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January 31, 2017 | Does Trump’s Travel Ban Make Sense?

Is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, and author of the daily financial column, Diary of a Rogue Economist.

BALTIMORE – Thank God for the travel ban!

Since the 1950s, roughly 1,000,000 people have been murdered in the U.S., including 2,996 killed on 9/11 by terrorists.

We don’t need any more killers in the U.S.; we’ve got plenty already.

But wait… You say that native-born Americans are five times more likely to be killers than refugee immigrants?

You say the travel ban did not cover the countries – most notably Saudi Arabia – that supplied the 9/11 terrorists?

And that this ban would have prevented none of the terrorist killings in the U.S… not the Pulse nightclub attack… not San Bernardino… not the Boston Marathon?

What gives?

Positive Step

The press is hot with rants and raves. But you’ll get no more cynical sniping from us. No more sarcastic attacks. No more ironic reflections or sincere opinions.

The spirit of civic improvement has come over us like a state-ordered lobotomy. Today, we offer only constructive criticism.

Fortunately, we now have a way of “scoring” Team Trump’s policies without resorting to emotion or sentiment. We simply apply our revolutionary new formula.

Our new formula is far superior to per-capita GDP, purchasing power parity, employment, or any other statistical measure. It describes what people really want: satisfaction.

S = rv (w-w – w-l)

Satisfaction (S) equals the real value (rv) of win-win deals (w-w) minus win-lose deals (w-l). (Has anyone told the Nobel committee about this yet?)

Making America great again is more than just waving flags and talking tough to foreigners.

For it to have real meaning, it must help Americans get more of what they want and less of what they don’t want. Nobody wants to be killed, so a travel ban could make sense.

And here’s a clear victory: The press reports that President Trump has ordered a cutback in regulation.

It’s a “two for one.” If you’re going to add a new regulation, you have to take away two old ones – a step in the right direction.


The more the feds tell you what to do, the less you’re able to do what you want.

Bad Deal

People are not that complicated: They get more of what they want when they are able to get it.

They must be safe. They must be free. They must have the right to own property. Then they can do win-win deals with other people to trade for what they want. Or at least for what they deserve.

Here’s a simple illustration:

Imagine that you are forced to marry an ugly, argumentative cousin who insists on eating potato chips in bed while watching reruns of My Mother the Car.

That deal is going to go bad. Win-lose at best. Probably lose-lose. Little satisfaction for anyone.

If you are free to marry whomever you want, on the other hand, you still may get into a lose-lose deal. But at least it’s your own damned fault.

And if you get lucky, you and your spouse are winners. You live happily ever after. Satisfaction increases.

Nothing has value on its own. It is only given value by the people who want it.

Nobody living in the Sahara pays for sand. If you are lactose intolerant… milk will have little value. And you may not want to visit Syria even if the travel agent finds you a good deal.

Biggest Perp

We only get a hint at what value things have by looking at what people willingly pay for them.

Again, the key is the “willingly” part. The feds can impose a regulation forcing you to buy milk. But that doesn’t give it value.

The real value of goods and services is measured by the prices paid by willing purchasers. No buyer will willingly buy into a losing deal. So, every honest (not coerced… not fraudulent) deal must be a potential win-win.

You may not think it is a good deal. You may not consider it a wise deal. But only the participants know what brings them satisfaction.

So, now we’re getting somewhere. We have a simple definition of satisfaction: “S” = getting what you want.

And a simple formula for making America great again: Increase w-w; decrease w-l.

There are all sorts of win-lose transactions. You pay someone to paint your house; he runs off with the money before completing the job. He wins. You lose.

A mugger holds you up on the street and takes your wallet. Again, he wins. You lose.

But the biggest perp of all is the government. Every edict and regulation, no matter how petty, is backed by the power to punish and force, denying people the opportunity to get what they really want.

And every plum bestowed by “the government” – whether it is a handicapped parking place or a billion-dollar crony contract – must come from someone else’s tree.

So now we see how Donald Trump can make America better.

He must reduce the reach, the meddling, the bullying, the fraud, and the larceny of the organization he now (partially) controls.

More to come…





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January 31st, 2017

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

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