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Why Democrats scare me to death
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This sort of nonsense (and yes, I consider the source, but it is all too common on the left as it is) drives me up a wall. But trust me, this is precisely the sorts of "programs" you're going to see with an Democrat majority in Congress and the White House.

Stuart Varney is interviewing John Kerry. Watch the doubletalk Kerry does when Varney pins him down on redistribution and income transfer:
VARNEY: Let me ask you a monetary question. If the government offers help with home heating oil bills this winter, what is the income level at which the government starts to help? I mean, is it $25,000 a year for a family of four? Who gets the help?

SEN. KERRY: Well, it's low and moderate income families, it's people, first of all, at the poverty level who, and depends how many members of your family you have. It can be $16,000, $22,000. But it's obviously very low, lower end income folks. The problem for us in New England, all of New England is that we have about 7 million folks who heat their homes, with home heating oil and the price of home heating oil has gone up 116% since 2005. In three years. Ten years ago, it was about a dollar for a gallon. now it's $4.50. So a lot of families are making literally a choice between heating their home or buying food or new clothing for the kids or prescription drugs or paying the rent and we have traditionally, we have always helped people who fall into that low income category. The problem is now, they're just more of them and the price is pushing up fast enough that it's creating more faster than the program keeps up with.

VARNEY: If this kind of help goes through, then a poor and moderate income people will indeed get help with their home heating. They'll get help with rent. They'll get help with their healthcare. They'll get help with their food through food stamps. I mean, if you put it altogether, are you comfortable with the kind of redistribution and the level of income transfer that will represent? are you comfortable with that?

SEN. KERRY: No, and I'm equally uncomfortable with the income transfer that's taken place in the last 15 years in America to the wealthiest people in the country, myself among them. It's simply not fair. It's not the way that it's traditionally worked in America and we've seen, you know in the 1980's top 1% of income earn earns in America took home 8 or 9% of America's income. in the '90s the top 1% went up to about 16% of America's income and now the top 1% takes home about 22% of America's income. so, there's been an enormous redistribution of wealth from average Americans to the wealthiest people in the country. And they just can't make it. They can't pay their tuitions, they can't pay their healthcare costs, they can't pay for gasoline tank. You've got people who can't even pay to fill up a full gasoline tank today because their credit cards get cut off. So, what we need to do is obviously, make our economy work more effectively for everybody and that means you're going to get back to a system where when you work hard your wages can go up and you can actually live off the wage you earn.
What in the world is Kerry talking about? "America's income"? The income here is earned by individuals, not by "America". The only income transfers going on here are when government takes money from individual earners and gives it to someone else. What he alludes to as an "income transfer" going to the richest most people call "earnings". They're called that for a reason.

So despite all of Kerry's rhetoric, he has no problem whatsoever with the government income transfers and, as should be obvious, he looks at the "income" of "America" as a collective entity that he should have the power to divide up as he sees fit in the name of what?

Yes, of course, "fairness".

Of course Varney's seen all this before and reminds Kerry:
VARNEY: Well, as you may have guessed from my accent I'm a European, born and raised in Europe, and I came to America to come to a society that allowed me to keep the reward of my labor.

SEN. KERRY: And agree with that.
No, Senator Kerry, you don't.
VARNEY: Do you really want to see America come more like Europe which has a higher unemployment...


VARNEY: Lower growth, more taxes, higher prices, more help for everybody, more redistribution? Because that's the way you're going to take it, Senator.
Now watch this:
SEN. KERRY: Well, sir, absolutely we are not going to take it that way. If you go back to the 1990's, we actually grew the wealth of America and of Americans across the board and we did it balancing our budget without expanding the safety net, as you call it, I am not in favor of continually expanding the safety net. This is an emergency measure to meet with an emergency, because there's been such a dislocation in our economy, but I am, you know, I was one of the first democrats to join in the deficit reduction effort of the 1980's. I would never vote to raise the marginal rate on taxation, above the 39% we had previously. Because I think you should get more reward for working harder. The problem is, hear me carefully, the average American is not seeing more reward for working harder. They're working harder, they have the highest productivity of any workers in the world, but they're not taking it home. It's going to the healthcare. it's going to prescription drugs, it's going to the higher costs of almost every sector in the society and we're feeling a squeeze now where there's lack of confidence in the economy and people aren't able to get credit. they're not able to borrow. Let me give you an example. a lot of companies, oil companies that distribute the home heating oil are in deep trouble. And most of them are, you know, work by very conservative principles, but they've been forced to borrow money in order to survive because they're not getting paid because people who had contracts last year just can't afford to pay the bills. So, you get a revolving bankruptcy unless you begin to pay attention to how you equalize the economy a little bit. I see it as a temporary intervention.
Name one thing that government has ever done "temporarily" (that's a rhetorical question)? And, after all that nonsense about how he isn't at all for economic intervention or European level redistribution, he talks about taking steps in Congress to "equalize the economy" a little bit.

And if you believe Mr. "I voted for the 87 billion before I voted against it" Kerry wouldn't vote for a marginal tax rate over 39% (which is highway robbery anyway), you've just not been paying attention. It's "America's income" you boob!

If you think we have economic problems now, put these folks fully in charge. In a couple of years, most Americans will be pining for the good old Bush recession as pretty fair economic times.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I know it was a rhetorical question, but the government does temporarily let us have use of our earnings. At least until it can figure out a new way to take another chunk of that paycheck.

Kerry’s "uncomfortable" with how much extra wealth he accumulated over the past 15 years, huh? How much of that wealth did he personally redistribute to the needy? 1%? 2%? Before he and his fellow Senators get their money-grubbing paws on my take-home they better be willing to pony up a bit more of their own in charitable contributions.
Written By: Greg
URL: http://
I’m equally uncomfortable with the income transfer that’s taken place in the last 15 years in America to the wealthiest people in the country, myself among them. It’s simply not fair.
I could do with some money, Senator... Feel free to cut me a check.
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
I would think that income distribution starts at home.

