Free Markets, Free People

Even more this and that

Not sure how you stick with one topic a day when so much is going on, thus the appeal of commenting on lots of topics.

For instance, we find out that President Obama is the reason gas prices are down … if his SOTU is to be believed (yeah, it’s not).  The fact that you happened to be hanging out in Washington DC and your title is “President of the United States” doesn’t mean you did anything to make that happen.   As I pointed out earlier, his EPA will soon take care of that anyway.

There were a lot of other bits of fun and fantasy as well – free community college.  Because, you know, its free.  And not to worry, it’s those greedy rich folks that will pay for it.  Mr. Obama wants $320 billion in new taxes.  Capital gains tax – up.  Death tax – up.  Bank tax – up.  And  your 529 savings plan for your kids college?  Yeah, no longer tax free.

That, dear friends, is how you get “free” college.  Isn’t free stuff wonderful?

 

Rob-Peter-NRD-600-w-logo

On to your retirement savings:

There would be a new cap in the amount one could accumulate in the aggregate in all IRA and 401(k) type accounts of $3.4 million. After that, you can’t save any more new dollars. The idea is that this is enough to secure a $210,000 annual distribution in retirement, which the government apparently deems “enough” for a retiree.

Because, of course, nanny knows best.

Finally, if  you’re an employer:

In addition, all employers with more than 10 workers and who do not have a 401(k) type plan would be mandated to set up payroll deduction Traditional IRAs for their employees. Also, part-time workers would have to be covered under retirement plans if they have been working someplace long enough. These two things are a new kind of employer mandate from Obama.

Nice plan, no?  No.  As usual, that means precisely what the cartoon shows.  Someone has to pay for all of this and it isn’t just going to be the employer.

Of course the concept that someone must actually “pay” for these things is always left out of the discussion.  It’s “free” after all.

For a completely different subject, and in case you were wondering, yes, liberals in Hollywood (almost redundant, isn’t it) are still wringing their hands about the all white Oscars.  Or at least doing a good imitation of it.  My favorite theory?  “Racial fatigue”.

The unknowable question is whether the same voters who supported “12 Years a Slave” had racial fatigue after supporting a black film last year.

Because, you know, there’s only so much support those white Hollywood liberals can dole out a year, or something. They gave their all last year.  And you black folks just need to understand that!  By the way, I believe “racial fatigue” does indeed play a part.   People are tired of everything being made to be about race.

Speaking of culture, I found article to be very entertaining.  Is there a civil war brewing on the “progressive” left (one dearly hopes so)?  Why the question?  Dilemmas such as this:

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens were once known as the “Four Horsemen” of New Atheism. For a long while, there was nothing more amusing to a young liberal than watching one of them debate against a creationist, or someone who objected to abortion or gay marriage on religious grounds. Dawkins, for a while, was the darling of the British media.

Then things started to sour. Christopher Hitchens, in his full-throated defences of the second Iraq war, was the first to lose left-wing support. Notoriously, Feminist Frequency producer Jonathan McIntosh celebrated Hitchens’ death, saying he was a “despicable, warmongering, hateful human being. Good riddance.” (To put that in perspective, McIntosh had just a few months earlier refused to celebrate the death of Osama Bin Laden.)

Dawkins, who recently discovered the joys of deliberately offending people on Twitter, has become an even greater figure of hate for progressives. This is probably due to his indiscriminate rationalism: he is just as willing to poke holes in theories of post-modern feminism as he is to attack religion. And when he does attack religion, he insists that Islam is probably the worst one out there. He has become persona non grata in progressive circles as a result.

2014 saw atheists and progressives embroiled in what looked like an all-out war. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a female genital mutilation survivor and one of the fiercest critics of Islam in the atheist movement, was disinvited from a planned speaking engagement at Brandeis University for her criticism of Islam, and was stripped of her honorary degree. Salon.com immediately applauded the decision.

Students at UC Berkeley attempted to do the same to Bill Maher over his alleged islamophobia, but were stopped by the college administration. Sam Harris, another of the “four horsemen”, felt compelled to engage in a three-hour debate with progressive commentator Cenk Uygur after enduring a wave of hatchet-jobs from media progressives for his own comments on Islam.

