The Worship of Mammon -- 1909 painting by Evelyn De Morgan. (from here)
The Worship of Mammon — 1909 painting by Evelyn De Morgan. (from here)

In the first post this series, Does Planned Parenthood Use Taxpayer Funds To Pay For Abortions?, we considered how Planned Parenthood effectively uses Federal funds to pay for abortions.

Why do the doctors and nurses at Planned Parenthood do abortions? Do people become doctors and nurses to do abortions? Well, most of them don’t.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Of course, voting and supporting our favorite candidates goes beyond the subject of abortion. Although many voters use a candidate’s position as a litmus test, government has a larger objective than preventing abortions.

Laws That Conform To The Golden Rule

Even as the abortionists at “Planned Parenthood” profitably deliver dead babies from their mothers, that management of “Planned Parenthood” portrays their organization as people who care about women. Therefore, even as some note the hypocrisy, others defend the hypocrisy. Thus, Steven Hoyt put up a series of comments following the THE PRECIOUS HUMAN LIFE AND THE ABORTION FACTOR argued that before Christians had the right to condemn the practice of abortion, they had to somehow “prove” their own holiness.

Is argument Biblical? What if we generalize ‘s requirement for judging the sins of others? What if before we call any conduct a sin we must first demonstrate our own holiness? Since the Bible says “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10), none of us would be qualified to call anything that someone else did wrong. Therefore, if we are going to follow ‘s suggestions with respect to declaring abortion wrong, we may as well scrap of all our laws.

Given that the Bible itself contains the Mosaic Code or the Mosaic Law, does it make any sense that God wants us to scrap all laws? Is it not more likely that God wants our laws to conform to the Golden Rule.

Matthew 7:12 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

But What Do Conservative Voters Think?

In Coalition Politics, Necessary and Proper evaluates the Conservatism of the American electorate using various sorts of polling data. Why?  What is the point of  ‘s careful and well presented analysis (That is, even dummies like me can easily follow his logic?)? is trying to figure out which of the Republican presidential candidates deserves the Conservative vote. Here is his conclusion.

For what it’s worth:  The limb I have walked out onto via all this tortured speculation, along with my observation of the two televised debates, convinces me that Marco Rubio is the most conservative Republican candidate who is persuasive and articulate enough to appeal to a 48% span of the general voter population and win the 2016 Presidential election.  You will draw your own conclusion.  My goal was only to get you to think about the consequences of your primary voting strategy. (from here)

Because the American electorate has become so divided, does not think a solid Conservative would win. Therefore, advocates voting for an electable Conservative.

‘s thoughtful post earned a string of comments. Because they have the give and take of thoughtful discussion, these are worth reading.  All the commenters applauded the care took in preparing his analysis, but tannngl challenged his conclusions, preferring to vote for the most consistent Conservative, Senator Ted Cruz. That led to this fascinating defense.

About Ted Cruz, you said “He is my candidate.” In the primaries, each of us should not picking our personal candidate. We’re picking the candidate for others — for millions of voters (greater than 48%).

As I said, the further right a candidate is, the better he/she must be at articulating and persuading. And I don’t mean persuading you — I mean persuading the 10-15% of voters who are uncommitted swing voters and are ideologically quite a distance from the candidate. (from here)

Whereas advocates voting for the best candidate, advocates voting for the best person to be our president.

Which of them is right?

Back To That Preoccupation With Money

Which is right? or ? Before we try to answer that question, let’s consider a bit of conventional wisdom. Because Conservatives don’t want to pay the high taxes for their social programs, Socialists like to call Conservatives selfish and mean. Are Conservatives selfish and mean? Rarely do we closely examine what goes into this Socialist accusation. Unfortunately, most of the news media is of the modern Liberal or so-called Progressive persuasion. So when reporters see a problem, they soon magnify it into a massively dire problem, one that only a massive Federal Government program can fix. Of course, massive Federal Government programs don’t come cheap, and the fact they are generally quite poorly run does not help. After all, isn’t government waste the stuff of legend ( see here, here, and here)?

That being the case, why would we want any massive Federal Government programs, especially when there are other alternatives? That is, how do politicians persuade us to vote for massive Federal Government programs? Well, they use a variety of bait and switch schemes. Their favorite enticement is to offer to make the “rich” pay. This is in fact an age-old practice of demagogues, and it is one the framers of our Constitution specifically designed our system of government to thwart (see THE ADVANTAGE OF A REPUBLIC OVER A DEMOCRACY). Unfortunately, we have failed to heed the framers’ warnings and make the system they created work. We have found the bait too attractive. Each of us sees that big pile of money the Federal Government has at its disposal, and we want some.

Matthew 6:24 New King James Version (NKJV)

You Cannot Serve God and Riches

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

What should we call trying to use the government to get at other people’s wealth? Isn’t it stealing? We don’t seem to think so. Yet consider several examples.

  • Most of the Federal budget goes into Social Security and Medicare, supposedly guaranteed retirement programs. Self-righteous politicians abused our sympathy with by setting up programs for old people who might not otherwise have enough for old age, and then they “borrowed” money from the programs and spent it. That’s is, the Social Security Trust Fund is empty. There is no money in it. So how does the scheme continue to “work”? Our leaders tax the young to pay for the retirement of the old. Unfortunately, because of Social Security people now want retire when they should be working. So we cannot even raise the retirement age so this stupid Ponzi scheme will continue to “work.” Therefore, our leaders will either have reduce benefits or just print worthless money.
  • David Boaz, in The Divide between Pro-Market and Pro-Business, observes that big business is always going to the government for handouts and special favors of some sort. He cites the bailout of Chrysler Corp. (1979) and that humongous 2008 Wall Street bailout as modern examples, and he points to the Chamber of Commerce as the big backer of such government largess.  Isn’t the Chamber for free enterprise? This clash between pro-market and pro-business is an old one.

    Adam Smith wrote “The Wealth of Nations” to denounce mercantilism, the crony capitalism of his day. Milton Friedman said at a 1998 conference: “There’s a common misconception that people who are in favor of a free market are also in favor of everything that big business does. Nothing could be further from the truth.” (from here)

    Just as some people are greedy for government handouts — Socialism — some greedy businessmen seek the advantages of government cronies —  Crony Capitalism.

  • We pay for schools, welfare programs, highways, sports stadiums, “art,” — we redistribute trillions of dollars of wealth — without blinking an eye. We spend trillions of dollars to finance activities that we use to finance privately. Why? How does government financing make it better? Is it the “fact” that it is somebody else’s money? Easy come. Easy go. And waste by the pork barrel.

Therefore, it seems that both and are right. We should be voting for the best person for the job. Unfortunately, because politicians know how to tempt us with “other people’s money,” unless we settle for a scoundrel of some sort, we cannot get a Republican elected. That’s why we have so much trouble with RINOs.

What Does Bigger Government Mean In Practice?

Rarely do we see a straightforward explanation of what excessive government spending and regulation means in practice. We hear about government debt piling up into the stratosphere, but few can explain what those numbers mean. What is the difference between owing 18-19 trillion dollars and owing over 200 trillion dollars? With complex explanations numbers in both ranges get floated about, but how many of us care? Is somebody going to throw us into jail for not paying this debt?

Therefore, we see the debt and the absurd waste as someone else’s problem, somebody else’s responsibility. Because it is so big it is just numbers, we can ignore that huge debt and the phenomenal waste. Ohhh, we will flippantly say we will never collect Social Security, but what do we do when a politician tries to cut “our” Social Security benefits? Don’t we vote that politician out?

The benefits are here and now. Because we can put them in our pockets, we pay attention to the benefits. The costs, vague and ill-defined, we can put off and ignore.  The costs to our soul, our children and grandchildren we can put off and ignore.

Proverbs 24:13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 My son, eat honey because it is good,
And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste;
14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul;
If you have found it, there is a prospect,
And your hope will not be cut off.

For those who care to look, the costs are already evident. Don’t our schools already stink? Don’t we already vegetate in traffic for hours? Isn’t too much of what we buy made somewhere in China? Are we not suffering a deluge of poor immigrants, foreigners who expect us to speak their language and learn their ways? Is not our president an isolationist, abandoning the world to chaos, unwilling to spend money on anything except bribes: health, education, and welfare programs?

With every cent politicians spend — with every new regulation they create — our leaders steal another bit of our freedom. Increasingly, government controls how we earn our wealth, how we spend our wealth, and who gets our wealth.

  • We “invest” in housing. We give our money to bankers, developers, realtors,…. Shouldn’t we be investing a larger portion of our wealth in making our nation more productive and competitive? Can we all work in service industries?
  • We “invest” ever larger sums in public schools and colleges and give our money to bankers and educrats. Shouldn’t we be spending our money on private schools that actually give us some bang for our buck?
  • We continue to allow our currency to inflate, becoming ever less valuable. At one time it was profitable to track pennies. Now, if we find a penny on the ground, it is not worth the bother to pick it up. What does inflation do to our savings? When everything is made overseas, how will we be able to retire or get a job?

Future generations of Americans — if the government ever allows them learn the truth — will condemn us. In fact, the government may rightly teach them to condemn us. For the sake of spending somebody’s else’s money, future politicians may rightly say we sole ourselves and our children into slavery. Instead living off our own labors and taking responsibility for the education of our own children, we believed scoundrels. We trusted scoundrels who promised us a free education, freeways, inexpensive palatial homes, early retirements, appeased and passive enemies, and so much other rubbish. Future generations may rightly be taught how we let devious politicians con us, that some of those politicians took our money and ran and others put us and our progeny in the chains of debt slavery.

These later politicians will pile upon our children and grandchildren taxes so high and rules so onerous they can never get ahead, but so what? After all, will they not have learned from our example? We cannot be trusted to rule ourselves.


We still have the opportunity to prove the pundits and the politicians wrong. We don’t have to vote for politicians who promise to spend other people’s money on us. We can vote wisely. We don’t have to vote for the best candidate to win the election. We can vote for the best person for the job.


  1. Tom, thank you kindly for incorporating my work into yours. That’s a style of yours that I’ve always enjoyed (especially when I’m one of the sources, of course).

    You summarized my viewpoint by paraphrasing it as follows: “Because the American electorate has become so divided, [Jeff] does not think a solid Conservative would win. Therefore, [Jeff] advocates voting for an electable Conservative.”

    I’d like to clarify my position slightly, from they way you’ve portrayed it. The need for my clarification is my fault — not yours — for two reasons.

    First, there’s a paragraph buried in the middle of my article that would have been a better conclusion, I suppose, than my actual conclusion (about Rubio) that you quoted. Here it is, with some html emphasis, and a new phrase added in brackets:

    “Does this mean that a centrist candidate is the best choice to help get America returned to a prosperous long-term path? Certainly not! It only means a centrist candidate would have the best chance of getting elected. I do not believe leftist or centrist policies are best for the long-term prosperity of America. The goal for Conservatives is obviously to select the most conservative candidate in the primaries that is electable by the general population. [The quandary facing the conservative cause is that] the further right a candidate’s position is on the spectrum, the more persuasive and articulate he/she must be to secure at least 48% of the popular vote.”

    Second, among several problematic traits in my thinking and writing that hinders my clarity is this one: I tend to internally devise a graduated scale of adjectives to verbally paint the shades of gray that exist in the matter at hand — without ever bothering to explain the scale to the reader. Trouble is, one man’s benign adjective is another man’s Molotov Cocktail. In this case, let me now explain my mental progression of adjectives for a GOP Candidate’s degree of conservative purity, from left to right: soft, firm, solid, rock-ribbed, hard-core. So when you summarized my viewpoint as “[Jeff] does not think a solid Conservative would win,” I sheepishly felt the urge to clarify. Please allow me:

    I hope we active Conservatives pick a candidate in the primaries who is as faaaaar to the “Constitutionally-Originalist Right” as we can get away with. And by “get away with,” I mean a candidate who will get just enough votes in the general election to win. I want our candidate to appeal to NONE of the far-left or mid-left voters — in fact I want them to hate our candidate. And I want our candidate to appeal to JUST BARELY enough of the near-center and dead-center swing voters to get elected. This country needs to reverse the leftward-only ratchet effect by returning to a solid conservative direction, and then travelling a good ways in that direction.

