Archive for the ‘Eat The Rich’ Category

“I Do Think at a Certain Point You’ve Made Enough Money”

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Here we go again. The “When you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody” moment was not enough to license me to call Him a socialist.

Maybe this latest one will do the trick. It’s become a little bit of an “Everyone else is blogging it, I might as well follow ’em” thing. But it’s pretty important to get it talked-about (hat tip to Hot Air), for the three reasons below.

One. You have a right to make as much money as you are able, so long as it’s legal. It’s property. You’ve a right to it. Our current President shouldn’t be President if He doesn’t agree. Really, in my world this is an impeachable offense, and no I’m not kidding.

Two. Closely related to One: This country works according to a Constitution. That which the Constitution does not specifically authorize, is unauthorized. That is supposed to be the design; we have not always been faithful to it. But how in the world do you legitimize the Chief Executive even giving a rat’s ass how much money some individual has made? It’s an issue that simply isn’t on His plate. He shouldn’t even be thinking about it.

Three. “Wealth Gap People” are potato-sackers. Think about how you walk; you move your feet apart from each other. That is how a free-market economy works. Think about how you walk in a potato sack race, with your feet unable to move apart from each other. That is how non-free countries work…or don’t work. We can move apart from each other, we make progress. This is not to say the suffering of the poor is the engine that drives our economy, that is not the case at all. What drives our economy is that individuals can succeed and they do not have to endlessly wait for everybody else to catch up before they can make the most of it — they can kick in the afterburners at any ol’ moment, provided the fuel & spark are ready to go.

His Eminence is fond of “national dialogues” and “teachable moments,” especially when He is trying to get people to forget about swomething. Well, I think this is a wonderful call for a national dialogue, and a Jim-dandy teachable-moment. Let’s have one of each, I say. His Holiness thinks at a certain point, you’ve made enough money. Who agrees with Him about that? Should our country have an earnings cap? Maybe a lifetime cap? Should we address the billionaires at the tippy top and tell them: The President’s right, and you can’t earn anything anymore. All those in favor say aye?

Let’s take that vote. I’d like to know what the final tallies are. And I think we’d all benefit from thinking long and hard about it.

Health Care Bill Attacks Inequality

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Causing pain to a genuinely bad man, in order to possibly save the lives of the innocent, has been stigmatized beyond belief within just a few short years.

Why is there no stigma against wealth-envy? Why no stigma against even raising “inequality” as an issue? It sounds like what it is: Pure jealousy.

1. Architects are not concerned about whether someone else possesses more wealth than they do. Their concern over whether someone else possesses more skill, begins and ends on the question of whether or not that other person can help them in some way, and whether there may be low-hanging fruit for them in the self-improvement department.

Medicators don’t want anybody else to have something they don’t have, be it skill or money. Jealousy is a common failing for the Medicator. They easily fall prey to “Tall Poppy” syndrome.
20. An Architect doesn’t particularly care how many other Architects there are.

A Medicator wants everyone else to be a Medicator. Convert or die.

From Architects and Medicators…the latter of whom, sadly, only go through the motions of truly living life. Everything has to be guaranteed. Everything has to be equalized.

The battle continues.

For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

Over most of that period, government policy and market forces have been moving in the same direction, both increasing inequality. The pretax incomes of the wealthy have soared since the late 1970s, while their tax rates have fallen more than rates for the middle class and poor.

Nearly every major aspect of the health bill pushes in the other direction. This fact helps explain why Mr. Obama was willing to spend so much political capital on the issue, even though it did not appear to be his top priority as a presidential candidate. Beyond the health reform’s effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have called the age of Reagan.

Speaking to an ebullient audience of Democratic legislators and White House aides at the bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, Mr. Obama claimed that health reform would “mark a new season in America.” He added, “We have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care.”

So it’s okay to call Him a communist now, right?

It’s worthy of note that nobody is out there even implying that it’s always the same people who are rich, and always the same people who are lacking health insurance. People have been, in fact, doing a dosey-do for the last thirty years. Yes, the hated Paris Hilton still has her loot. But other folks are out there, pulling in lots of rotten lucre, starting businesses, losing them, losing their health insurance, starting again, making more millions, losing them, making them again…

It’s the living of real life. Life is a dynamic thing. If it isn’t, then nobody prospers. This is the age of Reagan that Obama would like to end?

Answer me this: How fast can you run in a potato sack race? You know…with neither one of your two feet permitted to move too far away from the other.

What’s really amazing to me, is what should be immediately obvious to anyone with working synapses. But somehow isn’t, I guess. When you worry too much about what the other fellow has, you are broadcasting to all within earshot and line-of-sight, that things are not really going that badly for you. Am I right or am I right? Think about third-world mudpuddles out there, where people really have nothing. Where they live at the bottom tier of Maslow’s pyramid…where they have a tough time just growing things to eat, in the soil. Are they concerned, there, with some other guy having an easier time of it? They spend lots of minutes per day fretting over that issue? Doesn’t look like it to me.

I’d sure like to know why this jealousy achieves such currency. The natural reaction ought to be “Oh, well if you’re worried about someone else, I guess things aren’t going too badly for you…lots of room, still, for you to fall.” That would be a natural reaction and it would also be a wise one.

Best Sentence LXXXII

Friday, February 5th, 2010

The eighty-second award for Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) goes to The Blog Prof, writing about local politics in Macomb County, MI.

The first rule in a Democrat hegemony is to threaten public safety to either 1) raise taxes, or 2) continue to fund overgenerous benefits to unions and thus avoid making necessary cuts. This is what I termed the “human shield” strategy, and Macomb County has trotted it out many times. How many more examples does the electorate need that Democrats simply have priorities backwards? The first role of government is the protection of its citizens. First role! Numero Uno. The prime directive. Yet, when faced with budget crises of their own doing, the Democrat modus operindi is to cut public safety, but also to wrap golden union benefits in an impenetrable shield of bureaucratic red tape.

Hat tip to Proof Positive.

I was noticing this myself. As a philosophy, the democrat worldview seems to have a lot to do with giving up freedom and opportunity in order to bolster personal security to unrealistic levels — so many of their identifications of deficiencies in the status quo seem to revolve around bad things that might conceivably happen — but they flip over like a pancake the minute a threat becomes genuine. Or measurable.

Here, I’ll sum it up in a single sentence:

Global warming is a real problem we have to solve but jihad-based terrorism is a nuisance.

Maybe they really don’t give a rip about freedom or safety…they’re just opposed to reality.

Or maybe they’re just telling people whatever they have to tell them, to get hold of more loot to distribute to their friends. That would explain just about everything. Except then, the democrat politician becomes, uh, well, pretty much exactly what he says the Republicans are. Just with different friends. The Republican is the friend of that awful guy with the mustache in the pinstripe suit smoking his cigar in the corner office…who is accountable to the court system and to the shareholders. The democrat is the friend of the union boss who is accountable to nobody. Everyone who might possibly do something to him, is bought off with money taken from other people. Money that represents wealth the union boss did not create.

Perhaps we don’t need to be concerned so much with the democrat who tries to be Robin Hood. Maybe the nightmare scenario is the democrat who plays the part of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Are Businesses People?

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

After sitting through all of President Obama’s State of the Union address, and updating my list of “Obama Speech Bingo” items from 53 to 87, I am left with exactly one question. I don’t know if it will be answered in this lifetime or not. I’d like to know what, exactly, the loyal hard-left liberal democrat has in mind when he talks about “the economy,” as in the economy is getting stronger, we want to see it get better, the economy took a whallopin’ “Over The Last Eight Years,” et al. I’ve prowled over the clues, looking for some semblance of consistency…and perhaps that is a mistake. Near as I can figure, The Economy is something that thrives when taxes are raised and is starved when taxes are cut. And yet it has something to do with jobs, which makes me wonder if the loyal extreme liberal democrat has it straight in his own mind what “The Economy” is.

Miss Me Yet?The jobs thing has something to do with businesses making decisions to hire people, that much I get; and this seems to be on par with the way we see “the economy” here on Planet Earth. It is equally clear to me, however, that on Planet Wild-Eyed Liberal, a business hiring someone has a lot more to do with willingness than with ability.

I found this nugget on page 7 of the New York Times transcript to be an aptly representative sample of what I heard over the seventy minutes last night:

Now, I know that some in my own party will argue that we can’t address the deficit or freeze government spending when so many are still hurting. And I agree — which is why this freeze won’t take effect until next year — (laughter) — when the economy is stronger. That’s how budgeting works. (Laughter and applause.) But understand –- understand if we don’t take meaningful steps to rein in our debt, it could damage our markets, increase the cost of borrowing, and jeopardize our recovery -– all of which would have an even worse effect on our job growth and family incomes.

From some on the right, I expect we’ll hear a different argument -– that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts including those for the wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is that’s what we did for eight years. (Applause.) That’s what helped us into this crisis. It’s what helped lead to these deficits. We can’t do it again.

Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it’s time to try something new. Let’s invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let’s meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let’s try common sense. (Laughter.) A novel concept.

I recall the President said something about really sticking it to the businesses and it brought the democrat side of the chamber to a standing ovation. Can’t remember if this is that moment or not, and it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that goofy moment just a little bit later, about the Supreme Court decision. President Obama has earned for Himself a fusillade of justified criticism here. He seems to have been taking a break from trying out His novel concept of common sense. As one Georgetown University Law Center Professor asks,

In the history of the State of the Union has any President ever called out the Supreme Court by name, and egged on the Congress to jeer a Supreme Court decision, while the Justices were seated politely before him surrounded by hundreds Congressmen? To call upon the Congress to countermand (somehow) by statute a constitutional decision, indeed a decision applying the First Amendment? What can this possibly accomplish besides alienating Justice Kennedy who wrote the opinion being attacked. Contrary to what we heard during the last administration, the Court may certainly be the object of presidential criticism without posing any threat to its independence. But this was a truly shocking lack of decorum and disrespect towards the Supreme Court for which an apology is in order. A new tone indeed.

I’ve read all the arguments in favor of the decision and dissenting from the decision, and again it comes down to this central question: What is an economy? More precisely, are businesses people? If they are not, then I could begin to see the logic: How dare that Supreme Court allow those green-headed monsters to have an influence on our elections! But if they are…

If they are, then this is the very appearance of fascism, is it not? You just take anyone from among the citizenry who might object to your new proposals, and define them out of existence. That’s how it works right?

