Posts Tagged ‘capitalism’

On Health-Care Rationing

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Including Death Panels

As a fellow who is a student of economics, one  of my pet peeves is the confusion that often arises when economic concepts are misused out of context to justify political ends.  In the discussion and debate leading up to the passage of Obama-care, it was famously noted by Sarah Palin that “death panels” are a feature of that plan.  In short, the death panels would make “ethical decisions” based not on what was ethical with respect to individuals, but with respect to what was ethical in choosing on behalf of society at large, i.e, the government. The supporters of the Obama-care program maintained that “there were already death panels” imposed by insurers, and that in any event, rationing would always take place as a matter of economics.  In this last point, they were correct in the strictest terms, but they were wrong to compare government actions to the actions of individuals and private businesses in the free market.  This is one example of the abuse of economics by politicians, so let us examine it more closely.

In economics, everything is rationed, because it is assumed that there is a basic unlimited demand for all goods and services.  Since there exists no infinite supply of anything, it is necessarily true that all things are rationed in some fashion.  Gasoline is rationed.  It’s happening right this moment.  Food is rationed.  Housing is rationed.  There is no good or service that isn’t rationed, and the primary instrument for determining the allocation of the limited supply in a free market is money.  The smaller the supply of a thing, relative to the quantity demanded by the market, the greater will be the price.  This is the manner in which everything is rationed:  There is a only so much money, and he who possesses enough of it can tap into the limited supply.  This form of rationing is natural, or free market-based, meaning that this happens organically with or without formal rules, and always has, even before the notion of money as a medium of exchange had occurred to primitive cultures and barter systems still dominated commerce and trade.  Strictly speaking, in economic terms, it is true to say that all things are rationed somehow. This is how we reconcile the basic premise underlying modern economics as the study of an unlimited wishes in pursuit of finite supplies.

The question then arises whether natural allocation(or rationing) is “fair.”  Since fairness is a wholly subjective term, it cannot be answered in the realm of economics, but instead becomes a matter of politics.  This is where the trouble begins, because what politicians most frequently do is to apply their own subjective notions of what is fair in place of the much more objective standard of a natural market.   They concoct these notions to satisfy political constituencies, but the twist and turn in order to define the question as a matter of economics.  Inevitably, they do so by reducing the question to the subjective grounds of a particular individual, or group, and ask whether it is “fair” that so-and-so cannot afford such-and-such.  In this sense, the economics they are discussing are applicable to small groups, but not to the whole market.

What government schemers for socialized medicine have done is to insert government coercion into the place of the natural market allocation.  If you say to me, “It is sad that Johnny cannot get his surgery because he has not the money,” if my answer is based on the free market, I must say “it may be sad, but it is fair because he could have obtained the money by previous work, insurance, charity, or even credit.”  The fact that Johnny hadn’t the money for the surgery is not a justification to disclaim the objective fairness of the free market system, but sadly, that is how it is used by politicians.  Enter the statist, and he will proclaim that he can reintroduce “human fairness” or “social justice” or some such enfeebling concept by virtue of government coercion.  If Johnny hasn’t the money, the politician will take it from somebody else at gunpoint to pay for Johnny’s surgery, provided Johnny meets any requirements they may have enacted.

Perhaps the surgery Johnny needs is a kidney transplant, but rather than expend the resources, since Johnny is also a wheelchair-bound, elderly man, the government may say “You’re not worth saving.”  Worse, if the government denies Johnny the ability to obtain his own health-care by his own means outside the government system, what the government is doing is to pronounce a sentence of death on Johnny.  If Johnny happens to be a recent college graduate in his twenties, in otherwise good health, the government will view it as a good investment in many cases since he will pay much more in taxes over his expected lifetime than the surgery may cost.  Notice that the decision criteria is entirely social, and based on the economics of government expenditures, which actually means: Political considerations.  It is also the reason that every system of socialized medicine ultimately leads to many more people dying prematurely as they are denied treatments of which they would have availed themselves in an open market. If this were not true, we would not see so many from around the socialized world flocking here to pay cash for treatments they cannot obtain by any means in their home countries.

You might contend, as the leftists do, that this is done by private insurers routinely.  There is some truth to this, but it is also substantially dishonest.  As a participant in a free market system, you are free to choose an insurer and pay such premiums as you are willing and able, to cover everything to some gargantuan limit, or you may choose a policy less expensive, but also less thorough.  In this manner, the rationing occurs because you have enough money, or you don’t, but that is up to your own resourcefulness and diligence and all the factors that frequently make the difference between relative poverty and relative affluence.  You might decide at this point to take me back to the argument of the “unfairness of money,” but as I’ve already explained, in a free market, fairness is measured differently than in your subjective wishes.

If it was my choice as to which system I would endure, I would prefer to take my chances in the free market system, because I believe I can manage to afford the coverage I might need, but in a government system, no matter how diligent and efficacious had been my own labors, I might be told “sorry, you’re outside the limits established for this procedure,” and be denied treatment irrespective of my ability to pay.  I would always choose this latter option, because it affords me the greater measure of freedom, and if it winds up that I was unable to provide the coverage I actually wound up needing, at least I will have nobody else to blame. That’s where the politicians come in, again.

GOP Commits Political Suicide By Mitt

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

2012: GOP Commits Political Suicide?

Most of you will be familiar with the concept of “Suicide by Cop,” the practice by which somebody who is unwilling to do the deed themselves, instead puts themselves a position to be threatening, thereby drawing fire from police.  In the same way, the Republican Party now seems poised to commit political suicide by nominating Mitt Romney.  It really wouldn’t take a great deal of explanation were all of my countrymen versed in the principles of capitalism.  Sadly, they are not, so let us make them plain:  Mitt Romney is not a capitalist, but he will be attacked as one.  Just like his false conservatism will lead to attacks on our philosophy, so  too will capitalism come under attack even though neither he nor we any longer practices it.

Many people have defended Mitt Romney over the last several days when he was attacked by Gingrich and Perry on the basis that his work at Bain harmed workers and destroyed jobs.  Others were quick to point out that this sounded very much like an attack on capitalism, in almost the same manner that the left attacks it.  For my part, I pointed out that Romney has enough baggage that you could easily assail his record without seeming to attack capitalism, and I offered up a few specifics.  The problem is that much of this is complicated information, and most people simply don’t have the time or patience to sort through all the details.  I find that frustrating, because we cannot render just opinions on the matter of Romney’s qualifications for the office of President if we’re not willing to chase this all the way into the weeds.

One of the concerns about Bain Capital that hasn’t been mentioned much is how it has relied upon corporate welfare to improve its profitability.  Consider the case of Steel Dynamics, which was provided various incentives and breaks in order to locate in DeKalb, Indiana, a company in which Bain was the largest domestic equity holder.  The state and county provided $37 million in incentives, and even levied a new county income tax in order to get the plant located there.  While this sort of thing isn’t all that uncommon, what it reveals is how thoroughly involved in wringing money out of tax-payers Bain’s operations had really been.

From the same LA Times article:

“This is corporate welfare,” said Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst with the Washington-based Cato Institute, which encourages free-market economic policies. DeHaven, who is familiar with corporate tax subsidies in Indiana and other states, called the incentives Steel Dynamics received “an example of the government stepping into the marketplace, picking winners and losers, providing profits to business owners and leaving taxpayers stuck with the bill.”

