Yea Democrats, Boo Press

Al Franken is resigning under pressure from Democrats. The AP says:

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s departure from the Senate solves one problem for Democrats, demonstrating their will to push out one of their own when sexual harassment allegations pile up.

Good for the Democrats!  Neither party has covered itself in glory over policing its own but it has been a particular problem for the Democrats since Harry Truman left.  On the other hand, the press wants him to leave as the lion of the Senate.

Sidebar: Yes this is our less subtle dig at the Democrats as Ted Kennedy is often given that mantle.  Teddy is the one who left Mary Jo Kopechne to die, invented Borking, and had problems with females.  He is evidence of the difficulty that Democrats have in policing their own. End Sidebar.

He is a 66 year-old celebrity back bencher who is the poster boy for ballot integrity.  Yet one AP report we couldn’t find online called him a rising star.  Perhaps it was a subtle dig at the Democrats age problem.  Another AP report said:

Franken, 66, had gained respect as a serious lawmaker in recent years and had even been mentioned in talk about the 2020 presidential race.

We had not mentioned Al so don’t blame us.  We expect Cory or Kamala.  Perhaps there is hope for the Democrats but until the press comes around it seems unlikely.

Advertisements

New Friends For W And Jonah?

George W Bush’s recent speech has attracted some interesting press.  It has also given Jonah Goldberg something interesting to say about The Donald and his relationship to others.  Let’s start with the speech.  The Politico title is: Full Text George W. Bush Speech On Trumpism.  It connects to Edward-Isaac Dovere’s article: George W. Bush Slams Trumpism, Without Mentioning The President By Name.  The two titles give it away.  W is now a leftist hero because he attacked The Donald even though he did not mention him.

We read the speech and thought The Donald wasn’t the main target.  In one paragraph he uses the time frame since World War II.  In the next paragraph W says the following:

For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.

So does the 70 years mean from 1945 to 2015?  We don’t think it does for two reasons.  One, FDR became a fan of US leadership in the late 30s or early 40s.  We think that his relationship with Churchill dates it in the 30s.  Second, the US president from 2009 to 2017 was no fan of freedom in the world or US leadership.  We see the criticisms from W falling at least as heavily on him as The Donald.

That brings us around to Jonah.  We think that recently he has missed that there are many of us who voted for The Donald because we felt he was the better choice.  We still think that is true.  But Jonah has a crucial point:

But it seems like almost everybody is only hearing what they want to hear. Liberals, the media, and — importantly — President Trump’s Amen Corner all heard the same thing in Bush’s remarks: “Blah, blah, blah, blah, Trump Bad.” That’s why Bush is suddenly benefitting from a strange new respect from liberals and a strange new hatred from former supporters.

Our reaction is clearly within those bounds of hearing what we want to hear although we continue to be a big supporter of W, much less excited about The Donald, and decidedly unenthusiastic about the president between them.  Shortly after that Jonah asks:

I want to ask you to entertain a thought experiment. Imagine, if just for a moment, that all of you who fall into one of these camps are entirely wrong. What if President Bush was aiming his fire at Democrats and liberals?

We are not a liberal and we are not in The Donald’s Amen Corner (but we are fans of Amen Corner at Augusta).  We think that W was defending his administration but that he did direct most of his fire at the Democrats and liberals.  We like Jonah’s point and question.  We all need to ask if we misunderstand somebody.  This is especially true when they don’t name names.  When we read the speech by W we were shocked to see the headline and the related article.  We saw it as an epic takedown of that other president.  Try going through it line by line and see what you think.  As for now, Jonah is back as a must read for us.

Conservative Faculty

At least some students at Georgetown University want more conservative faculty.  Mark Judge at Acculturated (also published on NRO) reports on an editorial in the official student newspaper, the Hoya:

Instead, they make a straightforward case that the dearth of conservative professors at Georgetown is leaving students unprepared for the genuine diversity—that is, the diversity of thought—that is part of the real world. Georgetown’s homogeneity, they argue, is leading to an atrophying of their skills for debate and reasoned argument. In other words, without conservatives, they have no one to test their ideas against.

They also review the evidence that that there are fewer conservative faculty members.  The Hoya, Mark, and NRO are all correct to say this but they miss the big structural problems that make diversifying faculty so hard.  The structural problems might be organized as graduating, teaching, and publishing.

Most faculty positions require a terminal degree, usually a Ph.D., and that is what we mean by graduating.  To get a terminal degree you write a thesis and that is largely controlled by your senior professor.  Graduating provides a bigger challenge if you are a conservative because few of those senior professors are.

