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  • What should the next President be like ?

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on February 20th, 2016 (All posts by )

    trumpmugger

    This is not the same as who the President should be. Richard Fernandez has some ideas on what he (or she) should be like.

    let me suggest that only four things matter in selecting a man (or woman) to face a challenge whose present dimensions cannot be predicted. For purposes of debate, let these four qualities in descending order of importance be:

    1.An ability to face the facts, however unpleasant they may be.

    Yes, this is critical and we have had enough of liars and careerists. Is Trump a liar ? I don’t know.

    2. An unswerving patriotism. This is not the same as a sincere feeling of love or empathy for America, though that is good. In this context it means the willingness to share the fate of the principals of which he is an agent.

    Yes, we are ruled these days by elites who do not plan to share any pain. This is unrealistic but they have been raised to believe they can avoid unpleasant reality. What do we do about this ?

    3. Nerve. This is the quality of grace under pressure who no one, unless he has the misfortune to be tested, can be sure he possesses.

    Yes, the only real test is the reality and then it is too late. A few have tried to analyze this, and it is not easy.

    some individuals did not panic because their body naturally protected them.
    Unlike the majority of people who were flooded with a stress hormone, they had much lower levels and also showed signs of another hormone that actually calmed them down.

    He referred to Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot of the aeroplane that was successfully landed on the Hudson River in New York last month, as an example.

    “There are some individuals who when confronted with extreme stress their hormone profile is rather unique,” he said.

    “It doesn’t reach the same peak as the rest of us. So we’re all ready to scream in our chairs, but there are certain individuals who just don’t get as stressed.

    “Their stress hormones are lower and the peptides that down-regulate that stress are higher, so you can see in action the hormonal regular system really hitting overdrive.

    “Certain people are cooler under pressure and they perform very, very well during these periods of time.”

    In his novel, Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer, the author was critical of men in combat who had no fear. They are abnormal and dangerous. Still, Hemingway defined courage as “Grace under Pressure,” and that implied that fear was still present.

    In the movie “Patton” an incident was described in which George S Patton Jr attacked three men who he believed to be kidnapping a woman.

    patton

    Does Trump look like the young Patton ? They seem to have similar expressions.

    My own life has been lived as a surgeon and there are surgeons who take beta blockers to deal with tremors caused by high levels of stress hormones. I have never had a problem with anxiety during surgery but, of course, I am not the one under the knife.

    4. Intelligence. This is important, because it determines basic competence. But it surprisingly the least important attribute in this list. Intelligence, though rare, is not nearly as hard to find as the 3 characteristics above. You can find staffers who can give you intelligent advice. You cannot find staff to give you a character that you do not possess.

    This is so obvious that it should not need to be said but we are ruled by staffers.

    What do we make of all this ? I don’t know. Trump is an interesting character and I have no idea how he would function as president. I do think we might get a chance to find out. We should know more in a few weeks.

     

    67 Responses to “What should the next President be like ?”

    1. TangoMan Says:

      1.An ability to face the facts, however unpleasant they may be.

      Agree. Enough with the mentality of “we create our own reality.”

      The fact is that most every institution and cultural practice in American society is dysfunctional. We have gotten to this point because we’ve constantly put off fixing problems in order to favor band-aid solutions.

    2. David Foster Says:

      Here’s one of ten zillion articles on what personality traits make a successful entrepreneur.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/6-traits-that-make-the-best-entrepreneurs-2016-2

      Point #1 I thought was interesting:

      1. Taking abstract thoughts and making them linear

      “It seems like everyone has an idea that they think is the next big thing, yet very few of those people ever take the steps to execute on it. Those that do often flail around while their ideas die a slow and painful death. The problem here is that you need to be able to take your idea and visualize the entire process, from creation through sales and beyond in order to have a real chance at executing it effectively.”

      I think this attribute is also relevant to a President…maybe not so much in normal times, but in times like the presence where so many things need to be re-thought. The healthcare system, for example, needs considerably more intelligent and structured thinking than Trump’s throwaway lines.

    3. Ginny Says:

      Petraeus talking about the “big ideas” and the follow through is somewhat similar. I’m not sure if the military is always a good transition to either entrepreneurship nor business (nor vice versa), but surely the ability to manage people and materials is useful to all. One of the arguments (in literary texts at least) is that the bursts after the civil war and after WWII came in part from both the methods and the thinking that led to the movement of masses of people and goods, which was a training ground for westward expansion and building businesses. By the way, it seemed to me that Trump really demonstrates an inability to deal with unpleasant reality – he did lose in Iowa and some people in the audience are likely to boo him because, well, his ideas are booable.

    4. Mike K Says:

      Deep depression over at Powerline this morning.

      So long as the Republican opposition to Trump remains divided among several candidates, he will retain an advantage moving toward the nomination. Apart from Texas, it’s difficult to think of a state that Senator Cruz has a reasonable prospect of winning.

      How will Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich do when the process moves beyond the so-called SEC states? It seems to me that they will continue to divide the opposition to Trump, to Trump’s advantage. Dr. Carson needs to leave the race.

      Putting to one side the merits of what would be an utterly dispiriting contest, does anyone in his right mind seriously think that Donald Trump stands a chance of beating the Democratic nominee in a general election?

      I do and think the depression is excessive. Cruz and Rubio are weak candidates in my opinion. I would not have chosen Trump but the people I favored dropped out.

    5. David Foster Says:

      Michael Maccoby’s old model of executive types seems also applicable to politicians. Here are the types:

      “The Craftsman, as the name implies, holds traditional values, including the work ethic, respect for people, concern for quality and thrift. When he talks about his work, he shows an interest in the process of making something; he enjoys building. He sees others, co-workers as well as superiors, in terms of whether they help or hinder him in doing a craftsmanlike job.

      The Jungle Fighter lusts for power. He experiences life and work as a jungle where it is eat or be eaten, and the winners destroy the losers. A major part of his psychic resources are budgeted for his internal department of defense. Jungle fighters tend to see their peers as either accomplices or enemies, and their subordinates as objects to be used.

      The Company Man bases his sense of identity on being part of the protective organization. At his weakest, he is fearful and submissive, seeking security even more than success. At his strongest, he is concerned with the human side of the company, interested in the feelings of the people around him, and committed to maintaining corporate integrity. The most creative company men sustain an atmosphere of cooperation and stimulation, but they tend to lack the daring to lead highly competitive and innovative organizations.

      The Gamesman sees business life in general, and his career in particular, in terms of options and possibilities, as if he were playing a game. He likes to take calculated risks and is fascinated by techniques and new methods. The contest hypes him up and he communicates his enthusiasm, energizing his peers and subordinates like the quarterback on a football team. Unlike the jungle fighter, the gamesman competes not to build an empire or to pile up riches, but to gain fame, glory, the exhilaration of victory. His main goal is to be known as a winner, his deepest fear to be labeled a loser.”

      Obama, I would assert, is mostly Gamesman with a little Jungle Fighter…there is no Craftsman, and very little Company Man (which in a political context would mean loyalty to the American people.) Bill Clinton actually had a considerable Craftsman side, represented by his interest in the details of policy and the legislative process. Steve Jobs was mainly Craftsman and Jungle Fighter.

      Trump appears to be Jungle Fighter and Gamesman, maybe a little Company Man to the extent his loyalty to American is real not feigned.

    6. David Foster Says:

      Here’s Maccoby himself on Trump as a Productive Narcissist:

      https://hbr.org/2015/08/why-people-are-drawn-to-narcissists-like-donald-trump

    7. Mike K Says:

      Romney was the Craftsman type.

      Interesting take over at Althouse this morning on Cruz. By Beldar whose opinions I respect.

      I agree that Trump has to be beaten again — repeatedly — as Ted Cruz did in Iowa. If he’s not, Trump will win. But I think Cruz will beat him again — repeatedly — as he did in Iowa, and not just in Texas.

      Look, someone has to get to 1237 delegates to win the GOP nomination. As of today, Trump has 61, counting the 44 he won tonight. Four SC delegates are still undecided, but they’ll go to either Cruz or Rubio (I’m not sure of SC’s split rules, but Rubio seems to be holding his tiny lead over Cruz with only part of one county yet to report).

      So yes, having won two out of three states, Trump’s ahead! Definitely! “Let’s close this thing out,” he shouted to his supporters tonight.

      But he’s actually only 61/1237ths of the way to the nomination. Still so impressed by his lead?

