A Poll of Entrepreneurs shows President Obama as one of the most Anti-Middle Class Presidents Ever

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 19th, 2013

Week in Review

This is the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  And it’s not George W. Bush’s fault.  Despite what he did to increase the size of government.  No.  The anemic recovery is due to President Obama.  And his anti-business policies (see Not open for business posted 10/12/2013 on The Economist).

America is not producing as many start-ups as it did a decade ago and those that have been created are providing fewer jobs—less than five each, compared with an historical average of about seven. Start-ups created 2.7m new jobs in the 2012 financial year compared with 4.7m in 1999.

The financial crisis clearly bears a lot of the blame for reducing America’s stock of capital and animal spirits. But it is only a partial explanation. The decline in the number of firms going public began in 2001. And these problems are continuing to delay the recovery despite the federal government pump-priming the economy and keeping interest rates near zero.

So there you have it.  Federal government pump-priming and near zero interest rates do NOT stimulate economic activity.  As these are the bedrock of Keynesian economics then Keynesian Economics does NOT work.  This is a problem for America.  Because President Obama and the liberal left are dyed-in-the-wool Keynesians.  And why are they Keynesian extremists despite the historical record of Keynesian failure?  Because Keynesian economics empowers Big Government.  That is, Keynesian economics favors those in power.  Not the people.

Three years ago John Dearie and Courtney Geduldig, who both worked for the Financial Services Forum, which represents America’s biggest financial institutions, came up with an inspired idea. Why not ask entrepreneurs themselves what is going wrong? Both big multinationals and established small firms have lots of representatives in Washington, DC. Entrepreneurs are too busy inventing their companies to spend time lobbying. The pair organised meetings and conducted lots of polls. Across a vast and diverse country they heard the same message from everyone they asked: entrepreneurship is in a parlous state. And everyone pointed to the same problems. The result is a new book, “Where the Jobs Are”, which should be dropped onto the heads of America’s squabbling politicians.

The first worry is over human capital. Entrepreneurs repeatedly complain that they cannot hire the right people because universities are failing to keep pace with a fast-changing job market. Small firms lack the resources to provide training and are consequently making do with fewer people working longer hours.

The problem with our educational system is that it teaches our young to become Democrat voters.  Not prepare them for a high-tech economy.  Our public schools teach our children about the evils and unfairness of capitalism while lauding the goodness and fairness of government.  Turning them from their parents who are selfishly destroying the planet with their global warming to the government.  Who is expanding further and further into the private sector to save the polar bears.  And when our kids get to college our system of higher education takes it up a notch.  Attacking the history and the culture that made America the greatest country in the world.  So our college graduates can tell you every bad thing America has ever done but they lack the math and science skills that our high-tech economy so desperately needs.  Forcing businesses to turn to immigrants for those skills.

Immigrants are responsible for launching about half the country’s most successful start-ups and producing a striking number of its patents. But the authorities do their best to drive them out of the country once they have been educated or to break their spirits on the visa treadmill…

The second problem is the complexity and cost of government. Entrepreneurs the world over complain about regulations and taxes. But America’s have lots to gripe about: in 2009-11 the Obama administration issued 106 new regulations each expected to have an economic impact of at least $100m a year. Besides this business founders suffer from the constant political uncertainty generated by a combination of ambitious new legislation, such as Obamacare, and ideological trench warfare. The Vanguard Group, an asset-management firm, calculates that since 2011 Washington’s bickering politicians have imposed, in effect, a $261 billion uncertainty tax that has cost up to 1m new jobs.

Any administration that raises taxes and issues 106 new regulations is no friend of small business, jobs or the middle class.  Therefore President Obama is no friend of small business, jobs or the middle class.  No matter how much he says that he is.  If you want to know why this is the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression it’s because of the Keynesian in the White House.  And the Keynesians in Congress.  That are waging a war on small business, jobs and the middle class.

The financial crisis has worsened the third problem: raising money. Over 70% of new businesses are launched using savings or assets—particularly houses. The crisis reduced the average net wealth of American households by about 40%. Business founders repeatedly mention other problems too. Venture capitalists are increasingly risk-averse. The Sarbanes-Oxley act imposes additional costs of $1m a year on public companies. Investors no longer bother with “growth stocks” because there is more money to be made in making lots of big trades in established firms. The dramatic decline in the number of firms going public since 2001 is worrying because, over the past four decades, more than 90% of jobs created by start-ups came into being after they went public…

Fixing the small-business problem should be at the top of the political agenda. Some 22m workers are either unemployed or underemployed, or have given up looking for work. If it continues to generate new jobs at its current anaemic rate, America will not return to pre-recession employment levels until 2020. The country is lucky that entrepreneurship is part of its DNA. It seems perverse to put unnecessary obstacles in the path of people whose ambition is to found businesses and hire new workers.

Yes, we should put fixing the small-business problem at the top of the political agenda.  Which the Republicans recently tried by defunding Obamacare.  And reining in out of control spending.  But as this would be a check on the growth of government the Democrats shut down the government before letting that happen.  For they will have their taxes, regulations and spending.  And the middle class be damned.  For theirs is a government of the ruling elite, by the ruling elite and for the ruling elite.

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Government Officials want Businesses to do their Social Duty after making it so Difficult for them to Earn a Profit

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 27th, 2013

Week in Review

You know a country is intervening too much into the private sector economy when they start saying things like this (see Hiring UK workers ‘more important’ than profit, Matthew Hancock indicates by Peter Dominiczak posted 7/26/2013 on The Telegraph).

Mr Hancock, the business and skills minister, has said that companies have a “social duty” to employ young British workers rather than better-qualified immigrants.

He said that employers should be prepared to invest in training British staff rather than simply looking for “pure profit”.

