Thursday, June 27, 2019

Don't Trust Those Who Can't See What Should Be Seen

I have always believed that a fundamental difference between a Democrat and Republican is how they view the world. Democrats see the world in much more theoretical and idealistic terms. Republicans tend to be more practical and pragmatic in their outlook.

Democrats want policy solutions based on how they think the world should work in theory. Republicans favor policies based on how the world really works in practice.

Democrats generally confine themselves solely to visible effects.  They seem to consider only first-level effects and ignore everything else that might flow from that. All of their focus is on what they see in front on them. They ignore the unseen issues. Republicans, on the other hand, are considering both the immediate effects and second-level effects. The seen and the unseen.  Especially the unseen effects which should be foreseen.

A few examples that I have written about previously.

Welfare-  Democrats can't do enough to help the people in need that they see.  Food stamps, housing assistance, Medicaid, long-term unemployment assistance.  It is natural to want to help people who need the help.  However, what about the unseen problem that in all of this we may also be creating a cycle of dependency?  In the end our compassion may end up feeding the problem rather than solving it.

Abortion- A woman who is pregnant is seen and known. An unborn baby is unseen and unknown for most Democrats. We see the life affected today with that pregnancy. The life of that baby's future and their potential is unseen.

Gun control-  A person with a gun who uses it in a horrific crime is seen.  Democrats see that. However, unseen are the millions of guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans as well as the thousands of crimes that may have been deterred by that fact .

We can see this playing out right now in the immigration chaos on the southern border.

We historically had very few children arriving at our southern border either alone or with adults. Most illegal immigrants were single adults. Many were men looking for work.

That all changed right after Barack Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order  (DACA) in June, 2012. (I am sure that it was just a coincidence this was done right before the 2012 election.)

This chart by Pew shows that after Obama put DACA in place the number of children apprehended at our southern border started trending upwards. The number of single adults dropped and the number of family units and unaccompanied children rose. People clearly saw the policy and believed that they had a chance to get taken care of as well.

Obama may not have seen it at the time he did DACA but we surely see it now.

Of course, as I also pointed out in my recent post on "The Indefatigable Donald Trump", this trend turned into an explosion once people also started to believe that President Trump was serious about building a wall and closing the border.

How can anyone look at this chart and not admit that we are in the midst of a full-fledged invasion on that southern border right now?

This all ought to be a lesson to anyone proposing any major changes in policy that they should be carefully considering the seen, but the unseen effects, as well.

Where do I see real risk in unseen effects with some of the popular Democrat policy proposals?

Let's take Medicare for All.

All of the Democrats seem to assume the underlying health care system will continue just as it is today if they were to move to a Medicare for All system.

However, what if doctors decide that they don't want to continue working in that system? You might not realize it but Medicare only pays doctors and hospitals about 60% of what private insurance pays.

I have talked to several doctors recently who told me that they would likely retire if Medicare for All is implemented. They are close to, or already at retirement age, but they still enjoy making a contribution as well as getting paid for it. The same calculus would not apply for them under Medicare for All.

The average U.S. doctor makes about 5 times the average wage in the United States.

Compare that to what general practitioner physicians earn in other countries that some Democrats say should be models for our healthcare system.

Australia   1.7x
Canada      1.8x
France       2.1x
Norway     1.8x
UK             3.6x

Make no mistake, doctor and nursing pay would be significantly squeezed in a Medicare for All world. In some Democrat proposals, doctors and nurses would actually become government salaried employees. It is likely many hospitals would have to close.

Consider as well the age distribution of physicians in the United States. Nearly half are 55 years of age or older.

Do you see an unseen problem?

What would the Democrats do if tens of thousands physicians decided to retire rather than keep working under a Medicare for All model? Pass a law requiring them to work? Wait times to get medical care would clearly increase substantially as doctor shortages quickly became evident. Bear in mind that, even without any "unseen" effects from Medicare for All, it is projected there will be a 120,000 doctor shortage by 2030 according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Let's also look at the proposal to forgive student loan debt or provide free college to everyone.

As I have written before, it is not hard to predict that those who sacrificed and paid for college would be unhappy about seeing others have their debts cancelled while they got nothing for their hard work and effort. I can foresee problems galore with that.

To begin with, only about 1 in 3 adults in the United States went to college and they generally are making less money than those that went to college. How is it fair to tax them in order to forgive college debts.

Of course, Bernie Sanders will tell people he is taxing Wall Street. However, who will really pay that tab? The tax is actually on financial transactions. Wall Street is just a middle man. The cost burden will fall on those who own 401k's, mutual funds, IRA's and use bonds to finance capital investment. In other words, Mr. and Mrs. America. What happens if that tax on transactions means that a lot less transactions take place? You might very well destroy the capital markets and have little revenue to show for it.

Every effect has other effects. Nothing stays the same when you introduce different incentives and penalties to the system.

What else could be wrong about free college?

Have you ever thought how much GI benefits mean to recruiting enlisted personnel for our armed forces? We have a voluntary military and one of the real benefits recruiters have at their disposal is offering recruits GI Bill benefits that can provide as much as $50,000 in tuition assistance for as little as two years of service.

I could not find a reliable number on what percentage of enlisted personnel are motivated to join the military based on the promise of these benefits.

However, the Congressional Budget Office reported recently that $65 billion was spent on GI college benefits between 2010-2016 for 1.6 million beneficiaries.

In that there are about 1.3 million active duty personnel right now you can see that a substantial number of veterans must have been motivated to enlist, in part, due to the GI benefits.

What happens to the all-voluntary military if college is free and those who are now enlisting to pay for college don't have to do that anymore?

Do you see an unseen problem?

Could we soon have to bring back the military draft to maintain force readiness?

Have the Democrats thought of this?

Everything is always going to be wonderful in the theoretical mind of a liberal Democrat.

They see a problem and they have a ready solution to solve the problem they think they see.

However, every problem that is seen has a series of untold effects that are unseen.

It is these effects that the Democrats never seem to see... or even consider.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Trump +4

The focus is on the Democrat debates this week as I wrote about in my last post. I thought I would also provide some thoughts on where I believe Donald Trump stands now that he has officially announced he is running for re-election.

There have been a lot of polls out recently that are telling us that Donald Trump will be a one term President.

Fox News had a poll last week with Trump down 10 to Biden and down 9 to Sanders

Quinnipiac had similar numbers for Trump against Biden and Sanders and showed him down 8 to Kamala Harris and 7 to Elizabeth Warren.

