The Economics Quarterly: 2017Q2

GDP GROWTH DATA

The GDP Growth Rate for 2017 Quarter 1 was officially 1.4%, considerably below the 15-year mean, which includes the 2007-2008 recession that makes that number considerably easier to beat. The 4-year trend from 2013 through Quarter 1 of this year continues to show a downward trend, though 2013 and 2014 were the strongest economic years of Obama’s 8 years in office, and the economy has cooled off considerably since. The Q1 number missed the forecasted number of 2.5% considerably, which proved my concern that poor initial job numbers for March, which have since been revised down even further to 50,000, reflected slower GDP growth in Q1.

GDP Growth Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-gdp-growth

GDP Growth Rate – 4-Year Trend (7/1/2013-7/7/2017)

united-states-gdp-growth-4year

FEDERAL FUNDS RATE DATA

In June, the Federal Reserve announced yet another interest rate hike, bringing the Federal Funds Rate to 1.25%. While still at a historically low level, far below its peak of 5.25% in 2006-2007, and well below the 15-year mean, the Fed seem intent on driving up the Funds Rate as quickly as they can while somewhat positive trends continue. The Interbank Rate is at 1.30%, which is also pretty well below the 15-year mean and has been creeping upward since early 2016.

Federal Funds Rate Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-interest-rate

Interbank Loan Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-interbank-rate

INFLATION RATE DATA

Inflation has cooled down to 1.9% from its high of 2.7% in February and is back below the 15-year mean. Though it remains above the mean since January 2016 (not shown), the trend downward could reflect either a trend down in the market itself or the market’s reaction to a tightening money supply, however, the Fed Funds rate still being very low makes the latter highly unlikely. Regardless, the rate is still on an upward trend since at least 2015.

Inflation Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-inflation-cpi

CAPITAL GOODS NEW ORDERS (Non-Defense) DATA

New Orders of capital goods remains above the 15-year mean, but decreased in March in a reflection of the slowdown in the economy in Q1. There has been an upward trend since mid 2016, however, fairly in line with the up tick in Labor Force Participation.

Capital Goods New Orders – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)
united-states-new-orders

JOB NUMBER DATA

The jobs numbers for 2017 Quarter 1 totaled 498,000 net jobs, down from the initial Q1 estimate of 533,000, compared to 443,000 net jobs in 2016 Quarter 4 and 588,000 jobs in 2016 Quarter 1, so job numbers in Q1 were a mixed signal. The job numbers for 2017 Quarter 2 totaled 581,000, as of the preliminary numbers for just released yesterday. Presently, Q2 seems to be on track to be slightly below the 4-year average of 210,000 monthly jobs, with the 150,000 May numbers dragging it down, even though the 222,000 jobs (preliminary) in June are on the mark for the 4-year median.

Job Numbers – 4-Year (1/1/2013-7/7/2017)
latest_numbers_CES0000000001_2013_2017_all_period_M06_net_1mth

LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE DATA

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) continues to a recent positive trend since April 2015 (not graphed), climbing to 62.8% in June. The LFPR remains at historic lows, however, far below the 15-year mean, with no indication of any increases in the near future. The 4-year trend remains negative with very slow recovery.

Labor Force Participation Rate – 15-Year (1/1/2002-7/7/2017)

united-states-labor-force-participation-rate

Labor Force Participation Rate – 4-Year (4/1/2013-7/7/2017)

 united-states-labor-force-participation-rate-4year

GOVERNMENT DEBT TO GDP DATA

Finally, the National Debt to GDP ratio climbed to 106.10% at the end of 2016. There isn’t any data from 2017, but we should have some indication by the next Economics Quarterly for the first part of this year. Most people reading this will understand what this means, for those that don’t, however, presently the federal debt load is more than all of the wealth that the entire US economy generates in a year. This does not include future obligations (such as Medicare and Social Security).

Debt to GDP – 4-Year (4/1/2013-7/7/2017)
united-states-government-debt-to-gdp

THE READ

 

The read from the previous Economics Quarterly was bearish, and I remain so. The Q1 GDP Growth was considerably lower than the market was predicting, but was in line with a market pumping its brakes through March. Republicans suggest that a lot of this slow down was from inclement weather in the North East, but there really wasn’t that significant an interruption of the economy, having caused days of disruption, not weeks. The biggest news of March was the failure of the GOP American Health Care Act “Repeal & Replace” legislation.