President Obama, like any energized, extremist liberal, seems to come from that other planet on which businesses are food, not people. They have nothing to do with this thing we call “the economy” other than feeding it by making occasional random decisions about hiring & firing.

No wait — if that were the case, you’d have to acknowledge the business’ welfare is linked to the welfare of the rest of us. So it must be something like the businesses hurt the economy by laying people off. For fun or something.

Whatever. The facts are not on the President’s side on this one:

Tonight the president engaged in demogoguery of the worst kind, when he claimed that last week’s Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, “open[ed] the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”

The president’s statement is false.

The Court held that 2 U.S.C. Section 441a, which prohibits all corporate political spending, is unconstitutional. Foreign nationals, specifically defined to include foreign corporations, are prohibiting from making “a contribution or donation of money or ather thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State or local election” under 2 U.S.C. Section 441e, which was not at issue in the case. Foreign corporations are also prohibited, under 2 U.S.C. 441e, from making any contribution or donation to any committee of any political party, and they prohibited from making any “expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication… .”

This is either blithering ignorance of the law, or demogoguery of the worst kind.

Well, I live on Earth. Over here, businesses are people. They are people who will be filing income taxes at the end of the year, because they are required to file them…and they are organizing under a charter recognized by the governments of the nation and the states, for the purpose of making that money on which they’ll be paying the taxes. “Tax the businesses” just means taxing a whole lot more.

And no, Mr. President, the “status quo” is not “investing less in our people” — unless, by investing less in our people, you mean continuing to tax the businesses on their production of wealth that is going to be taxed on an individual basis later. If this double-taxation is what You meant by this remark, You were right, but that would involve seeing businesses as people. I’ve got a pretty good idea of where you stand on that question, so I have a feeling that is not what You meant.

Because now that You’ve had the opportunity to give hundreds and hundreds of speeches to get Your point across, with the Obama-Speech-Bingo phrase “Let Me Be Clear” always sprinkled generously throughout — You are, at least somewhat, clear. You, obviously, come from that other planet. Where it is not altogether certain what exactly an “economy” is, and I guess nobody really cares. But you all gather every night around the Na’vi Hometree and tell spooky stories about scary alien monsters that are “corporate special interests” that have to be taxed “to pay their fair share,” but shouldn’t be allowed to say anything about the policies of the government that sees such nobility in multiple-taxing them…

…and then putting together one commission after another to try to figure out why “The Economy” isn’t taking off.

Photoshop credit once again goes to Gerard.

Supreme Court Ends Shut-Uppery

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Or some of it, at least.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board is rejoicing.

The New York Times editorial board is crying in their beer. They don’t explain the foundation of their opinion very much, or very well. When they give it a go for a paragraph or two…

The founders of this nation warned about the dangers of corporate influence. The Constitution they wrote mentions many things and assigns them rights and protections — the people, militias, the press, religions. But it does not mention corporations.
This issue should never have been before the court. The justices overreached and seized on a case involving a narrower, technical question involving the broadcast of a movie that attacked Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 campaign. The court elevated that case to a forum for striking down the entire ban on corporate spending and then rushed the process of hearing the case at breakneck speed. It gave lawyers a month to prepare briefs on an issue of enormous complexity, and it scheduled arguments during its vacation.

Those are the two beefiest paragraphs in the entire editorial, with regard to the issue of why corporations should be treated any differently from individuals. The founders were worried about the corporations, but didn’t write down anything to that effect; and the Supreme Court heard the arguments during a vacation.

The editorial betrays an addled mindset that thinks inflammatory rhetoric is a good path to a decent decision, and this somehow justifies throwing lots of red herrings in the space where one would expect to find a coherent, rational argument. This is not the first occasion on which I’ve read a NYT editorial and noticed this. This is rather childish of them; adults know full well that, if it’s possible to make a good decision on a vacation, there is little to be gained from proscription against deciding things on a vacation. Adults also know that corporations are people. Sure, there’s a corrupt corporation here and there; just like there are corrupt people. And hey, NYT editorial board, there are corrupt labor unions too.

The other editorial board has it right. Corporations, mostly due to made-for-teevee and big-screen movies featuring bad guys who wear nice three-piece suits at all hours of the day & night — have soiled reputations, and the public is not terribly sympathetic with them. They have not always conducted themselves admirably. Just like some people.

But the case has not been made, that they should enjoy any fewer rights than an individual. It’s just generational squawking, the same stuff we see with regard to “Net Neutrality,” “Public Option,” “Privatize Social Security.” There are vast multitudes walking around, somehow, laboring under the delusion that you and I are all right until we start working for a corporation and then suddenly we’re terrible creatures, and then everything we want must be anathema to the welfare of “everyone.”

They are overly enamored of various methods and techniques of shut-uppery. They seem to figure, since the public overall isn’t sympathetic toward corporations, that means any protections the Constitution would ordinarily provide to them, should be bulldozed because those protections are getting in the way of something the New York Times calls “democracy.” Said democracy seems to have something to do with benefits extended to whoever the NYT finds to be adorable, cute, sweet, doe-eyed and fluffy.

Well, since when has the Constitution had to provide protection to those who are appealing? Bambi’s Mom already has protection in public sentiment, and the legislators who represent that sentiment; the Constitution is for the hunter.

A Society That Doesn’t Run on Greed

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Quote of the Day, over at The Smallest Minority:

Is there some society we know that doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course none of us are greedy; it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy.

The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests. The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the auto industry that way.

In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, they have had capitalism and largely free trade.

If you want to know where the masses are worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. The record of history is absolutely crystal clear: that there is no alternative way so far discovered of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.

The speaker is Milton Friedman.

The House of Eratosthenes Glossary defines “greed” as…nothing.

Greedy (adj.):
An undefined word. If it does have a meaning at all, the closest one we’ve been able to extrapolate from the pattern of the word’s actual usage, is: Someone who manifests a desire to keep his property when someone else comes along wanting to take it away. A wealthy person who wants to stay that way.

In California, Unemployment Highest in Seventy Years

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

New York Times, via Lucianne:

California’s unemployment rate in August hit its highest point in nearly 70 years, starkly underscoring how the nation’s incipient economic recovery continues to elude millions of Americans looking for work.

While job losses continue to fall, the state’s new unemployment rate — 12.2 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — is far above the national average of 9.7 percent and places California, the nation’s most-populous state, fourth behind Michigan, Nevada and Rhode Island. Statistics kept by the state show California’s unemployment rate was 14.7 percent in 1940, said Kevin Callori, a spokesman for the California Employment Development Department.While California has convulsed under the same blows as the rest of the country over the last two years, its exposure to both the foreclosure crisis and the slowdown in construction — an industry that has fueled growth in much of the state over the last decade — has been outsized.

Those of you who think America’s halcyon days of “hope and change” are just around the corner, as soon as we de-fang, muzzle and geld the Republicans just a little bit more and get just a little bit more power to the democrat party, maybe have a few more “One Revolution Away From Happiness” revolutions of their choosing and at their request…

Look to my state as the crystal ball for what your future holds.

Thirty-six million souls living out their lives on this giant billboard that serves as a warning to you. As one of them, I really don’t know how it can be made any plainer. Seriously, how are you gonna reply? It’s conservatism that got us into this fix?

This Sunday, the Sacramento Bee (I’ll try to find a link later) had a front-page story about the California economy sucking…actually, the budget…economy is everything, budget is just the government piece. So the story was about the budgets sucking — as in, this year’s budget, last year’s budget, the year before’s budget, next year’s budget. And SacBee finally managed to figure it out: Income tax receipts from taxpayers making more than $500k a year, have far too big of an effect on how things are going to turn out in any given year. Uh yeah, like duh. If one of the “privileges” of doing business in the Golden State is that your profits will never be seen by you, because those profits have to be used to prop up our dilapidated state government that doesn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of — but nevertheless still wants to cook up more ways to get rid of money — well, what’re you gonna do? What would anyone want to do?

Our financial picture is bleak, because we don’t want it to be in any other condition. We hate rich people, and we don’t want ’em around. It’s really just as simple as that.


Thursday, August 20th, 2009


First proposed in 1966 and named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, the “Cloward-Piven Strategy” seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Inspired by the August 1965 riots in the black district of Watts in Los Angeles (which erupted after police had used batons to subdue a black man suspected of drunk driving), Cloward and Piven published an article titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty” in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation. Following its publication, The Nation sold an unprecedented 30,000 reprints. Activists were abuzz over the so-called “crisis strategy” or “Cloward-Piven Strategy,” as it came to be called. Many were eager to put it into effect.

In their 1966 article, Cloward and Piven charged that the ruling classes used welfare to weaken the poor; that by providing a social safety net, the rich doused the fires of rebellion. Poor people can advance only when “the rest of society is afraid of them,” Cloward told The New York Times on September 27, 1970. Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation; poor people would rise in revolt; only then would “the rest of society” accept their demands.

The key to sparking this rebellion would be to expose the inadequacy of the welfare state. Cloward-Piven’s early promoters cited radical organizer Saul Alinsky as their inspiration. “Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules,” Alinsky wrote in his 1972 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judaeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system’s failure to “live up” to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist “rule book” with a socialist one.
This was an example of what are commonly called Trojan Horse movements — mass movements whose outward purpose seems to be providing material help to the downtrodden, but whose real objective is to draft poor people into service as revolutionary foot soldiers; to mobilize poor people en masse to overwhelm government agencies with a flood of demands beyond the capacity of those agencies to meet. The flood of demands was calculated to break the budget, jam the bureaucratic gears into gridlock, and bring the system crashing down. Fear, turmoil, violence and economic collapse would accompany such a breakdown — providing perfect conditions for fostering radical change. That was the theory.
The Cloward-Piven strategy depended on surprise. Once society recovered from the initial shock, the backlash began. New York’s welfare crisis horrified America, giving rise to a reform movement which culminated in “the end of welfare as we know it” — the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which imposed time limits on federal welfare, along with strict eligibility and work requirements. Both Cloward and Piven attended the White House signing of the bill as guests of President Clinton.
Cloward and Piven never again revealed their intentions as candidly as they had in their 1966 article. Even so, their activism in subsequent years continued to rely on the tactic of overloading the system. When the public caught on to their welfare scheme, Cloward and Piven simply moved on, applying pressure to other sectors of the bureaucracy, wherever they detected weakness.