      Now consider that Texas alone awards 155 delegates on March 1. That same day, Alabama kicks in another 50, Virginia adds another 49, and Alaska’s caucus selects 28. Arkansas has 40 delegates, Oklahoma 43.

      All on that one day.

      That’s a week from Tuesday.,

    8. Mike K Says:

      David, your link to the Macoby piece led me to one of the most interesting people I have ever read about.

      Thanks.

    9. Grurray Says:

      If you like Jony Ive then you should know about the guy who taught him everything he knows, Dieter Rams.

    10. TangoMan Says:

      Last night on Fox, Jeanine Pirro had on Republican power-broker Charles Black and he was confidently expounding on the theory that as the field narrowed that the supporters of the candidates who dropped out will align behind Rubio because Trump had high negatives and Rubio didn’t. Pirro let that analysis stand unrebutted. I wanted to jump through the screen and ask Black why he thought that voters would make the choice of a less hated politician advocating policies which they hated rather than backing the more hated politician advocating policies which they preferred? As David Frum pointed out last night this is what is offered – Less immigration/more healthcare/less wars versus More immigration/less healthcare/more wars.

      Frankly, I do suspect that this choice between appeal of candidate and appeal of platform is going to affect a number of voters as the race narrows. We can get even starker with the policy differences, Rubio offers business as usual, a continuation of all Republican policies and their after-effects versus Trump offering a course correction on a number of fronts. How have people’s lives improved under existing Republican policies? Only those making $200,000 + can see benefit and even that group still has to deal with interacting with the fallout in their environment. For instance, I absolutely detest seeing college graduates working at Starbucks, I detest seeing a college graduate with a MSc in Nutrition working as a glorified departmental secretary (I know such a woman) I detest seeing young people priced out of the real estate market in many cities, delaying getting married due to economic insecurity, delaying starting families. None of this personally impacts on my life but it devalues the society that I live in and thus makes my life poorer.

    11. Mike K Says:

      “I do suspect that this choice between appeal of candidate and appeal of platform is going to affect a number of voters as the race narrows.”

      I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the end game is going to be something like a Trump/Rubio ticket. Trump has the policies that are most important to the new voters and Rubio can promise some tradition to GOP loyalists while Trump might make a gesture that one term might be enough.

      It is just going to get more interesting.

    12. TangoMan Says:

      I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the end game is going to be something like a Trump/Rubio ticket.

      Trump doesn’t even need to do that for the entire staffing up of all of the political appointments is going to be drawn from the establishment well because they’re the only ones who maintain an existing “farm team” infrastructure. If a Republican Trump wins the White House then all of these Republicans who’ve been sitting on the bench get called up to the big leagues and their bread gets buttered and this will make them all very happy.

      Trump will get the votes from the establishment because of the staffing issue. What Trump should do is solidify his coalition because, right now, he’s a one man shop. It’s like Wayne Gretzky, with a different way of playing hockey being stuck into a team of bruisers instead of a team of players who can amplify what Gretzky brings to the ice. Trump needs someone like Kris Kobach as his VP, thus bolstering Trump’s vision and boosting Kobach into a higher status position. This allows Trump to have an actual ally as VP rather than a guy who stands against a Trump vision. There’ll be plenty of apparatchiks appointed who will work internally to thwart any Trump deviation from Establishment Republican norms because all of those appartachiks are beholden to money and want big paydays when they leave office and so they will do the bidding of the establishment and jam up any measures that Trump wants to advance which would harm establishment interests.

      The simple point here is that Trump doesn’t have a deep bench from which to staff his administration, so he has to pull from the bench developed by the people who’ve ruined the Republican brand and this will a.) satisfy those who are in the Establishment camp, and b.) begin a low level civil war within the party to transform it away from the present Establishment capture/domination.

    13. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

      The president needs to be willing to be a servant. Washington did the ultimate service by not running for a third term. Lincoln by a thousand heartaches and the ultimate sacrifice. For all those who dislike him, George W Bush still took on all the concerns, stresses and insults yet remained gracious and Presidential. Grace and nerve under fire gives people confidence and the nation hope. Trump is doubtful on all these areas. A lot of his appeal is that he is supposed to be a great businessman. From what I see that is extremely doubtful. For the last 10 years he’s been retired for all practical purposes from real estate and has his new career as the reality show host. The always perceptive Jackie Mason says “He’s in the sign business” which is exactly correct. How can a guy who has someone start his day with a list of all the places his name has appeared in the media subsume himself to the country’s good. The nation picked frauds with Clinton and Obama. Trump would be the same. Ike, JFK, LBJ, Reagan and both Bushes sought to do the right thing. So did Nixon and Carter but their own personality faults interfered.

      All I can ever say is to think of Trump as the latest version of Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwartznegger or the Italian premier Silvio Berliscione The voters wanted real change but only saw the Hollywood/TV actors presentation.

    14. TangoMan Says:

      Ike, JFK, LBJ, Reagan and both Bushes sought to do the right thing. So did Nixon and Carter but their own personality faults interfered.

      Ike launched Operation Wetback. Ike warned of the Military-Industrial Complex. I see no problems with Ike.

      LBJ set match to America with the Immigration Reform Act of 1965. He raped the human right of free association with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Goldwater had the correct formulation – government must not discriminate because government represents us all, but government has no business in using violence inherent in government as a means to compel people into private associations that they don’t wish to participate in. LBJ was a freaking disaster for America.

      Reagan punted on a hard decision with his Amnesty. At the end of the game all that counts is the score and Reagan weakened America and constitutional governance by giving the Democrats millions of Hispanic voters who vote to weaken America.

      Both Bushes, especially the son, were disasters for America and conservatism. Bush the son presided over the largest increase in the regulatory state in American history. Medicare Part D was totally unfunded. NCLB was a failure from the get-go due to it’s creationist policy foundation.

      Nixon gave us affirmative action for Pete’s Sake. How do you square AA with the American individualist ideal of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps, the focus on merit rather than class ties, the anti-nobility ethos.

      Carter, well, I just can’t even. The guy was a disaster.

      We essentially have to go all the way back to Ike to find a good President acting in the interests of Americans and American ideals.

    15. Mike K Says:

      “Reagan weakened America and constitutional governance by giving the Democrats millions of Hispanic voters who vote to weaken America.”

      I think Reagan got rolled by Tip O’Neill and was promised a fence and enforcement in return for amnesty. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….”

    16. TangoMan Says:

      I think Reagan got rolled by Tip O’Neill and was promised a fence and enforcement in return for amnesty. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….”

      Part of being a good decision-maker is making good decisions. Results count. The fact that they other guy, Tip O’Neil, snookered Reagan counts against Reagan.

      Do poor people vote Republican? No, not really. So why did Reagan grant millions of new voters to the Democrats?

      Reagan, of all politicians, was best situated to see what was in store with an increasing Hispanic demographic. California used to be solid Republican territory. Reagan was instrumental in gifting California to the Democrats.

      Even when Reagan was in office we have plenty of evidence of white flight away from black and Hispanic neighborhoods. The job of government is to govern the people as they are, not for government to assume a parental role and guide the citizens to the “proper” values. People were showing with their own behavior that they didn’t want to live amongst Hispanics but Reagan wouldn’t listen to what the people wanted. Ike, he listened, Operation Wetback was a forceful and successful measure.

    17. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Mike K, we usually are pretty much in agreement, but I have to take issue with this:

      I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the end game is going to be something like a Trump/Rubio ticket.

      Picking Rubio, who literally betrayed his base on the one issue that Trump started out with, will reduce, not enhance Trump’s appeal. Such a decision would make Trump look like a Beltway politician to those whose support is dependent on him standing up to the Beltway. It does not strike me as likely or helpful for Trump.

      Second, in modern American politics, one of the real prime purposes of a Vice President is to be the horrifying alternative that nobody wants. Thus, it reduces the possibility that the president will be assassinated by his enemies.

      …Yeah, but then we will have Biden.
      …Yeah, but then we will have Cheney.
      …Yeah, but then we will have Gore.
      …Yeah, but then we will have Quayle.

      A President Trump would be hated and opposed by Democrats and Republicans, and the lunatic fringes of both parties, for breaking the power of the Bipartisan Governing Party. A President Rubio would be welcomed by both wings of the BGP in comparison and someone will try to bring it about. That is before pondering whether Rubio would welcome someone trying.

      It would be like having Cibolo Creek Ranch as the “Western White House”.

    18. Grurray Says:

      Reagan was under pressure that year from Iran-Contra. He was also in the midst of losing the Senate which set up his SCOTUS nominees getting shot down a year later. All in all, he was in a weakened position when he signed the immigration bill.

