Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Do Black Lives Really Matter? It Depends on Who You Ask...

Do black lives really matter? Apparently it depends on who you're asking. In what seems counter intuitive in 2021, the answer from conservatives is generally yes, in that they believe all lives matter, regardless of color.  They will tell you that society and government should strive to be colorblind and that someone should never get less or more based on the color of their skin. The goal is to get government out of the way and let all citizens pursue freedom and opportunity equally, regardless of color.

For liberals however, the answer is quite different.  They say “Yes! Black Lives Matter!” But like the man who kisses his wife goodbye and tells her he loves her before he flies off to Miami for a “business meeting” that’s really just a premise for a romp with his mistress, it’s a lie. And it’s not even close.  Liberals don’t care about black Americans – other than their votes.  Three issues demonstrate it clearly.

First:  Murders.  The “Defund the Police” movement took center stage last summer.  The claim is essentially that police are killing innocent black men across the country, that white cops are hunting down black men and killing them. That is of course a fiction.  It’s not an exaggeration, it’s not hyperbole.  It’s fiction created out of whole cloth.  In 2019, there were a total of 1,089 people killed by police in America, 877 of which race was known. Of that 877 number 259, or 29% were black, 9 of whom were unarmed – although unarmed is not synonymous with innocent.  Given that blacks make up 12% of the population that 29% seems disproportionate.  At the same time however, given that black men make up 6% of the American population but are responsible for approximately 55% of all murders, the 29% of those killed by police doesn’t seem so disproportionate after all. 

But facts be damned!  So Black Lives Matter, Democrats and Antifa got together and pushed the Defund the Police movement.  Across the country police forces faced budget cuts, manpower shortages and the Ferguson Effect where officers subtly pull back from enforcement activities because they’re worried about being scapegoated by administrations that don’t have their backs.

The result of this insanity?  Crime is up around the country and, surprise, more dead black people… How many?  A lot.  Murders increased by 25% in the United States in 2020, more than double the increase in any year since at least 1960.  The total was 20,480, an increase of 4,056 over 2019, and given that blacks generally make up approximately 60% of murder victims, the leftist attack on American policing cost the lives of 2,474 black Americans.  That’s 2,474 funerals, families devastated and opportunities lost.  Those 2,474 black lives didn’t seem to matter.

On October 1st the New York Post ran a piece about the 21 children who have been murdered this year, triple the number from both 2019 and 2020.  The cover image was heartbreaking… but one notices that of the 18 faces shown, at least 17 of them are black.  Apparently those black lives don’t matter. 

Nor for that matter do the average citizens of urban communities who for years decried the lack of services in their neighborhoods.  Given the rampant crime in cities across the country, hundreds of thousands of small businesses who serve those communities have closed and large businesses are following suit.  In San Francisco the shoplifting has become so rampant that Walgreens has just announced it’s closing 5 more stores, which comes on the heels of 17 already closed due to shoplifting.  That will no doubt make life easier for the elderly black Americans who need to get their medicines or citizens looking for snacks or Band Aids or Halloween candy.  Their black lives don't seem to matter.

Second:  Schools:

Education is one of the most important elements of the lives of Americans.  School is often where young people learn to socialize, follow directions, work hard, pay attention and maybe be part of a team.  Of course all of that is secondary to the primary object of schools, which is teaching math, reading, writing, science and history.  On all of that, public schools in America are failing black students miserably.

Here’s proof.  Below are the 2019 scores in math and reading for black 8th grade students in eleven of the largest school districts.

Black 8th grade students proficient in:






















Los Angeles






New York






Washington, DC



(Scroll to bottom of page and select the city then 8th grade)

What are these numbers?  They are the number of black 8th grade students who are PROFICIENT or above in math and reading.  The average rate of achievement of proficient or above is 10% for math and 12% for reading.  That means that literally 90% of the black 8th graders fail math and 88% fail reading. 

This is a staggering level of failure on the part of schools.  Education is one of the most fundamental elements in equipping a young person for success in life and the public schools across the country are failing black students, criminally.  And just to be clear, it doesn’t have to be that way.  Watch Stand and Deliver or Lean on Me – both based on true stories – to see that it doesn’t have to be that way.  Or read about the Harlem Success Academy in New York or the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.  Sadly, in most of America’s school systems young black lives don’t seem to matter. 

