Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

09 November 2016

Space and Good Fences Make Good Neighbors -- Good Neighbors Make Limited Government

Once again the overcrowded cities have voted for the more authoritarian Presidential candidate, while the people of "flyover country" and the "Racist South," from the viewpoint of presumptuous Progressive Elitists, have chosen a less authoritarian candidate.  This again proves that space and good fences make good neighbors, while overcrowded conditions lead to bossy people who want ever so badly to push their values on other people and to micromanage their lives.  Somehow, these "educated" Progressive Elitists always manage to presume that they can manage the lives of people they do not know better than said people can do this themselves.  They pretend politically that they respect these people whose lives need to be micromanaged by them, but in their private discussions among one another, they actually despise the people they believe to be incapable of choosing their own values properly and managing their own lives.

In the 2016 election, it is clear that not only did a majority of Americans in Flyover Country and in the South reject the rule of the Progressive Elitists, but so too did a majority in the Rust Belt.  The Obama years of manufacturing industry suppression and of fossil fuel energy suppression took a big toll on the Rust Belt and led to an upheaval with catastrophic and surprising results for the Democrat Socialist Party.  The low percentage of Americans with jobs worth having and the long stagnant wages had finally become too much for many Americans.  The ever-increasing expense and inconveniences of ObamaCare played a significant role also in the rebellion.  Seeing more businesses go out of business than were created for many years under Obama had its consequences.  The loss of jobs due to the vendetta against coal and the threat of a loss of jobs due to the Democrat desire to suppress fracking not only hurt the immediate industries, but hurt those who transported or used the coal, oil, gas, and the products made from them.  It would hurt those in the plastics industry, for instance.  Meanwhile, many a business and resident either had energy bills higher than necessary already or was facing sharp future increases.  Many were sick of the constant stream of Democrat lies and misrepresentations.  Many white Americans, especially men, were sick of being discriminated against in hiring and in contracting work.  A rebellious upheaval was long overdue.

Donald Trump was the beneficiary of all this and the fact that Hillary Clinton was a very unappealing opponent.  Not that Trump himself was an appealing Presidential candidate.  He leaves much to be desired as well.  But as I have noted, he does have some good policy positions, which if he carries through with them with a Republican House and Senate, might make him a much less undesirable President than Hillary would have been.  Trump will now be put to the test.

The actions he badly needs to take are these:

