What Is This About Not Accepting The Results Of Elections?

The fundamental thing that distinguishes the United States from everywhere else in the world is our collective commitment to our Constitution. What does that mean? It’s not a long or complex document. It defines the structure of the government (legislative, executive, judicial), and lays out a series of rights in the first ten amendments. But most fundamentally, it provides for an electoral process for selecting our legislative and executive officials. Commitment to the Constitution means accepting the results of the elections, and the subsequent peaceful transfer of power. During my entire life up to now, that has been how it worked. Now, not so much.

Admittedly, the acceptance of the exercise of the governmental powers by the electoral winners took a while to get to the recent effective unanimity. Students’ of some of the more obscure corners of American history may be familiar with the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 (an armed uprising against federal authority during George Washington’s second term), or with the convention of New England states held in Hartford during the winter of 1814/15 to consider secession in light of the hardships of the War of 1812. And then of course, there was the Civil War in the 1860s, precipitated by the election of a President from the newly-formed anti-slavery Republican Party, and the attempted secession from the union of a group of states in the interim between Lincoln’s election and inauguration. But the very bloody Civil War really put an end to these things, at least for about a century and a half.

Consider ten years ago, when Barack Obama was elected President.

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What Are The Prospects For Progressive California?

In the New York Times last Thursday, Thomas Edsall had a piece titled “Is California a Good Role Model?” The piece summarized different views from pundits on the right and left as to the future prospects for California as it continues and adds to a growing menu of the latest progressive policy prescriptions — highest in the nation state income tax rates, highest in the nation sales tax rates, aggressive energy policies to address “climate change,” and so forth. A fair summary is that the right-side pundits chided California for having highest-in-the-nation inequality and poverty rates, while the left-side pundits responded that it also had strong economic growth.

I actually wrote a post on exactly this subject way back in February 2013, titled “Let’s Start A Pool On How California Will Do Over The Next Five Years.” That post began by describing three of the then-recently-enacted progressive policy favorites (highest-in-the-nation tax rates going up to 13.3% on incomes over $1 million, intentional increasing of electricity prices via a cap-and-trade system, and the high speed rail project). Would those things knock California off its high growth pedestal? You may be surprised with my take at the time:

I'm certainly not predicting an imminent collapse for California.  The consequence of making yourself way out of line in taxes and costs is not rapid collapse, but slow relative decline.

Before getting more specifically to the case of California, let me illustrate what I mean by “slow relative decline” by describing the case of New York. . . .

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New York Moves Even Further To The Left

Perhaps you think that New York is already about as far left as it is possible to go. Well, then you haven’t reviewed the results of the recent Democratic primaries, held on Thursday September 13. In the headline race, incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo beat far-left challenger Cynthia Nixon comfortably, 66% to 34%. But down the ticket something significant happened: a group of far left Democrats, including “Democratic Socialists,” took out most of the moderate Democrats in the State Senate who have been keeping the state legislature from going completely off the rails for the past several years.

At the New York Times, you can feel the excitement. Their lead editorial Friday has the headline “Change Comes to Albany, if Not the Governor’s Mansion.” . . .

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What Are The Long-Term Prospects For China?

There is no question that China has been one of the great economic success stories of the past several decades. They have gone from abject poverty and mass starvation as recently as about 40 years ago, to the second largest economy in the world today, with annual GDP approaching perhaps 60% that of the U.S. (depending some on the extent to which you choose to believe their numbers). Without doubt, they have made a huge accomplishment in reducing poverty, and have also made great strides in mass education. With a huge population of hard-working and entrepreneurial people, there could be many reasons to believe that China might represent the wave of the future. And the Chinese government has undisguised ambition to move into the status of a great world power, both militarily and economically.

China’s unique brand of state-directed crony capitalism has attracted plenty of fans among statism-loving American journalists. Certainly, you have not forgotten the famous 2009 praise from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman (“[W]hen [a country] is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can . . . have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century.”) Or consider this, more recently (2017), from Time magazine, “How China’s Economy Is Poised to Win the Future”:

Today China’s political and economic system is better equipped and perhaps even more sustainable than the American model, which has dominated the international system since the end of World War II. While the U.S. economy remains the world’s largest, China’s ability to use state-owned companies to boost the party’s domestic and foreign influence ensures that the emerging giant is on track to surpass U.S. GDP in 2029. . . .

So what is your take? Before casting your vote, you might want to consider a few things about China today: . . .

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Some Things You Can Safely Bet Against

Does it sometimes seem to you that whatever the progressive left wants it will eventually get? It’s just the inevitable march of history! Well, there may be something to that on the social side; but over on the economic side there is a lot of tilting against reality. The unifying theme is that accomplishing many of these things is not so simple as just spending some little bits that no one will ever notice out of the infinite pile of taxpayer cash. As progressive ambitions to control the world economy have grown without bounds, we’re now talking trillions upon trillions of potential spending and/or wealth destruction. It ain’t gonna happen.

First up, we have California Governor Jerry Brown yesterday signing “landmark legislation” committing California to get 100% of its electricity from “clean” sources by 2045. The actual term in the statute is “eligible renewables,” which is not defined, but presumably excludes any and all fossil fuels. Here is the ever-sanctimonious Governor Brown: . . .

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The Paris Climate Accord, Unravelling

Back in 2015, then-President Barack Obama traveled to Paris to have the United States join on to the Paris climate accord.  The gist of the accord is that the United States, EU, Canada and Australia agree to cut their carbon emissions and hamstring their economies for no noticeable effect on the world's climate, all other countries go right on increasing their emissions by  a multiple of the cuts of the US et al., and the US et al. transfer $100 billion a year to kleptocratic third world governments.  Obama thought this was the greatest thing ever.  

Here are some remarks from Obama from 2016, when the US and China held a ceremony to sign the agreement together.  The US was agreeing to major cuts in emissions and hundreds of billions of dollars of financial contributions to the kleptocracies, while China agreed to effectively nothing.  

We are here together because we believe that for all the challenges that we face, the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other challenge. . . .

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