FT213: “Rich liberals support a large welfare state to assuage their wealth guilt.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 14th, 2014

Fundamental Truth

Rich People become Liberals so People don’t Shame them for their Obscene Wealth

Rich people love being rich.  They love their mansions.  Their expensive cars.  Eating at the finest restaurants.  Drinking the finest wine.  Going on lavish vacations.  Going to the best parties.  Hanging with the beautiful people.  And rich men especially like the sex with beautiful young women their wealth can make happen.  To quote the Eagles song Life in the Fast Lane rich people love having everything all of the time.

Some of the richest people in the United States are liberals.  Yes, those same people who argue for income and wealth equality.  Hollywood stars.  Televisions stars.  Authors.  And music stars.  Who are everything they stand against.  They’re part of that evil 1%.   And they live very ostentatious lives.  Their wealth is over the top.  Bling.  Cars.  Cars with bling.  Nothing but the best.  And then some.  This wealth is okay, though.  But those in the 1% other than them?  Government should raise their taxes to take as much of it away as possible.  And we should all shame them for daring to have such obscene wealth.

Of course, rich liberals like their obscene wealth.  They want to keep it.  And they want to continue their lavish lives.  But they don’t want people shaming them.  They want people to love them and adore them.  So they buy whatever they’re selling.  Movies, televisions shows, books or music.  They don’t want anyone shaming them for their obscene wealth.  So they do something very simple to avoid that shame.  They become public liberals.

Only those Businesses that Continually Please their Customers Succeed

Liberals can have the most obscene amounts of wealth without anyone shaming them for that obscene wealth.  Why?  Because they belong to the ‘right’ political party.  The one that argues against income and wealth inequality.  So they get a pass.  Which is why so many rich people are liberals.  They want to be left alone.  And their call for higher taxes on rich people?  Well, they’re so rich that they can hire the best accountants and tax attorneys to help them shield their wealth from the taxman.  There’s a reason why the tax code is so convoluted and not a simple flat tax like conservatives want.  To help rich liberals keep their money.

Then there are rich liberals who have too much of a conscious.  And they feel guilty for having obscene wealth.  But not guilty enough to give their wealth away.  These liberals are vehemently pro big government.  They want a massive welfare state.  To assuage their wealth guilt.  So they can continue to enjoy their obscene wealth.  Their 1% wealth.  Without having to feel guilty about it.  Such as, presumably, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart.

Jon Stewart is a very well-read and intelligent man.  He knows a lot of stuff.  Unfortunately, though, he draws many wrong conclusions with that knowledge.  He favors big government.  And a vast welfare state to help those in need.  He trusts government while distrusting corporations and businesses.  Because, as he has said, we have no vote with corporations and businesses like we do with government.  Via elections.  But he’s wrong.  We do have a vote with all corporations and businesses.  The moment they stop treating their customers right those customers go to other corporations and businesses.  Most new businesses fail within 5 years.  And some big companies that have been around for years fail and go out of business.  Why?  Because their customers DO have a large vote in whether they succeed or not.  And only those businesses that continually please their customers succeed.  Something you just can’t say about government.  For no matter how much they anger the people little ever changes.

Not only is there Income and Wealth Inequality there’s also Income Tax Inequality

Fox News has been talking about people scamming the welfare state.  Highlighting a surfer dude in California as a typical welfare cheat.  Stewart lambasted Fox News for that.  Saying one person (or two or three, etc.) does not mean all people on welfare are gaming the system.  Although he uses that very logic to point at corporations caught in wrong-doing.  Saying they represent all corporations and businesses.  And he joins the choir about how rich corporations and rich people are not paying their fair share of taxes.  And how some of these rich corporations and rich people are hiding their income and wealth from the taxman.  Despite their paying the lion’s share of all taxes.

According to the National Taxpayer’s Union, when it comes to income taxes it’s rich people paying the most.  So not only is there income and wealth inequality.  There’s also income tax inequality.  Through recent years the top 1% of income earners has paid approximately a third of all income taxes.  The top 5% has paid more than half of all income taxes.  And the top 10% of income earners has paid about 70% of all income taxes.  While the bottom 50% of income earners, the people rich liberals want to help, pay about 3% (or less) of all income taxes.

You don’t have to raise tax rates on the wealthy.  They’re already paying a disproportionate share of all income taxes.  In fact, if you cut tax rates and cut business regulations to help rich business and rich people get even richer more tax revenue would flow into the treasury.  This would be a good thing.  Rich people getting richer.  And more people becoming rich.  This should be what everyone wants.  Based on the amount of taxes rich people pay.  So we should stop trying to help the less fortunate by raising taxes on the rich.  And creating more onerous regulations for businesses that benefit the less fortunate.  Like Obamacare.  For it hurts the profit incentive.  Which prevents rich people from getting richer and paying more income taxes.  As well as dissuades people from becoming business owners or expanding their businesses.  Which means fewer jobs.  Fewer hours in those jobs.  And the replacement of costly people with machines.  It’s because of these things that median family income has fallen under the Obama administration.  Which is the last thing any good liberal should want.  This is why rich liberals have got to stop supporting a large welfare state to assuage their wealth guilt.  It’s killing the middle class.  And destroying the jobs that could pull the less fortunate into the middle class.  And beyond.

