Trump is not “fading” as the left seems to hope – he is getting better

I could just keep quoting Rush forever because each sentence makes you want to read the next. This is about the news-meme that Trump is supposedly fading. This is part of Rush’s take:

So I checked the e-mail during the break, and there was a fairly decent point. “Rush, you’re ripping into Jeb’s campaign people. But don’t you realize, if it weren’t for Trump, Jeb would probably be the guy with 20 points right now and this thing would be over?” Well, there that word is again: “If.” Yeah, well, “if” a lot of things, then things would be different. But that actually kind of buttresses my point. You say, “If it weren’t for Trump…” Well, it is for Trump. Trump is there. You’d better be able to adapt to it and you better be able to figure out why Trump is doing well.

And if the only ammo you’ve got with Trump is, “He’s gonna blow it, he’s gonna fade, he’s gonna step in it, he’s not gonna last, he doesn’t really mean it, he’s gonna get out,” and that’s all you can do, then you’re not doing your job. It’s not hard to explain Trump’s success. It’s really rather easy. That’s why when I see The Politico story, “The Incredible Shrinking Trump.” In their dreams. They haven’t the slightest idea what they’re talking about. “The Incredible Shrinking Trump — The usual blustery billionaire offered a downright demure performance at the third GOP debate.” . . .

If these hacks in the media were not Democrat Party activists, this story could just as easily be written as, “Donald Trump Shows More Maturity as Campaign Evolves.” But, no, because the Democrat media does not see Republicans and conservatives in any way anywhere near a favorable, fair, even almost human way. It’s not possible for them. Trump is a cartoon character to all of them, not just Harwood. He is a cartoon character to all of who they hate.

So Trump, who many people might say was behaving a little bit more serious. Less bombast, less personal assault and attack last night. They might say Trump is becoming more serious. Trump is becoming more mature, whatever. But, if you’re not inclined to note anything positive or synonymous with what you would say is growth in a human being or candidate, if all you can see is somebody’s a cartoon character and a buffoon, and if you think the Republican electorate is so stupid — which they do…

Remember, you people are a bunch of mind-numbed robots to the Drive-By Media. You are incapable of thinking on your own. Your public opinions are nothing but the result of whoever it is influencing you. Me, Fox News, whoever. You’re incapable of independent thought, critical thought, what have you. You put these two things together and Trump’s where he is precisely because he’s a cartoon character, and you people are so shallow and so dense that that’s what you want in a president.

The left assumes everyone else is like they are, that there is a single acceptable position on every issue and therefore once it is proclaimed there is no further thought required. That is not how it is on this side. That they are not embarrassed that Hillary will be their candidate come what may is as sure a sign of the decadence of the American left as there every has been. Why aren’t they embarrassed that not only is she out of her depth on every issue, but that no one else is being allowed to stand in her way even if there were anyone else who could.

A black ban on certain words

It is quite an astonishing thing how suddenly words we have been using all our lives become forbidden in polite company. And it does annoy me that for some reason I am generally clued in about what’s OK and what’s not. Although I may now have reached an age where either the message doesn’t get to me, or I cannot be bothered paying attention, or I just don’t care, I nevertheless find that I don’t break the rules, or not usually. And being aware of all of this, you won’t, for example, catch me using particular terminology to describe people of low mental abilities using any of those insensitive words from yesteryear. Nor will I use any of the terms from my youth about people who do not have the complete use of their limbs. And in this country, I am very careful to say “Aboriginals”, although I might still say Indians when I am talking about “Native Americans”, but that’s probably only because I don’t live there since they now too say “aboriginals”, and thus no longer distinguish between the ones that lived on the prairies and rode horses in comparison with those who lived north of the frost line and were pulled along on a dog sled. As for the Washington football team, it is hard to know whether it is even permissible to be one of its supporters – and now that I live here, I would never, ever say I r–t for the home team.

And so we come to Senator Abetz who described Mr Justice Clarence Thomas of the US Supreme Court as a “Negro” and has raised a ruckus among some of the most dreary people on the planet. They may disagree with everything that Justice Thomas says, but they will defend until the next change of official nomenclature the rightful moral turpitude that surrounds using this word in describing someone of Justice Thomas’s ancestry. I, of course, remember when it was suddenly unacceptable to say that word, which was replaced by “black”. And so, on those occasions I would need to refer to the racial origins of Louis Armstrong say, that would be the word I would use.

