Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Human Gaffe Machine

I am old enough to remember Joe Biden running for the 1988 Democrat nomination for President.


Biden struggled in that race amid allegations that he had plagiarized a speech by a British politician compounded by revelations that he had also plagiarized a law review article he wrote while in law school.

Biden waited 20 years to run for President again. He put his hat in the ring for the 2008 Democrat nomination against both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

It was in this time period that Biden made a couple of his more famous verbal gaffes.

Referring to Indian Americans he said the following.

 "I've had a great relationship. In Delaware, the largest growth in population is Indian-Americans moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking."

He also said this about Barack Obama, his competitor for the 2008 nomination.

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy, I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Statements like these hurt his fundraising efforts, and after garnering less than 1% of the delegates in the Iowa caucus, he withdrew from the race.

Biden got a renewed political life when Barack Obama selected him as his Vice President candidate but the gaffes continued.

During that 2008 campaign he famously told a Missouri state senator, who was a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair, to stand up and take a bow.

If anyone thought that Joe Biden would get better with age, they would be profoundly disappointed by now.

Biden at age 76 has become a human gaffe machine on the campaign trail. It seems that a gaffe comes out of his mouth almost every time he opens it.

A few examples over the last month.

He stated that "poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids." Who are the poor kids if they are not white?

He claimed he met with survivors of the Parkland High School shootings last year when he was Vice President. Biden was not the VP at that time, Mike Pence was.

Biden reminisced how Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy had been shot in the 1970's. They were shot in the 1960's.

He told an audience in New Hampshire that he was happy to be in Vermont. If New Hampshire is famous for its early primary why would Biden think he was in Vermont?

He told a student at Keene State University in New Hampshire that she should be thankful that her parents has sent her to a private college. Doesn't the name of the school tell you it is public?

Biden really got carried away when he said, "We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts." Truth over facts?

Just this week The Washington Post reported that Biden told a moving war story to an audience in New Hampshire. "This is the God's truth," Biden had said as he told the story. "My word as a Biden."
However, the Post stated that almost every detail in the story was incorrect.

It would be easy to say that Biden is not ready for prime time. However, the fact is that he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972 when he was 30 years of age---the bare constitutional minimum. He was VP for 8 years. This is his third Presidential race.

Perhaps he is just past his prime. However, he has been famous for his gaffes for years and years. They just seem to be more prolific right now.

Time Magazine did a Biden Top 10 gaffes back in 2008.

Biden has been the odds-on favorite to win the Democrat nomination since he got in the race. However, his poll numbers have lately been trending down.

Will he be the Democrat nominee?

Democrats do not usually nominate the big establishment candidate. They seem to favor outsiders most of the time. They also tend to like younger, less experienced candidates to carry the party banner into the election.

In addition, when they have deviated from this model, the Democrats have lost the general election.

Think about who have represented the Democrats when it was an open primary with no incumbent in recent history.

Jimmy Carter, a little known Georgia Governor, won the nomination in 1976.

In 1984, the Democrats went against type and nominated Carter's VP, Walter Mondale. Reagan won the electoral college 525-13!

In 1988 the Democrats chose Michael Dukakis, the Governor of Massachusetts, another outsider who was also further left than most of the party.

Bill Clinton was the nominee in 1992. A young governor from a small state outside of the Washington establishment.

Al Gore, Clinton's VP, won the nomination in 2000 but the establishment Democrat lost to George W. Bush.

Kerry was the nominee in 2004 but he also got beat in the general election.

The Democrats then turned to a young, unknown Illinois senator over two establishment heavyweights (Hillary and Biden) who beat them both for the nomination and then won two terms against establishment Republicans.

It appears that Bernie Sanders was the real choice of the Democrats in 2016 but the DNC fixed the nomination for Hillary with the use of super delegates. Hillary then lost to a decidedly non-Establishment Donald Trump.

Can the Human Gaffe Machine win the Democrat nomination? I will be shocked if Biden prevails through the primary process. If he does win, it will truly show just how far most Democrat candidates have strayed compared to where most Democrat voters are. Biden might be what they believe is the only reasonable choice. That will say a lot in itself.

Can Biden win the general election against Trump? Who would want to put odds on what might come out of either of these candidates' mouths over the next 14 months? That is an eternity and a half with both of these guys.

However, in a recent column, political commentator Larry Elder sees it this way.

Stay tuned. It will no doubt be interesting to see what comes next.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Almost A Republican

It was reported last week that Barack and Michelle Obama were in the process of purchasing a summer home on Martha's Vineyard that has a listing price of $15 million.

in 2017 Obama purchased a home in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, DC for $8.1 million.

The Obamas also apparently still own their house in Chicago which they paid $1.65 million for back in 2005.

That's three homes.

What do you think the taxes, insurance, upkeep, utility and maintenance costs are per year on 3 homes worth $25 million? It has to be at least $1 million per year. Barack Obama must feel pretty confident that the cash is going to continue to flow his way.

For context, here is what Barack Obama said on the subject of wealth inequality a little over a year ago at a speech in South Africa.

“There’s only so much you can eat. There’s only so big a house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough.”

Enough for who? What about you?

Of course, this is also the same guy who in the past lectured successful people that "they didn't build that."

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something—there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  

If there is anyone that statement applies to it is Barack Obama.

Would he have anything like this if he had not gotten into politics?

Why does he think that his rules for others do not apply to him?

The media continually excoriates Donald Trump because it thinks he is enriching himself as President.

The Democrats have tried to argue that Trump has violated the "Emoluments Clause" of the Constitution because foreign dignitaries sometimes stay at the Trump Hotel in Washington or other Trump properties.

However, Trump was wealthy before he became President. Forbes magazine actually estimates that Trump's net worth has fallen since he first announced he was running for President. Forbes estimates he was worth $4.5 billion in 2015. It now estimates his net worth at $3.1 billion.

