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Posts Tagged ‘Progressive’

European Progressives Never Learn

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 7, 2016

Thomas Piketty , a renowned economist from France who posted an op-ed in the New York Times titled “A New Deal for Europe”.  While Piketty’s topic is important, his conclusions are misplaced.  His logic shows just how unapologetic Progressives are for the problems their policies have inflicted on the world.

Piketty expresses concern for the growth of the far Right in Europe.  This Blog has been concerned for some time with the potential for fascism to once again rear its head in Europe.  This concern stems from Europe’s unsustainable economic path that has led to the large sections of its population being negatively impacted, creating a breeding ground for discontent.  This path started long before the meltdown of 2008 that Piketty refers to.  Its roots stem from the Left’s Progressive policies that have dominated European politics for decades.

Piketty blames mismanagement by European governments for not only poorly creating the EU, but also managing their economic policies.  While true, the EU’s creation was so poorly done that it guaranteed the current result, as economist Milton Friedman predicted in 1997:

The drive for the Euro has been motivated by politics not economics. The aim has been to link Germany and France so closely as to make a future European war impossible, and to set the stage for a federal United States of Europe. I believe that adoption of the Euro would have the opposite effect. It would exacerbate political tensions by converting divergent shocks that could have been readily accommodated by exchange rate changes into divisive political issues.”

Piketty concludes that Europe’s challenges can best be addressed by governments now doing the “right thing.”  Expecting the same group that created the current mess to do a better job this time is incredulous.

Piketty states: “Only a genuine social and democratic refounding of the eurozone, designed to encourage growth and employment, arrayed around a small core of countries willing to lead by example and develop their own new political institutions, will be sufficient to counter the hateful nationalistic impulses that now threaten all Europe.”  He also says: “The objective would be to reduce public debt as a whole, starting with a system of allocation of payments based on the increases in debt that have occurred since the crisis began.”

Nicely said, but politically and economically unrealistic.  Europe’s political, social and welfare programs make this kind of reform impossible.  Reducing government debt will cause pain to much of society.  Piketty ignores this, much like some of the BS we hear from Republicans in this country who believe that we can grow ourselves out of the excessive debt.

Piketty also concludes: “Such a process demands a new form of democratic governance, one that can assure that such disasters are not allowed to recur.”  Economic realities are disconnected from a “form of democratic governance”.  The laws of supply and demand will prevail in the long run, irrespective of interventions.  While Piketty acknowledges that governmental interventions caused the problems in the first place, he then suggests that further interventions in infrastructure, universities social welfare, etc. are the appropriate response now.  Again, why should we expect these next interventions to work better than the last ones?

Irrespective of one’s belief as to the appropriateness of governmental spending on any particular project; military, green energy, social programs, etc., from a macro economic standpoint the issue is straightforward.  Governments; i.e. the people, can only borrow so much from the future to pay for today’s lifestyles.  We have hit the economic wall with additional borrowing and deficit spending becoming a drag on growth, not simulative, as suggested under Keynesian economic theory.

Excess debt is the basis of our current macro-economic problems.  Central banks worldwide have likely come to this same conclusion, which is why some in Europe and Japan, and likely to come to the United States, are going to negative interest rates.  Given the ineffectiveness of historically low interest rates in the past eight years, central bankers understand that pushing the rates still lower will unlikely to lead to economic growth.  Irrespective of this they are taking this radical step in an attempt to debase fiat currencies, which will lead to a crisis that would enable governments to create a new currency (currencies) that will result in writing off the debt that is unrepayable.  While not a pretty solution, this method for sovereign debt abandonment does not require political will or approval.

The European Union as created will likely not survive.  It has only been held together this long because member countries fear the results of undoing the union.  The Europeans may continue to use Band-Aids to hold off the inevitable, but they do not have the political will or courage to take the steps necessary to make the EU viable. This will have serious consequences.  The blame rests solely on those Progressive politicians who created an entity based on desires, rather than economic and political realities.  Still they have the gall to suggest that the same approach going forward will work better this time.