      Aside from getting short changed on border enforcement, Congress also watered down employer enforcement. Still, the issue of illegals back then wasn’t what it is now. They were all farm workers. No one foresaw the economic and demographic changes that caused the mad rush across the border that was to occur over the next couple decades.

    19. TangoMan Says:

      Aside from getting short changed on border enforcement, Congress also watered down employer enforcement. Still, the issue of illegals back then wasn’t what it is now. They were all farm workers. No one foresaw the economic and demographic changes that caused the mad rush across the border that was to occur over the next couple decades.

      1.) True, the issue wasn’t as severe then as it is now.
      2.) A leader does a movement no good if he’s behind the movement in terms of identifying danger. There was plenty of opposition even back then.
      3.) It’s been noted by others but bears repeating, Romney would have had a blow-out victory in 2012 if voting was restricted to the electorate who pushed Reagan into office back in the ’80s, so that short term gain on SCOTUS appointments came at the cost of losing future elections (what happens in ’92 if there is no one pushing the “giant sucking sound” soundbite with respect to jobs fleeing to Mexico?)

      A nation is a reflection of its people. Conservatives are supposed to conserve the people and the culture, that is, their nation. You can’t be a conservative while simultaneously selling out your people and your culture in exchange for tax cuts, that makes you closer to a plunderer than a conservative. Look at how Republicans have lost the electoral might of California to the Democrats. All of this was avoidable. Demographic change is not a force of nature, it’s a policy CHOICE. That analysis simply focuses on nuts-bolts political issues but if we tie together voting with values, then think about how we’ve now bought ourselves a political system where politics overlaps with ethnic/racial interests. The Democrats have essentially become the anti-white party and the Republicans have responded by transitioning into the white party. Every election since the 70s has seen the Republicans capture about 2% more of the white vote and this trend is simply going to continue on. The days of Democrats and Republicans battling out on issues and not ethnicity are dead and buried. How much is that old system worth to people? How much is it worth to not see racial quotas at the Oscars, how much is it worth not seeing Intel browbeaten into putting $300 million into a fund designed to diversify their workforce by hiring less qualified people in order to fill informal quotas? How much is it worth to not see the University of Texas grant AA preference to the children of Hispanic physicians and black judges at the expense of the better qualified children of white plumbers and secretaries? The culture was sold-out for temporary gain.

      A leader leads, he doesn’t abdicate responsibility and hand power to the enemy in order to get short term gain.

    20. TangoMan Says:

      Still, the issue of illegals back then wasn’t what it is now.

      People don’t usually flip their views on a dime, this is usually a process involving many years. When a prominent Lefty like Eugene McCarthy writes a book like “A Colony to the World” in 1992, that strongly suggests that he and many others, who weren’t as far-left as McCarthy, were already aware of the dangers from immigration back in the 80s. Two reviews of the book:

      Today, we are only too well aware that such has not been the case. As McCarthy forthrightly admits, ‘many conservatives in Congress, however, feared that these changes could lead to a deluge of Third World immigrants and eventually present a threat to the dominance of European culture in the United States.

      Now, warns McCarthy, immigration policy is undermining the political, economic, and cultural integrity of the United States. ‘A mark of a country’s colonial dependence,’ he writes, ‘is lack of control over its own borders… [and] lack of control over who or what crosses those borders.’ He then bluntly states

      If one thinks of the classic definition of colonialsim �� the arrival of large numbers of people who impose their cultural values and language on the pre-existing society �� it is not hard to define the current wave of immigration as a colonizing force on the United States. What distinguishes the United States from other colonized societies is that we have the power to prevent it, but choose not to use it. …We…have come to question whether the culture that built a society that has the world beating a path to our doors is even worth trying to preserve.

      I bolded a section to highlight that many conservatives saw the danger even back in the 60s, so it’s unlikely that hardly anyone saw the danger as it was actually playing out in the 70s and 80s. Reagan has no excuse, the evidence was all around him.

      Working on the new edition of my book on American conservatism made me aware of how obsolete the political labels of even twenty years ago have become. Those who appeal to blue-collar Democrats by stressing the responsibilities of multinational corporations to an American labor force will be attacked as neo-Nazis in what are taken to be conservative magazines. The supposedly rightwing Heritage Foundation, according to a May, 1990 National Journal report, has helped raise illegal immigration to a ‘growth industry,’ for its own coffers as well as for the work load of social workers. Meanwhile, the labor union socialist and patriot, Eugene McCarthy, laments the effects on national character and social morality of our hemorrhaging borders and anemic immigration controls. McCarthy will have no truck with such contradictory cliches as ‘global democracy’ and ‘universal nations.’

      New political taxonomies will have to be created to deal with shifting alliances and loyalties. Certainly it is silly to describe former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, an immigration expansionist and a darling of the civil rights lobby, as a ‘conservative’ presidential candidate, while putting social con-servatives Christopher Lasch, Eugene McCarthy, and John Lukacs on the Left, because of their insufficient anti-Communism.

      If McCarthy is out with this book in ’92 then the thoughts expressed were certainly bubbling around in his brain in years prior. Reagan had essentially a failed Presidency because he wasn’t on the ball enough to recognize danger, he sold out America for short-term gain when he could have listened to those who were warning of danger, he could have opened his eyes and looked at what was happening in his own state of California and used his brain to extrapolate the dynamics from the state to the nation. There’s no excusing Reagan’s failure when even Eugene Frickin’ McCarthy saw what was going on and had the balls to publicly come out and urge corrective action and had the integrity to concede that his conservative opponents had been correct at the beginning.

    21. TangoMan Says:

      Picking Rubio, who literally betrayed his base on the one issue that Trump started out with, will reduce, not enhance Trump’s appeal.

      Trump has directed hardly any fire on Rubio but that’s likely to change in the coming weeks and the most obvious line of attack in to focus on Rubio’s utter betrayal of his Senate election pledge, his flip to the Gang of 8, his flip away, his two-faced positions to Spanish-speaking and English-speaking audiences and how ultimately it should be obvious to all that he has a demonstrated history of espousing deportation and restriction in order to get elected and then reneging on his platform once in office.

      Cruz tried this but I suspect that a lot of the electorate haven’t internalized the messaging but Trump seems to be able to define opponents in ways which reach a lot of people and help them change their minds. Rubio, if past is prologue, is going to end up as damaged goods after Trump trains his fire on him.

      At the end there is no upside to elevating Rubio. Trump might be able to reach out to the establishment by elevating some other favored politician, who he hasn’t destroyed, but Rubio himself is too symbolic of all that is wrong with the establishment, especially on the issue of immigration.

    22. Mike K Says:

      “Look at how Republicans have lost the electoral might of California to the Democrats. All of this was avoidable. ”

      No, the turning point was Prop 187 which won with 60% of the vote under Pete Wilson. The Federal District Court ruled it unConstitutional and Pete Wilson vowed to appeal but Gray Davis succeeded Wilson and dropped the appeal.

      Governor Wilson appealed the ruling, which brought the case to the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But in 1999, the newly elected Democratic Governor Gray Davis had the case brought before mediation.[20] His administration withdrew the appeal before the courts in July 1999, effectively killing the law.

      The public approved it by 60%, similar to the gay marriage case in 2008, and the courts knocked it down.

      Voters did NOT turn the state over to illegals. Judges did.

    23. Mike K Says:

      At the end there is no upside to elevating Rubio. Trump might be able to reach out to the establishment by elevating some other favored politician, who he hasn’t destroyed, but Rubio himself is too symbolic of all that is wrong with the establishment, especially on the issue of immigration.

      I don’t disagree but I do see a possibility that Trump, in finally attempting to unify the party for the general election, could choose him. Trump would immunize him for the base which abhors the amnesty issue, but Rubio would be an olive branch to the GOPe.

      Reagan chose Bush for the same reason in 1980, an action that I think was a mistake but understandable.

    24. TangoMan Says:

      Voters did NOT turn the state over to illegals. Judges did.

      I think we’re arguing past each other. Liberal judges are certainly a problem. Prop. 187 was in 1994. Reagan was in office in 81-88. Conservatives were warning about immigration and demographic change back in ’65.

      Your point, is interpreted by me, as a refutation of Grurray’s claim that the immigration issue wasn’t as big a problem in the past as today. Clearly the voters in CA saw a big problem and by ’94 were agitated enough to get Prop. 187 put on the ballot, meaning the problem was already eating away at CA residents for decades before the voting.

