The Most Consequential Speech Ever Given

In Vernon’s groves you shun the throne, admired by kings, but seen by none. (Freneau)

 

The Most Consequential Speech Ever Given

By: George Noga – February 23, 2020

        Yesterday was the the 288th anniversary of George Washington’s birth. Historians consider his speech to Congress on December 23, 1783, returning his commission, the most consequential ever delivered in civil society. The full text is reprinted below. Please go to our website: www.mllg.us to see our post dated 12/15/19 which provides historical context for the speech; following is an abridged version of the context.

        Washington’s victory at Yorktown on October 19, 1781 ended the fighting, but the Treaty of Paris ending the war was not signed until September 3, 1783 and word of it reached Washington, encamped at Newburgh, New York, only on November 17, 1783. He had to keep his army of 7,000 intact for over two years because Britain still had armies in America and occupied large portions of it. Those two years were difficult for Washington as the troops were mutinous and even his officers revolted.

        Following the treaty, Washington went to New York City to protect the British withdrawal and to say farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern. He then went to Philadelphia and Wilmington enroute to Annapolis, where Congress was sitting. Along his entire route citizens gathered to pay tribute; they all knew viscerally there never again would be such a moment or such a man. America never again will experience such an emotional outpouring for one man. He arrived in Annapolis, then the capital, for the special session of Congress on December 23, 1783 to honor him.

        Undoubtedly, there have been more stirring, more patriotic and more poignant speeches in history – but never one as consequential. Never before had a figure, who led a long fight for his people’s freedom and independence, voluntarily relinquished power, appeared so above all human ambition and reverted simply to being a farmer. That prompted King George III to call Washington “the greatest man of his age“. Washington’s speech and his subsequent refusal to run for a third term as president shaped our republic in ways still being felt today. Following is his speech.

George Washington’s Speech Returning His Commission

       “The great events on which my resignation depended, having at length taken place, I have now the honor of offering my sincere congratulations to Congress, and of presenting myself before them to surrender into their hands the trust committed to me, and to claim the indulgence of retiring from the service of my country.

 

    Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, I resign with satisfaction the appointment I accepted with diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task, which however was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the union and the patronage of heaven.

 

      The successful termination of the war has verified the most sanguine expectations and my gratitude for the interposition of Providence, and the assistance I have received from my countrymen, increases with every review of the momentous contest.

 

     While I repeat my obligations to the army, I should do injustice to my own feelings not to acknowledge in this place the peculiar services and distinguished merits of the gentlemen who have been attached to my person during the war. It was impossible the choice of confidential officers to compose my family should have been more fortunate. Permit me Sir, to recommend in particular those, who have continued in service to the present moment, as worthy of the favorable notice and patronage of Congress.

 

      I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life, by commending the interests of our dearest country to the patronage of Almighty God, and those who have superintendence of them, to his holy keeping.

 

     Having now finished the work assigned to me, I retire from the great theater of action, and bidding an affectionate farewell to this august body, under whose orders I have so long acted, I here offer my commission, and take my leave of all the employments of public life.”    (Note: At this juncture, Washington withdrew from his coat pocket the parchment that was his appointment as Commander-in-Chief, given to him by Congress in 1775, and ceremoniously returned it.)


Next: Due to strong reader response, we expand our analysis of the Electoral College.
More Liberty Less Government  –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us

The Issues of 2020: Wealth and Other Taxes

Who would do the most good with the money, billionaires like Bill Gates or Elizabeth Warren?

 

The Issues of 2020: Wealth and Other Taxes

By: George Noga – February 16, 2020

           In this election year, we periodically will analyze the presidential race; we also will address many of the issues. This first issue-oriented post deals with the proposed wealth tax. Future posts will address, inter alia, UBI (universal basic income), MMT (modern monetary theory), income inequality, gun violence and socialism. Although the wealth tax gets much of the attention, Democratic Party candidates have proposed a veritable smorgasbord of new and increased taxes; following is a compilation.

