factory’s efficiency would decrease to just 12.5 percent—despite the fact that you have 97 perfect workers!

Thankfully, much of the economy is not subject to O-ring vulnerabilities because precision isn’t always critical, and many times mistakes can simply be fixed. For example, if a baker adds too much salt to his dough, the bread may taste salty but it will still be edible.

This is in stark contrast to many technologically-sophisticated products—like commercial jets—whose value can be erased by a mistake anywhere along the production chain. In Boeing’s case, a software failure relating to a single sensor can destroy the entire jet.

Subcontractors All the Way Down
I wrote in January that Boeing is a prime example of a company whose production-chain is subject to “O-ring” vulnerabilities. Why? In order for an aircraft to operate safely many critical components must work together more-or-less perfectly—the margin of error is tiny. This means that “droppers” pose a heightened risk.

Further, aircraft are technologically sophisticated products with long, complicated production chains. Because of the non-linear dynamics present in O-ring vulnerabilities, adding more steps to an already long production chain greatly increases the risk of failure.

Enter the Indian subcontractors.

Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer, told Bloomberg that hiring Indian subcontractors “was far less efficient than Boeing engineers just writing the code” as “it took many rounds going back and forth because the code [written by the subcontractors] was not done correctly.”

Violà, the Indian subcontractors were the “droppers.”

Even if we assume that the Indian subcontractors were just as competent as their American counterparts, hiring them was a mistake simply because they added an extra link to the production chain. And as we know, this increased the risk of overall failure in a nonlinear way.

Unfortunately, passengers paid the ultimate price for Boeing’s obsession with complexity. I say obsession because this is not the first instance of Boeing being bitten by complex production chains.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner also suffered onerous delays, cost-overruns, and safety problems. Why? Boeing outsourced the design and production of the aircraft to some 50 different contractors, and the company likewise subcontracted the planes’ production.

In the end, God only knows how many different subcontractors, located in how many different countries, contributed to the aircraft.

Boeing in effect was building a puzzle in the shape of an aircraft, without any way of knowing if there were any “droppers” until it was too late. This is the economic equivalent of the Hindu’s infinite regression—it’s subcontractors all the way down.

O-ring vulnerabilities are not just Boeing’s problem: they’re America’s problem. Why? The supply chains of most American corporations are so entangled with foreign producers that at this point even small disruptions or mistakes in remote corners of the world could bring leviathans of industry—like Boeing or Apple—to their knees. And with them, America itself.

America’s Founders were well-aware of the risks that complexity and foreign suppliers posed, and it is part of the reason that America’s first substantive piece of legislation was the Tariff Act of 1789. If America is to remain prosperous and free, we must simplify our economy by removing unnecessary steps—by firing our Indian, Chinese, and Mexican subcontractors.

We need to bring our factories home.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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America • First Amendment • Free Speech • Infrastructure • Post • Silicon Valley • Technology • The Left • The Media

Political Bias in Big Tech Is a Major Problem

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Suspicions of political bias in big tech companies are nothing new. Many people have suspected tech companies of being more left-leaning. Recent events and studies, however, are slowly turning these suspicions into facts. This political bias is detrimental not only to the companies and their users but also to the country.

A recent study by Northwestern University showed Google’s search engine ranked left-leaning political sites higher on its news feed. According to the survey, 86 percent of Google’s top stories over the course of a month came from 20 left-wing news sites. Out of these 20 sources, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post were leading the pack.

Google is not the only tech company credibly accused of bias. Facebook and Twitter have also been denounced for censoring right-leaning accounts and groups in their respective platforms. The three tech companies were summoned to a congressional hearing last year to explain themselves.

One might think that these cases of political bias are isolated to the big tech companies but nothing could be further from the truth. Silicon Valley, a region known to be at the vanguard of technological development in the United States, is a very left-leaning place located in a deep blue state.

The services these companies offer have become deeply rooted in our daily lives. This can give them the power to influence politics on a scale greater than any lobbying group could imagine. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 38 percent of Americans get their news from the internet. Among that group, roughly 50 percent of younger adults (ages 18-49) get their news online. Google’s preference for left-wing corporate media strongly shapes public opinion in ways not even television could.

A Nation at Risk?
Many tech companies face a backlash from their own employees when it comes to Pentagon contracts. Google employees rebelled, for example, when the company began work on an artificial intelligence system for drones called Project Maven. Microsoft workers resisted the company’s work on an augmented reality system for the Defense Department using their HoloLens technology for combat and training.

The dangers should be apparent. China is investing billions in A.I. projects with military applications while U.S. tech firms wring their hands. We know, too, that China is working hard on its cyber warfare capabilities while the U.S. military struggles to keep up its defenses. Recall how last year a U.S. Navy contractor working on undersea warfare projects lost 614 gigabytes of highly classified data as the result of a Chinese hack. More recently, worries over LockerGoga ransomware are growing in light of a March attack against raw materials producer Norsk Hydro as Congress debates a $2 billion infrastructure bill, which includes money for defenses against cyber attacks on vital civilian infrastructure.

Silicon Valley’s bias also affects right-leaning professionals trying to get into the tech industry. Prospective employees might feel discouraged from applying to a company with a strong political bias against their own beliefs while current workers have every reason to hide their political views for fear of backlash. Recall the case of James Damore, the Google engineer who lost his job after sharing a controversial memorandum questioning the company’s diversity hiring policies. (The company currently is facing a massive class-action lawsuit from 8,000 current and former female employees, who allege widespread sex discrimination.)

We could say that political bias has no place in giant tech companies, which ostensibly serve the general public regardless of political belief. We could say that, but it would be folly—putting hope over experience. Google, Facebook, and Twitter exercise an outsized influence on public discourse. With the 2020 presidential elections looming, these powerful corporations will shape voters’ perceptions of the race, just as they already influence our nation’s defense. How can a free, self-governing republic allow that to continue?

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Free Speech • Government Reform • Infrastructure • Post • Technology • Trade

Stop Whining About Google and Do Something

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Some friends on the Right are angry about Google’s opaque efforts to block prominent conservative personalities and think tanks from the search engine and the company’s advertising program. Their anger is understandable, but why is anyone surprised? Despite a short-lived and undeserved reputation for libertarianism, the tech industry has always leaned left. Today, Silicon Valley is evangelically liberal and very rich—a nasty combination.

A move toward a kind of left-wing, techno-totalitarianism was predictable—and predicted.

Why else do you think Google happily made common cause with the most totalitarian state in the world, the People’s Republic of China, while at the same time repressing American conservative groups and individuals?

Don’t forget that the Department of Defense, in dire need of support from American tech firms, last year offered a $10 billion contract to whichever American tech firm could build the Pentagon’s cloud computing system. Google was among one of the top bidders. Google would have been a natural fit for the project, since the tech giant is a pioneer in cloud computing. But, following a protest from some employees about helping America’s “war machine,” Google took itself out of contention. Amazon remains a competitive bidder, but the fact that Google abandoned the project not because it might damage their financial interests, but instead out of ideological opposition to the U.S. military, is—to say the least—disturbing.

This occurred, incidentally, as Google was moving its artificial intelligence research arm into China. Undoubtedly, the move to China will help Google’s bottom line. After all, China is a massive untapped market and it is rapidly growing into the world’s most dynamic technology innovation hub. But everyone knows that China has a pernicious state capitalist system. Therefore, any American firm doing business in China will be required to share proprietary data with Chinese state-owned enterprises.

Even if Google desires to keep their artificial intelligence research confined to the civilian realm, they will be unable to keep it that way for long. Inevitably, Chinese entities will get their hands on Google’s research and reproduce it indigenously—and not merely for civilian consumption. In effect, the next generation of advanced Chinese weapons might be run by an artificial intelligence that Google helped to develop, even as they refused to do business with the U.S. military.

While this occurs, Google creates algorithms meant to stymie the free speech of conservative Americans. Many Google employees believe we Rightists are racists, fascists, bigots, war mongers, and homophobes. They hate those of us on the Right for the same reason they refuse to do business with the U.S. military (missing, apparently, the fact that today’s military is increasingly Left-leaning itself). We embody the America of their fathers and grandfathers; we symbolize the America they hate. It also happens to be the America that the Chinese Communist Party despises. So that’s two things they have in common.

Rightists should stop being outraged that their free speech is being infringed upon by a corporation that routinely collects and sells the personal data of its users to the highest bidder, refuses to work with the “warmongering” Pentagon, and gladly jumps into bed with the Chinese Communist Party. Instead, we should support calls to better regulate Google and other tech firms, so that they cannot act with as much impunity as they have done.

Meanwhile, conservatives should drop their obsession with Ayn Rand for a moment and recognize that the U.S. government needs more power to prevent American tech firms from doing business with China.

In that regard, the powers of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) should be greatly expanded. This group is the best way to complicate Google’s (and other corporations’) attempts to sell us out to China. According to the United States Treasury Department, “CFIUS is an interagency committee authorized to review certain transactions involving foreign investment in the United States (‘covered transactions’), in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States.” If a foreign trade is determined to be a national security threat, then CFIUS can block that trade. This happened several years ago when Fairchild Semiconductor was forced to reject an acquisition offer from a Chinese firm. CFIUS blocked the deal out of fear that China would be able to corner the all-important semiconductor industry. CFIUS needs more robust powers, though, to fully defend against Chinese attempts to gain access to critical American technology through trade.

Also, the Pentagon should increase its understanding of the threat that unfettered free trade between U.S. tech companies and China poses to our country.

Few may realize it, but our leaders are woefully uninformed about the extent and nature of the threat that doing trade with China poses the United States, especially in the high-tech sector. This is partly because the private sector and public sector are both terrible about sharing information with each other. This is also because the incentives for American businesses to deal with China are fundamentally different from the incentives for America’s defense establishment to stunt trade with China.

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) was a great first step toward bridging this knowledge gap. Established in 2015 by the Department of Defense, the DIU is headquartered in Mountain View, California with offices in Boston and Austin (two other major tech corridors in the United States). Currently, the group is focused on providing funds to tech companies that assist the Department of Defense in resolving critical national security issues. It is staffed by a who’s-who compendium of tech sector notables, academics, military officials, and hedge fund types who specialize in funding technology firms.

Yet, it is not enough.

A greater synthesis between the national security sector, the business community, academia, and the political leadership of the United States is needed if we truly and effectively want to prevent American tech firms from building the weapons of tomorrow for China to use against us today. The goal should be to create a comprehensive capability that can protect vital intellectual property and punish corporations acting against America’s best interests. DIU would complement an expanded CFIUS—as well as a stricter regulatory policy for U.S. tech firms—by providing key insights and intelligence to policymakers charged with oversight of the tech sector.

The time for outrage over Google’s transgressions against the American people has long passed. We on the Right have an ally in the White House with a skeptical view both of the tech industry and China’s intentions. What’s more, President Trump is more willing than his predecessors to make corporations pay for their actions when they harm America.

Rightists everywhere would do well to use this to their advantage. The administration has an opportunity to rein in Google and other tech giants that, left to their own devices, would sell out this country, trample our God-given freedom of speech, and empower the Chinese Communist Party. Time is of the essence.

Photo credit: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images

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America • Education • Infrastructure • Post

An Answer to the Cost of College and Community Collapse: Community Colleges

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PITTSBURGH—When the Pittsburgh Pirates opened their season two weeks ago at PNC Park, Nathan Sibley, a York County, Pennsylvania, kid who struggled in high school and subsequently stood little chance to attend a four-year college had earned the job for the major league club that nearly every fan in the ballpark pays attention to.

“I am the captioner for the Pirates for the JumboTron,” Sibley said.

He earned the job after he interned for the Pirates last summer through a program at the community college he attends.

It’s a dream come true for a student who did not make great grades in high school but had a real talent he was unsure what to do with: typing very fast.

“I initially thought IT programming might be the way to go, but I found I didn’t care for that. Then a teacher suggested court reporting. There weren’t many options out there until I saw what CCAC had,” Sibley said of Community College of Allegheny County, where he will be graduating early from in May.