      There was a massive failure in conservative leadership in our modern era. Like I noted, Ike was on the ball, but since the 60s every conservative politician of consequence has been a failure because they took their eyes off the ball – what the hell were they conserving as they stood idle as the people and the culture was being washed away? Complete failure of leadership from 2 generations of conservative politicians and even intellectuals. The voters understood, even back in ’94. This was the issue on which the movement had to go to the barricades because all of the downstream issues, like 2nd amendment rights, like liberty, like decreased regulatory state, like less welfare distribution are all dependent on a common people united in a common culture all of us in the boat together.

      And my point is that this was avoidable. If Reagan had his act together then Prop. 187 in ’94 wouldn’t have been necessary. Even better if Nixon was on the ball. It was avoidable.

    25. TangoMan Says:

      I don’t disagree but I do see a possibility that Trump, in finally attempting to unify the party for the general election, could choose him. Trump would immunize him for the base which abhors the amnesty issue, but Rubio would be an olive branch to the GOPe.

      Trump has two choices, compromise and unite or cast off and redefine. The establishment has been content to force vast swathes of the base to hold its nose and go along with establishment priorities while getting nothing in return other than blocking the Democrats from winning. Trump could pull the same tactic and freeze out the establishment and send them over to the Democrats to create havoc there. The key calculation will be how big of a voting bloc Trump brings with him compared to how big a bloc he would isolate or cast off.

      Lots of voters would love for this Trump movement to be a realignment revolution. The establishment has no love for an America with a strong middle class if this comes at the expense of reduced returns to capital in the economy. This view has absolutely no appeal to the majority of the nation, many of which want a strong middle class and so long as that is in place they don’t begrudge the wealthy their wealth, what they want from the wealthy is a demonstration of Noblesse Oblige instead of “I’ve got mine, screw you.”

      I think it was Mickey Kaus who wrote something to the effect of “Hey establishment, you can have A, B, C, D, E, and F but the base needs immigration restriction and deportation, a reduction in income inequality, security on healthcare, and a strong middle class. Take the deal.” I suspect that this deal would find a lot of support in the electorate, for as noted from the Godfather “After all, we’re not communists.”

      The problem now is that multiculturalism has fractured society so much that it’s created a lot of complications with respect to deal making, which ties into my earlier stated view that I belief the US is on a road to dissolution.

      The olive branch gambit only works if there is common ground between the two factions. The establishment is quite open about its plan to kill off the Trump nomination and his movement, I don’t see any olive branch from them, now and never once in the past, so if they’re not offering an olive branch then why isn’t everyone on the Trump side better off just putting the establishment out of its misery by completely isolating them or sending them back over to the Democrats, and building a new Republican Party with a broader base of support without having to contend with a 5th column within the new tent?

      Do you really think that the Democrats are going to reform themselves to adopt the establishment’s “screw the American middle class” policy preferences? These guys could be a movement without a political home.

    26. Becky Says:

      Hoover was a successful businessman and engineer, and is credited with being one of the worse modern presidents. Engineering methods of solving human problems do not transfer well. In the words of CS Lewis, what man ought to do, and what he actually does is two different things. Hayek referenced the scientific method as not working well for managing people, and eventually results in force to get people to do what they ought to do. Human nature and physical nature are two different things.

      The idea that Trump’s management and embrace of the same things that didn’t work in the past mean many believe an engineered society will work with the right person in charge. The example of socialist countries that are tiny and lack the same cultural/economic/geographic dynamics assume you can take those systems and impose them widescale, but I am more inclined to think Dr. Gall’s law of complex systems is more correct. Basically a complex system designed from scratch never works and can never be fixed. It can survive in failure mode for a long time especially when the funds don’t dry up, but it can never work. A complex system that works develops from a small, simple system that does work. Obamacare can work as long as the government can print money.

      The real change agent, in my view, is Cruz with Rubio following. The rest to some degree or another believe in being the right person with the right solutions to voter’s personal problems. Trump is PC too. Same tactics, most of the same views.

    27. Grurray Says:

      “Further, McCarthy explains that the ‘family reunification’ bias enshrined into the Act, was intended by its author, Rep. Michael Feighan (an Ohio Democrat of Irish descent) to ensure that future immigrants would, over-whelmingly, continue to originate in Europe. Since most people in the U.S. were descended from Europeans, Feighan, et al, reasoned that it would be Europeans who would benefit from the set-aside for people with existing family connections.”

      That’s a good example of no one being able to foresee the consequences.

      “Reagan had essentially a failed Presidency because he wasn’t on the ball enough to recognize danger, he sold out America for short-term gain”

      Look son, I think the problem here is that you’ve been watching the past few years of an imperial-type Presidency where the branches of government don’t work together, and the President tries to rule simply by charisma and executive fiat. You seem to be under the impression that American government works that way. I’m here to tell you, the Obama administration isn’t how the presidency works.

      Actually, the President and Congress used to work together. Midterm elections and popular opinion used to signal a directive for our leaders to act upon. The fact is by the time Reagan saw the bill, which was a bipartisan bill with dozens of amendments, motions, and changes like the one by Feighan, he had little room to maneuver even if he wanted to.

      And he may not have wanted to because it did look strong enough on enforcement. The law had provisions for increased border security and also for preserving the English language among other things, alleviating the fears of McCarthy’s “many conservatives”.
      (I think I’ll leave it at that and not rely anymore on the hearsay of a liberal party hack).

      On the other hand there were other amendments that watered down the bill such as Ted Kennedy engulfing controls and verifications in red tape. That’s the kind of thing that seems innocuous enough at first, but like a sleeper cell eventually emerges to kill the whole initiative.

    28. David Foster Says:

      Becky….”Hoover was a successful businessman and engineer, and is credited with being one of the worse modern presidents. Engineering methods of solving human problems do not transfer well. In the words of CS Lewis, what man ought to do, and what he actually does is two different things. Hayek referenced the scientific method as not working well for managing people, and eventually results in force to get people to do what they ought to do. Human nature and physical nature are two different things.”

      In C S Lewis’s novel That Hideous Strength, a chemist rejects the whole ideal of sociology, saying that:

      ““I happen to believe that you can’t study men, you can only get to know them, which is quite a different thing.”

      On the other hand, business does involve solving human problems, every bit as much as it involves solving engineering problems, so I would argue that there should indeed be some knowledge and skills transfer from business to political leadership.

    29. David Foster Says:

      Mean to post a link to my review of That Hideous Strength:

      https://chicagoboyz.net/archives/43802.html

    30. Grurray Says:

      I was just reading Hayek’s The Use of Knowledge in Society

      The problem which we meet here is by no means peculiar to economics but arises in connection with nearly all truly social phenomena, with language and with most of our cultural inheritance, and constitutes really the central theoretical problem of all social science. As Alfred Whitehead has said in another connection, “It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.” This is of profound significance in the social field. We make constant use of formulas, symbols, and rules whose meaning we do not understand and through the use of which we avail ourselves of the assistance of knowledge which individually we do not possess. We have developed these practices and institutions by building upon habits and institutions which have proved successful in their own sphere and which have in turn become the foundation of the civilization we have built up.

    31. TangoMan Says:

      Look son, I think the problem here is that you’ve been watching the past few years of an imperial-type Presidency where the branches of government don’t work together, and the President tries to rule simply by charisma and executive fiat

      A leader leads, a follower follows. When a leader follows, invariably his leadership is weak. Reagan’s leadership, and the outcomes which followed from his administration, are weak because he didn’t have the insight or the backbone to take the issue to his colleagues, to his party, to the people of the US and lead them to see what was taking place in California and to stop it. He didn’t want anyone to call him a racist, so in order to protect his reputation he sold out the nation he was sworn to lead and to protect. The Presidency is called the bully pulpit for a reason. But tax cuts, sure that’s where he led. He was a plunderer rather than a leader.

    32. Mike K Says:

      “in order to protect his reputation he sold out the nation he was sworn to lead and to protect. ”

      Reagan was focused on the Cold War and the Soviet Union. That was his first priority and it is hard to remember how critical that was at the time. The CIA and everyone else but Reagan was convinced they were unbeatable and Kissinger was the father of “Detente” in Nixon’s administration.

      The economics of the tax cut was basically from Kemp and Roth, and Reagan adopted them. He should have chosen Kemp as VP in 1980 but he was concerned about his reputation as an extremist and chose Bush, a mistake.