##  New annual wealth tax of up to 6% on all assets

##  Raising top marginal income tax rate to 69.2% (75% increase)

##  Increasing corporate tax rate to 35% from 21% (67% increase)

##  Expand Medicare tax .9% plus a host of new Medicare taxes

##  Raising the estate tax to 77%  from 40% (93% increase)

##  New carbon tax on fuel, energy and utilities

 

##  Hiking the payroll tax by 2.4 points (15% increase)

##  Taxing capital gains as ordinary income (up to 175% increase)

##  Removing all caps from the payroll tax (15% increase)

##  Taxing unrealized capital gains each year

##  Imposing a VAT (value added tax) on the entire US economy

##  Surtax of 7% on corporate income exceeding taxable income

 

##  New exit tax of 40% of assets for giving up citizenship

##  Surtax of 10% on all income above $1 million

##  Applying the 14.8% payroll tax to investment income

##  Raising the top dividend/cap gain tax to 52% (160% increase)

##  New tax of up to .5% on financial transactions

##  Repeal existing business expensing and 20% pass through

 

         I never before have seen a comprehensive list of all proposed new and increased taxes; that’s why I invested the time to compile this list for our readers. Democrats want to raise (most by 50% to 100%) virtually every existing tax, plus add huge new ones like a wealth tax, value added tax, carbon tax, financial transactions tax and exit tax. The cumulative effect of these taxes would instantly wreck any economy.

Wealth Taxes: Failed – Unconstitutional – Immoral

          Where to begin? Twelve affluent European countries once imposed wealth taxes; today only three remain. Most abandoned taxing wealth because of myriad problems that resulted in vastly lower tax collections than anticipated. Problems included: (1) measuring wealth; (2) changes in taxpayer behavior; (3) high cost of collecting the tax; (4) taxpayer flight; 70,000 millionaires left France before it repealed its wealth tax; (5) a brain drain; and (6) distortion of savings and investment decisions.

       A wealth tax is almost certainly unconstitutional. The Constitution (Article I, Section 9, Clause 4) severely restricts the ability of the federal government to lay taxes and bans “direct taxes“; it required a constitutional amendment in 1913 before an income tax became legal. Courts likely would construe a wealth tax as a direct tax.

         A US wealth tax would encounter the same six problems Europe experienced and would collect only a tiny fraction of the amount projected. In addition, there would be serious new problems including: (1) raising the cost of capital; (2) discouraging capital investment and job creation; (3) raising interest rates; (4) harming stocks, 401(k)s and pensions; and (5) shifting money from the private to the public sector.

        Consider one example. A Silicon Valley entrepreneur, whose business is valued at $6 billion, would pay a wealth tax of $320 million (6% on excess over $1 billion and 2% on first billion). He would need to sell $1.1 billion (nearly 20% of his company) in order to pay $630 million in capital gains tax and $150 million in California tax to have $320 million left over to pay the wealth tax. And when he dies, there is a 77% estate tax. Poof, in five years it is gone! If he invested an additional $1,000 and earned 6% ($60), he would pay $35 in federal tax, $8 in California tax and $60 in wealth tax. He would pay total taxes of $103 on $60 of income – a tax rate of 172%.

      The strongest argument against a wealth tax is a moral one. It penalizes work, thrift, risk taking, and investment – behaviors that should be lauded and encouraged. A wealth tax represents quadruple taxation; government taxing the same funds (1) when originally earned; (2) as business taxes, dividends or capital gains; (3) as a wealth tax; and (4) as an estate tax. Wealth taxes not only are a failure – they are immoral!


Next on February 23rd, we reprint the most consequential speech ever given. 
More Liberty Less Government  –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us

MLLG Analysis of the 2020 Election

We dissect the tectonic forces (and one mega wild card) that will determine the election.

MLLG Analysis of the 2020 Election
By: George Noga - February 9, 2020

           This is our first 2020 election report; political analysis is a popular feature with readers because we have been been incredibly prescient and perspicuous in the past including Trump’s surprise 2016 victory. New readers should go to www.mllg.us to see my bio and political bona fides. This post addresses the tectonic forces that will determine the winner – beginning with those favoring Trump.

African-American Vote: I was among the very first to discern the shift in black voting patterns; read my blogs of  2/12/17 and 6/2/19. This mega wild card has the potential to radically transform this election and, with it, American politics. Polls have Trump’s approval rating among blacks in the mid-thirty percent range; this is astounding.

In 2016 Trump got 8% of the black vote; if he increases this to just 12% it makes it hard for Dems to win certain key states; 16% makes victory all but certain while 20% or more is a landslide. In addition to winning a higher share of the black vote, Trump benefits if, as in 2016, many blacks don’t vote. Moreover, the blexit movement (black exodus from Democratic Party) also includes Latinos and other minorities. MLLG fearlessly forecasts Trump will substantially increase his share of the black vote!

UK/Other Elections: An immutable principle is that real people voting in real elections count more than polls and pundits – even in elections held in other countries. Recent elections in Germany, France, Canada and Australia all have resulted in defeats for liberals. Bill Clinton, a savvy politician, foresaw Hillary’s loss after the original 2016 Brexit vote. The December UK election casts a large shadow, as parallels between the UK Labour Party and the US Democratic Party are incandescently apparent.

