About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Trump - The Jobs President

  Click on image to enlarge
 
The December 2016 unemployment report released on January 6 by the Department of Labor - Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – is the last such full month report of BO's presidency.
 
RTE did more analysis of the monthly BLS unemployment reports the past eight years than any other single topic – none of the unemployment reports were good including this last one mostly because of BO's attitude displayed in the above cartoon caricature that showed his dislike & contempt for the job creators of this country.  Under BO's administration the average annual growth of the economy has been 2.1% since June 2009 when the recession ended – the weakest expansion of the post World War II period.  More jobs will be created under strong economic growth than BO's deliberately contrived weakest on record.
 
This post presents the problems Trump must solve to become the jobs president he wants (& needs) to be. 
 
In summary, massive regulations, higher taxes, & the certainty that both would increase under BO has forced entrepreneurs to wait for another administration before moving forward with investments that would increase economic growth, jobs, productivity, & accordingly everyone's standard of living.  With Trump being one of the world's most successful businessmen we have a real chance to reverse the Death Of Democracy spiral & return to the liberty to abundance stage of our republic.
 
Over the past eight years we have learned to not pay much attention to the government's official unemployment rate – U3 - the proportion of the civilian labor force that is unemployed & actively seeking employment as defined by the BLS.  The unreliability of this measure has always been true but in normal economic times U3 would suffice to give an accurate portrayal of the health of the job market.  It breaks down in severe economic conditions like BO purposely induced on America his entire time in office. 
 
U3 increased in December to a 4.7% unemployment rate from 4.6% in November but to understand the dynamics of the job market you have to look to the U6 unemployment rate that is still elevated @ 9.2% – the pre BO low for U6 was 7.9% so there still is a way to go. 
 
U6 is the most comprehensive measure of unemployment & currently totals 14.8 million people.  It includes the total unemployed (7.5 million), plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force (1.7 million), plus the total employed part time for economic reasons (5.6 million). 
 
The 1.7 million people in U6 listed as marginally attached to the labor force wanted & were available for work, had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months, but were not counted by the BLS as being part of the labor force because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the December unemployment report.  As the discouraged workers in this group start to look for work again they are counted as part of the labor force which in turn affects the U3 unemployment rate calculation.  When people drop out of the labor force U3 can go down as was the case in the early years of BO's presidency & when people return to the labor force as they did last month U3 can go up like it did. 
 
Of course the most important questions pertain to the quality of the jobs people hold & the wages they pay.  For instance some part-time workers counted as employed by U3 could be working as little as an hour a week which would not be a quality job by any measure.
 
To present the clearest employment picture a U7 category is necessary.  U7 would take U6, the current most comprehensive measure of labor resource unemployment & underemployment, & add those employed full time who make a fraction of their former pay.  For instance if you used to make $50,000 to $75,000 per year & now make $25,000 per year you are counted as employed by U3 & U6 for that matter – but U7 would provide the detail to show the unhealthiness & misery of the economy.  It would reveal the number of people relying on wealth spend down to maintain their standard of living commensurate with a $50,000 to $75,000 per year income – the opposite of wealth creation - that would  continue "until they were reduced to hunger & rags" in the words of Isabel Paterson.
 
A subset of the U6 category is new college graduates who haven't found a job in their field of study & very possibly never will.  A 25 year old unemployed or underemployed college graduate who graduated three years ago is not only in competition for a job in their field of study with more experienced people but also with new 22 year old graduates – a losing proposition that means these older graduates, many with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt, may never work in their chosen field of study.
 
But even worse off are the nearly 20% of males between 21 & 30 (up from 9% in 2000) who haven't completed college, aren't working today, & aren't in school.  Many of these young men, who live with their parents, are satisfied with their lot in life because there is no foreseeable employment in the manufacturing sector for them & even more pitifully they have become complacent with their situation spending their days playing video games – I personally know such a person.  Source Erik Hurst – University of Chicago.
 
Trump pledges to bring back jobs that left America for other countries – but many of these are low skilled jobs that can be done by people making pennies a day in their country.  In fact part of the employment problem in the U.S. is that many low-skilled, but previously high paid, American job seekers are unqualified for manufacturing sector positions that have become more high-tech every year as automation increasingly becomes common place.
 