      Kemp was a front runner for the vice presidency at the 1980 Republican National Convention, where he received 43 votes from conservative detractors of George H. W. Bush.

      We are the poorer for it but your characterization of Reagan is wrong,.

    33. TangoMan Says:

      We are the poorer for it but your characterization of Reagan is wrong,.

      Reagan was a Governor of California. No politician was better situated to see demographic transformation AND the political consequences AND the social consequences which flow from that. California was a Republican stronghold, California was the golden land, its schools were the pride of the nation, it offered a fantastic middle class society desired by many in the nation. There used to be jokes about the quality of schooling in Tennessee and other Appalachian states but now California’s schools deliver worse student outcomes and CA is near the bottom of all states in terms of student outcomes. The slide in California’s social metrics over the decades has been startling. A nation is its people and so too a state – CA is becoming Mexico.

      Reagan had his “California mafia,” his advisers and close associates were all from CA, so it beggars belief to presume that they were completely clueless to a.) the demographic transformation taking shape, b.) the political transformation which followed, and c.) the social consequences to society. If a politician is coming out of Vermont, then you can make a case that they may be late to the game in understanding what is taking shape in CA, but Reagan doesn’t have the excuse – CA was a testbed and the experiment was failing. Good leadership, good management, doesn’t go all-in on a gamble, instead you run a pilot-project in order to isolate the negative consequences and to study the issue at hand. California should have been a pilot project and the experiment should have been stopped as the results became clear, instead California became a model for all other states. That’s gross incompetence and the consequences are earth-shatteringly severe. Conservatives who don’t conserve the people or the customs or the civilization are not conservatives.

      One plunders when one sets out to enrich oneself, or one’s group, at the expense of keeping the entity one is plundering operating in a healthy or viable fashion. Romney would have had a overwhelmingly victory if our demographics in 2012 had been the same as those which elected Reagan. Is there anyone on this blog who believes that Democratic policies and racial politics and wealth distribution are making America healthier? Do you call this outcome to be a reflection of a healthy society:

      From 1990 to 2007, the entire increase in official poverty was among Hispanics.

      This doesn’t help the nation, it helps Democrats in that it expands their voter client base, it expands their voter-worker base because now we need more social workers, etc. and it expands their desire for bigger government to deal with the problem. All of this could have been stopped if Reagan had been a leader who reacted to a grave threat to his nation but he didn’t lead.

      He should have chosen Kemp as VP in 1980 but he was concerned about his reputation as an extremist and chose Bush, a mistake.

      Kemp wasn’t a conservative, he was for open borders, multiculturalism, for expansion of civil rights, which we all know is a fundamental attack on the human rights of people. The further that Kemp was from power and authority the better for the nation.

    34. Mike K Says:

      “The slide in California’s social metrics over the decades has been startling. A nation is its people and so too a state – CA is becoming Mexico.”

      Oh, I agree but that was not Reagan. Jerry Brown has done it almost alone.

      ” The further that Kemp was from power and authority the better for the nation.”

      I guess we will just have to disagree.

    35. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Blaming the demise of California on Reagan is like blaming the demise of the USA on Ike. It’s ridiculous.

    36. TangoMan Says:

      Oh, I agree but that was not Reagan. Jerry Brown has done it almost alone.

      Thankfully, Jerry Brown was never President but Reagan was. Immigration is not a state issue, it’s a federal issue. Jerry Brown is not responsible because these outcomes are NOT the result of policies, they’re the result of the people who inhabit a state. When Liberia was established it adopted the US Constitution for itself but do you see the same outcomes today in Liberia that you see in the US?

      From Kemp’s Wikipedia entry:

      During his career, he sometimes sounded like a liberal Democrat:[7] he supported affirmative action[92][93] and rights for illegal immigrants.[94]

      The primary job of a conservative politician is to conserve his society. Affirmative Action is not a historical American custom, America was built on the notion of land of opportunity, not on class interest/nepotism. Elevating a black student into an admission over a more qualified white student runs counter to a conservative understanding of American culture. There is nothing conservative about privileging the interests of foreigners (illegal immigrants) over the interests of Americans, never mind the conservative interest in law and order rather than rewarding law breaking.

      A conservative FIRST conserves America, and only then can focus on reducing government because there’s absolutely no point in reducing government while selling out America such that Democrats keep gaining voters which allows them to undo everything you’ve accomplished with respect to reducing government and reducing taxes. Look at the rise of Bernie Sanders, look at the composition of the Democratic Party. Any gain you appreciate which arose from Kemp’s efforts is going to be invalidated by the demographics who are voting for the Democrats. So what good is that?

    37. TangoMan Says:

      Ike launched Operation Wetback. Reagan had the spine to fire all the air traffic controllers during the PATCO strike. Reagan had the mettle to do what was needed with illegals and with multicultural immigration but he didn’t want to.

    38. Grurray Says:

      Ike was so interested in conserving that he appointed to the Supreme Court Earl Warren who declared the Constitution guarantees rights that aren’t actually in it such as a right to privac and it mandates government expansion to enforce protection of those supposed rights.

      And Reagan loved illegal immigration so much that he tried to break the United Farm Workers, threw Cesar Chavez in jail, and prevented their push for collective bargaining until Jerry Brown took over and handed them the keys to the castle.

    39. TangoMan Says:

      And Reagan loved illegal immigration so much that he tried to break the United Farm Workers, threw Cesar Chavez in jail, and prevented their push for collective bargaining until Jerry Brown took over and handed them the keys to the castle.

      I think that you’re making interpretation errors here.

      1.) Chavez HATED illegal immigration because he, rightly, understood that a flood of cross-border labor gutted his efforts to raise wages for the farm workers he represented:

      . In fact, Cesar Chavez believed ferociously in the border of the United States — because that border protected his union. So ferociously did he hold this view that the New York Times ran a story detailing an accusation that the union Chavez founded, the United Farm Workers, set up a 100 mile “wet line” to keep “wetbacks” and “illegals” — yes, all of those are Chavez’s words — out of the United States. So let’s go back in the time machine to the period when Chavez was rocketing to fame.

      So if we’re going to argue by inference, if Reagan is trying to bust up the UFW and neutralize Chavez, an out-and-proud fighter against illegal immigration, then what side does that put Reagan on? Think about it.

      Reagan was on the cheap labor side, siding with the ranchers and farm owners, who wanted cheap labor in order to maximize their own gains while socializing the losses associated with cheap labor onto the rest of society, so Reagan stood with the rent-seekers, and compounded his sell-out by aiding in the effort of bringing in foreigners in order to increase the gains to ranchers by lowering their labor costs.

      Your formulation of UFW being associated with illegal immigration doesn’t even make sense – flooding a labor market with labor works AGAINST the interests of unionized labor. Here’s AFL President Samuel Gompers:

      “America must not be overwhelmed.

      “Every effort to enact immigration legislation must expect to meet a number of hostile forces and, in particular, two hostile forces of considerable strength.

      “One of these is composed of corporation employers who desire to employ physical strength (broad backs) at the lowest possible wage and who prefer a rapidly revolving labor supply at low wages to a regular supply of American wage earners at fair wages.

      “The other is composed of racial roups in the United States who oppose all restrictive legislation because they want the doors left open for an influx of their countrymen regardless of the menace to the people of their adopted country.’

      Reagan wanted to weaken Chavez and the UFW in order to aid ranchers/farmers with lower labor costs and turning a blind eye to illegals was instrumental in weakening the UFW for, to put it in union movement parlance, when you have an army of scabs working against union efforts, the scabs will overwhelm the union workers. Illegals are the scabs in this scenario. Reagan sided with the scabs and the employers, not the AMERICAN-CITIZEN farm workers.

    40. Mike K Says:

      I agree that Chavez opposed illegal immigration but it was later after he realized it would destroy his union. Actually, the farm workers union destroyed itself for the same reasons the $15 minimum wage workers will destroy their jobs. Labor became too expensive and automation and farm machinery became economic.

      “Reagan was on the cheap labor side, siding with the ranchers and farm owners, who wanted cheap labor in order to maximize their own gains”

      To stay in business is what I think you mean. Speaking of conservatism.

      “Illegals are the scabs in this scenario. Reagan sided with the scabs and the employers, not the AMERICAN-CITIZEN farm workers.”

      The whole issue began when the AFL-CIO ended the Bracero Program during LBJ’s administration.

      Moreover, the House responded with a final one-year extension of the program without the non-wage benefits, and the bracero program saw its demise in 1964.

      Note the year.

