Sunday, June 26, 2005

What are we doing in Vietnam?

In April 1975 Marine helicopters lifted the last Americans off the rooftop of our embassy in Saigon, and out of Vietnam. By the end of the month the Communist forces had taken control of all Indo-China and embarked on one of the most horrific social-engineering experiments in world history. These crimes are unknown to many Americans – for example the kids my age who didn't learn about them in school, and the former Vietnam War protestors who are afraid to acknowledge what a disaster the American withdrawal turned out to be. The ignorance is overwhelming: a search for "Vietnam atrocities" on the web will bring you reports of American "atrocities!"

Communist regimes murdered millions in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The Commies were at their worst in Cambodia, under the Khmer Rouge and the social re-engineering of the Angka Loeu, whose plan was first put into action in April 1975. As Paul Johnson explains in his brilliant history Modern Times:


"On April 17 over 3 million people were living in Phnom Penh. They were literally pushed into the countryside...Every hospital was emptied. All papers and records in the city were destroyed. All books were thrown into the Mekong River or burned on the banks...Rockets and bazookas were fired at houses where any movement was detected. There were many summary executions. The rest were told, 'Leave immediately or we will shoot all of you.' By evening the water supply was cut off...

"On April 23 troops began emptying other cities... In Siem Reap over one-hundred patients in the Monte Peth hospital were murdered in their beds with clubs and knives; forty more were killed in the military hospital. Following the pattern of Stalin in Poland, there were massacres of officers: at Mongkol Borei, for instance, a group of two-hundred were driven into a minefield laid specially for the purpose. At the Svay Pagoda near Sisophon, eighty-eight pilots were clubbed to death. Other groups murdered en masse were street beggars, prostitutes, the seriously wounded and incurably sick found in hospitals, civil servants, teachers and students."

Those are the true atrocities of the Vietnam War. The similar crimes of the Vietnamese government prompted tens of thousands of "boat people" to risk their lives leaving Vietnam – and six out of ten never made it. Reformed Communist and former PRG Minister of Justice Truong Nhu Tang was a successful escapee. He wrote of Communist Vietnam: “Never has any previous regime brought such masses of people to such desperation. Not the military dictators, not the colonialists, not even the ancient Chinese overlords.” The Communists are still in power today, of course, and the repression continues, except that Vietnam is no longer openly called a murderous dictatorship – it is instead a “Country of Particular Concern.”

And so on Tuesday, June 21, President Bush received the Communist Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai at the White House, and, in a disgraceful fit of ‘reaching out’ reminiscent of the Clinton Presidency, accepted an invitation to go to Vietnam. In the meantime, a group of about 200 mostly Vietnamese-American protestors outside the White House was ignored.

Later that evening, Commie Van Khai was introduced at a formal dinner by none other than former Vietnam POW Senator John McCain. The dinner was briefly interrupted when a balding protestor, believed to be a Vietnam Vet, shouted “you’re a traitor!” towards the stage. The man was quickly kicked out by security guards. Since McCain

has apparently forgotten what he was doing at the Hanoi Hilton (and what was done to him) I will remind him with excerpts from one of his own pieces:

“We say [“before I got killed”] instead of "before I got shot down," because in becoming a prisoner in North Vietnam was like being killed.

“They took me out of my room to "Slopehead," [an interrogator] who said, "You have violated all the camp regulations. You're a black criminal. You must confess your crimes." I said that I wouldn't do that, and he asked, "Why are you so disrespectful of guards?" I answered, "Because the guards treat me like an animal."

“When I said that, the guards – who were all in the room, about 10 of them – really laid into me. They bounced me from pillar to post, kicking and laughing and scratching. After a few hours of that, ropes were put on me and I sat that night bound with ropes. Then I was taken to a small room. For punishment they would almost always take you to another room where you didn't have a mosquito net or a bed or any clothes. For the next four days, I was beaten every two to three hours by different guards. My left arm was broken again and my ribs were cracked.”

Did McCain stand up with hundreds of other prisoners under that gruesome torture only to find himself 30 years later as a consummate politician, whispering sweet nothings into the ear of the Communist government responsible for that torture?