Posted in economics, European Union | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Liberals Mistake Dislike for Obama’s Policies for Hate

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 26, 2014

Liberals fear intellectual debate.  An often used tactic to quell such discussion is to claim that those who oppose Progressive ideology are intellectually inferior.  Going back to the 1950s Liberals attacked President Eisenhower for being lacking and too often playing golf.  They offer no such concern relating to the current president.

In the early 90’s Dan Quayle was attacked for lacking intellect due to mistakes he made in public forums.  No such attacks are made by the media or their Leftist allies on the inept Joe Biden.

In more recent years the Left’s attacks on the opposition have become even more vicious.  Those who disagree with Progressive dribble are either anti-women, anti-gay, or racist or a combination of these deficiencies.  Those who dare disagree with President Obama are often accused of racist motivations.

While the Left’s personal attacks on those who disagree are not only anti-intellectual and anti-democratic, they have also been successful.  The fear of being labeled anti-woman, anti-gay or racist has put a muzzle on political debate in the Country.  The fear created is reminiscent of the anti-Communist and McCarthyism purges that were so effective quelling political discourse in the 1950s.

Below is a collection of video clips from the Progressive’s mouthpiece, MSNBC.  Notice how many times the word “hate” is used to define disagreement with Barack Obama policies.  This false narrative would be bad enough if it was by mere coincidence.  However, the sheer volume proves it to be a talking point promoted by the Left.  With over one half of Americans America disappointed with Obama policies, propagandists such as MSNBC are losing any semblance of journalism.

Posted in President Obama, Progressives | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Infallible Law of Supply and Demand

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 14, 2014

One of the more outrageous attributes of Progressive logic is their belief that merely by recognizing a societal problem they can, by the strength of their will, invoke corrective action.  Correcting such problems is difficult enough when the cause and consequences of actions are clearly understood.  A realistic view of how complex societies act makes this an unreasonable expectation.

Examples of misplaced Progressive interventions fill volumes.  Perhaps the best example during contemporary history was the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.  After World War I Progressives, led by America’s Woodrow Wilson and joined his counterparts in France, Britain, Italy, and other countries, net in Paris to create a new world order that would supposedly ensure that the first world war would be the last.  In six months they re-created the world’s map, redefining countries’ borders and creating new countries that previously did not exist.  The result was another world war just 20 years later that inflicted even more bets and destruction on humanity.

While the world rightfully blames the tyrants Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo for the World War II, many ignore the significant blame that rests with the Progressives who met for in Paris to inflict their unrealistic view of peace and stability on the world.

We continue to pay a heavy price for the Progressives’ interventions in the world.  In recent weeks the world has been focused on Russia’s intervention the Ukraine.  Ukrainian is one of the Progressives’ creations.  After the USSR dissolved, Ukrainian became an independent country in 1991.  However, with large ethnic divisions it this country may end up dissolving into smaller pieces.

Progressives do not learn from their failures.  To them, mistakes of the past are but failed experiments offering them still more opportunity for further interventions.

Barack Obama is a classic Progressive, but with radically Leftist bent.  His interests have been focused on domestic policy.  His $800 billion Stimulus Package passed over five years ago failed to fix the economy and it still remains weak.  The wealthy have become wealthier and the banks and others were bailed out.  Instead of admitting failure, the President demands that we double-down on the so-called “investments”.  Remarkably these interventionists believe that more of a failed policy will lead to different results.

No one would realistically argue that the 2008 financial meltdown was a serious economic occurrence that threatened the world order.  However, there is willful dumbness from those who ignore the potential consequences of the radical governmental and central bank interventions since.  Mark Melin posted an article titled Seth Klarman: Investors Downplaying Risk ‘Never Turns Out Well’” that offers a realistic view of the consequences.  Comments are included from the renowned hedge fund manager, Seth Klarman, who is known for pursuing value in a field that is typically less conservative.  Klarman’s comments include:

“Someday, financial markets will again decline.  Someday, rising stock and bond markets will no longer be government policy.  Someday, QE [Quantitative Easing] will end and money won’t be free.  Someday, corporate failure will be permitted.  Someday, the economy will turn down again, and someday, somewhere, somehow, investors will lose money and once again come to favor capital preservation over speculation.  Someday, interest rates will be higher, bond prices lower, and the prospective return from owning fixed-income instruments will again be roughly commensurate with the risk.”  Translation: What goes up will come down.  Nothing new here, except that the Fed’s easy money policy will significantly magnify the next downturn.  In addition, the Fed has no bullets left in its arsenal should it desire to limit the impact of that inevitable downturn.