“During the last boom there was a lot of recruitment from abroad and, in fact, youth unemployment went up, even during the boom.

“This is about a change of culture. I’m arguing that it is companies’ social responsibility, it is their social duty, to look at employing locally first.

“That may mean that they have to do more training. It may mean more training in hard skills, in specific skills. Or it may mean training in the wherewithal, the character you need in order to hold down a job.

Of course, the question that gets begged to ask is this.  Why do the immigrants have better training in hard skills, have better training in specific skills and have the character to hold down a job?  Why is it that the British youth is not as employable as these immigrants?  Is it the British educational system?  What exactly are these other countries doing better than Britain that their people are better qualified for these jobs?  Or is it that these immigrants are just older and more responsible and desperate for work?  As there is no generous welfare state in their country to support them in their unemployment?  Has the government created an environment where businesses have to turn to better-qualified immigrants?

If Mr. Hancock thinks business should hire people based on social duty instead of what’s best for the bottom line then why doesn’t he show these businesses how it’s done.  Let him create a business that hires based on social duty instead of profit.  Of course, without profit it will require Mr. Hancock to use more and more of his personal funds to finance business operations.  Such as paying to train those unqualified workers.  But I’m guessing he won’t do that.  Because he’s a government official.  And will only risk the taxpayers’ money.  Force businesses to take greater risk with their money (by operating at a lower profit level due to higher taxes and regulatory costs).  But he won’t risk his money.  No.  Anything but that.  But he’s perfectly okay with everyone else risking theirs.

Perhaps this is the reason why these immigrants are better qualified for these jobs.  People in government managing the private sector economy who don’t know the first thing about business.  But think they do.  And have no idea of just how ignorant they are.

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President Obama’s Anti-Business Economic Policies Responsible for Rise in Gun Crime

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 6th, 2013

Week in Review

Following the Sandy Hook Shooting, the Aurora movie theater shooting, the shooting of Gabriella Giffords in Tucson, etc., there has been a movement by those on the left to push for gun control.  Because guns were to blame for all of these shootings.  Not the shooters.  President Obama and other Democrats said it was elementary.  Get rid of the guns and you get rid of these crimes.  For without these guns these shooters would have been placid and congenial members of their community.  Greeting their fellow citizens with friendly salutations and helping little old ladies cross the street.  Yes, that’s the world we could have.  According to Democrats.  If only we get rid of our guns (see Wave of street violence shakes Baltimore by Justin Fenton, Justin George and Luke Broadwater posted 6/29/2013 on The Baltimore Sun).

The ongoing violence — three more shootings, one of them fatal, occurred Saturday — is calling attention once again to Baltimore’s homicide rate and gun violence problem, which had been in decline in recent years. Last year, however, the number of people killed in Baltimore increased 10 percent. And at the midpoint of 2013 the number of homicides — 117 — is the highest in six years, raising questions about whether the city is backsliding.

Other cities have seen a similar trend, though crime rates have dropped significantly in Washington, New York and Dallas. Last year, violent crime rose in the United States for the first time in six years, with the largest increases occurring in cities like Baltimore with populations between 500,000 and 1 million, where homicides increased 12 percent. Among cities in that population range, Oklahoma City, Louisville, San Francisco and Memphis saw significant percentage increases, though none has a murder rate approaching Baltimore’s…

So there had been a decline in gun crime in “recent years.”  Odd.  I don’t recall any new gun control legislation in “recent years” to account for that decline in gun crime.  If guns cause gun crime than any fall in gun crime must correspond to new laws restricting gun ownership.  At least, according to those on the left.  Yet we’ve had a decline in gun crime without a corresponding rise in restrictions to gun ownership.  Puzzling.  Because those on the left say that this is just impossible.  For if we can have a fall in gun crime without new gun control legislation then all of their arguments to pass new gun control legislation are nothing but lies.  Which they probably are.  For there are other reasons for a rise in crime.

“We can’t stop, we can’t let up, because I know there’s still a lot of active gangs, and as long as those gangs are still in business, you have the potential for crime,” [Jim] Graham [Washington City Councilman] said…

And it’s not just because of job growth in those cities, Roman suggested. Huge surges of immigrants filling those cities have contributed to lowering crime, he said. Immigrants move into blighted areas and create cohesive communities with low crime — contrary to stereotypes that such communities cause societal problems, he said.

“It’s about racial and economic segregation,” Roman said. “It’s about immigration and gentrification…”

So it’s not guns but racial and economic segregation.  And gentrification.  In other words government is the cause for this rise in gun crime.  For their anti-business economic policies cause unemployment.  Especially for the unskilled.  And the young.  These policies are responsible for urban decay.  They first chased businesses out of their cities.  And those who did not follow the jobs went instead on government subsistence.  Giving these people little reason to get out of bed in the morning.  Little reason to work on any job skill.  But they only subsist on government subsistence.  While having a lot of spare time on their hands.  Where they spend time thinking about a better life.  A better life that takes more money than the government gives them.  So they turn to gangs.  And the drug trade.

Meanwhile immigrants move into little pockets of distressed areas.  Because it’s all they can afford.  And they work hard.  Building a business.  And a community.  Among themselves.  Leaving those on government subsistence on the outside looking in.  Meanwhile affluent middle class move into areas with great potential.  Areas on the water.  Old warehouse districts.  Etc.  Build them up.  And push their little borders out.  Displacing those remaining in what little was remaining of their old neighborhoods into other distressed neighborhoods.  Creating that racial and economic segregation.  And gentrification.

Ander said [Chicago] appears to have headed off a sustained increase in gun violence by broadening its approach to include funding for school-based programs for at-risk youth and a private-sector fundraising drive to expand other youth programs.