That’s a shocking disclosure about a man who has claimed to work in “free enterprise.”  The people of DeKalb County aren’t free, as they’re undoubtedly still paying off the debt they incurred as a result.  Some will point out that this isn’t uncommon, and I agree, but I’m not sure that’s a valid argument for doing it.  Still, the larger point in all of this is that Romney and his company were the beneficiaries of this, and that it wasn’t all “free market.”

Of course, Steel Dynamics was one of the companies that went into the total of his preposterous claim of 100,000 net jobs created, and of course we now know that this too had been smoke and mirrors.  Of course, this is just a sample of his private sector experience, but what you come to learn about Romney during his term as Massachusetts Governor is much more frightening.  While having a president with private sector experience would certainly be useful, Romney’s really not the sort of private sector person we need.  We need a person who understands Main Street, and knows what it is to make a payroll in a business with a few doen employees.  Those are the kinds of enterprises that aren’t being established in this economy, and they’re the sorts hardest hit by the ridiculous big government regulatory regime under which the economy now suffers.

Small businesses are the ones that don’t get tax breaks, and they’re the sort on which we have depended for most job creation over the last fifty years.  They’re also the kind of endeavor that provide slim profit margins, are often held together on a wing and a prayer, and are completely devastated by programs like Romneycare.

What the GOP establishment doesn’t understand is that by going along with Mitt Romney, what will be accomplished is to institutionalize the very sort of government that will destroy the economic growth we so desperately need to climb out of the gargantuan debt pit into which Obama has heaved our nation.  At Bain Capital, Romney could turn to a bankruptcy court for a company that didn’t make it, and at the state level, he could turn to the federal government for grants and similar when Romneycare ran the state short of funds, but as the President of the United States, to whom can you turn?  The Chinese? Even they have had enough of our easy-money policies.

A Romney nomination threatens to destroy the GOP, because if he fails to defeat Obama, or perhaps worse, defeats him but then goes on to govern the nation like he did the State of Massachusetts, there will be no coming back from it.   We haven’t been practicing capitalism for some time, but instead muddling through what is known as a “mixed economy,” meaning one that is neither fully dominated by the state, nor by the free market.  What we allow with Romney is the continuation of the lie that we are a capitalist nation, and yet it will be for all the flaws of statism that capitalism will take the blame. It’s little different from the phenomenon by which George Bush claimed to be a “compassionate conservative” while practicing his own nuanced form of statism.  It had been these government programs and initiatives where government failed worst under Bush, and it was in these that conservatism took the blame.

Conservatives would not implement socialist prescription drug programs.  Conservatives would not further empower a federal education establishment.  Conservatives would not resort to a government takeover of airport security on a permanent basis, and then extend that security to all manner of places as has happened with the TSA.  A Conservative would not have borrowed and spent as George Bush did for the two terms he held office, and certainly wouldn’t have closed out that administration with a program like TARP(which Romney approves.)   All of these things were done by an allegedly conservative president, so are you surprised that by 2006, conservatism was taking the blame?

Terms like “conservative” or “capitalist” are only good as short-cuts to understanding when we deny their use from labeling the things they are not.  In permitting George Bush to stand before us claiming to be both a capitalist, and a conservative, we damned both when he turned out to be neither, in fact.  Labeling McCain with these labels was ineffective because for the party’s base, they clearly weren’t true, and the labels now held a negative connotation in much of the electorate because they had been associated falsely.  It’s the reason McCain had to bring in Sarah Palin, because he had to restore credibility to the terms.  Mitt Romney will fare no better than McCain, and perhaps worse, because Obama will be able to blame conservatism and capitalism for the failings of his own ideology.  Again.  If Republicans permit this to happen again, they’re foolish, and there’s to be no going back.  Even on the slim chance that Romney is elected, he won’t save the country because his solutions are merely a slower implementation of the same statist ideas. It will throw the GOP into a banishment that may turn out to be permanent.  If the Republican party wants to commit political suicide, Mitt Romney is 2012’s perfect and perhaps final solution.

A Few Words About a Word: Greed

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Caricature or Fact?

I think of all the words in the English language, the one we should live without for a while is the word “greed.” This word has so many vastly different meanings to so many people that it can mean anything and nothing, simultaneously.  It’s become much like the overuse of the term “Nazi” to describe anything and everything with which one might disagree in a moment of heated vehemence, and what it really serves to accomplish is to inject hyperbole and undue emotion into any argument.  Since there is no way to ban the use of a word(at least not in the US, yet,) I decided I might just as well give you my definition, so that on the rare occasion I toss it about, you will understand my usage.   Many consider the brand of “greed” as good as the mark of the beast, and properly defined, it might well be apt to view it in such light, but all too frequently, the word is used to smear something else, and frankly, I’m tired of it.

Greed is most commonly invoked at the thought of lust for money and wealth, but I submit to you that real greed is hardly confined to the gain of material riches.  I also submit to you that it is not merely the desire for riches that constitutes greed, but instead the desire for wealth in material or prestige to which one has no natural entitlement.   If you own a thing, and you came to own it by your own efforts, these are the fruits of your labors, and it was neither greed that gave them to you, nor greed that permits you to hold it.  It is your natural right to  your property that justifies your ownership, and no warrant of greed may be logically attached.

On the other hand, if you gain wealth by fraud or deception, or by theft most commonly of all, this along with your desire to keep it constitute actual greed.  A thief or an embezzler or a cheat is motivated by greed.  A person who demands the labors of others go to support him is motivated by greed.  In a civil society, this sort of greed is generally punished as crime, but no form of greed is greater than a society that collectively employs greed against a minority, however constituted.  Socialism, and indeed any form of statism is the greediest sort of system of all.  The notion that one is entitled to the fruits of a neighbor’s labors is abominable, and that there are laws to enforce it is the stuff of true greed.

Greed is commonly associated with the rich, but I tell you it is the manner in which wealth is gotten that answers the question as to whether there had been greed.  Was there coercion?  Was there monopoly or oligopoly?  Or was there merely the productive efforts of minds equal to the task of satisfying the wants of many people?

All too often, the word “greed” is substituted in place of another concept, precious to capitalism, called “rational self-interest.”  This is the motive power of capitalism, and it’s the reason most of you rise to work each day, toiling to earn your daily bread.  You do not work as a matter of charity to others.  You do not tote that barge or lift that bale in order to fill the bellies of your neighbors’ children, but your own.  The worst and most greedy amongst us are those who find one excuse after the other to lighten the burden of your wallet at the point of a gun in the interests of combating greed, and yet the truth is that none are greedier than these alleged agents of anti-greed.

You might well ask me what I had meant about those who seek an unearned prestige.  I will explain to you that these are the most dangerous of the lot, and none are more greedy than these parasites on human spirit.  These are the grand Utopians who claim not to want any reward for themselves, but instead seek your wealth as a matter of enriching their reputations as the doers of vast public good. If you wish to see a crowd of these in action, you need only tune in to C-SPAN when Congress is in session.  There, you will witness a freak-show of the greediest people on the planet, who hold in their hands the power to strip you of your wealth, all the while claiming the justification of some alleged “public interest.” Worst of all, as has recently come to light in such texts as “Throw Them All Out,” by Peter Schweizer, while they posture as the protectors of the downtrodden, they use the force of their legislation, and their inside knowledge about what it will do to markets in order to make profits they could not have made by any other means.  Who among you believes that most of these people so-engaged could make a fat nickel without the power over your purses and wallets, and the laws that govern your enterprises and corporations besides?

