Is the United States the stupidest nation on earth?

January 9, 2021

In light of the trade data released by the Commerce Department on Thursday, it’s difficult to draw any other conclusion. In November the trade deficit worsened to a new record of $64.5 billion. Actually, the situation is much worse than that. Strip away the surplus in services, which are little more than paperwork transactions, and you’re left with trade in manufactured goods, where real jobs are won and lost. Look at this chart. I would say that it couldn’t get any worse if it weren’t for the fact that with each passing month, it does. The deficit in manufactured goods hovered at the record level of $82.5 billion set only two months ago. That’s an annualized deficit of one trillion dollars.

Think about this. We’re paying the rest of the world a trillion dollars per year, putting their citizens to work making all the things we could just as easily make ourselves while, at the same time, we have tens of millions of people out of work. In fact, we’re paying trillions of dollars per year to pay our own people not to work. And we keep doing everything we can – as fast as we can – to make the situation worse. Ten years ago, in the wake of our most recent economic disaster, part of the auto industry bail-out was to allow Fiat to scoop up the Chrysler corporation, giving yet another foreign brand (the worst on earth, in terms of quality) an entry into the U.S. market, making the challenge for American cars that much worse. Building on that mistake, last month, FCA (Fiat-Chrysler of America) joined forces with PSA (the French automaker Peugot) forming a new company called “Stellantis,” giving Peugot access to the American market and, in all likelihood, finally killing the Chrysler brand.

Now we’ve elected as president a man who has spent his entire adult life championing policies that have exacerbated this decades-long downward spiral of our trade picture and, consequently, our entire economy. What little progress has been made under Trump he has vowed to rapidly undo.

If this situation doesn’t make the United States the stupidest nation on earth, I don’t know what would. And we wonder why this nation has become so divided and how there could be those among us so angry and frustrated that they’d be willing to riot and attack the capitol building. Trump was accused of lying to the American people about the election being stolen. I’ve consistently voted for candidates over these many years who have promised to do something about our trade deficit, and every one of them lied to us. Trump is accused of having blood on his hands for his role in fomenting the capitol building riot. For his part, Biden should accept blame for his role in formulating policies over the decades that have stoked the anger we saw unleashed on Thursday.

I remain angry and deeply disappointed with Trump for allowing his style and ego to get in the way of the bigger mission of Making America Great Again. The American people can forgive gaffes and rookie mistakes (being a rookie to the political scene), but they just couldn’t take any more of the daily barrage of personal insults that had nothing to do with the mission he was elected to do. It’s just sad to see it end this way.

It’s hard to see any hope of things improving for the United States. It angers me and makes me sick to say that. Since writing Five Short Blasts years ago, I’ve tried to keep this forum apolitical and focus instead on trying to explain the unseen economic consequences of population growth, including the danger of trying to engage in free trade with badly overpopulated nations. Maybe that’s been a mistake. So I’ll now say this: for decades Americans have been getting economically slaughtered like a flock of chickens. It’s hard to see any hope of things improving when you elect the fox to run the henhouse.


Thoughts on Capitol Building Riots & Trump’s Presidency

January 7, 2021

I’m still trying to process my thoughts, which are still evolving, on the events of yesterday. But I’d be remiss to let too much time pass. I’m angry, saddened, disappointed, disillusioned and feeling just a little sense of hopelessness.

The media is laying the blame for the riot at the capitol building directly on Trump, on his refusal to accept his election defeat, his insistence that the election was rigged and should be over-turned, and his urging of the protesters to march on the capitol building. They’re right on all counts. Trump does have blood on his hands. They also point their fingers at Republicans in the house and senate for standing by these claims to the end.

There’s plenty of blame to go around. First of all, I blame Trump for losing the election. Had he followed through with his promise to “Make America Great Again,” the election wouldn’t have even been close. He did an excellent job of clamping down on our open borders, preserving jobs for American workers. He failed badly, however, in reducing our trade deficit and bringing manufacturing jobs back. In fact, the trade deficit exploded under his watch. Had he restored a balance of trade, the economy would have soared at a minimum of twice the rate of 3% growth he achieved – an improvement over the 2% growth rate (or less) under the Obama administration – but pitifully short of making America great again. Had he followed through on trade, he’d have won in a landslide and it might have been Biden complaining about a rigged election. Nothing frustrated me more about Trump than his failing on trade.

A rigged election? I don’t know, but it’s an easy claim to believe. From the moment the 2016 election was decided, Democrats and the media attacked Trump mercilously and relentlessly. Two years were wasted on the bogus Russia investigation, and then another year on the impeachment over the Ukrainian phone call and his request that they look into why the investigation of Hunter Biden’s role with the Ukrainian gas company was suddenly halted. (Many Americans would still like to know the answer to that one.) By this time it was clear that the Democrats and the media would stop at absolutely nothing to bring him down. A rigged election? Whether they actually rigged it or not, it’s not a stretch to believe that the Democrats would stoop that low.