“If you rely only on the police to suppress and reduce crime, there are other unintended costs,” she said, referring to policies that strain relations with the public…

Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League and mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002, said Baltimore’s crime is an economic problem that many cities struggle with. One in four residents in Baltimore lives under the poverty line, and the unemployment rate was 10 percent at the end of May.

A major factor is unemployment among youth and young adults, Morial said. “So when you take the illegal narcotics and trafficking in dope, and on top of that you have easy access to guns combined with high unemployment and very difficult economic conditions, it exacerbates the problem.”

In these cities with high rates of gun crime it is often black on black crime.  Those left behind by any urban renewal.  Some who have nothing but gangs and drugs to turn to.  So you have armed gang members on the streets.  Often of one racial group.  But police don’t dare be proactive.  Trying to ward off potential crime.  With programs like ‘stop and frisk’.  Because that will only strain relations between the police and the communities they’re trying to protect.  For these people have enough to deal with without turning their communities into police states.

Easy access to guns?  Yes.  That is a problem when criminals have easy access to guns.  But taking away the guns will not prevent people from becoming criminals.  If it did they would not be broadening their approach to reach at-risk youth.  Which is clearly an admission that it is not the guns.  But an environment that places youth at risk.  An environment created by anti-business economic policies.  Especially since President Obama entered office.  For his policies have given us the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  With Obamacare being at the top of the list of those anti-business policies.  With his energy policies a close second.  Causing businesses to stop hiring people.  The source of all these cities’ crime problems.

So who is responsible for this rise in gun crime?  Those who have put forward anti-business economic policies.  That have left our cities with high unemployment rates.  Giving these gangs a lot of recruits.  So it is President Obama who is responsible for the rise in gun crime that occurred during his administration.  Those who campaigned for him.  The mainstream media who protected him and dispensed his propaganda.  And those who elected him to office.  All share responsibility for the economic decline during the Obama presidency.  Which has caused this increase in gun crime.  For there is no better way to help at-risk unemployed people than by giving them jobs.

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FT166: “Multiculturalism celebrates are differences while breeding anti-American terrorists.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 19th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Entrepreneurial Spirit gave America the Economic Prowess to spend the Soviet Union into the Ash Heap of History

Immigrants used to come to the United States with great enthusiasm.  They were excited that they were going to be an American.  They wanted to assimilate.  They learned their American history.  Better than most people born in the United States.  When they took the oath of citizenship a euphoric joy filled them.  For having fulfilled their greatest dream.  If they heard their family members speak the language of their birth country they rebuked them sternly.  And told them, “We’re American now.  Speak English.”

Yes, there was great pride in becoming an American.  As immigrants saw America as Ronald Reagan saw it.  A shining city upon a hill.  Whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere.  People in the Old World yearned for the freedom of the New World.  Religious freedom.  Freedom from an oppressive government.  Economic freedom.  Where everyone had the same chance to be whatever they wanted to be no matter who their parents were.  For in America there was no privilege.  Just hard work.  And the ability to keep the fruit of all your labors.  This is the American dream.  This is why they came to this shining city upon a hill.

Immigrants wanted to assimilate.  They wanted to think of themselves as Americans.  For it meant something.  Something special.  It meant you were a citizen of the greatest country in the world.  For individual liberty unleashed great prosperity.  An entrepreneurial spirit.  American ingenuity.  Making America the leader in new technology.  Making work less tedious.  And life more enjoyable.  Giving America the highest standard of living.  Great food surpluses that let America feed the world.  And the military power to defeat Nazism and stand up to communism.  And the economic prowess to spend the Soviet Union into the ash heap of history.

Our Public Schools teach our Children that we Stole the Land from the Native Americans and got Rich on Slave Labor

People came to America to be Americans.  They remembered their culture.  But their culture did not identify who they were.  They were Americans.  Not hyphenated Americans.  As Theodore Roosevelt said, “In this country we have no place for hyphenated Americans.”  We were not Italian-Americans.  We were not Polish-Americans.  We were not Irish-Americans.  We were not German-Americans.  We were Americans.

Our public schools once taught our children about the Founding.  The abuses of European monarchies.  Unjust taxation.  And the perverse powers of privilege.  Things the Founding Fathers found abhorrent.  The Founding Fathers knew the history of Greece and Rome.  King John and Magna Carta.  And the English Civil War was not that distant from their time.  They were students of the Enlightenment.  They read Adam Smith.  Believed in laissez-faire economics.  And championed limited government.  When they formed a new country they drew from this vast pool of knowledge.  And made the greatest country in the world.  One with religious freedom but based on Judeo-Christian values.  A country so great that rulers of other nations wanted to hinder its ascension to further greatness.  While the people living under those rulers wanted to be Americans.

This experiment in self-government had some growing pains.  We were not perfect.  But we were far more perfect than any other government out there.  But our public schools don’t teach that today.  Instead, they teach our children that the Founders stole the land from the Native Americans.  That we stole our southern land and California from the Mexicans.  Who gained their independence from Spain who colonized these lands.  Land they had stolen from the native people who were living on it at the time.  (Interestingly, when the Mexicans gained their independence from a European power the land belonged to the Mexicans.  But when the Americans gained their independence from a European power the land belonged to someone else.)  That we stole Cuba and the Philippines from the Spanish.  Who stole it from the people living on these lands when they arrived and stole it.  Yet it is the Americans who were an imperialist power stealing land.  Never the Mexicans or the Spanish.  And, of course, that America grew rich and powerful thanks to free slave labor.  Despite that very same economic system causing the South to lose the American Civil War.

