Free Markets, Free People

fairness

Obama’s “news conference”

Such that it was.  4 things.

One: There were no ‘hard questions’.  If you look at the transcript you’ll note that the President called on reporters by name.  You know why, don’t you?

Two: The Susan Rice thing.  Let’s do a Candy Crowley and go to the transcript:

But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received and to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.

What’s outrageous is he just admitted that he didn’t say that Benghazi was a terrorist act as he asserted in a debate, or, one assumes, Ms. Rice wouldn’t have been spouting the video line.  If Obama knew on day two in the Rose Garden that it was a terrorist attack (and the only way he’d know was through intel reports), why didn’t Rice?

Three:

What I’m concerned about is not finding ourselves in a situation where the wealthy aren’t paying more or aren’t paying as much they should; middle-class families, one way or another, are making up the difference. That’s the kind of status quo that has been going on here too long, and that’s exactly what I argued against during this campaign. And if there’s — one thing that I’m pretty confident about is the American people understood what they were getting when they gave me this incredible privilege of being in office for another four years. They want compromise. They wanted action. But they also want to make sure that middle-class folks aren’t bearing the entire burden and sacrifice when it comes to some of these big challenges. They expect that folks at the top are doing their fair share as well, and that’s going to be my guiding principle during these negotiations but, more importantly, during the next four years of my administration.

I’m not sure how many times we have to publish the percentage of taxes the top 5%, 2% or 1% pay in comparison with the rest of the population, but in reality, they pay much more than their “fair share”.  This isn’t about “fair share’s”.  It’s about perpetuating a myth that taxing them more will ease the debt/deficit problem (as Dale has pointed out, it will yield about $42 billion) and give Obama someone to blame if “negotiations” fail.  This tax the rich scheme is the reddest of red herrings.

Four:  Perputuating the “Big Lie”:

You know, as you know, Mark, we can’t attribute any particular weather event to climate change. What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago. We do know that the Arctic ice cap is melting faster than was predicted even five years ago. We do know that there have been extraordinarily — there have been an extraordinarily large number of severe weather events here in North America, but also around the globe.

There has been no warming for the past 10 years, Arctic ice is fine, thank you very much, and there have not been an “extraordinarily large number of severe weather events” here.   In fact, we’re in a “hurricane drought” per the experts.

The good news, if you believe him, is that climate change will take a back seat to jobs and the economy.  How do we measure whether this is more Obama hot air (i.e. saying one thing, doing another) or he means it?

Watch the EPA.

~McQ

Why the Right Should Embrace “Fairness” in Entitlement Reform

This is a departure from my previous two posts; it’s not about a particular group that has pulled away from the GOP.  Romney pulled a slightly larger share of older voters than McCain did, even if fewer total turned out than in previous years.  That the Romney-Ryan ticket did this while proposing entitlement reform is a substantial feat, but it did involve watering down the reforms a great deal.  For example, Republicans now make a habit of promising that nobody under age 55 will be affected by their reforms.

Why make this concession when the lion’s share of the fiscal problem is current retirees and the many, many Baby Boomers who will retire soon?  Boomers vote, of course, but what motivates them?  I don’t think most seniors could bring themselves to act on straightforward greed; I think they’re voting based on a particular concept of fairness.

Specifically, they paid into the system over a long career, and they believe they should be able to get back what they paid in.  And even though current Medicare beneficiaries get two to six times as much in benefits as they paid in (if this is right), only about a third of Americans think Medicare beneficiaries get any more than they paid in.  As long as they think that way, they’ll continue to oppose means testing and raising the retirement age by wide margins.

You might be tempted to say that our task is to educate them, but it’s much easier to persuade people based on their current beliefs than to convince them of inconvenient facts first.  Republicans basically conceded that cutting benefits to older voters at all would be unfair, and pushed complicated plans that few people aside from Paul Ryan can competently defend.

But we might be even bolder if we just hugged that core fairness principle tighter.

