In Virginia, winter is only occasionally a matter of snow. Most of the time it is a matter of wet – rain and mud (lots of mud). There are different kinds of rain, of course: hard rain, drizzle, light rain, soft rain, freezing rain, sleet and rain, and cold, wind-whipped rain, but frequent and copious rain. Because of the wet conditions, we go horseback riding less frequently in the winter. The temperatures are typically moderate, in the 40’s and up. But we don’t ride in the rain for enjoyment — although horse trainers and others whose livelihood depend on their riding don’t let a little rain stop them. It takes a lot of rain.
Thus, it was with more than usual enthusiasm that I set out that winter Sunday afternoon for what turned out to be an almost idyllic experience. The weather had cleared, and a drying breeze was blowing. I had promised Anya, a young woman from Germany who was visiting us that we could go on a trail ride if the weather permitted. She was very excited and very determined, since they do not have trails in Germany like we have in Virginia.
The Aiden Project is a broadcast from the United Kingdom in which acknowledged Trump critic, Aiden Coughlan interviews American commentator, Dr. Larry Fedewa. The interview covers a wide range of topics, from the foreign policy arena to the future of the the Mueller investigation, to the press, to the personal aspect of Mr. Trump.
By Lawrence J. Fedewa, Friday, December 22, 2017
The polls sponsored or cited by the news indicate that only one-third to less than one half of the American public supports the new tax cuts being finalized by the Republicans this week. The first thing to remember about these polls is that these are the same pollsters who reported that the overwhelming majority of Americans supported Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. However, the astounding ignorance of economic history reported by these polls may have some truth. Enough truth that it needs to be addressed.
The economic concepts involved are not difficult to understand, but the Democrat interpretation is being assimilated much more widely than the Republican rationale for these policies. The Democrats, since Franklin Roosevelt won the presidency in 1932 by blaming the Depression on the perfidy of large corporations, have preached that government is the answer to all our troubles and that taxes must be high to pay for all those solutions. Thus, corporations are bad, and government is good.
As Rush Limbaugh has pointed out, they have just never assimilated that the effect of Ronald Reagan’s reduction of taxes in 1984 and 1986 spawned a twenty-year era of prosperity in America. The result is that they have re-written history: Reagan’s tax policies were bad and Obama’s tax policies were good.
Here are the simple facts:
- “Economic expansion” means that companies are building new plants, buying more capital equipment, doing more advertising, researching more inventions, shipping more goods, and using more energy. This leads to hiring more people, which leads to labor shortages instead of labor surpluses, meaning that wages have to go up in order to attract new employees and keep current employees.
- Economic expansion requires more investment capital. Building plants, buying trucks, developing new products – all cost “seed” money, money spent before they produce any new income to pay for themselves.
- Lower taxes mean that less money is taken from profits to give to the government, But the shareholders of companies demand productive uses of the extra money – they don’t want it sitting a low interest bank account. Why not? Because expanding the company increases the value of their stock, while hording or even distributing cash reduces asset value and thus the price of the stock.
- So, management has to spend that money on projects that they believe will add to the growth of the company. This means expansion of some kind, whether, expansion of product line, of facilities, equipment, or advertising. Any kind of expansion means more people, more jobs.
- New products, new ideas, new procedures – all require new skills. So, the training departments of companies, and the curricula of colleges and vocational schools, and re-training programs of all kinds also flourish because of new needs and new markets.
Conclusion: tax policy which leads to economic expansion is a GOOD THING. The real value of tax reduction to the middle class and the young is not really lowering the tax rate or raising the deductions. The middle class will see its main benefits from the expansion of the economy – higher wages, more price competition, more new businesses, more money floating in the whole atmosphere.
The Democrat idea that middle class support for tax policy depends on how many dollars I am going to save on my own taxes this month or this year is totally misplaced. What are a few dollars less in my taxes compared to the new job I just got or my raise, or the new business I just started?
The underlying problem with the socialist view of the economy is that socialism views the economy as static – the classes never change: the poor will always be poor, the rich will always be rich, and the middle class can never become rich but is always on the cusp of being poor. Thus, the rich are the enemy of the other classes, because they must keep them down to maintain their own riches. This is a pie which never gets bigger.