The American Educational System failed to make Dzhokhar Tsarnaev NOT burn with a Seething Hatred of America

Then the attacks on capitalism came.  The system that made America great.  All of a sudden it was unfair.  It was unjust.  And it exploited the poor to help the rich get richer.  A better system was socialism.  For it was fair.  It was just.  Because it put people before profits.  (Just ask those who lived in the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China under Mao, North Korea, Cuba and the people who lived behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe how wonderful it was to live where they put people before profits.  Here’s a hint.  A lot of these people were shot while trying to escape their social utopia).  Unlike the most evil thing in the world.  The corporation.  Who underpaid their workers.  Raped the land of its natural resources.  And polluted the environment.  So not only were they evil for pursuing profits they were evil for exploiting both people and the planet.  So we needed more government to regulate capitalism.  And those evil corporations.  So our children learned the evils of capitalism and the goodness of government in our public schools and universities.  Where their teachers and professors taught them all of the badness of the United States.  While glossing over all of its goodness.  Imbuing some shame into our students for being American.  Even making some burn with a seething hatred of the United States.

And so began the diversity movement.  And multiculturalism.  If America was so shameful we should not celebrate what unified us as Americans.  But we should celebrate our differences.  We no longer celebrated the things people immigrated to the United States for.  But the things they fled in the countries they emigrated from.  We are no longer Americans.  We are now hyphenated Americans.  And it was the thing preceding the hyphen that made us great now.  Not being American.  Because America had a shameful past.  And had a long way to go to atone for her sins.  Making a lot of hatred of America now home-grown.  Especially in the American universities.  Where radicals from the Sixties who wanted to overthrow capitalism and replace it with socialism now write the curriculum.  And these radical professors disparaged judgmental Christianity every chance they could.  For they liked the sex and drugs of their Me generation.  Mocking the Judeo-Christian values that made America great.  Something those who were not Christians ate up.

So the American university system is a hotbed of anti-American sentiment.  Perhaps explaining why some of the greatest terrorist attacks on American soil were perpetrated by people educated in the United States.  Such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  Architect and mastermind of a series of terrorist attacks.  Including the attacks on 9/11.  Who attended college in North Carolina.  Earning a degree in mechanical engineering.  And Anwar al-Awlaki.  Who earned a degree in civil engineering from Colorado State University.  He also studied education leadership at San Diego State University.  And worked on a doctorate at George Washington University.  Then moved to Yemen and became the Osama bin Laden of the Internet.  And then we have the Boston Marathon bombers.  Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.  Who immigrated to the United States about a decade ago.  With Dzhokhar being so young he probably has no memories of his native Chechnya.  A hotbed of radical Islamist terrorism.  Locked in a bitter war with Christian Russia.  Where barbarous acts in that conflict have rivaled the atrocities of the Eastern Front in World War II.  Yet he burned with such a seething hatred of an America founded on Judeo-Christian values that he could place a bomb next to an 8 year old child.  A seething hatred he learned from someone while living in America.  Either directly from the American educational system.  Or indirectly as that educational system failed to make him NOT burn with a seething hatred of America.

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2012 Endorsements: Abraham Lincoln

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 25th, 2012

2012 Election

The Slave Owners were the Social Elite and Holders of Political Power Similar to the Aristocracy in European Feudalism

General Motors (GM) required a government bailout and bankruptcy protection because of rising labor costs that prevented them from selling enough cars at a price to cover their costs while being profitable.  Their problem goes back to FDR.  During the Great Depression his government placed a ceiling on wages.  To encourage companies to hire more people.  By paying more people less money instead of fewer people more money.  So businesses had to do something else to attract the best employees.  And the employee benefit was born.  Pensions and health care benefits.  That were very generous when there was no competition and car companies could sell cars at whatever price they chose.  But that wasn’t the case in the 21st century.  Competition put great cost pressures on those companies with rising health care and pension costs.  And the job bank paying for workers who didn’t work.  Until they could be put back to work.  Adding a lot of costs to each car.  And sending GM into bankruptcy.

Slavery as an economic model had a similar problem.  High costs.  Which goes contrary to the public perception that slave labor was free labor.  George Washington wanted to sell his slaves and hire paid-laborers.  Because his slave families had grown so large.  So he had a growing slave population.  But they all weren’t working.  The young children could not do the work of a young man in his working prime.  Nor could the elderly.  Or the sick or infirmed.  (Who he couldn’t sell along with the healthier and stronger ones in their families.  So he kept his slaves, keeping those families together.  Freeing them upon the death of his wife.  And including provisions in his will to help them integrate into free society.  Giving them some job skills to help them find gainful employment so they could care for their young, elderly, sick and infirmed.)  Yet Washington was feeding them all.  While the growing amount of food they ate couldn’t go to market.  As the years passed his costs went up and his revenue fell.  Just like at GM.  For both had long-term labor commitments that became more inefficient over time.  Which is why slavery was a dying institution in the United States.  The industrial North was slave-free.  As they used more efficient paid-laborers.  Drawing a lot of immigrants to those northern factories.  And slavery was dying out in the South.  Until the cotton gin came along.  Allowing workers to comb (separating the seeds from the fiber) huge amounts of cotton at a time.  Greatly opening the market for that labor-intensive cotton crop.

The typical image of the South in 1860 is endless plantations each with hundreds of slaves working the fields.  Which is wrong.  Most people worked a small family farm.  In fact, most of the Confederate soldiers who fought in the American Civil War came from those small family farms and never owned a slave in their life.  The actual numbers of large slaveholders will probably surprise you.  Approximately 0.84% of the southern population owned at least 20 slaves.  Only 0.05% of the southern population owned at least 100 slaves.  And the number of big plantations owning at least 500 slaves?  Twelve.  So it was a very small population that had a vested interest in the institution of slavery.  Yet the South seceded from the union over the issue of slavery.  Why?  Because of who those slave owners were.  The social elite and holders of political power.  The Planter Elite.  People similar to the aristocracy in European feudalism.  An Old World nobility.  The very wealthy few who ruled the South.  And for awhile they ruled the United States thanks to an unfair advantage they had in the House of Representatives.  Where they determined their representation by not only counting the free population but by counting every slave as 3/5 a free person as well.  And this southern nobility was determined to maintain their aristocracy.