The number of manufacturing sector job openings is @ a 15 year high, yet we have over six million people who think there is no suitable employment for their skills [i.e., combination of discouraged workers who left the labor force (426,000) & those involuntarily working part time (5.6 million)]
 
There currently are 145.3 million people working in America – 22.2 million of which work for government with 12,000 added in December.  Trump, as a businessman, realizes that the 123.1 million people working in the private sector are the ones who pay for the government workers – whether federal, state, or local - & that it is important to minimize the claims on the earned incomes of the private sector workers in order for the country to prosper again.
 
We need a return to the mindset where everyone in the country understands what a job really is under a free enterprise system – namely, an opportunity to create more present or future value for an employer than it costs to maintain the worker in the job.  This is why in the private sector employed people hustle.  If the employee's value drops below the cost of maintaining the employee the job disappears. 
 
The removal of the business cost of regulatory compliance [$2.028 trillion (that's $2,028 billion) in 2012 (measured in 2014 dollars)], the lowering of both the corporate income tax rate & individual income tax rates, the elimination of both the 3.8% ObamaCare surtax on capital gains & dividends as well as the 0.9% additional Medicare payroll tax are all important steps to ensure the growth of the GDP increases from the anemic 2.1% annual growth rate over the past seven years.  The annual compliance cost burden for an average U.S. firm is 21% of its payroll thereby leaving little or no room for investment of any kind.
 
Today there are 95,102,000 people in America who do not have jobs & are not looking for one – when BO took office in January 2009 that number was 80,529,000 people. Some of the 95.1 million people are too young to work & some are too old but it still is a record number & these people need a growing economy to sustain them in their youth & their old age.
 
There are boom periods & recessions but over a person's working lifetime (say 22 to 62) people's incomes typically take about 40 years to double in real inflation adjusted terms.  The higher your starting salary the higher your final salary & standard of living by this measure. 
 
Say you started work in 1975 @ a salary of $8,000 per year when you were 22 years old.  If you retired in 2015, @ age 62, you would have been making $70,400 if you doubled your starting salary in real inflation adjusted terms. 
 
Stop & think of the purchasing power & standard of living in 1975 of a $16,000 annual income – they were very good.
 
The point is the people I described above - 25 year old unemployed or underemployed college graduates, the nearly 20% of males between 21 & 30 who are satisfied playing video games, the 1.7 million people marginally attached to the labor force, the 5.6 million involuntarily working part time, & the untold millions who were once fully employed with good paying jobs but now work for a fraction of their former pay – will either begin this doubling process @ a lower starting salary & a period less than 40 years or have had the process interrupted to their financial detriment.
 
Trump can't get started soon enough to suit them - or me.
 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Popular Vote Analysis Shows The Fragility Of Trump's Victory

On Friday, amidst the annoying last ditch interruptions to object & protest the proceedings, principally by Congresswomen Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA), & Maxine Waters (D-CA), the President of the Senate, in the presence of the Senate & the House as per our Constitution, overruled the objections, called the protests out of order, & counted the votes for President & Vice President & found that Donald Trump received a majority of electoral votes meaning there are no more legal or procedural stumbling blocks in Trump's way to the presidential inauguration on January 20.  It also means it is safe to write this post.
 
As readers of RTE know my
attraction to Trump's presidential candidacy started about half way through his announcement declaring his run for the presidency that I saw live on June 16, 2015.
 
Specifically, I saw the chance for a start of a change to the political correctness mindset that is ruining America unless it is reversed – & quickly.  Items like eliminating the fallacious destructive anchor baby claim to birthright citizenship, settling the incompatible relationship of Muslims who follow Sharia law taking a U.S. citizenship oath, banning people from Muslim countries from entering America until we know that immigrants & refugees from these countries are not terrorists, ending sanctuary cities, & restoring the enforcement of immigration laws – are all bedrock matters that must be settled before issues like tax reform, healthcare, climate change, the national debt, the budget deficit, or even adequate national defense can be addressed. 
 
Without Trump none of the politically incorrect issues listed above would have ever been brought up @ all by any other person running for office.
 
Yet on the morning of November 8 I doubted Trump would win, but like Peggy Noonan, I was not convinced he would lose.  After all he has been a winner @ everything he has ever done.
 
With Hillary Clinton seemingly sitting in the catbird's seat for over a year before the election the media played us for fools with their constant reports of tightening polls the last five weeks of the presidential campaign – the media (& Hillary) always thought she would win – in fact, early on election night Trump & his daughter Ivanka thought he would lose. 
 