Every year, more than 25,000 students enroll at that community college in the greater Pittsburgh area, picking one of more than 150 degree, certificate, diploma or transfer programs. On top of that are the thousands more who take workforce development courses at the school.

In a city that boasts six major universities within its city limits—University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, Robert Morris, Chatham, Point Park, and Carlow—those are impressive numbers.

While enrollment at community colleges is down across the country, despite the dramatic cost savings of beginning there and either transferring or going straight into the workforce with an associate degree, the benefits schools such as Community College of Allegheny County have are immeasurable, not just for the students but also for the communities they serve.

A student pays $110 per credit here at the school, compared to around $800 at University of Pittsburgh or $1,406 at Harvard University. On average, student borrowers in higher learning institutions outside of community colleges owe $28,650, according to the nonprofit research and advocacy group Institute for College Access & Success.

The cost of higher education became a political football in America since 2016, when Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., made free college the core of his Democratic presidential primary campaign. His 2020 rivals have jumped on the bandwagon.

These schools help students such as Sibley find their niche, and they provide opportunity for students who weren’t ready to put themselves or their parents in debt.

“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” Alex Lopez, 23, told me. “I was trying to figure out what I actually wanted to do. I’m like, ‘Let me go give computer science a try.’ Well, I gave it a try, and it really wasn’t for me. I had a teacher tell me, ‘Why don’t you go into teaching?’ I’m like, ‘Sure, why not?’ And I just set it off from there.”

It was his parents who urged him to start his journey as a teacher at a community college.

“And I wanted to, to be honest. I didn’t want to break their bank,” he said of attending a larger university.

Lopez, who is half black and half Latino, decided teaching Spanish would be a natural fit for him. “Half of my family is fluent in Spanish,” he said.

There’s more. A community college often makes itself an integral part of its community. “We (are) situated inside of a community,” Community College of Allegheny County President Dr. Quintin B. Bullock says, “and most of the time individuals who choose the community college as their point of access of higher education and workforce training, they are making a commitment to stay in the community.”

Ninety-four percent of that university’s students remain, live and work following graduation, Bullock says. “That affirms the importance of the community college.”

While the majority of students in the other universities in the city leaves the region after graduation, a system of higher education that is affordable and retains the graduates locally, making the community younger, smarter and stronger, has to be better part of the national conversation as a solution for a variety of societal problems.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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America • China • Economy • Greatness Agenda • Infrastructure • military • Trade

Jones Act Ensures U.S. Military Dominance and Civilian Jobs

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America’s armed forces are the most powerful on earth. While other countries can boast significant ground forces and nuclear capabilities, the factor that separates the United States and places her at the top of the military food chain is the United States Navy.

With a total of 24 total aircraft carriers, 19 more than the next closest country (Italy), and as many as 15 more in the planning phases, a continued commitment to the conditions that fostered this extraordinary advantage in military mobility is crucial. That commitment begins with defending the Jones Act against the recent slew of off the mark critiques lobbed against it, especially in the wake of the devastating 2017 hurricane season and its effects on Puerto Rico.

Many on the Right, including noted columnist George Will, have attempted to marginalize the importance of the Jones Act. Will wrote in National Review that, “Spurious ‘national security’ concerns tend to descend into slapstick.”

On the contrary, the Jones Act is key to maintaining many economic and manufacturing advantages against an increasingly influential China. Just last year, China’s Tsingshan Group, the world’s largest steel manufacturer, struck a controversial deal with U.S.-based stainless-steel manufacturer Allegheny Technology Incorporated (ATI).

The deal came together quietly, with many American observers now looking for answers from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as to how and why a heavily subsidized Chinese company could receive such advantageous treatment. But to see China’s attempt to further deepen its influence and increase America’s dependence on its supply chain of raw materials should not come as a shock considering the massive trade imbalances and unchecked and repeated abuses in intellectual property theft, espionage, and cyber-crimes carried out by the Chinese against the United States in recent history.

At its core, the Jones Act mandates that all goods, including those needed to carry out military operations, must be transported by water between U.S. ports on U.S. flagged ships that are constructed in the United States and owned by U.S. citizens. They must also be manned by U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

That is a good thing for American workers in the shipbuilding, shipping, and general maritime industry as it protects their roles from the job-crushing outsourcing that exists in so many other industries.

The Jones Act also has positive effects elsewhere in the American economy. The Foundation of the U.S. Domestic Maritime Industry estimates the Jones Act contributes $100 billion to the economy, including $29 billion in annual wages as well as the creation of 500,000 jobs—one shipyard job is estimated to create four others across other corresponding industries in the economy.

It can be argued that in light of Tsingshan Group’s deal with ATI, perhaps some expansion of the Jones Act may be in order. If the worst-case scenario of a massive global conflict presents itself down the road, the United States faces a logistical nightmare should our opponent in any aggression be a country relied upon by the United States for the raw materials needed.

In other words, if China decides to “cut off” America in the case of total war, the United States would need to rely further on its domestic raw materials industry that saw an almost 5 percent spike in shipments in 2018 as a result of President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum.

The issue of reliance on foreign production of raw materials should also receive increased scrutiny in light of last month’s cyber-attack against Norsk Hydro, a raw materials producer that boasts the 10th-largest output of aluminum in the world. The attack was carried out via ransomware known as LockerGoga.

Moreover, the importance of domestic raw materials production should also be highlighted as America eventually moves towards another round of major infrastructure spending. With the possibility of a $1 trillion bill materializing during the current legislative session, it would behoove the Trump Administration to keep the monies allocated for the raw materials needed to rebuild America actually in America.

Whether through ignorance or a lack of foresight, voices critical of the Jones Act have clearly missed the point.  Our national security needs are promoted by the Jones Act now more than ever.

Photo credit: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Center for American Greatness • Economy • Immigration • Infrastructure • Post • taxes • The Left

Second of a two-part series. Read part one.

Too Few Homes, Too Many Homeless: How to Fix It

It’s already spring in subtropical California. Up and down the coast, from Venice Beach to San Francisco, tens of thousands of homeless people live in makeshift abodes, strewn along the streets and alleys, the beaches and boardwalks, beside parking garages, freeway onramps, and under bridges. Their numbers are increasing every year. They now live openly in the hearts of magnificent downtowns, permanently encamped on the lawns of city halls and civic centers. In some areas, entire urban parks are filled with their tents. A perfect storm of court decisions and legislation have tied the hands of law enforcement, and well-organized activists join forces with well-financed nonprofits and their partners, politically connected developers, to prevent any practical solutions.

And so, day after day, Californians living and working near some of the most expensive real estate on earth pick their way through sidewalks littered with shit and syringes, dodging stoned junkies and screaming schizophrenics, hoping they won’t catch typhus or hepatitis as they make their way to their jobs, take their kids to school, and try to live normal lives. There is no end in sight.

The burgeoning population of homeless in California, now estimated at some 150,000 people, is a problem that could be solved in months if the appropriate political and judicial decisions were swiftly enacted and decisively applied. Instead, there is no indication it will ever be solved. The state has become a magnet for the welfare cases of America as well as the expatriates of the world, at the same time as the state has imposed crippling restrictions on the ability of the private sector to build new housing.

California is unaffordable because extreme environmentalists have imposed an agenda of engineered scarcity onto state policymakers that, unfortunately, dovetails perfectly with the agenda of special interests—in particular, public sector unions and bureaucrats, and large corporate land developers and construction contractors.

Virtually all of these special interests are aligned with the Democratic Party—the party of greed, lies, envy, and deception, controlled by leftist plutocrats and their willing accomplices. Until California’s voters wake up and break this immoral, self-serving coalition, there is little hope that housing prices in particular, or the cost-of-living in general, will ever come down in California.

Outside of blue-state America, the battle still rages, and victory is still possible. But to win, it will take bold policies, expressed with clarity and enthusiasm, policies that will offer struggling middle and low-income communities opportunities for upward mobility.

Towards a Housing Surplus and a Shortage of Homeless People

Here are policies that would make housing plentiful and affordable:

1) Eliminate all government subsidies, incentives, or waivers to developers. All players in the housing industry should be unsubsidized and play by the same set of rules.

2) Stop requiring diverse types of housing within the same development or neighborhood. Mixing high-density, subsidized housing into residential neighborhoods devalues the existing housing, and this social engineering is unfair to existing residents who have paid a high price to live there.

3) Rollback the more extreme building codes. Requiring 100 percent of homes to be “energy neutral” or mandating rooftop photovoltaic arrays, for example, greatly increase the cost of homes.

4) Lower the fees on building permits for new housing and housing remodels. Doing this might require pension reform, since that’s where all extra revenue goes, but until permitting costs are lowered, only ultra-wealthy developers can afford to build.

5) Speed up the permitting process. Development approvals should take days or weeks, not months or years. Again, the practical effect of this failure is that only major developers can afford to build.

6) Reform or eliminate state and local environmental regulations. In most cases, Federal laws already provide adequate environmental safeguards.

7) Make it easier to extract building materials in-state. California, for example, is spectacularly rich in natural resources, yet it has to import lumber and aggregate from as far away as Canada. This not only greatly increases construction costs, but it’s also hypocritical.

8) Increase the supply of land for private development of housing. Currently, only 3.6 percent of the continental United States is urbanized. There are literally hundreds of thousands of square miles of nonfarm, noncritical habitat that could be opened up for massive land development.

9) Engage in practical, appropriate zoning for infill and densification in urban cores, but only after also increasing the supply of open land for housing, and only while continuing to respect the integrity of established residential neighborhoods.

Along With Policy Solutions, Expose the Corruption

Democratic politicians, backed by an establishment coalition that wields overwhelming financial supremacy in the political arena, have sold their program as morally superior to Republican alternatives. But their case, marketed to voters by the finest political campaigners and public relations firms that money can buy, falls apart under the weight of facts.

The cold economic truth about Democrats in California is this: They have made it the most inhospitable place in America for low and middle-income residents. Unchecked, they’re going to do it to America. But they do not hold the moral high ground. They are immoral hypocrites, slandering their opponents, exploiting their supporters, and laughing all the way to the bank.

Providing opportunity by making California affordable has a moral value. There is a moral value to embracing policies of abundance—by turning the private sector loose to increase the supply of housing, energy, and water—rather than creating politically contrived and artificial scarcity.

There is a coherent alternative vision to the self-serving politics of scarcity. But it would mean launching a sustained assault on government unions, extreme environmentalists and their allies, along with the plaintiff’s bar and the social justice fanatics who have taken over grassroots movements. It will require challenging not just their lofty idealism or their proclaimed altruism but also their premises and their methods.

A similar moral argument must be made to solve the problem of homelessness, and it will also require a sustained assault against a similar cast of characters. Over the past 30-40 years, the rights of the mentally ill, the homeless, and even the illegal immigrant, have been elevated to the point of impracticality but, even more disgracefully, to the point where everyone is worse off. Solutions will require litigation and legislation.

Immigration laws need to be reformed to take away the incentive for migrants to undertake perilous journeys. The mentally ill need to be taken off the streets and put back into hospitals. Criminals need to be reincarcerated. For those homeless who truly are simply down on their luck, without other options, housing codes need to be modified so that “permanent supportive housing” can take the form of a $399 10-foot-by-10-foot tent, pitched in a parking lot or field, with every dozen tents sharing a $649 porta potty. Sites can include central facilities providing showers and food distribution. Once the situation is stabilized, and Americans have taken back their streets and neighborhoods, additional amenities can be considered.

The moral high ground must be asserted at every turn. It isn’t a concern for the homeless that prevents offering them tents, porta-potties, and basic facilities for food and hygiene. It’s greed and corruption that diverts a few homeless people into expensive palaces, while the rest of them still live in dangerous squalor, destroying neighborhoods and public spaces. It is the naked, raw, sickening, institutionalized greed of a corrupt, failing society, run by crooks masquerading as saviors.

