Category: Politics

Your 2016 Presidential Race

Barack Obama endorse Clinton today. Prompting this from Trump:

And then this from Clinton’s staff:

And then this, a couple of hours later, from Trump

No word on whether Hillary will respond with, “I know you are but what am I?!” and if Trump will lay down some “yo mama” slaps.

The witty repartee of your 2016 Presidential candidates, ladies and gentlemen. To hell with it all.

Clinton Wins

So yesterday was our seventeenth or eighteenth Super Tuesday of this electoral season and Clinton won big, taking the prizes of New Jersey and California. This morning, she is estimated to have 2168 pledged delegates. With superdelegates, she is well past the 2383 required to clinch the nomination. Barring both Sanders crushing her in every primary left and a mass revolt by the superdelegates, she will be the nominee.

(An interesting result out of California’s Senate primary: because of the way the Democrats have rigged the system, the November election will be between two Democrats with no Republican nominee. The choice is between the authoritarian Kamela Harris and the authoritarian Loretta Sanchez. The Democrats claim they changed the primary system to prevent candidates from becoming too extreme. Now we see the real reason they did it. If Texas did something like this, there would be howls of outrage and fainting spells.)

I’ll pause for a moment to note that we have the first woman Presidential candidate and likely the first woman President. OK, there, that’s all the time I’m prepared to spend basking in that accomplishment. Clinton, despite Vox’s desperate efforts at revisionist history, is a terrible candidate for President. And no, it’s not because she’s a woman and it’s hard for women to find the right balance to appear authoritative without appearing “bossy” (that is a difficulty women politicians face; it’s also a difficulty women like Margaret Thatcher have transcended for years with more skill and energy than Clinton). She was basically handed the nomination eight years ago and blew it. She was then guaranteed the 2016 nomination and almost blew it against a crackpot socialist Senator. So spare me the butt-kissing.

Speaking of that crackpot Senator … Politico has a piece up about the end game of the Sanders’ campaign. It’s worth reading in a schadenfreude way. Sanders’ staffers have been trying to tell him that the race is basically over. And Sanders refuses to accept that.

There’s no strategist pulling the strings, and no collection of burn-it-all-down aides egging him on. At the heart of the rage against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, the campaign aides closest to him say, is Bernie Sanders.
It was the Vermont senator who personally rewrote his campaign manager’s shorter statement after the chaos at the Nevada state party convention and blamed the political establishment for inciting the violence.

He was the one who made the choice to go after Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after his wife read him a transcript of her blasting him on television.
He chose the knife fight over calling Clinton unqualified, which aides blame for pulling the bottom out of any hopes they had of winning in New York and their last real chance of turning a losing primary run around.

And when Jimmy Kimmel’s producers asked Sanders’ campaign for a question to ask Donald Trump, Sanders himself wrote the one challenging the Republican nominee to a debate.

There are many divisions within the Sanders campaign—between the dead-enders and the work-it-out crowds, between the younger aides who think he got off message while the consultants got rich and obsessed with Beltway-style superdelegate math, and between the more experienced staffers who think the kids got way too high on their sense of the difference between a movement and an actual campaign.

But more than any of them, Sanders is himself filled with resentment, on edge, feeling like he gets no respect — all while holding on in his head to the enticing but remote chance that Clinton may be indicted before the convention.

This comports with my general impression over the last few weeks. I was impressed with Sanders early. But as it has became more and more obvious that he isn’t going to win, he has become increasingly strident and bitter. This isn’t a protest campaign like we’ve seen on the GOP side where someone like Ron Paul or Rick Santorum will stay in well past their expiration date because they feel like the party needs to address an important issue. Clinton has already moved way left to capture Sanders’ support. No, this was increasingly about Sanders himself. It pains me to say it, but … I think the Democrats made the right choice.

So … this is how we may end up with our first woman President. A dishonest, disliked establishment insider elected because her opponents were two septuagenarians with the combined political knowledge of a tootsie roll. That is, if she’s not indicted, which she probably would be if she were anyone other than Hillary Clinton.

So, I guess you can celebrate that. But right now, it crosses me as celebrating your victory in a marathon because you ran it in three days but all the other runners were eaten by bears.