When John Kerry redistributes his (including his very wealthy wife as well) excessive part of America’s income to the less fortunate, then I will listen to what he has to say. I won’t agree, but at least besides being a fool, he at least has integrity.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Where he (and we by extension) runs into trouble is when he starts using "fairness" as his barometer.

America isn’t a nation founded on fairness = equality of outcomes.

We all know what system "equality of outcomes" is, don’t we?
Written By: shark
URL: http://
We all know what system "equality of outcomes" is, don’t we?
Yes indeed. I call it "life".

We all end up dead in the end. What happens between the start and the end, however, is up to the individual...
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"What in the world is Kerry talking about? ’America’s income’?"
"Political economists — including the advocates of capitalism — defined their science as the study of the management or direction or organization or manipulation of a ’community’s’ or a nation’s ’resources.’ The nature of these ’resources’ was not defined; their communal ownership was taken for granted — and the goal of political economy was assumed to be the study of how to utilize these ’resources’ for ’the common good.’

The fact that the principal ’resource’ involved was man himself, that he was an entity of a specific nature with specific capacities and requirements, was given the most superficial attention, if any. Man was regarded simply as one of the factors of production, along with land, forests, or mines — as one of the less significant factors, since more study was devoted to the influence and quality of these others than to his role or quality.

Political economy was, in effect, a science starting in midstream: it observed that men were producing and trading, it took for granted that they had always done so and always would — it accepted this fact as the given, requiring no further consideration — and it addressed itself to the problem of how to devise the best way for the ’community’ to dispose of his effort."

(Ayn Rand, "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal", 1966, New American Library, Part I, "Theory And History", ch. 1, "What Is Capitalism?", p. 4, emphasis original)

I know that none of this is new to you, Bruce. This is for your readers who might not have ever understood the intellectual history behind Kerry’s devolution to the state of a goddamned rutabaga.
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
Here’s another reason ..
For example, during the Clinton-Gore Administration I was told what I could and could not say during congressional testimony. Since it was well known that I am skeptical of the view that mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions are mostly responsible for global warming, I assumed that this advice was to help protect Vice President Gore’s agenda on the subject.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
"Kerry’s devolution to the state of a goddamned rutabaga."
You’re being far to charitable.
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Some things the government does are temporary, even taxes. Remember that tax that was put onto phone service to help pay for the Spanish-American War? It did its job, and then was repealed only 100 years or so later!
Written By: Kevin R
URL: http://
we’ve seen, you know in the 1980’s top 1% of income earn earns in America took home 8 or 9% of America’s income. in the ’90s the top 1% went up to about 16% of America’s income and now the top 1% takes home about 22% of America’s income.
Wait wait - so during the Clinton years, when the amount of money that the rich folks got DOUBLED, that was, what, okay? I don’t recall it being a problem then.

So, now when it’s gone up yet another 8% or so, it’s suddenly a major problem.
I guess the Bush and the Republicans are completely responsible for the rise from 8 or 9% to 22% of ’America’s’ Income.
If you go back to the 1990’s, we actually grew the wealth of America and of Americans across the board and we did it balancing our budget without expanding the safety net,
So, again, it was OKAY that the ’rich 1%’ doubled their take of ’America’s Income’ during the Clinton years, and it was okay, ’across the board’.

While they were talking to Kerry, maybe they could have asked him, in current light of our allies being in charge of Afghanistan, how his plan to engage our Allies in helping in Iraq would have worked out.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
"This is for your readers who might not have ever understood the intellectual history behind Kerry’s devolution to the state of a goddamned rutabaga"

Strangely enough the economics courses I took were descriptive, not prescriptive. How society should allocate resources was referred to as a political choice, not an economic law. The term ’straw man’ comes to mind. Of course there are economists of all persuasions who will declare that their assumptions, definitions, etc. the only valid ones, but that does not amount to a monolithic belief in what Ms. Rand says they all believe in.

As far as Kerry goes, I think he was probably born a rutabaga.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Strangely enough the economics courses I took were descriptive, not prescriptive.
Tell me what your point is, Tim. I wonder if you are denying that "political economics" (distinct from your "economics") actually exists as an intellectual discipline.

This is no ’straw man’, sir.
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
"Tell me what your point is, Tim."

I am sure there is a discipline called political economics. I have never seen a course labelled as such, a department of political economics, or any other significant trace of it. As far as I can tell, it is pretty much an archaic term for economics or a small specialized field of economics.
I think her description of either field is, at best, in error, contrived, and a mischaracterisation done to advance her own beliefs. In other words, "an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position". My interpretation of her statement there is that political economists are all statists who attempt to justify and promote a particular system of the use and allocation of resources, including labor. Advocates rather than scientists. Further, that the entire field is nothing more than a rationalization or apologia for statism.

I can live with this definition;
"Political economy 1. Early name for the discipline of economics.
2. A field within economics encompassing several alternatives to neoclassical economics, including Marxist economics. Also called radical political economy.
3. A field within economics that concerns the interactions between political processes and economic variables, especially economic policies."

Before you get too riled, I am not arguing her philosophy, just this particular passage.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I will give John Kerry credit on one point: he sounded ridiculous in 2004, and he still sounds ridiculous. So at least he is consistent. As opposed to Obama, who sounded ridiculous earlier this year, and has now changed his views on things because he knows he can’t win sounding ridiculous. Unfortunately, if he wins, he will go back to being ridiculous, because those are the things he truly believes in, not the moderate views he is trying to espouse now.
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://

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