Monday, January 23, 2017

Morning in America

Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen,
The clouded sky is now serene,
The god of day — the orb of love,
Has hung his ensign high above,
The sky is all ablaze.


(With thanks to Gilbert and Sullivan)

Friday, January 20, 2017

“Free At Last”

Free from the Clintons.

Free from Obama.

Free from the Bushes.

Free from those who brought us foolish costly wars in the Mideast and destabilized the region.

Free from those who brought us the Great Financial Crisis of 2008-09 and the slowest recovery in modern history.

Free from those who opposed Trump every step of the way.  Free from their self-righteous tweets, posts, blogs, screeds, comments, articles, letters, and other outrageous charges.

Free from those who impose Political Correctness and stifle free speech.

And countless freedoms to come.

It’s morning in America!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Trump's Inauguration

During the campaign, many establishment Republicans and high-brow, pure conservatives viciously criticized Donald Trump, demanding that he cease his campaign or step aside for Mike Pence.

Now some of the most prominent of them are praising his nominations for secretaries of state and defense, other cabinet positions and executive agencies, and White House personnel.  Maybe Trump is not so bad after all?

These prominent individuals have not yet retracted their criticism of him or issued mea culpas.  Will they?  Who knows?  I'm not optimistic, but anything is possible in politics.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Wish For 2017

From the moment Donald Trump rode down the escalator in Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, to declare his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, he has been subjected to a vicious stream of attacks and criticisms from the left, center, and Republican establishment all the way through his nomination, election, and transition.

My wish is that those of you who opposed Trump, especially those of you who are Republicans or conservatives that served or advised previous Republican presidents, or backed other Republican candidates in 2016, would just go away.  Please, no more nasty tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, articles, interviews, or comments, or offering advice on what he must do to succeed in economic or foreign policy.  You had your chance. You left the the Middle East in a mess after thousands of dead and wounded and trillions in spending, and the economy in the worst condition and slowest recovery since the great Depression.  Just go away.  ENOUGH!

I suggest a two-year moratorium.  If Trump succeeds, be honest enough to acknowledge his success. If he fails, you can resume your criticism and say I told you so.  But he won and deserves the chance to succeed without your petty knifing every step along the way.  Why not offer words of encouragement instead?

Be honest like Niall Ferguson, who confessed his error in opposing Brexit.  Take a cue from Thomas Sowell and end your columns (for at least the next two years).

When you wish upon a star.........

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Niall Ferguson Is An Honorable Man

To my esteemed, award-winning colleague and friend, Niall Ferguson, I say:  Welcome back from the dark side.  It takes guts to admit one’s mistake as Niall did at the Milken Institute in December 2016, when he said he was wrong to oppose Brexit.  In future visits to Britain, he vows to spend more time in pubs and less time fraternizing with establishment politicians.

Niall also issued a sort-of mea culpa on Trump in praising the president elect’s nomination of our distinguished colleague, General James M. Mattis, as Secretary of Defense.

Perhaps it’s only a matter of time until he says he wrote his anti-Trump columns under duress.  C’est possible?

Niall Ferguson is also a Stephen Schwartzman Visiting Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.  Niall can take comfort knowing that Schwartzman has agreed to chair a Trump Economic Advisory Panel of leading men and women, including Democrats, from the world of business.

Niall has also acknowledged that he is eating a plate of black crow in having been wrong in opposing Brexit.  (Crows are among the smartest birds in the world.  They can make 50 distinct sounds communicating with each other.)  But to secure his return from the dark side, he should top off his meal with several portions of humble (not mince) pie.

What’s next on Ferguson’s to-do list?  For starters, he might encourage his countryman and our distinguished colleague, Timothy Garton Ash, to turn from the dark side by disavowing his claim that Frau Merkel is now leader of the free world.

The Hoover Institution is home to a trove of Trump bashers, more than any other free-market, conservative think tank.  Altogether, fifteen fellows trashed Trump, some mercilessly.  Of those, 13 were Republicans/Conservatives; only 2 were Democrats/Liberals.  A few have softened their prior harsh criticism.  Others may be too proud to walk back their criticism, so we’ll have to wait and see.  I’m from Missouri, the “show-me state.”

To Niall I say, “May the force be with you!”

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Think Tanks On A Shoestring

Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, self-driving cars, robotic vacuums, sex dolls (sexbots), chatbots, waiterbots, and other robot applications are transforming the world.  Can think tank bots be far behind?

Thinks tanks are a HUUUUGE industry, two thousand-plus in the United States and seven thousand-plus worldwide.  They own billions of dollars of property and financial assets, spend billions in research and administration, employ several hundred thousand staff, produce trillions of pages of reports, studies, briefs, memorandums, tweets, blog posts, podcasts, videos, articles, and books—most of which are not read, heard, or seen.  They host thousands of seminars, speeches, lunches, dinners, retreats, and cruises.  This is an industry ripe for disruption.

I am reminded of the time I walked into the Bank of China building on the Bund in Shanghai in April 1981.  I saw 600 individuals sitting behind desks, each using an abacus to process information.  It seemed to me that one personal computer manned by one employee could replace all 600. 

Think tanks run the gamut from right to left in their political views, and vary in coverage from single issues to the full spectrum of domestic and international issues.  Some emphasize in-depth research, while others focus on daily issues.

Your friendly proprietor thinks there may be a better way to accomplish the objectives of think tanks, which would provide better analysis and commentary at a small fraction of the cost.  The task would require some initial start-up funding, an administrator, a couple of programmers, and two policy analysts.  That’s it.  (If you like what follows, let me know and we can get started right away.)

I’m going to describe the construction of a free-market think tank-bot.  Let’s abbreviate it as FMB.  I propose to take the works of Friedman, Becker, Stigler, Hayek, Mises, and the catalogue of several hundred Liberty Fund books and other free-market literature and feed them into the FMB.  Programmers will instruct the FMB to synthesize and curate the material to provide the best free-market response to any public policy issue, small or large, domestic or international.  They will feed the FMB carefully screened worldwide daily news.

The FMB will be able to supply free-market recommendations to any problem anywhere, with full (philosophical) explanation, evidence, and documentation.  It might offer a daily report on free-market solutions to ten pending issues free, but charge a modest fee for specific searches.

Total requirements are a staff of five—two programmers, two policy wonks, one administrator, a small workplace with furniture, computers, and other office necessities.  Once up and running, the FMB could function on an annual budget of about $1.5-2 million a year.  It should become self-sustaining in a short time, obviating the need for fund-raising, and even become profitable selling advertising.

Are you out there Peter Thiel?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Update: The Democrat Presidential Nominee in 2020 Will Be....

Mark Cuban or possibly Tom Steyer.  Tom Steyer, hedge fund billionaire, Stanford trustee, and fanatical environmentalist hints he may seek the Democrat nomination in 2020 to save the planet.

Other Democrat billionaires are likely to throw their hats into the presidential political ring in the next two years.  The new political order will be the struggle among the top 0.0001%.

The traditional election industry is withering on the vine.  Say goodbye to soon-to-be obsolete political handlers, pollsters, fund-raisers, pundits, and other relics of electing presidents.