Update:

Trump v. Curiel

Over the last few days, Trump has been launching attacks at the judge who refused a summary judgement in his favor on lawsuits involving the alleged scam known as Trump University. Judge Curiel ruled partially in Trump’s favor and partially against, throwing out the demands for an injunction but allowing the demands for damages to proceed. Trump then attacked Curiel, claiming that he is biased against Trump because he’s Mexican and doesn’t like Trump’s position on deportation.

Ken White has a great lawsplainer on the rules of recusal and bias. The TL;DR version is that Trump is full of it (surprise!). First of all, his lawyers haven’t asked for a recusal. Second of all, the reason they haven’t asked for a recusal is because demanding a judge recuse himself simply because he’s “Mexican” (Curiel is a first-generation American born in Indiana) wouldn’t work:

Many courts have considered and rejected the argument that a judge of a particular ethnicity, gender, or religion is inherently biased because of the nature of the case. In fact, the argument has been so repeatedly and thoroughly rejected that it’s sanctionable to make it.

But even that’s going too far. The case here does not involve Hispanics or immigration. It’s a case about fraud involving Trump University. What Trump is saying is that Hispanics can not possibly be judges for him in any proceeding because they might not like his positions on unrelated issues. The press has called these comments “racially tinged”. I won’t. If Trump is saying that Hispanics, by sole virtue of being Hispanic, can not judge his cases, that’s pretty much the definition of racism.

(Trump supporters are harping on Curiel’s association with the La Raza Lawyers of California, deliberately or ignorantly conflating it with the National Council of La Raza. I’m not going to get into NCLR right now, but these are not the same things. They’re not even close to the same thing. And even if they were, it’s not clear that this would necessitate Curiel’s recusal.)

I’m not fond of attacks on judiciary. I wasn’t happy when Obama did it for political reasons. And I’m certainly not happy when Trump does it for his personal benefit. However, I think we may be overthinking this. Our own Thrill sent this out the other night.

I think Thrill has hit it on the nose. Trump is trying to defuse an electoral liability. Trump is many things, but he’s not an idiot. He knows that Trump University could be a big liability in the campaign. So he’s already delegitimizing the result, trying to pretend that the University controversy is just people out to get him because of his awesome ideas.

To be fair, our mainstream politicians and political commentariat are in glass houses on this one. For years, any SCOTUS decision they disagreed with was the result of politicization of the Court. If the conservatives opposed Obamacare, it was because of politics. If SCOTUS overturned campaign finances “reform”, it was politics. The extension Trump has made is to extend that excuse making into his personal lawsuits, rather than just political cases. But the groundwork for delegitimizing the Courts has been well laid and the people who laid it are the very ones complaining about Trump.

But this is a new low. Trump is attacking the integrity of the federal judiciary because of its effects on his personal finances and personal political ambitions. A federal judge is being slimed as collateral damage on his way to the White House. Right now, the GOP is rallying behind him, hoping he’ll advance their agenda. But, throughout this campaign, his has instantly and viciously throw anyone who has the temerity to oppose him under the nearest bus. What’s it going to be like when he’s President?

Post Scriptum: And just in case were’ still on about Trump not being establishment? The Florida AG decided not to join Trump University suits around the same she got a donation to her campaign.

Think about it…

In the past few weeks there have been a slew of articles about high tech military gear being involved in accidents. There were <a href=’http://www.wsj.com/articles/two-u-s-military-demonstration-aircraft-crash-in-separate-incidents-1464908425″ target=”_new”>two separate incidents just recently, but there have been other, less publicized instances obviously, of equipment breaking down or reaching the end of their service life at a much faster pace, due to the unbelievable tempo at which things are being used – case in point our carrier deployment rate in the supposed time of peace – but money isn’t being provided to keep it all working or getting it replaced. We are even hearing of ammunition shortages!

Now, considering Obama supposedly wound down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, one is left wondering why the US military is performing at such a high tempo, one that is also affecting the humans in the military very negatively, while we never hear about all the “kinetic action’ our troops are engaged in. Just normal training cycles would not account for the phenomenon we see right now, but if we are no longer fighting expensive wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, why the problems? Really what could be happening that we are oblivious to, huh?

Nah, enough with the games. the fact of the matter is that Obama has been using the US military far more than they were even during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but since he has the right letter next to his name, the LSM has decided to keep that reality under wraps. The world today is a far more volatile and dangerous place than it was during the Cold War, and even more dangerous – requiring the upped US military deployment tempo – precisely because Obama abandoned the progress made both in Iraq and Afghanistan, then had the military engage in conflict after conflict, of no interest to US national security, so others (and especially other democrats and their connected crony buddies) can profit.