If it wasn’t rigged (and I’m not saying it was for certain), it sure smelled rotten. I’ve lived through a lot of elections and have never seen one like it. It wasn’t unusual in past elections for vote counting to drag on into Wednesday in a really close election. However, in this election, vote counting dragged on for a week or even ten days. After a few days of everyone left wondering how it could possibly take days to count the last 5% of votes when the first 95% were counted in one night, the truth started to leak out. They weren’t “counting” votes, but tallying new ones that continued to trickle in days after the polls had closed. Worse yet, we learned that the delay was also due to a process of “ballot curing,” in which previously rejected ballots were fixed, supposedly by giving the voters a chance to correct problems with their signatures or other problems. You have to be pretty naive to believe that the activists who facilitated that process (who are almost universally Democrats) were fair enough to give Republican voters a chance to fix their ballots too. The end result was that those late-arriving ballots were almost unanimously for Biden/Harris, flipping the count in their favor. Counting and recounting those same ballots doesn’t answer the questions about whether they were cast legally in the first place.

Honestly, I wasn’t surprised at what happened yesterday. It wasn’t four years in the making. It’s been decades in the making as the standard of living of most Americans has steadily declined, especially among the middle class. Look at the people who made up the rioters. They were mostly young people. A few in their 40s. Maybe a few even older. Where did these people come from and how did they become so angry and frustrated?

I’ll tell you where they came from. These are the kids who sat across the table from their parents thirty years ago and looked on as their fathers and mothers wept and swore about the loss of their jobs to factory closures. They watched their families being torn apart by the financial strain. They experienced the same thing when they entered the work force, finding only low pay and few benefits. The globalists who engineered the destruction of our manufacturing sector saw nothing but dollar signs with no consequences. Now, however, those chickens have come home to roost.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for what took place yesterday. It wasn’t just Trump who has blood on his hands. The Democrats and media who scuttled him from the very beginning share some blame too. So too do decades of globalist corporate leaders and their bought-and-paid for politicians, both Democrat and Republican – what I call the “Republicrat” party.

I’m angry at Trump. Though the election was lost, the smart move would have been to use his considerable influence to continue to build support for the “MAGA” movement and fight another day, four years from now, either as candidate or supporting some other candidate willing to take on the mantle. Instead, he foolishly squandered it all in an effort to do only he knows what. Force Democrats to admit they cheated? Start a revolution? Who knows, but it was a truly dumb move. He’s tarnished his brand forever. He’ll never again have a role in influencing the direction of the country. He totally blew it.

In the wake of the riot, as senators reconvened in the capitol building and one-by-one rose to speak, nearly all denounced Trump and were ready to rejoin the globalist Republicrat party. Back to business as usual, selling out America to global interests.

That would be a mistake. As I said, this was a long time coming. It’s not likely to end here. What you saw yesterday was a disorganized mob that is no less fervent in their beliefs today than they were yesterday. What happens from here? Surely they can see that rioting will get them nowhere. What’s the difference between a mob and a political party? Leadership, organization, a strategy, fund-raising and suits – and little else. Someone amongst MAGA supporters needs to step up and take a leadership role. Maybe it’s some congressman or senator, or maybe just some supporter with real political savvy. Get organized. Lay out an America-first platform. Raise money. This could be the makings of a new political party that could quickly challenge the Repubicrats. This is what I pray happens.

It could go another way if politicians blow this off as a one-off, Trump-incited incident. All it takes is leadership, organization, a strategy, and fund-raising – pretty much the same as I outlined above – but substitute fatigues and camos for suits, and now you’ve got a revolution. Let’s all pray it never comes to that. The best way to avoid it is to take seriously those who have been so disenfranchised by globalism.

I’m not optimistic, though. America’s about to take a sharp left turn and return to its role as the world’s lap dog and sugar daddy.


China Falls Short of “Phase 1” Goals Again in October

December 8, 2020

China signed the “Phase 1” trade deal with the U.S. in January, in return for the U.S. postponing a second round of tariffs on the remaining half of all Chinese exports to the U.S. China committed to meeting specific targets for imports of four classes of American goods for 2020 and 2021: manufactured goods, energy goods, agricultural goods and total goods.

The data for October was released on Friday and, once again, China has fallen far short of meeting its commitments. With only two months left in 2020, China is behind its commitment for manufactured goods by 30%. It’s behind in energy products by 64%. It’s behind in agriculture goods by 41%, and is behind in total goods by 35%. Here’s the year-to-date data: https://petemurphy.files.wordpress.com/2020/12/phase-1-china-trade-deal-2020-ytd.pdf.

Though China once again fell far short of its goal, it’s worth noting that they did increase their imports slightly. Most notably, for the 2nd month in a row, they exceeded the monthly goal for agriculture imports, making up a little lost ground toward meeting its 2020 commitment for that category of goods. Ten months into 2020, they are now 2 for 40 in terms of meeting its commitments (10 months times 4 categories of goods).