Of course the tightening polls referred to the popular vote – a meaningless statistic, as far as the immediate election is concerned, if only evidenced by the fact that no federal government agency is in charge of compiling it.  More important - the Constitution does not mention it.
 
But in any event Hillary did not win the popular vote – when the votes were certified in all fifty states Hillary had not received a majority of the popular vote.  She led with a plurality of 2,865,075 votes (65,844,954 – 62,979,879) or 48.04% versus 45.95%.
 
Conservatives like to point out that the large national popular vote margin is due to California's results & that Trump won the national popular vote if you subtract the California walloping Trump got by 4,269,978 votes (8,753,788 California votes for Hillary – 4,483,810 California votes for Trump) or 61.48% versus 31.49%. 
 
New York was the only other state where the difference for either candidate was greater than 1 million votes: 4,547,562 for Hillary – 2,814,589 for Trump = 1,732,973
 
Prior to the election Democrats were fine with any electoral system because they thought Hillary would win any way the votes were counted.  Since Hillary started with a virtual certainty of 242 electoral votes & most probably 257 electoral votes based on states that had voted for the Democrat candidate the last five presidential elections (242) or four out of the last five (15 additional electoral votes) the electoral college system was tolerated by Democrats who were still leery of it after the election of 2000 when GW Bush was elected president despite not winning the popular vote.  It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
 
Hillary finished with only 227 electoral votes because - from her assumed starting point of 257 electoral votes - she lost Wisconsin (10), Michigan (16), Pennsylvania (20), Iowa (6), Maine (1), & had 5 faithless electors in the electoral college for a deduct of 58 but picked up Nevada (6), Colorado (9), & Virginia (13) for an addition of 28 electoral votes.
 
This is now the second time since 2000 that Democrats have claimed victory in the popular vote but lost the electoral college & the presidency.
 
Accordingly, ten states & the District of Columbia have formed a pact known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC)  in which all electoral votes in these ten states & DC will go to the winner of the national popular vote regardless of who wins the individual state vote – I'm sure they consider a plurality for Hillary like in 2016 as the winner of the national popular vote.
 
The NPVIC is planned to only go into effect, if it passes inevitable legal challenges – see Compact Claus of the Constitution, Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 which states that "No State shall, without the consent of Congress . . . enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State . . ." - when the electoral votes of the states who enter into the pact total 270 which will ensure the desired outcome.
 
See graphic below for details of the NPVIC – note all the states & DC heavily favor Democrats so again we see that Democrats prefer the national popular vote & regard the NPVIC as an end around the Constitution & the electoral college.  These states will give up their state sovereignty to get the statist president they want.
 
click on graphic to enlarge
 
Now Democrats obviously prefer to determine the president by a national popular vote because they know we are outnumbered – just look @ this last election. 
 
Conservatives say that the country needs the electoral college system because it would be unfair for one or two large states (CA & NY) with concentrated populations to dominate the rest of the country. 
 
The reason the electoral college system is needed is because the Framers of the Constitution knew that the Constitution would never have been ratified without it – the small states would not agree to be dominated by the popular vote majority of the large states.  In brief, without the electoral college there would have been no ratification of the Constitution – i.e., there would be no United States.
 
When Hillary topped out @ 232 electoral votes in the early morning hours of November 9 (for those who stayed up to watch the returns) Trump had 260 electoral votes meaning that Trump needed either Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania to win the presidency if there were no faithless electors – a win in any one of these states would get him to 270 electoral votes.
   
This makes the case that Trump won the election, 306 electoral votes to 232 electoral votes (before the electoral votes of faithless electors are subtracted), by winning Wisconsin (by 22,748 votes), Michigan (by 10,704 votes), & Pennsylvania (by 44,292 votes) – each narrow wins but in three states a Republican had not won since 1984 (WI) & 1988 (MI & PA).
 
Of the original seventeen Republican candidates for president only Trump had a chance to win the presidency from the get go – & that was because he was the only candidate who could appeal to Democrat voters in states like Wisconsin, Michigan, & Pennsylvania who saw a glimmer of the return to excellence that Trump's candidacy represented to them after decades of broken Democrat promises & a life of mediocrity @ best.
 