What do I make of all this?

Not much. We are still almost a year and a half from the election.

In the last cycle most pollsters did not have it even close the day before the election.

I am much more interested in analyzing fundamentals right now than looking at polls.

What do I mean?

At this point four years ago Donald Trump had just announced his candidacy ( June 16, 2015).

Four years ago this week Trump was favored by only 3.2% of GOP in the Real Politics polling average.

Let's look at the fundamentals. All of these suggest that Trump is in a much better place right now than he was four years ago when it was generally assumed he had no chance.

Trump is President and history suggests that incumbents have a built-in advantage.

The Economy 
Incumbents are particularly difficult to beat if the economy is good. As I pointed out in an earlier post, an incumbent President has not lost one time in the last 100 years when there was no recession in the two previous years before the election.

Four years ago Trump was self financing his campaign and had to defeat 16 other GOP rivals for the nomination. He never was able to tap into traditional Republican money sources for the general election. He ended spending half the money that Hillary Clinton did in the general election campaign.

This time is altogether different. Trump will have access to those GOP money sources. His campaign has also demonstrated it is very good at raising money from small donors.

For example, Trump raised $30 million in the first quarter, 2019. The average donation was just $34.26. 98.79% of the donations were from people who gave less than $200! That is better than Bernie Sanders has ever done with small donors.

Trump raised a staggering $24.8 million in the 24 hours immediately after he officially announced his re-election campaign. No Democrat candidate raised $20 million in the entire first quarter.

It should be remembered as well that this is all before the Trump campaign starts going after large donors.

Trump looks like he will have an enormous financial war chest

He will also likely only have token opposition in the primaries so he will not have to spend as much as his Democrat rivals do either.

Solid Base
It is very difficult for any candidate to win if they do not have a solid base of support from within their own party. Being an outsider, Trump had a challenge in getting the base behind him four years ago. Ultimately, he got the votes he needed but he took office in a vulnerable position as many GOP officeholders held him at a distance as did many traditional conservatives.

Most of that opposition has faded. Trump has won over most of his detractors. Trump's approval rating with Republican voters has consistently been around 90%.

There were many traditional Republicans who were very unsure about voting for Trump in 2016. I personally talked to a half dozen friends who did not know if they could vote for Trump in the days leading up to the election. I asked them what the alternative was? In the end, most told me they held their nose and voted for him.

Where are they today? I have not talked to one of them who is disappointed in Trump's performance. Yes, they still complain about his antics, and his use of Twitter, but every one of them says he has vastly exceeded their expectations.

I think that has to be true of almost all of his voters. Where are the people who voted for him who would not do it again? Again, there may be voters who do not his behavior or the way he acts as President. However, they knew that when they voted the last time. There is nothing new here. At the same time, the things he said he would do, he has done. There has been no bait and switch.

Trump got 63 million votes the last time. If he is going to lose, you have to find people who voted for him and think  it was a mistake. I am not sure how many people there are like that out there.

It is hard to win elections if your supporters are not energized about your candidacy. It is also hard to win if the candidate lacks energy.

Trump still has both and I have yet to see a Democrat candidate who can match that energy on either dimension.

I continue to be amazed that Trump can fill arenas like he does. I am also amazed at the energy and stamina that he brings to the job. I don't know how anyone can say that Trump does not work hard at what he does.

Out From The Shadows
Four years ago you had very few people who would admit in polite company that they were Trump supporters. Yes, he filled arenas and you saw a lot of yard signs in rural areas but you did not generally see these things in typical Republican suburban locales.

I see that changing from four years ago. The "silent" voters from four years ago may be much more visible this time in telling people they support Trump.

Inroads With Minorities
I said above that I don't necessarily trust polls at this point. However, it is hard to ignore some of the polls that show Trump has made significant improvement in his approval rating with African American and Hispanic voters. For example, in a recent Quinnipiac poll 30% of Black voters and 55% of Hispanic voters said they were better off under Trump than they were before he was elected.
Those are huge numbers coming from voters that Trump and other Republicans have had a hard time in attracting support from in the past.

We are a long way from November 3, 2020. However, when you analyze the fundamentals, Donald Trump is in a much better and stronger position than four years ago.

Biden +9? Sanders +8?

Those are hard to believe when you analyze the facts.

Trump +4 looks awfully good.

The polls might not show that number but Donald Trump is in an infinitely better position than he was four years ago when you look at the fundamentals.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Enjoy The Show

The first debates for the Democrats seeking that party's nomination for President are this week.

20 out of 23 announced candidates have qualified to appear at the debates. This means that there were will be two nights of debates with 10 candidates appearing each night.

USA Today's graphic nicely shows the lineup for each night.

These are the three candidates that did not qualify for the debate stage based on the DNC rules.

The candidates were assigned to each night randomly from two categories---those polling greater than 2% and those polling less to insure that there is equal representation of polling leaders and laggers on each night. That may have been the intent but 4 of the top 5 in recent polls (Biden, Sanders, Harris and Buttigieg) ended up together on Thursday, June 27. This was done to avoid a "kid's table" debate but it appears that is where Elizabeth Warren ended up. It remains to be seen whether that will help or hurt her.

I think debates are very valuable as they are the first real chance that most voters have to really see, hear and evaluate the candidates.

Some of the people on that debate stage are well known but most voters probably have never seen them outside of a 10 second news bite or their picture on the internet.

Little known names have become big-time once they got to the debate stage. Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are good examples.

Big names have also fallen hard in the glaring lights. Look no further than Jeb "Low Energy" Bush.

I have no doubt that one or two of these candidates will get a major boost from the debates due to their performance.

It is also more than likely that one of those near the top of the pack may find the debates will mark the beginning of the end for their campaign.

The biggest challenge for the Democrats generally is to sell themselves to primary voters while still being able to attract mainstream voters in the general election.

This has been an issue for Democrats and Republicans alike in past elections but it appears to be a particular problem for Democrats this year with the hard left-turn the party faithful have taken.

With the candidates running so hard to the left will it be impossible to convince mainstream voters to vote for them in November, 2020?

I recently came across an interesting graph that illustrates the problem.

As the graph illustrates, voters who participate in primary elections are decidedly more partisan than other voters. This is true for voters in both parties. Those who vote in primaries are much more partisan and ideological than general election voters.

The further left on this scale the more liberal you are. The further right the more conservative.

The height of the lines represents the number of voters.

Note how primary voters of both parties spread ideologically left and right as you would expect.