But now even that is out. In the US, it is now near-mandatory to say “African-American”. You can see Gerard Henderson wasn’t going to get caught out in the same way as Senator Abetz in discussing this very issue:

According to Craig Reucassel, the term “negro” is no longer used in civilised society with respect to negro music. Wrong — if anyone pays attention to David Marr. And, according to Julian Morrow, anyone who uses the term “negro” in contemporary discussion of African-Americans is a racist. Wrong. Unless the Chaser Boys regard your man Marr as a racist.

Of course it doesn’t make any difference what David Marr says to these people, since no one on the left wants to make cheap political points attacking him. Senator Abetz, on the other hand, that’s something different again. Political correctness is group think for people too dull-witted to think for themselves.

Nothing makes peace inevitable

A Labour-voting Israeli explains “Why I’ve made my home at a kibbutz near Gaza“. The most striking image in the story comes near the start:

My visiting friend wanted to go and have a look at Gaza, so we went to a point at the edge of the kibbutz that offers a good look across the border. On the way we passed by the kibbutz’s pool, with its crystal clear, cool water. It was 8 p.m. and the sun was making its way into the Mediterranean, but while on our side of the border, street lamps were beginning to light up, in Shejaiya everything remained dark. Not just the streets; also the visible homes and apartments, which house hundreds if not thousands of people. Had we returned to that spot two hours later, we would hardly see anything across the border. I’ve been living in Nahal Oz for almost a year and have gone to the observation point dozens of times, but only once at night. It’s too depressing to look at the complete darkness on the other side and realize that many people actually live in it.

I get feeling sorry for the people who live in Gaza. What I don’t get is not recognising that it is only a hard line that will ever bring peace. Only if the other side comes to believe that they can never win through war will war come to an end. It is not going to come from weakness on the Israeli side or a change of heart on theirs.

Is the American media really as clueless as this?

Are journalists the last to know? Are they so uninformed, indeed actually lacking in even a basic notion of the wiles and tactics of politicians, that this Charlie Rose comes off as such an idiot? Are they all like that, or is it just that there is no level to which they will not debase themselves to see Hillary elected? A bit of all of it, I’m afraid.

The media are the opposition

Good answer since at last there is an attack on the media. But the question that I ask is whether people even know what Bosheviks and Mensheviks are. But still good. Here is the Drudge aftermath:

Bush campaign manager confronts producer…
BOZELL: Forum Was an ‘Encyclopedic Example of Bias’…
HANNITY: ‘Will Go Down in History as Really Bad Night for Media’…
Montage: Harwood Debates the Candidates…
Moderators booed — again and again…
Trump boasts about limiting debate time ‘so we can get the hell out of here’…
But RNC Chairman Threw Candidates To The Wolves!
MEESE: Should Be Condemned…

Europe’s “catastrophic error”

The headline writer chose this, Europe must follow our lead on turnbacks: Tony Abbott but the first sentence says what he was really trying to say:

Europe is heading towards a “catastrophic error” that could change it forever and must instead study and adopt Australia’s policy to turn back the tide of asylum-seekers, Tony Abbott said today.

Delivering the second ­Thatcher Lecture at London’s Guildhall, the former prime minister also called for more to be done to strike Islamic State terrorism “at its source” and said it was a pity a recent summit by world leaders looked only at countering violent extremism and not the ­inspiration for it.

In his first significant speech since he was toppled by Malcolm Turnbull six weeks ago, Mr Abbott said his invitation to give the lecture “suggests there was at least a hint of Thatcherism about my government in Australia”.

For some, a hint of Thatcherism is the kiss of death. For others, who have some idea of the stakes involved, there cannot be enough of Mrs Thatcher and what she stood for. What he and she understood is the difference between right and wrong. Now it is the difference between good and evil, and even so the left is blind to it all. And here’s the advice:

Europe should study how Australia had stopped the boats and restored border security as “the only compassionate thing to do”.

“This means turning boats around, for people coming by sea. It means denying entry at the border, for people with no legal right to come; and it means establishing camps for people who currently have nowhere to go,” he said.

“It requires some force; it will ­require massive logistics and ­expense; it will gnaw at our consciences — yet it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe and quite possibly changing it forever.

“The Australian experience proves that the only way to dissuade people seeking to come from afar is not to let them in.”

In the meantime, it can only be hoped that Malcolm gets the message before we end up in the same boat as Europe. Abbott is world class, one of the deepest thinkers ever to rise to high office in this country. It’s only a shame that what he saw and understood was too difficult, not just for the media and the left in general, which is to be expected, but for the people who he had to deal with in cabinet and in his own party room.