Of course, there are those who seek no immediate financial compensation for such efforts, but instead seek other forms of wealth, in the form of an undeserved prestige.  How many buildings, post offices, and lamp-posts in West Virginia bear the name of Robert Byrd?  He will have been in his grave one-hundred years, and still his name will curse the landscape of that state like a plague.  Sadly, some larger number of the people of that state afford him this prestige, because what he did to gain it was to redistribute money from others to their purposes and support.  Just as you can buy a good deal of welfare or votes, so too can you buy prestige in bulk with other peoples’ money.  The desire for that prestige is an insatiable greed that may stretch to the boundaries of one’s imagination, and more evil has been birthed by those seeking to build monuments to themselves in this fashion than by any pursuit of material wealth.

When people use the term “greed,” I listen carefully for the context, and the reason is simple: All too often, the term “greed” is thrown about with casual indifference to the actual meaning of the word.  When I see a businessman who has made his money by honest pursuit, the fact that he wishes to keep it or earn more does not describe greed, but when I see a petty shop-lifter who stuffs a pack of gum into his pocket at the check-out line, I know I am seeing the material form of greed in progress.   When I see a woman enjoying her retirement by spending some of her life-long savings and investments into something purely for her own pleasure or amusement, I do not see greed.  When I see men demanding a benefit to which they have no natural entitlement, I know I am seeing greed on a vast scale. When I see politicians offering the wealth of some to the pockets of others, in the name of some benevolent purpose he claims will be in the interests of all the people, I look at the ruined lives of the people from whom they will take the necessary cash, and know that I have witnessed a greedy monster.

When you hear the word “greed” you would do well to listen intently to discover the context and meaning of the speaker, so that you can discern his actual intent.  If what is being offered is really nothing more than a thinly veiled attack on property rights, you should run for the hills.  Statists love to use the word greed, because while many people have a sense of the word, few have spent much time considering its meaning.  A statist will argue that if you will not surrender your whole wealth and property and person to the state, it is because you are greedy, and the more wealth you obtain by natural rights, the louder their denouncements of your greed will become. Nobody is greedier than these, and the motive of their attack is to convince you to submit to their claims on your person.  These parasites know the difference between greed and rational self-interest, but they hope you do not.

Hannity Asks Palin About “Vulture Capitalism”

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Dumbfound by Michelle Obama?

Unfortunately, I missed this interview as it first aired, but aa reader forwarded me a link to the Youtube video, and I belatedly viewed it with great interest.  Sarah Palin was on Sean Hannity’s show on Wednesday night to discuss a range of issues revolving around the Republican nomination fight, and some of the issues that have been raised in the recent criticisms of Romney’s record at Bain, among other things.  I was interested to see what Governor Palin would say with respect to the questions about all of these things.

She was careful to draw a distinction between attacks on capitalism and capitalistic endeavors, and instances of such things as bail-outs to companies with which Romney is or was involved.  When Hannity pressed her on Perry’s characterizations of “vulture capitalism,” she redirected the question toward the larger subject of free market capitalism:

“I would hope that Governor Perry and the other candidates would shift gears a little bit and start talking about how important it is that we do embrace free market capitalism and fight against crony capitalism that is a problem in Washington DC, and kind of focus along those lines.”

Watch the whole interview here:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XROys–R0XY]

Palin also mentioned two unresolved issues with Romney that we need to consider is the release of Romney’s tax returns, and also the issue of his claims of 100,000 jobs created.  It’s a hard thing to take Romney seriously as he continues to withhold information that will be a bludgeon against him if he should be nominated.  She also mentioned that a portion of all of this was inoculation against future attacks, and that’s an accurate assessment.  By playing up these issues now, they’ll be “old news” later.

One of the funniest moments of this interview was when Hannity asked Governor Palin for her impression on Michelle Obama’s statement.  Her reaction was probably much like that experienced by many Americans who heard this, because it hints at just how thoroughly out of touch those in the Obama inner circle really are.

I think what I will take from this interview is that Palin’s focus on the importance of free market capitalism in drawing the distinction between Barack Obama and the eventual GOP nominee is going to be critical, and contrary to conventional wisdom, this may not automatically redound to the benefit of Mitt Romney as some may have assumed.  As I’ve noted, the fact that he was a businessman doesn’t necessarily make of him a capitalist, and the evidence is mixed, particularly considering his record as governor of Massachusetts.

Newt Admits Error – Pulls Back on Bain

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Reaching for the Reset Button?

Despite the fact that the media continues to ignore the millions of dollars in dishonest or at least disingenuous ads that were run in Iowa and New Hampshire against Gingrich by Romney and his various Super PAC surrogates, Gingrich seems to have seen his Bain-centered attacks on Romney as unsuccessful, and perhaps harmful to his own campaign.   In an indication that Newt Gingrich is turning away from his attacks on Romney on the basis of the “vulture capitalism” theme, Politico is reporting that Newt said on Wednesday the following in response to an Army Reservist in Inman, S.C., who said this to Gingrich:

“I’m here to implore one thing of you. I think you’ve missed the target on the way you’re addressing Romney’s weaknesses. I want to beg you to redirect and go after his obvious disingenuousness about his conservatism and lay off the corporatist versus the free market. I think it’s nuanced,” said Dean Glossop, an Army Reservist from Inman, S.C.

Gingrich seemed to step back from the brink:

“I agree with you,” Gingrich said. “It’s an impossible theme to talk about with Obama in the background. Obama just makes it impossible to talk rationally in that area because he is so deeply into class warfare that automatically you get an echo effect. … I agree with you entirely.”

Now some will rightly note that Gingrich isn’t entirely backing down, but he’s admitting that at the very least, this was a bad approach to the question of attacking Romney’s record.  As I’ve written over the last two day, Gingrich is better off focusing on the things Romney has done in governing if he wants to go negative, or at least focus on those aspects of Bain that won’t come off as, or be reported as some sort of attack on capitalism.

I also think Gingrich would do well to point out that among the politicians now entered, Gingrich is the only one who ever accomplished real cuts in government spending.  This would require that Gingrich accentuate the positive again, and I think that’s a smart move as he certainly fared better when he was talking in positive terms about the country, but also how he is substantially different from Barack Obama, and perhaps how Romney really isn’t so different.  Gingrich is now campaigning in South Carolina, a state neighboring Georgia, from which he served in Congress.  As he works to try to regain momentum, he’s probably should consider changing this theme entirely for the moment.  It’s bound to land him on firmer ground with the electorate.

A Flawed Understanding of Capitalism

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Who's The Real Capitalist?

In listening to the argument between those who say Romney’s actions at Bain represent the so-called “excesses” of capitalism, and those who argue Romney had been nothing but a capitalist, and that there’s nothing wrong here, I find both sides of the dispute to be guilty of playing on bad definitions, poorly informed public sentiments, and worst of all, pure political hyperbole that may advance this candidate or that one for a short period of time, but will not accrue to the benefit on the right side of the aisle.  Rather than all this bomb-throwing, I’d prefer to sort this out, step by step, and weigh out the results as it is, rather than how any particular party wants it to be.  It’s time to untangle this so we can move on.