  • Repeal ObamaCare as pledged.
  • Reduce Corporate and Personal Income taxes, as pledged, so American businesses can compete better in the global markets from American plants and facilities and so multinational companies can afford to return $2 trillion of earnings abroad to the states to make a huge investment in America.
  • Protect the Right to Work Laws so Americans are not forced to join labor unions they do not want to join.  Also deny unions card check and rapid representation elections.
  • Nominate a judge for the open Supreme Court position who has a proper understanding of the broad and many individual rights every one of us has.
  • End the federal government role in promoting the false catastrophic man-made global warming hypothesis.  Fire the many employees of the EPA, NASA, NOAA, and the National Science Foundation who have insidiously supported this false science and wasted huge sums of taxpayer money on it, while forcing up energy costs in the entire nation in its name.
  • Follow through on his pledge to have a government employee hiring freeze.
  • Hire good managers for the Veterans Administration and its hospitals, while allowing many more options for veterans to use private sector medical care.
  • Stop the practice of government favoring some groups based on their ethnicity or sex. Everyone has equal individual rights and it is the function of legitimate government to protect everyone's equal rights.
  • The purpose of a smaller Department of Education should be to end the government monopoly on K-12 education by advancing the widespread use of vouchers to allow all students school choice.  Trump is on-board to start this process, but should expand its scope.
  • Reopen federal lands and offshore areas for the development of fossil fuel mines and drilling.
  • Sell off much of the federal land so it can become more productive, provide more jobs, and generate more local and state tax revenue.
  • Reduce the number of regulations and their expense, as he has pledged to do.
  • Simplify the tax code as pledged.
  • End the death tax as pledged.
  • End the IRS practice of discriminating against non-profit organizations who support individual rights and limited or constitutional government.
  • Limit federal grants to colleges to work with defense potential.  This will largely end taxpayer funding to faculty devoted to expanding the role and size of government.
  • End requirements that government pay union level wages.
  • End the Obama executive action that raised the salary level at which overtime pay had to be paid.
  • Reduce the federal minimum wage so that more Americans of low productivity or in low cost of living areas may be employed.  This will be very helpful in allowing the under-educated to get their first jobs and in promoting businesses in both poor city neighborhoods and low cost of living areas of the country.
  • Repeal Dodd-Frank, which was a deception to make Americans think the government had no responsibility for the Great Recession.  It made it difficult for smaller banks to operate, thereby adding to the number of banks too big to fail.
  • End the government monopoly on student loans for college.
  • Reduce government spending on infra-structure, which seems to be the opposite of what he wants to do.
  • Produce a new immigration law which makes it easier to immigrate to the U.S., while insisting that immigrants enter and stay in the U.S. legally.
  • Promote senior military officers based on their ability, not based on the political party with which they are registered to vote.  Do not discriminate on the basis of sex or ethnicity.
  • Review Obama's Executive Orders and change those which are unconstitutional or wrongheaded.  Some right-headed orders may need enabling laws by Congress.  The Executive Orders of earlier Presidents may also need review.  Mind you, Executive Orders can be a proper exercise of presidential management of the Executive Branch of the government, but they should not affect people outside of the Executive Branch.
  • Shut down government-run service organizations.  Their work belongs in the private sector.
  • Shut down many of the government agencies which number so many that the government cannot say how many exist and which have the authority to issue regulations for which purposes.  These agencies are often performing no valid function of government, are poorly managed, have overlapping authorities, or are obsolete.
If Trump tackles the job that needs doing, he will need all the energy he has over the next four years. I hope he does take on these tasks and works effectively with Congress to get it largely done.  He will also need to communicate well with the American People about what he is doing and why.  It is critically important that the U.S. economy return to at least its longtime average growth rate of 3%.  It should not be hard to enjoy long-term real growth of 4% actually if the government would only get out of the way.  The compound growth of a healthy economy over 40 years will raise the American standard of living vastly more than will any growth restrictive government regulations, laws, or taxes. Americans badly need the hope, change, and opportunities of a reduced government sector and a rich and robust private sector.


Threnody said...

Nice piece.
I'd be careful recommending vouchers. They could be the trojan horse if they come with even something as seemingly innocuous as "can be used at all schools that meet certain minimum standards." Unless the vouchers come with no strings attached, I'd be more in favor of simple tax credits for those not using government schools for their children.

What I've read on the Trump plans for infrastructure is that he will (somehow) encourage states to engage in public private type partnerships with an ongoing revenue stream for the company that builds the bridge, or road, or whatever, at their (?) cost. The Indiana toll road hasn't gone so well for that company, but maybe.... maybe it could be done without violating rights.... not sure on this as yet.

Reducing the federal minimum wage will be a tough sell to a populace which doesn't well understand the economics involved. Maybe he could encourage dropping the federal minimum altogether and sell it on as a states issue. THat would at least be a step in the right direction. The education really wouldn't be all that hard, but no president / congressman has really made a great effort to teach on this issue. Simply interviewing honest businessmen (those not cheating using some form of government supplied advantage) would likely be enough. They can explain how labor costs are simply just another cost of doing business, how that affects their prices, ability to compete, bottom line, and thus ability to employ or expand or even stay in business.

I'm alright with infrastructure spending if it is directly and convincingly tied to protecting the life/liberty/property of all citizens. You can't protect them if you can't get your police or military to them sufficiently quickly and in sufficient numbers. On the other hand, the disproportionate wear/tear of some users on infrastructure (esp transportation related) demands some means of linking use - disproportionate wear - and greater tax or fees to cover maintenance costs.

The fed may well raise rates and throw the entire system into withdrawal after acclimating itself to cheap money. He will be blamed for this. I hope he has some very smart folks in cabinet and congress who can come up with means to mitigate that result. Frankly, none of them at the fed or elsewhere know how to extricate themselves from the mess we're in... They will likely at least wait until he and congress actually *do* something before they start fiddling with things, else they can't conflate the causes later.


Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Trump received 42% of the women's votes, while Clinton received 54% of women's votes. Despite the appeal to women to elect the first woman President, Hillary actually received a lower percentage of the female vote than the 55% that Obama received.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for your comments Threnody. This is the busiest time of the year in my laboratory and one of my daughters is visiting, hence my late response.

I share your concerns about the imposition of federal standards on private schools. I am sure the any federal monies will come with some standards and those standards will be more or less abusive of individual rights over time. However, individual rights are now very heavily abused in the government-run school districts. We have to fight the battle for sound education, free of government propaganda, whether we have a robust voucher program or not. The remaining concern here is that those private schools that insist upon having great educational standards will succumb to the temptations of having more students on vouchers provided they compromise their educational standards. To some degree, to be determined, that negative effect will be offset by a lessened belief in the need for government-run schools with their union domination and by a proliferating wealth of private education options with a wide choice of curricula and baseline viewpoints.

There are aspects of private infrastructure spending that can readily be eased. These include the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipelines, both of which were stopped by Obama. The private sector dominates the power infrastructure spending and it can be freed to increase those investments. Water system and transportation investment is almost entirely by governments. Toll roads are presently operating on only about 6,000 miles of road out of about 4 million miles of road in the U.S. Toll road operators in both Indiana and Texas have filed for bankruptcy. Road and bridge building projects tend to have very long return on investment times. It is hard to recover the cost of the initial construction in as timely a way as is the case with most private investments. Private investors have many choices for their investments and roads and bridges do not rate high on their investment priorities. Besides, they are likely to be more subject to the whims of governments than are many other investments, making those other investments less risky. As rush to infrastructure investments is also likely to be accompanied by much mal-investment with politics immediately playing a major role in the choice of investments. At least a steady, higher percentage of investment over time will allow more study of each project and invest less into predicting far into the future from the present time. A project undertaken 8 or 10 years from now has the benefit of seeing how the need for a project has evolved over 8 or 10 years. So, I sure hope that Trump's infrastructure plan becomes much more modest and considered.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Yes, it would take some explaining to actually reduce the minimum wage. I am tired of Presidents who claim to be leaders who will not take the responsibility to lead by explaining such things to the People. It seems the best they are willing to do is to leave the minimum wage at a level until inflation has made it less burdensome. The critical importance of economic growth must be explained to the People. Without that understanding, they are all too susceptible to short-sighted claims that some economically harmful government program will provide them with benefits. Those benefits, often totally unreal or greatly exaggerated, usually pale in comparison to the advantages of the compounded growth over the 40 years most people have left to live which was foregone due to that government action. An economically illiterate population is a disaster. It is most unfortunate that our government-run or influenced education system makes no attempt to properly educate Americans about economics. Much of the limited education they do get is wrong.

Especially in view of my remarks in this comment in the second paragraph, I have not been much of an opponent to government investment in and control of most roads and bridges. I agree that they have a general protection function. They have a defense function to a degree and they are the post roads provided for in the Constitution. It is appropriate that those users who use the government-owned infrastructure in an out of proportion manner be charged additionally for its use. Heavy trucks are one example, but airlines are an example with respect to airports also.

Yes, I can see the Federal Reserve setting Trump up as the fall guy as it increases the base interest rate. Trump is also in danger from the many risky student loans and car loans as well. Mortgage loans are not all that sound again as well. But, he has a protection which is an important one. Almost every recession since WWII has been triggered by a large increase in oil and natural gas prices. Since the Democrats are now unable to stop the fracking revolution in all but a few states and fracking may now spread to many federal land areas, no such trigger is likely in the U.S. Of course, such a trigger can plummet the economies of many of our trading partners and that will have some negative impact on us, but the overall danger to us is greatly reduced. Many do not understand that the Great Recession was among the many cases in which a recession was triggered by a sudden increase in oil prices. Contrary to what most believe, the world recession hit most of the world before it hit the U.S., because their economies were hurt more by the oil price increases. The combined oil price increases and the downturn of the economies of our many trading partners, finally made us susceptible to the sub-prime loan problem we had. Of course, many other countries had similar problems of overly risky loans as well and many had loan crises even before we did.