September’s Reason-Rupe poll (PDF – fixed link) asked Americans if they’d support cuts to their own Medicare benefits “if you were guaranteed to receive benefits at least equal to the amount of money that you and your employer contribute into the system.”  It was a blowout: 68% yes, 25% no.  Three quarters of Tea Partiers said yes.

At a stroke, you could slash Medicare in half with a reform based on that principle.  (Their August 2011 poll suggested similar support for applying the principle to Social Security, but the cuts would be much more modest.)

Centering a reform on that principle achieves steeper cuts and seems easier to defend than what Paul Ryan is trying.  Because if Democrats fought us on it, they’d have to make the wildly unpopular case for entitlements as redistribution programs rather than as “insurance” or “savings.”

The kind of coalition the Right needs for sustainable entitlement reform has to include people who highly value fairness (or, as Jonathan Haidt would call it, proportionality).  If we want the project of liberty to be successful, we have to pluck on other heartstrings.

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

So about the Democrat’s “class warfare” gig

We have it so bad here.  Income inequality, unfairness, the rich, the 1%.  Occupy whatever, etc.

Reality again intrudes (from the Economist) to kick that meme right where it deserves to be kicked:

[T]he OECD … has created the "Better-Life" index. Now in its second year, the index uses 24 variables (which include both hard data and survey data) across 11 sectors to create a measure of welfare for 34 of its member countries, plus Brazil and Russia.

The Economist has grouped these 11 sectors into four broader categories. America excels most in money and jobs, Switzerland in health and education. This year the OECD has adjusted the index for equality to give an estimate for the top and bottom 20% of each country’s population. America scores particularly poorly on this account, with the bottom 20% having an index score some 25% below that of the top 20%.

And a handy chart to go with it:

20120609_woc357

Yup, life sucks in the US.  We need more fairness.  We’re just not keeping up.  We’re the worst. 

Well, except for all the others (save Australia).

(HT: OTB)

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Robert Reich’s attempt to redefine Capitalism

I’ve often said that what the left attempts to do is redefine words to blunt the impact (and fool the people) of what they’re trying to accomplish.

On the occasion of a Socialist winning France’s Presidential election, Robert Reich, of all people, is out to reassure the masses in America that Socialism is not the answer, Capitalism is.

However, upon closer reading, well it’s not the Capitalism we’d recognize.  Here are his opening paragraphs:

Francois Hollande’s victory doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a movement toward socialism in Europe or elsewhere. Socialism isn’t the answer to the basic problem haunting all rich nations.

The answer is to reform capitalism. The world’s productivity revolution is outpacing the political will of rich societies to fairly distribute its benefits. The result is widening inequality coupled with slow growth and stubbornly high unemployment.

Note the focus – ‘“fair” distribution of its benefits’.  Anyone – what about Capitalism calls for the “fair distribution of benefits.”

And if you change laws and require such a thing, can what you end up with be fairly called “Capitalism”?

Back to Reich.  He claims that workers are being replaced by “computers, software and the Internet (damn that Al Gore).  Consequently, jobs are at a premium and, well, that’s just not fair.  Besides (prepare for tired old song):

In the United States, almost all the gains from productivity growth have been going to the top 1 percent, and the percent of the working-age population with jobs is now lower than it’s been in more than thirty years (before the vast majority of women moved into paid work).

Inequality is also growing in Europe, along with chronic joblessness. Europe is finding it can no longer afford generous safety nets to catch everyone who has fallen out of the working economy.

And, apparently, the top 1% a) bury the money in cans in the back yard and b) don’t pay 37% of all income taxes collected (the top 5% pay 59%).  That’s just not sufficient anymore to keep the bottom 50%, who essentially pay no income taxes, in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.  And Reich thinks that’s wrong. However, and this is the whole point of his pitch, that’s not Socialism.Obama_Socialists_01_250px

Really?  A “fair distribution of benefits” so neatly defines Socialism, I’m not sure what’s left to say.  Except Reich wants us to somehow swallow the premise that it is also a principle part of Capitalism (it’s not) and we must reform Capitalism to conform to this newly discovered, er, inserted principle.