However, independents or non-primary voters of both parties cluster around the middle. In fact, the greatest number of non-primary voters for both parties are almost the same ideologically as Independents.

Notice as well that Independents are actually a little right of center. They are not directly in the middle. They lean a little right. Democrat non-primary voters are almost right on the center line ideologically. That is a long way from what many Democrat candidate appear to be selling right now.

In some ways this graph explains why Donald Trump won the Republican primary and also won the general election. Part of that was due to the fact that he had positions on some big issues like trade and foreign policy that were not what were considered "conservative" positions. His strong position on immigration and protecting American jobs also helped with those middle of the road Democrat voters.

He won because he was able to retain a strong core of ideological Republicans to his cause but also broadened his voting bloc with Independents and Democrats that were not ideological firebrands. As noted above, there are a lot of Democrats voters in that category.

You are likely to see one Democrat after another on that stage spend all of their time trying to appeal to those left-wing Democrat primary voters. However, with each word they risk losing those Democrats and Independents in the middle that they need to win the general election.

Here is another graph from The Economist that is interesting in that it shows the distribution of ideology of House primary candidates by party since 1980. We often hear that the widening gap in ideology between the parties is a reason little can get done in Washington any more. As you can see, Republicans have moved a little right since Reagan. Democrats have moved massively to the left.

If you wonder where the divide we have today comes from, look no further than this graph.

If I was advising one of the long shot candidates like Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet or Tim Ryan, who are not as well known and who do not have the same high profile liberal reputations as others, I would urge them to be be contrarians on some of the standard Democrat issues of the day. Come out strong for law and order, national security and a secure border. Show support for stronger trade deals. Have a more nuanced view of abortion. In other words, they might end up sounding a lot like Barack Obama did in 2008.

They are not going to stand out saying the same things as everyone else on that stage. Donald Trump understood that better than anyone.

These debates could be the launching pad for the Democrats to capture the White House. Or they may ultimately lead to the Democrats becoming nothing more than a fringe, regional party that only appeals to large urban and special interest voting blocs.

Bring out the popcorn and enjoy the show.

However, if you are sitting anywhere near the middle or right of center in the audience, I would not expect to get much eye contact from those on the stage.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Water, Waste and the World

In my last post I wrote about form and substance in politics.

Form always seems to be preferred over substance in politics.

Barack Obama was all about form. However, there was little in the way of results or substance in anything he said or did.

Donald Trump lacks almost all form. He is nothing like we have come to believe a politician is supposed to act. However, as I pointed our in my previous blog, the things he has accomplished are substantive.

There are no bigger issues in politics where form is given more weight than substance than those involving the environment and climate change.

There are a lot of people talking and acting like they care about these issues and are quick to lecture everyone else about how noble they are. However, if you look at the facts, most of what they are doing is merely a show. Their actions will do little to address the biggest problems.

Even if their motives are pure, what they are doing is mere window dressing when you actually look at the issue. Perhaps it makes them feel good that they think they are doing good even if it matters little in the larger scheme of things.

If you really want to solve a problem, you address those things that have the greatest impact. You don't dance around the margins.

I consider myself a strong conservationist and environmentalist. I firmly believe that we have a solemn responsibility to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with. 

We must use our resources wisely and insure that they will continue to bless and benefit future generations.

For a little perspective, consider the amount of water on earth.

We often hear that 70% of the surface of the earth is composed of water. However, how much water is there compared to the total volume of the earth?

The amount of water is shockingly small when looked at this way as this graphic from the US Geologic Survey shows.

All the water on earth would only fill up a small orb that would not even cover half of the United States. (the blue orb centered over the Western United States in the graphic below). The diameter would be about 860 miles meaning it would be as deep as it is wide if you are wondering how all the water of the oceans could fit in that little orb. The deepest parts of the ocean are only about 7 miles deep. 

The smaller blue bubble centered over Kentucky represents the volume of all fresh water on earth which includes all underground aquifers, ice caps, atmospheric moisture, glaciers, rivers, lakes and swamps. The diameter of this bubble is about 170 miles.

There is a pin prick blue bubble over Atlanta, Georgia that represents the volume of the fresh water that excludes those sources that are generally not accessible to us. This blue pin dot represents the volume of all lakes and rivers on earth which is the source of most fresh water used today. This little bubble would be about 35 miles wide and deep. By contrast, Lake Michigan is only about 300 feet deep.

Here is a summary of all the water on earth by source and volume.

Seeing this ought to make us better understand the need for conservation of water on our planet. It is a most valuable resource.

However, how is that water used?

A lot is made about using low flush toilets and not letting the water run while brushing our teeth, but how much water is really used in our daily activities?

The fact is that it is very small compared to industrial and agricultural uses. Only 13% of water use annually is for domestic purposes--drinking, bathing, cooking etc. 

Source: CIA

Every little bit helps but anyone really serious about water conservation should first worry about ways to save water in industry and farming before worrying about a low-flush toilet.

Similarly, there is a large hue and cry now about banning plastics---straws, grocery bags and the like. The argument is that these are bad for the environment and contributing to climate change.

We see images of gigantic swaths of plastic waste in the ocean which are horrific.

California and Hawaii already ban plastic bags and a ban in New York state is scheduled to take effect March 1, 2020. Plastic straws are banned in restaurants in California unless the customer asks for one.

Will banning plastic straws and bags have any effect on improving the picture above? Almost assuredly no.

Almost all of the plastics in the ocean are coming from China, Indonesia, the Philippines and Southeast Asia. Almost nothing is coming from North America.


Furthermore, almost half of the plastics are fishing nets. 

Straws make up just .03% of all ocean plastics.

It is especially interesting that the same people who want to ban plastic straws in California are so vehemently opposed to President Trump and his agenda. Look at the numbers above and tell me if you think it is a great idea to be outsourcing so much manufacturing to China and others in that region with their environmental standards. You may recall that President Trump refused to proceed with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement with many of these countries due to concerns about the fairness of the deal to the USA. Those concerns included the tremendous difference in environmental standards between the USA and those countries.

There is also a new study out on plastic bags that indicates that those bags are actually many times more beneficial to the environment,and in limiting carbon emissions, than other alternatives.

For example, it is now in vogue to take your cotton bag to the grocery store to bring your purchases home like the one below and eschew the plastic bag. This is supposed to be a symbol to show how concerned you are about saving the planet. After all, when you use it you advertise it right on the cotton bag.

