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USA

US Politics: Alternative Realities

by Lawrence J. Fedewa (June 23,2018) 

The most striking feature of American politics today may well be the completely different perceptions held by various groups of what “facts” each considers to be truth. It’s like they are living in different worlds. While there are some cynical “realists” who knowingly fashion “fake news”,  many partisans sincerely believe their views to be correct. So much so that they feel moral indignation and outrage at the other side.

At the root of these reactions is fear. All are afraid, in varying degrees, that their way of life is threatened by the other actors on the political stage. It is fear which drives people to irrational conclusions and closes their ears and minds to dialog with those who disagree with them. When logic is thrown out the window, all that remains is instinct. Imagination can be formed  by logic, but fear obscures all but the  most dangerous fantasies.                                  Keep Reading

Big Weekend: Quebec, Singapore, Qingdao

 

Quebec: the G7

The G7 and the Singapore meetings both have their roots in the 20th century. The G-7 is an organization designed to promote dialog among the largest economies of the “free world” – as defined by the Cold War — namely, France, Italy, United Kingdom and Spain from Europe, Japan from Asia, and The US and Canada from North America. Russia was also included in this group until it was expelled as an expression of protest against its forced annexation of Crimea in 2014.

As everyone knows, the American President, Donald J. Trump, is following his demand that NATO partners pay their fair share of the cost of their defense, with a demand that these trading partners lower their tariffs on American imports to the same level as American tariffs on their exports to the USA. In fact, on Sunday. Mr. Trump suggested that all G7 countries should eliminate ALL tariffs.

These folks object strongly to losing their gravy train, but their dependence on the USA as the largest market in the world for trade as well as defense suggests that they will reluctantly negotiate this equalization of tariffs as they have defense costs – which is moving in the right direction, if slowly. Keep Reading

What is Democratic Capitalism?

By Lawrence J. Fedewa

The first thing to understand is that “democracy’ is a system of governance, and “capitalism” is an economic system. The genius of America has been to unite these two elements into a synergistic whole with the goal of providing every American “the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The foundation of capitalism is “profits.” A profit occurs when you sell something for more than you paid for it. All taxes depend on profits – no profits, no taxes; no taxes, no government. So, if governments (combining local, state and national) take too much of the profits generated by businesses, there will not be any profits, and the economy will fail – and people will go hungry.

Thus, there will always be a tension between government and business over the amount of profits government takes and the amount kept by businesses. Since there is no accepted “balance,” there is always a tug of war between advocates of “big government” and “limited government,” generally represented these days by the Democrats and the Republicans.
There are some basic issues at stake. First of all, governments generally have the guns, meaning the resources to enforce whatever they want to enforce, whether through confiscation (taxes), incarceration (prison), or militarization (martial law). Keep Reading