Obama has admitted that he did not pay off his student loans until 4 years before becoming President and he only was able to do that after his book, Dreams of My Father, was published. Presidential politics obviously pays very, very well. We saw a similar pattern with Bill and Hillary Clinton. It also seems to be a big reason that 25 Democrats got in the Presidential race. A politician can burnish their brand and pad their pocketbook when they run. The same for 17 Republicans in 2016.

What I find especially remarkable about the house purchase by Obama is that he will be investing that amount of money for 29 oceanfront acres of land and a luxury house on an island in the Atlantic Ocean.

Future Obama Residence on Martha's Vineyard

For context, this is the same Barack Obama who was quoted saying this by the New York Times in 2016.

This is also the same Barack Obama who said this in his 2015 State of the Union address.

"The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe,"

We often told that New York City, Hoboken, NJ or Miami Beach, FL are going to be underwater because of climate change. A handy website ( provides the answer for any location on earth. One Wall Street in New York City is at 33 feet elevation. Hoboken is at 23 feet. The Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, FL is at 13 feet elevation.

I was curious as to what the elevation was for Obama's potential property is (79 Turkeyland Cove Rd., Edgartown, MA)

It's elevation is 3 feet above sea level! 

Why would someone who truly believes that the trends are "terrifying" and "there is no greater threat to our future than climate change" plunk down nearly $15 million for property on an island 3 feet above sea level?

What must he really think of the claims of his fellow Democrats that the planet is facing ultimate catastrophe in 11 years due to climate change?

Buying that property is not the action of a climate change skeptic. That is the action of an out and out climate change DENIER.

Barack Obama was not much in favor of capitalism, having three homes and oceanfront living three feet above sea level a few years ago.

What changed?

Martha's Vineyard has always had the reputation as a Democrat enclave.

Barack Obama appears well on his way to leaving the Democrat party. Look at all the boxes that are checked that don't quite fit.



Climate Denier.

He looks even more like one when you compare the policies he ran on for President in 2008 and 2012 with the current Democrat candidates.

Almost a Republican.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Civics Lesson That AOC Missed

It continues to amaze me how misinformed and misguided Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is.

Even more incredible is the extent to which the Democrats have allowed AOC to become the figurehead for the party.

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is the gift that keeps on giving for a blogger like me that likes to deal with facts rather than fictions and fantasies.

I wrote in January in "Belief or Blather" that AOC could not possibly believe that the world was actually going to end in 12 years. She has stated that we need to spend as much in fighting climate change as we did World War II. If that is the case I would think she should be proposing that we go to war with China and India as that is where most of the growth in CO2 emissions in the world are occurring.

Than she released her "Green New Deal" in February where she proposed banning airline travel, cows and replacing or upgrading every building, factory, apartment and home in the United States with state of the art energy efficiency. In order to accomplish our climate goals we also have to provide free college, free healthcare, healthy foods and well-paying jobs to everyone as well. The world might not end in 12 years but that surely would be the end of the United States of America.

She then teamed with Bernie Sanders in May to propose that every post office in America also become a bank for "underserved" Americans as a "public option". She never mentions that there are already 109,000 bank branches and credit unions in the country and that postal banking was tried and disbanded in the early 20th century in the United States when there were far fewer banking options than today.

AOC is now out there railing about the electoral college.

I thought this was especially interesting when you consider that "Middle America" did not even exist when the Founders wrote the U.S. Constitution.

There was no state of Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Idaho or Wyoming.

There was no state of Texas, Colorado or Nevada. There was no state of California.

If you think about it, Maryland was "Middle America" when you looked at the 13 original states.

The "Far West" was actually Georgia which also was the "Far South" of the original 13 states that ratified the Constitution.

Another interesting fact about those 13 original states at the time of the ratification of the Constitution---New York had almost as many slaves (21,000) as Georgia did (29,000)--- in the first U.S. census in 1790.

How exactly was it a racist scam to benefit Middle America?

AOC and other liberals seem to believe that the electoral college is unfair because it diminishes the power of large states like California and New York and provides advantages to smaller states. However, this was also the case in 1787 as it is today. In fact, small states actually had bigger advantages at the beginning of our nation than they do today.

For example, California and New York (per the 2010 census on which current electoral votes are determined by) have a population of about 57 million. That is 18.4% of the total population and provides 84 electoral votes out of 538 electors (15.6%). However, Wyoming and the District of Columbia barely have 1 million in population between them (3/10 of 1% of total U.S. population) but they each get 3 electoral votes (1.1% of the total for their combined 6 electoral votes out of the 538 total).

However, in the first U.S. census (1790) after the Constitution was ratified, the two largest states in the union, Virginia and Pennsylvania had about 33% of the population and had 36 of 132 electoral votes (27%) in the Presidential election of George Washington in 1792 . On the other hand, Rhode Island and Delaware ( similar to Wyoming and D.C. today) only had 3/10th of 1% of the total U.S population at that time but their electoral votes were equal to about 5% of total electoral votes.

Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have any concept of history or civics or an understanding of the principles underlying the U.S. Constitution?

I guess she did not read what I wrote about the Electoral College back in 2016 on the day it met to elect Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.

This might be a good time to read it again.

Electoral College Elucidation
(originally published December 19, 2016)

The electoral college meets today to cast its votes for President of the United States.

There seem to be many Americans who do not understand the logic behind the electoral college and the genius of our Founders in devising this system of electing our President.

I still recall my son coming home from school some 20 years ago with a homework assignment from his 6th grade teacher asking him to write a letter to Congress asking that body to vote for a constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college and replace it with a popular election vote . She had taken it upon herself to have the entire class take this project on as a way to "teach" them about the U.S. Constitution.

Needless to say, this was not teaching. It was her attempt to indoctrinate her students with her point of view. I was not pleased and I sent a note back to her telling her that my son would not participate in the assignment. In my view, the electoral college was just fine. After all, our country is called "The United States of America" for a reason.

It might be time for a little electoral college elucidation for those not familiar with all the other reasons why we don't use the popular vote for President/Vice President.

Our founders had very good reasons to adopt the electoral system of electing our President/Vice President instead of by popular vote.

Article 2, Sec.1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution establishes the method of choosing electors.

