Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
    Loading
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Is the Biden Economic Plan on the Right Track?

    Posted by Kevin Villani on July 31st, 2020 (All posts by )

    It promises to improve economic well-being relative to current economic policy for average and particularly less well-off citizens now and in the future, and to do the same for citizens of other countries including all immigrants. Can it deliver?

    The Mock Democratic Platform was released in February, the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force a few weeks ago, and the draft 2020 Platform a few days ago. The economic plan is the most ambitious progressive anti-capitalist agenda at least since FDR’s New Deal and arguably in American history. It consistently proposes numerous government carrots and sticks to achieve its economic objectives, doubling down on the New Deal and Great Society methods.

    Causes and Consequences of Reducing Capital and Labor Productivity

    Potential national wealth is limited only by the amount of capital (national savings) and the incentive to maximize the productivity of capital (e.g., with new technology) and labor (through appropriate education and training). Politics often distorts individual incentives for the worse.

    Politically Re-directed Investment

    The US national savings rate hovered around 3% after turning negative in 2007-2009 and again now. The Biden economic plan for politically re-directing resources to, e.g., conservation, clean energy, transportation, manufacturing, infrastructure, affordable housing, etc. by subsidizing public and taxing private investment more has some merit. However, it may have problematic economic returns and the total cost is many multiples of total national savings.

    Education and School Choice

    Biden would limit the competition with public schools by restricting higher performing charter schools. Higher education would be made either affordable or free with reduced entrance requirements to compensate for a poor primary education, but higher education only contributes to individual and national wealth to the extent it improves productivity, e.g., with more STEM graduates.

    Labor Market Intervention

    By traditional measures, the country was fully employed prior to the Covid-19 epidemic, but the Biden plan calls for the “creation” of multiple millions of new high paying jobs, both in the nominally still private sector and the public sector. Pay would be raised by eliminating the right to work without being forced to join a union, something private sector unions have demanded since the passage of the Taft Hartley Act of 1947. But Biden plans to go beyond that, forcing all states to unionize public employees as well. For those that fall out of this broad union net, the federal minimum wage would start at $15/hour, superseding state laws. These are the tools that progressives historically used to keep blacks, other minorities and recent immigrants out of the labor force, and is is difficult to see how they would do otherwise this time around.

    Trade Protection

    As these politically inflated domestic labor costs will again be uncompetitive internationally the Biden plan opposes any trade deals, calling for manufactured goods to be sourced and stamped “made in America.” Consumer prices would have to rise commensurate with labor costs.

    Immigration

    Borders would be relatively open and immigrants incentivized to come both by the decline in export-related jobs and the benefits of the U.S. social welfare state. But they would be excluded from the formal job market by the union and minimum wage requirements once inside the U.S. border.

    Taxation, Debt and Money Printing: The Limits of Expropriation

    All senior mob leaders know two things well: 1. There is only so much extortion money to go around (gangster killings are usually over excessive greed), and 2, There are limits to how much you can extort without killing a business. At their peak in the 1980s the New York Mafia “owned” the labor unions that extorted from business, enabled by a symbiotic relationship of both with the Democratic Party. Sooner or later taxpayers and consumers always pay.

    Debt and Taxes

    State and local governments are in dire straits and blue states are technically insolvent, demanding a bailout. Federal funding has morphed the states into Soviet era oblasts with the federal government the funding source of first resort.

    Current federal debt is $27 trillion, exceeding that of WW II as a percent of the economy, with over $200 trillion in additional contingent liabilities.. The current federal deficit for this fiscal year is over $3 trillion, to which the Democrat-proposed Heroes Act would add an additional $3 trillion. Candidate Biden has offered tiny constituent groups, e.g., caregivers, almost $1 trillion, large constituent groups such as the environmentalists’ Green New Deal could cost upwards of $100 trillion, with lots of constituent promises falling in between.

    The Biden plan calls for reversing the Trump corporate tax cut that stimulated investment and exports. Taxing the “rich” will raise some revenue in the short run but reduce investment and growth in the longer run. Middle class taxes will follow, although he is committed to restoring the (blue) state and local income tax deduction for the relatively wealthy.