More than a few economic hopes were pinned on a Republican Party that’s done nothing but promise “Repeal” for 7 years, and their failure to overcome their own party’s concerns threw cold water on a lot of people’s expectations. Since then, of course, the House finally did push through a slightly modified plan, moving the ball to the Senate where partisan obstacles are even higher. With the Senate plan falling apart in the last week, Republicans are now forced to figure out a new direction.

GDP Growth in Quarter 2 will be stronger than in Quarter 1, but don’t look for any doors to be blown off the hinges. A GDP number of 2.5% to 3.0% is possible by seems very unlikely given other factors in the economy. The rising Fed Funds Rate will cool off the money supply some. The Inflation Rate has cooled down 3 months in a row, and the Core Inflation Rate (not graphed) has cooled off 4 months in a row. Coupled with both a drop in orders of Capital Goods and passable Job Numbers, including a relatively bland number in May, all the stumbling blocks are in place for a brief to moderate correction.

The economy has been expanding for about 5 to 6 years, depending on where the recovery is scored. I believe that ObamaCare is keeping the economy from heating up too much, acting as a heavy tax on the economy, but the steep increase in the Inflation Rate that began in late 2014, early 2015, is pushing is sign that the economy is having trouble finding places to move capital effectively. That indicates that a pull back is imminent, because the market is over priced right now. I believe that this, more so than the very moderate Inflation Rate, is driving the Fed to push up the Federal Funds Rate at such an unusually steep rate.

That’s my read. Be cautious.

One more thing, a lot of noise has been made in the news lately from Republicans about numbers they’ve randomly taken from the political cycle that they flaunt without any benefit of context. I’ll focus on two points that I found extra ridiculous. First, a few weeks ago, Republicans were flaunting “historically low” unemployment number among Black Americans, as if Donald Trump’s policies were the direct cause. This is ludicrous. Below is the unemployment rate among Blacks or African Americans for the last 10 years. Unemployment has clearly and steadily been decreasing in the Black community for years. Let’s celebrate when Black unemployment is the same as White unemployment.

latest_numbers_LNS14000006_2007_2017_all_period_M06_data

Second, Republicans recently shared an article that celebrated a $22 Million cut to the Federal Budget, negotiated under the most recent Omnibus budget deal that passed Congress and was signed by President Trump in early May. To get an idea of how ridiculous touting this is, let’s compare the $22 Million cut to the 2016 budget. The 2016 budget was $3.54 Trillion, with a budget deficit of $552 Billion. That $22 Million cut represents a total of 0.000006214689265536723% cut to the 2016 budget. How much did the Republicans and Democrats cut? 0%. Nothing.

The only thing that’s clear about federal budget right now is that no one in Washington is taking the federal budget seriously. That there are people actually gullible enough to believe that $22 Million represents a significant portion of the budget is simply embarrassing and demonstrates just how uneducated in matters of the economy and the federal budget the American populace is.

This has been the Liberty Is For The Win Economic Quarterly. Catch you all in a few months.

Liberty is For The Win!


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True North: Rediscovering Our Compass

If the Culture War is a conflict of ideologies, anyone who rejects ideology is engaging in this battle totally unarmed.

The American Health Care Act (AHCA) rose from its grave on Thursday, shambling through the House of Representatives on a party line vote. It now awaits for action from the Senate, where the Republicans have a much slimmer majority for anything like it to be passed. While the Republican Party continues to claim it is a “repeal and replace” of ObamaCare, it is nothing of the sort. There’s a word for the American Health Care Act: “reform“, and “reform” is neither a “repeal” nor a “replace“.

Just six short years ago, American conservatives fought and failed (by betrayal) to end ObamaCare through constitutional challenges. In the intervening years, Republicans in the House and Senate made numerous largely empty attempts to repeal or at least defund ObamaCare. All of those attempts came up short. Now, in control of both the House and Senate, and, finally, the White House, the GOP snatches defeat from the jaws of victory and gives us what is clearly a reform, while looking us right in the eye and saying “repeal… and replace“.

A fair part of the Republican voters are in line supporting the AHCA, though support for it remains weak overall, even within the GOP itself. Amazingly, many of these people supporting the AHCA will enthusiastically attack socialism on social media, unloading on anyone they perceive as “un-American“. And yet they are still supporting a bill that empowers the government to interfere in the private contracts of individuals (the very definition of collectivist socialism).

