Wednesday, January 18, 2017
The Left’s Siren Song of Coerced Equality
Since I can’t even keep track of schools of thought on the right (libertarians, traditional conservatives, neocons, reform conservatives, compassionate conservatives, Trump-style populists, etc), I’m not going to pretend to know what’s happening on the left.
But it does appear that something significant – and bad – is happening in the statist community.
Traditionally, folks on the left favored a conventional welfare state, which revolved around two components.
Means-tested programs for the ostensible purpose of alleviating poverty (e.g.., Medicaid, food stamps, welfare, etc).
Social-insurance programs for the ostensible purpose of alleviating sickness, unemployment, and aging (e.g., Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, etc).
This agenda was always a bad idea for both macro and micro reasons, and has become a very bad idea because of demographic changes.
But now the left has expanded its goals to policies that are far more radical. Instead of a well-meaning (albeit misguided) desire to protect people from risk, they now want coerced equality.
And this agenda also has two components.
* A guaranteed and universal basic income for everyone.
* Taxes and/or earnings caps to limit the income of the rich.
Taking a closer look at the idea of basic income, there actually is a reasonable argument that the current welfare state is so dysfunctional that it would be better to simply give everyone a check instead.
But as I’ve argued before, this approach would also create an incentive for people to simply live off taxpayers. Especially if the basic income is super-generous, as was proposed (but fortunately rejected by an overwhelming margin) in Switzerland.
Another thing I fear is that politicians would create a basic income but then not fully repeal the existing welfare state (very similar to my concern that politicians would like to have a national sales tax or value-added tax without fully eliminating the IRS and all taxes on income).
Now let’s shift to the left’s class-warfare fixation about penalizing those with high incomes.
This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course. We’ve had ideologues such as Bernie Sanders, Thomas Piketty, and Matt Yglesias arguing in recent years for confiscatory tax rates. It appears some modern leftists actually think the economy is a fixed pie and that high incomes for some people necessitate lower incomes for the rest of us.
And because of their fetish for coerced equality, some of them even want to explicitly cap incomes for very valuable people.
The nutcase leader of the U.K. Labour Party, for instance, recently floated that notion. Here are some excerpts from a report in the Guardian.
Jeremy Corbyn has called for a maximum wage for the highest earners… The Labour leader would not give specific figures, but said radical action was needed to address inequality. “I would like there to be some kind of high earnings cap, quite honestly,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Tuesday.
When asked at what level the cap should be set, he replied: “I can’t put a figure on it… It is getting worse. And corporate taxation is a part of it. If we want to live in a more egalitarian society, and fund our public services, we cannot go on creating worse levels of inequality.”
Corbyn, who earns about £138,000 a year, later told Sky News he anticipated any maximum wage would be “somewhat higher than that”. “I think the salaries paid to some footballers are simply ridiculous, some salaries to very high earning top executives are utterly ridiculous. Why would someone need to earn more than £50m a year?”
This is so radical that even other members of the Labour Party have rejected the idea.
Danny Blanchflower, a former member of Corbyn’s economic advisory committee, said he would have advised the Labour leader against the scheme. In a tweet, the former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee said it was a “totally idiotic, unworkable idea”. …Labour MPs expressed reservations… Reynolds also expressed some uncertainty. “I’m not sure that I would support that,” she told BBC News. “I would like to see the detail. I think there are other ways that you can go about tackling income inequality… Instinctively, I don’t think [a cap] probably the best way to go.”
The good news, relatively speaking, is that Crazy Corbyn has been forced to backtrack.
Not because he’s changed his mind, I’m sure, but simply for political reasons. Here’s some of what the U.K.-based Times wrote.
Jeremy Corbyn’s attempt to relaunch his Labour leadership descended into disarray yesterday as he backtracked on a wage cap… The climbdown came after members of the shadow cabinet refused to back the idea of a maximum income while former economic advisers to Mr Corbyn criticised it as absurd.
There don’t seem to be many leftists in the United States who have directly embraced this approach, though it is worth noting that Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax hike included a provision disallowing deductibility for corporate pay over $1 million.
And that policy was justified using the same ideology that politicians should have the right to decide whether some people are paid too much.
In closing, I can’t help but wonder whether my statist friends have thought about the implications of their policies. They want the government to give everyone a guaranteed basic income, yet they want to wipe out high-income taxpayers who finance the lion’s share of redistribution.
I’m sure that work marvelously in the United States. Just like it’s producing great outcomes in place like Greece and Venezuela.
Cory Booker and the Lawless Left
He was the first sitting senator to testify against a fellow senator at a hearing to approve a member of the president's cabinet
To Democrats, "justice" requires their favored prejudice.
