Monday, December 12, 2016

Cruising the Web

Nicholas Kristof has a very thoughtful column in the NYT of "the dangers of echo chambers on campus." He starts off by stating how he shares the fears about a President Trump, but he also is worried that the reaction on college campuses reveal how universities have become isolated bubbles of liberalism where students rarely encounter Republicans or their views.
We liberals are adept at pointing out the hypocrisies of Trump, but we should also address our own hypocrisy in terrain we govern, such as most universities: Too often, we embrace diversity of all kinds except for ideological. Repeated studies have found that about 10 percent of professors in the social sciences or the humanities are Republicans.

We champion tolerance, except for conservatives and evangelical Christians. We want to be inclusive of people who don’t look like us — so long as they think like us.

I fear that liberal outrage at Trump’s presidency will exacerbate the problem of liberal echo chambers, by creating a more hostile environment for conservatives and evangelicals. Already, the lack of ideological diversity on campuses is a disservice to the students and to liberalism itself, with liberalism collapsing on some campuses into self-parody....

Some of you are saying that it’s O.K. to be intolerant of intolerance, to discriminate against bigots who acquiesce in Trump’s record of racism and misogyny. By all means, stand up to the bigots. But do we really want to caricature half of Americans, some of whom voted for President Obama twice, as racist bigots? Maybe if we knew more Trump voters we’d be less inclined to stereotype them.

Whatever our politics, inhabiting a bubble makes us more shrill. Cass Sunstein, a Harvard professor, conducted a fascinating study of how groupthink shapes federal judges when they are randomly assigned to three-judge panels.

When liberal judges happened to be temporarily put on a panel with other liberals, they usually swung leftward. Conversely, conservative judges usually moved rightward when randomly grouped with other conservatives.

It’s the judicial equivalent of a mob mentality. And if this happens to judges, imagine what happens to you and me.

Sunstein, a liberal and a Democrat who worked in the Obama administration, concluded that the best judicial decisions arose from divided panels, where judges had to confront counterarguments.

Yet universities are often the equivalent of three-judge liberal panels, and the traditional Democratic dominance has greatly increased since the mid-1990s — apparently because of a combination of discrimination and self-selection. Half of academics in some fields said in a survey that they would discriminate in hiring decisions against an evangelical.

The weakest argument against intellectual diversity is that conservatives or evangelicals have nothing to add to the conversation. “The idea that conservative ideas are dumb is so preposterous that you have to live in an echo chamber to think of it,” Sunstein told me.

Of course, we shouldn’t empower racists and misogynists on campuses. But whatever some liberals think, “conservative” and “bigot” are not synonyms.
Bravo to Kristof for recognizing and writing about what a liberal bubble colleges have become. The answer isn't a hiring quota for conservatives, but for university hiring committees to keep a more open mind when it comes to interviewing applicants. It would also mean creating a more welcome atmosphere when conservatives come to speak on campus. Too often, conservative speakers are shouted down by students and the administration simply weakly chastises the students for their intolerance but actually ends up acquiescing to such a hecklers' veto. There are stronger actions that universities that could take to make sure that conservative ideas get a respectful hearing. It is one thing to protest outside a hall where a conservative has been invited to speak and quite another to allow loud, rude student audiences make it impossible for the speaker to be heard. What if an administrator announced that any student who disrupted a speaker to the degree that it was impossible for the speech to continue would be suspended for a semester. I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I don't believe that there is a First Amendment right to disrupt the academic mission of an educational entity and having a variety of ideologies able to speak on campus should be part of that academic mission. I bet that such a promised punishment would help students understand what it means to give a respectful hearing to views they despise. Suddenly, screaming obscenities at a speaker would not be a punishment-free decision to make. And perhaps they might even learn something if they listened to the message and then asked polite questions challenging that with which they disagree. Of course, few college administrators have the guts to take such a tough line. And so the insularity of college campuses will continue. I would like to see more administrators follow the model of the University of Chicago which sent out a letter to all incoming freshmen that they might have to sometimes hear things that they might dislike or not agree with, but that is what academic freedom is all about.

Jonathan Adler adds,
I would suggest taking ideological and viewpoint diversity more seriously is also in the more immediate self-interest of academic institutions, state schools in particular. As events in Wisconsin show, state legislatures are taking a harder look at the financial support they provide universities. I would not be surprised if the Trump administration or Congress considers this question as well. If universities are so ideologically insular and unrepresentative, they might ask, why are they worthy of government support? Why should taxpayers in red states pay to support ideological islands of blue? Economic arguments about the value of education only go so far.

