I’ve been going over a bunch of Trump bios. Really fascinating reading actually. You’ve got the liberal biased bios which read like Democrat talking points. You’ve got factual bios that actually go over the significant events of Trump’s life documentary style. And all of these reports are going into the online record. Down the line it may be increasingly difficult for people who didn’t live through this time to differentiate between the histories that are liberal talking points, and the factual, event based ones.
Why is this important? How we make decisions in our lives is based largely on past experience giving us the wisdom to go forward with the best choices. We know our own personal history. But we don’t know the history of public figures except what we read and hear. In the case of Donald Trump there are two versions of history. One, perpetrated by the Leftist media and Hillary campaign which is believed by millions, and one based on actual events and quotes which is known to the millions who elected him. This is why correct accounts of history are so important to our collective knowledge. It is also critical for the President-Elect has to have correct knowledge of national and international history, so when he becomes President he will make correct decisions for the nation.
This is why Donald Trump needs a historian. It will give him the analysis of past events, so he can learn from them and not repeat the mistakes of the past. Accurate history will help Trump craft new policies, new legislation, new executive orders, and how to find solutions to brand new situations. The key though is to find a historian who will give him the objective observation of past events, and not a biased interpretation, or just what the President wants to hear, or a slanted view to advance an agenda from any particular political perspective be it liberal, libertarian, conservative, religious, international, green, or other. And the historian has to say when a particular course has gone horribly wrong even with the best of intentions.
When you read Donald Trump’s bio you find he’s been really busy. From school, to military academy, to college, to business school, to his father’s business, to all of his own businesses, and to his hotels, casinos, TV shows, and most recently to his presidential campaign, he has been busy. But nowhere in the bio did I see a deep study of history, a history degree, or history minor, a library of history books, quotes from historical figures during the debates, or in general conversation bringing up significant events from our past and how they might relate to our present, and our future. Oh sure he knows we have to fight terrorism or it will spread, or how tax cuts are good for creating jobs, but all conservatives know that. I’m talking about the lesser known and deeper historical analysis of events that might save us all a huge amount of time, resources, and problems, if he simply looks back with a professional historian, as he looks ahead making decisions, creating policy, and submitting legislation and budgets to Congress.
One of the reasons I’ve never been a big fan of term limits for Congress, is that I fear all you are doing is replacing corrupt members who spend their life in Congress, with corrupt members who spend a limited time in Congress only to be replaced at the term limit by new and equally corrupt members. Nothing changes except the names on the office doors. One of the benefits of long term good members of Congress is that they have an institutional memory. I think of someone like Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who carefully documented how “The Great Society” rather than ending poverty, destroyed the black family. After writing that report he went on to several terms in the Senate, and during that time worked on curing poverty, but not at the expense of the family structure. Most in Congress without his historical knowledge and insight merely throw money at poverty and perpetuate an ever worsening situation.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Santayana. But Edmund Burke, and Jesse Ventura are quoted saying almost exactly the same thing. Did you know? Did they know? How many other people said the same thing, not knowing how many other people said the same thing? We don’t study history, or value it like we should. We just talk and act in a vacuum like we know what we are talking about and why we are acting. President Obama is legendary for this. He has no sense of history, no foundation from which to draw knowledge, only an ideology that compels him to reject real history and try to write an ideological version of how the world should be according to him. This is how he has governed from day one.
Let us consider economic history as a case study. Donald Trump is calling for a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%. He is calling for rate reductions in federal income tax levels. He also wants a 35% tariff on goods that any American company produces in a foreign country, with foreign workers, when those goods are being imported back into the United States for sale. Most Americans are disgusted by this corporate practice. Trump knows this. It’s a reason he got elected. But if he wants to get his whole tax program through the Senate, as long as the filibuster rule stands, he’s going to need eight Democrat Senators to vote with him. Now, since Harry Reid got rid of the filibuster for presidential nominees with a simple majority vote, Mitch McConnell could get rid of the filibuster entirely with a simple majority vote. The Democrats are going to argue that the filibuster, and the cloture vote which requires 60 votes to cut off debate, is a longstanding historical tradition. However, knowing the history that the Democrats dumped the filibuster rules for expediency to get their nominees in office, sets the stage for the GOP to do exactly the same thing for the entire filibuster rule, which may be required to get the Trump agenda and nominees through Congress.
