Monday, February 20, 2017

Teachers Are Voting With Their Feet

Daily Signal

Give people the chance to leave their union, it turns out, and lo and behold there’s a stampede for the door. And these fleeing workers take their money with them, money that politicians can no longer use to buy votes.

When we look at the decline in union membership and compare it to the recent political fortunes of the Democratic Party, you can clearly see that when people are given the ability to choose whether or not they want to join a union we are seeing less people voting for Democrats.

Donald Trump prevailed where other Republican presidential candidates failed in Midwestern states in part because of new right-to-work laws that have diminished the power and influence of the teachers’ unions, according to labor policy analysts.
“Did the labor reforms enacted in Wisconsin and neighboring Michigan help Donald Trump win those states?” Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, said in an email to The Daily Signal. “No question in my mind. Hard to fight when your bazooka’s been replaced by a squirt gun.”
Two teachers’ unions, the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association, both experienced a significant drop in membership since those states passed right-to-work legislation. Such laws prohibit employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues a condition of employment.
Wisconsin became a right-to-work state in 2015, Michigan in 2013. Since then, government figures show, the teachers’ unions in both states have lost thousands of dues-paying members.
The drop has been particularly precipitous in Wisconsin, where in 2011 Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that reformed the state’s collective bargaining process. In fact, the Wisconsin Education Association Council has lost about 60 percent of its members since Walker’s reforms were implemented, an analysis of public records by the Education Intelligence Agency shows.
Under Act 10, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, most of Wisconsin’s government workers, including public school teachers, are now required to contribute more for their pension and health care benefits.
Act 10 also limits collective bargaining to wage negotiations, requires annual union recertification, ends the automatic deduction of union dues, and allows for public sector employees to decide whether they want to join a union and pay dues.
Wisconsin’s right-to-work law gives private sector employees the same right to decline union membership and payment of dues.
The Wisconsin Education Association Council had about 100,000 members before Act 10 passed; the latest figures show the union with 36,074. The decline reflects what has happened nationwide, the MacIver Institute for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in Wisconsin, reported.
The Wisconsin and Michigan unions are both affiliates of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest union for workers in public schools.
The 3 million-strong NEA lost more than 300,000 members in affiliated state teachers’ unions from 2010 to 2015, according to the analysis by the Education Intelligence Agency cited by the MacIver Institute. That’s a membership decrease of 10 percent.
So what is the political fallout?
“There’s no doubt that with the decline in union membership here in Wisconsin, the political clout of the union bosses and their ability to automatically turn out members for Democrats has declined dramatically,” Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, told The Daily Signal, adding:
After the Wisconsin Education Association Council’s loss of tens of thousands of paying members, it has become evident that the teachers’ union’s ability to influence the outcomes of elections and public policy decisions has waned in the past few years, Healy added.
“The Wisconsin Education Association [Council] was the single biggest political player in the capital, but after the passage of Act 10 and right-to-work, their membership, which is where they derive their political power, has declined,” he said. “A majority of teachers in Wisconsin have decided that their money is better spent in other ways rather than turning it over to union bosses.”
Act 10 has been transformative not just politically, but financially.
A MacIver Institute analysis of the legislation’s budgetary impact found that it saved Wisconsin taxpayers more than $5 billion. Most of these savings were generated by requiring government employees to contribute more for their retirement, according to the analysis.
“Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature not only saved Wisconsinites an incomprehensible amount of money but they also fundamentally changed government in Wisconsin forever,” Healy said a year ago.
Trump benefited politically from right-to-work changes in Michigan just as he did in Wisconsin.
But the billionaire developer’s personal appeal with blue-collar union workers gave him an advantage other Republican candidates have not had recently, Vinnie Vernuccio, director of labor policy at the Mackinac Center, a free-market think tank in Michigan, said in an interview.
“The Michigan teachers’ unions, which have led the charge politically in the state, have been weakened in recent years and that certainly helped Trump,” Vernuccio said. “But don’t underestimate the union vote for Trump in key swing states. Exit polls show he did surprisingly well.”
Among union households (where at least one person is a union member), Trump’s margins improved significantly over those of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012.
When Michigan passed its right-to-work law in 2013, the Michigan Education Association had 113,147 members, the Mackinac Center reported. By 2016, the union had 90,609 members, a decline of about 20 percent.
The Daily Signal sought comment from both the Wisconsin Education Association Council and the Michigan Education Association on the right-to-work laws in their states and the impact on their membership rolls and political activism. Neither union responded.
“Unions have been knocked silly in Wisconsin, thanks to the one-two punch of Act 10 and right to work,” Patterson, of the Center for Worker Freedom, a Washington-based nonprofit affiliated with Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Signal:
John Mozena, vice president of marketing and communications for the Mackinac Center, said in an email that he sees a growing separation between rank-and-file union members and union leaders that worked to Trump’s advantage:
In labor strongholds like Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, West Virginia and Missouri, union leaders have failed to turn out enough voters to create notable electoral consequences for politicians who introduced, supported, or voted for right to work or other worker freedom legislation.
That’s in part because union members have largely come to realize that these laws don’t actually hurt them or their unions. In fact, [the laws] give them as individuals more options than they had before.
Many union members also are voting against candidates that receive the lion’s share of their leaders’ support.
The contrast was most stark in the 2016 election, where almost all union leaders endorsed and used their members’ money to support Clinton. Yet in key states like Ohio, almost half of union members voted for Trump.
The only states to register significant increases in active membership in NEA-affiliated teachers’ unions over five years, according to the Education Intelligence Agency analysis, are Delaware (5 percent), Vermont (8 percent), Montana (16 percent), and North Dakota (19 percent).
Clinton won Delaware and Vermont, but Trump won Montana and North Dakota.
After spending several months combing through the U.S. Department of Labor’s LM-2 financial disclosure forms, researchers with the Center for Union Facts found that unions directed about $530 million in membership dues to the Democratic Party and to left-leaning special interest groups from 2012 to 2015.
The Center for Union Facts is a Washington-based nonprofit that advocates transparency and accountability on the part of organized labor. Every labor organization that falls under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act must file an LM-2.
Recipients of union donations identified by the Center for Union Facts include Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Governors Association. These donations fall within labor’s political advocacy budgets, which are funded by dues and “disguised as worker advocacy related to collective bargaining—separate from direct campaign contributions,” the center said in a release.
“I do believe a very unfortunate situation has developed where the unions are more focused on politics than they are on collective bargaining or workplace issues,” Richard Berman, the center’s executive director, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
Since surveys show that about 40 percent of union households vote Republican, this means the dues of a substantial number of union members are directed toward political causes they do not support, Berman said.
But he said he sees a strong potential for the growing right-to-work movement to level the political playing field in future election cycles, as it did in 2016.
In the meantime, Berman said, the new chairman of the National Labor Relations Board should use the board’s regulatory powers “to provide enough transparency in the area of labor finances” to inform union members of leadership’s activities.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Not to Worry - The Never Trump Media's Hand Wringing Will Run Out of Gas - Real Poliicy Changes That Are Positive For All Americans Will Take Hold