It is not moral to make housing unaffordable in the name of environmental justice. It is not moral to make government services unaffordable in order to reserve funds to pay government workers pensions that are many times more expensive than Social Security. It is not moral to make perfect the enemy of the good and deny a warm and safe tent to tens of thousands of homeless, in order to get a few hundred people into $500,000 apartments. It is not moral to turn American into a magnet for destitute foreigners, when only a small percentage of them will make it here anyway, and while native-born Americans cannot find housing or jobs.

Here’s another excerpt from another email from a Southern California resident. It epitomizes what has happened there, and what is going to happen to America if the bad guys win:

When I moved to Venice three years ago, my Mom and I invested in a triplex, which I live in and have been renovating constantly. It should have been a tear down, but I have been set on restoring the place, and it’s been a labor of love. It is so tough to actually upgrade your place as a landlord, I can’t even change my siding on my home without a permit and coastal commission approval (which isn’t even worth the hassle), yet large scale developments can bypass all zoning and environmental reviews.

My dad’s parents met picking fruit in Salinas County. Eventually they moved to Pomona and bought a plot of land. All of their paychecks went to building their home while they lived with family. It took them a long time, but they bought all the materials and built everything themselves. This became a major source of equity and it propelled them up into the next class bracket.

No one can do that today. Permits are so incredibly expensive and dealing with zoning and code is a nightmare. I am afraid that there is no even playing field anymore, and that upward mobility is dead. Everything really seems stacked against the individual taxpayer.

Democrats, and the powerful elites who back them, have turned California into a quasi-feudal state. Its residents now comprise an aristocracy of the privileged and connected, ruling over destitute masses who vote Democrat in order to receive promised government handouts, with the middle class in full flight. Meanwhile, California’s economy is reliant on artificially inflated asset values and an upcycle in a volatile high-tech industry. The financial headwinds that buffet California are going to turn into a hurricane. It’s simply a matter of time.

No coalition of special interests exists to save America from California’s fate. It will take individual, patriotic Americans, joining together to challenge every premise of the Left, recognizing that immigration, housing prices, and homelessness are interrelated problems, caused by the same cast of special interests, and symptomatic of a more general totalitarian threat to our freedom, our prosperity, and our national identity.

Center for American Greatness • Economy • Environment • Infrastructure • Post • Progressivism • Technology

Green Luddites Are Coming for Your House, Car, and Freedom

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The New York Times this week published a guest opinion column headlined, “Why Housing Policy Is Climate Policy.” Authors Scott Wiener and Daniel Kammen argue that in order to reduce “greenhouse gas,” we need “denser housing and public transportation.” They go on to state that “low-density, single-family-home zoning is effectively a ban on economically diverse communities.”

Like so much coming from the corporate Left in America, probably the most dangerous aspect of this column is the blithe presumption that its premises are beyond debate. The climate will change catastrophically, and emissions from burning fossil fuel are the culprit. Low-density housing is the reason fossil fuel emissions remain too high. Public transportation is a good thing.

Just hold on. Stop right there. Emissions of CO2 may not change the climate very much at all, and the cost of precipitously curtailing them condemns billions of people around the world to prolonged poverty and misery. And in any case, high-density housing is creating more CO2 emissions, because existing roads cannot handle the increased traffic. And no, public transportation is not always a good thing.

Scott Wiener, a California legislator, and Daniel Kammen, a Berkeley professor who submits reports to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, are part of the “consensus” that has decided any of us who question their premises are either stupid, evil, or paid hacks. They are part of the “consensus” that thinks it’s not just ok, but morally necessary and commendable to suppress opinions like ours and silence debate. They are part of the “consensus” that brands us as “deniers,” impugns our motives, questions our integrity, and dismisses facts and evidence that do not support their premises.

Irony and Lack of Vision
When you look at the policies promoted and enacted by Wiener and Kammen’s fellow travelers in business and politics, there is irony in every direction.

It is ironic that the people who they claim to want to help are harmed the most by the insanely expensive enforcement of renewable energy, housing density, and housing scarcity. It is ironic that the fossil fuel industry, which they claim to oppose, becomes more profitable when new drilling is curtailed, and new power plants using coal and natural gas have to be constructed to fill in every time the sun goes down, the wind stops blowing, or yet another nuclear power plant is decommissioned. It is ironic that they decry the “footprint” of fossil fuel, but are blind to the sprawling blight of windmills and solar farms.

It is ironic that they care about “environmental justice,” yet seem completely indifferent to the exploitation endured by miners in Africa who scrap for the cobalt needed in batteries. It is ironic that every time another government regulation or grant or subsidy or tax is enacted to “help create housing and house the homeless,” the attendant corruption and fraud and monstrous inefficiencies manage to waste nearly every dime.

Perhaps the biggest irony is how Wiener and Kammen, and all who share their perspective, have no apparent faith in technology to solve the challenges they claim are upon us. After all, the epicenter of “green” consciousness is California, and California also happens to be the epicenter of the global high-technology industry. So why can’t these California greens look optimistically into the future a few years, and quit trying to make everyone’s lives so constrained and so expensive? Imagine.

Within the next few decades, there will be modular, plug-and-play desalination units that coastal municipalities can put offshore to supply abundant water to their residents. In turn, these desalination units can be powered by modular, safe, plug-and-play nuclear reactors, scaled to whatever size is required, and nearly maintenance free. Within the next fifty years or so, energy will be beamed from orbiting solar power stations to earth-based receivers to deliver uninterrupted electricity. We’re probably less than 100 years from having commercial, scalable fusion power.

Stultifying Stagnation as a Utopian Principle
These are just a few of the wondrous innovations that are only one or two generations away, a mere heartbeat in the span of human civilization, and the only things stopping them are people like Scott Wiener and Daniel Kammen as well as organizations like the California Air Resources Board and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Let these dogmatic, tyrannical utopians have their way, and we will sink into a stultifying mire of politically anointed and narrowly specified approved technologies. We will stagnate. The great arc of human progress will come to a crashing halt.

Within a few decades, self-driving cars, some owned for personal use, others privately owned but serving the public, will zoom along smart hyperlanes at speeds well in excess of 100 miles per hour. They will convoy with each other, running close together, using linked navigation systems, to facilitate far more throughput per lane mile than today’s freeways. Overhead, within a few decades, electric drones will shuttle people to and from their chosen destinations at speeds well in excess of 200 miles per hour. And far overhead, at around 50,000 feet, supersonic electric planes will fly at speeds well in excess of 1,000 miles per hour.

Kammen . . .  Wiener . . . get the hell out of the way.

Meanwhile, conventional solutions abound in spacious California, and most everywhere else on earth. There’s nothing wrong with increasing density in the urban core of existing cities. But why not also open up empty rangeland for development? California, for example, is only 5 percent urbanized. Why not increase that by 50 percent? Recommission the San Onofre nuclear power plant, adding a few reactors. Raise the Shasta Dam by 200 feet, instead of today’s tepidly promoted, still politically unpalatable 18 feet. Then you’d have all the power and water you’ll ever need for millions of new residents, living in single-family dwellings, with private backyards.

Progress That Facilitates Freedom and Choice
Some people like to live in urban high rises. Others prefer homes with yards. That’s called choice. It’s also called freedom. It’s the blessing of capitalism and the American way. And facilitating the ability for the private sector to compete to make those choices available and affordable to anyone with a decent job, is the legitimate duty of government. The job of government emphatically is not coming up with all these theoretical crises and using them as an excuse to cram us into apartments, make us ride trains, and rig the system so that a mandated, constrained life is actually more expensive.

More caustic than Kammen’s dogmatism, or the ironic contradictions that inform his premises and his convictions, is his hypocrisy. Rather than suggest everyone else lose the opportunity to have a home with a yard, Kammen, who lives in a five-bedroom house on an expansive lot in the Oakland hills, is invited to move himself and his family into one of the new units to be offered in a six-story “economically diverse” condominium situated in a “transit village.” While he’s at it, let him get rid of his car, place his children in the nearest public school, and practice what he preaches. But don’t expect him to actually do it.

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: eqsk134 via Getty Images

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America • Donald Trump • Immigration • Infrastructure • Law and Order • Post

Human and Drug Smuggling Trends under Trump

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Historically, two major types of “contraband” come over the unsecured southwest border: economic migrants and marijuana. Any initiative predicated on closing the border using a market mechanism—including ours—has to deal with both people and drugs.

As luck would have it, cannabis legalization is crushing the marijuana smuggling business. Seizures of marijuana by Border Patrol over the unsecured border in 2019 will have dropped by 8 percent—80!—since the start of the Trump administration.  This year, marijuana seizures will stand at only 5 percent of their 2009 high. That’s incredible progress, and exactly the effect we’re looking to achieve using an analogous legalize-and-tax system for economic migrants.

But is it enough?  As the graph above shows, although marijuana seizures have plummeted, both border apprehensions and hard drug seizures will be nearly double the level of the last years of the Obama administration. Even if legalization ends marijuana and human smuggling, wouldn’t hard drug smuggling continue?

By and large, no.

Legalizing and taxing a prohibited item reduces related black market activity by 95 percent historically. Thus, border apprehensions per our model would fall from about 2,000 / day at present to 150 / day in a market-based system. This small band of residual border jumpers would face off against 26,000 Border Patrol agents, a laugh-out-loud ratio of 100 agents to every illegal crosser (on a daily basis at least). Smuggling hard drugs is not easy with those kind of odds.

Nor have hard drugs historically come across the open border. If apprehension rates of border jumpers are 55-70 percent, as we have discussed earlier, then smugglers would presumably lose that percentage of their contraband. By contrast, we estimate the interdiction rate of hard drugs at official crossing points in the range of 4 percent. That’s why 85 percent of hard drugs come through official crossing points, not over the unsecured border. With a 95 percent reduction in illegal border crossings, virtually all of the hard drug smuggling trade will be driven to official crossing points.

The legalization of marijuana demonstrates that we can close the southwest border using a market mechanism. We can end illegal immigration the same way.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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America • California • Democrats • Immigration • Infrastructure • Post • The Left

Democrats to Legal Voters: Drop Dead

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Since Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in January, they have unleashed a torrent of radical policy ideas. Among the most outrageous are the Green New Deal, “free” college tuition, and eliminating private healthcare in favor of a single-payer system. While bankrupt of erudition, these proposals serve a purpose to feed an angry political base with a steady diet of socialist red meat. More likely red tofu, as red meat would be restricted under the current ethos of social re-engineering sweeping our nation’s capital.

Now comes the most radical and dangerous idea yet. In pushing its H.R. 1 “For the People Act of 2019” election “reform” bill, House Democrats opposed a Republican measure that condemned voting in U.S. elections by illegal immigrants. With the exception of six brave souls, the House Democrats voted in lockstep to kill the measure.

That’s right, one of America’s two major political parties is now on the record supporting the voting rights of foreign nationals in U.S. elections. The gravity of this position should not be lost on legal American citizens who cherish their voting rights. If this policy were implemented, the value of American citizenship essentially would be rendered worthless. The American people would no longer have exclusive sovereignty over the direction of their nation. Anyone in the world, no matter their allegiance to our country or respect for its founding principles, would have as much say as you in determining America’s future and its leaders. That is a truly frightening idea that must be vehemently opposed.

Given the agenda of anti-borders groups and political leaders, this should not come as a shock. There has been a growing effort to mainstream the idea of noncitizen voting at the local level. The pioneer in this nefarious idea has been California, America’s noxious petri dish of radical, left-wing immigration policy. Last fall, San Francisco became the nation’s largest city to permit noncitizens to vote in local elections. This expanded voting was only allowed in the school board elections, but does anyone think it will stop there? The state’s new governor, Gavin Newsom, has proudly endorsed California’s status as a sanctuary for illegal aliens. He and state representatives in Sacramento no doubt will read the signals from the Democratic caucus in Washington as a green light to push onward.