Progressives may be overwhelmingly atheist, but there is only so much heresy they can stand. One of their core beliefs is that you do not “punch down”–that is, attack vulnerable or marginalised communities. Islam, despite being the dominant religion of dozens of nation-states, is said by progressives to fall into this category.

We’ve watched this sort of cognitive dissonance have its way with the left before.  That’s because they aren’t really about principles as much as they are about biases.  Oh, and limiting your freedom:

A YouGov poll taken just last fall found that equal amounts of Americans support and oppose “hate speech laws,” defined as laws that would “make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.” Thirty-six percent said sure and 38 percent said no way. That’s disturbing enough on its own, but here’s something even more unsettling: Fully 51 percent of self-identified Democrats supported hate-speech laws.

Somehow I’m not at all surprised, given the examples above … are you?

~McQ

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32 Responses to Even more this and that

  • Fully 51 percent of self-identified Democrats supported hate-speech laws.

    Yes. Of course. They HATE losing rational arguments. Which involve speech.

    Ergo…laws against us speaking.

    • To a degree it was a loaded question, packing genocide advocacy with ‘hate speach’ immediately relating ‘hate speach’ with the likes of the Nazi’s.

  • The basket of promised goodies, in part, is a set up for Republicans. They have to say no to some of them and then that will be used to define and trivialize them publicly. That’s what their spending bill olive branch earned them. The Democrats will play that theme, ‘evil greedy selfish republicans’ all the way to 2016.

    • Exactly my thought. After two years of preventing The Dear Golfer from handing out freebies, Fauxahontas will pillory the evil GOP as the main plank of her election platform.

      • Yeah, but that tactic loses some steam with each election. Every time, more people have seen the actual outcomes, and realize that they’re getting shafted by something the socialists want to do.

        It’s not that high a percentage, but we’re so close to 50-50 for presidential elections, it doesn’t take much. I really don’t think that witch from Massachusetts can get elected on a platform of “I’m going even further left than Obama.” Well, unless the GOP is stupid enough to nominate Bush or someone equally privileged-disconnected-dull-uncaring-rich-conventional-old-white-man.

  • Retirement and other savings….

    Any time the government tells you you can put money in (x) where it will grow unmolested “as long as the wind blows and the grass grows” you should probably take a page from the treaty dealings of the government with the Indians as to how long that promise is good for.

    The fact is any promise is good until, like the 1868 (Fort Laramie) Black Hills treaty, Congress or the Executive discover how much gold is siting there that they can’t use for their latest do good pet projects because of some promise they made you years before.

    • That’s why I never took the Roth IRA bait.

    • I can still hear all those stories ringing in my ears from the days of Jimmy Carter (remember 17+% interest rates, 10+% unemployement).

      Just put away $1,000 a year and you’ll have $1 million by time you retire.

      • “Just put away $1,000 a year and you’ll have $1 million by time you retire.”

        Which we will proceed to raid! so keep saving kids, We’re counting on it!

        And yeah I remember 10+% unemployment – hell, it’s hard not to since it was that way 15 minutes ago when I read the comment.

        “In December 2014, the real unemployment rate (U-6) was 11.2%, nearly double the widely-reported unemployment rate (U-3) of 5.6%. Here’s how to calculate both.”

        We need to stop giving any credence to the continued lying of the Obama Administration and the government in general, in any way, shape, size or form.

        • Oh, and don’t forget that Obama is going to pay for universal community college by stealing from those who’ve actually saved for college. Ant, meet grasshopper…

          • Well, it’s not right that some people can save money and others can’t,

            so….we’re going to fix that…..

            by discouraging saving
            or making it prohibitive.

            SO…….
            Free savings accounts for everyone!
            Consult your tax specialist to see if you qualify for a $2000 taxable credit savings account!
            50% tax penalty for early withdrawal (of money you didn’t earn in the first place…..)

            Shoot, I may have to apply for a job in Washington! that looks like a damn good idea (for tax collections) to me, and something that sounds completely like they’d come up with.

  • Don’t hold your breath on the left civil war. Based on what I’m seeing, before the Left can fall apart due to a lack of credible opponent, a credible opponent will emerge.