      The illegal immigration problem really got out of control after 1965 with Teddy Kennedy’s rewriting of immigration law. You seem to forget that Reagan always had a Democrat House and mostly a Democrat Senate in his presidency.

    41. TangoMan Says:

      Actually, the farm workers union destroyed itself for the same reasons the $15 minimum wage workers will destroy their jobs.

      That’s the nature of unions, so I’m not going to extend my sympathy to them when they go hog-wild. My point is that the battle between unions and management is like a family argument, you keep it in the family and resolve it, what you don’t do is go outside the family and drag strangers into your kitchen to argue with your dad on your behalf, and you don’t bring in foreign labor to drive down the wages of American workers because as a capitalist you want to increase your own returns. This is destabilzing to society.

      Labor became too expensive and automation and farm machinery became economic.

      In the long run this is a good trend, a robot doesn’t need public schooling for it’s robot-children, it doesn’t need medicaid, it doesn’t require police or prison infrastructure, it doesn’t require expanding freeways and hospitals and sewer systems and other civilizational infrastructure. Importing low marginal product workers who need to be subsidized by the rest of society is a losing proposition which only benefits the rent-seekers.

      To stay in business is what I think you mean. Speaking of conservatism.

      If a business needs me, a taxpayer, to subsidize their employees in order for the business to remain in business, then no thanks, go out of business. Privatizing gains and socializing losses is not an inherently conservative position, it’s a socialistic, parasitic position.

      The illegal immigration problem really got out of control after 1965 with Teddy Kennedy’s rewriting of immigration law. You seem to forget that Reagan always had a Democrat House and mostly a Democrat Senate in his presidency.

      I’m not putting this whole mess on Reagan, I’m just pushing back against the claim made upthread that:

      Ike, JFK, LBJ, Reagan and both Bushes sought to do the right thing. So did Nixon and Carter but their own personality faults interfered.

      NO, most of those Presidents didn’t do the right thing. Here’s what I wrote about LBJ:

      LBJ set match to America with the Immigration Reform Act of 1965. He raped the human right of free association with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Goldwater had the correct formulation – government must not discriminate because government represents us all, but government has no business in using violence inherent in government as a means to compel people into private associations that they don’t wish to participate in. LBJ was a freaking disaster for America.

      No one in this thread is stepping forward to defend LBJ so I don’t need to keep pounding away on my characterization of him. The reason the Reagan aspect is continuing over many comments is because many of you are pushing back and don’t want to acknowledge Reagan’s failures and his part in the problems we’re facing today. Compared to LBJ and JFK, Reagan was a minor player but still a player of consequence for he COULD HAVE nipped the problems when they were still minor but he didn’t want to even when the evidence was right before his eyes as California began transforming and all metrics were beginning to slide. His crime is not like that of the Democrats in that he didn’t bring about the problem, rather he did nothing to stop it.

    42. David Foster Says:

      It is not a *bad* thing for labor to be replaced by automation; this is what drives overall productivity and higher standards of living. The US was at the forefront of mechanization circa 1850-1970 in large part because labor was more expensive here, so it made more sense to invest in capital equipment to reduce the amount of it needed.

      The problem now is that automation is continuing its long-term trend (I don’t really think today’s roboticization represents any kind of radical step function) while at the same time workers are faced with expanded competition from overseas workers AND from immigrants both legal and illegal AND from temporary H-1B workers AND to regulatory climates which make business expansion problematic.

    43. TangoMan Says:

      The problem now is that automation is continuing its long-term trend (I don’t really think today’s roboticization represents any kind of radical step function) while at the same time workers are faced with expanded competition from overseas workers AND from immigrants both legal and illegal AND from temporary H-1B workers AND to regulatory climates which make business expansion problematic.

      While I agree with the entirety of your comment my concern is about what you don’t touch on – the drug of imported cheap labor, which entails passing costs onto society, presents business with an incentive to forgo mechanization. This results in a wealth transfer from society to business and I’d rather avoid that by a.) stopping the importation of workers who need subsidy from society, b.) begin drying up the labor pool which will i) put upward pressure on wages, downward pressure on profits, ii) pull more Americans into the labor force, thus reducing social subsidy costs we all pay for many of these out-of-the-workforce people, and c.) the pressure of more national income being allocated to capital will incentivize measures to use capital equipment as a labor substitute (thus reducing the wage pressure created by labor shortages) and d.) this creates requirements for labor higher up the labor ladder due to the need for designers, engineers, maintenance and technical support staff required to implement the capital equipment.

      Social peace is bought from labor scarcity lowering returns to capital, increasing returns to labor, and somewhat deflating the income inequality metric.

      My concern about the present modus operandi of the corporate class is what happens when the two trends play out – keep importing low skill workers and keep increasing capital substitution for labor. Unlike capital equipment which can be depreciated away and junked, all of these people we’re importing are here to stay and many of them are going to be zero marginal product workers in the future, so we are going to have to support them, both Americans and immigrants. It’s far better to begin reducing the number of people we are going to have to support in order to allow that welfare pie to be cut into a smaller number of pieces, with each piece being more generous than would be the case of the same size of welfare pie being cut into more pieces, each of smaller size.

      If we MUST support people, and we will have no choice in the matter, then best to begin working NOW on making sure that the number who must be supported is as small as possible.

    44. TangoMan Says:

      “more national income being allocated to capital” should read “more national income being allocated to labor

    45. David Foster Says:

      TangoMan…an interesting thought-experiment is: What if (for whatever reason) it became absolutely impossible for Apple to make the iPhone anywhere but the United States? Would we see the end of iPhones, or would they become so expensive that only “the rich” could afford them?

      Steve Jobs told Obama that US iPhone manufacturing could not be done because 30.000 manufacturing engineers would be needed, and were not available. Link I think this is bull—-cannot imagine why you would need 30,000 manufacturing engineers; the number of such people needed does not scale with volume. (Maybe they were talking about shift supervisors or so such; the later reference to trade schools would seem to support that.)

      But I suspect it would indeed be possible to make iPhones in the US, and that all kinds of ways would be found to take labor out of the processes now being used in China and other low-cost countries. The final cost would probably be somewhat greater than it is now, but not overwhelmingly so.

    46. David Foster Says:

      To continue with thought-experiments: What if Henry Ford had been able to have the Model T built in Mexico by workers earning 10 cents a day (with good rail transportation for parts & materials in and finished products out)?? Would the assembly line and the other great productivity improvements of that era ever have been created?

    47. Grurray Says:

      Cesar Chavez own words:

      Our feeling is that if we really need them here these women and men should be given full immigration status so they can be free to move about wherever they want.

      Seriously, stop using secondhand accounts and hearsay and do some real research. You sound like a columnist for Vox.com.
      Chavez supported amnesty. By your logic, Reagan opposing him meant Reagan opposed amnesty. Reagan therefore was conservative. Problem solved.

    48. TangoMan Says:

      But I suspect it would indeed be possible to make iPhones in the US, and that all kinds of ways would be found to take labor out of the processes now being used in China and other low-cost countries. The final cost would probably be somewhat greater than it is now, but not overwhelmingly so.

      Jobs was simply justifying the status quo. I agree with your conclusion. Apart from manufacturing’s requirement for labor, the mere presence of the facilities in the US creates American jobs for construction and maintenance of the facilities and supervision and maintenance of the equipment.

      Apart from the human resource issue, the macro issue is that this move would help America’s balance of trade figures. Profits earned in the US are taxed in the US.

      There are a lot of issues that need fixing, like corporate tax rates, universal taxation of profits, offshoring, but what’s clear is that the present state of affairs – import cheap labor and offshore expensive labor production and then import the finished product is hollowing out America. Individual policies can be rationalized, and while we thought the invisible hand would prevail where the vector sum of all of the justified individual policies would aggregate up to a overall benefit for the US, what’s becoming clear is that the sum total of all of these policies isn’t working in the interests of the majority of Americans, rather they’re working in the interests of Capital. The interests of Capital are not synonymous with the interests of America.

    49. TangoMan Says:

      Seriously, stop using secondhand accounts and hearsay and do some real research

      Seriously, it’s not fair play to engage in selective quotation, this is insulting to readers and sullies your reputation. Here is the Chavez quote in context:

      Chavez faced mounting criticism over the union’s perceived immigration policy, even from his own union officials. Responding to concerns expressed by a Florida UFW official, Chavez explained:

      We have gone to the [strikebreaker] illegals [in the fields] many times and told them they are breaking strikes and that they should leave, and that if they don’t leave we are going to try to get the [INS] to get them out of the fields… We are being against strikebreakers, and that’s it.