As any of my regular blog readers knows, I support the Bush administration. And that makes me all the more disgusted with Bush and McCain and wishy-washy Republicans in general when something like this happens. I expect to see a morally vacuous leader like Clinton go to Vietnam, or reopen trade with the Vietnamese Communists (both of which he did – the US is now Vietnam’s largest trading partner). Equally, I expect leaders who have shown dignity and courage to understand that the fight is not over just because the war is over. As long as the Communists are still in power – as long as a man can be tried and sentenced to prison in half a day for using the word “democracy” – Vietnam is our enemy.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Crying Shame: The Feminized Military

“To me, the very fact that this issue is being discussed and this meeting is being held simply shows that you really don’t take the military seriously. For you, the military is not a question of life and death… So you can afford to make all kinds of experiments, which we cannot… The very fact that you have this debate may itself be construed as proof that it’s not serious. It’s a game. It’s a joke.”
- Israeli Military Historian Martin Van Creveld, on the issue of women in the military

That’s what it was -- a pathetic joke. I was sitting at my lunch table looking at the cover of Time, which sported a photograph of three graduates of West Point’s “Class of 9/11.” There they stood in their immaculate gray cadet uniforms: two men -- and one woman. The hilt of her ceremonial sword peaked out from under her arm.

I had borrowed the magazine from a friend across the table -- my interest was peaked when I heard someone describe one of the West Pointers covered in Time’s story as a “loser.” What could earn a West Point cadet such a reaction?

I flipped through the story to find the section on their cover girl. She talked about how she stood next to a female friend of hers (who had planned to leave the academy) and took the “Commitment Day Oath” that marks the two-year point: “We were bawling, but we made it through.” That’s it -- there is crying at West Point. Our cadet used this friend of hers as “a shoulder to cry on” -- literally.

The military has been forced into pretending to take female soldiers seriously, and Time magazine is one of the believers -- it seems that the editors completely miss the tragic comedy inherent in lines from their article like, “One girl wrote how [the instructing officer] made her cry but in time you made her a better leader.”

In a 1974 congressional hearing on the issue of women in the military academies, Secretary of the Army Howard H. Callaway worried that “admitting women to West Point will irrevocably change the Academy” and that “the Spartan atmosphere…would surely be diluted.” Air Force Academy Superintendent Lieutenant General Albert P. Clark predicted that the academies would “find it necessary to create a modified program to accommodate the female cadet, or, God forbid, to water down the entire program.”

Both ominous predictions have come true.

The fact that women are not suited for and are barred from combat, but are nevertheless admitted to our military academies, is the basic logical flaw that has destroyed the academies’ once powerful reputations as serious schools for war. Their primary mission has switched from preparing men for combat to preparing people for careers in the military. They have switched from judging by performance to judging by effort.

The corruption of these military institutions was signed into law by President Ford on October 7, 1975. Public Law 94-106:

“(1) female individuals shall be eligible for appointment and admission to the service academy concerned…beginning in calendar year 1976, and (2) the academic and other relevant standards required for appointment, admission, training, graduation, and commissioning of female individuals shall be the same as those required for male individuals, except for those minimum essential adjustments in such standards required because of physiological differences between male and female individuals.”

Right off the bat there were “minimum essential adjustments.” The legislators and the military knew from the beginning that women would not be capable of meeting the accepted standards. They also surely knew that it doesn’t matter how hard you try to kill someone -- it’s whether he ends up dead that counts.

What did these “minimum essential adjustments” turn out to be? Start by visiting West Point’s admissions website and checking out the physical standards. The Candidate Fitness Assessment is broken into six events, each of which is graded out of a possible score of 100 points. Here are some selections: A perfect score on the pull-ups test for a man is 18 reps. For a woman it is 7 reps (though a woman can be admitted without being able to do any pull-ups -- females have the option of hanging from the bar with arms flexed instead). A perfect score on pushups requires a man to do 75, a woman to do 50. A perfect score on the mile-run is 5:20 for a man and 6:00 for a woman (although many suppose men to be superior only in upper-body strength). A perfect score on the one-armed basketball throw from the kneeling position will require a distance of 102 feet for a man, and 66 feet for a woman.

These corrupt double-standard physical requirements now extend through every branch of the regular military. In the Marine Corps, for example, a male Marine has to do a minimum of 3 dead-hand pull-ups; a female Marine has to hang from the bar with arms flexed for 16 seconds. But this look at the fitness tests only scratches the surface.

