Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dismantling America: Part II

Thomas Sowell

"We the people" are the central concern of the Constitution, as well as its opening words, since it is a Constitution for a self-governing nation. But "we the people" are treated as an obstacle to circumvent by the current administration in Washington.

One way of circumventing the people is to rush legislation through Congress so fast that no one knows what is buried in it. Did you know that the so-called health care reform bill contained a provision creating a tax on people who buy and sell gold coins?

You might debate whether that tax is a good or a bad idea. But the whole point of burying it in legislation about medical insurance is to make sure "we the people" don't even know about it, much less have a chance to debate it, before it becomes law.

Did you know that the huge financial reform bill that has been similarly rushed through Congress, too fast for anyone to read it, has a provision about "inclusion" of women and minorities? Pretty words like "inclusion" mean ugly realities like quotas. But that too is not something that "we the people" are to be allowed to debate, because it too was sneaked through.

Not since the Norman conquerors of England published their laws in French, for an English-speaking nation, centuries ago, has there been such contempt for the people's right to know what laws were being imposed on them.

Yet another ploy is to pass laws worded in vague generalities, leaving it up to the federal bureaucracies to issue specific regulations based on those laws. "We the people" can't vote on bureaucrats. And, since it takes time for all the bureaucratic rules to be formulated and then put into practice, we won't know what either the rules or their effects are prior to this fall's elections when we vote for (or against) those who passed these clever laws.

The biggest circumvention of "we the people" was of course the so-called "health care reform" bill. This bill was passed with the proviso that it would not really take effect until after the 2012 presidential elections. Between now and then, the Obama administration can tell us in glowing words how wonderful this bill is, what good things it will do for us, and how it has rescued us from the evil insurance companies, among its many other glories.

But we won't really know what the actual effects of this bill are until after the next presidential elections-- which is to say, after it is too late. Quite simply, we are being played for fools.

Much has been made of the fact that families making less than $250,000 a year will not see their taxes raised. Of course they won't see it, because what they see could affect how they vote.

But when huge tax increases are put on electric utility companies, the public will see their electricity bills go up. When huge taxes are put on other businesses as well, they will see the prices of the things those businesses sell go up.

If you are not in that "rich" category, you will not see your own taxes go up. But you will be paying someone else's higher taxes, unless of course you can do without electricity and other products of heavily taxed businesses. If you don't see this, so much the better for the Obama administration politically.

This country has been changed in a more profound way by corrupting its fundamental values. The Obama administration has begun bribing people with the promise of getting their medical care and other benefits paid for by other people, so long as those other people can be called "the rich." Incidentally, most of those who are called "the rich" are nowhere close to being rich.

A couple making $125,000 a year each are not rich, even though together they reach that magic $250,000 income level. In most cases, they haven't been making $125,000 a year all their working lives. Far more often, they have reached this level after decades of working their way up from lower incomes-- and now the government steps in to grab the reward they have earned over the years.

There was a time when most Americans would have resented the suggestion that they wanted someone else to pay their bills. But now, envy and resentment have been cultivated to the point where even people who contribute nothing to society feel that they have a right to a "fair share" of what others have produced.

The most dangerous corruption is a corruption of a nation's soul. That is what this administration is doing.



Obama Demagogues Private Enterprise

Long-term private investments beat social security, despite downturns. I know. I am of retirement age but get nothing from the Australian government because I have been investing for many years and get a good income from those investments -- and I continued to do so throughout the financial crisis

Mind you, people who go for speculative "get rich quick" investments usually get what they deserve. I buy blue chips -- JR

John Stossel

Last weekend, President Obama pandered for votes by trashing Social Security privatization.

"I'd have thought that debate would've been put to rest once and for all by the financial crisis we've just experienced," Obama said. "(N)o one would want to place bets with Social Security on Wall Street."

Such demagoguery sells. It's probably been poll-tested. Many Americans fear privatizing anything they've come to view as government work. They object to privately managed roads, independent charter schools, private prisons, etc., despite private companies' repeated success at providing better service while lowering costs.

Private retirement accounts seem particularly threatening. Rep. Paul Ryan includes a version in his budget-reform package. But as The Washington Post said, "(F)ew GOP lawmakers today support the idea...." What a shame.

Social Security is popular but unsustainable. Its commitments over the next 75 years exceed its expected revenue by $5.3 trillion. Politicians know this, but pander anyway.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Sharron Angle, who's challenging Reid's re-election bid in Nevada, of "raiding" the Social Security trust fund because Angle has talked about phasing out Social Security. There are two problems with that statement -- as Reid must know: First, there never has been a trust fund! Your FICA tax payments were not saved or invested. Social Security transferred them to current retirees. Second, in return for IOUs, Congress raided Social Security's budget surplus every year and spent like any other tax revenue.

Now the days of surplus are over. Unless benefits are cut and the retirement age is raised, the deficits will only grow. When Social Security passed in 1935, most Americans died before age 65. There were many workers and few retirees. Ten years later, there were still almost 42 workers for each retiree. Five years afterward, the ratio slipped to about 17 to 1. Now it's 3.4 to 1. Thirty years from now, the ratio is projected to be 2 to 1.