The Trump presidency will be an interesting ride. I have my doubts about it being a great time, but compared to the anti-growth policies of the Democrat Socialist Party, it will be an improvement. The Democrat Socialists are more decidedly collectivist. Trump is not principled and surely is not committed to individual rights. He is an unprincipled pragmatist in the usual vernacular. In reality, it is not really pragmatic to be without the guidance of a rational set of principles. So he will wander back and forth between collectivist programs and those that principled and rational men would embrace. There will be some relief from the consistent attacks of Saul Alinsky nihilist socialists on our country. That should be a welcome change.

Threnody said...

Good comments.
I have little hope that Trump will become a champion of equal protection under the law, meaning, no government force cheating for anyone.
Sometimes, I think, though, that I intellectually support concepts about government without pausing to consider the realities of getting from where we actually ARE, to the concept I support. Take for instance what I just wrote - the ideal of government not cheating for anyone. The practical difficulty is that our government cheats for seemingly all or most of the large / established business interests in some way or another as the current state of affairs. A republican congress and president *could* make enormous inroads into the cheating at a national level at least, but what would be the short term effect? - almost certainly large upheavals in business across the country as companies relying on cheating were overtaken, out competed, or even ended, by better companies that would now excel without the unfair advantages previously enjoyed by their competitors. Imagine how the press would report such a flux occuring during an administration they oppose. Could an administration / congress survive that flux, for sufficient time to see the long term prosperity and improvements that comes of freedom and justice? We are in such a sticky mess. I wish I saw evidence that those smarter than me were considering a strategy to return to freedom and justice without collapsing under the attack that the necessary shake up in the markets will bring from the statist/collectivist press....

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

I do enjoy our conversations, most of which have been in comments we have made on other forums. One of these days, it would be nice to know who you are and generally more about you.

We certainly have not had anything like equal protection under the law under Obama. Discrimination against the white male minority in government hiring and contracting has been common. These discriminatory policies have been pushed onto all government contractors as well and with total government spending in the U.S. at about 34% of GDP now, only the smallest companies and then those of only some industries can reasonably position themselves to perform no work for either governments or for the many, many contractors of governments. So, the common government discrimination against the white male minority has become the norm in both government and a very large fraction of businesses. Now this discrimination existed before Obama, but I am now receiving inquiries from customers about whether the owners of my laboratory are LGBT so that we qualify for favorable consideration. There is mounting pressure among the Democrats to use government to make LGBT classification another favored minority.

To be clear, government should not discriminate against LGBT people and this is why I was an early supporter of the Log Cabin Republicans in their lawsuit against the Obama administration to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell. I also long argued against DOMA and in favor of gay marriage, or really more for getting government out of marriage altogether and allowing everyone the equal right to a domestic partnership contract. Now government is trying to force people to violate their consciences to serve LGBT people and to hire them though they are in the private sector. While I think it irrational for people to discriminate against LGBTs in this way, we cannot make the government the arbiter of the rational versus the irrational. Government should not be the judge of what is moral and what is not, beyond a very necessary minimum, such as disallowing the initiation of the use of force and fraud.

There is a real problem with Islam when it comes to individual rights. In the context of protections of a broad nature for freedom of conscience, it would be desirable to offer those freedoms to those who are Muslims. The problem, which I have written about in posts, is that Muslims are supposed to emulate Mohammed. Unfortunately, Mohammed thought it perfectly moral to use force to make people convert to Islam or to make them servile to Islam and its conflation of church and state. This violates the necessary condition that freedom of conscience can only be extended to those who recognize the freedom of conscience of everyone else. There is a real case to be made for excluding those Muslims who will not disavow the use of force to spread Islam and its beliefs, yet if they do so, they are actually disavowing Mohammed, which is very difficult for them to do. As a result, few Muslims can accept the conditions upon which individual rights are based and hence few can be counted on to believe in the basic American principles. To be sure, the same can be said for a good 40% of all Americans today.