Other sanctuary jurisdictions are following California’s lead. Chicago devised a cynical, back-door approach to noncitizen voting by creating an identification card for illegal aliens. Purportedly to allow access to basic needs in the city, the card is also accepted as a valid form of ID to register to vote. And to think the United States once sent former presidents and diplomats to monitor the electoral integrity of other nations! What high moral ground do we stand today on when this sort of chicanery is allowed to take place here?

These actions, the rejection of the House GOP measure in particular, should be taken as a malicious insult both to native-born American citizens and legal immigrants alike. Why? Power-hungry, narcissistic politicians have concluded that you, the American voter, cannot be counted on to vote a particular way—their way. Their solution is to import endless waves of foreign nationals in defiance of our immigration laws.

A vast majority of these arrivals have only lived under despotic, totalitarian regimes with no grounding in American democratic values. As such, these arrivals are ripe for exploitation: by politicians dangling benefits for votes, by employers seeking cheap labor at the expense of American workers, and by brutally violent members of gangs like MS-13 who hide in the same sanctuary communities among others living here illegally. As a final insult, the whole thing is packaged as compassion for the illegal aliens, while anyone who disagrees is branded as a low-brow, xenophobic hate merchant.

Happily, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said H.R. 1 is dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled chamber. The endorsement of noncitizen voting is only one among many of the bill’s many poison pill components. Rest assured, however, that the push for noncitizen voting will, like post-nuclear holocaust cockroaches, survive and resurface in a community near you. Stand strong against noncitizen voting and against any politician who advocates for it before complacency allows it to spread further.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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California • Identity Politics • Immigration • Infrastructure • Podcast • Progressivism • The Left

Video: Victor Davis Hanson on California in Collapse

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YouTuber “Conservative Resurgence” returns with another great video highlighting Victor Davis Hanson’s insights on the all the trouble progressives are making in California. Check it out.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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California • Democrats • Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Immigration • Infrastructure • Post

‘Immoral’ Wall Talk is Just Code for Open Borders

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Benjamin Franklin, one of the great intellects of America’s Federal Period, observed, “Love your neighbor; yet don’t pull down your hedge.” In other words, barriers to delineate borders are important—not “immoral,” as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would have us believe.

In spite of the inanity and incorrectness of Pelosi’s characterization, apparently it has been adopted as a talking point among more radical congressional Democrats, who dutifully repeat it whenever they’re within 30 feet of a microphone.

Taken to its logical extreme, fences, doors, and gates are immoral because they deny entry to other, equally deserving souls. Of course, this is reductio ad absurdum, taking an idea to its logical, yet ridiculous, conclusion. After all, even the Speaker shouldn’t have to allow anybody to walk in off the street and into her house. Or should she?

Let’s examine the moral implications of the two situations. The migrants are looking for better economic circumstances, which include shelter and sustenance. Doesn’t the homeless person walking past Pelosi’s house have the same needs? Both the migrants and the homeless face heightened risks due to crime. (For that matter, so do poor people who must live in bad neighborhoods, due to the cost of housing.) Both populations want to live free from fear.

The major difference between these two situations is that, especially in Pelosi’s San Francisco, there are extensive, government-provided social services to help our citizens. Many U.S. locales, including the Speaker’s, have even extended a number of those services to illegal non-citizens who have already penetrated our borders.

Therefore, to be morally consistent, should not Pelosi favor extending much of this social safety net to citizens of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, among the many others who aspire to cross our borders? (That would be reductio ad absurdum, again, except it is actually what we do, but in the form of foreign aid to corrupt and ineffective governments; the worst of both worlds.) After all, why reward those who break our laws (illegal migrants), but not those preferring a legal path to entry?

But if morality demands that we subsidize all the poor here, as well as those who might want to come here, is that not effectively declaring the border irrelevant to begin with? And how can the wall per se be the culprit? For how can a wall be immoral while border agents, drones, electronic sensors, and legal entry restrictions are posited by Pelosi as moral and lawful? That would be a mockery of morality.

To be consistent, therefore, the Pelosi version of morality should demand the erasure of borders and of allowing people to flow where resources are most plentiful and available. The logical result of that would be the depletion of resources by a rapidly increasing population until there is no longer an abundance of resources and largess to attract new entrants. This is analogous to locusts consuming a field of crops and moving on to the next. It implies that farmers who abandon their crops to locusts are the most moral of beings. Reductio ad absurdum, again.

It is interesting to ponder in the open-border scenario the morality of the impact on current citizens, a debate best left for another time. As a practical matter, with the exception of a few dozen House Democrats, the concept of open borders is politically unpalatable and untenable. Hence, a misdirection to “the immoral wall.”

Rejoining the real world from Planet Pelosi, perhaps it is appropriate to discuss what might be thought of as surrogates, or more limited alternatives, to open borders. One possibility would be to grant green cards to any family that can find a citizen willing to sign a binding contract to support them for their first five years in the United States. That should afford them adequate time to become independent and productive, and to learn English (after all, much of the world accords a priority to learning our language). It would not burden non-consenting citizens with the costs of immigration. (We offer that option merely for discussion, not to endorse it.)

Another option to avoid resource depletion would be to focus immigration on the highly skilled, who could readily support themselves and a family at the outset.

We confess that the previous sentence was a sort of trap: We already do that, of course. But maybe not enough. What we do know is that it works. But clearly surrogates are not enough for Speaker Pelosi and her band of radicals.

By resorting to the concept of morality and its logical corollary of open borders, Pelosi and her pals are opening Pandora’s Box. We would remind them of a simple truth: The richest societies tend to attract the poorest immigrants. Human nature seeks more than minimal advancement. Consider that the migrants populating the U.S.-bound “caravans” from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are not trying their luck in more prosperous nearby countries such as Costa Rica or Panama, and they are declining asylum in Mexico. They are bound for the great economic colossus of the United States.

The bottom line: Talk of an “immoral wall” is politician-speak for open borders, whether in her heart of hearts that’s what Speaker Pelosi really wants.

Photo Credit: Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images

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California • Center for American Greatness • Infrastructure • Post • Progressivism • The Culture

How to Make It Home in California: Rules for the Modern Odysseus

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I drove back from San Francisco not long ago to the rural San Joaquin Valley. It is only 200 miles. But in fact, it can feel like Odysseus trying to get back home to Ithaca from Troy.

Walking to the car in San Francisco was an early morning obstacle course dotted with the occasional human feces and lots of trash. The streets looked like Troy after its sacking. Verbal and physical altercations among the homeless offered background. The sidewalks were sort of like the flotsam and jetsam in the caves of the Cyclopes, with who knows what the ingredients really were. Outbreaks of hepatitis and typhus are now common among the refuse of California’s major cities.

The rules of the road in downtown San Francisco can seem pre-civilizational: the more law-abiding driver is considered timid and someone to be taken advantage of—while the more reckless earns respect and right of way. Pedestrians have achieved the weird deterrent effect of so pouring out onto the street in such numbers that drivers not walkers seemed the more terrified.

The 101 freeway southbound was entirely blocked by traffic—sort of like the ancient doldrums where ships don’t move. About 20 percent of the cars in the carpool lane seemed to be cheating—and were determined not to let in any more of like kind. The problem with talking on the phone and texting while driving is not just cars, but also semi-trucks, whose drivers go over the white line and weave as they please on the theory that no one argues with 20 tons of freight.

The trip can take over three hours in theory and often longer than six hours in practice. The rub is not just traffic. Road repair and expansion shuts down lanes (ironically replete with large signs bragging that the construction is proof of your tax dollars at work), often without little warning or guidance. Service stations along the way are usually overcrowded. Some of their restrooms also are premodern. I once stopped in one that had no toilet seat, one handle remaining on the water fixtures, no toilet paper, but plenty of unmentionables on the floor. In California, you sometimes request a key to enjoy the privilege of using such hospitality.

Last week I stopped at a quick stop and held the door open for a customer behind me, whose thanks was, “What the f— you looking at?” And I had deliberately not studied his roadmap of tattoos.

It is easy to catalogue the detritus alongside our green state’s highways—you see everything from shredded tires to car seats, plastic bags of trash, and abandoned cars. When I go cross country from I-5 to the 99 on two-lane roads, cross-traffic at stop signs will 10 percent of the time run the stop sign, and 20 percent make only a rolling stop. The Highway Patrol seems to pull over more and more upscale and new cars. Are those the most likely speeders, or it is a waste of time to write up tickets to those who do not have the visible means of paying fines, given California’s recent generous ticket amnesties?

How to Make it to Ithaca
For the California driver in the age of the post-apocalypse, the rules of the road and getting home are obvious.

1) Assume that a state with among the highest income, sales and gas taxes has commensurately among the nation’s worst roads. Therefore, do not become depressed by blood alleys, potholes, bullet-holed and graffiti stained road signs, or roads unchanged from a half-century ago when the population was less than half of what it is today. You are an adventurer on the frontier, not a complacent commuter or traveler. Approach the next few hours as a challenge rather than a nightmare. Envision a California road trip like Odysseus did his on voyage on the Aegean.

2) It is wiser not to use the restrooms on any California cross-country drive. Excrement can be many places other than in the toilet. Also, fill up before starting. Don’t count on finding gas stations that are not overcrowded or have all their pumps working—even the ones with national affiliations that look as inviting from the off-ramp as Circe’s smile.

My favorite is one where all the tiny glass windows at the pumps where the electronic instructions guide you are either broken or scratched out. My second favorite one was where the pump had no hose and no sign saying it had no hose. In California, you often fill up by holding the pump handle down nonstop, given the automatic levers are broken or missing. A state law requires emergency free air and water services for all gas station customers; perhaps because it’s mandatory, the air and water dispensers usually do not work.

3) Assume “Mad Max” conditions at any time. Contraptions can pose as vehicles in the most regulated vehicle state in the nation (there is a reason why the California DMV is dysfunctional). Cars can still tow each other, 1950s-style, with sagging rope. Expect a piece of lumber or a mattress to go Frisbee on every other trip. Anticipate that a quarter of the drivers have bad brakes, worse tires, and ignore or cannot read signs and posted warnings. The person who passes you at 90 miles per hour likely does not have a license, or registration, or insurance—or, perhaps, any of the three.

Remember that you will encounter pre-civilizational Laestrygonians at any moment who can cut you off, ram you from the rear, sideswipe you, slam on the brakes without warning, or as Lotus-eaters simply fall asleep or doze off in a drunken stupor. Recall that you are driving in a state of 40 million with roads designed for 20 million.

When passing or being passed, please do not look at the passed car—at least if it is one of the few without blacked out windows. If you do, the driver will speed up or cut you off. If you are sideswiped or hit in an intersection, expect that there is a 25 percent chance the offender will leave the scene of the accident (about half of all collisions in Los Angeles are hit-and-run).

4) Another percentage of the drivers seems incensed at the decline of their once Golden State, and they drive in a fit of controlled road rage. Yet an accidental cut-off, parking too close to their bumpers at a gas station, or expecting to be let in on a merging on-ramp—any of these scenarios trigger an Old West stand-off.

The story of California is not just that large percentages of Californians ignore the law, but rather that those who are law-abiding seem in a spasm of fury that they alone do honor the law, and they can be just as touchy in an accidental encounter. Consider them like Odysseus’s own crew: good people who are crazed by the long way home, and whose behavior cannot any longer be predicted. In their defense, they are not paranoid: remember that none of Odysseus’s crew made it to Ithaca.

5) Unfortunately, if you must stop and get out of the car, do not talk, smile, or chat with strangers. Consider them Sirens, Circes, and Calypsos who are not what they first seem. Watch especially the smiling guy (if you are unwise to stop to fill up) who approaches you with a melodious, “Hey, bro, how about a five?” Thousands of felons have been released from California jails and prisons. Millions over the last decades have arrived illegally from foreign countries. You know as much about them as Odysseus did the residents he encountered in North Africa or Sicily. So there is some likelihood of encountering a felon or criminal or someone who has no idea of U.S. customs and protocols at some point on your odyssey homeward.

