Critical Race Theory, White Fragility and Equity

If you believe you are not a racist, that simply proves how racist you really are; you are
so racist you didn’t even know it. If that upsets you, it is proof of your white fragility.

Critical Race Theory, White Fragility and Equity

By: George Noga – May 9, 2021

The dictionary definition of racism is: discrimination or prejudice based on the belief a particular race is superior to another in character or ability. Not being a racist seems straightforward, i.e. treat everyone alike and practice the golden rule; right? Wrong!

Critical Race Theory (“CRT”) asserts there is no such thing as not being racist; you are either a racist or an anti-racist. And being anti-racist means adherence to an ideology that whites accept their behavior is racist and has been for 400 years. Failure to accept that is prima facie proof of racism; if that bothers you, it is due to your white fragility.

Per CRT, all that matters about you is your race; that, and that alone, defines who you are. Racism is present everywhere and always. All racial progress is a mirage. You are either a victim or an exploiter. Critical Race Theory has five fundamental tenets.

  1. Centrality and intersectionality: Racism permeates American life; it is embedded in our culture, institutions and way of life. Color blindness and meritocracy are used by whites to feel good about themselves while oppressing minorities.
  2. Interest convergence: Whites allow racial justice and progress only to the extent there is something in it for them, i.e. the interests of whites and blacks converge.
  3. Race is a social construct: From Dred Scott and Jim Crow to the present, race has been constructed socially to the detriment of people of color.
  4. Storytelling and counter-storytelling: The experiential knowledge of people of color is critical to understanding racism and oppression. Lived experience must be taken seriously and used to debunk white middle class myths and values.
  5. Civil rights laws and affirmative action benefits whites: Brown vs. Board of Education was a white victory. Martin Luther King was both wrong and naïve.

Your children are being taught CRT in schools throughout America. They are told to remedy racist discrimination, there must be anti-racist discrimination; to remedy past discrimination there must be present discrimination. If you treat people equally regardless of race, you are a racist. Silence favors the status quo, violently oppressing black and brown people. There must be no such thing as an apolitical classroom.

“America has made more moral progress during the past 60 years

regarding race relations than any civilization in history.” (Steele)

Pushing back against CRT, noted African-American author Shelby Steele asserts that “Blacks today are far more likely to receive racial preferences, be celebrated for their race and be promoted above their skill level than to be held back.” Can there be even one gifted black child in America who has not been identified and placed on a fast track for success? Steele again, “I don’t know anywhere blacks are held back. They’re not just pushed forward, but they’re dragged forward into American life.”

Equity Versus Equality

Blacks have made breathtaking progress in politics, media, sports, academia and business. Despite these genuine accomplishments, the lives of many blacks have not benefitted. They inhabit the same crime-infested dysfunctional neighborhoods even though they have been governed by black mayors and police chiefs for many decades. Black children still attend the same terribly broken government schools. Black Lives Matter squandered its success on ephemeral sloganeering and failed to accomplish anything that matters to black lives. See our 12/6/20 post about BLM at: www.mllg.us.

Equity is simply a more palatable name for socialism.

Because of the failure of progressive ideas and governance over the past 60 years to materially improve the lives of inner-city blacks, proponents of Critical Race Theory and their progressive fellow travelers no longer believe in equality as in equality of opportunity or equality under the law. Their ultimate goal now is equity, which is the new buzzword for equality of outcomes and a more euphonic name for socialism.

Critical Race Theory, white fragility and equity have insinuated themselves into most schools and institutions. Meanwhile, the futures of over ten million black and brown children are being snuffed out by the systemic racism of failed government schools due to progressives, teachers unions and the NAACP. (See our post of 10/4/20).


MLLG is taking a belated spring break for the next few weeks.

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May Day 2021: Income Inequality in America

Socialism works in two places: heaven where it isn’t needed and hell where it already exists.

May Day 2021: Income Inequality in America

By: George Noga – May 2, 2021

 

When queried about former socialist havens like the USSR, China and Cambodia, today’s socialists demur. When asked about modern socialist Xanadus like North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, they say not that type of socialism. Yet, when each of these socialist utopias began, they were darlings of collectivists everywhere, at least until they began eating their pets. When pressed, socialists aver that their model is Scandinavia – which is 100% capitalist. See our post of 10/15/17 at: http://www.mllg.us.

Socialism never has achieved economic success; a person would have to be blind not to see the advantages of capitalism. Yet, liberals remain enamored with socialism, even knowing it is a failure, because they don’t care. They see socialism as a moral, not an economic, imperative and their goal is a socialist society, not economic prosperity.

 

Income Inequality in America

 

A progressive meme is inequality. But is inequality good or bad; is it increasing; how is it measured; how much is too much; and what policies create inequality?