One of the sad consequences of big government is the many ways it unnecessarily puts us at one another's throats in the fight to control government power and either to use it to our advantage as the bad guys do or to use it to protect ourselves from the bad guys. A minimal government and a rich, diverse, and robust private sector would allow us a much more harmonious society.

Threnody said...

You just accepted my FB friend request the other day. I messaged you that I was threnody, but you might not have FB messenger. WJY By the way, Threnody is from Emerson's poem. If you're a Dad, it's a tough read. As a physician who has dealt with what apparently killed Emerson's 5 yr old son, it was a really tough read. And, well, the idea captures my disposition toward the events of our history, as they have been progressing for the past 120 years or so.

I'm in agreement with getting government out of marriage altogether. Make whatever legal status / tax issues / inheritance issues separate from the 'marriage.' Frankly, though, I do wonder about the adoption portion of this. It appears that it is unlikely that anyone will be permitted to look scientifically / objectively at that question... It wouldn't be easy.

Agreed about Islam. The fact of human volition does not argue for a formulation of the deity as directing a convert or die program. Also, as you write, the Declaration and the Constitution are utterly incompatible with mohammedanism.

A happy upcoming Thanksgiving to you.

Threnody said...

Oh, by the way. I'm having some anthropomorphic climate change discussions. Do you have some preferred scientific sources?

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Adoption by any couple is limited by a very complex judgment by an agency and authorities. The criteria are always subject to a very tough examination and adoption by a gay couple often will come with a bit more difficulty. Some of the difficulty comes from expecting a child to be able to cope with having a different family, but there are also some real issues pertaining to the often complementary roles of a father and mother which may be missing. Nonetheless, there likely are some gay couples who would be very good parents.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Catastrophic AGW can be examined from the physics of the two main theories put forth for it. Or, as is usually done because few people understand the physics including the many scientists who believe in CAGW, one can look to compare observations with the predictions of the two main theories or at least to the computer models that are supposedly based on one or the other of those theories.

It is interesting to note that a consensus on the science that is said to cause CAGW implies that there is one theory of the physics and almost all scientists agree with that. This is not at all the case that they do. There are two very different theories. 1) The surface of the Earth radiates infra-red energy as though it were at an interface with vacuum and this radiation is in no way changed by the fact that the Earth surface loses energy by evaporating water and by direct inelastic collisions of gas molecules with the surface. The very strong IR radiation from the surface is accompanied by a very strong back-radiation from the atmosphere. Defeat this argument by pointing out that it fails to conserve energy and most of its proponents immediately turn to Theory 2, which is very different. In Theory 2, the addition of CO2 in the atmosphere above the level at which water vapor diminishes greatly and rapidly due to its condensation as the atmospheric temperature decreases with altitude, causes the CO2 emit more of the IR from the Earth when it is at a cooler temperature than the altitude at which water vapor emits IR. They argue this means that less radiation is emitted to space, so the Earth's lower atmosphere must warm up. This is false because most of the final emission to space due to added CO2 is from the tropopause whose temperature is constant, so moving the final emission point in that zone makes no real difference. Even more important, if you double the CO2 emitters, the amount of Earth radiation emitted goes up because more emitters matters more than the small differences of temperature. What is more, more CO2 in the stratosphere results in more absorption of IR from the sun's radiation and a heating of the stratosphere, which has been observed, occurs. That absorbed solar radiation never reaches the Earth's surface and is a cause of surface cooling. In fact, there are other respects as well by which added CO2 causes cooling. I believe all of the CO2 effects are very small, but it is more likely than not that the net effect of added CO2 in the atmosphere is a trivial cooling effect. Of those who believe the higher atmosphere effects of CO2 are the cause of global warming, a very good portion are lukewarmers.

If you want to tackle the problems with the physics I suggest:

There are many sources for problems with the predictions. The rise in temperatures is clearly below that predicted by almost all of the models, since temperatures have been very static since 1998 while CO2 has increased. There have been fewer hurricanes and tornadoes than usual. The total ice in the polar regions has actually just oscillated in long term, but historic, ranges. One can go on and on and see nothing particularly unusual and certainly nothing to suggest a catastrophe in the making.