How did we come to this?

A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.

We live in an age of polarization, where what someone believes to be true has more to do with their political identity as their actual experience. For example, take two totally different individuals: Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Maddow. Both are simultaneously perceived as extremely credible and totally dishonest depending solely on which side of the political aisle the listener sits. Even when either presents an incontrovertible fact, skepticism is the first (and often only) response from politically hostile listeners.

On top of this rampant “echo chamber” factionalism, we have become accustomed to the ceaseless drumbeat of the 24-hour news cycle. Many Americans, listening only to their approved media source, have come to believe that their political identity derives from their political policy positions. You have people who believe being on the “Left” simply means they must support ObamaCare, expansive tax policy, and welfare programs. You have people who believe being on the “Right” simply means they must support the AHCA, lower taxes, and cutting spending. And you have people who believe they are in the “Center“, because they believe in some combination of these things.

To many, being “Left“, “Right“, or “Center” has everything to do with political positions, and thus their political positions somehow inform their place on the ideological pole. Piece by piece, point by point, Americans cobble their political opinions together, based on little more than their feelings, their existing prejudices, and who they get their information from and think this is “ideology“, or, worse, they reject ideology altogether as bad. They could not be more mistaken, on either count.

“For I do not do the good I want to do,
but the evil I do not want to do—
this I keep on doing.”
-Paul the Apostle, Romans 7:19-

Our political positions do not inform our ideology; our ideology informs our political positions. Without ideology, we can only contradict the objectives of our political aims, by infringing on moral precepts in one hand that we claim to be vehemently protecting with the another. It’s how these people who viciously attack the evils of socialism in one breath will in turn viciously defend government policy that interferes in wages, work regulations, retirement insurance, and health insurance with their very next breath.

Ideology is a clear, coherent, vision by which we can know what is good and what is not. For this reason, why you believe what you do is often more important than what you believe. If the Culture War is a conflict of ideologies, anyone who rejects ideology is engaging in this battle totally unarmed. So the only real question is which ideology will you arm yourself with today?

Liberty is For The Win!


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Running Out of Rails: Trump’s 100 Days

So 100 days later, how have Donald Trump’s central campaign promises held up?

Every president has 100 days with which to set the stage for his administration, setting the tone for the rest of his tenure as president. Couple this with the great political, economic, and social dilemmas that are rending our nation apart, and that tone grows that much more important to a nation gnawing on anxieties and divisions that spilled over from the previous administration into this one. Let us not forget, however, that this man, so his most ardent supporters assured us, was a political ringer.

Donald Trump was supposed to be a titan of deal making, quite literally “writing the book” on it. His ran on getting things done, ahead of schedule, with everyone involved a winner. In a deeply divided political year, to the true believers, this was exactly what the doctor ordered. After all, for most of eight years, the Republican Party has been playing underdog in practically every political fight on Capital Hill. Finally armed with not only the White House, but a high octane deal making machine White House, the sky was not only the limit, it was promised.

When the starting bell rang and the gates opened on January 20, 2017, what we were told to expect was a thoroughbred champion-to-be. What crossed the finish line, however, has been a horse of a completely different color. With zero significant legislative victories, a handful of largely meaningless executive orders, nosebleed inducing 180º flip flops, a clown car of personnel changes indicative of vicious infighting, and a growing foreign policy scandal that simply will not go away, the first 100 days of Trump’s presidency clearly has not gone as planned.

“We’re going to win so much. You’re going to get tired of winning.”
-Donald Trump-

Let’s start with what we were promised. First, Donald Trump and his stalwart supporters promised us that, despite his numerous flaws, the smash mouth real estate developer tycoon was a brilliant and strategic negotiator, the likes of which has never been seen. His pedigree as a successful deal broker that his vocal supporters claimed made him worth the gamble. With his Midas touch deal making, he promised he’d unify not only the Republican Party but the entire country. After eight years of scorched earth demagoguery in Congress and from the White House, Americans yearned for this.

Second, Donald promised to deliver on priorities that all Americans cared about: jobs. While on the campaign trail, not a week would go by without Donald eviscerating the Chinese for cheating and stealing American jobs through “unfair trade deals”. Donald promised to get America back to work by getting forceful with the Chinese. Once and for all, Donald Trump promised to not allowing China to “rape our country” anymore. He promised, on “day one“, to formally declare China a currency manipulator in breach of international law.