 

There are numerous and mind-numbing statistics for inequality. The Census Bureau reports the Gini coefficient, Theil index and the MLD or mean logarithmic deviation. Some of these metrics show more inequality than in the past. However, deconstructing the numbers reveals they are fatally flawed for the reasons listed below, every one of which, if properly measured, would significantly reduce income inequality.

 

1. The source for all statistics is AGI from tax returns. But adjusted gross income excludes giant swaths of income such as IRA and 401(k) contributions, non-taxable portion of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, EITC, stimulus and SNAP.

 

2. Statistics don’t track the same people. Income cohorts change. New (mostly poor) people enter the back of the line, skewing data downward. If the same individuals (rather than groups) were tracked, the data would show decreasing inequality.

 

3. Use of household instead of individual income. This renders comparisons between time periods and income groups meaningless as the number of people per household changes over time. One-person households have significantly increased, resulting in more inequality per household although there is much less inequality per individual.

 

4. AGI fails to account for income taxes. The USA has one of the most progressive tax systems in the world and failure to include taxes skews the data in favor of inequality.

 

5. Income cohorts (quintiles) are inconsistent. The top income quintile has 3.2 people per household whereas the bottom quintile has 1.7 people per household; hence, the household income in the top quintile must be spread among twice as many people.

 

6. Spending per income quintile. The Census Bureau reports the lowest quintile spends $2 for every $1 of reported income. If inequality were measured based on spending rather than on AGI, there would be a humongous decrease in income inequality.

 

It is radiantly obvious the six flaws noted above render conclusions about income inequality meaningless. No one knows how much inequality there is and whether or not it is increasing. Income inequality per se tells us nothing of value; inequality could be rising while the lives of those in the lower cohorts are greatly improved.

 

Some inequality is beneficial. There is little inequality in Haiti; where everyone is poor, there is no inequality. Even increasing inequality is beneficial if it results from innovation by new ventures such as Wal-Mart, Amazon or Apple. The benefit (savings) to low-income families from Wal-Mart alone is $100 per month. The Waltons are in the top 1%, but their gain must be juxtaposed against the benefit to ordinary Americans.

 

By the flawed measures that do exist, income inequality decreases under conservative administrations and increases under progressive regimes. That is due to progressive tax and regulation policies which result in less freedom and slower economic growth. As Milton Friedman said, “The society that puts equality before freedom ends up with neither; the society that puts freedom before equality gets a great measure of both.”

 

Angst about alleged increasing income inequality is political class warfare intended to beguile Americans into supporting the progressive agenda. Moreover, it is progressive policies that are the root cause of much of the income inequality in America today.


Next on May 9th: An honest discussion about race in America.
More Liberty Less Government – mllg@cfl.rr.com – www.mllg.us

Breakfast – Biden Tax Hikes – Journalistic Ethics

America’s founding fathers established the weakest federal government possible.

Breakfast – Biden Tax Hikes – Journalistic Ethics

By: George Noga – April 25, 2021

This posting addresses FDA nutrition guidelines, the Constitution, Biden’s tax hikes and my letter to the editor of our local paper about journalistic ethics (oxymoron).

Breakfast and the USDA: One morning while enjoying my breakfast of orange juice, bacon, egg, buttered toast and coffee with cream, I had a Eureka moment, i.e. my government was wrong about every one of the seven items I was having for breakfast. The USDA warned Americans against eggs, butter and cream (cholesterol), coffee (caffeine) and bacon (fat). They encouraged consuming orange juice (fruit) and toast (grain). Every item they advised against now is deemed healthy, while both items they deemed healthy are now considered unhealthy, i.e. toast (carbohydrates) and orange juice (concentrated carbohydrates). Why would anyone trust, or want more of, a government that was wrong seven out of seven times – and that’s just for breakfast?

Constitution: Our founders intentionally wrote the Constitution to establish the weakest possible form of federal government – capable of performing only its essential and enumerated functions. This was for three fundamental and intertwined reasons. First, they understood government is inherently dangerous and the less power it has the better. Second, the states are closer to the people and more sensitive to regional needs and differences. Third, the states existed prior to the federal government. It was the people, through their states, that created the federal government, not the reverse.

Biden tax hikes on the rich wind up devastating the middle class.

Biden Tax Hikes: Democrats don’t really want to tax the rich and couldn’t do it even if they tried because of Hauser’s Law. Their real aim is political misdirection, to appear to be taxing the rich in furtherance of their class warfare agenda. And so it is with Biden’s proposed tax hikes on corporations and individual capital gains and dividends. Everyone knows corporations are merely vehicles for collecting taxes, but they don’t actually pay them. The tax burden falls on their customers in the form of higher prices. When capital gains and dividend tax rates rise, tax collections decrease as taxpayers modify their behavior. Biden’s taxes on the rich will devastate the middle class.