Ain’t it awesome to be able to get a pass simply because the LSM thinks your failed ideology is the bomb? No pun intended…

Silencing Science

Again, before we get into this, here is where I am coming from: global warming is real; we are almost certainly causing it; it is very likely to be bad; proposed liberal solutions are terrible and often counterproductive.

To wit:

A landmark bill allowing for the prosecution of climate change dissent effectively died Thursday after the California Senate failed to take it up before the deadline.

Senate Bill 1161, or the California Climate Science Truth and Accountability Act of 2016, would have authorized prosecutors to sue fossil fuel companies, think tanks and others that have “deceived or misled the public on the risks of climate change.”

The measure, which cleared two Senate committees, provided a four-year window in the statute of limitations on violations of the state’s Unfair Competition Law, allowing legal action to be brought until Jan. 1 on charges of climate change “fraud” extending back indefinitely.

“This bill explicitly authorizes district attorneys and the Attorney General to pursue UCL claims alleging that a business or organization has directly or indirectly engaged in unfair competition with respect to scientific evidence regarding the existence, extent, or current or future impacts of anthropogenic induced climate change,” said the state Senate Rules Committee’s floor analysis of the bill.

No no no no no no no no no no no NO NO NO! Bad legislature! Bad, bad legislature. Go sit in a corner and think about what you almost did.

I’m not going to mince words: this bill was (and probably will be again) a totalitarian piece of shit. It would have opened up climate skeptics to lawsuits because of their speech and opinions (keeping in mind that “climate skeptics” is class that often includes me because I oppose liberal solutions to global warming). Not only that, it would have extended that liability back for 30 years, allowing climate skeptics to be sued for statements they made when the science was way less certain.

Not only is the bill an attack on the First Amendment, it’s an attack on science. Science benefits from criticism, even criticism from cranks. In the case of climate science, methodology has been improved and data made more readily available to the public in response to skeptics. This has made the case that global warming is real stronger.

I understand where this is coming from. Climate scientists have found themselves the targets of a massive disinformation campaign. Garbage climate memes (polar ice caps are growing! Global cooling! It’s the sun!) proliferate no matter how often and how thoroughly they are debunked. In many cases, it’s gotten personal with online attacks and death threats.

But as Megan McArdle pointed out, fighting fire with fire isn’t helping:

There is a huge range of possible beliefs that go into assessing the various complicated theories about how the climate works, and the global-warming predictions generated by those theories range from “could well be catastrophic” to “probably not a big deal.” I know very smart, well-informed, decent people who fall at either end of the spectrum, and others who are somewhere in between. Then there are folks like me who aren’t sure enough to make a prediction, but are very sure we wouldn’t like to find out, too late, that the answer is “oops, catastrophic.”

These are not differences that can be resolved by name calling. Nor has the presumed object of this name calling — to delegitimize thoughtful opposition, and thereby increase the consensus in favor of desired policy proposals — been a notable political success, at least in the U.S. It has certainly rallied the tribe, and produced a lot of patronizing talk about science by people who aren’t actually all that familiar with the underlying scientific questions. Other than that, we remain pretty much where we were 25 years ago: holding summits, followed by the dismayed realization that we haven’t, you know, really done all that much except burn a lot of hydrocarbons flying people to summits. Maybe last year’s Paris talks will turn out to be the actual moment when things started to change — but having spent the last 15 years as a reporter listening to people tell me that no, really, we’re about to turn the corner, I retain a bit of skepticism.

(McArdle, who thinks global warming is real and we should take action just in case it turns out be very bad, was immediately branded a Koch shill and a denialist for having the temerity to suggest that calling every heretic a Koch shill and a denialist wasn’t a great way to promote science. So, yeah. She also links Warren Meyer’s outstanding series of posts on why is a “lukewarmer”. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he has a very good grasp of the science and makes the case for a conservative set of policies to address global warming.)

This is long past being absurd and going into territory that’s outright dangerous. We have Attorneys General investigating “denialists”. We have cartoons depicting violence against “denialists”. We now have a legislature trying to effectively silence “denialists” by gutting the First Amendment. Global warming is becoming less of a science/policy issue and more of a Culture War issue and we really can’t afford that.