However, a 2018 study by the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food found that you must reuse an organic cotton shopping bag 20,000 times before it will have less environmental damage than using a single plastic bag and then disposing of it.

Let's put that in context. If you go to the grocery store twice a week it would take 191 years of using that cotton tote in order to come out ahead on total environmental terms compared to using that plastic bag,

The plastic bag also beats out the plain paper bag. It would take 43 uses of a paper bag to do a better job for the environment than using a plastic bag. Of course, I doubt much would be left of the paper bag after as few as 10 uses.

Here are the actual numbers from the study. Note that the assumption made is that the plastic grocery bag is also reused once as a garbage bag. This is exactly what Mrs. BeeLine and I do.

Feel free to avoid plastic bags, plastic straws and turn the water off when you brush your teeth.

It is good form to do so. You are being a good steward.

However, in the world we live in today it does not matter as much what you are doing as what billions and billions of other people are doing half way around the world.

That is the substance of the issue that we hear almost nothing about.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Form and Substance

So much in a world today is about form rather than substance.

On a personal level, how you look, dress or speak often carries much more weight than what you do or who you really are.

In politics, this has been true for a long time. Promoting noble ideas and talking a good game is the rule. Delivering results is the exception rather than the rule.

There is no one that better exemplified form over substance than Barack Obama.

He looked the part. He acted the part. He talked the part. However, he never really got much done. And those things he got done never really met expectations. Form always trumped substance.

It was a lot of talk for eight years with not much to show for it in the end.

The Affordable Care Act was his signature achievement but it destroyed the individual health insurance market in the process and resulted in huge premium increases for everybody else unless they were Medicaid-eligible or qualified for subsidized premiums.

Donald Trump is the exact opposite. He doesn't look, act or talk according to form. We often hear that he does not speak or act like a President should.

In many ways, this is the reason that he won the 2016 election. Trump did not talk like a politician. He said things that others saw and knew to be true. However, no other politician was willing to say it.

Just as clearly, Trump's unwillingness to conform to the expected political norms is why so many in the Washington establishment and the liberal media dislike him. This also seems to explain why they seem unwilling or unable to appreciate the substance of what he has accomplished. If Trump is right, what does that mean about them? Could they have been wrong?

Victor Davis Hanson has written an excellent article with a slightly different slant on what I refer to as the form and substance of politics above. Hanson writes about "When Normality Became Abnormality" at American It is worth the full read.

His point is that we have been living in a world in which the powerful political elites have been trying to convince us that what is common sense is, in fact, abnormal thinking. He points to this as being the result of a progressive agenda that came to be accepted as conventional assumptions with the Clinton-Bush-Obama-Romney generation. That agenda became an ingrained status quo that could not be questioned even if common sense suggested that what was being sold to us was very much suspect. To do so got you instantly branded a heretic that should be censured or worse.

Hanson frames it this way.

The current normal correctives were denounced as abnormal—as if living in a sovereign state with secure borders, assuming that the law was enforced equally among all Americans, demanding that citizenship was something more than mere residence, and remembering that successful Americans, not their government, built their own businesses and lives is now somehow aberrant or perverse.

What sets Trump so far apart from his predecessors and the Washington elites is he is not worried about form. He is looking at the substance of a problem or issue.  He also has the confidence and courage to not be afraid to challenge that status quo when necessary.

Here are a few examples from the article.

Iran Deal

Everyone knew the Iran deal was a way for the mullahs to buy time and hoard their oil profits, to purchase or steal nuclear technology, to feign moderation, and to trade some hostages for millions in terrorist-seeding cash, and then in a few years spring an announcement that it had the bomb.

No one wished to say that. Trump did. He canceled the flawed deal without a second thought.

Iran is furious, but in a far weaker—and eroding—strategic position with no serious means of escaping devastating sanctions, general impoverishment, and social unrest.

Paris Climate Accord

Everyone realized the Paris Climate Accord was a way for elites to virtue signal their green bona fides while making no adjustments in their global managerial lifestyles—at best. At worst, it was a shake-down both to transfer assets from the industrialized West to the “developing world” and to dull Western competitiveness with ascending rivals like India and China. Not now. Trump withdrew from the agreement, met or exceeded the carbon emissions reductions of the deal anyway, and has never looked back at the flawed convention. The remaining signatories have little response to the U.S. departure, and none at all to de facto American compliance to their own targeted goals.


Rich NATO allies either could not or would not pay their promised defense commitments to the alliance. To embarrass them into doing so was seen as heretical. No more.

Trump jawboned and ranted about the asymmetries. And more nations are increasing rather than decreasing their defense budgets. The private consensus is that the NATO allies knew all along that they were exactly what Barack Obama once called “free riders” and justified that subsidization by ankle-biting the foreign policies of the United States—as if an uncouth America was lucky to underwrite such principled members. Again, no more fantasies.


China was fated to rule the world. Period. Whining about its systematic commercial cheating was supposedly merely delaying the inevitable or would have bad repercussions later on. Progressives knew the Communists put tens of thousands of people in camps, rounded up Muslims, and destroyed civil liberties, and yet in “woke” fashion tip-toed around criticizing the Other. Trump then destroyed the mirage of China as a Westernizing aspirant to the family of nations. In a protracted tariff struggle, there are lots of countries in Asia that could produce cheap goods as readily as China, but far fewer countries like the United States that have money to be siphoned off in mercantilist trade deals, or the technology to steal, or the preferred homes and universities in which to invest.


Open borders were our unspoken future. The best of the Chamber of Commerce Republicans felt that millions of illegal aliens might eventually break faith with the progressive party of entitlements; the worst of the open borders lot argued that cheap labor was more important than sovereignty and certainly more in their interests than any worry over the poor working classes of their own country. And so Republicans for the last 40 years joined progressives in ensuring that illegal immigration was mostly not measured, meritocratic, diverse, or lawful, but instead a means to serve a number of political agendas.

Most Americans demurred, but kept silent given the barrage of “racist,” “xenophobe,” and “nativist” cries that met any measured objection. Not so much now. Few any longer claim that the southern border is not being overrun, much less that allowing a non-diverse million illegal aliens in six months to flood into the United States without audit is proof that “diversity is our strength.”

I don't know how many times I have heard political pundits talk about issues like those above and add a sentence or two about about Trump's position on the issue that includes the following--- "Trump can't do that." "He just doesn't understand." "It won't work."

Somehow he has gone ahead with it, the world did not end and it has improved the position of the United States in the process.