Before 2009, the Fed had never bought a single mortgage bond in its nearly 100-year history.  By 2013, the Fed was by far the largest holder of those bonds, holding over $4 trillion and counting.  For that hefty sum, GDP was apparently raised as little as 25 basis points in the aggregate. In other words, the policy has been a near-total failure.  Bernanke is left arguing that some action was better than none.  QE in effect, had become Wall Street’s new ‘too big to fail’ policy.”  Translation: The Fed has spent significant capital on a failed policy.

The 2013 Nobel Memorial Prize in economics was shared by three academics: two were proponents of the efficient market hypothesis and the third was a behavioral economist, who believes in market inefficiency.   We suppose that could be considered a hedged position for the awards committee, one that would never occur in the hard sciences such as physics and chemistry, where a prize shared among three with divergent views would be an embarrassing mistake or a bad joke.  While a Nobel Prize might well be the culmination of a life’s work, shouldn’t the work accurately describe the real world?  Translation: Economists are disconnected from real-world economics.  They have been wrong often in the past, yet we continue to look for them at your guidance.

“Fiscal stimulus, in the form of sizable deficits, has propped up the consumer, thereby inflating corporate revenues and earnings.  But what is the right multiple to pay on juiced corporate earnings?”  In addition Klarman says: “Our assessment is that the Fed’s continuing stimulus and suppression of volatility has triggered a resurgence of speculative froth,” and “In an ominous sign, a recent survey of U.S. investment newsletters by Investors Intelligence found the lowest proportion of bears since the ill-fated year of 1987.”  Translation: The law of supply and demand has been manipulated by interventionist governments and bankers.  The farther off economic reality the bubbles become, the more painful the corrective action.

*****

The political elites in Washington continue offering supposedly free lunch solutions to the complex economic issues.  They hand out some taxpayer funds to other constituents and special interest groups in their desire to maintain power and elective offices.  There is no such thing as perpetual motion nor is there alchemy.  Unfortunately democratic societies often require crisis before being able to address serious economic issues.

Posted in economics | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Global Cooling: the Next Threat?

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 10, 2013

Progressives love to create a crisis that they can then save the ordinary citizens from.  After World War II the Right portion of the political aisle took the lead on this tactic crying wolf concerning international communism and the related Red scare.  This led to McCarthyism during the 1950s and in the latter portion of the Eisenhower administration the missile gap promoted by John Kennedy.  These scares led to the Domino Theory that propagated the view that should one country fall to communism in a region others would follow.  This logic took Country into the Vietnam War debacle, as well as significant wasted funds spent on the arms race.  The Domino Theory proved false and incompatible with the nationalism found in many countries.  In addition, the Soviet Union was never close to parity with the United States.

The fall of the Soviet Empire did not stop Progressives’ penchant for creating still more crisis.  Examples include the Bird Flu, SARs, Y2K, among others.  While significant funds and effort were spent on unnecessary remedial actions, none of these crises actually developed.

The darling of all proclaimed crises of modern time is Global Warming.  The Left jumped on this supposed scourge with religious zealotry proclaiming Al Gore its chief priest. Society has been bombarded with warnings of dire consequences to humanity that will result from man-made global warming, i.e. emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Any who suggest skepticism are excommunicated from the debate.

Proponents of the man-made global warming crisis state unequivocally that the science is closed. There compelling evidence was a warming trend that has occurred since the early 1980s.  This proof, however, was no better than those who watched the sun orbit the earth and proclaimed the our planet the center of the universe.

The motivations behind those who promote the theory of man-made global warming vary.  Some have the best of intentions and use their own observation and flawed models to conclude the worst.  Others promote the theory to gain power and wealth.  Still others use the fear of man-made global warming to further their Leftist agenda to redistribute wealth between countries. This wealth redistribution agenda has existed on the Left since long before any readers of this Blog came into existence.