Whatever your view on Trump – good , bad, or indifferent, there can be no doubt – he has injected an unprecedented level of energy into both sides of an already ideologically divided America. He is not to blame for this division. Trump's words and tweets are just that - words. We have yet to see the effect on all Americans of his policies. The outpouring of doom and gloom predictions will continue but, given how wrong these predictions have been so far, how can anyone with any common sense not put their money on Trump. He will continue to tear down the norms of decency - but only as defined by elitists - making the Trump vs, Media side show real fun for the rest of us to watch.  It is indeed a joy to witness the Washington, New York and left coast media yo-yos jumping up and down - grappling with the reality that they are actually not who they have believed themselves to be – really important and influential people needed to protect an uninformed, ignorant populace from the lies of nasty politicians like Trump. These folks never have understood their irrelevance in the minds of middle Americans so it doesn’t remotely occur to them that the table turned on November 8, 2016. Americans living in flyover country -- whose wants and needs have been ignored for so long, are now in charge.

Not to worry little snowflakes – sticks and stones may break your bones -but words will never harm you. We know the coming fight over policy will be really terrifying for you to watch – but, no matter what the outcome of Trump’s actual policies (not his words!!), America will be better for it
Atmosphere for Trump 
Will Start To Lighten 
As Democrats Grapple 
With Changes in Policy

By CONRAD BLACK, Special to the Sun | February 15, 2017

The preliminaries of the Trump presidency are ending, and difficult though it is to appreciate, the atmosphere is lightening somewhat. It is a little early to opine on the Trump foreign policy, but his first three visits from other government leaders have gone well. He did brilliantly saying publicly to the British leader, Theresa May, that “a strong and independent Britain is a blessing to the world” — a stirring contrast to Obama’s threat, delivered in London, to put Britain “at the back of the queue” if it left the European Union.
President Trump’s conversations with the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, seemed to go well also, as have conversations with the Chinese president. Comparisons between the Trump references to “America First” and the pre-war isolationist movement led by Colonel Charles Lindbergh have died away, as has most of the alarmist nonsense about Donald Trump. It is no longer possible to frighten the children of America with suggestions that Trump is a reckless warmonger.