AND CONTINUING: This has been cross-posted at Catallaxy and the comments thread is quite interesting. Hard for me to imagine people who would disagree with Abbott on these issues but, I guess, with much of the right self-identified as “libertarian”, and therefore open-borders, perhaps it’s not that surprising after all. I have added two comments of my own. First this:

Abbott was all Thatcher but where was his Keith Joseph? And Margaret didn’t have to put up with a creep like Turnbull who relentlessly stalked his own PM to the extent that nothing debated in cabinet was not the next day being aired on the news. But Margaret was famous for her foreign policy even more than the economics. She with Ronald Reagan and the Pope stared down the Evil Empire, not to mention Argentina and the Falklands. I only wish we had a Margaret Thatcher somewhere in one of the major countries of the West. Instead we have Obama, Merkel and Malcolm. There is some potential in Cameron but he, too, is no Margaret Thatcher.

And then this:

Dealing with migration and the Islamic State is the issue of our time in the same way that dealing with the Soviet Union was the issue of her time. Who besides Tony gets it? As for economics, this is from her first budget in 1979:

The 8 and 12.5 per cent VAT rates were unified at 15 per cent, putting around 3.75 per cent on the RPI. There was also a 7p increase in petrol duty, adding 10p to a gallon when VAT was added in. (For RPI reasons, alcohol and tobacco duties were left untouched.) The oil companies were tapped: Petroleum Revenue Tax (PRT) was increased from 45 to 60p and BNOC lost its exemption from the tax.

Let us compare with Joe defending his first budget in 2013:

An emotional Mr Hockey described his first budget, which included the now-dumped GP co-payment, plans to uncap university fees and increased fuel and income taxes, as too courageous for the Parliament.

We will see as time goes by who will be as courageous as Joe and Tony were then. I suspect there is no one around who will take these issues on, least of all the current incumbent, who was probably leaking as furiously as he could to all his mates at the ABC.

This Abbott Derangement Syndrome truly is a form of insanity. People who think politics is no more difficult than agreeing with your friends while sitting around your dining room ought to get out once in a while. Abbott had a right to expect some slack from those who understand what the other side represents but political sophistication is as rare as a modern economist’s understanding of the operation of a market economy.

A classical economist looks at modern macro

This is the first draft of the conclusion of the paper I have finally finished on classical economic theory. The rest of the paper leads up to these conclusions. Whether it is published is, of course, not in my hands. But after the mess that has been made of economic management following the GFC, there is plenty of real world evidence that modern theory has a lot to answer for.

The one thing all sides can agree on is that there was a “classical economics” before Keynes published his General Theory and that modern macroeconomic theory is different from classical economic theory. Beyond that, other than a superficial gloss on what that classical theory consisted of, virtually no modern economist any longer knows what that classical theory was. This paper has therefore provided an explanation of the economics before Keynes, focusing as Keynes did on what we would today describe as the macroeconomic issues. What makes this paper particularly useful is that it has been written by someone who believes the economics of John Stuart Mill is superior to modern macroeconomic theory. Whether others will share this belief after reading the paper is neither here nor there. The actual intent is to allow modern economists to gain an appreciation and understanding of the economic theories of their predecessors.

Possibly the greatest obstacle for modern economists is that they assume a pre-Keynesian economist had no theory of involuntary unemployment. The quote from Mill at the start of this paper, plus recognition that there had been a detailed and intricate theory of the cycle that had developed for over a century through until 1936, should provide some incentive for economists to examine the great history of their own subject, not only with a sense of the grandeur and depth of understanding that has pervaded our subject since its origins in Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations, but with a sense of adventure about finding out what they knew that we do not. As J.E. Cairnes (1888: iv-v) pointed out at the end of the nineteenth century, whatever mathematics may have brought to economic theory, it has not provided any additional insights into our understanding of the underlying dynamics of an economy. The broad features of the economies we live in today were evident even as far back as 1776. The belief that we know something a classical economist did not about human motivations, the potential for markets to bring prosperity, the need for government regulations to be properly crafted, or the pros and cons in relation to the provision of welfare are beliefs that cannot withstand a deeper understanding of classical theory. We may have better statistics and more sophisticated analytical techniques, but the theories a modern economist applies to make sense of it all are not obviously better than the theories that had prevailed before the publication of The General Theory in 1936. The argument presented here is that they are, in fact, actually worse.

Your thoughts would be welcome.

Is government spending consumption or investment?

I return to an issue raised by Sinclair at the beginning of the day in his post on Welfare is consumption not investment. This is the confused notion economics now has about the nature of value adding and the role of saving. It goes further. Would modern economists recognise saving if it came and hit them in the eye and are they able to distinguish saving from public spending? It ought to be straightforward but it is not.