When Donald Trump moves on his agenda he will most likely approach Congress like a business deal. His tax plan makes sense because the economy will boom. Trump may think that Democrats will see the logic in his plan and happily support it because it will be good for the economy and good for the country. If anyone needs convincing it will work, there were the tax cuts from Reagan which made the economy boom. But if you know Democrat history you know that they don’t care that tax cuts improve the economy. They are fundamentally opposed to tax cuts of any kind because they think it reduces revenue to government, reduces their control, reduces how much they can spend on their government dependent voters, the rich still aren’t paying their fair share, and it isn’t fair that companies make a profit. They didn’t build that business, to paraphrase Obama, the government made it possible. Which means company profit is really government money. This is a huge philosophical abyss that can not be bridged no matter how good Trump’s plan is for the economy. So Trump either deals with this divergence by talking way beyond the merits of his plan, or gets the plan through with raw political power. Removing the filibuster from the Senate rules would greatly facilitate the whole Trump agenda passing Congress. It would also greatly facilitate a future Democrat President getting their agenda passed a Republican Senate of 49 members because the rules removing the filibuster were changed now. A historian could trace such expedient actions and their consequences through time.
What Democrats think is especially unfair is that some people are very successful in business, and some people are not, and that simply has to be corrected. The way to do that is with the highest business taxes in the world, which Democrats have maintained to equalize the winners and losers by redistributing to the losers, or their friends, even at the cost of higher consumer prices and fewer jobs. If Obama wanted a better economy, history would have led him to tax cuts. If Hillary understood the economy, she wouldn’t have tried to rewrite history during the presidential debates by characterizing supply side economics under Reagan as “trickle down economics,” which doesn’t exist. If Trump had a knowledge of history he would have said something about this in the debate, but he didn’t, as evidenced by me screaming at my TV during this question. Trump needs to understand that the Left is wedded to demand side economics, more commonly known as Keynesian Economics, named for John Maynard Keynes. The Left and the Democrats believe that stimulating demand with government spending on the lower/middle classes, or simply giving them money, will stimulate them to buy more stuff which will stimulate the economy. Stimulus spending on the rich doesn’t work because they just invest rather than spend, and only spending counts in demand side economics. Knowing that these two competing theories of supply side and demand side economics have been at war in this country for most of our history, will allow Trump the understanding to know how to get his program through, because he knows more than just his tax plan, the economics, and how to make a deal, he knows the ideologies involved.
Many times the things we know to be true, aren’t true at all. Take the Great Depression. Most people know that without the New Deal and all the other programs instituted by Franklin Roosevelt, the Depression would have been so much worse. All Democrats believe this and use FDR as the model for how to run our economy and manage recoveries. It’s all nonsense. The programs of FDR extended the Depression for at least seven years according to UCLA economists. They say, “President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services.” FDR’s solution was to allow business collusion and price fixing without anti-trust prosecution, and to have workers salaries rise 25% above market value given productivity at the time. The Depression was prolonged for years because of government induced high wages and high prices, agricultural price supports, welfare and stimulus spending, and the rest of the National Industrial Recovery Act, which prevented the free market from self correcting, and thus prevented a timely recovery. It was, demand side economics.
This history is directly contrary to almost everyone’s understanding of the Depression. And since the current philosophy in Congress for so many is that government is the solution to economic crises, because of demand side economics, you can see how we got the last stimulus program, bank bailouts, Dodd Frank, green energy spending, crony capitalism, the Consumer Protection Bureau, and other government interventions, none of which worked. Both Democrats and Republicans have it as backwards as FDR. This nonsense caused the G. W. Bush bailouts and the crash of 2008, where the market could have corrected for all the banks that made loans that could not be paid back had they been allowed to properly fail. So today, in objecting to Trump’s economic plans, Democrats and Republicans may cause the same results, the same abdication of the free market, and the continued delay in any economic growth, because they think government has to “do something,” always, rather than set the best program in place to let the market work. So a completely warped view of our history, based on the false premises that came from the Great Depression way back in the 1930’s, could easily sabotage our economic progress today, from people that believe in their hearts that they are doing the right thing, when in fact the opposite is true.
