A Trump Victory. Here’s how it happened.

November 9, 2016

 

In the next few posts I’ll be sharing many thoughts about this election.  I’ll begin with the question that is foremost in everyone’s mind.  What the hell happened?  How could every single poll have been so wrong?  All predicted a virtual Clinton landslide.

But there was some tightening of the polls in the final two weeks.  Almost everyone seems to believe that the announcement by the FBI of the discovery of new E-mails on a computer used by Clinton’s top aide swung the election, regardless of whether the FBI announced a week later that it had found nothing new.  That seems to be the conventional wisdom.  But it’s wrong.

Psychologists will tell you that it takes a significant event to change people’s attitudes.  In the run-up to World War II, most Americans wanted to stay out of the mess in Europe.  Then came Pearl Harbor and, overnight, Americans lined up to join in the fight.  They were angry as hell.

Were the E-mails discovered on Abedin’s computer such an event?  Hardly.  It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise, and there was a lot of skepticism (ultimately proven to be justified) that there was really nothing of much significance there.  But there were three events that took place in the immediate wake of the FBI’s announcement that angered Americans in a big, big way – much more than the media realized:

  1. The government announced that social security checks would rise by only 0.3% next year, after no rise at all in 2016, citing a lack of inflation in the cost of living.  Everyone 62 years and older was absolutely outraged.  How in the world the Obama administration was dumb enough to let this happen only days before the election is mystifying.
  2. Immediately on the heels of that came an announcement that those who were buying health insurance through Obamacare would face enormous premium increases.  Bam!  Another few million Americans were seething.  Hey, they assured the rest of us, if you’re not on Obamacare, don’t worry.  You’re not affected.
  3. Oh, yeah?  Then, only one week ahead of the election, open enrollment in company-sponsored benefit plans began, and the rest of us discovered that the folks on Obamacare may have been the lucky ones compared to what we were now facing.  To cite my own case as an example, since I retired in 2004, the cost of my wife’s health insurance has risen at an annual rate of 43% but I just learned before the election that it would jump by 123% next year!  Every American was seeing the same thing.  So now every American, just one week before the election, was pissed off in a way that, if they didn’t already believe that America was on the wrong track, they sure believed it now.    And it was enough to make a lot of them change their minds and cast a protest vote.

As these events unfolded, I told my wife that Trump didn’t need to say anything.  He barely needed to continue campaigning.  All he had to do was let the daily news cycle play itself out.  The daily drumbeat of bad news about the prospects for our future was just piling on proof that a change was needed in a big way.

More analysis will follow.

 


Immigration Bill Would Help Social Security?

May 9, 2013

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/08/us-immigration-usa-socialsecurity-idUSBRE94711T20130508

According to government actuaries, the proposed immigration bill which would legalize eleven million illegal immigrants would help put social security back on sound financial footing by collecting social security taxes from eleven million more people.  (See the above-linked Reuters article.)  Wow, what a great idea! 

Why is it that these actuaries don’t also point out that social security would already be on even more sound financial footing if only we hadn’t imported all those immigrants 40 years ago, immigrants who are now drawing benefits from social security? 

The point is this:  that attempting to avoid the temporary funding problems that a stabilizing population presents by growing the population further only exacerbates the problem in the future – a problem that must be dealt with at some point anyway since never-ending population growth is impossible.  If this immigration “reform” passes, then thirty or forty years from now we will have eleven million more people drawing out of social security than we would have otherwise.  And our social security funding problem will be that much worse.

But, no, “lazy economics” – the economics of procrastination – always holds sway because that’s more appealing to everyone.  Why face up to our problems when we can put them off onto future generations?  Let’s import more social security tax-payers.  Never mind that they will draw benefits tomorrow.  Tomorrow never comes.


Inflation: Is the Government Lying?

May 14, 2008

http://www.reuters.com/article/ousiv/idUSN1341778020080514

This may be the clearest evidence I’ve ever seen that the government fudges economic statistics and lies to the American people about the state of our economy.  Check out this article.  With food and energy prices soaring by the day, the government has the gall to say:

Consumer prices rose a smaller-than-expected 0.2 percent in April as energy prices held steady, a Labor Department report on Wednesday showed.

… During the month, energy prices were unchanged…

… So-called core prices, which exclude volatile food and energy, were up just 0.1 percent…

Can you believe this?  Only yesterday, the Commerce Department reported that import prices were up 1.8% last month alone, on top of the 1.0% rise the prior month.  And yet, the CPI is only up 0.2%?!?!?! 

Why is the government fudging on the CPI (consumer price index)?  Three reasons:

  1. They’re concerned about the psyche of the stock market.
  2. They don’t want to give the Federal Reserve justification for reversing policy and raising interest rates.
  3. Most importantly, the annual raise in Social Security benefits is determined by the CPI.  They fudge the CPI to cheat the elderly out of the money they need to survive, very slowly whittling Social Security down to nothing. 

This data should prompt outrage and journalists should be demanding answers on how the CPI could be so benign when all of the evidence points to the contrary.  Will they?  I very much doubt it.  Journalists with that kind of analytical thinking have vanished, gone with the winds of globalization.

 

 


The Rising Birth Rate

December 22, 2007

There was much ado on the national news last night about the fact that the birth rate in the U.S. has ticked slightly higher, to 2.1 children per female.  It was explained that “economists” see this as a good thing, because we need more younger people to support the older generation in retirement, alleviating (at least slightly) some of the huge projected social security / medicare deficit. 

It never to ceases to amaze me that “economists” can’t look far enough down the road and question what will happen if we keep “growing” the economy in this way.  It’s because they don’t understand that a smaller population will actually benefit the economy through improved per capita consumption.  In the meantime, slightly higher taxes and tariffs on over-populated nations is all that’s needed to eliminate the projected ss/medicare shortfall.