      Our feeling is that if we really need them here these women and men should be given full immigration status so they can be free to move about wherever they want. We know that the moment an illegal joins our picket line he is picked up by the Immigration Service, but as long as he remains in the fields breaking the strikes they leave him alone.

      Do you really want me to waste time unpacking what is being said here or can you read plain English and understand that Chavez is consistent and his statements are perfectly aligned with my characterization of him? Your selective quotation gambit was pretty weak sauce. Think Poindexter, think. Why would Chavez be facing criticism from HIS OWN UNION OFFICIALS? What you’re seeing is critics acting on ETHNIC INTEREST and Chavez acting on ECONOMIC INTEREST. If those strikebreakers brought in across the border were Bulgarians, the Chicano union officials representing Chicano farm workers wouldn’t have given a damn.

    50. TangoMan Says:

      Would the assembly line and the other great productivity improvements of that era ever have been created?

      You can probably guess my answer but here it is anyway, no the assembly line wouldn’t have been invented. There would be less need to do so. In many situations labor and capital are substitutes for each other. A restaurant doesn’t need a slicing machine to slice tomatoes or slice roast beef, instead they can substitute the $1,000 capital cost with labor which costs 2 cents per day. An extreme example but the principle is evident.

    51. Jonathan Says:

      There are a lot of issues that need fixing, like corporate tax rates, universal taxation of profits, offshoring, but what’s clear is that the present state of affairs – import cheap labor and offshore expensive labor production and then import the finished product is hollowing out America. Individual policies can be rationalized, and while we thought the invisible hand would prevail where the vector sum of all of the justified individual policies would aggregate up to a overall benefit for the US, what’s becoming clear is that the sum total of all of these policies isn’t working in the interests of the majority of Americans, rather they’re working in the interests of Capital. The interests of Capital are not synonymous with the interests of America.

      You are right about our tax rules.

      However, the importing of manufactured products no more hollows out America than the importing of natural-fiber rope does. We have comparative advantages in some kinds of products, other countries have comparative advantages in other kinds of products. We are better at producing aircraft and (IIRC) Bangladesh is better at producing jute rope. Americans would not be better off if we produced our own jute rope. iPhones are no different. Apple designs them here and produces them elsewhere because that is the cheapest way to do it. The extra cost on net of producing them here, if we did that, would be a tax on American consumers for the monetary benefit of American manufacturers and the psychic benefit of American protectionists. Why force consumers to subsidize domestic manufacturers?

      And what are “the interests of Capital”? Finance is a major US industry that provides capital for capital-intensive technology manufacturing and other industries in which we have comparative advantages. Finance pays the owners of capital — including many ordinary people who invest (either directly or, more typically, through mutual funds, pension funds, etc.) in stocks, bonds, CDs and money-market accounts — for its use. What do you propose as an alternative system for directing capital to its most productive uses?

    52. TangoMan Says:

      We have comparative advantages in some kinds of products, other countries have comparative advantages in other kinds of products. We are better at producing aircraft and (IIRC) Bangladesh is better at producing jute rope.

      I know how comparative advantage is supposed to work. Here is data from a post in did in 2005. Of the SITC codes these are the categories in which the US exports more than $20 billion per year:

      776 Thermionic, Cold Cathode Or Photocathode Valves And Tubes; Diodes, Transistors And Similar Semiconductor Devices; Integrated Circuits, Etc.; Parts

      792 Aircraft And Associated Equipment; Spacecraft (including Satellites) And Spacecraft Launch Vehicles; And Parts Thereof

      These are the codes in which the US exported between $5 and $19 billion:

      222 Oil Seeds And Oleaginous Fruits Used For The Extraction Of Soft Fixed Vegetable Oils (excluding Flours And Meals)

      714 Engines And Motors, Nonelectric (other Than Steam Turbines, Internal Combustion Piston Engines And Power Generating Machinery); Parts Thereof, N.e.s.

      874 Measuring, Checking, Analysing And Controlling Instruments And Apparatus, N.e.s.

      There are the codes in which the US exported between $2 and $5 billion.

      012 Meat, Other Than Of Bovine Animals, And Edible Offal, Fresh, Chilled Or Frozen (except Meat And Meat Offal Not Suitable For Human Consumption)

      041 Wheat (including Spelt) And Meslin, Unmilled

      044 Maize (not Including Sweet Corn) Unmilled

      081 Feeding Stuff For Animals (not Including Unmilled Cereals)

      263 Cotton Textile Fibers

      511 Hydrocarbons, N.e.s. And Their Halogenated, Sulfonated, Nitrated Or Nitrosated Derivatives

      575 Plastics, N.e.s., In Primary Forms

      598 Miscellaneous Chemical Products, N.e.s.

      723 Civil Engineering And Contractors’ Plant And Equipment

      This was based on 2002 data. Offshoring has increased since then, China has more fully developed their economy since then, our trade deficits have become more unbalanced since then. I haven’t looked at this data recently so I can’t give you a definitive answer but I’m not entirely pleased with the US maintaining comparative advantage in farm products.

      Why force consumers to subsidize domestic manufacturers?

      Why force taxpayers to subsidize a.) out of work people and b.) underemployed workers?

      Privatizing gains and socializing losses doesn’t seem all that great a bargain nor is it intellectually sound or ideologically pure of a position to defend.

      And what are “the interests of Capital”?

      There have been a few recent articles directed at Trump supports, one published by Kevin Williamson, which essentially boil down to these people wanting a form of welfare from the government in the form of Trump reorienting the government to help them. Williamson seems entirely blind to the fact that when gov’t passes laws which help Capital that these efforts are exactly the same form of welfare that he criticizes when applied to helping labor.

      Finance operates within the rules set down by government. When a rule aids Capital and harms labor, then this isn’t some universal law of nature that can’t be changed, this is a man-made artifact. When National Income is divided between Capital and Labor, US Government policy on immigration has a direct effect on how that allocation proceeds. Flooding labor markets with labor puts downward pressure on the price of labor and increases the bargaining power of Capital and this results in increases to the returns to Capital. If we instituted a complete shut down on all immigration, then this would have consequences in the labor market, eventually resulting in labor shortages, driving up the cost of labor, lowering returns to capital and boosting Labor’s share of National Income while decreasing Capital’s share. There isn’t anything natural or unbiased about how the present system is functioning – wide open immigration is a policy choice which drastically favors the interests of Capital, or as Williamson constructs his reasoning, this is welfare being given to Capital.

      The principal problem with the current welfare being awarded to Capital is that it privileges too few at the expense of too many and that’s simply from an economic analysis leaving aside the horrendous sociological consequences of immigration. In a democracy where everyone’s vote is equal it is unjust to use government to rent-seek in a way to privilege a small group at the expense of a larger group.

    53. Jonathan Says:

      Free international trade =/= “Privatizing gains and socializing losses”

      Finance =/= financial-industry incumbents

    54. TangoMan Says:

      Free international trade =/= “Privatizing gains and socializing losses”

      When government works, through international treaty, to increase the mobility of capital, then it expands the opportunities for domestic capital and restricts the opportunities for domestic labor. In a one-market model, factor mobility is restricted and so capital and labor reach a different equilibrium point than a multi-market model. When a multi-market model is brought into being through the work of government, then you’re introducing a human created artifact into the equation.

    55. TangoMan Says:

      Let me address this from a different angle. If we could devise a series of measures wrapped up in a free trade treaty which resulted in massive gains to labor income and reduced gains to capital income, then Wall Streets enthusiasm for Free Trade would vanish overnight.

    56. Jonathan Says:

      When a multi-market model is brought into being through the work of government, then you’re introducing a human created artifact into the equation.

      As far as I know there is no evidence that unilateral free trade isn’t optimal for the country that practices it. Why should we object if the Chinese tax themselves to subsidize their exports to us?

    57. Jonathan Says:

      Let me address this from a different angle. If we could devise a series of measures wrapped up in a free trade treaty which resulted in massive gains to labor income and reduced gains to capital income, then Wall Streets enthusiasm for Free Trade would vanish overnight.

      Probably true but so what. As I wrote above: Finance =/= financial-industry incumbents

      The general case of my argument is: capitalists =/= capitalism

      Business people always want govt to rig the markets in their favor, but that doesn’t mean free markets are a bad idea.

    58. TangoMan Says:

      that doesn’t mean free markets are a bad idea.