The revolt of the working class that rocked the UK affects us. If disaffected Americans in the Rust Belt turn out in force, Trump wins. People everywhere have similar desires. Voters in northern England are no different than voters in Michigan,  Pennsylvania and Wisconsin; they want economic security but also crave cultural security. Democrats in the US could end up losing a culture war they didn’t know they were fighting.

The Economy: Economics trumps all else. Every econometric model shows Trump winning handily given a strong economy. Voters always reward a politician who makes them better off. The economy in 2020 is as good as it gets and the bonanza is broadly shared, Democrat protestations notwithstanding. Even if the economy weakens, it will remain strong enough in November to provide Trump a powerful tailwind.

Incumbency: In the past 127 years, only two elected presidents lost head-to-head elections. Americans always vote for the fool they know over the devil they don’t.

Other Forces Favoring Trump:  We are at peace, at least relatively. In 2016 Trump was outspent over two to one; this time he is flush with cash. His rallies routinely draw tens of thousands of enthusiastic supporters, crowds Dems can only dream about. Every independent legal betting site has Trump a heavy favorite. His opposition appears weak, woke, discombobulated and out of touch with working Americans.

 

Forces Favoring the Democrats

Suburban Women: This cohort deserted Trump en mass in the 2018 midterm election. If they do so again in 2020, this will provide a huge boost for the Democrats.

Trump Personna: Many voters have developed an aversion to Trump’s personal style including his tweets, braggadocio and insensitivity. It is an open question as to the extent this personal animus will prevail over the positive forces noted supra.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

         The forces favoring Trump clearly overwhelm those favoring the Democrats, but eight months is many eternities in politics and anything can (and will) happen between now and November. The tectonic forces identified herein are not ephemeral or transitory. Nonetheless, it is wise to bear in mind that Carter led Reagan well into October and that Dukakis once led Bush by nearly 20 points. We will continue our inimitable analysis of the 2020 election as the year progresses. Stay tuned.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
On February 16th, we dissect the proposed wealth and other new taxes.
More Liberty Less Government  –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us

There is No Such Thing as the Popular Vote

The United States is not a democracy and there is no such thing as the popular vote.

There is No Such Thing as the Popular Vote
By: George Noga – February 2, 2020

 

The Electoral College (“EC”) gets no respect! Hillary’s 2016 loss whipped progressives into a frenzy, prompting much talk about abolishing the EC; there also has been action. A leftist, Soros-funded organization, National Popular Vote (“NPV”), aims to overthrow the EC. Thus far 16 (blue) states with 195 electoral votes have passed legislation to cast their votes for whoever wins the national popular vote. The NPV compact takes effect if and when states with 270 electoral votes ratify the pact.

       It is past due for MLLG to provide a full-throated defense of the EC. Following are compelling reasons why the Electoral College is preferable to a popular vote.

The United States of America is Not a Democracy

       The US is a constitutional republic; the word democracy is nowhere to be found (not even once) in either the Declaration or the Constitution. The EC is consistent with, and a popular vote is inconsistent with, a republican form of government. A national popular vote would destroy the carefully crafted constitutional architecture which is based on federalism, separation of powers and checks and balances. A direct popular vote would sever the election of the president from the rest of the constitutional forms and would create a myriad of new troubles including tyranny of the majority.

There is No Such Thing as a National Popular Vote

      There are many things crucial to winning a presidential election: fund-raising, advertising, grass-roots organization and personal campaign appearances. Republican candidates would not waste precious and limited resources on New York or California. No democratic candidate would squander such resources on Texas or Wyoming.  Moreover, if you were a democrat voter in Utah or a republican voter in Illinois, just how motivated would you be to vote, knowing your vote for president is meaningless?

       The simple truth is that there never has been and there is not now a true popular vote in America. There is only a meaningless total of votes cast within the electoral college system. No one knows who would have won a popular vote since none existed. Therefore Hillary did not win the popular vote and, as shown infra, could have lost.

Hillary Probably Loses a True Popular Vote Election

       Since 1824, when popular votes first were recorded, 19 presidents, or 40% out of the 48 elections since then, failed to receive over 50% of the vote. In a true popular vote election there would be a runoff if no candidate received 50%. In 2016 Hillary got 65,853,516 votes to Trump’s 62,984,825. In a runoff Hillary probably gets Jill Stein’s 1,457,216 Green Party votes and Trump gets Gary Johnson’s 4,489,221 Libertarian Party votes. Trump then wins with 67,474,046 votes to Hillary’s 67,310,732.