    So I hope this makes it clearer that I don’t want another McCain, Romney, Bush, Dole, Cantor, McConnell or Boehner-type milquetoast candidate. I really don’t, folks. I want a “solid” Conservative, bordering on “rock-ribbed.” I just want us to be sure we don’t indulge our pent-up anger by foisting a hard-core firebrand upon the general electorate. (Or a rich, arrogant, populist windbag either.)

    At the time I wrote my actual conclusion a week ago, Marco Rubio was the furthest right I could envision Conservatives “getting away with.” Since then, due to Keith DeHavelle’s and Tannngl’s comments, I have assigned myself the long-term project of studying and following Ted Cruz more closely. Not his positions, but his “style.” I may be starting to come around. But it’s not me, you, Keith or Tannngl that Cruz needs to court, it’s the media-brainwashed swing voters.

    – Jeff

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for the clarification. I am just pleased you are not unhappy with the way I presented your work.

      I hope it came across that I sympathize with your point. RINOs drive us nuts with the term “electability.” When they mean by “electability” is a pork peddling RINO. What is the proof of that? When we get a Conservative nominee — in spite their opposition — they won’t the party’s nominee. It becomes blatantly obvious they would rather that the party lose. They are more afraid of losing their control of the party than they are of losing the election to the Democrats.

      Your post does an excellent job of portraying what “electability” should mean to a Conservative voter (i.e., a candidate who can sell Conservatism to as many voters as possible). So I decided to make use of your work. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve interwoven a broad variety of concepts here, then sharpened them into a pointed conclusion. Well done.

    The sharpened tip of your conclusion is,

    “We don’t have to vote for politicians who promise to spend other people’s money on us. We can vote wisely. We don’t have to vote for the best candidate to win the election. We can vote for the best person for the job.”

    I couldn’t agree more. But I highlighted some dual-definition words.

    Conservatives reading your article implicitly understand what “wisely,” “best,” and “the job” mean to us. After all, we’re cultural conservationists. We steadfastly believe in conserving what made America prosperous and righteous over the long run. It’s what we do. We conserve.

    But, except for the first sentence, the rest of your conclusion would also be wholeheartedly embraced by the Left — with the words wisely, best, and job colored by their worldview instead of ours. Most on the Left are hopelessly lost to their ideology of utopianism — unreachable. They despise and reject what we hold traditionally sacred.

    To prove the pundits and the politicians wrong, our great challenge is to convince the remaining malleable swing voters — an ever-shrinking group — that the job is to set the country on a morally and financially sustainable course that’s calibrated towards an objective, unmoving “north star.” The secular Left’s drifting relativism lets them fervently believe that the job is whatever a feckless majority happens to feel is best at the moment. Since the disappointing 2012 election I have come to a scary realization: Leftists truly think that if a politician promises a freebie goal that “feels” good enough to attract a majority of voters in an election, then BY DEMOCRATIC DEFINITION it is without question the best course for America to follow. Your examples were “free education, freeways, inexpensive palatial homes, early retirements, appeased and passive enemies, and so much other rubbish.”

    To me, that’s “The Significance of Your Vote.” To wrench the steering wheel away from this tyranny of the drifting majority.

    Your articles make us think, sir. Thanks again.
    – Jeff


  3. Great article. I agree the best moral character would be the best choice for America. However, i sense reality that the character and morality the Greek Philosophers described as a virtuous man is not a popular topic of discussion in today’s political debates. More so, it is the philosophy of “what is in it for me.”

    I am one of the undecided voters yet because I am disgusted with the candidates discussing every subject other than job creation in the USA. The bargain of being able to buy cheaper imported goods rather than higher price American goods was in my opinion not the best deal for American workers because of the effect of reducing the opportunity for livable wage jobs in the USA. Instead we subsidize low wage earners salaries with rent subsidies,food stamps, medical care, etc and make our children bankrupt and in debt with school loans before they even start working.. No matter what an economist states about the benefits of free trade agreements, when there is an unfavorable trade balance, it is a detriment to the economy of the the deficit trade partner.

    In other words, would it be better to pay twenty bucks more for a shirt made in America and not have to pay higher taxes to support joblessness and low wage earners. To me the bargain of being able to buy two or more shirts for the price of one, and never wearing them out means you will just give them away sooner or later. .I would rather buy only one good shirt and wear it out.

    Anyway, the only candidate that seems to realize this and has made an issue out of unfairness to the US worker is Trump. He does not demonstrate any of the wisdom attributes King Solomon. in his speeches.

    The question remains then, should we elect another RHINO or Socialist for another four year term who does not understand basic business philosophy of destructive trade deficits effects on the middle class or take a chance on an obvious egotistic fool candidate who at least understands basic common business sense on how to make both free trade to be fair trade rather than decimate the manufacturing capabilities in the USA.

    In other words, is it wise or foolish predicament that we cannot right now procure domestically all the components for our military hardware anymore? Does it make sense that the Russians own all our vital uranium mining assets in the USA? Really, does it make common sense that Clinton approved Russia to own uranium to fuel their nuclear capability? Why did not CNN bring that up in the Democrat debate last week?

    Regards and goodwill blogging.


    1. We will elect who we will elect. You and I can only try to persuade people that big government does not work. We cannot count on CNN to help us.

      I think our problem is that we have been taught to think of government as the solution. You mention, for example, trying to keep lower priced goods out of the country. When we give our leaders very much power, even in that area, we are just asking for trouble. Look it up. One of the factors that led to the Great Depression was a trade war. To protect jobs, politicians taxed imports. Other nations reciprocated. See =>

      If another country can produce something with less expense and sell their product here at a lower price, that is not going to keep people here from getting jobs. Our biggest expenses are taxes and inane government regulations. That is what is killing us.

      We just don’t want other governments subsidizing their industries in an effort to destroy our industries. Otherwise, we should just be monitoring defense related materials. Letting the Russians own our uranium mining assets is obviously dumb, but Hillary Clinton did not think so.

      America still has a decent infrastructure, good communications systems, and a relatively skilled workforce. If we can get our government OUT OF THE WAY, we can build upon those advantages. The only thing most poor nations have going for them is inexpensive, unskilled labor. Robots will increasing replace that sort of labor, and competition with unskilled laborers will become yesterday’s problem.

      Anyway, the fact we allow cost goods to come into the country is a competitive advantage. We can make use of those goods to decrease our costs and increase our competitive advantage. Instead of protecting industries where we are uncompetitive, we must focus on selling those products we can produce with less expense here.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I like your message about excess government.

        However, if you really understood the basic concept of world trade, you would realize that the original purpose of the dollar being spent in trade is the concept that the dollar would someday be returned to the USA to purchase our goods and services.

        Instead, it is being loaned back to the USA to help us pay for social services for low wage earners instead of purchasing our goods in return. That is what I mean when I state free trade is great if it is fair trade.

        I wont explain how the dollars that do not return wil never be available to be used for infrastructure improvements or new or modern plant facilities to make products even more competative

        The American worker can never compete with a worker who is paid 200 a month when and American worker has to pay 800 a month rent.

        A trade deficit is a detriment to a trade partner, is a detriment, is a detriment. and unless trade deficits are controlled or limited, the real gainers will be the ones who profit the most by selling imports in their stores, not the workers stocking the shelves with imported product.

        In other words, I will buy your goods and services if you will buy my goods and services in a like and fair exchange.

        That is not what is happening as evidenced by the one half trillion dollar trade deficit of the USA every year after every year ever since Clinton approved NAPTA without any trade controls.

        Remember the candidate who said NAPTA would sound like a vacuum sucking out jobs in the USA. Was he right? Incidentally, he also had a business background and was a millionaire.same as Trump.

        In my business career, I witnessed how many US companies were forced to send their manufacturing capabilities to China in order to make their products price competitive with the other former American manufacturers or go out of business.

        It was a snowball effect to the detriment of middle class wage earners. Not only the workers on the plant floors making th e products, but also the customer service, sales, purchasing, accounting, workers jobs that disappeared with the manufacturing capabilities. Many of them good hard working people.

        Not brain surgeons, but how many people really have been given the god given resources to be brain surgeons or the money reguired to pay to learn the skill.

        Regards and goodwill blogging.


        1. I don’t pretend to be an economist or “expert” on trade. So I don’t argue as authority. I simply present evidence that is available to both of us.

          Note that I mention mercantilism in my post. We still have nations engaging in that practice today, China in particular.

          Why don’t our politicians respond to China’s predatory trade practices? There are several reasons. There is the one I mentioned in my post. Because we have allowed our politicians to bribe us, we elect corrupt people to lead us. The loyalty of such leaders is to their own self interests. There is the question of what we the People want. Many of us want cheap goods now. Regardless of what it costs our country or the Chinese people, we want cheap goodies. There is the question of the ability of the Chinese government to bribe our leaders. I don’t think it too far-fetched to believe that many of our leaders are on the take from the Chinese government, the Russian government, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and so forth.

          Nevertheless, I don’t think trade with the Chinese in and of itself hurts the U.S.A. If the Chinese had a true private economy, and they sold their goods here without currency manipulation and government-assisted predatory trade practices, I think both countries would benefit. Our major problem is the crippling influence of our own government.

          Other than the mentally deficient, anyone who wishes to do so in the United States can still acquire a valuable skill. If someone has the capability to acquire a skill doesn’t exercise that capability, why should we protect that person from their choice to be ignorant. While I am perfectly in accord with the idea that we must control our borders, I see nothing to be gained by jacking up the prices of imported goods just to protect the jobs of people who are unwilling to learn. If desperately poor foreign workers don’t replace them, robots will anyway.

          Like it or not, what we are paid is based upon what the market will bear. If labor costs are too high in this country, companies will go elsewhere. If we put up tariff barriers, nobody except the politicians gain. The politicians get more money to spend.

          Take a look at our auto industry. Because of labor union protectionism, the only surviving “American” auto company is Ford. Yet foreign companies have come into this country, established plants, kept out the labor unions and profitably made cars. Is Government Motors an American company? I don’t think it is anymore.

          Is there more to the story of the auto companies than I know? Probably. Government interference can certainly complicate things. Yet consider. It is extremely difficult to build and operate something as complex as an auto-plant without a skilled labor force, transportation infrastructure, abundant electricity, and so forth. Hence, I think it fair to say that our labor unions did far more damage to our auto industry than cheap foreign labor. Those guys demanded too much, and they got away with it because of government interference. They killed the goose that laid the eggs, not desperately poor people in another country, and I am sick and tired of hearing those folks blamed. What are those people suppose to do? Starve?

          Liked by 1 person

        2. All trade negotiators who make trade deals have to do is add a clause that when trade deficits occur, tariffs will be take effect until the trade is balanced and both parties will not effect tariffs in response. It is that simple. .

          All trade negotiators know deficit trade balances are harmful to a trade partner.including the WTO. of which the US is a member.

          Problems with all kinds of tricks occur such as currency devaluations to keep the balance favorable. There is no way to circumvent or need for a nation to employ these tricks these tricks if the initial trade agreements have contain unfavorable balance agreement as I just explained..

          Even Clinton admitted he never intended the NAFTA agreement to result in unbalanced trade and should have included restrictions.

          The Chinese or Mexicans or whoever will not starve. They will live within their means same as they have done for thousands of years.

          As for US union workers, they became greedy and power hungry same as most people do when they find out they can control others.

          Why should business executives earn million instead of sharing to increase equity and opportunities for their employees?

          Even Ford understood the concept and paid his employees enough money to buy the same cars they built.

          Like I said, you have good motives and morals but need to be more skeptical about the economical literature have apparently been sold on.

