Immigration & Obamacare Subsidies – Trump Learns Legislative Persuasion through Burden to Act

In lawmaking understanding which Branch of government has the burden to act is a fine art that often determines whether legislation will pass or fail and who ends up with the political advantage.  There are many instances where one chamber of Congress will publicly apply pressure on the other chamber to pass or reject legislation.  Often this pressure to make someone else act is as much about shifting blame if something goes wrong as much as it is about legislating:  The House, for example, may ask the Senate to pass a bill everyone privately knows the Senate cannot pass in order to save the House grief for inaction.

On the other side of the coin, kicking the ball into someone else’s court at the right time in the legislative process is a great way, if done properly, to break Congressional deadlock.

This type of parliamentary maneuvering is something Trump is becoming better at as his knowledge of the Congressional system expands.

To break the Congressional deadlock on Trump’s immigration and health care policies, Trump has followed our advice which called for him to force Democrats to deal on both topics by cancelling DACA and Obama’s illegal health care subsidies.

Immigration

But by announcing a deadline for phasing out DACA the burden of action has – going forward – shifted from Trump to Congress; the media’s anti-Trump hysteria of this week over DACA notwithstanding.

Soon enough the public will forget Trump ended DACA this week.  What they will remember is that Congress needs to act.  And if Congress does not pass a legislative replacement, Trump can blame Congressional Democrats for not living up to their campaign promises to pass a Dream Act thus angering the Democrat base ahead of the midterms. 

Health Care

To force recalcitrant Senators to pass a some sort of repeal of Obamacare Trump has hinted he may end subsidies for the exchanges.  If the payments are withdrawn, as I have recommended Trump do, premiums will skyrocket and force the Senate to pass subsidy funds since the House never appropriated money for those subsidies as the Constitution requires them to do before money is spent (to those of you who are not members of Congress, this means the subsidies were and are completely illegal budget expenditures).

 

Through Trump’s termination of Obama’s illegal executive orders on immigration and health care, Trump has wisely kicked the ball into Congress’ court, especially Democrats who have been following an obstruction strategy.

To see how Trump can achieve maximum political and policy advantage I will walk you through how the burden of action will control the parliamentary process.

As was predicted, the immediate response by the Left to the ending of DACA and the subsidies was to blame Trump for any problems that may result from those decisions.

The problem with this for the Left is that blaming Trump is not tenable much longer for parliamentary reasons.

Soon enough Congress will introduce legislation to renew DACA and the health care subsidies.  Attached to them will probably be Republican legislation for a variety of stricter immigration controls and repealing parts of Obamacare that are hated by Democrats.

When bills are introduced on the floor of the House and Senate, the burden to act will shift to Congressional Democrats who will be left in a very poor negotiating position.  If Senate Democrats do not break from their original obstruction strategy and filibuster the DACA and health care fixes they will get the blame for blocking them no matter how they explain the reasons why this fix was not “the right fix” to a public that will not be persuaded by such intricate legal details.

If Senate Democrats retreat from obstruction and vote for cloture they will be handing Trump major victories on immigration restriction and Obamacare repeal that piggy backed on the DACA and subsidy renewals.

Trump has already prepped the stage for setting up “Chuck and Nancy” for the blame if they do not agree to a DACA fix by Trump giving the impression that both he and the Democrat leaders had agreed to a specific DACA fix.  The “deal” that was announced centered around agreeing to “strong border security” for the Dream Act.  Because Trump avoided discussing details behind what exactly “strong border security” entailed he has set an expectation that the Democrats agreed to a restrictionist agenda before the Democrats knew what would be included.  This makes it harder for the Democrats to persuasively back away from immigration legislation on grounds that it is too rightwing because Trump will point back to his “agreement” with “Chuck and Nancy” if they start to hesitate.

A similar conundrum awaits the Democrats when health care legislation is introduced:  If Senate Democrats filibuster the subsidy renewal on grounds that it repeals too much of Obamacare the Democrats are who will rightly be blamed by Trump for allowing the subsidies to be left out to dry because the Democrats will have the parliamentary burden to act by voting for or against cloture the moment the Republicans put a subsidy fix on the Senate floor.

To maximize Trump’s negotiation position even further he should continue to insist a laundry list of immigration restriction provisions be included in any DACA bill.

He should also begin to demand a significant repeal of Obamacare (perhaps McConnell’s original BRCA bill) be attached to any health care subsidy bill.