      Not only would Hillary likely have lost the 2016 popular vote election, Bill also would have lost in 1992. Bill got 44,909,806 votes, Bush 39,104,550 and Perot 19,743,821. If Bush picks up 65% of the Perot vote, he wins and Bill loses and most observers believed Bush would have gotten a strong majority of the Perot vote.

Other Nations Don’t Conduct Popular Vote Elections

       Few countries use popular vote; most advanced democracies use indirect systems. In the recent Canadian election, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party won with 33.0% of the vote to the Conservative Party’s 34.4%. Parliamentary systems, ubiquitous throughout Europe, routinely elect minority leaders. In virtually no democratic system is the popular vote decisive. The measure of our system is how effective it is at bringing about just, free and stable government. A popular vote, like in the French Revolution, does a good job of actualizing the will of the people. How did that work out?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

        Our Constitution is the best and most enduring document ever created to define the relationship of man to the state. The Electoral College contains fraud within small jurisdictions, reduces federal power over elections and fosters the building of broad coalitions while discouraging regionalism. It has served us well for over 232 years. It is a foundational safeguard against the tyranny of the majority. We need to preserve it and importantly, we must help our fellow Americans understand why it is worth keeping and not to be discarded whenever there is a tough electoral loss.


Next on February 9th, we shine our light on the 2020 presidential election.
More Liberty Less Government  –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us

Tet Offensive and the Emergence of Fake News

More Americans believe Elvis is alive (8%) than trust the media (6%).
Tet Offensive and the Emergence of Fake News
By: George Noga – January 26, 2020

        We begin with the facts which, with 52 years perspective, are now clear to all. January 25, 2020 was Tet, the beginning of the Vietnamese lunar new year. In 1968 Tet was on January 30 and brought a shock wave to Vietnam as the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong began a coordinated surprise assault unprecedented in scale and ferocity. More than 100,000 strong, they attacked over 100 towns across South Vietnam.

        Enemy goals were to inflict massive US casualties, collapse the South Vietnamese army and overthrow its government. Although Tet surprised the US, it regrouped, fought back and by late March had achieved total victory. Enemy casualties were 60,000-70,000 (mostly KIA) while US losses were 2,000-3,000. Enemy losses were so severe they were unable to mount an offensive again until 1972. The NV/VC achieved none of their military or civil goals and suffered a complete and crushing defeat.

     But in living rooms throughout America, nightly television news reported an overwhelming American defeat. Most reporters never ventured outside of Saigon and then media stars descended on the scene from New York and Washington with their ideological baggage. The most prominent was Walter Cronkite who peered into the camera and said the war couldn’t be won, whereupon President Johnson reportedly said, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost the country.” Today, one of the highest journalism awards is The Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism.

        To be clear, the Vietnam War was an unmitigated American disaster; over 58,000 brave Americans died. It was predicated on the ersatz domino theory; our objectives never were clearly articulated; we hamstrung our military and did not try to win; and our military and political leaders were inept, dishonest and bereft of credibility. Given this miasma, we probably would have lost even if Tet had been honestly reported. Nonetheless, the Tet reporting was the modern advent (or revival) of fake news.

       The media always were scurrilous. Joseph Pulitzer was a muckraking publisher best known for fake news promoting the Spanish-American War. It is an indictment of journalism that its most prestigious awards are named after Pulitzer and Cronkite, purveyors of fake news. We now have fake reporters, reporting fake news, receiving fake journalism awards named after fake journalists famous for fake reporting.

An Antidote for Fake News: Fair Witnesses and Mentats

         Americans want the plain truth even if it shatters cherished shibboleths. So-called fact checkers (Facebook, PolitiFact, Snopes) are dishonest and unprincipled. America needs unimpeachable sources for determining facts, i.e. Fair Witnesses and Mentats.

       Fair Witness is a product of Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land). In a future dystopia, citizens counter despotic government with Fair Witnesses, recognized as so truthful and objective as to be unimpeachable. They have an eidetic memory and receive deferential treatment. Fair Witnesses are only a small part of one of Heinlein’s books published in 1961; nonetheless, there are 125 million internet entries, the same as for Pope Francis. The idea clearly resonates. Mentats, created by Frank Herbert (Dune), are similar. Like all great science fiction, it speaks to us in our own time.

      Such a concept is needed today and it would work! Fair Witnesses would transform debate about any issue lending itself to logic or proof. Imagine the possibilities for politics, business and advertising. Above all, the media would no longer decide which truth Americans are allowed to know and which truth they are not allowed to know. It would spell the end of progressivism which is based entirely on lies. Finally, Fair Witnesses would put to rest the Elvis myth and end the plague of fake news.