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire, Hang them up on Telephone Wire, President Obama

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 12th, 2013

Politics 101

Oppression and Lies are Standard Fare for a Communist Dictatorship

Communists are pragmatic.  They know what they want.  And they do what it takes to get what they want.  For them the ends justify the means.  No matter how horrible those means can be.  And they’ve been pretty horrible.  As communists have been among the greatest abusers of human rights.  Something their people are not too keen on.  As well as those living in the free world.  So communists do something else a lot.  They lie.

When you want to do things against the will of the people you need to either lie to the people.  Or oppress the people with a large police state.  Which can be costly.  Because you have to take care of your police apparatus so they oppress the people and don’t turn on you.  That’s how all dictators stay in power.  Life is horrible in their countries.  But it’s pretty good at the top.  And those who protect those at the top.  North Korea still suffers from recurring famines.  Yet those at the top never go hungry.  Or suffer the abject poverty of the people.  And it’s been this way for a long time.  A system maintained with the firm hand of the state.  From Kim Il Sung to Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un.  As the Kim family succession continues to keep life horrible in North Korea (see North Korea announces execution of Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek by Chico Harlan posted 12/12/2013 on The Washington Post).

There have been no outward signs of instability under Kim Jong Un, and the North has largely maintained its key policies, resisting economic reform, devoting money to its weapons program and maintaining a gulag system for those accused of political crimes.

Kim Jong Un’s uncle was Jang Song Thaek.  I say was for he is no more.  Jang was in the inner circle of Kim Jong Il and thought to be a potential successor.  But that didn’t happen.  As Kim Jong Un had those honors.  But Jang was around a long time.  And knew a lot of people.  Which, of course, made him a threat.  So Kim Jong Un had him arrested, put him on trial for crimes against the state and executed.  Telling the people he was a “traitor for all ages” and was “despicable human scum” and was “worse than a dog.”  He demonized him to get the people to accept that this execution was just.  And to send a message.  He held power.  And anyone thinking otherwise will be demonized and executed.  Standard sort of fare for a communist dictatorship.  Oppression.  And lies.

You get the People to ask for more Government by Buying their Votes with a Cradle-to-Grave Welfare State

A communist state has its drawbacks, though.  The aforementioned abject poverty and recurring famines.  Because as an economic system planned economies just don’t work.  But a free market economy tends to put ideas into people’s heads.  Such as we don’t really need the government as much as the government wants us to believe we need them.  In the movie V for Vendetta this was something Chancellor Sutler impressed upon his lieutenants.  It was imperative to let the people know how much they needed British socialism.  Which is not quite communism.  But it’s anti-free market capitalism just like communism.  And a little easier to sell to the people.  For despite the left’s love affair with communism it is hard to spin that as anything other than it is.  Horrible.  I mean, people aren’t trying to break into North Korea and Cuba.  They’re risking their lives to escape these communist utopias.

So those on the left adopted a new type of socialism.  Social democracy.  Which was communism/socialism lite.  It wasn’t as anti-free market capitalism as communism/socialism was.  So as not to bring about the abject poverty and recurring famines you got with communism/socialism.  And you backed off on the oppressive police state.  Instead, you get the people to ask for more government.  By buying their votes with a cradle-to-grave welfare state.  And a lot of government jobs with decent pay and wonderful benefits.  To make the people love the state.  And impress on them how much they need the state.

Of course this bloated welfare state is costly.  Which they pay for with a progressive tax system.  A tax system that is ‘fair’.  By making the evil rich pay higher taxes so the good poor and the innocent children can have a decent life.  Not just those evil rich people.  And how do you oppose this?  You can’t.  Unless you hate the poor.  And the children.  Which is what the left says about the opposition whenever they oppose new spending.  Or higher taxes.  Of course, having to fight these battles over taxes and spending can be a pain in the behind.  So the state takes care of those in the inner circle of power.  Those who think correctly.  Who help get the people to ask for these taxes and spending.  The media who helps to spread their propaganda.  And the educational system.  That teaches the young to grow up loving government.  And fearing free market capitalism.  Then you add the coup de grâce.  National health care.