So what does Capitalism do?  Well, you’ve heard it said many times that the tide of Capitalism “lifts all boats”.  I.e. the “benefits” are distributed by a system that makes life better for all.  It does that by rewarding innovators, risk takers and entrepreneurs.  And those rewards can be very rich.  But:

Consumers in rich nations are reaping some of the benefits of the productivity revolution in the form of lower prices or more value for the money — consider the cost of color TVs, international phone calls, or cross-country flights compared to what they were before.

Indeed, we live better now than we did 30 years ago because of what?  The “benefits” of Capitalism as they’re traditionally defined.  Even Reich has to admit that.

However, that’s not good enough for the left.   Those not in the 1% are apparently “victims” and due much more simply because they exist.  And those who do take risks and succeed are those that owe the victims this “fairness” by giving up what they’ve earned.

You see the left’s forte is class warfare and that, frankly, is the cornerstone of Socialism.  Their traditional enemy is,  you guessed it, Capitalism and Capitalists. 

What Reich is offering is a new sort of a smoke and mirrors approach.  It’s hard to fight their traditional enemy on the basis of performance – we are a very rich nation and even our poor live better than most nation’s middle class.  So that won’t work.

Instead, it’s the politics of envy that has been employed and the siren song of “fairness” or “equality” as the required (not desired) outcome.  Oh, and that there is only one entity that can enforce either or both – government (mostly through punitive taxation).

That’s Reich’s pitch.  That’s the snake oil he’s trying to peddle.  Reassure everyone that he’s a big Capitalist (he’s not).  Pretend the problem with our system right now is it is unfair because Capitalism has gone wrong (it hasn’t).  But, with a few tweaks and reforms via government we can fix that (and end up just like Europe).

Of course we can certainly do all of that, can’t we?  And when we do, it will be called “Socialism”, won’t it?

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Cell phone new "civil right"?

Well isn’t this freaking beautiful. If government isn’t taking your money for these stupid things, it extorting money (for which you eventually pay in the price of your service – see private health insurance and Medicare) for programs like this in the name of "rights" and "fairness":

Recently, a federal government program called the Universal Service Fund came to the Keystone State and some residents are thrilled because it means they can enjoy 250 minutes a month and a handset for free, just because they don’t have the money to pay for it. Through Assurance Wireless and SafeLink from Tracfone Wireless these folks get to reach out and touch someone while the cost of their service is paid for by everyone else. You see, the telecommunications companies are funding the Universal Service Fund to the tune of $4 billion a year because the feds said they have to and in order to recoup their money, the companies turn around and hike their fees to paying customers. But those of use paying for the free service for the poor, should be happy about this infuriating situation, says Gary Carter, manager of national partnerships for Assurance, because "the program is about peace of mind." Free cell service means "one less bill that someone has to pay, so they can pay their rent or for day care…it is a right to have peace of mind," Cater explained.

Dear boss, this demand for a raise that I haven’t earned or don’t deserve is about my right to have peace of mind. You see, I have other obligations I have undertaken and can’t afford, and so this raise will give me "peace of mind" when it comes to meeting those obligations – and it is your job to provide for my peace of mind … got it?

Yeah that approach would work on your boss, wouldn’t it.  Yet here again we the owners have those doing “service” dictating the terms of the agreement.  And we meekly go along.

What’s next?  The usual – more free stuff, this time “for the children”, extorted from the rest of us:

Between 14 million and 24 million Americans lack access to broadband, "and immediate prospects for deployment to them are bleak," the FCC said in a report last year. "Many of these Americans are poor or live in rural areas that will remain unserved without reform of the universal service program and other changes," the report said.

But who says that cheap or free broadband is anything more than a luxury?