Mike Spivey, a professor of mathematics at the University of Puget Sound, writes about his experiences being a moderate conservative on college campuses where the assumption is that everyone there is a correct-thinking liberal who despises Republicans.
Not too long after I took my first tenure-track position in the fall of 2004, I was invited to a party by one of my colleagues. I had assumed it was just a friendly get-together. Most of the evening, however, was spent bashing President Bush. The critiques were more visceral than intellectual, and I saw none of the nuance that I expected from academics. In hindsight, I realize that much of what the guests were doing was signaling to each other their membership in a community, as well as venting frustrations, and they had assumed the party was a space where they could do that.
For unrelated reasons, I took a position at my current university -- a very different institution, in a very different part of the country -- the following year. Here, I have repeatedly found myself in situations where someone makes assumptions about everyone in the room, assumptions that I don’t share. The culprit has always been my Southernness, or my small-town background, or my Christian faith, or my lack of progressivism.

I remember the awkward silence that briefly followed when one of my students asked me outside of class whether I am religious, and I told him I am a Christian. I remember the snide comment about Texas at a faculty workshop. I remember a colleague’s casual dismissal of Fox News and the people who watch it. My mother watches Fox News. She’s one of most giving and selfless people I know -- someone who dropped everything to do disaster relief work in south Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

I remember others’ stories, too. I remember the two conservative students who vented in my office for half an hour, thankful that somebody was willing to listen to them. I remember the conservative colleague who told me that he’s tired of being a target and so he just keeps his head down now. I remember the alumnus who told me that he would never have dared to be out as a Christian on our campus because then he wouldn’t have had any friends.
I've had similar experiences when I'm in a crowd of teachers. I just returned from a conference of the national organization of Social Studies teachers and there were countless little digs at Trump and the election results. I remember attending a teacher workshop the day after the 1994 congressional elections when the Republicans took the House and Senate. The presenter went on a rant about how terrible this was. She didn't even seem to think that there might be a Republican in the room. I can remember sitting in a faculty meeting about 12 years ago and our principal reiterated that teachers should not be expressing their political opinions in classes. And one teacher said, "Oh, I guess that means I should stop telling jokes about Bush in class." He just assumed that every teacher in there would find that amusing because, of course, we all agreed with his view of Bush. I think my school does a particularly good job trying to maintain an open and respectful environment for all views. I was impressed when our principal said, at the beginning of the school year, that we wanted to make the Trump supporters among our students feel comfortable talking about their views as well as those students who were frightened about what a Trump presidency might portend.

Spivey continues,
Every institution has a culture and a set of shared norms, and an academic institution is no different. Those sacred values don’t come from the institution’s mission statement but arise from the shared set of beliefs held by the people who are part of it. A newcomer to a college may not ever be able to articulate that college’s norms, but he internalizes them every time an idea is praised with no countervailing opinion expressed. She internalizes them every time a group is criticized, and no one comes to that group’s defense. Over time the in ideas and out groups become part of the assumptions that people make. You don’t even think about them anymore. They’re like the oxygen in the air.
Where does that place you when you don’t share many of those norms? Sometimes you find yourself bewildered. On the literal level, the discussion is about Donald Trump or Barack Obama or George W. Bush or racism or transgender rights or environmental policy. But really the conversation is often about sacred values. When you don’t share the group norms, you feel shut out of the conversation because its very framing assumes the group norms. People don’t listen to the stories you use to explain your views because your stories are tied up with your norms -- not theirs -- and they don’t have a good mental place to connect them to. As a result, your stories get explained away.

You can always try to go deeper, of course. However, trying to get the group to look hard at its assumptions and then trying to explain why you don’t share them is difficult and exhausting. And even when you do have the energy, it’s easy to transgress some norm that you didn’t see and then face an unexpected blast directed at you. That makes you want to engage even less.

