SOTU Trump A Unifying Visionary Leader

Trump is redirecting humanity. Absolutely amazing! President Trump brilliantly and expertly delivered perhaps one of the most powerful, impactful and unifying SOTU speech’s in history. President Trump was indeed “Presidential” and delivered a powerful speech reminding us of our unique and extraordinary American greatness, restoring our pride and love for country, restoring our confidence in the hope and promise that our finest days lie ahead. The President spoke of creating a new standard of living for the 21st century for an amazing quality of life, better than ever before. A sense of protection through his leadership, demonstrated success, and a clear unwavering vision for America, Trump broke down barriers of doubt, fear and concern for the challenging, dangerous, frustrating and often fearful and divisive times in which we live. This is what true leaders do. They inspire and unite for a common cause. The cause is freedom.

Trump Unites America

The MSM fake news propaganda portrayal of President Trump as a divider was debunked in one speech on February 5, 2019. Don’t take my word for it. Even CBS (no friend of the President), said most viewers approved of the speech. Republicans did tune in to watch it in much greater numbers than Democrats (as a president’s party typically does) with forty percent of Democrats approved and18 percent strongly approved. The overall numbers were 76% approval 24% disapproval. And how about both Republicans and Democrats on their feet chanting, “USA-USA-USA”. What a night!

Muhammad Ali Round One

Like the former heavy weight champion boxer, Muhammad Ali, Trump kept his distance just sort of tantalizing and jabbing away at the Democrat Socialists before him in the US House of Representatives. The President authoritatively stated that “we must reject the politics of revenge, resistance and retribution and embrace the boundless potential of cooperation, compromise, and the common good.”  He went on to say that “we can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions, and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future.” “We must choose between greatness or gridlock, results or resistance, vision or vengeance, incredible progress or pointless destruction. Tonight, I ask you to choose greatness.”

The President went on and reported the incredible and unprecedented accomplishments of his leadership and administration from foreign policy to prison reform and the economy. This was a long run up to the statement we were all waiting for, that being that “the state of our union is strong”. This left no room for argument.

Round Two Ali Unleashes

In round two,Trump begins to move in on the opposition party by stating that “the only thing that can stop it (our economic success) are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations. If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way.”

The Knock Out Punch

The President reminded us that for decades past our leaders in this very hall have pledged to build a wall but never got it done Trump went on to say very definitively, “I will get it done”. Trump made it clear that the theft of American jobs and American wealth has come to an end. Trump took on NATO, NAFTA and reminded us of what “Made in the USA” is all about. He spoke of school choice and the fact that nations do not fight endless wars. Trump stated in no unmistakable terms that walls work and that walls saves lives.

Through the lives of real people in the House, he addressed heroism, patriotism, antisemitism, racial injustices and more. Then finally, he delivered the fatal knock out punch; “Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments from birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful, babies who will never get the chance to share their love and their dreams with the world. And then, we had the case of the Governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth.”

“To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb. Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: all children — born and unborn — are made in the holy image of God.”

Conclusion

We were born free we will stay free. We will never be a socialist country. The globalists and deep state have met their match. The first two years of Donald Trump in office has delivered multiple effective blows to the enemies of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But we have only just begun what will prove to be a long, long battle to restore human dignity, peace and prosperity to not only America but to the world.

The President effectively demonstrated right from wrong, Good from evil. Greatness, prosperity and abundance from devastation, destruction and despair as we see in Venezuela today. We are winning. Trump is not only gaining supoport from the Democrats, blacks, whites, and Hispanics, but is slowly but surly gaining not only respect, but support from around the globe. I have written about this and other related important subjects here on my website. Rather than close out this article looking at the challenges that are before us, there’s plenty of time to go there, let’s just bask in the glory of God in our amazing country and be proud to be Americans once again. May God bless and protect our courageous leader and President Donald J. Trump

Choose Greatness

The President’s closing remarks at the SOTU: “I ask the men and women of this Congress: Look at the opportunities before us. Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream.

We must choose whether we are defined by our differences — or whether we dare to transcend them. We must choose whether we squander our inheritance — or whether we proudly declare that we are Americans: We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.

This is the time to re-ignite the American imagination. This is the time to search for the tallest summit, and set our sights on the brightest star. This is the time to rekindle the bonds of love and loyalty and memory that link us together as citizens, as neighbors, as patriots. This is our future — our fate — and our choice to make.

I am asking you to choose greatness. No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.

We must keep America first in our hearts. We must keep freedom alive in our souls. And we must always keep faith in America’s destiny — that one nation, under God, must be the hope and the promise and the light and the glory among all the nations of the world.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much.”

Full Speech

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the Marie Antoinette of the Democratic Party?

In the 1930s Stefan Zweig wrote this about Marie Antoinette, “perhaps the most signal example in history of the way in which destiny will at times pluck a mediocre human being from obscurity and, with commanding hand, force the man or woman in question to overstep the bounds of mediocrity.”


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Socialist Democrat-NY) Photo; Facebook.

Fast forward to 2018 and the unexpected election of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Socialist Democrat-NY).

Ocasio-Cortez was certainly plucked from obscurity. The question: Is Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez mediocre (of moderate or low quality, value, ability, or performance)?

Like the young Marie Antoinette, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is beloved by the Socialists in the Democratic Party. This makes her, like Marie Antoinette, a very dangerous person.

Marie Antoinette’s fairy tale turned into a tragedy when the French Revolutionary people’s court condemned her to death and she was executed just two weeks shy of her 38th birthday, when the guillotine sliced off her head.

In Smithsonian Magazine Richard Covington wrote:

Marie Antoinette would likely have been perfectly happy to have played only a ceremonial part as queen. But Louis’ weakness forced her to take a more dominant role—for which the French people could not forgive her. Cartoons depicted her as a harpy trampling the constitution. She was blamed for bankrupting the country, when others in the high-spending, lavish court bore equal responsibility. Ultimately, she was condemned simply for being Louis’ wife and a symbol of tyranny. 

Unlike Marie Antoinette, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has taken upon herself a dominant role in public policy with her “Green New Deal.” Many look at this, 10 year “Green New Deal” plan to save the planet from destruction from climate change, as trampling the U.S. Constitution and ultimately bankrupting the United States of America. A lavish Democratic Party policy initiative that will cost the American taxpayers trillions of dollars.

Via Americans for Tax Reform:

This morning, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez released an overview of her “Green New Deal” which threatens “a massive transformation of our society.”

Below are the details of the proposal.

Rebuild every single building in the U.S.

“Upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency.”

Will end all traditional forms of energy in the next ten years.

The Green New Deal is “a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since World War 2 to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.”

Plans to ban nuclear energy within 10 years if possible.

“It’s unclear if we will be able to decommission every nuclear plant within 10 years, but the plan is to transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible.”

Build trains across oceans and end all air travel!

“Build out highspeed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary”.

Don’t invest in new technology of Carbon Capture and Storage, just plant trees instead!

“We believe the right way to capture carbon is to plant trees and restore our natural ecosystems. CCUS technology to date has not proven effective.”

Mandates all new jobs be unionized.

“Ensure that all GND jobs are union jobs that pay prevailing wages and hire local.”

May include a carbon tax.

“We’re not ruling a carbon tax out, but a carbon tax would be a tiny part of a Green New Deal.”

May include cap and trade.

“…Cap and trade may be a tiny part of the larger Green New Deal plan.”

How much will it cost?

No estimate of the total cost of implementing the Green New deal is offered by Ocasio-Cortez.

In a GRABIE NEWS column titled “Ocasio-Cortez: Fixing Global Warming Requires ‘Massive Government Intervention’” Tom Elliott writes:

Democrats’ plans to counteract climate change will involve “massive government intervention” into Americans’ lives, one of the chief proponents admitted in an interview Thursday morning.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she has no qualms about acknowledging a so-called “Green New Deal” will mean unprecedented governmental intrusion into the private sector. Appearing on NPR, she was asked if she’s prepared to tell Americans outright that her plans involve “massive government intervention.”

Elliott noted, “In her weekly press conference today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ducked two questions on the more radical components over Ocasio-Cortez’s plan. Asked twice about remodeling every building in the United States, as the plan calls for, Pelosi said, “I haven’t seen it,” before ending the press conference.” [Video]

Will Ocasio-Cortez’s New Green Deal be the Socialist straw that breaks the back of the Democratic Party? Will Democrats face a political guillotine, slicing off their collectivist heads in 2020 and ensuring that Donald J. Trump gets a second term with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress?

Time will tell.

As President Trump stated in his State of the Union address:

Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.  America was founded on liberty and independence –- not government coercion, domination, and control.  We are born free, and we will stay free.  Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Washington Post Calls Ocasio-Cortez’s Claim of ‘Doctored’ Green New Deal Documents ‘Misleading’

Green New Deal: “Air Travel Stops Becoming Necessary”

Here’s Every Democrat Who Supports Ocasio-Cortez’s Crazy “Green New Deal”

California’s New Governor Calls for a Tax on Drinking Water

Communities throughout the state struggle with dangerous pollutants in their supply, but opponents of the suggested tax say there is no need to tax residents in order to solve the problem.

California’s new governor has wasted little time continuing the state’s seemingly limitless expansion of government. Governor Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposal, published last week, suggests instituting a tax on drinking water in the name of cleaning up California’s water systems.

The “Environmental Protection” section of the 2019-2020 budget seeks to

establish a new special fund, with a dedicated funding source from new water, fertilizer, and dairy fees, to enable the State Water Resources Control Board to assist communities, particularly disadvantaged communities, in paying for the short-term and long-term costs of obtaining access to safe and affordable drinking water.

California’s drinking water quality is indeed poor. Communities throughout the state struggle with dangerous pollutants in their supply, but opponents of the suggested tax say there is no need to tax residents in order to solve the problem.

Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association has argued that the proposal is an example “of California’s knee-jerk reaction to default to a new tax whenever there’s a new problem,” the Sacramento Bee reported. (In another example, last year bureaucrats proposed a new tax on text messages that was ultimately shot down.) Coupal says there shouldn’t be new taxes for water system improvements when the state is sitting on a $14.2 billion surplus.