Never mind that New Jersey Democrat Sen. Cory Booker was deified on the Left for testifying against a fellow member of the chamber considered for a cabinet post.
Booker was the Left’s posterchild in the attempt to personally destroy his Senate colleague and nominee for attorney general, Alabama’s Jeff Sessions. Despite glowing remarks and working directly with Sessions, Booker turned his fire on a qualified public servant.
The content of Booker’s comments was largely ignored because he’s a sympathetic minority some view as the next Barack Obama. But Booker unloaded on his fellow senator, painting him as a dangerous man who’ll allegedly target minorities. And he described the job of the attorney general as more or less the opposite of what it should be.
We’re not going to ignore Booker’s comments. Instead, they should be bookmarked for years to come as this ambitious man chooses to ignore his current oath of office. Booker clearly wants an arbitrary approach to the law that’s rooted in prejudice and, thus, has demonstrated he should not be trusted with a promotion.
Sessions is the clear antithesis to his two predecessors: Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder and Loretta “Let’s talk about our grandbabies on the tarmac” Lynch. While these two AGs, according to Obama, supposedly served without scandal or corruption, time and factual history will show them to have politicized and even weaponized the Department of Justice to advance a lawless agenda.
In stark contrast, Sessions, who also served as Alabama attorney general, has always approached the law with respect and the determination to enforce it. For example, not only did Sessions work to ensure racial integration in public schools in his southern state, but he legally pursued the Ku Klux Klan, even prosecuting a leader who was later put to death for his racial crimes. A $7 million successful civil suit resulted against the KKK, bankrupting the hate group, while Sessions lead as chief law enforcement officer in Alabama.
And, there, friends, is the problem that Booker and every other Democrat has with Sessions: As U.S. attorney general, Sessions might actually keep his pledge to enforce the law without fear, favor or affection, malice or partiality. Horrors!
Booker’s statements were purely political, assigning powers outside the office of AG. “He will be expected to defend the rights of immigrants and affirm their human dignity,” Booker lectured. Please don’t misread this to be Booker’s concern with impartial law enforcement of immigration statutes. Instead, the senator assigns a power outside the Rule of Law in concern for illegal immigrants, who he says should be shielded from the consequence of lawless activity — like the sanctuary city status honored by Booker as mayor of Newark, New Jersey.
Booker continued, “The next attorney general must bring hope and healing to our country, and this demands a more courageous empathy than Senator Sessions' record demonstrates.” This soaring rhetoric was made in context of Booker claiming that Sessions has a racial bias against minorities. And, Booker warned, “Persistent biases cannot be defeated unless we combat them.”
Mr. Booker, why is the statue of Lady Justice always depicted with a blindfold hiding her eyes while she’s holding a balance in her right hand and a sword in her left? The blindfolded goddess personifies that authentic justice is blind to extraneous factors. She employs the scales to balance truth and fact, not feeling and empathy, in her determinations. And the downward pointed sword represents that justice includes punishment for those who are unlawful.
Thus the Left fiercely works to redefine justice, the law and all that would be within the job description of the attorney general. That’s because Rule of Law impedes their political agenda.
But back to a disgusting implication made by Booker and the Left. They issue a call to first prejudge the situation based on minority status, sexual preference or identity, immigration status or any other certified aggrieved person or group on the Left. But, to prejudge is to practice prejudice, the Latin word praejudicium. Essentially, remove the blindfold from Lady Justice and place a thumb on the scales depending on factors identified as “triggers,” “privileges” or any other subjective aspect outside of fact.
On this Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s worth noting again that Cory Booker and the Democrats clearly illustrate their devotion to politics, even by lawless means, instead of the call of an American icon who prayed that his children would “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Fascism creep in America! Send death threats to a blind opera singer so he doesn't sing at the inauguration
Opera star Andrea Bocelli backed out of singing at Donald Trump's inauguration after receiving death threats, The Mail on Sunday has learnt.
The revelation came as another singer – Broadway legend Jennifer Holliday – last night pulled out of the President-elect's festivities after being threatened and branded an 'Uncle Tom'.
When blind tenor Bocelli announced he would not sing at this Friday's celebration, it was widely reported it was because fans had said they would boycott his concerts and records.
But a source said the 58-year-old had been determined to 'press ahead' and sing but had pulled out on the advice of his security team after receiving threats to his life.
A source close to Bocelli, a friend of Trump's, said: 'Andrea is very sad to be missing the chance to sing at such a huge global event but he has been advised it is simply not worth the risk.'
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Posted by JR at 1:31 AM