Calling socialists liberals is as deceptive as calling goose gizzards foie gras. It fools no one but the epistemologically blinkered. The term liberal allows liberals to pose as concerned, generous and forward-thinking individuals and to act under what was once an honorable term for anyone who advocated or endorsed liberty. And as any well-read American knows, liberals do not advocate liberty. Quite the opposite.
The subject here is the devolution of the term liberal, not its evolution.
Even out-and-out communists are called liberals. President Barack Obama is called a "liberal." The late Senator Ted Kennedy was called a "liberal." Barney Frank is a liberal. Obama's cabinet is largely staffed by liberals (unless outed, as self-confessed communist Van Jones was). Communism and socialism still carry a bad reputation, so everyone, including the Main Stream Media, and even well-intentioned pundits and commentators friendly to liberty, use the term liberal. The MSM, however, does it to dodge the reputation. Others use it from habit or ignorance, or because calling liberals socialists or communists in drag might open a can of worms they couldn't handle. This is courtesy carried to a fault. Underlying the fault is a fear of the inevitable clash between those who advocate freedom, and those who do not.
Obama's campaign slogan, "Forward," is simply a Progressive marching order. "Forward" to what? To socialism. To communism. To a command economy and a slave state, one half governed by bureaucrats, the other half by an alliance of Islam and quivering religionists of various stripes, willing to pay jizya to Islam in order to be granted their "religious freedom."
The Washington Post trumpeted "Forward" with no reservations or even curiosity about its Communist and Nazi origins. But then the Washington Post has been in the Saul Alinsky camp for over a generation.
One Alinsky benefactor was Wall Street investment banker Eugene Meyer, who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1930 to 1933. Meyer and his wife Agnes co-owned The Washington Post. They used their newspaper to promote Alinsky.
Agnes Meyer personally wrote a six-part series in 1945, praising Alinsky's work in Chicago slums. Her series, called "The Orderly Revolution," made Alinsky famous. President Truman ordered 100 reprints of it.
In 1989, The New York Times waxed poetic about Alinsky's powerful friends, and also provided some important information in the course of a review of a biography of Alinsky by Sanford D. Horwitt:
By the end of World War II Alinsky had won a measure of national renown. His ''Reveille for Radicals'' (1945) hit the best-seller list, and he secured the fervent support of important liberals like Agnes E. Meyer of The Washington Post and the retail magnate Marshall Field 3d. Though it undercuts his larger portrait, Mr. Horwitt shows that much of Alinsky's acclaim rested upon his promise that social reform and a democratic revival could take place through what Meyer called an ''orderly revolution,'' which would bypass the new power of the unions and reject the growth of an intrusive New Deal state. Thus ''Reveille for Radicals,'' which ostensibly celebrated social conflict, was panned by most of the left but acclaimed by Time, The New York Times and other mass circulation publications.
Neither Time, nor the Washington Post, nor the New York Times has changed its tune. If anything, they have grown more shrill from the standpoint of endorsing not just Alinsky but socialism. But they repress that term socialism, and deny they are of the Left. They'll admit only that they're "progressive" because, you see, they're "humanitarians." Well, so were Pol Pot, and Mao, and Stalin, and Lenin, and Hitler. So are Robert Mugabe, and Hugo Chavez, and Ahmadinejad, and all the Kings of Saudi Arabia.
But, what are uncountable millions of dead of humanitarianism, when "progress" has been made, and man has been nudged "forward" into impoverished, straight-jacketed societies?
Let's set the record straight. Liberals are fundamentally collectivists. Specifically, either socialists or communists. Their policies and programs are demonstrably socialist or communist, whether one is speaking of Social Security, Medicare, the Federal Reserve, the income tax, and innumerable regulatory and confiscatory programs and policies, practically every bit of legislation that has been entered into The Congressional Record and The Federal Register for the last one hundred years. The term liberal should be retired, put out to pasture, and substituted with the appropriate and correct terms.
Here is a sampling of definitions of the term liberal:
1. Having, expressing, or following political views or policies that favor civil liberties, democratic reforms, and the use of government power to promote social progress3. Of, designating, or belonging to a political party that advocates liberal social or political views, esp. in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. The American Heritage Dictionary (Houghton Mifflin Company) 1985. (This is the first definition. Root meanings connected with generosity, open-mindedness, tolerance, etc., follow it. This is a significant order.)