The reason for asking Democrats to fold on everything is so that if the Democrats ultimately meet Trump even halfway on these Republican base-pleasing demands Trump will have scored a tremendous victory.

Trump should also make clear to Ryan and McConnell that he himself will directly lobby Conservative Congressmen and Senators to vote against any immigration of health care legislation that does not include major Conservative priorities in exchange.  He should also threaten to veto any bill he thinks does not extract enough painful concessions from Democrats.  This will all go to prodding Ryan and McConnell to make their legislative fixes as difficult for Democrats to support as possible.

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Trump Wields The Arsenal of Capitalism for Fun & Corporate Profiteering

 

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                                                                   What would Lincoln do?

The number of reasons why the altright failed completely at everything it attempted are many.

To a site such as this one which makes formulating correct definitions a top priority one reason for their failure stands out especially – its incompatibility with America as a political system.

A political system is defined as –

  • A structure of incentives that strongly encourages political actors to consistently, and for extended periods of time, act in ways agreeable to the political system regardless of which particular individuals are in power.

In post-New Deal America there have been two, very powerful, political systems running in parallel to each other while also being in direct conflict with each other –

  • On the Left, the Modern Structure of FDR’s Progressive New Deal from 1932 to present.
  • On the Right, the Old Structure of Lincoln’s Hamiltonian Capitalist Old Deal from 1865 to 1932.

The Progressive Structure is an entirely different, extensive, topic that is out of scope for this article.  For now, we remark only that the altright is, of course, not compatible with this structure.  Nor should it be.

Where the altright has failed inexcusably is in its fanatical rejection of Lincoln’s Structure.

Put simply, there is no room on the American rightwing for anything except Lincolnism because the Hamiltonian Nationalism saved by Lincoln and which then ran almost unopposed during America’s Golden Age retains – as a political system – dominance over all of the incentive structures influencing the American right wing:

Throughout the 19th century and the early 20th century Hamilton’s National System of fostering a business environment favorable to industrial expansion; infrastructure development; trade protectionism; solid credit conditions; the hefty Continental peace dividend enjoyed by America after the threat once feared by Hamilton of a European military presence in North America became negligible; mercantilistic domination of Latin America; the establishment of an Army and Navy capable of defending both American territory as well as America’s overseas economic interests; the settlement of the Western frontier up to the Pacific; testing the waters of the Pacific with gunboat diplomacy; large scale immigration of European migrants to staff booming factories; these led to the industrial might upholding America’s military industrial complex.

Aside from slavery which Hamilton addressed only in the most narrow of legal contexts, everything Lincoln politically stood for Hamilton stood for.  And what Hamilton stood for constitutes the most dominant type of Nationalism ever seen in the West.

Hamilton’s Nationalism has over two centuries integrated an enduring set of incentive structures that are almost impossible for anyone on the Right to oppose without sidelining oneself into irrelevance as the altright has done to itself.

As proof this Hamiltonian incentive structure is an inescapable reality for serious American Conservatives (not joke Conservatives be they mainstream or fringe) there is the example of the great systems learner: President Donald Trump.

Continue reading “Trump Wields The Arsenal of Capitalism for Fun & Corporate Profiteering”

Still a Republic If You Look at the Details

Metternich, Volume IV page 54

March 23, 1823 . — Now, to recognise a Government one must know first of all know what it is; and to enter into negotiations with it one must have recognised it. It is, therefore, necessary that we should know first of all what the Government will be.

Not all of you can investigate those details, especially Americans.  Here we are home to the dumbest, most thoroughly incompetent “nationalists” in all the West.

Such woeful circumstances force us to import illegal British immigrant labor to do the job the American paleocon/altright/whatever are incapable of doing.  For today’s purposes that job is making a coherent argument that America is an informal empire.

Responding to our article on Regionalism, Imperial Energy has made as good an argument as can be found for America running an “informal empire”.

One should probably look at it as an adaptive feature – a camouflage. It avoids all the usual signs (on the surface) of being an empire, yet it is one.

Following Moldbug’s “Modern Structure” we can talk of the “Global Structure” which is a a maze of bureaucracies, NGO’s, charities, media, corporations, trade agreements and “international law”.

Central organisations would be the UN, World Bank, IMF and NATO. Then you have such thing as “Bilderburg” or the “tri-lateral commission.”