Third:  Open Borders

Employment is the single biggest driver of prosperity and financial success. Many, if not most Americans start out working at entry level jobs, often making minimum wage or somewhere close to it.  From there generally, as they gain work experience, confidence and skills, most people advance to different jobs or get promoted in ways that see their incomes increase. 

To the degree that many of the ill educated black students America's government schools are producing can get jobs, those jobs are likely to be entry level jobs.  But for decades the opportunities for those entry level jobs has been undermined by unfettered illegal immigration.  The result is that many of those entry level jobs are filled by illegal immigrants rather than by young black Americans.  As such, the opportunities for employment leading to advancement and financial and social success for those unskilled and uneducated black youth are curtailed dramatically.  Without such entry level jobs, the kind one would use to acquire the skills and experience needed to achieve the American dream, their opportunities are largely nonexistent.  Apparently their black lives don’t matter. 

All three of these areas are owned, lock stock and barrel by Democrats.  Democrats are the ones who want to defund the police.  Democrats control the teachers’ unions and almost every major city in the country where the schools are so bad.  Democrats are the ones who want open borders and refuse to enforce immigration laws.

There are other things as well, like Democrat social programs responsible for the dissolution of the black family and keeping generations of families on government handouts, but these three alone are enough to demonstrate that indeed, black lives don’t matter, at least not to Democrats. 

They want black votes and they use black faces and black stories to increase budgets, grow their bureaucratic ranks and strengthen their regulatory power, but they don’t actually care about black men and women and children.  And that’s the irony here. The worse conditions get for black Americans, the more black Americans vote for Democrats, the very party that played such a central role in the destruction of the black American family in the first place.  It reminds one of the ironic saying: “The beatings will continue until morale improves”.   

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

How Did Weak Men Become Strong Enough To Topple The Most Powerful Nation In History?

Donald Trump failed at business… a lot. USFL, Tour de Trump, Trump Resorts, Trump Airlines, Trump University, ect. Leftists love to point that out. But that’s not the whole story. Trump had great successes as well. Not only has he developed world class properties around the globe, but he was also the producer and star of one of the most popular television shows on TV for a more than a decade. Most tellingly of all was his renovation of the Wolman Ice Rink. New York had spent $13 million and six years trying to renovate the Central Park icon when in 1986 they admitted they’d failed and had to start from scratch. Trump offered to do the job in six months and under the $3 million budget. Reluctantly the city gave him the contract and he finished in 4 months at a cost of $2.25 million. In just four months Donald Trump demonstrated exactly how dysfunctional government is!

But it’s his failures that provide the life lesson that leftists never get: Whether in business, love or most things non-government related, failure is the sign that someone was willing to risk the consequences that come with it in order to actually try and accomplish something. I say non-government related because government is one of the few aspects of life where failure is the rule rather than the exception, and rarely does it result in soul searching.

Proof abounds! From a failed fifty year War on Poverty to the abject failure of government schools, to twenty year wars that end exactly where they started, government continues to grow and accumulate more power year after year, regardless of the demonstrable and perpetual lack of success.

But government is not the nation. Government is not the people. Government is supposed to be a mechanism by which citizens protect individual rights and defend the nation. But that’s not what it is today. Today it’s everywhere, all the time. There is nothing in our lives that is more ubiquitous than government regulation.

Leonard Read wrote an essay called I Pencil that looked at the countless elements and activities necessary to make #2 pencil. The whole point of the piece, written in 1958 in the midst of the Cold War, was to demonstrate the complexity of what goes into making a simple pencil, and how society benefits from freeing up markets to provide all of the necessary inputs and how it’s unlikely government control could accomplish that task. It’s extraordinary, and it’s just a simple pencil!

Now exponentially expand the complexity of that process from a pencil to our modern society and you understand what the challenge is. On the one hand, you look at the iPhone or Google or Tesla and you might conclude we’re doing pretty well with government regulating as much as it does… but in reality, that’s a mirage. While a Tesla may be a step up from a 55 Ford, it’s still just a car. While carrying your iPhone in your hand is a leap from being tethered to a wall phone, it’s still just a mobile phone and a personal computer, both invented in the early 70’s, years after the beginnings of the Internet.  