The parties representing the various points of view in this discussion to which I will confine my remarks are these:  Gingrich, Romney, and the media(left, right, and stooge.)  The first I will address is the view advanced by Newt Gingrich that Mitt Romney’s profits at Bain were excessive in light of closing down companies to do so.  First of all, let’s be honest enough to admit that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with profit from selling one’s labor, one’s property, or one’s investments.  This argument is so thoroughly flawed that as Limbaugh suggested Tuesday, it is more akin to the argument of Elizabeth Warren than a Republican seeking the nomination for President.  In justice, however, let us admit also that with 98% of all SuperPac advertising in Iowa and New Hampshire being used to assail Newt Gingrich, he was probably a little bit angry and lashing out.  I expect this wasn’t Gingrich’s strongest argument, and if  he had to do it again, I suspect he might change his approach.

In reviewing media defenses of Gingrich, I have read arguments that are roughly like this:  “Well, capitalism is all well and good, but you still have to temper it with morality.”  I want those purveyors of this opinion to pay closest attention to me, as I tell them that they’re shoveling manure.  Capitalism reflects a system of morality, and if you don’t share it, fine, but do not pretend that it means something else.  Do not take “capitalism” and twist the label to fit what is merely modified socialism.  There is nothing wrong with profits, whether large or small, nor any size in between, provided only this:  Those making profits do so by their own efforts and with their own wealth and property.  That’s the morality of capitalism.  It’s a morality I endorse entirely, and unreservedly.  Do not offer to me that capitalism must be “tempered” by something.  To temper a thing is to alter its fundamental structure.  In this case, “temper” is merely happy talk for “rigging the outcomes we prefer in spite of the market.”

You might claim “but to tear down a company in order to liquidate it and thereby turn a profit, when they didn’t build it is to be a vulture.”  True, but in capitalism as in nature, vultures perform a vital role, and while we may not regard the vulture with much sympathy, the truth is that he’s cleaning  up messes and putting to use that which would otherwise go to waste.  Then there are those who argue that if Bain hadn’t liquidated such companies as Smith Corona, they might still be in existence, and that their employees might still have jobs.  Let’s get something straight, right here, and right now:  There is no entitlement to a job.  There is no guarantee of work.  When a person accepts a job working for others, he is taking a risk that is subject to all the same vagaries of the market as those who invest in it.  This notion that capital must be the risk-taker, while labor must never shoulder the burdens of risk is absurd.  As long as a person works for others, that employee is accepting as one of the inherent risks of such an arrangement that the job could end for any reason, tomorrow. To make the petulantly childish argument that employment should be without risk is a tired attempt to subvert capitalism with collectivist ethics, and I will be no party to that.

On the other side of this ledger, we have Mitt Romney who argues that what Bain Capital did was perfectly legal, ethical, and within the description of capitalism.  When it comes to this “vulture” function others have derided, he’s correct, and even in his statement that he likes to be able to fire people, he is committing no breach.  The truth is that I like to be able to fire people, and if you’ve ever worked in an environment wherein getting rid of incompetent employees is institutionally difficult, you’d understand why.  Nothing saps the strength of any company more than the incompetent, the slackers, or those simply not up to the job for which they were hired.  With all of this in mind then, let us make clear where Romney falls off the tracks and plummets into the abyss, if this isn’t it.

Romney’s problems with capitalism are birthed less of his actions while at Bain than while in the Governor’s office in Massachusetts.  Romney-care, the completely socialist Massachusetts program that is the logical forerunner of Obamacare, is as anti-capitalist as it gets, complete with an insurance mandate.  This may be the shortest argument in this article, but it’s the most important:  Any health-care mandate, and any redistributionism is flatly anti-capitalistic.  Romney can parade around with his faulty excuses for this program on the basis of federalism, but it doesn’t wash.   This program forces people to buy insurance, and that is a tyrannical, anti-free market, anti-capitalist assault on the rights of individuals.

Another problem with Romney is that he implemented other socialistic programs while Governor, including “Welfare Wheels.”  It’s impossible for Romney to claim that Romney-care was a one-off or some sort of aberration in an otherwise capitalistic record.  More, he favored TARP, and this by itself is as anti-capitalistic as can be described, and I really don’t understand how the defenders of Romney on this issue can avoid addressing this, because it has been one of the staggering expenses absorbed by tax-payers, and if Romney’s support of TARP is any indication of how he will govern as President, he is a walking disaster for all Americans, and for capitalism in general.  There’s also some indication that while at Bain Capital, he was one of several beneficiaries of a bail-out when the parent company, Bain Company, sought and received forgiveness of some $10million in debt from the FDIC.

One of the things that demonstrates the point is a statement Romney made during a CBS interview on Wednesday, via TheHill:

“In the general election I’ll be pointing out that the president took the reins at General Motors and Chrysler – closed factories, closed dealerships laid off thousands and thousands of workers – he did it to try to save the business.”

Romney is now holding forth Obama’s GM bail-out as an example?  This isn’t the view of a capitalist, and I want you to understand that when Romney holds forth this view, he’s become a statist. The truth may be closer to this, and it’s what Mark Levin said in the first hour of his show last night:  Mitt Romney may be less a capitalist, and more of a corporatist.

Understanding this vital distinction is to enlighten the difference at stake in this nomination fight.  Capitalism is a distinctly classically liberal ideology inasmuch as it requires a strict observance of individual liberties, and almost complete sovereignty for actors within the free market.  Corporatism is illiberal, meaning it relies on coercion of individuals on behalf of corporate entities.  In that sense, it can be accurately stated that corporatism is a non-monarchical development of feudalism.  In corporatism, dynasties are favored, and the ruling class may not exercise direct power, but instead command economic decisions through their influence over the state.  In effect, it’s another manifestation of what you know as “crony capitalism,” a concept recently revived by Sarah Palin and other critics, who have accurately pointed out how thoroughly corrupting such a system can be.  What is critical to know about corporatism is that in order to operate, there must be a strong and thorough collusion with state authority and intervention into the market.  It often co-exists with socialism, and in fact, this has been the operative condition of the United States since approximately the time of Teddy Roosevelt.

Progressives of both parties are those who have sought to unite the worst features of corporatism with the worst actions of socialism.  This is the true nature of Mitt Romney, and of his general governing demeanor.  This is why I cannot support him, in point of fact, but it is also why such critics of Romney as Gingrich and Perry have a difficult time engaging in credible criticisms of him: In various ways, they too have been guilty of the same basic flaws, to degrees greater or lesser.  The media that is defending Romney is a part of the corporatist front, and it’s clear when you view Fox News that in the main, that is the nature of their advocacy.  Many have noted in the last several months that Fox News seems less and less conservative, while becoming increasingly friendly to establishment Republicans.  Bill O’Reilly is the perfect example, but the continuous presence of Karl Rove is another.  Rove is merely a political strategist and public relations master for the progressive, corporatist front.

The truth is that we must defeat not merely socialism, but also corporatism, and the problem is that while Gingrich runs around making arguments from the point of view of a socialist, he does so in grotesquely erroneous  identification of Romney’s worst actions as those of a capitalist.   Gingrich dare not assail Romney as a corporatist, of course, because Newt has had his dalliances with corporatism too.  Clearly, Perry and Santorum also avoid this, and for precisely the same reason.

