Wednesday, July 28, 2021

What Will Happen When We Kill Meritocracy?

Let’s say that you want to destroy a house. And that you want to do so without the owner noticing what is happening. If you set about destroying it from the roof down, the owner will notice and will surely try to stop you. But, if you find a way to eat away the foundation, by the time the owner notices what is happening, it will be too late. The foundationless house will inevitably collapse. And you will have decamped to nicer climes.

In today’s America, as I and many others have been reporting, the best way to destroy the country, to diminish if not erase its economic future, is to render schoolchildren stupid. Take their young minds and fill them full with nonsense. Ensure that they do not know how to think or to count, or, God forbid, to do calculus. Lo and behold, America’s future as a great nation will collapse.

If you are really clever, you institute this program with a flurry of grandiose ideals, like democracy, equity, inclusion, whatever. You eliminate competition; you eliminate standardized test scores; you cease teaching anything that would divide students according to ability. In short, you dumb down the curriculum so that no one will feel badly about not being able to do the work. And you do it by punishing the most able children, because their success rate defies the arguments for proportional representation in test results and in economic achievement. 

Its proponents rationalize this process because they imagine that white people are disproportionally represented among the best scoring children. In truth, Asian students, Indian and Chinese, are really doing the best. But, the proponents of these remedies are functional imbeciles, so what did you expect?

Of course, dumbing down the best children makes it nearly impossible for the worst children to advance. After all, they are being told that their test answers are correct, regardless. And they are told not to emulate the study habits of those who do better. The reason-- they are told that the Asian children who did better were exercising their white privilege, and that they are criminals who did not earn what they have.

Now, American leftists, people who have complete control over the American educational system, have gone on a rampage. Their goal, to eliminate merit and to make American children stupid and dysfunctional.

Joel Kotkin takes the measure of the problem in The American Mind (via Maggie’s Farm.)

We are, he opens, suffering a severe educational deficit. In truth, this should not be news. And yet, even though it is not news to say that our educrats are ignoring it. In truth, they are trying to make it worse:

Over time, our educational deficit with other countries, notably China, particularly in the acquisition of practical skills in mathematics, engineering medical technology, and management, has grown, threatening our economic and political pre-eminence. Our competitors, whatever their shortcomings, are focused on economic competition and technological supremacy. In math, the OECD’s 2018 Program for International Student Assessment found the United States was outperformed by 36 countries, not only by China, but also Russia, Italy, France, Finland, Poland, and Canada.

We can make it worse by dispensing with math and science, replacing it with Critical Race Theory. America’s foundation has been eaten away by leftist academics for decades now. CRT is the latest and most flagrant effort to pull away the remaining bricks and mortar:

Critical Race Theory and its growing chorus of implementers—from the highest reaches of academia down to the grade school level—have little use for such practical skills acquisition and brook little dissent from teachers and researchers who raise objections to the new curriculum of racial grievance. Woke educators, like San Francisco’s School board member Alison Collins, claim that “merit, meritocracy and especially meritocracy based on standardized testing” are essentially “racist systems.” Some among the new racial cadres even denounce habits such as punctuality, rationality, and hard work as reflective of “racism” and “white privilege”.

Kotkin explains that what he calls “habits of mind” are being degraded and diminished and denigrated. Corporate executives, he adds, know all about this. But they are powerless or simply too weak to do anything but acquiesce.

In a world where brainpower pushes the economy, the denigration of habits of mind can only further weaken our economic future and undermine republican institutions. Even though the vast majority of corporate executives perceive a growing skills gap, they have failed to stop educators from abandoning skills in favor of ever greater emphasis on ephemera of race and gender.

How bad is it? Here are a few statistics:

Only 5 percent of American college students major in engineering, compared with 33 percent in China; as of 2016, China graduated 4.7 million STEM students versus 568,000 in the United States, as well as six times as many students with engineering and computer science bachelor’s degrees. “In the U.S., you could have a meeting of tooling engineers and I’m not sure we could fill the room. In China, you could fill multiple football fields,” Apple CEO Tim Cook has observed, revealing one rationale for keeping virtually all the company’s production in the Middle Kingdom.