It’s also worth noting that China’s imports of American goods in October set a record of $14.7 billion, beating the old record of $13.6 billion set in December of 2017. However, that’s little cause for celebration because the goods trade deficit with China actually worsened to $30.1 billion, thanks to the 7th consecutive monthly increase in imports from China, which rose to $44.8 billion. The net result of the “Phase 1” deal is that our trade deficit with China has actually worsened in 2020.

Trump made the same mistake with the “Phase 1” deal that Obama made when he vowed to double U.S. exports to reduce our trade deficit. He focused on exports while ignoring imports. It’s impossible for the U.S. to export its way out of a trade deficit with a badly overpopulated nation with a bloated labor force that is dependent on manufacturing for export. When Trump’s focus was on the use of tariffs to reduce imports from China, we made significant progress in cutting our deficit. When he took additional tariffs off the table with the signing of the “Phase 1” deal, that progress was reversed.

It’s time to kill this dumb deal and levy more tariffs on China. If Trump won’t do it in his waning days, then Biden has an opportunity to show that he stands with American manufacturing and American workers. But he won’t.


Reflections on Trump’s Presidency and the Election – Part 2

November 11, 2020

I closed my last post with the question: was this a rigged – legally rigged – election? Let’s begin with a look back at how the election unfolded.

Throughout the campaign, from the moment Biden won the nomination, polls consistently showed that Biden was ahead by a 10-12 point margin. That’s a big margin – discouraging for Trump supporters and stirring enthusiasm among encouraged Biden supporters. New polling data that continued to show Biden leading by that large margin was often the daily lead story across the whole spectrum of media. Did the media knowingly publish false polling data? Were the polling organizations providing the media with falsified data? It smacks of voter suppression.

I received my ballot sometime in September, if I recall correctly. I noticed that, for every race – from president to dog-catcher – the Democratic party candidate was listed first, followed by the Republican candidate, followed by the lesser party candidates – Green Party, Libertarian Party, etc. Why, I wondered? I found that curious. The parties weren’t in alphabetical order, since the Republican candidate would appear much further down, nor were they in alphabetical order by the candidates’ names. (Again, Trump would have been at the bottom of the ballot.) That had to be some kind of advantage – being listed first on the ballot – however small. There are those people who will simply check the first name they see.

I filled out the ballot and signed it. It occurred to me that my signature was no proof whatsoever that it was I who had filled out the ballot. I could have signed a blank ballot and sold it for a hundred bucks. If I was incapacitated in some way, my caregiver could have filled it out and instructed me to sign it.

I put the ballot in the official drop box at the township office weeks ahead of the election to be sure it arrived on time, and not wanting to get the ballot back two weeks after the election marked “insufficient postage.”

Election night finally arrived. As polling closed in the Eastern time zone, early results showed Biden winning by a wide margin. However, we were cautioned that these early results were skewed by mail-in ballots, which were the first to be counted, and mail-in ballots are heavily Democratic. Huh?

Sure enough, as in-person ballots were counted, Trump pulled into the lead, by substantial margins in some cases. I stayed up until midnight and finally went to bed happy, knowing that the “Make America Great” program was on track for another four years.

The next morning, I awoke to a new reality. Trump’s leads were nearly evaporated. The media commentators and analysts explained that the mail-in ballots were the last to be counted, and that mail-in ballots were heavily Democratic. Now I was totally confused. Last night they said they were the first ones counted!

As more ballots trickled in, Trump’s leads in Wisconsin and Michigan were flipped. Five states remained – Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Nevada and Arizona. (Well, six, when you include Alaska.) In each case, 10-15% of the ballots remained uncounted. A day passed with virtually no update to the tallies. Another day passed. Nothing still. Something was beginning to smell fishy.

After a couple of days of this, we learned the truth about the delay. Ballots weren’t being counted, because there were no remaining ballots. The delay was simply a waiting game for more “expected” ballots to arrive. Then, more truth: in Georgia, there was a “ballot-curing” process underway, where activists were going door-to-door giving voters a chance to fix problems on ballots that had been rejected. (One can’t help being suspicious that they were also rounding up new ballots. It’d be easy to do. “Oh, Mrs. Jones, we also noticed that your husband didn’t return his ballot. Would you like to fill this one out now?”) We were assured it was all perfectly normal and legal, but it didn’t pass the smell test. It sure seemed for all the world that, once the vote tally was in after the polls closed and it was known how many more votes were needed to flip the results, Democratic party activists were given an opportunity to go out and round up the votes they needed. Maybe that’s not what happened, but it sure as hell smelled rotten.

And it was all legal. Some states did it right. Signatures on mail-in ballots had to be notarized to prove who filled them out. Ballots had to be received by the close of the polls to be counted. Florida is an example.