Global Warming has been placed on the back burner in recent months.  Other issues have taken priority including the turmoil in the Middle East and the long drawn out worldwide economic malaise.  At the same time there is growing evidence that the data and models used to back up the claims that man’s use of hydrocarbon-based energy is responsible for the global warming are flawed.

The first visible cracks in the man-made global warming evidence occurred in recent years when the Earth’s warming trend stopped and did not follow the trend predicted in the models used to prove the theory. More recently there has been growth in the Arctic ice cap, as reported by the dailymail who recently published the following information:

  • The Arctic ice has grown by approximately a million more square miles since 2012, an increase of 60% during the year. (See satellite photographs below.)
  • Some scientists believe the world is entering a cooling period for the next few decades..
  • Professor Judith Curry, a US climate expert, has stated that she believes the most significant factor affecting the global climate are temperature cycles in the oceans.  She in fact believes that the world is now entering a cooling cycle similar to that which occurred between 1965 and 1975.
  • University of Wisconsin Professor Anastasios Tsonis also believes that ocean cycles significantly affect global temperatures stating: “We are already in a cooling trend, which I think will continue for the next 15 years at least.  There is no doubt the warming of the 1980s and 1990s has stopped.

BBC - Ice Free PollAn example of the zealotry of the true believers can be found in a 2007 BBC report titled Arctic Summers Ice Free by 2013 that is still posted on their website that incredibly claimed the Arctic would be ice free by this summer.  To true believers, however, their incorrect information is but a hip-hop.  To them, we are merely in a pause on the way to Armageddon.  How convenient.

The information above does not prove that the theory of man-made Global Warming is false.  It, however, raises enough questions to indicate that the science behind the argument is not complete.

Globa Cooling

Posted in Global Warming | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Maher Takes Occupy Movement to the Woodshed

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 6, 2012

It is amusing watching the Left begin to eat their young.  The latest episode included Real Time host Bill Maher attacking the Occupy Movement.  On a one of his recent HBO shows, Maher said of the Occupiers:

“Let me ask you about another occupation, because this is – and you would be good on this too, panel, the occupation, the Occupy Wall Street, because similar to Afghanistan, when you occupy anything for too long people do get pissed off.  And as I watch them on the news now I find myself almost agreeing with Newt Gingrich.  Like, you know what – get a job.  Only because, you know, the people who originally started, I think they went home and now it’s just these anarchist stragglers.  And this is the problem when you, you know, when your movement involves sleeping over in the park.  You wind up attracting the people who were sleeping over in the park anyway.”

And I think that’s where we are now with the Occupy movement.  They did a great job bringing the issue of income and equality to the fore, but now it’s just a bunch of douchebags who think throwing a chair through the Starbucks window is going to bring on the revolution.”

Mr. Maher has once again shown how little strategic vision Progressives have.  Initially, they were pleased to support the radicals in the Occupy Movement, as long as the riffraff attacked only conservatives.  Joining Maher in support of the Movement were leaders of the Democratic Party including Obama and Pelosi.  However, the Left can no longer control the monster they help create.  With the Occupiers beginning to attack Democrats and getting too close to the swank apartments that wealthy Progressives live in, the Left now attempts to place the genie back in the bottle.

Watch the video below and chuckle.

Posted in Bill Maher, Occupy Wall Street | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Government Orders Providers to Provide No Co-Pay Birth Control

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 23, 2012

The Hill has reported on yet another governmental intrusion in the markets and the people’s private affairs, this one with significant religious implications.  Last week the Obama Administration ordered that beginning in August, healthcare plans must cover birth control without deductibles or co-pay charges to recipients.

This decision is wrong on so many levels.  On the economic side, it will add additional cost for employer supplied healthcare plans.  This will result in increased co-pays for many workers and worse, cause some companies to drop healthcare coverage altogether, both actions offsetting the financial benefit desired by the government.  It will further coerce companies to move employment outside the United States to offset the rising cost of U.S. based employees.