It’s not just about high tech engineers. The problem extends to manufacturing and industry. Skills shortages will surely hurt these. Again, our politicians keep telling us that we are going to onshore manufacturing. What makes them think that the products of America’s educational system can do the jobs:

The skills shortage may be even more profound on the factory floor. Due to an aging workforce, as many as 600,000 new manufacturing jobs expected to be generated this decade cannot be filled. The percentage of the skilled manufacturing work force over the age of 55 has doubled in the last 10 years to 20 percent of active workers. And there is no deep bench of talent waiting to replace retirees—50 percent of the active workers are above the age of 45. The current shortage of welders, now 240,000, could grow to 340,000 by 2024.Manufacturing employment is expanding more rapidly than in almost four decades but there are an estimated 500,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled right now.

To maintain our factories, offices, and laboratories, America needs more rigorous training, not less, and greater emphasis on skills and the ethic of work. Although certainly not the cause of decline over the past few decades, CRT is re-enforcing, and enhancing, a long-developing pattern of educational failure ever more evident, particularly for working class youths.

Ah yes, it is not just skills. It is about a work ethic, a competitive atmosphere where people have the chance to excel. That is, to do better than others, to gain promotions and raises.

Kotkin offers a brief glance into the California side of this story. We are not surprised to find that California schools are making students unemployable. Dare we mention that this is a very good way to repeal the Industrial Revolution and to save the environment?

As is all too common the case, California provides a useful roadmap to dystopia. In recent decades, California has lagged in providing worker-training programs. Rather than bolster training that may make young people more employable, California public schools seem determined to make them less so. The San Diego Unified School District, for example, will no longer count such scruples as turning in work on time in grading and evaluation, and may reduce the penalties for cheating. This is justified as a way of redressing racial issues, as many of the malefactors (like most California students) are from disadvantaged minority groups.

Obviously, ethnic studies courses are designed to promote an oppression narrative, one that will make one group feel guilty while making other groups feel terminally oppressed. They will learn that they should not bother to work hard. They should be out fighting the revolution, just as they were doing last spring and summer across America. After all, destroying what others have build is what they know how to do.

The ongoing implementation of the “ethnic studies” curricula may make some California students more racially aware, even turning them into progressive cadres, but won’t make them more skilled for the economy. The state’s model curriculum focuses instead on how to “build new possibilities for post-imperial life that promotes collective narratives of transformative resistance.” In contrast, hard work and aptitude are far less valued: California’s woke educators are rejecting even the idea of “genius” and calling for the elimination of advanced math classes as a way to achieve greater racial equity.

How is California doing? Very very bad, awful. And this is especially the case for minority children:

Since 1998, California has ranked, on average, 46th in 8th-grade reading and mathematics subject-area performance on the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), the only nationwide assessment among the states that measures comparable relative performance.This includes comparisons with demographically similar states like Texas, which spends less money per student. Almost three of five California high schoolers are not prepared for either college or a career; the percentages are far higher for Latinos, African Americans, and the economically disadvantaged. Among the 50 states, California ranked 49th in the performance of poor, largely minority, students. San Francisco, the epicenter of California’s woke culture, has the worst scores for African-Americans of any county in the state.

The result, Kotkin suggests, will be very bad indeed:

In the future, California businesses will face a severe shortage of skilled graduates, as baby boomers retire and the new generation moves elsewhere.According to a 2017 Association of General Contractors study, 75 percent of contractors in western states are finding it hard to hire skilled crafts people, and 24 percent say it will get even harder in the future. According to the Public Policy Institute (PPI), as boomers age and retire, California is going to need approximately 1.1 million more college graduates by 2030. PPI projects that the demand will then exceed the supply of college graduates by 5.4 percent, making it even more essential that K-12 institutions do a better job of preparing students for college and careers.

Among the reasons why California could not build a high speed train from San Francisco to Los Angeles might be this-- it does not have the skilled personnel able to do the job.

No one is teaching science. Critical Race Theory and Anti-racism training are religions, "revealed religion," as Kotkin calls it.

