Thursday, October 21, 2010

Covetous Democrats

"Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Goods."

The Democrats' philosophy can be summed up in this single precept -- covet what thy richer neighbors have. Democrats believe in a zero-sum game. For their entire philosophy of scarcity to function and breed class warfare, they must promote the idea that the world has a finite amount of wealth and that if John has more, it's not because he worked for it. It's because he somehow stole it from someone else. We'll call him Sam.

Government doesn't produce anything of value in the marketplace. It contracts with private concerns to build, grow, manufacture, or otherwise provide them. This includes important matters like defense. Therefore, in order to implement their plan, government's agents must first take from others.

The Democrats need many people on their side to support this, so class warfare ensues. It is easy enough to blame the "rich" for everything. They have it all. Fostering envy and coveting something that belongs to someone else is the oldest trick in the book, and it never works out well. Ask Eve.

The "rich" are a great target because they can bear greater burdens and seldom fire back until it's too late. But it's not a perfect socialist world, and even taxing the rich won't pay for everything the less fortunate want. With fewer than 2.3 million "rich" in the U.S. who qualify as millionaires, those who do not qualify can't afford to be so picky, so they must expand what being "wealthy" means.

In a Human Events article, "Obama's Biggest Lies," Donald Lambro illustrates this clearly: "According to Forbes magazine, there were only 469 billionaires in the U.S. and 2.2 million whose net worth was at least $1 million (this includes home values). But the higher taxes will fall on millions more small business employers who earn over $200,000 and who provide most of the jobs in our country."

European socialist models depend upon wealth redistribution, which follows this idea of scarcity. There is only so much wealth or property to go around, so it must be "managed" if we're to be "fair" to everyone, and of course, only the elite left is wise enough to know how to fairly manage these assets for everyone's benefit.

This certainly seems to be how it worked out in the (former) Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba. It seems to be equally true in Greece and France. Great Britain and Germany have been so impressed with socialism's results that they are turning en masse from its principles.

Liberals love to ignore the obvious. If this absurd idea of wealth scarcity were true, the world would have run out of money thousands of years ago. There would be no point to creating a new product or innovation because there would be no market for it, no reward, and no profit to be made.

A fair opportunity is not the same thing as a fair outcome.

It is counterintuitive for a people whose business is business to subscribe to a philosophy that declares private salaries and profits "excessive," since it is the private investor and shareholder who took the risk in the first place and who hire the very workers who now demand a piece of the pie. Few share in the risk, yet all should share in the reward. Certainly sounds "fair" to me.

When the top 50% pay over 95% of all taxes and the bottom 50% pays less than 5%, something is very wrong. Liberals put forward a zero-sum philosophy but are burning up the money presses 24/7. What's wrong with this picture?

Jesus said the poor will be with us always.

A nirvana "Star Trek" world without money, without sickness, and without envy ignores reality. Yet not only do the Left pretend this is possible, but they sell the idea by using envy and government checks like candy from their pocket. They sell this idea to those in need, taking power in exchange for promises they cannot possibly keep. They have merely shifted the burden, first to "the rich," and then always expanding according to ever-increasing needs to the entire producing half of the country. This is not fairness. This is lust for power. This is the face of tyranny in disguise.



In Obamacare Wonderland: Courts reject key defense for the individual mandate

Legal arguments for Obamacare's individual mandate fail the "Alice in Wonder- land" test and the duck test. In two court challenges to the law in the past 11 days and a court hearing today on a third, the Obama administration's legal position is fading faster than the Cheshire Cat.

Democrats took some solace from the first case, a challenge in Michigan, because Judge George C. Steeh ultimately ruled in favor of Obamacare. Yet even though that Clinton-appointed judge refused to declare the mandate unconstitutional, he undercut the administration's key argument that the penalty for failing to buy insurance is a "tax," and that the mandate it enforces is allowable within the broad taxing power provided by the Constitution. "The provisions of the Health Care Reform Act at issue here, for the most part, have nothing to do with the assessment or collection of taxes," Judge Steeh ruled.