Next on February 2, we demonstrate the advantages of the Electoral College.
More Liberty Less Government  –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us

Government Is Inherently Evil

Less than 2% of all human beings who ever have lived experienced liberty.
Government Is Inherently Evil
By: George Noga – January 19, 2020

         Periodically I remind readers and myself why my lodestar is more liberty and less government. Readers question why I call government evil; after all, isn’t it necessary? Yes, some limited government is needed but only because it is better than anarchy. Both anarchy and government are evil but government is the lesser evil. Governments may not set out to do evil. Mao, Stalin, Hitler and Castro may have believed they were seeking a greater good, but to make an omelet they had to break some eggs.

      From your neighborhood HOA up to the UN, government is evil because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is why less than 2 billion of the  115 billion humans who have inhabited Earth lived their lives in relative liberty; the other 113 billion suffered unspeakable government propagated evil. That also is why George Washington returning his commission after the Revolution and relinquishing power after two terms as president made him the greatest man of his age.

       America’s founders well understood that the challenge is to give government a monopoly on the legally sanctioned use of force necessary to create order and to protect citizens, while simultaneously limiting that power through a constitution, federalism, separation of powers and checks and balances. Is the government of the United States evil? In the following section I catalog my experiences with government. After reading that, readers may decide that question for themselves.

  •  I had no father at home during WWII and Korea, both of which resulted from  government appeasement, ineptitude and failure to heed and to act on existential threats. We were lucky; hundreds of thousands of Americans never returned.
  •   For twelve years I was forced to attend wretched government schools where teachers had delusions of adequacy and sports were valued over learning.
  •   I was subjected to a mind-numbing array of taxes including income tax of 94%.
  •  Throughout my lifetime and continuing to the present, government has unleashed numerous economic cycles, bubbles, busts, panics, meltdowns and disasters.
  •   It now requires $25,000 to buy what $1,000 bought when I was born, due solely to government debasement; this is a cumulative 2,500% rate of inflation.
  •   The government-promulgated disaster that was the Vietnam War discombobulated my life for many years and required me to serve in the military.
  •   I owned a government-regulated business for 35 years. The regulations were a Kafkaesque wasteland and actually harmed consumers in the guise of protecting them.
  •   Government promoted certain foods (food pyramid) as healthy and advised us about a healthy diet. Instead, what they told us to eat was harmful and could kill us.
  •   A lifetime of hard work and thrift has been diminished by chronic negative real interest rates solely to protect our feckless government from the consequences of its ongoing binge of spending, debt and deficits. It is just a matter of time until our debt reaches critical mass – subjecting us and our children to a lost generation.
  •   The just-enacted Secure Act reneges on the decades-old government promise of stretch IRAs and destroys many years of careful estate planning.
  •   I narrowly escaped the Obamacare death panels, but still could have my life shortened via rationing and death panels under a single-payer government system.

       There is more – much more – but you get the drift. All the Clockwork Orange execrable horrors I experienced during my lifetime were not imposed by some third world tyrant but by a government most consider among the best in the world – even among the best of all time. Imagine living under a truly “bad” government.

        My lifetime of Orwellian lunacies did not result from a failure of government, but simply from government being government. The evil in government is inherent and it cannot be controlled or diminished. It gloms onto the ephemeral while ignoring the existential; it appeals to people’s prejudices, passions, jealousies, apprehensions and emotions. Yet there are many among us who crave ever more government.

       History teaches us we cannot control government; we only can limit it. The answer therefore lies not in more government or even in better government (an oxymoron) but in more liberty and less  government! And that is why I write this blog.


Our next post on January 26th marks the 52nd anniversary of the Tet Offensive. 
More Liberty Less Government  –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us

New Study Reveals Stunning K-12 Findings

The ratio of teachers to students has no bearing whatsoever on educational outcomes.
New Study Reveals Stunning K-12 Findings
By: George Noga – January 12, 2020

        We will get to the surprising (to some) results of an independent study of K-12 education, but first we tend to MLLG business – beginning with a preview of 2020.

          Our next post is a refresher about the evils (yes, evils) of government and why we write this blog. This is followed by a special posting on the anniversary of the Tet Offensive; it changed America in profound ways still being felt. This is followed by posts about the Electoral College and the 2020 election. We will blog about key election issues including gun violence and UBI. We will observe the 50th anniversary of Earth Day throughout April with several posts about the environment. You also can expect regular updates about the spending crisis, climate change and the election.

       Beginning our 13th year, we remain dedicated to showcasing, in our inimitable way, the blessings of liberty and the evils of government. We don’t write about the news of the day or offer commentary found elsewhere. A good example is our analysis of K-12 education, like that provided herein; it simply cannot be found anywhere else.

