After Brexit, a Trump Path to Victory

After Brexit, a Trump Path to Victory

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Some of us have long predicted the breakup of the European Union. The Cousins appear to have just delivered the coup de grace.

While Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU, England voted for independence. These people, with their unique history, language and culture, want to write their own laws and rule themselves.

The English wish to remain who they are, and they do not want their country to become, in Theodore Roosevelt’s phrase, “a polyglot boarding house” for the world.

From patriots of all nations, congratulations are in order.

It will all begin to unravel now, over there, and soon over here.

Across Europe, tribalism, of all strains, is resurgent. Not only does the EU appear to be breaking up, countries appear about to break up.

Scotland will seek a second referendum to leave the U.K. The French National Front of Marine Le Pen and the Dutch Party for Freedom both want out of the EU. As Scots seek to secede from the U.K., Catalonia seeks to secede from Spain, Veneto from Italy, and Flemish nationalists from Belgium.

Ethnonationalism seems everywhere ascendant. Yet, looking back in history, is this not the way the world has been going for some centuries now?

The disintegration of the EU into its component nations would follow, as Vladimir Putin helpfully points out, the dissolution of the USSR into 15 nations, and the breakup of Yugoslavia into seven.

Czechoslovakia lately split in two. The Donbass seeks to secede from Ukraine. Is that so different from Transnistria splitting off from Romania, Abkhazia and South Ossetia seceding from Georgia, and Chechnya seeking separation from Russia?

After World War II came the disintegration of the French and British empires and birth of dozens of new nations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. America returned the Philippine islands to their people.

The previous century saw the collapse of the Spanish Empire and birth of a score of new nations in our own hemisphere.

In Xi Jinping’s China and Putin’s Russia, nationalism is rising, even as China seeks to repress Uighur and Tibetan separatists.

People want to rule themselves, and be themselves, separate from all others. Palestinians want their own nation. Israelis want “a Jewish state.”

On Cyprus, Turks and Greeks seem happier apart.

Kurds are fighting to secede from Turkey and Iraq, and perhaps soon from Syria and Iran. Afghanistan appears to be splintering into regions dominated by Pashtuns, Hazaras, Uzbeks and Tajiks.

Eritrea has left Ethiopia. South Sudan has seceded from Khartoum.

Nor is America immune to the populist sentiments surging in Europe.

In Bernie Sanders’ fulminations against corporate and financial elites one hears echoes of the radical leftist rhetoric in Greece and Italy against EU banking elites.

And as “Brexit” swept the native-born English outside of multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multilingual London, populist-nationalist Donald Trump and antiestablishment Ted Cruz swept the native-born white working and middle classes in the primaries.

In Britain, all the mainstream parties — Labor, Tory, Liberal Democrat, Scottish National — supported “Remain.” All lost.

Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party alone won.

In the past six months, millions of Democrats voted for a 74-year-old socialist against the establishment choice, Hillary Clinton, as Bush-Romney-Ryan Republicanism was massively repudiated in the Republican primaries.

As Trump said last week, “We got here because we switched from a policy of Americanism — focusing on what’s good for America’s middle class — to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move their wealth and workers to foreign countries all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy.”

Yesterday, news arrived that in May alone, the U.S. had run a trade deficit in goods of $60 billion. This translates into an annual deficit of $720 billion in goods, or near 4 percent of our GDP wiped out by purchases of foreign-made rather than U.S.-made goods.

In 40 years, we have not run a trade surplus. The most self-sufficient republic in all of history now relies for its necessities upon other nations.

What might a Trumpian policy of Americanism over globalism entail?

A 10 to 20 percent tariff on manufactured goods to wipe out the trade deficit in goods, with the hundreds of billions in revenue used to slash or eliminate corporate taxes in the USA.

Every U.S. business would benefit. Every global company would have an incentive not only to move production here, but its headquarters here.

An “America first” immigration policy would secure the border, cut legal immigration to tighten U.S. labor markets, strictly enforce U.S. laws against those breaking into our country, and get tough with businesses that make a practice of hiring people here illegally.

In Europe and America, corporate, financial and political elites are increasingly disrespected and transnationalism is receding. An anti-establishment, nationalist, populist wave is surging across Europe and the USA.