Let’s not negotiate with these people. No matter what. Let’s just renounce this supposedly-noble objective of trying to find a midpoint or “common ground.”

I’ve spent a lifetime having it beaten into my head that only crazy old men in plaid shirts crusted with their own drool babble on about anything that comes close to “communists trying to ruin our way of life and tear down our country.”

But as I learn more about the turmoil that was taking place around the time of my birth, I find the facts point more and more toward this as the proper way to look at things. You don’t need to drink vodka and wear a big fur hat with a red star on the front to be a commie.

And negotiating with one is like negotiating with a rattlesnake. It is the straddling of a divide that stretches from one universe to a wholly incompatible other universe. It is a compromise between order and anarchy, creation and destruction, good and evil. It doesn’t take much at all to deserve a spot at a conference table, but one unalterable standard must be that you have to want a spot at the conference table. And commies don’t want one. They just want to tear things down.

Hat tip to Boortz.

About That Tax Cut

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

Those CNN fact-checkers who you trust oh so well, last year, about The Chosen One’s tax cuts:

Obama, on his Web site, promises to “cut taxes for 95 percent of working families.” He and his campaign officials have, at times, inaccurately described his plan as a tax cut for “95 percent of Americans.” His economic policy adviser Jason Furman told CNN that the figure applies to working people and leaves out retirees.

Ah, but it wasn’t just on His web site — although it certainly was there. This is the dishonest politician’s twenty-first century flim-flam. How many times were you called a stupid idiot for noticing Kerry, Kucinich, Dean, Obama, Clinton, et al lacked a coherent policy about this-or-that thing…and the ardent supporter snottingly and sneeringly recommended you “go to their web site”? The problem with that is obvious: There’s absolutely nothing save for Google caching to offer that tomorrow’s web site will bear any resemblance to today’s. It’s a weighty issue in this modern age when a democrat can look all big and tough and bad and hawkish, screaming Let’s Go After Saddam Hussein, and then suddenly it’s the fashionable thing to become all peace-and-dovish and yammer away about how George W. Bush fooled you.

Being a democrat has a lot to do with lacking any concept of the passage of time. So with regard to that particular party — and really, in general — “Go To His Website” is complete bullshit.

But the 95 percent thing is bullshit too. Look what’s going on up above. Click on that CNN link and read it all. Barack Obama can’t get His own campaign pledge straight…not some tangential, decorative campaign pledge, but the primary centerpiece one…and McCain is called out by the fact checkers for not repeating Obama’s pledge the way Obama meant to say it. I would add here that, as we’ve pointed out before, “ninety-five percent” is a popular figurative expression as well as a literal one. This is a point CNN seems to have missed. When you say 95%, you could be talking nineteen-measured-out-of-twenty…OR…you could be using this popular backwoods idiom to say “not quite all, but as a practical matter might as well be all.”

Ninety-five percent of the time when a politician tells me to go to his website, his website is different the next day.

Ninety-five percent of the time when someone says “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help you,” he may be from there, but he’s certainly not here to help you.

Ninety-five percent of lawyers are crooks.

Ninety-five percent of the time when a child is being put on medication, it’s a male child, and it’s his mother putting him on the meds because she can’t relate to men.

See? Like that. When Obama & crew were running all over the country jibber-jabbering about this “tax cut for 95% of Americans” someone should have at least asked the question: Literal, or figurative? If it’s all about what He meant to say, it could plausibly be suggested that He could’ve meant either one.

Too late now. Not that it matters though (hat tip: Ace).

To get the economy back on track, will President Barack Obama have to break his pledge not to raise taxes on 95 percent of Americans? In a “This Week” exclusive, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told me, “We’re going to have to do what’s necessary.”

Geithner was clear that he believes a key component of economic recovery is deficit reduction. When I gave him several opportunities to rule out a middle class tax hike, he wouldn’t do it.

“We have to bring these deficits down very dramatically,” Geithner told me. “And that’s going to require some very hard choices.”

“We will not get this economy back on track, recovery will be not strong and sustained, unless we convince the American people that we are going to have the will to bring these deficits down once recovery is firmly established,” he said.

You Obama zealots are really something else.

They didn’t even kiss ya first.

Pay Czar

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

If you think Bush’s “warrantless wiretapping” was scarier than this, there is something wrong with you. Stop voting now.

The Obama administration plans to require banks and corporations that have received two rounds of federal bailouts to submit any major executive pay changes for approval by a new federal official who will monitor compensation, according to two government officials.

The proposal is part of a broad set of regulations on executive compensation expected to be announced by the administration as early as this week. Some of the rules are required by legislation enacted in the wake of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and they would apply only to companies that received taxpayer money.

…that is, they’d only apply to companies that received taxpayer money for now.

This is truly a “Poll I’d Like To See” moment. What percentage of us think it’s just a swell idea for our country to have a Pay Czar? What percentage of us think this is a road our government should even be going down, even with the taxpayer-funded bailouts? What percentage of us recognize the danger in that? I’ll bet this is one of those fifty-fifty situations; it’s a given that some of these government busybodies think they might gain additional support by putting these rules in place, but the hushed and muted tones suggest they know they need to be careful when they talk about it.

A similar situation existed when Clinton’s Department of Justice went after Microsoft. If that case made the headlines every single day for months at a time, rather than several weeks IIRC…if it sustained the coverage as well as, let us say, the Iranian Hostage Crisis or the O.J. Simpson case…more people would have seen it for what it was. Which was, “Hey, you’re getting big enough your size might one day become comparable to the Government’s and we can’t have that!”

Yes, some people make vastly more money in the private sector than anyone could ever hope to “make” by working at any level in the Government. In the strictest and most technical measurement of compensation, that is true. Anyone who thinks that is the end of the story, is a fool. Government seeks to minimize and marginalize businesses, as a competitive measure against those businesses and against business as a whole. It doesn’t have anything to do with looking out for consumers or taxpayers. This isn’t coming as news to anybody, is it?

Screwtape’s Wisdom

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

John Hawkins has finally gotten around to reading the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. And he’s doing what I wish more people would do, which is to put his favorite bits of “advice” up on a web page.

This is healthy. Who’s up for a “Screwtape Day” when everyone sharing similar concerns does the same thing?

I’ve always liked this one…it’s the whole crabs-in-a-bucket thing all over again.

You remember how one of the Greek Dictators sent an envoy to another Dictator to ask his advice about the principles of government. The second Dictator led the envoy to a field of grain, and then snicked off with his cane the top of every stalk that rose an inch or so above the general level. The moral was plain. Allow no preeminence among your subjects. Let no man live who is wiser or better or more famous or even handsomer than the mass. Cut them all down to a level: all slaves, all ciphers, all nobodies. All equals. Thus Tyrants could practise, in a sense, ‘democracy.’ But now ‘democracy’ can do the same work without any tyranny other than her own. No one need now go through the field with a cane. The little stalks will now of themselves bite the tops off the big ones.

Wouldn’t fall for it, would you. You think?

AIG executives? Remember that? Wasn’t so long ago.

Mike Rowe Wonders If It’s Really About The Bonuses

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

That’s your Dirty Jobs guy, there. This is one of my favorite shows. And his words are wise; you know this, for they echo my own.

Because these “bonuses” are not guaranteed, they are a reflection of an individual’s willingness to assume a certain level of risk that most salaried workers would go out of their way to avoid. Likewise, “bonuses” are the only way for highly competitive corporations to attract and compensate “top talent.” Arguing over whether the money in question is gross or exorbitant is beside the point and after the fact, in my opinion. So too, is the exact manner in which it’s earned. That’s between the employer and the employee, and governed by the terms of the deal. What really matters, is the workers conscious willingness to forgo a big guarantee, in favor of a potentially larger payout based on his or her performance. It’s an entirely different form of risk, that is the opposite of a weekly or monthly paycheck.
This “bonus rage” would not be happening in a world that respected consequences, because in that world, those companies who can not afford to pay their bills would simply fail, the way they’re supposed to. Likewise, all citizens would live the lifestyle they can afford, the way they’re supposed to. Of course, that is not the world we live in. In fact, companies like AIG have prospered exactly because so many people now live beyond their means. The hard truth is, those big bonuses were earned because AIG got rich saying “yes” to millions of people who should have been told “no.” And because we’re all connected, we all get hurt.

Isn’t this a profound irony? What we now, today, call “liberal” — in terms of ideas, I mean — is supposed to spring forward from a conviction that we are all connected. And yet, what we now, today, call “liberal” either a) presumes we’re not all sharing, at least to some extent, the same fate; b) is seemingly determined to make sure that where our interests may be united or simply overlapping, they are violently separated along class lines; or c) shows a childish, peevish hostility to anyone or anything suggesting maybe, just maybe, we are indeed all in this together. What helps whites has to hurt blacks, what’s good for management has to be bad for labor, and there’s no way you can do anything that’s good for both homosexuals and heteros.

Everything liberalism suggests ought to be done, seems to have to do with identifying some DRCJ (dirty rotten creepy jerk) and showing him what-for. Today it’s the AIG bonus execs. Tomorrow, who knows. But it’ll be someone. The target changes; the meme stays the same.

Hat tip to Gerard, via Anchoress, via Rick.

Now for the AIG exec’s viewpoint. If you can stand to read it…which, if you’re a pinhead liberal, you probably can’t…get ready for one hell of a paradigm shift. In fact I’ll not even excerpt it, but quote it in full. It’s that good.

You will see Mr. Rowe has an admirably healthy and enviable attachment to reality.

The following is a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G.

DEAR Mr. Liddy,

It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:

I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.

After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

You and I have never met or spoken to each other, so I’d like to tell you about myself. I was raised by schoolteachers working multiple jobs in a world of closing steel mills. My hard work earned me acceptance to M.I.T., and the institute’s generous financial aid enabled me to attend. I had fulfilled my American dream.

I started at this company in 1998 as an equity trader, became the head of equity and commodity trading and, a couple of years before A.I.G.’s meltdown last September, was named the head of business development for commodities. Over this period the equity and commodity units were consistently profitable — in most years generating net profits of well over $100 million. Most recently, during the dismantling of A.I.G.-F.P., I was an integral player in the pending sale of its well-regarded commodity index business to UBS. As you know, business unit sales like this are crucial to A.I.G.’s effort to repay the American taxpayer.

The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.

I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.