Similarly, the California Association of Water Agencies, a coalition of public water agencies throughout the state, has expressed opposition to the proposed tax, arguing that in light of the current surplus, a trust should be established to fund water clean-up efforts.  “The state should not tax something that is essential to life, such as water and food,” they said in a press release, adding that the costs of living in California are already too high and that another tax would make water less affordable.

Further, significant funding has already been allocated to help clean up water in disadvantaged communities, which experience disproportionate levels of polluted drinking water. For example, Assembly Bill 1471, passed in 2014, authorized$260 million “for grants and loans for public water system infrastructure improvements and related actions to meet safe drinking water standards, ensure affordable drinking water, or both.”

In 2015, as part of the emergency drought funding, then-Governor Jerry Brown approved an additional $19 million in funding was allocated “to meet interim emergency drinking water needs for disadvantaged communities with a contaminated water supply or suffering from drought-related water outages or threatened emergencies,” according to the state water board.

In June of last year, voters approved Proposition 68, which authorized $250 million for clean drinking water projects, as well as drought preparedness measures.

Further, in December, the EPA awarded California $187 billion in federal funds “for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.”

California already has one of the largest tax burdens in the country. Its top tier income rate is the highest at 13.3 percent, as is its sales tax rate of 7.25 percent. In 2017, the state collected $82 billion in tax revenue—nearly $4 billion more than expected.

Nevertheless, Newsom is modeling his new tax proposal on a funding bill state lawmakers rejected last year. According to his budget, “This proposal is consistent with the policy framework of SB 623, introduced in the 2017-18 legislative session.”

That bill sought to tax both homes and businesses to raise money for water cleanup and would have been capped at 95 cents per month, but it died in the Senate. (A similar attempt to tax drinking water in the state of New Jersey also languished in that state’s legislature last year.)

It appears voters could be growing apprehensive toward new fees for drinking water considering they defeated Proposition 3 in last year’s election, which would have allocated $500 million in bond funding to help the state’s water suppliers meet safe drinking water standards.

Newsom’s push has received praise from environmental groups, but the Sacramento Bee reports that while the budget has an increased chance of passing since Democrats regained their supermajority in the legislature, some Democrats are hesitant to approve new taxes on drinking water.

Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars that have already been allocated to fix the water problem, it seems the bigger issue isn’t a lack of funding but an excess of bureaucracy and intervention.

COLUMN BY

Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler

Carey Wedler is a video blogger and Senior Editor for Anti-Media.

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is by Pixabay.

EXCLUSIVE: Trump Says State Of The Union Guests Will Be ‘Border-Related’

President Donald Trump will invite guests related to the ongoing situation at the U.S. southern border during his State of the Union address, he told The Daily Caller in an exclusive Oval Office interview Wednesday.

“I will say that some of them will be border-related, some of them will be people who have suffered very badly because we didn’t do what we should’ve done in a very dangerous part of our country, and so that’s going to be a part of it, absolutely,” Trump said when asked for an exclusive preview of his State of the Union guests.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress inside the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress inside the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool

The president then scheduled a meeting in front of The Daily Caller with his senior staff for the next day to discuss that very matter.

Trump said of the address that while some of it will focus on the border crisis, other parts will touch on economic progress in the United States, saying:

At the same time, the world is not doing well and we’re going great. You look at the numbers, we’re hitting highs. I get no credit for it. It’s like, when do you ever hear them talking about — we just hit 25,000 and you won’t even hear a thing about it. If President Obama were there — and don’t forget, he was paying no interest. We’re actually paying interest. You know, he was paying no interest. He didn’t have liquidity being drained out of the market in order to pay down, which we have. How about $50 billion a month? $50 billion a month.

If I had a no-interest, no-liquidity situation with respect to the market, I mean, forget it. It would actually be incredible the numbers. Big difference. Tremendous difference.

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF DAILY CALLER INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP

THE DAILY CALLER: Stephen Paddock, the shooter in Las Vegas in 2017. The FBI just closed its investigation yesterday without determining any motive. But don’t you think Americans deserve to know why so many people died in the worst mass shooting in modern history?

POTUS: It was a horrible event. He was a very, very sick person, obviously. It was very unusual in that there didn’t seem to be your standard set of reasons as to why this would happen. I’m a little surprised that the report wasn’t much longer but at the same time I can understand it. It was just a — just a terrible thing. They were unable to find a real reason other than, obviously, he was sick and they didn’t know it.

So, I was a little surprised and a lot disappointed that they weren’t able to find the reason. Because you’d like to find a reason for that.

THE DAILY CALLER: Were you following the developments through that case?

POTUS: I was watching it like everybody else. I thought it was horrible. I went to the hospital, I saw many of the victims and right after the event it was horrible. It was inconceivable. But he was a very sick person and nobody would’ve known it. Nobody had any idea. He had money — or at least they think he had money. He was a gambler, you know, you don’t see too many gamblers that have money.

I think they worked very hard. I will tell you they worked very hard on that case. They just were unable to find anything from all of the facts. Because I’ve looked at some of the things also and it was a very unusual case of a very sick person who just, people never saw that coming.

THE DAILY CALLER: Speaking of the FBI, sir, were you comfortable with the way and the force that was used against the raid in Roger Stone’s house? Do you think that was appropriate for your FBI to be doing that in a white collar case?

POTUS: I thought it was very unusual. You know, I’ve stayed out of that whole situation so that — because there was no collusion whatsoever. There was no nothing done wrong and frankly, I could have waded in very early, I could have ended it very easily if I wanted to but just let it run its course.  But I will say, like, I’m speaking for a lot of people that were very disappointed to see that go down that way, to see it happen where it was on camera, on top of it.

That was a very, very disappointing scene — 

THE DAILY CALLER: You thought it was unusual that CNN was there?

POTUS: — You have 29 people and you have armored vehicles and you had all of the other and, you know, many people know Roger, and Roger is not a person that they would have to worry about from that standpoint. I thought it was sad to see it.

THE DAILY CALLER: Would you ask the FBI to review its use of force, its militarization when it handles cases like this?

POTUS: I think it’s a good question for you to ask, and it’s something I’ll think about.

THE DAILY CALLER: One last question related to that. On the Paddock case, all of America was really interested to find out what happened there.

POTUS: Including me.

THE DAILY CALLER: Of course. And I wonder how many resources in the FBI were committed to the Paddock case versus committed to the Mueller investigation. How much money was spent? How many people were on those things? How do those two things compare?

POTUS: What a great question that is. It’s one of the better questions. I hope you’re going to play your question because that is a very, very interesting — you’re talking about, I guess they’re well over 30 million dollars now on this Russian collusion hoax, and everybody knows it’s a hoax. They’ve spent all this money. Nothing. No phone calls, no meetings, no nothing. You look at it, and you say, isn’t that sad to have devoted this time, this energy over a — you know, look, there’s been numerous books written right now, including number one best sellers, calling it a “hoax.” And it is very sad. That is very sad. By the way, to me, both very sad events.

But that is very interesting to ask, where you’ve had so many people killed, and so badly wounded, because I went to the hospital. You had people so badly wounded. People never talk about the wounded. The level of hurt and devastation for a whole lifetime. You know, many people just devastated for a lifetime. They’ll never be the same. And you look at that by comparison to the Russian hoax, it’s a shame. The Russian witch hunt, it’s a shame.

THE DAILY CALLER: Speaking of that, sir, Matt Whitaker came out I think a couple of days ago. He said that the Mueller probe seems to be wrapping up, generally. Has he communicated that to you?

POTUS: No. No, I haven’t spoken to him about that. I would say that I think after almost two years it certainly should be. Process crimes or process, you know, questions, the answer is different than what you thought it might be and some people say they lost their memory or a lack of memory, which a lot of people can understand that too.

No, I never spoke to him about that.

THE DAILY CALLER: So Whitaker or whoever is heading as the attorney general at the time will get to make a decision about releasing the report that Mueller sends him —

POTUS: I don’t know what —

THE DAILY CALLER: Is that the kind of thing you’ll sign off on if and when it comes to that decision?

POTUS: They’ll have to make their decision within the Justice Department. They will make the decision as to what they do. I could’ve taken a much different stance, I could’ve gotten involved in this, I could’ve terminated everything. I could’ve ended everything. I’ve chosen to stay out of it. But I had the right to, as you know, I had the right if I wanted to to end everything. I could’ve just said, ‘that’s enough.’ Many people thought that’s what I should do.

THE DAILY CALLER: You know, Andrew McCarthy has made the case that the reason Comey was recommended to be fired by Rod Rosenstein is that he went out in public and he made a public indictment of Hillary Clinton without actually recommending a prosecution.

In other words, he made a character indictment of her in the court of public opinion. In Andrew McCarthy’s view, if this report comes out from Mueller and it does anything to try and go after you for any reason that doesn’t have any criminality involved, that would be a disservice to you. That’s not justice if the Justice Department is trying to say things to hurt your character but they don’t have anything to do with criminality.

POTUS: Well, I never had anything to do with the Russians having to do with this. I ran a great campaign. I ran a campaign that now they say was better than that gentleman’s [Andrew Jackson’s] campaign in the 1800s and we did a great job.

And we got 306 to 223 and that’s that. Won states that nobody thought were possible to win. Remember the expression, ‘he cannot get to 270.’ And we got way beyond 270.

And I don’t even say she ran a bad campaign. I think I ran a very good campaign.

THE DAILY CALLER: Well the people who elected you are very interested in the immigration decision and what’s going on with this negotiation. Republicans in charge of Congress for two years didn’t get to your wall promise in Congress. How big of a roadblock to wall funding was Paul Ryan now that he’s gone?

POTUS: Well, I was going to veto the omnibus bill and Paul told me in the strongest of language, ‘Please don’t do that, we’ll get you the wall.’ And I said, ‘I hope you mean that because I don’t like this bill,’ although I love the bill for what it did for the military. And therefore, if it weren’t for the military I would have vetoed it.