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Our founders were very distrustful of a full democracy. That is why they established the constitutional republic that we have.

The reason was simple. A democracy can be very susceptible to the whims and impulses of the general public. A democracy is also likely to run roughshod over minority rights. These concerns were at the heart of almost every decision made in writing our Constitution.

I have written about this previously, including one of my favorite blog posts of all time, "Improper and Wicked Projects". If you have not read it before, you should. It might actually shock you on how well our Founders understood human nature. Power, politics, greed, fallibilities, bias, conflicting interests, oppression. There is nothing going on today that they did not anticipate.

Because of theses concerns it made sense to place an intermediary group of electors between the popular vote and the election of the President in order to protect against these risks. It was also important that this group of electors would be independent of any pre-established body like the legislature.

Alexander Hamilton wrote Federalist Paper #68 that explained the reasoning behind "The Mode of Electing the President".

It seems a little ironic today with all the outpouring of love for Alexander Hamilton by the liberal left (largely based on the popular Broadway play), and its criticism of the electoral college process, that Hamilton was the chief defender of the electoral college in the Federalist Papers.

It is also ironic that Hamilton stated that the electoral college method laid out in the Constitution was probably the least criticized section in the entire document as ratification was being discussed by the various states. This is how he began Federalist Paper #68.

THE mode of appointment of the Chief Magistrate of the United States is almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which has escaped without severe censure, or which has received the slightest mark of approbation from its opponents. 

Hamilton went on to explain the key points of the electoral college system.

First, he explained why it was important for the people to have a vote in the process even though that role would only be to delegate the final choice to an independent body free of conflicts. Note also that no elected official may serve as an elector. The electors were also expected to apply discernment and reason to their choice. This is the argument that the anti-Trump people use in trying to get the Trump electors to vote for someone else and be so-called "Faithless Electors".
It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any pre-established body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.

The electors would, as is the case in other aspects of our republican government, provide an additional level of discernment and investigation as well as insuring that the vote is not a pure popularity contest but one in which a majority of the union of states is supportive of. They wanted to insure that the President was elected by the United States, not just the people from several states with large populations.

It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice. 
Talents for low intrigue, and the little arts of popularity, may alone suffice to elevate a man to the first honors in a single State; but it will require other talents, and a different kind of merit, to establish him in the esteem and confidence of the whole Union, or of so considerable a portion of it as would be necessary to make him a successful candidate for the distinguished office of President of the United States.

Our founders were particularly concerned about the danger of the legislature being too beholden to one of their own and any possible corruption in the election of the President as well as possible influence in the election by foreign governments. This is another reason for the electoral college and the focus on the decentralization of the vote by each state's electors rather than by popular vote or by a vote in the legislative body as would be the case in a parliamentary system.
Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. 
The business of corruption, when it is to embrace so considerable a number of men, requires time as well as means. Nor would it be found easy suddenly to embark them, dispersed as they would be over thirteen States, in any combinations founded upon motives, which though they could not properly be denominated corrupt, might yet be of a nature to mislead them from their duty.
The concern was so great about the centralization of power and the risk of pressure being brought to bear on the electoral body that the Constitution even requires that the electors meet in their respective states rather than in one central location. There is little doubt that the Founders would be horrified of the attention and abuse the electors are receiving from anti-Trump liberals leading up to the electoral vote. Everything they did was to prevent something like this as explained below.

Article 2, Sec. 1, Clause 3

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot...

Again, there was a rationale for this by the Founders as well. They believed that having the electors vote at one time and in one place for the President presented too much risk for turmoil.

And as the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place.

It is clear that one of the reasons that the Founders preferred the electoral college was that they were concerned that the people of the 18th century would not have a good sense of the character and qualifications of the candidates for President. Most would never see or hear the candidates in person. They could not truly judge their suitability in an age with no radio, television or internet. That is why it made sense to have the added comfort of electors who might know the candidates better to insure that the President is up to the job.

The process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications. 

Of course, in the media age of today this no longer is the issue it was in the 18th century. Candidates are in the public eye and are subject to constant media scrutiny. Voters do not have the same reason to not know who they are voting for. This is where the argument for the anti-Trump forces that want to cite Hamilton in encouraging "Faithless Electors" falls apart.

If this was the only reason for the electoral college there would be a good argument to disband it and move to a popular vote.

However, the bigger reason for the electoral college involves the issue of decentralization and the importance of state rights in our governance. After all, as I told my son's teacher 20 years ago, we are The United States of America for a reason.

We are hearing a lot today that the electoral college is unfair because it diminishes the large states like California and New York and provides advantages to smaller states. However, this was also the case in 1787 as it is today. In fact, small states actually had bigger advantages at the beginning of our nation than they do today.

For example, California and New York (per the 2010 census on which current electoral votes are determined by) have a population of about 57 million. That is 18.4% of the total population and provides 84 electoral votes out of 538 electors (15.6%). However, Wyoming and the District of Columbia barely have 1 million in population between them (3/10 of 1% of total U.S. population) but they each get 3 electoral votes (1.1% of the total for their combined 6 electoral votes out of the 538 total).

However, in the first U.S. census (1790) after the Constitution was ratified, the two largest states in the union, Virginia and Pennsylvania had about 33% of the population and had 36 of 132 electoral votes (27%) in the Presidential election of George Washington in 1792 . On the other hand, Rhode Island and Delaware similarly only had 3/10th of 1% of the total U.S population at that time but their electoral votes were equal to about 5% of total electoral votes.

It should be noted that one of the reasons that Virginia was hurt in its allocation of electoral votes was because the Founders penalized states that had slaves. States with a slave population (the only state with no slaves counted in the 1790 census was Massachusetts. New York had 21,000 slaves, almost as many as Georgia's 29,000) were only given credit for 3/5 of this population for purposes of seats in the House of Representatives and the electoral college.

You get a real sense of why the Founders designed Constitution the way they did when you see the 2016 election results presented this way.

Or this way in a county by county graphic. Trump won 2,626 counties. Clinton won 487.