Please Help Cover the Costs of the MLLG Blog 

          We pay a commercial email service to send hundreds of thousands of emails and we also must maintain a high-volume website. I have been advised that, given our vast readership, I could profitably monetize the blog/website. But I will not do that. Instead, every 3-4 years I request contributions from our readers. All support goes 100% to expenses and any help you provide, even a small amount, is appreciated.

       To save time, money and stifling bureaucracy, I no longer maintain MLLG as a legal entity. To negotiate your check, it needs to be payable to “George Noga” and not to MLLG. Please send checks to: 1309 Sweetwater Club Blvd; Longwood, FL 32779. Thanks once again for your loyal readership and your prolific forwarding to others.

New Independent Analysis of K-12 Education

          The five principal findings revealed herein are from a recent Cato Institute study entitled Fixing the Bias in Current State K-12 Education Rankings. Most analyses of educational performance use aggregated data, which produce misleading results. Cato has disaggregated the demographics and the heterogeneity of achievement data and also measured the spending incorporating cost of living (“COL”) adjustments.

1. Florida ranks #1: Conventional rankings show southern states as educational wastelands and New England states superior. U.S. News ranks Florida #40 and Cato’s aggregated rank is #16; however, the disaggregated rank is #3, but with adjustments for COL, Florida is #1. Massachusetts, ranked #1 by U.S. News, falls all the way to #24.

2. Teacher to student ratio is meaningless: Contrary to prevailing mythology, the ratio of students to teachers has no bearing whatsoever on educational outcomes. A good teacher in a good school will succeed and a bad teacher in a bad school will fail regardless of the number of students in the class.

3. Spending and results are uncorrelated: More is not better when it comes to spending. This destroys the holy grail of the educational establishment. Florida is number one even though it ranks low in spending. Throwing more money at dysfunctional schools with bloated administrative staff is counterproductive.

4. Unionization is harmful: There is a powerful negative correlation between unions and student achievement. Teachers unions, pure and simple, poison student learning.

5. Some factors positively correlate with achievement: Charter school enrollment has a positive correlation, showing that competition from charters helps government schools. Also, ceteris paribus, the smaller the school, the better the educational outcome.

         Someone needs to show the Cato study to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is hellbent on wasting $1 billion on teacher pay, which is wrongheaded on multiple counts. Florida already is number one in the USA and its teachers are not underpaid. Please see our post of 9/8/19 about teacher pay on our website: www.mllg.us. Also, the Cato study shows zero benefit in educational outcomes from spending more money.

        None of these findings should come as a surprise – particularly those involving spending and teacher/student ratio. Government schools are a jobs program for adults; children are mere pawns to extort more funding. If you missed it, you really need to go to our website and read our December 1, 2019 post about Providence, RI schools.


On January 19th, we remind readers why we write this blog.

Click here to join our mailing list

More Liberty Less Government  –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us

 

The UK Election and Its Portent for America

“Working class voters want more than economic security; they want cultural security too.”

The UK Election and Its Portent for America

By: George Noga – December 20, 2019

         This special posting was necessitated by the stunning results of the UK election. Most polls and pundits projected a hung Parliament; none foresaw the electoral tsunami that resulted in an 80-seat Conservative majority, the revolt of the working class, the crumbling of Labour’s “red wall” in northern England or the collapse of the Liberal Party. Seats that Labour had held for over 100 years were lost to the Tories. It is impossible to overstate the consequences of the UK election to our own in 2020.

      The June 23, 2016 UK Brexit vote (see our post of 6/28/16 on our website: www.mllg.us) heralded the seismic electoral shift that elected Trump later that year. Bill Clinton, one of the savviest politicians of our era, said he foresaw Hillary’s loss upon seeing the Brexit results. Afterward, he attributed Hillary’s loss to the same forces that drove Brexit and said he had felt apprehensive ever since the Brexit vote.

         A key MLLG political principle is that real people voting in real elections count much more than polls or pundits – even in elections held in foreign countries. Recent votes in France, Australia, Germany and elsewhere foretold the UK vote. But what is most critical to our own election are the reasons Brits voted as they did. No one has explained these electoral forces better than Paul Embery, a Labour Party activist, who wrote an incisive analysis immediately after the election. It is excerpted below.

Is This the End for Labour? by Paul Embery (lightly edited)

      “The British working class was not, in the end, willing to vote for a London-centric, youth-obsessed party that preached the gospels of liberal cosmopolitanism and class warfare. For the red wall to have crumbled so spectacularly underlines the sheer scale of the failure. Labour’s meltdown comes as no surprise to anyone paying attention who wasn’t blinded by ideology or fanaticism. We sounded alarm bells earlier this year following local elections when Labour hemorrhaged support in working class communities across the north and Midlands. But the woke liberals didn’t listen. 