Just so you understand, our military needed funding desperately. Totally depleted. And this bill was great for the military. Had I vetoed it, you would never have gotten the numbers back that I got: $700 and $716 billion over the last two years. Which is substantially more — much more than President Obama was able to get for the military.

So that was a negative but a big factor as to why that was the reason I signed it. But another very big factor was the fact that Paul told me in the strongest of terms that, ‘please sign this and if you sign this we will get you that wall.’ Which is desperately needed by our country. Humanitarian crisis, trafficking, drugs, you know, everything — people, criminals, gangs, so we need the wall.

And then he went lame duck. And once he went lame duck it was just really an exercise in waving to people and the power was gone, so I was very disappointed. I was very disappointed in Paul because the wall was so desperately needed. And it is. And I’ll get the wall.

THE DAILY CALLER: Did he lie to you? Did he play you?

POTUS: I don’t want to say he lied. I think he probably meant it at the time, I guess. I hope. So I don’t call that lying. But when he went lame duck, meaning, he said he’s not running again — and it was very unusual because usually they’ll do that sometime after an election and he didn’t want to do that because it’s somewhat misrepresenting and I understand that too. But maybe you don’t run, okay? Maybe you just don’t run. And he had an excellent person taking his place in Congress, he ran a great campaign, did a really good job.

So Paul said, ‘please sign the omnibus bill.’ Now, in all fairness to Paul, I may have signed it anyway because it was so much more money than anyone ever thought possible for the military, and equal to the wall and maybe even greater than the wall was my promise to refurbish the military.

You know, I made many statements, many promises. In fact, here are some of them, folks. But those are some of the things we’ve accomplished. VA choice, VA accountability — you know, these are things that for decades and decades and I got a lot of these things. Tax cuts, regulation cuts by far the most that anybody’s ever got, biggest tax cuts. And that’s why you look at the market — we just hit over 25,000. We’re back where we were, right?

So anyway, that’s the story.

THE DAILY CALLER: One thing that some conservatives are worried about is that you’re prepared to give away some status for illegal immigrants in exchange for the things that you want. So when it comes to DACA, in these negotiations that are going on on Capitol Hill, how far are you willing to go there?

POTUS: So I don’t know if you saw — you know, there was a couple of days ago, ‘he’s going to give up DACA, he’s going to —’

First of all, it’s not mine to give up right now because DACA is going to the Supreme Court, hopefully. But miraculously, and horribly, they lost DACA. This was a case that President Obama said, essentially, he doesn’t have the right to sign. But they went, as usual, to the Ninth Circuit and they won a case, they won an appeal, and now it’s hopefully going to the Supreme Court soon because this is a very important case.

We should win that case easily, you know, it should be won.

Now, if it is won, then we’ll talk about DACA but right now — when that case was lost we were very close to making a deal. And then a judge in the Ninth Circuit agreed that President Obama, although President Obama didn’t think he had a right to do it, he said that — as soon as that was done, I said, ‘that’s the end of that deal.’

We had a deal for some DACA — for a lot of things. But we had a deal done and I said to people when that case was lost — well, it wasn’t lost permanently, I think we’re going to ultimately win — that’s the time I want to talk about it.

THE DAILY CALLER: So DACA is tabled until the court resolves it?

POTUS: Well I said to people, I saw yesterday, ‘well, what about DACA,’ I said, ‘it’s highly unlikely.’ I was tougher than anybody else on that. I could see doing something for DACA but I want to find out what the Supreme Court’s gonna do first.

THE DAILY CALLER: Chuck Schumer said he doesn’t want the White House playing a role in negotiations on Capitol Hill—

POTUS: I don’t blame him.

THE DAILY CALLER: How much of a role are you going to play? 

Because he doesn’t want me to make the deal. He doesn’t want to make me — because my idea of a deal is different than other people’s. Without our involvement a deal’s not going to get done and I think we’re going to — look, that deal. Look, there are numerous things we could do, including declaring a national emergency where we have very good law on our side, including the fact that I’m already building a tremendous amount of wall. People don’t realize that.

I’m going to be announcing the exact numbers but I’ll have over a hundred miles of wall either built or under construction between new and renovated. Over a hundred miles. We have a tremendous amount of money right now to build a wall. We’re building the wall. I’ll be announcing some numbers on — but in addition to that we declare a national emergency if this doesn’t work out.

THE DAILY CALLER: I believe you have a military base in Yuma, Arizona. Are you going to do some wall there? Is that the plan?

POTUS: We have, I believe, that area — yes. We have a tremendous problem in that area.

It’s very interesting, California, You know, they always say, ‘don’t build a wall,’ well, they were begging me to build a wall over in San Diego. The day I finished they said, ‘don’t build a wall.’ But they were begging me to build the wall because people were pouring in through that border, through that area.

We built a brand new wall. That’s not a renovated wall, that’s a brand new wall. We took down the old wall, we built a brand new wall. It’s fantastic, looks great, they did a great job, totally stopped everybody from coming in. The day we completed it California started saying, ‘don’t build a wall, we don’t want a wall.’ They want drones, right? Flying up around.

THE DAILY CALLER: You talked about the courts, sir. Are you keeping an eye right now on Justice Ginsburg’s health?

POTUS: Well, look, I hope that she’s healthy, I hope she’s happy, and I hope she lives for a long time.

THE DAILY CALLER: Would you commit to replacing her with somebody who was on that list — somebody like Amy Barrett who a lot of conservatives have looked at?

POTUS: Well I’ve been very religious. I’ve very much confined myself to that list, as you know. And that list has great people on it and I would say it’s highly likely I would stay. I think one of the things —

THE DAILY CALLER: But Amy Barrett would be a choice?

POTUS: No, she would certainly be a choice. I think anybody on that list would be a choice. They’re great people. I’ve been told, and I don’t know that that’s true, I would be surprised if it’s true, but a lot of people said that list was one of the reasons I won.

Because, being a non-politician, where you don’t have a record of choosing people, people just didn’t know who I would choose. And Supreme Court, especially for the Republican Party, it seems, was very, very important and I came up with the idea of a list of 20 and then I increased it to 25, 25 people and they’re very outstanding people. I felt so badly that Justice Kavanaugh had to go through what he had to go through but now he’s a Supreme Court justice and he’s going to be a great one.

Justice Gorsuch went through much easier and he’s going to be a great one.

THE DAILY CALLER: And in that process you had to deal with a couple of Democratic senators: Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein. And the report is that you have agreed or the White House has agreed, your White House counsel, to giving Democrats a say in who gets to be on the Ninth Circuit.

There’s a Wall Street Journal editorial about this and so people like Erick Erickson have come out and have criticized this decision because they’re saying you’re basically giving up two seats on the Ninth Circuit when you’re not renominating the people from before.

POTUS: Well, I know nothing about it. That I can tell you. I would not do it. I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do that.

In fact, you can tell them for the first time, I will not do that. It’s a false report.

I’ve had many false reports from the Wall Street editorial board. Like, as an example, right now we’re negotiating with China. We’re doing very well. Wall Street — they don’t like tariffs. If we didn’t have tariffs they wouldn’t even be talking to us. They would not even be talking to us. You understand that?

THE DAILY CALLER: Well, on that issue, let me ask you about China. At the end of this, if there is not intellectual property protections in the deal, will you push the tariffs?

POTUS: Well, what happens is that right now China’s paying 25 percent on $50 billion worth of goods. Mostly high technology. And I was going to charge them 25 percent on $200 billion worth of goods and then I’d have $267 billion leftover where I’m not charging them anything. At their request, and subject to this deal until March 1st, I’m charging them 10 percent on 200 billion. You’ve got the 50 and the 25, then you’ve got 200 and I’m charging them 10 percent until March 1st. After March 1st it will go up to 25 percent.

So yeah, that’s very important to me.

You know, billions of dollars are being poured into our treasury. Billions. We never had five cents come into our treasury. Now we have billions of dollars and in addition, and very importantly…

The president returns to the issue of the Ninth Circuit court.

POTUS: The Ninth Circuit is so much in one direction that you couldn’t make that deal. Look, I’ve lost … the United States has lost so many cases in the Ninth Circuit and, you know, I had an argument — a slight argument, which, I think was not too much of an argument — with Justice Roberts about the Ninth Circuit. If I did that, what are we doing? We have to catch up because we are so far behind on the Ninth Circuit. So I would never make that deal. And I can tell you, if it is made I would end it, but it wasn’t, you know, not that I know of.

No, the answer is: I would not do that. You don’t catch up by making those deals.

THE DAILY CALLER: Let me ask you about religious bigotry. I want to read a list to you first and then get your reaction because I think you’re going to want to react to this.

A number of high-profile Democrats have recently attacked people of faith for their religious beliefs.

POTUS: Terrible.

THE DAILY CALLER: You’ve got anti-Semitism in the leadership of the Women’s March, sitting members of Congress who’ve expressed or condoned anti-Semitism, attacks on Second Lady Karen Pence for teaching at a Christian school, attacks by Democratic senators on your judicial nominees for being Catholic or members of the Knights of Columbus, attacks on the boys of Covington Catholic High School for being Catholic and Trump supporters.

Does the Democratic Party have a crisis of bigotry and how should they handle it?

POTUS: I think it’s a crisis for our country because there’s never been a time — I saw where today, I believe it was a congressman, took ‘in God we trust’ — 

THE DAILY CALLER: ‘So help me God.’

POTUS: ‘So help me God.’ Took the phrase off of a document. And I said, ‘Where are we going?’

I think it’s a terrible thing for our country and I think it’s certainly a terrible thing for the Democrats because I don’t think they’re going to be able to get away with it.

THE DAILY CALLER: Another thing, sir, Virginia Gov. [Ralph] Northam actually right before this, suggested a mother who wants to have an abortion while in labor should instead be allowed to let her baby die after delivery if that’s her choice. Do you think that would be infanticide?