Third, Donald promised to secure the homeland, once and for all. His trashing of the Obama’s demonstrably feckless foreign policy, especially when it came to dealing with ISIL/ISIS. The Donald made a big show of being willing to say “Islamic terrorism“, over and over again, announcing that not only could he defeat ISIS, where Obama had proven to be totally ineffective, he said that he would do so in less than 30 days. He would not only defeat ISIS, he would do so without involving the United States in the Middle East or getting involved in Syria.

Finally, among many policies that Donald Trump (and the Republican Party) promised to do immediately was to repeal (and replace) ObamaCare. Even though legislation repealing and defunding ObamaCare has passed the Congress on numerous occasions, faced numerous court challenges, and has been the source of deep political outrage from Republicans and conservatives ever since it was passed without a single Republican vote, it withstood all of this, largely through the veto power under Obama, and helped along with a shocking betrayal by the Supreme Court. If there was ever a low hanging pitch begging to be smacked out of the political park, this was it.

So 100 days later, how have Donald Trump’s central campaign promises held up?

“…[Donald] is a chaos candidate, and he’d be a chaos president.”
-Jeb Bush-

Take just five minutes to browse any social media site, and you’ll find that the virtual (or too often very real) blood letting has only gotten worse under Trump, far surpassing even the worst days under Obama. After “The Donald” angrily declared war on the House Freedom Caucus, with several of his surrogates openly threatening political retribution, any illusion that Trump is interested in unifying either the party or the nation are simply gone. Quite simply, as far as his promise to unify party and country in his first 100 days is concerned, Trump has been a fantastic failure to the point that it defies description.

In regards to China, Trump’s drumbeat of hard line rhetoric and tough talk has turned into a soggy bowl of noodles. Very obviously, Donald Trump failed to deliver on his “Day One” promise of formally declaring China a currency manipulator. Twenty-four hours quickly became forty-eight. Days and weeks passed. Other than an executive order calling for an investigative review of trade balances, China falls completely off of Trump’s radar. Then, suddenly, Trump has done a complete 180 and said China isn’t a currency manipulator after all. On dealing with China, Trump has failed spectacularly.

Trying to deliver on tough talk on Islamic Terrorism, Donald began his administration by green lighting a military operation in Yemen that cost an American serviceman his life and killed left women and children noncombatants dead. Even after Trump has done several victory laps after the Yemen raid (that has yet to have produced any actionable intelligence) and then dropping a MOAB on some terrorists in Afghanistan a few weeks later, ISIS remains very conspicuously no “defeated“. Then, after promising not to get involved in Syria, he gets involved in Syria. After 100 days, Trump has not only failed to deliver on his promise, he’s broken those promises while getting people killed in the process. Looks kind of like a fail to me.

And as far as the low hanging pitch right in the middle of the strike zone? To be fair, he had help with the aborted “Trump Care” plan. Despite having months to come up with a plan, after conspicuously challenged by Marco Rubio to give details about his big plan to replace the failing ObamaCare, and the Republicans having years to devise their own plan, the American Health Care Act was rolled out onto the launch pad, then quietly rolled back off of the launch pad without a vote. ObamaCare was the one thing Trump and the Republicans were voted in, election after election to do something about. Honestly, 100 days is about 99 more days than should have been necessary to have fulfilled this promise.

“You know what they say about men with small hands…”
-Marco Rubio-

Trump was billed as the king of deal makers. He ridiculed his opponents as being “low energy” politicians that didn’t have what it takes to get the job done. It should be crystal clear 100 days into Trump’s phony phoned in presidency that, if there is one thing that Donald Trump knows a lot about, it’s not having what it takes to get the job done. As far as what tone Trump’s first 100 days in office have set? Probably somewhere along the lines of a flatbed of bag pipes being slowly fed to a rush hour bridge collapse.

Yes, that bad.

Liberty is For The Win!


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How Pushing Price Over Principle Is Killing Conservatism

Whether you agree in whole, in part, or not at all with Reagan’s politics, let’s agree that Ronald Wilson Reagan could be considered a “subject matter expert” on American conservatism.

Just shy of 30 years ago, Ronald Reagan, still recovering from surgery on his left hand, sat down behind the Resolute Desk and bid farewell to the country that he had served as president for 8 years. In an evocative speech that ran roughly twenty minutes, Reagan stayed away from politics and, instead, spent these last precious minutes with the American people outlining the political vision that had guided him for the previous thirty years of his adult life.