So it is that at the moment, in the GOP you have a battle among progressive corporatists and a single libertarian, but no true capitalists.

A Challenge to Gingrich, Perry, Romney

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Attacking or Governing Like Libs

A number of Republican candidates have begun to assail Mitt Romney on the basis of his time with Bain Capital, notably Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, but the criticisms they level miss the mark in most respects, and worse, play upon the very worst arguments of leftists who say capitalism is inherently evil because it seeks profit and will occasionally lead to short-term job losses.  I have no problem criticizing Mitt Romney when it’s deserved, as these pages witness, but I have definite problems with this approach to attacking Romney.  It’s not that he’s immune to attack, and as I have covered, not everything ever done under the banner of Bain is beyond reproach, but this idea that buying companies, and subsequently liquidating them to turn a profit is a bad thing is quite obviously not one of them.

I have some pointed advice for former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and my own Governor, Rick Perry of Texas:  If you want to criticize Mitt Romney, stick to those parts of his record where he actually did something wrong.  Don’t berate him with the same things Obama will use to appeal to  his base, but instead concentrate on those things that appeal to the conservative base.  In short, focus on how Mitt Romney governed.

It’s amazing when even Ron Paul defends Romney on this point, while Gingrich and Perry attack.  None but the ignorant who live in a capitalist nation should have a problem with the aspects of capitalism that seek profit, sometimes by liquidating assets.  That’s not altogether unlike you having a garage sale and getting rid of things you aren’t using, or that are not up to snuff any longer, trying to recover some of their value before they become effectively worthless.  The money you re-capture by such a sale certainly helps you to pay other bills, or buy new items that more fully suit one’s purposes.  You can take the cash and invest it in a completely new venture.  This is an important function in any market, including in business, and to besmirch it as somehow wrong is a terrible disservice to the entire notion of capitalism.

I can name a number of things that Mitt Romney has done while governor of Massachusetts that deserve more than a little derision.  The problem is that neither Gingrich nor Perry are apt to say much about them, since they’ve advocated or  implemented similar.   Gingrich formerly favored healthcare mandates, and while he’s reversed his position on that, it’s hard for him to take pot-shots at Romney on this basis without somebody pulling out the label “hypocrite.”  Perry pushed for his Gardasil vaccine, and that too is a mandate, though of a different character and scale, but both speak to the same basic problem Romney has, and it’s worthwhile to note that where Gingrich and Romney differ on the healthcare insurance mandate is this:  Only Mitt ever actually imposed one.

I have addressed Romney’s imposition of health-care mandates and the various other programs of a socialist nature he imposed while governor of Massachusetts, and it’s true that in terms of what he has actually enacted, he is certainly the most socialistic big-government-inclined politician of the bunch.  He is definitely the candidate the media will attack most vigorously for both his vices and his virtues, but it is disappointing to see Gingrich and Perry attack on this basis.  If they’re smart, they’ll stop it, but part of the problem is that they’re falling into a well-laid trap set by the mainstream media:  The media is left-biased in the extreme, so what Gingrich and Perry are doing is to pick up the criticisms that will travel farthest in the media.  The media loves these attacks, and will revisit them many times over if Romney gets the nomination, but the attacks conservative Republicans should be aiming at Mitt Romney are not things the overwhelmingly liberal media wants to attack.

Falling for this is a terrible mistake, because it will not be the liberal media that chooses the Republicans’ nominee.  Gingrich is right to point out that Romney’s Massachusetts healthcare plan is a terrible leftist disaster, and that Obamacare had been largely modeled after it.  Perry would be right to raise Mitt’s “Welfare Wheels” program, or any of the other big government ideas that advanced while Romney was governor there.  Either would make perfect sense explaining how Romney was a friend of Teddy Kennedy’s legislative agenda, or how Romney was the beneficiary of crony capitalism on a few occasions.  Nobody on the conservative side would be offended by that.  The problem is that both of them are vulnerable on similar issues, and while perhaps to lesser degrees, they still have some explaining to do.  The problem is that it’s all the easier to simply attack Romney from a point of view more appealing to leftists in part because the media will transmit that message more willingly, but also in part because they believe they will get away with it.

I’d issue this challenge to Governor Perry and Speaker Gingrich:  Tell us the things about Mitt Romney’s record that condemn him as a big-government statist, and those things that mitigate the timber in your own eyes on these issues, and we’ll get along famously.  I’d issue a further challenged to Governor Romney:  Be prepared to explain in some sensible terms why tyranny imposed at the Federal level is bad, but at the state level, it’s no problem at all.  His pathetic “federalism” excuse for  Romney-care doesn’t cut it, and never has.   Governor Romney can impress the hell out of me by explaining to the American people why capitalism is good, but then he’s going to need to explain why he undertook so many programs and laws as the governor of Massachusetts that did nothing but undermine it.

This has been the sick irony of this insufficient field. It’s why 58% of Republicans don’t really like any of these candidates.  Gingrich and Perry had better drop the politically expedient attacks that are merely anti-capitalist rants, and instead hammer on Romney for those things that were egregiously offensive to liberty, and they’d better prepare when questions are raised about their own big-government reflexes.  Otherwise, voters just might get wise to this whole sad game, and walk away from the party this fall. After all, what is worse?  A nominee like Romney who would effectively govern like Obama, or a nominee who relies upon Obama’s tired class-warfare and anti-capitalist rhetoric?  Neither do I want a nominee who subverts capitalism in governing, nor do I want one who assails it in the press.  We need a president who will undertake to restore capitalism, and I don’t see much evidence that any of these three will do so.

Sarah Palin Knows How to Destroy Crony Capitalism

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Sarah Palin Takes on the Crooks!

One of the problems our nation faces at this moment of economic crisis is that all too frequently, the best answer to a problem is ignored, the best person for a job doesn’t get it, and the best path forward isn’t followed.  This leads to a faulty conclusion among far too many Americans about the virtues of capitalism:   They don’t see any.  Lost in the shuffle of bureaucratic paperwork, and wrapped in a pile of red tape, and hidden from sight by nifty euphemisms, the American people are not suffering from too much capitalism, but as Governor Palin understands, too little of it unobstructed, and unadulterated by crony capitalism.   Many people are confused about the difference, even unaware that the increasingly dominant system really isn’t capitalism at all.  Few Americans have known real capitalism, because for generations, politicians have been stealing their economic and political rights.  It’s time we clear up the meaning of all of this, and consider what is capitalism, as distinct from the shoddy representations of it we’re provided by the entrenched permanent political class inside the DC beltway.  Sarah Palin understands why crony capitalism must die, but now in order to save this country, so must you.

Capitalism is an economic system that relies upon individual choices and freedom, not merely in the economic sphere, but in all facets of life.  To succeed, Capitalism requires that individual men and women are free to make choices on what to produce, when to produce it, how to produce it, and whether to produce it at all.  It also requires the free choice of those who will purchase, whether goods or services, without the intervention of people and institutions who seek to rig the market to their advantage.  The moment you begin rigging the market to support somebody’s idea of a preferred outcome, you begin to destroy Capitalism.  Like any economic system, Capitalism relies on certain rules too.  There must be a presumption of rights to one’s property and one’s wealth, and there must be stability in the rules.  Fraud and theft must be punished, disputes must be resolved against an objective standard of law, and the security of the nation must be preserved in such a way to avoid intruding unnecessarily into the market or the freedoms of citizens.  What must be happen in all cases is that those with the power to legislate, regulate, or interpret those rules may never be permitted to use those rules to exact their own subjectively defined preferential results.