POTUS: I watched that this morning. I watched the person testifying and I felt it was terrible.

THE DAILY CALLER: The Virginia delegate?

POTUS: Yes. Do you remember during the debate I said Hillary Clinton was willing to rip the baby out of the womb just prior to birth? And I used the term ‘rip’? That’s what it is. That’s what they’re doing, it’s terrible.

THE DAILY CALLER: Do you think this is an embrace by the Democrats of this type of abortion agenda?

POTUS: I think this is going to lift up the whole pro-life movement like maybe it’s never been lifted before. And the pro-life movement is very much a 50-50, it’s a very 50-50 issue. Actually it’s gained a point or two over the years, but it’s been very much 49-51 and vice-versa. I think this really will lift up the issue because people have never thought of it in those terms. Cause she actually said, you know, the day of, virtually the day of birth.

THE DAILY CALLER: Northam suggested that today too.

POTUS: Oh did he? So he confirmed that?

THE DAILY CALLER: And he’s a pediatric neurosurgeon.

POTUS: I’m surprised that he did that. I’ve met him a number of times. I’m surprised that he said that. I saw the woman do it — who ever that was, was that the attorney general?

THE DAILY CALLER: She’s a delegate. Kathy Tran, a delegate in Virginia.

POTUS: So I was very, very surprised that they would say that and allow that.

THE DAILY CALLER: Could you give us an exclusive preview of the State of the Union? What can we expect? Who are the guests that are going to be in the gallery?

POTUS: Well, in fact, we’re making up a list very shortly.

But I will say that some of them will be border-related, some of them will be people who have suffered very badly because we didn’t do what we should’ve done in a very dangerous part of our country, and so that’s going to be a part of it, absolutely.

At the same time, the world is not doing well and we’re going great. You look at the numbers, we’re hitting highs. I get no credit for it. It’s like, when do you ever hear them talking about — we just hit 25,000 and you won’t even hear a thing about it. If President Obama were there — and don’t forget, he was paying no interest. We’re actually paying interest. You know, he was paying no interest. He didn’t have liquidity being drained out of the market in order to pay it down, which we have. How about 50 billion dollars a month? $50 billion a month.

If I had a no interest, no liquidity situation with respect to the market, I mean, forget it. It would actually be incredible, the numbers. Big difference. Tremendous difference.

THE DAILY CALLER: The Super Bowl this weekend, I just want to get you on that because you’re an NFL fan. I’m just going to stick to the Patriots here for a second. What makes Kraft, Brady, and Belichick so much better than everybody else and how are they always back in the big game?

POTUS: So, it’s talent, it’s chemistry — they have a great chemistry with each other — I mean, I like all three of them, as you know, I’m very good friends with them. Coach Belichick endorsed me, you remember that?

Belichick is so tough and Kraft is a great guy. The three of them they just have — how good was Brady, I mean, the last game? Not the last game, the last two games. Brady plays better under pressure than he does in a regular game. I mean, that last two minutes the way he was throwing the ball down the field — they were bullets.

And I’ve seen how hard that ball comes at you, those guys were doing a great job. They were catching that, you know? That ball is whipped.

THE DAILY CALLER: Have you noticed that all of the kneeling basically stopped this year and the ratings went up and the revenue went up? Is there any part of you that says, ‘Yeah, I won that fight’?  

POTUS: No, I don’t want to take credit for that. You know I get along very well with the NFL. I helped them in Canada, you know that story where they were having a dispute for many years with Canada. And as part of NAFTA, you know, the termination of NAFTA and the new — but as part of NAFTA, which is now the USMCA, I was able to get their dispute settled because they’re a great American company and I don’t want great American companies to have problems.

In fact, Commissioner [Roger] Goodell called me and he thanked me, you know, they were working on that thing for years. It was having to do with the advertisements for the Super Bowl, it was a long-term problem and I got it solved.

I think it’s great what they did, it looks like it’s straightened out. I think that may be famous last words, let’s see what happens, but I think in the end it really worked out great. And, you know what, their ratings went up along with — as that problem went down, their ratings went up.

THE DAILY CALLER: So you’re satisfied with Goodell’s performance? You don’t think he should go?

POTUS: No, I think — look, I think that worked out very well. I was very pleased that he called me to thank me for helping him with Canada and yeah, it looks good. And their games have really been good other than one call. It was a little bit — I feel badly, it was a great state that voted for me, Louisiana. I feel very badly for Louisiana because that was maybe the worst call I’ve ever seen but I guess there’s nothing they can do about that. And you might say it, I feel badly for Louisiana.

THE DAILY CALLER: One final one on 2020 if you don’t mind. Who is your dream candidate in 2020 to run against?

POTUS: Well so far a lot of them. I don’t mind. I think that there’s a lot of talk about — it looks like Elizabeth Warren has not caught on like they thought she would. She fell into a trap. It’s called the Pocahontas trap.

There’s so many of them. The truth is there are some I’d love to run against.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column with images is republished with permission.

Trump’s Agreement to Reopen Government was Not a Democrat Victory

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer couldn’t contain their glee when the President agreed last week to a short term continuing resolution to reopen the government for three weeks. But this was not a win for the Democrats and no one should interpret it that way. First, only a few agencies were shut down, so the constant hyping of the shutdown by the media was a deliberate effort to magnify the problem to assist their Democrat allies.

But since one of the agencies was the Department of Homeland Security, it not only forced the Border Patrol to work without pay, but began creating problems for travelers as TSA personnel began skipping work. Those people who did skip work — about 10 percent of the workforce — did not do that independently. You can be sure they got the green light from their union, the American Federation of Government Employees , which coordinated with congressional Democrats (read Pelosi & Schumer), to ramp up pressure on the president.

Of course this is yet another way Democrats demonstrate their utter disregard for the American people. They knew that a disruption in travel plans would make another great optic for their media allies, who had already begun hyping the “soup kitchen” narrative. Meanwhile, realizing the publicity opportunity, or perhaps wanting to stick it to President Trump, or both, DC restaurants began offering free food to those poor government workers!

The entire thing was a charade.

So President Trump realized this was not politically winnable, as more and more GOP members of Congress grew wobbly. So, in the interest of reducing hardship for government employees working without pay, and the deleterious impact the Schumer/Pelosi/union game was having on the American people, President Trump agreed to a temporary opening to give them a breather.

He was forced to do this because Democrat leaders are determined to put their interests ahead of those of the American people, no matter what. This is nothing new. Over 13,000 Americans have been killed by illegal aliens over the past few years, many more were raped and had other unconscionable crimes committed against them, but the bottomless selfishness of congressional Democrats, and the spineless Chamber of Commerce bathroom attendants of the Republican Party, have prevented any efforts to stem the tide of mass migration across our borders by illegal aliens.

Trump explained his reasoning in a Tweet on Friday:

Democrats have no interest in hearing from the Angel Moms who’ve lost children to illegal aliens. They are consumed with the effort to swamp our shores with enough future voters to secure for themselves a permanent majority without having to offer anything of value to the American people (because they have nothing of value to offer.)

When a few of the Angel Moms went to Nancy Pelosi’s office to confront her about her failure to support border protection, she hid behind a wall. Ironic, no? Former House Speaker Paul Ryan refused to allow a vote on wall funding. These people are despicable! How many lives would have been saved had they not been slaves to their own interests?

President Trump is the only leader in Washington who has shown any leadership. He did so again here. He did not bow to Pelosi and Schumer’s stonewalling. He relented to give those who suffered at the hands of the Democrats a chance to recover. Now he has given the Democrats what they wanted — insisting on negotiations after the government agencies affected by the shutdown were reopened.

The ball is now in the Democrats’ court. They can negotiate on the terms they demanded. But they won’t. Nancy and Chuck will continue to stonewall, spending the next three weeks showing their true nature. And as usual, the media will support them, and continues to magnify the false message that Trump “caved.” Just as it did with the Covington kids, Ben Shapiro’s comments about “baby Hitler” at the March for Life, and the Buzzfeed story on Michael Cohen that the Mueller team took the extraordinary step of refuting.

CNN just coincidentally happened to be at Roger Stone’s house when the FBI launched a pre-dawn raid with heavily armed SWAT teams typically used against terrorist hideouts and meth labs. For example, twelve police were involved in the drug raid in Houston on Monday, where five police were injured and two criminals killed. Meanwhile, twenty-nine heavily armed agents  participated in the raid against Stone, and netted them an old man in bathrobe and slippers – a real threat apparently. And to top it off, they forced his wife to stand outside in bare feet and a nightgown.

It is illegal for the FBI to coordinate with the media, but it plainly did here, alerting CNN beforehand. The whole shameful episode was conducted for the optics. This is the level of the Mueller team’s ethics.

Are they all so tone deaf that they don’t realize how ugly, out of touch, partisan and agenda-driven they look? So after 21 days, the government will shut down again. Having given Democrats everything they asked for and still facing resistance, President Trump will have every justification to declare a national emergency and begin building the Wall.

Trump’s legal authority to do so is unquestionable. That probably will not stop the unethical Democrats and their allies in the judiciary. Pelosi and Co. are already building a case for a legal challenge by Congress, and a parallel PR campaign to convince American voters that a wall is not in our interest and would “harm communities.” It’s a lot like Pelosi’s infamous “wrap-up smear” video, where she explains how they use the media to smear opponents.

But how many communities have been harmed by Congressional inaction? Are 13,000 homicides not enough; 30,000 rapes? If they really don’t understand the position President Trump has put them in, and continue to obstruct through illegal court challenges, it will be obvious to the public that their agenda is entirely self-serving and dangerous — ignoring public safety for their own partisan goals.

As Border Patrol agent Fernando Grijalva told CBS correspondent Mireya Villarreal on Friday, “I’ve seen six different presidents in the time that I’ve been with the Border Patrol, and this is the worst crisis that I’ve seen.” (Emphasis theirs.)