The exchange with Canada’s Justin Trudeau was virtually a love-in, as was the remarkably cheerful joint press conference of Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu. It remains to be seen what will come of the “notice” that departed national security adviser General Michael Flynn gave the Iranians, but the president will pick his time and send a starkly different message to the groveling to Tehran of his predecessor.

Ah absurd overreaction to the executive order on admission of people from seven terrorist-wracked or terror-sponsoring states, which have been identified as such by President Obama, is subsiding. The administration will practice enhanced screening at point of processing, and may issue a new order; and presumably, when the vacancy is filled and cant and emotionalism have subsided, will ask the Supreme Court for a reference on the constitutional point of the president’s prerogatives in immigration matters. The partisan publicity-seeking mischief of the Washington State government and a Seattle federal judge cannot be allowed to stand, even on a moot point (if the present order is superseded).

Allegations of racism have died in all but psychotic political environs; the bunk about misogyny finally vanished altogether with the joint meeting on Monday with Canada’s Trudeau to promote women executives. The succeeding fatuity about Trump’s being an autocrat has wobbled away as he has indulgently abided by the antics of the Seattle district judge and the flaky Ninth Circuit in San Francisco (a court that has seen 86 percent of recent appeals from it to the Supreme Court meet with success).

His cabinet is inching through the confirmation process, protracted by mindless Democratic obstructionism. The Democrats must have scraped the bottom of the barrel with Senatory Schumer’s sniveling over the entry ban, Elizabeth Warren’s threats of individual vengeance on all 52 senators who approved Senator Sessions as attorney general, and Representative Maxine Waters’s attack on Trump for tolerating the Russian “invasion of Korea.” The Democrats have almost run through the Saul Alinsky playbook of demonization and harassment, and the president’s children and a grandchild are the latest targets, but no significant part of public opinion will support such sleaze. (It seems like only yesterday that Hillary was saying “When they go low, we go high.”)

The reality that Mr. Trump is president, is not going to be impeachable, and is substantially unstoppable, is seeping into the Democratic mind. There is now a health-and-human-services secretary (Tom Price) sworn to remake Obamacare and extend it; an education secretary (Betsy DeVos) who opposes the teachers’ unions and supports private alternatives to the state school system they have desecrated; and a Treasury secretary (Steven Mnuchin) who will present a comprehensive reform of taxes. A director of the Environmental Protection Agency who is skeptical about climate change (Scott Pruitt) appears safe enough for confirmation, though Mr. Trump’s nominee for labor secretary (Andrew Puzder, who is critical of much of the union leadership, while being supportive of working people) withdrew Wednesday afternoon over a variety of issues.

But the great political battle is about to shift to the attempted enactment of Donald Trump’s long-promised legislative assault on what he considered the rottenness of the entire political governing class and system. Health-care reform and tax reform are the first priorities, and comprehensive bills, if adopted, would erase what little there is of a domestic Obama legacy and improve upon it, and would incentivize the return of trillions of dollars of retained profit of American companies overseas, sharply reduce corporate-income taxes, and reduce taxes on modest incomes.

American corporate-income taxes are the highest of any advanced country, and it is a testament to the leftist dogmatism or simple complacency of the mainstream American media that there was so little agitation over the last 20 years for revisions to the tax code that would promote reinvestment of earnings in the United States. Historians of the future will wonder how the United States managed to be both overtaxed and chronically debt-ridden. There has been no shortage of advice from intelligent economic commentators, such as Martin Feldstein and Larry Kudlow, about how to structure tax reform, and the consensus of Republican economists seems to be that it is so complicated that it should be divided in two — with a stimulation of some cuts, fiscal enticement of patriation of foreign profits, and an infrastructure fund now; and more-comprehensive reform later.