    Or at least, don’t hold your breath for a civil war for that reason. There’s another reason to think that there’s still going to be one, which is that their pie is shrinking, and given that the coalition is fundamentally held together by payoffs. There’s no way this ends well for the coalition as a whole. Either they keep shrinking the pie available for everyone, or we break away and start growing the pie for everybody but leftists still see their pie shrinking.

    • That (religion) is only one example. The biases and cognitive dissonance run deep and are evident in most of their “causes”.

  • In addition, all employers with more than 10 workers and who do not have a 401(k) type plan would be mandated to set up payroll deduction Traditional IRAs for their employees.

    >>>> Anyone want to guess how long it will take employee # 11 to find a new job after his current one lets him go to avoid this?

    Also, part-time workers would have to be covered under retirement plans if they have been working someplace long enough. These two things are a new kind of employer mandate from Obama.

    >>>> Whatever “long enough” is, guarantee you plenty of easily replaceable part timers suddenly find their services no longer being needed just before that magical milestone kicks in.

    The unknowable question is whether the same voters who supported “12 Years a Slave” had racial fatigue after supporting a black film last year

    >>>> Oh, they’re gonna give it to Selma. Straight out intimidated by Al Sharpton.

    A YouGov poll taken just last fall found that equal amounts of Americans support and oppose “hate speech laws,” defined as laws that would “make it a crime for people to make comments that advocate genocide or hatred against an identifiable group based on such things as their race, gender, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.” Thirty-six percent said sure and 38 percent said no way. That’s disturbing enough on its own, but here’s something even more unsettling: Fully 51 percent of self-identified Democrats supported hate-speech laws.

    >>>> GREAT! Bill Donohue and the Pope seem to have tumbled onto the game – which should make the left VERY nervous. Because most of what passes for everyday “speech” on the left is hateful. I imagine Catholic pressure properly applied can get a great many gay activists in jail, and I think we can probably get some radfem shrews put in the dock as well. And most lefties can probably be prosecuted for their anti-Israel comments.

    Lets pass these laws and put a death penalty on them.

    • >>>> Anyone want to guess how long it will take employee # 11 to find a new job after his current one lets him go to avoid this?

      The job losses will be in more than the marginal cases. There will be companies with 55 employees who shrink to 52 in order to pay additional payroll expense of an IRA.

    • You’re talking like the Left want to improve the economy. Bad economy leads to people looking for ‘help’. The quick fix short sighted type of help the left offers. It also leads to feelings that can be turned to fuel class warfare.

  • Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens were once known as the “Four Horsemen” of New Atheism. For a long while, there was nothing more amusing to a young liberal than watching one of them debate against a creationist, or someone who objected to abortion or gay marriage on religious grounds.

    Or watching them debate religionists on most any point tethered in superstition.

    Progressives may be overwhelmingly atheist,

    No, actually they’re nihilists and subjectivists. Theocrats, being subjectivists and skeptic (not scientific skeptics, but epistemological skeptics) don’t know the least of most atheists NON-BELIEF basis or the difference.

  • “In addition, all employers with more than 10 workers and who do not have a 401(k) type plan would be mandated to set up payroll deduction Traditional IRAs for their employees. Also, part-time workers would have to be covered under retirement plans if they have been working someplace long enough. These two things are a new kind of employer mandate from Obama.”

    If Social Security is so solvent and vital (see, e.g. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/could-social-security-go-bankrupt/), then why would this be necessary? This seems like an admission of incompetence to me.

    • First, SS is not solvent — it has no assets, just IOU’s to themselves. It’s pure redistribution.

      Second, you’re already paying 12% of your lifetime income into a SS, which as a negative rate of return. Who the hell is going to trust these people to tell your employer to set up an IRA on your behalf (something they presently have no power to do)? This is basically Obamacare 2.0.

      Third, it should be obvious by now that Obama is just trolling the GOP. The lame duck has no chance of getting any of this through, so he’s just fracking-up the signal-to-noise ratio in a desperate effort to throw the GOP off their game. The SOTU was pure nonsense.