    The Federal Reserve and Modern Monetary Theory

    Having gone past the limit, a gangster may turn to counterfeiting as a last resort. The Federal Reserve is already “printing” enough money to be the primary buyer of Treasury debt and at the current pace would own it all in two years. Under the Modern Monetary Theory espoused by the Sanders campaign and now implicitly incorporated into the Biden economic plan, debts and deficits don’t matter so long as the Fed can print money to purchase them. The Biden plan adds “racial equity” to the Fed’s full employment and price stability goals to reduce differences in wages and unemployment.

    Biden’s Plan is an Extortion Racket on the Left-Behind Track

    Across time and space the evidence supports competitive market capitalism as the source of virtually all human economic progress. The Biden economic plan is essentially an extortion racket that fails to recognize its inherent limits, doubling down on the bad policies of the current Administration while eliminating the good, apparently because the Party’s octogenarian leaders either never learned the limits or have lost control to the young radical left. This plan so far exceeds the limits that even partial success could easily lead to hyper-inflation.

    There is a sense that America can always turns things around if it gets derailed but the progressive perspective dominates America’s intellectual elite and media. Argentina was once on the capitalist fast track parallel to the U.S., but progressive President Juan Peron switched tracks in 1946, and Argentina has been left behind ever since.

    Kevin Villani

    —-

    Kevin Villani was chief economist at Freddie Mac from 1982 to 1985. He has held senior government positions, has been affiliated with nine universities, and served as CFO and director of several companies. He recently published Occupy Pennsylvania Avenue on how politicians and bureaucrats with no skin in the game caused the sub-prime lending bubble and systemic financial system failure.

     

    34 Responses to “Is the Biden Economic Plan on the Right Track?”

    1. Jay Guevara Says:

      Is the Biden Economic Plan on the Right Track?

      Sure, if you want to follow Venezuela.

    2. Brian Says:

      Is there a Biden plan for anything? I’m not even trying to make a joke about the fact that the man is clearly in the moderate phase of dementia. I’ve never seen a presidential campaign before where a candidate is literally running on nothing. I guess I can’t really remember what John Kerry ran on, but I’m sure there was something.
      There is no real campaign, though, which means that whatever the Dems do if they gain power is going to surprise and anger an awful lot of people, hence their obvious push to first remove the filibuster so they can do whatever they want, and second the fact that one of the first things they will do will be to legalize everyone in the country to fundamentally change the electorate.

    3. David Foster Says:

      I think a lot of people who are generally pro-market in their opinions, professions, (and investments) are greatly under-rating the dangers of Biden and of the Dems in general. For example, there was a discussion of Exxon at an investment site…I suggested that political risk, which an otherwise excellent analysis had omitted, needed to be considered for this company, given the Dem hostility to the oil & gas industry. One guy responded…and I think it was the general opinion…that only smaller companies would be at risk, because a company the size of XOM would have lots of lawyers, lobbyists, etc, to protect itself.

      I think the technical phrase for this is ‘whistling part the graveyard’

      The point is that there are a lot of people whose livelihoods and investments would be under grievous threat with the Dems are totally failing to understand the danger.

    4. Mike K Says:

      The only positive that I can think of, if you call it that, is that the Democrats’ real agenda is being written by shadowy billionaires who are not about to let the Sanders/Warren types take their money away. The Democrat Party is being run by people like Gates and Soros and Steve Jobs’ widow. They resemble the rich Californians who moved to Aspen CO thirty years ago and flipped CO blue. Their politics did not care much about ordinary people. Like the rich of F Scott Fitzgerald, they are very different from you and me.

      Like Sundar Pichai, the Google CEO, some of them are from an entirely different culture and have little in common with most Americans. Many have a Medieval cultural mentality. What we consider freedom, they consider weakness and inferiority.

    5. David Foster Says:

      Mike K…”he Democrats’ real agenda is being written by shadowy billionaires who are not about to let the Sanders/Warren types take their money away.”