With great trepidation, I think that the momentum of the election victory and the installation of such a radically reformist Cabinet must be exploited while the Democrats are still reeling, and torn between impressing their base in Hollywood, the media, academia, the militant feminists, and minorities (an awkward coalition of rich and poor with only patches among the working and middle classes) and bridge-building with the moderate-conservative majority.

While the extreme acrimony of the late campaign and the antagonism between Mr. Trump and the conventional media have ensured that there has been no honeymoon, there is still novelty and the expectations of the Trump supporters. The president is running well ahead of the Democrats in the polls, has twice the approval rating of the Congress, which has risen since the end of gridlock, and three times the approval rating of the media. If he can produce a tax system that enriches the lower-income families while spurring business reinvestment, he can generate between 3% and 4% percent economic growth, which would itself reduce the deficit by $400 to 500 billion a year.

Some taxes on elective spending and transactions would eliminate the rest of the deficit. This appeared to be the carrot he held out to a group of visiting bankers a few days ago — some higher taxes on Wall Street but sharply reduced regulation. Most of Dodd-Frank and much of Sarbanes-Oxley, and a great deal of additional superfluous regulation, should go.

The Obama war on business and the (Hillary) Clinton ambition to flatline the economy by making the voting majority of Americans members of some category of benefit recipient would go with it. It will be a mighty accomplishment if Donald Trump can bring the country back from President Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth around” by increasing the size of the public sector and forcing more people into forms of welfare, and refocus it on the entitlement of people to their incomes, as surely as they are entitled to enjoyment of their property — tempered only by the need to provide what the government must have to function, as opposed to buying votes with public money and inciting class warfare.

If at the same time, or right on the heels of it, he can produce a health-care plan that is universal, but based on tax credits for those with adequate incomes, and assistance for those who do not, he will have ended 20 years of stagnant, mainly gridlocked government. He will also coopt the entire center of the political ground. At the same time, he will have assisted the moderate Democrats to regain control of their party and make it again a centrist reform party capable of governing without reducing the country to shambles, as it did under LBJ, President Carter, and Mr. Obama. At that point, the popularity of the administration will cow even the more overwrought sectors of the media.

The confected hysteria is subsiding, and Democrats must now face the fact that many of their cherished mistaken policies are about to be torched and the ashes dispersed over the country. Mr. Schumer, Minority Leader Pelosi, and the rest will soon have to decide whether to make a course correction, and show some tactical maturity, or hurl themselves like grieving widows in colonial India on the funeral pyre of the fools’ socialist paradise they have been promoting for 15 years.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why Obamacare’s ‘20 Million’ Number Is Fake

Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Genevieve.

Liberals are notorious for caring about “groups” of people, but when it gets down to individual persons, not so much. You’re about to see this play out in spades as Democrats cry crocodile tears over the coming repeal of Obamacare.

You hear it over and over again: “This will be catastrophic for the 20 million people who were previously uninsured but now have coverage! You can’t take away their health care!”

First of all, no one is talking about doing that. Any repeal legislation will have a transition period for those who got coverage through Obamacare to move to new plans. And second, they will have more choices and better options. Win. Win.

But liberals would rather focus on quantity, how many millions we’ve given something to, versus quality, what does that “gift” mean for individual people.

The Obama administration claims 20 million more Americans today have health care due to Obamacare. The reality is that when you look at the actual net gains over the past two years since the program was fully implemented, the number is 14 million, and of that, 11.8 million (84 percent) were people given the “gift” of Medicaid.

And new research shows that even fewer people will be left without insurance after the repeal of Obamacare. Numbers are still being crunched, but between statistics released by the Congressional Budget Office and one of the infamous architects of Obamacare, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Jonathan Gruber, it’s estimated that anywhere from 2 to 7 million people now on Medicaid would have qualified for the program even without Obamacare.

That further discredits the administration’s claim of 20 million more Americans having health insurance because of Obamacare.

Multiple studies have also shown that even those who are uninsured often have better outcomes than those with Medicaid. A University of Virginia study found that for eight different surgical procedures, Medicaid patients were more likely to die than privately insured or uninsured patients. They were also more likely to suffer complications.

And it is important to note that this study focused on procedures done from 2003-2007, prior to the geniuses in Washington deciding it was a good idea to put even more people on the already overburdened Medicaid system.

Additionally, despite what proponents of the law promised, there is little evidence to show that the use of emergency rooms, which have a higher level of medical errors, has decreased due to Obamacare.