They wanted a President of the United States of America. Not of two or three large states. Or a dozen big cities.

The electoral college makes sure that this is what happens.

In 2016 we are seeing what our Founders were thinking in 1787. Again, there was almost nothing they did not anticipate.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Citizen and Non-Citizen Crimes

One of the most divisive issues in America is the issue of illegal immigration.

There is no doubt in my mind that Donald Trump would not have been elected President of the United States but for his strong stand on illegal immigration.

He has made much of the criminal behavior of those who have crossed our border illegally. When he does this he is not speaking about the act of crossing the border illegally, which is against the laws of the United States. He is speaking about other crimes committed beyond that illegal crossing.

On the other hand, Democrats often say that this is simply untrue. They argue that non-citizens actually have lower incidences of crime than citizens. Therefore, why not just open the border and, at most, make illegal immigration a mere civil offense subject to a fine?

Here is Presidential candidate making that point on Twitter.

What are the actual facts?

The Department of Justice just released a report on federal arrest and prosecutions broken down between citizens and non-citizens.

Bear in mind when you look at this data that the U.S. Census Bureau reports that non-citizens make up just 7% of the population.

This graph from the report compares the percentage of all federal arrests by citizenship status from 1998-2018.

Non-citizens were responsible for 64% of all federal arrests in 2018 even though they make up just 7% of the population?

What is even more remarkable is that last year there were more federal arrests for Mexican citizens (78,062) in the United States than there were of American citizens (70,542)!

It is true that arrests for illegal entry into the United States are included in these numbers which skew the numbers.

In fact, 109,000 of the 196,000 federal arrests made last year (56%) were for immigration offenses.

However, what is particularly shocking is that immigration arrests doubled between 2017 and 2018.

Democrats are offended when what is occurring on the southern border is called an "invasion". What other conclusion can you come to after looking at these numbers?

When you see these facts it also shows in stark detail how many law enforcement and justice system resources are being spent on this issue. It involves the use of massive human resources at the border and billions and billions of dollars of spending.

You begin to see what President Trump is referring to when you look at federal arrests made when immigration offenses are excluded from the numbers for the 7% of the population who are non-citizens.

24% of all federal drug arrests and 28% of fraud arrests involve non-citizens. Crimes like murder, rape and other violent crimes are state crimes that are not included in the DOJ report. There is no national data base involving all state crimes so no one really knows if non-citizens are committing more crimes or not at the state and local level.

However, if you look further at just federal prosecutions, 43% involve non-citizens and 57% were American citizens. Bear in mind that almost all (99.7%) of the federal prosecutions involve crimes other than a first-time illegal entry into the country.

If there is a prosecution for an immigration-related crime (as opposed to a mere arrest) it involves a reentry by an individual who has already been deported at least once or involves a human smuggling charge. First-time illegal immigrants who are arrested typically go before a federal magistrate and are sent back to their home country unless seeking asylum. In effect, they don't get much more than a slap on the wrist and are told not to do it again.

I found one other shocking statistic in the report involving the growth in federal arrests of Central Americans since 1998.

Federal arrests of Central Americans was +3,304% since 1998

Federal arrests of Central Americans was +160% between 2017 and 2018.

Those are the facts.

Beto O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris can choose to ignore the facts. However, how do you maintain a country without discrete borders and respect and enforcement of the law?

We hear that building a border wall is a waste of money. How could that be the case when you see how much money is being spent year after year on immigration enforcement, law enforcement, the justice and prison system on those who should not be in the country in the first place?

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Myths of Medicare for All

The Democrats appear to be all in on proclaiming that healthcare in America should be provided in a "Medicare for All" system.

To hear the candidates speak about it you would think that Medicare for All will cover everything and cost nothing. Bernie Sanders is continually stating on the campaign trail that his Medicare for All plan will have no deductibles and no coinsurance. People will pay nothing for their care other than a little more in taxes. Of course, he argues that almost all of that additional tax burden will fall on "the rich".

Sanders also states that there will be no private insurance as part of the system. It will be government-run to eliminate all of the profits and administrative costs in the current system.

Let's take a look at some of these statements by looking at how Medicare actually works right now for senior citizens. When you understand how the current Medicare program  works I hope you can see how misleading all of this "Medicare for All" talk is.

Let's look at some of the Myths of Medicare for All.

The Funding of Medicare

Medicare was originally established as a program to cover Hospital costs (Part A) and non-Hospital costs (Part B) such as doctors visits, diagnostic tests, etc. A 1.45% payroll tax is levied as part of the FICA taxes on payrolls to fund Part A. This tax applies to both employees and employers so it amounts to 2.9% on all payrolls in the United States. It is a flat tax so it applies to everyone. It is not a progressive tax like the income tax.

Part B is paid for with 80% federal dollars (paid with general revenues) and 20% by those on Medicare through a monthly premium. That current premium is $135.50 per month. There is no reduction for those on low incomes. Everyone has to pay it to have Part B coverage which is optional. Those with joint annual incomes above $170,000 pay more.

Prescription drug coverage was not a part of original Medicare. A big reason is that very few drugs were used in treatments in 1965 when Medicare was enacted. Drugs are now covered under Part D of Medicare but that requires an additional premium for coverage and there are also separate deductibles and coinsurance with that program as well.

Keep in mind the current Medicare FICA tax is to just pay for those currently on Medicare. How much higher would that tax have to be to also cover those under age 65 today? How high would the monthly Part B premium be under Medicare for All? What about the premium for drug coverage?

Medicare Does Not Pay Everything

Medicare as it exists today has fairly substantial deductibles and coinsurance amounts in addition to the monthly premiums and payroll taxes in effect.

There is a $1,364 annual deductible under Part A. That means the first $1,364 in hospital costs are paid by the individual. If you are in the hospital for more than 60 days there is a $341 coinsurance payment required to each day up to the 90th day. That goes up to $682 per day for days 91-150.

Under Part B there is an annual deductible of $185 and you also have to pay a 20% coinsurance amount on every bill.