Besides, there are much easier options. You can become cynical. You can become angry. You can start hating the group. You can nurture your pain and envision yourself as a beleaguered minority. You can start throwing rhetorical explosives, which sure feels good -- at first. You can find another group. I’ve been tempted by most of these possible actions and have committed several of them.
The story that I’m telling here is about me at a progressive liberal arts college and slowly identifying more over time as conservative. It could also be the story of the white working class at the national level.
He talks about being the token conservative to participate on a post-election panel. He spoke up saying that he didn't support Trump and hadn't voted for him, but he's glad that Hillary Clinton lost.
"Hillary Clinton called my people 'deplorable.' She said we were 'irredeemable.' Our current president, who I think sees the world similarly, said that my people are bitter clingers who hold on to guns and religion because we don’t have anything else worthwhile in our lives. Why would I want to support someone like that? Someone who talks that way about my people is not going to do a good job representing me. I’m glad she lost. I’ve got some concerns about Trump, but I’m glad Hillary Clinton lost.

"To understand this election, you have to understand that to be white working class means that you have almost no power. Not economic. Not cultural. Neither do you have the power that comes from moral authority, unlike most other victimized groups.

"To a large degree, Trump represents the revolt of the white working class. The revolt is partly economic. The cultural aspect is that they’re tired of being, in their minds, looked down on and condescended to by the people who run the country.

"I’ll hypothesize that, in some respects, the more Trump is mocked for his hair, his language, his racism, his sexism, his bigotry, the more the white working class says, 'That’s how I’ve been treated, too. Trump is like me. Trump is one of us.'"
The response he got was that he received after speaking up at the panel was that a lot of people thought like he did and were glad that he'd expressed their thoughts. Or they were glad to hear to simply hear a different point of view and it made them think. Good for him. Tenure or not, I don't think I would have the guts to speak up like that. Maybe it's because I don't come from that background so that Obama's comments about clinging to guns and religion don't characterize my family's history.

I will say that I've read more about the concerns of white, working class since Trump's victory than I ever had before. Some journalists are looking to get beyond the simplistic explanation that they're just racists and that is why they voted for Trump. This is all to the good. When blacks take to the streets to protest against police, there is a serious effort to understand why they think that way. It is time that other groups' concerns get a similar sympathetic look without looking through the liberal template of thinking that white racism explains everything about such citizens. I have also had a lot to learn since none of my friends fit that profile so their worries just hadn't been very high on my radar. Clearly, there are a lot of people who feel that the country isn't working for them. Just because they aren't racial minorities, doesn't mean that their concerns aren't important.

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And this is the state of dating in 2016.
But now, new dating websites are cropping up to take the guesswork out of pinning down political leanings.
One site, TrumpSingles.com specifically caters to fans of the divisive real estate billionaire.

Adored by millions of Americans, Trump is reviled by at least as many, some of whom are still mourning his election last month as America's next president and the defeat of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

A similar site was set up for supporters of Bernie Sanders, the tousle-haired Vermont senator whose fiery rhetoric and embrace of environmental causes earned him a fervent and loyal following among liberals and voters under the age of 30.

TrumpSingles says it has registered 12,000 people with a goal of "Making Dating Great Again" -- a riff on Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign slogan.

Unlike conventional dating sites such as Match.com and OKCupid, the site screens its users to ensure they are not trolls seeking to make trouble, but truly supporters of the president-elect, who takes the oath of office next month.

"I thought it was actually a nice idea because I've heard so many stories of people going on dates and everything is going fun and the political talk starts and kills any chance of a relationship happening," TrumpSingles creator David Goss says.

Some 15 percent of Americans use online dating sites, mostly singles under the age of 24, according to the Pew Research Center.
Many have no interest in hooking up with those who support Trump, whose retrograde views on immigrants and women are widely rejected.
"No Trump supporters" has even become a common refrain on Tinder, Happn and other dating apps.

But some subscribers to the TrumpSingles website can be loud and proud in their support for the billionaire businessman.
Others may be "in the closet" over expressing support for Trump, perhaps after years of voting for Democrats or because they live in Democratic cities such as Philadelphia.
I guess it makes sense, but it is a sad commentary. If I were young and single and using online dating sites, I wouldn't use a site like TrumpSingles, but I sure wouldn't want to date someone who put up that they would never date someone who supported Trump either. That seems like pretentious virtue-signaling, but perhaps it saves everyone a lot of time to get that out of the way. I do find it quite funny that there is no equivalent site for Hillary supporters.