Then there is this reality: While Obamacare has handed out millions of new Medicaid cards, that does not mean the recipients now have quality health care. In fact, it doesn’t ensure they have health care at all. That’s because increasing numbers of doctors aren’t accepting Medicaid.

As a Louisiana woman told The New York Times, “My Medicaid card is useless for me right now. It’s a useless piece of plastic. I can’t find an orthopedic surgeon or a pain management doctor who will accept Medicaid.”

Keep that in mind every time liberal Democratic senators pull out the Kleenex boxes bemoaning the fact Republicans are the ones trying to take people’s health care away.

Speaking of which, a much underreported fact of Obamacare is how many truly needy and disabled Americans are NOT getting the services they need because of the expansion of Medicaid for able-bodied adults (aka healthy) of prime working age, 19-54.

So while the left talks about all the new people Obamacare is helping, it neglects to mention that over half a million disabled people, from those with developmental disabilities to traumatic brain injuries, are on waiting lists for care.

And many of them are on waiting lists because Obamacare gives states more money to enroll able-bodied adults than it does to take care of disabled children and adults who qualified for Medicaid prior to Obamacare.

If you think that doesn’t have a real-world perverse impact, note this. Since Arkansas expanded its Medicaid program under Obamacare, it’s rolls have grown by 25 percent. During that same time, 79 people on the Medicaid waiting list who suffered from developmental disabilities have died. I would encourage you to read my former Heritage Foundation colleague Chris Jacob’s full piece on this.

Finally, it’s not just those enrolled in Medicaid that are finding fewer health care provider options. For people who now have health plans through the Obamacare exchanges, new Heritage Foundation research shows that this year, in 70 percent of counties across the country, those consumers will have only one or two insurers to choose from.

Add to that the millions of people who lost the doctors and health plans they liked and are now paying higher premiums for less coverage, and you can see that quality health care and anything resembling “choice” has quickly disappeared for an increasing number of Americans due to Obamacare.

So the next time a defender of Obamacare tries to take the moral high ground about the millions of people the law has helped, ask them to define what “help” looks like.

Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal. Send an email to Genevieve.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Reality Check: Have we wealthy, educated Americans all become pacifists? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us?

By Frank Schaeffer of The Washington Post

> > Before my son became a Marine, I never thought much about who was defending me. Now when I read of the war on terrorism or the coming conflict in Iraq, it cuts to my heart. When I see a picture of a member of our military who has been killed, I read his or her name very carefully. Sometimes I cry.
> > In 1999, when the barrel-chested Marine recruiter showed up in dress blues and bedazzled my son John, I did not stand in the way. John was headstrong, and he seemed to understand these stern, clean men with straight backs and flawless uniforms. I did not. I live in the Volvo-driving, higher education-worshiping North Shore of Boston. I write novels for a living. I have never served in the military.
> > It had been hard enough sending my two older children off to Georgetown and New York University. John's enlisting was unexpected, so deeply unsettling. I did not relish the prospect of answering the question, "So where is John going to college?" from the parents who were itching to tell me all about how their son or daughter was going to Harvard. At the private high school John attended, no other students were going into the military.
> > "But aren't the Marines terribly Southern?" asked one perplexed mother while standing next to me at the brunch following graduation. "What a waste, he was such a good student," said another parent. One parent (a professor at a nearby and rather famous university) spoke up at a school meeting and suggested that the school should “carefully evaluate what went wrong."

> > When John graduated from three months of boot camp on Parris Island, 3000 parents and friends were on the parade deck stands. We parents and our Marines not only were of many races but also were representative of many economic classes. Many were poor. Some arrived crammed in the backs of pickups, others by bus. John told me that a lot of parents could not afford the trip.
> > We in the audience were white and Native American. We were Hispanic, Arab, and African American, and Asian. We were former Marines wearing the scars of battle, or at least baseball caps emblazoned with battles' names. We were Southern whites from Nashville and skinheads from New Jersey, black kids from Cleveland wearing ghetto rags and white ex-cons with ham-hock forearms defaced by jailhouse tattoos. We would not have been mistaken for the educated and well-heeled parents gathered on the lawns of John’s private school a half-year before.

