The expectations bubble. What if it bursts?

Posted: November 10, 2016 in Political musings, Popular Culture et al
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“Yes, We Can!”

barack-obama-yes-we-canIt seems like just yesterday that Obama came to the fore of world politics with this optimistic and energising slogan, shouted back at him excitedly by hugely enthusiastic crowds.

Eight years later, despite Obama winning a second election and ending his Presidency with quite high approval ratings, (reflecting a generalised opinion that he’s a likeable guy), that promise frankly seemed to many people more like “No, We Couldn’t.”

Whilst there were some successes in Obama’s presidency, too many people felt left behind. From Florida to Michigan via Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin, people came out in their droves in yesterday’s election to register their discontent.

Trump’s victory is going to be spun – everywhere, endlessly – as a great uprising against the elites, a sort of Western “Arab Spring”, and a repudiation of Obama (and by implication, Clinton), a generalised push back against left-of-centre liberal intellectualism, against feminism, against so many isms that people will be frothing at the mouth to get them out. And Brexit, we will be told constantly, was a similar rejection of the ruling European elite, and Trump, as he famously predicted the night before the election, was just Brexit plus plus – surely the only time a political event in another country has been quoted the night before an American election.

The problem is that this analysis of what’s going on in world elections at the moment is actually wrong. Too shallow. Too simplistic.

Not because people aren’t reacting against elites. They are. Blind Freddie can see that. But that’s really not the point. The real issue here is that people are scared, frightened, confused and casting about for someone to blame for what ails them, and the elites are merely the most obvious and useful target. After all, they’re in charge, so it must all be their fault, right?

“What must be their fault?” “This shit we’re in.” “So what do we do?” “Chuck the elites out.” “Yay! Pass the pitchforks.”

"Who's to blame?" "Dunno, but he'll do."

“Who’s to blame?” “Dunno, but he’ll do.”

The problem is that that analysis is skin deep, and chucking out the elites, if that’s going to be the solution, is only step one of a change, anyway. After all, if you’re going to chuck out the elites, you have to replace them with new administrators. Who are they going to be?

So before we assume we know what’s going on, let’s roll back a bit. WHY are people so scared and angry?

The answer is actually very simple. Breathtakingly simple.

The world has been going through a massive structural change – a fundamental change to free-er trade, and integrated global markets, fuelled by the freest and fastest movement of capital in human history. Massive movements of money wreak chaos in the world’s economic systems. Businesses get blown up overnight. Currencies wobble and slide alarmingly, with the knock on effect on future orders, travel, banking and a dozen other areas.

At the same time, new manufacturing bases like China, India, and elsewhere have sprung up to feed products and services into older, more established economies.

All this has cut the guts out of many key industries in America in particular, and because they have a Government which is periodically ideologically opposed to interfering in the economy, the people affected by the changes are often left to fend pretty much for themselves.

(Layered on top of this is a generalised concern about terrorism and conflict which keeps people permanently unsettled. The obvious fact that hardly anybody, in statistical terms, ever gets hurt by terrorism, is no compensation for those watching lurid pictures of those unfortunates that do, and especially when irresponsible politicians take every opportunity to talk up the threat instead of cutting it down to size.)

But back to economics. Because “it’s the economy, stupid”, right?

The only solution is for economies to be quicker, more flexible, and more innovative. The world might not want your eight cylinder Detroit-built gas guzzler any more, but it seems to want a super-fast electric Tesla, not just because it’s cheap to run, and environmentally friendly, but because it’s a bloody good car, chock full of driver goodness.

But for every Tesla there are dozens of clunky, slow-moving businesses, frantically trying to build firewalls around their markets, and failing.

Many of the people running these companies are more focused on merging with another company and making a quick buck out of stock options, and while they talk a good story about the need to expand and innovate it’s not really their focus. Otherwise they would, yeah? So sooner or later, the hungry and the fast eat the slow and the complacent, as they always do, and the hungry and the fast are increasingly somewhere else, not in our old, established economies. They are in places with fewer restraints on business – especially on labour issues and environmental protection – and they are frequently quasi-command economies where decisions are taken very fast, and without opposition. It’s a potent mixture.