Kimberley Strassel makes the federalism argument in favor of Trump's nomination of Oklahoma's Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, to head the EPA. Environmentalists have been apoplectic about the choice claiming that he's "an untrained anti-environmentalist. He’s a polluter. He’s a fossil-fuel fanatic, a lobbyist-lover, a climate crazy." Strassel responds,
Mr. Pruitt is not any of those things. Here’s what he in fact is, and the real reason the left is frustrated: He’s a constitutional scholar, a federalist (and a lawyer). And for those reasons he is a sublime choice to knock down the biggest conceit of the Obama era—arrogant, overweening (and illegal) Washington rule.

We’ve lived so many years under the Obama reign that many Americans forget we are a federal republic, composed of 50 states. There isn’t a major statute on the books that doesn’t recognize this reality and acknowledge that the states are partners with—and often superior to—the federal government. That is absolutely the case with major environmental statues, from the Clean Air Act to the Clean Water Act to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Congress specifically understood in crafting each of these laws that one-size-fits all solutions were detrimental to the environment. Federal bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency traditionally and properly existed to set minimum standards, provide technical support, and engage in occasional enforcement. States, with their unique knowledge of local problems, economies and concerns, were free to innovate their own solutions.

But President Obama never held much with laws, because he failed at making them. After his first two years in office, he never could convince the Congress to pass another signature initiative. His response—and the enduring theme of his presidency—was therefore to ignore Congress and statutes, go around the partnership framework, and give his agencies authority to dictate policy from Washington. The states were demoted from partners to indentured servants. So too were any rival federal agencies that got in the EPA’s way. Example: The EPA’s pre-emptive veto of Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine, in which it usurped Army Corps of Engineers authority.
Pruitt has been working to trim back the overreach of the administrative state by the EPA. And he's been successful in making his argument in courts. And that is what they can't forgive.
Much of Mr. Pruitt’s tenure as Oklahoma’s AG was about trying to stuff federal agencies back into their legal boxes. Most of the press either never understood this, or never wanted to. When the media wrote about state lawsuits against ObamaCare or the Clean Power Plan or the Water of the United States rule, the suggestion usually was that this litigation was ideologically motivated, and a naked attempt to do what a Republican Congress could not—tank the president’s agenda.

The basis of nearly every one of these lawsuits was in fact violations of states' constitutional and statutory rights—and it is why so many of the cases were successful. It was all a valiant attempt to force the federal government to follow the law. And it has been a singular Pruitt pursuit.
As Strassel argues, there is a real value in having someone with such an understanding of federalism and the Constitution head up the EPA.
. The agency doesn’t need a technically trained environmentalist at its head, since it is already bubbling over with green regulations. It doesn’t need a climate warrior, as Congress has never passed a climate law, and so the EPA has no mandate to meddle there. What it needs is a lawyer, one with the knowledge of how to cut the agency back to its proper role—restoring not just an appropriate legal partnership with the states, but also with other federal bodies. One who reminds agency staff that the EPA was not created to oppose growth and development.

If Mr. Pruitt does this successfully, and on the way crushes the current president’s legacy, Mr. Obama will have only himself to blame. His abuse of federal power helped elect a new generation of state attorneys general and Washington Republicans passionately devoted to a states’ rights agenda. They’ll be advising Mr. Trump not just on environmental policy, but on health care, labor policy, entitlement reform. Say hello to the federalist revival.

Sean Davis mocks the 10 things that Donald Trump has just made cool again. As he writes, these are things that were cool when Bush was president and abruptly stopping be cool with the inauguration of Barack Obama. Remember how the media marveled how difficult it was to make jokes about Obama. Well, forget about that with Trump as president. The media will now find gridlock and obstruction much more responsible than they did when it was Republicans blocking the Democrats.
When George W. Bush was president — stop me if you can already see where this is heading — Democrats loved obstruction. They absolutely loved it. In 2005, the New York Times wrote how essential it was to preserve the filibuster in order to safeguard democracy. Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said at the time that the Senate had zero obligation to consider any of the president’s judicial nominations. Obama changed all that. And Trump is going to change it right back again.