President Obama lied over and over again to put America onto the Pathway towards National Health Care

Every communist/socialist dictatorship had/has national health care.  For once the people become dependent on the state for their good health the state has them for life.  And whenever the opposition resists higher taxes for more spending all you have to do is kill some people by making them wait longer for health care that the opposition denied them.  Causing outrage among the people.  Who demand that the opposition stop playing politics with their lives.  The left’s kind of oppression.  Having the people beg for more government.  This is why national health care (or something that will help usher in national health care) is the holy grail of the left.  And why President Obama lied through his teeth to pass the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) into law (see Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’ by Angie Drobnic Holan posted 12/12/2013 on PolitiFact.com).

PolitiFact has named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” the Lie of the Year for 2013. Readers in a separate online poll overwhelmingly agreed with the choice…

The Affordable Care Act tried to allow existing health plans to continue under a complicated process called “grandfathering,” which basically said insurance companies could keep selling plans if they followed certain rules.

The problem for insurers was that the Obamacare rules were strict. If the plans deviated even a little, they would lose their grandfathered status. In practice, that meant insurers canceled plans that didn’t meet new standards.

Obama’s team seemed to understand that likelihood. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the grandfathering rules in June 2010 and acknowledged that some plans would go away. Yet Obama repeated “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” when seeking re-election last year…

Also on Oct. 1, insurers started sending out cancellation letters for 2014…

One example: PBS Newshour interviewed a woman from Washington, D.C., who was a supporter of the health care law and found her policy canceled. New policies had significantly higher rates. She told Newshour that the only thing the new policy covered that her old one didn’t was maternity care and pediatric services. And she was 58…

First, they tried to shift blame to insurers. “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans,” said Valerie Jarrett, a top adviser to Obama, on Oct. 28.

PolitiFact rated her statement False. The restrictions on grandfathering were part of the law, and they were driving cancellations.

Then, they tried to change the subject. “It’s important to remember both before the ACA was ever even a gleam in anybody’s eye, let alone passed into law, that insurance companies were doing this all the time, especially in the individual market because it was lightly regulated and the incentives were so skewed,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

But what really set everyone off was when Obama tried to rewrite his slogan, telling political supporters on Nov. 4, “Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law, and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”

Pants on Fire! PolitiFact counted 37 times when he’d included no caveats, such as a high-profile speech to the American Medical Association in 2009: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

President Obama lied.  Over and over again.  He lied to get this pathway to national health care into law (for once he destroys the private health insurance industry what will be left but a public option?).  And he lied to win reelection.  President Obama lied.  And his fellow Democrats lied.  Over and over again.  To put America onto the pathway towards their holy grail.  National health care.  The linchpin of the massive cradle-to-grave welfare state.  The one thing that allows the state to tax and spend more than anything else.  And puts the opposition into the position of wanting to kill people anytime they oppose higher taxes and more spending.  Which has a lot more staying power than a government shutdown.

What can you say about someone who lies (at least) 37 times?  That person is a pathological liar.  A pragmatic.  A person who believes the ends justify the means.  That the rule of law is only a suggestion.  A person that will say anything and break any law to get what he wants.  And is willing to kill people by taking away the health insurance they liked and wanted to keep.  By taking away the doctor they liked and wanted to keep.  And by taking away the medication they liked and wanted to keep.  Fear and suffering President Obama and his fellow Democrats and supporters in the media and education are indifferent to.  For their greatest concern is how will this hurt President Obama?  This is what those on the left worry about.  Their dear leader.  Not the people.  Just like the inner circle surrounding every tin-pot dictator worry about.  For if the people turn on the dear leader they may overthrow him.  And with him go their privileged lives amidst the abject poverty and recurring famines surrounding them.

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The Politics of Jobs Data

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 8th, 2013

Economics 101

The Party of the Working Man misrepresents the Jobs Data and Lies to the People

Figures don’t lie but liars figure.  Something Mark Twain is said to have said.  Mark Twain is, of course, Samuel Langhorne Clemens.  But we know him by his pen name.  Mark Twain.  And the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  But he was also a science buff.  And close friend of Nikola Tesla.  The father of AC power.  And he thought that most Congress people were liars and thieves.  With personal agendas.  Who will lie about facts and figures to get what they want.  And what do people in government want?  What all people in governments throughout time have wanted.  Wealth.  And power.

Every king, noble and aristocrat has acted selfishly in history to acquire wealth and power.  The privileged few.  Or one.  They held the power.  Traded favors.   And worked together.  Landowners amassed great wealth thanks to peasants working their land.  The king maintained the system that limited land ownership to a privileged few.  And the privileged few paid back the king with a share of their wealth.  By working together they exploited the masses to amass wealth.  So they could live the good life.  Comfortable in their wealth.  With the power to do whatever they wanted.  And this hasn’t changed over time.  Well, it has in one respect.  With the advent of democracy it is a little more difficult to do what you want when in elected office.