Well, another Obama flunkie, Rahm Emanuel, that’s who. As we reported in June , the new mayor of Chicago was all excited to proclaim the wonderful news of free internet service to poor kids in Chicago’s worst neighborhoods. And how could Mayor Emanuel pay for this new ‘civil right’? Well, because the federal government extorted the money from Comcast when it wanted to buy NBC-Universal. Once again FCC chairman Genachowski was all about "helping the kids" by forcing the internet provider to give poor kids free netbooks, laptops, and internet service, indefinitely. And who is going to pay for this gift? Well, of course the rest of us poor saps who actually pay our bills.

You know, there are any number of ways to try to make broadband available to those who haven’t got it – but this isn’t it.

We’re such complacent dopes.  We put up with nonsense like this, allow the government to redefine rights and make us pay for their redefinition via taxes, increased prices or pure old extortion.

Amazing.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

Why "me first" in the market is different from "me first" in entitlements

If you’re interested in reading one of the most mixed up pleas to get entitlement spending under control, I invite you to read Neel Kashkari’s (I love the last name though)op/ed in the Washington post.

His premise is that entitlements are breaking us.

Sold.

His assumptions, however, are all over the place and misrepresent the real problem.

He claims that it is a ubiquitous "me first" mentality that both drives the market and also drives entitlement. That self-interest drives the boat.

Yes, self-interest is always a motivator. But when it comes to the market and entitlements, "me first" mean entirely different things. In the market, "me first" means seeing what you want, earning what is necessary to get it and then obtaining it. Pricing and demand come from that – and jobs, expansion, etc. The point is, in the sense of the market it’s "me first because I’ve earned what is necessary to purchase it".

Not so when it comes to entitlements. In that case, "me first" means, "I want what someone else has earned because I (excuse goes here) and therefore I’m owed this".

That’s an entirely different concept of the market "me first". In the latter, money is taken from the earner (thereby limiting his ability to act on his "me first" priorities), the market is denied whatever percentage as it is taken by government, wends its costly way through the system, and ends up in the pocket of someone who has determined that the benefit of earning the equivalent through work is just not worth it.

Kashkari then tries the “fairness” argument:

Cutting entitlement spending requires us to think beyond what is in our own immediate self-interest. But it also runs against our sense of fairness: We have, after all, paid for entitlements for earlier generations. Is it now fair to cut my benefits? No, it isn’t. But if we don’t focus on our collective good, all of us will suffer.

Fairness has nothing to do with this. Is it fair when you take money from one person to give to another for whatever arbitrary reason? Of course not. So if we want to play the fairness game, the first stake holder on the "not fair" side of the game is the taxpayer who has his earning taken to subsidize someone’s entitlement benefit.

And, honestly, our "collective good" would be better served by getting government to hell out of the entitlement business (and there by reducing its size and the size of the chunk it takes out of our wallets) and getting back to what has made America both great and, despite Obama’s claims, exceptional.

… [B]ailing out the financial system went directly against our shared beliefs in free markets and fair play. While the vast majority of Americans did not cause the financial crisis, we all had to sacrifice to stop it. Such a cultural violation has angered people nationwide, which makes cutting entitlements more difficult because it will again betray our sense of fairness.

Here’s where he almost gets a clue, except he attributes it to “fairness” again.  Instead it was a revolt of the taxpayers, already enraged about the cost of government and the impact it had on their own choices, saw government suddenly expand that cost exponentially, head into areas it had never been before and indenture their grandchildren and great grandchildren to a tune of multi-thousands of dollars each.  It wasn’t about “fairness” it was about “get the hell out of my life and wallet”.  The Tea Party movement wasn’t formed because anyone was concerned with “fairness” – it was formed to cut taxes, reduce the size of government and demand government spend less.  And yes, if that means cutting entitlements, then by all means, do so.

Kashkari’s concludes with 3 steps to cut entitlements:

– Our economy needs to experience sustained growth, creating good jobs, so Americans feel economically secure. It is hard for anyone to think about long-term sacrifice when they are worried about how to pay their bills today.

