Good Friday Morning! Especially to the PBS Frontline crew, who aired a documentary titled: “Age of Easy Money.” It is excellent and encapsulates many of my criticisms of the Federal Reserve going back fifteen years. They explore Quantitative Easing and how the Federal Reserve created our current problem. I recommend it if you have time; it’s just shy of two hours and free to stream on Youtube.
If you’ve been around politics, you’ve heard Democrats blast “trickle-down economics.” They point to the Reagan era as a failed example of these policies. The irony is that Quantitative Easing is the ultimate example of trickle-down economics. You’re pumping money into banks with the (false) hope that this will trickle down to the consumer through cheaper credit. There has been trickle-down; you don’t get the massive Silicon Valley tech boom without dirt-cheap cash flooding the system. But only during the Trump years did regular Joes see their livelihoods improve.
The other thing Democrats are wrong about is Reagan. When Reagan took office, the Fed was in the middle of a massive fight against inflation that had started in roughly 1968. They’d failed to control or fix inflation for the entirety of the 70s (with no help from Congress or the White House). Starting with Reagan, you get the one-two combo of 1) Volker issuing the highest rate hikes in history and 2) Reagan de-regulating the economy and easing supply-side pressures to boost supply – which directly helped cool prices.
That combo so thoroughly destroyed inflation it brought forth an economic boom so strong we wouldn’t see it end until the Great Financial Crisis in 2008. Contrast with our time, where it’s only the Fed fighting inflation, with Biden pumping more cheap money into the economy. The Fed is serious about fighting inflation, and Biden is following the path of LBJ, Nixon, Ford, and Carter.
I could go on about this ad nauseam. But there are other things to talk about this week, like the Trump indictment and the expelling of Democratic lawmakers in Tennessee. Check out the Age of Easy Money documentary and the links section at the end.
Where you can find me this week
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[04/03/2023] The Era of Easy Money is being replaced by The Sobering – Conservative Institute
[04/07/2023] Biden smears Trump to avoid Afghanistan blame – Conservative Institute
Violating norms, but whose norms?
I like Venn diagrams, especially in internet memes. It could be because you can often use them to put two seemingly different segments of people next to each other. Here is a Venn diagram I’ve had in my head this week.
- Circle one: Democrats who say “no one is above the law” and that the Trump indictment is good.
- Circle two: Democrats who believe it was wrong for the Tennessee legislature to expel Democratic members who violated chamber rules and disrupted a session.
- Circle three: Republicans who say the Trump indictment is terrible.
- Circle four: Republicans who say the expelling of Tennessee Democrats is good.
This past week, I’ve watched my liberal friends celebrate things like “arraignment week.” They’ve cheered the prosecutor involved here, claimed to prosecute Trump on flimsy charges was establishing the rule of law, and more. And then, at the end of the week, they’ve called Republicans “fascists” for expelling Democrats who violated House chamber rules.
At the week’s end, I felt like trolling some of them by asking: But you said no one was above the law! If any average person violated chamber rules like those three Representatives in Tennessee did, they’d get kicked out. If you witnessed a Republican take the same action, you’d clutch your pearls! What gives?
There’s a flip side to this, too—Republicans who complain about the Trump indictment but cheer about the expelling decision.
I’ve jumped a bit ahead. I know many of my readers aren’t based in Tennessee. So I’ll explain the Tennessee legislature thing in brief. We had the tragic school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. While most of us have prayed for the victims and donated to various causes, the left went into a predictable protest frenzy. During those protests, three Democrats amped it up. This is from the Tennessean:
On March 30, Pearson and Jones, both freshman lawmakers who had previously clashed with leadership on other issues this session, walked up to the House podium during a floor session and using a bullhorn began leading gun reform chants, echoing the shouts of protesters packed into the Capitol rotunda. The pair, later flanked by Johnson, grew frustrated as House leadership moved on to regular business just days after the mass shooting.
After relieving the lawmakers of committee assignments and shutting off their building access over the weekend, the Republican supermajority moved swiftly Monday to start the expulsion process, among the first legislative actions taken by the General Assembly related to the March 27 mass shooting that killed six, including three 9-year-olds.
The legislature passed a package of new school security measures to prevent another Covenant. The legislation was passed by a vote of 95-4. If you’re wondering who voted against it, look at the above expelled dissidents.
Republicans saw it as radical members of the Democratic Party trying to shut down floor business and incite the crowd. Here’s that side of the story:
House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, likened the events to an “insurrection,” even comparing the peaceful protest that resulted in zero arrests to the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol. Though he later walked back the comments, saying his remarks were directed at the three lawmakers and not protesters. Sexton this week said he considered the unprecedented floor protest an act “against civil authority.”
“What they did was try to hold up the people’s business on the House floor instead of doing it the way that they should have done it, which they have the means to do,” Sexton said. “They actually thought that they would be arrested, and so they decided that them being a victim was more important than focusing on the six victims from Monday. And that’s appalling.”
In the expulsion hearing on Thursday, Rep. Andrew Farmer, R-Sevierville, blamed Pearson of throwing a “temper tantrum with an adolescent bullhorn.”
“That yearning for attention, that’s what you wanted?” Farmer said. “Well, you’re getting it now.”
What’s been utterly predictable is the national media coverage. They’ve covered this as Representatives getting kicked out of the chamber for their speech. If that were the case, you’d see a much broader focus on Democrats who joined the protestors in the capital. Even Barack Obama decided to weigh in:
This nation was built on peaceful protest. No elected official should lose their job simply for raising their voice – especially when they’re doing it on behalf of our children.