As you can see, there are fairly substantial out of pockets deductibles and coinsurance under Medicare. The deductibles are also adjusted upwards each year with inflation.

Medicare also does not cover you for any medical services outside of the United States. While private insurance typically covers you for foreign travel, there is no coverage under Medicare.

How is it that Bernie Sanders believes that "Medicare for All" would have no out of pocket costs when Medicare today has extensive deductibles and coinsurance?

Private Insurance

Due to the fact that Medicare does not pay for everything a robust private supplemental insurance market has been developed by private insurance companies to cover the gaps in coverage.

About 80% of those on Medicare have some type of private insurance to supplement Medicare. These "Medigap" plans, as they are popularly known, have different core plans with varying costs based on how much of the "gap" they cover, the age of the individual, where they live and whether they smoke. Here is an sampling of rates for Decatur, IL. Costs in larger urban areas would typically be higher.

34% of those on Medicare rely on Medicare Advantage plans that are totally administered by private insurance companies. These are plans that Medicare enrollees can elect to participate in and forego traditional Medicare. The private insurance companies receive a flat amount from Medicare and the private companies assume all the risks and costs for the coverage of the individual.

These plans have proven popular as enrollees in these private plans typically get better coverage with lower premiums than with traditional Medicare.

As you can see, private insurance companies have a significant presence and role in Medicare. Is it realistic that the Democrats are going to completely eliminate private insurers from the healthcare landscape?

Administrative Costs

A big argument of the Democrats for Medicare for All is that under such a system there would be enormous cost savings because all of the private insurance company costs and profits would be removed from the system.

However, as I have pointed out in a previous blog post, if you removed all of the costs of the insurance companies out of all the health expenditures in the United States you will still have 93% of the costs remaining.

Elizabeth Warren stated in the last debate that the health insurance companies made $23 billion in profits last year and getting rid of them will make everything great.  I will assume her numbers are correct. However, almost $4 trillion will be spent this year in total healthcare expenditures in the United States. That means insurance company profits make up only 0.58% of total costs---about one-half on one percent. How much difference is that going to make?

The Democrats also like to target the large pharmaceutical companies and the price of their products. However, drug costs make up only 10% of all healthcare costs. Again, the profits of drug companies cannot represent more than 1% of all health care expenditure in the United States. And those profits are the reason most of the innovation in drugs in the world takes place in the United States.

In other words, the insurance and drug companies are good targets for campaign rhetoric but eliminating them from the system will have almost no impact on total costs.

Medicare Reimbursements

What is likely to occur if we were to convert to a "Medicare for All" system is that countless numbers of hospitals would be forced out of business and we would surely see many doctors retire or quit the practice of medicine.


The truth about Medicare is that, on average, it only pays healthcare providers at a level that is about 85% of their costs. In other words, many hospitals would have to drastically cut services and/or costs in a Medicare for All world or they would quickly go bankrupt.

Doctors would see their revenues and incomes drop drastically. Since almost 50% of doctors in the United States are 55 years of age or older it is not hard to predict that many would choose to retire rather than to continue operating their practices.


The current system only works today because private insurers and payers pay providers at about 120%-140% of their costs. In effect, the private sector is subsidizing the costs of public sector programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

As Medicare and Medicaid have restrained reimbursements over the years the private sector has had to pick up more of the tab as this graph from the American Hospital Association shows.


How do we not see substantial cutback in services if the revenues of healthcare providers are not reduced to the level of Medicare reimbursements?

How do doctors, nurses and others who provide healthcare services not see their compensation reduced if the government is the only payer?


Don't believe what you are being told about Medicare for All.

Most of what the Democrats are talking about are myths.

Medicare as we know it is going bankrupt as it is. The current payroll taxes are insufficient for the long-term needs of the system.

Medicare would already be bankrupt without the enormous amount of subsidies the private sector is providing to the health care system which simply could not function with current Medicare reimbursement rates.

Medicare is not free and it has extensive deductibles and coinsurance amounts in place.

Medicare relies heavily on private insurance companies to cover gaps in coverage.

You can take all of the costs and profits of private insurers and drug companies and you would barely put a dent in the nation's total healthcare expenditures.

Medicare for All is simply not workable without massive tax increases on every American and/or substantial reductions or cutbacks in the access to care that they are used to. There is no other way around the math wherein we spend about $4 trillion per year on health care in the United States.

 Anyone who tells you anything differently is simply not being honest with you.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Negative Yields In Our Future?

I have written before about the enormous amount of debt in the world that nows carries zero or negative interest rates.

In that blog post I featured this chart from mid-June that showed the share of government debt in various countries around the world that are bearing negative yields.

In the last two months the amount of global debt that carries negative yields has soared by another $4 TRILLION!

There is now $17 trillion in debt around the world that carries negative interest rates. In effect, the saver has to the pay the borrower to take their money.

Negative rates have previously been confined to government bonds, but in Europe Zero Hedge points out that we are now seeing negative yields on a large percentage of investment grade corporate bonds as well. In July, 2/3 of AA-rated Euro bonds and 1/3 of A- rated Euro yielded less than zero. The developments of the last month has undoubtedly increased these numbers.

What is truly amazing is that some high-yield corporate bonds (1/5 of BBB-rated and nearly 1/10 of BBB- bonds) have also gone to negative yields.

However, the most shocking statistic in the Zero Hedge article is that the United States now has 94% of all the positive interest yielding investment grade bonds in the world!

The average yield on the $27.8 trillion in non-U.S. investment grade bonds worldwide has declined to just .16%!

Taken alone, non-U.S. sovereign yields average a mere .02%.

What does all of this mean?

We have reached a point in which the only place in the world that a saver or investor can obtain a positive return on an investment grade bond is to invest it in a U.S. dollar denominated bond.

Is it any wonder that the Federal Reserve has to cut interest rates?

I also find it interesting that recently I have seen several articles suggesting that all of these negative interest rates are natural.