But Americans don’t believe in that. We all think the pie can get bigger, that any poor person can become rich with talent and hard work. Americans have what is called “upward mobility” – the opportunity to change one’s place in society, to become richer, smarter, happier, and healthier.
The government can’t do that. Only you and I and our fellow Americans can expand our lives. And expanding our economy helps – a lot!
© Richfield Press 2017
Slavery, war and the artifacts left behind
Christ Church in Alexandria, Va. — an Episcopal parish where George Washington and Robert E. Lee worshiped — is depicted here. The parish vestry announced on Oct. 26, 2017, that it would remove and relocate memorial plaques in honor of both men, citing a desire to provide a “welcoming” worship space. (Wikimedia Commons)
Destruction of historical statues, icons and documents appears to be one of the latest fads of the Left. This idea seemed a bit quaint for the “hate America” fringe until it caught fire with the Leftist establishment. The removal of the George Washington memorabilia so proudly displayed by Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, convinced many Americans that this fad has joined the leftist orthodoxy and is now a force to be reckoned with.
The primary objection seems to be that many of the most famous Americans were on the wrong side of the slavery issue. Not only does this accusation include the entire Confederate States of America, but also many of the original generation of the American Revolution. It is a serious objection and deserves an answer.
The short answer is that these historical statues and writings can teach us much about the long road our country has traveled in its quest to achieve its fundamental ideal, as stated in the Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Yet the writer of these words, Thomas Jefferson, and many of the signers of that Declaration, were themselves owners of human slaves. How can that be?
That answer starts with the observation that people do not always live up to their ideals. For civilization to advance, however, we must seek the best ideals and try to live by them. The most important standard we as Americans have adopted and by which we define the advancement of civilization is the Christian ideal — which has become the foundation of American orthodoxy – namely, that “All men are created equal.” Few Americans would disagree with that ideal. But most of us would have to admit that our actions have not always reflected it.
So, now we come to the most notorious violation of that ideal in American history, namely, slavery. In the New World – though not in Arabian, African, Chinese, Native American and many other cultures — slavery was limited to people of African descent. This reality led to the intermingling of slavery and racism, a factor which has complicated the issue throughout our history.
The slavery of Africans was the most contentious issue of the Continental Convention. Then, as now, there were extremists and pragmatists. The extremists on the side of maintaining slavery were Southerners, whose entire economy was built on slavery. They had also built a whole mythology to justify their use of slaves. It included, as dogma, that the Negro race was inferior to the European race, and was therefore unable to care for its members in a civilized manner. The mythology was very detailed and so stupid, insulting and demonstrably fallacious that it will not be repeated here.
Nevertheless, there were many delegates from the Southern states who were prepared to remain under British rule rather than abolish slavery. The extremists in favor of abolition were from the Northern states and they would rather remain under British rule than found a new country that recognized slavery. Everyone at that convention wanted to revolt against Britain, but the North could not hope to win a war against the British without the South. The South could not sustain its economy if the British tariffs and taxes continued. Besides, men like Virginia Gov. Patrick Henry’s slogan, “Give me liberty or give me death” had swept the South.
In the middle were the pragmatists. Their primary goal was rebellion. Some Northerners were already known for their sentiments and their personal futures were at stake. It was clear to everyone that the two most powerful states, Virginia and Massachusetts, had to be included or there was no chance for an American Revolution to succeed. The Convention was committed to rule by majority vote, but the rural South had fewer white people than industrial New England. If the Negro slaves were not counted, the South was outnumbered and clearly was poised to withdraw from the Convention. The North sent a delegation to Canada to see if they could be induced to join the rebellion, but found no interest. In the end, they did what all politicians do, they compromised. They “kicked the can down the road.”
The issue of slavery haunted the new United States of America until the North became powerful enough to challenge the South in the Civil War. But, all that accomplished after 650,000 deaths was to establish the legal basis for abolition. The problem was far from settled. In fact, with the black migration to northern manufacturing centers in succeeding years, their competition with the white working class provided a new battleground for the racism component of slavery. The old Southern mythology gained new converts.
A wide-ranging discussion of life, history, ethics, and contemporary topics by two friends, one of the right and one of the left.