      I think many of these individuals would not mind paying much higher taxes *as long as they get to decide what the tax money is used for*…instead of contributing $10 billion to a cause directly, pay the $10B through higher taxes and force everybody else to contribute $90B more through those same taxes.

    6. MCS Says:

      First, except for a couple, they don’t contribute in billions, mostly millions. Second, most of Bezos’ money is in Amazon stock. Pretty much all of this “wealth” is is capital, large taxes on unrealized gains which is what a wealth tax is, means they would have to sell. Not in this universe.

      Then there is the reality that of the 100 billion, maybe 100 million would actually find its way into anything remotely useful. Not that 100 billion would really matter when these guys are throwing trillions around like pocket change. The only danger is that we could run short of paper to print money on like Venezuela or maybe zeros to print the bills with. Type cases come with only so many.

      I was especially taken by the description of the education portion. Education will be crap but it will go on forever. Like the old joke: “The food here is terrible, and such small portions.”

    7. MCS Says:

      In my life both the $1,000 and $500 bills have gone out of circulation. I wonder if I’ll live to see $1,000,000 and if I do, will it be enough to buy a loaf of bread?

    8. mr black Says:

      Honestly, let it burn. The situation we’re in now cannot be turned around with an election win or a court case decided in our favor. The entire foundation of America as a nation has been rotted out and is unusable as a basis to sustain a country. Republicans want to be left alone and won’t fight, democrats want to take over and create the New Socialism and 100 million parasite immigrants just want to get rich and cash out before it all falls over. Three tribes, 3 agendas, all at odds.

      We need a crisis to decide which tribes version of America is going to exist.

    9. Mike K Says:

      I am not quite a fatalistic as Mr Black but close. It’s clear that the national debt is going to be repudiated. I don’t see hyperinflation as the billionaires would not allow it. We have lost the ability to make things. Kodak going into the pharm business might be a sign of health. They killed their business plan with the digital camera. If Trump loses the election, chaos will follow. What happens then is a mystery. If he wins, as I think he will, what happens then is also a mystery.

    10. Ray - SoCal Says:

      It depends on what happens in the House and Senate if Trump Wins.

      If they both go GOP, I am more hopeful.

      I am still upset at how little got done in the first 2 years of the Trump Administration with congress, even in the lame duck session.

      Assuming their is a GOP Sweep, I believe there will be a lot of structural changes in the US.

      Lots of Departments will be moved out of DC. The current promotion system for the FBI will be changed. More of the Wall will be built, more deregulation, and Fair Judges. And probably another 1 or 2 seats on the Supreme Court. The end result would be a much better economy. The CoronaVirus is forcing a lot of long term structural changes to the economy, especially in Health Care, Work From Home, and Education.

      > If he wins, as I think he will, what happens then is also a mystery.

    11. Jay Guevara Says:

      One guy responded…and I think it was the general opinion…that only smaller companies would be at risk, because a company the size of XOM would have lots of lawyers, lobbyists, etc, to protect itself.

      That’s the sanguine take. The not-so sanguine take is that Exxon is a prime target for demagoguery (“stick it to Big Oil”). Not that Democrats would ever stoop to such, of course.

    12. MCS Says:

      I don’t think the billionaires get to decide. Even Bezos is pretty small potatoes in the scheme of things. Once the orders stop rolling in, the wheels will come off his cart pretty quickly. On the up side, you may be able to pay off your mortgage for the cost of a latte.

      I’m not too sure that, given a Republican sweep, the various “peaceful protesters” will accept the loss of their mandate and withdraw for a period of quiet contemplation.

      If the Republicans take back the House and keep the Senate, they’ll waste the next 2 or 4 years the same as the last time because they’ll be the same fools they’ve been for the last 50 years. The problem isn’t that we vote for the wrong party, it’s that we vote for the wrong people.

      If the Democrats win, I foresee them fracturing into so many fragments that no one will be able to put enough pieces together to do anything. We’ll be at the mercy of the bureaucrats either way. What makes you believe the Federal Reserve is any more competent than the CDC?

    13. Mike K Says:

      We’ll be at the mercy of the bureaucrats either way. What makes you believe the Federal Reserve is any more competent than the CDC?

      I think that is the default position of the Democrats. They are the party of government, including union teachers. Of course, they think the bureaucracy will run things well. They probably rely on the concept of the French bureaucracy which ran things for 100 years in spite of turnstile governments of politicians. Wilson is the real philosopher of the Party, not Roosevelt. Wilson wanted rule by “experts” and that is what Democrats are about. Wilson also wanted segregation and that seems to be increasingly OK with Democrats, too.

      Of course, the French bureaucracy did not deal with WWII very well. I suspect many of them just learned Vichy quickly.

    14. Jay Guevara Says:

      I’m not too sure that, given a Republican sweep, the various “peaceful protesters” will accept the loss of their mandate and withdraw for a period of quiet contemplation.

      I think it’s a lead pipe cinch that they’ll kick their rioting into overdrive, regardless of the results of the election.

      If the Reds win, the rioters will kick it into overdrive because they’ll think they’re on the brink of a communist takeover.

      If Trump wins, they’ll kick it into overdrive out of frustration, and we’ll see another spasm of domestic terrorism as a contingent of the hard left forswears electoral politics for “direct action,” i.e., bombings, bank robberies, etc.

    15. David Foster Says:

      Mike K…”Of course, the French bureaucracy did not deal with WWII very well. I suspect many of them just learned Vichy quickly.”

      One of the many great character portrayals in the TV series A French Village (which I reviewed here) is of Deputy Prefect Sevier, who throughout the years of Vichy and the Occupation is concerned mainly with his career and with ensuring that everything is done according to proper legal form.

      After the Allied victory, Sevier, concerned about being excluded from government employment, remarks plaintively “This is the only job I know how to do.” He will soon find that he faces worse problems than unemployment…

    16. Mike K Says:

      David, one of the ironies of the French loss in WWII is that the Germans dismantled most of the old French system. For example, in my discussion of the French medical system, I point out that it was designed by the Free French former health minister in exile in London. He was Jewish so was quickly out of France. The Germans restructured the French medical system along lines more in their own model. Such as emphasis on women having babies. The prewar insurance programs were ended by the Germans so, at war end, the French who took over had a clean slate.

      I don’t know enough about other French institutions to judge what effect the Germans had on them.

    17. Xennady Says:

      It seems to me the gloves coming off everywhere.

      I don’t need say anything about the still ongoing violence of the left, but I found it interesting to see that two GOP congresspeople recently lost their primaries to more populist candidates, even though they were both endorsed by Trump.

      In other words, conservatives are angry too.

      But also law-abiding.

      What happens to law abiding people when the law goes away?

      I don’t know, but I suspect it ties in to something I read a while ago and can’t forget. That is, to leftists violence is a rheostat, and they dial it up-or-down to get what they want. To conservatives, it’s an on-off switch.

      It seems plainly obvious these days that we have two sets of people in this country- those who can ignore the law with impunity, and those who can be locked into their houses by decree, based upon a lawless whim.

      I don’t like this state of affairs. I can’t predict the future but I think sooner or later there is going to be reckoning about that.

      Plus, my apologies to Kevin Villani. He wrote a good, thoughtful post about the economic plans Joe Biden’s handlers wrote for him, taking them seriously. My problem is that I cannot. Either Biden loses, and they become irrelevant. Or he wins, and they get ditched for whatever the hard left thinks it can get away with, which likely won’t resemble anything written down at the present moment. Thus, also irrelevant.

    18. Mr Black Says:

      I’d like offer these quotes from wiki for consideration. Speaking of the revolutionary war:

      “Prominent Loyalists repeatedly assured the British government that many thousands of them would spring to arms and fight for the crown. The British government acted in expectation of that, especially in the southern campaigns in 1780–81. In practice, the number of Loyalists in military service was far lower than expected…”

      “When their cause was defeated, about 15 percent of the Loyalists (65,000–70,000 people) fled to other parts of the British Empire…”

      The loyalists were the conservatives. They all thought that other loyalists were going to fight so that they didn’t have to. Turns out, none of them intended to fight themselves. When the official fighters (army and police) were defeated, they fled.

      This is the model to look at now. Our side is going to behave this way again because it is in the very nature of conservatives to do so. There is no mass uprising coming, no hidden army of patriots waiting to take up arms. The model for resisting the left is not Washington’s Army, it is the IRA – who it might be noted, won.

    19. Brian Says:

      We’re not in 1776. I don’t know what year we’re in, but it’s not at that point yet. There’s not going to be literal fighting. You’re going to see red states suing the government about everything they do, mirroring what blue states have done. Conservatives have spent the last few decades fleeing blue states, so there was always an escape valve, but now the left is coming for the sanctuaries, and there is nowhere left to run. How do you think South Dakota and Texas are going to react to the feds attempting to completely destroy their economies? Why would it not be legitimate for them to tell the FBI and IRS to get out and stay out, given the way that blue states treat federal agencies they don’t like, who are “harassing” residents who aren’t even citizens?

      As an aside, I took a drive yesterday through far upstate NY, through areas that make West Virginia look prosperous. Lots of Trump signs. LOTS. It was amazing. I have no idea what it portends, but it was quite striking.

    20. Anonymous Says:

      @Kevin

      You talk around the basic problem, but I don’t think hit it squarely. And that is that centralized control and top down management of the economy almost always results in suboptimal allocation of resources, as compared to a freer market. Analogize government intervention and control as friction. A little of it, and the economy can continue to grow. Enough of it, and it won’t. And passing laws that mandate a growing economy is nonsensical, similar to that of mandating that minimum wages have to continue rising. Biden and his allies seem to be proposing additional top down inefficiencies guaranteed to move the economy in the wrong direction due to their cumulative nature. We might survive universal unionization, if we had a free energy sector, but they are proposing to massively increase the cost of energy at the same time that they plan to drive Minimum wages above the marginal utility of the workers. And, of course, raise taxes on the middle class, so that the centamillionaires and billionaires funding them can get their precious SALT deductions back.

      I think that one of the more depressing aspects of this is that big companies around the country ultimately discover that they can do better by spending money in DC, bribing members of Congress, than in innovating. Better to get the playing field tilted in your direction, than to build the better mousetrap. I had no idea of the magnitude of the problem, until we went up on the Hill to lobby against legislation that the big tech companies wanted. We were a handful of volunteers. They had an army of lobbyists, enough that they fielded essentially one lobbyist for each member of Congress. We lost badly. But buying influence lime this to tilt the playing field, is just more of the frictional inefficiency that ultimately kills the growth of the economy. Biden (D-MBNA), of course, is notorious for having benefited throughout his career from selling his votes and influence.

    21. Mike K Says:

      I had no idea of the magnitude of the problem, until we went up on the Hill to lobby against legislation that the big tech companies wanted.

      This is why Bezos bought the WaPoo and why Big Tech went hard left. Some of it is the tunnel vision of engineers who think they can do anything. Educated people assume they are smarter and more talented then those who do other things they don’t understand, like plumbers and mechanics.

      Part of the problem is that people who have run a small business know things that those who have always been employees don’t know and don’t know they don’t know. We are about tho see this in Medicine, which for a century was a “cottage industry,” to quote Teddy Kennedy. Obamacare made Medicine a vertically integrated industry in which doctors are all on salary. The differences will be showing up in this epidemic.

    22. David Foster Says:

      Although it may not be an explicit part of Biden’s *economic* plan, you can be assured that a Dem win would maintain and accelerate the trajectory toward education-based credentialism, and, specifically, the dominance of that with ‘elite’ college degrees, especially graduate degrees.

      Along with the obsession with race/gender/ethnicity, this is one more form of caste-system building which the Dems can be counted on to pursue as hard as they can.

    23. MCS Says:

      I don’t think you can run a multi-billion dollar hospital as a cottage industry. You can’t run it like GM either; not that I think GM is being run all that well. Some of the problems we have is probably from keeping the full time doctor / part time administrator model too long. Again, what we’re doing now isn’t that great, the hospitals are at the mercy of a few payers, one of which is the government. A long time ago, I read a history of the Mayo Clinic. If memory serves, it started literately in a cottage.