Today no one leaves Congress poor.  They are set for life.  With a generous pension.  And benefits most workers never get while gainfully employed.  And how do they do this?  The same way that kings, nobles and aristocrats have always acquired wealth.  By using political power to exploit the masses.  And the key to this is growing government as large as possible.  To give them that power.  And the ability to grant favors.  Throwing a few handouts to the peasants to win their love and admiration.  Thus pleasing enough of the electorate to win elections.  But the policies they use to make this happen have a major drawback.  They are anti-business.  And kill jobs.  Putting people out of work.  Which can be a problem when you’re the party of the working man.  And working woman.  So you have to at times misrepresent the jobs data.  And lie to the people.

The United States and Kim Jong Un have an Obesity Problem while the North Korean People suffer Famine

History has shown that low taxes and limited government grow economies.  This is what made the United States the number one economic power in the world.  Which was able to happen because it happened before the era of Big Government in the United States.  Right now there are emerging economies in the world going through a similar phase.  And their stellar economic growth will sputter out once the size of their governments grow.  Just like they have in many advanced economies that have transitioned into a social democracy.  For there is nothing that stamps out economic growth like higher taxes and greater regulatory costs.  Which is why the Soviet Union, the countries behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe, The People’s Republic of China (under Mao), North Korea, Cuba, etc., have never been great economic powers.  Instead these countries that practiced fairness and redistributive policies suffered some of the most abject poverty and the lowest standards of living.  Not to mention having some of the most brutal and oppressive police states to keep their people from fleeing their social utopias.

But when it came to economic production these nations all lied to their people.  If you listened to the Soviet propaganda machine communism had won.  There was no way free market capitalism could match the managed communist economy.  They were growing bumper crops.  Their factories were putting out more goods than they could use.  And life was just peachy in the Soviet police state.  A lot of people in the West believed this.  And fought to undermine capitalism so they, too, could install socialist utopias in the West.  But the people living in those socialist utopias had a little more trouble believing the lies.  For they were waiting hours in lines to buy soap and toilet paper.  They saw stores with empty shelves.  And stores with shelves full of things no one wanted to buy.  They had to wait years before it was their turn to buy a car.  Or get an apartment.  And forever speak in hushed tones for fear the secret police might hear them utter some dissatisfaction of the socialist system.  Lest they disappear to some reeducation camp in Siberia.

And while the people suffered those in power did not.  In socialism everyone was equal.  But like George Orwell said in Animal Farm, some were more equal than others.  North Korea suffers from recurring famine.  And depends on food imports to prevent future famines.  So your average North Korean is not going to have an obesity problem.  While the United States suffers an obesity crisis because their people eat too much food North Korea suffers through recurring famines where people starve to death.  But you know who isn’t starving to death?  Kim Jong Un.  The new ruler of North Korea.  Who not only appears to be well fed.  But even looks obese.  And this in a country that suffers from recurring famines.  And it’s been the same throughout history.  Those champions of the people always lived better than the people.  For those in the inner party in the Soviet Union went to the front of the line when it came to cars and apartments.

Kings, Nobles, Aristocrats and those in the Federal Government act Selfishly to acquire Wealth and Power

This is why people want political power.  Because it is a pathway to wealth.  Especially for those people who don’t have the ability to create wealth on their own.  Like a small business owner.  So they need to use political power.  Favor.  Privilege.  And deceit.  Which is an important tool for today’s politician’s in a democracy.  Deceit.  Such as when they figure with the economic figures.  The Obama administration has implemented some of the most business unfriendly policies that have just stamped out all economic growth.  Which is why we have been wallowing in a jobless recovery following the Great Recession.  While some would even say the Great Recession lingers on.  Despite what the economic data says.  For they have little faith in the numbers anymore.  For with every jobs report the Obama administration highlights the new jobs the economy created.  And how even though the numbers could be better we are definitely on the right path.  As the unemployment rate continues to fall.  Dropping below 8% just in time for the 2012 election.  As no president ever won reelection with an unemployment rate above 8%.  So it was rather convenient it fell just in time for the election.  Perhaps a little bit too convenient.  Especially when you look at the other economic numbers (see Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization and Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey).

U3 U6 Civilian Labor Force

The U3 unemployment rate is the official unemployment rate.  Which fell to 7.6% in March.  Yet another improvement.  But the U3 unemployment rate doesn’t count everyone who can’t find a full time job.  The U6 unemployment rate counts more people who can’t find a full-time job.  And it fell to 13.8% in March.  Which is an improvement.  But the number of people who can’t find a full time job is still in double digits.  And has moved little from around 14%.  One thing both the U3 and the U6 numbers have in common is that they have changed little in the last 6 months.  While the number of people in the civilian labor force has changed.  A lot.  So one of these numbers doesn’t appear to agree with the other two.  For if the unemployment rate was steady one would think the number of people in the civilian labor force would be steady, too.  Which makes one question the accuracy of the official unemployment rate.  And the constant reports of how the economy is improving.  How it’s on the right path.  As they talk about all the new jobs their policies have created.  Despite the stubbornly high unemployment numbers.  But if we look at that job creation and the changes in the size of the civilian labor force we get a different picture of that improving economy (see Employment Situation Archived News Releases).

Jobs Added Change in Civilian Labor Force

The latest jobs report shows 88,000 new jobs added to the economy.  Less than projected.  And a bit of a disappointment to those in the ‘the economy is on the right path’ crowd.  But they still find solace in the fact that the economy added jobs.  Just as it has for the previous 5 months.  If you add this job creation up during this 6-month period it totals 953,000 new jobs.  That’s about 1 million new jobs.  Not a strong recovery.  But not too shabby.  But if we look at the change in the civilian labor force we don’t see 1 million new jobs.  Over the same 6-month period we see a net LOSS of 28,000 people from the civilian labor force.  Which agrees more with the reality of the current economy.  And the U6 unemployment rate.  It’s bad.  People can’t find a full-time job.  And it’s because of the anti-business policies of the Obama administration.  But for the past 4 years or so they have massaged the jobs data to lead us to believe that they were creating jobs when they were actually destroying jobs.  Why?  Because kings, nobles, aristocrats and those in the federal government act selfishly to acquire wealth and power.

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The Poor and Middle Class see their Incomes Still Falling in the Obama Recovery

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 3rd, 2013

Week in Review

If you listen to the president, his press secretary, the mainstream media and just about anyone on the political left the economy is doing super.  Sure, we can make improvements.  But over all everything is just swell.  If you’re rich, that is. People with money are doing very well in the Obama recovery.  Those who aren’t as rich aren’t.  No.  All they see is high unemployment, rising prices and falling incomes (see Americans see biggest monthly income drop in 20 years by Annalyn Kurtz posted 3/1/2013 on CNNMoney).

Personal income decreased by $505.5 billion in January, or 3.6%, compared to December (on a seasonally adjusted and annualized basis). That’s the most dramatic decline since January 1993, according to the Commerce Department.

It’s something of a combination of one-time events, though.

Monthly income was unusually high in December because companies paid out early dividends to avoid upcoming tax hikes.

Further proof that people change their behavior when the government increases taxes.  The surge in December that made January look so bad was due to one-time distributions of profits to avoid higher taxes.  So December wasn’t that good, either.  Just an aberration as people tried to avoid the higher taxes coming their way.

The payroll tax cut’s expiration also played a role in January’s drop, because most workers have to pay 2 percentage points more in taxes this year…

Meanwhile, economists are closely watching consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of the U.S. economy…

Economists think that rising gas prices in February could cut into consumer spending temporarily. Gas prices rose 10% in February, according to AAA, but are expected to fall in coming weeks…

The Social Security tax break helped consumers at the 2012 election.  Allowing them more disposable income in the year before the election.  And helping them feel things weren’t that bad.  Of course this Social Security tax holiday drew down the Social Security surplus to a dangerous low.  Something they will have to make up for with even higher taxes than the 2% temporary cut used to help the president’s reelection.

Regulatory costs, environmental policies that have shut down oil drilling on public lands and inflation (the incessant quantitative easing of the Fed putting more and more dollars into circulation) are keeping gas prices high.  For you can hide inflation in some consumer goods by reducing package sizes but you can’t do that with gasoline.  Because you sell gas by the gallon.  So the full cost of the Fed’s inflationary policies hit gas prices hard.  And, of course, high gas prices increases prices for everything else that uses fuel.  A large factor in the rise in our grocery bills.  Taking a bigger bite out of family budgets.  Leaving little for other consumer spending.

All of that said, consumers are benefiting from a housing recovery and rising stock prices…

They’re not able to save much, though. On average, people saved about 2.4% of their disposable income in January, down from 6.4% in December. That marks the smallest saving rate since November 2007.

Rich people are benefitting from the housing ‘recovery’ and stock prices.  Those who have a lot of money left over after meeting the living expenses.  Who can save a lot of money.  And invest it into housing.  Or stocks.  In fact, that’s why the stock market does well on news of the Fed continuing their quantitative easing.  For the rich are taking advantage of that cheap money to borrow it.  So they can invest it.  Trading on the interest.  Borrowing at low interest rates.  And investing in something that earns a higher rate of return.  People struggling to make their paycheck buy everything it once did as prices rise everywhere aren’t enjoying any benefits from that cheap money.  As they have no money left over to even save up a down payment on a house.  So they can take advantage of those low housing prices.  No.  The poor and middle class are not reaping anything in the current economic ‘recovery’.  Only the rich are.

Under President Obama the rich are getting richer.  And the poor are getting poorer.  Because of his economic policies.  Especially the Keynesian policies.  Keynesians look at personal savings as leaks out of the economy.  For if people aren’t spending money they are wasting money.  Which is the point of low interest rates.  To get people to borrow money to buy things.  Thus stimulating economic activity.  And generating more consumer spending.  But all that quantitative easing has raised prices so much that consumers are left with less and less money to spend.  The poor and middle class aren’t borrowing money to buy new houses.  They’re just trying to get by on what little they have.  Hoping for good economic times to return when their personal incomes rise once again.

Keynesian economics don’t work.  Just as Keynesian stimulus does not stimulate.  If it did we wouldn’t still have fewer jobs in the U.S. economy than when President Obama took office.  And he spent about $8000 billion on a stimulus bill.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Some critics said it failed as an $8000 billion stimulus wasn’t big enough.  Even though the Obama administration declared the summer of 2010 the Recovery Summer.  Proof that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 restored economic prosperity.  Even though it didn’t.  For things still haven’t returned to where they were under George W. Bush.  Despite 4 years of Keynesian policies.  That haven’t raised personal incomes.  The true measure of any economic recovery.  And when personal incomes are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years, there hasn’t been any economic recovery.  Despite $800 billion in stimulus.  And 4 years of President Obama’s Keynesian economic policies.

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The NHS does not provide Long-Term Elderly Care just as Obamacare will not provide Long-Term Elderly Care

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 29th, 2012

Week in Review

The Liberal Democrats in Britain don’t care much for the elderly.  For they are just too costly.  And there are other social programs that are competing for these valuable but limited government funds.  Which can be put to far better use buying votes (see Reforming elderly care is not the biggest priority, says Danny Alexander by Rowena Mason posted 9/25/2012 on The Telegraph).

Reforming elderly care is not the biggest priority and just one of many problems on the “long term horizon”, Danny Alexander, a Treasury minister, has said.

The Liberal Democrat denied reports that the Treasury is “blocking” elderly care reforms but fuelled fears it is being kicked into the long grass.

Mr Alexander said the Coalition will “take forward the Dilnot plans” for an individual cap on costs to stop so many elderly people having to sell their homes to pay for care.

This no doubt comes as a shock to most Americans.  Who thought the National Health Service (NHS) provided all British health care needs.   All the way right up to the grave.  But even in the utopian world of national health care the NHS cannot afford long-term elderly care.  Just as Obamacare will not be able to afford long-term elderly care.  Which the Americans will have to provide for themselves just as the British must provide for themselves.

Not only will Obamacare not provide long-term elderly care it will be rationing out health care to the elderly.  Where some callous bureaucrat will say that someone’s loved one will not qualify for anything other than a pill to manage his or her pain.  The so-called death panels included in Obamacare.  Though not called death panels.  But for all intents and purposes are death panels.  As some callous government bureaucrat will have the power of life or death over you.

However, he stressed there are “lots of other social care pressures” and competing priorities, including the needs of vulnerable people with low incomes.

In other words, British death panels.  That will choose when and where they will spend limited government funds.  And when it comes down to a dying old person versus a younger worker who, if he or she survives, will pay more income taxes, guess who they will spend those limited funds on?

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury was speaking at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, where delegates are pushing for more wealth taxes and a crackdown on tax avoidance.

Mr Alexander said the taxman could raise huge amounts of money by making Britons with offshore accounts “play by the rules”. Recovering cash due from accounts in Lichtenstein alone could raise up to £3 billion, Mr Alexander said.

He also said the Liberal Democrats would like higher taxes on the rich to pay for tax cuts for the poor.

Classic class warfare.  Cut down on tax avoidance so more people can avoid paying taxes at the lower end.  Tax the few so the many don’t have to pay taxes.  And, of course, the many will vote for those who further raise the taxes on the few.  Or put in another way, buying votes.

Of course, this doesn’t help the elderly with their long-term care.  But it will provide more benefits for the masses that will vote for Liberal Democrats.  Just as a good policy of class warfare should do.  Buy votes as efficiently as possible.  For there is only so much money available to buy votes with.  Especially when health care consumes so much of these precious, limited, government funds.

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FT134: “There will always be poor and oppressed people because someone has to vote for liberal Democrats.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 7th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Liberal Democrats would Not Like an America without Poor and Oppressed People

In the anti-nuclear power movie The China Syndrome Jack Lemmon’s character wanted to warn everyone about his dangerous nuclear power plant.  He was a control room operator at the plant.  During one event there was a vibration.  The reactor shut down (SCRAM) safely.  But Lemmon’s character did some investigating and found that some safety reports had been falsified.  And in his quest to publicize this fact people died.  So he did the only thing he could.  He locked himself inside the control room at the nuclear power plant.  Requested that the characters played by Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda come down to put him on the air live.  And threatened to create a nuclear catastrophe himself if that didn’t happen.  That’s right, as dangerous as that reactor was he did NOT shut it down.

