Archive for the ‘Redistribution’ Category

What Socialism Looks Like

Posted: February 10, 2014 by ShortTimer in Government, Leftists, Redistribution, Socialism

From The People’s Cube:

fidel eggs joke

A lot has happened in a week, as Krauthammer saying “the president now is toxic” seems to be getting proved more and more true.  That’s because the Obama government is chosing winners and losers – the winners will be the recipient class of serfs and the big government autocrats, and the losers will be independent people who took care of their own lives.

And it keeps getting more and more notice.

Things like this gullible leftist couple getting hit with Obamacare bills is in no small part how (via HotAir):

San Francisco architect Lee Hammack says he and his wife, JoEllen Brothers, are “cradle Democrats.” They have donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama’s re-election.

This plan was ending, Kaiser’s letters told them, because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. “Everything is taken care of,” the letters said. “There’s nothing you need to do.”

The letters said the couple would be enrolled in new Kaiser plans that would cost nearly $1,300 a month for the two of them (more than $15,000 a year).

And for that higher amount, what would they get? A higher deductible ($4,500), a higher out-of-pocket maximum ($6,350), higher hospital costs (40 percent of the cost) and possibly higher costs for doctor visits and drugs.

So what is Hammack going to do? If his income were to fall below four times the federal poverty level, or about $62,000 for a family of two, he would qualify for subsidies that could lower his premium cost to as low as zero. If he makes even one dollar more, he gets nothing.

That’s what he’s leaning toward — lowering his salary or shifting more money toward a retirement account and applying for a subsidy.

“We’re not changing our views because of this situation, but it hurt to hear Obama saying, just the other day, that if our plan has been dropped it’s because it wasn’t any good, and our costs would go up only slightly,” he said. “We’re gratified that the press is on the case, but frustrated that the stewards of the ACA don’t seem to have heard.”

They had a really good plan, they lived well, and now they’re being penalized for it.  Their solution is to drop their income in order to get handouts from the government.  They are willingly becoming serfs.

The problem is that the healthy and those who live healthy are just “genetic lottery winners” who were paying an “artificially low price” because of “discrimination” against the sick.

Obamacare is reverse eugenics.  Live right, eat healthy, exercise, and you must be punished with taxes in order to pay for your unhealthy neighbor because it’s “discrimination” to recognize your success over their failure.  It’s “health justice”.

Some, like the Hammacks, believe in the idea that genetic winners and those who live healthy must be punished – even at their own expense.  Of course, they believe in it being a price levied against other people, and they’re personally going Galt.

Via Drudge, from FOX:

There is no “unauthorized”, there is illegal.  That’s like saying “unauthorized sexual partner” for rapist, or “unauthorized euthanasia provider” for murderer.

These are illegal aliens, in the country illegally.  They are criminals.

The “these are civil rights” argument is nonsense.  It’s collectivism stealing words from righteous causes.  This is amnesty for barbarism.

The person who is accepted into your family, works to join your house because he wants to be a part of it, works to contribute to your property, asks for your daughters’ hand, and sleeps in a bed in your house with your daughter because he’s a member of your family is now being replaced by the barbarian who invades your home.  Holder speaks in collectivist bullshit, wherein everyone in the world who can break into your house now somehow has a right to your property, has a right to what you worked for, has a right to eat your food and rape your children – and because they’ve done so, is now a member of your house.

This is leftist collectivist redistribution of property, wealth, and national identity by declaring that what the US has created isn’t ours, and is the property of anyone who can take it.  This amnesty is the legal framework for justifying complete obliteration of the nation – because now they have a “civil right” to what’s yours.

Their might, their decision to break the law, their decision to invade, now grants them a “civil right” to everything you have and have worked for.

-

As for how he treats his actual “friends and neighbors”, he sent guns to Mexican narcoterrorist cartels to kill Mexican citizens.  Those who want to better their own country were his target.

From Yahoo News:

The total bill: about $255 billion out of the federal government’s pocket – an amount the GOP would likely say needs to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere.

For emphasis, I’ll write it again, if you missed it the first time, and I’ll put it in bold.

The total bill: about $255 billion out of the federal government’s pocket – an amount the GOP would likely say needs to be offset by spending cuts elsewhere.

The federal government doesn’t have pockets.  It doesn’t have money of its own.  It has what it takes from the taxpayer.

That right there sums up so much of the problem – the belief that government has money and that it doesn’t take it from taxpayers… and that can be extended to a lot more problems in the proposition, as well as pretty much all of the root overspending causes.

This is the proposition:

How about a little government economic stimulus?

That may sound incongruous considering the budget deficit and the push from Republicans to cut government spending.

But President Obama’s first offer to avoid going over the “fiscal cliff” holds out the hope of at least some stimulus. This would include extending the 2 percentage point Social Security payroll tax cut, boosting a tax incentive to businesses, establishing a $50 billion bank for long-term infrastructure projects, and extending unemployment benefits.

Stimulus doesn’t work, it’s more Keynesian idiocy.  Why doesn’t it work?  Because it takes from the citizen either through direct taxation or through devaluation of the citizens’ currency, strains it through government, and redistributes it to losers that can’t function in a free market.

This is redistribution plain and simple.  The government will take $255,000,000,000 from taxpayers, then turn around and spend much of that money on an army of bureaucrats to filter it through, then give it to programs and policies that aren’t working and aren’t solvent on their own, and in some cases, those that directly hurt both the nation’s ability to engage in an economic recovery.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

And, finally, Obama wants to extend unemployment benefits, which would cost about $30 billion.

