Tuesday, June 26, 2018

David Brooks Argues That You Can't Be A Conservative And A Republican

David Brooks joins a growing number of conservative opinion leaders who have divorced themselves from the Republican Party.  Many Trump supporters call themselves conservatives.  Brooks explains why Donald Trump is the arch enemy of conservatism.  He does this by defining the central concepts of conservative thought.  Neither Trump, or most of his supporters, adhere to the basic principles of conservatism.  They are members of a tribe that defines itself by its opposition to members of an alien tribe. The Republican Party has also been an advocate for market fundamentalism which also divides communities rather than building them.  This leads Brooks to a sad conclusion.  He can no longer be a conservative and a member of the Republican Party.  He is now a man without a political party

Donald Trump probably cares little about conservative opinion leaders like David Brooks, George Will, Jennifer Rubin and others.  However, they played an important role in the Republican Party by providing it with an ideology that has been attractive to many members of the party.  It is now a party without an ideology that is compelling to a growing number of thoughtful Republicans.  Donald Trump has created his own political party that is based upon himself and the personality of power that he has tried to establish in his base.  In the process he has exposed the Republican Party for what it has become.  A party without a compelling ideology, and support from intellectuals like David Brooks and others, will not have a long half life in the US.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

George Will Tells His Readers To Vote Democratic In Novermber

George Will is regarded as Mr. Conservative by the millions of readers who read his syndicated column in the Washington Post.  He has finally realized that Trump is not a conservative and that the Republican congress has been unwilling to carry out its duty to defend the Constitution.  That failure led him to tell his readers not to vote for Republicans in midterm elections.  He can't bring himself to tell his readers to vote for Democrats this fall, but they have no other choice if they agree with Will's description of Trumpism and Trump's contempt for truth and the rule of law.  Will is highly respected among traditional conservatives.  Many of them will find it difficult to vote for Republicans who have abandoned conservatism, and who are unwilling to defend the Constitution against Trump's efforts to consolidate his political power at the expense of congressional authority.  Of course,  many  Republicans are not really traditional conservatives like George Will.  They are better described as anti-liberals than anything else. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The End Of The American Empire And American Exceptionalism

Paul Krugman reminds us about the ideals that led to the creation of the American empire following WW ll.  They have been replaced by a new set of ideas that mark the end of American exceptionalism as well as the end of the liberal order that it had created.  Donald Trump is doing what he can to undermine the world order that we helped to establish.  He wants to make "America Great Again" by adopting a set of values that made America a great nation.  Unfortunately, he is being supported by a political party that has based its political future on a set of values that may destroy the world order along with our economic well being.  They are the values that may make it possible for Trump to establish an autocracy that give his the power and adoration that he desires.

David Brooks Claims That Amnesty Has Become A Cruel Word Under Trump

David Brooks provides examples of how Trump supporters respond to all efforts to deal with the problems of illegal immigrants by shouting "amnesty".  Amnesty must be avoided at all costs because all violations of the law must be punished.  He argues that this is a departure from conservative philosophy which has been opposed to statism  because reality it more complex than state bureaucrats can imagine.  He concludes that Trump's political party has become a party of liberal trolls.  His base rallies against every idea that can be connected to liberalism.  The Republican Party has lost its moral base in the process. 

Brooks is correct.  The Republican Party is not a conservative party.  Conservatism has been diluted into anti-liberalism.  The implication is that the Republican Party was a conservative party before the arrival of Donald Trump.  In my view, Trump's takeover of the Republican Party tells a different story.  It has not been a conservative party for a long time.  It cultivated the base that Trump has exploited since he assumed the presidency.  Trump just made a process that has been underway for decades more visible.  David Brooks, and many of his friends in the GOP, may be conservatives but they have not been representative of the Republican Party since Richard Nixon adopted his "Southern Strategy".  It captured the South but it lost its conservative soul along the way.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The US Trade Surplus That Trump Does Not Discuss

We normally look at trade balances by comparing US exports with US exports.  Indeed, the US imports more than it exports.  However, if we look at the sales of US subsidiaries in foreign countries we get a different story.  For example, GM sells more cars in China than it does in the US.  US corporations have a $1.4 Trillion surplus with the rest of the world.  That is great for them but its impact on US jobs is ambiguous.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Trump's Russia First Rants In Quebec Do Not Align With America First Slogan

Paul Krugman nails it.  He explains why Trump promoted Putin and Russia and advocated trade polices which do little for most Americans.  Both of them have a contempt for democracy; they both prefer autocracy to democracy.  My guess is that Putin could also end Trump's presidency if he chose to release information that he has about Trump and his campaign.  He is in the catbird seat.

Krugman points out all of the economic ignorance displayed by Trump and his top economic advisers.  They can get away with this nonsense because most of Trump's base has little understanding  about these issues.  They enjoy watching Trump act powerful and they may believe that his trade policies are in their best interest.  They are primarily campaign slogans for an endless Trump campaign.  He prefers campaigning to running our government

Cuts In US Corporate Taxes Fails To End Use Of Tax Havens

This article lists the largest tax haven nations that are used by global corporations.  They tend to have a small number of employees in relation to their taxable profits.  That is, they add very little value to the products produced for sale in those nations.  We live in a world with global corporations that organize their accounting to serve their own purposes. Nation states seem unable e their efforts to reduce taxation since they are not organized to control globally organized entities.  The net effect is to shift the tax burden to local residents.