"The Non-Weirdness of Negative Interest Rates" appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek recently which suggests that all of this is normal and to be expected in a world with ever-increasing wealth concentration, low rates of global growth and lots of cash.

Negative rates are showing up everywhere, seemingly turning on their heads traditional notions of lending and borrowing. Negative yields just don’t seem to make any sense. A lender is supposed to get paid to part with capital, while a borrower is supposed to pay to use that cash for some purpose. It seems crazy that anyone  would voluntarily part with their money, only to end up with less of it.
But what if negative rates are totally normal? 

The article goes on to suggest that there are storage costs with almost all assets. It costs money to rent a safe deposit box, or store gold, grain or oil. It costs money to own real estate. It costs money for you to have someone manage your stock portfolio. Why is it weird to think that you should also have to pay to store cash?

There’s lots of money out there and a limited capacity to store it all. So increasingly, savers are going to have to pay for money storage services. And although it’s not much consolation, we can at least remember that whether it’s fees for oil tanks, safe deposit boxes, security guards, insurance, or wealth managers, there's nothing unnatural about being forced to pay to preserve your wealth.

Another article on the subject appeared recently in Quartz in which the title question was "Are Negative Interest Rates Unusual, Natural or Both?"

Negative rates may have been unthinkable for most of civilization, but they are now part of our reality. The evidence seems to suggest much lower, and perhaps even negative, rates are being driven by market forces, which makes them natural. But this only shows things change, and one day the old order could return.

Negative rates unthinkable for most of civilization? That is an understatement when you consider that the concept of a loan requiring that the borrower pay positive interest dates back as far as 2500 BC.

I could not find a graph of interest rates that went back 4,500 years but I found one that went back to 1703 in the U.K.

Credit: @EdConwaySky

Is there anything normal about negative interest rates? I am not aware of any other period in history when it was not natural to expect to be paid interest when you loaned someone money. It has never been seen before through all kinds of economic conditions that have included recessions, depressions, revolutions, wars and technological upheavals.

I also don't buy the argument that this is all due to increasing wealth concentration.

For most of mankind's existence most people lived in poverty. Wealth concentration was much higher in 1519, 1719 and 1919 than it is in 2019. The royals and a few others controlled almost all the wealth in any country in the world.

In fact, one study showed that 94% of the world's population lived in extreme poverty and 84% lived in poverty in 1820.

Those numbers have fallen dramatically, especially in the last 40 years. Those living in extreme poverty have fallen from over 40% of the world's population to less than 10% today.

I also don't see the relevance that you have to pay storage fees for gold, oil, grain or other assets so it should also apply to loans of your cash. Yes, those assets require storage fees but the asset owner also has the expectation of a possible return on the investment in the underlying asset. The storage fees are friction costs.

That is not the case with a bond. Interest on the bond is the investment return. There is nothing else to compensate the investor other than the return of the asset at the bond's maturity. Of course, negative yields mean there will not be a full return of the principal.

The one thing that is true is that negative yields have become a reality around the world.

How long will it be before those negative yields start appearing in the United States?

It may just be a matter of time if recent global trends continue.

Is it natural? Will this be the new normal?

4500 years of history says NO. However, in the short term anything can happen.

We are seeing that right now.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Things I Learned This Week

Every week you should be learning something.

If you are not learning, you are not advancing in life.

If you are not advancing, you are dying.

Here are a few random things I learned this week that might also advance your knowledge.

Left Handers

National Left Handers Day was celebrated this week.

Researchers who study hand preference believe there is a natural inclination for most people to be right-handed due to biological and genetic causes. This is because language and speech is controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain. The left hemisphere also controls the movements of the right hand as well as the movements necessary to produce written language. All of this has resulted in millennia of evolutionary development that is biased genetically toward the right hand.

It is estimated that 15% of humans have a preference towards the left hand.

However, look at these statistics on the percentage of left-handers by country around the world.


The United States and Canada are the only countries in which left-handers are close to that number. There are clearly a lot of parents and/or teachers in other countries interfering with Mother Nature.

Of course, this also used to occur in the United States if you look at the historical numbers of left-handers in the population.


Is it a coincidence that in baseball left handers seem to have an advantage in getting to the major leagues or that 2/3 of NHL players shoot left-handed?

% of batters who are left-handed----37%

% of pitchers who are left-handed---27%

Summer Heat

We hear a lot about global warming and climate change in the news but the reality is that the weather in the United States this summer is (and has been over the last few years) much cooler than average.

Credit: @SteveSGoodard

Can you imagine the climate hysteria if we saw anything close to what was experienced in the summers in the 1930's?


Did you know that three Presidents of the United States were born in 1946?

Donald Trump     June 14, 1946
George W. Bush  July 6, 1946
Bill Clinton         August 19, 1946

Did you also know that Trump is older than both Bush and Clinton?

By the way, the three leaders in the Democrat primary polls are:
Bernie Sanders: born in 1941,
Joe Biden: born in 1942.
Elizabeth Warren: born in 1949.

There has not been one President who was born in the 1950's. Barack Obama was born in 1961.

Presidential Primaries

Running for President has become a big business in building the "brand" of a politician and increasing social media presence, book sales and speaking fees.

Why else would so many candidates be running in 2016 and 2020?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Keep Your Eyes On Hong Kong

I have been watching the protests in Hong Kong with a great deal of interest.

The last two days have seen the protestors encamping at the airport causing the cancellation of all flights in and out of Hong Kong.

The prime lesson it should teach us is how difficult it is to take something away from the people.

Hong Kong was a British colony or dependent territory for over 150 years. The people of Hong Kong got used to the freedom they had under the British and the thriving economy that they built was in stark contrast to what was occurring in Communist China.

In fact, without the economic success of Hong Kong as evidence, you have to wonder whether the Communist Chinese would have ever introduced the market reforms which has led to the transformation of the Chinese economy.

The British ceded control of Hong Kong to China after obtaining guarantees to preserve its systems, freedoms and way of life for at least 50 years. This has become what is known as the "one nation, two systems" policy that makes Hong Kong part of China but allows its economy and freedoms to continue as before.