          The results are all around us to prove how wrong they were not to control trade agreements to prevent unbalanced trade. The last report is the middle class take home pay has decreased in the last ten years. that means they cannot afford to buy a Ford made in the USA along with a lot of other things like being able to afford to send their kids to good schools or school of their religious choices same as all the Washington politicians and other well paid workers do.

          Competition is the key to control the past and will remain in the future. The more sources the better the price.except when it comes to manufacturing. There you need modern equipment to make a difference in pricen rather than labor. When all the plants are outside of the USA you not only lose the jobs to make the modern machinery, you lose the technical skills of workers and thier abiltiy to train other re;place them when they retire. Use competition now to control unions from getting greedy.

          But do not destroy the USA manufacturing capabilities and US ability for manufacturing to even compete now or in the future by shipping all their jobs and machinery to other countries.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Correct if I am wrong, but I think our main source of disagreement is how we control the other guy’s tricks without giving our own leaders the power trick us too.

          Think about this quote.

          But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. — James Madison from The Federalist No. 51

          Whenever we give our leaders great power, we can count upon them to abuse that power. Since most them have a great talent for public speaking, but not very much talent for ruling wisely, they will either abuse their powers in stupidity or in avarice. From our perspective, whether our leaders stupid or greedy, it does not make much difference. They still make a mess.

          Consider your tariffs mechanism. How would it work?

          We trade with a great many nations. If our trade is balanced, then over time we will export as much value as we import. So what if there is a continuing deficit. How do we tell which nation is at fault? What if it is our own fault?

          It is in the nature of things that even if our trade is balanced, we will sell more to some nations than we buy, and we will buy more from some nations than we sell. Even if our trade is balanced, if we “cause” a nation run a trade deficit with us, are we a villain? Should a nation running a trade deficit with us impose your tariff mechanism against us?

          As it is, I don’t even think we should have trade agreements with other nations. Instead, we should strive to keep what is already complex from growing more complicated. If some of the governments of foreign nations insist upon skewing trade balances and undermining our industries, then we should react the same way we should react when they engage in industrial espionage. We should regard them as hostile and limit their access to our markets and our communication systems). When a foreign government tries to damage us, that is an act of war. It is not about trade, and it misses the point to think otherwise. China is an enemy, not a competitor.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Tom,

          James Madison is right except when you are dealing with the reality of business who has a specific main purpose to profit in the short term so its board of directors can earn bonuses, and the shareholders will keep them on the boards.

          I still remember Bush’s Economic Advisors and Greenspan state that Government should stay out of business, they will police themselves with Pure Economic Theories..

          I also remember when banking laws were changed to allow banks to gamble on commodities with their depositors money.


          We both know how well that turned out

          It is possible today with our powerful computers to track every purchase made form an export source because every purchase must go through a bank transaction to guarantee payment is made at time of arrival.

          We can know with a press of a button how big a trade deficit will occur six months from the time of the purchase/

          All we need is a will and a skilled trade negotiator to make use of the USA commanding trade advantage, we are the biggest world consumer, to make free trade fair for both trade parties.

          Trump knows what I am stating to you because he has a business background instead of a social organizer background or lawyer.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.


          Regards and goodwill blogging.


        5. @scatterwisdom, who wrote:

          I still remember Bush’s Economic Advisors and Greenspan state that Government should stay out of business, they will police themselves with Pure Economic Theories.

          I would be most interested in seeing such a quote. Especially from an administration that substantially expanded government control. Not to the extent that Obama has, of course, but Obama is … unique.

          Despite the leftist site you’re quoting, the primary cause of the 2008 housing bubble was the decades-long Democrat push to provide easy access to home ownership for their minority voting base. Bush and key Republicans expressed concerns; Democrats vociferously defended this. The incentives thus set up (including the FMs guaranteeing an ever-more-highly leveraged set of loans and derivatives at ever-lower standards) created investments that were rational — considering those guarantees — but fraught with “moral hazard” as economists pointed out.

          The housing bubble was intentional, created in part to offset the collapse of the dot-com bubble. Foolishly, inevitably, leftists thought it would go on forever, or at least until the next guy’s watch. It is exactly a crony capitalism situation; the market was distorted to provide advantages to buddies, but at the cost of ignoring the signals that would have been generated by a true free-market assessment of risks. It became illegal to even consider such risks.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 3 people

        6. I agree. Except the government was not the guy selling the worthless housing derivatives to people who trusted the sellers reputations and bond ratings The ones who bought the bundled high risk housing derivatives were swindled and not one of the swindlers every paid a personal price for their greed. Ill check out the name you asked for and let you know.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.


        7. Kieth, It was Milton Friedman

          Today we see how utterly mistaken was the Milton Friedman notion that a market system can regulate itself… Everyone understands now, on the contrary, that there can be no solution without government. The Keynesian idea is once again accepted that fiscal policy and deficit spending has a major role to play in guiding a market economy. I wish Friedman were still alive so he could witness how his extremism led to the defeat of his own ideas.
          Paul Samuelson, “Don’t Expect Recovery Before 2012” (16 January 2009)


        8. @scatterwisdom, who wrote:

          Today we see how utterly mistaken was the Milton Friedman notion that a market system can regulate itself.

          When was the last time this was tried?

          What do you think was responsible for causing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ramp up their lending versus assets under Democrat control to a ratio of 40 to 1? What do you think caused these FMs to lower their lending standards so that anyone who could fog a mirror could get one, or even several? What do you think brought about the “anti-redlining” practices and threatened banks that did not make enough loans to minorities? Who was it that kept repeating that the FMs, and the mortgage market, were sound — right up into the crash?

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        9. In an August 2007 op-ed piece in Financial Times, Frank wrote, “In the debate between those who believe in essentially unregulated markets and others who hold that reasonable regulation diminishes market excesses without inhibiting their basic function, the subprime situation unfortunately provides ammunition for the latter view.”[55]

          Regards and goodwill blogging.


        10. In my opinion, Scatterwisdom would do well to consider sprinkling a few “in my opinion” admissions here and there in his lectures, since he never seems to quote or link to other accepted authorities. It makes the whole blogging experience more congenial and respectful. Give it a try, Scatterwisdom, and you’ll be rewarded in kind.

          Economics is a numerical and behavioral branch of politics, and it may not be Tom that needs to read different polito-economics books. It may be Scatterwisdom that needs to read books such as Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman (1980). This is a book everyone who wants to participate constructively in discussions of politco-economics should own and devour. Chapter 2 is called “The Tyranny of Controls.” Forgive me, Tom, but here is a brazenly long excerpt starting from page 40 in that chapter, that is oh-so-pertinent to this discussion:

          Today, as always, there is much support for tariffs — euphemistically labeled “protection,” a good label for a bad cause. Producers of steel and steelworkers’ unions press for restrictions on steel imports from Japan. Producers of TV sets and their workers lobby for “voluntary agreements” to limit imports of TV sets of components from Japan, Taiwan, or Hong Kong. Producers of textiles, shoes, cattle, sugar–they and myriad others complain about “unfair” competition from abroad and demand that government do something to “protect” them. Of course, no group makes its claim on the basis of naked self-interest. Every group speaks of the “general interest,” of the need to preserve jobs or to promote national security. The need to strengthen the dollar vis-a-vis the mark or the yen has more recently joined the traditional rationalizations for restrictions on imports.

          One voice that is hardly ever raised is the consumer’s. So-called consumer special interest groups have proliferated in recent years. But you will search the news media, or the records of congressional hearings in vain, to find any record of the launching a concentrated attack on tariffs or other restrictions on imports, even though consumers are the major victims of such measures. The self-styled consumer advocates have other concerns.

          The individual consumer’s voice is drowned out in the cacophony of the “interested sophistry of merchants and manufacturers” [this refers to a passage from Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations that Friedman quoted at the start of the chapter] and their employees. The result is a serious distortion of the issue. For example, the supporters of tariffs treat it as self-evident that the creation of jobs is a desirable end, in and of itself, regardless of what the persons employed do. That is clearly wrong. If all we want are jobs, we can create any number — for example, have people dig holes and then fill them up again, or perform other useless tasks. Work is sometimes its own reward. Mostly, however, it is the price we pay to get the things we want. Our real objective is not just jobs but productive jobs — jobs that will mean more goods and services to consume.

          Another fallacy seldom contradicted is that exports are good, imports bad. The truth is very different. We cannot eat, wear, or enjoy the goods we send abroad. We eat bananas from Central America, wear Italian shoes, drive German autos, and enjoy programs we see on our Japanese TV sets. Our gain from foreign trade is what we import. Exports are the price we pay to get imports. As Adam Smith saw so clearly, the citizens of a nation benefit from getting as large a volume of imports as possible in return for its exports, or equivalently, from exporting as little as possible to pay for its imports.

          The misleading terminology we use reflects these erroneous ideas. “Protection” really means exploiting the consumer. A “favorable balance of trade” really means exporting more than we import, sending abroad goods of greater total value than the goods we get from abroad. In your private household, you would surely prefer to pay less for more rather than the other way around, yet that would be termed an “unfavorable balance of payments” in foreign trade.

          The argument in favor of tariffs that has the greatest emotional appeal to the public at large is the alleged need to protect the high standard of living of American workers from the “unfair” competition of workers in Japan or Korea or Hong Kong who are willing to work for a much lower wage. What is wrong with this argument? Don’t we want to protect the high standard of living of our people?

          The fallacy in this argument is the loose use of the terms “high” wage and “low” wage. What do high and low wages mean? American workers are paid in dollars; Japanese workers are paid in yen. How do we compare wages in dollars with wages in yen? How many yen equal a dollar? What determines that exchange rate?

          Consider an extreme [hypothetical] case. Suppose that, to begin with, 360 yen equal a dollar. At this exchange rate, which was the actual rate for many years, suppose that the Japanese can produce and sell everything for fewer dollars than we can in the U.S. TV sets, autos, steel, soybeans, wheat, milk, and ice cream. If we had free international trade, we would try to buy all our goods from Japan. This would seem to be the extreme horror story of the kind depicted by defenders of tariffs — we would be flooded with Japanese goods and could sell them nothing.

          Before throwing up your hands in horror, carry the analysis on step further. How would we pay the Japanese? We would offer them dollar bills. What would they do with the dollar bills? We have assumed that at 360 yen to the dollar everything is cheaper in Japan, so there is nothing in the U.S. market that they would want to buy. If the Japanese exporters were willing to burn or bury the dollar bills, that would be wonderful for us. We would get all kinds of goods for green pieces of paper that we can produce in great abundance and very cheaply. We would have the most marvelous export industry conceivable.

          Of course, the Japanese would not in fact sell us useful goods in order to get useless pieces of paper to bury or burn. Like us, they want to get something real in return for their work. [I will skip the next 2 full pages of Friedman’s detailed tracing of the direct and inverse proportional effects of Japan’s and U.S.’s trade merchant’s incentives and disincentives on the dollar/yen exchange rate, and the indirect effects of 3rd- and 4th-party countries in the complex trading chains on the world market.]

          In the real world, as well as in that hypothetical world, there can be no balance of payments problem so long as the price of the dollar in terms of the yen or the mark or the franc is determined in a free market by voluntary transactions. It is simply not true that high-wage American workers are, as a group, threatened by “unfair” competition from low-wage foreign workers. Of course, particular workers may be harmed if a new or improved product is developed abroad, or if foreign producers become able to produce such products more cheaply. But that is no different from the effect on a particular group of workers if other American firms develop new or improved products or discover how to produce at lower costs. That is simply market competition in practice, the major source of the high standard of life of the American worker. If we want to benefit from a vital, dynamic, innovative economic system, we must accept the need for mobility and adjustment. It may be desirable to ease these adjustments, and we have adopted many arrangements, such as unemployment insurance, to do so. But we should try to achieve that objective without destroying the flexibility of the system — that would be to kill the goose that has been laying the golden eggs….