Under current law, if Congress does nothing, the maximum number of weeks in which an individual could receive jobless will drop to 26 from the current 73 weeks for states with unemployment over 9 percent and 63 weeks for states with unemployment over 7 percent.

If Congress does nothing about the program during the lame-duck session, some 2.1 million jobless will lose their benefits in the first week of January, says Judy Conti, a federal advocacy coordinator at the National Employment Law Project (NELP) in Washington. By the end of the March, she says, another 900,000 people will lose their benefits.

“Forty percent of the unemployed are long term unemployed,” she says. “They have been out of the workforce for over six months.”

Oh really?  You think the reason they might be out of work for 6 months is because they get 17 months of unemployment benefits that incentivize not working?  Of course, Ms. Conti is an advocacy coordinator (a job that would not exist in the free market) whose existence in life is entirely dependent on her ability to take from some by force and redistribute to others.

There’ve been studies done on unemployment before, and every time, the eggheads who study it are shocked to find out that when unemployment runs out, people get jobs.

Consider the Welfare Cliff from the other day:

welfare cliffUnless you’re making a lot, there are diminishing returns to actually working.  And when you’re making close to $50,000-$60,000 in benefits for not working, why bother?

The planners are either naively blind to this, or are embracing it as a destructive means to obliterate the United States.  Of course, it’s “government money”, as in, once again, taken from productive citizens and given to non-productive citizens, all the while enshrining the state as the lord and savior of the poor, naive serfs.

And the politics of it are Obama setting the doofus Republicans up to either take the blame for tax rate increases (that the Democrats were opposed to during the Bush years) when he doesn’t work with Republicans, or for being the winner when he gets to institute whatever policies he feels like if they cave… and he’ll still blame their “obstructionism” for his own failures.

The whole post at ZeroHedge is worth reading, but this one graph from a Pennsylvania report on welfare’s failures is the short short version:

If you’re working, the line of actual income is red, the line of take-home income after taxes is in blue.  The various other colors are other government handouts that contribute to actual take-home income.

There are many places along the chart, even at higher incomes, where not working is more profitable than working.

Drudge linked to this Pravda story yesterday, and some talk radio guys brought it up today as a very telling point.

Putin in 2009 outlined his strategy for economic success. Alas, poor Obama did the opposite but nevertheless was re-elected. Bye, bye Miss American Pie. The Communists have won in America with Obama but failed miserably in Russia with Zyuganov who only received 17% of the vote. Vladimir Putin was re-elected as President keeping the NWO order out of Russia while America continues to repeat the Soviet mistake.

After Obama was elected in his first term as president the then Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January of 2009. Ignored by the West as usual, Putin gave insightful and helpful advice to help the world economy and saying the world should avoid the Soviet mistake.

Recently, Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term by an illiterate society and he is ready to continue his lies of less taxes while he raises them. He gives speeches of peace and love in the world while he promotes wars as he did in Egypt, Libya and Syria. He plans his next war is with Iran as he fires or demotes his generals who get in the way.

Now, it’s important to point out that this is Pravda, which dishes out just slightly less propaganda than MSNBC, and that they’d be saying something derogatory along some lines no matter who the President was.  Unless it was Putin.

But it’s very much worth noting that Pravda is hyping Russia’s successes by Putin taking their economy away from Soviet policies rather than towards them.  Putin is a ruthless strongman, but he’s neither stupid nor infected with stupid ideologies.  He knows how power works, but he also knows how the Soviet economic system didn’t work.  The man is not a fool.

Pravda’s condemnation of the US as an illiterate society is one that’s a very sharp criticism, though, and one that isn’t without merit.  Consider the Curley Effect (HT/Andrew Wilkow), from Mark Hendrickson at Forbes earlier this year:

It’s hard to think of anything more perverse in American politics than the Curley effect. The Curley effect historically has been an urban phenomenon, but President Obama seems bent on taking the entire country down this wretched path.

As defined by Harvard scholars Edward L. Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer in a famous 2002 article, the Curley effect (named after its prototype, James Michael Curley, a four-time mayor of Boston in the first half of the 20th century) is a political strategy of “increasing the relative size of one’s political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies.” Translation: A politician or a political party can achieve long-term dominance by tipping the balance of votes in their direction through the implementation of policies that strangle and stifle economic growth. Counterintuitively, making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment.

Here’s an example of how the Curley effect works: Let’s say a mayor advocates and adopts policies that redistribute wealth from the prosperous to the not-so-prosperous by bestowing generous tax-financed favors on unions, the public sector in general, and select corporations. These beneficiaries become economically dependent on their political patrons, so they give them their undivided electoral support—e.g., votes, campaign contributions, and get-out-the-vote drives.

Meanwhile, the anti-rich rhetoric of these clever demagogues, combined with higher taxes to fund the political favors, triggers a flight of tax refugees from the cities to the suburbs. This reduces the number of political opponents on the city’s voter registration rolls, thereby consolidating an electoral majority for the anti-wealth party. It also shrinks the tax base of the city, even as the city’s budget swells. The inevitable bankruptcy that results from expanding expenditures while diminishing revenues can be postponed for decades with the help of state and federal subsidies (“stimulus” in the Obama vernacular) and creative financing, but eventually you end up with cities like Detroit—called by Glaeser and Shleifer “the first major Third World city in the United States.”

The Curley Effect is a vile strategy to destroy populations in order to rule them.  Like Obama’s former chief of staff and current dictator-for-life of Chicago famously said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”  The Curley Effect is to create the crisis in order to profit from it.  That anyone could consider a crisis “good” speaks volumes by itself, but this is more about the practical and less about the downright morally villainous.