6) Do not drive a “nice” car. Thieves may case it wherever you park. It will also draw the attention of a revenue hungry Highway Patrol on the road. Even when stationary, a Lexus or Mercedes provokes the state’s envious. Or it simply will be far too expensive to register or repair or insure because of those reasons and more. Remember, it is hard not to be dented if you drive a lot cross country. A seven-year old or more Toyota or Honda is the make to get you home.

7) Do not trust a GPS navigation system on California roads. The highways are so frequently under construction, or poorly maintained or inadequately mapped, that any computerized directions will eventually mislead at best and send you in circles at worst. California’s GPS is your Aeolus’s bag of the winds—but after they are all released and blow in all directions. In California, if you drive north or south, you can get home with delays; but if east or west, all bets are off.

8) Do not drive if possible in the fog or snow. Pull over if raining heavily. Californians demand year-round warm, clear, and dry weather. They have no expertise in adverse conditions—and no desire to learn. They drive in ice and fog at speeds as if they have radar—which they don’t. Hydroplaning is never considered. When signs say “chains required” it translates into oncoming twentysomethings in two-wheel light cars without chains or mud tires, spinning into your lane. My favorites are those who speed to 60 miles per hour in dense tule fog, honk or blink at you to speed up, pass, and then nearly stall in front of you in sudden whiteout fright.

9) Avoid driving after 10 p.m., the start of zombie time. Drivers appear then who are often inept, texting, or young. Even the more sober use the night hours to speed and make rolling stops. Still assume a quarter of the drivers are intoxicated or high: the intoxicated weave over the white line; the stoned radically change speeds without warning as they go in and out of awareness. Roads are so poorly maintained that even state construction sites often lack proper nocturnal warnings and you can be easily sucked into an open trench of a manmade Charybdis, or collide with cement and rebar—the sorts of liabilities that would get any private builder quickly sued.

California roads are dark at night, given that about a quarter of all freeway and intersection lights do not work, due either to poor maintenance or to copper wire thieves who have dethreaded them. At night please do not pull over, unless you wish to be in Scylla’s reach, and thus prey of some sort to a few people who will have a sudden interest in you.

10) Under no circumstances honk, flip off, or roll down the window at a wild and reckless California driver. Usually he is wild and reckless because he knows that California courts, from past experience, consider him a bad deal: he has no cash for fines, but incurs lots of costs to fine, jail, and lockup. The result is that he thinks he has nothing to lose and you the random passerby everything. And he reckons that the police agree. He is confident that his Laestrygonian California is the future, yours of the polis its past. And he may be right.

If you make it to Ithaca, expect, like Odysseus, that even then you are not quite home yet, given there are always surprises to come from your absence . . .

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: David McNew/Getty Images

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Big Media • Economy • Infrastructure • Post • Progressivism • the Flag • The Media

But, Seriously . . . Learn to Code

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This has been a week of massive layoffs at the online magazines of our era, Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. Having evolved from mere opinion journals, many of their news desks are being removed, perhaps 1,000 of their employees have been pink-slipped, and a flood of self-pitying tweets, which include a combination of calls for sympathy, requests for assistance in a job search, and groveling for financial assistance, have made their way around Twitter.

While most people find unemployment a traumatic experience when it hits them and one that naturally inspires sympathy when it happens to others, in place of that sympathy for these mostly young and very liberal journalists there has instead been a lot of schadenfreude—typically including the following not-so-friendly advice: learn to code.

Even President Trump stuck it to the recently unemployed, tweeting:

If the news concerned any other group of people, I might consider the president’s remarks impolitic and cruel. After all, like many people, I have long been an avid consumer of news and opinion, both in the pre-internet era and online. I even wrote for my high school newspaper, started a conservative journal in college, and now write as an avocation. And I have known people who have been unemployed, and I realize it’s one of the worst things that can happen to a person.

But I feel about as much sympathy for the snarky recently unemployed e-journalists as I do when mafia hitmen and gulag camp guards are out of work. Both of these affected online operations are malevolent cancers on our public life.

Smug Self-Righteousness as Job Description
Fake news is not just a hyperbolic slogan; it accurately conveys what a great deal of the mainstream media is about. Their M.O. consists of peddling half-truths, ginning up lynch mobs, doxing of private citizens for having politically incorrect opinions, and spreading lies to encourage harassment of conservatives.

A representative case is what transpired with the Covington Catholic boys. BuzzFeed received and released a series of carefully curated images and video that were designed to destroy these young men. The public was already well disposed to buy into the narrative, as it consisted of various archetypes that have been part of the leftist kultursmog of TV, movies, and our public education system for many decades, i.e., the noble Indian “elder,” white bully boys in MAGA hats, stalwart suffering Vietnam veterans, and racist Trump supporters. Their school, the dioceses, and the moribund legacy conservative media all bought into the initial spin and issued condemnations. The facts were irrelevant, as was the youth and immaturity of the “perpetrators,” even assuming this fantasy story had happened the way the mob organizers imagined. No restraint or sympathy was present whatsoever. In fact, BuzzFeed’s Anne Peterson attacked Covington student Nicholas Sandmann for the crime of smiling while white.

Whether it was the recent Covington Catholic High School incident, the release of the completely unverified Steele Dossier of 2016, or the organization of a hate campaign against a Chipotle manager falsely accused of racism—these journals and similar publications have caused incalculable harm and almost no good, as they move quickly to condemn anyone or anything that can be shoehorned into being the villain of a leftist narrative. Even more irritating, they do all of these things with the most extreme lack of self-awareness conceivable.

Normally, I do not favor retaliation of any kind for the expression of personal or political opinions. Free speech as a legal matter has little value and will soon disappear if it is not bolstered by a “live and let live” culture of free speech. Moreover, anonymity is important in these times of thin skins and sharp knives, and doxing should not be routine, nor ever used in cases outside of real crimes and threat of violence. But the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed journals do not favor such a culture; in fact, they believe the world is a better place when the Right is harassed, doxed, dehumanized, and “deplatformed.” They are, in effect, the streetfighters, promoting the same multicultural, politically correct ideology as CNN and the New York Times in a more vulgar and reckless way.

Disruption Across the Board
The economy is always changing. Journalism, particularly, is a hard-hit field, and the hard times predate the rise and fall of these purely online journals. The internet moved print journals online, and they have failed to recover lost advertising revenue, having been hit by a combination of fewer subscribers, more widely available online content, and competition from websites unrelated to news and opinion writing diverting potential advertising revenue.

Of course, the internet has been disruptive to other industries as well. Mom-and-pop retail stores have been decimated by the ruthless price efficiencies of the Walmarts and Amazons of the world. Before the internet, factory workers in manufacturing lost many jobs due to the twin pressures of automation and low-cost manufacturing in China, as well as the short-sighted designs of their own unions.

Some of these job losses were also accelerated by public policy, specifically high rates of immigration, free trade policies indifferent to structural unemployment, and Draconian environmental regulations. But the structural unemployment of local retail outlets, factory workers, coal miners, and other “old economy” jobs occasioned little sympathy from the gang at Huffington Post and BuzzFeed.

Their techno-utopianism said this was all for the greater good and that these backwards people from the heartland probably had it coming due to their endemic racism and prejudice. Most unseriously, dozens of articles proposed these out-of-work 50-year-old coal miners and factory workers with high school diplomas “learn to code.” President Obama even endorsed the idea long before it became hate speech on Twitter.

This raises the question, of course, why did these journalists not learn to code already? Could it be that they were not capable or interested in doing it? Or could it be that even this job was too unstable, open to competition from H1Bs who could undercut wages through the simple expedient of a visa? Could it be that these coding jobs failed to leverage their advantages and were subject to wage pressure from young people and women, who are more interested in office work than in coal mining, lumberjacking, and factory work?

Everyone knows unemployment is a bad thing. Remember the maudlin account of the delayed federal workers’ pay? But I can’t forget Hillary’s obnoxious blaming of the victim with her claim that the middle of the country was simply less dynamic, rather than a territory hobbled by the public policies that she and the Huffington Posts and BuzzFeeds of the world championed. “Learn to code” is unrealistic advice, which is precisely why the aggrieved have pushed it back into the faces of the self-pitying laid-off journalists. As one would expect, it was not well received.

“Learn to code” is today’s equivalent of “let them eat cake.” It’s no less obnoxious and unrealistic when conveyed to out-of-work BuzzFeed and Huffington Post writers than it was when originally thrown at  truck drivers, factory workers, and coal miners. But it is so much more deserved.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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California • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Immigration • Infrastructure • Post • Progressivism • The Left

The Destruction of Venice Beach Epitomizes California’s Idiocracy

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Venice Beach, California, used to be one of California’s great places. A Bohemian gem, nestled against the sand between big Los Angeles and the vast Pacific Ocean. Rents used to be a little lower in Venice compared to other coastal neighborhoods. The locals mingled with surfers, artists, street performers, and tourists. People from suburbs further inland migrated to Venice’s beaches on sunny weekends year-round. Venice was affordable, inviting, inclusive. That was then.

Today, Venice Beach is off limits to families who used to spend their Saturdays on the sand. It’s too dangerous. On the sand, beached seaweed now mingles with syringes, feces, broken glass, and other trash, and the ocean has become the biggest outdoor toilet in the city. More than 1,000 vagrants now consider Venice Beach their permanent home. At the same time as real estate values exploded all along the California coast, the homeless population soared. In Venice, where the median price of a home is $2.1 million, makeshift shelters line the streets and alleys, as the affluent and the indigent fitfully coexist.

What has happened in Venice is representative of what’s happened to California. If progressives take back the White House in 2020, it will be America’s fate.

Laws Raise Costs
California’s cost-of-living is driving out all but the very rich and the very poor, a problem that is entirely the result of policies enacted by California’s progressive elite. They reduce to two factors, both considered beyond debate in the one-party state. First, to supposedly prevent catastrophic climate change, along with other environmental concerns, California’s restrictive laws such as the California Environmental Quality Act, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act make it expensive and time consuming to construct new homes. These laws also decrease the availability of entitled land, which further increases costs to developers.

At the same time, California has become a magnet for the welfare cases of America and the expatriates of the world. According to a 2018 report (presenting 2015 data, the most recent available) issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, of the 4.2 million recipients in America of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Security Income, an amazing 43 percent of them live in California. That’s more than 1.8 million people. According to the liberal Public Policy Institute of California, as of 2016, California was also home to 2.6 million undocumented immigrants. Could California’s promise of health coverage for undocumented immigrants, or sanctuary state laws, have anything to do with this?

When you enact policies to restrict supply (to save the planet) and increase demand (invite the world to move in), which is exactly what California has done, housing will become unaffordable. Supply oriented solutions are relatively simple. Stop protecting all open space, everywhere, from development. Invest in public-private partnerships to increase the capacity of energy, water, and transportation infrastructure, instead of rationing water, “going solar,” and “getting people out of their cars.” Reform public employee retirement benefits instead of incessantly raising taxes and fees to feed the pension funds. It’s that simple.

Unfortunately, in California, nothing is simple. In 2006, the notoriously liberal Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Jones v. City of Los Angeles ruled that law enforcement and city officials can no longer enforce the ban on sleeping on sidewalks anywhere within the Los Angeles city limits until a sufficient amount of permanent supportive housing could be built.

And what is “permanent supportive housing” for the more than 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles? In 2016, 76 percent of Los Angeles voters approved the $1.2 billion Measure HHH to “help finance the construction of 10,000 units of affordable permanent-supportive housing over the next 10 years.”

The passage of Measure HHH raises many questions. Most immediately, why hasn’t much of the money been spent? As reported by NPR’s Los Angeles affiliate in June, “so far only three of 29 planned projects have funds to begin construction.” Worse, the costs have skyrocketed. According to the NPR report:

When voters passed the bond measure, they were told new permanent supportive housing would cost about $140,000 a unit. But average per unit costs are now more than triple that. The PATH Ventures project in East Hollywood has an estimated per-unit cost of $440,000. Even with real estate prices soaring, that’s as much as a single-family home in many places in Southern California. Other HHH projects cost more than $500,000 a unit.