It is an anti-insider, anti-Clinton wave, and Trump could ride it to victory.

Is Europe Sailing on the Titanic?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

U.S. growth in the first quarter fell to 2.2 percent, a disappointment. But in Europe, that news would have caused general rejoicing.

For consider the gathering crisis on the old continent.

With negative growth now for six months, Britain has fallen back into recession. “I don’t think we’re anywhere near halfway through the eurozone crisis,” said Prime Minister David Cameron this weekend.

Romania’s government fell last week. The Czech government barely survived a vote of no confidence. In the capital cities of both countries, tens of thousands have angrily protested the new austerity.

The Dutch government also fell last week, when the Freedom Party of right-wing populist Geert Wilders abandoned the governing coalition.

Wilders refuses to support spending cuts and new taxes needed to meet the hard deficit target of 3 percent of gross domestic product set by the European Union for 2013.

The Rome government of Silvio Berlusconi is history. New Prime Minister Mario Monti says Italy cannot sustain the austerity being imposed upon her.

In Spain, unemployment has hit 24.4 percent. Half her young are jobless. “Spain is undergoing a crisis of enormous proportions,” says Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo. He compares the EU to the Titanic.

French elections are Sunday. Most observers believe they will end the career of President Nicolas Sarkozy and install in the Elysee Palace a socialist, Francois Hollande, who has pledged to impose a 75 percent tax on incomes above 1 million euros.

With a week to go, the French campaign calls to mind the 1930s.

Sarkozy, says The New York Times, is focusing on “patriotism, protectionism, French values,” attacking immigrants who do not assimilate.

“I do not want to let France be diluted by globalization,” Sarkozy declared Sunday. “Europe has given in too much to free trade and deregulation. … I do not want France to be isolated in the world, but I want frontiers respected. … France expects a Europe that protects the European people.”

The far-left candidate, Jean-Luc Melanchon, defeated in the first round, is charging Sarkozy with using the language of Pierre Laval and Marshal Philippe Petain, both convicted of collaborating with the Nazis.

“To be treated as a fascist by a communist is a compliment,” says Sarkozy.

“In 2012, the issue is borders, and I will put them at the center of the debate,” Sarkozy said Sunday in Toulouse, where an Islamist fanatic recently murdered four Jews, including three children, and three French soldiers.

“Without borders, there is no nation, there is no Republic, there is no civilization,” he told 10,000 cheering supporters. “We are not superior to others, but we are different.”

Sarkozy is on “a mad path,” says Hollande. “The issue in France and in Europe is the fight against extremism.”

Greek elections are also scheduled for Sunday, with the center-left Pasok Party and center-right New Democracy having lost half of their support since 2009.

Ireland votes May 31 on the eurozone fiscal pact that calls for austerity among Europe’s most indebted nations. Polls are predicting a yes vote. But Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams has ridden a rising tide against the pact to make his party the second-most-popular in Ireland.

“The rise in political extremism in Europe,” writes Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Munchau, “is in part the consequence of stubbornness and stupidity among centrist elites.”

Where is Europe going?

Larry Summers is probably right, “Again Europe and the global economy approach the brink.”

With the demonstrations, riots, and governments falling like dominoes, Europe’s ruling elites are losing the confidence of the people and its ruling parties are bleeding support to the more militant left and right.

What does this portend for Europe?

Probably an easing up of austerity — of the tax hikes and budget cuts for payrolls, pensions and health care — demanded by Germany’s Angela Merkel and her fiscally hawkish allies. And it probably means an effort to stimulate the dormant economies of Europe without sending buyers of Europe’s bonds fleeing for the exits out of fear of inflation or default.

But the vision of One Europe that dates back to the 1950s and Jean Monnet seems to belong to yesterday.

Transnationalism, the idea of sacrificing the national interest for the greater good of Europe, is dying. Not one of the four leading French parties in the first round of voting was making the case for Europe.

Second, the idea of a multicultural Europe open to immigration from beyond its borders seems to be dead.

Third, the ideology of Occupy Wall Street has crossed the pond.

The senior Catholic cardinal in Britain is demanding that Cameron accept a “Robin Hood tax” on large financial transactions to make “banks and large financial institutions pay their fair share,” with the tax money going to the poor.