But President Trump has bent over backwards to try to make Washington work. This is why, despite the risk to his support among conservatives, he has made every effort to accommodate the partisans. With each day that passes, they have proven themselves unworthy of that generosity. President Trump will build the Wall, slapping them down as they so richly deserve. He reiterated his intention today, tweeting, “If the committee of Republicans and Democrats now meeting on Border Security is not discussing or contemplating a Wall or Physical Barrier, they are Wasting their time!”

One final note that might cheer you up. While all this controversy rages, the Wall is actually being built as we speak.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared in The Daily Headlines. It is republished with permission. The featured image is by hoekstrarogier on Pixabay Pixabay.

Only Economic Growth Will Save the United States of America

Gordon Gekko missed the mark with his famous Wall Street monologue about American capitalism. It is not greed but economic growth that is, for lack of a better word, good. Growth is right. Growth works. Growth clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Growth has marked the upward surge of mankind. And growth—you mark my words—will save that malfunctioning corporation called the USA.

This is probably pretty obvious to most Americans. Strong economic growth means more jobs and higher wages. Just take a look at the current expansion. It has only been moderate as goes the pace of growth, but it has been sustained. And month after month of a growing economy has brought down the unemployment rate to its lowest level since 1969, even as real wages continue to grow for all income levels. That’s especially true for working-class Americans. The 3.5 percent unemployment rate for Americans with only a high school diploma is the lowest since 2000. Indeed, despite all the debate about income inequality, earnings have been growing faster for those at the bottom than at the top.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump tours a Carrier factory with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S., December 1, 2016. Reuters/Mike Segar

Or look at it this way: In their research paper “Productivity and Pay: Is the link broken?” Harvard’s Anna Stansbury and Lawrence Summers find that higher productivity growth is associated with higher average and median compensation growth. The economists show that if productivity growth had been as fast from 1973 to 2016 as it was from 1949 to 1973—about twice as high—median and mean compensation would have been around 41 percent higher.

Yet a growing number of policymakers and pundits on the left and right are questioning the primacy of growth as the key objective of national economic policy. Democrats and progressives are focused on new policies to redistribute wealth, such as Medicare for all, a federal jobs guarantee, or a universal basic income. Meanwhile, Republicans and conservatives, grappling with a president who questions the value of free trade and immigration, have grown publicly skeptical of market capitalism. “The free market has been sorting it out for a while, and America has been losing,” said Vice President Mike Pence. And they have become skeptical of the core goal of increasing economic growth.

Leading the charge among the wonks is Oren Cass, a Manhattan Institute scholar and former policy director for the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign. In his new book, The Once and Future Worker, Cass writes that although “economic growth and rising material living standards are laudable goals … they by no means guarantee the health of a labor market that will meet society’s long-term needs.”

The criticisms of growth skeptics range from the ahistorical to the utopian. Of course, a fast-rising tide of economic growth does not guarantee all boats will rise at the same pace or at a pace that society deems sufficient. “Guarantee,” after all, is a strong word. Depending on the strength one attributes to it, it’s possible nothing can “guarantee” the outcome that some growth critics want: all winners, no losers, no trade-offs, no disruption. But if by guarantee we don’t mean “ensure with ironclad certainty” but only “approximate more closely than any available alternative,” economic growth remains society’s best bet. Indeed, this very urge to undervalue growth’s benefits is the surest sign that growth in America has become a victim of its own success.

G.K. Chesterton famously noted how modern types of reformers see institutions or practices and think, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the wise reply, “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away.” Institutions and policies that endure decade after decade often serve a useful purpose even if that purpose isn’t immediately apparent, and we should be cautious before shrugging them off as unimportant. Our growth-oriented economic policy is a perfect example. It brings tremendous benefits, yet we now risk taking it for granted.

And what an odd time to question the benefits. The Obama administration was much derided for its apparently self-serving claim, made in the 2013 Economic Report of the President, “that in the 21st Century, real GDP growth in the United States is likely to be permanently slower than it was in earlier eras.” But it was a perfectly reasonable baseline forecast that continues to reflect the economic consensus from Wall Street to Washington. For instance: The Federal Reserve’s long-term, real GDP forecast stands at 1.8 percent, about half the average pace from 1947 to the start of the Great Recession. And even that reduced pace of growth seems a tad too optimistic for JP Morgan, which pegs the economy’s long-term growth potential at 1.5 percent.

There are good reasons why the experts seem so gloomy. The most important—and, perhaps, most inescapable—is demographics. The aging of the labor force, lower birth rates, and a slowing rate of immigration suggest a slowdown in the growth of the American labor force to around 0.5 percent annually going forward—as compared with roughly 2 percent in the 1960s and 1970s. The U.S. economy expanded at a 4.1 percent annual pace during the ’60s—a decade that today’s nationalist populists look back on with great nostalgia. But growth would have been less than 3 percent if the labor force had been growing as slowly back then as it is currently.

The other big obstacle to faster growth is weak productivity, which downshifted just before the Great Recession and has yet to rebound. For the American economy to grow as fast in the future as it has overall since World War II, output per worker will need to rise sharply. Indeed, that is a big goal of the 2017 Republican-pushed corporate tax cuts. They are supposed to increase business investment and eventually productivity growth. But there are no signs either is happening yet, much to the dismay of many conservative economists. The only other hope lies beyond Washington’s tinkering: The private sector continues to innovate. Maybe Silicon Valley will eventually come to the rescue, as innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence and robotics eventually spreads throughout the non-tech economy. The history of radical technological advances, such as electrification, suggest that it can take some time before businesses figure out how to effectively employ them.

It can be easy to dismiss all this talk of growth rates as the abstract muttering of economists far removed from the everyday concerns of the average American. As a corrective, George Mason economist Tyler Cowen poses a useful thought experiment in his latest book, Stubborn Attachments. Imagine we redo U.S. history, he says, “but assume the country’s economy had grown one percentage point less each year between 1870 and 1990. In that scenario, the United States of 1990 would be no richer than the Mexico of 1990.”

Michael Strain, my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute, makes a similar point when he writes:

Imagine the world in the year 1900. There was no air travel, no antibiotics, no iPhone, no Amazon Prime, no modern high school and no air conditioning. … Anyone who played down growth a century ago wouldn’t have known they were arguing against any of these things, because none of these growth-enabled features of modern life had been invented yet. But they would have been putting the existence of all these at risk by stifling, even marginally, the economic engine that allowed for their creation.

Sustained and solid growth is what makes these advances possible and is what separates the median American today from the median residents of the world’s developing economies. Sacrificing a tenth of a percentage point here and two-tenths there to, say, protect favored industries from foreign competition or levy punitive taxes on obscenely rich entrepreneurs may seem like a worthwhile tradeoff in the moment. But because of how growth compounds over time, in the long-term such trade-offs aren’t just unappealing but inexplicable. As the Nobel Laureate in economics Robert Lucas wrote, “Once one starts to think about [exponential growth], it is hard to think about anything else.” Marginally slowing down economic growth to achieve other policy goals might cause little harm to us, but it seems both less fair and less wise when the welfare of ensuing generations are accounted for. In Strain’s words, “What in the world of tomorrow doesn’t yet exist? We need growth in order to find the answer, both for ourselves, and for posterity.”

It is strange that intellectuals are dismissing the importance of economic growth at just the point when it is becoming harder to generate—and doubly weird after a long stretch of sluggish growth that has almost certainly played a role in the surge of populist politicians such as President Trump. And these populist leaders are pushing the sorts of policies that make a future of slow growth even more likely.

Trump looks back to the immediate decades after World War Two as the golden age of the American economy. His presidential campaign, for instance, made a point of promising the return of mass employment in the industrial-age industries of steel and coal. Cass, too, has pointed to those decades as an alternate model of economic growth. As he said during a recent think-tank event:

The period of time when productivity growth was really booming most in the American economy was a time when tax rates were much higher, immigration rates were much lower, there was virtually no international trade by the standards of the 1920s or today, and there was a much smaller or non-existent safety net. The idea that what we currently call the pro-growth agenda is actually what has aligned with high growth isn’t true.

That is a wrong-headed interpretation of economic history. While it is true that the so-called golden age era is known for fast economic and productivity growth, economists generally do not credit the lack of trade or immigration. Rather, notes the Congressional Budget Office in a review of research literature on the subject, “the golden age may be more accurately interpreted as the full final exploitation of an earlier burst of innovations through electrification, suburbanization, completion and increasing exploitation of the highway system, and production of consumer appliances.” In other words, huge technological advances in the 1920s and 1930s reaped benefits for decades.

Unfortunately, those productivity gains, along with American industrial superiority over its war-ravaged competitors, have created a myth about the postwar American economy—a myth that populists continue to spread. Yet Fortress America entered the 1970s ill-prepared for the inevitable global competition as the rest of the world’s advanced economies finally recovered.

Both Trump and Cass, therefore, have it backward. It wasn’t too much globalization and economic openness that undermined large swaths of the manufacturing economy, but too little. As Adrian Wooldridge of The Economist and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan write in Capitalism in America:

The 1970s was the decade when Americans finally had to grapple with the fact that it was losing its leadership in an ever widening range of industries. Though the best American companies such as General Electric and Pfizer powered ahead, a striking number treaded water. They had succeeded during the long postwar boom not because they had any particular merit, but because Europe and Japan were still recovering from World War Two and they collapsed at the first sniff of competition.

The last thing the American economy needs today is a reduction in competitive intensity, whether achieved by shielding industries with tariffs or keeping out the immigrants that help grow the workforce and provide expertise to key industries, especially technology. Nearly half of our “unicorn companies,” another name for U.S. startups worth over $1 billion dollars, were founded by immigrants. Immigrant scientists and entrepreneurs play a disproportionate role in driving the tech progress necessary for sustained productivity growth. Forty percent of Fortune 500 companies have a first- or second-generation immigrant founder. Immigrants may compete with other Americans, but they also employ them.