The three key organizing principles of the Empire is 1: Security organised, directed and carried out by the American military. 2: Dollar as a world reserve currency. 3: Progressive values and “international law”.

From Brezenski to Kissinger to Obama, their goal is to create these “international institutions” that transcend the nation-state or ethnic-groups or a particular religion.

They claim to be “Universalist” but what they do not, or do not appear, to acknowledge is that these things are “parochial.”

Things like “human rights” and the “responsibility to protect” are rejections of the “Westphalian” order where nations do not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations. These doctrines allow America and its allies to judge and interfere in any country for pretty much any reason.

But of course, it does not look like straight-up imperialism of yore – because of the informal, hidden, bureaucratic nature of the thing.

America, in short, is an empire without any emperor. Kissenger once joked that “who do we call in Europe?” But the same thing can now be said of America. This is not the same with Russia (Putin) or with China (Xi).

Moldbug was always at his weakest when he didn’t break from paleocon orthodoxy and this is a textbook example of one of those mistakes by him.

Facts are facts, and when we look at them in detail we find neither formal nor informal empire.  Sometimes a spotted owl is really a camouflaged Bilderburg spy satellite; other times a spotted owl is simply a spotted owl.

To figure out what kind of bird we have in hand we have to deep dive into the gears of its machinery, whether those gears be mechanical or biological.

Viewing the mechanics of American foreign policy and how past empires worked, what we see is why the latter insisted on strict, overt measures of colonial management:  Informal empire doesn’t exist anymore than “partial pregnancy”.

Empire is all holding direct military control over the conquered territory or it is not empire at all.

Continue reading “Still a Republic If You Look at the Details”

Alexander Hamilton’s Arsenal of Capitalism – Regionalism as American Grande Strategy

5-panama-canal-cartoon-1903-granger

 

Only a Hamiltonian Republican can fully appreciate how right Coolidge was in saying the business of America is business: Like all other forms of American business, the foreign policy of America always has been and always will be at its finest when it too is the policy of business.

It is only too appropriate that the Capitalistic economics of Alexander Hamilton, which then turned America into the greatest world power in history, should serve as the longterm foundation of American foreign policy Nationalism.

Throughout the 19th century and the early 20th century Hamilton’s National System of fostering a business environment favorable to industrial expansion; infrastructure development; trade protectionism; solid credit conditions; the hefty Continental peace dividend enjoyed by America after the threat once feared by Hamilton of a European military presence in North America became negligible; mercantilistic domination of Latin America; the establishment of an Army and Navy capable of defending both American territory as well as America’s overseas economic interests; the settlement of the Western frontier up to the Pacific; testing the waters of the Pacific with gunboat diplomacy; large scale immigration of European migrants to staff booming factories; these led to the industrial might upholding America’s military industrial complex.

The main competitor to the American military industrial complex, Prussian Nationalism, was crushed in two direct tests of strength.

While the usefulness of industrial might in war needs no further explanation, the post-WWII period of Cold War diplomacy does.

It was during the Cold War when the different elements of Hamiltonian foreign policy were refined. Those elements included offshore balancing, deterrence both conventional and nuclear, allying with tyrannical governments or even installing tyrants that agreed not to interfere with American geostrategic objectives in exchange for our ignoring their “human rights” abuses, supporting indirect proxy wars, indirectly propping up American client states with financial and diplomatic support, directly propping up wherever necessary American proxy states with US military power, carving out spheres of influence, preemptive warfare, and maintaining a broad alliance system with the major Capitalistic powers.

These characteristics of Cold War Republican international relations are known collectively as Realist foreign policy. Since Alexander Hamilton is the founder of American foreign policy realism these characteristics must remain the governing post-Cold War principles of American Nationalism.

But Realism’s various attributes and their relationships have never been formally developed into an overarching theory of foreign policy. Normally the best terminology that can be found is worthless, meaningless jargon; e.g. “American Exceptionalism”.

This incompleteness will be amended with a formal diplomatic theory of Realism – Capitalistic Regionalism, or, Regionalism for short.

Regionalism is a Capitalistic variant of offshore balancing practiced for centuries by the British Empire.

Traditional offshore balancing is defined as –

  • A Realist strategy where a great power uses regional alliances to check a hostile power.