This is so important that the federal district judge in Florida, in Thursday's preliminary ruling in the second case, spent 22 pages analyzing it. If the fine is a penalty rather than a tax, Congress' power is far less extensive. Judge Roger Vinson noted Congress repeatedly called the fine a "penalty," explicitly changing its description from a "tax" that earlier versions of the bill assessed by name. Citing Alice's admonition to Humpty Dumpty that words can't "mean so many different things" as Humpty intended, Judge Vinson concluded, "Congress should not be permitted to secure and cast politically difficult votes on controversial legislation by deliberately calling something one thing ... [only to] argue in court that Congress really meant something else entirely."

Judge Vinson explained that no matter what Congress called it, the assessment was designed to act as a punishment, not a revenue measure. Hence, it's not a tax. His 22-page analysis is an exposition of the logic that if something is called a duck, acts like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck - and the same goes for a penalty.

The tax issue is vital because it's the Obama administration's fallback position if it loses on the first and biggest dispute, which is whether Congress has the power under the Commerce Clause not only to regulate commerce, but to force individuals to engage in specific commerce. "At this stage in the litigation, this is not even a close call," Judge Vinson stated. "The power [claimed by the administration] is simply without prior precedent."

Judge Henry E. Hudson in Virginia reached the same conclusion in a preliminary ruling in the third case against Obamacare. He wrote that the mandate doesn't regulate commerce, as the Constitution allows, but instead regulates "a virtual state of repose - or idleness - the converse of activity." Judge Hudson hears oral arguments in that case today. He ought to deliver another strong blow against Obamacare so that not even the king's horses can put the law together again.



Top 10 ways government kills jobs in America

Our politicians all seem to agree on at least one thing: There will be no recovery unless America gets back to work.

But that’s often where the agreement ends. Once you move on to discuss how to get America back to work, opinions begin to diverge.

In general, the worst thing for job creation is a poor entrepreneurial climate. Such a climate is brought on by the large fiscal debt, unpredictable health care costs, and a generally anti-business and pro-regulation approach by government.

In the run-up to the midterm elections, all of us should be thinking about “climate change”—about the best ways to create jobs in our nation. We’ll hear lots of talk about recovery and stimulus, about fairness and equity, the future and change.

As we listen to the rhetoric, remember the reality. These are the Top job killers in America.

1. Uncertainty and business: What you don’t know can (and does) hurt you. Businesses plan around rules. And they are unlikely to invest if they can’t be reasonably sure about what the rules will be. When things are uncertain, businesses hold back cash to protect themselves—and this kills jobs. My colleague Allan Meltzer has made this point in two recent WSJ op-eds: “High uncertainty is the enemy of investment and growth,” he declares in one. “The most important restriction on investment today is not tight monetary policy, but uncertainty about administration policy,” he argues in the other.

2. Uncertainty and the consumer: Uncertainty isn’t just bad for companies—it’s bad for consumers, too. If I think government policy may provoke a double dip in the economy and my job is on the line, there’s no way I’m going out to buy a new car. For that matter, even the possibility of a huge gas tax would make me less likely to make a car purchase decision. All this kills jobs.

3. High corporate taxes: Americans are shocked to learn that we have some of the highest corporate taxes in the world. In fact, Japan is the only developed country with a higher corporate tax rate than the United States. Whether we like it or not, the corporate tax is a tax on jobs. It makes it more expensive for firms to function, which costs jobs. But even worse, it drives companies to find more tax-friendly environments in other countries.

4. Unhealthy health insurance costs: The high health insurance costs associated with hiring new workers hits small businesses particularly hard, according to AEI economist Aparna Mathur. Government health mandates specify exactly what kinds of coverage have to be included in insurance policies. This makes increasing headcount a costly exercise, and so kills jobs. One major CEO told me recently that his hiring was stunted by the new mandate to cover workers’ kids up to age 26.

5. The threat of unionization: In a global economy, it’s fairly simple for a lot of firms to avoid unionization: They can move overseas and take their jobs with them. Policies that favor unions make this decision more attractive.