It is quite remarkable when you take a step back and see how significantly Donald Trump has changed the conversation on these topics. He also accomplished all of this almost single-handedly. He did not have a lot of others offering political support on these when he started. Too many were interested in their form.

In the process, form has been shown to be vastly overrated. Substance also appears to have been vastly underrated. Could it be that the last several decades we were being taught to not expect enough of our leaders?

Hanson would say that a lot of this came about because we were being told that normal was abnormal.

The current normal correctives were denounced as abnormal—as if living in a sovereign state with secure borders, assuming that the law was enforced equally among all Americans, demanding that citizenship was something more than mere residence, and remembering that successful Americans, not their government, built their own businesses and lives is now somehow aberrant or perverse.

The big question in the 2020 election may well be determined by which view of "normality" wins. The Democrats seem intent on doubling down on a progressive agenda. What makes this election particularly interesting is that the Democrats are not hiding that agenda. Heretofore it seemed to be understood that Democrats would campaign as moderates and only govern as liberals. Now they seem to want to campaign as socialists and govern as socialists (or worse).

If nothing else, Trump has clearly delineated the political battle lines.

Choices will need to be made.

What is normal and what is abnormal when it comes to America?

Is form more important than substance?

Do we want to make America great again or do we think that America was never that great to begin with?

Trump officially kicks off his campaign tonight in Orlando. The Democrats have their first debate in Miami next week (June 26 and 27).

Enjoy the show between now and November, 2020 but always be thinking about form and substance.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Time and Markets

It has been said that most people should not be so concerned about market timing as they are about time in the market.

The reason is that for most people the best way they have to participate in the economy and the innovation that accompanies it is to be invested in the stock market.

Most people will never own their own business. They will never invent anything. They will never come upon a great idea that will capture the imagination of the masses.

These are the typical pathways to wealth. For some these paths have led to enormous fortunes. Andrew Carnegie. Henry Ford. Sam Walton. Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Jeff Bezos.

Most people will labor every day and be paid for that labor. However, their are finite limits to the amount of money anyone can earn from their own labor. 

Why is it difficult to become wealthy simply by your own labor and talents?

It is a question of time. We all only have so many hours in the day. We may be very productive but time is a finite resource. It is a limiting factor in utilizing our labor.

The amount that any one person is willing to pay another for their labor is also limited. For these reasons, it is hard to grow rich simply by your own individual labor.

Entertainers and professional athletes are exceptions to this rule. They are able to showcase their talents and labor to a broad audience and are able to get many, many people to pay them for it in the form of ticket prices or a media audience. However, each member of that audience is paying just a small price that gets leveraged with the size of the audience.

Inventors and authors are similarly advantaged. An invention that is used by millions of people or a best selling book creates large royalty payments that allow them to leverage their sole labor effort.

Entrepreneurship is the most common path to wealth because owners can leverage their time by getting other people to work for them thereby gaining a portion of others' labor for their own benefit. Starting a business is the path that entrepreneurs follow to gain this advantage.

If you are not following one of these paths, your only option to become wealthy is to  work, save and invest. You leverage that savings  by getting your savings working for you through compound returns. As your money begins to work for you the need for you to labor to support yourself is reduced. If you can get enough money saved and invested you eventually do not have to labor at all. Your money does all the work to support your lifestyle.

That is why time in the stock market is so important for most people. You may not own a business, or invent or innovate anything, but you can effectively partner with people who do. If you are widely invested in the stock market you can participate in the growth of the economy as a whole. 

The U.S stock market has been a particularly good place to have your money invested over the last 10 years.

Here is a chart that shows the performance of the S&P 500 for the last decade. It has advanced from 912 to 2887 over the last 10 years. Looked at in simpler terms, if you had $1,000 invested in the stock market on this date in 2009 you would have $3,166 today.


Of course, the stock market does not alway go up. You only need to recall what happened at the end of last year to know that. That retrenchment is very evident looking at the chart above.

However, if you believe that the United States (or another country, region or the world) is going to continue to be a place where humans will continue to be more productive, more innovative and more inventive over time you can participate in that growth by being investing in the stock market.

I came across some interesting charts recently that puts the long-term performance of the stock market in perspective. These charts were put together by The Visual Capitalist based on data from The Measure of a Plan.

It shows U.S. Stock Market annualized returns from 1872 to 2018 for 1/5/10/20 year rolling periods. Bear in mind these are "real" returns and have been adjusted for inflation

Notice that there is not one 20-year period in 146 years of stock market data where there was a negative return. The average real return was 6.7%. That would be about 10% in nominal terms.

Credit: The Virtual Capitalist

However, looking at all 145 one-year periods, the stock market has produced a loss 31% of the time. 

Here is a chart showing the distribution of those one-year returns. 

Credit: The Measure of a Plan

The largest one-year loss has been 37%. The largest one-year gain was 53.2%.

All of this should show you why the famous investor Benjamin Graham once said this about the stock market.

“In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.”

What did Graham mean by that?

Stock market prices are driven by expectations, emotion, investor psychology and sentiment in the short run. Look no further than stock prices day to day. In almost all cases there is nothing substantive that has changed with a company from one day to the next. Or even one minute to the next. However, the stock price of that company is changing all the time based on investor perceptions. That is a voting machine.

However, in the long run, all of that emotion, psychology and perception gets subtracted. What is left is the real economic value of the company or of the entire market. That is a weighing machine.

Weigh all of this as you think about your financial future.

Weigh all of this as you vote as well.

Wealth follows private sector business ownership, invention and innovation. The individual incentives and rewards of a capitalist society is what creates wealth and lifts a society up.

Socialist ideals sound great in theory. However, history has shown that the theory has never held up when it comes into contact with the real world and the humans that populate it.

If you doubt it, you might want to take a look at stock market returns in Venezuela since the people of that country took the turn towards socialism. A decision that most have now come to regret.

The Venezuelan stock market was down 94% in dollar terms in 2018.

Choose wisely in everything you do.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

It Is the Way It Is

The United States women's soccer team is making headlines at the World Cup.

They beat Thailand 13-0 in the open round this week. They were also criticized after the win for the excessive celebrations they participated in on the goals they scored later in the contest when the game was well out of hand.

Earlier in the week the team was also in the headlines for the lawsuit they filed in federal court alleging "institutional gender discrimination" in that the United States Soccer Federation is paying women on the US World Cup team less than it pays the men.

The women would appear to have a good argument in that the women are the defending World Cup champions and the United States men have made it to the quarterfinals only once (2002) in modern history.