– The emotional bruising inflicted by the financial crisis needs to heal. Along with the passage of time we need a renewed sense that people are succeeding and failing on their own merits.

– Our leaders need to make the case for cutting entitlement spending by tapping into our shared beliefs of sacrifice and self-reliance. They must be willing to risk their own political fortunes for the sake of our country.

Or to paraphrase myself from above, we need to get government back to basics and Americans back to a culture that made this nation great, rich and exceptional.  And that includes self-reliance, sacrifice and earning our own way in life.  It is the latter part of the equation that will solve the entitlement problem and something Kashkari doesn’t include.

~McQ

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Was health care reform about health or wealth?

Byron York is of the opinion it was as much about wealth as health and has come quotes to back it up.  First Senator Max Baucus:

Health reform is “an income shift,” Democratic Sen. Max Baucus said on March 25. “It is a shift, a leveling, to help lower income, middle income Americans.”
In his halting, jumbled style, Baucus explained that in recent years “the maldistribution of income in America has gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind.” The new health care legislation, Baucus promised, “will have the effect of addressing that maldistribution of income in America.”

Lest you feel York is making a one-quote mountain out of  a molehill, Howard Dean follows:

At about the same time, Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and presidential candidate, said the health bill was needed to correct economic inequities. “The question is, in a democracy, what is the right balance between those at the top … and those at the bottom?” Dean said during an appearance on CNBC. “When it gets out of whack, as it did in the 1920s, and it has now, you need to do some redistribution. This is a form of redistribution.”

And to make “three’s a crowd”, David Leonhardt:

Summing things up in the New York Times, the liberal economics columnist David Leonhardt called Obamacare “the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.”

And, of course, if true that makes the “reform” as much about ideology as health insurance.  It is also exposes one of the most cherished but false myths of the left – that economics is a zero sum game and that it is up to government to level the income playing field via redistribution in the name of “fairness”.  Of course they couldn’t be more wrong on both counts.  As John Steele Gordon points out, poker is a zero sum game and so is robbery (which is why it is illegal) – economics isn’t nor has it ever been and it is a fallacy to believe so. He asks, as an example, “Paul McCartney was born into a poor family in rundown Liverpool and is now one of the richest men in England. Whom, exactly, did he rob?”

The answer is obvious.  Given the answer then, why should he be punished?:

Every major technological development has produced an inflorescence of fortune making. The Industrial Revolution produced so many new rich that Benjamin Disraeli had to coin the word millionaire in 1827 to describe them. Railroads, steel, oil, automobiles, the movies, television, all produced prodigious new fortunes.

But the people who rode the railroads and automobiles, watched the movies and television didn’t get poorer by doing so. Just like the millions who so willingly bought Paul McCartney’s music, they got richer too. They had quicker, cheaper transportation, and better and cheaper entertainment. No one forced them to buy the product, which is a good deal more than can be said for ObamaCare.

Of course, one of the benefits of all the fortune making are the innovations brought to market by those making a fortune. They’ve made life better and cheaper for the rest of us.  Electricity and the light bulb changed the cost and way we illuminated our night and was cheaper, better and safer.  The money we saved was spent on other things in life that may have been previously unaffordable. And that’s the case for most such innovations. Take the microprocessor and what it has done.  The reason we can afford all the gadgets and goodies we have (enjoying that flat panel TV in HD?) is because of those who’ve become rich introducing innovative and cheaper products that have allowed us a standard of living unimagined by our grandfathers.

I don’t begrudge Steve Jobs or Bill Gates a single penny of their fortunes, nor do I believe they “owe” me any of it. I benefit every day in ways unthinkable years ago (this blog post is an example) because of the innovations they, and many others, helped develop and bring to market.

However, what I don’t want, and in fact detest, is a parasite class of politicians engaging in false moral preening under which they claim to be the arbiters of what is “fair” and “unfair” in terms of the distribution of wealth. And I certainly don’t want them attempting to “fix” it through government.