It truly was a narrow win & that is why the takeaway from the election should be that in order to prevent the further development of the Democrat statist ideas of government dependency that is the cause of so much misery Trump needs to win over the people Romney famously identified (Romney's 47%) as "people (who) will vote for BO (in Mitt's case) no matter what . . . these people are dependent on government, believe they are victims entitled to government handouts, & pay no income tax."  In order for Trump to win in 2016 – & in particular these three long-time Democrat states - he had to already win over & receive the votes of some of these people – or else he too would have lost like Romney, McCain, & Dole did.
 
Don't think for a second that Democrats don't know that Trump has won over some of their voters & is positioned to win more of them – as distasteful as it is to them, Democrats are not worried by a one time loss of three states by a mere cumulative 77,744 votes (out of more than 137 million votes cast) but rather what they rightly perceive as an encroachment on their territory (i.e., voters) that has the potential to grow.
 
The best thing Democrats can do, from their prospective, is delay or disrupt anything Trump tries to do after he takes office.  The backlash from this is that the next wave of Democrat voters who just couldn't quite bring themselves to vote for Trump this time, for whatever reason, may finally see that Democrat politicians, for their own political advantage, are holding people back to keep them dependent on government.
 
In summary this is a tipping point for our country that could return us to the liberty to abundance stage of our history – we know we were not going in that direction if Hillary had won.
 
Trump got in by the barest of margins & has been given the chance to move forward.  Black, Hispanic, & Asian minorities are growing in electoral importance every year.  If Trump doesn't remove regulations on businesses & present free enterprise policies that will increase the growth of the economy that will allow all of these groups to participate in wealth creation the trend of minorities voting Democrat will not be reversed.
 
Before the 2016 election Democrats had already blatantly boasted of winning the electoral votes in Arizona, Georgia, & Texas – not in 2016 but in 2020 because of the growing minority vote.  Just look @ the trends below:
 
Trump won Arizona by 3.50% (48.08% – 44.58%) & a margin of 91,234 votes – Romney won Arizona in 2012 by 9.03% (53.48% – 44.45%) & a margin of 208,422 votes. 
 
Trump won Georgia by 5.09% (50.44% – 45.35%) & a margin of 211,141 votes – Romney won Georgia in 2012 by 7.80% (53.19% – 45.39%) & a margin of 304,861 votes.
 
Trump won Texas by 8.99% (52.23% – 43.24%) & a margin of 807,179 votes – Romney won Texas in 2012 by 15.78% (57.13% – 41.35%) & a margin of 1,261,719 votes.
 
Please look @ the electoral map of Texas below that shows the large number of southern border counties that voted Democrat – the usual color convention is reversed in that red signifies Democrat.  Hillary Clinton won 569,744 more votes in Texas in 2016 than BO did in 2012 while Trump won only 115,204 more votes than Romney did in 2012 meaning that the Democrats picked up 454,540 net Texas voters in the last election – a troubling sign.
 
click on graphic to enlarge (red signifies Democrat)
 
But to show the fragility of Trump's win consider the challenge that BO made when he said he thought he would have won a third term if he would have been able to run for president against Trump. 
 
Of course we will never know but the closest we can come is to ask ourselves if we think BO would have won more than 10,704 Black or Hispanic votes in Michigan than Hillary did, & then carry the appropriate projection out in Wisconsin & Pennsylvania.
 
To help in this projection, please look @ the following graph that shows the pertinent results from the past three presidential elections.
 
click on graph to enlarge
 
All of the above shows the fragility of Trump's victory & the importance of Trump reversing the political correctness mindset, presenting free enterprise policies that will increase the growth of the economy, & working directly with Black, Hispanic, & Asian communities so that they finally realize the American dream.   
 

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Posting Notice - An Outline Report & Passages From "The Virtue Of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand

This message is to alert readers to a new post on the left hand side of RTE under Ayn Rand.  Click on An Outline Report & Passages From "The Virtue Of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand which I prepared in the fall as a natural addition to the long ago posted interviews of Miss Rand by both Mike Wallace & Phil Donahue that are libertarian treasures.
 
The new post presents the fundamentals of Ayn Rand's philosophy known as Objectivism – Miss Rand calls Objectivism "a philosophy for living on earth" that shows the greatness of man as a heroic being who lives by his own effort, achievement, & reasoning ability & does not give or receive the undeserved, who honors accomplishment, & rejects envy.
 