Good luck finding many elected Democrats in Washington who will be rushing to confirm any of Trump’s Supreme Court nominations. Good luck finding Democrats who won’t put up a fight when Republicans move to repeal Obamacare, or to undo the Iranian nuclear deal. Thanks to Trump, the filibuster’s about to be back, baby!
Democrats are suddenly discovering the virtue of limiting executive power. Where have they been for the past eight years? Davis reminds us how widespread anti-war protests were when Bush was president but they disappeared when Obama became president. Expect to see them make a reappearance now that Trump is commander-in-chief. And dissent will, once again, be seen as the highest form of patriotism. When the Tea Party was protesting Obamacare, that was simply racist know-nothingness. Dissent against the Trump administration will be seen as righteous and just. Expect reporters to suddenly discover the importance of investigative journalism. Despite scandals like Fast and Furious, the VA treatment of vets, the IRS scandal, and Benghazi, reporters parroted Obama's claim to have had a "scandal-free" administration.

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Yes, it was terrible that the Russians intervened in our elections and that Trump seems to turn a blind eye to any evidence of Russia's involvement in hacking Democrats' emails. And the silence from many Republicans and the pushback from Trump are shameful. Is he going to ignore intelligence reports that he finds that don't conform to his worldview when he's president? You know, rather like the Obama administration ignored intelligence reports about the growth of ISIS because it didn't conform to his conclusion that he'd defeated Osama bin Laden so it was all downhill from there? Or that 50 intelligence analysts have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda in Syria were altered by senior officials in order to fit a narrative that politicized intelligence. And with all the Democratic outrage, let's never forget how their liberal icon, Teddy Kennedy, actually solicited Soviet help in defeating Ronald Reagan.
Earlier this week, 47 Republican senators published an open letter informing the leaders of Iran that any nuclear deal with the United States that failed to be approved by the Senate would likely expire in 2017, once President Barack Obama’s term ended. You can read the full letter here.

The letter enraged progressives, who immediately began accusing the senators of treason for having the audacity to publish basic constitutional facts about how treaties work. ....

If these progressives want to know what actual treason looks like, they should consult liberal lion Ted Kennedy, who not only allegedly sent secret messages to the Soviets in the midst of the cold war, he also begged them to intervene in a U.S. presidential election in order to unseat President Ronald Reagan. That’s no exaggeration.

According to Soviet documents unearthed in the early 1990’s, Kennedy literally asked the Soviets, avowed enemies of the U.S., to intervene on behalf of the Democratic party in the 1984 elections. Kennedy’s communist communique was so secret that it was not discovered until 1991, eight years after Kennedy had initiated his Soviet gambit
Here is Teddy Kennedy's letter.

Mary Anastasia O'Grady writes about how Fidel Castro's prisons were designed to strip away all human dignity.
In a 1986 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Armando Valladares, who was a Castro prisoner for 22 years, described the regime’s use of the “drawer cells” in its dungeons. Five or six prisoners would be confined, for days, in these very narrow, 6-foot-long spaces. “They had to sit with their knees against their body. There was no room to move; prisoners had to urinate and defecate right there,” Mr. Valladares explained.

All torture was used “to break the prisoner’s resistance,” Mr. Valladares said. If a prisoner said “he had been wrong, if he denied his religious beliefs, saying they were from the obscure ages, and if he admitted that he now understood that communism was the solution to mankind’s problems and he wanted to have the opportunity to re-enter the new communist society, then he could escape the cell and be put in a re-education farm.”

There could be no higher power, no one revered more than Fidel. God was a problem so priests and nuns were imprisoned and exiled, religion was outlawed and the regime did all it could to destroy the Cuban family.

This is how socialism works in Venezuela. The government just seized nearly 4 million toys from a toy distributor because it accused the company of selling the toys at inflated prices, thus violating the "right to have a merry Christmas." Perhaps Maduro's own policies that have reduced the once prosperous country to a starving populace trying to leave the country now suffering 500% inflation are the real violations of this new natural right. What is going to happen after this? The toy company will go out of business and its employees will not have a merry Christmas. And other companies will decide not to risk importing products into the country.

Eugene Volokh discusses two examples of how "fake news" emerged in American history. He cites a legal case arising out of the 1798 Sedition Act and a 1920 case under a law about a federal law banning statements with the "intent to promote the success of the enemies of the United States" during WWI. While these cases are quite interesting, his headline made me think of how rumors were used in American elections to smear a political opponent. For example, Andrew Jackson's supporters alleged in 1828 that John Quincy Adams had procured prostitutes for the Russian czar when he was ambassador there. Why the Russian czar would have needed a straight-laced guy like JQA to help him find prostitutes in his country was never clear to me. Adams' supporters retaliated by calling Jackson's wife a bigamist (which she technically had been for the early months of their presidency since she and Jackson had assumed incorrectly that her first husband had obtained a divorce.) In 1840 when Democrats accused William Henry Harrison of sitting back on his log cabin drinking hard cider, the Whigs seized on the insult to portray Harrison as a man of the people and gave out hard cider at their rallies and had a log cabin that they toted around. Both sides were ridiculous since Harrison came from a wealthy family and lived on a large plantation.