Popular Sovereignty created a Bloodbath in Kansas as ‘Free’ and ‘Slave’ People raced there to Settle the State

Which was easier said than done.  Because of that industrial growth in the north attracting so many immigrants that they swelled the northern population.  Transferring control of the House from the South to the North.  Which left only the Senate (and the presidency) for the South.  As each state got two senators the race was on to admit free and slave states to the union.  Which didn’t really solve anything.  It only made the differences between the North and the South greater.  And intensified the bad feelings between the North and the South.  The North was full of abolitionist busybodies trying to tell southerners how to live.  While the southerners were a bunch of immoral slaveholders.  Bringing shame to the nation that was supposedly a place where all men were created equal.   Words enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.  Words written incidentally by a southern slaveholder.  It was finally time to address the nation’s original sin.

Congress passed the Missouri Compromise (1820) after Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Territory from the French.  Adding a lot of new land to form states from.  The compromise prohibited slavery north of the border between Arkansas and Missouri (except in the state of Missouri).  They added new states in pairs.  A free state.  And a slave state.  Maintaining the balance of power in Congress.  Then came Kansas and Nebraska.  Both above the Missouri Compromise line.  Well, that meant two new free states.  And a change in the balance of power.  Which the South couldn’t have.  So Senator Stephen Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act.  And the idea of popular sovereignty.  The idea of letting the people in these new states decide for themselves if they should be a free state or a slave state.  Creating a bloodbath in Kansas as ‘free’ and ‘slave’ people raced there to settle the state.  Fighting and intimidating each other so they would be the ones to vote on making Kansas free or slave.  It was anarchy.

Abraham Lincoln had reentered politics in 1854 to campaign for fellow Whig Richard Yates.  Who opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act.  Democrat Stephen Douglas was making a series of speeches in Illinois.  In response to one of Stephens’ speeches Lincoln gave his Peoria speech.  In commenting on letting slavery into Nebraska and Kansas Lincoln said, “I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery itself.  I hate it because it deprives our republican example of its just influence in the world—enables the enemies of free institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as hypocrites—causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our sincerity and especially because it forces so many really good men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental principles of civil liberty—criticizing the Declaration of Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of action but self-interest.”

If Lincoln were Alive Today he would Likely Endorse the Republican Candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan

The fallout from the Kansas-Nebraska Act splintered existing political parties apart.  Created new ones that disappeared later.  And gave birth to the new Republican Party.  The party of George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln.  Who became the leading spokesman of the party.  The Republicans lost the 1856 presidential election but won majorities in most of the northern states.  Tipping the balance of power further away from the South.  When Lincoln won his party’s nomination to run for senator in 1858 he gave his ‘House Divided Speech’ saying, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.”

When slave Dred Scott traveled to a free state with his owner his owner died.  Scott said he was then a free man.  The Supreme Court thought otherwise.  Saying that Scott was still a slave because neither Congress nor any territory legislature had the authority to change that.  Which meant no one could restrict the movement of slaves because no one had the right to restrict the movement of private property.  Thus opening all the new territories to slavery.  Making the South very happy.  While infuriating the North.  Who refused to enforce slave laws on the books like the Fugitive Slave Law.  A provision included in the Compromise of 1850 for the states’ rights South.  That called for the federal government to force northerners to return slaves or face arrest and penalties.  States’ legislatures in the North passed laws saying a slave living in a free state was a free man.  The Supreme Court struck down these laws.  Favoring southern states’ rights over northern states’ rights.  So the states just refused to help the federal government in any prosecution of a violation of the Fugitive Slave Law.  Then abolitionist John Brown’s failed slave revolt at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, further angered the South.

Then came the 1860 presidential election.  That Abraham Lincoln won.  Which was the last straw.  The South lost both Congress and the presidency.  Worse, the new president, though not an outright abolitionist, opposed the expansion of slavery.  Leaving the South with one last option.  Secession.  Which they did.  Leading to the American Civil War.  Which the South lost because of everything they believed in.  For an Old World nobility just could not defeat a modern industrial power.  Lincoln won because he had modern factories building whatever he needed.  The northern economy was large and diverse providing war financing.  Railroads crisscrossed the North.  A large navy controlled the interior rivers and blockaded the southern ports.  Cutting off the South from the outside world and starving it.  When the South desperately pursued the British for recognition Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.  Making it impossible for Britain to ally itself with a nation fighting for the institution of slavery.

