Free Markets, Free People
Let’s see … if I’m a CEO and I can cut my corporate taxes by about 14% by moving overseas, why wouldn’t I?
Feel free to answer that question. And when you do, then perhaps you can figure out one thing that the politicos could have done a loooong time ago to keep corporations here and to spur business expansion and create jobs but haven’t?
Here are today’s statistics on the state of the economy:
The Chicago PMI fell slightly to 53, but this is eclipsed by the new orders index jumping 2 points to 54.8.
The consumer sentiment index rose 0.7 to end at 74.3 this month, but the future expectations index is declining as gas prices rise.
Factory orders snapped back from June’s decline with a 2.8% increase for July. The big jump is led mainly by a 4.8% increase in durable goods from transportation orders for airplanes and autos. Ex-transportation, durables orders were up 0.7%. Capital goods orders show a big dip when aircraft orders are excluded. Despite the aircraft orders skewing the numbers, however, the overall report points to modest economic growth.
Clint Eastwood is 82 and an American icon. It’s that simple. He’s sort of the John Wayne of this era. And he’s always been more “Republicanish” than the usual Hollywood crowd.
Last night he gave a speech, or a talk, or, well, whatever you’d like to characterize it as. It was both interesting and at time hilarious. That is, if you “got” what he was trying to do.
He said two things that to me are not said enough. If for no other reason, I liked his speech (which, by the way, is the only speech I’ve watched) because he said them. They are reminders that should be repeated over and over and over again.
The first is in the title. “We own this country”. Frankly, it’s time we started acting like it. Because there are those who would weaken that ownership to the point of non-existence. In fact, for the most part, that intrinsically American principle gets mostly lip service from our employees.
And yes, that’s the second line. Government and politicians are our employees. They work for us. Not the other way around, although you wouldn’t really know that the way things are going. When they’re not up to the job, we should fire them.
Anyway, Eastwood’s speech is getting the expected shredding in the press. Breitbart points out that there are already 25 plus stories (5 in Politico alone) on Eastwood’s speech. I don’t think anyone with any experience around politics and how it is covered today is the least bit surprised. They don’t like seeing “the one” they helped elect mocked.
But despite the negative claims of the media, was the speech effective? Well, I like Richard Fernandez’s take. He does a nice job of laying out why, at least to the “common folk” it was likely a hit.
It was an old man’s delivery, but overstatedly so for effect. It was a cutting delivery and for that reason delivered in low key. But for all of Clint Eastwood’s rhetorical cleverness at the Republican convention it derived its effectiveness precisely because it wasn’t one of those “I take this platform tonight with pen in hand, bearing in mind the immortal words of Clancy M. Duckworth” type orations. It wasn’t the speech of someone who was running for office.
Rather it might have come from Mr. Weller down at the corner office musing on simple things to not very important people. How it wasn’t good form to mess things up continuously. How one might lose faith in a man who made one broken promise too many. How at the end of the day everyone either did the job or quit out of decency. Even Presidents.
There was no malice in it. Just a tone of regret. But it was redolent of memory too. Of simple things a world away from the Mountaintop; of sentiments a light-year from dramatic arcs, and of ordinary happiness in a universe apart from grand bargains and high-flown rhetorical visions. They were truths that everyone who has ever worked knows but has somehow forgotten because it was so ordinary.
But they were never known to those who had never worked a real job in their lives. And that is the wonder. That they never knew them. Thus the speech was at once us versus them; it was the check in the mail against the certainties of the heart. Every true challenge is built on the bricks of memory. And there were as many challenges in the Eastwood speech as the stones we stand on.
So will it resonate? I think so. For the very reasons I outline above. Simple truths given by a man without a script, reminding us of the reality of the day. Straight talk, no apologies, no waffling, even using a symbolic device (empty chair) to make his point without having to say it.
Political professionals on the left, liberal bloggers and the press will savage it for days. But for those who saw it or will see it, my guess is they’ll pay little attention to those attacking him and more likely identify with the authenticity of the man they’ve “known” for decades. He’s one of us, they’ll think. He’s up there saying what we’d like to say if we had the podium and the ability to do it. It wasn’t polished, but it was real.
That’s what folks are looking for these days.
Frankly, it was refreshing.
We have been saying for, oh I don’t know, forever, that when the goal of government run health care is to make it less costly and better, you can only have one of the two. They are naturally conflicting goals. And anyone who thinks government can make anything less costly or better isn’t a student of history. Finally, whether anyone likes to admit it or not, “less costly” means rationing. Period.
The latest example of the point is our usual whipping boy – the UK’s National Health Service. Seems it wants it’s pregnant patients to take one for the state:
Family doctors are being told to try to talk women out of having Caesareans and very strong painkillers during birth to save the NHS money.
New guidelines drawn up for GPs urge them to encourage women to have natural labours with as little medical help as possible.
But for many women the prospect of giving birth without the painkillers is unthinkable.
And critics have said the move has been made without any thought for the women themselves.
The guidelines also remind doctors to tell women to consider having their babies outside hospital in midwife-run units or in their own homes.
Of course the “move” is being made “without any thought for the women themselves”. The job of bureaucrats isn’t to please patients. It is to “save money”. So guess where the priority and focus shift. Not to those they’re ostensibly serving, but instead to numbers.
The result? Well given the last sentence, a move back to the 19th century.
If there is anything “natural” it is the inevitability of this outcome given the goals of the system. It isn’t about patient care. It is about “saving money”. Result? Well right now its a suggestion. At some point, it may move beyond that. Ignore the advice, however, and it may become more than a suggestion.
Of course, by handing over your health care to unaccountable nameless and faceless bureaucrats, that should have been expected, huh?