The critics of a growth-above-all approach might grant that no other national policy is better at generating material prosperity. But, they say, life requires more than mere materialism. We crave community, beauty, and a certain degree of stability. It is this objection that Harvard’s Benjamin Friedman sought to address in his 2006 book, The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. True, capitalism and the creative destruction that drive it can disrupt traditional cultures or degrade the environment. And from the Old Testament to the present, men have fretted over usury’s effects on one’s soul (today we might say finance’s effects on one’s morals). But growth doesn’t only erode individual and societal morality. Besides improving material conditions, growth improves moral ones, as well.

Friedman notes how sustained growth “shapes the social, political and, ultimately, the moral character of a people” and “more often than not fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity, social mobility, commitment to fairness, and dedication to democracy.” Slow growth, on the other hand, leads to ugly consequences, especially if voters begin to feel it is inevitable. In times of stagnation, economic policy tilts toward dividing up a fixed pie rather than enlarging everyone’s share. It could mean a society that is less willing to entertain the benefits of international trade, more hostile toward immigration and immigrants, and more comfortable with regulating business.

In fact, “could” is putting it mildly. The tariffs, legislative efforts to reduce immigration, and frequent threats to regulate America’s most successful companies, such as Google and Amazon, already show some of the consequences of the sluggish recovery from the Great Recession—and this from what is supposed to be America’s pro-growth party.

Growth is, and remains, good. Growth is right, staving off a zero-sum politics defined more by group conflict than productive cooperation. Growth works, improving everyone’s standard of living, if not always equally, at least steadily. Growth clarifies, exposing business to competition, and prevents industrial calcification. Growth signifies the evolutionary and upward surge of mankind, evident in everything from modern medicine to interstellar space travel. And a policy geared toward increasing economic growth—pursued attentively and unapologetically—will save the United States of America. All other national economic strategies are but pale imitations.

This article was reprinted from the American Enterprise Institute.

COLUMN BY

James Pethokoukis

James Pethokoukis

James Pethokoukis is a columnist and blogger at the American Enterprise Institute. Previously, he was the Washington columnist for Reuters Breakingviews, the opinion and commentary wing of Thomson Reuters.

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The Truth about the Shutdown: Daily Federal Spending Fell Just 7% During “the Government Shutdown”

Editor’s Note: Lawmakers reached a temporary agreement with the president to reopen the government on Friday.

In our Principles of Microeconomics courses, we sometimes consider whether a firm should shut down some line of production. A firm shuts down when it ceases operations—when it closes down and stops its production. The firm stops spending money on everything except its fixed costs.

A federal government “shutdown” has a completely different meaning.

There has been much handwringing over the current government shutdown that began on December 22 of last year. The Treasury Department, with its Daily Treasury Statements, has provided us with details regarding federal spending through January 18. So we have the data on the first four weeks of the shutdown. Let’s try to determine the definition of a government shutdown.

In order to have some baseline for comparison, consider the budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. The Treasury Department reports on all of the dollars withdrawn from federal accounts. In one sense, this is all federal spending. In FY 2018, withdrawals from federal accounts totaled $13,961.9 billion. That works out to a daily average of $38.3 billion.

In the first 28 days of the shutdown, the feds’ total withdrawals were $1,163 billion. That’s a daily average of $41.5 billion. If we define federal spending as the total withdrawals from federal accounts, then average daily spending during the shutdown is about 8.5 percent higher than it was in FY 2018.

However, the federal government is rolling over a large amount of its debt. It is issuing new government securities and using the funds from the sale of these securities to pay for previous securities that have come due. These withdrawals are under the line item Public Debt Cash Redemptions (PDCR). It’s analogous to a firm borrowing money to make the principal payments on its debt.

The bulk of federal spending is this type of spending. The spending number is so high because of this debt service.

Most everyone, all households and businesses, would classify loan payments as spending even if they financed the loan payments by borrowing money. However, most analysts, when they discuss federal spending, omit this debt service. They usually only include the other types of spending. So let’s take a look at that.

In FY 2018, federal withdrawals (spending) not including the debt service (PDCR) totaled $4,757.8 billion. That’s a daily average of $13 billion. (As an aside, please note that two-thirds of federal spending in FY 2018 was debt payments. This should make us uneasy regarding the federal government’s long-term financial viability.)

For the first four weeks of the shutdown, December 22, 2018, to January 18 of this year, withdrawals less PDCR totaled $338.5 billion for a daily average of a little more than $12 billion.

So by this measure of federal spending, the feds are spending on average 7.3 percent less per day during this shutdown than they did in FY 2018.

Regardless of your position on the shutdown, we should recognize the deceit involved in calling this a shutdown. Spending $12 billion per day is not a shutdown. Spending 7 percent less than you spent last year is not a shutdown.

Calling the current budget impasse a shutdown is just another example of the political corruption of our language.

This article was reprinted from the Mises Institute.

COLUMN BY

Mark Brandly

Mark Brandly

Dr. Mark Brandly is a Fellow of the Mises Institute. He holds a PhD in economics from Auburn University, where he was a Mises Research Fellow specializing in the areas of Public Finance, International Economics, Natural Resource Economics, and Industrial Organization. He has published articles in The Wall Street JournalThe Journal of CommercePublic Finance ReviewThe Quarterly Journal of Austrian EconomicsThe Free Market, various newspapers and websites. 

EDITORS NOTE: This FEE column with images is republished with permission.

Shareholders Challenge Intuit’s Board over Support for Planned Parenthood

Conservative activist shareholders from the National Center for Public Policy Research attended last week’s investors meeting at Intuit (2.1 – Lean Liberal), the parent company of popular financial software platforms TurboTax and QuickBooks.

Citing 2ndVote’s research, representatives of the National Center challenged Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi over his company’s financial support for abortion giant Planned Parenthood and anti-religious liberty advocates. National Center’s Justin Danhof submitted the following:

If Intuit wants to spend its investors’ money to fund the abortion industrial complex, it has that right.

However, today we delivered a message loud and clear that support for Planned Parenthood is highly offensive to tens of millions of pro-life Americans, many of whom may choose to boycott the company’s products. And those Americans need to contact Intuit and other corporate supporters of Planned Parenthood if we are going to effectuate real corporate change.

Read Danhof’s complete prepared statement here.

Our research indicates, along with directly funding Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, Intuit has also supported leftist positions on marriage, religious liberty, and environmental issues.

Furthermore, with tax season fast approaching, we’ve investigated Intuit and TurboTax’s competitors to make sure our subscribers have the best information when it comes to choosing a tax preparation service. H&R Block (1.4 – Liberal), the developer of another popular software platform, also has a troubling record on key issues and has donated to the extremely liberal Center for American Progress. However, Jackson-Hewitt (3 – Neutral) has remained neutral on all the issues we assess.

In support of National Center’s efforts, we need your help holding Intuit accountable for supporting Planned Parenthood’s brutal agenda. Not only does abortion end innocent lives, the industry provides cover for criminal activity such as human trafficking and sexual abuse. Use the link below to tell Intuit’s leadership why you will be using Jackson-Hewitt, or a local provider of tax preparation services, because your dollars will not be used to support abortion’s devastating impact.

Send Intuit an Email!

Reach Out to Intuit on Facebook!

Help us continue holding corporations accountable for supporting the left’s agenda by becoming a 2ndVote Member today!

House Republicans Vote Twice to Pay Government Employees During Shutdown

House Republicans have now twice voted to pay government employees during the partial shutdown, but neither bill has passed the Democrat-controlled chamber.

“House Republicans have repeatedly introduced measures that would pay federal employees during the stalemate,” Rep. Mike Johnson, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said in a statement provided to The Daily Signal. “Unfortunately, Democrats refuse to budge.”

“It is disingenuous to express outrage over the approximately 800,000 workers missing paychecks, but then continue to vote in favor of withholding their pay. That is precisely what the majority of Democrats are doing,” Johnson added.

In a statement provided to The Daily Signal, Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., said Democrats’ failure to vote with Republicans to pay federal employees is telling.

“Before choosing to go home early for the weekend, 215 Democrats voted to deprive hard-working federal workers of their pay,” Hice said, adding:

Once again, they blocked a good faith effort to ensure all federal employees receive pay during this stalemate as we allow negotiations to continue on border security. This is just the latest example that Nancy Pelosi and Democrats are only interested in hurting President Trump instead of actually solving problems.

Texas freshman lawmaker Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, says “actions speak louder than words,” noting that most Democrats failed to join House Republicans and vote to pay federal employees during the partial government shutdown.

“House GOP voted again to pay federal employees,” Crenshaw tweeted Wednesday. “This time just ten Democrats joined us,” he said, adding that the prior time Republicans voted to pay federal employees, only six Democrats had joined them.

The partial government shutdown has now been ongoing for 34 days due to the fight over $5.7 billion in funding for a barrier at the border.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., suggested in a tweet that House Democrats had no “sense of urgency” to end the shutdown.

“Democrats decry federal workers not getting paid in one breath and then cancel votes to leave town early in another,” Meadows tweeted Thursday. “Ridiculous—the shutdown is 33 days old. Where is the sense of urgency? There is zero reason anyone in Congress should go home until this is resolved. Period.”

The Senate will be voting on a package to end the shutdown on Thursday, but it is not expected to pass, Politico reported.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called on the Senate to pass the package, but did not acknowledge the votes the House has taken to fund federal employees despite the shutdown.

“As the #TrumpShutdown hits Day 34, the consequences of this senseless shutdown continue to build,” Pelosi tweeted. “President Trump and Senate Republicans must allow us to do the responsible thing and re-open government.”

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., also introduced legislation Jan. 9 to pay federal employees during the government shutdown who are “tasked with securing our border and deterring illegal immigration,” and Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., told The Daily Signal in an email that Democrats should stop their obstruction.

“Nancy Pelosi and Democrats continue to vote against giving our federal workers a paycheck,” Gosar said. “It’s time for Democrats to stop this nonsense and come to the table and end this shutdown. I remain committed to securing our border and getting Americans back to work.”

Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz., also highlighted on Twitter Thursday that “214 Democrats voted against paying our federal employees at [the Department of Homeland Security].”

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is from Congressman Dan Crenshaw’s Facebook page.

