Memo to Trump and Clinton: Use Tough Love to Win the Millennials

From left: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

The Millennial Vote is being treated like a Magical Unicorn in the 2016 election. It is seen as something valuable and mysterious. As Dan Schwabel, at Quartz, in a piece modestly entitled The complete guide to winning the millennial vote this election recently noted:

As we head into November’s US elections, all candidates are vying for the millennial vote—and for good reason. Millennials are … a critical bloc for any campaign. 69.2 million are now eligible to vote, which is more than double compared to the past decade. When added together with Gen-X voters, 2016 represents the first time young people have displaced the Baby Boomer vote. At the same time, millennials are historically less likely to vote than their older peers, with only around half having voted in the last presidential election. Knowing this, there’s no question that all political parties will be pushing hard to get them to the voting booths this fall.

I, too, covet the kids’ allegiance. Yet I – an aging Boomer – confess to finding the Millennials mystifying. I am the father and co-owner of three of them (plus one Gen Xer). I know more than a few others. They’re Everywhere, and deeply enigmatic.

Yet I have a theory that could provide the key to resolving their riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. They have not yet found, but absolutely must conceive and declare, their own Narrative.

Let the candidates take note.

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What ‘JFK and the Reagan Revolution’ Reveals About Trump

Donald Trump (photo credit: Darron Birgenheier via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Remember prosperity? Want it back? Here’s the secret formula, which has always worked and would work again: Cut marginal tax rates and restore integrity to the dollar.

Donald Trump is campaigning on meaningful marginal tax rate cuts and implying, with his offstage praise of the gold standard, a solid instinct for monetary integrity and how to produce it. One hopes so as it requires both together.

Here’s the brief. Lawrence Kudlow and Brian Domitrovic have just published what deserves to be the most important book of the 2016 presidential election cycle: JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity. It provides a solid understanding of the key issue of the 2016 race — the economy.

Reagan made “Supply-Side” famous by campaigning on and then enacting most of the Kemp-Roth 30% across-the-board tax rate cut. But John F. Kennedy was the original Supply-Sider. The book’s Big Reveal: Jack Kemp designed this tax cut as a direct copy of Kennedy’s own.

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Read the full article at Forbes.com.

Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics. Continue Reading

What’s Left? Trump Against Clinton Echoes Capitalism Against Communism

From left: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Hillary Clinton is not a communist.

That said, she is certainly running to the left.

What’s left?

That’s actually an interesting question. People throw around the terms “left” and “right” with an instinctive, imprecise, sense of their meanings. It’s good to get back to first principles.

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There are many gradations of leftist sentiment, from outright communism to socialism to social democracy to progressivism. That said, they know their own. The Communist Party USA recently, to little notice by the mainstream media, expressed its enthusiasm for Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton (h/t to WorldNetDaily) in the CPUSA’s official propaganda organ, People’s World:

Clinton has to provide a vision for a new America, tying together the Democratic platform planks — called the most progressive ever — among them, $15 an hour minimum wage, debt-free and tuition-free college and universal health care, with a compelling narrative that inspires people to think big and do big-hearted things.

People need to vote FOR a candidate, otherwise voters are more likely to stay at home. Voting for the first woman president can also be a strong motivator.

The union movement, communities of color, students, women, progressives and the newborn “political revolution” can help generate voter enthusiasm by talking and tweeting about Clinton and the issues. Challenging sexism is a must as well as racism, which has been a coded (and overt) staple of presidential elections for decades.

However, there are many weeks until Election Day.

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Trump’s Knockout Punch Opportunity

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

In the first of the three presidential debates, only Trump’s handlers scored his performance as better than a draw. Both candidates jabbed and scored some points against the other. Pity that Trump did not launch a haymaker against Hillary’s big glass jaw on the economy.

Last May, The New York Times reported:

Hillary Clinton already has an assignment for her husband, Bill Clinton, if they return to the White House next year. The former president, Mrs. Clinton told voters on Sunday, will be “in charge of revitalizing the economy.” “Because, you know, he knows how to do it,” she said.

Less well reported was the progressives’ fury kindled by this. The neoliberal Bill Clinton, who, mostly embellishing on the Reagan/Kemp Supply-Side legacy under pressure from a newly Republican Congress, cut the capital gains tax; mended, rather than ended, a disgraceful welfare regime; and materially advanced free trade.