Demand Outpaces Supply
Spending a half-million dollars to build one basic rental unit to get a homeless family out of the rain sounds like something a bloated new bureaucracy might achieve, and even in high-priced California there’s no other way to explain this level of waste. What about the private sector?

A new privately funded development company, Flyaway Homes, has debuted in Los Angeles with the mission of rapidly providing housing for the homeless. Using retrofitted shipping containers, the companies modular approach to apartment building construction is purported to streamline the approval process and cut costs. But the two projects they’ve got underway are not cheap.

Their 82nd Street Development will cost $4.5 million to house 32 “clients” in a 16 two-bedroom, 480 square foot apartments. That’s $281,250 per two-bedroom apartment. The firm’s 820 W. Colden Ave. property will cost $3.6 million to house 32 clients in eight four-bedroom apartments. That’s $450,000 per apartment.

Is this the best anyone in L.A. can do? Because if it is, it’s not going to work.

Let’s accept the far fetched notion that $5 billion could be found quickly to construct housing for the 50,000 homeless people in Los Angeles, and this could be finished within a few years. Does anyone think the growth in subsidized housing would keep pace with the growth in the population of homeless? Why, when California is a sanctuary state, a magnet for welfare cases, and has the most forgiving winter weather in America?

One may take issue with the whole concept of taxpayer subsidized housing, but that is almost beside the point. There are more urgent strategic questions that aren’t being honestly confronted in California. For example:

Why is the national average construction cost per new apartment unit somewhere between $65,000 and $85,000, yet it costs five to 10 times that much in Los Angeles?

Is it wise to have subsidized housing that is of better quality than the apartments that many hard working Californians occupy and pay for without benefit of subsidies?

Why has there been no serious attempt to get useful statistics on the homeless population, in order to apply different approaches depending on who they are? For example, how many of them are mentally ill, or criminals, or substance abusers, or sexual predators, or undocumented immigrants, or willfully homeless with other housing options, or hard working sane people who have encountered hard times (yes, “intersectionality” would exist among these categories)?

Why not immediately allocate open land to create campsites where the homeless can move their tents and belongings, to get them off the streets?

Why not then study the refugee camps set up around the world, an activity where U.S. NGOs have in-depth expertise, and replicate these in areas of L.A. County where there is cheaper, available land? These semi-permanent structures are far less expensive than solutions currently offered.

Does inviting millions from impoverished, politically unstable nations help those nations, when for every person who makes his way to California, thousands remain? And if not, why not directly help the people who are staying in those nations, which would be far more cost-effective?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to moderate the inflow of unskilled workers across the border into California, in order to eliminate the oversupply of cheap labor which depresses wages? Wouldn’t that be better than mandating a higher minimum wage?

Doesn’t offering welfare and subsidized housing to people capable of work make it unlikely they will ever seek work? While striking a balance is a compassionate necessity, has that balance perhaps been violated, since California is home to 43 percent of America’s welfare recipients?

When will California loosen restrictions on land development and building code mandates, in order to bring the cost of new housing construction back down towards national averages?

When will the elected officials in a major California city stand up to the litigants who use the Ninth Circuit to impose rulings such as Jones v. City of Los Angeles, and take a case to the U.S. Supreme Court? While many homeless people have genuine stories of hardship and bad luck, must we be forced to cede to all of them our most desirable public spaces?

No Good Resolution in Sight
What has happened in Los Angeles is a perfect storm of progressive pressure groups and rent-seeking bureaucrats and profiteers, working together to amass money, power, and prestige. If they were efficiently solving the problem, that would be just fine. But they aren’t, and until they accept tough answers to tough questions, they never will.

As Venice Beach continues to reel from the impact of the homeless invasion, Los Angeles city officials are fast-tracking the permit process to build a homeless shelter on 3.2 acres of vacant city-owned property less than 500 feet from the beach. This property, nestled in the heart of Venice’s upscale residential and retail neighborhoods, if commercially developed, would be worth well over $200 million. Shelter capacity? About 100 people.

In a less utopian, less corrupt society, that single property could be sold, and the proceeds could be used to set up and monitor a tent city housing thousands, if not tens of thousands of people. But not in California. Under the warm sun, against the indifferent ocean, the idiocracy endures.

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images

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America • Center for American Greatness • China • Donald Trump • Infrastructure • military • Post

The Space Force Is No Laughing Matter

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Steve Carrell is set to star in a new comedy for Netflix called “Space Force.” Dubbed by the show’s creators (Carrell and British comedy writer-producer Greg Daniels) as “‘The Office’ in space,” the buzz surrounding the show has been electric. As a diehard fan of “The Office” (particularly during the Steve Carrell years), I am sure that the show will be entertaining. Yet as a space policy analyst, I cannot help but be worried about the implications of this series.

Let’s face it: most people don’t care about space. Many Americans understandably are more concerned about issues they think have more to do with life on this planet, like putting food on the table. To them, space is just a distant and desolate place whence colorful pictures originate but not much else.

When I worked on Capitol Hill, several members of Congress routinely would respond to my pleas for a greater focus on space issues with classic American ambivalence: “Who’s going to spend money on that?”

It was only a matter of time before space moved from its revered place in the American imagination, to the transitory position of an “out-of-sight and out-of-mind,” “been there, done that” irrelevance. Foolishly, but understandably, Americans now feel comfortable laughing  at what we once called the “Space Age.” Unfortunately—to paraphrase what Trotsky once said of war—you might not be interested in space, but space is interested in you.

More accurately, the Chinese (along with the Russians and several other malign actors) increasingly are interested in space at a moment we are not.

So, what’s the big deal? Why can’t we just take the comedic route and laugh at the cosmos while we wallow in the mud down here?

Put simply, much of what we do “down here” depends very much upon what we can do “up there.”

Today, the United States relies disproportionately on space-based systems—satellite constellations—more than any other country. Nearly every electronic signal that keeps our advanced society functioning passes through space. This has advanced our society, to be sure, but it has also made us vulnerable. America’s enemies, while they too are becoming reliant on satellites, are still nowhere near as dependent on them as we are. This provides a key strategic opportunity to any adversary willing to exploit it.

And, the Chinese are planning to do just that.

Should a conflict erupt between the two sides, the Chinese have plans to disrupt and destroy American satellite constellations critical to our defense. By rendering American forces (and, potentially, the civilian sector as well) deaf, dumb, and blind, the Chinese hope to make the United States nothing more than a hapless giant on Earth, allowing them to achieve a surprise victory over our armed forces.

Further, the Chinese recognize the potential limitless value that space offers their economy. To maintain the “Chinese economic miracle,” their economy requires resources. China has spent decades gaining access (and, in some cases, monopolies) over crucial albeit limited natural resources and rare minerals. Wherever there are natural resources on Earth—even in Antarctica—the Chinese are making bold moves to capture them. They are taking the same logic to space.

Right now, China has deployed the Chang’e-4 lunar rover on the dark side of the moon. They’ve made history for having placed the first manmade object on that previously unexplored part of the moon. The goal is to collect samples of the lunar soil and to run a suite of experiments, such as growing cotton seeds on the moon.

While the Chinese are engaged in a scientific endeavor, they have ulterior motives with their lunar exploration program: Beijing wants to figure out if a manned lunar mining colony would be viable. If such an undertaking is deemed feasible by Beijing, Chinese personnel, mining equipment, and weapons inevitably will land on the lunar surface with as much dedication as Chinese forces have expanded illegally into the South China Sea, in some cases creating whole new islands.

It’s believed that the world’s first trillionaire will come from the nascent space mining sector. Not only would dominating space provide China key economic advantages over its rivals on Earth, it would also provide Beijing with critical strategic dominance over the United States. China could threaten American satellites; it would benefit disproportionately from the technology boom that would follow its massive investment in space development; and Beijing could also place strategic weapons in orbit, blockading access to nations China dislikes.

China’s investment in their robust space program has been smaller than the American investment into space. Although, the Chinese investment is better focused on projects that would yield tangible, military, economic, and scientific advantages. At a time when an integrated, strategic approach to space policy is needed in the United States, the American people are given anything but.

The Trump Administration (like many of its predecessors) talks big about space. But in terms of action, it has little to show. Meanwhile, in Beijing, the Chinese effort continues apace with their advanced plans for dominating space—and us.

The president’s space force idea is not new—and it should be taken seriously. But because everyone hates Trump in the media, in academia, and in the government, the concept will be marginalized and ultimately abandoned. While the “creatives” in Hollywood give Americans a comedic view of space and of those who would take it seriously, the Chinese people are reinforced in the belief that it is their rightful place to take space and hold it.

As time goes on, America’s dithering over a meaningful space policy will leave this strategic domain—the ultimate high ground—open to whichever country has the gumption to take it.

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Netflix

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America • Center for American Greatness • Cities • Economy • Energy • Environment • Europe • Immigration • Infrastructure • Post • The Culture • The Left

Twilight of the Malthusians

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Thomas Malthus was an English cleric and scholar living in the early 19th century who developed the theory that global population increases exponentially, while global production increases arithmetically. His theory—and the eventual collapse of civilization that it implies—enjoys influence to this day. In California, it found early expression in a 1976 speech by Governor Jerry Brown, who announced that we had entered an “era of limits.” For more than 40 years now, influential politicians such as Brown, supported by like-minded environmentalists, have embraced the Malthusian vision. But an alternative exists.

First, global population growth was only increasing “exponentially” for a few decades in the middle of the 20th century. As the chart below indicates, using data from the United Nations, the annual rate of global population growth peaked in 1980 at just over 2 percent. Since then, it has already dropped to half that rate, estimated at around 1 percent per year in 2020. By the end of this century, global population is projected to be growing at a decidedly “arithmetic” rate of under 0.2 percent per year.

At the same time that the rate of global population growth is slowing significantly, global productivity continues to increase. Virtually all recent estimates—World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations—forecast global GDP growth to exceed 3 percent per year into the foreseeable future. This rate of growth is low by historical standards and, notwithstanding temporary disruptions caused by future recessions, is likely to be much higher over the next several decades. Put another way, the rate of global wealth creation currently exceeds the rate of human population increase by at least 50 percent, and that ratio is likely to improve over the long-term.

Enough Resources to Sustain Global Economic Growth?
By now, most Malthusians have to acknowledge that global population is leveling off, but they will nonetheless assert that too many people are already here, and there simply aren’t enough resources left on Planet Earth to fuel long-term economic growth. But the prevailing challenge facing humanity when confronted with resource constraints is not that we are running out of resources, but how we will adapt and create new and better solutions to meet the needs that currently are being met by what are arguably scarce or finite resources. If one accepts this premise, that we are not threatened by diminishing resources, but rather by the possibility that we won’t successfully adapt and innovate to create new resources, a completely different perspective on resource scarcity and resource management may emerge.

Across every fundamental area of human needs, history demonstrates that as technology and freedom are advanced, new solutions evolve to meet them. Despite tragic setbacks of war or famine that provide examples to contradict this optimistic claim, overall the lifestyle of the average human being has inexorably improved across the centuries. While it is easy to examine specific consumption patterns today and suggest we now face a tipping point wherein shortages of key resources will overwhelm us, if one examines key resources one at a time, there is a strong argument that such a catastrophe, if it does occur, will be the result of war, corruption, or misguided adherence to counterproductive ideologies, and not because there were not solutions readily available through human creativity and advancing technology.

Energy, water, and land are, broadly speaking, the three resources one certainly might argue are finite and scrupulously must be managed. But in each case, a careful examination provides ample evidence to contradict this claim.

Abundant Energy: According to the most recent BP Statistical Review of World Energy, proven reserves of fossil fuel could provide enough energy to serve 100 percent of worldwide energy requirements at a total annual rate of consumption twice what is currently consumed for at least another 367 years. That is based on adding together the known reserves of the three primary fossil fuels. Using natural gas exclusively, 27 years; oil, 90 years; coal, 250 years. Moreover, additional reserves of fossil fuel are being discovered faster than fossil fuel is being depleted. And this abundance of available fossil fuel is estimated without accounting for vast deposits of so-called unconventional reserves such as methane hydrates.

