Saturday, August 01, 2009
Work, Jobs, and Worth
By Bruce Walker
The Left has long confused work, jobs, and worth. The Stimulus Package, the grand catastrophe, was intended to create and preserve jobs that could make America poorer, not richer. A century ago nearly everyone in America had a "job," and most had jobs on farms. Men, women, and children got up before sunrise. Women slaved with iron stoves to make breakfast, while men and boys ate in preparation for a long grueling day of generally boring work. Then the women, after doing all their chores, prepared lunch, and at sundown, they made supper.
Everyone had a job. Everyone engaged in productive labor. And everyone looked toward a hopeful future in which there would be less work that needed to be done. We reached that goal after the Second World War. Our nation had what we call "full employment," but the jobs were engineers, oil field workers, men in factories, clerks in stores and shops. We had people engaged in activities that produced goods and services which people in the free market wanted to consume.
Government can end "unemployment" tomorrow by paying people to sit home and watch television, reporting in every fifteen minutes. Instead, it has done something else. The Left has "invented" whole areas of work that no one really wants, except for those whose livelihood is connected to that industry. Consider, for moment, the civil rights "industry." One reason why this noxious doctrine is defended so fiercely is that hundreds of thousands of white collar Americans work in federal, state, local, corporate, charitable, advocacy, school, and academic bureaucracies supervising this meaningless work. No one wants the dubious "goods" these functionaries provide, but who can tell them that they are no longer needed?
Anytime government steps into our lives, it creates "jobs" which are the equivalent of one company of men digging a hole and the other company filling it in. Why doesn't the media expose this grand fraud? Because all of the major news organizations, all the journalism schools, all the self-important pundits who reside in Washington, along with all the countless armies of lobbyists, need us to believe that every single vital decision in our life is made in Washington. So we have a whole army of such odd creatures as "reporters covering the Supreme Court." Make-work in Washington, which itself makes nothing more than hot air, is seen not as a problem, but rather the way to full employment.
But what do legislative staffers "produce"? Bills which literally no one has read or analyzed or may ever fully understand? What do presidential Czars produce, except an additional layer of confusion regarding who is responsible for what policies in our government. Yet no one in Washington can imagine the farmers, oilmen, chefs, architects, nurses, car dealers, grade school teachers, policemen, drug company reserachers, surgeons, heating and air conditioning businesses or all the other folks who actually produce good and services we want could function without the unproductive employment of Washington and the unproductive employment invented and shipped to us from Washington.
This accounts for some of the weirdest language in the stimulus bill. The money cannot be used, for example, to build swimming pools or golf courses. Why, in Heavens, not? People use those. Not only that, but public swimming pools and golf courses can generate their own revenue and create more actual productive jobs for lifeguards, caddies, and café staff. It would actually make sense to fund parts of the country that lacked adequate swimming polls and golf courses, and fund their construction -- if market studies indicated even a mild chance of success.
Building a nuclear defense shield, if we really threw resources at it, could create a lot of high paying jobs for scientists and engineers. That would produce something we could use. Obama, in his stimulus, does not want that sort of work. America, to him, is rich enough already. He wants jobs that do nothing really but glorify the majesty of his Leftist doctrines. So do not look for Obama to grant each small business a big tax credit for each additional employee hired after the stimulus was passed, although small business is a mighty generator of real jobs. Look, instead, for Obama to have stimulus funds trickle down the well worn lines of federal largesse through its many pointless intermediaries until, at some point, the dregs are used to hire, say, another community organizer in Chicago.
It is hard to say whether the Left has simple contempt for productive genius or simply fear of it, but it is very easy to see that creating nominal "jobs" with no purpose seems noble and logical to those who have never really created a good or a service that consumers would actually buy in their lives.