But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.

My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts, you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should be left to stand. That’s probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment” to honor the contract guarantees.

That may be why you decided to accelerate by three months more than a quarter of the amounts due under the contracts. That action signified to us your support, and was hardly something that one would do if he truly found the contracts “distasteful.”

That may also be why you authorized the balance of the payments on March 13.

At no time during the past six months that you have been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these contracts — until several hours before your appearance last week before Congress.

I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise. It’s now apparent that you either misunderstood the agreements that you had made — tacit or otherwise — with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, various members of Congress and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, or were not strong enough to withstand the shifting political winds.

You’ve now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.

As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.

Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.

The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.

So what am I to do? There’s no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn’t disagree.

That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.’s or the federal government’s budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.

On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.

This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by fear.

Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default swaps. I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”


Jake DeSantis

That’d be your AIG exec “who was responsible for this whole mess.” Now that you’re giving it another think-er-three, it’s been awhile since anyone presented you with some firm, or even mildly persuasive, evidence of that…right?

The Toxic Assets We Elected

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

George Will sees something amiss:

With the braying of 328 yahoos — members of the House of Representatives who voted for retroactive and punitive use of the tax code to confiscate the legal earnings of a small, unpopular group — still reverberating, the Obama administration yesterday invited private-sector investors to become business partners with the capricious and increasingly anti-constitutional government. This latest plan to unfreeze the financial system came almost half a year after Congress shoveled $700 billion into the Troubled Assets Relief Program, $325 billion of which has been spent without purchasing any toxic assets.

Hat tip to The View From 1776, which (as I’ve already indicated) speaks for me on this whole phony bonus flap:

Whatever you may think about the propriety of large bonuses paid to AIG employees, whether you like it or not, the bonuses were paid in accordance with legal contracts executed before AIG received bailout money. Those individuals had a legal right to the money. If the company or the Federal government wished to abrogate the contracts, the spirit infusing the Bill of Rights required them to adjudicate the matter in the courts of law.

This is, I would argue, where the center of gravity swings out over the side of the cliff. Mob rule says you’ve got money you don’t deserve to have and you have to give it back. Yes I’m using the word “you” to describe those AIG execs. It applies. The differential is simply a matter of time, nothing more.

You’re just not that wonderful a person. Not if the distinction depends on a total stranger seeing you that way. The rights of the AIG executive, are the rights of all his countrymen. It’s just a fact.

And it sounds like the shredding of the Constitution, because that’s precisely what it is.

Senate to be Undecided About Whether Money is Evil

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

The last several posts have been about The Holy One at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It looks like I have an obsession, until you stop to ponder all the driftwood I’ve been allowing to float on by…and there’s been a lot. Can’t pronounce Orion. Thinks Chiraq is still President of France. That’s today’s bumper crop, there was another one yesterday, another one the day before…

To the other end of the boulevard. The Senate is delaying action on this magical wonderful House bill, the one that taxes away those evil awful bonuses…

Jarred by a cool reception from the White House and fears of unintended consequences across the financial world, Senate leaders are likely to delay until late next month legislation to punitively tax bonuses at banks and investment firms that receive federal aid.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced last week that the Senate would move ahead with the legislation as soon as possible, and he attempted to bring the bill to the floor Thursday night. But he revised that timetable yesterday, saying that the chamber will spend this week debating a national-service bill before turning to a long-scheduled showdown over the budget for fiscal 2010. With just two weeks to go until Congress departs for a spring recess, action on the tax measure would be unlikely before late April.

For those who still think this is the right way to go…let’s just cut out all the delays and other crap, okay? Let’s see what message we have left.

The economy’s in the dumper because of FaPoBuAd (Failed Policies of the Bush Administration!)…and we’ve elected this hopey-changey-guy with a friendly Congress to fix it for us. We all desperately hope He succeeds at this, except for Rush Limbaugh who’s just a big fat stinker.

The economy is stopped and we all want it to go.

If anyone makes money doing that, we’re going to take it away from them because that’s just wrong. Oh sure, today it’s about AIG execs and AIG is receiving bailout money, so we’re just acting today as guardians of the taxpayer’s purse. B-u-u-t…that’s today. In fact, we’re already getting some plans together to do the same thing to non-bailout-subsidized corporations. Add to that the fact that, in AIG’s case, the bonuses amount to less than a tenth of a percent of this bailout money…so the idea that we’re trying to recoup “our” taxpayer money from those greedy executives looks a little silly.

So no. We’re not looking out for the taxpayer. We’re trying to make sure nobody makes a personal profit from this noble, noble effort of getting an economy revived.

We want the economy revived.

Nobody’s supposed to make any money. No quantity of it that “everyone” is going to find obscene, anyway…and that can only mean…nobody can make any more than anybody else. Just ordinary amounts. Nobody’s supposed to work to improve their personal livelihood too much.

What in the (expletive deleted) do you think an economy is, exactly?


The Senate is right to delay. It needs time for the rest of us to get our thoughts together on this one.

While we’re trying to figure out what we’re all about, may I submit a humble suggestion of what’s going on here? We want to get together and make this thing work. Each of us wants our personal standard of living to improve as much as possible. Our individual standard of living.

The other guy isn’t allowed to improve his.

Folks…my world is different from yours. You pretend to have a definition for “greed” but, as I’ve pointed out before, you don’t really have one. Planet Morgan has a definition of greed; and that is it right there. You are allowed to realize the benefits of a free market, and the guy to the left of you, and to the right of you, and all around you, are not. They’re just supposed to clock in, clock out, grab a paycheck and spend it, saving nothing, achieving nothing long-term. He buys a house you can’t buy, you’ve got a beef with it. So yeah, “greed caused all our problems,” but not quite in the way people think they mean when they toss this phrase around.

Money for the Needy, Not for the Greedy

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

So, we’re to allow the pitchfork-and-torch-bearing mob to make decisions we’d never allow our legislators, judges and executives to make? Like how much money each man, woman and child is supposed to have in the bank?

No no, that’s not it; silly me. We just want to have some “common sense” going on with these “bonuses.” Well tell me please, where’s the line drawn? AIG execs can’t just earn money, or receive money pursuant to a contract signed a whole year ago…which means they earned it. Can’t have that. We have to see if the hoi polloi smiles upon the contractually obligated payment, and if they don’t, it’s gotta be yanked back. While that’s going on — the mob takes to the streets.

This is different from the obscene bonuses I’ve earned…how?

A busload of activists representing working- and middle-class families paid visits Saturday to the lavish homes of American International Group executives to protest the tens of millions of dollars in bonuses awarded by the struggling insurance company after it received a massive federal bailout.

About 40 protesters sought to urge AIG executives who received a portion of the $165 million in bonuses to do more to help families.

“We think $165 million could be used in a more appropriate way to keep people in their homes, create more jobs and health care,” said Emeline Bravo-Blackport, a gardener.

She marveled at AIG executive James Haas’ colonial house, which has stunning views of a golf course and the Long Island Sound. The Fairfield house is “another part of the world” from her life in nearby Bridgeport, which flirted with bankruptcy in the 1990s and still struggles with foreclosures and unemployment.”

“Lord, I wonder what it’s like to live in a house that size,” she said.

Another protester, Claire Jeffery, of Bloomfield, said she’s on the verge of foreclosure. She works as a housekeeper; her husband, a truck driver, can’t find work.

“I love my home,” she said. “I really want people to help us.”

I love a Bugatti Veyron, Ms. Jeffery. Help me get one. And if you can’t, or won’t, spare the time or trouble to help me in that effort, then screw you. I mean it. I have things she doesn’t have, you say? Well, she has things I don’t have…like a home. And I’m not bothering anybody about it. I’m just a humble blogger. You don’t see me arriving in a bus as part of bug-eyed mob spoiling for a fight, gazing wistfully at her things and mumbling a bunch of stuff & nonsense to the effect that it oughta be mine. That’s because I understand when you point a finger at something, three other fingers curl around and point back at you. I can figure this out, why can’t she?

Greedy (adj.):
An undefined word. If it does have a meaning at all, the closest one we’ve been able to extrapolate from the pattern of the word’s actual usage, is: Someone who manifests a desire to keep his property when someone else comes along wanting to take it away. A wealthy person who wants to stay that way.

Commandment X: (Exodus 20:17)
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.

Obama to Provide More Oversight on Executive Compensation

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

New York Times:

The Obama administration will call for increased oversight of executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and possibly other companies as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul financial regulation, government officials said.

The outlines of the plan are expected to be unveiled this week in preparation for President Obama’s first foreign summit meeting in early April.

Increasing oversight of executive pay has been under consideration for some time, but the decision was made in recent days as public fury over bonuses has spilled into the regulatory effort.

The officials said that the administration was still debating the details of its plan, including how broadly it should be applied and how far it could range beyond simple reporting requirements. Depending on the outcome of the discussions, the administration could seek to put the changes into effect through regulations rather than through legislation.

We are victims of that ancient Chinese curse about living in interesting times. We are living in whiplash times.

Remember, just last week? Just a tiny handful of days ago? What was the defense to accusations that the administration was attacking capitalism by removing the profit motive? What was it? How did it go? “Oh, you need to remember, these are taxpayer dollars…AIG has received bailout money…this is only about firms that received bailout money…”

Here we are in the middle of a weekend. The very next weekend. Woopsie, it’s no longer about firms that received bailout money.

These people are on crack. Their solution to the government being out of money, is that it should spend a whole lot more of it, and their solution to the economy’s anemic state, is to remove the incentive some of us might have to possibly earn a profit.

They seem to live out their entire lives, personally and professionally, in defiance of Will Rogers’ famous advice that when you find yourself in a hole the thing to do is stop digging.

Their personal fortunes are rather disconnected from the consequences of such a worldview, so for them, it certainly seems to be working out okay. And it will continue to.

Government Cannot Eliminate Sadness

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

“Since the average American never took out a mortgage loan as big as seven hundred grand — for the very good reason that he could not afford it — why should he be forced as a taxpayer to subsidize someone else who apparently couldn’t afford it either but who got in over his head anyway?”

So Dr. Sowell has become the champion of forty-something apartment rats. Good. I’ll take him. He goes on to point out the obvious…

Even in an era of much-ballyhooed “change,” the government cannot eliminate sadness. What it can do is transfer that sadness from those who made risky and unwise decisions to the taxpayers who had nothing to do with their decisions.