Odd, really.  He threatened to cause what he was trying to prevent.  Why?  Well, consider what would have happened if he did everything he did with one change.  Instead of threatening his own nuclear catastrophe he shut down that reactor.  So it was safe and could not harm anyone.  If he did that what do you think would have happened?  No one would have brought that news crew (Douglas and Fonda) to the plant.  And plant security would have just broken into the control room and subdued Lemmon.  But because he left the reactor hot and dangerous they didn’t break in and subdue him.  And they brought in that news crew.  Because his threat of causing a nuclear catastrophe gave him power.  While a safe and shutdown reactor gave him no power.

So what do we learn from this?  Sometimes the thing you’re fighting against is the very thing that gives you power.  A purpose.  A reason for getting out of bed in the morning.  Something that gives you a job.  Something that pays the bills.  And it’s just not disgruntled nuclear power plant operators.  Imagine a world with no crime.  If there was no crime we wouldn’t need any police officers.  Something police officers wouldn’t like.  Just as firefighters wouldn’t like a world without fires or accidents.  Just as cardiologists would not like a world without heart disease.  Just as environmentalists would not like a world without global warming.  Just as advocates of affirmative action would not like a world without discrimination.  Just as liberal Democrats would not like an America without poor and oppressed people.

The Poor and Oppressed are a Favorite Constituency of the Federal Government

The more horrible the things people are fighting against the greater are the need for these people.  The Left makes use of this strategy all of the time.  Falling test scores means we need to spend more on education.  As in hiring more teachers.  And paying them more.  This works the other way, too.  When municipalities are running budget deficits because of costly public sector contracts calling for high pay and generous benefits they place a new millage on the ballot.  And warn the people that if they don’t vote ‘yes’ for these higher taxes they will have no choice but to increase the number of rapes, murders and assaults.  As well as increase the number of deaths from fires, heart attacks in the home and car accidents.  Because if the people vote ‘no’ they will lay off police officers and firefighters.  Instead of renegotiating those contracts that are causing their financial problems.  No.  It’s never cutting back on the things that are bankrupting their cities.  It’s always putting the fear of God into their electorate.  So the public sector workers can maintain their generous pay and benefits.

Of course some will say that our teachers, police officers and firefighters don’t get paid that much.  If that’s true then they belong to some real crappy unions.  Because you join a union to get better pay and better benefits.  And you pay union dues for the union’s help in getting better pay and better benefits.  Also, if we didn’t already pay them very well you would know what their pay and benefits were during these millage requests.  For it sure would help their argument for higher pay if most people made more than they did.  Because, let’s face it, we need good teachers, police officers and firefighters.  If we paid them less than most other people everyone would feel guilty and vote ‘yes’ without hesitation.  But during these millage requests they don’t make public their current pay and benefit schedule.  And it’s hard to find this information online.  Because that’s ‘personal’.  Even though we pay them with public money.  Which should tell you something.  They’re paid better than most people.  Because they’re asking for more without telling us how much they currently make.  For it is hard to get sympathy for your pay level when you make more than most other people.

It’s no secret that government workers get better pay and benefit packages than people in the private sector.  Especially in the federal government.  Where federal employment grows by leaps and bounds every year.  And they create ever new programs to fight against something.  So they can keep hiring more people into the federal bureaucracy.  To reward friends and cronies.  And to endear a growing federal government to ever more people.  So they will continuously help to support and promote that sprawling bureaucracy.  Through their votes.  And by making as many people as possible dependent on the government.  Making the poor and oppressed a favorite constituency of the federal government.  As it has been for a very long time.  Despite the numerous battles to end poverty and oppression.

The Liberal Democrat Answer to Poverty is Not a Job but a Government Entitlement

JFK was a tax-cutter.  Just like Ronald Reagan.  They both believed that you had to create a business-friendly environment to create jobs.  Because if a business did well it grew and hired more people.  That’s why both JFK and Ronald Reagan had strong economic growth and low unemployment during their presidencies.  And they each brought in a lot of tax revenue into Washington.  Even with their low tax rates.  So low tax rates are good.  They help businesses grow.  They help people get jobs.  They lower the price of consumer goods so people can buy more for less.  And they bring in more revenue to the government to help those who need help.  Of course liberal Democrats hate this.  Because if everyone is doing well there is no need for all their agencies and programs.  Or them.

Shortly after the assassination of JFK things changed.  LBJ became president.  Who was a big liberal Democrat.  Who declared unconditional war on poverty.  This was in 1964.  The plan was to explode the size of the federal government.  Which is what he did when he gave us the Great Society.  The war on poverty would become one of America’s longest war.  Longer than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Longer than the Vietnam War.  Even longer than the Cold War.  The war on poverty continues to this day.  Requiring ever more government agencies.  And programs.  Yet they’ve all failed to end poverty.  Proven by the fact that every generation of liberal Democrats running for office is an advocate for the poor and oppressed who have no voice but theirs.