      Free markets, in our current world, are not something which exist as a state of nature, they are the creation of government. There are positive and negative consequences which arise from government intervening to increase factor mobility of capital. The flip side to that observation is that there are positive and negative consequences which arise from government intervening to decrease the factor mobility of capital.

      And just for the record, I’m not arguing that free trade is a bad idea, rather I’m arguing that government consistently favoring the interests of capital over labor is now producing a host of significant negative consequences and we need to rethink present paradigms and implement solutions to bring about a better balance between the interests of capital and labor.

    59. David Foster Says:

      Jonathan…”As far as I know there is no evidence that unilateral free trade isn’t optimal for the country that practices it. Why should we object if the Chinese tax themselves to subsidize their exports to us?”

      It is not clear to me that the David Ricardo comparative advantage model fully considers the dynamics of the situation. Even if it was optimal in 1820 for Spain to concentrate on wine and leave Britain to focus on steam engines, maybe that decision won’t look so optimal 90 years later when Britain has the skill mix to compete in automobiles and airplanes and Spain does not.

    60. Grurray Says:

      “Why would Chavez be facing criticism from HIS OWN UNION OFFICIALS? ”

      As Mike K stated earlier, illegal immigration started increasing after 1965. Chavez had far more illegals in his union than were in the ranks of scabs. By some estimates, half of all California farm workers were illegal by 1970. Both unionized work and strikes subsidized by the union in the form of strike pay did more to increase demand for illegal immigration than scab work.

      How Chavez came to believe in amnesty is irrelevant. The bottom line is he did, and his union grew to the point where most of them we’re illegal.

      Therefore, when Reagan cracked down on the UFW, he was cracking down on illegals.
      Reagan did nothing to increase illegal immigration in California, and he did a lot to slow it.
       

      Speaking of which, am I going slow enough for you? Stick around kid, you may learn something yet.

    61. TangoMan Says:

      Speaking of which, am I going slow enough for you? Stick around kid, you may learn something yet.

      So far you’ve engaged in selective quotation, been shown to be in error and now you’re relying on your own authority by simply arguing by declaration. Not convincing at all.

      Plenty of people refute you and do so by quoting Chavez and the historical record.

      I’ve studied and written about Chavez and the United Farm Workers (UFW) union the labor leader co-founded for more than 20 years. I also grew up in the same San Joaquin Valley where so much of the UFW drama played out. And honestly, at first, I thought the statement was a parody. As I’ll explain in more detail in a moment, the historical record shows that Chavez was a fierce opponent of illegal immigration, and so it’s unlikely that he’d have looked favorably on a plan to legalize millions of illegal immigrants.

      But this was no joke. The NCLR actually wanted Congress to honor Chavez by passing comprehensive immigration reform. Here’s how Janet Murguia, NCLR president and CEO, connected the dots between the legislation and the labor leader. Chavez, she said, “shined a national spotlight on the depressed wages and unbearable working conditions experienced by agricultural laborers in the 1960s” and part of “any solution to the myriad problems faced by farm workers is immigration reform.”

      I support comprehensive immigration reform. But it is absurd for anyone to invoke the name of Cesar Chavez to pass immigration reform. As I said, were he alive today, it’s a safe bet that Chavez would be an opponent of any legislation that gave illegal immigrants even a chance at legal status.

      These days, Chávez is revered among Mexican-American activists and others as a civil rights figure. Yet that’s not who he was. Chavez was primarily a labor leader, and so one of his main concerns was keeping illegal immigrants from competing with and undercutting union members either by accepting lower wages or crossing picket lines. When he pulled workers out of the field during a strike, the last thing he wanted was a crew of illegal immigrant workers showing up to do those jobs and take away his leverage.

      So Chavez decided to do something about it. According to numerous historical accounts, Chavez ordered union members to call the Immigration and Naturalization Service and report illegal immigrants who were working in the fields so that they could be deported. Some UFW officials were also known to picket INS offices to demand a crackdown on illegal immigrants.

      It gets worse. In 1973, in a disgraceful chapter, the UFW set up what union officials called a “wet line” to stop Mexican immigrants from entering the United States. Under the supervision of Chávez’s cousin, Manuel, UFW members tried at first to convince immigrants not to cross the border. When that didn’t work, they physically attacked the immigrants. Covering the incident at the time, the Village Voice said that the UFW was engaged in a “campaign of random terror against anyone hapless enough to fall into its net.” A couple of decades later, in their book The Fight in the Fields, Susan Ferris and Ricardo Sandoval recalled the border violence and wrote that the issue of how to handle illegal immigration was “particularly vexing” for Chávez.

      UFW supporters might brush aside this ugly history and insist that it’s conceivable that, were he alive today, Chavez might have no trouble with the concept of legalizing undocumented immigrants. After all, the argument goes, once those individuals are legal, they won’t be easily exploited and thus won’t be able to undercut the negotiating power of union members.

      But there is more to it than that. Keep in mind that the current discussion about comprehensive immigration reform includes plans to bring in, over the next few years, hundreds of thousands of guest workers to — borrowing a phrase — do jobs that Americans won’t do. That provision costs reformers the support of organized labor, and it’s very likely that would have included the support of Cesar Chavez.

      Both unionized work and strikes subsidized by the union in the form of strike pay did more to increase demand for illegal immigration than scab work.

      This is completely beside the point. Employers demanding more illegal immigrants because Americans won’t work for the employers for the pay that is offered is a direct attack on the social contract, is parasitical, and needs to be disqualified as a tactic immediately. This is no different than Disney firing programmers and flying in Indians to do the work at half the wages.

    62. Grurray Says:

      I was skimming thru the FBI files on Chavez. Very interesting. I’m pretty convinced the Wet Line never happened. The whole alleged incident supposedly occurred around a strike they called outside Yuma led by Chavez’ brother, an alcoholic and notorious womanizer.

      They may have roughed up a few illegals along with other scabs they caught, but there was never any evidence of any activity to police the border. If you think about it, at best they were a collection of drunken, belligerent unskilled fruit pickers. They just didn’t have that kind operational capability.

      It did say that many strikers abandoned the picket lines and went back to work by actually crossing south across the border and then back north along migrant trails. They were too ashamed to directly cross picket lines and also fearful of getting beaten up. That says a lot that the safest path back to work was pretending to be an illegal.

    63. Anonymous Says:

      Steve Jobs told Obama…

      Steve Jobs told Obama whatever he thought was convincing and that Obama wouldn’t know anything about. Because he knew Obama was only interested in getting Apple under union, and therefore Democratic Party, control.

    64. rcocean Says:

      Hoover was a successful businessman and engineer, and is credited with being one of the worse modern presidents.

      Let me defend Herbert Hoover. Given the economic beliefs of 1929, no politician could have prevented the Great Depression or radically lessened its effects. Had Al Smith – or even FDR – been elected in 1929, they probably would’ve passed some valuable legislation and maybe introduced the WPA, but it wouldn’t have made that much difference. Unemployment would’ve still been sky-high in 1932 and both men would’ve been voted out of office.

    65. rcocean Says:

      Regarding Smith, Ricardo and Trade theory in the 19th Century. I was amazed at looking at the stats how much of the US trade in the mid 19th century was in agricultural goods. Our main imports weren’t British Iron products or manufactured goods but Tea, Liquor, and Sugar.

    66. Mike K Says:

      “Free markets, in our current world, are not something which exist as a state of nature, they are the creation of government. ”

      I think it important to recall that Britain, the principle advocate of free trade in the 19th century, was not capable of feeding its population. It is an island and, as the population grew once sanitation stopped the cities from killing everyone who lived there (thanks to John Snow ), the population rapidly expanded.

      It was somewhat similar to Athens which depended on the “corn ships” that came through the Hellespont and which caused them to lose the Peloponnesian War when Sparta defeated their fleet at Aegospotami . That put the Spartans across Athen’s food route. Just as the German High Seas Fleet threatened Britain’s food sources. World War I resulted.

      America has been not only self sufficient in food but it also supplied Europe in the war. American agriculture collapsed when Europe became able to grow food again and when it could not pay American farmers to feed them.

      America has less need for free trade than most countries. Especially since fracking.

    67. TangoMan Says:

      America has less need for free trade than most countries. Especially since fracking.

      America has destroyed, or hollowed out, a number of manufacturing ecosystems and now some industries have vertical supply chains which don’t intersect with America at all, some military weapons system, I believe I read, now depend on critical components which no domestic manufacturer supplies nor could tool up to supply. Rebuilding domestic industry is going to be a long hard slog.