Rather than science based on evidence and argument, we now get something closer to Science as revealed religion whether on issues like the pandemic or climate change. Government and their allies in the oligarchy, the media, and academia, as former Obama advisor physicist Steve Koonin notes, have transformed “science” into “fallacies” that turn even the most unsupported assertions into “accepted truths”.

Of course, our international competitors are not following us off the cliff. For now our great tech companies have given up on hiring Americans. They have been filling their ranks with Asians, people who learned science and engineering, but who missed out on the anti-racist training. And of course, if the best engineers at Facebook are all speaking Mandarin, it is devilishly difficult to police their speech.

This diminishment of merit is not something people at the Indian Institute of Technology, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, or Tsinghua University have to contend with. Companies there are not likely to issue gender or racial quotas over proficiency. Instead, our companies can tap this workforce, if not overseas, here at home. In 2018, three-quarters of the tech workforce in the Bay Area was foreign-born, a majority on short-term visas, dubbed as “technocoolies” by some in India, “non-visa immigrants” unable to qualify for a green card, unless their employers allow it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

An American Marriage on the Rocks

If you want to get a good look at the state of American marriage, read yesterday’s Carolyn Hax column from the Washington Post. If you want to know why American marriage is broken, why so many people do not even bother to get married any more and why so many people end their marriages over trifles, read the column carefully.

The problem is housework. OMFG, a husband does not do his fair share of the housework. For the record we know nothing about who contributes how much to the family coffers, and we assume that there are no children involved, but the letter writing wife is up in arms about the fact that her husband does not do enough housework. She has turned her home into a war zone-- for which she and Hax will place all of the blame on the husband. After all, the situation bespeaks systemic oppression and the wife is in constant rebellion against it. Now, where did she learn about the need to rebel against oppressive authorities?

So, she is about to end a marriage because her husband doesn’t clean the toilet often enough. Seriously. Dare I mention it, but you need to be a special kind of ideological fanatic to think this way. It’s feminism run amok, doing its homewrecking best to damage another marriage.

And if you thought, as I thought, that this couple should hire a housekeeper and stop bickering about the issue, Hax puts the kibosh on that one. By her dim lights, the issue is his selfishness, his being unwilling to live up to the feminist life plan. Dare we notice that said feminist life plan has destroyed countless marriages and has prevented large numbers of marriages from happening.

About that, the righteous feminist Hax is oblivious. This man does not clean the toilets enough because he does not think that they are dirty enough to need cleaning. Speaking about male toxicity.

Anyway, here is the letter:

I never realized how radically different my husband and I viewed housework until the past year stuck us in the house 24/7. My worldview is, two people sharing a living space should pitch in equally. His worldview, it turns out, is, “I’ll clean things when the dirt bothers me; you clean things when the dirt bothers you,” and — lucky him — the dirt never bothers him.

He'd be happy to clean the bathroom only after a month's worth of grime had accumulated, but since I'm bothered after a week, I'm … always the one cleaning the bathroom.

We've fought endlessly about this. He thinks I'm “unfairly holding him to my arbitrary standards.” I think he's using his dirt-tolerance as an excuse to let me pick up all the slack.

And frankly, what bothers me most is that he’d rather let me be unhappy and stressed than spend 20 minutes a day doing the dishes or running a vacuum. This feels like a big issue. Is it a big issue, or are emotions just high because they’re high for everyone right now?

Notice that the fault always lies with the male member of the couple. This has become a big issue because she made it a big issue, and because she believes that men and women should split chores equally.

We might ask here whether this beleaguered husband, subjected to constant harassment about household chores, was brought up by his mother to do household chores. Did his father clean toilets or vacuum rugs? 

And, note well, the feminist housewife-- or is that a contradiction in terms?-- would rather make this an issue than just let it all slide. Or, to hire a maid. She sees it as abusive behavior, because it does not conform to the new feminist rules for a bad marriage. 

Unfortunately, she would rather fight than give in. And thus, she has created a hostile antagonistic home environment. We must assume that he is not being antagonistic to her; he is doing what men normally do in such circumstances. They do not confront; they do not dramatize; they punt the issue. 