In the same way that actual, objective justice is displaced by subjective notions of justice, like social justice, racial justice, economic justice, and more recently, environmental justice, so too is real Capitalism displaced by the predations of its shoddy imitator: Crony capitalism.  When you hear a social activist claim to pursue “social justice,” what they’re hoping to do without you having noticed is to substitute a fake, and completely contrary idea for what is actual justice.  In our legend and lore, Lady Justice stands blind-folded, scales in one hand, and a sword at the ready in the other.  She judges the matter based on an objective rule of law.  What “social justice” or other modified forms offer is to set aside the objective form of justice in the name of the subjectively derived ends in question.  One notion of social justice is that all people ought to have sufficient food to eat, but it requires that some people have food(or the money to buy it) stripped from them  to feed others.  Justice would weigh the matter and answer that the property rights of one individual do not exist at the discretion of others, but the notion of “Social justice” demands a scrapping of the objective standard.  In much the same way, all of the other perversions of justice seek precisely the same end:  To strip some people of their rights and liberties in order to give preferential treatment and wealth to others.  These notions displace and destroy actual justice.

For these same reasons, crony capitalism destroys the real thing.  In a real capitalist system, the market and consumers would evaluate a product or company and decide whether to purchase it based on considerations that are entirely a matter of personal choice.  If you have a large family, for instance, you might wish to purchase a larger vehicle, such as a min-van or an SUV.  The only deterrents to this choice the market would impose is that these get poorer gas mileage and cost more to purchase and maintain.  If your family necessity dictated it, however, you would purchase the vehicle you need and consider it as a cost of the family you’ve chosen to raise.  If government steps in to make that choice more difficult, or to make it altogether impossible by regulating large vehicles out of existence, what you are seeing is one application of social engineering, and in most cases, also a healthy dose of crony capitalism.

Somewhere, behind the scenes, somebody’s palms have been greased in one or more ways, from one or more sources, all aimed at deriving a particular outcome in the marketplace: Fewer mini-vans and SUVs.  Environmental groups will seek such ends, but so too will manufacturers of smaller and lighter vehicles.  In both cases, there will be some politician(s) somewhere deriving a benefit from the legislation, in one or more forms.  One is in the direct cashing in through investments and the manipulation of the markets, and another is through contributions to election campaigns.  For nearly every piece of legislation or regulation to come out of Washington, there is very likely to be one or more such stories on the back side that make clear that Capitalism is being discarded in favor of some particular corporation, group, or individual.  This process dominates the legislative process, and it happens at all levels of government, but in no other place is it so rigorously practiced and thoroughly entrenched as in the federal establishment in Washington DC.

Many people will wonder what kind of difference this issue really makes in their lives.  The truth that is concealed beneath the surface is an ugly mess of corrupt politicians, entrenched interests, and insider trading and deal making that defies summation, not because it’s hard to demonstrate, but because the whole fabric of Washington politics is awash in it.  It’s become the infinite web of lies and deceit that stands guard over an establishment preying upon the people it alleges to serve.

Consider the health-care debate.  How many pharmaceutical companies had a hand in crafting the legislation?  In 1993, when Hillary Clinton was working the health-care issue, she was stopped in part by the fact that the pharmaceutical industry opposed her plans which ignored their property rights and the actual needs of the market.  This time around, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, the industry was bought off by granting to them large giveaways and concessions.  The politicians purchased silence this time.  In exchange for their silence, the legislation was crafted to aid them and better insure their future, or so they were led to believe. Also in exchange will be the political contributions yet to come.

You might think this is awful, but what institution has the ability to shut up large corporations, by some form of extortion or bribery?  With legislative and regulatory powers that have exceeded all previous bounds, no business can survive an all-out assault by the US Federal Government.  There isn’t a soul alive who can out-gun the US Government if Congress and/or the President decide to make you their target.  It’s also true that nobody can make you richer, faster.  All you need to do is set up a company to pursue some goal like green energy, and they will throw federal dollars your way in the form of both direct and indirect subsidies.  A company can modify an existing product line to comply with the news standards, but all too frequently, without a political contribution, it will make no difference to the regulators.  Direct subsidies will come in the form of grants and various tax loopholes, and indirect subsidies will come in the form of tax incentives to those who will buy the target product or service.  That’s a pretty lucrative process if you can get in, and the politicians in Washington dispense your money in exchange for some cash in the contributions basket.

If you think that’s not bad enough, ask yourself what interest government would have in creating standards for who can work in the computer networking field.  Yes, even here, it’s a kickback to somebody.  Any time you see a government at any level requiring permits, certifications, or licenses to work in a particular field, you would do well to ignore their stated motives and instead follow the money.  If you want to control a thing, all you need to do is control the people who build, own, operate, and maintain it.  In this case, it’s aimed at the people with the skill-set, and it will undoubtedly lead to a greater unionization of the field that will in turn lead to higher wages in the short run, but lower productivity in the longer run.  So, who is paying whom? Once again, you will find that unions are behind this, having become a sort of corporate interest of their own, using the power of government to freeze out competitors, all on the basis that they will deliver loot and votes to politicians.

Those of you who think Republicans are or have been immune to all of this need to examine the question more closely.  One can find Republicans and Democrats using these same practices.  Democrats pretend to be the friend of the working man, denying any such connections, and Republicans use the notion that they’re business-friendly.  I’m business-friendly: I continue to reward companies that provide me the best products and services, in part by way of repeat business or word of mouth advertising on their behalf.  What some who claim to be conservative capitalists have done is to actually climb into bed with corporations for kickbacks and contributions.  That’s not “business-friendly,” but instead mere crony capitalism.

When Sarah Palin criticizes crony capitalism, it’s because she has a long and well-established track record of opposing it while serving in offices from the Mayor of Wasilla all the way to the office of Governor.  If you haven’t seen the movie, The Undefeated, it’s now out on Pay-Per-View and you can learn about her struggle against Alaska’s version of the same dirty practices.  Sarah Palin understands that there’s no way to make deals with the devil without becoming his tool, whether you’re the corporation turning to Washington’s interest, or a politician serving a corporate interest.  This is because crony capitalism seeks to avoid the normal rewards and punishments of the free market, and in the end, destroys real capitalism. What Sarah Palin offers is the opportunity to wipe this mess away, to clean up Washington, and to turn tables on the corruption within.  One of her bold proposals this Saturday offers a glimpse of the ideas for which she will fight.

We’ve all been taught about the American inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs who started with a better idea, and built empires of industry, providing jobs and wealth to the whole economy as a result.   What few of us realize is that all of this can be negated by the corruption of crony capitalism.  We’ve all seen the mom-and-pop stores die off, not for inefficiencies in all cases, but frequently because corporate giants have been legislated or regulated market power they hadn’t gained by right of their performance in the free market.  Government shouldn’t be so business-friendly that it takes the side of one business or industry over another, but all too frequently, this is what happens when politicians sell their souls to the highest bidders in exchange for maintaining their power.  Republican Independent, or Democrat, we all deserve better.  Sarah Palin understands this, and it’s why she’s fighting to clean up this mess.  She knows there can be no lasting virtue in capitalism unless we remove its corrupt imitator.  You can bet all the crony capitalists inside the beltway understand that she knows it, too.

