Thursday, November 14, 2019

College Kids' Hard Turn Left Means Trouble Ahead for America

On Nov. 2, 2019 the New York Post ran an editorial on the lopsided, often delusional political beliefs of today's college students, and the editorial discusses my research on faculty political affiliation.  Unfortunately, the Republican Party has sat on its hands for decades as the radicalization of education has unfolded.  I'm not sure that the damage that left-wing control of both K-12 and higher education has done can be undone.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Letter to Betsy DeVos Re 1619 Initiative

The Honorable Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education


Dear Madam Secretary:

Yesterday, the National Association of Scholars held a conference call to discuss its 1620 initiative, a response to the New York Times’s 1619 initiative, which is an effort to attack fact-based history and radicalize its teaching.  Today, I received an email from David Horowitz’s organization describing a radical-indoctrination boot camp in Minnesota, the Minnesota Educator Academy, in which teachers are subjected to offensive, far-left indoctrination. Whether or not federal monies are directly being used for this purpose, federal financial support to Minnesota subsidizes it. 

How federal policy needs to respond to improper use of public monies for far-left political purposes depends on how far gone K-12 education already is.  However, I don’t believe that the Department of Education has taken any steps to determine what the political biases in the states’ K-12 systems already are.    How far down the ideological-indoctrination road have K-12 state systems already travelled? How many high schools use the fake history of Howard Zinn?  What is the ratio of Democrats to Republicans among educators?  Are conservative teachers drummed out in states like Minnesota and New York?

One of my colleagues has done ample work on debunking some of the fake history currently used in high schools, but he cannot find outlets to publish his findings.  This suggests a lack of support from the DOE, which receives federal funding to set educational agendas. How much support has the DOE given to scholars who question the conversion of the American education system to far-left propaganda purposes or even to determine whether such conversion has occurred, and if so in what states it has occurred?

I do not believe that there are statistics available about state-by-state curricular and behavioral  differences with respect to use of the K-12 or even higher education system for political purposes.  I have suggested to the National Association of Scholars that a team be put together to evaluate state curricula to see how far gone the states already are and that behavioral research be done to determine how extreme biases have already become in the cultures of state educational systems. A coherent policy response needs to be developed to the 1619 initiative, and there needs to be a jiujitsu effort to use it to  reinvent education along lines that support the search for truth and our common culture. 

How much is the Trump administration doing to assist or orchestrate a response to this deepest of deep state perversions?

Sincerely,


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Cc: The President

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

My Lesson on How Big Government Creates Income Inequality

I teach classes in managerial skills and human resource management.  Both are linked to issues surrounding success, career progression, and wages.  My managerial skills teaching focuses on trying to get students from inner city backgrounds to think about how to modulate cognitive and interpersonal skills in order to achieve career success and how to manage themselves to become sufficiently wealthy to be financially independent. With respect to cognitive skills, I emphasize writing, which is one of several weaknesses of  the New York City schools. I cannot, unfortunately, remedy other weaknesses, such as mathematical and statistical skills. I cannot do everything, nor can I do more than show my students the way to learn to write competently.  In a sense I do what John Dewey claimed to be doing: giving them the tools to learn on their own.   

Understanding the Fed, its economic subsidization of asset owners, and its manipulation of wage earners is important to understanding how to invest and how to balance career effort with investing effort.

Another of the critical issues related to both skills building and human resource management is the effect central banking has had in generating income inequality and malinvestment.  Part of this involves overinvestment in financial and real estate markets and part involves overinvestment in technology and labor-saving and cost-reducing strategies like plant relocations. When capital costs are near zero, it costs little to invest in machinery to save labor costs. In the long run, big-government economics, whether it be monetarist or Keynesian, results in capital substitution for labor.  

I just sent an email to my two real time classes summarizing the class discussion, which of course is not covered in the textbooks.

Take a look at this chart, courtesy of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, of the stock of M2 money supply (the broad definition of money) over time:  https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/M2


 Also, take a look at this chart of the gross federal debt since 1940, also courtesy of the St Louis Fed: 


https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FYGFD


Also, take a look at the chart on this blog. The chart is of real (inflation-adjusted) hourly wages since 1964: 

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/08/07/for-most-us-workers-real-wages-have-barely-budged-for-decades/


Also, take a look at this chart, which illustrates the rise of the valuation of the S&P 500: 

https://www.macrotrends.net/2324/sp-500-historical-chart-data


Notice that real wages began stagnating around 1971, which is around when the money supply began increasing at an increasing rate. President Nixon ended the gold standard that year.

Part of the increase in money supply may be offset by the aging of the baby boomers.  An aging population is deflationary because older people spend less. More importantly, the dollar has served as the chief reserve currency since World War II, so the demand for dollars from foreign central banks and businesses absorbs about one-half of the money supply. 