France builds “Trump-style” wall to keep illegal Muslim migrants from breaking into Britain from Calais

France has speedily “built a ten-foot wall at a Total station in Calais used by migrants who attempt to storm lorries and break into Britain.”

The wall is being compared by detractors to the “Trump wall,” and it is just as needed: “there are an estimated 600 mostly male migrants hailing from Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria squatting in makeshift camps around the port town waiting to break into Britain— down from an estimated 10,000 during the heyday of the infamous ‘Calais Jungle.’”

Reminder: the Calais jungle was a violent no-go war zone.

“France Builds Trump-Style Wall to Stop Illegals Getting to Britain,” by Victoria Friedman, Breitbart, January 21, 2019:

French authorities have built a ten-foot wall at a Total station in Calais used by migrants who attempt to storm lorries and break into Britain.

The barrier is being erected at a petrol station in the Marcel-Doret area where lorries stop to fill up with fuel before heading to the port and onwards to the United Kingdom. It is set to be finished by mid-February.

Local prefect Fabien Sudry told Nord Littoral that “smuggling networks meet there and take advantage of stations near the port to get migrants in trucks.”

“The situation was rather tense at this station. The police regularly had stones thrown at them,” Mr Sudry said.
A Total spokesman confirmed the barrier was built at the request of the Calais prefecture to “protect customers, staff, and migrants,” the Daily Mail reports, with locals comparing it to the wall that U.S. President Donald Trump wants to build along the southern border of the United States to stop mass illegal migration from Central and South America.

Pro-migration aid workers object to the wall, as the barrier between the two spaces is “divisive.”
One Calais-based charity worker who wished to withhold their identity complained: “The wall is ugly and of course divisive.”

“This is very political — it aims to show desperate people that they are not welcome here, and that more and more walls and police will be used to keep them out.

“If you oppose such policies, you can get into a lot of trouble.”

There are an estimated 600 mostly male migrants hailing from Afghanistan, Iran, and Syria squatting in makeshift camps around the port town waiting to break into Britain — down from an estimated 10,000 during the heyday of the infamous “Calais Jungle”.

It is believed to be the first time that a wall has been so quickly erected in a hotspot area for trafficking with the intention of stopping migrants attempting to make the journey to the United Kingdom…..

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Benny Jackson on Unsplash.

TAKE ACTION: Americans Demand Border Security Petition

The border crisis is real—and inaction by Congressional Democrats is irresponsible. To protect our communities, the Trump Administration is requesting funds for common sense border security funding.

We must have a secure border in order to:

  • Reduce illegal immigration.
  • Protect American lives.
  • Combat the opioid epidemic.
  • Protect vulnerable individuals from exploitation by human traffickers.

Background

Insufficient border security is creating a crisis in communities across America and at the southern border. For instance, 90 percent of the heroin in America comes through our southern border, fueling the opioid epidemic and destroying our communities.

America welcomes more than one million legal immigrants every year who go through a long vetting process. However, the current immigration system is broken due to a combination of outdated legal immigration rules and lax enforcement that exacerbates lawlessness.

In 2017 and 2018, roughly 235,000 illegal immigrants were arrested on various criminal charges or convictions within the interior of the United States—including roughly 100,000 for assault, 30,000 for sex crimes, and 4,000 for homicides.

Insufficient border security is creating a crisis in communities throughout America. 90 percent of the heroin in America comes through our southern border, fueling the opioid epidemic, destroying families, and killing thousands of our fellow citizens. In the past two years, more Americans have died from opioid overdoses than died in the Vietnam war.

Furthermore, human smugglers are exploiting our immigration system for profit and putting innocent lives at risk. One in three migrant women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek to the border.

The border crisis is real—and inaction is irresponsible. To protect our communities, the Trump Administration is requesting funds for common sense border security. This ask includes:

  • $5.7 billion for construction of approximately 234 miles of steel barrier along the Southern Border
  • $675 million to deter and detect dangerous materials crossing our borders like narcotics and weapons
  • $563 million that would provide for 75 additional immigration judges and support staff who are necessary to reduce the backlog of immigration cases that are sitting right now at the border
  • $211 million for 750 additional border patrol agents, who DHS officials have deemed paramount to this fight
  • $571 million for additional ICE personnel
  • $4.2 billion for detention center materials and personnel

As a first step to combat this crisis, Congress must pass a spending bill that provides the funding that the President has requested. In addition to obtaining increased border security funding today, we must continue to push for real reforms to our legal immigration system. Necessary reforms include ending chain migration, adopting a skills-based immigration system, and closing loopholes in the asylum claim process.

TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition to tell Democrats in Congress to stop holding our safety hostage!

EDITORS NOTE: This Heritage Action column is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Roman Koester on Unsplash.

Schumer’s Green Energy Subsidies Cost Much More Than Trump’s Wall

The government is shut down over border wall funding, but only a month ago Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer asked President Donald Trump to support billions in green energy subsidies.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, in early December asked Trump to support “permanent tax incentives for domestic production of clean electricity and storage, energy efficient homes and commercial buildings, electric vehicles, and modernizing the electric grid.”

“If left unchecked, the damage caused by climate change will cause untold human suffering and significant damage to the U.S. economy,” Schumer wrote to Trump on Dec. 6.

Extending tax subsidy provisions primarily benefiting wind and solar power would cost nearly $32 billion over the next four years, according to Joint Committee on Taxation estimates. Permanently extending these tax subsidies could add billions more to the tab. The committee estimates solar and wind tax subsidies will cost more than $7 billion in 2019.

Based on committee estimates, continuing solar and wind tax subsidies is nearly six times the $5.7 billion Trump is asking from Congress for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The total cost of a wall to cover the nearly 2,000-mile southern border could be as high as $25 billion, according to the White House, though other estimates have put the cost of a border wall as high as $60 billion based on the projected per-mile cost.

The battle over border wall funding forced Congress to sideline its year-end debate over “tax extenders,” which includes 11 green energy-related tax benefits that would cost roughly $53 billion over 10 years if they were made permanent, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Extending these tax credits just one year is estimated to cost roughly $5 billion.

These energy tax subsidies expired at the end of 2017, the costliest of which are tax incentives for biodiesel, alternative fuels, and residential energy efficiency. If made permanent, those programs would cost more than nine times what Trump asked from Congress in border wall funding.

The two costliest green subsidies, the production tax credit and investment tax credit, primarily benefit wind turbines and solar panels, respectively. Many Republicans and conservative groups have called for eliminating green tax subsidies.

Both the production tax credit and investment tax credit are set to expire at the end of 2021. However, given the White House’s opposition to some green energy tax subsidies, some conservatives suggest ending those and put the funds toward a border wall.

“This only makes sense, and with the additional funds we could paint it green,” Dan Kish, a senior distinguished fellow at the free-market Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It’s a win-win.”

But could a deal like this ever be cut? Dan Whitten, vice president of public affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, doesn’t think so.

“Given its strong bipartisan support, this seems like a nonstarter,” Whitten told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“As for the notion of terminating the existing ITC (investment tax credit), that is something we would strenuously oppose,” Whitten said. “It is one of the most successful energy incentives to date, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars in economic activity.”

The Solar Energy Industries Association has not asked Congress to extend the investment tax credit, which is set to sunset at the end of 2021. However, there is a permanent 10 percent investment tax credit for solar and geothermal installations.

The American Wind Energy Association did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Sixteen days after Schumer sent his letter, Trump refused to sign legislation to keep the federal government open without $5.7 billion in border wall funding. Congressional Democrats refused and the government shutdown began.

The ongoing shutdown tied with the 1995-1996 shutdown during the Clinton administration, which lasted for 21 days. On Saturday, the current shutdown will become the longest in U.S. history if no deal to reopen the government is made.

Schumer’s office did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

COLUMN BY

Michael Bastasch

Michael Bastasch is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation. Twitter: @MikeBastasch.

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EDITORS NOTE: This column by The Daily Signal with images is republished with permission. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org. The featured photo is by Pepi Stojanovski on Unsplash.

The Two Energy Futures Facing America

Energy improvement does not depend on geography or race but on the right institutions. Sustainable energy—available, affordable, and reliable—requires private property rights, voluntary exchange, and the rule of law.

here are two energy futures for America. One is freedom and prosperity. The other is politics, conflict, and waste. As with other goods and services, energy’s availability and affordability will depend on whether natural incentives and economic law are respected or hampered by government policy.

The future of free-market energy is bright and open-ended. “It’s reasonable to expect the supply of energy to continue becoming more available and less scarce, forever,” Julian Simon wrote in his magnum opus, The Ultimate Resource II. “Discoveries, like resources, may well be infinite: the more we discover, the more we are able to discover.” 

Resourceship, entrepreneurship applied to minerals, explains the seeming paradox of expanding depletable resources. Statistics confirmed Simon’s view, yet Malthusian critics belittled him as a naïve romantic. To which Simon responded: “I am not an optimist, I am a realist.”

Julian Simon had once feared overpopulation and resource depletion. The contradictory data, as he explained in his autobiography A Life Against the Grain, reversed his thinking. More people, greater wealth, more resources, healthier environment was the new finding that Simon turned into articles, books, and lectures in the last decades of his life.

Energy coordination and improvement do not depend on geography or race but on the right institutions. Sustainable energy—available, affordable, and reliable—requires private property rights, voluntary exchange, and the rule of law. Cultural and legal freedom unleash human ingenuity and problem-solving entrepreneurship, what Simon called the ultimate resource.

Philosopher Alex Epstein has reframed the energy-environmental debate in terms of human flourishing. Under this standard, consumer-chosen, taxpayer-neutral, dense, storable mineral energies are essential and moral.

Free-market energy is a process of improvement, not a state of perfection. There is always room for betterment as the good is no longer the best and as problems and setbacks occur. Profit/loss and legal consequences propel correction in a way that government intervention does not.

Problems spur improvement in ways that otherwise might not occur. “Material insufficiency and environmental problems have their benefits,” noted Julian Simon. “They focus the attention of individuals and communities, and constitute a set of challenges which can bring out the best in people.”