Capitalistic Regionalism is –

  • A Realist strategy where a great Capitalistic power uses regional alliances with other Capitalistic states to check any threat from a hostile power to either the physical security or commercial interests of the allied Capitalists. Minor powers  have the option of being part of this alliance, neutral outside of it, or hostile. Regardless whether minor powers join or not, the great power is able to exercise this strategy so long as other advanced powers agreed to the system.

Hamiltonian Regionalism is given its name to contrast it with Hamiltonian Realism’s doctrinal archenemy,Wilsonian Globalism (the latter of which will be discussed further at the end of this article). Globalism justifies its claim to interfere in every corner of the planet by assuming the modern world is so interconnected that it would be irresponsible for leaders not to take a Globalist approach to international affairs.

In contrast to this, Regionalism acknowledges that isolationism is impractical due to greater interconnectedness. However, only particular regions of the world are strategically important enough to merit the attention and resources of America.

Just as America’s geographic scope must be selective, so too must be our strategic scope: The primary strategic objective of American diplomacy after the Cold War is to protect and serve Capitalistic relations within the First World. All other considerations aside from this – such as “human rights”, “democracy”, and the actions of lesser powers – must be demoted down to distant priorities.

To appreciate the virtues of Regionalism today, we will first explore the history of its predecessor strategy, offshore balancing.

Continue reading “Alexander Hamilton’s Arsenal of Capitalism – Regionalism as American Grande Strategy”

The End of Week Circulars for September 10, 2017

Trump, the Systems Learner, Learns How to Manipulate Congress

Watching a persuasion genius in action makes it a true privilege to be a Trump political apparatchik.

Trump’s difficulty persuading Congress to act on his agenda has on the surface seemed like a failure.  But because Trump is a systems learner what was appeared to be failure was primarily Trump learning how to persuade Congress.

Two examples from this week show Trump is quickly mastering the art of manipulating Congress as a system:  The budget deal with the Democrats and the wind down of DACA.

The budget deal in many ways strengthens Trump’s hands with the Republican Congress and to the public which still has doubts about Trump’s competence.

The deal makes Trump look strong to the public because it was swift action on legislation related to a national emergency.  The administration’s response to the hurricane has already boosted Trump’s approval ratings.  By kicking a do nothing Republican Congress to the curb to get disaster relief ready for his signature Trump now looks more and more like the man the public expects Congress to report to on critical issues.

It also weakens Ryan and McConnell in the eyes of their Republican colleagues by making them both seem like spectators to a theater directed by Trump.  By weakening them, Trump gains more leverage over Congress yearning for guidance and puts Congressional leadership on notice that his agenda takes priority.

The psychological effect of making Trump look like the ultimate power broker feeds perceptions to Republican Congressmen that he is the ultimate power broker, and it is this perception that will incline them to actually treating Trump like he is the ultimate power broker.  This perception is especially useful to Trump as Congress heads to work on tax cuts and infrastructure.

Then there is the fact the deal is a warning shot to Republican legislators who now have to worry that if they do not please Trump quickly enough he may walk on their priorities to work with Pelosi and Schumer.  That element of fear will probably bend GOP attitudes in a more cooperative direction when legislation comes up.

Trump’s move on DACA is a great example of setting oneself up to win no matter what happens.

If Trump had defended DACA’s very weak legal case in court – where it was expected to eventually lose – his opponents would have put the blame for any setbacks in court against this Obama initiative on Trump.   Meanwhile his base would have viewed a defense as a breach of a campaign promise without winning enough Democrat support to make angering Trump’s base worth it.

But by announcing a deadline for phasing out DACA the burden of action has – going forward – shifted from Trump to Congress; the media’s anti-Trump hysteria of this week over DACA notwithstanding.

Soon enough the public will forget Trump ended DACA this week.  What they will remember is that Congress needs to act.  And if Congress does not pass a legislative replacement, Trump can blame Congressional Democrats for not living up to their campaign promises to pass a Dream Act thus angering the Democrat base ahead of the midterms.  If Democrats do try to pass it they will need to negotiate with Republicans and Trump to get something done.  And for that to happen the Democrats will need to offer something to the other side in return whether their trade is funding for the border wall, or some other restrictionist measure.  If they play hardball and demand only a pure Dream Act, Trump has the option of rejecting their offers, allowing DACA to expire without a replacement, and set the Democrats up for blame.