Problems started with the first integrated classes in 1976. The first thing West Pointers noticed was that women were injured more often in field training -- five times as often as men in the first year, fourteen times as often in the next.

As Brian Mitchell points out in his excellent book Women in the Military (1998) women at West Point lagged far behind the men even when they were healthy:

“On their first timed two-mile run, 85 percent of female plebes at West Point received a score of D or lower according to the male standard. When 61 percent failed a complete physical test, compared to 4.8 percent of male plebes, separate standards were devised for the women. Similar adjustments were made to other standards. At Annapolis, a two-foot stepping stool was added to an indoor obstacle course to enable women to surmount an eight-foot wall. At West Point, women carried M16 rifles for rifle-runs and bayonet drills, while men continued to carry much heavier M14s. On parade, West Point women were initially allowed to brace the M14 on their knee when drawing back the bolt for inspection. Later, the bolt springs were shortened to reduce tension, making the bolt easier to draw.”

Wrestling and boxing were replaced with martial arts and self-defense. Women’s low peer-ratings were compensated for at the Air Force Academy by higher officer ratings, and at Annapolis by discontinuing the peer-rating system. In the first year of integration, West Point’s full combat-gear 2.5-mile Enduro run made use of a double standard to allow women to “earn” the Recondo patch even if they could not complete the run. In the second year women were held to the same standards as men and failed spectacularly. In the third year, the Enduro run was dropped. Upperclassmen at the Air Force Academy were ordered to use “positive motivation” for the females, and to continue picking on the men (it was customary for upperclassmen to toughen up new recruits). Where it had once been traditional to make it easy for men who where weak in commitment to leave the academies, women were actively encouraged to stay. At Annapolis, a female midshipmen was allowed to graduate and receive her commission despite having refused to complete the mandatory 34-foot jump into water, simulating abandon ship, because of her fear of heights. As Stephanie Gutmann wrote in The Kinder, Gentler Military (2000) women in Army basic training often begin to cry when they have to descend from a rappelling tower, and some women are so panic-stricken that they cannot rappel at all.

In perhaps the most reckless display of feminism, women are allowed to serve on shipboard even though a 1981 Navy study showed that they are not capable of handling heavy fire equipment, carrying stretchers, or advancing hose lines. Needless to say, such incompetence puts the lives of men and the safety of the ship at risk. It is an immoral thing to allow.

Integration was billed as a tremendous success while men behind the scenes worked overtime to prevent its failure from coming to light. As Mitchell reports, for example, “West Point’s ‘Institutional Plans to Overcome Sexism’ called for tighter controls on the gathering of data related to integration to ‘avoid research activities which have sexist consequences.’” If the facts proved integration to be a mess, the feminist response was to stop collecting facts.

Several studies were commissioned to prove that women could serve in the military, but their conclusions were often contradicted by the evidence. A 1977 field test (REF WAC 77) monitored integrated NATO operations in Germany. 29 percent of females failed to report for “personal reasons.” Once again, as Mitchell reports, women needed help lifting their equipment and complained about the absence of shower facilities; some refused to leave their tents at night “for fear of the dark.” REF WAC 77 concluded that there was no evidence that women worsened performance of their units.

The 1981 Women In The Army policy review group (WITA) broke ranks. This was largely because of the date: The Carter administration had put tremendous pressure on the military and its research commissions to move towards quotas of women in the military; the Regan administration was not actively for or against women in the military (except in combat) and did not keep WITA from reporting what they found. WITA devised a system of Direct Combat Probability Coding (DCPC) designed to locate dangerous positions in the services and close them to women. They also studied the often overlooked issue of strength required in non-combat positions. (On one occasion, WITA members went to Aberdeen and saw women who were being certified as ammunition handlers moving large crates of ammo with apparent ease. Later they discovered that the women were being tested with empty crates because they could not carry loaded ones.) WITA developed a strength test called MEPSCAT which they recommended for all enlistees to determine what jobs they were strong enough to serve in -- a seemingly commonsense requirement. WITA’s report was attacked by the civilian feminist lobby, and suppressed. The feminists never found anything wrong with WITA’s methods or the information they gathered -- they simply attacked the conclusion on principal. Despite the fact that the report had been validated by an independent research group, WITA was officially discredited through the complaints of civilian activist groups. DCPC and MEPSCAT were ignored. As a result, women continue to serve in positions where they are not capable of doing their required jobs because they are not strong enough. (Women mechanics, for example, have trouble changing tires and carrying their own tool boxes, and often have to have men do part of the job for them).