Putin doesn’t have to use the Curley Effect to gain power.  He has it already.

Obama and the Democrat party are using the destructive Curley Effect to increase his own power nationwide.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

- Attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville

Obama’s operation is to create and exploit that crisis and ride it down as he becomes the new socialist leader, the indispensible man with the cult of personality surrounding him.  He’s already Jamie Foxx’s god, lord and savior.  Obama and his acolytes are believers in their own ideology, that “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for”, and at best their idealistic naivity will lead them down a road to hell, at worst, and most likely, as they aren’t all fools, they intend it.  Again, consider that someone can find a crisis, in which there is human suffering, a “good thing” that shouldn’t be passed up as an opportunity to be exploited for further expansion of political power.

This isn’t “never let a mistake by a totalitarian regime that can be exploited to preserve or restore individual freedom go to waste”.  A lot of people could get on board with that one.  Probably not Putin or Obama. though.

In the past, I’ve referred to leftists as inflicting suffering on the public like Munchausen by proxy.  Ideologically, the do-gooder planner types who are true believers in leftist causes are so deluded they can’t see what they’re working towards.  They can’t see that they’re making people dependent through welfare or handouts or bailouts, and they refuse to believe it.  They can understand why the Forest Service says “don’t feed the bears”.  They can’t understand why making people dependent on others is a bad thing, though.

Thomas Sowell has written extensively on how the black community went from improving and doing well into a hellish spiral of failure especially because of LBJ’s “Great Society” that incentivized self-destructive behaviors.  LBJ understood the Curley Effect, and used it to great effect.

“I’ll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” — Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One according Ronald Kessler’s Book, “Inside The White House”

LBJ was promising other people’s money, LBJ did plenty of downright reprehensible things while he was in the White House, and all of those are looked at as “good things”, though they so often had the exact opposite effect of what they were sold as.  They hurt people, but they elevated the redistributor in government to that of indispensible hero to the lower classes (and there became a greater distinction, and more people in the lower classes as well.)

More from the Forbes piece:

Everything Obama has done has been designed to strengthen Democratic constituencies (e.g., stimulus spending steered predominantly toward unions and strategically allied state and municipal entities; waivers from Obamacare for unions; a hefty 23 percent increase in the Index of Dependence on Government during Obama’s first two years) and to weaken Republican constituencies (e.g., making small business formation more difficult by impeding venture capitalists; refusing to amend Sarbanes-Oxley; using Dodd-Frank regulations to discourage loans; fewer waivers from Obamacare; proposing lower tax rates for large corporations, but not on the “S” corporations that are the preferred choice of small business owners; constant efforts to raise taxes on the “rich”—which means, as we’ve seen in Detroit, California, and other Curley effect victims, higher taxes on the middle class).

Obama’s smash-mouth, Curley-like politics is all about choosing winners and losers. Reread his State of the Union address from January, and you see a parade of proposals to take from A to give to B, to encourage businesses to do C and discourage them from doing D. Indeed, Obama seems incapable of suggesting a single economic policy that does not redistribute wealth from his political opponents to his political allies. The message is clear: He wants Americans to be dependent on the government; consequently, he is hostile to the private sector, because a vibrant private sector enhances economic independence and self-reliance.

The idea of a multi-tiered class system is almost wholly communist as well, as communism needs class warfare to exist.  America is supposed to be a classless society.  We don’t need more upper, middle, or lower class people.  Americans are given the freedom to choose where they want to be in life.  Vicissitudes of life often mean that one starts off worse off, or one may have worse luck, or one may have better luck or simply work harder and make their way better – but the fundamental difference is that everyone gets a shot, and gets to work to where they want to be – and where they want to be is dependent only on how hard they work and how intelligently they work towards where they want to be.

The idea of income redistribution in order to create “a level playing field” or to make sure the rich have “skin in the game” is wholly unAmerican.  The rich, as well as those with middle incomes, already have a lot of taxes paid in, and therefore have “skin in the game”.  The poor who receive government handouts, don’t have skin in the game.  They’re simply mooching, and using their need and communist rhetoric to demand more.  “Leveling the playing field” and such nonsense is possibly even more destructive than simple redistribution.  The idea of raising taxes on high income earners is a political winner because those who’ve earned their priviledge are viewed through communist lenses as worthy of scorn and persecution.

But what it really does, especially when parroted by dirtbags like “the sage of Omaha” Warren Buffet, is to crush those coming up.  It’s a barrier to entry for small businesses by taxing them higher, so it protects big businesses.  It’s a class barrier against new people who are improving their lot, and it crushes the small businesses that pay the wages and salaries of those who are middle and lower income earners who are working their way up.

This is very similar to how the Congress and Senate often come up with new investment laws and “windfall profit” taxes after they’ve made their money in a given industry (CA Senator Boxer is known for her oil investments, for example).

All of it leads to a permanence of class – the socialist redistributor upper class with their favored businesses, the “middle class” serf who works to pay the socialist, and the serf who lives on handouts taken from the “middle class” serf and redistributed by the indispensable socialist.

Even Pravda can see that’s stupid.

Drudge has a link to Krugman’s piece at the NYT as his big headline today.  Why?  Because Krugman, ever the idiot that he is, is rambling on about a 91% tax rate from 1950, and how the “rich must pay their fair share”.

the ’50s — the Twinkie Era — do offer lessons that remain relevant in the 21st century. Above all, the success of the postwar American economy demonstrates that, contrary to today’s conservative orthodoxy, you can have prosperity without demeaning workers and coddling the rich.