US economy: What recovery? : Obama's insane energy policy and the Democrats' rising tide of tax increases that will sweep across the economy could send the US economy into another severe downturn. Then there is the tidal wave of money that Bernanke been built up. Unless it is permanently sterilised the US will be confronted with surging inflation, a falling dollar and rising unemployment. It won't be a pretty picture
Share markets, equities and monetary policy : In a progressing economy aggregate profits will always exceed aggregate losses. This means that equity returns must exceed the return on bonds. This explains the equity 'premium puzzle'. Unfortunately, monetary mismanagement can severely distort share markets
Witchfinder General Graeme Samuel declares war on warlocks, covens and cartels : A cartel cannot suppress competition. This is a fact that the likes of Samuel never address. Even if there is an absence of competition among its members this cannot logically be taken as meaning the absence of competition in the market place. To make this assumption Samuel would have to explain why cooperative action that generates profits does not attract competitors. Seeking out cartels is akin to economic witch finding
Democrats: Who's out of touch?: The awful truth about liberalism is its central delusion, the notion that life can be neatly organized into rational bureaucratic programs. It turns everything it touches into soulless clanking monster. The glorious truth about conservatism is its love of life. Before princes, principalities and powers comes life and love, mothers and babies, children and families, struggle and sacrifice, a city on a hill
How Obama is targeting the internet : Obama wants to appoint Cass Sunstein as head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein is of the stated opinion that Americans have been getting false information from the net, particularly concerning Obama. To that end he hopes to curb what he calls 'falsehoods' and that others call opinions The truth is that Sunstein is a mendacious political bigot and an enemy of liberty who intends to target online critics of the Obama administration
Obama shoots down the raptor : Obama cancelled the world's most advanced combat plane. The man whose reckless spending and borrowing is driving an unsustainable deficit uses his fiscal incompetence as an excuse to cut back on a project that would keep the US far in advance of any opposing air force. So billions for boondoggles are good for the US economy but billions to effectively defend Americans is not
Under the radar: 10th Amendment Movement picks up steam: Millions of Americans watch with horror as the Obama administration continues to implement its own version of 'change.' Change that involves an unprecedented and systematic devolution of power to the federal government, in direct contravention of the Constitution
A racist administration? Black Panthers immune from prosecution over thuggery? "Congressional Republicans on Thursday escalated their criticism of the Justice Department for dismissing a controversial voter-intimidation case, demanding that civil charges against the New Black Panther Party be restored. They also renewed their request to interview career attorneys who disagreed with the administration's decision to dismiss the charges. Rep. Frank R. Wolf of Virginia, a senior Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, obtained an opinion Thursday from the Congressional Research Service (CRS) affirming that charges could legally be refiled without violating the double-jeopardy clause of the U.S. Constitution and said he thought Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was obligated to refile the case. "In all fairness, he has a duty to protect those seeking to vote and I remain deeply troubled by this questionable dismissal of an important voter-intimidation case in Philadelphia," Mr. Wolf told The Washington Times."
US government to stop idiot “cash for clunkers” scheme: "The government plans to suspend its popular ‘cash for clunkers’ program amid concerns it could quickly use up the $1 billion in rebates for new car purchases, congressional officials said Thursday. The Transportation Department called lawmakers’ offices to alert them to the decision to suspend the program at midnight Thursday. The program offers owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle. The congressional officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Rae Tyson, a spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which administers the program, declined comment.”
Why not a public option for automobile insurance?: “Why are the Administration and Congressional leaders so intent on having the federal government compete with private health insurers — but not with State Farm, Allstate, and other companies that write car insurance? Why not a new Fedicrash option? Only the government, we are told, can keep the corporations honest, and prod them to develop innovative products. Why would this apply only to health insurance?”
Stimulus bill funds going to porn houses: "“Talk about a stimulus package. The National Endowment for the Arts may be spending some of the money it received from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund nude simulated-sex dances, Saturday night ‘pervert’ revues and the airing of pornographic horror films at art houses in San Francisco. The NEA was given $80 million of the government’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill to spread around to needy artists nationwide, and most of the money is being spent to help preserve jobs in museums, orchestras, theaters and dance troupes that have been hit hard by the recession. But some of the NEA’s grants are spicing up more than the economy.”