          What determines the items it pays us to import and to export? An American worker is currently more productive than a Japanese worker. It is hard to determine just how much more productive–estimates differ. But suppose he is 1.5 times as productive. Then on average, the American’s wages would buy about 1.5 times as much as a Japanese worker’s wages. It is wasteful to use American workers to do anything at which they are less than 1.5 times as efficient as their Japanese counterparts. In the economic jargon coined…[before 1830,] that is the principle of comparative advantage. Even if we were more efficient than the Japanese at producing EVERYTHING, it would not pay us to produce everything. We should concentrate on doing those things we do best, those things where our superiority is the greatest. [And that may not be manufacturing textiles or consumer electronics. There’s a lot of possibilities between low-skilled assembly line workers and brain surgeons, so that forced choice is an invalid debating point.]

          Illustration: Should a lawyer who can type twice as fast as his secretary fire the secretary and do his own typing? If the lawyer is twice as good a typist but five times as good a lawyer as his secretary, both he and the secretary are better off if he practices law and the secretary types letters.

          Another source of “unfair competition” is said to be subsidies by foreign governments to their producers that enable them to sell in the U.S. below cost. Suppose a foreign government gives such subsidies, as no doubt some do. Who is hurt and who benefits? To pay for the subsidies the foreign government must tax its citizens. They are the ones who pay for the subsidies. U.S. consumers benefit. They get cheap TV sets or autos or whatever is subsidized. Should we complain about such a program of reverse foreign aid? Was it noble of the U.S. to send goods and services as gifts to other countries in the form of Marshall Plan aid or, later, foreign aid, but ignoble for the foreign counties to send us gifts in the indirect form of goods and services sold to us below cost? The citizens of the foreign government might well complain. They must suffer a lower standard of living for the benefit of American consumers and of some of their fellow citizens who own or work in the industries that are subsidized. No doubt, if such subsidies are introduced suddenly or erratically, that will adversely affect owners and workers in U.S. industries producing the same products. However, that is one of the ordinary risks of doing business. Enterprises never complain about unusual or accidental events that confer windfall gains. The free enterprise system is a profit and loss system.


          The same fallacy of looking at only one side of the issue is present when tariffs are urged in order to add to employment. If tariffs are imposed on, say, textiles, that will add to output and producers who no longer can sell their textiles in the U.S. earn fewer dollars. They will have less to spend in the U.S. Exports will go down to balance decreased imports. Employment will go up in the [less productive] textile industry, down in the [more productive] export industries. And the shift of employment to less productive uses will reduce total output. [i.e. tariffs are counterproductive, as Tom pointed out about the stupid trade war that helped precipitate the Great Depression.]


          We are a great nation, the leader of the free world. It ill behooves us to require Hong Kong and Taiwan to impose export quotas on textiles to “protect” our textile industry at the expense of U.S. consumers and of Chinese workers in Hong Kong and Taiwan. We speak glowingly of the virtues of free trade, while we use our political and economic power to induce Japan to restrict exports of steel and TV sets. We should move unilaterally to free trade, not instantaneously, but over a period of, say, five years, at a pace announced in advance.

          Few measures that we could take would do more to promote the cause of freedom at home and abroad than complete free trade. Instead of making grants to foreign governments in the name of economic aid — thereby promoting socialism — while at the same time imposing restrictions on the products they produce — thereby hindering free enterprise — we could assume a consistent and principled stance. We could say to the rest of the world: We believe in freedom and intend to practice it. We cannot force you to be free. But we can offer full cooperation on equal terms to all. Our market is open to you without tariffs or other restrictions. Sell here what you can and wish to. Buy whatever you can and wish to. In that way cooperation among individuals can be world-wide and free.

          Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman rests his case, and I will now rest my fingers.
          – Jeff

          Liked by 3 people

        11. Thanks for your comments. It however is ironic to me that you brought up Miton Freeman as the most influencial ecconomist who persuaded Congress about how the US dollar is of no value to a trade partner except to use to buy US products in return. SO if that really happenrd there would not be the present trade deficit of one half trillion a year which would equate to millions if livable wage jobs in the US.
          When I have time I will look up the name and book of another ecconomist which explains in detail how and why Friedman, regardless if his Nobel prize has destroyed US manufacturing jobs, industry and future for many Americans.
          Regards and goodwill blogging.


        12. Check out my message and comments to Keith of a book I recommended you both read.

          Incidentally, I believe both Norway and Sweden, the countries that award the Nobel Prize normally have favorable trade balances.every year.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.

          Liked by 1 person

        13. Jeff

          scatterwisdom makes a practice of being as congenial as possible. However, he obviously has strong feelings on this subject. Why? I don’t know, but the folks in certain parts of this country have been badly hurt by our economic policies.

          Anyway, I think of scatterwisdom as an friend and ally, someone who I can trust to correct what he thinks are my errors.

          Thanks for taking the time to type that Milton Friedman quote. Very interesting and appropriate.

          Liked by 2 people

        14. Your trade deal would have governments inserting themselves into the transactions of private companies and individuals, to force a “trade balance.” If the US government felt that they were wronged, they can apply a tariff to line their pockets at the cost of their citizens until the bureaucrats are happy. The citizens being happy is not an issue; their wages will remain as they are (as this is caused by other factors), but they will be forced to pay $20 more for a shirt that they could barely afford, and that takes money away from other purposes, to give money to the government.

          And such can come about because of relative weakening and strengthening of currencies even after the fact. This cannot be planned for in a trade deal that requires complete parity. But it will be fixed by “trade” in Wall Street financial services such that the transactions will approximately balance, the cronies will be happy, and everyone else will continue to pay too much for their goods in order to have their modest wealth transferred to the government and its cronies.

          People in the US benefit from paying small sums to others overseas to produce goods. They do NOT benefit from having their small sums eliminated by being put out of work by illegal immigrants, which is happening in the US in the tens of millions.

          They also do NOT benefit from having their wealth eliminated by even legal immigrants brought in specifically to replace skilled US workers, also happening by the millions. There are about 11 million skilled tech workers in the US who cannot find work because an even larger number of tech workers have been brought in (mostly from India) to replace them. In some recent publicized cases, the US workers were required to train their imported replacements before being fired. Disney and Microsoft have been in the news for this, but hundreds of other firms have been involved.

          And all of this has nothing to do with trade deficits.

          I do not like the distortion of international markets that tariffs set up, nor the wealth transfer to government and its cronies that such so-called “protection” sets up. It benefits no one else, and deprives people of low-cost goods.

          We have hammered the US job market though imported labor, we have hammered our economy by importing millions of new welfare dependents, and we have hammered businesses with a tax structure that makes it prudent to locate overseas. You would punish companies that react to this punishment by punishing them in other ways. Why not eliminate the original punishment and let the combination of free market and limited government benefit all?

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 3 people

        15. You bring up, as usual, a number of related issues that our inept leaders know but continue to ignore. Unfortunately you too have been sold on a certain 1980 ecoomist theory that has destroyed manfacturing capabilities to even result in our country no longer being able to supply vital military hardware components domestically.
          I will send thename of an economist who goes into detail

          nobs for the same


        16. contined…..into detail of how the 1980 theory, left uncontrolled because of turnover of gov admin and a naive theory that business will police themselves is foolish.

          Also I did not state these were my opinions because all you have too do is look the statistics since 1980 to see what the fesults have been to US workers wages, job opportunities, home ownership, welfare increases. rent subsidies, health insurance previosly paid by employers. Etc. Etc.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.



        17. You’re having some trouble typing coherently here. But such things happen; I certainly have rough spots myself. Let me ask you a couple of clarifying questions:

          You’ve now made multiple references to a “1980 theory.” What are you referring to? Economic theory goes back thousands of years, and has been well developed for the past century or so. I’m unaware of any theory dated to 1980 that would be probative here.

          Is it your contention that anything written that long ago has no relevance for modern times? This would be counterintuitive for someone of the Christian faith (or any, for that matter).

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        18. Milton Friedman had many useful things to say — and Jeff Rutherford’s quotes from him are very much on point. He is the most well known of many economists writing on the topic and recognizing the utility and benefits of free trade.

          Others include Menger, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Weiling … these folks differ in some of their analyses, but are all considered to be of the “Austrian school of economics.” The other large camps are monetarists (of which Milton Friedman is the major example), Keynesian, and Marxist. There are about 30 or so schools listed, and people tend to blend a bit (like the Keynesian/Marxist Paul Krugman), but in a brief look-around attempting to identify what you were talking about, I saw few indeed who were willing to support punishing individuals to support trade parity between countries. Perhaps Piketty is of that view; he tends to confuse trade deficits with income inequality, a difficult-to-excuse mistake.

          Policymakers, of course, are different. Statists of all stripes love the idea of tariffs. As Wikipedia notes, for example:

          Economists’ findings about the benefits of trade have often been rejected by government policy-makers, who have frequently sought to protect domestic industries against foreign competition by erecting barriers, such as tariffs and quotas, against imports. Average tariff levels of around 15 per cent in the late 19th century rose to about 30 percent in the 1930s, following the passage in the United States of the Smoot-Hawley Act.[30] Mainly as the result of international agreements under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and subsequently the World Trade Organisation (WTO), average tariff levels were progressively reduced to about 7 per cent during the second half of the 20th century, and some other trade restrictions were also removed. The restrictions that remain are nevertheless of major economic importance: among other estimates[31] the World Bank estimated in 2004 that the removal of all trade restrictions would yield benefits of over $500 billion a year by 2015.[32]

          Trade barriers are expensive, harmful to people, harmful to economies, and just a bad idea. A good rule of thumb: What is good for individuals is good for the economy. Trade barriers are not good in either case. But they are “good” sources of government revenue, so they remain popular with people positioned to be enriched by such policies.

          Note that the policies you are suggesting, protectionist tariffs to “protect workers,” were a substantial trigger of the Great Depression.

          I am very much in favor of the free market and limited government, and completely opposed to crony capitalism and protectionism which arises from overgrown government selling its regulatory ability to cronies, thus corrupting the market. You point to statistics since 1980 as an example of … something. But for the past 130 years or so, increasing corruption of the free market has produced not just distortions evident in the record, but blended into government control of other areas which have their own harm on economies and the fabric of America as a nation. This is evident in the record, and not just since 1980. Did you like the attempts at economic control by Nixon and Carter in the decade prior to 1980, and the miserable results those attempts produced? When the state attempts to strangle the wage and price mechanisms of the market, the results backfire into misery every time.

          One major bulwark of economic thinking has to do with human action. Is it rational? Is it reasonable? Economies begin with individuals, and are the sum of their actions and choices based upon their values. So what incentives does the American economic landscape, as distorted by statist policies, offer these days? They are not good:

          When the few who still work are forced to pay the others not to work, those others make rational choices to position themselves to collect it. When the government brings in millions of immigrants and adds many of them to the dole, in order to achieve a voting effect, those immigrants make rational choices to position themselves to collect it. These actions, not trade imbalances with China, are the sources of harm to the prosperity of Americans.

          Allowing Americans to purchase less expensive goods and less expensive energy is a great net benefit. I, too, lament the loss of manufacturing and other jobs, but I recognize why it is happening. We need to be competitive — for individuals and for businesses. We once were, and can be again. But statism is not the answer, and stands in the way.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 4 people

        19. Kieth,

          There are a minimum of two opinions to every theory except for ecconomic theories, then there are hundreds of opinions. How does one decide which is the better economic theory, they check the statistics.

          Check out Ian Fletcher book on this link.

          Free Trade Doesn’t Work, What Should Replace It and Why.

          Then check the country with the biggest trade deficit here

          Then consider the possibility that the country with the highest favorable trade balance is best known for its machine manufacturing and machinery capabilities. The last time I checked about five years ago, there were no longer any USA manufacturers of production machinery. So if the USA wants to become more productive, it will take years of lead time just to buy a production machine. Then consider, these are the machines needed to make military hardware. So if a war broke out ,guess how long it would take for the USA to be able to supply viat military components and machinery.