The real problem has been that the political elites are locked into a zero sum game.

They can’t get elected, or re-elected, without saying they know how to fix things. But in reality, they don’t really know how to fix things.

The changes that are going on are so fundamental that they aren’t actually amenable to “being fixed”. Certainly not quickly, and certainly not just by saying it. Many of the changes taking place now are “forever” changes – the clock simply can’t get turned back. People are going to have to adjust, and no amount  of overblown rhetoric from the elite is going to smooth over or resolve the problems.

So if a business in America, for example, (or any old economy market), wants to continue to compete in low-tech commodity marketplaces that they once previously dominated, what are they going to do? Slash the wages of their workers to those of workers in China? India? Mexico? Vietnam? Indonesia? And increasingly – Africa, too? Install better (and more expensive) automation? And anyway, where’s the money going to come from?

What happens to the worker voters then? Longer hours for smaller pay – or being replaced by some whizz-bang new production line – isn’t going to go down well with a workforce that has been cosseted for generations by the terms won by pro-active and powerful unions.

So here is our fear.

The real terror we have is that Brexit will have little or no effect on whether or not Britain can compete on the world stage in the way that it used to when the country had preferential access to cheap colonial resources, and technological leadership in areas like car manufacture, aircraft design, heavy engineering, added value food manufacture, and much more. Brexit may, indeed, happen – or some version of it – but when it fails to produce some magical re-ordering of the state of Britain’s economy, and vast swathes of the country continue to be over-crowded and under-employed, where will electors turn next?

And what about America?

greatagainWhat if “Make America Great Again” turns out to be just so much more polly-waffle. Because America actually can’t be made great again, because it’s hopelessly under-capitalised (seen the deficit recently?) with a shrinking tax take, too turgid, not innovative enough, and rapidly being muscled out by new, cheaper more agile competitors.

And America’s too political. Just too damn political. So when someone calls for huge investment in “green energy” for example, sensible, laudable forward-thinking initiatives are killed by a bunch of old-economy oil barons protecting their turf, aided and abetted by politicians who are either in their pocket, or who would rather deliver a smart soundbite about how alternative energy sources will never match up to our needs, and anyway, “who believes all that global warming stuff anyhow?” rather than take on the task of educating the public as to why such investment isn’t just a good idea, it’s mandatory.

The very obvious point is that moving to alternative energy sources will simply make the planet cleaner, anyhow, and wouldn’t that be nice, even if global warming isn’t happening and 99% of the scientists in the world are wrong? And anyway, old-style energy sources are running out whether or not the planet is warming. One day we will run out of gas, oil, coal, and uranium, or it will simply be too expensive to extract what’s left. What then?

Doesn’t it seem to make sense to have a fall back solution?

Of course it makes sense, but we are idolising politicians who could care less if it makes sense. Look at Trump’s insistence that he will wind back support for solar energy and expand the coal industry. It plays well amongst unemployed coal miners, it played well in key swing states like Pennsylvania, and the owners of coal companies will be delighted. Not so much the future-focused industries. Among solar-power installers, SolarCity Corp. which Tesla Motors Corp. is currently trying to acquire, closed down 4% on Wednesday. Rival Vivint Solar Inc. was among the biggest decliners, ending the day off 6.3%, while SunRun Inc. tumbled 4%. Solar-panel makers and solar-power developers fared no better. SunPower skidded 14% and First Solar Inc. lost 4.2%. The American depositary receipts of China-based solar-panel manufacturer JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. fell 8.4%; Trina Solar Ltd. ADRs closed 2.3% down for the day. The Guggenhim Solar ETF  was off 5.6%.