Massive job growth ensued. After an initial two years of soggy economic growth, America generated over 20 million new jobs under Clinton, putting, among other things, the federal budget into surplus. This, however, did not endear Clinton to the dogmatic progressive left.

The followers of Bernie Sanders, with whom Hillary Clinton then was locked in mortal primary combat (and whose election day turnout she now needs), were outraged. Clinton immediately backpedaled and adopted huge swaths of the Sanders economic platform.

This made her vulnerable in the general election. Candidate Clinton’s initially embracing and then distancing herself from President Clinton’s economic policy success represents a dangerous flip flop. Continue Reading

The Gold Standard: Copernicus, Newton, Priestley… and Trump?

From left: Sir Isaac Newton and Donald Trump

Sam Kriss, in The Atlantic, has a wonderful new story, “Flat-Earthers Have A Wild New Theory About Forests,” in which I find an oblique allusion to… myself.

Still, among all the bizarre, self-enclosed universes the internet has to offer — gold-standard bores, UFO chasers, people who believe that cartoons are real in a nearby dimension or that the secret rulers of the world are betraying their existence by leaving little clues on the currency — the flat-earthers are special.

No, I’m not a UFO chaser, nor a believer in cartoon dimensions, or a proponent of the theory of secret rulers of the world. As to the latter, I once published a blog debunking, rather re-debunking, the alt-right canard that a Rothschild said something like “Give me control of a Nation’s money supply, and I care not who makes its laws.” (It’s a totally fabricated quote.)

I’m a gold standard bore. And I’ve been called, by a Washington Post Magazine (humor) columnist, “the second most conservative man in the world” for my gold standard advocacy.

There is a delicious irony in lumping a gold standard geek in with premoderns like Flat Earthers.

The gold standard’s pedigree runs from Copernicus (who dispelled the allied theory that the Sun goes around the Earth and also wrote brilliantly in favor of the gold standard), Sir Isaac Newton (founder of modern classical physics who, as Master of the Royal Mint, accidentally invented the modern classical gold standard), and Joseph Priestley (the discoverer of oxygen, who wrote at length about the gold standard). Continue Reading

Donald Trump, the Politicized Fed, and the Golden Rule

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Left-leaning thought leaders have been unfairly scalding Donald Trump for his recent observations that the Federal Reserve is politicized. Therein an inconsistency, verging over into naked hypocrisy, by the left is revealed.

The LA Times summed up the story in an article headlined “Is the Fed Politically Biased“:

Every four years, the independent Fed faces the same predicament: how to try to manage the economy without appearing to favor either party’s presidential candidate.

The sly phrase is “without appearing to.”

Which, of course, is a very different thing than “without.”

The politicization of the Fed is one of Washington’s biggest Open Secrets.  As I wrote in Forbes.com, “Dear Chair Yellen: Mend The Fed“:

As journalist Steven Solomon wrote in his indispensable exploration of the Fed, The Confidence Game: How Unelected Central Bankers Are Governing the Changed World Economy (Simon & Schuster, 1995):

Although they strained to portray themselves as nonthreatening, nonpartisan technician-managers of the status quo, central bankers, like proverbial Supreme Court justices reading election returns, used their acute political antennae to intuit how far they could lean against the popular democratic winds.  “Chairmen of the Federal Reserve,” observes ex-Citibank Chairman Walter Wriston, “have traditionally been the best politicians in Washington.  The Fed serves a wonderful function.  They get beat up on by the Congress and the administration.  Everyone knows the game and everyone plays it.  But no one wants their responsibility.”

Why, then, gold?  As Virgil wrote in the Aeniad: Facilis descensus Averni. 

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Clinton’s Campaign of Firepower Is Losing the 2016 Election Against Trump’s Guerrilla Tactics

From left: Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (credit: Gage Skidmore/Marc Nozell)

Much to the incredulity of the elite political class, Donald Trump is rapidly closing the gap and even surpassing Hillary Clinton. This extends to the critical electoral college swing states. Trump can stumble. Hillary could reboot and change the calculus.  That said, right now: advantage Trump.

It gets harder with each passing day to change the fundamental dynamics of the race. The core dynamics of this are masked by a mainstream media preoccupation with non-issues such as Clinton’s walking pneumonia, Trump’s acknowledgement that Obama was born in Hawaii, and so forth.

All that is noise. Few voters care about such trivia. Rather, voters care about prosperity, peace, and who seems better able to protect their interests and their values.

Above all, now, the voters care about the American Dream, composed of two elements: Prosperity and Economic Justice.