This is the kind of analysis that is going to be critical to President Trump, so that he doesn’t approach getting his tax plan through Congress as simply a business negotiation. Let’s go back further in our case study. The Great Depression is the model for conservatives of what not to do. So what do you do if you are in government facing a depression? Well — nothing! Why? Because doing nothing works. Look at the greatest depression before the Great Depression. That happened in 1837 and the President was Martin van Buren. In an article by Ray Harvey he explains that the official government policy during a depression or panic before 1930 was hands off. Why? Because depressions are caused by government interference in the marketplace, not solved by them. They understood this in 1837. The effect of Martin van Buren doing nothing was that the Depression of 1837 only lasted one year. Sure there was price deflation, banks went broke, economic production and employment suffered horribly, but because the market was allowed to correct itself without government intervention, it did.
What is interesting is the incredible opposition in 1837 from folks like Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and young Abraham Lincoln, all of whom wanted to “do something.” They wanted bail outs of the states, the reestablishment of a federal central bank, federally funded “internal improvements,” and government spending to stimulate the economy. Where have we heard this before? Van Buren cut government spending, did not increase the National Debt, created an Independent Treasury System which put us back on the Gold Standard making all bank notes redeemable in gold and silver, and created a stable monetary system. The point of all this is to see how as far back as 1837, and probably back to our Founding, we’ve had these two schools of thought. One of market corrections for an economic crisis, which allows for a quick recovery; and the second of government intervention, government spending, government printing of money which causes future inflation, and the dragging out of depressions, recessions, and recoveries, for many more years than necessary. These are still the two fundamental philosophies guiding the policies and laws that come out of the White House and Congress depending on who is in power. One is proven to work, and one is proven to fail. Invariably since the Twentieth Century we have followed the policies of the one that does not work. If you don’t know this history, we are destined to repeat it, and have, many times. Quoting Santayana, et al, is only useful when you implement the quote.
History reveals another fact about the Trump economic plan. Although the Democrats and media will scream how radical and unworkable Trump’s plan is, if you look back into our history, it’s actually rather tame. Trump should be told this as well if he doesn’t know. Trump is basing his plan I believe on the successful tax cuts of John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. What Trump should be basing is plan on are the policies of Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge which created the Roaring 20’s. What made them roar? The disastrous administration of the socialist Woodrow Wilson left the economy in terrible shape, and the National Debt much larger in order to pay for World War One. The Heritage Foundation documents how Harding inherited the Depression of 1920, but unlike Obama didn’t complain about it for eight years. By 1921 unemployment was 11.7%, and the Gross National Product had dropped 24%. Harding and Coolidge, between 1921 and 1924 reduced federal spending by 43%. Coolidge dropped the top marginal tax rate from 73% to 24%, and reduced the National Debt from $24 billion to $17 billion. And that is what made the Roaring 20’s roar. Trump’s plan is no where near that aggressive, but using the success of this historical model, Trump could make an economic plan just as aggressive.
I’ve only covered one economic thread through history to show how useful and necessary a historian would be. There are so many more issues that President Trump is going to have to deal with where a historian could help. For example, the whole environmental issue is the story of socialism and communism. Earth Day was purposely put on Lenin’s Birthday. It is the story of generating fear in order to make socialism acceptable and freedom a luxury we can’t afford because the Earth is in danger. From Earth Day they promoted Global Cooling. When that didn’t work they went for socialism through Smart Growth. When that didn’t inspire they went for Global Warming. When that was proven a hoax they now talk about Climate Change, which could mean anything, but is in reality the same old generation of fear to give up freedom and accept socialism. A historian would present all these stories to Trump. It’s not just about making the deal. Learning from the past what is possible in the present is the best chance for securing the greatest future.
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