6. Inability to hire and fire: In Europe, government regulations and employment protection laws reduce the flexibility of firms to downsize their operations when they need to. They also discourage those same firms from upsizing their operations when they would otherwise do so, and are thus a job killer. This is why Spain has a 20% unemployment rate (and about 40% among workers under 25). Restrictions on firing are a job killer.

7. Trade restrictions: Free trade favors consumers everywhere, and benefits workers in industries where America has a comparative advantage. Tariffs and other barriers benefit industries that are already in decline. This is why economists always tell us that over the long run, trade barriers and slow modernization are a net job killer.

8. Credit: Poor credit access especially hurts new and young firms that are eager to expand their operations. The new Consumer Financial Protection Agency could make matters worse by expanding burdensome regulation of these financial markets, killing jobs in the process.

9. Increasing unemployment insurance: Everyone wants to ease the burden on the unemployed, so it is tempting to extend unemployment insurance, as our government has recently—today, to as much as 73 additional weeks. Unfortunately, this kills jobs and economic recovery. Harvard economist Robert Barro estimates that if unemployment insurance had not been expanded, the unemployment rate would now be 6.8% rather than 9.5%.

10. Encouraging frivolous lawsuits: This increases the costs of doing business in America, with one study estimating that we waste as much as $900 billion a year on excessive tort litigation—that’s 6.5 percent of GNP or $12,000 annually for a family of four. As a result, company capital that could be used for expansion and job creation goes to the trial lawyers instead. And like so many anti-business measures, such litigation drives up costs for consumers, which reduces demand and kills jobs even more.



Some miscellaneous notes:

Horror stories about Britain's socialized medicine system are more or less routine on my EYE ON BRITAIN blog but the story leading yesterday's posts I found particularly disturbing. It will certainly horrify anyone with libertarian views. You have no right to go to hell in your own way in Britain. On AUSTRALIAN POLITICS today there are also two stories about failures of socialized medicine in Australia.

I have recently added a few things to my sidebar here. My comments on monarchy might evoke a few responses from some American readers.

As regular readers here will be aware, in addition to my political blogs which I update daily, I have two irregularly updated blogs which I put up mainly for my own amusement -- my Personal blog and Paralipomena . I gather that some readers here do occasionally look at them so I thought I might note that I have added a bit to both in recent times.



A brain-dead Obama appointee at work: "An HIV-positive prisoner (Anthony Pitre) is transferred to a prison where all inmates are required to do hard labor. He doesn’t like hard labor and so, in protest, he refuses to take his HIV meds. As a result, he’s less fit for hard labor. But prison officials say: “Too bad, you still have to do hard labor like everyone else.” Pitre then sues the prison for “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Constitution. The magistrate judge dismisses the claim as “patently frivolous.” The federal district court agrees. The Fifth Circuit agrees. Eight Supreme Court justices refuse to hear the case — with Justice Sotomayor dissenting. In a four-page dissent (highly unusual for a routine denial of certiorari), Sotomayor argues that Pitre had demonstrated that prison officials acted with “deliberate indifference” in violation of the Eighth Amendment" [Cruel and unusual punishment]

Federal appeals court reinstates “don’t ask, don’t tell”: "A federal appeals court Wednesday reinstated ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ the military’s policy forbidding openly gay troops from serving. A three-judge panel granted the Justice Department’s emergency request to allow the policy to remain on the books so that the appeals court could have more time to fully consider the issues presented.”

Pilot refuses full-body scan, patdown: "A pilot who refused to submit to a full-body scan or the alternative pat down going through airport security said the procedures violate his rights. … [Michael] Roberts said TSA security measures are ineffective, and cited concerns for his rights and privacy in refusing the procedures. ‘I was trying to avoid this assault on my person, and I’m not willing to have images of my nude body produced for some stranger in another room to look at either,’ Roberts told CNN. The TSA said in a statement that ’security [sic] is not optional’ and any person who refuses security screening is not allowed to fly.”


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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)


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