Enough. It’s tiring, I know. But the only way to fight bad speech is with good speech. That has always been the case, it is currentlty the case and it always will be the case. If the global warming alarmists want to make some progress, decoupling the science case that global warming is real from the political case that we must do X, Y and Z would be far more beneficial than passing blatantly unconstitutional law to try to shut people up. You’ll get a lot more people to talk about global warming if talking about global warming doesn’t necessarily mean giving government even more power over our lives.

Update: In related news, Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order to boycott businesses that boycott Israel. I support Israel. I think the boycott business is ridiculous. I think a government moving against boycotters is a horrific intrusion on free speech and free association.

Here cometh the next dark age?

As someone that has always been fascinated by history and the fact that humanity never learns the lessons of the past and seems doomed to repeat the same mistakes, I admit that I have been feeling, for a while now, that the people in charge of this country in particular, but the western nations in general, have been taken us into a direction that will have serious and far reaching negative global implications. When you articulate this, especially to the believers of our credentialed new political aristocracy and the left in general, you get lambasted as someone that must have some kind of vile reasons for opposing the destruction they are inflicting with their failed ideology, and ideology that seems to remain immune to the consequences and results of the failed and often horribly failed policies it keeps engendering. To the true believers amongst that bunch what counts are the feeling and their intentions, and never the results.

To those that simply take advantage of the stupidity and naivete of the true believers, the only results that count are the ones that allow them to get more power and steal more from the productive. So when you find someone that waxes eloquently about this prescient and relevant, it is a good thing and a breath of fresh air, albeit one I suspect will fall on deaf ears of the collectivists and their agenda. Jakub Grygiel at the American Interests has a great piece titled “The Stages of Grief at the Frontier“. I recommend you read the whole thing, but here is his conclusion, and it is an important warning:

Severinus’s story parallels our times (with all the necessary caveats). The stages of geopolitical grief are not as vivid today as in this story, but doubts are growing about the resilience of U.S. power and Washington’s commitment (under the current Administration or future ones) to allies. As U.S. power retrenches or is questioned, the frontier regions then experiences a series of adjustments. Insouciance about how security arises gives way to shock and panic when the security provider vanishes; then, self-delusion follows, as people convince themselves that security will sustain itself or that the threat is not real; and finally, if lucky to be fortified by a firm belief in something more than material goods or the satisfaction of one’s own transient preferences, the polity may find a reason to defend itself. The West may be going through all three stages at the same time, as many seem to put faith in the automatic harmony of international relations, do not necessarily believe in the dangerous nature of geopolitical competition with assertive rivals, and—perhaps most worrisome, and different from Severinus’s tale—do not seem to find a strong reason to devote resources to sustain the order from which they benefit.

Many people don’t realize it, but the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe led to centuries of brutal chaos and repression as the entity that provided order, albeit through its own use of force, evaporated. Whatever prosperity, wealth, and knowledge had been created all but disappeared as people reverted to savage behavior and basically resorted to fighting over an ever dwindling pool of resources and wealth. It took over a millennium for things to start righting themselves, and even after that, we had far more darkness than light until the twentieth century and another series of empires produced the stability and conditions for those that create (and for you collectivists that creation is never by government because the only thing government can provide is a system that delivers stability, with clear rules that apply to all, and government then stays out of the way of their people) to be able to bring us prosperity.

I can talk about this till I am blue in the face, but the thing has been beaten to death, so i will leave you with a quote from someone I think said it just right:

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Get ready for the dark times. I am sure the collectivists will tell us it was not their fault because they meant well. According to them Nirvana on earth is just a question of time, but every time they have tried it we end up with something horrible and the collectivists telling us that things went wrong because the wrong people were in charge and/or it was implemented incorrectly. Their idiotic belief that they can override human nature, the laws of economics, and reality to have us all act like an insect colony be damned.

Chaos in San Jose

Oof:

Protesters and supporters of Donald Trump clashed in the streets of San Jose, California, Thursday night after the presumptive GOP nominee held a rally.

Protesters waved Mexican flags and one could be seen burning an American flag, with another burning Trump’s “Make America Great Hat.” Some chanted “F— Donald Trump” and “Donald Trump has got to go” outside the San Jose Convention Center, where Trump held his rally.

Reports include Trump supporters being egged, supporters and protesters being punched and protesters jumping on cars and screaming about how we need socialism (the irony of far more violent protesters over the effects of socialism in Venezuela being lost on them).