Government interventionism has plagued domestic energy markets in pronounced and subtle ways. Price and allocation controls during wartime and in the 1970s caused shortages of gasoline, fuel oil, natural gas, and other essential products. More subtly, tariffs, quotas, entry restrictions, efficiency edicts, punitive taxes, tax subsidies, forced access, profit guarantees, and other government intervention distort energy markets away from consumer demand.

Socialism has reversed resource abundance in nations around the world. Venezuela is today’s example and is not unlike Mexico’s plunge into nationalism a century ago. International statism is responsible for much of the price volatility experienced in global oil markets.

American citizens must be educated on the perils of politicized energy and corporate cronyism at all levels of government. Capitalist institutions need to be introduced in state-dominated oil regions. Subsoil mineral rights and infrastructure privatization are golden opportunities for wealth creation and wealth democratization around the world.

“The world’s problem is not too many people,” Julian Simon concluded, “but a lack of political and economic freedom.” He explained:

The extent to which the political-social-economic system provides personal freedom from government coercion is a crucial element in the economics of resources and population…. The key elements of such a framework are economic liberty, respect for property, and fair and sensible rules of the market that are enforced equally for all.

This message for 2019 will be the same a century hence. It is optimistic and realistic. And it points toward a continuing open-ended role for natural gas, coal, and oil as the master resource.

Let freely functioning supply meet demand, and let market demand meet supply. Banish alarmism, pessimism, and coercion—the very things that incite and define government intervention and socialism where markets can and should prevail.

COLUMN BY

Robert L. Bradley Jr.

Robert L. Bradley Jr.

Robert L. Bradley Jr. is the CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research.

EDITORS NOTE: This column by FEE with images is republished with permission.

Slowing Productivity and Rising Inequality Have a Common Driver: Government Intervention

Mainstream economists are overlooking a key connection.

A growing chorus of alarmist voices decries the rising economic inequality in the Western world, especially in the United States. Surprisingly enough, the same mainstream analysts complain about the anemic growth of labor productivity without seeing the correct link between the two.

Data shows a strong correlation between labor productivity and economic inequality (the two charts below). From the end of the Second World War until the mid-1970s, labor productivity grew at a robust rate of almost 3 percent per annum (p.a.), while income inequality declined. Afterward, both trends reversed—labor productivity slowed to below 2 percent growth p.a. on average and has almost stagnated since the Great Recession, while both wealth and income inequality expanded steadily.

What common factor could explain the two divergent trends that the mainstream analysts seem to overlook? In the 1940s, Mises was impressed by the ”miraculous” rise in the standards of living of American wage earners, which had been going on for more than two centuries. For him, the answer was straightforward: capital accumulation is the driving force behind both labor productivity and standards of living convergence.

Building on Mises’s work, Rothbard explained in detail what capital accumulation requires: (i) new capital investment that lengthens the structure of production and (ii) technological progress that overcomes the diminishing returns accompanying the increase in the supply of capital goods. However, Mises also warned that depletion of the capital stock would hamper capital accumulation and labor productivity. Unfortunately, mainstream analysts and the United States seem to have forgotten this valuable lesson.

In terms of technological progress, the US has maintained its world leadership during past decades. It ranks second in the world to Switzerland in terms of both innovation and business sophistication, spends more for Research & Innovation than the OECD or EU on average relative to GDP, and makes up the majority of the top 25 universities in the world. Moreover, it has issued the same amount of patents over the last three decades compared with the previous 150 years.

In terms of capital stock, the picture is completely different. According to estimates of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the stock of private non-residential assets per worker has increased in real terms at about 1 percent p.a. from 1947 to 2009 and stagnated since the Great Recession (left chart below). However, BEA’s alleged sustained pace of capital growth seems hard to reconcile with the falling private investment and savings since the mid-1970s (right chart below).

In addition, the BEA methodology presents some serious shortcomings. Except for cars, BEA uses the “perpetual inventory method” to estimate fixed assets. According to it, the value of the capital stock is indirectly estimated as the sum of past investment flows minus the estimated depreciation. It means that all past investments are considered sound by default, which is certainly not the case nowadays when recurrent booms and busts cause significant volumes of malinvestments. Other question marks relate to the accurate estimation of depreciation rates in the face of rapid technological progress and the use of GDP deflators as their accuracy is unreliable, especially with regard to real estate investment.

All these considerations have led not only us but also the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) to suspect that BEA’s estimates of the US capital stock are overvalued. It is intriguing that the FRB adjusts the BEA estimates downward, especially with regard to real estate assets— “structures” in BEA’s jargon when it uses them as input for the calculation of the capital stock in manufacturing. As a result, there is a substantial difference between BEA and FRB estimates of the evolution of the volume of manufacturing capital stock from 1952 to 2016, in particular for the real estate component (left chart below). Therefore, we tried to recalculate the BEA estimate of the total stock of private non-residential capital per employee by extrapolating the difference between the two manufacturing indexes coming from BEA and FRB (right chart below).

The new results suggest that the real stock of capital per worker grew in a clear and sustained manner only until the end of the 1970s and fell afterward until the trough of the Great Recession. The recalculated capital stock is more consistent with the observed declines in investment and productivity since the mid-1970s and also confirms Mises’s prediction that wrong policies would lead to capital consumption.

For the United States, the failed economic policy is the exponential growth of government intervention in the economy in the 20th century, which stifled entrepreneurship and capital accumulation. This is obvious in the rise of both government spending that redistributes away economic resources from their originators (left chart below) and the amount of regulatory burden (right chart below). Another key factor taking a toll on capital endowment is inflation, which gained traction following the de facto abolishment of the gold standard in 1971.

Most importantly, inflationary policies trigger boom-bust cycles via the artificial lowering of interest rates below their free-market level. In a recent article on the business cycle, Salerno emphasizes that “overconsumption” and “malinvestment” are the two salient marks of the boom—not “overinvestment,” as wrongly understood by some mainstream critics. It is no surprise that the capital stock per worker dropped during the business cycles that have occurred regularly since the 1970s and that culminated in the Great Recession. The illusion of the boom fuels not only capital consumption but also the polarization of wealth and incomes in the society. The fiduciary credit expansion fuels an increase in asset prices, most commonly on stock exchanges and in real estate (charts below).

Although starting from a limited number of transactions, all owners calculate their net worth with the newly inflated asset prices, boosting the value of household assets in excess of liabilities. As a result, the rich appear to get even richer in an economy on steroids. This explains why both the US national wealth has grown much faster than national income since the end of the 1970s (left chart below), and the number of wealthy people increased significantly (right chart below).

The rising inequality since the 1970s has been fueled by both the decline in labor productivity and monetary expansion inflating asset prices. Both are perverse effects of government interventionist policies, which led to a gradual erosion of the US capital stock per employee. This is the correct linkage between inequality and productivity as explained by Mises and other Austrian School economists.

People have different skills and preferences, so the free market does not lead to a complete equalization of incomes and wealth. Nevertheless, it does ensure the proper allocation of capital to increase labor productivity and satisfy the most urgent needs of consumers. As a result, the gap between the well-off and the poor is not only gradually diminishing but also gets less significant in terms of consumption. Eventually, the disadvantage of wealth inequality becomes mostly a psychological one. As long as the capitalist consumes only a fraction of his wealth and invests the rest into productive businesses, the real beneficiary of the increase in labor productivity is the poorer part of society.

This article was reprinted from the Mises Institute.

COLUMN BY

Mihai Macovei

Dr. Mihai Macovei is an associated researcher at the Ludwig von Mises Institute Romania and works for an international organization in Brussels, Belgium.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by FEE is republished with permission.

Data Show California Is a Living Example of the Good Intentions Fallacy

“Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it.”

During a speech at Harvard several years ago, Charlie Munger related a story about a surgeon who removed “bushel baskets full of normal gallbladders” from patients. The doctor was eventually removed, but much later than he should have been.

Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, wondered what motivated the doctor, so he asked a surgeon who participated in the removal of the physician.

“He thought that the gallbladder was the source of all medical evil, and if you really love your patients, you couldn’t get that organ out rapidly enough,” the physician explained.

The doctor was not motivated by profit or sadism; he very much believed he was doing right.

The anecdote is a perfect illustration of the righteousness fallacy, which Barry Brownstein noted is rampant in modern politics and a key driver of democratic socialism.

The Righteousness Fallacy (also known as the fallacy of good intentions) is described by author Dr. Bo Bennett as the idea that one is correct because their intentions are pure.

It recently occurred to me that California is a perfect example of this fallacy. Consider these three facts about the Golden State:

  1. California spends about $98.5 billion annually on welfare—the most in the US—but has the highest poverty rate in America.
  2. California has the highest income tax rate in the US, at 13.3 percent, but the fourth greatest income inequality of the 50 states.
  3. California has one of the most regulated housing markets in America, yet it has the highest homeless population in American and ranks 49th (per capita) in housing supply.

That politicians would persist with harmful policies should come as little surprise. The Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman once observed the uncanny proclivity of politicians “to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”

In his book Capitalism and Freedom, Friedman described the danger of such thinking.

[The threat comes] … from men of good intentions and good will who wish to reform us. Impatient with the slowness of persuasion and example to achieve the great social changes they envision, they’re anxious to use the power of the state to achieve their ends and confident in their ability to do so. Yet… Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it. 

I don’t doubt that California lawmakers, like the physician who was removing healthy gall bladders, believe they are doing the right thing. Yet they, like the physician, need to wake up to reality and realize they aren’t making people better.

COLUMN BY

Jon Miltimore

Jon Miltimore

Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. Serving previously as Director of Digital Media at Intellectual Takeout, Jon was responsible for daily editorial content, web strategy, and social media operations. Before that, he was the Senior Editor of The History Channel Magazine, Managing Editor at Scout.com, and general assignment reporter for the Panama City News Herald. Jon also served as an intern in the speechwriting department under George W. Bush.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by FEE is republished with permission.