It is not easy to pull women into the military, because the vast majority of women do not want to become professional soldiers. This is obvious on a very basic level -- little girls do not like playing army. Women enlistees “are much more likely to list practical, selfish reasons for joining the services, such as education, travel, and money.” Men are more likely to join out of patriotism, and are drawn to the romantic warrior ideal that women simply (obviously) do not identify with. As a result, recruiting women to fill quotas has proved to be tremendously costly (in money and quality). The Army has had to lower recruiting standards for women, and turn away qualified men, in order to fill the required percentages.

As a taxpayer, you are also paying for wasted pseudo-combat training for women, and for the fact that women leave the service at a much higher rate than men. You are paying for smaller equipment that women can wear, and longer wrenches that women can turn. You are paying for more comfortable helicopter seats (women complained of back pain); you spent $70,000 to plaster the Pentagon’s Military Women’s Corridor with feminist propaganda. You are paying literally hundreds of millions of dollars to recruit people who don‘t want the job and can’t do it. Worst of all, you are paying in your decreased national security. Every time a female officer with no combat experience becomes a general, we lose one male general officer -- and you pay for that. When, on average, 20% of woman sailors on shipboard become pregnant and have to be flown back to land, leaving the ship undermanned, you pay for that. When combat units are supplied by companies with women who cannot lift their own equipment, you pay for that. And our soldiers (the ones who fight) pay for it.

What about fairness? What about fairness for the fighting military? What about national security for the American people? The military is being pulled down by radical ideologues. This is why there has been such a great expansion in the use of Special Ops forces and elite units like the Army Rangers -- which allow no women. If the military academies want to be taken seriously again, it will be a long fight back to where they once were. Take out your handkerchiefs.

Monday, June 13, 2005

GOPINION.COM

A Brand-New news source is now available at GOPinion.com. The GOPinion editors select the best conservative news stories on the web from 76 different blogs (including this one). Check GOPinion for your daily digest.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The True Story of Reaganomics

Note: This is a research piece and I must therefore cite my sources. Since, however, the use of footnotes or endnotes is not available to me on this blog, I am forced to use parentheticals, which are ugly.

At the end of President Jimmy Carter’s four years, the American economy (and America in general) was in crisis. Rate of change of productivity was only a quarter of what it had been under Nixon and Ford (the only Presidents of the century who have performed more poorly in this department than Carter were Clinton and Hoover) (Cato 6). Real median family income was declining steeply (Cato 5-6). Worst of all was the combination of a stagnant economy and high inflation (“stagflation”) which seemed to violate Keynesian economic principle (D’Souza 90).

Keynes’s economics was the mainstay of the failed Carter policy. It had been developed by John Maynard Keynes during the great depression and enjoyed great success during the WWII era. It was “premised on the notion that experts can control the ups and downs of the economy by manipulating government spending and money supply” (D’Souza 90). Central to Keynesian theory was the Phillips Curve, which states that there is an inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment (D’Souza 90). The simultaneous double-digit inflation and the high unemployment rates of the Carter administration was baffling to the Keynesians -- fortunately, the American public had a chance to hurl Carter out of office just in time for Reagan to come in and clean things up.

Reagan had three major economic theories to choose from. First, the tried and untrue Keynesian view. Second, Monetarism, championed by Milton Friedman. The Monetarists believed that the bad economy (specifically high inflation) was the result of having too much money in circulation (D’Souza 90). They therefore favored strict control of money supply as a means of lowering inflation.

The last school of thought was supply-side economics. Supply-siders wanted to cut tax rates, thereby increasing the incentive of workers to produce, and “invigorating the economy from the production or ‘supply’ side” (D’Souza 90). Supply-side economics encourages growth “arising from a free response (e.g. investment, hard work, etc.)” (Bartlett 3).