Packing the Supreme Court: The Constitution created three co-equal branches of government and provided for a separation of powers between them. If the court can be reconstituted whenever the executive and legislative branches change hands, there is a prima facie case the court not only is not independent but that there is no separation. Therefore, the Supreme Court should rule that court packing is an unconstitutional violation of: (1) separation of powers; (2) independence; and (3) co-equality.

Media Ethics: Our local newspaper recently wrote a self laudatory (and self delusional) puff piece touting the strength of its ethics policy. I wrote the following in response.

“I’m sure you have been in many restaurant rest rooms festooned with signs in uber large fonts commanding ‘Employees are required to wash their hands before returning to work.’ Such conspicuously placed signs are posted not to remind employees to wash-up but to disingenuously assuage customers’ concerns about sanitation. Just like the signs in restrooms, written codes of ethics are mostly window dressing. They are nothing more than platitudes from cans unless they are deeply embedded in the culture of the organization, scrupulously honored and strictly enforced. Enron had a 64-page code of ethics distributed to all its employees; how did that work out?”

“Your newspaper’s ethics are eerily similar to Enron’s, i.e. they are observed in the breech. Your ethical stricture to ‘make news decisions without the influence of any political preference’ is laughable. Every edition of your paper contains numerous and flagrant violations of this ethic. Your reporters and editors violate this policy with scorn and impunity because they understand it is only window dressing. When, if ever, was anyone sanctioned for violating this policy? As with restaurants, your paper doesn’t really care about clean hands. Your code of ethics is not intended for employees; it is for virtue signaling and maskirovka to hoodwink your readers.”


Next on May 2nd, in observance of May Day, we blog about socialism.

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We Should Celebrate Earth Day

Uncork the champagne on Earth Day to celebrate our amazing successes.

We Should Celebrate Earth Day

By: George Noga – April 18, 2021

Thursday is Earth Day which we always observe. Visit our website (www.mllg.us) to read our Earth Day posts from prior years. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, ersatz environmentalists have used the occasion to spread anxiety and to scare the bejesus out of people, especially children. It will be no different this year. In contrast, we present a fact-based and principled analysis of the environment, including climate change.

Michael Shelllenberger, the foremost environmentalist of our age, believes “There is more reason for optimism than pessimism about the environment”, a view we echo. Problems remain (some worrisome), but that shouldn’t detract from the incredible progress humanity has achieved since 1970 and continues to achieve today. Following are some of the amazing environmental gains we should celebrate this Earth Day.

 Population: World population will peak circa 2060 and will be less than today within a century. Then it will continue its plunge to far lower levels and may never again increase as it is nearly impossible to increase fertility with an elderly population. Our biggest concern in the future will be population collapse, not overpopulation.

 Climate Change: Climate alarmists worry about CO2 emissions in 100 years. As noted supra, in 100 years there will be fewer people and in 150 years Earth will be in the throes of a population collapse. If climate change is manmade, then a much smaller population will emit far less carbon than today, thereby totally solving climate change and without the need for humanity to take drastic actions or even to spend money.

 Reforestation: The amount of farmland needed to sustain humanity already has peaked due to GMOs and increased productivity. One billion acres – nearly half the size of the US – will revert to nature by 2060. The global tree canopy has increased by one million square miles (Alaska and Montana combined) in the past 50 years. Global reforestation will remove from the atmosphere 30% of the CO2 from fossil fuels.

 Natural Resources: Since 1980, 45 of 50 commodities studied are less expensive (adjusted for inflation), which means they are more plentiful relative to demand for them. The average price for all 50 commodities fell 35%. Mankind has never run out, or is in any danger of running out, of any non-renewal resource. Remember peak oil?

 Overfishing: Aquaculture is supplying 50% of the fish consumed and is relieving the pressure on overfished wild stocks. Granting property rights to parts of the ocean incentivizes safeguarding fish stocks and avoiding the tragedy of the commons. Such privatizations, as in Iceland and New Zealand, have resulted in increasing fish stocks.

 Rewilding: Currently 15% of the Earth’s land area is protected, such as in national parks; also, 7% of marine areas are protected. As the population collapses in the future, giant swaths of our planet will be rewilded and return to a pristine state.

 Peak Gasoline: We reached peak gas in 2019 prior to the pandemic. Gas usage is declining due to more EVs and Covid-related changes like working from home.

 Other Metrics: Nearly every metric of environmental well-being is the best it has been in 50-100 years and is getting better; these include: ambient air quality, streams suitable for swimming and fishing, oil spills, wastewater treatment and timber growth. There is one environmental problem getting worse, i.e. ocean plastics pollution.