No president entered office with a heavier burden than President Lincoln.  Standing on principle he made the hard decisions.  Becoming the most hated sitting president of all time.  He did not look for an easy solution like every other politician had up to his time.  Only making the inevitable solution more costly.  And more painful.  He would do what had to be done.  Regardless the price he would pay.  Politically.  Or personally.  A cost so high that it made him a one term president thanks to an assassin’s bullet.  He didn’t base his decisions on the polls.  Or populist movements.  But on principles.  Drawn from the Constitution.  And the Declaration of Independence.  As well as the Bible.  So if he were alive today who would he endorse in the current election?  He would, of course, support his party.  Out of party loyalty.  And because it tends to stand on principle more than the Democrat Party.  Which often used an activist Supreme Court to get what they couldn’t get in the legislature.  Which tends to use populist movements and character assassination to advance their agenda.  Such as the so-called war on women to scare women into voting Democrat because they can’t persuade them to based on a successful track record in office.  Also, the Republicans are more pro-business and more pro-military.  Which gives you the ability to win civil wars.  And other wars.  As well as protecting US security interests around the world.  Maintaining peace through strength.  For anything was preferable to the hell he went through during the four long years of the Civil War.  And to have so much blood on his hands.  The war being so horrific because of a policy of continued failed diplomacy when there was simply no common ground.  He said that there was only one of two possible outcomes.  All free.  Or all slave.  And he was right.  But it took someone willing to be the most hated sitting president to have the courage to act to bring about the inevitable.  So if Lincoln were alive today he would likely endorse the Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.  Not the party that wants to delay the inevitable by refusing to address the systemic problems of Medicare and Social Security.  And a growing welfare state.  Systems a declining population growth rate can no longer fund.  Because aging populations bankrupt nations with expanding welfare programs.  Just like an aging workforce can bankrupt a car company like GM.

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Asian Immigration to the United States surpasses Hispanic Immigration

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 23rd, 2012

Week in Review

Most people believe that President Obama’s recent executive order allowing children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship without further fear of deportation was purely a political move to help his reelection chances.  If so he may have gained the Hispanic vote.  But he may lose the Asian vote (see Asian immigrants to U.S. surpass Hispanics for first time by Dylan Stableford posted 6/19/2012 on Yahoo! News).

Asians have surpassed Hispanics as the largest group of new immigrants to the United States, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

The study, called “The Rise of Asian Americans” and released on Tuesday, reveals that Asian-Americans also have the highest income, are the best educated and are the fastest-growing racial group in America…

The influx of Asians reflects “a slowdown in illegal immigration while American employers increase their demand for high-skilled workers,” the Associated Press said.

 “The educational credentials of these recent [Asian] arrivals are striking,” the report said. Sixty-one percent of 25-to-64-year-old Asian immigrants come with at least a bachelor’s degree—more than double non-Asian immigrants, making the recent Asian arrivals “the most highly educated cohort of immigrants in U.S. history.”

The study also found that Asian-Americans are “more satisfied than the general public with their lives, finances and the direction of the country, and they place a greater value on marriage, parenthood, hard work and career success.”

Jon Stewart joked on the Daily Show that Mexicans are doing the jobs Americans don’t want to do.  And Asians are doing the jobs Americans can’t do.  It’s funny because there is some truth in that.  People are hiring illegal immigrants because they can hire them cheaper than Americans.  And because they’re here illegally they’re hesitant to complain.  For fear of deportation.  While the Asians are arriving with a college degree in their pocket.  And smarter than the average American.  Probably because their universities teach worthwhile degrees unlike many of the American universities.  While Americans party their way through college taking the easier liberal arts and social sciences the Asians are taking math and science and doing a lot of homework.  Which is why American high-tech companies can’t hire enough of these new Americans.

Apart from the education there is little difference between the Hispanics and the Asians.  Most of the illegal Mexicans coming to America are coming to provide a better life for their families.  Willing to take jobs Americans don’t want because they place great value on family and hard work.  Just like the Asians.  When you get down to it the Hispanics and the Asians share a lot of conservative values.  And neither is looking for a handout.  They want jobs. 

So it will be interesting to see who these people will vote for.  Will conservative Catholic Hispanics vote Democrat out of gratitude for this new path to citizenship?  Will Asians coming here legally vote for the party that allows others to skip what they had to do to become citizens?  Or will they both vote for the party more in keeping with their values?  Which you would have to say lean Republican.

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LESSONS LEARNED #29: “The problem with doing what is best for the common good is that few can agree on what the common good is.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 2nd, 2010

COYOTE UGLY

We’ve all heard the joke.  What’s coyote ugly?  That’s when you wake up with an extremely ugly person in bed lying on your arm.  After a night of heavy drinking.  You’re fairly certain you had sex.  You’re not 100% sure because you can’t remember anything.  But here the two of you are.  Naked.  The circumstantial evidence is pretty damning.  You want to get out.  Fast.  Instead of waking your lover, you chew your arm off so you can slip away quietly.  Like a coyote will do if caught in a steel-jaw trap.

The lesson here is, of course, to drink in moderation.  For when we drink to excess, we sometimes do things we wouldn’t normally do sober.  But we do.  Drink to excess.  And get drunk.  And, boy, when we do, some of us really do.  Make a real mess of their lives, too.  You see, drunken husbands do not make happy wives.  Or good fathers.  Especially when drunken husbands beat up their wives, spend their paychecks at the corner saloon, have sex with prostitutes and catch syphilis (which they then pass on to their wives and soon to be born children). 

For these reasons, wives have been behind various temperance movements throughout history.  And they have had modest success.  If you ever found yourself in a dry county thirsting for an adult beverage, you can thank these ladies.  But Prohibition?  That’s a different story.  That took Big Government.  The Progressives.  Who thought they knew best what was for the common good.

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO

Wives have suffered unfairly from the affects of alcohol.  But during the 19th century, their power was limited.  They had to rely on grass-roots movements.  And their churches.  Which had moral authority as we were much more religious back then.  Most drunken husbands knew they were behaving poorly.  When sober.  But things changed in the 20th century.  The powers of the government grew.  This power and new sciences (like eugenics) made some believe they could make a better society by passing enlightened laws.  (And make better people in the case of eugenics).

We call it social engineering.  Using the power of the state to change human behavior.  Well, change it for those who are not apparatchiks of the state.  The elite Progressives, including the ladies of high society, still drank.  For it wasn’t illegal to drink adult beverages.  Only to manufacture, sell, or transport them.  So it was the poorer elements of society who felt the impact of Prohibition.  And the immigrants.  Who the social elites blamed for all the drinking woes.  For people in their strata of society didn’t have drinking problems.  So there was no reason to punish them.  The elites.  They weren’t the problem.  It was the poor.  And the immigrants.  They’re the ones government needed to keep from drinking themselves to ruin.

