Imagining the American Future

Back to the future

Freeimages.com / Julia Borysewicz

Recently a friend asked me,  “What do you think life and economics will be like in 100 and 200 years, if no catastrophe derails the progress of civilization and technological development?” To this question about the American Future, I replied,

As you might expect from what I have written in the past, I think your premise about civilization avoiding catastrophe to be problematic. Nevertheless, if I accept your premise, I would have to say I have very little clue. However, whatever its shape, the economy should be largely independent of government management and control. The reason why I expect this is that this is the only way your premise could be true. Without a free-market economy, government-induced catastrophe would inevitably hit us. Witness the economic stagnation of most of Western Europe and the United States over the past several decades, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, modern day Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, etc., etc.

Nevertheless, one can think of various possible trends for the American Future of differing plausibilities. Let us take a look at what I think are the more probable possibilities. Before we do that, however, let us think of the binding constraints reality puts on these thought experiments, and how we should go about conducting them.

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Can Hauser’s Law Be Repealed?

Hauser's Curve

Hauser’s Curve           Image Credit: Wikimedia commons/Sugar-Baby-Love

American progressives  want a much bigger government with greater powers, while neoliberals (usually mislabeled “conservatives”) passionately want a greatly smaller, weaker government. The reasons for the neoliberal resistance to progressive policies are that neoliberals believe those policies to be incompatible with both human freedom and general economic prosperity.

The interaction of Hauser’s Law with Rahn’s Law provides an important neoliberal argument for limiting both government taxes and government spending. However, Hauser’s Law is an economic “law” only by courtesy of the fact that it has always been observed to be true in the United States for the past seven decades or so. If it can be repealed, that economic change could expose a serious flaw in the neoliberal picture of economic reality.

A friend and critic of mine on the progressive side of the argument pointed out an explanation for Hauser’s Law that shows how it might be repealed. Let us take a careful look at it.

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How Persuadable Are Neoliberal And Progressive Minds?

The labyrinth connections of persuasion

The labyrinth connections of persuasion
(c) Can Stock Photo / focalpoint

The more things change, the more they stay the same. — Translation of a French epigram by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Despite the kernel of truth in this famous epigram,  the long sweep of history teaches us it is fundamentally false. About a millennium ago, the timescale on which human world views (weltanshauungen, religions, ideologies) were fundamentally changed was measured in centuries. In our time, however, with increasing connections between human minds offered by the internet and televised news, and with accelerating advances in science, this timescale has shortened to decades. It would be extremely expedient and opportune for us now to find yet another revolution in Western world views. The modern challenges the Western world faces are truly existential in nature. Neoliberal and progressive minds will have to adjust if we are to survive.

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Progressive Mendacity on Tax Reform

Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, announces final passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act in the Senate, 51-49.

Vice President Mike Pence, as President of the Senate, announces final passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act in the Senate, 51-48.
Screen shot of Right Side Broadcasting Network video on Youtube

The lies of progressive politicians, pundits, and progressive allied news media  have seriously misled Americans about what the recently passed GOP tax reform bill actually does. Senate minority leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) may have claimed Republicans “will rue the day” they passed the tax bill, but it is far more likely Democrats and their supporting news media echo chamber will rue the day they misrepresented and opposed tax reform. This might happen as soon as next February when American workers discover their new, lower payroll taxes. Continue Reading…

How Neoliberals Should Respond To Progressives

A 1795 view of political debates that could pass for today!
Wikimedia Commons / Issac Cruikshank (1756-1811)

This essay  is a cri de coeur from yours truly about what I see as progressives’ unyielding idiocy about the nature of the world. I do appreciate that progressives would generally respond in similar fashion to people of my ilk, and that since the election of Donald Trump they have been giving ever greater vent to their own frustrations. Indeed, those of us who are neoliberals have been dumbfounded with amazement by progressives’ evident loss of sanity resulting from Trump’s election. Continue Reading…

More Measurements To Deflate AGW Enthusiasts

Total solar irradiance from 1978 to the present.

Total solar irradiance from 1978 to the present.
Space weather.com / Solar Dynamics Observatory

While obtaining the daily solar activity statistics  for my Solar Activity page this morning, I came across the intriguing plot above on the Spaceweather.com website. Why is it so intriguing? Its fascination derives from the additional damage it does to the theory of Anthropogenic (i.e. man-made) Global Warming, or AGW. Continue Reading…

Taxes and Hauser’s Law

Hauser's Curve

Hauser’s Curve           Image Credit: Wikimedia commons/Sugar-Baby-Love

With a Republican tax bill  having passed both houses of Congress and certain to be signed by the President, taxes and tax rates are the universal subject of the day. A critical empirical fact to consider in the debate is Hauser’s Law, as illustrated by Hauser’s curve above. Continue Reading…

Why U.S. Populism Flummoxes Progressives

Two faces of American populism
Left: Sen. Bernie Sanders(I-VT) during campaign event in Phoenix, Az.  Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore
Right: Donald Trump during 2016 presidential campaign event.  Wikimedia Commons/Gage Skidmore

American elites  appear to remain both stunned and bewildered by the results of last year’s elections, even after more than a year later. It is unthinkable, as they see it, that so many people should reject the obvious truths the elites proclaim. These are the intelligentsia, and the nation’s leaders in academia, entertainment, news media, business, and politics. How can such a large number of American voters repudiate them?

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A Big Trump Success: Deconstruction of The Regulatory State

President Trump signs executive order in his first 10 days of office to curb government regulations.

President Trump signs executive order in his first 10 days of office to curb government regulations.
NBC News / Carlos Barria / Reuters

One huge Trump achievement  only marginally commented upon by the news media has been the beginnings of his deconstruction of the regulatory state, aka the administrative state. Republicans may have failed so far to repeal and replace Obamacare, and passage of tax reform in the U.S. Senate might look problematical, but at least in bringing down the cost of the regulatory state and bringing us back to a more constitutionally sound government, Trump has racked up solid successes.

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Even More Lies Progressives Tell To Themselves!

A progressive regarding the world!

A progressive regarding the world. Be careful what you buy from him!
(c) Can Stock Photo / ezumeimages

In my last essay  I was only able to cover two of the major subsidiary lies progressives tell to both themselves and to others. By subsidiary I mean the falsehoods are told to buttress progressives’ ability to uphold their most fundamental offense to the truth, which is: Government actually has the capability to solve or ameliorate all social and economic problems without creating even worse problems. I discussed this fundamental lie in the post The Lies Progressives Tell (Especially To Themselves!). In my last post, More Lies Progressives Tell To Themselves, I debunked two of the supporting lies progressives often trot out in support of their policies. Those untruths were: first, that the ideological opponents of progressives and a large fraction of the American people are racists and fascists; and second, that free-markets encourage increasingly unequal income distribution. In this essay I want to continue the effort by rebutting four more progressive lies.

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More Lies Progressives Tell To Themselves

A neoliberal view of progressives

A neoliberal view of progressives. The cricket of course is a neoliberal.
Pinocchio from the 1940 Walt Disney movie

In my last post  I outlined what I thought was the most fundamental — and also most egregious — lie that progressives told both to themselves and to the world at large. I noted that since progressives sincerely and passionately believed in this misstatement of the truth, it was probably ungenerous to say it was actually a lie, but that it was most certainly a prevarication. This most fundamental of falsehoods about the nature of social reality is this: Government actually has the capability to solve or ameliorate all social and economic problems without creating even worse problems. A corollary to this falsehood is that individuals and non-governmental social organizations lack the power without government assistance to solve their most serious problems. The counterargument disproving this thesis starts with the observation that human social organizations are fundamentally chaotic systems. What the term chaotic system actually means and how the most fundamental assumption of progressive ideology is invalidated by considering them was the subject of my last essay. If you have not read it, you probably should before you read this one.

But fundamental lies about reality give rise to a great many other lies in support of the fundamental one. People who succumb to it will need to declare a great many other falsehoods to buttress the first. Listing what I consider such subsidiary lies is the subject of this post.

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The Lies Progressives Tell (Especially To Themselves!)

Violence between UC Berkeley students and Trump supporters on March2, 2017

Violence between UC Berkeley students and Trump supporters on March 2, 2017
Screen capture from Fox News Youtube post

Over the past nine years  the offenses progressives have made against the truth have multiplied. This was certainly true through all eight years of the Obama administration, but since the election of Donald Trump, these misrepresentations have positively bloomed. It may be a stretch to say they are actually lies since progressives themselves seem to actually believe many of these distortions of the truth. Yet those of us who are neoliberals (aka “conservatives”, a misnomer) need to point out to progressive friends and acquaintances what we consider their fallacies. Then, of course they can respond why they think we are desperately wrong, and we can respond in kind.

Whether or not neoliberals can actually persuade progressives to engage in such a conversation is uncertain, since many progressives, especially those in the progressive elites, consider most neoliberals to be despicable, immoral, barely human individuals. Nevertheless, neoliberals must hold themselves ready for such discussions, since coming to an agreement on the nature of social reality might be the only way to avoid a second American civil war.

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U.S. Economy and Stock Markets, November 2017

US real GDP growth from Q1 2009 to Q3 2017. The green line is a linear fit to the GDP over the three years from Q1 2014 to Q1 2017.

US real GDP growth from Q1 2009 to Q3 2017. The green line is a linear fit to the GDP over the three years from Q1 2014 to Q1 2017.
St. Louis Federal Reserve District Bank / FRED

I have have just updated  the leading and coincident economic indicators I am following, the first update I have done since last May. That means it is time to take a more analytic view of just what is happening to our economy, and why.

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The Iran Nuclear Agreement is Unfixable

Emad IRBM at launch

Iranian Emad IRBM at launch
Photo Credit: Wikimedia commons/Tasnimnews/Mohammad Agah

Much has been said recently  about President Trump’s decertification of Iran’s compliance to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the JCPOA. The Europeans are uniformly opposed to what Trump has done, and of course Democrats consider Trump’s action to be a great blunder. Yet, the most accurate evaluation is probably from a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. His view is the JCPOA is completely flawed and fundamentally unfixable.

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