> > After graduation one new Marine told John, "Before I was a Marine, if I had ever seen you on my block I would've probably killed you just because you were standing there." This was a serious statement from one of John’s good friends, a black ex-gang member from Detroit who, as John said, "would die for me now, just like I'd die for him."
> > My son has connected me to my country in a way that I was too selfish and insular to experience before. I feel closer to the waitress at our local diner than to some of my oldest friends. She has two sons in the Corps. They are facing the same dangers as my boy. When the guy who fixes my car asks me how John is doing, I know he means it. His younger brother is in the Navy.

> > Why were I and the other parents at my son's private school so surprised by his choice? During World War II, the sons and daughters of the most powerful and educated families did their bit. If the idea of the immorality of the Vietnam War was the only reason those lucky enough to go to college dodged the draft, why did we not encourage our children to volunteer for military service once that war was done?

> > Have we wealthy and educated Americans all become pacifists? Is the world a safe place? Or have we just gotten used to having somebody else defend us? What is the future of our democracy when the sons and daughters of the janitors at our elite universities are far more likely to be put in harm’s way than are any of the students whose dorms their parents clean?

> > I feel shame because it took my son's joining the Marine Corps to make me take notice of who is defending me. I feel hope because perhaps my son is part of a future "greatest generation. "As the storm clouds of war gather, at least I know that I can look the men and women in uniform in the eye. My son is one of them. He is the best I have to offer. He is my heart.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Patriotiism -- and Common Sense - At Its Best!!!!

Buzz Williams and the Virginia Tech Men's Basketball team took time out to recognize and honor military veterans in this feature produced by HokieVision. Watch Buzz Williams educate his players on the meaning of the National Anthem and discuss the way the Hokie team will honor veterans before games. The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is a collegiate athletic conference in the United States in which its fifteen member universities compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA's) Division I, .

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fundamentally Transforming America - What Can Possibly Be Wrong About America First!!! Oh Yeah!!

Editor Note - I attended the Inauguration - had the pleasure of standing in the crowd -  talked to many whom I had never met before and witnessed first hand only lotsa' fun and hope for America . It was truly pure joy to be among ordinary, real live, healthy, pick-up truck drivein', gun and bible totin', sweat shirted, base ball hatted, down to earth middle American folks - most of whom had come to DC in a bus. I saw not a siingle left coast/rightcoast elegantly dressed, quilt vested, velvet collared, Burberry coated black car rider in the crowd. The most common theme: recollection of Obama's proclamation 8 years ago - he "would fundamentally transform America"  -- and.after Trump's "America First" speech  - it is now our turn to "fundamentally transform America"!!! 

"So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again.Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way. Together, We will make America strong again.
We will make America wealthy again.
We will make America proud again.
We will make America safe again.
And yes, together, we will make America great again."

As I walked off the Mall literally giddy with joy  - I knew that that the likes of George Will and his fellow talking heads, in their arrogant, all knowing (phony!!) wisdom - would most certainly see Trump's proclamation differently. Beauty Truly Is In The Eye of the Beholder.