Other states, however, in their zeal to provide voters a safe option for voting during the Covid crisis, liberalized mail-in balloting with little or no regard for the integrity of the results. Your ballot might not arrive in time if mailed? No problem, we’ll give it 3 days, or a week, or 10 days to arrive after polls close. Don’t know how much postage to put on it? No problem. Don’t put any on it. It’ll get delivered anyway. That means it won’t have a postmark? No problem. We don’t care.

Like in Pennsylvania. No postmark was necessary. They could magically arrive up to ten days late and, unless it could be proven that they were submitted fraudulently after the polls had closed on election day, they were considered legal ballots.

Then we learned that, following a judge’s order for the post office to search for missing ballots, the post office simply rounded up 300,000 ballots and turned them in without scanning them, leaving them with no postmark to prove when they had been mailed.

As I write this, three states – Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina – are still rounding up ballots.

And can someone help me understand the rationale that says mail-in balloting is favored by a wide margin by Democrats over Republicans? That defies logic. There are no political factors involved. People would choose to use mail-in ballots for various reasons:

1. The voter may be out-of-town on polling day.

2. The voter may want to vote absentee just for the sake of convenience.

3. The voter may be a shut-in.

4. The voter may have wanted to avoid exposure to Covid.

None of these factors would cause more voters to favor one candidate over the other. The fact that the results from mail-in ballots differed from the results of in-person voting by a significant margin is clear evidence of some kind of malfeasance.

Then there’s the matter of the high percentage of mail-in ballots that were returned – reportedly 90% or more. Anyone who has ever done a mass mailing – no matter how important, how clearly the envelope is marked as containing important information, and how much the recipients have been advised of the importance of the mailing and to watch for its arrival – knows that you’re lucky to get a 75% response. The other 25% were never read, were tossed on a pile of mail, and buried the next day under a new pile of mail – all eventually to be thrown out. A 90% return rate is clear evidence that someone intervened to round up the missing ballots. Illegal? No, but when only certain demographics are targeted for such follow-up, it becomes an effective tool for legally “rigging” the election results, especially if it’s allowed after the close of the polls. Now that’s a plausible explanation of why mail-in ballots may have heavily favored Biden over Trump.

This is ridiculous. One can’t help being suspicious about an election process so lacking in controls but, then again, it’s all perfectly “legal” this year. It’s got to change if voters are to have any confidence in the integrity of our election process. State laws that allow such sloppy control over ballots need to be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. The shoe may very well be on the other foot in the next election.

Here’s what needs to be done to restore the integrity of and faith in our election process:

  1. Measures must be taken to assure that the person casting the ballot by mail is, in fact, the voter to whom the ballot was sent. Requiring notarized signatures is one way to accomplish that.
  2. Mail-in ballots must be received by the close of the polls on election day. Voters had PLENTY of time to mail those ballots well ahead of the election.
  3. The counting of mail-in ballots should begin when the polls open on election day and no results should be released until after polls.
  4. Organizations that publish polling data prior to the election should be held accountable and subject to fines and investigation if the election results fall outside their published margins of error.
  5. The publishing of exit polling data prior to the close of the polls on election day should be banned.

A “stolen” election? Maybe. It was easy enough to do it “legally.”


Reflections on Trump’s Presidency and the Election

November 10, 2020

I was never a fan of Trump before the 2016 election. As the Republican candidates began their campaigns for the primaries, I gave him zero chance of winning the nomination. He was too acerbic, mean-spirited, brash and bully-like – to the point of being self-destructive – for many voters to get behind his candidacy. However, as American workers and their families continued to reel from the economic damage wrought by the “Great Recession” of 2009, his “Make American Great Again” program caught on like wildfire.

Trump came right out and laid the blame for America’s problems squarely on those factors that every American knew was to blame – the factors that no other Republicrat would even utter for fear of alienating their global corporate benefactors: trade policy that had destroyed the manufacturing sector of our economy, and out-of-control immigration that was being used to keep our labor force in a constant state of over-supply in order to suppress wages. After decades of these policies that turned America – once the world’s preeminent industrial power and the richest nation in the world – into a skid row bum, begging the rest of the world to buy up our ever-growing mountain of debt, the American people were fed up and more than willing to overlook Trump’s issues in the hope of restoring America to the greatness we remembered.

From the outset, Trump faced challenges like no other. The proponents of globalism immediately kicked into overdrive in an effort to destroy him, cooking up a phony Russian influence narrative and then, when that didn’t work, impeaching him over the Ukrainian phone call without proving any “quid pro quo.” Beyond that, it took him a couple of years to weed out of his cabinet people who were supposedly the best in their field, but who proved to be nothing more than globalists bent on sabotaging his America First agenda.

In spite of all that, he made huge strides toward actually “Making America Great Again.” He cut both legal and illegal immigration dramatically. He got Mexico and Central American countries to cooperate in stopping the immigrant caravans. He made big cuts in quotas for refugees and H1-B visas (that steal jobs from Americans) and eliminated the “diversity” category of immigration altogether.