Today’s conservative orthodoxy isn’t about either coddling the rich or demeaning workers.  Bosses don’t get good results from employees who are hurt, and bosses who are favored by government (like Obama and bestest buddy Jeffrey Immelt from GE) means that there is no free market as the govt. picks winners and losers.  A rising tide raises all boats.

Consider the question of tax rates on the wealthy. The modern American right, and much of the alleged center, is obsessed with the notion that low tax rates at the top are essential to growth. Remember that Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, charged with producing a plan to curb deficits, nonetheless somehow ended up listing “lower tax rates” as a “guiding principle.”

Yet in the 1950s incomes in the top bracket faced a marginal tax rate of 91, that’s right, 91 percent, while taxes on corporate profits were twice as large, relative to national income, as in recent years. The best estimates suggest that circa 1960 the top 0.01 percent of Americans paid an effective federal tax rate of more than 70 percent, twice what they pay today.

And here we’re going to begin the misty-eyed dreaming of days gone by from the leftist perspective.  Lower tax rates at every level are necessary for growth.  Lower tax rates at the top free up capital, and stability in government and politics establishes confidence in business owners to go out and expand their businesses, leading to more and better paid employees.  The current administration’s populist “eat the rich” attitude is something that’s setting back business development, and their fickle and flawed creation of a socialist health care system is causing businesses to respond to that uncertainty as well.

The tax rates of the 1950s, with a lot of analysis, could also be looked at as why the economy didn’t develop even faster.  Let’s keep in mind that there were still bureaucrats from the FDR era in government, and the government was still busy being huge, still impacted in size by WWII and going off to Korea to fight another war as well.  Also, ask what amount of those rates were actually paid versus what the rates were.

Nor were high taxes the only burden wealthy businessmen had to bear. They also faced a labor force with a degree of bargaining power hard to imagine today. In 1955 roughly a third of American workers were union members. In the biggest companies, management and labor bargained as equals, so much so that it was common to talk about corporations serving an array of “stakeholders” as opposed to merely serving stockholders.

Squeezed between high taxes and empowered workers, executives were relatively impoverished by the standards of either earlier or later generations. In 1955 Fortune magazine published an essay, “How top executives live,” which emphasized how modest their lifestyles had become compared with days of yore. The vast mansions, armies of servants, and huge yachts of the 1920s were no more; by 1955 the typical executive, Fortune claimed, lived in a smallish suburban house, relied on part-time help and skippered his own relatively small boat.

Putting burdens on businessmen ignores that that’s also putting burdens on the business.  Also keep in mind that the character of the nation was different then.  In 1955, unions hadn’t become as bad as they are today, with things like “job banks“:

One of the benefits negotiated by the United Auto Workers was the former jobs bank program, under which laid-off members once received 95 percent of their take-home pay and benefits. More than 12,000 UAW members were paid this benefit in 2005

Union sloth is legendary, but the character of the country also worked against it in those days.

Executives weren’t the only ones relatively impoverished.

The average American in 1955 wasn’t very well off, either.  The were better off than in the Depression (some of them), and they were better off than when they were conscripted, but they weren’t well off.  Consider this (pulled off the net in 2 seconds):

Average Yearly Wages $4.130.00 (around $2/hour, or alternately TheCostofLiving.com says average yearly wages were only $3301, and so does the Social Security Adminstration at $3301.44)
Minimum Hourly Rate $1.00
Average Cost of a new car $1,900.00
Black and White TV $99.95

Right now, I’m sitting typing at a computer that can instantly communicate with millions of people across the world, with processing power unimaginable in 1955.  If you’re reading this, it’s most likely also on an incredibly powerful computer that would still be deep in the realm of science fiction for 1955, or even reading it on a handheld tablet, phone, or some other device that could not exist in 1955.

Right now, the average American wage is around $43,000, hardly a trifiling amount.  A new car in 2011 can run you as low as $13,600… of course, that’s before taxes and government fees.  Let’s say you don’t want a Kia as a price point even, and would prefer something made by an American-owned company.  You can get a Ford Fiesta for around $14,200, before the government gets involved with tax, title, and license fees.  Now the average cost might be a little higher, but the substantive cost is very different.  The lowest-grade car you can find today has technological advances that did not exist in 1955.  The Fiesta gets 29 mpg on a bad day.  A car from 1955 would be running in the 10s for fuel efficiency.  And how about safety?

As for the cost of a B&W TV set… well, those are difficult to find anymore.  Consider that your phone can probably watch youtube videos with a lot more choices than CBS, ABC, NBC and maybe a local station or two.  But what kind of TV can we get today for $99.95?  How about a 19″ LED ($99.98 online)Compare the size and performance with back then.

Using the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Inflation Calculator, $99.95 in 1955 would get us $862.69 in today’s money.  Let’s see what we can get for a TV now.  With online purchasing, I can find an $828 TV that’s a color LCD TV with a 55″ screen.  Notice a quality of life difference yet?

Going back to the car really quickly, the $1900 for a car translates to $16,399.  So you can still afford an average car or light SUV that will last much, much longer than an old car, will require less maintenance, get better mileage, be safer with regards to crash ratings and brakes and belts and airbags, and provide features like power windows, AM/FM/CD/aux jack radio, AIR CONDITIONING, and other features that simply didn’t exist in 1955, or were prohibitively expensive.