          I borrowed the book from a local library. Recommend you read it and forget about Milton Friedman’s free trade arguments in 1989 and compare the loss of over 20 million USA manufacturing jobs as the result of free trade folly caused by inept trade negotiators.

          Trump has a business background same as the last guy who ran for President did who warned us Clintons NAFTA trade agreement would result in us hearing a whoosh of US jobs going to Mexico. Then check again the balance of trade results and decide who really has more competent trade negotiators.

          The remedy I said to Tom is simple and can easily be implemented. It would force buyers to have two sources, at least one domestic, and one or more export suppliers. A basic rule any Purchasing 101 learns in school to create competetion and control costs.

          Costs savings can be amortized to reduce costs to US end customers. Actually US workers are forced to buy foreign products because they no longer make livable wage salaries and every penny counts. Wal Mart is now the only option for them to buy, and Wal Mart is just one of the biggest foreign goods sellers.

          Retail sellers now prefer to sell imported products rather than US manufactured products because they know they can mark up the prices and obtain higher profit ratios.

          Free trade is a snowball effect that will takes five years to correct based on the time it takes to again supply American made products using modern machinery.

          In other words when you consider the total cost of imported products when the end effect is lower wages to a mass of people who lost job opportunities for livable wage jobs, the deal they got of buying cheaper prices was not the best deal when they have to be subsidized on food stamps, rent subsidies, higher cost medical insurance, etc. etc.

          That is not my opinion, it is the statistics reported every year after year every since free trade agreements turned out not to be fair trade agreements because of unfavorable trade balances.

          Regards and goodwill blogging..


        20. Don’t agree Tom.

          It is not the statistics that are wrong, it is the way they are presented by artful accountants.

          In Europe, accounting is a science, not here in the USA, it is a art and many times a very deceitful art.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.


        21. @scatterwisdom

          I did not say the statistics were wrong (although some Global warmers have been caught lying). The issue is what numbers people choose to present and how they choose to present them.

          Unfortunately, the distance between economics and politics is vanishingly small. That is, if an economist says what scratches our itching ears, he can be very popular.

          Think about what Keith has said. When we spend our money, we vote with our dollars. Don’t some politicians just crave to control the outcome of elections?

          Either our government exists to protect our choices, or it does not. When we restrict the freedom of people to make their own choices, we had better have a good reason. That is why I mention war. When a nation engages in trade manipulation, it is hostile to our interests and our survival. In such a case, tariffs are inadequate, but they do allow our leaders to manipulate us, not our enemy.


        22. I remember when I was a kid playing with another kid and caught him cheating. I told him I quit because I dont like playing with cheaters.

          The USA can quit the game and the end result will be more harmful in time to the cheaters. We walked away from the kid who then had no one else to play with.
          We did it when we were kids and should do it now.

          Regards and goodwill blogging.

          Liked by 1 person

        23. @Keith DeHavelle said:

          What do you think was responsible for causing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to ramp up their lending versus assets under Democrat control to a ratio of 40 to 1? ….

          Keith, I know you know the answers to your questions. But for others who will take the time, here’s a series of five Thomas Sowell articles in Investors Business Daily that were excerpts from the book he wrote called The Housing Boom & Bust.:

          #1: Housing Bust: Sowell Series Starts Today

          #2: How A Little Law From ’70s Brought The Financial System To Its Knees

          #3: How Fannie Mae And Freddie Mac Sank In The Subprime Quicksand

          #4: How Congress Ignored Warnings And Stiff-Armed Reform Of GSEs

          #5: Support Of Fannie And Freddie: Bipartisan And Beyond Words

          – Jeff

          Liked by 2 people

        24. Jeff,

          I am sorry your comment went into moderation. Because of spammers, when I get a comment with that many links, it goes into moderation. Three is the limit. If you need to include more, please break it up into additional comments.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. “As I said, the further right a candidate is, the better he/she must be at articulating and persuading. And I don’t mean persuading you — I mean persuading the 10-15% of voters who are uncommitted swing voters and are ideologically quite a distance from the candidate. ”

    This really gets to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it? I don’t want a milk toasty McCain like Republican nominated either but we do have to accept the reality that a majority of general election voters will not accept a Conservative Republican unless he or she can effectively explain why this philosophy makes their lives better, ALL lives better. With societal and media narratives already fixed against them, Conservatives have a tough road ahead and I believe our nation is at a tipping point where if another Democrat wins we are done. We are going to have to accept some warts in our nominee we might otherwise have a hard time being ok with.

    Great and very creative post by the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Tom – Curious as to why you think Ford is the last “American” automobile manufacturer, but you doubt that GM is. What do you see as the distinction between the two that keeps Ford “American” but classifies GM as other-than-American?



    1. I’d guess Tom means that Ford is still a relatively free “American” enterprise, owned by stockholders who exercised their free will by purchasing ownership shares in the company. GM is Government Managed — essentially a government agency controlled by the Executive Branch using taxpayers’ money whether they liked it or not.
      – Jeff

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ford is also a century-plus old company. GM was created in 2009, so that it could use government rule-bending to pass the assets (not the liabilities) of the old General Motors Corp to union cronies. That original company is gone; it was renamed and then destroyed, along with the interests of stockholders and pension funds and creditors. Along with it went the rule of law as it pertains to federal bankruptcy proceedings. It became the Whim of the One.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        Liked by 1 person

      2. One more subtlety on Ford. Henry Ford is credited by progressives these days of simply giving his people raises so they could afford the cars they were assembling. The reality is rather different: He was executing a political maneuver to undermine the rapidly building push for a minimum wage and union takeover, not to mention a tremendous turnover in his dangerous factory environment.

        As a result of Ford’s strategy, that collective push failed. But the raise was not universal, and involved a number of conditions and qualifications, including a team of people to visit the homes of workers to make certain that they were of such a character as to warrant the raise.

        ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

        Liked by 2 people

      3. My recollection is that GM has retired the Government ties that were clutched at in opening days of the Great Recession. I haven’t researched that recently, so could be wrong. It may be, however, that the Government exit left behind some concessions that would not be in place had GM not felt it necessary to take rescue money (e.g., UAW board seats or some such thing).

        I suspect that GM is no less “American” than Ford, although both, being multinational companies, have non-US shareholders and extensive operations outside the United States. Chrysler is, of course, owned by Fiat, who succeeded Daimler Benz. I have the feeling, however, given the diaspora of manufacturing facilities, that every major car company, whether it be Japanese, German, or American, has plants all over the world and that is no more an indicator of nationality than it would be for, say, Apple, a company that is very much American in its innovative ethos, but which has a manufacturing center of gravity in China.

        I have owned a couple of Swedish cars in recent years. My Volvo was produced by a company owned by Ford. Ownership has passed to Chinese interests in the past three years. My SAAB was produced in the last years of SAAB’s automotive years, and both European and Chinese interests made desultory moves to salvage the brand (SAAB still makes aircraft, to my knowledge). My beloved 2001 BMW Z3 was manufactured in South Carolina. When I am working in the port of Charleston, I see acres of BMWs and Mercedes produced in South Carolina and Alabama, respectively, being readied for loading aboard ships for transport to Europe and elsewhere. My daughter’s Subaru was made in the United States. My point is that it’s complicated to try to hang a nationality on any particular automobile manufacturer.



        1. A good article (with very good links) Jeff; thank you. I learned a few details that I had not been aware of in the NationalAffairs link, and the presentation is good.

          A few years before these events, I was one of a total of three people on a creditors’ committee of another public company. It was an interesting process and stretched over much of a year, during which I had to become much better-versed in bankruptcy law and its application to large corporations. This experience contributed to making the GM and Chrysler bailout/bankruptcy/bastardizations much more obviously egregious to me.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle


    1. @Jeff

      Well, I do plan to do a post on this. Will the topic drift back to abortion and Planned Parenthood? Stranger things have happened.

      I can’t really claim any special expertise, but I think it will be worthwhile to go through the comments, including all the links, and try to sort through the arguments. For example, how did we get onto the subject of tariffs and trade imbalances?

      There is also another reason to do that post. It has been a long day. So I cannot think of any other way to do justice to all the thoughtful comments.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. By the way, here is something of an old primer on trade balances. It predates GWB and Obama, and thus does not discuss their issues. (Note that the site displays poorly, at least on my browsers, and you may have to scroll down for the article.)

    I’ve now read Ian Fletcher for a couple of hours. He and I are in complete agreement — on one issue only: the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He doesn’t like it either.

    In every other respect, he is far off in left field.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Keith,
    After you read the above, read this one which challenges your theory.


    Does Manufacturing Matter?
    Do manufacturing jobs matter? For the neoclassical economists who largely preside over
    economic discourse in Washington, the answer is a resounding “No!” – or at least: “they
    matter no more than jobs in any other industry.” Michael Boskin, former economic advisor
    for President George W. Bush, reportedly stated: “computer chips, potato chips, what’s the
    difference?”59 More recently, Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic
    Advisors in the Obama administration, wrote in The New York Times that manufacturing
    doesn’t matter.60
    For Romer, as for most neoclassical economists, the decline in manufacturing jobs implies
    a transition from employment in one type of industry to another. In an efficient global
    marketplace, a competitive economy will shed jobs in one industry because the relative
    value of labor is higher in other industries. Efficient labor markets will always allocate labor
    to its most effective end, and therefore such transitions are good for the economy. If in
    1980 the U.S. economy had more manufacturing workers than retail workers, but in 2011
    it had more retail workers than manufacturers, the market must then prefer retailing to
    manufacturing, and thus the employment shift is the optimal outcome. Any attempt to
    favor a particular sector, such as manufacturing, can only retard this growth-enhancing
    reallocation of societal resources. However, there are a number of actual flaws in this logic.


    Regards and godwilll blogging.


    1. @scatterwisdom,

      There is some confusion over what the disagreement is. I do not assert, nor have I ever asserted, that “retail jobs are just as good as manufacturing jobs.” In fact, I commented that I, too, lament the loss of manufacturing jobs.

      The issue is what to do about this. I propose that the US needs to become competitive enough on the world stage to be effective in manufacturing, as we currently are in food production. Tariffs attempt to cripple different players, which always comes at the cost of consumers.

      Fletcher repeatedly asserts that a trade imbalance is a “debt” that must be “repaid.” This is simply incorrect. But Fletcher is simply one more political operative campaigning for unions in the guise of providing economic analysis, pace Paul Krugman. His mistakes on economic matters may well be intentional, as he struggles with US competitive issues and a wrong-headed, Luddite-inspired approach to US production. His solution is actively harmful — except to bureaucrats. And in fact it solves nothing.

      Back to the US’s competitive ability in food production, there is a current issue because of tariffs being applied to US producers by South Africa. Sales of American-produced chicken there are being taxed by 375% in order to pretend that South Africa is “competitive.” This means, of course, that low-income people in South Africa must pay much higher prices for this food than the world market would require, and it removes from South African producers any motivation to improve their productivity.

      Let’s say we do what Fletcher suggests, which is to double the price of things until the balance is restored. What does this do to help your target shirt manufacturers? We force the other countries to buy more food, which we’re good at, and fossil fuels (currently another victim of export regulation), and we pay double for imports until the combination can reach a balance. This does nothing for shirt makers, but makes everything more expensive. To the extent that exports increase, it is not in the same industries you’re concerned about.

      This is the practice he proposes. And I oppose this idea, just as I oppose farm subsidies in the US, or subsidies in general.

      I am aware of various tax deals cut with energy producers, along the lines of “bring your jobs and your plant to our state and we’ll cut you a deal on taxes for x years.” This is not quite a subsidy; the state expects a net gain from the process and other states are vying to entice firms to move. But in any event, these state-level issues are not my focus. There are lots of silly state practices, including the $100m+ subsidy to Tesla from California. But let’s kill off federal tariffs and federal subsidies first.