Martin Luther King did not give an “I have a nightmare” speech.

In the runup to Earth Day the media won’t report any of the astounding environmental successes described supra. All you will hear are environmental nightmares. You don’t make the world better by ignoring real progress, dwelling (often counterfactually) on how terrible things might become and scaring our children to death. As Shelllenberger notes, Martin Luther King did not give a “I have a nightmare” speech.

Earth Day 2021 provides an occasion to celebrate mankind’s many environmental successes, while not ignoring legitimate remaining problems. Readers should do two things. First, forward this post to your children and grandchildren who may be petrified by what they hear and see. Second, uncork a bottle of champagne and celebrate!


Next week we touch on several topics – beginning with your breakfast.

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Laboratories of Democracy – Part IV Bonfire of the Blue State Vanities

Thirty lessons for America from the blue state laboratories of democracy

Laboratories of Democracy – Part IV

Bonfire of the Blue State Vanities

By: George Noga – April 11, 2021

Welcome to the final post in the series; the previous three parts are easily accessible on our website: www.mllg.us. The raison d’etre of laboratories of democracy is to learn from laws adopted in one or more states without risk to the rest of America. The successful experiments then may be emulated and the failed ones rejected.

Wide chasms exist between red and blue states. Blue states are hemorrhaging jobs, people, tax base and political power to red state America. We explain the causes of this tectonic shift by identifying the major reasons people flee blue states. We whittled the reasons down to the thirty horrors presented below, which are not listed in any order.

  1. Spending/Taxes: Blue states spend/tax more; NY spends double FL per person.
  2. Economic opportunity: Blue states suffer stagnation and depopulation.
  3. Jobs: Blue states are losing jobs at a fast pace – especially middle class jobs.
  4. Minimum wage: High minimums are harmful, devastating Seattle restaurants.
  5. Demographics: Depopulation results in malaise and loss of opportunity.
  6. Public safety: Sanctuary cities, abolition of cash bail, defunding police.
  7. Homelessness: Heavily concentrated and tolerated mainly in blue states.
  8. Rent control: This devastates housing stock along with bans on evictions.
  9. Economic freedom: States with least freedom all are blue; most freedom red.
  10. Shrinking middle class: Blue states are home only to the rich and poor.
  11. Political correctness: Runs amok in blue states – harms civility and culture.
  12. Housing: Zoning, NIMBY and unions create shortages and drive up costs.
  13. Right to work: Absence of RTW laws reduces jobs and freedom.
  14. Unfunded liabilities: Unions and corruption cause huge unfunded obligations.
  15. School quality: Disaggregated and COL adjusted, blue state schools lag.
  16. Gun control: Such laws infantilize people decreasing freedom and safety.
  17. Drug legalization/decriminalization: Numerous problems created as a result.
  18. School choice: Hostile to charter, private, magnet and voucher schools.
  19. One party politics: Lack of competition results in corruption and stagnation.
  20. Civility and culture: There is less tolerance and a toxic culture.
  21. Regulation and bureaucracy: These go hand-in-hand degrading daily life.
  22. School curricula: Hostile to parental values; teach fake 1619 project.
  23. Public health: California had Typhus outbreak and rodent infestations.
  24. Cost of living: Much higher than in red states but results in no added value.
  25. Law and order: Looting, arson, mayhem tolerated during the summer of love.
  26. Energy policies: Unreliability, outages, rolling blackouts and sky-high cost.
  27. Wokeness: This is a code word for socialism and casts a pall over everything.
  28. Covid management: Lockdowns, delayed reopenings and shuttered schools.
  29. Infrastructure: Roads, bridges, airports are neglected despite confiscatory taxes.
  30. Happiness/Quality of life: Gini coefficient shows less happiness in blue states.

We do not assert all of the 30 horrors are found only in blue states. We do assert that every one of the 30 is much more likely to occur and to be more extensive and more virulent in blue states. It is possible to quibble with this or that one of the horrors, but it is impossible to take the 30 in the aggregate and not get the picture. Although I tried, I could not conjure one thing that is better in blue state America – maybe you can.

America owes thanks to its founders for creating a federalist system that includes a political safety valve where each state can serve as a laboratory of democracy. The lesson from the laboratories of democracy couldn’t be any clearer: progressive policies fail and fail miserably. America is voting – and voting decisively – with its feet and the result is a landslide victory in favor of more liberty and less government.


Coming April 18th is MLLG’s always special Earth Day posting.

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Laboratories of Democracy – Part III My Travels in Blue State America

Blue state ignominies had a pattern; they were not merely random malevolent acts.