This is just one industry sector out of dozens we could consider. We’re going to make America great again by massacring an industry of the future and pumping up a tired old industry of increasing irrelevance. Irrelevance, we say? Yup. Coal prices have fallen more than 50% since 2011 as it has faced stiff competition from plentiful natural gas which is easier to extract and transport, cleaner to use, and cheaper. That isn’t going to change.

We’re going to rob Peter to pay Paul – lose jobs and wealth in the solar industry to prop up jobs and profits in the coal sector. And in doing so, we will send the American ability to compete (against the Europeans, especially) backwards, again. And for what? So we can make it look like we are keeping in line with our hugely overblown promise. “Back to basics! None of this wanky new stuff! Let’s get those mines open again!” We’re in the process of doing exactly the same in Australia.

Politics, pure and simple.

But the stakes here are simply enormous. The howling, inchoate anger of the masses that saw Trump elected will absolutely not tolerate another failure. Trump has massively raised expectations of his (and by implication, the Republicans’) ability to fix things with a massive tranche of people who have lost all hope and trust in “the system’s” ability (or desire) to help them.

He’s their last throw of the dice.

He has blindly and repeatedly promised jobs, jobs, jobs with no plan as to how to create them, other than slashing taxes for business and for the well off, and vaguely “getting government off people’s backs”. Which is all well and good, except the evidence is that cutting taxes very often does not create jobs, because the “trickle down” effect of lower taxes for the rich is illusory, and there is no evidence that cutting corporate tax results in higher levels of investment in business, either.

And “getting government off people’s backs” is simply code for slashing the social credit: cutting money for hospitals, education, welfare, veterans, transport and more. Which are precisely the things that the disenfranchised people that vote for him need to survive. So in four Trump/Republican supporting areas in America last night electors voted to increase the basic wage – because they can’t live on what they’re getting now – an act which will now be opposed by the very people they voted for.

Sometimes, looking around can be instructive. This interesting little article about how constantly pumping up the electorate’s expectations has essentially wrecked the Icelandic economy and destroyed the trust of the voters is well worth reading.

Is there an alternative? Yes there is. We need politicians (and opinion leaders) who can explain the realities of the world in simple enough terms for people to understand. It is not a coincidence that Trump’s largest area of support drew from the under-educated. The same was true of Brexit. If the Legia Nord persuade Italy to leave the EU, or the National Front take power in France, the same will be true again.

That’s not a value judgement, it’s an indisputible fact that needs to be understood. If you haven’t finished high school, let alone done further education, you simply aren’t going to have the head skills to understand complex arguments. So what do we do in response? Do we work out how to make those arguments genuinely accessible? Do we re-examine our communications techniques to explain what’s going on to the widest possible number of people, to prevent an expectations bubble blowing up? No, we don’t – because we don’t think we can get elected that way. So we reduce our political messages to the mindlessly boiled down and un-achievably aspirational. We’re going to Make America Great Again. How? Sorry, I need to move on and talk about emails.

Trump has ratcheted the expectations for his incoming Presidency to impossibly high levels. If he crashes and burns, we genuinely fear for the very fabric of society. And we fear that effect appearing all over the world.

churchillOne of the most famous political speeches of all time was made by Winston Churchill when he took over Government in the most parlous situation in May, 1940. With Britain’s very existence at stake, he said:

“I would say to the House as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.

You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs — Victory in spite of all terror — Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.”

The national unity that was engendered, and the national effort it produced, has never been exceeded before that time, or after. Indeed, many consider Britain’s War Cabinet from 1940-45 to be the most effective UK Government of any era.

Blood? Toil? Tears? Sweat? An Ordeal? Struggle? Suffering?

Didn’t hear a lot about that sort of stuff in recent years, did you? And yet now is exactly when the angry, bitter, betrayed working and middle classes desperately need our political leaders and our media to tell them the truth.

They won’t, so we will.

A lot of the next ten or twenty years are going to be shit, quite frankly, and there’s no real sign that we know what to do about it.

Our kids will probably be less well off than we are, at least some of them will, and some of us will be, too. Our kids are going to have a whole heap of challenges we can only guess at now.

