19 January 2017

On the Record | May Takes a Step Forward to British Independence with an Eye Out for Trump

Please see my latest wire for The New York Sun, ‘May Takes a Step Forward to British Independence with an Eye Out for Trump’:

Prime Minister May’s Lancaster House speech outlining the British government’s Brexit agenda takes an impressive step forward in Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union — and keeps a weather eye out for the man who is about to become President Trump. Brexit was “a vote to restore . . . our parliamentary democracy, national self-determination, and to become even more global and internationalist in action and in spirit.”

The Prime Minister opened with an apologia, setting out the reasons for Britons’ June decision to leave the EU and set out once more on their historic path of international engagement. “The decision to leave the EU represents no desire to become more distant to you, our friends and neighbours,” Mrs. May assured. “It was no attempt to do harm to the EU itself or to any of its remaining member states.” The lovelorn will recognize the “it’s not you, it’s us.”

Mrs. May detailed a dozen markers that will guide her Brexit strategy, from negotiating a new free trade agreement with the Union (maintaining and revising those current provisions that work for both parties) to normalizing relations for EU citizens living and working in the UK (and vice-versa), while assuring member countries of Britain’s continuing commitment to mutually beneficial co-operation in matters of continental security, defence, and cultural engagement.

Europe was not Mrs. May’s only audience. While England is the dominant “kingdom” in the Union, the Prime Minister assured the administrations of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland that their concerns and suggestions will be heard at Westminster. Strengthening “the precious union between the four nations of the United Kingdom” is also part of the Brexit framework, as the referendum vote demonstrated the urban-rural divide and the tensions between England and the periphery regions.

Read more . . .

One point raised in the wire, to counter both prime minister Theresa May’s ‘modern industrial strategy’ and President-elect Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ protectionist policy, I believe needs to be especially emphasised: ‘Far better to look to future prospects than past accomplishment and base economic policy on the pillars of property, competition, innovation, and entrepreneurship.’ It is the basis of classical liberal economics and, as the French say, la théorie des débouchés (‘law of markets’).

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My thanks to editor Seth Lipsky of The New York Sun.

15 December 2016

On the Record | Must the Blue States Remain Blue and Depressed?

Please see my latest wire for The American Spectator, ‘Must the Blue States Remain Blue and Depressed?’:

Has President-elect Donald Trump a mandate to govern? Debate roils on. While he captured the Electoral College, 306-to-232, critics respond that “popular” momentum lies with Hillary Clinton, who won by more than 2.6 million ballots. Trump supporters counter that in presidential politics, it’s the state-by-state tally that matters; otherwise, Republicans would have played a different ground game. Meanwhile, a world away from this partisan sniping, ordinary Americans eke out their existence. And in this all-important contest, Democrats are clearly losing.

So argues Trump economic adviser Stephen Moore. In a column charting the migration to business-friendly states from those burdened with over-government (analysed by Moore in ALEC’s Rich States, Poor States, co-authored with economists Arthur Laffer and Jonathan Williams), he describes the “economic depression in the blue states that went for Hillary.”

All have the hallmarks of Democrat politics. “High taxes rates. High welfare benefits. Heavy regulation. Environmental extremism. Super minimum wages.” And all are losing taxpayers to those red states where the government footprint is less intrusive, more welcoming to wealth creators. Americans are voting with their feet, to Texas and Florida from California and New York.

As I conclude:

It is time for Democrat states to throw off their artificial fetters, invigorate entrepreneurial innovation, and no longer be blue in spirit. They may not convert to red politically, but they can stop being “in” the red and prosper once more by being in the black. The Empire State, for one, should take a lesson from Tammany Hall sachem George Washington Plunkitt: “I seen my opportunities and I took ’em.”

Read more . . .

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My thanks to editor Wlady Pleszczynski of The American Spectator.

10 December 2016

On the Record | Welcome to the Fight: Niall Ferguson reverses his course on Brexit

Please see my latest wire for The New York Sun, ‘Welcome to the Fight: Niall Ferguson reverses his course on Brexit’:

In a season when some of our greatest intellectuals are trying to figure out how to make their peace with Donald Trump, let us take a big-hearted view of the mea culpa, mea maxima culpa just issued by historian Niall Ferguson in respect of Brexit. Speaking at a forum of the Milken Institute in London, Professor Ferguson on Tuesday gave his reasons for speaking out against an independent Britain and backing instead remaining in the European Union.