To this day, Reagan’s presidential farewell address remains the clearest and most concise expression of modern American conservatism by any political figure to date, before and since. Perhaps you are too young to have seen it the first time around or maybe you simply haven’t watched it in a long while. Whether you consider yourself a conservative or not, please take a moment and watch it now.

Whether you agree in whole, in part, or not at all with Reagan’s politics, let’s agree that Ronald Wilson Reagan could be considered a “subject matter expert” on American Conservatism. If he said something was Conservative, then that is what is Conservative. If something does not mesh with Reagan’s Conservatism, then it’s safe to say that it does not mesh with American conservatism.

This is our measuring stick. So what does our measuring stick look like?

“…I wasn’t a ‘Great Communicator’, but I
communicated great things, and they didn’t
spring full bloom from my 
brow, they came
from the heart of a great nation…”

-Ronald Reagan-

In 1980, Ronald Reagan ran on a platform of “Making America Great Again“, though what he believed made America great was rooted in the fundamental pursuit of economic, political, and individual freedom. In 1975, Ronnie sat down with Manuel S. Klausner for an interview published in Reason Magazine, and said, “If you analyze it, I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism… The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

During his presidential farewell address 14 years later, Reagan again echoed this idea when he said, “…I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.” And 25 years earlier, Reagan communicated the exact same idea while stumping for then presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, “This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

At its very core, Ronald Reagan’s Conservatism necessarily opposed government power and, as he noted in his Goldwater speech, preserved the principles of self-government by “We the People“, and not, as it is today, 536 politicians who dictate our private health insurance decisions, what kinds of light bulbs we can use, how much we must be paid to wait tables or sweep floors, what types of cars we may buy, and even if we may drink raw milk. This is Conservatism, which will undoubtedly come as a shock to many Republicans.

So what happened to Reagan’s conservatism? Honestly? Nothing happened to it.

“We’ve got to do a better job of getting
across that America is freedom – freedom
of speech, freedom of religion, freedom
of enterprise – and freedom is special
and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.”
-Ronald Reagan-

After the Civil War and Civil Rights eras, the political spark that created the Republican Party went away. Slavery was eradicated, and the Democratic Party had taken over Civil Rights. The GOP spent the years after the New Deal in perpetual semi-obsolescence, with no coherent message, no coherent values, and thus no coherent elections. For decades, their few victories were based on foreign policy, military readiness, and, ultimately, the price of government. Since foreign policy and military readiness are just budgetary arguments themselves, the Republicans only really ever talked about price.

After almost half a century of political irrelevance, there came a tiny spark that, for the briefest moment, caused a drowsy Republican Party to stir and stare bleary eyed at a right-wing loon shouting about Liberty and Freedom. Barry Goldwater’s fiery brand of Libertarian-Conservatism caught the 1960’s GOP completely off guard, creating a chorus of vocal critics. To these critics, Barry defiantly declared, “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!” Sadly, Goldwater ultimately lost, and the Grand Old Party rolled over and went immediately back to price politics irrelevance.

Between 1964 and 1980, American politics shifted further to the left, but a bad economy created an opportunity to unseat the incumbent Jimmy Carter. Again, there was a contentious battle for the GOP nomination, with the race finally coming down to the very traditional “price of government” conscious George H. W. Bush facing off against another fiery Libertarian-Conservative named Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s Conservatism was so completely out of step with the price obsessed GOP that the elder Bush famously quipped that Reagan’s budget plan was “Voodoo economics“.

Then a crazy thing happened. As it turned out, people liked hearing about Liberty, Freedom, and feeling reconnected to the Founding Fathers. They liked the idea that America is special because it’s free. Reagan won and won big.

“If we forget what we did, we won’t know who
we are. I am warning of an eradication of that –
of the American memory that could result,
ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit.”
-Ronald Reagan-

Reagan’s Libertarian-Conservatism blew the doors off of everything the Republicans thought they knew about themselves and the American electorate. For a precious moment, Liberty reigned again. Unfortunately, Reagan’s American conservatism still remained an anomaly in a party of price obsessed accountants. As soon as Reagan passed the torch to George H. W. Bush, the elder Bush talked a really good Liberty game, making all the right noises about continuing the Reagan Revolution and even famously promised, “Congress will push me to raise taxes and I’ll say no. And they’ll push, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push again, and I’ll say, to them, read my lips: no new taxes.