There was the role of yellow journalism in the Spanish-American War by selling sensationalist stories to whip the public up about reports of atrocities in Cuba. The appearance of "fake news" is not unique to 2016. Of course, the internet and social media make it much more widespread. Back in the 19th century, purveyors of such stories had to print up handbills and use the partisan press. Nowadays, they just need a few clicks or characters on Twitter to start vile rumors or spread false stories.

The Washington Times lists 10 "real news" stories that turned out to be false. Oh, and don't forget Dan Rather's breathless attempt to sway the 2004 election with a fake story about George W. Bush skipping out on his National Guard responsibilities. Or Rolling Stone's story about a fake rape crisis on campus centered on a story that turned out to be totally false and for which they just got slapped with $3 million in damages. And President Obama just gave Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner an interview in which he blamed Fox News playing "in every bar and restaurant" and then praised the "great work done in Rolling Stone. It's just laughable. How many bars play Fox News? Has Obama been in a bar in the last eight years? Here in Realityville, bars play sports, not news channels and, if they did play a news channel, the sound would be off. I don't think that Sean Hannity playing in bars and restaurants swung the election against Hillary. If Trump had made a similar claim about Fox News doing "great work," it would have been a three-day freak out in the media.

Kevin Williamson does everyone a favor by writing a primer on basic economics to explain that we do not have a trade deficit.
Trade deficits are partly a question of consumer preference — American consumers really do like Hondas more than Japanese consumers like Buicks — but they are not mainly a question of consumer preference. They are mainly a question of investor preference — and investors prefer the United States, which is why there is almost twice as much foreign direct investment in the United States as in China, even though China’s economy has grown at a much faster rate over the past 20 years.

It works like this: Almost every advanced country does a great deal of international trade. They have lots of imports and exports because it is easier to grow sugar in Florida than it is in Norway and more efficient to sew T-shirts in Bangladesh than it is in Switzerland. When Walmart orders $1 million worth of flip-flops from a Chinese concern, those Chinese gentlemen receive 1 million delicious U.S. dollars, which they are very happy and grateful to have. But what can you do with U.S. dollars? You can buy stuff from U.S. companies or you can buy assets from sellers who take U.S. dollars, which ultimately means U.S.-based investments. (This is true even when you add in all of the real-world complications such as foreign exchange.) If you are that flip-flop entrepreneur in China, you probably have a very high rate of savings, which is normal for people in poor, backward, and unstable countries. There is lots of uncertainty in a place like China, and having a whole lot of savings — especially dollar-denominated assets — is a rational response to that....

Trade deficits don’t happen because the wily Japanese juke us on trade policy. They happen because intelligent people holding a fistful of dollars very often decide to forgo the consumption of American consumer goods in order to invest in American assets. In economics terms, what this means is that the trade deficit is a mirror image of the capital surplus. A capital surplus isn’t necessarily an unalloyed good (everything in economics is about tradeoffs), but it is a pretty nice thing to have around if you are, say, an entrepreneur looking to build a new facility in Houston or Jacksonville and looking for some investors to stake you.
This is why Trump's proposal of raising a tariff on businesses that move out of the country, while probably not even constitutional, is such bad economics.
If the economists are correct and trade deficits are mainly driven by investment preferences rather than consumer preferences, what would a big Trumpkin tariff actually do? Daniel Griswold of Cato considered the case back during the 1990s trade panic: “Slapping higher tariffs on imports will only deprive foreigners of the dollars they would have earned by selling in the U.S. market. This, in turn, will reduce the supply of dollars on the international currency market, raise the value of the dollar relative to other currencies and make dollar-priced U.S. exports more expensive for foreign buyers, thus reducing demand for our exports. Eventually the volume of exports will fall along with imports, and the trade deficit will remain largely unchanged.”

The trade deficit might remain unchanged, but there would be a large cost attached: Without that foreign investment capital flowing into the United States, money gets more expensive. That means entrepreneurs have a harder time raising capital.