 

         They believed constant hammering about economic inequality would get Labour over the line. They failed to grasp working class voters desire something more than economic security; they want cultural security too. They want politicians to respect their way of life and their sense of place; to elevate real world concepts like work, family and community over nebulous constructs like diversity, equality and inclusivity. By immersing itself in the destructive creed of identity politics and championing policies such as open borders, Labour alienated millions across provincial Britain. In the end, Labour lost a culture war that it didn’t even know it was fighting. 

 

        So where now? Labour must marry demands for economic justice with those of cultural stability. It must reconnect with voters in post-industrial towns who believe Labour indifferent to their plight. It must rekindle belonging built on shared values and common cultural bonds. It must respect those who oppose large-scale immigration, want a tough justice system, feel proud to be British, support the role of the family at the center of society, prefer a welfare system based on reciprocity rather than entitlements and who do not obsess about multiculturalism and transgender rights.” 

 

What This Means for the US 2020 Election

      The parallels between the UK Labour Party and the US Democratic Party are incandescently obvious. Without question, the revolt of the working class that rocked the UK election will play an outsized role in ours. If culturally disaffected Americans in the Rust Belt turn out in force, Trump could win big. The UK election was real people casting real votes in a real election and they made quite a loud statement! People everywhere have similar desires and voters in northern England are no different than voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and throughout the Rust Belt.

        The electoral sentiments revealed by UK voters confer a huge, but not dispositive, advantage to Trump and create a presumption, ceteris paribus, he will win. However, there also are other powerful electoral forces at work and the election is over 10 months away. We will write in depth about the 2020 election in February or March.

       Of course, the Democrats also have seen the results of the UK election and it should have scared the bejesus out of them. It is an open question how they respond. Will they cling to the phantasm that working Americans are eager for revolutionary social change, or will they take to heart the analysis of Paul Embery? Working class British voters categorically rejected the woke liberal agenda; so will American voters.


Next scheduled post is January 12th, but watch for a possible special posting sooner. 
More Liberty Less Government  –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us

George Washington’s 1783 Christmas

Mount Vernon Christmas: November 17 to December 24, 1783
George Washington’s 1783 Christmas
By: George Noga – December 15, 2019
Reprising a MLLG Christmas tradition, we present America’s greatest Christmas story. Known only to few, it is deeply moving and uniquely American. The events that began November 17, 1783 and ended on Christmas Eve 1783 could not have happened anywhere but in America. It shaped our republic in ways still being felt today. It is an authentic, feel-good classic to be shared with children and grandchildren. Enjoy!

Word of Peace Treaty
On November 17, 1783 Washington received word the peace treaty had been signed. Now he could resign his commission and return to Mount Vernon, from which he had been away for eight long years – except for only a few days while enroute to Yorktown. Washington yearned to be home in Mount Vernon in time for Christmas but had less than six weeks, many duties to perform and many miles to travel.
   Farewell Orders to the Troops

Washington issued his Farewell Orders on November 17th, lauding his troops for their extreme hardship and urging them never to forget the extraordinary events to which they bore witness. He closed by announcing his retirement from service stating, “The curtain of separation will soon be drawn . . . and closed forever“. Instead of using such an opportunity to promote himself, he appeared above human ambition. King George III, upon hearing his remarks, called Washington “the greatest man of his age“.

New York and Fraunces Tavern

Washington arrived in New York November 21st; he thought it necessary to reoccupy New York but had to wait for the British to evacuate. He made sure Tories who secretly assisted the Americans were shielded from retribution. He also protected the British withdrawal to prevent untoward actions. Washington was greeted as a hero with cheering and enthusiastic crowds; nearly every home had a drawing or lithograph of him in the window. Receptions and dinners were held nightly in his honor.

On December 4th Washington hosted a farewell reception for his officers at Fraunces Tavern. He realized the inadequacy of any formal address and did not trust his emotions to read one. When all glasses were filled, Washington offered a toast, “With a heart filled with love and gratitude, I now take my leave of you. I most devoutly wish your later days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.” Following the toast, blinded by tears and his voice faltering, Washington continued, “I cannot come to each of you but shall be obliged if each of you will come and take me by the hand.” Each officer came forward suffused with tears and unable to utter a single intelligible word.