This is insane. This is thuggery. This is unacceptable. A lot of the commentary focuses on how this plays into Trump’s hands and will rally his support. Maybe. But I find myself agreeing with Chris Hayes:

And as for my feelings about this:

Trump is bad Presidential candidate and I think would likely make a bad President. His “plan” for expelling eleven million illegal immigrants has the very real potential to be a humanitarian disaster. And he has no respect for other people’s First Amendment rights, having brought numerous SLAPP lawsuits to silence his critics and making open threats of what he would do, as President, to judges and reporters he doesn’t like. But he’s not Hitler. I have no problem with people protesting against him or his policies. But when they attack his supporters or try to stop him from speaking, they’ve crossed a line.

This is usually the point where some helpful person will point out the First Amendment only protects us from government censorship. And they’re right. However, as Greg Lukianoff has argued, it is critical that we not only respect the First Amendment but that we cultivate a culture of free speech. We ned a country where the mere idea of silencing people we don’t like through thuggery, be it individuals or government, is repellent. But to far left, the idea of letting people speak has become anathema. We used to boast about letting Nazis and the KKK — real genuine hate groups that advocated violence — speak what was in their twisted little minds. Now we descend into madness on the words of a two-bit New York real-estate mogul.

Let Trump speak. Let people support him. And respond to thing you don’t like with more speech and rallying your supporters. That’s the way you deal with politicians and political movements you don’t like. And as long as you’re doing that, I will support your right to speak just as vigorously as I support Trump’s.

A Small-l Libertarian Primer

With Gary Johnson threatening to be a factor in the election, Ken White has must-read where he argues that libertarianism isn’t a a series of answers, it’s a series of questions.

I’d like to propose presenting libertarianism as a series of questions rather than a series of answers or policy positions. Even if I don’t agree with people’s answers to these questions, getting them to ask the questions and confront the issues reflected in the questions would promote the values that I care about.

These are all questions that I think ought to be asked whenever we, as a society, decide whether to task and empower the government to do a thing.

You can click through and read them. I think a conservative audience will like it, as well, because what Ken says of libertarianism, I would also say of conservatism: that it’s more about questioning whether government should do things. It is what Andrew Sullivan calls “a conservatism of doubt”. As I said in my own essay:

Conservatives are leery of sudden radical change because they understand that the human engine is complex. Sudden shifts can produce bad Unintended Consequences. This is seen as a resistance to “change”. But resisting change is sometimes a good thing. Not all change is good. And all of it needs to proceed carefully. We have a wonderful society. Improving it is our second duty; protecting it our first. Conservative thought on this is akin to the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. Big Grand Plans for Remaking the Universe — like socialized medicine — draw opposition from conservatives because they know these plans will not work as advertised … if they work at all.

The reason I left the conservative movement was because it not only stopped being about doubt and caution, but saw doubt as unpatriotic. It became a conservatism that was dead certain it had the answers to everything. Me again:

The problem, of course, is that conservative philosophy and the conservative party have diverged. The ideas I list above really don’t reflect the Republican Party or many of the commentariat who call themselves conservative. Faith-based initiatives, abstinence education and compulsory volunteerism are based on the notion that government can make people better. You will not find a more hair-brained Grand Plan for Remaking the Universe that throws caution to the wind than the attempts to create democracy in the Middle East. Institutional responsibility has been tossed out the window with regulatory capture and deficit spending. Arrogance has replaced humility, zingers have replaced thought. A healthy suspicion of ruling elites has morphed into a raging anti-intellectualism. Conspiracy theories — about global warming, Obama’s birth, Obamacare — have become acceptable discourse. It’s no longer enough for the Democrats to be wrong; they have to be evil socialists who hate America.

Policies that were good ideas have been chased too far, dogma has become the order of the day. The GOP has taken good ideas and chased them into a cul de sac. And on culture issues, they’ve gotten more extreme. I don’t agree with everything in this diatribe, but it cuts deep. Here’s Bainbridge again on the problem: the lack of prudence and caution in today’s GOP; the canonization of views on taxes, regulation and government; is alarming. During the debt debate, the GOP openly contemplated default. That’s not a “conservatism” I can embrace. It’s a dim-bulb populism masquerading as conservatism.

Donald Trump is the apotheosis of this. He is spectacularly ignorant on the issues. He seems to regard knowing things about issues as a weakness. And yet he’s absolutely certain that he’s right.