“It is one of the few times in my life that I’ve argued something without wholly believing it,” Mr. Ferguson confessed.

His rationale? A desire for a stable Britain. In theory he shared the Leave campaign’s exasperation with EU over-government, but “didn’t want the Cameron-Osborne government to fall” and with it the austerity measures vital to future economic growth after the Global Financial Crisis. Mr. Ferguson enumerated four areas of conspicuous EU failure: monetary union, security policy, migration policy, and radical Islam. In the core issues, he knew, the Europhile class of politicians, mandarins, and intelligentsia are pitted against everyone else, particularly middle-class Britons.

“One has to recognize that the European élite’s performance over the last decade entirely justified the revolt,” Mr. Ferguson admitted. “If those of us who are essentially part of the élite had spent a little bit more time in pubs around provincial England and, for that matter, provincial Wales, we would have heard what I just said.” But the rancor had reached the ears of London’s then-mayor Boris Johnson, who called the June 23rd vote Britain’s “Independence Day.”

Read more . . .

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My thanks to editor Seth Lipsky of The New York Sun.

06 December 2016

On the Record | Government Is the Cause of “Brexit-Trump Syndrome”

Please see my latest post for the Quarterly Review, ‘Government Is the Cause of “Brexit-Trump Syndrome”’:

The Powers That Be never fail to demonstrate why they have earned the enmity of the average citizen. Bound up in a cocoon of self-satisfaction and self-denial, their political coup de grâce cannot come soon enough. This self-important élite are flummoxed by the people’s revolt in Britain and America, known respectively as Brexit and the Trump movement. A recent column dispatched from the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science amply displays their continuing bewilderment.

Coining the term ‘Brexit-Trump Syndrome’, British academics Michael Jacobs and Mariana Mazzucato claim that an inability to understand economic reality explains why average working-class citizens, who suffered lost jobs and wages and failed to bounce back from the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09 (despite billions spent in stimulus schemes), voted either to exit the European Union or put Donald Trump in the White House. Both described as ‘disastrous’ socio-economic choices. The implications drawn are that people were duped into voting against their financial interests. Au contraire.

To counter such continuing nostrums leading to government and economic failure, there is no better guide forward to liberty and prosperity than John Stuart Mill.

Read more . . .

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My thanks to editor Dr Leslie Jones of the Quarterly Review.

24 November 2016

On the Record | Trump Tariff Threat Gains Tactical Victory in Kentucky

Please see my first wire for The American Spectator, ‘Trump Tariff Threat Gains Tactical Victory in Kentucky’:

A mere fortnight after becoming President-elect, Donald Trump’s tariff threat gained a tactical victory in the battle to keep American jobs at home.

Trump announced via Twitter that Ford Motor Company intentions to transfer SUV production south of the border were shelved. Chairman Bill Ford “advised me that he will be keeping the Lincoln plant in Kentucky — no Mexico,” Trump tweeted last Thursday.

“During his campaign, Trump was relentless in his criticism of Ford for planning to move all its North American small-car production to Mexico,” Bloomberg reported, “where wages are 80 percent lower than in the U.S.” Critics argued that Ford had intended to relocate only the Lincoln MKC but, in response to the tweet, “the company acknowledged for the first time it had been considering moving production of the MKC to Mexico” following the expiration of the union contract, albeit to allow Ford to focus on its Escape model which outsells Lincoln, 12-to-1.

Nevertheless, Trump supporters, Kentucky politicians, and union members rejoice at the news. But this is only the beginning. The company issued a statement that the future of Ford production in America was contingent on the belief that “President-elect Trump and the new Congress will pursue policies that will improve U.S. competitiveness.” And therein lies the rub, for producers and consumers alike.

Read more . . .

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My thanks to editors Wlady Pleszczynski and F.H. Buckley of The American Spectator.

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DMI wishes its American friends a happy Thanksgiving Day!