Over the last 50 years things have gotten smaller, faster and portable, but we haven’t cured cancer, we don’t have teleportation, time travel – as far as we know, and haven’t been back to the moon or beyond. We have lots of apps and services, but not much truly revolutionary.

Compare that to the 50 years from 1850 to 1900 when Americans invented such revolutionary things as the light bulb, the safety elevator, the telephone, the phonograph, the vacuum cleaner and the dishwasher. Or between 1900 & 1950 when they invented air conditioning, plastic, vulcanized rubber, television, talking movies, the photocopier and the transistor. Not to mention the airplane, helicopters, and nuclear power.

While technology is most certainly unleashing heretofore impossible advances in research, medicine and data analysis, (MRI machine, sequence of the human genome…) the relative lack of tangible revolutionary advances is extraordinary. And why is that? Are we at the end of science? Have we accomplished everything that man can do? Obviously not. It’s almost as if there’s something holding America back...

There is. It’s called regulation. Federal regulation from a seemingly endless array of agencies: IRS, EPA, OSHA, DOE, DOT, etc. The Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that federal regulation alone costs the US almost $2 trillion per year in lost productivity. That’s essentially 10% of our GDP, annually!

Over the 50 years between 1921 and 1970 the American GDP grew at an average annual rate of 4.02%, while between 1971 to 2020 it grew at an annual rate of 2.73%, dropping down to 1.77% for the last 20 years. The result of that slowdown has been staggering. In 2020, after growing at a rate of 2.73% a year for 50 years the American GDP was approximately $21 trillion. Had it instead grown at the same rate it had the previous 50 years, the 2020 GDP would have been almost twice as high, $39 trillion. Imagine the R&D a whole additional US GDP could fund! $18 trillion, or put another way, every American household would have had another $50,000 to spend annually.

But they don’t. And it’s directly related to regulation. The Code of Federal Regulations contains every law and rule of the federal government. In 1938 it was 18,193 pages. After dropping down to 9,745 pages in 1950 it shot up to 56,720 pages in 1972 and by 2019 it stood at 185,984 pages.

On every one of those pages are rules that govern American’s lives. From what goes into their food to the employment conditions of every person who manufactured or transported or sold every single product they buy. From reporting rules for companies to bank deposit info to what's printed on the side of a can of corn or a box of cereal. Then there’s who you can or must rent your home to, how much energy your computer monitor uses, what you pay for gas and now what you have to put into your body.

That is the world the swamp dwellers have built, the one Donald Trump fearlessly leapt into a cauldron of fire to fight. Sadly, far too many Americans are either part of that system or comfortable with the illusion of security it provides. This exemplifies a line by G. Michael Hopf: “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.” Those who oppose Donald Trump’s attempt to save America from itself are those “weak” men. Like the European nations who grew soft under the security umbrella provided by the United States, those “weak” men flourished and took over media, academia, Wall Street and high tech while working America was focused on building on the promise of opportunity. Weak men’s control of culture has undermined the nation that allowed them to flourish in the first place, but as Joe Biden delivers the omnipresent government they desire, reality will shatter the illusions of security they hid behind while strong men’s failures and successes were building Pax Americana.

Monday, October 4, 2021

The Government is NOT Your Friend, Regardless of What They Tell You...

 Ronald Reagan once said:  "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help." He was right, the government’s not your friend and it most certainly isn’t here to help you. 

The dirty little secret about government is that its purpose is not really to make the lives of citizens better, but rather, to accumulate power at the expense of citizens.  Not sure about that? Ask yourself, how many government agencies have put themselves out of a job because they succeeded? There’re a few who technology left behind, like the Steamboat Inspection Service, others that served their purpose like the Defense Homes Corporation, while others were merged into other agencies like the General Land Office, subsumed into the Department of Interior.  In our history there have been less than 100 federal agencies that have actually been shuttered, and most of those existed in the early 20th century to deal with the Depression or the two world wars. 

According to the Federal Register there are 457 different agencies of the federal government.  That’s 457 agencies covering virtually every aspect of American’s lives, most of which are staffed by unelected bureaucrats, all of whom spend your money and many of whom write regulations that carry the force of law enforced by the police power of government. This includes everything from the State Department to the Geographic Names Board to the International Broadcasting Board to the ATF.  And that 457 is misleading.  While it includes a dozen organizations tied to Defense, there are dozens more agencies that come under it that are not listed in the Federal Register such as the DoD Education Activity or the Office of Naval Research.  Wikipedia lists a more realistic, but still lacking 1,500.   