However, is that the end of the story?

US Soccer seems ready to vigorously defend against the complaint and argues that that the women’s and men’s national teams “... receive fundamentally different pay structures for performing different work under their separate collective bargaining agreements that require different obligations and responsibilities.”

Whenever you have compensation questions you first must consider the revenue source that is going to pay that compensation. The bottom line is that no one gets paid unless a willing consumer is willing to pay for a product or service.

In sports, you need to sell tickets. Or tv rights. Or get revenue from corporate sponsors. Someone has to want to pay to see the athletes perform. Compensation of an athlete is almost always a function of revenue. Ticket price, tv rights and sponsor packages have to support the pay the athletes receive.

Let's look at World Cup revenues between men and women.

The last men's World Cup in soccer brought in $6 billion in revenue.

This year's women's World Cup in soccer is expected to generate $131 million.

Let me do the math for you. The men are bringing in almost 60 times the revenue the women are in their world cup competition.

It is no different if you look at other major sports like golf or basketball that have highly skilled men and women professional athletes. There is a tremendous revenue disparity between men and women. The women just do not command the same audience. As a result, they do not command the same pay.

Women do better on this score in tennis. All Grand Slam tennis events pay the same purse to both men and women. However, all of the Grand Slam events (men and women) are played at the same time and share the same venue. The women do not have to sell tickets, tv rights and get sponsor packages alone. They gain leverage and synergy through their relationship with the men. This is a big difference compared to other sports.

We often hear the statistic that women only earn 79 cents for every dollar that a man earns in pay.

This is accurate but is a bit misleading. It does not take into account the larger number of women working part-time hours or choosing lower paid occupation groups. For example, women are vastly overrepresented in Healthcare, Personal Care & Service, Education, Office & Administrative Support, and Community & Social Services — typically lower-paying occupations. At the same time, men are overrepresented in higher paying occupations like Engineering and Computer Science.

Women make up only 26% of Computer Science and Mathematics jobs. They only make up 16% of jobs in Architecture and Engineering.

On the other hand, women make up 87% of jobs in healthcare support, 77% in personal care and service and 67% in community and social services.

There is also an argument made by some that this results from women being directed into these occupations by some type of cultural stereotyping or bias. There is some type of gender inequity at work that pushes women away from higher paying STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) degrees and careers.

However, as I wrote in a blog post last year, the facts are exactly the opposite.

Research indicates that in countries with the greatest gender equity you actually have the lowest percentage of female STEM graduates.

It seems that the greater the gender equity, and the higher the economic security for women, the more freedom females seem to believe they have the freedom to major in what they really want to do.

Don't expect to find many female STEM graduates in Finland, Norway, Netherlands or Belgium.

On the other hand, in Algeria, Turkey, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates you will find lots of them. All of these are Muslim countries which are hardly known for gender equity.

Could it actually be true that women have a more nurturing side that causes them to gravitate to jobs that this is an important factor such as in healthcare, education and community and social services?

It is not politically correct to suggest that but what do the facts tell you?

The facts on gender pay equity are also different when you adjust for the differences in job selection by men and women.

When the data is adjusted to to look specifically at men and women in the same jobs and with the same qualifications, the pay gap narrows so that women are actually paid 98 cents for every dollar that a man makes. You rarely see this fact reported in stories on pay equity.


This clearly is still not fair but who is responsible for this pay gap in business?

It would seem that the finger would have to point primarily to the Human Resources function within businesses since that is the group within companies that have primary responsibility for pay scales and compensation. Human Resources is also generally responsible to insure that employees are treated fairly and equally within an organization.

Who exactly are these Human Resources people?

I used to be one. I had specific responsibility for Benefits and Compensation for a Fortune 500 corporation. I can also tell you that not once did gender ever enter into any compensation decision that I was a part of. Not once was there any thought that if a woman was in a job that she would be paid less than a man.

Moreover, the fact is that 73% of all the people who hold Human Resources managerial positions in the United States are women.

Are we to believe that these women in HR, who are setting the compensation structures, pay scales and advising others on hiring pay, annual increases and promotional increases, are discriminating against other women?

I can think of nothing more important than pay equity when it comes to anyone's labor. However, like anything else, it is important that the issue be put in proper context.

A woman laboring as the CFO at a struggling start-up or small family business may be just as talented and hard working as a female CFO at a multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 company. Guess who is going to make more money?

It is not discrimination. There are facts and economic realities that make that the case.

The same is true for professional women athletes like the US Women's Soccer team.

The same is true for the 2 cent differential in the pay gap between men and women with the same jobs and same qualifications. I don't know why it exists today but I sincerely doubt that it has anything to do with conscious gender discrimination. After all, most of the decisions on what women are being paid today are being made by other women.

My guess is that we will see the gender pay gap in business disappear in the future, if not reverse, in favor of women. The fact that almost 60% of college degrees now go to women would seem to put men at a severe disadvantage over time regarding compensation. With each additional year more women are also gaining experience in their positions that inevitably factors into pay. It is important to also remember that we are only 25-30 years removed from when there were very few female managers in most businesses.

If that does not occur, I know who to blame.

Blame Human Resources.

I did it when I wasn't in HR. I took the brunt of it when I was in HR.

There is no equity in this either. However, it is the way it is.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Career Advice

We are in graduation season and many young men and women are thinking about what they want to do with their life.

I came across this article by Visual Capitalist that took data from the 2018 Jobs Rated Report by on the most common careers based on median income, stress, growth outlook and workplace environment, and used it to rank 100 common careers from best to worst.

If someone is looking just to make a lot of money the best career choices are Military General ($215,117), Surgeon ($208,000), Senior Corporate Executive ($183,270) and Dentist ($158,120).

I found this kind of humorous because who chooses a career as a Military General or a Senior Corporate Executive? I think there are quite a few steps on a career path that leads in that direction before you get those high levels of compensation. However, I would not consider a Military General to be a "career". Shouldn't that career be that of a military officer?

The same is true for Surgeons and Dentists. It takes a lot of education and training before you can expect to be pulling in the big bucks in these "careers".

Of course, this data might be directed to younger audiences who seem to have a distorted view of the career paths. For example, a recent survey found that 75% of Gen Z workers believe they should be entitled to a promotion in their first year on the job. With promotions every year it should not take long to go from the shop floor to the "C" Suite or private to General.

What are the five best career choices according to the data?