The One Percenters are in the gun sights everywhere. Rarely was Yeats’ couplet more apposite.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

And the Debt Bomb Ticks On

By Patrick J. Buchanan

With his approval rating moving up to 50 percent and higher in some polls, the pundits are all agreed. President Obama has turned the corner. He is now the winter-book favorite in 2012.

How, two months after his “shellacking,” did he do it?

First, by taking the wheel from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, cutting a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts, bringing aboard Bill Daley, and separating himself from the demonizers of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck as moral accomplices in the Tucson massacre.

Second, Obama has been the beneficiary of bullish news.

Corporate profits are coming in higher than expected. The stock market has surged. Nine of 10 economists surveyed by USA Today are more positive about the economy than they were three months ago. The ratio of businesses that anticipate new hires over businesses that anticipate new layoffs has not been better in a decade.

There is a feeling that at last we are coming out of the Great Recession.

But has the debt bomb really been defused?

On Jan. 20, The New York Times had two front-page stories that ought to concentrate the mind.

“A Path is Sought for States to Escape Their Debt Burdens,” was the headline over the first, which reported that bankruptcy lawyers were being consulted by congressional aides on how states like California might go into Chapter 9, “leaving investors in state bonds … possibly ending at the back of the line as unsecured creditors.”

Illinois, the story said, might, with federal help, do what GM did.

But GM bondholders were wiped out, as some of us know all too well.

Should states win the right to seek bankruptcy protection against their state bondholders, the $3 trillion municipal bond market, which has lately been taking hits, could crater.

The second Times story wrote of a rebellion in the House Republican Study Committee by conservatives and Tea Partiers who think the leadership is being too timid in cutting this year’s budget.

Rep. Paul Ryan & Co. want to cut $60 billion to $80 billion. But, says, Mick Mulvaney, a freshman from South Carolina, “We want more.” These conservatives want $100 billion cut from discretionary programs.

Among their ideas: a five-year freeze on federal salaries, a 15 percent cut in federal employees, a rollback to 2006 spending levels, $300 billion in long-term funding cuts from such programs as foreign aid, Amtrak, public broadcasting and the Washington, D.C., subway system.

As the Tea Partiers’ proposed cuts do not touch the military, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or interest on the debt, the biggest budget items, slashes in transportation, education, domestic security, law enforcement and medical research, said the Times, “would be nothing short of drastic.”

Undeniably. Yet, consider.

The federal deficit for the fiscal year 2011, which ends Sept. 30, is projected at between $1,200 billion and $1,500 billion.

Thus, the $100 billion in cuts the firebrands are pushing, and few think they will get, add up at best to 8 percent of the deficit and 2.5 percent of the $3.87 trillion budget Obama proposed.

Thus, at best, this Congress will only slightly reduce the rate of speed at which we are heading toward a debt default.

The last few days have brought other news bearing on the debt bomb hanging over the Western world.

The Irish, upon whom austerity has been imposed as a condition of an EU bailout, saw their government fall this weekend. Elections are in March, and the ruling Fianna Fail, at 13 percent approval, is expecting a wipeout.

Will the Irish accept endless austerity, or vote for populists who will default and let EU governments and banks take the hit?

Should Ireland default, she will not be the last to do so.

Also this weekend, the European Central Bank chief warned that inflation in the global economy — the rising prices for oil, food, minerals and precious metals — may mandate a rise in interest rates. That would be bad news for bondholders and governments everywhere, including our deeply indebted states that now borrow to cover operating costs.

Then there is the crisis in the housing market that continues to deepen.

“All previous postwar recoveries,” writes Mort Zuckerman, “have been able to depend on a growing U.S. housing market.”

But 8 million homes are today in foreclosure or their owners are delinquent in their mortgage payments. Some 5.5 million are occupied by families whose mortgages are at least 20 percent higher than the value of the property, making them prime candidates for foreclosure.

This weekend, Bank of America reported fourth-quarter losses of $1.6 billion and a 2010 yearly loss of $3.6 billion. Its credit card unit took a $10 billion write-down, and its home loan business is still reeling from the fallout of the exploded housing bubble.

Now, facing trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see, House Republicans are balking at agreeing to raise the debit limit of $14.3 trillion, though the national debt just crossed the $14 trillion mark.

Are the happy days really here again?