The new post focuses on the following points taken from The Virtue Of Selfishness:
 
1.  The only proper, moral purpose of government – namely to protect man's rights to his own life, his own liberty, & his own property while protecting him from physical violence;
 
2.  Human rights cannot exist without property rights – when the state claims the 'right' to redistribute the wealth produced by others it is claiming the 'right' to treat human beings as chattel; 
 
3.  The indispensible foundation of a free society is individual rights & capitalism is the only system that can uphold & protect individual rights;
 
4.  The United States being the first moral society in history - no other form of government, nation, or society had provided Black slaves freedom in a world where slavery was the norm everywhere for over 6,000 years of human existence – imagine the world pre-1776;
 
5.  Before America, all previous systems had held that man's life belonged to society, that society can dispose of him in any way it pleases, & that any freedom he enjoys is his only by favor, by the permission of society, which may be revoked @ any time.  The United States held that man's life is his by right (which means: by moral principle & by his nature), that a right is the property of an individual, that society as such has no rights, & that the only moral purpose of a government is the protection of individual rights;
 
6.  The right to life is the source of all rights - & the right to property is their only implementation.  Without property rights, no other rights are possible.  Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life.  The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave;
 
7.  There are two potential violators of man's rights: the criminal & the government;
 
8.  Any alleged 'right' of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not & cannot be a 'right'.  Those who advocate laissez-faire capitalism are the only advocates of man's rights;
 
9.  Since the protection of individual rights is the only proper purpose of government, it is the only proper subject of legislation: all laws must be based on individual rights & aimed @ their protection;
 
10.  The Constitution is a limitation on the government, not on private individuals, only the conduct of the government - that it is not a charter for government power, but a charter of the citizens' protection against the government;
 
11.  Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism;
 
12.  Like every other form of collectivism, racism is a quest for the unearned;
 
13.  Racism has always risen or fallen with the rise or fall of collectivism.  Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life & work belong to the group (to "society," to the tribe, the state, the nation) & that the group may sacrifice him @ its own whim to its own interests.  The only way to implement a doctrine of that kind is by means of brute force - & statism has always been the political corollary of collectivism;
 
14.  There is only one antidote to racism: the philosophy of individualism & its politico-economic corollary, laissez-faire capitalism;
 
15.  Individualism regards man - every man - as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being. Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful coexistence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights - & that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members;

 

16.  It is capitalism that gave mankind its first steps toward freedom & a rational way of life.  It is capitalism that broke through national & racial barriers, by means of free trade.  It is capitalism that abolished serfdom & slavery in all the civilized countries of the world; 

 

17.  The simplest collective to join, the easiest one to identify - particularly for people of limited intelligence - the least demanding form of 'belonging' & of 'togetherness' is: race;

 

18.  In its great era of capitalism, the United States was the freest country on earth - & the best refutation of racist theories.  Men of all races came here, some from obscure, culturally undistinguished countries, & accomplished feats of productive ability which would  have remained stillborn in their control-ridden native lands. Men of racial groups that had been slaughtering one another for centuries, learned to live together in harmony & peaceful cooperation.  America had been called "the melting pot," with good reason.  But few people realized that America did not melt men into the gray conformity of a collective: she united them by means of protecting their right to individuality;

 

19.  It is proper to forbid all discrimination in government-owned facilities & establishments: the government has no right to discriminate against any citizen.  And by the very same  principle, the government has no right to discriminate against any citizen @ the expense of others.  It has no right to violate the right of private property by forbidding discrimination in privately owned establishments; &

 

20.  No man has any claim to the property of another man.  A man's rights are not violated by a private individual's refusal to deal with him.  Racism is an evil, irrational & morally contemptible doctrine - but doctrines cannot be forbidden or prescribed by law. Just as we have to protect a communist's freedom of speech, even though his doctrines are evil, so we have to protect a racist's right to the use & disposal of his own property.  Private racism is not a legal, but a moral issue - & can be fought only by private means, such as economic boycott or social ostracism.

 
I present this post to whet your interest in the subject matter so that you click on to read & study the entire outline report & passages & then go on to read the entire book.  Learning the principles of Objectivism provides an excellent & very inspirational way to start the new year.
 
As for me, I have lived Ayn Rand's philosophy my entire adult life, starting even before I read the Objectivist Newsletters when I was in my late-teens or early twenties - even before I ever heard of Objectivism.