They all have decent pay, nice workplace environments, low stress and good career growth prospects.

Notice that in each of these careers the low stress is probably due to the fact that these jobs likely have very limited needs to interface with the public and angry consumers. For the most part they are also not under intense time deadlines in their jobs.

If you are like me and are not quite sure what a "Genetic Counselor" does, here is a description of the career provided by This was definitely not something you could major in when I was in college 50 years ago.

Genetic counselors assess individual or family risk for a variety of inherited conditions, such as genetic disorders and birth defects. They provide information and support to other healthcare providers, or to individuals and families concerned with the risk of inherited conditions.

What are the worst career choices? Low pay, poor workplace environment, high stress and poor career growth prospects.

Some interesting observations on median salaries in the various careers.

A garbage collector ($36,160) makes more than an actor ($33,580).

A member of the clergy ($47,100) makes more than a broadcaster ($40,910).

An air traffic controller ($124,450) makes more than an airline pilot ($119,930).

Any young person considering a career should understand that some careers appear more glamorous than they really are when it comes to paying the bills.

Keep this in mind as well in taking on student loan debt.

Here is a summary ranking that compares pay and stress by Visual Capitalist.

Over the years that I have observed many people and their careers. This includes time when I was a Human Resources executive and nurturing those careers was part of my professional responsibilities.

Too often I observed two extremes when it came to the career paths of many people I encountered.

There were too many people who seemingly gave little thought to their career and random circumstances ended up controlling their lives. They wanted to be in public relations and ended up selling fire suppression systems. They wandered into something and it captured them for life. They did not choose a career. The career chose them by pure chance.

You also have the other extreme where someone is always looking for the perfect career choice and never finds it. They get three degrees and yet they are never satisfied with their career. They are always dissatisfied with where they are and what they are doing.

For most people I think the reality is there are a range of good career choices in which they can excel. The best thing they can do is pick one with some care and consideration and then make it great with passion, purpose and hard work.

You can't lose with that career advice whether you are a bank teller, taxi driver, genetic counselor or candlestick maker.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Indefatigable Donald Trump

The United States has been struggling with illegal immigration over its southern border for decades.

There is little doubt that a significant reason that Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential election was due to his tough stance on doing something about the issue.

Over two years into his term as President the flow of illegals storming the border has actually reached crisis levels. This is particularly true for those who are attempting to take advantage of asylum requests and those who understand our liberal rules for those traveling with children. They are using loopholes in our law to insure that they get into the country knowing they will not be turned away.

If you doubt that, look at this chart of illegals apprehended at the border traveling with children.

Let's put the numbers above in context. Last month saw 130,000 illegals apprehended at the southern border. This does not include those that eluded capture. That equates to over 1.5 million illegals on an annualized basis. Under current immigration law, the current annual limit for legal immigrants per year is only 1.1 million. Even at that, the 1.1 million legal limit is well above the number of immigrants that any other country in the world is accepting.

It is not hyperbole to look at these numbers and conclude that we are under invasion at our southern border.

I believe that a big reason for the surge in the illegal immigration we have seen is due to Donald Trump. How could that be when there has been no person that has been more vocal about stopping illegal immigration?

Could it be that the people in these countries believe Donald Trump?

Could it be that people in these countries believe that Trump will get his wall or change the law?

Could it be that these people believe that time is running short if they want to get into the United States?

As a result, we have seen this unprecedented surge.

If they do believe that Donald Trump is serious about illegal immigration I would suggest they are most astute.

If there is anything that people should have learned about Donald Trump by now is that he is a man who is not easily deterred from the goals he establishes for himself.

If there is one word that I would use to describe Donald Trump it is this one. Indefatigable.

Source: The Free Dictionary

We saw it again last week when he announced he would be imposing a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports into the United States, and that tariff would increase by an additional 5% per month to a maximum of 25%, until Mexico agreed to steps to help curb illegal immigration.

Predictably, Trump's action was met by widespread criticism. This included many Senate Republicans. Most said it would not work. Tariffs are not the way to negotiate. It would raise prices on American consumers. Yada, yada, yada. Blah, blah, blah.

Trump undertook all of this as he was also visiting the United Kingdom, Ireland and France as part of D-Day remembrances.

It took less than a week for Mexico to announce that it would take stronger measures to stem the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S. border including deploying 6,000 troops to the Guatemalan border where many from Central America cross into Mexico on the way to the United States. In turn, Trump announced that he would indefinitely suspend the tariffs pending these actions.

Predictably, the New York Times was out with a story shortly after the agreement was reached that Mexico had agreed to most of the measures months in advance of the tariff announcement. The story was clearly meant to minimize Trump's accomplishment.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer attempted to characterize what Trump accomplished with the Mexican agreement as "caving in" on the issue. Of course, if Trump had gone ahead with the tariffs after Mexico agreed to take action he would have called him unhinged and unfit to be President.

I have no doubt that some or all of the measures had been under discussion with Mexico for months.

However, talk always gets a lot of currency in Washington, DC and in diplomatic circles. I think most people outside the beltway are more interested in results and action. That includes Donald Trump.

What has been missing from Mexico on this issue has been concrete action. We now see something. Whether it translates into results remains to be seen. However, if we don't see results I have no doubt that Donald Trump will take additional actions.

Say what you want about Donald Trump but the thing that sets him apart is that he is not afraid to take action. He is not afraid to face criticism. He is unrelenting. He persistently works to achieve his objectives. There is no quit in him.

There has been no politician like him in my lifetime. Perhaps that is because he did not spend a lifetime as a politician. Perhaps that is because he doesn't really need the job. Perhaps that is because he is an arrogant egomaniac. I don't know why he does what he does.

What I do know it that he is indefatigable. He relentlessly pushes his agenda forward. That, more than anything, defines who he is and why he should never be underestimated. That is also why the Democrats and liberal media despise and fear him so much.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

The Longest Day Remembered

Today we celebrate and remember the heroes of D-Day, June 6, 1944, 75 years later.

Two years ago I was was able to fulfill a longstanding wish to visit the beaches of Normandy where American, British and Canadian forces came ashore in their quest to defeat Nazi Germany in World War II.

It was a memorable experience to tour the beaches and fields where so many brave men fought and died for the cause of freedom and to pay respects at the American Cemetery to those who fell on that day.

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

You cannot help but feel emotion as you look at the beautiful views and countryside while also thinking about the bravery, commitment and sacrifice that was made 75 years ago.

I am re-posting a blog post I wrote six years ago about that day.