6a. Of, favoring, or based on the principles of liberalism. 6b. Of or constituting a political party advocating or associated with the principles of political liberalism; esp. of or constituting a political party in the United Kingdom associated with ideas of individual esp. economic freedom, greater individual participation in government, and constitutional, political, and administrative reform designed to secure those objectives. Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary (G. & C. Merriam Company) 1967. (Meanings connected with generosity, tolerance, etc. precede the political meanings.)
II. 1. Any person who advocates liberty of thought, speech, or action; one who is opposed to conservatism: distinguished from radical. 2. Liberal party, a party in English politics formed by the coalition of the Whigs and Radicals about 1830: opposed to Tory. The Practical Standard Dictionary of the English Language (Funk & Wagnalls Company) 1939. (Meanings connected with generosity, etc. precede the political ones.)
3. (Polit.) Favorable to democratic reform and individual liberty, (moderately) progressive (the Liberal Party). The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Sixth Edition, 1976. (Here, too, meanings connected with generosity, etc., precede the political definition. This is an acceptable condensation of the term from the two-volume Compact edition of the OED, 1971, whose entry is about half a foot in length in very tiny print, most of whose information is not relevant to my purpose here.)
Notice that the older the dictionary, the more liberty-linked the definition is. The American Heritage definition marks the end of the road for the term liberal, stressing the use of government power to promote social progress. Social progress is a catch-all euphemism for the collectivization of society and the assumption of more and more power by the government. It does not mean the liberation of men from other men's alleged needs or claimed "rights," but the forced or legislated chaining of all men to each other's alleged needs or alleged, government sanctioned "entitlements." It is the devious and misleading byword for incremental socialism, or Progressivism.
You will never hear Brian Williams of NBC or Bob Schieffer of CBS counter George Will or Charles Krauthammer with a statement, "But, we the Left don't think that's a good policy" You will never hear them admit that they are of and for the Left. That would be "telling," as a con artist's "tell" is a warning that he's about to scam you.
Why unions hurt the middle class
Big Labor is Fighting UsBy David Nace — For decades we have been told that unions help the middle class. We have heard it from unions, from politicians that receive union contributions and from a sympathetic media. However, when one examines the facts, this claim is completely false.
How can an organization that represents a small minority the workforce, just over 10%, but whose actions force the other 90% to pay higher prices for everything they purchase and in addition, higher local, state and federal taxes, claim they are helping the middle class? Yet that is exactly the claim that unions and their political supporters have made for decades.
Even in times of greatly expanding union membership, the middle class paid a price for union expansion through higher unemployment and higher prices. Starting in 1933, FDR used the National Industrial Recovery Act (NRA) to encourage companies to establish cartels in most industries and set the minimum prices that could be charged in exchange for favorable unionization policies in their companies. These policies more than doubled the number of union members in just one decade. The Supreme Court ruled that the NRA was unconstitutional 2 years later, but the damage had already been done.
The NRA increased the cost of products by 40% at a time when few people could afford higher prices. Consequently, industrial production fell by 25% after the NRA was enacted. To put this into perspective, by 1930 the economy had already started to recover from the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Unemployment which was 5% before the crash had spiked at 9% in the winter of 1929 and then started to fall. Once the Smoot Hawley Tariff, NRA and other progressive policies were enacted, however, unemployment rose from 9% to 20% and stayed above 15% for the rest of the decade. It was not until the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and 12 million people were inducted into the military, that employment returned to pre-Stock Market Crash levels.
Today, union membership is a far cry from its peak in the 1950’s when 30% of the workforce was unionized. Only about 10% of the workforce is unionized and approximately half works for local, state and federal governments.
When unions in a manufacturing company make wage or benefit demands or impose restrictive work rules, they raise the cost of products that the company makes. If few other companies make that product, the other 90% of the middle class is forced to pay higher prices. However in many cases, suppliers in other countries are able to provide that product at a lower cost. This eliminates American middle class jobs. The demise of the steel and auto industries is a perfect example of what happens when union demands exceed the realities of the market place. When an entire industry is decimated by the exorbitant wages and benefits of a few unionized companies, the middle class is hurt by lost jobs throughout that industry.
Unions in the public sector are even more damaging to the middle class. As the result of unions using member dues to help elect both Democratic and Republican politicians that will support union wages and benefit demands, only 10% of the workforce is able to impose costs that the other 90% of taxpayers must pay for. When these same politicians allow extravagant retirement benefits in union contracts, but fail to fund the benefits to avoid making the taxpayers aware of the true costs, the middle class is hurt even more. Many states will not allow the modification of union retirement benefits regardless of the extravagance of the benefits or the cost to the taxpayers. The middle class taxpayer is ultimately left to fund the benefits promised by union supported politicians but never funded.