By Bill Ehrman

President Trump shocked many by sticking to his populist theme during his inaugural speech. I don't think very many people sitting near him were comfortable as he put down the Washington establishment - both Democrats and Republicans - and promised to return the country back to the people. I loved it.
Even if you don't agree with the Trump agenda, you had better listen and invest accordingly! Investing by looking through the windshield rather than glancing back at the rear view mirror, which is a phrase Mario Gabelli borrowed from me in Barron's this weekend. He is a frequent reader of our blog as we go back decades to a time when we were research analysts. In short, emphasize those areas that will gain government support over the next few years and sell/short those areas where the government will be in your face or where earnings growth will just be moderate.
Trump clearly has a reflation agenda with an objective of exceeding 4+% annual growth. Looking through that windshield/agenda includes: cutting taxes; reducing regulations; improving or replacing trade deals; instituting a huge infrastructure program to rebuild America; repeal and replacing Obamacare; cutting out waste, fraud and reducing government expenses through negotiation of all government contracts for good and services including lowering drug costs; strengthening our national defense and police; controlling our borders and finally, making the U.S energy independent.
It is an aggressive, admirable and broad agenda. Unfortunately the establishment will put up roadblocks along the way. Nonetheless I do believe that Trump and his team will get most of his agenda "To Make America Great Again" passed into law over the next 18 months. "America First" will not remain a soundbite. We will see U.S corporations redirect much of their capital spending back into the U.S and foreign companies to do the same thing. What a boon for America!
America is open for business once again and the investment ramifications are huge. Expect Trump to act with a sense of urgency on all parts of his agenda. He will do more over the next 90 days than most new Presidents do in a year. Whether all becomes law so quickly is another matter but the trend is your friend. Just don't invest based on your beliefs, as they don't truly matter as he is in now in control. Just ask George Soros, my former partner. We should all want Trump to succeed as he is attempting to unleash our true and latent potential heretofore held back by government.
So what are the investment ramifications of a Trump Presidency?
  1. Global economic growth will accelerate over the next few years with the U.S leading the way. Expect reflationary policies to spread to Europe, Japan and India. China will benefit, too, from acceleration in U.S demand.
  2. Monetary policy will remain one step behind so expect yield curves to continue to steepen. Did you listen to Mario Draghi last week? Clearly the ECB wants to let the European economies run before tapping on the brakes. Yellen and the Fed will wait and see too.
  3. Inflation will accelerate as both material and labor prices rise offset finally by improving productivity. Employment will continue to increase along with hourly wages.
  4. Corporate profits will surprise on the upside and accelerate as we move through the year even excluding a reduction in the corporate tax rate, which is icing on the cake.
  5. Corporations will repatriate trillions of dollars held overseas that will be invested here and also be used to strengthen balance sheets, increase dividends and share repurchases.
  6. M&A activity will strengthen as will the IPO market.
  7. The stock market will reward the reflation winners including industrials, materials, financials, technology and energy and sell the moderate growth, higher yielding stocks including consumer non durables, staples, drugs as price increases come into question, REITs, and utilities.
  8. The dollar will remain strong despite Trump's comments that it is overvalued near-term.
  9. Energy prices will stay within a $50-$60/barrel band as U.S shale production ramps up quickly.
  10. Industrial commodity prices will continue to increase as demand exceeds supply and inventory levels decline. Expect trade disputes to be acted on quickly, which will benefit the steel and aluminum industries amongst others.
Clearly the pendulum has begun to swing back from left to the right. Government will no longer be an impediment to economic prosperity. Trump's policies will be clearly "America First" which is not all that bad in response to past policies where the U.S lost its global leadership position and respect. Will there be disruptions and disappointments along the way? Of course as it does not help that the establishment and the media want him and his policies to fail. But I expect that he will win in the end, despite all the naysayers.
The U.S has embarked on a new path that will lead to Paix et Prospérité.
So remember to: review all the facts, pause, reflect and consider mindset shifts, reconsider your asset allocation with risk controls, do in-depth independent research on each investable idea and...Invest Accordingly!

Finally - Some Compassion and Relief For The Suffering Snowflakes

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Media Frenzy of Trump Haters - The Counter View

Count me as having heard and seen my fill of the hand wringing posts, articles and the media commentary portraying Trump's election as an utter disaster and end of the line for America - in effect portraying me as a deplorable idiot in having voted for Trump. This stuff is not just coming from the Hollywood elites and liberal West Coast elitest fat cats. I am now hearing it in direct conversations with all of my normally rational liberal friends. I have tried to be polite, understsanding, thoughtful and persuasive in attempting to offer a more moderate, quieting perspective in the interest of closing the political divide that exists in America today. Up to now, I have been careful not to post incendiary articles that portray the Trump supporters's view of this over-the-top media and internet posting frenzy.  So it is with a considerable level of frustration that I have posted the following.

To be candid, the overkill of published trash on Trump has pushed me to the point where I now concur 100% with the statement underlined in bold. 

Kurt Schlicter January 16, 2017
America’s Nobody-in-Chief is finally going away, his last spasm of rhetorical onanism completely overshadowed by Donald Trump neatly turning the tables on the media purveyors of that fake dossier that tried and failed to paint the PEOTUS as the second coming of Bob Crane.

Good riddance. And welcome President Trump. I have a simple two-word request for you:
Avenge us!

The last two months have been hysterically funny as President Faily McWorsethancarter desperately tried to remain relevant. He’s taken leading from behind to a whole new level – he’s actually now behind behind. No one is listening to him. No one cares. While Obama wanders the halls of power, looking for people to pat him on the back, Trump is out there leading. Carrier – saved. Appointments – heading to confirmation. CNN – dissed n’ dismissed. One tweet from Trump and he resets the paradigm like a boss. Ask L.L. Bean. It’s getting hard to handle all this #winning.