He got rid of the North American Free Trade Agreement and replaced it with an agreement designed to shift more production from Mexico back to the U.S. He slapped 25% tariffs on half of all Chinese imports, reducing the trade deficit with that country. He raised GDP growth above 3% and sent unemployment to record low levels while wages rose at their fastest pace ever.

He stood up to China. He got North Korea to halt their saber-rattling. He pulled us out of the horrible agreement with Iran that virtually guaranteed them a path to a nuclear weapon. He defeated ISIS. He forced NATO countries to begin paying their fair share of their defense costs. The rest of the world began treating us with respect again instead of playing us for fools and treating us like chumps.

He quickly pulled us out of the “Paris Climate Accord.” If you don’t see that as a positive thing, then I challenge you to tell me the mission statement of the Accord. You can’t do it, can you? I doubt that one person in a thousand – maybe one in a million – could tell me what it is. Most people think its mission is to protect the environment, to stop global warming through drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions. You’d be very wrong and shocked to learn that its actual mission is to reinvigorate “sustainable development” – the very concept whose practice over the last four decades has led to climate change – focusing on development of third world countries using fossil fuel technology, and all paid for by the U.S.

He did a hell of a lot in spite of the push-back from Democrats and the media. So what went wrong? Sadly, Trump could never get out of his own way. As someone close to me said, “if he’d just kept his mouth shut and stayed off of Twitter, he’d have won the election easily.” Trump just couldn’t stop himself from making over-the-top attacks on anyone who disagreed with him. To vehemently disagree with opponents wasn’t enough for him. He had to destroy them. Voters elected him to put the globalist establishment in its place, but what he did to some people was beyond the pale. The best example I can think of is how he denigrated John McCain. There were many other examples.

And he was a poor communicator. He did a poor job of making Americans understand what he was accomplishing and how it’d make their lives better. Pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord is a good example. Did you ever hear it explained to you as I did above? Instead, the media dictated the message, while Trump focused on trashing his enemies.

Then there was Covid. His initial approach was right on target, but he quickly grew impatient with its effect on the economy. He could have advocated for reopening the economy while doing everything we could to do it safely. Instead, he tried to minimize and even deny the problem. His approach resonated with a lot of people, but angered many more who are terrified of this disease.

Trump will soon be gone from the White House. But there are still a hell of a lot of people who fervently believe in the movement he started to “Make America Great Again.” There are three kinds of voters in America: those who believe America never stopped being great, those who believe that it’s not as great as it once was and needs to be made great again, and those who are fine with seeing America in decline. The biggest group, by far, is that group in the middle. The first group is in denial or detached from reality. The latter group is tiny, but very real and active, and a threat.

Trump started a movement that can and should live on, and will live on with any candidate or party that takes up its banner. Trump could play a huge role in keeping it alive, but that would require fundamental changes in his approach that I doubt he’s capable of. Maybe Mike Pence? Maybe Nikki Haley who did an outstanding job as Trump’s UN ambassador. Or maybe Mike Pompeo, his Secretary of State, who took no crap from any foreign country, to put it in coarse terms. It could even be a Democrat, if one were able to see its potential to restore the party’s image as the party of the working man. Biden? No.

Covid and the daily drumbeat of negativity from the media were a lot to overcome but, in the final analysis, Trump may have been his own worst enemy in his election defeat. Though he’s making a valiant effort to continue to fight with a myriad of court challenges, he won’t prevail. Few believe there was rampant fraud. I agree with those who say that every legal vote should be counted.

But was the election rigged? An election can be rigged through entirely legal means. Consider gerrymandering, the perfectly legal (in some states, not all) of redrawing congressional district boundaries to virtually assure that, once elected, it’s virtually impossible for the incumbent to be defeated. That’s rigging an election and it’s perfectly legal. It’s not a factor in the presidential election – at least not directly – but there are other ways to legally rig that election. I can’t help but have my suspicions. But this has gone on long enough for now. More on that in my next post.


Biden would consult “allies” on trade policy

October 30, 2020

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-biden-china-exclusive/exclusive-biden-if-elected-would-consult-allies-on-future-of-u-s-tariffs-on-china-advisers-idUSKBN27E07R

As reported in the above-linked article, Biden would consult with “allies” to use “collective leverage” to “strengthen his hand” in conducting trade policy with China. It seems that Biden has no clear ideas of his own on the matter. And Biden fails to understand that we have no allies when it comes to trade policy. The rest of the world, especially those so badly overpopulated that they’re heavily dependent on exporting to the U.S. to sustain their bloated labor forces, are allies not to the U.S. but to the concept of “free trade” which, thanks to the relationship between population density and per capita consumption, virtually guarantees that they’ll enjoy a surplus of trade with the U.S. It is they, including China, who are exercising “collective leverage” against the U.S.

