City Journal Summer 2014

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Jeremy Rozansky
Honest Abe’s Advice to Conservatives « Back to Story

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Slavery was one of those "social issues", and Lincoln did not deal with it through "kind, unassuming persuasion".

He was also what we could today call an "America firster" or "protectionist". He favored free trade within America, and high walls (metaphorically speaking) around it.
Fundamentally changed means equal in mediocrity, in moral baseness, in poverty, in ignorance.
How about this monetraists believe
amount of money x velocity = GDP
(I am ignoring inflation)
The velocity is the speed we spend the money, people are saving more and banks are frightened to lend, so the velocity is declining. The only way to keep the GDP up is to increase the money supply - so we print it by the bucket fall.

Keynesianists believe that if aggregate demand is below the potential aggregate demand the GDP will fall. Therefore government should borrow and spend.

Interest was therefore cut to making borrowing cheaper and saving less advantageous, so we woudl spend.

There are two big problems:
1. Banks are not lending and 44 million US citizens are on food stamps, they are not spending and velocity is falling.
2. For each dollar borrowed and spent the effect is less than one $dollar spent in the economy, so spending is not getting the economy going.
All we are doing it staving off a serious fall in GDP and hoping growth will return.

Or are the FED just trying one last trick, to kick the guts out fo the US$, so imports become expensive and exports become cheaper. The debt will be de-valued away, exports will exceed imports and the government balance sheets will be slowly restored, at huge cost to the consumer. The risk in the game is the US$ stops being the reserve currency.

I really fear that this is the true object of the printing press overdrive, the US dollar is being made into a Ponzi scheme.

My only hope is that the new theories on complexity are correct, that the system has just got too big, complex and expensive; and it will topple to re-form at a simpler level. My fear is the rich understand the effects of inflation and how to invest in an inflationary market, they end up with just too much of the wealth and the rest are little better than serfs.

Dick said freedom and to be honest perhaps it is middle age, but I just agree.
This is a particularly mealy-mouthed approach that is guaranteed to fail.
There was a time when I would have agreed wholeheartedly with the views of this author. That time, however, has passed.
For one thing, I think what I have been taught about Lincoln and the Civil War over the last 73 years has been lopsided.
We don't need "an economic agenda that balances innovation with social cohesion." What on earth does that mean?
We simply need freedom, freedom from political parties, from the new "elite ruling class," and freedom from the imposition of rampant government replete with its highfalutin prescriptions.
We simply need freedom.
In fact, the balancing of budgets is important to a healthy nation, and the resolution of debt, both public and private, is essential. There are no substitutes for these. (See Europe.)

However, beyond fiscal discipline there is the character of the American people that served the nation well until the middle of the twentieth century. Since the New Deal, that character has been deteriorating apace.

Never have so many Americans believed that success lies in getting "government" money. It may be that an incorrigible majority of us now believe that striving is a fool's game, but that securing a paternal government is the final answer to the viscissitudes of life and a guarantee of the future of our children. Such Americans can only tear a nation down. They will build nothing of value.
The only president to make war on his own people, which was expressly prohibited in the Constitution:
Article 4, Section 4:
The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.
the message of striving and self reliance morphed into a message that the government should give people a leg-up and devolved starting in the 30's to out right dependence. The industrial age influenced a school system based on a work week mentality and the expectation that a job would be provided. That changed the idea of striving for oneself to striving for a job. Lincoln was a man of his times. His political power didn't come from dishing out pork to his constituents because his constituents expected to take care of themselves. Lincoln wouldn 't recognize the current GOP and JFK wouldn't recognize the democratic party.
There's a world in a grain of sand here. How often do conservatives settle for kind, unassuming persuasion? Too many thunder against abortion, against homosexuality, against marijuana. This is unwise and presumptuous. Unwise because too many women find themselves, or can imagine themselves, dumped at five months and feeling boxed in. Because too many men and women are gay, or have friends or relatives who are gay, and wish them well. Because, well, you get the drift. And it's presumptuous because for all that thunder there is no Jovian lightning. All these efforts are fated to come to naught.