This Is a “No-Crony-Capitalists-Zone”

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

One Has a Drawl

I believe that capitialism is the only economic system under which a free people can thrive. I don’t believe in “too big to fail,” and bail-outs, hand-outs, or other subsidies for anybody.   Have I been clear enough?  I believe in the form of capitalism best expressed in the writings of author Ayn Rand.  For those of you familiar with the book Atlas Shrugged, I would like to remind you of three characters you ought to consider when deciding who to nominate as the GOP’s candidate for President in 2012.   Those characters are Orren Boyle James Taggart and Wesley Mouch.  If you’re not familiar with the book, I’ll try to help you along.  These three are important characters because they define the problem we have with the establishment Republican Party in Washington, DC, and elsewhere.  By understanding the flaws of these characters, it may help to understand what is wrong with the current front-runners in the Republican primary race.

Orren Boyle fancied himself a steel magnate, but he was not interested in competition.  He wanted controls placed on his competition that would favor his interests, investments, and incompetence.  Boyle was one of those captains of industry who prefers to make social statements than to produce goods for the market, so the quality and production output of his steel mills showed it.  Reduced to the state of a scavenger by his incompetence in his own industry, Boyle came to rely upon government to boost his sales and fill his coffers via regulations on his competitor.

James Taggart was the President of Taggart Transcontinental Railroads, and his connections to Washington were his main source of power.  His sister, Dagny, was actually responsible for keeping the company afloat, because James had never troubled himself to learn from his father what makes a railroad go.  James fancied himself a cultured man, and enjoyed using his political connections to destroy his competitors.  He had no competency for business, and instead spent his time plotting how to ruin his own sister even if it meant destroying the railroad over which he presided.  Not satisfied to ruin businesses, he also took a bride in order to destroy her.

Wesley Mouch began as a lobbyist for Orren Boyle’s main competitor, Hank Rearden, and while Rearden didn’t know much about what his lobbyist was doing for him, everybody told Rearden he needed a lobbyist to defend his interests in Washington.  Mouch double-crossed Rearden and set him up, eventually becoming the chief adviser to the President on economic matters, and essentially the economic dictator of the country.  Wesley Mouch was the perfect government man, using the power of government and law to extract money from people and businesses to the detriment of a few wealthy interests, particularly Orren Boyle and James Taggart. He also used his power to destroy his former employer’s business.

Now that you have some familiarity with these three characters, let me explain to you that they were all quite obviously villains.  They exhibited all the traits of the crony capitalism I despise, and believe you ought to also.  It should be noted that among the various people now entered in the race for the GOP nomination, nearly all of them have these sorts of skeletons in their closet.

Mitt Romney is a fake capitalist.  There’s really nothing more to say about it than that.  The moment you consider his Romneycare law in Massachusetts, there’s really damn little else to say.  A government, at any level, that mandates you buy a product or service, for any purpose whatever is a tyrannical fascist machine.  As an actual capitalist, I know that such mandates serve only four purposes:

  • To enrich politicians via lobbying and political contributions
  • To establish and maintain a captive market
  • To drive up costs for every customer, on average
  • To enable politicians to disclaim future responsibility with a claim of “It couldn’t be helped…” when things go wrong

That’s it. That’s all there really is, and it’s all you should need to know to understand why Mitt Romney is wrong for America.

Rick Perry has many of the same attributes, as I’ve covered at length in other posts. There are those who do not like my willingness to point out these problems with Rick Perry’s actual record, but I won’t retreat.  His record is one of repeated dips into the barrel of crony capitalism if we inspect only two notorious issues: The TransTexas Corridor and the Gardasil flap. There are many, many more.

You’re free to tell me you’ll support him anyway, but you’re not free to pretend his record has been anything but filled with such instances.  You lose all credibility to suggest otherwise, and you can bet that just as I am pointing it out now, the Democrats in 2012 will shove it down his throat(and yours) with glee.  Rick Perry has been a government guy almost the entirety of his adult life, trading favors and peddling pull all along the way.

You can pretend to yourself that Mitt Romney and Rick Perry aren’t really modern day, real life versions of Wesley Mouch, but you’re only pretending, and the only person you’re likely to fool with all this is you.  If you’re happy with this sort of fake capitalism, and aren’t worried about its implications, and if it doesn’t bother you enough to reject either of these, how can you be upset by Obama’s use of similar tactics?  Jeffrey Immelt? (Orren Boyle?)  George Soros? (James Taggart?)  If you can look at these things when done by Barack Obama and consider them a travesty, why can’t you see the timber in your own eye?

My conservative friends, I’d ask you to consider that rather than worrying about “who can win,” or other such nonsense at this early stage, you should instead take great care to vet your own candidates based on their records.  If you put up a nominee who is compromised by the same ethical troubles, and therefore indistinct from Obama, how do you intend to defeat him?  Will you suggest to me that you’d be happy to have somebody to run who can pretend not to be a statist?  Will you offer to me that this is good enough because Obama must go at any cost?  Any cost?  What about the cost of your intellectual integrity? Your soul?  Your sense of right and wrong?

Ladies and gentlemen, I stand prepared to vote for any plausibly capitalist candidate who is not part of the problem we’re already experiencing so bitterly and thoroughly. Neither of these fit that criteria.   The country cannot be saved by Wesley Mouch.  You’d better learn to identify the fakes in your midst, and your time is running out.

The Left Declares War on Reality

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Amilya Antonetti - Fierce Advocate for Truth

If you rely upon the news media, you’d never know a few simple facts about our nation’s credit-rating downgrade debacle.  To listen to the media, you’d believe that Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and the House Republicans were the source of the problem.  The truth is a good deal different than their narrative would have you believe, and since the signing of the Boehner-Reid Budget Control Act, it has become apparent that the media is content to lie, knowing most people lead busy lives and their attention is spread too thinly to notice the dishonesty. It’s the nature of the left and their shills in the media to ignore reality, but this time, they’ve decided not only to deny reality, but with the stakes are so, they’ve declared open war.

Their war is being pressed along three axes of attack.  They deny the facts, invent their own, and misrepresent the logic by which you should evaluate their conclusions.  On Wednesday night, Erica Payne appeared opposite Amilya Antonetti(who gained notoriety for an impassioned tirade against Obama on FoxNews,) and Payne again insisted that a lack of demand was the root of our economic woes.   Ms. Antonetti let Payne make her statement, and then responded, however Payne kept interrupting, in typical leftist fashion, trying to shout down Ms. Antonetti.  Not to be deterred, Antonetti let the fur fly when Payne continued to insist that the economic troubles stemmed from a lack of demand.  As I detailed last week when Erica Payne made the same essential argument, Payne’s argument is an economic and logical impossibility.

Afterward, on Hannity’s show, Kirsten Powers appeared opposite from Sandra Smith to carry on the leftist war on reality by arguing that housing, higher education and health-care ought to be fundamental rights.  This argument passes neither the logical nor the moral sniff-test.  What she and other leftists contend is that all of every person’s essential needs ought to be provided by the government if the individual person cannot provide it for himself.   What this demands is that some people become the slaves of others.   The protests and riots in Europe, and probably soon in the US, are a direct result of the slaves saying “No more” to their masters, who are thugs and ne’er-do-wells rioting in the streets.