The Howard Deans and Max Baucus of the world don’t seem to understand the very basic economic truth that economics is not a zero-sum game, or if they do, they choose to ignore it for ideological reasons. I have to believe it is for the latter reason. If they didn’t ignore that economic truth they’d have give up their claim (and  power) that acting on that erroneous ideological premise is morally correct. Life, per the Democrats and the left, is not fair and the job of the left is to make it “fair”. The one thing that should be clear by now is they see political power as the way of fulfilling that ideological principle and the control of the federal government as the means of imposing their false Utopian vision. They’re all about gathering power centrally, not diffusing it. That scares people (see the Tea Parties). It should be just as obvious that they’ll do it by any means necessary (review how we got health care reform) and for any reason -right or wrong- needed to accomplish it. “Fairness” works as well as any.

I’d venture to guess most Americans feel the way I do. And that’s why the argument was never made about redistribution while the bill was being sold to the public. It is not a popular argument. York is surprised it is now being made. So is a Democratic strategist he quotes:

But he quickly saw that Democrats talking about redistribution could be politically damaging, echoing the controversy that erupted when candidate Obama famously told Ohio plumber Joe Wurzelbacher that “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

” ‘Redistribution’ is an easy charge to make,” the Democrat said. “I’m not surprised that it’s an argument critics make; what I’m surprised at is that Democrats are making it.”

I’m not. It’s arrogance. Hubris. The passage of HCR has emboldened them. They’ve convinced themselves, despite the polls, that since HCR has passed it will become accepted and loved. Now, since its passage, they feel they can safely lay out the dirty little secret reason they wanted it passed. Ideology – and the power to impose it. All under the false flag of “fairness”.

And they want the chance to do more.

~McQ

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Health Care Reform:When Is A “Cadillac Plan” Not A “Cadillac Plan”?

Why when you’re a part of a favored special interest group of course:

Unions tentatively struck a deal Tuesday to exempt collectively bargained healthcare plans from a tax on high-cost plans expected to be used to help raise revenue for the healthcare overhaul.

The left constantly clamors for “fairness” but quickly throws such concerns under the bus when it is possible that one of their favored special interest groups may be negatively effected.

As Philip Klein notes:

If this policy is adopted, it would mean that there could be two Americans receiving the exact same benefits, but one American may be taxed and one wouldn’t, and the only difference would be one of them being a member of a union. This is unseemly and unfair, even by the standards of Obamacare. It has nothing to do with policy-making. It’s simply an outright bribe to a constituency that has contributed handily to Democratic campaigns.

Legislative favoritisim? How “progressive”.

It doesn’t get anymore blatant than this, folks.

~McQ

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Of “Greed” and “Fairness”

One of the reasons we’ve reached a tipping point between freedom and welfare statism is because much of the country pays no taxes and increasingly the burden of taxes is being shifted to a smaller and smaller percentage of the population. Now I’m not a tax advocate by any stretch. But it is obvious we’re not going to be able to avoid them, especially with this new crowd in town who wants to tax just about everything.

But back to the point – if you’re not paying taxes, but the government is taxing others to your benefit, why wouldn’t you want more stuff? Oh I know the moral argument and I agree with it. What I’m describing is a dynamic which plays on human greed. It’s funny, we hear politicians talk about the “greed” of Wall Street, or the “greed” of big oil or the “greed” of big pharma.

But what is never discussed is the “greed” of those who don’t pay taxes but demand more benefits paid for by others. Or how politicians have “incentivized” that greed.

How ridiculous has it gotten?

Check this chart out:

tax-burden

Yes, that’s right – the top 1% pay more taxes than the bottom 95%. And the plan is to have them pay even more as this health care boondoggle comes on line.

So the next time you hear your favorite “progressive” begin their “greed” or “fairness” nonsense, show them this chart. If that doesn’t shut them up, nothing will.

~McQ