Faculty members need to teach.  The problem is that the curriculum is controlled by folks who are not conservatives.  Thus we have Peace Studies

Sidebar: Here is the search for Peace Studies: http://search.privacysearch.net/q=cGVhY2Ugc3R1ZGllcw==&b=PC_80801124&qpt=na
It is one example of how new leftist programs are crowding out traditional, and often, more conservative programs.  End Sidebar.

and many otherprograms that designed by and staffed by the Left.  We talked to a military historian (we don’t know if he was a conservative but we suspect it) who said he had to leave because there was nothing for him to teach.  One data point is limited evidence but all of the programs suggest the problem more strongly.

Publishing is one of the things faculty need to do to get promoted.  Specifically, they need to publish at a level appropriate for their school.  Major programs require “A hits” while comprehensives like our school are less impressed by prestige but require that you be active in reasonable journals.  It is our judgment that leftist oriented journals have flourished to provide more outlets for them.  We were happy to see them (leftists) succeed because it was good for the department and the college.  There have been a couple of instances where folks have got a joke article published in those journals.  So there is concern about the intellectual quality of such journals but more troubling is the report by Andy Ngo in Quillette about an article, The Case For Colonialism, by associate professor Bruce Gilley in Third World Quarterly (TWQ).  It seems to us that the author was pointing out the obvious when:

[Bruce] argues that nations who embraced and built on their Western colonial legacy, for example, Singapore, have fared better than those who followed anti-colonial nationalist ideologies.

Instead, Bruce created a firestorm.  There were 17,000 signatures from two petitions and 15 resignations from the TWQ editorial board.  Seriously! You must read the whole thing.  Andy leads with the most astonishing part:

An academic journal [TWQ]l that published a controversial article making a case for Western colonialism has withdrawn the piece after its editor received “serious and credible threats” of violence.

Bruce is lucky to be an associate professor as associate usually indicates tenure, but he might remain one for a long time as publications will be hard to come by.

Bruce’s situation is exactly why conservatives are not drawn to academia and exactly why it is difficult for them to survive.  The Hoya is right about the need for diversity but it will take more than student editorials to bring more conservatives into the faculty ranks.

 

A Good Start

We have been hard on the WSJ lately.  Holman Jenkins, jr, one of our favorites, did nothing to help their batting average.  We’ll see if we can get to that later.  Edward Kleinbard has an excellent idea about tax reform that is consistent with our thinking.  You can look it up as we don’t reference ourselves.  Edward reports that a carbon tax of $25 per metric ton would raise $1 trillion over ten years.  He starts with some assertions that are not unreasonable:

To reset the competitiveness of the U.S. tax system, corporate tax reform must be permanent and revenue-neutral. The $1.5 trillion in incremental deficits just approved by the Senate would actually cut into growth, because interest costs on new debt crowd out private investment.

We would add that the reform of corporate taxes (business taxes would be even better) must be large.  He then outlines the positions of the two parties and where the room is for negotiations:

Earlier this year Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Brian Schatz proposed a trade along these lines, but their plan is politically infeasible. They want a carbon tax rate that starts at $49 a ton and ratchets up annually, and their suggested 29% corporate tax rate is unresponsive to the needs of Republicans and many business leaders. This doesn’t mean a deal can’t be reached. The parties need to embrace face-to-face negotiations—not Republican leaders holed up in the White House trying to get corporate tax reform done without a single Democratic vote.

We would also insist on eliminating the gas and diesel tax so that gas is not subject to a double carbon tax. We think $49 per metric ton is high and $25 would be fine but that is the business of politics to negotiate.  A carbon tax of $49 might be sufficient to eliminate the gas tax and corporate tax.  Alternatively, the $49 carbon tax might allow elimination of the gas tax, reducing the corporate rate to 15 percent, and refunding part of social security for low income folks.  Reducing social security would keep the carbon tax from falling too heavily on low-income folks.

We are with Edward.  It is time to negotiate.  Accepting a carbon tax for reduced business taxes seems like a reasonable deal.  You elected officials should be better at negotiation than you have shown so far.

Never Sorry On The Left

Jim Geraghty in The Morning Jolt provides a summary showing how free speech exists for the Left.  He reports:

A lot of right-of-center sports fans don’t particularly like Jamele Hill, the co-host of the 6 p.m. Sportscenter on ESPN, who tweeted Monday that “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.”
Late last night, she issued the statement: “My comments on Twitter expressed my personal beliefs. My regret is that my comments and the public way I made them painted ESPN in an unfair light. My respect for the company and my colleagues remains unconditional.”