    • Its to garner support for getting their fingers in the system. Once in, the cap will become less and less and less.
      If you look at it, its almost impossible to get an IRA that big unless you’ve been abnormally lucky in your investments. At $6,000 a year you would have to invest for 40 years and get 12% return every year. In the real world I would expect very few IRA’s are in the CAP described and hence very little money to be made. Savings in that range are for those who can afford to be in a Keogh Plan.

      This is a foot in the door step. Who know what they really have in mind. killing your ability to do well in life without a government handout probably underlies it, though.

      • Don’t forget roll-over IRAs where you can take the contribution of a 401K and move it into a personal IRA — usually a smart thing to do once you leave a firm since 401K’s are notorious for high administration fees (since you can’t take your money elsewhere). You know Obama and most of the GOP are out-of-touch (as well a being full of sh*t) with working peole because no one has even tried to create any kind of parity between the contribution limits of those retirement tax shelters. $6K a year is a joke for retirement — you need about 15% of your income over 30 years. Meanwhile, if you’re lucky to have a 401K, you can easily sock away about x2.5 that — that’s real investment.

        But, yes, this is yet another foot-in-the-door that will allow them power to steal retirement savings from future generations of working class folk.

        • Dude, you act like that money’s yours or something, or that you did anything yourself.
          Obama knows the reality of that.

          hmmmmm……
          You know though, from his perspective, he hasn’t done a damn thing himself other than be Barack Obama,
          so it’s not too far fetched to think he perceives that people don’t actually do things by themselves is it.

  • racial fatigue is what happens when you use the “race card” too often.
    I haven’t seen Selma, but I can image that, like life itself, it could be dry and boring. From a historical viewpoint, I hope lots of young people go to see it, since they probably know nothing about it anyway.
    Frankly tough, I found the reenactment of the Selma march to be self-serving .. for Oprah and all those who by an accident of temporal reality were unable to be there the first time.
    I’m sure my 27 mile “Walk For Bangladesh” (that George Harrison related thing back in 1971) did more for humanity than this reenactment did.

  • before I read any of the comments, I’d like to etch out a bit more of one point McQ makes vis a vis education – FREE COLLOGE (at least at the community level.

    My niece, attending a prestigious eastern tech school, has chosen to take a semester off to work as a paid intern at a local tech firm (good for her). I learn that she is required to have steel-tip boots for her position. With a rebate from the school of $70 she was able to pick up the requisite work boots for $30 out of pocket.

    When her mother told me this, I noted next to my door a pair of 25yr old, resoled once RedWings. I bought them out of pocket for about $100. I know what I am going to give my niece her next birthday. Quality matters.

    Quality matters everywhere. Especially in education. I used to be dumbfounded by the resulting reactions every time I said that half of a local school district’s kids were below average. Or half of the local population earned less than the average.

    Today’s schools are not, on average, turning out next generations movers and shakers. And the left, and their commitment to provide “free” education is testament to how gullible the average voter is. The only reason, the real reason, that the left pounds the need to provide the under average with over average education… it’s not education but indoctrination. Read Karl Marx, or Leon Trotsky, or Vladimir Lenin, and especially Joseph Stalin . Or you could read the NYTimes, or WAPost, or ChicagoTrib, or any other Tribune, Post, Times et.al.

    The left, the post-marxist, the utopianists may win this battle. But they will lose their war. Heinlein says “bad luck”, but the left, and their entrenched supplicants-with-bylines will never give up their ink-less pen till it is pried from their dead hands.

    The truly sad fact is that they would rather have “bad luck” befall them than to admit that they are mistaken.

    I’ve family and friends that are testimony to this folly, and it pains me.

    • ” I used to be dumbfounded by the resulting reactions every time I said that half of a local school district’s kids were below average. Or half of the local population earned less than the average.”

      I know the point that you are making but this is not always true depending upon the sample size and distribution. For example, if we have ten workers where one earns $1000 and the other nine earn $100, then the average salary is $190 and nine of the ten earn less than the average. The larger the sample size and the more random the distribution, then the more likely you are to get approximately one-half of the samples below & above the average. This is why it is often important to know the mean and median values. Yes I know I am way overthinking this … 🙂