I hear an awful lot lately about people wanting to “start national dialogues on” things. This is a national dialogue that would be most productive right about now: What is the worst thing you can possibly say about a government that, after fairly computing a tax liability necessary to raise needed revnues, which is the purpose of taxes in the first place…leaves personal assets and liabilities exactly as it finds them? Really, what’s wrong with that? Just skip past the meaningless bromides socialists usually use, like “In Times Like These” and “Middle Class” and “Workers” — just stick to that “Rich Not Paying Their Fair Share” and tell me why that is, with hard, established and verified facts & numbers.

One cannot help but wonder where we’d be right now, if there was some rule in place, enforced to the hilt, against redistribution. No subsidies, no taxes imposed to “get” dirty-rotten-scoundrels, no “If We Don’t Do Something To Help XXXXX, Disaster Will Follow.” I’m not the first to wonder such a thing and I won’t be the last.


Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I’m going to have to make this a regular feature…which is going to make it as boring as hell, to everyone, myself included. But it’s gotta be done. Might as well spice things up by spelling it wrong.


We pay our mortgage and debts, live within our means and try to save responsibly for our future needs. We provide health coverage, food, housing and clothes for our children without assistance. We pay our taxes and fees in full and on time, never dreaming to ask any agency we fund for a handout or exception. My husband keeps tens of people fully employed, at high pay, by his hard efforts. We volunteer our time and money to worthy causes. Our bill to the city, state and feds well exceeds the poverty line for a family of four. Why are we suffering the price for everyone else’s mistakes? We haven’t made any.

I am unapologetically conservative. I don’t believe another man has any right to the fruits of my labor. I do not believe that I am beholden, on any terms, to provide for another man’s housing, food, children, medical care, education or the thousand other items on the endless list of needs demanded of my money in the name of social responsibility. I have an obligation to abide by the law and be a productive citizen who honors his own responsibilities, the state does not have the right to mandate that I bailout its negligent mistakes or support its unproductive members. I don’t owe your destitute grandma or ill conceived child a damn dime. My children certainly shouldn’t be expected to pay for current lawmakers ignorant legislative blunders or Joe Blow’s lackadaisical take on mortgage payments or unaffordable procreation.

Save me the arguments that my money funds the betterment of society. It obviously doesn’t when 1 in 30 of our citizens are in the criminal justice system, as much as forty percent of our high schoolers drop out before graduation, a scandalous number of non-performing public schools, warehousing ignorant children, are still in existence and we have up to 70% out of wedlock birth rates standing alongside the total disintegration of normal family units in significant segments of society. My money hasn’t done diddley shit for the generations of shiftless idiots unable to carry their own water, except exacerbate the growth of disgustingly useless government programs that induced these ills to epidemic heights.

The ranting turns toward the Republicans, with a rant found at Right Coast by Tom Smith, against Chairman Michael Steele. Like Daphne above, Mr. Smith speaks for me…

The left wing of the Democratic Party is in power now and it looks like they will pass their budget and their agenda for the next year or two or four. There’s every reason to think it will be a disaster for the country. It’s not looking so great so far and the disaster may arrive ahead of schedule. I’d say there’s a nontrivial chance the country will be irreparably harmed by our American mid-life crisis. It’s going to suck, big time. All Republicans can do is be the party that says, this is a bad idea and we should return to what we really believe in. We should wear the label the Party of No as a badge of honor. No to higher taxes. No to soaking the rich. No to nationalizing health care. No to abadoning Israel (just wait — that’s coming). There will be a lot to say no to. No to tyranny. This whole country is founded on a No.

I love that last line. It’s true. We say “yes” when we imagine what we can do. We do not have a tradition of saying “yes” when others tell us what to do. There are enough other countries that can carry on that tradition.

The best for last: Melissa lets the moderates have it with both barrels. These are the folks who were not fainting at Obama rallies, holding Him aloft like some kind of rock star or movie actor, wanting “to be a part of this thing”…they had nothing to say, nothing at all. They just didn’t want to take a stand, and by standing in the middle of the road hoped to be thought-of as super-duper smart. They figured voting for The Holy One was just the thing everyone was doing last fall, so they want-along to get along.

May your chains rest lightly on you and may posterity forget you were our countrymen…

Moderates, as usual, are stupid. They play along with the administration’s games. They’re useful dupes. Rather than help shape an alternative argument, they trash the people who pay attention. Independents and moderates don’t pay attention–they hope for a middle, gentle, “nice” way. That way lead to the Obama administration to begin with.

Have you written your postcard to let Congress and the administration know your feelings? You don’t even need to leave the house…or the computer you’re using right this very second. One click away. Do it, do it, do it.

I just did…

People working hard to succeed, are being made to fail through taxes and government-sponsored debt.

People who bought more house than they can afford, are being given a perverse “guarantee” from that government that they can stay where they are.

So people who don’t try, are set up to succeed, and people who do try, are set up to fail.

Our President, who’s supposed to be the best ever, is blowing unprecedented amounts of money while telling us we must not burden our children with “a debt they cannot pay.” He’s telling us, when you’re out of money and neck-deep in debt from spending money you do not have, the thing to do is to spend it a whole lot faster. Congress seems to be in agreement.

The Dow is tumbling down like a lawn dart. It can’t be reasonably expected to do anything else.

Our President sees this and comments on how good he is at his job. I suppose, if you define that job just “right,” it must be true.

This is the delivery of what, half a year ago, I was told was “hope.”

It truly is an upside-down world.

Exactly What Had Been On My Mind

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

‘Atlas Shrugged’: From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years

Many of us who know [Atlas Shrugged author Ayn] Rand’s work have noticed that with each passing week, and with each successive bailout plan and economic-stimulus scheme out of Washington, our current politicians are committing the very acts of economic lunacy that “Atlas Shrugged” parodied in 1957, when this 1,000-page novel was first published and became an instant hit.

Rand, who had come to America from Soviet Russia with striking insights into totalitarianism and the destructiveness of socialism, was already a celebrity. The left, naturally, hated her. But as recently as 1991, a survey by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club found that readers rated “Atlas” as the second-most influential book in their lives, behind only the Bible.

For the uninitiated, the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises — that in most cases they themselves created — by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.

Atlas Shrugged says a whole lot more than that…and there’s a whole lot more it says, that is also coming true. One of the other points it makes that for people living in such a wretched society, there is a pronounced phenomenon in which all but the most capable minds are dragged into such an addled state that they cannot see the evidence before their own eyes.

Atlas ShruggedThe first thing to go is the ability to look at someone else better off financially, without seeing skulduggery. Lickety-split, they round that fifth step on the way to complete insanity: How many dollars do you want in your bank account? Subtract the number of dollars that are really there, and you’re left with the number of reasons to believe someone’s out to getcha. It must be true! You’re such a good person, you deserve to have so much more! Someone’s ripping you off, no need to wait for real evidence. And anyone with a fatter wallet must be in on this evil, insidious plot.

The excellent is confused with the mediocre. It is the mediocre, after all, that is testament to numbers of people united in a common condition, in common interests, or in common patterns of behavior. Excellent is something that has something to do with individuality, and who needs individuals? No, there is only one useful brand left of excellence: That would be the ability to communicate ideas and make them sound appealing when they really don’t help anyone. Only that can unite large numbers of mediocre people, and send them rushing off in a common direction. Commonality, that’s the ticket. People sense a great need to “come together” to do…they don’t know what. The content of an idea is unimportant. The sales-appeal of an idea, and how many people are already doing it, are the only things that matter.

The phrase “In Times Like These” is repeated over and over and over again. Invariably, it’s placed in front of a proposal that, in another setting, would make no sense at all. And still doesn’t. It’s only discussed in vague, highly generalized terms…right after that magical phrase, “In Times Like These.” We have to “stick together,” “in times like these.”

I have personal knowledge of certain large company. Within this company’s private intranet, there is a blog in which one of the executives has put together a set of New Year’s resolutions for how that company should face this challenging, challenging year. Then he opened up the floor for possible additions to his list. Two of the comments that followed really stuck out, to me.

One guy announced his intention to spend the year flying under the radar, staying low on the trouble-meter so that he’d keep his job. That was his goal. There we go…do something exceptional, you might get squished, so it’s better not to try. The confusion between mediocrity and excellence — whoomp, there it is. Heh. Call this a depression, recession, stagflation, whatever you want…does it hurt or help our chances for pulling out of it, if people are afraid of doing exceptional things?

The other fellow went on a rambling tirade about “greed.” I say rambling because he never did define what exactly greed is; where the line is drawn. He nevertheless made a compelling, damning case against “corporate greed,” talking of such notorious trademarks as Enron, Lehman Brothers, et al. When the dust had settled, it was undeniable these corporate rascals were all to blame for this miserable condition that confronted all of us, their fellow country men, who would never even meet them. The only thing missing from the indictment was the definition of the crime. How do you define greed? For all I know he might have been talking about the candid but less-than-satisfying entry found in the House of Eratosthenes Glossary

Greedy (adj.):

An undefined word. If it does have a meaning at all, the closest one we’ve been able to extrapolate from the pattern of the word’s actual usage, is: Someone who manifests a desire to keep his property when someone else comes along wanting to take it away. A wealthy person who wants to stay that way (but you’d better click on the word “wealthy” to find out what it really means).

And when you click the word “wealthy,” you get —

Wealthy (adj.):

An undefined word. It doesn’t refer to a high net worth, because it’s frequently used to refer to people who lack this; it doesn’t refer to a high personal or household income, because it’s often used to refer to people who lack that.

Extrapolating a meaning from the common usage of the word — if I call you “wealthy,” it usually means you have some material property that I want to take away from you. Liberal politicians often use this word to describe private citizens who own small businesses, and are supported by incomes substantially less than what supports the liberal politicians, owning portfolios of private wealth that are insignificant compared to the vast fortunes controlled by those liberal politicians. And so the word “wealthy” is deprived of all meaningful definitions possible, save one: A designated target of legalized theft. A snake-oil salesman uses the word “mark”; a liberal politician uses the term “wealthy person.”

That’s Atlas Shrugged come to life, right there. We’re facing down a financially difficult year, for everybody. What instincts bubble to the surface of the human-emotion stewpot? A determination to be mediocre rather than excellent, to keep the bulls-eye off one’s own back. And, a sensibility that there is something inherently nefarious about material success.