Krugman’s desire to see the US reduced to the 1950s ignores a massive substantive increase in quality of life as he tries to reduce the rich to groveling at the temple of the state.

The data confirm Fortune’s impressions. Between the 1920s and the 1950s real incomes for the richest Americans fell sharply, not just compared with the middle class but in absolute terms. According to estimates by the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, in 1955 the real incomes of the top 0.01 percent of Americans were less than half what they had been in the late 1920s, and their share of total income was down by three-quarters.

Why are lower incomes for anyone a good thing?  There was also a depression in the 1930s and there was that war thing in the 1940s, and the 1920s were a time of prosperity.  By the 1950s, there were still two decades worth of monetary policy damage and war costs being recovered from.

Today, of course, the mansions, armies of servants and yachts are back, bigger than ever — and any hint of policies that might crimp plutocrats’ style is met with cries of “socialism.” Indeed, the whole Romney campaign was based on the premise that President Obama’s threat to modestly raise taxes on top incomes, plus his temerity in suggesting that some bankers had behaved badly, were crippling the economy.

Yes, for many reasons.  Eating the rich is foolish.  They’re the most prosperous in society, often for good reason. They produce things – often capital for others’ ideas, but often the ideas themselves.  Consider this guy:

He makes some music that lots of folks really, really like.  His music talents and his ability to spot others with musical talent has led him to becoming a very, very rich man.  He’s worth $460,000,000.  Half a billion dollars.

The comical hypocrisy of Obama visiting a self-made man worth nearly half a billion dollars to beg for money so he can screw the rich and hiding a $280,000 tower of champagne so no one can see how rich he is… is, well… rich.  Jay-Z isn’t going to get hit with 91% taxes anyway (if you hang out with the pres, you get favors), and his success wouldn’t have been possible in the 1950s, either.  If he wants servants and yachts, good for him.  He earned them (and his employment of them helps them as well).

If Jay-Z were taxed at a 91% rate, however, what would his music empire be worth?  If every year, rather than be able to reinvest in new promotions, reinvest in new shows, put money down to back new artists, or even to just lavishly spend stuff on himself, which improves those who provide luxury goods, how much poorer would we as a nation be?  Maybe that last phrase is a bit over the top for somebody who’s a rapper, but consider that his money is spent somewhere, it goes somewhere, it’s reinvested somewhere, and there are a lot of people whose lives do depend or are at least influenced by, whether directly or indirectly, how much he makes and spends.  And not just the champagne producers.  Every small venue that hosts somebody he promotes is making money, the sound and lighting guys at those venues are getting paid because the venue’s full, everybody who’s making merchandising and t-shirts and everybody who’s providing concessions to the shows – that’s a lot of income and improvements in life that come from one man’s large amount of wealth being directed back into his own business.

Krugman’s statement about Obama’s connection with bankers is equally stupid.  Obama was elected in no small part by bankers donating to him in 2008.  And he’s put those big banks in charge of everything.  And even though they elected him in 2008 and has spent four years demonizing his old friends, he still has friends in those big banks.  The bankers who “behaved badly” are those who are in collusion with him.

Surely, then, the far less plutocrat-friendly environment of the 1950s must have been an economic disaster, right?

Actually, some people thought so at the time. Paul Ryan and many other modern conservatives are devotees of Ayn Rand. Well, the collapsing, moocher-infested nation she portrayed in “Atlas Shrugged,” published in 1957, was basically Dwight Eisenhower’s America.

Yes, Eisenhower’s America, where individual wealth was confiscated and ideas were confiscated and man was forced to serve man under the cruel collectivist boot of the state.  /sarc  Krugman, you’re an idiot, and have clearly never read the book (then again, Paul Krugman doesn’t read his own books, so who knows).  Krugman, please watch:

Strange to say, however, the oppressed executives Fortune portrayed in 1955 didn’t go Galt and deprive the nation of their talents. On the contrary, if Fortune is to be believed, they were working harder than ever. And the high-tax, strong-union decades after World War II were in fact marked by spectacular, widely shared economic growth: nothing before or since has matched the doubling of median family income between 1947 and 1973.

“Strange to say?”  Krugman’s worldview is so warped he doesn’t understand, and perhaps can’t understand.

The decades after World War II were because war-footing ended.  The decades after World War II were because World War II ended the idiotic New Deal.  The New Deal is what caused the Great Depression – governmental policies that established uncertainty in markets, governmental policies that picked winners and losers, governmental policies that sucked up the labor force into the CCC and other make work programs while simultaneously draining the rest of society and screwing up monetary policy.

The 1950s were a recovery from FDR years.  They were a recovery from a decade of the New Deal and the war years.  There was much to be improved on yet, but rest assured, 91% tax rates do not spur people to work harder.

Which brings us back to the nostalgia thing.

There are, let’s face it, some people in our political life who pine for the days when minorities and women knew their place, gays stayed firmly in the closet and congressmen asked, “Are you now or have you ever been?” The rest of us, however, are very glad those days are gone. We are, morally, a much better nation than we were. Oh, and the food has improved a lot, too.

Let’s see… people in political life who want minorities to know their place…

Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, Kleagle and Exalted Cyclops of the KKK

And women to know their place…

Democrat Ted Kennedy’s car that he drowned Mary Jo Kopechne in… as he left her and went back to a party… and called his lawyer to figure out how best to proceed since he’d left her to die…

Krugman is just trolling here.  The only people who agree with it, already agree with it.  Those who look at it critically suddenly find his statements there, which are typical leftist slop, to be nonsense.