There are no words to describe how grateful I am to all those who embarked on that journey across the English Channel on that day. For all too many it was not their longest day---it was their last day.

The Longest Day
(originally published June 6, 2013)

June 6. The Longest Day.


How many people today remember the significance of this day?

My first real exposure to the events and sacrifices of that day were in 1962 when my father took me to see the movie, The Longest Day, about the Normandy invasion of Europe.  He was a WWII veteran and he wanted to make sure that I understood what went on that day.  He told me after the movie, "I hope you never have to go through anything like that but you need to appreciate the sacrifices these men made for you."

Over 6,000 Americans lost their lives that day 69 years ago on the beaches of northern France.  By contrast, that is roughly equal to the total lives lost in over ten years of the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was a day of incalculable horror and heroism.

I hope we never forget men of courage like Walter Taylor who pushed forward as so many others fell (or drowned) around them.

This article from the, "Remembering D-Day", written two years ago by Christopher Coughlin is worth the read (link not active in 2019).  You might also want to read this 1960 account of the "First Wave at Omaha Beach" by S.L.A. Marshall, the U.S. Army's chief historian, for a more comprehensive view of what transpired on those beaches that day.

From "Remembering D-Day".

History shows that on June 6, 1944, 160,000 US and allied troops were involved in Operation Overlord, the code name for the invasion of Europe. It was and remains the largest amphibious operation in history.

June 6th was also expected to be one of the most lethal days for US troops in American history, with carnage unheard of since the American Civil War.

Allied high command was so concerned about the anticipated, epic levels of violence, destruction and death that would meet the first wave of troops that they were reluctant to assign veterans of other invasions, fearing the men would be overwhelmed and break down. As a result, two of the three US divisions assigned to hit the beaches at Normandy had never been in combat.

And as history turned out, the high command's expectations of violence were more than justified.
At Omaha Beach, the US 1st and 29th Infantry Divisions, and the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions, faced the veteran German 352nd Infantry Division, one of the best trained units in the German army.
Through acts of commission and omission, the majority of the allied landing craft missed their assigned sectors on Omaha Beach, causing confusion, and in some instances, landing American troops directly in front of German machine gunners.

As a result, casualties among the first wave of troops were nothing short of catastrophic, where surviving American solders were leaderless, isolated and traumatized by the violence surrounding them. The situation was so grave that senior commanders considered abandoning Omaha altogether.
But from the unspeakable carnage came a profound courage.

This is where Lt. Walter Taylor enters the story.

Slowly, small units of infantry, based on nothing more than individual initiative and survival instinct, formed up as ad hoc groups, and began to move the 1,000 yards off the beach to dunes to take on the German pillboxes and establish an allied foothold in Europe.

It was at that critical time of decision that Lt. Walter Taylor, Company B (or Baker), 116th Infantry, of the 29th Division, landed with the second wave.

Coming ashore, Taylor didn’t know that his commanding officers were already dead.

But, seeing the chaos, Taylor immediately took the initiative.

He led a group of men off the beach, crawling past the obstacles, barbed wire and mine fields, and eventually over the sea wall.

He continued to lead his men straight up the bluff and into the town of Vierville, where he engaged the Germans in a two-hour fire fight, and won without losing a man.

It was only later, meeting up with other elements of Baker Company, that Taylor realized that he was in command. The sergeant did a head count – there were only 28 men out of the original 240.
Undeterred, Taylor proceeded to lead the 28 men inland against an imposing German fortification with rock walls and artillery proof tunnels.

Taylor engaged the Germans there and continued the fight throughout the day, leading a force mixed from his company and several Rangers, trying to reach goals outlined in the Overlord plan for Day 1. This despite the fact, borne out on Normandy, that no battle plan survives the beginning of the battle.

By nightfall, Taylor and his men made camp near the village of Louvieres. An allied runner found them with a message to fall back to meet up with the remnants of the battalion, closer to the sea.

Taylor had led his men to a place a half a mile ahead of the rest of the United States Army in Europe. It was an incredible accomplishment.

From the "First Wave at Omaha Beach"

Taylor is a luminous figure in the story of D Day, one of the forty-seven immortals of Omaha who, by their dauntless initiative at widely separated points along the beach, saved the landing from total stagnation and disaster. Courage and luck are his in extraordinary measure.

Later, still under the spell, Price (one of Taylor's men) paid the perfect tribute to Taylor. He said: "We saw no sign of fear in him. Watching him made men of us. Marching or fighting, he was leading. We followed him because there was nothing else to do."

Thousands of Americans were spilled onto Omaha Beach. The high ground was won by a handful of men like Taylor who on that day burned with a flame bright beyond common understanding.

God bless Walter Taylor and all the courageous men who stormed the beaches of Normandy 69 years ago today.  We all owe them a debt of gratitude.  May the memory of their service and sacrifice never be forgotten. Let's hope that the flame that burned bright by their actions should never be extinguished

Second Lieutenant Walter P. Taylor, United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 6 June 1944. Second Lieutenant Taylor's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 29th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Headquarters, Ninth U.S. Army, General Orders No. 75 (1944)

Action Date: 6-Jun-44

Service: Army

Rank: Second Lieutenant

Regiment: 116th Infantry Regiment

Division: 29th Infantry Division

Source: Military Times Wall of Valor

Postscript: After I wrote this blog post 6 years ago the son of Walter Taylor posted this comment on my blog to complete the story.

"Walter P Taylor Jr who received the DSC on D-Day did survive the war but not until he received two purple hearts. One at St Lo and another in Belgium. Walter married my mother who was serving in the American Red Cross in Nice France. Lt Walter P Taylor was reassigned there at the very end of the war as part of a detail to detain "very bad Germans and Frenchmen" for the occupation forces. Walter was assigned here because he spoke fluent German. Walter studied German in high school and was sent to Germany in 1936 as an exchange student. Walter who was born in 1915 died in 1973. Pictures and documents available."

Geoff Taylor

I also received this comment from Nicolas Bulte on this blog post post in February, 2018 (almost 5 years after I wrote the original blog post and several months after I had visited the Normandy).  I wish he had seem my blog post earlier. It would have been nice to connect.

"I'm the owner of the farm-manour house of l'Ormel in Vierville where Lt. W. Taylor took shelter and so courageously distinguished himself on D-Day. Very happy to welcome you here if you happen to pass by Normandy and grateful for any additional information you may have about this particular action."

It all goes to show you what a wondrous thing the internet is.