Our world is changing faster than we can manage, the stars are realigning, and the very first thing we need to do is face up to it, because unless we do, there is not just a vanishingly small chance we’ll work it out, there is no chance whatsoever.

We need a massive effort, akin to being in a war against a tyrant. And we are going to make mistakes, there are going to be mis-steps, and if we try to slay our opponents or burn the house down every time there is, we’re never going to get anywhere.

The days of plentiful cheap resources and endlessly expanding markets are gone. Forever. And we can’t rely on population growth to take up the slack, because it creates as many problems as it solves.

How we handle the coming change, with its inherent difficulties, will be the measure of our shared humanity. Let’s start by facing up to the challenge, and taking the people with us.

 

 

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Comments
  1. mlshatto says:

    I definitely agree with your main points and most of your analysis, but I think you are missing one whole layer in the U.S. The issue of race hangs over us now as it has for hundreds of years. Spoken or unspoken, one of the reasons that President Obama was opposed so vehemently and so completely by a segment of the Congress is that a fair number of them simply could not accept the legitimacy of a Black President. It is what drove the “Birther” movement (of which Trump was a prime mover). It is why we have heard repeated claims from the Republicans that Obama “stirred up” the issue of racism when we were supposed to be past that. We were never past that. The accusations against him have been pure projection on the part of those making them.

    There’s an excellent article on Democracy Now! comparing the election of Trump to the backlash of Reconstruction after our Civil War and emancipation, and the multi-faceted backlash to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, with Nixon’s “Southern strategy,” the proliferation of white private schools, etc. Trump is the white nationalist backlash to eight years of a Black president. He’s been endorsed by the KKK, applauded by the neo-Nazis, and celebrated in the dark cyber-recesses of the alt-Right.

    That’s why you are seeing some of the contradictory results that don’t make sense in a purely economic analysis. The economic issues are certainly there, but several recent analyses have shown that Trump supporters are, on average, not the poor, not the ones suffering the most from the economic inequalities. They are lower-middle to middle class, and they are overwhelmingly white.

    We need a Churchill, and alas, there isn’t now anyone in sight.

    Like

  2. Ben Hosking says:

    Great article Yolly ! Very thought provoking regarding the world’s economic issues and who is to blame !

    Cheers

    Ben

    Like

  3. Pat A says:

    Excellent article Yolly, and excellent comment by mlshatto – when people are frightened they will always blame ‘the other’ – whether it is people with ginger hair, or glasses, or a different skin colour or style of dress. The more different a group looks the more easy it is to target – alas. The right wing and far right have always tried to capitalise on this and make it worse – it brings them converts after all. Businesses may agree – as people when they are feeling exhausted, worried, frightened or miserable spend more and spend more unwisely – as well as voting to the right. Governments or certain political parties may prefer this as then people may vote for them.

    The fight of good against evil has always been hard – if one looks at history it is hard to see how good has won – but very often it has, from the days of the Roman Empire onwards to the present day – and yes, I wished yesterday for a Churchillian figure to stand up and unite us against the hatred, fear and misery being incited by the right.

    I do remember a discussion I had with a man some 25 years ago, and he was bemoaning that evil was so strong. He thought that evil was so strong that it couldn’t be fought, but I riposted with

    ‘If evil is so very strong, then why hasn’t it won centuries ago? Why are good people still fighting it when evil is so very tempting and so apparently overwhelmingly strong? That must be because evil is not as strong or alluring or as strong as it tells us it is – good can and will win!”

    As a friend of mine wrote out for me when life was being VERY painful and hard to take at the time, Noli illegitimae te carborundum – which being translated from schoolboy latin means
    Don’t let the b******s grind you down!
    How about that for our new motto!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A well thought out commentary. I’m in a time bind and will try to work up a longer response. I think the anti-elite sentiment is stronger than you think, but it’s also misunderstood. The Democrats had become under control of coterie of left leaning people who seem to think that they have all the answers and are intellectually and ethically superior. They tend to show an irritation to those that disagree with them.