Having a fat taxman and starving entrepreneurs is not a model for prosperity — the opposite is.
For all his bragging about how well he did at Wharton, Trump often betrays his ignorance of basic economics. He doesn't seem to realize that a tariff of 35% on companies not located in the U.S. will simply raise their prices 35% which would be quite a hefty increase for most consumers. As Taylor Millard writes,
But what Trump doesn’t say (whether on purpose or not) is the companies who do decide to not be located in the U.S. will just raise prices to absorb the 35% tax hike. So Playstations will probably cost at least 35% more, shirts made outside of the U.S. will cost more, some alcohol prices will go up, food products, and even some weapons prices because not every gun is made in the U.S. (including the ever popular Glock). There’s also the chance domestic products will go up because parts may have to be imported from foreign countries because they don’t grow here in the U.S.

This is the consequences of Trump’s threat to enact a 35% tax on companies who decide to not be located in the U.S. The most frustrating part is the fact Trump appears to get half the equation (hey, let’s lower taxes and regulations). But then he goes into this protectionist nuttery which is only going to hurt the economy more than help it. It’s possible Trump is just bloviating here and doing the 35% number so he can get something closer to 20 or 15%. This is still bad policy and one he should re-think before trying to get it pushed through Congress.


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This is just lovely - Bob Dylan sent Patti Smith to sing "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" at the Nobel Prize ceremony. She forgot the words and had to stop in the second verse, saying endearingly that she was just so nervous. Amanda Petrusich writes in The New Yorker about her "transcendent" performance. Dylan wrote the song in 1962, but it seems depressingly appropriate for today.

Here is the speech that Bob Dylan sent to be read. It's quite modest as he explains why he's never thought of his work as literature.

11 comments:

george boggs said...

"The answer isn't a hiring quota for conservatives, but for university hiring committees to keep a more open mind when it comes to interviewing applicants."

Yes, when everyone becomes a better person, everything will be better.

:-D

george boggs said...

Re: CIA

"Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan said that CIA analysts see 'climate change' as a 'deeper cause' of the instability seen in places like Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Yemen and Libya."

mardony said...

Recall when Oklahoma's Republican governor, Mary Fallin, issued a proclamation inviting Christians to “thank God for the blessing created by the oil and natural gas industry and to seek His wisdom and ask for protection”? She designated Oct. 13 as "Oilfield Prayer Day." to help rescue Oklahoma's troubled economic dependence on oil and gas. (Diid OPEC listen to the prayers and reduce supply and raise prices? No chance.) God forbid Oklahoma's oil billionaires should be required to pay their fair share of taxes to bail our their state. Never mind that fracking has made Oklahoma earthquakes more numerous than its sunrises.

Kimberly Strassel hides behind the usual rightwing canards of federalism, Obama executive overreach, abuse of power, et al. (blah, blah, blah...) to justify Scott Pruitt's EPA appointment as a solidly legitimate opponent of environmental preservation. (Don't we all enjoy arsenic and mercury exposure?) Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, does Ms. Strassel mention that Oklahoma's unregulated oil and gas industry has made the state an environmental disaster, blessed by Pruitt's dedication to suing the EPA. But, no surprise, the WSJ's dedication to climate change denial is legendary.

But, despite Trump, the WSJ, and others of a like mind, recent polls indicate that nearly half of all Republicans believe that climate change is real and will feel it in their lifetimes. With progress like that, conservatives may soon be able to compete more favorably in our universities' marketplace of ideas. Cherry- picking readers of the NYT's Nick Kristhof, don't despair.

For those desiring a less bigoted view of executive actions and the environment, there's this from the Harvard Law Review.

http://harvardlawreview.org/roundtable/commentaries-climate-change-and-executive-action/

tfhr said...

mardony,

Does Betsy's selection of linked articles really present a "bigoted view", in your estimation? If this is what you're saying, then are we to understand that you believe disagreement on points of politically charged debate over a particular climatology theory is now a matter of bigotry? Amazing!

You specifically claim that a source you recommend is "less bigoted", which more than suggests that opposing views are bigoted. Not only is it poor form to insult others by calling them bigots by unjustly smearing their ideas as examples of bigotry, it is beyond me why you think anyone wants to hear it in the first place.