Laboratories of Democracy – Part III

My Travels in Blue State America

By: George Noga – April 4, 2021

This is the penultimate posting in our series; if you missed (horrors) either of the two previous posts, please go to our website: www.mllg.us. Next week (April 11th) is the series finale, Bonfire of the Blue State Vanities. That is one you don’t want to miss!

My wife and I once took a vacation, driving from our home outside Orlando to Cape Cod and then back to Washington from whence we took the Auto Train home. We drove via Florida, Georgia, Carolinas, Virginia, Washington, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and finally Massachusetts.

We have driven extensively throughout the USA, including in all 50 states; but had not driven in the deep-blue northeastern states in decades. Everything was copasetic as we navigated north through Virginia. Once we hit blue states, we began noticing petty (and some not so petty) ignominies inflicted on motorists by government. It didn’t take long before we sensed a pattern and understood these were not merely random acts of malevolence. We began to compile a list, some of which are included in this post.

The most ubiquitous outrage was the doubling of fines for any reason and often for no apparent reason. In red states, speeding fines (and just speeding fines) are doubled in designated work areas when workers are present, as the rationale is to protect workers. Not so in blue states where all fines are doubled whether or not workers are present and even for infractions like an expired tag. It was all about raising revenue, not safety. Altogether, fines were doubled in most of the miles we drove in blue states.

Another frequent abasement was rest stops or, more pointedly, the lack thereof. Blue state rest areas were few and far between and many lacked facilities. In Connecticut they were renovating rest rooms; however, they closed consecutive ones instead of spreading them out. It was necessary to exit interstates to find commercial rest stops, requiring 30 minutes – and the rest rooms were only for those who buy gas.

And then there were the roads and bridges. CNBC ranks seven blue states worst in America in infrastructure (including six we drove through) while red states hold down all the top spots. There is an inverse relationship between tax revenue and quality of infrastructure due to union pensions displacing money that should go to infrastructure and also due to stratospheric construction costs – again due to unions. We did not use airports on our trip, but travelers rank blue state airports worst in the USA.

Our list of blue state indignities was extensive; following are ten of our favorites.

  1. We were not allowed to pump our own gas in New Jersey and Delaware.
  2. In some places signs read “Up to $10,000 fine for littering”.
  3. There were street signs only for cross streets; good thing I had GPS.
  4. There is a police presence in all work areas, even for mowing grass.
  5. Lanes were blocked at rush hour – for no apparent reason.
  6. There was a 3-mile line behind a street sweeper – escorted by police.
  7. Exits are not numbered by mileage like in the rest of the USA.
  8. Some parts of interstate highways are toll roads.
  9. There were scores of uber-dangerous double merges.
  10. Strangely, some rest stops were limited to vehicles over 5,000 pounds.

Why this jeremiad about asinine blue state indignities? First, it sharply contrasts differences between red and blue states. One can viscerally sense the miasma upon crossing from a red into a blue state. Second, it shows how insensitive, even hostile, governments in blue states are to the comfort, safety and convenience of their citizens. Third, it shows government is a malevolent force in small, as well as in large, matters.

If states truly are laboratories of democracy, the blue states I travelled through are quintessential examples of failed experiments. Their ignominious behavior explains why Americans are voting with their feet to get the hell out of blue state America.


Next on April 11th is the series finale: Bonfire of the Blue State Vanities.

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Laboratories of Democracy – Part II Sixty Years of Liberal Governance

After 60 years of total liberal control , all blue states can do is to cry “racism”.

Laboratories of Democracy – Part II

Sixty Years of Liberal Governance

By: George Noga – March 28, 2021

This is the second of MLLG’s four-part series: Laboratories of Democracy. In case you missed Part I – no worries; it is on our website: www.mllg.us. The idea underpinning laboratories of democracy is that, under our Constitution, states have enormous latitude to experiment with different laws and policies. States can, and often do, take different, and even opposite, positions on issues such as right-to-work, marijuana legalization and gun control to name but a few. Over a period of decades, it should be possible to compare results and to adopt the successful policies and to reject the failed ones.

If one political party, governing under one unified philosophy, could control all the levers of power in entire states for 50-60 consecutive years, surely that should provide ample time to demonstrate the success or failure of that governance. There are such places in America; this is the story of the ones that experimented with and tested progressive shibboleths and liberal dogma for at least the past half century.

Liberals and their media adjuncts are absolutely certain their ideas are correct and that opposing ideas are not only wrong but dangerous and even evil. Surely, if there were places in America where they could showcase their ideas for a long enough time, it would prove beyond any doubt that liberalism worked. Surely, their economies would thrive and hordes of people would move there. Surely, it would provide a great quality of life and social harmony. Surely, such a veritable Xanadu would demonstrate the utter bankruptcy and depravity of capitalism, free markets and conservatism.