    Like

  5. Peter Whewell says:

    Whilst the divide between the super rich (people and companies) and the rest continues to grow there will be more and more unrest. People around the world are being affected by globalisation which benefits the “elite” and makes life harder for the general populace. Multinationals take advantage of free trade agreements and imported cheap labour to increase their profits at the expense of workers. There is no sense of national or community responsibility.
    What these people don’t seem to understand is that if you keep putting the local population out of work then you are reducing the market for your goods/services.
    Trickle down economics doesn’t work and never has. Smart governments and businesses would understand that if you give people more disposable income the market will grow, the tax take will improve and the economy will right itself. Putting more money into the pockets of the top 5% at the expense of the rest is a recipe for disaster.
    This is why the general populace is becoming increasingly disenchanted by the major political parties. They hear the same messages that they have heard for the past 20 years and they see no improvement in their situation. Whenever they listen to the pollies all they hear is how the last government made a mess of things. They want to know what YOU are going to do to improve things, NOT what the last lot did wrong.
    Where is the person with a vision for the future, with a real message of hope and a policy of cohesion, and the courage to propose policies that are not populist but sound for the prosperity of all Australians? Not in either of the mainstream political parties.
    Poor fellow my country.

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  6. What’s missing here is an understanding of the elite here in America.

    The “mainstream” media – both news and cultural – along with the hierarchy of the national Democratic party and it’s ideological allies has created their own gated community filled with people who have come to conclude that they are intellectually and ethically superior. The Republicans have done this as well.

    The thought leadership of the Democrats aren’t really “liberal” any more…they’re “progressive” and they’re more concerned with making sure companies pay for insurance premiums plans that have birth control or that transsexuals can use the bathroom of their choice. They pride themselves on their supposed open mindedness, but, while doing so, they completely lost touch with much of America’s blue collar working class. Especially white blue collar working class types.

    In fact, many of that same elite look down on these types with a palpable disdain. They look down on the lifestyle, the sense of faith, and values.

    The GOP has been able to capitalize on this…all the while offering tax cuts on those with higher incomes and pictures with American flags.

    Even Bill Clinton couldn’t get Hillary Clinton’s elitist crew to focus on them. They ignored and laughed at his advice. That elitist cost the Democrats and Hillary Clinton Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin (where HRC never even visited), and Iowa.

    This has been going on for decades. The media, which is basically composed of the same types of people that ran the Clinton campaign – highly educated white people who can’t fathom that they could be incorrect – of course, thought that Hillary had this in the bag. That’s because, they too, have no understanding of America’s white working class as they are just as likely to look down on them as their brothers and sisters in politics.

    Hell, several of the media were literally actively helping the Clinton campaign. There’s proof of that.

    Like

  7. Pat A says:

    I agree with Peter W – and what worries me is when will the tension snap and how will it snap – whenever people have been oppressed for too long something snaps – and innocents get hurt, always. Sadly we cannot tell the greedy and soulless this, they have never listened and seemingly never will – nor will they look at history.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nakakagigil says:

    Sitting alone in the dark writing these fact-free missives must serve as some sort of therapy for the unhinged, perpetually clueless progressives who have just had their heads handed to them by voters fed up with Project Global Smug. Yolland tells us “The world might not want your eight cylinder Detroit-built gas guzzler any more, but it seems to want a super-fast electric Tesla, not just because it’s cheap to run, and environmentally friendly, yada yada yada…” Right. Year-to-date unit sales through November in the U.S. for Tesla are around 35,375 while light-duty trucks comprise 9.4 million, or 59.2% of all 15.9 million units sold this year. Low-mileage truck unit sales (including pickups, SUVs, and MPVs) are trending 44.7% higher than sedans sales. The “cheap to run” Tesla imposes a 295% cost premium on a life-cycle per kilometer basis over a comparably-equipped conventional sedan. It’s “environmentally friendly” credentials, despite being wildly overblown — in a majority of U.S. states, the emission footprint of an EV is higher because it requires carbon-emitting electricity generation to charge it — abates CO2 at a cost of over $1,200 per metric ton. The Obama administration wildly overestimates the “social cost of carbon” at $37 per metric ton. So the “environmental friendliness” comes at a price tag 32.4 times greater than it’s vastly overstated social cost. This is economic efficiency to the progressive global elite, the children who play act at managing complex economies and, thankfully, will be sitting on the sidelines whining and marking up their coloring books for the next decade as the adults take charge and set about fixing all the broken furniture left behind during the last eight years of Obama policy mismanagement.