That won't work. Workers cannot afford to give up half their earnings to pay others' retirement benefits. It would be far better to begin partial privatization now.

But what about Obama's point that President George W. Bush's privatization plan would have been a disaster because the market crashed?

Obama is just wrong. For one thing, under the privatization plans backed by the Cato Institute and others, retirees and near-retirees wouldn't have been affected by the 2008 stock-market decline. Only younger workers would have diverted some of their money from government to capital markets. They would have had time to recover (unless government continued to screw up and cripple the private sector).

Second, even with the 2008 decline, the picture is not nearly as bad as Obama implies. Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute ran the numbers for a hypothetical worker who retired in 2008, right after the market crash, after a career under a partially privatized Social Security program.

"A typical retiree in 2008 would be entitled to a traditional Social Security benefit of around $15,700 per year," Biggs writes. "For workers who chose personal accounts, this traditional benefit would be reduced by around $7,800. However, the worker's personal account balance of $161,500 would pay an annual annuity benefit of around $10,100. This $2,300 net benefit increase would raise total Social Security benefits by around 15 percent."

Biggs adds: "While today's retiree would have faced the subprime crisis and the tech bubble earlier in the decade, he also would have benefited from the bull markets of the 1980s and 1990s. The average return on his account -- 4.9 percent above inflation -- would more than compensate for a reduced traditional benefit."

No can say the future will be like the past, but we know what the future of the government's scheme holds: postponed retirement and/or reduced benefits and/or crushing taxes and (most likely, I think) a near-worthless dollar because politicians will print money to "keep" their deceitful pension promises.

Privatization is better. Everything that works well -- everything that brings innovation and prosperity -- comes from the private sector. Obama is irresponsible to campaign against that.

There's no ideal fix. But our best hope is separation of economy and government.



Would a GOP Congress fix anything?

During the last two years, Democrats have amassed unprecedented growth of federal government power in the forms of bailouts, corporate takeovers, favors to their political allies and nationalization of our health care system. My question is how likely is it for Republicans to behave differently if they gain control? Their past behavior doesn't make one confident that they will behave much differently, but I could be wrong.

If Republicans win the House of Representatives, there are measures they should take in their first month of office, and that is to undo most of what the Democratically controlled Congress has done. If they don't win a veto-proof Senate, they can't undo Obamacare but the House alone can refuse to fund any part of it. There are numerous blocking tactics that a Republican-controlled House can take against those hell-bent on trampling on our Constitution. The question is whether they will have guts and principle to do it. After all, many Americans, including those who are Republicans, have a stake in big government control, special privileges and handouts.

Ultimately, we Americans must act to ensure that our liberty does not depend on personalities in Washington. Our founders tried to do that with our Constitution. Thomas Jefferson offered us a solution when he said, "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then."




Barney gets something right: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be abolished rather than reformed as part of the Obama administration’s planned overhaul of the government’s role in housing finance, Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services committee, said on Tuesday. ‘They should be abolished,’ Frank said in an interview on Fox Business, when asked whether the mortgage giants should be elements in housing market reform. ‘The only question is what do you put in their place,’ Frank said.”

Feisty Russian Christian: "A Russian tycoon has told 6,000 workers at his private dairy company that they’ll be fired if they’ve ever had an abortion, or if those who are ‘living in sin’ don’t get married within two months. Vasily Boiko, who officially changed his name to Boiko-Veliky, which means ‘Boiko the Great,’ has set a deadline of October 14 — a Russian Orthodox Church holiday — for any of his unmarried employees who live with a partner to get married, or get fired. ‘We have about 6,000 employees, most of whom are Orthodox, and I expect them to be faithful and to repent,’ Boiko told Reuters last week. His order came in an internal memo to workers at Russkoye Moloko, which means ‘Russian milk’ and whose products are sold in many Russian supermarkets. Boiko told Ekho Moskvy radio that a woman who’s had an abortion ‘can no longer be an employee of our company … We don’t want to work with killers.’”

Our one-term president: "It’s a good bet right now that Barack Obama will be a one-term president. The enthusiasm that once shielded this hyphenated American has dissipated. His supporters, although still numerous, have discovered that he lacks Bill Clinton’s centrist instincts, and even his charm. The anti-Bush mania that swept the country from 2006-09 finally burned itself out. It’s always possible that the Republicans will nominate a dud. That has happened so often that it should even be considered likely. Not since 1980 has there been an outstanding GOP candidate. But at this stage it’s too difficult to predict the 2012 nominee, so I’ll drop that subject.”

Florida: New Senate poll shows Crist in trouble as Rubio surges: "Republican Marco Rubio has nudged ahead of independent Charlie Crist in Florida's nationally watched U.S. Senate race in a hypothetical three-way matchup with Democrat Kendrick Meek, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released Saturday. Rubio led Crist in the poll 38 percent to 33 percent, with 18 percent for Meek and 11 percent undecided. The statewide poll of 625 registered voters indicates that Rubio, a conservative Cuban-American from Miami, has gained strength over the past three months."


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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)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very correct. Nazism is a Fascist variant, in which the state controls commercial enterprise; as compared to Socialism, where the state owns the enterprise. In either case, totalitarianism rises from the Left.