What would such a progressive utopia be like? It would have a high minimum wage, no right-to-work law and universal unionization – with great pay, benefits, job security and early retirement with medical benefits. It would defund the police and abolish cash bail. It would be highly regulated by a massive bureaucracy. Its schools, controlled by teachers unions, would spend double the national average per pupil. It would tax (personal and business) and borrow whatever was necessary to pay for it all.

Such a utopia would be a sanctuary state with uber-strict gun control. The homeless would be welcomed even if it endangered public health and safety. Shoplifting, drugs and arson would be decriminalized. New pipelines would be banned and green energy mandated. Rent control would be universal and evictions banned. If a pandemic hit there would be lengthy lockdowns and closures – including all schools. To cap it off, government would be run predominantly by woke minority elected officials.

These progressive utopias exist and have names; they are called Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, Maryland, New York and Rhode Island. What are they like after 60 years under the progressive yoke? Are people streaming in from red state hellholes? These liberal utopias, like all utopias throughout history, are dystopian wastelands where life has become toxic and people are escaping in droves to red states.

It is impossible to hold a perfumed handkerchief to one’s nose to somehow make these progressive snake pits smell right. People are voting with their feet. Liberalism failed and failed abjectly. Even liberals are tacitly conceding their dogma is poisonous. They know government schools can’t educate inner city children, so they quit. Instead of uplifting poor kids, they are destroying successful ones by abolishing advanced and gifted programs. By gosh – if everybody can’t get on the lifeboat, no one can.

It is incandescently clear: politics is not the pathway to black success.

So, progressives and their media acolytes simply quit. After 60 years they no longer can escape what so plainly stares them in the face. But, instead of taking responsibility for their failure, they are resorting to their old chestnut, i.e. blaming it on racism. In the end, liberals always resort to screaming systemic racism; that’s all they have.

There is one other critical lesson in all this. For the past 60 years, as black elected officials increased from 1,000 to 25,000 (including a two-term president), it is incandescently clear politics is not the pathway to black success. There is no relationship between the success of black leaders and inner city black families; maybe success has more to do with stable families, education, and hard work.


 

April 4th is Part III – Travels in Blue State America.

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Laboratories of Democracy – Part I Americans Are Voting With Their Feet

Blue states are hemorrhaging people, jobs, taxes, seats in Congress and electoral votes.

Laboratories of Democracy – Part I

Americans Are Voting With Their Feet

By: George Noga – March 21, 2021

We have blogged often about the differences between red state and blue state America. The exodus from blue states, already a torrent, became a flood due to the pandemic. Blue-to-red migration affects our demographics, representation in Congress, tax base and electoral votes. Its effects on America truly are profound and far reaching. Our four-part series, Laboratories of Democracy, presents a comprehensive analysis.

Part I – Americans Vote With Their Feet (March 21)

Part II – Sixty Years of Liberal Governance (March 28)

Part III – My Travels in Blue State America (April 4)

Part IV – Bonfire of the Blue State Vanities (April 11)

Laboratories of democracy is deeply rooted in our federalist system wherein states enjoy enormous latitude. They even take opposite positions – such as on legalization of marijuana. If one state tries a new approach and it works, it can be emulated by others; the converse also is true. Laboratories of democracy originated with Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis who wrote: “A single state may serve as a laboratory and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”

Americans always have voted with their feet – fleeing high tax jurisdictions for lower cost venues. The following is from a 1755 letter published by the Boston Gazette. “The taxes in Boston continue very high. Many inhabitants are gone into the country; the (tax) burden now falls on a smaller number; the rich complain of their rates and are moving into country towns where they are greatly eased. I love my native town but my taxes are so large that I am resolved to move my family into the country.”

Will the last person leaving blue state America please shut off the lights?

High taxes remain a principal impetus behind out migration from blue states. However, this avalanche of depopulation increasingly is about other factors such as quality of life, economic opportunity, civility, culture, jobs, spending, safety, freedom, housing, right-to-work, schools, gun control, corruption, regulation, public health, cost-of-living, energy policies and, most recently, the response to the Covid pandemic.

We begin with the most recent official government data, in some cases extrapolated to the present. Sixteen states (nearly all blue) lost population since 2010. Texas gained 5 million and Florida 3+ million. California began to shrink for the first time. The 2020 census radically alters the balance of power in Congress and the Electoral College by shifting up to ten seats (and electoral votes) from blue to red, a swing of up to 20 seats (votes). The losers (80% blue) are NY (2), CA, RI, PA, WV, OH, MI, IL, MN. The gainers (80% red) are TX (3), FL (2), NC, CO, MT, AZ, OR. Also, population loss reduces federal dollars for many programs that are funded based on population.