The current Hong Kong protests began when China backed a provision that would have allowed extradition of those accused of a crime in Hong Kong to mainland China.

Protestors saw this as an erosion of the "one country, two systems" policy and protests are continuing even though China has suspended support for the provision for now.

Research in behavioral economics shows that people feel twice the pain in losing something as the joy they get in gaining something of equal value.

You definitely see that playing out in Hong Kong.

All of this puts the Chinese communists in a most difficult predicament.

Do they put down the "rebellion" with force?

This is the way authoritarian governments and dictators limit dissent and keep the populace in line.

Dictatorships end when the leaders (or their military leaders) lose the will to kill large numbers of their own people to quell rebellion. I have seen this in my lifetime in Poland, East Germany and the Soviet Union.

When there is no fear of retribution or consequences, the natural impulse of the people is going to be to seek the light of freedom. Once that flame is lit it is difficult to put out.

China's leaders have to understand that and they must know that their power and prestige rests on how they respond to the protests in Hong Kong.

Do they stand back and let the protests play out and hope the flame dies out?  However, what if the flame keeps burning and carries over to the Mainland?  If that occurs the ruling Communist leaders risk losing their hold on power. This situation would not be dissimilar to what started in Poland and Eastern Europe and eventually carried over to Mother Russia a generation ago.

Do they use significant force and quell the disturbance?  This solves the short-term issue but this response risks widespread global condemnation. It also comes at a terrible time for the Chinese as their economy is already weakening. It would also provide President Trump with an enormous political gift in his trade war with China. Who is going to be on China's side anywhere in the developed world if the Chinese start using tanks against the people of Hong Kong?

Who can forget this iconic image during the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989? As many as 10,000 pro-democracy student protestors were killed when 200,000 government Chinese troops were brought in to bring the protests to an end.

Credit: The

We are talking high risk/high stakes scenarios for the Chinese on what is going on in Hong Kong. China is much more connected to the world community and economy than it was 30 years ago. This means that there will be much more scrutiny and greater economic harm for China should it resort to forcefully ending the protests.

What is also interesting is that the protestors have been carrying U.S. flags and singing the National Anthem as part of their protests.

Credit: AP Photo/Vincent Yu via Deseret News

What a world we live in.

People in Hong Kong waving the Stars and Stripes, standing and singing the National Anthem.

At the same time, we see another American athlete kneeling with bowed head while the National Anthem is played in an award ceremony at the Pan American Games.

Race Imbdoden of USA Fencing team kneels during playing of National Anthem after he and teammates won the
Men's Team Foil Gold Medal at Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru last week.
Credit: Lima 2019 News Services

Who really understands and appreciates freedom?

What I thought was really interesting about the image above is that the fencers from second place Brazil are saluting the American flag while the United States national anthem is played while Race Imboden of the gold medal USA team is kneeling.

I guess there are some that have to lose freedom before they appreciate what freedom really is.

Keep your eyes on Hong Kong.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Friction Is Not Your Friend

Friction is not your friend.

Most people understand friction to be defined as the following.

I am talking about financial friction. That friction is defined this way by Investopedia.

Friction cost is the total direct and indirect costs associated with the execution of a financial transaction. The friction cost comprehensively takes into consideration all of the costs associated with a transaction. Calculating the friction cost provides an investor with a full range of expected costs they can expect to incur.

It is hard to become wealthy if you don't understand and appreciate friction costs. I am applying the concept of friction costs more broadly here than you might find in a textbook on finance. However, I think it is useful to think about friction costs as they might apply in some of the more common financial decisions an individual makes.

My experience is that most people do not pay enough attention to the friction costs in common financial decisions they make like buying a car, a house, investing in rental real estate or in their 401(k) plan.

Take the simple case of purchasing a personal vehicle. Sales taxes alone will add a fairly large sum to the final purchase price. That is friction. That is one of the reasons that I drive my cars for 10 years or more. Gasoline, insurance and repairs while you own the vehicle are also friction costs. That is why you should understand the "total cost to own" of any vehicle you are thinking of purchasing. Both Edmunds. com and Kelley Blue Book provide this information on their web sites.

Buying or selling a house brings a lot of friction costs. Real estate commissions, title insurance, transfer taxes and other closing costs are examples of these costs. That is why I generally tell young people to be certain of your situation before you buy a house. It is hard to overcome the friction costs in real estate if you are only going to stay in the house for a few years. Don't buy if you think you might want to move or the house will not meet your requirements in a few years. Rent and avoid the friction costs.

Friction costs also come into play during the time you own a house. Real estate taxes, insurance, HOA fees, maintenance, repairs. All of these costs gnaw, grind and wear away the actual return you will eventually receive from the "investment" in your house.

My experience is also that these friction costs are also easily forgotten when you calculate your return on an investment. You buy a house for $300,000 and sell it ten years later for $400,000. It is easy to think you made $100,000. Of course, the purchase and sales price don't take account of the transaction costs when you bought and sold the house. You don't think about the new carpeting and roof you replaced, the exterior painting you did, the hot water heater you replaced or the $1,000 you spent annually to have someone cut the grass while you lived there. Did you really make $100,000 on the house?

The same thing occurs when you buy rental investment property. There are a lot of friction costs and these might also include the time you spend between renters when you have no rental cash flow as well as your time in managing the property and your labor involved in any maintenance or repair issues. There is a reason it is called sweat equity and we often don't include these as friction costs.

The annual fees on the funds in your 401(k) or IRA are also friction costs. Pay attention to the amount you are paying to those who are managing your money. You don't consider those costs very closely if your portfolio is up 20% for the year. It seems a small price to pay. However, how will you feel if your portfolio is down 20% and the fees make it 21%?

You don't know for certain whether your investment will be up or down during the year. The only thing that is certain are the fees you will pay to manage that investment. Understand that and pay attention to these friction costs.

Friction costs add up. You may think you are only talking about pennies on the dollar. However, those pennies on the dollar add up.

You understand this when you see what a penny's difference can make when it is compounded over time.

