Free Markets, Free People

collectivism


Famous dumb ideas: Let’s have a maximum wage, shall we?

Sometimes the mask slips a little on the left and you get a peek at the real collectivist agenda at work there.  Other times a leftist will just take the mask off completely and show you the collectivist behind it.

It is one of the reasons I find the left to be the most potentially totalitarian side of the spectrum … because their basic premise, the premise that spawns all others, is indeed collectivism.

For instance, this Gawker screed by some nimrod named Hamilton Nolan:

Let’s have a maximum annual income of, oh, $5 million, pegged to inflation. All income above that would be taxed at 99 percent. Our precious national sports stars, celebrities, and corporate executives could still be fabulously wealthy. The daydreaming poor could still have a nice big number about which to hopelessly dream. Five million dollars a year. Five million! Anyone with $5 million can invest it conservatively enough to earn 5 percent a year and still be making $250K per year without lifting a finger. In other words, $5 million provides you with the means to live as a member of the one percent without ever touching the principal. It’s everything that any reasonable person could ask for, financially speaking.

A million and a quarter per year? Far more than anyone should be earning, in a world with so much poverty and want, but not so much that someone could consider themselves set for life. It’s a number at which the go-getting rich person is still aspirational. They hope to double or triple that salary before their earning days are done. So a hefty 75 percent tax, though completely just, will not only spook them enough to flee, but allow them to retain a modicum of dignity while doing so, at least among the more affluent segments of their peer group.

But $5 million? I defy the slickest PR firm in America to explain to a nation of struggling, underemployed working class people with a median household income of just over $50,000 why an already-wealthy person felt the need to leave the country—taking money out of the taxpayers’ pockets in a very literal sense—rather than donate, to the common good, earnings over one hundred times the nation’s median household income. This requires an already-wealthy person who is, by definition, being paid a wage that far outstrips any measure of fairness or good sense, to stand up in front of a nation (to which he has no doubt paid ample lip service during his rise to the top) of people far, far less fortunate than he and declare: "I have far more than I need. But I would rather abandon you all than help you."

If someone is willing to do that, let them take their shame and go. Good riddance.

You have to read the whole thing to ensure its not a spoof. It’s not.  This knucklehead is serious. 

Note how blithely he decides what is proper for you to have.  “It’s everything that any reasonable person could ask for, financially speaking”.

Is it?  What if you’re trying to build a business that requires, oh, I don’t know, 10 million?

Well, you can’t have that.  Because Hamilton Nolan has arbitrarily decided that 5 mil is it.  It’s a bit like the crowd that decides that at a minimum, labor is worth, oh I don’t know, how about $7.25 an hour?

Sound good?  Let’s go with it and prosecute anyone that tries pay below that.  What do you mean that causes unemployment because wage payers aren’t willing to pay more than what the labor on a job is worth?  Why would some of them rather automate than pay that wage to a real person?   How does a minimum wage kick up the price of a product?

See it’s these little niggling questions that are never entertained by economic rubes like Nolan that blow their little collectivist theories all to blazes.

Things like “well if I can only earn 5 mil in the US but I can earn 10 mil in Russia, I’ll just move to Russia”, also known as human nature, simply don’t register. 

Dingbat’s reaction to such a move?  “Good riddance”.

Really?  Good riddance? 

Someone ought to ask this economic idiot if he got his job at Gawker from a poor person?   And when he got that job did he believe he got it because:

America has provided all of the opportunity necessary for these people to earn their fortunes. That opportunity is paid for with tax dollars.

Because that’s what he wrote.  Seriously Mr. Nolan, did “America” provide all the opportunity necessary, paid for by the taxpayers, for you to land at Gawker?  Or did your work and effort perhaps ‘earn’ you the job (although reading this hash one might be led to believe that Gawker has very low standards of employment)?

How does our collectivist plan on “rewarding” the high earners who remain and government coercively fleeces, taking most of what they’ve produced (note that the word “produced” never is used in Nolan’s rant)?

Newspaper articles.  No.  Seriously.

The wealthy could still earn as much as they want. It’s not that they don’t get anything for their earnings above $5 million; they get the distinct privilege of making a huge and helpful contribution to their fellow countrymen. Give them awards. Lavish them with praise. Publish the names of the highest taxpayers in laudatory newspaper columns. Allow them to bask in civic pride. But take their money. They have plenty.

Because Mr. Nolan and the mob, er collective, believe they have first claim on the money anyone earns.  They just have to vote for it (“hey, that’s democracy!”).  And that my friends is the basic difference between the left and right in this country.  They believe it is“their” money or the government’s money.   They have no idea of how wealth is produced.  They have no idea of the concept of what it takes to earn something.  Instead, it’s real simple:  you get to keep what they deem appropriate, because wealth doesn’t belong to the producer, in their world it belongs to the collective.

Why?

This is not primarily about raising our total national tax revenue. That’s a far broader issue. This is about inequality. It’s about what type of nation we want to be—what level of inequality we are willing to tolerate in order to protect a vague and twisted notion of "freedom" that most people cannot even fully articulate, and that was created by the rich to serve themselves. This is a baby step. But it’s one that would make us, fundamentally, a better and more just country.

And if the rich people don’t like it, fine.

It’s not at all about “raising our total national tax revenue”.

It’s about nascent totalitarianism masquerading as “fairness”.  Fairness is one of those code words on the left that is used to rationalize removing choice, using coercion and claiming their actions are justified because otherwise the status quo is “unfair”.