However, in less than a single term, when an economic slowdown caused a larger budget deficit than expected, George H. W. Bush and the Republican Party quickly folded on that key promise. American voters made them pay for that in both the mid-terms and in 1992, when the elder Bush joined a very small group of US presidents who failed to win reelection. After Bush came Dole, who talked a lot about decency and patriotism but ultimately kept coming back to budgets and federal accountancy.

It took a seriously morally compromised Clinton era to leave a tiny window of opportunity for the moderate morality of George W. Bush, whose “compassionate conservatism” captured just enough voters in the middle to earn him the Oval Office. After winning reelection in 2004, a bad economy and run away deficit made the GOP extremely vulnerable again, especially for the party of price. McCain, like Dole, tried to rattle the old can of patriotism and country, but ultimately his moderate politics, like Dole before him, was just more GOP snoring. Romney and Ryan rattled the old foreign policy can before going right back to snoring about the price of government.

At the end of the Obama era, the American electorate, angry and bored, found itself a new president, all style, no substance, and even less principle. As far as the Libertarian-Conservatism of Goldwater and Reagan? It was long dead, and the very thing Reagan warned us about has come to pass.

The American spirit was eroding.

“And she’s still a beacon, still a magnet for all
who must have freedom, for all the 
Pilgrims
from all the lost places who are 
hurtling
through the darkness, toward home.”

-Ronald Reagan-

Lucky for us, however, these ideas are not lost. Those truths that were self-evident in 1776 are still just as self-evident today as they were then. All men and women are still, in fact, created equal and are still, in fact, endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these being Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness! There are still those of us who speak the language of Liberty and will share it with the generations of Americans yet to come.

Reagan is lost to us. He is gone. The ideas that he loved, however, the ideas that he venerated above all else are still here and very much alive. Fight on, patriots. Never tire of being extremist, far right loons, for you are in the very best of company. Keep beating the drum. For Liberty. For Justice. For Freedom!

We are all Reagan, now!

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW

Shattering the Overton Window

As both the Democratic and the Republican Party are enslaved by their political apparatus, only a third party, free of major party establishment influences, has any hope of smashing through the Overton Window for liberty.

The American political landscape has been changed by over a century of Culture War with the Left, and, as more and more ground has been lost, the Overton Window has shifted further and further in their favor. Positions that the Founding Fathers fought and died to defend have long since been overrun by the hive minded locusts of Left philosophies and buried under meaningless buzzwords. Today, things that would have been unthinkable to the likes of Thomas Jefferson or James Madison have become totally normal.

For a century now, the American people have been offered the same two political choices: a Democratic politician or a Republican politician. Every election year, politicians of these two parties wrap themselves in the American flag, make moving speeches about civil necessity and freedom, all the while demagoguing their opponent over any and every minute moral failing and political inconsistency. Then, as soon as the votes are counted, they go right back to business as usual.

So bad is the cognitive dissonance among American voters that the political parties can totally change political positions in the span of a single election cycle, and their voters won’t even notice. For example, just 5 short years ago, the GOP presidential candidate brutally criticized then president Obama for his overtly friendly relationship with Moscow, while the Democrats accused Republicans of living in the Cold War past. Today, the parties have completely switched positions.

The voting public, much like Pavlov’s dog, is now driven to barking or salivating every election in time with the political beats of their party’s propaganda machine.

“Rursus prosperum ac felix scelus virtus vocatur; sontibus
parent boni, ius est in armis, opprimit leges timor. 
(Once
again prosperous and successful crime goes 
by the name
of virtue; good men obey the bad, 
might is right and fear
oppresses law.)

-Seneca the Younger-

We must face the desperate reality that the Republican Party is now in the same place philosophically that the Democratic Party was just 30 to 50 years ago, when the last of those who were recognizably conservative abandoned that party to the radical Michael Moore brand Left. While there remain conservative stalwarts holding out in the GOP today, the party of Lincoln and of Reagan is largely lost to a center left political machine.

As Reagan had to leave the Democratic Party to find a new fertile home within the Republican Party, so conservatives must find a new home or accept irrelevance. Unlike Reagan, however, American conservatives presently have nowhere to go but a fractious collection of politically irrelevant political parties in the shadow of radical Leftism (Democrats) and centrist Leftism (Republicans). If conservatism is to remain relevant in 21st Century American politics, it is absolutely imperative that we field a political party that meets the necessary 15% threshold.