What happened in Tennessee is the latest example of a broader erosion of civility and democratic norms. Silencing those who disagree with us is a sign of weakness, not strength, and it won’t lead to progress.
This is, of course, a distortion of what happened. President Obama never met a political straw man he could ignore, so I’m not shocked.
But again, the Venn diagrams. Because there was a second set of norms we blew by this week involving Trump’s indictment. I could sit here and talk about the indictment, but why don’t I let an op-ed in the New York Times do it? Jed Handelsman Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham and Boston University, wrote this. In a piece titled “The Trump Indictment Is a Legal Embarrassment,” he writes:
Tuesday was historic for the rule of law in America, but not in the way Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, would have imagined. The 34-count indictment — which more accurately could be described as 34 half-indictments — was a disaster. It was a setback for the rule of law and established a dangerous precedent for prosecutors.
This legal embarrassment reveals new layers of Trumpian damage to the legal foundations of the United States: Mr. Trump’s opponents react to his provocations and norms violations by escalating and accelerating the erosion of legal norms.
The case appears so weak on its legal and jurisdictional basis that a state judge might dismiss the case and mitigate that damage. More likely, the case is headed to federal court for a year, where it could lose on the grounds of federal pre-emption — only federal courts have jurisdiction over campaign finance and filing requirements. Even if it survives a challenge that could reach the Supreme Court, a trial would most likely not start until at least mid-2024, possibly even after the 2024 election.
Instead of the rule of law, it would be the rule of the circus.
What Prof. Shugerman and many others note is that we don’t know what Alvin Bragg is really charging Trump with in this indictment. His theory is a weak connection to campaign finance law, which Bragg really doesn’t have the authority to prosecute as a state DA. The authorities that do, the FEC and DOJ, have refused to touch this case, similar to Bragg’s predecessor.
Shugerman eviscerates the indictment from every angle. Numerous other commentators have done the same, from the left and right. There is no objective case for what Bragg did here – it’s purely a stunt, likely to boost his own profile.
In short, a former President, actively running for office again, was arrested and arraigned on the flimsiest of charges, with nary an explanation from the prosecutor. I want Mr. Obama’s opinion as a former lawyer on that one. How does this prosecution uphold the rule of law and protect elected officials?
Crickets from Obama and many on the left on that one. Again, back to the Venn diagrams. What do you care about? This point cuts both ways for Democrats and Republicans. I’ve just seen so much more on both of these stories from the left this week, causing my reaction to them.
My own opinion is that Bragg shouldn’t have brought this case. I have a growing skepticism Trump will face serious legal pressure in the Georgia case that everyone is talking about too. That’s a story for another day. I also see expelling as a bit extreme, except for Jones. The Democrats certainly earned censorship by disrupting the chamber and preventing a session from going forward.
How is what Tennessee Republicans did “fascism,” but what Bragg did worth celebrating as a holiday? I’ll hang up and listen to that one. We’re told these Democratic lawmakers are simply standing up for children. How? They voted against the safety measures; they proposed gun laws that would have done nothing to prevent what happened and policies that would not get passed in Tennessee. They claim to stand for victims, yet can’t even say the victims’ names correctly.
I know I’ve written at length and made side remarks about this. Still, we are served by profoundly unserious people in public office and media. These are news stories from the same week! We aren’t talking about historical comparisons spanning decades. I live in Tennessee, and I’m watching these different statements come out of the mouths of the same people.
Consistency is required if you want to have the rule of law. If you want norms, you’d better stand for them. So far, all I’ve seen are partisan hacks cheering or ranting about why they’re sad or happy on a given day.
Meanwhile, we are losing norms. That is a real thing that is happening. Legal scholars have started referring to case law from this era as #resist case law. It’s terrible law that only exists because Trump is involved. Generally, I don’t think expelling legislators is the right thing. Still, I also know Republicans are taking their cues from the national level, where Nancy Pelosi made this a prominent tool.
I don’t remember Obama speaking out about that. Many fake crocodile tears are getting spilled this week by deeply unserious people. Fixing the country will mean kicking all these people out of office and, hopefully, some of these media outlets going out of business.
But in the meantime, to Democrats, it’s hard to see what you’re all mad about in Tennessee. Republicans are just holding you to the standard you claimed to hold over Trump. No one is above the law, right? We have rule-breakers here. Hold your standard.
Links of the week
Latest Fed Increase Came Down to the Wire. ‘That Was a Rough Weekend.’: Jerome Powell and other officials waited and watched the fallout from SVB, Swiss bank crisis, finally deciding the financial system was stable enough to raise rates – Nick Timiraos, WSJ
Is that really all there is to the Trump indictment? How pathetic – Michael Goodwin, NYPost
American Carnage: Trump Indictment Reflects Left’s Bottomless Cynicism – J. Peder Zane, RealClearPolitics
For prosecutor Bragg, Trump indictment is campaign promise kept – Byron York, Washington Examiner
The Dangerous Fantasy of Trump’s Indictment Why the circus surrounding his arrest may do more harm than good. – Rebecca Traister, NYMag
Trump’s Prosecution Has Set a Dangerous Precedent – Ankush Khardori, NYTimes
Working-class voters didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left them. – Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe
ProPublica Exposes Clarence Thomas: He Has A Rich Friend! – David Harsanyi, The Federalist
Twitter Thread(s) of the week
Satire of the week
Trump Pens His First Prison Epistle To The Floridians – Babylon Bee
“The Ghost Of Nelson Mandela Visited Me Last Night”: Trump Begins Speech – Waterford Whispers News
Thanks for reading!