A couple paragraphs before he’s citing Ayn Rand, a female Russian Jew as an exemplar of right thought, and then suddenly women and minorities are supposed to “know their place?”  I guess if their place is at the head of the table with ideas about equality based on character, then sure, absolutely.

Krugman is as ignorant of history as he is of basic economic laws.  Let’s look at the civil rights act from the 1960s and who voted for it, just to torpedo this idiocy, just the very first stat here:

  • Democratic Party: 152–96   (61–39%)
  • Republican Party: 138–34   (80–20%)

In the 1950s even moreso, who was it that integrated schools?  Let’s look at the Little Rock Nine from 1957.  Segregation was pushed and integration resisted by DEMOCRAT Governor Orval Faubus.  Integration was forced by Republican President Eisenhower.

As for the gay issue, there’s a difference between asking for special priviledges, special laws (hate crime laws are idiocy in many ways), and special treatment rather than asking for equal treatment (exercising equal rights prevents so-called “hate” crimes, too).  Removing fedgov from marriage entirely, and leaving it up to religious organizations, would solve the issue entirely.  And I’ve covered the issue with regards to the military before, which comes with a seperate set of problems that aren’t the same in regular society, and would make this long post even longer.

As for asking “Are you now or have you ever been?”… well, normal nations do that sort of thing anyway.  Also, McCarthy, though overzealous, was often right.  Consider just a few of those with communist sympathies in US government right nowAllen West makes the point quite well:

Moderator: What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists or International Socialist?

West: It’s a good question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democrat Party who are members of the Communist Party. It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

Congressman West’s office responded to questions from CBSMiami.com with the following statement:

“The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.  The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies.   The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself.  These individuals certainly aren’t proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom.”

As for the food being better… being a leftist who wants to control people’s lives, Krugman probably believes the death of the Twinkie is a good thing, but even factoring that out, the reason food has improved has been due to the ideas and implementation of people in agribusiness and food industries.  Those who put their money behind new technology from the 1950s to now, even such things as microwaves, tv dinners, frozen pizzas, organic arugula and whatever else – these things have improved not because of labor or high taxes, but because of those who push the ideas forward.  (Yes, laborers contribute by doing the grunt work, but they don’t do the skull sweat as laborers… though some who do grunt work also do skull sweat.  The two aren’t exclusive by any means.)

And we finally get to the last part of this fisking of Krugman’s current Keynesian idiocy… except today he’s a lot more socialist.

Along the way, however, we’ve forgotten something important — namely, that economic justice and economic growth aren’t incompatible. America in the 1950s made the rich pay their fair share; it gave workers the power to bargain for decent wages and benefits; yet contrary to right-wing propaganda then and now, it prospered. And we can do that again.

Economic justice is socialism.  It’s the idea that everyone should be equal, and that the state should make them so.  That’s not equal justice under the law, that’s the demand for “justice” for the proletariat raging against the bourgeoisie; defining a caste system by economic income, pitting man against man, rather than acknowledging that everyone in their own capacity as an individual can earn and live as best they earn.

America in the 1950s was still influenced heavily by decades of powerful progressive politicians, and “their fair share” is quite subjective.  Fair in the use of “fair share” is typically taken as “marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism”.  Not as in “that’s a fairly stupid thing to say, Krugman”, which would be fair in this definition: “moderately numerous, large, or significant <takes a fair amount of time>.”

Krugman, who ends by saying “right-wing propaganda” immediatly preceeds it with the union fairy tale of “gave workers the power to bargain for decent wages and benefits”.  Workers always have the power to bargain.  Person A selling Person B his labor in exchange for a wage and/or benefits is exercising his freedom as an individual to sell his skills at the highest level.  Person B can take it or leave it, as can Person A, both free from interference.  When Person B wants to pay for Person A’s labor, and Persons J,K,L,M, and O all are threatening Person B, suddenly Person A and B don’t have good footing to work anymore.  Persons J,K,L,M, and O are busy telling Person B that they own Person B’s capital that Person B wants to pay for Person A’s labor with because they work at Person B’s shop.  Now Person B can’t even hire Person A because he’s busy fighting with Persons J,K,L,M, and O, who have formed a gang against Person B… and against Person A.

Or let’s assume Person B and J,K,L,M, and O get along fine.  Well when Person A shows up, he’s the junior guy.  J,K,L,M and O get favorable treatment, while Person A gets shafted, and has to pay J,K,L,M, and O in order to work.  Person A loses part of his salary just to be able to work at Person B’s business.  And Person A has to pay for Person O, who’s JKLM’s representative, to tell him not to work while they fight with Person B.

Now, let’s assume there’s Person C.  Person C is in a right-to-work state.  Person C can see that Person A wants to work in B’s field.  Person C offers a better rate to A than B can offer, and A doesn’t have to live under JKLMO anymore.

I’ve rambled a bit here (thanks for sticking with me, reader), but unions pit one group of workers against another.  We’ve seen this just this last week in how the Teamsters union got screwed over by the Baker’s union.  Normally it’s most easy to see in how the one man is isolated from the union, but here we have an even better example in how the Teamsters had reached a deal with Hostess, but te Bakers screwed them over and killed the company – and thus the Teamsters’ jobs are now gone.

Krugman’s entire piece is a vivid leftist fantasy about how eating the rich is great, how good unions are, and how big government is good.  He’s a firm believer in Keynesian top-down economics (as has been detailed many, many times).  His title of “The Twinkie Manifesto” is perhaps more appropriate than he thinks it is.   It’s saccharine fluff for those who are already inclined to it, and distasteful to those who don’t like it.