Instead of dashing off insults, you could highlight some counterpoints from your chosen source and engage in a debate here but instead you throw down the "b" word. Your method tells me several things:

1. You're not comfortable with the facts

2. You're not confident enough to risk a debate

3. Kristhof was writing about your closed mind, mardony.

While I won't stand on one leg while I wait, I do hope some day you will attain the maturity necessary to train your mind that it is possible to hold an opposing view without being a bigot.

mardony said...

Factcheck: "Oh, and don't forget Dan Rather's breathless attempt to sway the 2004 election with a fake story about George W. Bush skipping out on his National Guard responsibilities." The truth: Dan Rather and Mary Mapes were busted because they could not authenticate the documents they used, despite their subsequently been proven factual (not fake) by the Boston Globe et al.

The Bush Administration could not produce any military records showing Bush did not have two large gaps in performing his national guard obligation as the Globe reported. They had a couple of eye witnesses. Bush was subject to immediate call-up to active duty for violating his service contract. Inexplicably, no action was taken. Fake story #1 was that Bush honorably fulfilled his entire military obligation. The fake story #2 that carried the '04 election was the swift boating of John Kerry. We reelected a defector instead of a war hero. No wonder that conservatives feel under siege in academia; too many live in alternate realities.

george boggs said...

John Kerry was such a noble hero he threw someone else's medals away.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=123495&page=1

Then, of course, there was the "Cambodia Truthiness Hat"...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A27211-2004Aug23.html




tfhr said...

mardony!

Quick! Grab my hand! You're drowning in Kool-aid!

Do you really believe that Rather was run off from CBS in disgrace because he had a legitimate story?! In your mind, does CBS want to protect Bush from Rather??! I'm pretty sure Rather's lawsuit against CBS has been dismissed more than once.

When were Gunga Dan and Mary Mapes vindicated? Who cleared them, Brian Williams? Mapes was fired! The supposed Vietnam era documents produced by the clown Rather used as a source were created with MS Word and the dynamic CBS duo bought off on his claim that he could not produce the originals because, for some reason, he had burned them! If you want to tie your caboose to that crazy train, go ahead!

Dan Rather and Mary Mapes are victims of more than just blinding partisanship, they are the tragic poster children for Bush Derangement Syndrom (BDS). You don't have to be that way, mardony. You can have a normal life. You can walk about in public without having to worry about spasmodic episodes of ranting and drooling, but first you have to stop drinking the Kool-aid. Or in your case, you have to climb out of the Kool-aid pool, buddy, because you're on the bottom of the deep end right now.

mardony said...

Betsy said: "I think my school does a particularly good job trying to maintain an open and respectful environment for all views. I was impressed when our principal said, at the beginning of the school year, that we wanted to make the Trump supporters among our students feel comfortable talking about their views as well as those students who were frightened about what a Trump presidency might portend."

Question: Did the school principal also feel a need to make the Hillary supporters feel comfortable talking about their views as well as those students who were frightened about what a Hillary presidency might portend? Is Betsy's question as revealing as it appears?

Betsy Newmark said...

Sorry I wasn't clear about the context for that statement from the principal. There was a lot of focus among the faculty on how to maintain civility and mutual respect for others' opinions in discussions of the election. Since our school is probably about 80% liberal and supporters of Clinton, most of the discussion was concern about what Trump was saying and how students, particularly those from immigrant or minority backgrounds, would interpret his and his supporters' statements. However, our principal also wanted to make sure that the faculty (which is probably about 95% liberal) was also sensitive to Trump supporters since she knew that, as far as I know, no one on staff was supporting Trump.

D-Squared said...

Regarding your comment about the Spanish-American War and "yellow journalism" here is a link saying that "yellow journalism" was not a factor in going to war.

https://mediamythalert.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/yellow-journalism-brought-about-spanish-american-war-but-how/

mardony said...

Betsy ~ Thanks. This helps me grasp your school environment and, perhaps, understand your blog as, in part, a supplement to, or a release from, your daily outnumbered interactions. One can hope that your exposure to your students and fellow faculty will temper your hardcore leanings rather than steel them. A school is a learning environment for faculty as well. As you say, it seems your principal is mostly hedging against some students goading students from minority and migrant backgrounds by mouthing Trump's rhetoric that was overtly inimical to their very being. I have the utmost respect for secondary school teachers. They will have to navigate with students through our national uncertainties that we will face, and I don't envy that task. We are yet to grasp what we have done to ourselves with this election and how to interpret it for our students and children. Your personal record as a teacher is truly exceptional. Best of luck dealing with the road ahead.