Click to see

Click to see
Obama countdown

Monday, March 14, 2016

No! I am not a conservative.

I believe it's fair to say that Donald Trumps's bid for the presidency is based upon two general themes, immigration enforcement and trade. In the broader public immigration enforcement (notice he says little about reform) has elicited the most outrage but in conservative circles his prescriptions for trade cause apoplexy. In the minds of the doctrinaire keepers of the holy grail of American conservatism Trump is worse than any outsider. He is a heretic. Just as adherents to religious principles can be quite tolerant of non believers while burning heretics of their own religion at the stake the conservative, establishment punditry exhibits a visceral animus toward Trump that they have never displayed toward Obama or Hillary. One can imagine a very cordial conference with the staff of National Review and Senator Elizabeth Warren where genteel folk of good breeding exchange witticisms and compliments over wine and brie but never with the apostate Trump.
There is another dimension to the Republican schism which is the gap between Trump and the Republican leadership based upon a more mundane difference namely money. Elected official of all persuasions are corruptible and at this point public outrage at that corruption has boiled over. Not every congressman or senator has personally benefited from the corruption but many have. Peter Schweizer and CBS's 60 Minutes revealed that John Kerry and spouse used insider information to pick stocks and where did former Speaker and pedophile Dennis Hastert get the cash to pay hush money? He bought land that was about to be taken for federal highways but not yet in public knowledge. The more common form of political corruption is the one that Trump calls out. Those who finance campaigns frequently call the tune to which the elected dance. With the growth of the federal government the demand for special treatment has increased in the areas of legislation, regulation and taxation leaving the electorate with an regulatory mess that is all but unenforceable and 70,000 pages of tax loopholes. Rather than tinker with election laws it may be better to reduce the scope of government and the complexity of the tax code. Tax rates are high for a reason. They serve as an incentive to seek loopholes which gives donors the incentive to donate to campaigns.
Returning to the conservative punditry class, their chief purpose seems to be to provide intellectual justification for the bad policy pursuits of elected Republicans. One can excuse a Cruz or Rubio for scolding Trump for not being conservative. That's politics and they are probably correct depending upon one's view of conservatism but the rantings of the online pundits is breathtaking. Somehow they envision themselves to be the high priests of conservative theory. They probably are. Few academic conservatives exist these days. Certainly the Republican Party cannot be trusted to maintain doctrinal purity so the burden of saving the Western world has fallen upon the writers at National Review and a few sundry bloggers. On Twitter I refer to them as latter day pharisees. Just as the Old Testament pharisees prided themselves on the proper interpretation of the Talmud conservative pundits would like to be the final authority on conservatism especially where trade is concerned.
They are free traders to the hilt. Never mind that TPP and NAFTA go well beyond trade. NAFTA was the first trade pact to address intellectual property and that has worked out especially well for the pharmaceutical industry as drug patents are intellectual property. TPP would establish a trade court with judges not appointed by the president nor confirmed by the senate but whose decisions would be binding on all Americans who engage in regulated trade. Cruz was for TPP before he was against it and Rubio seems to float between positions as the politics of that day demand. Trump and Trump alone has consistently called it crap or some other earthy epithet. Again no one can blame Cruz, Rubio or Kasich for asking rhetorically if Trump would impose a 35% tariff on manufactured goods but when they bring Reagan's name into the argument they demonstrate either ignorance or hypocrisy. What did Reagan do? He slapped a 100% tariff on Japanese televisions and other selected electronics. He also forced foreign auto manufactures to build production facilities in this country if they wanted to sell autos in this country.
Compared to Reagan the modest proposals Trump has put forth make him look like a wuss. Among other things-way more than I care to paste here-Reagan;
-- Forced the Japanese into an agreement to control the price of computer memory-chip exports and increase Japanese purchases of American-made chips. When the agreement was allegedly broken, the administration imposed a 100 percent tariff on $300 million worth of electronics goods. This episode teaches a classic lesson in how protectionism comes back to haunt a country's producers. The quotas established as a result of the agreement have created a severe shortage of memory chips and higher prices for American computer makers, putting them at a disadvantage with foreign competitors. Only two American firms are still making these chips, accounting for a small percentage of the world market.
-- Removed Third World countries from the duty-free import program for developing nations on several occasions.
-- Pressed Japan to force its automakers to buy more American-made parts.
-- Demanded that Taiwan, West Germany, Japan, and Switzerland restrain their exports of machine tools, with some market shares rolled back to 1981 levels. Other countries were warned not to increase their shares of the U.S. market.
-- Accused the Japanese of dumping roller bearings, because the price did not rise to cover a fall in the value of the yen. The U.S. Customs Service was ordered to collect duties equal to the so-called dumping margins.
-- Accused the Japanese of dumping forklift trucks and color picture tubes.
-- Failed to ask Congress to end the ban on the export of Alaskan oil and of timber cut from federal lands, a measure that could substantially increase U.S. exports to Japan.
-- Redefined "dumping" in order "to make it easier to bring charges of unfair trade practices against certain competitors."
-- Beefed up the Export-Import Bank, an institution dedicated to promoting the exports of a handful of large companies at the expense of everyone else.
-- Extended quotas on imported clothespins.
Got that, Marco? Clothespins! So don't try to sell us the notion Reagan prosperity was based on free trade and Governor Kasich have you noticed how the price of prescription drugs jumped after you voted to enact NAFTA?
So who bears the brunt of bad trade deals? Could it be the same people who frequently support Trump? If you you are a writer for National Review or an opinion writer for the Washington Post your life is not dependent on the location of a factory or the price of sugar. Life goes on pretty smoothly regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. One would think that this detachment would bring about sober and reasoned thought but it in fact produces just the opposite. It produces idiocy and egomania. Blogger and part time tv talking head Erick Erickson announced he will never support Trump and actually expects to be taken seriously as if he were Walter Cronkite. His website features a post written by one of his flunkies encouraging reporters and others attending a Trump rally to go armed.
My advice for reporters and protestors visiting Donald Trump events is simple: You have a right to keep and bear arms. Use it. If Trump’s brownshirts know their targets are armed, they’ll get less handsy, fast.

Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin tweets about the need for her and her Twitter followers to rebuild the Republican Party post Trump. Oh yes, who better to handle that task than someone who has never worked outside a newsroom. One libertarian who I respect and who responds to my tweets appears to be involved in an effort to draft Condelesa Rice to run as a third party candidate should Trump win the nomination. Trump's people are the crazies?

As is often the case those who fight to stamp out heresy soon find themselves willing to stamp out heretics. The conservative movement rather than rethink its trade theories has decided to blame the victims of their faulty logic. If middle America starves it because they deserve it. Yes, this garbage coming from a writer who works for the not-for-profit entity National Review. NR writer Kevin Williamson, quoted by Breitbart;
“The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible,” the conservative writer says. “The white American under-class is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul. If you want to live, get out of Garbutt [a blue-collar town in New York.]”
If this is conservatism count me out. I want no part of this. The dysfunctional conservative media is intellectually and morally bankrupt but finds solace in its haughty and arrogant provincialism. The truth is, it deserves to die.


No comments:

Post a Comment