The criminalization of a generation: “Ten years ago I received a t-shirt from the October 22 Coalition. The back of the shirt read ‘Stop the Criminalization of a Generation.’ The Coalition’s focus is on police brutality, but the slogan can, unfortunately, be applied to many other situations. A recent trend, for example, is the crackdown on ’sexting.’ … District attorneys across the country have begun to criminalize teenagers who decide to send nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to lovers, friends, or others (sometimes by mistake). Minors taking provocative pictures of themselves are no longer experimenting with their sexuality and their bodies, they are now creator-victims of child pornography.”
Hillary out to strong-arm Swiss: “First we attacked Afghanistan. Then we attacked Iraq. Now the U.S. has it sights set on Switzerland. Peaceful, neutral Switzerland? That’s right. What’s the crime? It’s not sponsoring terrorism or harboring weapons of mass destruction. No, in the eyes of the U.S. government, Switzerland has done far worse: it’s kept money out of the hands of the Internal Revenue Service, money to which the IRS may not even be entitled under any law anywhere.”
Defending freedom in the age of Obama: “Back [in 1993] we were facing some of the same assaults to the free market and individual liberty that confront us today. Hillary Clinton was leading the charge for government provided ‘universal health care’ and President Bill Clinton and members of his inner circle, such as economist Robert Reich, had resurrected talk of government guiding the workings of the market through ‘industrial policy’ and advocated the placing additional mandates on employers. The fact that we are arguing many of these same issues now, 16 years later, points to the fact that those of us who believe that protecting individual liberty is the primary role of the government, came out, to a significant degree, victorious in those previous battles. ‘Hillary Care’ went down to defeat, industrial policy did not take off, and though we lost the argument on increasing the minimum wage and other employer mandates, we did win on achieving meaningful welfare reform. On the flip side, however, our renewal of many of these same debates reflects the fact that we did not win the ideological war.” (You can't win it. Ideology is not about facts. It is about hatreds)
21 has lost its buzz: Time to lower drinking age: “Somewhere in America, there may be a college student who is dissuaded from drinking by Legal Age 21. It’s a big country, you know. But exactly 25 years after Washington turned 18-, 19- and 20-year-old drinkers into criminals, the evidence is piling up like a mountain of crushed Budweiser cans: Despite fine intentions by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other anti-alcohol groups, the 21-year-old drinking age actually has caused more harm than good. It’s promoted dangerous binge drinking on American campuses. It’s pushed underage drinkers into dorm rooms, frat houses and moving automobiles. It’s led to a wave of alcohol-fueled assaults and other destructive behavior.”
Is a new bubble being formed? : “Again, the bubble is being filled with bad investments. A recession is a time when we should sort out bad investments and transfer capital and labour from failed sectors into more competitive industries. Instead, it seems as if European politicians would like to keep failed investments on life support until economic growth makes it possible for them to survive on their own. The result may be a delayed return to healthy economic growth. Moreover, European leaders appear not to have understood that government failures contributed to the crisis, not just market failures. A failing that the markets and governments shared in was the creation of a monoculture. Banks did so by using the same standards and computer models; governments did so by harmonising regulation.”
Bolivia: First law prohibiting animals in circuses: “Bolivia has enacted what animal rights defenders are calling the world’s first law that prohibits the use of animals in circuses. A handful of other countries have banned the use of wild animals in circuses, but the Bolivian ban includes domestic animals as well. The law, which states that the use of animals in circuses ‘constitutes an act of cruelty,’ took effect on July 1 and operators have a year to comply, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ximena Flores. The law was proposed after an undercover investigation by the nonprofit London-based group Animal Defenders International, or ADI, found widespread abuse in circuses operating in Bolivia.”
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 12:42 AM