Blue states are losing more than people, money and votes; they are hemorrhaging jobs, and tax base and leaving a trail of sinking bond ratings, economic stagnation, fiscal deficits and underfunded pensions. Disproportionately, it is the affluent who are fleeing blue states and taking their tax base with them. In the past five years NY and CA lost and TX and FL gained $50 billion in AGI (adjusted gross income). The eight states with the biggest AGI loss all are blue, while the eight largest gainers all are red. People fleeing blue states earn an average of $20,000 more per year than those arriving. Over 25% of retired blue state teachers have their pension checks sent to red states.

It isn’t just about economics; it’s about freedom and happiness. The top five states in the index of economic freedom are red (SD, ND, TN, ID, OK) while – you guessed it – the five worst states are blue (NY, CA, NJ, HI, VT). People in red states are happier; the Gini coefficient for happiness closely tracks the blue/red divide. The divergent responses of blue/red states to Covid put the blue state exodus on steroids. The ten states with the best jobs data since the pandemic are all red, the ten worst all blue.

We close with a stark comparison. New York spends $180 billion per year, or twice the budget of Florida, although FL has 10% more people. New York City alone spends as much as Florida. Just as the real minimum wage always is zero, so it is with tax rates. Sky-high tax rates generate zero tax revenue from NY taxpayers who flee to FL.

Redistribution is part of progressive DNA and they are redistributing their taxes, jobs, people and political power to red states and we don’t even have to say thank you.


Our series continues March 28th with: Sixty years of liberal governance.

$15 Minimum Wage – Soaking the Rich

Taxpayers are not like sheep, docilely waiting to be shorn.

$15 Minimum Wage – Soaking the Rich

By: George Noga – March 14, 2021

With Democrats back in power, we revisit two of their leitmotifs beginning with the minimum wage, which they champion despite opposition from economists of all political persuasions. Markets determine wages, not governments and $15 is vastly different in NY vs. WV. The biggest problems with the minimum wage are:

1. It disproportionately puts the poor, minorities, young and low skilled out of work. It is economic strychnine; whenever the minimum rises, businesses are incentivized to relocate and/or automate. When the price of anything goes up, we get less of it.

2. Fewer than 1% of workers are affected. Of those affected, most earn minimum wage for six months or less. It impacts virtually no heads of households or full time workers. The few workers helped are hugely outnumbered by those who lose their jobs.

3. Most minimum wage workers are not poor. The average household income for someone earning the minimum wage is nearly $60,000. Spouses and teens living at home benefit – like the kid who delivers your pizza to buy gas for his SUV.

4. The poor need jobs, not a higher minimum wage. Most people in poverty don’t work and raising the minimum wage makes it harder for them to get a job. Those receiving unemployment or welfare do not benefit. The real minimum wage always is zero.

5. The earned income tax credit (EITC) is cut. Any benefit from a higher minimum wage is substantially negated by a lower EITC and is a disincentive to working.

Labor unions support minimum wage mostly because it prices the poor and minorities out of the labor market, reducing competition for lower paying jobs. Support also comes from liberal virtue signalers inflating their self esteem. As with other feel-good bromides, it enables soft-headed liberals to flaunt their pristine intentions.

Why it is Impossible to Soak the Rich (except for one way)

Following are the main reasons it is impossible to soak the rich. As a former CPA tax professional, this is a subject about which I have considerable first hand knowledge. Please see our 3/3/19 post on our website (www.mllg.us) for more in-depth analysis.

1. Tax revenue is a constant 18% of GDP (20% in good times, 16% in bad times). This has been valid for the past 75 years and is explained by Hauser’s Law; see infra. Whether tax rates are 92% or 28%, the IRS collects the same 18% of GDP in taxes.

2. Elasticity of taxable income: Analyzing returns before and after tax increases reveals that high income taxpayers paid less at the higher rate than at the earlier lower rate. Moreover, the income of the truly rich is mostly capital gains – not ordinary income.

3. The rich are not the same people. High income taxpayers are mostly different people each year. If someone sells a family business, that taxpayer is “rich” for that one year only. It is impossible to soak the rich if they change from year to year.

4. There is no way to identify the rich. Government has data only for income, a poor surrogate for wealth. You can’t soak the rich if you don’t know who they are.

5. There aren’t enough rich. There are too few to make soaking them worthwhile. You can’t soak them by taxing businesses; they simply pass the cost on as price increases.

6. The rich will take countermeasures: Most of the wealthy got that way for good reasons; i.e. they are bright, resourceful, hard working and definitely not docile. They will adjust (and quickly) to any measures designed to soak them.

Hauser’s Law works because taxpayers are not sheep docilely waiting to be shorn. When rates are raised, they work, save and invest less; barter; retire early; hide, defer and underreport income; convert ordinary to capital gains and defer gains until there are offsetting losses. They employ tax shelters; shift income to lower bracket family members; seek tax free income; shift income to corporations; establish pension plans; exploit ambiguities and loopholes; lobby aggressively for tax breaks; move, even to outside the US; enter the occult economy; use top tax professionals and much more.