 

North Korea is Why The Foreign Policy Establishment Got Trump

When it came to North Korea their motto for years was always tomorrow is another day.  Well, tomorrow has finally arrived, and the grim prospect of a Kim armed with ICBMs looms just over the horizon thanks to the universe of mainstream foreign policy “experts” who spent the entirety of the post-Cold War era losing the initiative to North Korea.

As always, the establishment has learned nothing from total failure yet expects deference to its vast “wisdom”.

They claim military options against Kim are unpleasant?

While war is never as comfortable as a game of cricket in a leafy New England town the options are more unpleasant than they needed to be because our mighty North Korea “experts” took preemptive action off the table for decades:  Just because they did next to nothing to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons, applauded Obama for cutting missile defense funding and cancelling the F-22, and assured us the 6-party talks would lead to peace is no reason to doubt that their containment strategy for a North Korea armed to the teeth with hundreds of ICBMs is anything less than the wisdom of the ages.

They also assure us Trump is a fool for even contemplating military action they deem “unthinkable”.  Because their track record is just that good!

Certainly, a conflict will be very difficult and dangerous; but, ultimately, Trump does have vastly superior firepower at his command.  Even if Trump has to fight to the last South Korean the outcome is still assured.

The establishment reacted with surprise at how quickly the North’s program is moving.  It would only be surprising if the establishment correctly estimated the North’s progress since all of America’s intelligence resources are devoted to helping Robert Mueller finger Miss Universe in his quest for the article’s of impeachment.

America’s foreign policy establishment are not the only ones who are going to find there isn’t enough road left to kick the can much further.

As war draws closer here, in no particular order, are some unpleasant decisions awaiting other procrastinating actors in this drama.

China

The days when China thought it wise to form a mutual protection pact with the Kim dynasty ended with Mao.  In the Deng model of governance the Chinese enjoy crony Capitalism too much to risk their wealth in a diplomatic marriage with their Stalinist neighbor because the Chinese aren’t sure if their erratic neighbor might drag them into a conflict that commercial interests would argue against.

If the Chinese wisely don’t want to tie their wastes with rope to a North Korea that’s always joyfully dancing on the cliff’s edge, neither have they wanted the regime to collapse.  North Korea does keep the American military distracted and provide a buffer between China and a Democratic Korean Peninsula.

But if it looks like North Korea’s arrogance will finally send it down in flames, what will the Chinese do?  War on Kim’s behalf is highly unlikely given their economy’s dependence on peace in Northeast Asia.  Will they cutoff the oil supplies the North depends on?  That might be helping America and its allies too much.  It is more likely they will wait for the smoke to clear from a neutral vantage point though this too brings risks since they would be cut out of any peace settlement and could be flooded with refugees.

South Korea

South Korea’s Leftist government has realized that the Sunshine Policy was just a stalling tactic for the North to buy deadlier armaments.  But at least their Left has woken up: South Korea is now actively practicing bombing runs and missile launches against Kim’s forces.  If only it were as easy for Western Liberals to get a clue.

North Korea’s Generals

Kim has boxed himself into a position from which retreat is difficult.  In his line of work any about-face may easily be interpreted as a show of weakness that ends with being thrown out a window à la Ceausescu.

But his generals still have time for a coup.  A coup is not without great risks; Kim’s eagerness to assassinate his own family members and publicly execute commanders with artillery has understandably put his generals in a state of perpetual fear.

But many North Korean generals face death if they follow him into war against the United States, South Korea, and Japan.

Do they fear war more than Kim?

We are about to find out because they are also nearly out of road to kick the can down.

The End of Week Circulars for September 03, 2017

North Korea’s Missile Test Over Japan

Kim’s latest test is more confirmation North Korea and the United States are, as predicted here, still heading for open conflict despite Kim’s cancellation of a missile test near Guam because their respective goals are unacceptable to the other side.

The North’s goal is to finish its ICBM work by deterring America from military action while their project is ongoing; America’s goal is to eliminate that program by diplomacy preferably but by force if necessary.

Any diplomatic solution is looking more remote by the moment  – the North continues to refuse to so much as open talks on limiting their nuclear program and it’s nearly impossible to imagine them cooperating honestly with any negotiated disarmament program rigorous enough to satisfy Trump who this week authorized American planes to join South Korean jets in dropping bombs near the DMZ.

With neither side backing down from their ultimate goals, and with North Korea making rapid advances the time is approaching when Trump will have to use force to destroy the North’s nascent ICBM project.

Continue reading “The End of Week Circulars for September 03, 2017”