      The more we extract government from business intrusions, the less government bureaucrats have in the way of regulatory favors to sell to cronies and fundraisers. This makes the government less responsive to lobbyist and their client firms, who would invest less time and money in pursuing them, and thus would increase the significance of our vote. And that, as our host indicates, is crucial.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I appreciate your comments. Might be interesting to see what happens if Trump wins. Frankly, I think we will see better renegotiated trade deals at least. Obama said he was going to that when he ran in the first term .Don’t think Trump will let the issue die like both Obama and the RHinos promised and then go into hiding after election.

        As for the shirt price, perhaps it will help to wear out a shirt once in a while to promote more US shirt manufacturing again in the USA. What is better in the end, to have an unemployed do nothing and get a government relief check or have him or her make a shirt and at least go to work instead of sitting home doing nothing.

        Time will tell.

        Regards snd goodwill bloggiig


  8. Heavy-handed protectionism destroys more domestic jobs than it saves, Scatterwisdom. Trump is peddling fools’ gold and fairy dust. He has stated that if Ford wants to build a plant in Mexico, he, as President, would threaten Ford execs with 35% tariffs on every vehicle manufactured in that plant. Tom worries about tax burdens imposed by government – this one should send us all through the roof. What more utter, naked, brutal state interference with capitalist enterprise could be imagined? Why would anyone, domestic or foreign, invest in the US (manufacturing or otherwise) with a highwayman mentality like that sitting in the White House?

    That kind of hoodlumist approach to international trade might succeed in the short term in preventing a manufacturer from moving a plant overseas, but it will also deter the same manufacturer from putting any more plants in the United States. And it certainly would deter foreign manufacturers from putting plants here. Think of the thousands of jobs created by auto plants located here by Mercedes, BMW, Toyota, Subaru, Volkswagen, Nissan, Hyundai, etc. etc. Why would any of these enterprises consider locating to the US if the US government or its president were to act out in ways that Trump promises to act?

    Of course Trump is not stupid and knows this is malarkey. But he is playing people who, like you, think it might be remotely possible for him to act on these incendiary ideas. They may produce votes, but they won’t produce jobs.

    As Tom, Keith, and Jeff have noted, we have ample evidence that not interfering with the movement of economic inputs to their most efficient allocations and sitings provides economic benefits across all sectors of the economy. This seems to be a bedrock element of conservative economic philosophy. And it is where economic theory and personal liberty concerns merge in conservative thought.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not so much “hoodlumist” as “statist,” I think, though I agree with the thrust of your comment. Unfortunately, such protectionism has been all too common over US history from all major parties from the Federalists on. Since it is unfashionable at this point to think of all of these presidents and legislators as hoodlums, statists seems the better term.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Keith- protectionism is one of those crack cocaine-type political issues that pols can’t help themselves with (you are right to note that this attraction has lured both parties going back to the virtual beginning of the country). Pols know that the many voters lack the time or energy to gain a basic understanding o international economics. The idea of walling off a country to make it prosperous has some superficial appeal, especially for a large, relatively well-resourced country like the United States. However, the US is better positioned than most countries to reap tremendous economic gain from the free flow of commerce, capital and labor. The gains of trade can be a bit abstract to a portion of the electorate.

        In my earlier reply comment to Tom, I faulted Trump for being an ignoramus on this subject. That probably is far too lenient a judgement. He’s a smart fellow. He is perfectly capable of understanding the benefits of removing artificial regulatory constraints on trade. What I should have faulted him for (and this is a more serious ethical critique) is knowing that what he is saying is hokum, but saying it anyway to juice up people who have not had the benefit of his education and experience.



    2. @novascout

      Because he is not always Conservative as I would like, I don’t agree with everything Trump proposes. Nevertheless, I think it is interesting that Trump seems to have made a “Conservative” out of you. However, you are hardly alone. Trump seems to be drawing a lot criticism from the most unlikely folks. They are most certainly not the usual suspects who complain when a candidate is not Conservative enough.


  9. Edmund Burke, Bill Buckley and Russell Kirk “made a ‘conservative'” out of me, Tom, and Barry Goldwater sealed the deal politically. This all happened before Trump was out of short pants. My complaint is not that Trump is “not conservative enough.” My complaint is that he is an ignoramus without inhibitions in matters relating to international trade and economics.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t doubt Edmund Burke, Bill Buckley, Russell Kirk, and Barry Goldwater have persuaded some people to become Conservatives, but your comments on this blog indicate at least one failure.

      Is Trump an ignoramus without inhibitions in matters relating to international trade and economics? I see little reason to call anyone an ignoramus. The glass windows in my house in my house are just too fragile, but perhaps yours are already broken. Still, there must be at least a few fragile objects inside left intact.

      I think it unlikely that Trump will become our president. For their own reasons, the news media have focused upon Trump and pumped up his campaign. When Trump brought the immigration issue front and center, that did not settle well with them. However, I suspect that they are very happy that the focus on Trump has made it difficult for elected Conservatives such as Walker and Cruz to air their agenda.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Tom, regarding your: “For their own reasons, the news media have focused upon Trump and pumped up his campaign.”

        I think the reason the liberal media covers Trump like Michael Moore’s chins cover his adam’s apple is because they think (whether correctly or incorrectly) that wall-to-wall Trump coverage will gradually turn the stomachs of the swing voters, thus ensuring a Democrat win of the White House. They don’t care if it helps Trump in the primaries, because they think it kills his chances in the general election. The reason I think this is because their coverage isn’t really “favorable” towards Trump. The left’s pundits aren’t lauding Trump’s positions. They’re just shining a bright camera light on his every action.

        And regarding your: “Is Trump an ignoramus without inhibitions in matters relating to international trade and economics?”

        Also, I think the reason Trump has made immigration and protectionism the feature planks in his platform is because he’s trying to steal the union vote away from the Democrats. He thinks these are visceral issues for the unions and their members. On immigration, he thinks he’ll gain more union & blue collar votes than he’ll lose Hispanic votes. And on protectionism, any union & blue collar votes he gains are a plus with very little downside because it’s unlikely he’d piss off the free-trade business lobby so badly that they’d vote for a Democrat. He figures the business lobby will hold their nose and vote for him in the general election, figuring that he can’t unilaterally impose the tariffs he’s talking about anyway.

        – Jeff

        Liked by 2 people

        1. You could be right. We can only guess the extent to which Trump’s positions are calculated for effect. The news media, on the other hand, has largely established itself as being dishonest. While Trump has the virtue of being “newsworthy, the coverage of him has been ridiculous and the attacks have been so vicious they backfired.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. @Jeff Rutherford, who wrote:

          I think the reason the liberal media covers Trump like Michael Moore’s chins cover his adam’s apple is because they think (whether correctly or incorrectly) that wall-to-wall Trump coverage will gradually turn the stomachs of the swing voters, thus ensuring a Democrat win of the White House.

          I would tweak this formulation a bit: The progressive media applied so much attention to Trump assuming that he would be as revolting to their audience as he is to them personally, and his campaign would immediately collapse. They’ve been horrified that this strategy not only failed, it has backfired.

          Trump horrifies establishment Republicans as well. Political cartoons on both sides lampoon him equally. I think that he will ultimately fail, but not so much because of media attention as due to his own difficulties in the details. He has a bit of Rick Perry’s tendencies, and this will eat away at him as things proceed.

          In a sense, Hillary Clinton as the candidate of Democrat choice should work in America’s favor. But citizenship conversions and voter ID opposition and other processes oppose America’s interests. We shall see.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

      2. Your views will evolve after you have had a chance to study conservatism in its more substantive and historic contexts, Tom. Don’t throw in the towel yet. I don’t think of you as a “failure”, and you shouldn’t either. I think you are just new to these ideas, and are overly attracted to superficial, transitory labelling tricks used by politicians, and will move beyond that once you have had a chance to consider conservatism more fully.



        1. @novascout

          Regarding “Your views will evolve after you have had a chance to study conservatism….”

          It’s difficult to determine who your admonishment is meant for, but if it’s Tom, Keith or me…then I’m forced to assume your tongue is firmly in your cheek.

          – Jeff

          Liked by 1 person

        2. @Jeff Rutherford

          One of *scout’s standard tricks is to pretend to be too stupid to understand what Citizen Tom meant, and then turn that misunderstanding into an insult. I have seen him do this literally dozens of times, and not just to our host.

          *scout is a flavor of progressive with disdain for people who are openly Christian, but maintains that he is the real religious conservative and none of us are using “conservative” correctly. At the same time, he champions statism causes such as the federal operation of schools and fiercely opposes the imposition of voter ID laws.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        3. @novascout: I was bitten by smartphone tunnel vision earlier this morning, and didn’t notice the end of the sentence I quoted. Via a laptop, I now see that you were addressing Tom. It still baffles me why you think he needs to study conservatism to overcome some affliction of superficiality (!?). I have been studying conservatism for years, and still learn things every time I come to Tom’s blog. He’ll no doubt parry your comment with tolerance and grace — yet another sign of his conservative value system.

          – Jeff

          Liked by 1 person

        4. @Necessary and Proper (Jeff)

          Thank you for the compliment.

          I think what you and Keith said with respect to novascout’s remarks are more than sufficient.

          As Keith observed, novascout is not making the best use of his talents. Therefore, he harms himself most of all.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. @Keith DeHavelle

          “Flavor” happens to be the punchline of a joke I heard this week:

          “What’s the difference between an oral thermometer and a rectal thermometer?”

          (Just a random thought…in no way related to progressivism, you understand.)

          – Jeff

          Liked by 1 person

        6. One could observe that this bit of humor inserted in an inappropriate spot could be in bad taste. Of course, that might apply to the thermometers themselves.

          *scout and I have a long-running series of skirmishes here. I don’t dislike him, and I appreciate that he is articulate and knowledgeable. But I do not like the techniques he chooses, and how he has decided to make use of his abilities.

          Most leftists worth engaging are open enough about their positions and advocacy, and are not trying to pretend to be what they oppose. *scout, instead, professes conservatism while attacking conservative beliefs. And often, he acts as though he’s set for himself the task of making sure that serious conservative points are not discussed, which he pursues by pretending to ignorance, misunderstanding a minor point, and then launching into critique of this side issue instead of the theme of the post. I engage him primarily to point out that I am aware of his techniques, and to use his misunderstanding as a backdrop to provide a bit of background information to the general reader. It gives me a bit of exercise, something I don’t get much of these days.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

  10. Could it be that the “invisible hand” is neither invisible nor a hand, but merely the interactions of men? If so, then all that is necessary for a market to be just is for men to be just. So what is Justice?


    1. @mastersamwise, who wrote:

      Could it be that the “invisible hand” is neither invisible nor a hand, but merely the interactions of men?

      Yes! By Jove, I think you’ve got it!

      If so, then all that is necessary for a market to be just is for men to be just. So what is Justice?

      Ah, you had it, but it slipped from your grasp.

      The entire point of Smith’s “invisible hand” concept is simply to note that the natural tendency of the accumulation of voluntary transactions is to improve the condition of society in general. It does not matter what is in the minds of those involved in each free market buy-sell interaction, so long as the interaction itself occurs without coercion.

      These are, in economics terms, “Pareto positive” transactions — meaning that both parties do this to be better off and wealthier, in the sense of trading something of lesser value for something of greater value from the view of each participant. Without coercion, these transactions will tend to be just, for any reasonable value of justice.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, “The proud and unfeeling landlord views his extensive fields, and without a thought for the wants of his brethren, in imagination consumes himself the whole harvest … [Yet] the capacity of his stomach bears no proportion to the immensity of his desires … the rest he will be obliged to distribute among those, who prepare, in the nicest manner, that little which he himself makes use of, among those who fit up the palace in which this little is to be consumed, among those who provide and keep in order all the different baubles and trinkets which are employed in the economy of greatness; all of whom thus derive from his luxury and caprice, that share of the necessaries of life, which they would in vain have expected from his humanity or his justice…The rich…are led by an invisible hand to make nearly the same distribution of the necessaries of life, which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society…” The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759), Part IV, Chapter 1.