Philadelphia and Enroute to Annapolis

From December 5-18 Washington’s journey took him to Philadelphia where he spent several days. Next was Annapolis, where Congress was sitting. At every stop and all along his route for his entire journey, citizens gathered to pay tribute. Always courteous, the general accepted every proffered hand and returned every greeting.

America never before had and never again will experience such an emotional outpouring for one man. Every citizen understood that he conducted them through a long and bloody war that achieved independence for their country. All knew viscerally that there never would be another such moment or another such man.

Annapolis and Returning His Commission

Washington arrived in Annapolis, then the capital and seat of Congress, on December 19th. From December 20-22 he was feted endlessly at lavish dinners and balls, always preceded with 13 toasts followed by 13 cannon shots. On December 23rd there was a special session of Congress to honor Washington and to accept his resignation. Attendance overflowed the facilities with people everywhere.

He closed his address stating, “I retire from the great theatre of action and here offer my commission and take my leave of all employments of public life.” Then he withdrew from his coat pocket the parchment given him in 1775 that was his appointment as Commander-in-Chief and ceremoniously returned it. Washington’s Annapolis speech is considered the most significant ever delivered in civil society.

Christmas in Mount Vernon

Immediately after his speech, Washington set out for Mount Vernon. It was so late on December 23rd and the days so short, he got only as far as Bladensburg, Maryland before retiring for the night. The next morning, Christmas Eve, he rode to the Potomac River, crossed via ferry to Alexandria and rode the final miles. It already was dark but about a mile away from Mount Vernon he could see its many green-shuttered windows – now all ablaze with candles. It was, after all, Christmas Eve.


We are taking a holiday break; the next posting will be January 19, 2020.
Best wishes to our readers for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !
More Liberty Less Government  –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us

Medicare For All – Lessons From Canada

Long waits for procedures are common in Canada; Montana offers same day service. 

Medicare For All – Lessons From Canada

By: George Noga – December 8, 2019 

           Regular readers know we spend our summers in Whitefish, Montana – 50 miles from Canada and only four hours from Calgary and its 1.3 million souls; altogether two million Canadians live within an easy drive. Neighboring Albertans, flush with petrodollars, descend on us every summer. They come for the world-class attractions of Whitefish and Glacier National Park. They come for cheap prices vis-a-vis Canada. They come for weddings, which cost 50% less due to Canada’s sky-high alcohol taxes. They also come for medical care to escape rationing and long wait lists at home. 
 

          I have made it a point for 15 summers to ask our northern visitors how satisfied they are with the Canada Health Act (“CHA”), the name of Canada’s national health care. Out of scores I have queried, only two said they were satisfied. The first liked the care in Canada but comes to Montana when the wait lists are too long. The second defended CHA by asserting it was good at triage, i.e. if you were mired on a long wait list and your condition deteriorated, they would move you up on the list.  
 

        There are long waits for procedures in Canada, while Montana offers same day service. Some Canadian medical refugees are so desperate they pay out-of-pocket at great sacrifice. I have heard many heart-wrenching stories about CHA and most of my Canadian interlocutors passionately forewarn me against the USA adopting Canada’s style of socialized medicine. The data should scare the bejesus out of Americans. 

 

         The median wait time between referral and treatment in Canada is over 21 weeks, 42 weeks in some provinces and a staggering 4 years in extreme cases. The wait for a CAT scan is 11 weeks and increasing; there are no waits whatsoever in Montana. An average US city has more MRI machines than all of Canada. At any given time, over 1 million Canadians (3% of the population) are in line. The long waits are not just inconvenient; they often transform potentially reversible conditions into chronic or permanent disabilities. “Free” medical care is not much good if you can’t get it.  

 

         The free medical care is anything but free. Canada’s confiscatory taxation results in high living costs; that’s why Canadians flock to Montana to load up their SUVs. The federal income tax is 29%; provincial income taxes are 15% to 20%; health care is 6% and a 13% VAT is embedded in all purchases. The grand total is 64% to 68%. Canada also is a nanny state that doesn’t want its children, err citizens, drinking and imposes alcohol taxes that make cocktails 600% more expensive than in Montana.  

 

         Americans can learn much from the disaster that is Canada’s national health care. Whenever anything is in great demand, it must be rationed via either time or cost. Since healthcare is free, it can’t be rationed via cost; that leaves time. BINGO!  
 

        How comforting it must be for Canadians to know if their medical condition goes to hell in a handbasket, they could be moved ahead of some of the other one million desperate souls waiting in line for treatment – that is instantly available in Montana.  


On December 15th, we reprise the greatest Christmas story in American history. 

Click here to join our mailing list 

More Liberty Less Government –  mllg@mllg.us  –  www.mllg.us