Quote of the Day

Dale Franks, Vote Properly, You Virulent Racist!:

But let’s go even further. Even if you could prove that, on balance, free trade is an unquestionable economic benefit, people might still prefer to be measurably poorer if that’s the price that must be paid to maintain their traditional social and political cultures. (This has even more relevance in the case of the EU, because the EU actually has power. Imagine if NAFTA had an unelected Commission in Ottowa or Mexico City that could impose laws on the United States.) Perhaps people don’t regard their economic interests as important as their national or cultural interests. It doesn’t matter what elite opinion thinks the people’s most important interests are. In a democratic society, ultimately, it only matters what the people think they are. People get to determine their own priorities, and not have them dictated by elites. The people get to answer for themselves the question, “In what kind of country do I want to live?”
Of course, I would argue that we don’t have truly free trade or, increasingly, a free economy in the United States. The Progressives always look at the rising income inequality and maintain that it’s the inevitable result of capitalism. That’s hogwash, of course, and Proggies believe it because they’re dolts. But the problem in this country isn’t free trade—we have precious little of it—or unrestricted capitalism, since we have precious little of that as well. The issue behind rising income inequality isn’t capitalism, it’s cronyism. Income isn’t being redirected to the 1% because capitalism has failed, it’s happening because we abandoned capitalism in favor of the regulatory crony state and its de facto collusion between big business/banking interests and a government that directs capital to favored political clients, who become “too big to fail”. It doesn’t matter, for instance, whether the president is a Democrat or Republican, because we know the Treasury Secretary will be a former—and future—Goldman Sachs executive.

Franks’s post is very well thought through and ties together the main themes that appear to be driving US, British and European politics. It’s worth reading in full if you haven’t yet done so.

9 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. “People get to determine their own priorities, and not have them dictated by elites.”

    It’s a lovely idea, I’m not sure there is any place on the planet like that, and I’m not sure there has ever been a place like that.

    People like do what other people do. They like to herd in a very sheep like manner. Because of this, it is pretty simple to get large numbers of them to do just what you want them to. Owning the media is one way to get this power. Yours is owned by a very few people who do not have any interest in anything other than control. A religion is another way to sway large numbers of people. The scams are pretty well endless and people have almost no defense against them, they just want to go along with the rest. That is the peoples priority.

  2. Make no mistake about it, the “Takers at the Top” class would happily sell American sovereignty, the American Bill of Rights, and whatever it is that makes America unique down the river for a buck.

    It’s funny isn’t it, the same people who don’t care if the regular folks in the middle have “value adding , grow the pie jobs”, would pull out the stops for handicapped people( the blind, the autistic, someone with Downs syndrome). You know the drill: everyone deserves the fullfillment of a productive job, except for………

  3. except for………

    The truly productive members of society who make the whole show go……..

  4. There’s a growing sense, not only in Great Britain, but in the US as well, that the elites, or the political class, or whatever you’d like to call them, are incompetent and have been leading us astray.

    There may not be enough lampposts to hang them all.

    The political class seems to be following the the description of Codevilla, as if it were an instruction manual.

    Comey is not the disinterested honorable man depicted, as he has a history.

    Yet the biggest of Mr. Comey’s misjudgments are the ones for which he gets the highest accolades from his media admirers. In March 2004 Mr. Comey raced to the hospital bedside of then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to stop his boss from signing off on a periodic reauthorization of the “warrantless wiretap” surveillance program authorized by President Bush shortly after 9/11.

    Mr. Comey later told Congress that he had squared off against then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Counsel Alberto Gonzales, who had come to the hospital to get Mr. Ashcroft’s signature for the still-top secret program, and that Mr. Ashcroft had refused to sign. He also testified that both he and FBI Director Robert Mueller had threatened to resign if Mr. Bush reauthorized the program without making certain changes. Which is what Mr. Bush agreed to do a few days later.

    Mr. Comey’s hospital theatrics have since been spun—above all by Mr. Comey—as a case of a brave and honest civil servant standing up to an out-of-control White House seeking to take advantage of a sick man for morally dubious and even criminal ends.

    He is a firm defender of the political class.

  5. I tend to believe that the ruling coalition and its media lickspittles have misjudged this deal every bit as badly as they have so much about how their corrupt activities are viewed by the common citizen, and how deep and powerful the reaction is going to be over the months remaining in the election cycle.

    It has become increasingly obvious that the time honored slurs and scandal mongering that has often worked in the past has lost quite a bit of its punch, and that the media has little credibility any longer to successfully carry water for the progressive program and its anointed member.

    My guess is that this obviously corrupt and fixed investigation, and the clearly political result, will serve to further inspire the opponents of the criminal coalition’s chosen candidate, and also energize a great many undecided people who are not generally political, but who can recognize, by its smell, if nothing else, when a large pile of horse manure is dumped into their living rooms.