This is a knotty issue I find myself trying to resolve as I finish off a paper. It’s not that I don’t know what I think saving is. It’s whether there is a truly solid definition of saving so that economists will know what saving is. Is government spending officially part of consumption or is it part of investment, or is there a division, and if there is a division, how is the dividing done since most public “investment” is not market tested? That is, can government investment still be called investment even if there is no positive return or must it at some stage pay a dividend? This is the definition for “saving” that comes up first on Google:

According to Keynesian economics, the amount left over when the cost of a person’s consumer expenditure is subtracted from the amount of disposable income that he or she earns in a given period of time.

That is S=Y-C. Nothing new. Here’s the second one:

The portion of disposable income not spent on consumption of consumer goods but accumulated or invested directly in capital equipment or in paying off a home mortgage, or indirectly through purchase of securities.

Once again, it is S=Y-C. The third one, though, is from The Britannica and there’s a name you can trust. This is more along the lines of what I am looking for since it begins to grapple with the actual issues:

Total national saving is measured as the excess of national income over consumption and taxes and is the same as national investment, or the excess of net national product over the parts of the product made up of consumption goods and services and items bought by government expenditures. Thus, in national income accounts, saving is always equal to investment. An alternative measure of saving is the estimated change in total net worth over a period of time.

It seems to bring in the notion that saving is a form of value adding spending which appeals to me. Which brings me to the passage I am trying to get right.

In a modern macroeconomic model, saving is enumerated in money terms and is seen as a negative, an absence, a failure to spend. National saving is defined as current money income in total less total money spent in the current period in non-value-adding ways. Saving can be seen as the difference between income and the level of unproductive demand, that is S=Y-(C+G), with Y, as usual, representing total income. The level of saving is then equal to the level of investment.

But this does not quite get to the Keynesian conception. First, C+G is made up of actual items of consumer goods and services plus government purchased goods and services. Perhaps complicating these issues further, saving traditionally is restricted to Y-C, with G net of transfers not entirely defined one way or the other, perhaps intrinsically conceived of as being as productive as business investment. It is possible that to properly make sense of modern economic theory, saving should be defined as Y-(C+G). It seems unclear where government spending fits into the notion of savings in a modern macroeconomic model.

Almost everything governments do seems to cost more than their return so I almost automatically think of saving as Y-(C+G). The more government spending there is, the less private investment. The notion that welfare spending is now even conceived in some quarters as part of industry policy seems to hasten us along the road to ruin. Is that now part of what all economists are taught to believe. Not my students, of course, but the rest? If that is how it is, economic theory is in an even worse state than I thought.

Millennials even more clueless than the boomers!

Cannot say this surprises me since it is the Millennials who are most comprehensively shafted by our current political and economic structures: Survey: Millennials around the world worry most about economic inequality. They would like to get a piece of the action, and I don’t blame them. But they are hopelessly badly served by their own attitudes.

Millennials around the world worry most about social and economic equality, remain skeptical of government and the media, and count Tesla CEO Elon Musk as one their heroes, according to a World Economic Forum survey released Sunday.

More than 1,000 young people, ages 20 to 30, from 125 countries and who are all active in the forum’s Global Shapers Community, were canvassed for the survey. The average age was 28. The results were released at the beginning of a three-day World Economic Forum conference in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

The survey showed that 65% of the Millennials said one of their top three goals in selecting a job was to make a difference in society, their city or country. They also look for an opportunity to learn, followed by career advancement. More than nine out of 10 said they would be willing to relocate to advance their career.

The annual survey “reveals that Millennials care about society in their reflections and also in their own career and economic choices,” said Yemi Babington-Ashaye, head of the Global Shapers Community.

Asked about the top three issues facing the world today, 56% named social and economic inequality, 42% included climate change and environmental preservation, and 33% identified education. Half said their national government was neither fair nor honest. And 46% had the same view about the media, while 35% said they distrusted religious leaders and armed forces, the survey showed.

The most admired figure among the Millennials was the late Nelson Mandela, followed by Pope Francis. Musk, 44, the billionaire inventor, engineer and creator of SpaceX, was third, followed by Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates and President Obama.

How did Bill Gates slip in among all of the other no-hopers and grifters. Gates actually created something out of nothing. The rest are charlatans of one kind or another, with Musk, on the receiving end of $4 billion of government money a ridiculous choice. That Obama forms any part of their conception of what is to be admired only means they are a generation heading for an even worse disaster than we boomers have created.