Free shit! Now vote for us…

In a blatantly obvious effort to just buy votes, President Obama has decided that he will make the Social Security system insolvent even faster. Yeah, leftards love the idea that Obama will hand out more free shit:

President Barack Obama called for expanding Social Security on Wednesday, prompting progressive groups to declare victory after they tangled with him over a plan to save costs in the entitlement program three years ago.

After all, I was going to say I predict, but that requires I have a chance to be wrong about something I am gonna say, so I am just going to say what these morons will make as the go-to argument for taking this idiotic step: “you can just pick the pockets of the productive and rich some more, can’t you?”. And as I point out:

“And not only do we need to strengthen its long-term health, it’s time we finally made Social Security more generous and increased its benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they’ve earned,” Obama said in an economic call to arms in Elkhart, Indiana. “We could start paying for it by asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute a little bit more.”

Yeah, sure, “a little bit more”. That will do it. The facts be damned. This boondoggle is already running a massive deficit, and the truth is that even that number is bullshit, because that substantial deficit is made smaller by an accounting trick that ignores the massive $10 trillion discrepancy caused by government borrowing money from SS to fund other social spending over a couple of decasdes, and replacing it with worthless IOUs that will basically have to be paid off by US tax payers.

It will take a fucking ton more than picking the pockets of the rich to overcome the existing problem, let alone finding enough money to allow the system to pay up even more like the “free shit” democrat voting block likes and wants. But Obama knows he can say this shit, and heck, even push it through a spineless congress, and never have to be held accountable for it. Someone else can be blamed and hated when the whole thing collapses, and I bet Obama will say that things were doing just great – and get the DNC parrots in the LSM to go along with that whopper of a lie – when he decided to nail yet another stake into that vampire.

This is the shit that passes for great political action these days. We truly deserve the end to this once great country. How far we have fallen.

Obama Reverses

One of the disappointments of the budget showdown a few years ago was the collapse of the Grand Bargain — the potential of putting Social Security on “chained CPI” in exchange for tax hikes. It would have potentially sliced trillions of dollars from future Social Security obligations.

Well, Obama has now changed course and embraced one of the dumbest ideas yet to emerge from the Democratic mind: expanding Social Security.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday called for an increase in Social Security benefits for the elderly as he hit the road with a speech that previewed his role as campaigner-in-chief for Democrats ahead of the November election.

The president’s comments mark a reversal after he sought a bipartisan deal five years ago that would have cut Social Security and moves the Democratic party toward a unified stance on the nation’s cornerstone retirement program.

“It is time we finally made Social Security more generous and increase the benefits so that today’s retirees and future generations get the dignified retirement that they have earned,” Obama said in Elkhart, Indiana, during a speech in which he spoke against Republican economic policies.

Obama has no specific proposal in mind for a benefits increase, said a White House official who asked for anonymity. Obama didn’t say in his speech how much he wants to raise benefit levels or offer a timetable.

With the shift, the president joins likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who embraced the idea of expanding Social Security earlier this year, and her challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a longtime champion of expanding the program. Obama’s remarks nudge the party toward a more liberal agenda and represent a nod to Sanders and his supporters.

Social Security is already losing money. There’s a “trust fund” but that trust fund consists entirely of IOU’s — the money will have to come out of general revenues. Even with the fiction of the trust fund, the program has $10 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 70 years.

As always, they want to pay for this by raising the cap on Social Security taxes. We’ve discussed this before: this would produce an enormous marginal tax rate for the wealthy — 50% for the Feds alone. And raising the earnings cap doesn’t solve the problem. The reason Social Security taxes are capped is because benefits are. If you tax Bill Gates on all his income, you have to raise his benefits too. Without statutory change, you’ve made Social Security’s finances worse, not better.

And all of this to benefit the wealthiest demographic in America. The 65-74 year age group has the most net wealth in the United States. The 75+ age group has the second highest. This isn’t a conspiracy: wealth builds over a lifetime and usually peaks at retirement. Social Security was intended to prevent seniors from living in poverty, not to be their primary source of retirement income. But seniors vote like hell and the Democrats are nothing if not panderers.

The good news is that this is going nowhere. Democrats are on board but the Republicans can easily block it. And their courage will likely falter when Americans realize the tax hikes and program changes necessary to make this “work”. But it’s a sign of just how far Left this party has moved: Barack Obama has discovered that he’s too conservative for the base.