In addition, the new governmental mandate is being forced on religious entities that offer healthcare coverage to their employees.  This governmental intrusion into the freedom of religion is clearly unconstitutional,  In addition, already some of the religious institutions for which birth control goes against their basic tenants have indicated they will either drop their healthcare coverage altogether, or close their doors, in response to the intrusion.  This will not only kill jobs, but also lessen the supplied services to some of the neediest of society.  But that is in keeping with the Progressives’ goals; move power to the government as it fills the vacuum.

In responding to the furor created by the birth control mandate, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said: “I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”  It is remarkable how Progressives treat pregnancy more like a disease than a special event in the human existence.  It is also remarkable how they define balance.

Progressives are pleased with the growing governmental intrusions in all aspects of society since most of the actions have been pointed at pet Liberal causes in recent years.  This is a short-sighted approach for what comes around, goes around.  When the reactionaries gain power, as they always do after Leftist intrusions fail, the Right will have its day and use the governmental to further their aims.  This should be of little comfort to any American that believes in the priority of the Constitution, either on the Left or the Right.

Posted in Governmental Intervention, Healthcare | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bad Intelligence Led to Yemen Drone Strike

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 20, 2012

The Wall Street Journal reported that bad intelligence led to the killings of six innocent civilians in a US drone attack in Yemen.  It seems that some Yemenis fed the bad intelligence to the U.S. that led to a May 25, 2010 drone attack that took out some fellow Yemenis they had grudges against.

It is telling that when George W. Bush authorized waterboarding on a handful of known terrorists bent on killing Americans that the Leftist press created headlines for months.  However, when President Obama authorizes the use of drones for assassinating terrorists that leads to the killing of innocents, it receives almost no press.  It makes a strong statement as to the perverted logic and morals of Progressives.

Posted in Mainstream Media, Terrorism | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party Movements

Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 12, 2011

The Left has created the narrative that Occupy Wall Street is the counter movement to the Libertarian-Conservative leaning Tea Party movement.  The Left is also attempting to use the Occupy movement to further its political aims.  Continuing down this radical path could lead an end of the modern-day Progressivism.

Posted in Occupy Wall Street, Tea Party | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama Administration to Ban Asthma Inhalers

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 24, 2011

In the latest example of the far-reaching tentacles of the nanny–state, the Obama Administration is set to ban over-the-counter inhalers used by asthmatics on December 31, 2011.  Incredibly, the band is the result of an agreement the United States and other nations signed to stop using chemicals that might damage the ozone layer.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that these inhalers only emit miniscule amounts of any chemical, let alone those that may damage the ozone layer.

For years, asthmatics have used over-the-counter inhalers based upon the substance Epinephrine.  Now they will be forced to use “greener” inhalers that contain the drug Albuterol and will require a prescription.  Not surprisingly, the cost to asthma sufferers will increase; yet another example of the government running up the cost of healthcare.  The term “knucklehead” is certainly appropriate for the Progressives and bureaucrats that implement such outrageous laws.

Posted in Environmentalists, Healthcare | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

CNN Again Shows Leftist Bias

Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 15, 2011

CNN today issued a “CNN Breaking News”, posted below.  The headline paragraph states: “The Republican Party is split down the middle between tea party supporters and those who don’t support the movement, a new CNN/ORC International poll suggests.”  This conclusion is erroneous and in conflict with the remainder of the CNN report.

Later in the CNN report it states:

  • “49% of Republicans and independents who lean Republican say they support the tea party movement or are active members”.  –  So the poll was not just of Republicans, but Independents as well.  This is in conflict with the lead paragraph.
  • 51% say that they have no feelings one way or another about the movement or that they oppose it.  —  This is a clear conflict with the lead paragraph’s claim that the “Republican Party is split down the middle”.  It is too gross of an error to be attributed to a mere mistake.

The Leftists and their comrades in the mainstream media are in full panic mode.  Since helping elect one of their own, they have watched one Progressive policy after another fail.  They have also watched the once popular Obama Presidency go from hope and change to incompetence and rejection by the American people.  The mainstream media’s vanity and vested interest in this President blocks objective reporting of the news.

Posted in Mainstream Media, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »