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.
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.
Plot of annual Real U.S. GDP per capita growth in percent averaged over ten year periods. This is the major reason why huge U.S. corporate tax cuts are needed!
The Gallup Organization
About a month ago, I was having a conversation with a gentleman of the progressive persuasion about U.S. corporate tax cuts. I was trying to persuade him the U.S. desperately needed very large corporate tax cuts to restart economic growth. Otherwise we are doomed to secular stagnation, if not indeed secular decline. Being a progressive, he of course did not agree.
The U.S. Senate voting NO on repeal of Obamacare on July 27, 2017.
Screenshot of ABC News coverage.
Everywhere the leaders of the two major American political parties look, insuperable political problems threaten to overwhelm them. As long-time assumptions about the capabilities of government unravel and the electorate itself is fragmenting into new coalitions, driven by uncertainty on how their major economic and political problems can be solved, the parties themselves are frustrated over how to get public support for their policies. The Republican Party especially appears to be splitting into separate moderate and “conservative” coalitions. However, although the Democratic Party (at least among its elites) is not so riven as the GOP, its relatively greater unity is driving them in a direction that threatens to alienate even more of the electorate. How are the not-so United States of America and its people going to get themselves out of this fine mess?
The red state – blue state division of the United States as revealed by the presidential results of the past four presidential elections.
Wikimedia Commons / Angr
This week The Sacramento Bee reported additional evidence for the ideological balkanization of the United States. The newspaper of California’s capitol reported the state government is now banning publicly funded travel to four more states because the California government views those states’ laws or policies as discriminatory to gay and transgender people. The four new states on the list are Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota, all of which are red states according to the map above, i.e. Republican and neoliberal (aka “conservative”). Those four new states join Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee, similarly red states. As of now, I am unaware of any similar bans by red states against blue, i.e. predominantly Democratic and progressive states.
The time evolution of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s GDPNow forecast for the second quarter of 2017.
Image and Data Credit: Atlanta Federal Reserve District Bank / Center for Quantitative Economic Research
Just a few days ago, in my post U.S. Economy and Stock Markets, May 2017, I noted there were of a number of economic statistics pointing to current and future economic growth somewhat greater than the stagnant levels to which we became accustomed under Obama. In just those few days, I have found even more economic tea leaves for us all to ponder.
GDP per capita in Europe in 2014. According to the World Bank, the U.S. GDP per capita in the same year was $54,540.
In this post, I will continue my look at what history can tell us about economics and politics. In my last essay, I briefly examined what lessons the major leftist revolutions — the French Revolution and the communist revolutions of Russia and China — could give us. In this post I will investigate how the economic and political history of post-French Revolution Europe might cast a light on the current American progressive-neoliberal conversation.
Incoming and outgoing international trade in San Francisco Bay
Wikimedia Commons / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Arguments over U.S. tax policies are moving toward a controversial tax proposal around which all other tax discussions are centering. That tax proposal, offered by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), is the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT). If this proposal cannot pass Congress, it is quite possible absolutely no tax reform will pass this year, a prospect that would be catastrophic not only for Republicans, but for the country as well.
Container shipping has revolutionized foreign trade by greatly reducing costs of transportation by ship, rail, and truck.
Wikimedia Commons / Hafiz343
I have written several times about why foreign trade is always a win-win proposition when the selling country has a comparative advantage of producing the traded good. Yet, the issue of foreign trade is becoming increasingly divisive, and the costs of unintended consequences of repressing foreign trade are becoming more apparent. In addition, the foreign trade issue might well cause proposals for corporate and middle class tax cuts to be scuttled through congressional quarrels over the federal government’s increasingly desperate financial condition. This is an excellent time to reconsider this divisive issue.
Real U.S. Per capita GDP in chained 2009 dollars (blue curve) and its percent change year over year (maroon curve). The thick green line is a linear fit of the maroon curve over the recovery years from the Great Recession.
St. Louis Federal Reserve District Bank / FRED
I have not made a general survey of the U.S. economy for some time, the last one having been in October of last year. What caused me to take longer in producing a new one was the (for me) unexpected surge in GDP in the third quarter of 2016. From the Atlanta Fed’s forecast called GDPnow, plus
the other bearish indicators I was watching, I firmly expected third quarter GDP to come in at or below two percent. Instead, it showed at a very respectable 3.5 percent! What was going on? I decided to wait and watch before pontificating, searching for understanding before I wrote.
President Donald J. Trump delivering his inaugural address, January 20, 2017
Screenshot of ABC News broadcast
Uncompromising. That was the major tone of Donald Trump’s inaugural address on the west side of the Capitol building yesterday. Rather than being a partisan speech giving a list of what he would try to accomplish, it was a scathing indictment of the establishments of both political parties. In the words of the inestimable Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal,
He presented himself not as a Republican or a conservative but as a populist independent. The essential message: Remember those things I said in the campaign? I meant them. I meant it all.
Which Way Can We go!
(c) Can Stock Photo / svanhorn
There is no doubt about it! Unless the federal government drastically reduces mandatory entitlement expenditures in the near future, it will soon be bankrupt . What can be meant by “bankrupt” in terms of a nation? In terms of a person or a private organization, the dictionary meaning of the word is that the person or organization is declared in a court of law unable to pay outstanding debts. Whether or not a court will ever declare the United States government as being incapable of paying outstanding debts, I would settle for the definition that the U.S, government in fact can not pay its outstanding debts. And the time when that will be true may be a lot sooner than you think.
The first three progressive presidents: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson
Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons / Pach Brothers , Wikimedia Commons / George Grantham Bain , and Wikimedia Commons / Harris & Ewing
Progressivism was not always the alien virus infecting the American body politic that it is today. When it started out as a social movement in the 1870s, it’s adherents could justly claim the proud title of “Liberals.” Liberalism, that child of the Age of Enlightenment, was most preoccupied with securing the liberty and freedom of individuals from the menace and power of the state. This liberalism is the central American tradition, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, most especially in the Bill of Rights. The values of individualism inherent in the Constitution — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to hold property; the right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures”; the right to trial by jury if accused of a crime; and many others intended to ensure a modicum of immunity from the demands of government — are the values that traditionally have defined Americans as Americans. These are the values, together with the institutions they inspired, that have made the United States an exceptional nation.
Donald Trump giving his victory speech early this morning
YouTube / RT.com
Donald J. Trump’s victory yesterday to become the President-elect of the United States is a fitting surprise for this country’s elites in this most surprising of campaign seasons. Our elites, who have become overwhelmingly dirigiste, needed this rebellion by the American electorate to force a reconsideration of their ideology. As is often the case with victory speeches, but which with Trump was very surprising, his victory speech early this morning was a model of magnanimity. Continue Reading…
OOPS! A Bear!
(c) Can Stock Photo
Approximately eight years ago, progressives were screaming that capitalists had with their avaricious, dishonest and selfish behavior thrown us into another Great Depression. The reaction of a Democratically controlled Congress was the Dodd-Frank Act, which has bedeviled the U.S. economy ever since. Yet noting this just barely scratches the surface of all the misdeeds of the executive and legislative federal government branches that are progressively weighing down our economy. One of the major effects of government discouragement of economic activity has been the inflation of a stock market bubble. Continue Reading…