Very simply, if the conservative movement is to achieve political efficacy in this century, the disparate political parties that by and large carry the banner of political conservatism must unify into a functional conservative political party. If “principle over party” as much as American conservatives claim it matters, then it’s time to abandon the factionalism that plagues our movement and pledge our time, energy, honor and fortunes to a unified political movement that represents what we believe and why we believe it. Literally nothing else matters.

So how do we get there?

“Ignoranti quem portum petat nullus suus ventus est.
(When a man does not know what harbor he is making
for, no wind is the right wind.)

-Seneca the Younger-

First, what we believe in is “limited government“. What does “limited government” mean? Believing in “limited government” means understanding that any government big enough to do good is also necessarily big enough to do great evil. Government, by its very nature, transgresses necessarily on individual liberty, and, in order to minimize this very real and serious threat to personal freedom, government must be limited in scope, those things over which it has authority, and in powers, those actions it is allowed to take on those things over which it has authority.

Second, why we believe in “limited government” is “all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights“. Conservatives necessarily believe that every man, woman, and child that walks the Earth is entitled to the same moral equality and political rights as anyone else in the world. We know that it is government, often acting on behalf or because of a political elite, that violates both the equality and political rights of the people. We also know that the worst evils one man can do upon another pales in comparison to the evils that even well meaning governments have inflicted upon their people.

This is why we must always vanguard against those, who, in the name of doing good, recklessly seek to unleash government from rational and necessary limits. It is our duty to protect the liberties of not only ourselves but our desperately misguided countrymen in pursuit of illusory political altruism. As both the Democratic and the Republican Party are enslaved by their political apparatus, only a third party, free of major party establishment influences, has any hope of smashing through the Overton Window for liberty.

“Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.
(I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.)
-Thomas Jefferson-

Conservatives are losing the “Culture War” one election at a time. If you are reading this right now, then you get this. The time to count our life rafts is not when the bow of our ship strikes the iceberg in the middle of the icy Atlantic. It is now, when we have an opportunity to save the movement not only for ourselves but for our posterity. For Liberty’s sake, the time to move is now.

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW

The High Road: Walking the Walk

What is just, what is honorable, and what is dignified has long since been abandoned by both major political parties.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
-Robert Frost-

There is no question that the deep political divisions torn through our national fabric for 8 years under Barack Obama made the election of Donald Trump inevitable. There is also no question that Donald has brought his own particular brand of polarizing politics to the Oval Office, not the least of which being his childish habit of responding to any and all criticism with petulant whining and petty insult that might at one time have shamed his millions of supporters into silence. This, quite obviously, is no longer that time.

This begs the question of how the American right came to be such an unabashed reflection of the American left’s worst stereotypes? The answer begins with the contentious finale of the 2000 presidential elections. After the Gore v Bush decision in 2000, despite all of the scandals, the infidelities, and the rising partisan wrangling, Democrats became convinced they were somehow wrongly cheated out of another 8 years of power in Washington.

After all, the economy seemed to be on track (thanks to the compliant media minimizing the bursting dot com bubble), the incumbent president seemed to be popular (thanks to the compliant media minimizing the revolving door of White House scandals), and the world seemed to be at peace (thanks to the compliant media minimizing the rising threat if Islamic Jihadism). How could an insurgent political campaign by then Governor George W. Bush usurp the heir apparent, Vice President Al Gore?

Just 16 years ago, the Al Gore lost because the Democrats had vastly underestimated the desire “to restore honor and dignity” to the Oval Office after 8 years of scandal. Oh, what a difference 8 short years under Obama has made.

“I did not have sexual relations with
that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”
-Bill Clinton-

It was in no small part because of the media’s muted reporting of Clinton scandal after scandal that caused American voters in even swing states to demand better from their White House, and they didn’t believe anyone attached to the Clintons could deliver. George W. Bush ran on that “something better” and won because he wasn’t part of the intolerably corrupt Clinton machine. The Democrat political apparatus, however, did not go quietly into the night.

