‘Nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action,
but not the execution of any human design.’
Adam Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society (1767)

27 September 2016

On the Record | Let the States Roar

Please see my latest post for the Quarterly Review, ‘Let the States Roar’:

Notice is given from its ‘Constitutional Affairs’ department that ‘The New York Sun . . . opposes a balanced budget amendment.’

The justification cannot be that The Sun favours deficit spending, for the broadsheet prides itself as a tribune for limited government, fiscal probity, and sound money — grounded on the Gold Standard.

An awareness of the speed of unforeseen circumstances is one likely scenario for the editorial stance: allowing for contingency language written into a balanced budget amendment to take into account war or domestic necessity requiring its temporary suspension, The Sun may reason that even such foresight would frustrate government efficacy.

This observer can only speculate. But one germane objection to a constitutionally mandated balanced budget arises in relation to criticism of the supply-side economic revolution of the 1980s. While true that lowering high marginal tax rates can increase government revenues — the famous Laffer Curve axiom — such tax reform itself is not conclusive of prudent government policy. No responsible tax proposal comes without its corollaries: limited government and budgetary restraint.

Read more . . .


My thanks to editor Dr Leslie Jones of the Quarterly Review; and my appreciation to Foundation for Economic Education president, Lawrence Reed, for his assistance to me in framing America’s indebtedness.

22 September 2016

On the Record | Trump Rallies Entrepreneurial Spirit to Restore the American Dream

A golden-haired hero arrived in Toledo, Ohio, Wednesday last to rescue the American Dream. Donald J. Trump is its paladin: “We’re going to have this economy work again for you.”

The spirit that shook thirteen colonies to independence and catapulted a nation to world-power status a mere century later will rise again. Anæmic growth and stagnant employment will come to an end, he promised, by unleashing the competitive initiative held in check by government red tape.

Please see my latest posting for the American Thinker, ‘Rallying the entrepreneurial spirit’:

The guardians of economic orthodoxy took issue with Trump from the beginning, whether it was his tariff threat against foreign imports or his promise to penalize manufacturers who moved industries out of country. Classical economists, from Smith to Ricardo to Mill and beyond, had demonstrated that Western civilization was built upon the foundations of division of labor and the law of comparative advantage. How did Trump imagine he could “make America great again” when he flouted the free trade principles responsible for said greatness?

Over the summer Trump redeemed himself. He focused on currency manipulation as a key component of unfair foreign competition -- hand-in-hand with incompetent American trade negotiators -- while taking aim at high taxes, regulatory burdens, and Federal Reserve chicanery among the factors contributing to President Obama and the Democrat Party’s “false economy.”

“The contrast between the presidential contenders could not be starker,” writes Trump economic advisor Lawrence Kudlow. “Mr. Trump has an economic-recovery-and-prosperity plan. Mrs. Clinton has an austerity-recession plan.”

Read more . . .


My thanks to the editors at the American Thinker.


With the arrival of the autumnal equinox, it’s that time of year again to recommend the quintessential fall film, The Trouble with Harry.

Starring John Forsythe and Shirley MacLaine, Edmund Gwenn and Mildred Natwick, with a young Jerry Mathers, director Alfred Hitchcock set this 1955 classic in a Vermont countryside bursting with a riot of colour.

Part mystery, part romantic comedy, this film is an excellent way to welcome the arrival of autumn — when the air is crisp, the leaves turn, and gilded sunlight throws long shadows, you’re sure to be humming Bernard Hermann’s wonderful score in anticipation.

(Trailer below to whet your interest; once hooked, enjoy this complete YouTube video of The Trouble with Harry.)

20 September 2016

On the Record | British Prep for Deal on Trade with Yanks in the Wake of Brexit

Please see my latest wire for The New York Sun, ‘British Prep for Deal on Trade with Yanks in the Wake of Brexit’:

“The British are coming!” So history records Paul Revere’s warning, as the Redcoats marched toward Lexington and Concord out of Boston — with the shots heard round the world issuing forth the independent United States of America.

Taxes and trade were the powder of that conflagration; and in post-Brexit Britain, financial well-being once again comes to the fore: this time with London seeking terms with her sometime overseas possessions.

In June a majority of Britons voted to cut ties with the European Union’s régime of continental economic regulation and subsidies; and focus shifts to reviving commercial routes that thrived at the zenith of the British empire.