Supply-side economics is identified with economists Robert Mundell and Arthur Laffer. The Laffer Curve, central to supply-side theory, predicts that there are two different rates of taxation that will generate the same government revenue, and that there is a single optimal rate that generates the most revenue (D’Souza 91). For example, if the government were to tax the people at 0% or 100%, the revenue generated would be zero dollars in either case -- at 0% the government will not be collecting, at a 100% the people will have no incentive to produce (D’Souza 91). The idea therefore was to achieve increased government revenue with tax rates lower than they had been under the Carter administration. Interestingly enough, this theory had been advanced by President Coolidge in 1924 (quoted in Bartlett 211). It is also worth noting that Reagan would achieve the second-longest period of sustained economic growth in the 20th century with the second-largest tax cut. JFK had achieved the longest period of sustained economic growth in the 20th century with the largest tax cut (Cato 13).

Supply-side economics has often been unfairly caricatured as “trickle-down” economics by its opponents. They claim that Reagan’s tax policies were designed to stimulate the economy by giving all riches to the richest people, and letting the effects of their increased spending “trickle down” to the lower classes. This is not what Reagan’s tax cuts achieved -- his first and biggest tax cut was the same percentage for all income brackets. Needless to say, this resulted in a greater increase in wealth for the wealthier brackets, simply because they had been paying far greater taxes.

Reagan wanted to use a combination of monetarist and supply-side economics in a Friedman-Mundell compatibility theory that was the subject of heated debate among the leading economists of the day (Niskanen 8). The proposed economic policy had four main parts: 1) A supply-side 25% tax cut across the board; 2) Tight control of money supply as per monetarist theory; 3) A limit on domestic spending to control the budget; 4) A reduction of government regulation (Cato 2). This is Reaganomics.

Reagan predicted that his program would end the “economic woes” of the Carter administration and bring the US “lasting economic growth and prosperity” (D’Souza 85). Reagan’s plan was revolutionary -- “the most ambitious program for America since the New Deal” (D’Souza 85). Its core was tax cuts, which involved Reagan most directly and had been the main plank of his campaign platform (JEC 1).

Reagan was expected to have trouble getting his policies enacted -- tax cuts in particular. Republicans had only a slim majority in the Senate, and the Democrats controlled the House under Speaker Tip O’Neill (who turned out to be the major obstacle to Reagan’s tax plan). Reagan used the “acumen and experience of his aides, especially Chief of Staff James Baker…to win the support of moderate Republicans in the Senate and Conservative Democrats in the House,” without which he would not have had the votes he needed (D’Souza 93). In his most effective move, Reagan made a remarkable national TV address in which he requested that Americans write and call their representatives and demand passage of his tax plan. “The response was overwhelming” (D’Souza 93).

The 25% tax cuts were passed in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (often called the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut after its sponsors in the House and Senate respectively). The tax cut was introduced gradually, with the first cut of 5% in 1981 and the last in 1983 (JEC 1). The act also included a provision to index tax rates for inflation starting in 1985, ending the phenomenon of bracket creep (when a person earns the same in real terms but moves into a higher bracket because he is paid in devalued dollars) (D’Souza 93). Getting the act passed was, in the words of Reagan critic Ronnie Dugger, a feat that “no ordinary person could have achieved” (D’Souza 89).

In the final year of the tax cuts’ implementation (1983) the United States “commenced a seven-year period of uninterrupted growth…the biggest peacetime economic boom in US history" (D’Souza 109). As Reagan biographer Dinesh D’Souza continues:

At a growth rate of 3.5%, well above the nation’s historic average, the gross domestic product expanded by nearly a third in real terms. Measured in 1990 dollars, median family income, which had declined during the 1970s, climbed from $33,409 in 1980 to $38,493 in 1989, a 15 percent increase. While European countries were facing chronically high unemployment rates, in America 5 million new businesses and 20 million new jobs were created, largely solving the nation’s unemployment problems. Interest rates fell from 20 percent in 1980 to less that 10 percent. Despite sporadic ups and downs, including the steep fall of Black Monday in October 1987, the stock market more than doubled in value. Most spectacular, these results were achieved with low inflation. The double-digit price increase of the Carter years simply vanished; inflation became an insignificant problem in the Reagan era.