Guess what, team. If she has fallen into the habit of arguing and fighting with her husband-- the better to impose rules he has no interest in following--it will not matter whether he cleans as much as she would like. If a marriage is running on hostility, it will continue to run on hostility-- because that is its habitual way of functioning. Or should we say, it is her habitual way of suffering.

After all, what if he spends more time at his job than she spends at hers. Will she resent his career success? Will she harass him about that? And what is going to happen when and if they have children?

Somehow or other she has made herself into something of a harridan. Ergo, the marriage is not in very good shape. 

One day in the not so far future, he is going to return to the office and he is going to share his pain with some of his colleagues. And then, one woman, sitting quietly on the other side of the table, might speak out: If you were my husband, I would not allow you to clean the toilets.

At that point, the marriage will be on life support.

So, what does Hax recommend? Allow me to quote her lame response, in which she blames the husband for all of it. She considers that the husband’s position is self-serving bullshit. Always nice to see strong, empowered women cursing out men for not being good housekeepers.

Well, emotions are high, but this is a huge, often marriage-ending issue.

That’s because doing all the housework is flat-out miserable when there is an able-bodied person just sitting there watching you do it. Not bothered at all that you’re doing everything.

This is usually the marriage-ending part. How can someone who loves you be okay with leaving things around for you to clean up, knowing it demoralizes you? No hired housekeeper can fix that one.

That's something you're going to need to say out loud.

Plus, he’s arguing in bad faith. He’d never say to you, “Go do all the housework for me” — right? (If he would, then picture me backspacing all of this to type, see ya!) But he’s holding to an argument that effectively means you do all the housework for him. His position is intellectually dishonest. It’s bad faith.


Therefore, he needs to clean the bathrooms once a month minimum. Otherwise he's taking advantage of you.

From there, you can clean bathrooms once a month as well, and learn to live with a roughly two-week cleaning cycle in which you alternate, or you throw in extra spot cleanings to satisfy your preferences.

Note the expression-- he needs to clean the bathrooms once a month. And how, pray tell, is she going to force him to do something that he manifestly does not want to do. Because, keep in mind, it's about forcing someone to do something he does not want to do. It's all about bullying.

Hax uses some interesting locutions, as she makes the case against the brutally oppressive husband. He is intellectually dishonest, acts in bad faith, takes advantage of his poor pitiful wife, how much worse can it be. Keep in mind that in traditional families wives have normally taken charge of their households. According to the new feminist rules, this is unjust, a sign of patriarchal oppression, something that must be stamped out, the sooner the better, no matter the cost.

Hax is having a fit of high dudgeon here. She is so angry that she rejects the obvious solution, of hiring a maid. For her, the issue is feminism. The issue is making your everyday life conform to terms set down by leftist ideology.

So, the solution is simply to hire someone to do the housework, or for a beleaguered, put-upon husband to walk away from the situation. At the least, we now have a good picture of how feminism has broken the American marriage, and how, under the aegis of people like Carolyn Hax, it will continue to do so.

Freedom of Speech in Great Britain: R.I.P.

London’s Hyde Park Corner has long symbolized free speech. Average citizens have the right to go there to declaim about whatever they wish. The tradition has been ongoing for a long time. But now, it seems, certain people who belong to a certain religious persuasion have decided that free speech violates their beliefs. That is, it constitutes blasphemy.

Two days ago a woman by the name of Hatun Tash was slashed by a knife wielding assailant while she was exercising her free speech rights on London’s Hyde Park Corner.

Brendan O’Neill has the story for Spiked. He notes ominously that no media outlet has been covering the story, because, as you know, members of certain religions are allowed to flout the law:

When are we going to talk about Hatun Tash? She’s the ex-Muslim and Christian evangelist who was allegedly slashed with a knife in broad daylight in Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park yesterday. And almost as shocking as the incident itself – as this horrific assault on a woman who was merely expressing her beliefs – has been the silence about it. There has been a trickle of press interest, but no big media splashes, no hashtag solidarity, no politicians expressing concerns that Britain seems to have become a country in which you criticise Islam at your peril. What is going on here?