    There is an accelerating cascade looming, like the wave in “The Poseidon Adventure”‘, and I doubt the protestations of innocence by the criminal and her defenders can fend it off.

    The image I see in my mind is of that tidal wave from several years ago as it surged ashore, wiping out everything in its path. And there’s our own darling criminal walking along the beach, lost in admiration for her own planning of such a pleasant vacation..

    Au revoir, Madame. Have a nice swim.

  6. “Even if you could prove that, on balance, free trade is an unquestionable economic benefit, people might still prefer to be measurably poorer if that’s the price that must be paid to maintain their traditional social and political cultures.”

    Quite true, despite the EU’s vaunted trade policies, French agriculture, for example, has always enjoyed tremendous protection at an undeniably steep cost to consumers.

    And the French wouldn’t have it any other way.

  7. There is no job done by an immigrant (legal or not) that cannot be done half as well for twice as much by an native.

    IE, if a restaurant has one immigrant dishwasher making 8$ an hour, the dishwasher could be replaced by two natives making $16.00 per hour and the dishes will be just as clean.

    Now if the business owner has to pay 4xs more for dish washing, that hurts the owner. But two natives now have jobs that allow them to support themselves and maybe others.

    Take Brexit, a nice Polish lad, pays attention in school to learn English, travels several hundred miles to live 10 to a room to wash dishes in Liverpool for a low wage. Meanwhile Native born morons have no jobs, if England deported the nice Polish dishwasher, that could create two jobs for a native born Chavs.

    I think most people see this, the issue with immigration is not that the immigrant is bad, it’s the opposite. You have jobs that used to go to the young or stupid(or worse), now going to the responsible immigrant. Why hire a teenager who is by definition a short term employee, when you can hire a middle aged immigrant for the same wages or less? The teenager will move on, the middle aged immigrant with a family may work for you for twenty years with out complaint.

    Took my young nephews out to eat the other day and joked that I forgot my wallet and they would have to wash dishes. They did not get the joke…

  8. It is true that people can be pretty easily manipulated to support selective trade that is highly beneficial to a limited number of producers and importers in the name of free trade. The reality of net gains for both trading parties from specialization in accordance with comparative advantage is certain. The distribution of these gains is determined by the exchange or trade ratio. That is economically indeterminate, but in a system of voluntary exchange they will be shared or there is no incentive to participate. As comparative advantage changes, dislocations will occur requiring both firms and individuals to adapt. That is uncomfortable, but that creative destruction is the basis of increasing productivity and rising standards of living for both parties. This aggregates to large groups separated by region, skills, or other economic grouping.

    “It’s the economy stupid” has a lot of weight in peoples’ calculation of what they want. That can result in some pretty dumb beliefs. For example, those coal miners in West Virginia and other easter states may support the exclusion of western coal to preserve their jobs. What is true between nations is true for states or even down to individuals. How many want to be fully self-sufficient, to include producing all of our own food, shelter, clothing, and everything else we use on a daily basis because we value or independence?. Almost nobody. The same costs holds for larger aggregations. The issue of limiting trade is made more attractive due to fact that we do not have free trade, either locally, nationally or internationally.

    Rather than suspending importation of foreign goods and services (at the cost of losing out export markets, export jobs), it most likely would be much more beneficial to work on the imperfections of the current trade system, especially the government restrictions, special interest incentives and other barriers to free trade. This includes currency manipulation. By creating a huge national debt we have provided a desirable magnet for the dollars we spend on imports to come back to us through buying that debt rather than buying our exports. This also limits both internal and external investment in capital to improve our productivity and increase our comparative advantage in areas we are naturally skilled in. The deficit in balance of trade (goods and services) is largely caused by the surplus in the balance in the capital account driven by the generation of government debt and currency manipulation based on the international currency exchange system freed from any tangible asset.

    Very easy to use an adversarial populist argument (as progressives have historically done) to argue that free trade costs “good jobs, that is jobs where we have a comparative DISadvantage, so we should erect government barriers to trade to protect those vulnerable jobs and industries. This allows the government to gain the power over trade and sell access to the favored nations, foreign businesses, favored domestic importers or businesses dependent of imported components or resources and to offer subsidies to exporters to create more domestic jobs. This is just another method to exchange government favors for political support.

    Would most people really support suspending trade in exchange for feeling good about their nationalism? Well, they might under the prevailing ignorance of the long term consequences of such a move. I believe the better course is to aggressively attack the imperfections in the current system of trade and currency exchange rather than cede trade power to pols and bureaucrats. No one should think it will ever be free trade as the theoretical norm would demand, but progress toward that ideal does produce benefits that are wide spread. If it is voluntary, there must be benefits to all sides, even in the face of creative destruction. We see this internally and it is true internationally.


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