      I, too, hope Mr. Villani isn’t insulted that none of us take the Biden “plan” seriously, I doubt he would describe it as an extortion racket if that were the case. My powers of dissimilitude are just not up to even paying lip service. I do admire the fortitude and determination it must have taken to wade through it. Here again I must confess weakness, this time in my stomach.

      We’ve gotten the GDP for Q2. Wonder of wonders, it seems that locking down the economy caused a bit of a dip. I sure didn’t notice anything in the “plan” that seems to address the fact that the facts might have changed. The next “discovery” will be that all the business that were closed also didn’t collect and remit sales tax on the business they didn’t do. This to be followed by income and property taxes. The hysterical keening from New York and California will only increase as governors realize just how deep a hole they’ve dug themselves. Not that there’s not going to be pain even in South Dakota, we’ll have to see if less draconian lock downs are easier to survive.

      It seems that we were a lot better at killing the economy than the virus. This is, of course, all Trump’s fault. Can anyone doubt that Hillary would have steered a perfect course, avoiding all inconvenience let alone pain.

    24. Mike K Says:

      I don’t think you can run a multi-billion dollar hospital as a cottage industry.

      Not many multi-billion hospitals. Hospitals are a peculiar sort of institution. Mayo Clinic is almost unique in the way it started on the frontier. Health care is incredibly inefficient but efficiency is difficult in that setting. I have previously posted on the problems of trying to be efficient in health care.

      The present health insurance system is responsible for most of the inefficiency. There may actually be a sort of guerrilla hollowing out of the present Obamacare edifice.

    25. David Foster Says:

      Peter Drucker, who did some consulting with hospitals, asserted that hospitals are ‘the most complex human institutions ever devised.’

      And he was talking about their *inherent* complexity, this was before the layering on of most of the insurance complexities as well.

    26. MCS Says:

      A lot has been said here and other places about how price transparency and leveling would change the health care landscape. One of the things I wonder about is how, when a hospital takes someone to court, they avoid having to justify the huge difference between what they receive from insurance companies with what they charge those who have none. I especially wonder how a jury wouldn’t be inclined to nullify the difference.

      One problem in evaluating the efficiency of hospitals is reconciling average with peak demand. Something we’ve seen recently. The low hanging fruit for any efficiency expert is any sort of redundancy or excess capacity. Surely, a lot more could be done to increase efficiency and preserve resilience. The question is: what? Government stockpiles didn’t seem to help. They mostly didn’t have what was needed and what they did have was protected so well by a maze of “protection” that little of what was available made to where it did any good and of that, much was probably wasted or stolen.

      I believe that rationalizing prices would do a lot to make the whole thing work better.

    27. Mike K Says:

      I read everything Drucker wrote, including his autobiography. At one time in the 80s when I was president of the county medical association, I tried to get him to come and talk to us. We were trying to figure out where this was all going.

      His price for a consultation was $10,000 for a day or an hour. We could not afford him. He was at Claremont then, 2 hours away. He did not see the fate of the Girl Scouts, though. In his book about non-profits, he called them the best at anticipating the future.

      During most of my career, the hospital I used was doctor owned and for-profit. It was pretty efficient and worked well. Since then,. it has been sold to an order of nuns which has destroyed it. It is now corrupt and has a massive bureaucracy.

    28. Xennady Says:

      The loyalists were the conservatives.

      I question this assertion. We could just as easily say that the patriots were the conservatives, because they wanted to continue the colonial system of government that had existed until the George III et al attempted to change it. I refer you to the Declaration of Independence for more detail: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript

      I note especially the bit about the burning of towns, which seems especially relevant today. Summing up, I think the Declaration was a decent description of an attempt by the British to “fundamentally transform” the colonies into something more to the liking of the Crown, regardless of what the inhabitants wanted.

      When the official fighters (army and police) were defeated, they fled.

      Well, yes, that’s how defeat works. My recollections about the Revolution are that it ended up a brutal guerilla war- at least in the South- and likely those loyalists fled to avoid being killed. Defeat, avoid it, etc. But I also recall the British were handicapped because they also ended up simultaneously at war with France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Russia. That was a serious problem for their war effort, it turned out.