Former CEA chairman Murray Wiedenbaum made some interesting comparisons between the Carter and Reagan administrations in an op-ed for The Christian Science Monitor: “Real GDP declined by one-half of 1 percent in 1980, President Carter’s last year, and rose 3.9 percent in 1988, President Reagan’s last year…the unemployment rate declined from 7.0% in 1980 to 5.4% in 1988...real national wealth rose from $11.9 trillion in 1980 to $14.2 trillion in 1988” (Wiedenbaum 1).

The productivity rate during the Reagan administration increased two and a half times faster than it had during the Carter administration (Cato 5-6). The “Reagan Recovery” lasted 92 months -- the “second longest uninterrupted economic expansion of the century” (Cato 20). Furthermore, the supply-side theory of greater revenues from lower tax rates, along with lowered burden on the lower brackets, was vindicated. The wealthiest 1% of all Americans had paid 18% of all Federal income taxes in 1981, but by 1990, with their taxes substantially reduced, they paid 25% of all Federal income taxes (Cato 20). Similarly, the wealthiest 5% of Americans, who paid 25% of all Federal income taxes in 1981, paid 44% of all Federal income taxes in 1990 (Cato 17).

There are three chief criticisms of Reaganomics. The first is that the Reagan expansion was the result of Keynesian, not Supply-Side economics (“Reagan’s economic program actually amounted to the longest and most successful Keynesian recovery the world has yet seen” ran an erroneous editorial in Newsday) (quoted in Cato 12).

The most obvious argument against this claim is in the fact that, if this were a Keynesian recovery, the Keynesian economists would have predicted it. As D’Souza writes, most Keynesian economists “had warned instead that Reagan’s policies would lead to higher rates of inflation. Not only did this prove to be false, but the very economic facts of the recovery had once again falsified the Phillips curve” (D’Souza 110). Furthermore, since Keynesian economics operates under the belief that the economy is demand-driven, demand should have grown rapidly during the 1980s; in reality, the rate of demand growth fell (Cato 12).

The second main criticism of Reaganomics is that “the poor got poorer and the very rich grew fabulously richer, while middle-class incomes largely stagnated” (as my 11th grade history text, The American Pageant, falsely claims).

JFK once said that “a rising tide lifts all boats” and the Reagan recovery has shown this to be true. During the Reagan years, real family income increased in all five income brackets (Cato 15). During the Carter years, real family income decreased for the two poorest quintiles, stayed the same (“largely stagnated”) for the middle quintile, and increased only for the two richest quintiles (Cato 15). In other words, what the so-called textbook The American Pageant claims to have happened as a result of Reagan’s policies was actually going on during the Carter administration. The change in real family income of the poorest quintile was -5% during the Carter years and +6% during the Reagan years (Cato 16). 85.8% of those in the lowest quintile in 1979 were in a higher quintile by 1988 (Cato 16). In addition, a man who had been in the poorest quintile in 1979 was more likely to have moved to the highest quintile by 1988 than he was to still be in the lowest (Cato 15). Articles such as “The Disappearance of the Middle Class” (which appeared in the New York Times magazine) claimed that, since the middle class was getting smaller, the country must be getting poorer (D’Souza 111). This complaint ignores the fact that, while there was a fall in the percent of Americans in the middle class, there was a corresponding rise in the number of Americans in the upper class -- in other words, “a substantial number of middle-class Americans became rich” (D’Souza 113).

The last major criticism of Reaganomics is the claim that the tax cuts caused a huge increase in the budget deficit. This is untrue -- the main reason for the deficit was the increase in defense spending. The increase of $799 billion in the deficit during the Reagan years was actually smaller than the increase in defense spending of $806 billion (Cato 9). This increase in defense spending, however, was more than paid for by the Cold War victory that it helped to bring about. As D’Souza writes: “[Economist Lawrence Lindsey] calculates that the country’s defense savings since the collapse of the Soviet Union have more than compensated for the investment that Reagan made in the 1980s…In purely economic terms, the buildup was a ‘fantastic payoff -- the best money we ever spent’” (D’Souza 99).

