“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, January 29, 2018

Hardee Har Har

Sorry skeptics, Trump's tax plan is actually working wonders

Not that they needed one, but progressive wing nuts and their fellow travelers are getting another reason to hate President Trump. He’s proving that capitalism works.

The president’s policies of cutting high taxes and excessive regulations are sparking a stock market surge and soaring economic confidence.

Each day brings announcements from companies ranging from Apple to Walmart that they are giving bonuses and pay hikes, adding new jobs and increasing their investments in America.

Millions of workers will get the bonuses, most of which are for $1,000, and untold others will get new or higher-paying jobs.

Most of those workers also will see their take-home pay increase because they will get personal income tax cuts and a doubling of the standard deduction. Those changes will become apparent in a week or so when the new lower rates are applied to payrolls.

The cash-in-the-pocket benefits are great news to many families, but the boom is doing something else too: It’s giving the millennials a firsthand lesson in economics.

Following eight slow-growth years under President Barack Obama and an election where their favorite candidate, Bernie Sanders, railed against the wealthy and promised free stuff for everybody else, many young Americans were taught that socialism is their friend and capitalism their enemy.

Now they are getting proof that the opposite is true. They are eyewitnesses as capitalism provides more opportunities and financial security to more people than any other system.

If they still have doubts, they need only ask their parents about their swelling 401(k) and IRA accounts as a result of the Dow Jones’ 45 percent climb since Trump’s election.

All Democrats voted against the tax cuts and some refuse to celebrate the good results. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the bonuses “crumbs” and likened them to cheese on a mouse trap. Former party boss Debbie Wasserman Schultz told a crowd that “I’m not sure that $1,000 goes very far for almost anyone.”

It’s hard not to conclude that Pelosi and her elitist ilk believe ­ever-higher taxes and redistribution are superior to growth fueled by the private sector. And that handouts are better than jobs. As Friedrich Hayek explained, central planners are always paving “The Road to Serfdom.”

In fact, government redistribution had its heyday under Obama, who raised taxes on upper incomes yet never stopped complaining that the rich didn’t pay their “fair share.”

He also piled up restrictions on business through environmental rules, ObamaCare and the Department of Labor, not to mention Dodd-Frank.
Those burdens strangled growth, both in terms of take-home pay and job creation. Obama was the first president never to have a whole year of 3 percent growth and had the lowest labor-participation rate in three decades.

The former president revealed his gut view of capitalism in a 2012 speech when he famously declared, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that . . . somebody else made that happen.”

His point was that government built the roads, etc., which is obviously true, but misses the point that government has no money of its own.

It has to take it from the private sector, and when it takes too much, people pay the price through lost jobs and opportunity.

The contrast with Trump is striking. His “America is Open for Business” spiel at Davos was consistent with his promise to get the economy roaring. Never a shrinking violet, he is most convincingly authentic when cheerleading for jobs, jobs, jobs.

He starts his second year in office with the dividends piling up. As The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, the tax cuts are “rippling through” the economy and leading all kinds of firms to explore expansion and some to consider new plants and acquisitions.

Many companies also are increasing their charitable contributions, with JPMorgan Chase saying it will boost its community-based philanthropy by 40 percent, to $1.75 billion over five years. That, too, is unique to capitalism — people and businesses freely giving away their money.

According to the Journal, profits for most firms in the S&P 500 could rise by 7 to 8 percent per share, which is why they will spend more. That spending will lead to higher earnings for other companies as part of what one ­analyst called a “virtuous cycle.”

No one knows how far the expansion will go or how long it will last. But one thing is certain: Trump is the catalyst.

No other Republican who sought the presidency in 2016 had comparable plans to reduce regulations and taxes. And Democrat Hillary Clinton promised more of both while trying to match Sanders’ free-stuff promises.

The economy will figure heavily in the midterm elections, but won’t be the only factor. National security will matter and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation could have a huge impact.

But for now, the rising tide of capitalism is lifting all boats. Just as it always does when given a chance.

Dirty DeB exposed

The more we know, the more it’s clear prosecutors screwed up in refusing to indict Mayor de Blasio.

The latest evidence is that a donor secretly pleaded guilty to bribery in October 2016, saying his donations to de Blasio got him favorable terms on the lease for a restaurant on city property. Prosecutors directly say the mayor helped Harendra Singh in exchange for the donations.

We know this now only because Singh also pled guilty to bribing Long Island officials, and his pleas were unsealed for one of the Long Island trials.
A key difference in the cases is that de Blasio got campaign contributions of about $33,000 from Singh, while the Long Island officials allegedly got cash and other personal goodies.

When prosecutors ended their probe of de Blasio, they criticized him but said they found no “evidence of personal profit.”

As I wrote, that standard is outdated. The “personal profit”
de Blasio got was cash to help him keep his job. That’s not chopped liver.
Especially when New Yorkers reelected an unindicted scammer without knowing the facts of his dirty behavior. No justice there.

‘Integrity’ lost

Reader Robert Pearson responds to my column on corruption at the top of the FBI. He writes: “My father was a career FBI agent in Tulsa. He kept a plaque in his office bearing the inscription: Fidelity Bravery Integrity. He believed in those words heart and soul.

“I’m glad he passed away many years ago so he wouldn’t have to witness what has happened to his beloved agency.”