So while the elites still enjoyed their intoxicating beverages in the safety of their mansions and clubs, Al Capone and other bootleggers fought for turf.  For control of the illegal liquor trade.  Shooting each other with Thompson Machine Guns in our public streets.  That’s a .45 caliber round.  It makes big holes.  And shatters bone.  A lot of these rounds were flying through our public streets.  And they hit more than just gangsters.

Prohibition modified some behavior.  But at great cost.  Congress repealed it in 1933.  In part to stem the liquor violence.  And part because the Great Depression was too depressing sober.

JUST SAY NO

I once worked at a small office in a bad part of town.  One day a woman knocked on the door.  She asked if that ‘short guy’ that opens the gates in the morning was around.  I said no.  Then she asked me if I wanted to have a little fun.  I said, “Thank you, but no.”  My secretary had come to the door while I was talking to her.  After I closed the door, she told me that woman just lost a lot of weight.  And that she probably had AIDS.

Women like her were common in the neighborhood.  They sold sex for drug money.  When they weren’t with a John they were getting high.  Men, too.  One time, this 6-foot-plus behemoth in a skirt was walking in the street shouting something incoherent.  Our driver discovered he was a guy.  When he lunged through his open window while turning at the corner.  I don’t know what scared him more.  The assault.  Or the fact that she was a he. 

By the way, that short guy that opens the gates?  He was married.  And had a couple of daughters.  God only knows what he gave his wife.

Drug addiction is not good.  No one’s life ever got better by being addicted to drugs.  None of these people ever planned on drug addiction.  It just happened.  Somehow.  One day you’re just partying with some friends.  Then the next thing you know you’re turning tricks or stealing to support your habit.  If you have money it’s a different story.  Then you can party until you kill yourself.  John Belushi overdosed from a heroin/cocaine cocktail called a speedball.  Chris Farley, too.  It’s unlikely that the speedball was their first high.  They probably started out with something less potent.  Like marijuana.  The entry drug of choice.  Only when that drug loses its charm do people step up to something a little more potent. 

Of course, if you don’t start, chances are you won’t move up to something more potent.  This was the idea behind Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug program.  Stop the kids from starting.  To resist peer pressure.  To just say no.  Her program did modify some behavior.  Kids did use fewer drugs.  But she was Ronald Reagan’s wife.  The Left didn’t like him.  Or her.  So they ridiculed her program as being simplistic.  Discontinued it.  And drug use by kids increased.

GANGSTA’S PARADISE

Like Capone and his fellow bootleggers, the illegal drug trade is controlled by gangs.  And they, too, fight over turf.  But those involved at the street level of the drug trade today are a lot younger.  During the days of Prohibition, kids played with toy guns.  Today, they’re playing with real guns.  Not so much playing but killing each other.  And innocent bystanders.  In drive-by shootings.  Why?  Because drugs get you money.  And money gets you power.  Put all that together and it’s very seductive to kids from broken homes in the hood.  Who have nothing.  And have nothing to lose.  It’s almost romantic.  Fighting.  And dying.  A regular gangster.  Living in a gangster paradise.

Once in, though, it’s hard to get out.  The song Gangsta’s Paradise (by Coolio featuring L.V. from the 1995 Movie Dangerous Minds) laments about that paradise.  “Tell me why are we so blind to see.  That the ones we hurt are you and me.”

You get higher up in the echelon and the violence gets worse.  You can see that on America’s southern border.  And further south.  Kidnappings.  Beheadings.  And other unspeakable things.  Because of the big money in illegal drugs.  Like there was in bootlegging.  Make something illegal that people still want and will buy, and that something becomes a very profitable commodity indeed.

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

So what’s the answer?  What is the best course of action for the common good?  We can keep drugs illegal.  And continue to fight the war on drugs.  And watch the violence escalate as people fight to control this illicit trade.  Or we can decriminalize drugs.  Make them easily accessible.  And cheap.  The drug gangs would go the way of the bootlegger gangs.  And the crack/meth whore in the street won’t have to perform as many sexual acts to support her habit.

Alcohol is legal today.  And there are a lot of social costs because of that.  But the majority of people who do drink are not driving under the influence or beating their wives.  Or getting syphilis from a prostitute hanging out at the corner saloon.  Wouldn’t it be the same for drugs?

Kids drink.  Even though they can’t legally buy alcohol.  But the worse thing they can do is kill someone while driving a car.  Or get killed in a car driven by another drunken kid.  Or kill themselves from binge drinking.  Or get pregnant because they got drunk at a party.  Or get infected with a venereal disease because they got drunk at a party and had sex.  These are very bad things.  But they’re not an addiction.  Sure, you can become an alcoholic, but a lot of kids don’t like the taste of the adult beverages they’re consuming.  They’re just doing it for the party buzz.  And vomiting after.  It takes awhile, for some, to get over that hump where those awful tasting beverages don’t taste so awful anymore.  But drugs?  They’re tasteless.  There isn’t a delivery system ‘hump’ to get over.  Which makes the addiction process that much easier.  And where there is only one kind of drunk, there are all sorts of highs.  New and different drugs to explore.  When you get bored with the drug du jour.  So, no.  It probably wouldn’t be the same with alcohol.  It would probably be worse.