Ms Tash is a former Muslim who is now a Christian and a prominent critic of Islam. Her religious view is that Muslims should be encouraged to convert to the Christian faith in order to save themselves. No doubt many Muslims find this an offensive idea, which they are perfectly at liberty to do. Tash is a regular of Speakers’ Corner. She engages in heated debates with Islamic preachers and others. Yesterday she was wearing a Charlie Hebdo t-shirt and making her usual comments about Islam, when a man in a black hood lunged towards her with great force, slashing at her face and her arm. Her face was covered in blood. The video, which has been widely shared online, is a difficult watch.

Did the police offer her extra protection? Not at all. They told her to stop speaking at Hyde Park Corner:

She was advised by police not to return to Speakers’ Corner – traditionally the one place in the UK where you can express pretty much any belief you like – for her own safety. Tash is living proof that being an ex-Muslim can be a risky business in our supposedly secular, free nation.

And, of course, the political left, in Great Britain as in the United States has been as silent as a lamb. Groups that have ginned up perpetual outrage over supposedly hateful speech are willing to give a knife wielding assailant a pass:

Where are the cries of denunciation, or at least of concern? The woke left claims to be against fascism, yet it is eerily quiet about a seemingly extremist attack on a woman for holding particular beliefs. Our media elites shake their heads over online abuse, but they haven’t yet mustered up the energy to talk about this act of brutal physical abuse against a woman – an immigrant woman, at that – who was only criticising a world religion.

Dare we mention that Britain’s Muslim leaders have not condemned the assailant. 

As it happens, O’Neill draws the correct and sad conclusion:

A country in which a teacher must go into hiding for displaying an image of Muhammad, and where an ex-Muslim can be stabbed for being ‘offensive’, and where all manner of supposedly bigoted speech can be punished with censure or censorship, is not a free country.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Bye, Bye American Optimism

You probably noticed, but the advent of the Biden presidency produced a wave of good old American optimism. For the first three months of Biden Americans expressed far more optimism than they had during the Trump years.

Now, no one knows exactly why this happened. Some people assumed that Biden election would serve as the definitive cure for Trump derangement syndrome, malady that had been running rampant through the minds of America’s best and brightest.

Some people even believed that peace and harmony would descend on America's streets. If Trump was responsible for last year's nationwide riots, then the absence of Trump would naturally cause America's blue cities to calm down.

Others believed that America had tired of the Trump show and that we were all craving some good old boring politics. Trump’s showmanship may have won him the presidency, but his lack of decorum lost it. A man who mocked those, even from within his administration, who advised him to be more presidential, paid the price.

And obviously, those who despised Trump believed that God had sent the coronavirus in order to punish America for its vote. They believed that the pandemic would magically disappear as soon as Trump left office. Dare we say, as we have noted before, that Trump did not handle the virus very well-- especially by making himself the face of the anti-virus effort.

Don’t give press briefings about subjects you know nothing about. And do not do it when the press is unremittingly hostile toward you.

People who believed that hair-sniffing Joe Biden would restore decency were smoking the wrong kinds of cigarettes. People who were expecting empathy to reign supreme had failed to understand that a certain segment of the population would feel empathy for the harassment that Donald Trump had endured. If Mark Penn and Andrew Cuomo both suggest that they have never seen anything like the media attacks on an American president, then you can be fairly confident that America's ills were coming from both ends of the political spectrum.

Whatever the reasons-- and there is plenty of blame to share-- the Biden presidency began with America in a pretty good mood. But now, the mood has soured and America is becoming markedly pessimistic about the future.

Dare I say, I have certainly been sufficiently pessimistic myself. One might be inclined to attribute this to being a cranky old guy, but it seems also to have been a reasonably accurate reading of the national mood.

As it happened, the past six months has seen American optimism collapse. A new poll tales the sad story:

As President Joe Biden completed 100 days in office, the country was optimistic about the coming year, but now, just after hitting the six-month mark, Americans' optimism about the direction of the country has plummeted nearly 20 points, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds.

A majority -- 55% -- of the public say they are pessimistic about the direction of the country, a marked change from the roughly one-third (36%) that said the same in an ABC News/Ipsos poll published May 2. In the early May survey, Americans were more optimistic than pessimistic by a 28-percentage point margin. Optimism is now under water by 10 points. Looking ahead to the next 12 months, fewer than half -- 45% -- now report feeling optimistic about the way things are going, a significant drop from about two-thirds (64%) in the May poll.