What does Biden expect that these “allies” will tell him? Does he think that they’ll support the U.S. in its use of tariffs to restore a balance of trade with China? Of course not. They don’t want the U.S. to realize that tariffs are an effective tool for correcting lopsided trade imbalances because they know that they’ll be next. Our “allies” will quickly lecture Biden about the evils of “protectionism” and the benefits of “free trade.” They care nothing about the damage done to the American economy because it works to their benefit.

It would be like a mangy, flea-bitten dog asking for the fleas’ help in dealing with one particularly nasty flea that’s been biting the hell out of him. The fleas will first look at each other in disbelief and then, with a wink, advise the dog that they actually do him a service, protecting him from some other imaginary malady. The big flea high-fives the other laughing fleas. The dog eventually succumbs and dies.

Perhaps he’s not interested in trade at all. Maybe he just likes the optics of appearing to be a “statesman.”

America needs a leader with a clear-eyed vision of how to restore a balance of trade and stop America’s economy from hemorrhaging a trillion dollars a year. Judging by this report, it doesn’t appear that Biden is that guy.


Trump vs. Biden on Immigration

July 22, 2020

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-immigration-factbox/factbox-trump-and-biden-take-sharply-different-paths-on-immigration-idUSKCN24L122

The above-linked article is a comparison of Biden’s positions on immigration and Trump’s position and record on the same issue.  The article has a pro-Biden bias, casting his positions as having compassion for immigrants, while casting Trump’s positions as being more heartless and cruel.  Putting aside that bias, however, the comparison is relatively accurate.

Before going further, for the benefit of those new to this web site, my purpose is to bring attention to an economic consequence of population growth that has escaped economists because of their refusal to even consider the subject.  Simply put, beyond some optimum population density, further population growth begins to erode per capita consumption and, with it, employment.  While the macro economy continues to grow, it doesn’t grow at the same pace as the population.  The result is a bigger pie, but smaller slices for everyone.  Incrementally worsening poverty is the inescapable result.

With that said, let’s now talk about immigration.  Many claims are made about the supposed benefits of immigration and why it should continue.  It’s often said that immigrants are the engine of our economy, that they account for 25% of all new business start-ups, for example.  Just in the last few days, I heard it said that 19% of all long-haul truck drivers in America are immigrants.  Immigrants are doctors, engineers, scientists, professors, and so on.  At the other end of the scale, immigrants pick our crops, clean our hotel rooms, and do all of the other jobs that Americans seem loathe to do.

Regarding that last point, there’s some element of truth.  Few Americans work those jobs, but is it because they don’t like to work hard, or is it because the pay is too low?  I’d argue that many American workers would eagerly leave minimum wage jobs to do those other jobs if they paid more.  The wages are low because of the unlimited supply of immigrants who see those wages as a huge step up from what they can aspire to in their own countries.

As for those other workers – the entrepreneurs, the professional people, the long-haul truckers and skilled tradesmen, it’s true that a significant percentage are immigrants, but that’s only because a significant percentage of the population is immigrants.  They’re no more likely to fill those roles than native-born Americans.  Immigrants don’t possess any unique skills or powers to boost the economy.  They’re just people, and they want the same thing that all people want – to make a living and provide for their families.

Another claim often made is that America is enriched by the diversity that immigration provides.  Diversity, it is said, is a source of strength for our economy.  America is enriched by people with different backgrounds and different perspectives.

It can’t be argued that it isn’t interesting to learn about different cultures.  But the claim that diversity is a source of economic strength?  Baloney.  That’s a myth, invented and perpetuated by those who stand to benefit from never-ending population growth.  Who are they?  Corporations.  More people equate to more total sales and a bigger bottom line, while all of the negative consequences of population growth be damned.  Don’t believe me?  Go to the CIA World Fact Book web site and bring up a list of countries ranked by GDP per capita.  You’ll find the top of the list dominated by countries practically devoid of diversity.  Ranking high on the list is Ireland, a nation with virtually no diversity but, in terms of trade balance per capita, kicks America’s ass in trade far worse than any other country.  Diversity has nothing to do with economic prowess.

In the final analysis, the ONLY effect of immigration is to grow the population.  Growing the population makes sense only if you believe that we need more people – bigger and more crowded cities, more traffic, more demand on resources, more carbon emitters,  more trash in the landfills, and so on.  Worst of all, if you believe in the premise of this web site – that a growing population will doom the U.S. to worsening poverty by eroding per capita consumption – further population growth is tantamount to slow-motion economic suicide.

Joe Biden is an advocate for more immigration and, thus, more rapid population growth.  That position isn’t surprising and it’s not something unique to Democrats.  Virtually every Republican takes the same stance, though they tend to pay more lip service to opposing illegal immigration.  Both parties are in agreement on immigration.  Why?  Because that’s the stance that their corporate benefactors pay them to take.

Only very recently have some environmentalists begun to awaken to the fact that they’ve been hoodwinked by the faux-environmentalists who would have you believe that the planet can be saved from the vast array of negative consequences of worsening over-population through technological gimmicks like cutting carbon emissions, paving the way for more “sustainable development,” a corporate euphemism for more population growth.  In light of this awakening, policies that promote population growth may soon seem out-of-step with the reality of the challenges that confront this planet.