In the wake of the Brexit vote, interest is growing in respect of free trade relations with the “Canzuk” Commonwealth members, leading naturally to prospects of a larger liberty bloc among other Anglosphere nations adhering to rule of law, representative democracy, and free markets. Her Majesty’s Government has America in its sights.

Read more . . .


My thanks to editor Seth Lipsky of The New York Sun for his generous assistance.

17 September 2016

On the Record | Why Not Add America’s Advantage to the Anglosphere Commonwealth?

Please see my latest article for the American Thinker, ‘Why Not Add America’s Advantage to the Anglosphere Commonwealth?’:

“England and America are two countries separated by the same language,” George Bernard Shaw once remarked. Post-Brexit, why allow any barriers to stand between the world’s two greatest allies?

During debate over the United Kingdom referendum to exit the European Union, Remain supporters argued that British trade would suffer; Leave campaigners countered that Britain had the world as its oyster, pointing to her proud history of overseas trade during which the “second” British Empire flourished. But why should Britain limit herself? Why not include her “first” imperial American offspring?

For even as the War of Independence created the worst relations imaginable between the two countries, with peace America wasted little time in renegotiating trade deals with her former mother country.

When the United States became tangled up in Britain’s conflict with revolutionary France upon the high seas, President Washington sent John Jay as his envoy to London, resulting in the eponymous treaty which resumed trans-Atlantic “amity, commerce, and navigation.”

Disagreement at the climax of the Napoleonic conflict brought the two nations to arms again during the short-lived, fairly inconsequential War of 1812. But tranquility and, more important, a dynamic alliance, has reigned ever since. Now another opportunity presents itself.

“Of all the many splendid opportunities provided by the British people’s heroic Brexit vote,” British historian Andrew Roberts writes, “perhaps the greatest is the resuscitation of the idea of a Canzuk Union.”

Read more . . .


My thanks to the editors at the American Thinker.


And allow me to wish my American friends a happy Constitution Day! — celebrating the adoption of the U.S. Constitution on this date in Philadelphia, 1787.

12 September 2016

On the Record | Education of a Quick Study Presidential Candidate

Please see my latest article for the American Thinker, ‘Education of a Quick Study Presidential Candidate’:

The Donald never ceases to amaze. Much like the developer’s ladder he climbed under the tutelage of his father, Trump has scaled the political ladder with equal speed and facility. He has risen from the no-chance dilettante candidate to the GOP’s nominee in a (current) statistical tie with his Democrat adversary for the White House. Friend and foe alike are nonplussed. But the quick-study presidential candidate would be no surprise to Alexis de Tocqueville.

Sent to the United States by the French government to study prison reform, Tocqueville encompassed the entire republican experiment, publishing his reflections as Democracy in America.

The New World’s break with aristocratic Europe fascinated him; immediacy, dynamism, and action took the place of refined, unhurried contemplation. “The democratic social state and democratic institutions lead most men to act constantly,” Tocqueville wrote; “now, the habits of mind that are appropriate to action are not always appropriate to thought.”

Critics of Trump will read into these sentiments an indictment of the Republican presidential nominee, whose early campaign was marked by cringing off-the-cuff statements and unfiltered appraisals of his opponents.

Read more . . .


My thanks to the editors at the American Thinker.

06 September 2016

On the Record | Paine the Economic Royalist

Please see my first article for the American Thinker, ‘Paine the Economic Royalist’:

The foibles of most public men are unearthed while they walk among us. “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” But revisionism makes history its palimpsest. Heroic pamphleteer Thomas Paine is but the latest of the Founding generation laid low by this twenty-first-century zeitgeist.

His sin? Paine was a bimetallist who believed in commodity currency -- gold or silver. Honored in his time, today’s establishment would have the New Rochelle revolutionary tarred-and-feathered for his heterodoxy.

Paine’s motivation for writing Dissertations in the mid-1780s was a Pennsylvanian banking bill and the rivalry it spawned: one bank with notes guaranteed by specie versus another with no guarantee other than legal tender laws, which he reasoned belied the currency’s worthlessness and “calculated to support fraud and oppression.”

“Nature has provided the proper materials for money, gold and silver, and any attempt of ours to rival her is ridiculous,” Paine wrote; they were “the emissions of nature: paper is the emission of art.”

Read more…


My thanks to the editors at the American Thinker.