The American media gorged themselves on the political blood of the Bush administration during his first months of office, attacking him constantly on every issue, from his quirky speech patterns to his political policies. Bush weathered the ceaseless criticism with the quiet fortitude that was the hallmark of presidents going back to Washington, with few exceptions, and a cordial Texas charm that was all his own. Then, on one sunny and clear Tuesday morning in September, everything changed.

Amidst the despair and horror of the ash and smoke of where the Twin Towers once stood, that quiet fortitude became fierce resolve, and a peace time president that had run on tax cuts and domestic policy reform became a war time president. For the Democrats, Bush was suddenly unassailable, at least unless the Democrats wanted to risk looking as though they were trying to undermine the president’s leadership while America was at war.

The American media, however, had the story of the century to cover, and, just two years later, would have the ammunition they needed to begin what would become the media’s main weapon against Bush: The Second Iraq War.

“The first casualty when war comes is truth.”
-Hiram W. Johnson-

In the year and half between the start of the Iraq War in 2003 and the election in 2004, the mainstream media went all in on defeating Bush. Dan Rather reported an unsubstantiated narrative attacking Bush’s Vietnam service record that backfired on him, CBS News, and broadcast journalism. Cable news outlets spent precious political capital on assassinating Bush’s character and defending John Kerry’s flailing campaign. Even NPR, after decades of feigned nonpartisan reporting, became openly critical of Bush.

Which stories mainstream media would report and which they would not depended on if it benefited the Democratic Party as much as it did on ratings. Unfortunately for the media and the Democratic Party, the truth won out. After George W. Bush handily won reelection in 2004, despite the combined attacks on “his” Iraq War by the Democratic politicians and their allies in the media, the Democrats finally became completely unhinged.

Radical elements within the Democratic Party realized it was no longer enough to merely have a compliant media. They needed to have a complicit media and to completely control the cultural narrative. It couldn’t be about journalism anymore. The future of their party was in propaganda. With the help of their younger demographics, the Democrats soon fully integrated their platform into the rise of social media platforms, such as Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006).

The propaganda “meme” war against Bush and the Republican Party was on, and they were taking no prisoners.

“George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”
-Kanye West-

From that point on, it wasn’t enough to merely suggest that Republican policies failed to address the needs of minority communities (whether they did or not), or that Republican attempts to defend religious liberty and family values might cause discomfort to those with alternate life styles or beliefs, or that Republican attempts to trim entitlement spending might cause economic difficulty for the poor. The policies became “racist“, “homophobic“, “greedy“, “agist“, “sexist“, and “fascistic“.

With “Republicans are racist, homophobic, sexist, greedy, agist, bigots” on full blast, the left elevated the least qualified human being they could possibly find to run for president, Barack Obama. For 8 long years, any criticism of Obama, no matter how well founded or from what quarter it came, was dismissed as the angry rambling of bigots and racists. Dissent was not only not tolerated, it was openly persecuted.

Innocent Americans were treated as though they were complicit of the worst injustices of the past and present, and once it became obvious that they were convicted of gross bigotry no matter how they acted, most simply stopped caring. Embracing the mantle of “racist, homophobic, sexist, greedy, agist bigots“, these people elevated the least qualified human being they could possibly find to run for president, Donald Trump.

“The creatures outside looked from pig
to man, and from man to pig, and from
pig to man again; but already it was
impossible to say which was which.”
-George Orwell-

Never in the history of the presidency has there been a man so totally unconcerned with “honor and dignity“, whose claim to infamy was based almost entirely upon personal infidelity, an obscene obsession with his own personal wealth, shameless self promotion, and a callous vindictiveness that still defies definition. As the left and right tussle in the mud beneath the golden pig, both sides have falsely laid claim to the high road.

What is just, what is honorable, and what is dignified has long since been abandoned by both major political parties. Out of their evil, nothing good can come, so our only salvation lies in abandoning them to their petty mud slinging. As conservatives, we must rededicate ourselves to the principles of Liberty, not to dirty politics, and to Justice, not to vile slander. We must patiently and mindfully take the road less traveled: the high road.

While both high and low roads will have the same destination, it is which path we chose in getting there that defines who we are once we reach it.

Liberty is For The Win!


We just checked, and it turns out that fighting for Liberty isn’t free, because it requires time and energy to research, prepare, and propagate this message for you. Please drop just a dollar a month into the proverbial tip jar and become a Patriot Patron. Of course, don’t forget to like, subscribe, and share. Keep this fight for Liberty going! – @LibertyIsFTW