Unions have done an excellent job of portraying themselves as the defender of the middle class. In reality, whether the union concentration is 30% or 10%, the only people that have benefited from unionization are union members and union leaders, to the detriment of the rest of the middle class.
'Taxmaggedon' Is a Real Threat
Next year's scheduled increases on dividends and capital gains will retard investment and derail the recovery
Nine years ago this month Congress passed President George W. Bush's Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act. That bill's lower rates on capital, as well as the continuity in tax policy it established, have helped make our economy far more resilient.
The legislation's centerpiece was a reduction in the taxation of dividends and capital gains to 15%. Unfortunately, the 2003 tax rates, including those on capital income, are due to expire at the end of the year.
Capital warrants special tax treatment because of the central role it plays in generating economic growth and jobs. Capital is the very lifeblood of the market economy, the mainstay of innovation, and the foundation for future prosperity. As more of it is put to work today, labor output and wages will rise tomorrow. An appreciation of that critical relationship should guide how the tax system treats earnings from capital.
The double taxation of dividends—with corporate earnings first taxed 35% at the corporate level and then, when paid out to shareholders, taxed again—has been a long-standing and well-recognized distortion in the tax code. It favors debt financing over equity capital formation, because interest is deducted as a cost of doing business and lowers taxable income, while dividends are taxed twice.
The preference for debt financing and leverage shortchanges shareholders and is not healthy for corporate decision-making. Double taxation penalizes dividend payments and discourages managements from making them.
Congress did not eliminate the double taxation of dividends in 2003, but it substantially ameliorated the distortion. Dividends are now taxed at 15%, rather than the typically higher income-tax rates paid by shareholders. Importantly, the 15% tax rate was applied to capital gains as well. Capital gains previously had been taxed at 20% with special rates for assets held five years or longer. This symmetry between dividends and capital gains harmonized and simplified the regime for the taxation of capital and still stands today as a key achievement in modern tax policy.
Corporations responded to the lower rates on dividends by paying out more of their profits, which raises the returns to those holding stock and thus increases equity prices. Both trends strengthen Americans' retirement savings. As recent actions by Google, Apple and scores of other companies attest, corporations today find it more difficult to sit on cash instead of rewarding shareholders with dividend payouts.
With the expiration of the 2003 tax law at the end of this year, taxes—not only on capital earnings but also on ordinary incomes—will return to the much higher levels that previously existed.
This would be devastating to the fragile economic recovery, and to every American still looking for work. Combined with the expiration of temporary payroll tax relief, the United States faces what has now been labeled "taxmageddon"—a fiscal headwind so strong that it threatens a swift return to recession.
What seems to be lacking is a clear path to the future. Here are some suggestions for policy makers.
First, remember the principle that you always get less of anything you tax. For this reason, society discourages undesirable activities by imposing so-called "sin" taxes. By the same token, high marginal tax rates discourage work, risk-taking and capital formation.
Second, tax rates should be held as low as possible, consistent with maintaining fiscal balance. Low tax rates are not in conflict with fiscal sanity if the rate of government spending as a fraction of gross domestic product is reduced, or if the tax base is broadened with more fundamental tax reforms. It is encouraging to see so much interest gathering in support of changes to the tax code that would scrap many special tax breaks in favor of deeply lower marginal tax rates.
Third, marginal tax rates should be as neutral as possible across different types of economic activities. Otherwise the tax code distorts behavior in ways that sap economic strength, as market participants rely less on market price signals and more on government commands to decide how economic resources are used. Social engineering through the tax code comes at a very high cost.
Finally, policy makers should remember to "do no harm." A reversion to the kind of drastically higher marginal tax rates that existed in the past would be bad enough. It would only add insult to injury to use the economic crisis as an excuse to raise the tax burden on capital formation and thus reduce the lifeblood of America's job creators.
Unfortunately, we face that real prospect, as prominent proposals by the administration would triple the top dividend tax rate to nearly 45%, while doubling the top rate on capital gains to 30%. If one intended to cripple job creation, depress stock prices, and lower the value of retirement savings for working Americans, these proposals would be just what we should choose.
As taxmageddon looms, let's hope we choose wisely.
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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)