    Yolland tells us “America actually can’t be made great again, because it’s hopelessly under-capitalised (seen the deficit recently?).” Yep, anybody who spends 25% more than what he earns is “under-capitalised.” This is how clueless welfare-state theoreticians sound. They’re like pre-programmed wind-up toys who perpetually repeat canned phrases, all of which betray a complete absence of rational thought. Governments and households run deficits because they SPEND TOO MUCH. Even worse, they are also burdened by progressive politicians who favor economy-destroying super-regulatory state policies which, in their absence, would permit higher growth and greater income-based remittances. What was the opportunity cost of progressive moral vanity that saddled the U.S. economy with two terms of Obama’s growth-destroying policies? Had the post-recession U.S. economy returned to pre-recession economic growth engineered by Obama’s positively awful predecessor, annual per capita Personal Income would have been $3,466 higher than it was by the end of the third quarter 2016. That would have generated a self-sustaining virtuous cycle, providing the government with income-based remittances that would have nearly eliminated the budget deficit. Fewer people would have required the social safety net because there would have been more growth, more jobs, higher wages rates, and higher income levels. So public outlays would have been vastly lower. But progressives don’t get this aspect because they don’t live in the real world, they don’t do economic analysis, they lack the ability to be embarrassed, they don’t understand how real economies work, and they believe their proper role is to manage economic decline rather than to restore robust growth. We’ve wised up now. We’re done with their failures and cynical politics of resentment.

    Hilariously, Yolland goes on a berserk rant saying “when someone calls for huge investment in ‘green energy’ for example yada yada yada.” The U.S. economy under Obama just finished with eight years and more than $150 billion squandered on “green energy” investment. It was a colossal failure, and gave the nation the worst sustained period of real economic growth in post-War history. The Tesla example above provides an illustration about why “green energy” is so economically destabilising; it costs dozens to hundreds of times more than any putative benefit society will ever achieve. “Green energy” investments are destroying economic growth, sparking a measurable and incontestable shift away from states mired in the regulatory morass that it necessitates. The ten states with the highest level of wind energy penetration have seen residential electricity rates climb 4.2 times faster than the other 40 states between 2008 and 2014. The 29 states that obligate threshold renewable energy in their generation portfolios under RPS programmes saw a 0.7% increase in the U3 unemployment rate since 2008 compared to the other 21 states that don’t require it, even though the two groups of states had identical U3 rates prior to imposition of RPS programmes. The 29 RPS states now exhibit real GDP growth rates 0.7% lower than the group of 21 non-RPS states. California, the nation’s leader in “green energy” obligations, has retail fuel prices 50% more costly than the rest of the nation and residential electricity rates 36% higher. The nation’s obligated biofuel programme which incinerates some 42% of the nation’s corn output imposes as much as $60 billion in extra costs to motorists and food consumers. The people most negatively impacted are those least able to afford, the underclass. The lowest quintile spends 25% of disposable income on energy compared to just 5.2% for the top quintile. Yolland’s solution is to drive up the cost of living on the poor and drive more of them into energy poverty. And of course, Yolland can’t forestall his childish labeling of climate catastrophe skeptics, who have demonstrated that IPCC climate models that form the basis of public policy responses to climate change are wildly overstated, as “deniers.” In truth, they are rational people who understand the numbers, have analysed the shortcomings of the hysterical policy response, know a policy scam when they see it, recognise the “green energy” lobby as just another corrupt rent-seeking interest group, and are able to demonstrate all of that to the satisfaction of intelligent adults.