        Smith describes the unintended benefits that happen to happen when rich people get richer. In fact, Smith did not consider the invisible hand to be good–see the aforementioned volume on morals–but merely a consequence, an accident. He actually prefered people to act according to good and noble sentiment, not merely selfishness.

        What you describe is Milton Friedman’s definition of the invisible hand in his introduction to “I, Pencil.”

        You make the analogy of Pareto positive transactions but doesn’t this fall flat when modern advertising is allowed to take such liberties that the consumer can be deceived in the actual value of the thing offered? When the view of one person is altered–often without their knowledge due to subliminal messaging and marketing gags–can the sale be truly called just since they were not estimating the product but lies about the product?


        1. ” without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society”


          False and exaggerated stories of a product’s worth have been around a very long time; “a pig in a poke” is not talking about Pokemon. Tales from the Bible to Aesop provide examples to encourage buyers to exercise caution. (And yet here you are, selling socialism and statist control.)

          So, you’re a believer in “subliminal messaging,” hmm?

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Ah, I see the disconnect. I believe that each person is bound by common humanity to aid his fellow man in an active and direct way. You would have each “individual” build up his own wealth and if scraps happen to fall off his table, then the poor can fight the dogs for it. Genius.

          So longevity of a vice means it is to be enshrined as a virtue. If so, legalize prostitution, the exposure of infants, and ritual human sacrifice.


        3. @mastersamwise, who wrote:

          Ah, I see the disconnect. I believe that each person is bound by common humanity to aid his fellow man in an active and direct way.

          And you propose to force him to do so. Your system is “charity at gunpoint” which has always been heavy on the force while the charity corrodes away.

          You would have each “individual” build up his own wealth and if scraps happen to fall off his table, then the poor can fight the dogs for it. Genius.

          As much as you intended this as sarcasm, the recognition of this reality centuries ago really was genius. But despite your acidic description, things work a little differently. This is especially true now that we are, for the moment, not in an age of serfdom.

          In order to “build up his own wealth” these days, a person must think in terms of satisfying a need for a service or product, then set about to produce this service or good and set a price for it so that it improves over the existing satisfactions of such a need. In other words, he is forced to think of and act upon what benefits others in order to achieve benefit for himself.

          You’ve several times suggested that false advertising undercuts this, and you implied that “subliminal messaging” controlled people’s actions. But were this the simple truth, producers wouldn’t have to worry about producing any particular quality of product, they’d simply advertise it and automatically be successful. Reality shows this to be not so simple, and history demonstrates a constant improvement in goods and services as a result of the free market and people seeking to gain from it. And in the free market, both sides of a transaction gain from it, while wealth is created in the form of new and improved goods and services, always driven to satisfy the needs of others.

          It is true that, generally, one side gains money and the other a good or service that they desire more than the money they exchange for it. This means that money flowed one direction in that transaction, and a person who consistently produces more desirable, more valuable goods and services can accumulate money, which is spent then or later on expenses, investment, or expansion.

          But you don’t like this “later” part; it leaves the person with money. You and Pope Francis complain about “inequality”; i.e., that one person has more money than another, and you propose to have a group of (rich, of course) “public servants” decide how much others may have, may accumulate, may consume, and may pass on to their families or other designated recipients. We already do this to a harmful extent in most countries, but you explicitly advocate this on a global scale.

          What would your perfect solution look like? On Day One of the new global fascist regime that “protects the poor, protects the environment, and eliminates inequality,” you take all the money that everyone has and divide it up and redistribute it so that each person has exactly the same amount. (As always, your mastermind group would be get a special allocation from this, but let’s ignore that for the moment.)

          Now, it’s Day Two. Someone needs something from his neighbor — whether it’s food from his farm, a babysitting service, a repair for his car or tools, or whatever. He pays his neighbor for this. But now, at the end of this day, despite the fact that both sides are happy with the deal, he has less money than his neighbor. Inequality again. It won’t take long before those people who work at it will accumulate substantially more money. How often do you redistribute this to “solve” this new “problem”? Every Tuesday? The first of every month? Every day at 5pm?

          And how long will it take under your “beneficent guidance” until any efforts to produce improved goods and services, or any goods and services at all, wither away — leaving the world in the totalitarian misery that statists have so far only been able to inflict upon unfortunate countries? Those countries survived as long as they did — and some still exist this way — due to “black markets” providing a little bit of the benefits of free market exchanges. Those unhappy people engage in these underground fragments of the free market even under threat of death or imprisonment, as it is better than what you propose.

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        4. Actually, I said that each human person is bound by his common humanity to aid his fellow man in an active and direct way. In no comment have I advocated what you are suggesting. In fact, I think you are deliberately drawing these conclusions because I sincerely think you have no other argument.

          I have suggested that humanity has natural obligations to fulfill the laws of natural justice. Apparently the idea that there could be any law higher than “get what you can while you can” is so oppressive to you, I wonder why you participate in society at all.

          To be perfectly honest, you have very formulaic responses. First, you dismiss whatever I say with a non sequetur about the evils of totalitarianism. Then you go on about how totalitarianism is evil. What little you actually spend addressing my point is entirely overshadowed by the fact that none of your points actually follow from anything I said. From Justice to black markets. How did you get to that end? No study of formal logic could actually divine the answer.


        5. @mastersamwise

          I think you have latched on to something important — some good ideas — but it seems to me that your good ideas are contaminated by a bad one.

          Government is not a suitable organization for solving the problem of poverty. When government redistributes the wealth, how do we distinguish that from stealing? If we give our officials the power to redistribute the wealth, how do we reconcile an inherent conflict of interest? When none of us is good, no, not one, how do we find people we can trust to appropriately redistribute the wealth?

          Look at what we have right now. Don’t we have a government led by people who claim to care about the poor? Yet what they are doing is bankrupting our country. They are so rapacious — so eager to spend money we don’t have — our leaders are destroying our economy. When they finally succeed in destroying our economy, they will hurt the poor the most.

          In an earlier comment, you mentioned the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity (=>}. These articles provide an interesting presentation of what those principles mean => and

          Neither the word subsidiarity ( nor the word solidarity ( are very old. On the other hand, the ideas of Christian charity and Old Testament Jewish charity are ancient. Neither has much to do with government.

          Frankly, I think government gets in the way of subsidiarity, and government can only mimic true solidarity. When a politician gets onstage and paints his vision of the future for the poor and downtrodden, it can sound wonderful, but that vision always becomes a heartless bureaucracy that gives the rest of us an excuse to do nothing. In time, what was honestly intended to solve a difficult problem itself becomes a problem. Thus, programs such as Social Security and Medicare are bankrupting us, and our government-run schools are just expensive, third rate institutions that indoctrinate children with some very bad ideas..

          Liked by 2 people

        6. Wow, I don’t know how this keeps happening but for some reason, whenever I talk about economic Justice, it is immediately interpreted as “create giant welfare state.”

          The principles of subsidiarity find their modern roots in Pius IX and Leo XIII while their actual roots are as old the first empires. The Jews themselves practiced it, each family of each tribe going to his particular judge for the settlement of grievances. Now, subsidiarity can be misused in two major ways. First, there can be an over emphasis on the smallest units which seeks to usurp the lawful and just authority due to the larger units. The second is where the larger unit usurps the authority of the smaller ones and I think this one is most known to you. The former is a tendancy I see among the radical indvidualists who place the authority and autonomy of the individual above all other concerns.

          This is important to consider when we consider the word solidarity. Again, a fairly modern take on an ancient concept. The word solidarity comes, ultimately from the Latin solidus meaning whole. To form a whole is the most rational end of any human society. No collection of persons congregate to further divide themselves but rather to find ways of living as a unified whole. The word also comes from the Greek meaning whole as in in whole health. No one can be said to be in good health if one part of the body is in conflict with the other. Just as a house divided cannot stand, neither can an unhealthy, unified body stand either. So if the hand did not bring food to the mouth, or the foot did not support the leg, the body cannot function well. The rest of the body must aid the other parts when they are weak otherwise the whole body is compromised. The hand believes he will not feel the loss of the feet until he has to hold up the footless body.


        7. I am living with the situation you describe as “cannot function well.” Nothing about this situation makes me think that your proposed statist society is a good idea for humanity. The solution you promote is to take some function from my still working hands and other parts and distribute it so that all are equally weakened, and I can no longer use my arms to get around. No thank you; the parts that work well should continue to do so, and thus be able to voluntarily aid other parts less functional.

          I see that you are simply attacking my style, now, and seem to be giving up on actually suggesting how you would force people to act as you think their duty demands without actually coercing them.

          In the real world, charity is an active (and voluntary) part of the free market, until the state comes along and squeezes people out of the charity business for its own purposes. But you want all people to do their duty to their fellow man, so how do you pull it off? The document you came here promoting uses force. What’s your plan?

          ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

          Liked by 2 people

        8. Pray, can you provide the quote where I actually make that assertion? No, you cannot. The hand will repair the foot because the hand knows the importance of the foot to the health of the body. So even though the hand must reduce its normal work to take care of the foot, it services the entire body.

          If the hand were to act as if the foot was nothing to him, then the damage of the foot would only increase, reducing the effectiveness of the body further and ultimately causing the hands pain.

          The point is that the hands are not independant of the foot but are connected through the whole body. Both parts have not only a need to provide health for the body, but a duty. For if one part decides to withhold his work from the body, then the whole body suffers and the part eventually dies, being separated from the body. If the healthy parts are left to live while other parts are left to die, then the body dies and the healthy parts have acted unjustly since they have allowed the degradation of the body to the death of the other member. That is called Justice since the actions or inaction of one deprived another of basic life. Tell me if this gets too metaphysical. As I understand your position, anything higher than an individual seems to freak you out.

          If that is your definition of Charity, then I really don’t see much use in it besides feeling. If Charity is merely a market force and not the most human act a person can perform, then who here is calling for the bleak society? In previous posts, I have argued for the building up of man. If man’s interactions are reduced to mere money relations, you prove Marx’s points. Seeing as I don’t believe that historical materialism accurately describes reality–though you seem to take up the cause of it quite well with your servile devotion to capital for the sake of capital approach–then I propose we see things for what they are, not what we would like them to be. The simple fact is that, unless Justice enforced through rule of law, can any rule of law be said to be Just? Am I so evil when I believe that man is fundementally good but inclined toward evil? Am I so wrong when I say man needs Justice to guide him towards not only the good for society but the good of himself? Am I so diabolical when I say that any law must have Justice as it’s object or else it will neither be just, produce Justice, or incline anyone towards Justice? We have laws against the unjust taking of life, but why do you not disparage those ordinances of Justice? Why is it that Justice can, for you, extend to certain aspects of life, but not to others? Why is it that you do not trust men not to murder, but trust men to help the poor? How is that Justice? Going back to the question you were either unwilling or unable to answer, what is Justice?


        9. @mastersamwise

          Yes. You have a diabolical nature. The Bible says no man is good, and that includes you. The Psalms said it. Jesus said it. The Apostle Paul explains why we must admit it. It is why Jesus died for us on the cross, so we could be freed from our sinful nature.

          Ostensibly, government exists to provide justice, but it doesn’t. Government maintains order.

          Unfortunately, we are innately corrupt. So we have a government to protect from each other. Men don’t even have the capacity to provide true justice. Consider. The more power we give our government, the more we have to protect ourselves from our government. To expect justice from something we cannot trust is to expect too much.

          What is justice? It is not particularly easy for us all to agree, but it quite obvious that for some people justice means “I got mine.” That includes a great many of our elected leaders.

          Is the free market perfectly just? Few would claim that it is, but it provides motivation for us to work to satisfy each others needs. Socialism, on the other hand, just makes it easier for people to steal.

          You say you are not a Socialist? Then what is your complaint? What is it you want different? People? Don’t we all? If we are wise, we especially want a better heart than the one we have.