Trump is unique in being opposed to both legal and illegal immigration alike.  If we can believe him, his motivation is his belief that immigrants hold down wages and take jobs from American workers.  Is there an element of racism?  He denies it.

I wish Trump were a more likable person – more eloquent, more compassionate, less hot-tempered, a better role model.  Would I vote for Biden over Trump if Biden took a hard line on immigration like Trump?  You bet, especially if he also favored restoring a balance of trade through the use of tariffs, as Trump does.  If there were no differences in their positions on these two critical issues, I’d vote for Biden in a heartbeat.  But that’s not the case.

 

 


Obama Raises Jobs Target

December 22, 2008

http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE4BK1F520081221

Earlier this month, when Obama announced his jobs creation program, I asked, “Is that all there is?”  (See “Obama Jobs Plan: Please Tell Us There’s More.)  Well, it seems that the Obama team has already recognized that it’s inadequate, raising the target from 2-1/2 to 3 million jobs.  In addition, he’s created a task force focused on helping the middle class. 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Barack Obama unveiled a new task force on Sunday charged with helping struggling working families, as an aide said Obama’s economic recovery plan would be expanded to try to save 3 million jobs.

The White House Task Force on Working Families, to be headed by Vice President-elect Joe Biden, would aim to boost education and training and protect incomes and retirement security of middle-class and working families whose plight Obama had made a central issue of his campaign.

I’ll point out again, all of this is woefully inadequate.  The U.S. is short 20 million jobs, not 3 million.  Since America’s labor force grows by 150,000 per month (due to population growth), creating 3 million jobs over two years means that unemployment will grow worse by 600,000 jobs instead of improving. 

Obama’s infrastructure spending will help in the short term, but that can’t be sustained for long.  In the end, the only way to put this economy back on sound footing is to restore its manufacturing base, bringing 6 million high-paying manufacturing jobs back home.  In addition, the administration has got to stop flooding our labor supply with immigrant labor.  Immigration intensifies the over-supply of labor faster than it contributes to consumer demand.

Biden said the economy was in worse shape than he and Obama had thought it was.

“President-elect Obama and I know the economic health of working families has eroded, and we intend to turn that around,” Biden told ABC’s “This Week.”

I have news for the Vice President-Elect.  The economy is in much worse shape than they realize even now.  The “economic health of working families” can only be restored by shifting the balance in the supply vs. demand equation of labor in favor of demand, driving incomes higher.  It cannot be done with more lending and debt.  The only way to stimulate a lasting demand for labor is by bringing home the jobs we’ve exported through misguided trade policy.


The Populationist Case for Obama

September 7, 2008

With the conventions now behind us, the choice between the presidential candidates is clear. For those concerned about the effects of overpopulation, both home-grown and imported through free trade with overpopulated nations, the winner is Obama. I base this on the following analysis of the candidates’ positions:

  1. On the issue of reducing the birth rate to stabilize our population, neither candidate has a position. However, McCain has unwittingly come down on the wrong side of this issue by advocating a doubling of the tax deduction for dependent children. It’s a feature of the tax reduction part of his economic plan, but the effect would surely be to provide an incentive to boost the birth rate. This seems like a very odd approach to reducing taxes. Why not simply reduce the base rate, so that everyone at that income level benefits? Is it possible that a pro-population growth economist had a hand in crafting this policy? It seems quite possible. This policy is exactly the opposite of what I have recommended in Five Short Blasts, and is clearly a step backwards for those fighting overpopulation. Advantage: Obama
  2. See my previous post regarding the size of the candidates’ families. If something precipitates a catapulting of the overpopulation issue to national attention (as if it shouldn’t be a key focus already), which candidate is more likely to be receptive to the concept, and which will be a more credible leader on the issue – the candidate with seven children, or the one with two? Advantage: Obama
  3. Both candidates are on the wrong side of the immigration issue. Both favor what amounts to amnesty and guest worker programs, but supposedly only after the border has been secured. The Democrats have an especially bad record when it comes to favoring immigration to the detriment of American citizens. So Obama makes me nervous on this, but so too does McCain. Advantage: Neither
  4. This leaves the subject of trade. If you haven’t read Five Short Blasts, it may be difficult for you to understand the connection to overpopulation. I strongly encourage you to read it. Otherwise, you’ll just have to believe me when I say that our trade deficit is a direct result of attempting to trade freely with overpopulated nations. On this issue there is a very sharp contrast between the candidates. McCain has been very open and adamant about his belief in free trade and his plans to “open more markets,” as have other Republicans who have spoken on his behalf. Obama, on the other hand, blames our trade deficit for the loss of manufacturing jobs and has even vowed to scrap and renegotiate NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement). Advantage: Obama
  5. On the subject of breaking our dependence on foreign oil, both candidates recognize the need. McCain more strongly advocates drilling offshore and in ANWR (the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge) as a stop-gap measure while renewable energy is developed. Obama has expressed a willingness to consider more drilling, but not in ANWR. Neither candidate has acknowledge the necessity to even stabilize our population, much less reduce it, as a critical element of achieving energy independence. Advantage: Neither
  6. Both candidates acknowledge the problem of global warming and have promised action. But, for whatever reason, McCain has chosen a running mate who does not share this same belief. Given McCain’s age, it’s not a stretch to think that Palin may have to take over at some point. It would be an environmental disaster to have another administration that doesn’t “get it” on global warming. Biden, on the other hand, if he had to take over from Obama, shares his concern with global warming. Advantage: Obama

In summary, from a policy perspective, Obama has unwittingly made himself the clear choice of those concerned with overpopulation and its effects, both home-grown and imported.

     

McCain’s Choice of Sarah Palin

August 30, 2008

http://mudflats.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/what-is-mccain-thinking-one-alaskans-perspective/

I’d like to weigh in with some preliminary thoughts about McCain’s VP pick, governor Sarah Palin of Alaska.  But, first of all, I’ve included a link above to a blog written by an Alaskan that contains some good information about Mrs. Palin.  The blogger seems to be biased toward the Democrats but it’s still interesting to hear his/her perspective.  It details an ongoing “scandal” that she’s embroiled in.  When I read the details of the “scandal” I had to laugh.  It pales in comparison to what’s happening here in southeast Michigan.  If that’s the worst someone can come up with on Palin, don’t bother me with it.

With that said, here’s how I see it.  I evaluate McCain’s choice on three issues:

  1. If she had to take over from McCain, what would her position be on population management, especially immigration?  It’s impossible to know at this point.  I doubt that the subject comes up much in Alaska politics.  But, being the governor of the least densely populated state in the nation, she’s probably clueless about the challenges presented by overpopulation and legal and illegal immigration.  A good indication is the fact that she doesn’t believe in global warming, a huge strike against her.  Even McCain has accepted that we need to act on this issue.  Why would he pick someone so out-of-touch on one of the most critical issues of our time, one that is exacerbated every day by further rampant population growth? 
  2. If she had to take over from McCain, what would be her position on trade and the trade deficit?  Again, it seems impossible to know.  I imagine that, for an Alaskan, the subject of the economy boils down to three things:  oil, oil and oil.  In that regard, I give her high marks for raising taxes on the oil companies to generate revenue for her state and to balance her budget, much to their chagrin.  Score one for fiscal responsibility and toughness.  But her husband is an oil company employee.  That will raise serious conflict of interest questions in any energy policy matters.  Also, I don’t like the fact that she favors drilling in ANWR.  I’ve come out in support of offshore drilling, but drilling in ANWR is where I draw the line.  The environmental risks are too great.  But, back to the original question, there’s no evidence yet to suggest what her attitudes are toward our trade deficit. 
  3. In general, is she ready to take over the presidency?  Some are saying that, even though she’s only been a governor for two years, she already has more “executive” experience that either Obama or Biden.  While technically true, I suppose, it’s ludicrous to suggest that such experience would prove more valuable than experience gained in the Senate.  Looking back at recent previous presidents, most had gubernatorial experiences.  Some were highly successful:  Reagan and Clinton (though I think Clinton was simply in the right place at the right time, at the dawn of the explosion in PC, internet and cell phone technology).  Some were abysmal failures:  Carter and George W. Bush.  So what makes a successful president vs. a failure?  I think it comes down primarily to intelligence, judgment, leadership and core values. 

So what does McCain’s choice say about him in this regard?  First of all, Palin was chosen for political reasons first, giving lower priority to what would be the best interest of the nation if something were to happen to McCain.  I don’t see her as ready to take the reins of the presidency and the free world.  This choice was obviously made in a play for disaffected Hillary voters and to shore up McCain’s shaky standing with the right wing of the party, especially pro-lifers and guns rights advocates.  But if McCain really wanted to attract the female vote, especially disaffected Hillary voters, why not choose another woman who’s more qualified, like Kay Bailey Hutchinson, the senator from Texas?  I think this play will backfire, insulting Hillary supporters with the thinking that they’ll vote for anything wearing a skirt (or a pantsuit).  If it’s pro-lifers and gun rights advocates he’s after, there are plenty of choices much more qualified to lead the nation.  And what will happen when Palin is stood up next to Biden in a debate? 

This just seems like a really weird pick and calls into question McCain’s judgment, one of the key character traits that should be factored into our choice for president.  I am reminded of Ross Perot’s choice of admiral what’s-his-name (the name escapes me) as his running mate.  It completely destroyed whatever credibility Perot had.  The admiral’s performance in the VP debate was one of the most embarrassing moments in modern political history.  Perhaps Palin will prove me wrong.  Perhaps she has the makings of an incredible leader.  But that’s not a risk I’d be willing to take.