While the helpless mainstream media frets over its irrelevance, Obama is left urging his minions to throw little tantrums out in the Deep State, trying to do just a little more damage to this country before he is finally exiled to comfortable obscurity. But payback is a Pelosi; soon Trump’s pen and phone are going to be wielded by the guy who Team Integrity has been calling “illegitimate” since the moment Hillary lost and it again became patriotic to question election results. All that last-minute regulatory nonsense is getting overturned. America will be a beacon of freedom to Cubans once again. The Western land thefts will be undone. We’ll drill, baby, drill. It’s going to be awesome, as will the tsunami of liberal tears.

And there’s nothing you haters can do about it. Nothing. You can howl about Russians, conflicts of interest, and innovative sexuality, but the only thing we care about are the four more years of a Clinton White House that we dodged November 8th. Nothing will stick to him, nothing will stop him. There’s your tribute, America’s Elite. There’s your legacy, Mainstream Media. Nothing you say matters anymore. Nothing. We don’t need you. We don’t trust you. And, even if we did, we don’t care about anything you say. You did this to yourselves.

Your hate is Trump’s validation – anyone you detest so much has to be someone we need to support because we know you feel exactly the same way about us. When withered crone Meryl Streep lectured Trump on how he’s terrible and needs to obey her kind, she was really talking to us. “Accept our moral and political leadership,” she demanded, all #caring and kindly. It was her least-convincing performance since she played the pale, mediocre chick in The Deer Hunter. But what we hear when people like her talk at us is another bit from The Deer Hunter, with liberals figuratively handing us a revolver and shouting “Di di mau!”

Nope, we have chosen not to go first in your proposed suicide pact. So what ya got now? Boycotts? Hashtags like #TheResistence? Losing yourself in a gay Muslim immigrant furry romance?

You got nothing. Damn, that whole not owning guns thing has really worked out poorly for you.

Sure, we have some problems on our own side. Now far from having to run for reelection, John McCain is mavericking again and Lindsey Graham is back to his usual tricks. Naturally, Marco Rubio is demonstrating the same keen political savvy that made him a superstar on the campaign trail. Yeah, side with the Democrats against Rex Tillerson like you did on illegal alien hugging – this time Schumer will totally have your back. Chucky promises.

Beating the Democrats is important – and fun – but Trump’s most important job will be keeping the Stupid Party from Obamaing itself into electoral irrelevance. It’s already trying. It can’t help itself. Trump had to save the GOP House from shooting both its own feet with its attempt at substantively correct but politically tone-deaf ethics reform. Trump’s already made clear that the hemming and hawing about repealing and replacing the Obamination that is Obamacare needs to end – we’re killing it, and right freaking now. We’ll soon see the squishes floating air biscuits on “compromise immigration reform,” but Trump knows what his voters want, and it sure as hell is not amnesty under some other name. The wall will be built, and I bet it gets paid for by taxing the remittances back home from the people who shouldn’t be here in the first place.

Trump will nuke them if (when) the GOP nincompoops in the Congress try to shaft GOP voters to make their tax reform dreams come true by eliminating the home mortgage, state tax, and charitable deductions. These deductions, of course, benefit mostly normals, people who work and save and give to charity. You know, people like us. So why again are we picking on them?
Hey dummies, the idea is not to screw over the people who voted in the GOP Congress. You need to protect us. Tax policy is not some theoretical exercise in good government; it is an expressly political act with winners and losers, and when the GOP does tax policy it needs to ensure that GOP voters are the winners. Screw over the jerks who didn’t vote for Republicans. Is that so hard? How about a Hollywood tax or a Silicon Valley tax? They hate us – tax them, not your friends. Facebook disrespects and discriminates against conservatives – perhaps it should take the hit instead of our own voters. You can save lots of cash by cutting the free money giveaways to the lazy deadbeats who supply so many Democrat votes. Make the freeloaders pay.

No, Trump’s greatest contribution may come from saving Republicans from their own instinct toward stupidity. Again, I refer you to the wisdom of Harry Dean Stanton: Avenge us!

So, as President Feckless packs his junk and goes away, he leaves a smoldering ruin of a party, an elite fearfully clutching at its fading power, and the potential for splitting the country in two. His legacy of failure and his contempt for normal Americans has ensured that in his place will be a president committed to ruthless conservative change and who won’t sit back and just passively suck up attacks from the cultural hacks. Donald Trump and a conservative Supreme Court are your legacy, Barack Obama. Good riddance, and welcome aboard the solar-powered high-speed rail express train to Karmatown