I’m partial to Zingers myself.

As a final note here, and something I may make it’s own post (as this has gotten a bit long… though by fisking a “manifesto” it’s to be expected), an anecdote.  My grandfather worked for a railroad for decades.  In the 1950s, he was still working for the railroad, and the railroads are rather famous for their own unions, as well as having their own retirement programs that pre-date Social Security.  Well, in this wonderful union world in which he worked, he would spend days after work at his house disassembling an old cistern in the backyard and breaking the bricks to make gravel for the driveway.  In this rich, wonderful world of “decent wages and benefits”, my grandpa would take bricks from a broken cistern in the backyard at his house and break the bricks – by hand with a hammer – to make gravel for the driveway.

I’m not averse to hard work, but the 1950s economically were a relative improvement over previous decades.  The Democrat economic issues Krugman brings up as good things to his mindset are just as abhorrent as bringing back Democrat racists and misogynists.  We don’t need any of those ideas.

The nostalgic looks that many people have on the right are about going back to a time of much more moral certainty, and equality under the law.  Communism was identified for what it was, a murderous statist ideology that killed millions.  America was recognized for its greatness in allowing people freedom – which is why the struggle for civil rights came about, and often primarily driven by people on the Republican side of the house.  Welfare was looked at derisively, hard work was a virtue (which also meant the character of unions, by their people, was different).  The law was still respected, and though flawed, people sought to work to change it – again, the struggles of the civil rights era were about people defending themselves within the law.  Civil disobedience works in a moral nation – not in an immoral one – and that’s why it did work in America, and improved the American condition.

No one wants to go back to cars with drum brakes and no seatbelts, no one wants to go back to black and white TV and no computers; no one wants to go back to segregation (though there are some places where it exists by choice of the residents, but that’s because of welfare and economic policies).  No one wants to go back to the days when Democrat sheriffs, governors, mayors, congressman, and senators oppressed minorities and women.  They do that enough today.  Nobody wants government in their bedroom, and only the left wants discriminatory laws for different people.

And only self-named progressives want to go back to regressive, destructive taxes and powerful government controls.

At video on HotAir, Geithner is asked if we should get rid of the debt ceiling.

Interviewer: Do you agree with Alan Greenspan that we ought to just eliminate the debt ceiling?

Geithner: Oh absolutely.

Tim Geithner can’t pay his own taxes, so there’s zero reason he should’ve been Treasury Secretary to begin with, but that’s just another in the long string of Obama appointments that are glossed over entirely by the media.  Just a reminder, though.

ZeroHedge asks what Geithner will do now, as it seems he’s leaving the Obama administration, and briefly recaps his past, which also ties in with his statement above:

Tim Geithner’s public “servant” tenure has not been without its blemishes: from his deplorable run as the (figure)head of the New York Fed (from 2003 until 2009), when the entire financial system literally imploded under his watch, to his epic failing up as Hank Paulson’s replacement as treasury Secretary of the United States, despite his legendary inability to navigate the Minotaurian labyrinth that is the TurboTax income tax flowchart, the Dartmouth alum has had his share of run ins with adversity (and adversity won). Of course, Geithner’s tenure in charge of the Treasury in the past 4 years has been somewhat mollified by the fact that here too here was merely a figurehead, and the true entity that runs the US printing presses is none other than the JPM and Goldman Sachs co-chaired Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee (for more on the TBAC read here and especially here as pertains to the former LTCM trader and current head of JPM’s CIO group), meaning that the US Treasury, just like the Fed, are merely branches of the one true power in US governance: Wall Street. Geithnerian figureheadedness aside, the one undeniable fact is that Tim Geithner’s days as head of the Treasury are now numbered: he has made it quite clear that he will not accompany Obama (should the incumbent be reelected) into his second term. So what is a career “public servant” to do once the public no longer has any interest in retaining his services? Bloomberg’s Deborah Solomon has some suggestions…

First, it may come as a surprise to some, that just like virtually every other central planner currently in charge of deciding the fate of billions of people in US and around the world, Geithner has never really had much interaction with real life:

Despite the fact that much of the public — not to mention some lawmakers on Capitol Hill — assume Geithner worked on Wall Street, he never has. Instead, he has spent most of his career in public service. Before taking the Treasury post in 2009, Geithner headed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for six years and worked at the International Monetary Fund. His main private-sector job was at Kissinger Associates Inc.

 The years in public service — particularly engaging in diplomacy with domestic and foreign partners — left a deep impression on Geithner, infusing him with a sense of purpose that he might find lacking on Wall Street (see: “Why I Left Goldman Sachs” by Greg Smith).

This by itself isn’t to much of a surprise, but consider what the debt ceiling is.  It’s an artificial limit set by congress that says “we’re not spending money we don’t have past this mark”.  It’s a way (though not a great way) to somewhat reign in spending by government.

Tim Geithner, who can’t figure out how to pay his own taxes, has been a Treasury Secretary who’s functionally done nothing but print more money.  His plan to deal with the economy and government debt has been Quantitative Easing 1, 2, and now Ad Infinitum.  Of course he’d want to eliminate the debt ceiling.  Then the government can just spend spend spend into oblivion without even a hint of restraint.  Besides, Geithner is part of the powerful elite ruling class, and he won’t be living a life impacted by his own decisions, whether he leaves as Treasury Secretary or stays on.

Remember this condemnation from the Chicoms, from last year?