      There is no mass uprising coming, no hidden army of patriots waiting to take up arms.

      I see no mass uprising needed, and no need to take up arms as yet. Who am I supposed to shoot right now, anyway? Rioters in cities where I don’t live and I don’t care about? No thanks, I have better things to do. Plus, shooting people now is either murder or self-defense.

      I am no fan of murder and at the moment I have no need to shoot anyone in self defense. Those are important facts, I think. Most people in the United States share similar circumstances and have no reason to start killing.

      In fact, I’ll offer up my own opinion about events, in opposition to the piles of despair I see in many places. The recent actions of the left are roughly the equivalent of a scared raccoon standing up on two legs to scare away a big ugly human investigating the racket it makes while digging through the garbage. It can get away with that for a while, but if it becomes enough of a nuisance it will end up dead.

      I note the left is able to rampage through the various cities it controls, wrecking them with amazing speed- but most of the country hasn’t been touched. It most localities the police aren’t ordered to let rioters riot, and they don’t. And why exactly am I supposed to believe burning cities and abandoning them to criminals will be popular with the voters in those cities?

      I suspect it won’t be. We’ll know in a few months.

    29. Mike K Says:

      On the subject of the American Revolution, I think the experience of Ben Franklin in London when he was representing Pennsylvania is significant.

      The mission that sent Franklin to London in 1757 was an almost definitively colonial matter—a minor matter as far as the rest of the colonies were concerned, but one redolent of the kind of antagonisms that would be crippling British-American relations over the next several years, antagonisms with which Franklin would become all too familiar. He had been appointed as an agent (in effect, a lobbyist) by the Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania to represent its interests against the brothers Penn, sons of William, the founder of the colony of Pennsylvania, and in their own view the “True and Absolute Proprietors” of the original royal charter of 1681, with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto. Among those rights and privileges, the brothers Penn maintained, was that their own extensive landholdings should not be taxed at the same level as those of the common folk. The assembly disagreed, and Franklin’s mission in London was to persuade British officialdom that the assembly was right.

      He was an English patriot.

      His instructions from Pennsylvania reveal the steady transmutation of his agency into an ambassadorship-at-large.” During these early years Franklin felt that if proprietary rule could be changed to royal rule, all would be well. He felt a deep kinship with Britain and joined all Englishmen in celebration when General James Wolfe defeated the French in Quebec in September, 1759. “No one can rejoice more sincerely than I do,” he wrote Lord Kames, “on the Reduction of Canada; and this, not merely as I am a Colonist, but as I am a Briton. I have long been of Opinion, that the Foundations of the future Grandeur and Stability of the British Empire, lie in America; and tho”, like other Foundations, they are low and little seen, they are nevertheless, broad and Strong enough to support the greatest Political Structure Human Wisdom ever yet erected. I am therefore by no means for restoring Canada.” In April, 1760, he published his famous pro-Canada pamphlet, The Interest of Great Britain Considered , arguing that the return of Quebec to the French was not the way to peace.

      He attended the coronation of George III.

      A nice essay on his years in England.

    30. MCS Says:

      The riot in Austin didn’t seem to go off as planned:
      https://www.redstate.com/shipwreckedcrew/2020/08/02/overnight-riot-austin-edition-texas-police-dont-even-wait-for-the-sun-to-go-down/

      Austin is so blue as to be outside the visible spectrum but has to contend with a Governor that has his own police and more civil authority over local police than the President. As in Dallas, contained and broken up before much really happened.

      Here’s another interesting point of view:
      https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2020/08/is-leftism-an-actual-clinical-psychosis.php

      I’m not too sure pointing out that political adversaries might be crazy is productive. Especially if it’s true.