There is no worse of a sin in the collective than being ‘unfair’.

And screw you if you don’t like it.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Bill Clinton: No new taxes until economic upturn

This is so “Econ 101” I’m surprised it has to be stated out loud, but of course it does because the Democrats insist on raising taxes now.  Bill Clinton, for heaven sake, on the David Letterman show last night:

“Should you raise taxes on anybody right today — rich or poor or middle class? No, because there’s no growth in the economy,” Clinton said on the “Late Show.” “Should those of us who make more money and are in better position to contribute to America’s public needs and getting this deficit under control pay a higher tax rate when the economy recovers? Yes, that’s what I think.”

Duh. 

I disagree with his final bit of collectivist nonsense, but his point about raising taxes now is simply common sense, something which seems to be in short supply on the left these days.

Look, the problem isn’t one of revenue, it’s a problem of spending.  More revenue won’t solve the problem.  It  may slow the debt accumulation a bit, but until these yahoos face up to the fact that the rich aren’t the problem -they are -we’re going to see the same spending patterns that have gotten us into the mess we’re in now.

Like it or not, soaking the rich for more taxes won’t change a thing in terms of debt unless Congress kicks the spending habit and restores fiscal sanity.  This class warfare meme the Democrats are running is just another version of kicking the can down the road because they want to spend just like the old days.

This nonsense is directly out of Karl Marx’s “‘Critique of the Gotha Program” which outlines this deadly principle of socialism – “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”

We continue to be told we’re not a socialist nation and we’re not headed in that direction, but observation and listening to what certain politicians say gives lie to that claim.  The first part of the Clinton quote may be “Econ 101”, but the second part is “Marxism 101”.

We need to quit tiptoeing around and call it what it is.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Dems to Seniors: Drop Dead

And you can take that title literally, too.  Because that is where we are headed with the health care bill before Congress. As Erick Erickson points out:

I think, given that the member of Congress who drafted H.R. 3200 read and take seriously people like Klien, Yglesias, and Singer, we should be very troubled by Section 1233 of H.R. 3200. The section, titled “Advanced Care Planning Consultation” requires senior citizens to meet at least every 5 years with a doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss dying with dignity.

The section requires that they talk to their doctor, not a lawyer, about living wills, durable healthcare powers of attorney, hospice, etc. Given the progressive intelligentsia already being on the record in favor of euthanizing the elderly, it is no small leap to see where the Democrats are headed with this.

Legally forcing senior citizens to have “death with dignity schedules every few years is just another way to say the government wants to make sure seniors know it is time to commit suicide to save the system money.

If you can’t see this, then you’re just being intentionally obtuse.    Forget all the kind rhetoric about “dignity”.  Let’s call it what it is: Geriatric Euthanasia.  And let’s be very clear about why we want the old people to die:  We’ve sucked all the economic productivity we’re going to get out of them, and it’s more convenient to kill them than it is to assume the financial burden of their care.   You can pretty it up with all the flowery language you want, but at the end of the day, it comes down to, “You cost too much to keep alive. Just die.”

Frankly, it’d be far more honest just to have a “caretaker” just show up at the appropriate age, and double-tap the senior at the nape of the neck.  At least that would have the virtue of honesty, and would spare everyone the hypocritical stench of pretending to care about the “dignity” of the elderly when the real concern is to try to ensure they don’t become a drain on the public purse.

So forget any notion you have about producing wealth your whole life to save up for your golden years.  The new paradigm is to produce all the wealth you can, and when you’re done, you need to die so that those of us who remain can spend it instead.

And why should this come as a surprise?  This is the direction we’ve been going for a long time.  And it is, in fact, the logical end of the idea that health care is a “right”.  Because once the community as a whole has a “right” to the labor, property, or wealth of any individual member, then there are no rights at all.  There are only privileges that are extended at the wish of the community, and that can be withdrawn at will.

There is no liberty under any scheme of communal “rights”.  The highest value of community rights isn’t freedom, it’s democracy.  Whatever the “community” chooses is, by definition legitimate, as long as it’s democratically chosen.  No medical care for old people?  That’s fine, as long as the community decrees it.  The trouble is that democracy is value-neutral.  It is amoral.  if democracy is the highest expression of legitimacy, then it’s perfectly alright for black people to be slaves, as long as the majority thinks it’s OK.  Black people would vote against it, of course, but if they ended up in the minority, well, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.  Sorry, black people.  You lose.  By the way, your name is now “Toby”.

Thanks for participating in the democratic process, Toby.  Now get to work.

We see the same thing in the Honduran situation.  Mel Zelaya was elected president.  Therefore he’s legitimate, so it’s a very, very bad thing to depose him, even if he acts unconstitutionally.  Because we’ve fetishized democracy, the Obama Administration and the OAS, assume that deposing him is a way of illegitimately thwarting the people’s will, rather than preserving a legitimate constitutional order.

That kind of thinking forgets that democracy is not a value.  It is a process that is only legitimate insofar as it is animated by constitutional order that values human liberty.  Without that, it is merely a form of tyranny, different only in process, rather than kind, as compared to the tryanny of a single individual.

For the most part, we’ve abandoned the idea of individual liberty as the primary American value among the political class.  So, we see nothing wrong with counseling senior to “die with dignity”.  It’s better for everyone, really, except, perhaps in the proximate case of the individual senior.

We’re now seeing the fruits of collectivism starting to bloom fully in this country.  The country I was born in is gone.  But I’m glad I got to see it before it died.

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