So we are supposed to be humdrum, and we are not supposed to succeed.

That’ll get us out of this fix?

Trust me on this. If a man appeared to me this time last year, and told me Atlas Shrugged was going to come true, as vividly as I see it unfolding before me now…I’d pick up the phone straight-away, and have him committed. Or at least recommend to his relatives that this be done, toot-sweet.

And here we are.

As I type this, Amazon reports the book at $16.32, 56 New & Used from $9.50. This price has skyrocketed from the six-or-eight bucks I paid just a few years ago…which I find quite interesting. Evidently, there is something about “times like these” that make people think this is a book worth reading. If you’re not already acting on this yourself, you’re missing out. Click, order, read, and be amazed.

D’JEver Notice? XVII

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Republicans lose voters (H/T: Frank, who thinks this guy’s delusional, and I agree) with their evil stupid plans to force women to have abortions, to keep paraplegics like Christopher Reeve in their wheelchairs, and to assert the will of an elite cultist relition over their entire country by means of theocratic rule.

The democrats lose votes with their evil stupid plans to inject pointlessness into things…like making money…following the law…defending the country. Every little thing anybody can do — except oppose Republicans — they want to make a little bit tougher, a little bit less rewarding.

I know this about Republicans because I read it in smartass backwoods newspaper columns like the one linked above.

I know this about democrats because people actually talk about it. Joe The Plumber isn’t the first one I’ve heard raising this obvious point: If I want to buy a business and hire employees, and President Obama is going to raise my taxes, what’s the freakin’ point? What’s the point of doing anything? Why follow immigration laws, why hire people, why get married, why buy a house.

As for whether they want to do these things, I know the democrats want to do what I think they want to do because they tell me so.

I’m not sure Republicans really want to do the things attributed to them. Not a hundred percent. Because when the accusation is directed at them, and then someone justifies it, they always have to invent something on the spot to make it complete. A big chunk of it is always pulled out of thin air. I’ve not heard a Republican presidential candidate say “when you force women to have babies, it’s good for everybody!” I’ve not heard one say “when you force everyone to be protestant, it’s good for everybody!” I’ve not heard one say “when you make old people choose between their last drug prescription and the next can of pet food they have to eat for dinner, it’s good for everybody!”

In other words — wowee, those Republicans sure sound foolish and dangerous, when I pretend they said things they didn’t say.

But I know damn good and well what Barack Obama said about spreading the wealth around. It wasn’t the first time I heard that, either. There’s no need to pull that out of anywhere. They’re saying they want to do it.

We’re a funny people. We pretend to be so centrist, objective and balanced. But we debate the awful horrible fictitious things Republicans are going to do if we leave them in charge…that they haven’t done, even though they’ve been in charge…versus, the idiotic things democrats do every single time they’re in charge, without fail, that with a casual skimming through the pages of recent history, we’d know haven’t worked out too well for us. If we were willing to put in the time or energy to do it.

Goin’ John Galt

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Dr. Helen discusses the ramifications with Roger Simon and Bill Whittle. This is somewhat valuable as your video-Cliff’s-notes for Atlas Shrugged, if you haven’t read it already. Which you should, of course.

Yeah you have to install an ActiveX control, and they use the word basically quite a lot…which I hate. But it’s a clip far more educational than most.

Memo For File LXXV

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

Today, I’m linking to a page on Lew Rockwell…

Hey. Come back.

On Lew Rockwell, there is the story of one Horatio Bunce, who may or may not have actually existed, quotes within said story having may or may not occurred. I’m inclined toward the negative — they tend to drone on for a bit, without any mention of who exactly is so meticulously scribbling ’em down.

Be that as it may, the principles involved make good sense, and the principles are what the story is really about. Click on the link and read. Top to bottom. I’ll wait. Believe me, I’ve got nothing better to do with my time. I’ll just wait for you to come back. La dee da dee da…oh but do make sure, if you’re the casually skimming type, that you give an especially hard read to the passage below:

The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be entrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. If twice as many houses had been burned in this county as in Georgetown, neither you nor any other member of Congress would have thought of appropriating a dollar for our relief. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week’s pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in and around Washington who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The Congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving by giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.

I’d like to add just one other thing.

I am, by the grace of God, presently employed in an industry and in an occupation which is compensated to the extent of excess, and I am debt free. In my economic circumstances, any ol’ numb-nuts can post such a thing without a second thought.

It was passed on to me, by one of my blogger pals who has been out of work for quite some time and whose gas tank and cupboards are becoming quite empty. He is the very picture of the human wreckage being tempted toward voting for Obama the day after tomorrow. He will not be doing that — in fact, he is manning the console, forwarding on fascinating true-patriot libertarian material such as this.

If he can remember principles such as these, I say, then so can we all.

And in a position like that, this takes heap big huge ginormous balls. The kind that an ordinary gentleman cannot easily ambulate, without the benefit of a wheelbarrow, and not of the casual-gardening kind.

Join me in raising a glass to my as-yet-anonymous blogger friend and those like him. And do give him a think or three on Tuesday as you step into the voting booth. Frankly, if he isn’t quite yet ready to give up on capitalism, then I really don’t see where anyone else better off has any business contemplating such a thing.

Obama, no, merci beaucoup.

Mister Madison…

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

H/T: Ryskind Sketchbook, via Wheat & Weeds, via Gerard.

Obama’s Directive 10-289

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

He’s going to try fleshing it out in real life. For the uninitiated, Directive 10-289 is ratified roughly halfway through Atlas Shrugged as an emergency measure. It locks the economy in place.

As they learned the hard way in the subsequent pages, economy, like an education, is motion, not a status, position or level. To lock it in place is to kill it.

Point One: All workers, wage earners, and employees of any kind whatsoever shall henceforth be attached to their jobs and shall not leave nor be dismissed nor change employment…

Point Two: All industrial, commercial, manufacturing, and business establishments of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth remain in operation, and the owners of such establishments shall not quit, nor leave, nor retire, nor close, sell or transfer their business…

Point Three: All patents and copyrights, pertaining to any devices, inventions, formulas, processes, and works of any nature whatsoever, shall be turned over to the nation as a patriotic emergency gift…

Point Four: No new devices, inventions, products, or goods of any nature whatsoever, not now on the market, shall be produced, invented, manufactured or sold after the date of this directive…

Point Five: Every establishment, concern, corporation or person engaged in production of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth produce the same amount of goods per year as is, they or he produced during the Basic Year, no more or no less…

Point Six: Every person of any age, sex, class or income, shall henceforth spend the same amount of money on the purchase of goods per year as he or she spent during the Basic Year, no more and no less…

Point Seven: All wages, prices, salaries, dividends, profits, interest rates and forms of income of any nature whatsoever, shall be frozen at their present figures, as of the date of this directive. (But taxes will be allowed to increase as needed for the public good)

Point Eight: All cases arising from and rules not specifically provided for in this directive, shall be settled and determined by the Unification Board, whose decisions shall be final.

It wouldn’t…couldn’t…happen in real life? Could it? We would never do such a silly thing. Or surely, if we did, those responsible would be carved in the concrete of history ignominously. Their names would never enjoy high honor ever again…there’s no way we would do such a thing as, for example, stamp their profiles into our ten-cent pieces and leave them there.

Whoops, though, yes we did such a thing. Yes it did happen. And his face is right there on the dime in your pocket.

Obama’s New Deal No Better Than Old One
By Michael Barone

With victory in sight, Barack Obama’s supporters are predicting that he will give us a new New Deal. To see what that might mean, let’s look back on the original New Deal.

The purpose of New Deal legislation was not, as commonly thought, to restore economic growth but rather to freeze the economy in place at a time when it seemed locked in a downward spiral. Its central program, the National Recovery Administration (NRA), created 700 industry councils for firms and unions to set minimum prices and wages. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), the ancestor of our farm bills, limited production to hold up prices. Unionization, encouraged by NRA and the 1935 Wagner Act, was meant to keep workers in jobs that the unemployed would have taken at lower pay.

These policies did break the downward spiral. But, as Amity Shlaes points out in “The Forgotten Man,” they failed to restore growth.
The postwar Republican Congress elected in 1946 dismantled some New Deal anti-growth policies. Labor unions’ powers to strike were sharply restricted. Tax rates were lowered, and wage and price controls were dismantled. Many hold-the-economy-in-place policies were retained until the deregulation of the 1970s and 1980s. But the New Deal was transformed sufficiently to permit buoyant economic growth for two decades after the war.

Obama seems determined to follow policies better suited to freezing the economy in place than to promoting economic growth. Higher taxes on high earners, for one. He told Charlie Gibson he would raise capital gains taxes even if that reduced revenue: less wealth to spread around, but at least the rich wouldn’t have it — reminiscent of the Puritan sumptuary laws that prohibited the wearing of silk.

Here in the 21st century, after millions of schoolchildren have been indoctrinated to the notion that FDR “saved us from the Great Depsression,” economists are just starting to wake up to the idea that the Depression ended in America not because of the New Deal, but in spite of it.

We’re just starting to catch on to that…that the New Deal, like the fictional 10-289, harmed much more than it helped. A vote for Obama on Tuesday says, essentially, “Prove It.”

It’s just like renting this movie. How it ends is guaranteed, even if you’ve not yet personally acquainted with it. The question is whether you’re up to sitting through the frustration, suffering, boredom and misery that will deluge you before the inevitability unfolds. The dialog surrounding the build-up is nothing more than a suffocating formality, no matter how much skilled line-delivery and hopey-changey goodness you want to mix in.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

Wealth Envy

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

We’ve been flirting with it, and acting upon it, for much longer than you might think.

Spread It Around!The personal income tax, the federal government’s main source of revenue, is collected overwhelmingly from a relative handful of Americans. Indeed, the most recent IRS data shows that the top 1 percent of filers paid nearly 40 percent of all income taxes. That means the top 1 percent paid about the same as the bottom 95 percent, according to the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan research group. The bottom 50 percent paid just 3 percent.

Given that poorer citizens always outnumber the rich, political philosophers have long worried that government based on majority rule could lead to organized theft from the wealthy by the democratic masses. “If the majority distributes among itself the things of a minority, it is evident that it will destroy the city,” Aristotle warned.

The Founders of the United States shared Aristotle’s worry. Up through their time, history had shown all known democracies to be, as James Madison put it, “incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.” Madison and others therefore made it a “first object of government” to protect personal property from unjust confiscation.