    Like Dracula who keeps rising from the dead to haunt us in the night, Yolland resurrects the old adage that “old-style energy sources are running out whether or not the planet is warming. One day we will run out of gas, oil, coal, and uranium, or it will simply be too expensive to extract what’s left.” Right, you can tell we’re running out of oil by the global price having been cut in half since 2013 even as global demand climbed by 4 million barrels per day during the same time. Most sensible hysterics resigned from the “peak oil” delusion club long ago and adopted a new “keep it in the ground” religion, admitting that their main problem was that there was actually TOO MUCH. The world began running out of oil on the day the first barrel was brought to the surface. That’s no argument to begin deploying absurdly expensive, technically problematic, environmentally destabilizing intermittent sources or planet-destroying biofuels.

    Yolland castigates Trump’s promise to scale back solar power and ramp up coal production. A coal worker generates 144 million BTUs each year. A solar worker produces 1.6 million BTUs for his annual labour. So the economic productivity of a coal worker is 90 times greater than that of a solar installer. Partly because Obama favored the latter over the former, labour productivity has risen at a rate below 0.5% per year since 2010 compared to the long-run annual average of about 2.4% per year. Labor productivity is the primary engine of economic growth. Not coincidentally, the country is mired in the slowest rate of economic growth in post-War history that occurred right alongside the Obama destruction of labour productivity. A coal miner earns weekly wages that averaged $1,478 in October 2016. An Oil & Gas production worker earned $1,882. Meanwhile, a skilled solar installer earns about $825 a week and an unskilled solar worker gets about $575 a week. Nearly 80% of solar panels are imported, mostly from China, while 100% of coal originates from domestic U.S. sources. Hillary’s insane plan was to import large numbers of Chinese solar panels and displace domestic energy sources. That’s in an Obama economy that will average just 1.47% real GDP growth over the prior eight years. Clinton promised to retrain coal workers making $1,478 a week and O&G workers making $1,882 a week so they could install Chinese solar panels and make half their former wage rates. This is Obama-style economic idiocy that progressives like Clinton and Yolland advocate. Voters said “GET LOST” to Hillary’s rebranded version of Obamanomics.

    Yolland throws a tantrum about share prices of solar companies that cratered in the wake of the election as if that was a bad thing. Since “green energy” cannot survive without public subsidies and obligated usage mandates, the economic value of a solar company is equal to the discounted future flow of public subsidies. So the selloff should be greeted as good news by taxpayers. Trump will help make America great again by making America, not China, great again. He’ll also do that by removing the regulatory jackboot off the throat of American businesses, by concentrating on domestic as opposed to foreign sources of supply, by concentrating efforts on boosting industries like coal where average wages are $1,478 a week and O&G where weekly wages are $1,882 a week, and away from industries like solar that depend entirely on foreign sources of supply that degrade the balance of trade, and which pay wages far below the national average. He’ll also be using moral suasion as well as all other legal influence to prevent U.S. corporations from shifting jobs overseas. To the extreme humiliation of the tone-deaf Obama White House, he’s already done with the embarrassing Carrier deal, and the man hasn’t even taken office yet. (Obama’s limp-wristed response to Trump’s Carrier triumph was to issue a lie that he had created 800,000 manufacturing jobs. The truth was he had squandered more than 300,000 during his years in office.) The nation’s disastrous trade deficit in 2016 will sap 3.1% off of real GDP growth in an Obama economy that will barely achieve 1.6% growth this year. In the absence of a trade deficit, real GDP would be 4.7% in 2016. And a shift away from domestic energy supply sources in favour of Chinese solar panels that chop workers’ wages in half will fix all that? Voters didn’t buy into the Clinton-Yolland “Make China Great Again” idiocy.