At the same time, the creation of debt and the creation of money are directly in synch because the money-creation process is part of the debt-creation process.  Notice, though, that the debt-and-money-creation pattern parallels wage stagnation.  Asset values escalate, but wage bargains lag. Keynes calls that money illusion.  Income inequality increases as asset owners, who are wealthy in the first place, become more wealthy.  Keynesian monetary stimulation, based on monetary creation, becomes counterproductive as low interest rates encourage substitution of capital and technology for labor.  Plant relocations and overinvestment in labor-saving equipment follows from sustained low interest rates, further encouraging low wages and income inequality.

Moreover, the widespread dollar reserve holdings are under threat from China, Iran, and Russia, which do not want to do business in dollars.  All modern monetary regimes have collapsed.  The first paper money inflation occurred in China after the invention of paper money during the Song dynasty in the 11 and 12th centuries. The Yuan dynasty, headed by Kublai Khan, adopted the paper money not long after and soon created hyperinflation.

The first US hyperinflation occurred during and after the Revolutionary War, and the first US currency, the continental, became worthless by the end of the Revolutionary War.  There was also hyperinflation during the Civil War, when the US Treasury and the Confederate Treasury both printed money and experienced double-digit inflation rates. Again, this occurred after the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank in 1913 and World War I, after which there was a hyperinflation followed by the 1920-21 depression.

Some people become wealthy during monetary disorder; typically, they are debtors who own assets like real estate and hard assets. The precious metals, art, and similar kinds of assets retain value. Stocks may as well, depending on the particular stock and various circumstances.  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies may be additions to the list of hard assets.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Across the Board Cuts Needed to Drain the Swamp


The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

This is a letter of support in light of the unfair allegations that Democratic Party and fake media extremists have brought against you.  Fake journalists have made absurd claims about the significance of your conversation with Prime Minister Zelensky, including the fiction that you withheld aid or in some way functioned as a mafia boss.  Seeing the absurd spectacle of Neil Cavuto pretending to be an objective journalist while basing all of his questioning on false assumptions and outright lies isn’t surprising, but it is one more nail in the coffin of the credibility of television news.

The bigger question is how to move forward given that this series of events has revealed deep-seated corruption within the intelligence agencies.  When you were elected, I was skeptical of the expression “deep state.” As a libertarian, I was aware that the state is fundamentally corrupt.  However, I was unaware of the deep partisan infiltration of the intelligence agencies.

When you are elected to a second term, I urge you to follow the libertarian approach of across-the-board budget cuts to agencies.  This is an approach that will be a baby step toward curing the federal deficit but a leap toward draining the swamp.  The concept of corporate culture is that behavior patterns in organizations become ritualized. Cultures are collective mental programming that are next to impossible to change.  This insight was made in the 1950s by the sociologist Philip Selznick in his book Leadership in Administration.  Because you are primarily a real estate developer used to contractual relationships, you seem to have proceeded in your efforts to drain the swamp without addressing the deep cultural impediments.   

The solution that Selznick offers to change cultures is the same that libertarians have urged to cut costs:  sharply cut the staffing.  As well, shuffling personnel and hiring from without will be useful. Director Henry King’s 1949 film 12 O’Clock High depicts the reshuffling and firing approach to culture change.

As you know, the federal debt is at levels that may threaten economic growth in the short run and certainly will do so in the long run.  Across-the-board cuts in federal agencies of, say, 50% of staff in agencies like the CIA, NSA, DOL, and DOE along with reshuffling of assignments of existing staff will shake up the corrupt, deep-state culture if not end it entirely.  Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, the Squad, and the radical steps they are taking may make such a radical approach possible after 2020 because they are losing credibilty.  

Sincerely,


Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

Cc: Neil Cavuto Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Mitch McConnell


Mr. Joseph Maguire
Director, National Intelligence
Office of the Director of National Intelligence,
Washington, DC 20511

Dear Mr. Maguire:

I have written to the president suggesting that radical culture change is needed in the intelligence community. The leaking of a presidential conversation is neither heroic nor legal, and it is not the work of a whistleblower. Rather, it is reflective of an intelligence community that has run amok with partisanship and corruption.

As I mention in the attached letter to the president, the antidote for a corrupt culture is across-the-board firing.  I suggest that half of all intelligence personnel be terminated. They are no longer serving the public, and the culture in the agencies is rotten.  Once half have been fired, the remaining personnel should be reshuffled. New personnel without the taint of the rotten culture that has evolved can then be hired.

This kind of step is unknown in government bureaucracies, but it is evident that it has become necessary.


Sincerely,



Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.