There follows a fascinating walk-through of American history, and within it, our various misadventures with the various cul de sacs of frenzied, frothy populist rage injected into our tax code. Behind the link above.

So what’re you still doing here?

Hat tip to Red Planet Cartoons, which also gets credit for the graphic.

Spooky Left-Wing Economics

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

“Mr. Rearden, the law which you are denouncing is based on the highest principle — the principle of the public good.”

“Who is the public? What does it hold as its good? There was a time when men believed that ‘the good’ was a concept to be defined by a code of moral values and that no man had the right to seek his good at the violation of the rights of another. If it is now believed that my fellow men may sacrifice me in any manner they please for the sake of whatever they deem to be for their own good, if they believe that they may seize my property simply because they need it — well, so does any burglar. There is only one difference: the burglar does not ask me to sanction his act.” [emphasis mine]

— Atlas Shrugged, p. 442 (35th anniv. reprint ed., Signet)

CartoonSo Rick links to a story about Henry Rearden, oh I mean Joe The Plumber, and how JTP is fearing for the future of our country. Good fear to have; I share it. And, by the by, he complements it with the cartoon you see to the right.

Zossima, the local liberal gadfly, indulges in his long-supported habit of saying…his stuff…I think the least I can do is whatever I can to ensure his words achieve greater visibility. It is the very least I can do.

…I’ll go along with any plan you guys propose as long as you have a real solution for dealing with the deficit. Kinda funny thing you might want to take your head out of your kiester to notice: $11 trillion in US federal gov’t debt is largely due to the tax and economic policies of Reagan and two Bushes. Clinton balanced the budget and brought prosperity. I’m just sayin’…

Okay. So the subject under discussion is liberals with their little “Robin Hood” schtick and how much that fowls things up. Zossima wants to talk about the deficit. Okay…we’re going to tax the snot out of people who actually make the jobs in our country, who make business actually happen — because that’s the only way we can “deal…with the deficit.”

So I couldn’t help but wonder

Great point, Zossima.

So if spreading the wealth around will bring down this public debt you want to discuss (as opposed to the subject at hand), how come nobody’s been able to make it work that way?

You’re so smart and you make things so simple. This should be an easy question for you.

Zossima comes back, and boy, he really puts me in my place. The answer was so obvious, I don’t know how it ever got past me. I feel like Luke Wilson in Idiocracy, you know, when he got in the wrong line at the prison…just the biggest dumbass…

Huh, lessee, the simple mind asks for a simple answer. Well, under Clinton, taxes were increased. And under Clinton, we had economic prosperity and a balanced budget. Under Reagan, Bush the elder, and Bush the doofus, taxes were decreased, deficits soared, and we are now on the brink of economic ruin.

Well then. Allow me to retort.

Bzzzt! WRONG! Sorry, try again. When Clinton came to office, the public debt held by our government was somewhere around 4.1 to 4.2 trillion. When he left it was up around 5.7 trillion.

So back to my question. When did it work?

If you check out that link, you’ll see Rick found the hard data derived from what I had referenced before getting into it…you’ll also see where I call out this difference between public debt, which is a balance sheet item, and this budget deficit thing which is a year-to-year statistic, commonly confused with public debt to make democrats look good.

But try this. Go look up the statistics for the public debt of our government. How it’s carried from one year to the next; how it goes up, how it goes down. You’ll see it’s spun out of control, regularly, since the founding of the nation.

When does it spin out of control?

When a Republican is in the White House?

When a democrat is in the White House?

When the Republicans run Congress?

When democrats run Congress? When the democrat party comes up with bold, new, innovative social programs?

No, no, no, no and no.

It’s WAR, stupid.

Wars are expensive. Cold wars and hot wars. And lately, when a Republican becomes President, the public debt spins out of control if & when there is a war on. Not quite so much when there’s a democrat President.

Is that because democrats know how to deal with finances and debt? Hah. Tell me another. Nobody, who’s paid the slightest bit of attention, can possibly take it seriously that democrats have anything to do with fiscal restraint. They don’t. It’s the wars. Republicans go ahead and deal with what’s going on, in the here-and-now; democrats put things off until some other time that might turn out to be more convenient (when a Republican can take the fall for things). So yes. Our public debt explodes when a Republican is in office, so that smaller wars can be fought at that time, when they need to be fought — rather than be allowed to putrify and become gigantic wars for someone else to deal with.

Which would, then, explode our nation’s debt anyway.

Like it or not, that’s the history of our nation. Back to the very beginning.

But back to the subject immediately under discussion —

Economics is all about cause and effect. I get that these wonderful liberal Presidents like Carter, Clinton and Obama are cause, and a “balanced budget” is the effect…lots of leftist twits have told me so…nobody’s been able to draw a line logically connecting the two together. They can’t. You don’t jump-start an economy by making it more expensive to buy goods and services.

You don’t create jobs by making it more expensive to provide those jobs.

You don’t bring down the price of a company’s products by making it more expensive for that company to bring products to market.

This stuff isn’t debated often, because there simply isn’t a debate to have about it. It’s math. Simple, third-grade math.

McCain More Negative Than Obama?

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

There’s been a slight turn in Obama’s favor as of last week. The hardcore left-wingers are predictably playing this up as hard as they can in hopes of producing a bandwagon effect to put The Chosen One over the top.

The blip isn’t as interesting to me as its perceived cause:

The change from a month ago may correlate with the perception among likely voters that the McCain campaign has been the more negative. Overall, 44% say McCain’s campaign has been the more negative, compared to 31% who say the same about Obama’s campaign. Among self-described political independents, 48% said they think McCain’s campaign has been more negative.

Are these likely voters watching the same guy I am? Ask Chosen One what he plans to do about people not getting enough Riboflavin in their diets…he’ll make it about ten words before he is forced to use the name “Bush.” And that’s being charitable. Ask him about hurricanes, he’ll make it to global warming before the first “uh,” and under-regulated greedy corporations before the second one. And use that word “Bush” probably two or three more times.

Maybe it’s that word “hope.” People have this mental weakness — they see the H-word floating past your lips, they don’t wait for substantiation. They just presume this is what you’re all about. It is a deeply engrossing word. You say “we have to have hope…and therefore I’ll be tying a hundred girl scouts to wooden stakes on my front lawn and setting ’em ablaze while they scream like banshees, and when they’re good and roasted I’ll ripe the entrails out of the bellies while they squirm some more.” All people will remember is the “hope.” Well…maybe it’s not that bad…but you get the idea. People don’t hold your feet to the fire to say something hopeful. Just throwing the syllable out there, is enough for ’em.

How do you fight this if you’re McCain? It’s a delicate question. Putting Hitler’s picture up on the television screen, captioned with “You know who ELSE was all about hope and change?” would make a compelling point, besides of a meritorious point, and on top of that would be historically accurate. But obviously this would be one step forward and three steps back. What we have here is a double standard — Obama can campaign “negatively” to the point of toxicity; McCain can’t even offer up the notion that he’s superior to the competition, let alone explore the reasons why.

Symbiosis, John. It’ll set you free. Put out three or four thirty-second spots tied to this theme, and you might as well start rehearsing your inauguration speech and vetting people for cabinet posts right there & then.

The liberal says, enact my proposal and we’ll enter into a symbiotic relationship. Next week, the liberal will have another proposal, and offer the same pitch — he won’t admit the last proposal failed to get us into this symbiotic relationship. He won’t offer to roll back this previous failed proposal. To our discredit, nobody will call on him to do so…

The conservative says we’re already in the symbiotic relationship. You are good for me. I am good for you. We can all go on doing exactly what we’re doing. The only thing we should really change is to get those damn liberals to stop voting.

The tax thing is a fantastic example of this. Obama has a plan that would call for a net increase of our taxes…and his defense is that while he would raise taxes on the evil rich, some 95% of households (or 80%, depending on your source) would see a tax cut — with those evil rich making up the difference, plus some. Therefore, depending on your point of view, it is valid to say —

1. Sum Of Parts: Obama’s plan increases the tax burden on us.

2. Vote By Tax: Obama’s plan cuts the tax burden for us.

And here come all these allegedly balanced and centrist fact-checkers, taking the second of those two points-of-view, without so much as a glance in the rear view mirror, without a scintilla of scrutiny or question. They’re saying the McCain campaign is telling lies…even though Obama would raise the overall tax liability. Truly, this is an abomination in the eyes of The Lord.

McCain, in response to this, could adopt the Morgan K. Freeberg platform of true conservatism:

Conservatives insist that taxes…exist for the purpose of raising revenue, not to punish any particular person or class of person.
Anyone who thinks people should be punished for having too much money or for making too much money, via taxes or by some other means, is invited by all good conservatives to leave the country and go live in another. (When I Start Running This Place, Item 42.) The planet is covered with envy-inspired socialist enclaves that will be most eager to accommodate…provided they let your miserable pinko communist ass in.

Well okay, he could leave that last part out. But you get the idea.

Like the frog sitting in a pot of water gradually working up to a boil, we’ve somehow been indoctrinated to the notion that “nice” people want a tax policy that takes things away from people who are having too good of a time of it, without much regard to where the collected revenues are supposed to go or how badly they are needed. In other words, “nice” people want tax policies that destroy other people. “Mean” people, on the other hand, are the ones who say there could be something wrong with this — maybe we shouldn’t be trying to destroy other people just because they have more money than most. Part of the reason this idea has taken hold, is that it hasn’t been challenged. Try challenging it.

You’ve got to try. The situation is so bad, the prevailing viewpoint so badly diseased, that the democrat party is popularly thought to be tirelessly fighting against interclass conflict. This, when nobody who’s been paying attention can name any two classes that the democrat party thinks should already be living in harmony together! Every time they run the show, all these privileged entitlement classes end up squabbling over who has the bigger and better claim to aggrieved status, so the other entitlement classes can be denied the alms, annointments, appointments and general ass-kissing.

We saw it when Obama and Hillary got down-and-dirty fighting over the democrat party nomination. Absolutely no discussion of policy disagreements at all. None. Zero. Just…whose turn is it? The blacks, or the gals? Whose feelings are gonna be hurt? And a bunch of “superdelegates” looking on, wishing they weren’t put in the postion of choosing which coveted entitlement class would be told to go stick it where the sun don’t shine.