    Yolland absurdly and cluelessly asserts that “the evidence is that cutting taxes very often does not create jobs, because the “trickle down” effect of lower taxes for the rich is illusory, and there is no evidence that cutting corporate tax results in higher levels of investment in business, either.” Progressives who know as much about history or economics as they do about astrophysics always invoke this ignorant claim, and love tarting it up with the obligatory “trickle down” label. The last time a GOP President passed an economic plan that focused on real tax-based incentives and lower marginal rates for individuals and businesses, it produced the fastest sustained period of real GDP growth in post-War U.S. history. Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 resulted in an unprecedented 5-quarter period that averaged more than 8% annualized real GDP. Nothing like it before or since has EVER been witnessed. Between Q1 1983 and the end of Reagan’s term in Q4 1988, real GDP averaged more than 4.8% per year. Obama’s post-recession performance won’t even come close to achieving half this level. It’s not because the American economy is incapable of real robust growth. That’s just the lie that the progressive “trickle down” clowns tell themselves to maintain their composure in mixed company (and even then it doesn’t always work).

    Disingenuously, Yolland defames Trump supporters implying they’re undereducated. Never mind that Trump won white college-educated voters by four percentage points over Clinton. He says “Trump has ratcheted the expectations for his incoming Presidency to impossibly high levels. If he crashes and burns, we genuinely fear for the very fabric of society. And we fear that effect appearing all over the world.” It really won’t take much to outperform Obama and Clinton. In his eight years, Obama will achieve real GDP growth of just 1.6% per year. Trump can and will double that by eliminating just seven worthless, unneeded EPA regulations: the Clean Power Plan, New Source Review, MATS, Cross-State Emission Standards, MACT, CSAPR, and NAAQS.

    And, of course, Yolland can’t avoid the disingenuous fantasy about reducing regulatory overload, falsely proclaiming that “ ‘getting government off people’s backs’ is simply code for slashing the social credit: cutting money for hospitals, education, welfare, veterans, transport and more. Which are precisely the things that the disenfranchised people that vote for him need to survive.” That’s just mindless, deranged, hot-headed, incompetently worded BS. Trump’s programme involves reducing ridiculous, unjustifiable regulatory overload that federal agencies during the Obama years plainly admitted wouldn’t produce any measurable economic benefits. In place of incentives to keep people out of the workforce as Obama has done, Trump will shrink welfare rolls by reducing the marginal value of welfare while increasing the marginal value of work. That will get able bodied workers off the couch and into the workforce gaining experience, learning job skills, and becoming economically self-sufficient. That’s the real fear of progressives: an energised voting public whose dependency on government is reduced by deployment in private-sector industries producing economic value that rational markets, not government bureaucrats, assign through the price mechanism. This is the nightmare scenario for progressives: an additional 8 to 9 million sidelined workers off food stamps, subsidized housing, welfare support payments, all earning paychecks, developing jobs skills, learning self-sufficiency, and voting for GOP candidates. [Parenthetically, does anyone else find it hilarious that a progressive like Yolland can write a 2,378 word manifesto about how to repair the U.S. economic condition without including a single number (other than to tell us how much solar company shares declined on Wednesday November 9th)?]

    By extension, this is why progressives like Yolland are in such a foul mood after the election. Voters told global elites who think they possess the entitlement to tell everyone else what to do, what to think, and how to vote to go to hell. They won’t be taking dictation from the progressive white racists and bigots who think black people are too stupid to compete with their own white children, who think Christians are just a pack of inbred, knuckle-dragging morons running around their trailer park neighborhoods burning crosses on their neighbor’s lawns, who prefer to label green energy opponents as “Holocaust deniers” rather than people who understand the absence of economic rationale behind useless and ruinously expensive climate mitigation plans, who think they have a right to coerce people into acquiescence of their highly divisive social change programmes, who believe Islamic terror atrocities amount to just desserts for a country that has exhibited arrogance with its foreign policy, and so on. It’s going to be a long wait for thin-skinned progressives to be shivering out in the cold. Here’s hoping they brought their long johns. They’re going to need them.

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