THE LESSER OF EVILS

Often the choice comes down to a lesser of evils.  So, to do what is best for the common good, we just need to determine which is the lesser evil.  So which is worse?  The violence from trying to keep something illegal?  Or the social costs of decriminalizing something that is already causing a lot of harm while being illegal?  It comes down to what you, as an individual, think.  And that is, must be, a subjective decision.  And therein lays the problem of choosing what is best for the common good.  It’s an opinion.  Choices aren’t right or wrong.  There’re just different opinions.

And that’s why so few can agree on what is best for the common good.  Different people think different things are better.  And different things are worse.  And, at best, they can agree to disagree.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #29: “The problem with doing what is best for the common good is that few can agree on what the common good is.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 31st, 2010

CHOOSING IS EASY WHEN ONLY ONE IS CHOOSING

Lunch groups can be a pain in the you-know-what.  Ass.  I mean, if you’re hungry, you can go and eat whatever you want.  If you want pasta you can eat pasta.  But if you’re dragging 3 others with you, there’s a chance at least one of them doesn’t want pasta.  He or she may want Thai.  And be the only one who wants Thai.  Another may be trying to lose weight and wants a healthy vegetable sub.  Which may be the last thing someone wants if they have their heart set on a good, juicy piece of dead cow.

So you know what happens.  You don’t have pasta, Thai, the sub shop or the steakhouse.  You end up going to that greasy diner that smells like an old, unwashed ashtray.  The food’s not that bad and they have a huge menu.  Which never ceases to amaze you.  And worries you.  Just a little.  (You know they’re not selling broiled haddock every day and you wonder just how long it’s been in the freezer.)  There’s something for everyone.  It may not be the best.  No one is particularly happy with the choice.   But it was the best compromise everyone could agree to. 

Picking a movie can be just as fun.  “What do you want to see?”  “I don’t care.  What do you want to see?”  And this can go on and on.  And on.  An action thriller?  Too violent.  A romantic comedy?  Too sappy.  That r-rated comedy?  Too many boobs.  That 3-hour movie that’s like Steel Magnolias only sadder?  I can sleep at home for a hell of a lot less. 

And round and round you go.  Finally, you settle on a compromise.  Great Moments in Opera History – a film of a live performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto that includes some nudity.  There’s singing, a sad story, some comedy, a tragic ending and, of course, boobs.  No one was bursting with anticipation to see this movie.   No one is particularly happy with the choice.   But it was the best compromise everyone could agree to. 

When you’re deciding for one, you only have to please yourself.  The more people involved with the decision-making process, the less you please yourself and the more you try to please others.  Key word being ‘try’.  Because the more people in the decision-making process, the less likely anyone is going to be pleased.

E PLURIBUS UNUM (OUT OF MANY, ONE)

They call America the melting pot.  Canada is a mosaic, but we’re a melting pot.  America became a mixture of the different immigrants that came to this country.  These people assimilated into being Americans.  People with different nationalities and religions melted together and made a singular national identity.  Out of many, one.  (In Canada, there’s no melting.  Hence the mosaic.  And no singular national identity.)

Many say our diversity is our strength.  We’re not conformists.  Just look at the explosion in television channels.  We’re so diverse that we can’t agree on what to watch on TV.  So there are hundreds of channels to choose from.  To satisfy our very different tastes and interests.

We like different things.  Television shows, restaurants, movies, books, newspapers and blogs.  To name just a few.  There is, in fact, little that we really agree about.  Other than agreeing we should be able to enjoy the things we wish to enjoy.  And not be forced to endure the things we don’t.  Mosaic or melting pot, however you want to look at it, individuals make up the whole.  Persons with individual tastes and interests.  With individual hopes and dreams.

WHO’S TO SAY WHAT’S BEST?

Now put the two together and what do you get?  A lot of people who don’t agree with each other trying to agree with each other.  It’s sort of like drawing a square circle.  You can’t do it.  Now take that group and ask them to make a decision for the common good.

Sounds easy, right?  Most are willing to sacrifice a little.  If it’s for the common good.  We just need to list the things that everyone would agree are important for the common good.  Like better fuel economy in our cars to reduce pollution and our dependence on foreign oil.  Or making cars safer so people get hurt less in accidents.  Both of these appear to be for the common good.  But they also conflict with each other.  More of one means less of the other.  Little boxes with sewing-machine engines will give great fuel economy.  But they can get blown off bridges (like that Yugo that blew off the Mackinac Bridge in 1989) and don’t fare well when struck by an 18-wheel truck. 

Which is the greater good?  It depends on your definition of the greater good.  Which is, must be, subjective.  Big, heavy cars are safe.  Light, little cars have good fuel economy.  Some people so hate the internal combustion engine that a rise in highway fatalities is acceptable to them.  Others would rather give up a few MPGs for a safer car for their family.  These people aren’t likely to agree.  They’re probably not all that willing to compromise either.  For, unlike the lunch group, there’s no real motivation to get along with each other.

Now multiply this by thousands of other issues.  More arts funding.  A stronger military.  Stem cell research.  Lower taxes.  The Decriminalization of drugs.  Better border security.  Abortion.  AIDS research.  High-speed rail.  Etc.  Each of these has strong proponents.  And hefty price tags.  Or provoke bitter social/moral/ethical debate.  Can we agree which of these is the greater good?  Ask 10 of your family, friends and coworkers and find out.

SHARED SACRIFICE

Getting people to agree that we should do what’s best for the common good is easy.  Getting those same people to agree on exactly what that common good is, well, is impossible.  We’re too many people with too many diverse interests.  I know what’s best for me.  But how does my neighbor know what’s best for me?  And how do I know what’s best for him?  We can’t.  And the more we try the more we must settle for something less. 

When we start deciding for others, some will have to sacrifice for the greater good.  But that’s okay.  Because everyone is for ‘shared’ sacrifice.  If it’s for the common good.  As long someone else’s share of sacrifice is bigger than yours, that is.

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