One must also remember that it is incorrect to say simply that “deficits are bad.” All things being equal, we would rather not have a deficit. But all things are not equal: A deficit is better than a weak economy; it is better than having a communist superpower, and it is also better than having a surplus. (Remember that a surplus is actually government theft -- taking more money from the taxpayer than it needs to run the country). A deficit is also a indicator of a country that is economically strong -- it shows that people everywhere (our own citizens and foreign nations) are willing to invest in the United States. (Assuming that, as during the Reagan administration, the Treasury can keep interest rates low).

Reaganomics was tremendously successful. The “Reagan recession,” which was actually the tail-end of Carter’s great recession, ended when the tax cuts took effect, and America’s economy experienced an extraordinarily powerful recovery that lasted well into the 1990s (D’Souza 109,128). The “seemingly insoluble” problem of stagflation was solved (D’Souza 127). Reagan’s astonishingly simple solution turned out to be the best -- all we had to do was “give it back to the taxpayers” (D’Souza 67).


Bibliography:

Bartlett, Bruce R. Reaganomics: Supply Side Economics in Action. Westport: Arlington House, 1981.

D'Souza, Dinesh. Ronald Reagan. New York: The Free P, 1997.

Moore, Stephan, and William A. Niskanen. "Supply Tax Cuts and the Truth About the Reagan Economic Record." The Cato Institute (1996).
http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-261.html.

Niskanen, William A. Reaganomics: An Insider's Account of the Policies and the People. New York: Oxford UP, 1988.

United States. Joint Economic Committee. The Reagan Tax Cuts: Lessons for Tax Reform. Apr. 1996.
http://www.house.gov/jec/fiscal/tx-grwth/reagtxct/reagtxct.htm.

Wiedenbaum , Murray. "Reaganomics - Its Remarkable Results'." The Christian Science Monitor. 18 Dec. 1997.
http://search.csmonitor.com/durable/1997/12/18/opin/opin.2.html.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

European Unity? Not Quite

What is going on with the European Union? Last week both France and Holland rejected the monstrous 448-article constitution (ours, as you know, has 7 articles). In addition it seems that Italy may drop the Euro, which has been losing against the dollar, and returning to the Lira (Italian Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni has said that "during the last three years, the Euro has turned out to be inadequate..."). In the same week, Germany's Economy Minister also spoke out against the Euro. He claims, says the UK Telegraph, "that the perverse effects of monetary union were strangling German industry." France and Germany have record high unemployment rates. The Bank of Italy predicts that there will be no economic growth throughout 2005. What has happened to the promise of European unity?

Of course the unity was never there in the first place. Europeans would like to present a united front but the individual desires and identities of the members are too powerful to allow for that. Heritage Foundation Research Fellow John Hulsman explains that the two extremes are France and England. France would like to see a socialist, protectionist anti-American Europe, while England would like the Union to be pro-America and pro-free trade.

With the introduction of the 448-article constitution, written largely by former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Europeans finally had a chance to vote on the EU. The failure (and impending failure) of these votes demonstrates the Europeans’ dissatisfaction not only with the constitution, but with the introduction of the Euro, about which they were not asked, about the 10 new members, about which they were not asked, etc. Europeans are finally given a chance to protest the inch-by-inch destruction of their individuality as nations.

World bodies are generally failures. The United Nations is a failure and always has been. The UN can’t do anything of value because the members cannot agree on what should be done.

The EU also has too many members, and makes the additional mistake of attempting to legislate away the rights of individual citizens of individual countries, which citizens object to -- the Dutch want to be Dutch, not European; the English want to be English; the French want to be French (for some reason).

In order for the EU to avoid becoming an embarrassing reminder of European disunity two things have to happen: First, the EU has to get smaller. Second, the EU has to stop looking at itself as a governing body. Each nation remains sovereign and governs itself -- keeps its own currency, its own individual laws, and its own constitution. The EU therefore becomes an economic agreement, as it used to be in the common market days.

The odds are against the EU rescuing itself, though, because the rescue would run contrary to two nearly inviolable laws of bureaucracy: 1) Once it is large, it will only get larger. 2) Once it has power, it will only get more power. This means that the EU is headed for disaster, which is not necessarily a bad thing. (The last thing the world needs, of course, is another super-power to balance the United States). The EU may remain on the scene for many years, just like the United Nations; nevertheless it is likely that, once again like the UN, it will stop being taken seriously long before its demise.