    31. MCS Says:

      Talk about multi-tasking, the Fed has decided to branch out into medical advice:
      https://thehill.com/policy/finance/510235-top-federal-reserve-official-says-us-needs-another-lockdown-to-save-economy?amp

      The way to save the economy is to: “I mean if we were to lock down really hard, I know I hate to even suggest it, people will be frustrated by it, but if we were to lock down hard for a month or six weeks, we could get the case count down so that our testing and our contact tracing was actually enough to control it the way that it’s happening in the Northeast right now,”

      It worked so well the first time. Maybe we should weld his door shut and come back in six weeks to see what he thinks? I assume he can work from home as long as enough other people are willing to deliver what he needs.

      He goes on to point out that interest rates are really low now so there is no possible problem with Congress continuing to spew trillions of dollars. Conveniently overlooking that the reason the rates are so low is that the Fed has been buying up debt to keep it that way. I wonder what the auctions would look like if they were real?

      With people like him in charge, that $1,000,000 loaf of bread is getting closer and closer.

    32. Jonathan Says:

      $1,000,000 loaf of bread

      No kidding. Who still remembers the 1970s much less the 1920s. The post-2008 QE didn’t cause inflation so let’s triple the dose and do it again. The fact that they got away with it means the political incentives to keep doing it are probably irresistible. Miscalculation leading to a bigger crisis than the ones they are trying to prevent seems a matter of time.

    33. MCS Says:

      Yeah, we’ll take another whack at killing any businesses we didn’t kill the first time. Don’t worry, we’ll keep passing out money until it’s all better. Never mind if the food supply chain implodes, we’ll just hand out more money. Surely, enough money will make up for crops that were never harvested or hauled to market because there was no fuel or machine parts. All the cattle, swine and poultry that couldn’t be fed or processed or distributed because there was no feed, no processing labor, no fuel. Enough money will solve anything.

      This is a guy that’s supposed to running the economy, we’re in the very best of hands.

    34. Mike-SMO Says:

      The economic discussions are cute, but “Flattening the Curve” translates to “Vaccination by Infection”. There is no real way to “lock down” the nation. No one except a few Mormon families have enough food in their basement to last until there is a vaccine. If food is distributed, by grocery cvlerks or the National Guard, the disease will spread. Unless there is a total lock down until there is a vaccine (Early to mid 2021) the first tourist or business traveler or diplomat will trigger a new surge of disease.

      There is a tiny percentage of all persons who die from the virus. Some day we will know why. Otherwise, the young shrug off the disease, the middle aged have an increase in hospitalizations, and only the very old with other medical problems have a high death rate.

      Modern Money Theory is trash since you can’t eat government paper. If the supply chain for food and fuel is trashed, people die. A lot of people. The way rto absolutely minimize death from the virus is to lock Granny in the basement and drop sanitized cans of hash and pork & beans down the laundry shute which Granny can warm in the clothes drier.

      The young (and even healthy middle aged) can continue to work and maintain the economy. Old farts, like me, have to be careful. The total number of “cases” doesn’t mean anything. I worked as a plumber to get money for college, have worked in hospitals, and have flown TWA. The rule is the same; wash your hands before you touch your face or your food. The plumbers’ version is a bit more “earthy”.

      I am retired (and thus useless) so I am careful. I can, if you have enough help, be locked in the basement until vaccine time. There is no need for the economically productive part of the population to be sequestered. The risk to life and health for the working population is minimal.

      The statistics are utter garbage. The U.S. government pays hospitals more for COVID-19, so every patient has it. In Italy, once the intensive care capability collapsed, everything was a COVID-19 death. Knife in the guts, steering column in the chest, but the ICU was overwhelmed, it was a COVID death. Don’t even get me started on the inept paper-shufflers at the CDC or the murders who put infected patients into nursing homes.

      “Flattening the Curve” was a fantastic decision and the only real option for a potentially lethal desease with unknown characteristics. I wondered who would be explaining that plan to the “troops”, because somebody was going to have to be in the front line trenches. Turns out that the Chinese Kung Flu was primarily a threat to geezers like me. The risk to others isn’t zero but most productive people can return to work to keep everyone alive, without much concern.

      The “lock down” and “Modern Monetary Theory” is for the commrads who could not otherwise destroy the U.S. economic system.

      Where is my dispenser for hand sanitizer?