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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Who gives better money advice, a billionaire or an unprofitable magazine?

The headline in the National Review intrigued me, "More Economic Nonsense from Trump."

Let's see, a magazine that lost $25 million in its first 50 years and still survives thanks to the charity of others ("Help celebrate National Review’s 60th birthday with a generous gift to support our writers and editors who provide America and the world with vital and impactful conservative commentary, analysis, and reporting.") calls nonsense the economic advice of a man who took a few million dollars worth of property, and turned it into a multi-billion-dollar international family enterprise that employs 34,000 people.

The author of the piece was Jared Meyer, who works at another charity -- the tax-exempt Manhattan Institute. ("Jared Meyer is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. His research interests include microeconomic theory and the economic effects of government regulations. Meyer — who also publishes and presents on the need for a moral foundation for free markets — is a regular contributor to the Washington Examiner, Federalist,,, RealClearEnergy, e21, and City Journal.")

Jared Meyer is part of the Conservative Commentariat in DC that is as detached from Flyover Country as the limousine liberals are. Conservatives in the non-profit sector do not understand capitalism. It is outside their ken.

Tucker Carlson, head of the Daily Caller -- which actually has to make money and does -- has been calling out the consultancy class for some time, including this exchange on WMAL radio on March 18, 2013:
LARRY O'CONNOR: Just a quick follow up because you're making it sound like this is really a battle over money. Are you saying those nonprofits are hammering consultants like Karl Rove because they don't like all that money being donated to -- to the consultants instead of going to the nonprofits?
CARLSON: I'm saying they ought to take the plank out of their eye before they point out the speck in their neighbors, I guess is what I'm really saying. I mean, I think there are a lot of really sincere, decent conservatives working in nonprofits, I know them, of course. I don't want to make a blanket indictment. However, they as a group have achieved virtually nothing in the last thirty years. I know, because I've lived here. And look at the results. Our taxes are higher, more people are pro-choice. I mean -- you know, like all their stated goals have not been achieved. And they've consumed a huge amount of money doing it, so it's time for some serious soul-searching. And for those people to get up and start screaming about how other people are wasting money and aren't sincere and are cynical, I mean, it's nauseating. To me, I'm not a consultant or an employee of a nonprofit so I think I can see it with some clarity, there are a lot of parasites on the, you know, on conservatism.
Now the context here is that Carlson was not calling out the National Review or any other subsidized publication. However he was calling out Mister Meyer's employer and similar think tanks. And certainly I am not attacking the National Review; I merely point out my reluctance in taking economic advice from a publication that has not shown a profit in its 60 years.

Now for the irony, Jared Meyer supports lowering the corporate income tax, which by virtue of their status of living by the handout, neither the National Review nor the Manhattan Institute pay.

The double irony is that Trump actually agrees, "No business of any size, from a Fortune 500 to a mom and pop shop to a freelancer living job to job, will pay more than 15% of their business income in taxes. This lower rate makes corporate inversions unnecessary by making America’s tax rate one of the best in the world."

I would get rid of the corporate tax entirely -- as well as any and all corporate tax credits, subsidies, and non-bid handouts such as Planned Parenthood's annual stipend. The net loss would be about $250 billion, which could be made up by ending some of the tax credits to individuals. Why should I pay for your solar panels?

But the broader point is Trump's "economic nonsense" about not blindly accepting unfair trade practices from China and not blindly accepting illegal immigration as good for the economy.

Because maybe -- just maybe -- the conservative dogma on the economy built by conservatives at their non-profits is as out of touch as the socialist dogma crafted by liberals at their non-profits.


  1. Do you mean that selling wine club memberships and celebrity cruises doesn't make a profit for NRO?

  2. Confession: I used to subscribe to National Review and I still peruse their website for the odd bits of information. That said, they seem to be getting away from William F. Buckley, Jr.'s style of conservatism and have apparently become cheerleaders for the GOP Establishment. A pox on them! - Elric

  3. Eliminating or lowering the corporate income tax would repatriate a lot of money currently held overseas. It would also make the United States a great place for corporations and create jobs.

  4. How can any Conservatives who have complained long and loud about "welfare mamas" financially support these non-profit Conservative think tanks? Private donations are not direct government handouts, that I will acknowledge, but the donations are tax deductible as charitable contributions, which amounts to indirect government welfare. This tax deduction is one of the many "loopholes" that deserve to be ended. Such organizations should be left to sink or swim without a government handout.

  5. NR lost me when they decided to endorse legalization of pot simply because Richard Brookhiser was using it and began excoriating anyone who dared to disagree. At that time I was in the process of concluding that medical licensing was the cause of the expanding welfare state and that Milton Friedman was right and that all occupational licensing should be abolished. This meant that I should have in part agreed with them. However, I was offended by the conceit of these people that they were setting themselves up as the gatekeepers of conservatism and doing so with rather arbitrary criteria. 5he term "punching to the right" hadn't been invented yet, but considering their history, I realised that this was nothing new for them. I am one of those people who kept writing and calling asking that they cancel my subscription, which ended up being the title of one of WFB's last books. Be sure I had been fooled by one of their unethical practices of asking people to renew their subscriptions urgently when in fact there was no danger of it running out, I ended up being offended by it arriving in the mail for 3-4 years after I asked that it be stopped. Not having developed the degree of dislike I have now, I continued to read some online and bought Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, which I still consider a landmark book in the movement. Now I just can't stand the F#ckers.

  6. Teapartydoc,

    I cancelled my subscription the day Rich Lowry fired Ann Coulter for her 9/11 piece about Barbara Olson.

    And I despise potheads. I would be all in for an amendment to strike the attainment clause just so we could use attainment against potheads.

    Just kidding. Kind of.

  7. I think there should be a cap on the amount of money any non-profit can have as capital. I do not propose an amount because, like some people, I do not want to get diverted down into the weeds.

    However, limiting the amount a non-profit holds over from year to year would greatly benefit the people of this land. That money has to be spent on the purposes of that non-profit - whatever those are - and not used to build fancy offices and give sinecures to the worthless children and in-laws of the trustees.

    I include universities with that. Either build your needed facilities from that donated money, build the administrative empire of bureaucrats you so like, pay your students' tuitions, or that money goes to help Podunk Community College.

    (I like to hear it when the self-righteous scream - pe-tard, pea-tard - and all of that.)

    - Mikey NTH

  8. Depends on the billionaire. Personally I prefer the Koch brothers who made their money more honestly. Trump on the other hand conned investors into backing his plays, declared bankruptcy not once, not twice but FOUR times and left said investors holding the bag.

    That makes him a good con man, but not a great businessman. A good deal maker knows both sides have to profit. The Donald takes the money and runs.

    BTW, I wonder if every one of Trumps hotel employees are in the US legally? Hmmmm?