Take the example of a graduating college student who receives a $2,000 gift at graduation from her grandparents. Her grandparents tell her to invest it in a retirement account and to add $2,000 to the fund each year for the next 45 years as a tribute to them. She does just that.

That money, compounded monthly at an 8% annual return, will give her almost $1 million at age 67. However, if she only earns 7% (a mere penny on the dollar less per year), she accumulates only $682,000. If she earns 9%, her retirement nest egg becomes $1,356,475.

An extra 1% in extra investment return per year makes a huge difference over a lifetime. That additional penny provides a lot of grease to assist in making your wealth wheel turn faster.

On the other hand, an extra 1% in friction costs to pay for higher investment management or advisor fees slows down that wealth wheel and erodes your return on that investment.

Those fees can be well worth the money if Warren Buffett is picking stocks for you or managing your investments. However, the fact is that only 19% of active investment fund managers around the world are doing better than their benchmark index according to a study by Bank of America.  Beware of active fund managers who are charging premium fees even though they may be delivering sub-par returns.

Remember that friction is not your friend when it comes to money.

See to it that your pennies do not get ground, gnawed or worn away by friction costs.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Diversity at the University

What is the most powerful word in higher education today?


Is it not interesting that at a university (which in Latin literally means "turned into one") today the highest order is to place the most focus on those things that divide people rather than bringing them together in a common cause---the pursuit of knowledge and truth.

Anthony Kronman, who is a Professor of Law and the former Dean of Yale University Law School, recently wrote about "The Downside of Diversity" in an essay in The Wall Street Journal in which he made the point about diversity I made above.

“Diversity” is the most powerful word in higher education today. No other has so much authority. Older words, like “excellence” and “originality,” remain in circulation, but even they have been redefined in terms of diversity.
At Yale, where I have taught for 40 years, a large bureaucracy exists to ensure that the university’s commitment to diversity is rigorously enforced—in student admissions, faculty hiring and curricular design. Yale has an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, a Dean of Diversity and Faculty Development, an Office of Gender and Campus Culture and a dizzying array of similar positions and programs. At present, more than 150 full-time staff and student representatives serve in some pro-diversity role.
Yale’s situation is far from exceptional. “Diversity and inclusion” is a dogma repeated with uniform piety in the official pronouncements of nearly every college and university. At Dartmouth, the Office of Pluralism and Leadership “engages students in identity, community and leadership development, advancing Dartmouth’s commitment to academic success, diversity, inclusion and wellness.” The University of Michigan proclaims that “diversity is key to individual flourishing, educational excellence and the advancement of knowledge.” At the University of Oklahoma, students are required to complete a mandatory “Freshman Diversity Experience” by the end of their first semester.

If you wonder about the cost of all this consider that the University of Michigan spends $11 million per year on "Diversity Administrators" alone. That is enough to pay for 700 students to attend the university on a full ride.

There is little question that diversity is a noble value. This is especially true on a college campus where you want a range of backgrounds, beliefs and experiences to influence and inform debate and inquiry.

However, this is not how diversity is being used in university settings today.

But diversity, as it is understood today, means something different. It means diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. Diversity in this sense is not an academic value. Its origin and aspiration are political. The demand for ever-greater diversity in higher education is a political campaign masquerading as an educational ideal.

That diversity seems to be centered primarily around political grievances where various groups argue about injustice, disrespect or abuse.

The life of the classroom is transformed as a result. It is common to hear complaints that an assigned text is disrespectful of women, blacks, the gender-fluid or some other oppressed or marginalized group. White, male, heterosexual students are often attacked on the grounds that their comments reflect a smug and privileged view of the world. Such complaints are hardly new. I have heard versions of them at Yale for the past 40 years.
What is new and discouraging about today’s academic culture is the unprecedented weight that these grievances are given by teachers, students and administrators alike. Even to raise them puts one on a high moral ground that requires all other considerations to be put aside until the grievance has been assuaged by an appropriate act of apology or reform. Raising it amounts to a demand. It brings the conversation to a halt. It converts the classroom from an open space for the free exchange of ideas into a political battleground.

I recently read a great novel that paints a wonderful (but terribly troubling) view of what all of this diversity and political correctness have done to our universities. The book is written as a satire. However, doesn't the best satire have an enormous amount of truth to it?

The book is Campusland by Scott Johnston. Scott is a BeeLine follower and was nice enough to send me an advance copy of the book. It is set at the fictional Devon University which is an Ivy League school in the New England town of Havenport. The fact that Scott is a Yale grad probably did not have anything to do with the things he writes about as occurring at Devon. It is Scott's first novel but you would never know it reading the rich descriptions and the colorful characters that come to life through his written words.

The main character in the book is Ephraim Russell who is an Assistant Professor at Devon and is competing with another assistant professor for a sole tenure position in the English Department.

Everything was looking good for Eph (he even has a beautiful African American girlfriend who he met at a climate rally and who is the assistant to the University President) until he assigns The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain in his American Literature class.

Why would he have anyone read such a racist book?

Why would he assign a book that makes many students feel unsafe by the language in the book?

Why would he not assign books by African-American or Native American authors from the 19th century American literature rather than Twain's book?

Why would Devon allow a racist like Eph to teach its students?

This is just the beginning of Eph's problems as he has to confront the modern university framework that values diversity more than anything else. The fact that Eph is a progressive politically, along with everyone else at Devon, does matter one wit.

Campusland is well worth the read to better understand how far afield higher education has gone in putting the politics of diversity above all else.

It goes on sale next week.

Reading the book you might also better appreciate these two pull quotes from Kronman's essay that I thought were particularly on point.

Diversity is supposed to elevate the college experience. Why is higher education allowing it to diminish it? Why have universities stopped trying to be places where students are "turned into one" seeking objectivity and "the truth" and instead have become giant bureaucracies encouraging divisions and defending people who see only "their truth'?

You also have to ask what the effect of having students spend four years or more in this type of environment are having on the overall level of political discourse in the nation? The evidence suggests that it has been far from helpful.