Both are legitimate and essential.

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Trump was the one Republican candidate during the primaries who drew a line in the sand against cutting Social Security benefits. He threatens punitive action against Big Business for shipping jobs to cheap labor places like Mexico. Believe it or not … like it or not … the message “I’m with you” resonates with workers. (Full disclosure, I’m proudly a dues paying member of the AFL-CIO.)

I’ll take a boss who breaches etiquette but offers raises, bonuses, and opportunity for promotions. That’s preferable to one who has excellent manners but would manage the company – America — so there was no way up for me.

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Memo to Donald Trump: The Gold Standard Will Guarantee 4 Percent Growth

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

In calling for 4 percent growth, Donald Trump hit a home run.

He has the right instincts. If he follows them he can turn this home run into a grand slam.

When Jeb Bush declared his candidacy, he did it in a speech demanding no less than 4 percent growth:

Growth above all. A growing economy, whether here in Detroit or throughout this country is the difference between poverty and prosperity for millions. If you want to close the opportunity gap, grow the economy. This is a principle that concentrates the mind.

If a law or a rule doesn’t contribute to growth, why do it? If a law subtracts from growth, why are we discussing it? And for what it’s worth, I don’t think the US should settle for anything less than 4% growth a year – which is about twice our current average. At that rate, the middle class will thrive again.

I applauded Bush’s declaration at the time in Forbes.com. But Governor Bush never provided the credible plan to get there which he also promised. He soon drifted off to other issues… and drifted down in the polls. Trump focused in on a commitment to job creation and making us rich again, and he rode this pledge to the nomination.

Trump now has unveiled such a plan. His commitment to 4 percent is highly credible. There are credible components in his proposed tax rate cuts and in peeling back oppressive and pointless federal regulations that stifle economic growth. Continue Reading

Fed Up! Hillary Clinton in Cahoots with Attempted “Hostile Takeover” of the Fed

Fed Up activists assemble outside a Congressional hearing (photo credit: Ralph Benko)

I’m fed up with the Fed too, with its chronic policy failures. A lot of evidence shows the Federal Reserve to be a prime cause of lackluster job growth and sluggishness in wage increases.

That said, sometimes a cure is worse than the disease. Now the left, with the support of Hillary Clinton, is threatening to take us, to mix the metaphor, out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Last week, about a dozen arch-progressives from “Fed Up” attended a hearing of a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, “Federal Reserve Districts: Governance, Monetary Policy, and Economic Performance” in Rayburn House Office Building. I also attended.

The title of the hearing sounds boring. What was really going on was anything but boring.

I wrote about this hearing at length in my most recent column at Forbes.com, “The Left’s Fed Up Makes A Naked Power Grab For Control Of The Fed“:

In scope, the left’s plan makes trivial by comparison Auric Goldfinger’s “Operation Grand Slam” to contaminate America’s gold holdings at the US Treasury Depository at Fort Knox. Goldfinger planned to turn them radioactive. Those holdings amounted, in 1964, to about $14 billion. They are now valued at close to $200 billion.

Either way, a tidy sum. Yet it’s just a nickel compared to the Fed’s more than $4 trillion holdings.

Most impressive. The left is undertaking its own Operation Super Grand Slam.

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The Best Hope for Restoring the American Dream Now Lives in the US Senate

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Who will conjure the American Dream back for us?

Politics is part prestidigitation, part reality. A great magician distracts her audience’s attention while producing the payoff. Abracadabra!

Want to see how it’s done? Focus on the hidden hand.

In this case, the United States Senate.

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Money matters.  Bad money “engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.”  Bad money “is noticed by only a few very thoughtful people … gradually overthrows governments, and in a hidden insidious way.”

Lucky for America, we have, in the Congress that “one man in a million” riding to our rescue with a proposed monetary commission  Actually, greatly against the odds, we have several: Rep. Kevin Brady (the monetary commission’s prime sponsor), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Chair of the committee of jurisdiction, House Financial Services Committee), and Rep. Paul Ryan (Speaker). Together almost unheralded, they got this antidote to what is stifling American job creation passed last November.

The Congressional Research Service summarizes it:

This bill establishes the Centennial Monetary Commission to: examine how U.S. monetary policy since the creation of the Federal Reserve Board in 1913 has affected the performance of the U.S. economy in terms of output, employment, prices, and financial stability over time… and recommend a course for U.S. monetary policy going forward.

This excellent piece of legislation could finally smoke the snake out from the wood pile.

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