In addition to fossil fuel, there are proven sources of energy such as nuclear and hydroelectric power, and new sources of energy including wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, that have the potential to scale up to provide comparable levels of power production. And then there is the eventual promise of limitless, clean fusion power, and perhaps other sources of energy we can’t yet imagine. With these many energy alternatives, combined with relentless improvements in energy efficiency, it is difficult to imagine human civilization ever running out of energy.

Abundant Water: In many regions of the world, the challenge of meeting projected water needs appears more daunting than the challenge of producing adequate energy. But fresh water is not a finite resource. There are countless areas throughout the world where desalination technology can provide water in large quantities—in 2017 over 24 billion cubic meters of the world’s fresh water was obtained through desalination, an amount equivalent to 5 percent of all urban water use worldwide in that year. For large urban users, desalination is affordable and requires surprisingly little energy input.

Another way to provide abundant water is to redirect large quantities of river water via inter-basin transfers from water-rich areas to water poor areas. Finally, water is never truly used up, it is continuously recycled, and by treating and reusing water, particularly in urban areas, there should never be water scarcity.

With water, as with energy, innovation is providing solutions heretofore unimaginable. Densely populated urban areas around the world are turning to high-rise agriculture, where food is grown indoors using water that is perpetually recycled, fertilizer from waste streams, with zero need for pesticides.

Abundant Land: The question of finding adequate land for humans is clearly different from that of finding energy or water, since unlike energy or water, land is truly finite. But even here, key trends indicate land is now becoming more abundant, not less abundant. This is because for decades, all over the world, people have been migrating into densely populated cities. Using World Bank data, as summarized on the bar chart, the global rural population (red) has slowly increased from 2 billion in 1960 to an estimated 3.4 billion in 2020. By 2050, the rural population worldwide is actually expected to decrease, back down to 3.1 billion.

Meanwhile, the global urban population has accommodated nearly all population growth over the past sixty years. These urban populations are concentrated in megacities that, while vast, consume a small fraction of land area on earth. In 1960, humanity’s 1 billion urban dwellers constituted only 34 percent of the global population. By 2050, an estimated 6.6 billion people will live in cities, comprising 68 percent of all humanity. Moreover, this transition has been voluntary. Most people apparently prefer the amenities and opportunities of urban life.

This massive voluntary migration to cities from rural areas, combined with new agricultural innovations, is depopulating landscapes faster than what remains of human population growth will fill them. This seismic shift in the distribution of humans on earth, combined with new high yield crops, aquaculture, and urban high-rise agriculture, promises a decisive and very positive shift from land scarcity to land abundance in the next 25-50 years.

The Ideology of Abundance vs. the Ideology of Scarcity
If one accepts the possibility that humanity is not on a collision course with resource scarcity, entirely new ways of looking at policy options are revealed. Rather than attempting to manage demand, based on the premise that supplies are finite, we might also manage supply by increasing production. While, for example, utility pricing might still be somewhat progressive, if we assume resources will not run out, it doesn’t have to be punitive. If someone wishes to use more energy or water than their neighbor, if their pricing isn’t so punitive as to effectively ration their consumption, but instead is only moderately progressive, then overconsumption leads to higher profit margins at the utility, which in-turn finances more investment in supplies.

Another consequence of rejecting the Malthusian conventional wisdom is a new understanding of what may truly motivate many powerful backers of the doomsday lobby. By limiting consumption through claiming resources are perilously scarce and by extracting them we may destroy the earth, the vested interests who control the means of production will tighten their grip on those means.

Instead of pluralistically investing in this last great leap forward to build megacities and infrastructure for the future—in the process extracting raw materials that either can be recycled or are renewable—the public entities and powerful corporations who benefit from scarcity will raise prices and defer investment. It is the interests of the emergent classes, whether they are entrepreneurs in prosperous, advanced economies, or the aspiring masses in developing nations, which are harmed the most by the Malthusian notion of inevitable scarcity.

Abundance is a choice, and it is a choice the privileged elite must make—in order for humanity to achieve abundance, elites must accept the competition of disruptive technologies, the competition of emerging nations, and a vision of environmentalism that embraces resource development and rejects self-serving anti-growth alarmist extremism. The irony of our time is that the policies of socialism and extreme environmentalism do more harm than good both to ordinary people and the environment, while enabling wealthy elites to perpetuate their position of privilege at the same time as they embrace the comforting but false ideology of scarcity.

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images

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America • Center for American Greatness • Democrats • Donald Trump • Immigration • Infrastructure • Post • the Presidency

America’s Southern Border Isn’t Just a Crisis, It’s a Disgrace

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Why have Democrats shut down—or at least partially shut down—the federal government rather than approve partial funding for a wall along the southern border? President Trump’s  $5.7 billion request is a trivial sum, amounting to a bit more than one-tenth of 1 percent of the federal budget. It’s far less than the amount we give to Latin American countries in handouts every year and it’s part of a sacred commitment government has to defend our border, uphold our laws, and protect our people.

President Trump described a humanitarian crisis at the border contrived by Democrats with the active complicity of misguided Republicans who think that attracting a helot class from Latin America to clean their houses, mow their lawns, and drive down wages for low-skill jobs is some sort of capitalist charity scheme that signals their virtue. It isn’t.

In fact, it’s inhumane. How can we describe the human trafficking racket that transports so many of these people here, including many thousands involved in the sex trade or forced into servitude for the cartels,  as anything other than a modern slave trade?

And it comes with all of the violence and degradation you would expect. For example, a 2017 report by Doctors Without Borders says that “1 in 3 women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.” And in 2016 over 20,000 children crossed the border alone and were apprehended by ICE. For what purpose are children being sent without their parents across the desert in the custody of gangsters? There is no good answer. The solution is to stop enticing people north with hopes of off-the-books jobs, fake IDs, access to American welfare programs, and a potential future amnesty.

What these virtue signalers are really engaging in is not charity or mercy; it is the strip mining of Latin America’s most valuable assets—its people—and the break-up of families and traditional cultures and social structures for their own purposes.

To make matters worse, they are creating social and economic crises for their fellow Americans. Not that they see displaced Rust Belt workers, broken working class families, or unemployed and underemployed men across the country as fellow Americans. They’re just anonymous economic inputs who can be replaced by a cheaper model or, worse, just losers who can be ignored and vilified as deplorables and bitter clingers. That’s a violation of the social compact.

Harvard economist George Borjas notes just one example of the economic depredations suffered by America’s lower and middle classes thanks to illegal migration: “According to census data, immigrants admitted in the past two decades lacking a high school diploma have increased the size of the low-skilled workforce by roughly 25 percent. As a result, the earnings of this particularly vulnerable group dropped by between $800 and $1,500 each year.” And then there’s the crime.

In the past two years, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service arrested 266,000 illegal aliens with criminal records (127,992 in 2017 and 138,177 in 2018). That number included nearly 100,000 violent assaults, 4,000 murders, 30,000 sex crimes. Pause for a moment and think about that. Every one of those crimes was entirely avoidable, unnecessary, and the result of government’s failure to perform it’s most solemn duty: protecting the lives of its citizens.

Worse, our government allowed, even promoted, immigration policies that led to violence upon and death of Americans in the pursuit of money and votes. Remember that every time someone tells you open borders are compassionate.

Many millions of people have entered the United States illegally and remain here openly violating our laws. They work illegally, drive illegally, consume public services, and displace Americans, especially working class Americans, from their jobs. Even that’s not enough for elites and political operators eager to replace natives with a new population more to their liking.

Right now, states and cities across the country are pushing legislation that would give illegal aliens the right to vote (though many already do so illegally), which distorts our elections and deprives Americans of their rightful representation. Gavin Newsom, California’s new governor, has called his entire state a “sanctuary,” while New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio is adding the Big Apple’s illegal migrants to the city’s Medicaid rolls and sticking citizens with the bill.

At the same time, President Trump said on January 4 that people “can apply to come into our country legally, like so many people have done. And we need people. Major. We have to have people. Because we have all these companies coming in. We need great people. But we want them to come in on a merit basis, and they have to come in on a merit basis. They can’t come in the way they’ve been coming in for years.” He’s right, but that’s not what’s happening.

The much-publicized “migrant caravans” from Central America are being financed by a coalition of left-wing NGOs with the express purpose of breaking our laws. This is immoral and should be condemned. The people involved in it are bad actors who upend the lives of the people they enroll in these caravans and use as human props in American political battles. And what’s so wrong with Latin America anyway? A more moral and sustainable approach would be to encourage these same people to develop their own countries.

Would someone whose entire way of life in a new country is based upon breaking that country’s laws make a good citizen, a good partner in self-government? Certainly not. And there are between 10.5 and 22 million illegal aliens living that way in the United States. That is unsustainable.

Speaking to the nation from the Oval Office, President Trump, explained the moral responsibility of our government to each of us as citizens when he said that people, “don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside. The only thing that is immoral is for the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.”

Likewise, he has repeatedly reminded his detractors that Americans have dreams too, and it is the job of government to create a civic, cultural, and political environment in which they can pursue them. A secure border, sensible immigration rules that are consistently enforced will help build a high trust society in which voluntary associations and individual initiative create rich communities. The current chaos wreaks havoc on our communities and on individual lives. Look no further than police office Ronil Singh who was gunned down in the line of duty. Officer Singh immigrated legally to the United States with his family. He did it the right way and added to his community and to the nation. Gustavo Perez Arriago, an illegal alien and Mexican national, did not and now stands  accused of his murder. The choice is clear. Will we stand with Americans like Officer Singh or with those who believe that allowing Arriago into the country is just a cost of doing business. The time to act is now.

Henry Olsen, a scholar at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a columnist here at American Greatness has explained that illegal migration pushes normal American citizens into economic competitions they cannot win. That’s fundamentally unfair, especially as those same forces also upend their communities, strain social services, and undermine the basic requirements and expectations of self-government. Meanwhile so-called conservatives defend this insanity in the name of a misunderstood devotion to markets or addiction to cheap, peasant labor. They seem to have forgotten that America is a country with an economy, not the other way around. And losing sight of that basic truth they’re destroying the basis of our shared liberty and prosperity. That is not just a national crisis, it’s a disgrace, and President Trump is right to insist that Congress act to protect the American people.

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 licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

Photo Credit: Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty Images

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Conservatives • Democrats • Donald Trump • Immigration • Infrastructure • Post

Trump Can Build the Wall—and Should!

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Perhaps because of his long-standing NeverTrump bias, David French’s latest essay in National Review (“No, Trump Can’t Use an Emergency Declaration To Build a Wall”) really bolloxed the legal analysis surrounding President Trump’s authority to build a wall upon declaration of a national emergency. So instead of Trump’s trial balloon being “a lawless abuse of power that will almost certainly be blocked by the courts,” as French claims, the Supreme Court would most certainly uphold the president’s exercise of power conferred on him by the Congress, should he elect to exercise it.

French begins with a straw man, rebutting an argument that Trump himself has not made, namely, that the president has inherent authority of the sort Harry Truman attempted to exercise during the Korean War to nationalize the steel industry during a labor strike. The Supreme Court rejected Truman’s assertion of inherent authority in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952), noting there was no specific statute authorizing the president’s actions. But here, there are statutes at play, which make the whole first part of French’s argument beside the point.

French does eventually turn to these statutes, but even here, he misconstrues their meaning and ignores a key piece of statutory authority that Congress itself has provided. Even the liberal Brennan Center for Justice and the New York Times have acknowledged that those statutes give the president the authority he needs to direct existing appropriations toward construction of a border security wall, once he has declared a national emergency.