          Liked by 1 person

        10. “It is not particularly easy for us all to agree…” I think this strikes at the heart of the issue. We all want just laws. No man wants tyranny. So what is justice? Whatever we make up? Whatever is popular? My complaint is exactly that; political conservatives will always cry out that socialism is unjust, but when asked for a definition of justice, there are numerous answers ranging from the biblical to the absurd.

          As I said about Thomas More, there is justice outside of what men believe justice to be. It is knowable and it can be achieved in a natural sense to an extent. What neither aids the argument nor improves society is this notion that any man can define justice and believe himself to be right. It is a giant participation trophy that we hand out as a society instead of challenging ideas and rejecting them or improving them. Basically, we tell ourselves as a society that we do not need to strive for anything more than what we come up with ourselves.

          So we can argue about what system provides the most money and social programs or we can get at the heart of the issue and say which one provides the most justice and make man more man-like because since justice simply is a natural virtue emanating from the Divine virtue of Justice as a reflection of the emenator, then it is safe to say we are most fully human, most fully ourselves when we practice justice in all actions, both private and public.


        11. @mastersamwise

          Justice is a virtue, and we are not born virtuous. We must learn to be virtuous. We must even learn of the need for virtue.

          Because virtue is needed for peace and contentment, I suppose that is why Aristotle defined the search for happiness as the pursuit of virtue.

          Do you think you have a lock on virtue? For example, are you always just? Do you truly know a simple set of rules that everyone can easily use to decide what is just? I don’t think so, and I don’t pretend to be so virtuous or wise myself. I find it difficult enough to follow the Golden Rule as it is, and I sure don’t want our government to constrain me with reams of regulations requiring me to do this and that. Yet that is where we are headed.

          Consider that famous tale wherein King Solomon first demonstrated his wisdom. Two women came before him for judgement, each claiming the same baby as their own. To solve the dispute, King Solomon proposed to divide the baby in half, and THEY BELIEVED HE WOULD DO IT.

          To the surprise of all, King Solomon actually found a way to determine the rightful mother, and he returned her baby back to her.

          In a difficult situation, King Solomon had provided a just solution. Because such justice is so rare, the story has been repeated for thousands of years as proof of King Solomon’s wisdom.

          Because those such as King Solomon are so rare, and because even King Solomon became corrupt, I much prefer a limited government that allows each of us to pursue our own notions of happiness. And there is justice in that. Because each of us is our own worst enemy, when government is limited to protecting our rights, most of the injustice we experience will be the result of our own doing.


        12. When you take a toy from a child for no reason, even the child knows it is wrong. Is it not written that the law of God is written on the hearts of all men? Thus, all men seek justice, even if they have no word for it.

          One can perceive the good i.e. virtue and still fall short of the ideal. Just because I am not always just does not mean I cannot know what justice is, especially if God wrote it on my heart. If it is written on my heart, then in discovering who I am as a human being will reveal justice. Seeking the Truth requires understanding who are. To abandon that or to allow others to abandon that is to condemn them to unhappiness. Contrary to Cain’s belief, we are actually our brother’s keeper. Who is my brother? My Samaritans.

          If you accept that virtue is happiness, then having each person follow false happiness would actually be unjust. Shall we allow suicide if a person believes it will make them happy? Shall we allow gay marriage because they believe it will make them happy? If the government believes that true happiness is found in oppressing its people, then who is to stop them? In saying that everyone should be allowed to pursue their own happiness, you’re setting your own idea of justice over everyone anyway since no one can do anything that would violate a person’s conception of happiness would be unjust.

          What you propose is that, as a society, we have no further aspirations than to wallow in mediocrity.


        13. @mastersamwise

          For the most part, I have already responded to what you have to say in this comment in this post => So here I will just address some specific questions.

          I concede that each of us inherently knows what C. S. Lewis described a moral law. Nevertheless, merely having possession of a moral law does not seem to provide us sufficient incentive to obey it. In addition, we can wrongly learn to ignore or distort the promptings of the moral law.

          Consider that God did not force Cain to be his brother’s keeper, and ask yourself “why not?” Then consider whether it is appropriate for us to use the power of government to force our neighbors to be each others keepers. Do you really want someone to be your “keeper” who does not love you? Don’t you know that one way to be your brother’s keeper is to make your brother your slave?

          Shall we allow suicide if a person believes it will make them happy?

          As a practical matter, if a sane person wants to kill himself, we cannot stop him. What makes government-assisted suicide wrong is that sane people rarely choose death. The mentally ill require the protection of government, not assistance in hurting themselves.

          Same-sex “marriage” is insane. Such a relationship is unhealthy. The expression same-sex marriage is an oxy-moron. In a society with limited government, foolish people of the same sex could pretend to marry each other, but such a marriage would not receive legal recognition. Without the possibility of children, such a marriage has no practical relevance. It is only because big government allows politicians to buy votes that we are seeing the legalization of same-sex fantasies.

          Instead of striving to force people to implement your notions of social justice, try something that can work. The most powerful way we influence each other to do what is virtuous is with the power of our own example.

          I can only guess what you mean with this statement.

          In saying that everyone should be allowed to pursue their own happiness, you’re setting your own idea of justice over everyone anyway since no one can do anything that would violate a person’s conception of happiness would be unjust.

          That statement strongly suggests you don’t understand what is meant by limited government and protecting individual rights. When government is limited, we don’t try to use government to give us happiness or to guarantee we will be happy. When government is limited, all we use government to do is stop people from abusing each other. If two adults of the same sex voluntarily choose to pretend they are “married” to each other, I don’t see the point of sticking them in jail. They have made their bed. If they want to lie in it, that is punishment enough.

          Just because something is wrong does not necessarily mean it should be illegal. However, when something is wrong, we should not be forced either to participate or to endorse bad behavior.


        14. If the natural law that Lewis describes is broken, who does it harm? A crime against one’s nature such as homosexual sex or gender reassignment would be violating the natural law, we can agree. So who is it that enforces the natural law? If the Divine Law is reserved to God by God, then the natural law is by the same token reserved to that person who has authority over nature. Now since nature and its laws emenate from God, God is , of course, the ultimate authority. Yet, it is written in the book of Genesis that man was given dominion over nature. This sharing in the care and authority over nature places man in the unique position of the executor of nature’s laws with God being its legislature. The fall from grace may have abrogated our perceptions of the Divine Law, requiring Revelation to make it known to us, but natural law, being inherent in natural things including ourselves, can still be known and still be executed.

          Following the principles of subsidiarity, positive law i.e. the laws enacted by men in their own legislatures, must be informed by the more general principles of law i.e. corpora of the natural and Divine Laws. To break the natural laws may not cause direct harm to anyone besides the actor, the crime against nature’s law is a crime against nature itself. Man, being the guardian of nature–a duty that has not be abrogated–and the executor of its laws, must punish violations of that law through his own positive laws. Hence murder, which violates the natural laws prohibiting the unjust taking of human life, is punished with the most severe penalties. True, entering into the bedrooms of private citizens is not advisable, nor do I advocate it.

          Instead, the answer lies in the beginning of your reply. Wrongly learning or falsely perceiving the natural law and the good leads to societal strife. Thus, it is the duty of each person, as a human person, to seek the Truth, not as however he sees fit to perceive it, but how it actually is. That requires certain philosophical ground rules, the chief one being that man is by no means in himself an ultimate authority on the good. In other words, man cannot be said to be always right, even when he is wrong. We as a society need to have a firm perception of the Truth with regards to natural law which can only come about by the intellectual work of each human person and firm rejection of any idea that is contrary to reality of what is true, good, and beautiful. In short, we can no longer operate under the false assumption that Truth is subjective. It allows for radical individualism, misguided and idiotic collectivism, and the degradation of the moral framework of civil society. When we live in a time when a growing number of people think it is good to euthanize those with mental handicaps, we have devolved, through our insistence in our individual infallibility, into the worse sort of barbarians.


        15. @mastersamwise

          Regarding your statement: “Wow, I don’t know how this keeps happening but for some reason, whenever I talk about economic Justice, it is immediately interpreted as ‘create giant welfare state.’ ”

          The some reason is that you’re resisting explaining how you would implement your system of economic justice. You’ve compared it to zen-like “unified body,” and you’ve said that Jews practiced it centuries ago. You’ve danced all around the edges of your own assertion. Why are you avoiding the central question? How would you implement economic Justice? You’re leaving a vacuum, which Keith and Tom attempt to fill in order to further the conversation. Then you criticize their inferences and conclusions as being small minded. Why are you being coy and evasive? It’s YOUR vacuum in the debate…..fulfill your own obligation to fill it.

          Liked by 1 person

        16. So am I to understand that, unless I give the entire patrimony surrounding the principle of Iustia–a principle I had not realized was so far out of human consideration–then I am immediately placed into a camp without any request for elaboration?

          Indeed, my first post had one proposition, and two questions. From that, I was deemed a red blooded commie. So apparently suggesting that justice has anything to do with human interaction is somehow pure socialism. “Could it be that the “invisible hand” is neither invisible nor a hand, but merely the interactions of men? If so, then all that is necessary for a market to be just is for men to be just. So what is Justice?”

          If men interacting becomes a market, and that market is to be just, it logically follows that the interactions of men must be just. That is just basic logic. I then asked what justice was. To Keith, it appears that justice is getting whatever you want and if someone else get something then that is good too but entirely inconsequential to the fact that you are building up your own stuff.

          Since this assertion is so obvious and plainly logical, it would be necessary, as I said at the beginning but has yet to actually be addressed, to define justice.

          It does not take much to realize that I am being maligned here. For example, I said, ” I believe that each person is bound by common humanity to aid his fellow man in an active and direct way.” Keith interpreted this to mean “And you propose to force him to do so. Your system is “charity at gunpoint” which has always been heavy on the force while the charity corrodes away.” Can you somehow show how my assertion somehow follows to Keith’s? No, you cannot, because it doesn’t. It is a fabrication and completely illogical.

          Again, I have asked two questions that have gone unanswered, made one proposition so mindbogglingly logical Aristotle could use it as an example of a BARBARA, and really only tipped my own person position once when I made my assertion about human nature. And from that, I am a commie? From that, I am intellectually deficient? Tell me, if someone infers from something that is not present in the thing, it is the fault of the thing or the one making the inference? Basically, if my unanswered questions and assertions dismissed without reason–as I said above in the example, if the rebuttal cannot follow, it cannot be said to be an actual dismissal of the assertion–then the filler that has been added as been completely off topic and meaningless.


        17. @Necessary and Proper

          I don’t think mastersamwise really knows how to answer you question. That is the point I made here =>

          It appears he also doesn’t know how to admit he doesn’t know how to answer that question. Instead, for some reason or another we don’t understand justice.

          Justice in a free market is being honest about what you are selling and being honest about paying for what you buy. The rest is just allowing the laws of supply and demand to work.

          Charity on the other hand does not stem from justice. If God did not extend His grace and mercy to us, He would cast us into oblivion, giving us what we deserve. Instead, although we do not deserve it, He loves us. Charity — grace and mercy — stems from love.

          Liked by 1 person

        18. Staying true to my alma mater’s namesake and the font from which I take much of my philosophy, I feel it is my duty to point out that the traveler from Utopia was named “nonsense.” Apart from making Mark Levin’s interpretation laughably fascicle, it tells the reader how to approach the text. In short, the Socrates–since it is modeled after the Dialogues by Plato and the later dialogues of Cicero–of the work is More himself, not the nonsense from nowhere.

          More was, contrary to popular modern opinion, that there was, in everything, an ideal of that thing to be striven towards. Indeed, all of human progress and society was, for More, a movement towards higher truth and not simply workaday interactions of random individuals. More conceived of a society based on a working towards harmony, not the mere avoidance of conflict. For More, these “theories” about how men should live were the MOST real things. Like the sun in Plato’s cave analogy, the most real things are not even the things that cast the shadows but the light itself.


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