Think about how everyone spent eight years criticizing any mild comment about The Donald’s immediate predecessor.  Mentioning his middle name was verboten.  Now we have The Donald being accused of not just a being racist but a white supremacist surrounded by other white supremacists.  We would like to know who Jamele thinks they are.  Perhaps it is Betsy DeVos who is helping to reinstate due process at colleges for folks accused of rape and provide educational opportunities for inner city children.

Then there is Jamele’s statement.  It sure isn’t an apology.  We’re unsure as to why she thinks they painted ESPN in an unfair light.  She should show her love for ESPN because they didn’t fire her.  We don’t want Jamele fired but we didn’t want Curt Schilling fired either.  After that ESPN said:

ESPN is an inclusive company,” ESPN said in a statement. “Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.”

ESPN can fire folks as they see fit.  We don’t want to boycott them but their programming is less interesting lately so we watch less of it and rarely visit their website.  We would like them and the press to have some consistency in these situations but that isn’t going to happen.  Jamele deserves the same as Curt under ESPN’s criteria.  We don’t have a solution but it is easy to see why they are in financial trouble and perhaps the market will provide that solution.  Insulting half your audience is never a good idea for a mass marketer.  Doing it at a time when it is easy to cut the cord seems like bad business.  It will take the market awhile but ESPN and Disney will get a response for their behavior.  We do love markets.

Facebook Foolishness

We woke up this morning and checked our Facebook feed. The percentage of nasty was especially high out there today.

Being nasty to conservatives:

Bret Stephen is one of the NY Times’s conservative columnists, but he sure gets it.  [Here is a better link to Bret.]

Supporting beauty pageants twice:

Miss America 2018 makes history: She says the US withdrawal from the Paris accords was a bad decision.
Miss Texas tears into Trump in a blistering 15-second takedown on live TV.
[We are old enough to remember when the left didn’t like beauty pageants.]

Being nasty to FoxNews:

Weatherman interviews random person, turns out he’s the smartest person to ever be on FoxNews.  [We suppose these folks watch FoxNews so much that they would know.]

And it is the morning of 9/11.  To be fair there was one post on 9/11 expressing love to the survivors and another by a Congressman supporting Kate’s law.  Neither were nasty.  It continues to escape us why many folks think conservatives are mean.

 

 

 

How Times Have Changed

In the WSJ there was the expected editorial from an unexpected source.  This is how Laura Tyson started off:

Corporate tax reform is one of the few issues that attract bipartisan support in Washington. Lawmakers from both sides agree that the current system is deeply flawed. Because the U.S. hasn’t updated its tax code in 31 years, Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to level the playing field for American businesses and workers.

We have not detected as much agreement or enthusiasm from the Democrats as Laura suggests.  We are not even sure about the Republicans.  So who is Laura?  The brief bio at the bottom tells us.

Ms. Tyson is a distinguished professor of the Graduate School at the University of California and serves as an economic adviser to the Alliance for Competitive Taxation. She headed the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council during the Clinton administration.

We hope she knows something we don’t.  It would be great to see a bipartisan bill to reduce business taxes and specifically corporate rates.

Laura advises the Alliance for Competitive Taxation (ACT) which describes itself as a coalition of leading American businesses.  Most of us remember the Clinton administration.  We don’t remember Laura.  Perhaps we should have.  Here is an ACT summary:

Specifically, the coalition [ACT] believes a globally competitive tax system [for the US] would include:

  • A 20% or lower federal corporate tax rate.

  • A modern territorial tax system aligned with all other G7 countries.

  • A tax base that defines income in a manner similar to other “best in class” tax systems and allows a full deduction for ordinary and necessary business expenses. Limitations on interest expense, for example, should follow the international norm of “thin cap” rules rather than an across-the-board disallowance.

MWG can support this.  We have explicitly supported the first two bullets but we don’t link to previous posts.  The third bullet is implied as we have not argued for eliminating the interest deduction.  Can Laura or anyone get bipartisan support for this?  Can she run for president as a Democrat?  As she is at the University of California, could she replace Dianne Feinstein in 2018?

It is a sign of the times that Laura was part of a Democratic administration last century.  We hope she, or somebody like her, will be invited to the next Democratic administration.  It doesn’t seem likely today but JFK was a Democrat.  Jimmy Carter was often serious about economics, especially deregulation.  Bill Clinton, Laura’s boss, had his economic moments.  Things change.  They may change back.