That’s the point — they are not the change we have been seeking, because they can only put one entitlement class on the throne at a time, and the country’s way too big for their worldview. They do not believe in symbiosis and they certainly don’t believe in “diversity.” The democrat party view is that when two classes of people are different…especially if they are cosmetically different…it’s an inevitability that they have to be sent into a cage-match somewhere, and only one can come out alive. So explain why you’re different. Talk about why you picked Sarah Palin. Point out what really interests conservatives socially: Your motto, “America first,” means an end to the hyphen. We’re all just-plain Americans, and we’re all invested in how the economy does together, including the rich people. Point out that there aren’t any rich people hoping the market tanks. Point out there aren’t any men among McCain’s supporters, now expressing reluctance to go out and vote because of his DUMB OL’ GIRL running mate.

Remind us what the word “everyone” really means. Come up with some examples — there are a lot more than a few — of how the democrat party uses that word, when “some of us” is a lot closer to what they have in mind. Start out with the above-mentioned tax policy. Obama’s plan is supposed to work for all of us, and here he is defending it saying don’t worry, it only sticks it to five percent of taxpayers, the other ninety-five are sitting pretty.

Tell us that all democrat party plans are like that. That with the democrat party in charge, every little problem that comes along has a Snidely Whiplash due for a come-uppins’, even in cases where it’s inappropriate and irrelevant. Because it’s true. If anyone doubts you, talk about the Pelosi Congress. Two years in power, they’ve solved very little…but found lots of people to blame for things.

In view of that, it is quite absurd to seriously entertain the possibility Obama can bring us the “hope” or “change” anyone has in mind…let alone start debating it.

And if that doesn’t work, then Obama’s the Commander-in-Chief we deserve. Because that would mean our minds are already made up. Some young-handsome-guy comes along and uses buzzwords, presents himself as a uniter while he’s dividing people, an agent of change while naming a lifetime beltway fixture as his running mate, tax policies that work for “everyone” while making a big show out of sacrificing a tiny subset of the most productive taxpayers — and we just scarf it down. What’s the point of trying to discuss anything with an electorate like that? That’s like your kid telling you he isn’t stealing the cookies…mumbling around a mouthful of cookie. And you believing him.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News.

This Is Good LV

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Blogger friend Duffy

In an earlier post I mentioned it but only in the context of the upcoming VP debates. I completely missed something. If paying more taxes is patriotic, it stands to reason that paying less taxes is unpatriotic. Therefore, our troops in war zones who are exempt from income taxes are unpatriotic. That also means that poor people, who do not pay income tax, are unpatriotic. Obama’s efforts to exclude people from the tax roles are also unpatriotic. Joe’s deductions on his tax returns for charitable giving are unpatriotic. Any mortgage deductions are unpatriotic. Child tax credits? Unpatriotic. I could go on all day. I would really really like Joe to continue on this line.

Yes, Joe. Take these on. Babble away.

Thing I Know #164. Some ideas look serious, only because they’re never taken that way. The most devastating thing you can do to a dumb idea is to take it seriously.

I’ve noticed there is a particularly odious practice of “fact checking” about the tax plans of the prospective Obama/Biden administration — Obama/Biden is an anagram of “An Idea Bomb” — and the McCain campaign’s comments on those tax plans., to their discredit, has a wonderful example of this on their web site right now:

The ad continues McCain’s pattern of misrepresenting Sen. Barack Obama’s tax proposals as falling on middle-income families. It claims that Obama “promises more taxes on small businesses, seniors, your life savings, your family.” But that’s untrue for the vast majority of small businesses, seniors and individual taxpayers, who would see their taxes go down under Obama’s actual plan. He proposes to increase taxes only for those with more than $250,000 in family income, or $200,000 in individual income. [emphasis mine]

Via Karol, we have another such transgression committed by the AP:

Under the economic plan proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, people earning more than $250,000 a year would pay more in taxes while those earning less — the vast majority of American taxpayers — would receive a tax cut.

Although Republican John McCain claims that Obama would raise taxes, the independent Tax Policy Center and other groups conclude that four out of five U.S. households would receive tax cuts under Obama’s proposals.

Classic example of gulping the liberal koolaid without knowing you’re gulping it: “Oh don’t worry, that’s a tax on super rich people, not you!”

The pattern is that if it can be categorized as a tax cut for 95% of us, then everyone should be thinking of it as a tax cut for all of us, even if the remaining five percent see their tax liabilities go shootin’ so freakin’ high that it ends up being a net increase. It all depends on your point of view: In my world, if we all end up paying more, then we all end up paying more.

But I notice if you look at this through the left-wing lens, whether you know you’re doing it or not…like and the AP up there…then 95% of us pay less taxes.

And then if you look at that through the Biden lens — we’re just hemorrhaging our patriotism. Oh dear!

What’s the An Idea Bomb administration gonna do about that?

Cross-posted at Right Wing News


Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

Via Conservative Grapevine, a Jonah Goldberg article, one of his better ones. Actually, it’s very, very good. There’s a little bit of solid gold in each and every sentence:

It’s an old story. Loving parents provide a generous environment for their offspring. Kids are given not only ample food, clothing and shelter, but the emotional necessities as well: encouragement, discipline, self-reliance, the ability to work with others and on their own. And yet, in due course, the kids rebel. Some even say their parents never loved them, that they were unfair, indifferent, cruel. Often, such protests are sparked by parents’ refusal to be even more generous. I want a car, demands the child. Work for it, insist the parents. Why do you hate me? asks the ingrate.
People ask, “Why is there poverty in the world?” It’s a silly question. Poverty is the default human condition. It is the factory preset of this mortal coil. As individuals and as a species, we are born naked and penniless, bereft of skills or possessions. Likewise, in his civilizational infancy man was poor, in every sense. He lived in ignorance, filth, hunger and pain, and he died very young, either by violence or disease.

The interesting question isn’t “Why is there poverty?” It’s “Why is there wealth?” Or: “Why is there prosperity here but not there?”

I think an apt analogy can be drawn with cars. This car over here demands oil changes and nothing else, up to one hundred thousand…two hundred thousand…three hundred thousand miles, even more. that other car over there is up to seventy thousand and the mechanic is giving the owner the go-car-shopping speech. You can ask “Why do I need a new engine after seventy thousand miles?” Or you can ask…how come this car over here has one service record, and that car over there has a different one.

If you stick to the Goldberg paradigm and ask “why this over here and that over there?” your answer might come in the form of driver incompetence. It could…but that’s only one possible reason. You might just as likely find out that model of car isn’t known for making it to six digits on the odometer, no matter what. You might learn more severe demands were made of it; it was driven where summers are hotter, winters are colder, and heavy loads had to be towed much of the time. Maybe the oil changes weren’t done on time — it was driven well but maintained half-assed.

But to guarantee that we won’t be blaming the driver, we have to stay away from the Goldberg paradigm and ask the silly question. “Why didn’t my car last?” Goldberg is right, it’s a silly question. It’s the question people ask when they don’t really want an answer.

And that is the way we handle poverty in the world. Because we’re so “civilized.”

The Food Shrink Ray

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

You ever notice when people don’t put a lot of thought into something, they end up exaggerating their importance — and because they exaggerate their own sense of importance, paradoxically, they end up envisioning themselves as a bunch of lab rats?

That probably needs clarification. I’ll explain. Start with this article about shrinking food packages…

With fuel and delivery costs rising, food manufacturers are faced with raising their prices or giving you less, and it seems that less is the growing trend.

To Dean Smith, the two containers of Breyers ice cream looked exactly the same at his supermarket in Evansville, Ind. Then he looked closely and figured out that the old package was 1¾ quarts, while the new package was just 1½ quarts.

“You can’t tell at all,” Smith said.

But the article isn’t about ice cream. It discusses cereal, cheese discs, coffee, sausage rolls, kitchen bags…on and on. Each of them charging the same price, or more, for smaller packages.

But [Consumer Reports editor Tod] Marks said the practice was just a way to hike prices under the radar of consumers.

“It’s a shell game, call it what you will,” Marks said in an interview on NBC’s TODAY. “In these tough economic times … the worst thing that can happen for a manufacturer at this point is to raise prices. So they use this sneaky tactic of giving you less and charging you more.”

And consumers do notice.

“When you find out you’re paying more but getting less, you’re left to believe somebody is doing something wrong,” Randy Compton said on a recent shopping trip to an Apple Market in Mobile, Ala.

Okay, let’s just explore a bunny trail for a second: This complaint is going to resonate with a lot of people, who will then go on to complain how embarrassed they are in “the eyes of the rest of the world” over what huge guts and butts Americans have. And our nation is fat. And it’s true that charging more for less food is a covert way to diminish our lifestyles…but to be sincere about it, you need to put some real passion into complaining about one of those, or the other. You can’t have both.

But the primary thrust of my point here, is about the lab rats. Why do we have to imagine there’s always a sinister conspiracy. “Hah! We’ll put thirteen ounces in this ‘one pound’ package of coffee, and we’ll FOOL OUR CUSTOMERS! Muhahahahahah…!!” (Pause to twirl the tip of your bad guy mustache with your fingers.)

The truth is, this is the way competition works — the consumer is not so important as to justify such sadistic motives. And I would expect a Consumer Reports senior editor to catch on to this. If you’re charging 8.99 for a pound of coffee and your competition is charging 8.99 for a pound of coffee, and then the price of coffee goes up because the price of diesel fuel is over 5.40 a gallon, and your competition starts selling 13.5 -ounce “one pound bags” so he can keep charging 8.99…what’re you gonna do?

1. Take a loss
2. Sell your own 13.5 oz bags for 8.99
3. Keep the bags at one pound and sell them for 10.99

You don’t have to have a degree in economics or in marketing to understand options 1 and 3 are suicide.

This is nothing but economic ignorance. People had the thought in their heads that oil could go up to $150 a barrel, and the price of Nutter Butter Bars would stay exactly where it is. Well, they thought wrong. They got an education.

I do think it’s a good economic alert to sound for the retail consumer. But this is something you learn when you move out of the house and do your own laundry. All ketchup doesn’t come in 32 ounce bottles. But if you’re concerned about it, you can just read a couple numbers on the container of whatever-it-is you’re buying, and skip the economic-class-warfare Pravda propaganda articles in glossy magazines, masquerading as shopping tips.

Want a bigger jar of strawberry jam for your four bucks?

Drill here, drill now!