There is one (and perhaps only one) way to soak the rich, i.e. with lower tax rates. Hauser’s Law also works in reverse; when rates go down the rich are disincentivized to further lower their taxes. When rates drop, the rich pay a much higher share of taxes than before; it works every time. Progressives won’t do it because they don’t really want to soak the rich; they only want to appear to be soaking the rich.


Next on March 21st, we begin our series: Laboratories of Democracy.

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The Trump Presidency: A Retrospective

Trump’s story is classic Greek tragedy; he attained high office and achieved great things.
But it ended in disaster via unexpected events and flaws always present in his character.

The Trump Presidency: A Retrospective

By: George Noga – March 7, 2021

Trump’s most significant accomplishment was empowering and giving voice to half of all Americans – about 165 million – who had been voiceless for decades. These were good men and women who progressives and the media never saw inside their bicoastal plastic bubbles. These were decent unbiased people, many of whom voted for Obama. These were patriotic Americans whose values were mocked and ridiculed. Trump understood these people and, perhaps alone among politicians, actually liked them.

Trump never could have been president without Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama enabled Trump’s election because of his blatant narcissism, solipsism, superiority complex, annoying smugness and contempt for those who “cling to their guns and religion”. Hillary Clinton enabled Trump by her off-putting abrasive manner and visceral contempt for the “irredeemable deplorables” in middle America.

Even before his election Trump was subjected to unprecedented vitriol. His consensual dalliances were the grist of daily news while Bill Clinton, whose misogynistic actions were far worse, got a pass. The Billy Bush tape was leaked, which never would have happened to a progressive. The Russia hoax and Mueller probe went on interminably as did the Ukraine impeachment, even though it was Hillary who colluded with Russia and Biden with Ukraine. There’s more – much more – but we move on.

Accomplishments of the Trump Presidency

Following are but some Trumpian accomplishments. He defeated ISIS and destroyed the caliphate, retaliated against Syrian aggression, killed General Soleimani and al Baghdadi, freed our hostages, halted North Korean nuclear and missile testing, deported 5,000 MS-13 gang members, forced allies to vastly increase NATO defense funding, moved the US embassy to Jerusalem and achieved peace in the Middle East for which he deserves the Nobel Peace Prize – maybe Obama should give him his.

He withdrew the US from the deeply flawed Iran deal and the Paris climate accord, reversed Obama’s ill advised Cuba policy, sold Ukraine lethal weapons (not blankets like Obama) changing the correlation of forces, worked with Mexico to reduce illegal immigration, increased US defense spending after Obama savaged it, challenged China by tariffs and restrictions on Huawei and slowed the Russian Nord Stream Pipeline.

Domestically, Trump presided over unparalleled economic success and stock market returns, historic tax reduction and simplification along with massive deregulation. He approved pipelines and drilling in ANWAR leading to American energy independence, reinstated net neutrality and transformed the Veterans Administration. Unemployment was the lowest in recorded history for blacks, Hispanics, Asians and women.

Trump created opportunity zones in predominantly African-American areas, improved NAFTA and always put America first. He achieved criminal justice reform, appointed 3 Supreme Court justices, 54 appellate court justices and scores of federal judges. He ended the Obamacare individual mandate and vastly expanded school choice.

Covid – The 2020 Election – The Aftermath

Trump was a shoo-in for reelection, likely in a landslide, until the pandemic hit. He then made several inspired decisions. He halted travel from China, later expanded to Europe, long before that was an obvious decision. He got the private sector involved early on. Operation Warp Speed, the most successful government program in ages, produced vaccines in record time. His decisions to end lockdowns, open the economy and reopen schools were correct. But, he was excoriated for his optics while Andrew Cuomo was lionized despite likely criminal culpability for nursing home deaths.

Trump’s opponents, using Covid as a smokescreen, then enabled massive election fraud in states where they controlled the legislature and/or judiciary. There undoubtedly were huge numbers of fraudulent votes cast; however, the fraud was in the votes and not in the manner they were counted. Hence, the fraud could not be detected by recounts.

Our protagonist (Trump) in this Greek tragedy accomplished great things including his handling of the pandemic. Instead of receiving kudos however, he lost an election tinctured with fraud. In the final act of Greek tragedies it is customary for the protagonist’s character defects, that were well known from the beginning, to manifest themselves bringing about a tragic ending. And so it was with Donald Trump.


Next up: The $15 minimum wage and how to soak the rich

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More Liberty Less Government – mllg@cfl.rr.com – www.mllg.us