The decline in optimism has occurred across the board among Democrats, Republicans and independents. Optimism is down about 20 points among Democrats and Republicans and down 26 points among independents.

 Among Democrats, about 7 in 10 (71%) now say they are optimistic about the direction of the country over the next 12 months. That's much lower than the near universal (93%) approval from Democrats on Biden's handling of the pandemic. In politics today, partisans usually are more unified in their support or opposition to particular issues or people.

The optimism-pessimism flip comes as Americans give Biden his lowest approval rating for his handling of the pandemic yet in ABC News/Ipsos polling. A little over 6 in 10 (63%) approve of the president's response to the coronavirus, according to the poll, which was conducted by Ipsos in partnership with ABC News using Ipsos' KnowledgePanel.

For some reason the nation had bought the idea that Joe Biden would be a virus killer. By now a majority of the nation has figured out that Joe is cognitively impaired. Such a realization makes people believe that they were conned.

As for the virus, many people were convinced that eliminating the Trump presidency would cure the virus. Yes, I know, it’s a silly thought, unworthy of your serious mind, but still, as long as Trump was portrayed as the Devil Incarnate, the root of all political and cultural evil, large segments of the American people came to suspect that electing Biden would end the pandemic.

And then there are other issues, issues on which Biden seems to be floundering. In truth, people must have imagined that Biden, given his decades of political experience, would naturally be able to deal with important issues.

As of yet this has not been the case:

Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans approve of the president's handling of immigration and the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, crime and gun violence. Republicans have hounded Biden and Democrats over all three, as border crossings and violent crime rates, especially in Democrat-run U.S. cities nationwide, surge. That's reflected in Republicans' high level of disapproval -- ranging between 86% and 92% -- of the president's handling of the three issues, according to this poll.

So, crime in the streets of America's blue cities. Immigration out of the control. And, let's not forget, America's public schools have been infested with critical race theory. Parents may have voted for Joe Biden, but they did not vote to have their children indoctrinated in anti-racism ideology. They certainly did not vote to have their children miss out on math and science instruction, even to the point of not reading great literature or studying great thinkers-- because their educations have been taken over by a band of ideological zealots whose goal is to produce anti-racist groupthink.

Keep in mind, this is happening in the face of a media lovefest with the Biden presidency. The mainstream media has done it best to make Biden look good and to cheerlead his performance. And yet, as noted here last week, Joe Biden's CNN public forum was so bad that there is little chance that he will do another one. Note that, the CNN show of Biden mumbling received very bad ratings, indeed.

Have Americans abandoned all hope in Joe Biden? Time will tell.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Is America in Decline?

Americans have very high self-esteem. We are the greatest because we believe that we are the greatest. We have received massive doses of therapy and have come away thinking that we can beat anyone, anywhere, anyhow. If you say otherwise you will be quickly denounced and voted off the island.

When Tom Friedman suggested that America is not a serious country because it cannot build high speed railroads, the outcry was swift. The noise did not advance any rail projects, but it made us all feel good to vent.

Anyway, today we have a few words from one David Goldman, formerly a member of a Trump administration China taskforce, and also an advisor to the Ted Cruz for president campaign.

It doesn’t matter whether you inhabit the political left or the political right, you are aggrieved. You are up in arms about one thing or another. You are protesting and complaining, because we Americans have mastered the art of protesting and complaining-- of giving full throated expression to our grievances. Don't imagine for an instant that this is limited to the political left.

In the meantime, we cannot build much of anything. High speed rail is just the tip of the iceberg. 

As the world looks to America, it does not see a role model:

The people with big jobs in Washington came of age in the 1980s and 1990s, when America was the technological marvel of the world, and American inventions created the digital age. We haven’t done a lot lately except code some complicated software.

Besides, as we noted in a post a few days ago, Silicon Valley is largely being run by Asians and by Asian Americans.