Leftist throws a ‘fit’

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish lefty humor from the laughable. In The New Yorker magazine, a Harvard Law School professor argues that Trump could be so mentally unfit that he’s not capable of intending to commit a crime, and therefore can’t be impeached or indicted.
At least I think that’s what Jeannie Suk Gersen argues. I could be wrong. It could be satire.


  1. .

    Will Hillary Never Learn? Will She Never Just Go Away?

    Saw parts of the Grammy's last night. Missed Hillary's part.

    She was one of the people who came on and read parts of the Fire and Fury book.

    The readings were the low point of the show. Hillary was the lowest point.



  2. Andrew McCabe steps down as deputy FBI director

    FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — one of President Trump’s top targets in the US law enforcement community — was forced to step down Monday, according to multiple reports.

    “In terms of the situation today, we’ve seen the reports, we don’t have any specific comments,” administration spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, adding that Trump was not involved in the decision as far as she was aware.

    CBS News said McCabe, who had planned to retire in March, “was urged” to vacate his office Monday, and that he will no longer report to work but will remain on leave until March, when he becomes eligible for his full retirement benefits.

    1. .

      I've already sent in my application for the job.


  3. Memo Hints at a New G.O.P. Target: Rod Rosenstein

    The secret memo includes an account of Mr. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, approving continued surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide.

  4. .

    Florida Ranked Worst State in the US

    Florida is officially the crème de la crappy of all 50 states, ranking dead last on a list of best to worst locations in America.

    Thrillist released a definitive ranking of the states in July with a “go big or go home” ranking system based on, literally, "everything."

    "Everything" being their contributions to America: important, well-known people, inventions, food and drink, and unique physical beauty and landmarks.

    And Florida, apparently, has none of those things...

    Best State?


    No shit.

    The state that likely broke most every prediction by topping the list was Michigan.

    Despite Detroit’s bad rep, the site argues that Michigan has more coastline than any other state, except for Alaska. The site also mentions the undeniable beauty of the Upper Peninsula and its residents’ willingness to apologize for their creation of Kid Rock...

    Take that, Idaho Bob.


  5. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the federal government is stepping up its fight against opioid-related crimes online.


    Sessions says the FBI is dedicating dozens more staffers to the team so they can focus on the one issue.

  6. OMG!

    Schiff says the GOP is politicizing the intelligence process!

    Purity Defiled!

    1. "A Broadside against two of our RESPECTED INSTITUTIONS, the FBI, and DOJ!"

      Har de har indeed.

  7. “I should also mention it was disclosed to the minority today for the first time that the majority opened an investigation of the FBI and the Department of Justice,” Schiff said.


    “This is a wholesale broadside against two of our respected institutions,” Schiff said. “We need to be concerned with not just what happens during this presidency, but the lasting damage done to these institutions.

    Unfortunately, that damage just became all the more greater today.”

    1. "all the more greater today"

      Even the consummate BS Artist is not infallible.

  8. “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office - that there’s no way he gets elected - but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Peter Strzok texted on Aug. 15, 2016. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

    Some lawmakers think "Andy" was a reference to McCabe.


    The Washington Post last week reported that Trump, during an Oval Office meeting last spring, pressed McCabe, who was then acting FBI director, about whom he voted for in the 2016 election. McCabe, according to the outlet, told the president he didn’t vote.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Rod Rosenstein Is Shirking His Duty to Supervise Robert Mueller
    Andy McCarthy

    So where do we draw the line?
    At reasonable suspicion.
    If the Justice Department has good-faith grounds on which to believe the president is complicit in a serious crime, the president should be investigated; if not, the president should not be investigated. If there is reason to believe the president has evidence that is essential to proving a crime in which he is complicit, and that the evidence cannot be obtained from any other source, then the prosecutor should subpoena him. If not, then the prosecutor has no business bothering the president, because the president’s responsibilities are far more critical to the nation than the prosecutor’s. As between the two of them, there is no doubt which should stand down.

    President Trump is not the official who should be enforcing these standards. That is what the Justice Department is for. If Special Counsel Mueller wants to interview the president, he should first be required to demonstrate that there is strong evidence the president has committed a crime, and that the president has essential evidence of the crime that cannot be obtained from any other source. It is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s job to force Mueller to make that showing. That duty trumps whatever “hands off” promises he may have made to Democrats.

    If the Justice Department will not supervise its prosecutors, then presidents, former presidents, other high public officials, journalists, defense lawyers, and all sorts of interesting people who might have relevant information — but who are protected from harassment by over-aggressive prosecutors thanks to prudent Justice Department leadership and policy — should plan on spending lots of time in the grand jury.

    1. .

      Mueller isn't going anywhere.

      Rosenstein isn't going anywhere.

      Unless Trump forces it...

      Might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.


  11. The attacks reached a new level of vitriol when two Republicans released a message that they said made reference to a "secret society" within the FBI.

    "What this is all about is further evidence of corruption, more than bias, at the highest levels of the FBI," said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

    But a full reading of the text message suggested the reference was a wry joke shared between the two when they were apparently commiserating about Trump's victory, a point that Johnson later conceded was a "real possibility."


    In others, Strzok expressed reluctance to join the Mueller investigation of Russian interference and possible collusion, in part because of "my gut sense and concern that there's no big there there." Page said it would be a chance to participate in "maybe the most important case of our lives."