The American government has become a leviathan.  It’s everywhere, involved in virtually every aspect of American’s lives, and it’s perpetual, regardless of its record of dismal failure.  Two examples: 

1) The War on Poverty, AKA the Great Society.  Brainchild of LBJ, the Great Society programs were created to address poverty in America.  They included things like food stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, Headstart and others. 

When the Great Society programs were passed in 1964 the poverty rate was 15%, dropping to 13.9% the next year. By 1969 the rate was 9.7%. Exactly 50 years later, in 2019 the rate was 8.7%. That means that as a result of fighting the War on Poverty for half a century, after spending over $30 trillion, the poverty rate dropped by a rounding error, by literally 1%! 

Yet somehow the War on Poverty goes on, with more programs, more money, more regulations and of course, more employees.  Indeed, DHHS, which manages many of the programs, has a staff of 80,000 and an annual budget of over $1 trillion.

2) Public education.  American public education is really just a jobs program and revenue generating program for unions. William McGurn over at the WSJ looks at the performance of schools in the largest school districts.  The level of failure is extraordinary.  For example, in 2019 Atlanta public schools spent $17,112 per student and the result of all of that spending was that only 10% of students were proficient in math and 15% in reading.  So for all of that expenditure, fully 90% failed basic math proficiency and 85% reading.  And this dynamic has been going on for decades across the country.  New York City spends $28,004 per student and 75% of them lack proficiency in math and 81% in reading, while Boston spends $25,653 and has similar marks with 88% failing math and 85% reading. 

On average the US spends approximately $14,000 per student in education, (Elem – HS) more than any nation in the world other than Luxemburg. And what do we get for that extraordinary spending?  Not much.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2018 American students ranked 15th in the world for reading literacy, 18th in science and 37th in math!  Of all of the things that drive a society to prosperity, particularly in the technologically advanced world we live in today, education is easily one of the most important, and on that score government has failed miserably, spectacularly and perpetually. 

If the actual goal was to educate students, government would give that money to parents in the form of vouchers to kickstart a private / charter school revolution.  Sure, there’d be failures, but it’s hard to imagine how they could fail more spectacularly than the current systems are. But that’s not the goal…

The government spends $30 trillion over half a century and reduces poverty by 1%.  The government spends more on education than virtually every nation on the planet yet 85% of the students in its biggest (and most minority filled) school districts fail basic reading and math, the building blocks for success in our dynamic society.  And we’re supposed to believe government works for us?

American governments spend more money on education and social programs than anything else, more than the GDP of most countries. Yet they fail, year after year, decade after decade, but the funds keep growing, regardless of their catastrophically abysmal track record. And that tells you everything you need to know about the nature of governments. Their goal isn’t to solve problems. They’re not here to make life better for citizens. Their goal is not to protect the lives and liberties of citizens. No, government is the borg. Its raison d'etre is simple: Grow revenue and increase power for themselves and unions. Proof?  Despite the fact that the United States has 3,143 counties in 50 states spread out over 3,796,742 square miles, nine of the twenty richest counties are in a circle less than 100 miles across with Washington DC at its center.  And what is the industry that drives that wealth?  Finance? No. Entertainment?  No.  Steel or autos or high tech?  No. One thing:  Government power.

Accumulating power is the fundamental nature of government, and our Founding Fathers understood that, which is why they gave us the Bill of Rights and particularly the 9th and 10th Amendments. For the first 150 years of our nation those guardrails stood relatively firm, but today they are simply gone.  Sadly, America has become so detached from our Constitution that 90% of what our government does is unconstitutional.

Unlike in economics where the solution to driving prosperity is baking more pies, government is a zero sum game. They win you lose. The more power the government takes, the more influence it exerts, the less freedom citizens have and less control they have over their lives. At some point the expanse of government will spark a civil war between those who remember freedom and value prosperity facing off against those who seek to shelter themselves from cradle to grave under the blanket of government security, support themselves via government benefits that someone else pays for and use the police power of government to control what others think and do. What that civil war will look like is anybody’s guess, but like most civil wars it will not be pretty, and whatever emerges from the ashes will be a shadow of the greatness that once was America.