SHANGHAI — China, the largest foreign holder of United States debt, said Saturday that Washington needed to “cure its addiction to debts” and “live within its means,” just hours after the rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s long-term debt.

“The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,” read the commentary, which was published in Chinese newspapers.

When the govt. is printing bonds and TIPS and everything else to sell to the Federal Reserve and all the mess that is Quantitative Easing, and especially if the debt ceiling is removed, at best, all this becomes is a longer game of kicking the can down the road, assuming someone wants to solve the problem.

The downright scary part is what FerFal wrote about in Argentina:

As for the rest of the population, nothing has ever worked as well for the peronist party as keeping those families poor and numerous, and the Ks repeat that same recipe. The handouts for one reason or another make sure those votes keep coming. Handouts per child, for political support, its all there if you show up to the rallies or protest against the companies that aren’t “team players” with the government.  If you are a company owner, in the legal or illegal pharmaceutical business, a good amount of donations will go a long way in ensuring the health of your business. We’re (sic) does the money come from? Stealing the retirement funds helped, so does sucking the blood out of what’s left of the middle class through taxes…

What if they really don’t want to solve the problem?  What if they just want to destroy everything?  Fundamental transformation?  The super-rich Democrats have for the last few decades managed to paint themselves as a party that cares about the poor through giving handouts, and they’ve done well politically with it.  There are entire regions in cities that vote exclusively for Democrats, and mostly because they’re areas that are clearly politically defined as handout-recipients and usually along ethnic lines.  Thomas Sowell has written extensively on how the Democrat party has abused the urban black community into poverty and squalor and convinced them that the Democrats will save them, a disturbing mass Munchausen by proxy.  Democrats by their Alinsky playbook mean to go out, create a crisis, and “solve” it; they never let a good crisis go to waste, and instituting a crisis in order to further their own political goals is something that has been done many times before.

And while there are some in the party who do want that, there are others, like Geithner, who are probably just ignoramuses, or insulated “geniuses” convinced of their own superior intellect who don’t understand that spending money you don’t have doesn’t work forever.  Isolating purely the economic side of it and ignoring the political power grabs that are coming from it, you simply cannot kick the can down the road forever.

Apparently there’s a nice term for when this ends, now.  A Keynesian Endpoint.

Keynesian endpoint is a phrase coined by PIMCO’s Anthony Crescenzi in an email note to clients in June 2010 to describe the point where governments can no longer stimulate and rescue their economies through increased government spending due to endemic levels of pre-existing government debt.

“Time, devaluations, and debt restructurings might be the only way out for many nations,” Crescenzi wrote in an e-mailed note titled “Keynesian Endpoint” that referenced the Great Depression era economist John Maynard Keynes. Debt-fueled spending programs aimed at combating the global financial crisis of 2008 are among policy tools now “being seen as a magic elixir that has morphed into poison.”

Margaret Thatcher summed it up well years ago:

Of course, while the financial system may fail on this, there are a lot of scapegoats to go kill and enemies to destroy, and a lot more people to blame.  The Democrats are already gearing up to blame the Republicans for the fiscal cliff – it benefits them to go over the cliff and hurt the country so they can blame Republicans.

From Breitbart, via Jawa Report.

A really good article by Oleg Atbashian over at The People’s Cube:

To paraphrase Baudelaire, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world of the moral superiority of collectivism. According to Ayn Rand, if we don’t convince the world otherwise, nothing else will work. Our greatest ally in this fight is human nature. Our greatest asset is morality itself, which is really, truly, undeniably, and absolutely on our side.

Today’s political debates often end up in the following compromise: capitalism may be more economically efficient, but it’s no moral match to economic equality that benefits most people. But the only way economic equality can benefit people is by pandering to their class envy. In all other aspects — economical, political, cultural, philosophical, and spiritual — it’s a dastardly, immoral cause.

~

To begin with, it is the efficiency of capitalism that benefits most people. Among other things, it raises everyone’s living standards and quality of life; expands consumer choices; boosts innovation that reduces the share of low-paying, mind-numbing manual jobs; increases the pool of well-paid professional jobs; gives the poor access to things that only the rich could enjoy a short while ago; promotes the creation of new cures of diseases; extends life expectancy and makes old age much more enjoyable.

The alternative to capitalism — whatever one would like to call it — is the loss of freedom, loss of choices, government corruption, and moral decay. What do we get in return? The vague promise of economic equality.

But in human reality, complete economic equality cannot be achieved. A century of collectivist social experiments around the world has proven three undeniable facts: One, government-enforced economic equality results in a forced inequality of a powerless, impoverished populace ruled by a corrupt elite. Two, the main obstacle to economic equality is human nature. Three, human nature cannot be changed, no matter the effort to re-educate, indoctrinate, or punish the violators.

An essential part of everyone’s human nature is what collectivists are maligning as greed. Generally speaking, it is a normal desire of all humans to achieve a better life for themselves and their children. In a free capitalist system, “greed-driven” achievers engage in lawful productive work, start businesses, and build things. In a restrictive socialist system, to achieve a better station in life, one must either join the corrupt government apparatus, or become part of the criminal underworld with its vast shadow economy. The alternative is to succumb to misery and, very likely, alcoholism or worse. In the end, capitalism brings out the best in people; socialism brings out the worst.

How worthy and moral can an ideal be that punishes achievement and criminalizes human nature?

Read the rest at The People’s Cube.

Worth noting is that Atbashian did Soviet agitprop back before the USSR fell, and thus learned much of this through direct experience by being on the other side of the Iron Curtain.