Never able to admit the fallacies inherent in their advocacy, the political left stands firmly shaking its collectivized fist at the markets.  After all, the market is their mortal enemy, and they cannot abide its terrible judgments against them.  A free market speaks to an objective standard of morality that will always get around to punishing the cheats, and the foolhardy.  It will always  identify the charlatans and frauds.  Just look at Monday morning’s news:  S&P also downgraded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Now it appears that individual states may be next.  How long before this effect works its way down to local government institutions?  Rather than continuing to skirt the consequences of the reality they’ve created, the left is going to find that there is no place in which to hide their eyes from the growing calamity they’ve created.  As I’ve detailed elsewhere, the only plan presented that would have prevented the downgrade was Cut, Cap, and Balance.  The media continues to sell the broken notion that it’s because of conservatives, the Tea Party, and Sarah Palin, but the truth is that the left caused all of it, and they know it. The only blame to assign to any of these would be to chastise the House conservatives who bent to Boehner’s will and joined in support of the BCA, thus helping to guarantee the downgrade.

The simple fact of nature that the left cannot evade is the simple requirement to produce as much as one consumes.  What the left promises to some people is the ability to to live off the excess production of others, but the premise is both illogical and immoral.  Consider it this way, if you prefer: If a person were to earn $5 million this year, still the left would say that taxing him at some outrageously high rate is justified.  All of this is a lie.  What if it’s the last money that person were ever to earn? What if that person subsequently became disabled and was no longer able to earn more?  The left would suggest that this poor soul simply apply for government benefits, yet if they had left him to his own devices, he might have had sufficient wealth to sustain him with diligence for the remainder of his life.

In any case, all of this relies upon ignoring one factor of morality from which there is no possible escape:  The money was his, by right.  Once you admit this fact, all of the remaining sorry justifications evaporate.  This is the notion with which this nation must eventually contend.  It isn’t possible for people to be so perfectly ignorant as the acceptance of this theory requires.  Instead, it must be a matter of conscious choice, and we must not omit this in our arguments against the statists and their so-called “solutions”.  They know what they’re doing, and their motive is made plain by the fact that they insist upon doing it.

Coming to America?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

As the World Burns?

Is it possible that the United States is immune to this sort of violence?  As the world economy teeters on the brink of utter collapse, with Europe on the leading edge, its failed welfare states going bankrupt in an effort to put good money after bad, it’s a sobering reminder of what can happen when politicians are allowed to trade their citizens’ wealth for the votes of other citizens exempt from the tax collector’s grasp.  As the welfare state in our own country has begun to grow out of all previous bounds, it’s important to examine our own vulnerabilities to this sort of change.  Our own economy is again on the ropes, largely due to the increasing burden of the welfare state upon the wealth producers in our nation.

This sort of devolution sets up a feedback loop that tends to guarantee a worsening of economic results, which will in its turn undoubtedly spawn more civil and social unrest.  Of course, we’ve been through economic hardships before, notably the Great Depression of the 1930s, but never have we seen a confluence of events combined with the sort of outright radicalism we’re now watching on the streets of London.  In the US, we have had a number of riots, famously in the era of the great struggle for civil rights for African-Americans, but we’ve not seen a potential tinderbox growing like this since the days immediately on either side of our own civil war.  Before we dismiss this threat out of hand, let’s examine what’s driving it, and how it aims to attack our exposed flanks.

One thing that can be said without any controversy is that the riots erupting in Europe have a distinctly socialist, or at least anti-capitalist flavor.  While the anarchists involved seem to hate everything except the hand-outs they receive from government, it is clear that these are ultimately the children of the entrenched and growing welfare state.  It is in such movements that great tragedies have been birthed throughout human history, and they nearly always blossom from the same deadly seed:  These are predominately young people who have been educated by the welfare state to expect to have all their wants and desires met by the welfare state, as though it had been a perpetual parent, and they could remain indefinitely as spoiled children returning endlessly to the nest in which they were raised.

What of our own country?  Are we vulnerable to this same phenomenon here at home?  Ask yourself if we have created a similar welfare state, with a similarly bankrupt public education system in which children are passed through, without much effort, being spoon-fed a steady diet of propaganda based on a  litany of leftist causes that teach the students to expect to be provided their every need or even desire without much effort.  Consider our own welfare system that now provides free food, rent, housing, medical treatment, education, birth control, automobiles, utilities assistance, cable TV, internet, and more recently, cellular phone minutes.  What exactly is it that anybody would go to work to get?  This creates an entitlement mindset that forms into a slavish army of drones who will eventually rise up and destroy the people who so generously subsidized their existence.

You might wonder what would lead people who’ve been handed every material necessity to bite the hand that feeds it, but if you know the intellectually frail sort of mind that willingly subsists in this way, you ought to know that there is no necessary linkage between cause and effect in their thinking or in the formulation of their desires and demands.  As the economy worsens, there will be fewer jobs and therefore fewer opportunities upon which to build a work ethic and a healthy respect for private property or the laws that serve to protect it. What all of this has created is a generation of savages, whose first reflex is to loot, pillage and plunder.  Don’t wonder who has created this growing army of brigands and thugs.  You have.  Your labor and your taxes has been taken to support the birth, growth, and moral depravity of an army that will be turned against you.

Are We Next?

All of this makes clear the endless fallacies of the leftists’ welfare state.  One cannot print prosperity.  One cannot inflate it on the back of the efforts of a few.  One cannot redistribute it, and one cannot nurture into existence those who would create it by teaching the young that they deserve anything they want irrespective of what they have earned.  In the same way that we have collectively indoctrinated our young with a false self-esteem over the last two decades, so too have we indoctrinated them with the notion that they are owed all the prosperity they see in the wealth of others.

We’ve made the dangerous error of neglecting to explain to them that such prosperity is the product of hard work and thorough preparation with a necessarily diligent attitude toward one’s life and prospects.  In short, we have created an army of people who aren’t merely amoral, as some have suggested, but instead thoroughly immoral, who see the world through the cracked and skewed lenses of their own immediate, range-of-the-moment self interests, without respect to their long-term well-being.  “What pleases me right now?”  This is the standard of their moral belief.  They have no reliance on any religion excepting only a belief in the myth of their own entitlement.  If we permit them to go further, we are signing our own death warrants, as there will certainly come the day when they no longer see our value even as those who provide their loot.

In a hopeful moment, the Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter,  admonished particularly the black youth in his own city who have been igniting their own first embers of a similar fire with the new phenomenon of flash-mobs and the mob violence they have been increasingly spawning.  There will be those who view this as no big deal, and a problem without wider implications because we’ve seen riots in our large urban centers before, but any who would dismiss this as more of the same are making a grave error.  This isn’t a problem confined to urban or African-American areas, but instead a strong tide running through the core of most of the country’s young.  This is a widening of the war against capitalism, and these mobs are the first foot-soldiers.  Make no mistake about it: We are facing a global catastrophe unlike any in our history since at least the civil war, and if we don’t stand to oppose it, we’ll become its victims.  Some of you will be crushed to find that the young people you’ve raised, under your own roof, and of your own flesh and blood may be in the process of joining this wave.  These are the opening shots in a war to determine the course of the world’s future, and it’s time for the real adults among us to begin confronting this now, on the front end, before we inherit a true disaster in violence on the back end.

Our time is running short.