Goldman asks how we are doing with broadband infrastructure:

China has installed about 80% of the world’s 5G mobile broadband capacity, the carrier for the Fourth Industrial Revolution as much as railroads were for the First Industrial Revolution, and is moving much faster towards smart cities, automated ports, autonomous vehicles, self-programming robots and a wealth of other 5G applications.

And also:

It doesn’t boast a single company to compete with Huawei, Ericsson, or Nokia in 5G broadband. China, with its robust supply chains and abundance and diversity of skilled workers and engineers, is likely to get a jump on the United States in the new technologies that will transform economic life.

That includes hydrogen fuel cells: China’s chemical industry produces 30% of the world’s hydrogen as a by-product.

Yes, you will exclaim, with increasing exasperation, but we are woke. We are diverse. And diversity is our strength:

Europeans view with distaste the American version of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, where the “woke” equivalent of Red Guards hold self-criticism sessions at corporations and universities to extract confessions of racism, homophobia, transphobia and so forth.

So, Goldman concludes that countries around the world are looking at America and seeing a declining power:

It’s pointless to complain when America’s allies ask in so many words, “What have you done for us lately?” To the rest of the world, America looks like a declining power, because it is a declining power.

If America wants to get the world’s attention, it should try doing the things that captured the world’s imagination a few decades ago. America needs the moral equivalent of a moonshot, a rededication to manufacturing leadership, a revived meritocracy that produces business and scientific leadership.

True enough, we believe that Germany should have walked away from the Nordstream pipeline. Yet, no one in Germany believes in American energy reliability.

Instead of complaining about how the Germans jilted them, American politicians should take a hard look at where America is going, and do something about it.

Good luck with that. 

The Coming Inflation

For further edification on the state of the current economy we turn to Stanley Druckenmiller, notable hedge fund billionaire. A few days ago we looked at the views of money manager extraordinaire, Jeremy Grantham. Today, we can refer to a Zero Hedge report about a Druckenmiller appearance on MSNBC. 

He, like Grantham and Larry Summers, is most concerned about inflation. So much for modern monetary theory. Druck remarks that inflation is a tax on the poor. So, naturally, it makes sense that a Democratic president and Democratic Congress would be supporting it:

Moving on, Druck pointed out that the biggest economic crises of the last 100 years have largely been caused by asset bubbles and inflation. "Inflation is a tax the poor can't afford or avoid," Druck added.

Any further stimulus spending is intended to fix a problem that, in Druck's words, "doesn't exist anymore." 

So, the current Democratic infrastructure spending plan would do nothing more than-- hold your breath-- destroy the American economy. When the economy is doing very well, the worst thing you can do is to spend aggressively. Tell that to AOC. Keep in mind, the man leans left politically:

He added: "If I was Darth Vader and I wanted to destroy the US economy, I would do aggressive spending in the middle of an already hot economy."

"You usually get a bubble out of that, and you get inflation off of that. Frankly, we now have both. This is the biggest bubble I've seen in my career."

So, Druck wants Democrats to delay their infrastructure spending plan. 

When Druck added that he would prefer Dems postpone their infrastructure spending plans (even though he said he supports many of the provisions of the Demcoratic plan, including improving high-speed infrastructure access in rural areas), Ruhle interjected. Poor people don't care about bitcoin crashing, since they don't own that much bitcoin (or stocks) anyway. But the infrastructure plan will help all Americans, especially those with the fewest resources, Ruhle argued.

Stephanie Ruhle was the MSNBC interviewer. Clearly she was in way over her head.

Druck responded:

"I dont think we need to do anything, we need to take a step back, take a breath and see where we are...I think any net spending is a problem. I love a lot of stuff in the infrastructure plan particularly the investments in the digital infrastructure. There's a lot of other stuff im okay with."

As for Ruhle’s notion that only the rich would be impacted by a market crash, Druck corrected her poor understanding of economic history:

First of all, Druck argued that the growing retail exposure to equities means a market crash will impact main street even more quickly this time around.  And even if they own no financial securities or crypto assets, they will still be impacted by the economic declines, as Druck explains: "It's going to cause a financial crisis, it's going to cause inflation and nothing is going to hurt the poor more than that."

It’s worth your attention.