First there is section 201 of the National Emergencies Act of 1976. Contrary to the claim made by the leader of the “Impeach Trump” crowd in the U.S. House,  Representative Adam Schiff, that the president has no authority to declare a national emergency, this statute specifically authorizes him to do so. And it is an authority that has been exercised by every President since the law’s passage. President Bush exercised it in the wake of 9/11, for example, and President Obama used the statute to declare a national emergency in 2009 in response to a swine flu outbreak.

The declaration of a national emergency by the president then triggers a host of additional powers conferred by law. Most significant among them for the present dispute is 33 U.S.C. § 2293, which allows the secretary of defense to redirect funds from any existing military construction project and apply them “to construct or assist in the construction, operation, maintenance, and repair of authorized civil works, military construction, and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense,” as long as the national emergency “requires or may require use of the Armed Forces.”

French rightly claims that this provision allows for the redirection of funds only to projects that are both “authorized” and “essential,” but then erroneously claims that “A new or expanded border barrier has not been authorized by any lawful process.” That is simply not true.

Congress did authorize construction of a wall covering between 700 and 835 miles of the 1,954-mile U.S.-Mexico border when it passed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 by large, bipartisan majorities. The vote in the House was 283 to 138, with 64 Democrats supporting the measure. The vote in the Senate was even more lopsided: 80-19, with “yea” votes from 25 Democrat Senators, including Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. And President Bush signed the bill into law.

By the time President Obama put a freeze on the fence project shortly after taking office in 2009, only 580 miles of fence had been completed. Of that, about 300 miles or so is “vehicle barrier fencing” , which does not meet the statutory requirement for “reinforced fencing” capable of carrying out the statutory mandate “to prevent unlawful entry by aliens into the United States.” At the very least, then, another 400 to 500 miles or so of border fence (new or upgraded to the statutory standard) has already been authorized.

A second statute, 10 U.S.C. § 284, expressly gives the secretary of defense the authority to “provide support for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime of any other” federal, state, local, or tribal governmental agency by, among other things, “Construction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.” French doesn’t mention that statute, but it clearly authorizes “fences . . . to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.”

Even without such authorizations, another statute triggered by a declaration of national emergency is 10 U.S.C. § 2808, which specifically authorizes the Secretary of Defense to “undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law,” as long as the national emergency “requires use of the armed forces,” and the construction projects “are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.”

With 800 active duty and 2,100 national guard troops already deployed to the border to deal with the growing crisis, and another 1,900 national guard troops authorized last April by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis, it is evident that the president has already determined that border security operations “require” the use of the armed forces, a determination unlikely to be second-guessed by the Supreme Court. And it is equally unlikely that the Supreme Court would second-guess the determination that a wall is “necessary to support such use of the armed forces” in carrying out their border-security mission.

French at least cites this statute, but discounts it, claiming that the latter language “strongly implies that the funding would be reserved for projects that benefit the military.” (Emphasis his). French is mistaken. The authority here is for support of the mission (the “use of the armed forces”) that the military is required to undertake, not simply to support the military. If the president and the secretary of defense determine that securing the border requires use of the armed forces, and determine further that building a border fence is necessary to support that use of the military, that mission falls well within this statutory authority.

Some hyper-partisan lower court undoubtedly will disagree, but it is extremely unlikely the Supreme Court would second guess the commander-in-chief on such a matter.

Photo Credit: Carlos Barria-Pool/Getty Images

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Infrastructure • Post • Technology

Department of Commerce Pushes Online Open Borders

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With all the talk of data and privacy, of Chinese and Russian hackers and election meddling and intellectual theft, cybersecurity should be—indeed, must be—an absolute priority for Trump Administration. Whether it’s the Internet of Things, the real threat of Chinese influence on the 5G networks, or the more simple yet painful cyber attacks on Americans, it’s time for the government to get serious about cyberwarfare and cybercrime.

Take, for example, the fact that many of us have probably received one of these calls: caller ID shows the number is strangely similar to yours, the call comes around dinner time, and if you happen to answer you’re immediately greeted by an angry, accusatory voice explaining the IRS is coming to kick in your door and arrest you. The only thing that will stop them? iTunes or Google gift cards of course, the normal legal tender accepted by all federal agencies.

It might sound ridiculous, one degree less silly than the email from the Nigerian prince who wants to send you his personal gold for safekeeping if only you will send him your bank account information, but it works. I’ve had friends and relatives taken in by similar scams; otherwise smart people can be caught off-guard by a convincing thief.

Last year saw an estimated 19.2 billion scam robocalls. In 2016, one report estimated Americans lost $9.5 billion to scammers, a 56 percent increase over 2015. Make no mistake: this is big business, and it’s not just happening on telephones.

These thieves are also using the internet to attack unsuspecting users. Cyber crime costs the world $600 billion every single year. Ransomeware, which takes over your computer, locking you out and threatening to delete your files if you don’t pay, is perhaps the fastest growing version of cyber crime, easy to do thanks to anonymous payment methods like Bitcoin.

Thankfully, the Trump Administration has begun to take much of this kind of crime quite seriously. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced in May the agency’s largest fine ever, $120 million, taking down a “kingpin of robocalling” in the process. This is a great first step, but it’s not enough. Cell phone manufacturers, mobile service providers, and broadband companies need to do more to protect users from these kinds of attacks.

But the internet needs reform, too, starting with the registration of fake websites. When criminals are stalking a neighborhood, looking for opportunities, they’re looking for easy pickings. Why even approach the house with the obvious security camera and large barking dog when the one next door has the telltale bulge of a key under the welcome mat?

Unfortunately, cyber criminals have found their equivalent of the easily found hide-a-key, and it’s the .US country domain code. While most websites that service users in the United States use the .com suffix, .US domains are growing in prominence and likely to increase as most popular .com domains are registered. The .US domain is administered by the Department of Commerce, which has clear rules designed to ensure that all addresses ending in .US are reserved for Americans.

But to say it’s being administered is a stretch: clearly someone inside the department has decided we will just have open borders—both online and offline.

Consider these facts: All .US internet domain addresses are required to be hosted in the United States, yet there are nearly 100,000 domain names ending in .US that are hosted outside our borders, with more than 30,000 hosted in China. What’s more, all .US internet domain addresses are required to be registered by U.S. businesses, organizations, or individuals. A survey of WHOIS indicates that at least 50,000 names belong to Chinese registrants, nearly 15,000 are registered to Russian registrants, and even some Iranians have been allowed to register .US names.

Either someone at the Department of Commerce is asleep at the wheel or this is intentional mismanagement. In addition to these facts, all internet web addresses ending in .US are required to be reviewed and cancelled if they have spam, phishing, or other abuses. But according to surbl.org, .US addresses are by far the most abused country code domain names in the world, with nearly 20,000 .US domain names associated with spam.

The safety and the well being of Americans should be the first and foremost priority of our government. Apparently the rules and regulations as laid out by the Department of Commerce are more a series of suggestions with little to no enforcement. It’s time for greater oversight and enforcement, not only to uphold the rule of law, but also to protect the American people who fund the various departments and agencies.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Congress • Democrats • Donald Trump • Immigration • Infrastructure • Post

The Great Wall of America Will Break the Democrats

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Democrats know The Wall is imminent. Is their pending dread of it more psychologically damaging to them than would be the actual erection of The Wall?

Democrats know The Wall is the issue that finally will break them, and no amount of Democrat Media-Industrial Complex agitprop will ever tear down The Wall. It will be the chasm between the old guard and the burgeoning Leninism within the party.

The Wall is deserving of proper name capitalization.

The Democrats know The Wall will achieve its intent of deterring and preventing mass illegal immigration—immigration that has resulted in an illegal alien population of which the federal government cannot even get an accurate count.

The Wall will be the physical affirmation of our historic, black swan, glass-ceiling shattering 2016 win over Hillary Clinton. Tax reform and withdrawals from bogus deals with Iran along with climate change globalist welfare treaties aren’t, by themselves, palpable to voters. I can’t take a selfie in front of the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. United States Supreme Court justices are a bit more tangible, but the court isn’t omnipresent in the lives of citizens.

The Wall, though? That proposed happy marriage of steel, spikes and concrete? Oh, it will be glorious. I know President Trump has described The Wall as “beautiful,” but we don’t care if it’s the ugly Christmas sweater of American architecture.

The Wall Will Save Lives and Money
Want to know how padded-rubber-room inducing The Wall is for Democrats? Trump has convinced fiscal conservatives to spend money and Democrats have talked about saving money.

The Wall is Mount Rushmore and AR-15s and the Electoral College and the Gadsden Flag all in one. It is a watchtower and a monument to sovereignty, an homage to citizens, law enforcement officers—all Americans—who not only have to worry about American criminals murdering them, but now must worry about criminals here illegally, as well. Ignore the Democrats and Mitt Romneys of America, who prattle on about about xenophobia and “who we are”; fear along with greed are the bases for every human decision.

Am I afraid of crimes being committed against me and my family from those who shouldn’t be here? Damn right I am—and if most of the spineless politicians in Washington acted with a little more respect for fear, Kate Steinle, Mollie Tibbetts, and Ronil Singh likely would be alive today. Singh, a California police officer killed by an illegal alien in the line of duty last month, emigrated from Fiji, a country that I bet is safer than the Golden State.

I wouldn’t care if “only” one person died annually because of illegal immigration, and would not care if “only” one illegal border crossing occurred annually; but the cult of the Democrats’ gun confiscation sales pitch has always been that it’s worth doing even if it only “saves one life.”

Weird, then, that they claim to believe a vote to fund The Wall and end the government shutdown is either immoral or folly. If The Wall saves one life (and it likely will save many more), and saves even the smallest percentage of the annual $116 billion illegal alien financial burden, then break ground today. Just keep hammering the point to all your Democrat friends and relatives: “But if it saves one life,” “But if it saves one life,” “One life…

And, GOP, are you listening? Especially those of you who are zealous open-borders Tessio-style Republicans—those of you who have continued to betray your voters the way Sal Tessio betrayed the Corleone family in The Godfather.

The Democrats know The Wall will work. Beto knows it. Elizabeth Warren knows it. Kamala Harris knows it; so does Cory Booker. And Joe Biden knows, too. The Wall will accelerate the cannibalization within the Democratic Party, between the establishment, which consists mostly of covert Leninists, and the new school Dems, who are unabashedly open about their collectivist fetish. The Wall is the Bolsheviks overthrowing Czar Nicholas II, and will usher in the Democrats’ version of the Russian Revolution. It will be some sight to behold; recommended viewing beverage is a “Build That Wall” cocktail. Yes, such a drink exists.

The entrenched Democratic and Republican parties can’t stand the fact that a reality television star president will do more to curb illegal immigration and the ills it has begotten than all their combined lousy efforts.

How much will The Wall cost? A lot of moola—$25 billion, maybe more. Is it worth it? Sure is. Am I concerned Mexico won’t pay for it? Nope.

Admittedly, I’m not thrilled about all aspects of The Wall, such as the expected eminent domain, which could displace hundreds of landowners. Since these property owners will be an integral part of history, let’s compensate them with triple the market value of their property.

The Wall Makes or Breaks 2020
The Wall is a black and white policy issue for Trump. He knows he can’t cave to the Democrats; if he acquiesces, read my lips: Clinton will be the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nominee, and she will win.

But worry not. There’s no going back now.

The Wall isn’t anti-immigrant; in fact, it might be the most pro-immigrant expenditure in American history—a ubiquitous reminder that America is the most generous nation in the history of the world—which admits two legal immigrants every minute, of every day—and will welcome with open arms those who adhere to our rule of law. American nationalism is the glue that holds this whole experiment together.

Some presidents want freeways, hospitals, and airports named after them. Not our president. The Donald J. Trump Great Wall of America is what he wants, and it’s what the majority of people in the majority of states want. Time to get this “elections have consequences” party started.

Build that wall, Mr. President. Build it high, build it wide; build it tall, as tall as the sky. Our only regret about The Wall will be that it’s not visible from outer space.

Photo Credit: Apu Gomes/AFP/Getty Images

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