The liberal Democrat answer to poverty is not a job but a government entitlement.  Because jobs lead to lower unemployment.  And less purpose for a liberal Democrat.  Liberals don’t want jobs and low unemployment.  They want high taxes and high unemployment.  So they can matter.  And make a difference.  So they can have a cushy job with high pay and generous benefits.  So they attack tax cuts.  They attack any lowering of regulatory costs.  And anything else that would help businesses create jobs.  Which would take the poor and oppressed away from them.  They don’t want people to be rugged and independent.  They want them needy and dependent.  And they want as many people as possible to be needy and dependent.  Even if it leads to a little rioting.  Especially if it leads to a little rioting.  For a little level of danger can be useful.  As it can be in a nuclear power plant in an anti-nuclear power movie.  Because it’s very hard to get taxpayers to vote for people that want to increase your taxes and make your lives more costly.  While some liberals genuinely care about making people’s lives better many more are like Jack Lemmon in The China Syndrome.  Who understand that they must maintain a certain level of poverty and oppression in the nation.  Or they will have no power.  As no one will vote for them.  Because if you’re in the business of ending poverty and oppression you need a certain level of poverty and oppression to fight against.  Always.

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High Taxes and Regulatory Costs create Childcare Crisis in Australia

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 5th, 2012

Week in Review

Parents can’t return to work quickly enough in West Australia after having their babies.  Because they can’t afford to be stay-at-home parents (see Working parents struggle to find carers for children by Rhianna King posted 8/1/2012 on The West Australian).

WA’s childcare sector is at breaking point, with critical shortages forcing parents to cut back their work hours or resort to hiring nannies…

Debbie Mashford, from Goodstart Early Learning in Edgewater, said the shortage was partly the result of more parents returning to work sooner…

The association is calling for a 30 per increase in the childcare benefit for parents of under-threes, which they claim would encourage more parents back to work and allow centres to fund more places…

Federal Minister for Early Childhood Kate Ellis said the Government wanted to remove the obstacles to longer opening hours at childcare centres.

“So many parents have the stress of having to ensure they rush out of work by ten past five to get through the traffic and collect their children by 6pm,” she said.

I never attended any childcare.  My dad worked.  And my mom worked longer hours at home raising the family.  The childcare issue is masking a much bigger problem.  Why can’t families survive these days on a single income?  And the answer to that is, of course, higher taxes.  And higher regulatory costs on businesses.  All of which have raised prices.  While shrinking take-home pay.

All of this results from increased government spending.  That’s the problem.  They add new bureaucracies to government.  Requiring more tax revenue to fund them.  New regulatory policies increase the cost of business reducing the number of employees they can hire.  Leaving more people dependent on government benefits.  Which is more government spending.  Paid for by higher taxes.  And then there’s the carbon tax.  The biggest boondoggle of them all.  Which just hammers power plants.  Increasing the cost of electricity.  Increasing everyone’s electric bill.  Both consumers and businesses.  Requiring further subsidies to those who can’t pay their electric bills.  And then there’s the carbon tax on the consumer’s utility bill.  It’s just all too much.  And the reason why West Australian families can’t make it on a single income.

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Class Warfare Escalates in France to pay for Out of Control Government Spending

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 8th, 2012

Week in Review

Once again a government is asking the rich to pay their fair share.  Well, not asking so much.  More confiscating their wealth.  In the name of fairness (see Socialists in France Announce New Taxes by STEVEN ERLANGER posted 7/4/2012 on The New York Times).

France’s new Socialist government announced on Wednesday billions of euros in tax increases and new taxes, to be borne by businesses and the wealthy, in a revision of the 2012 budget designed to meet promised deficit targets in a period of nearly stagnant growth…

For this year alone, the government announced about $9 billion in higher taxes, with about $7.6 billion more to come next year. A freeze on government spending is expected to save $1.8 billion.

So that’s $16.6 billion in new taxes and only spending cuts of $1.8 billion.  That’s $9.22 in new taxes for every dollar cut in spending.  When the Democrats snookered Ronald Reagan into increasing taxes they dangled $3 in spending cuts for each dollar in new taxes.  A deal he accepted and lived to regret.  Because governments just don’t cut spending.  Especially if they get the new taxes up front.  For Reagan it was about the reverse of the deal they offered.  There was $3 in new taxes for every $1 in spending cuts.  Guess the French are much more receptive to paying taxes than the Americans.  Or should I say, they are much more receptive to forcing higher tax rates on those who pay taxes.

Among the main new taxes is a special surcharge on the assets of individuals with more than $1.62 million of global wealth, which is expected to bring in $2.87 billion; the tax is expected to be made permanent next year, when there will also be a new tax bracket of 75 percent on incomes of more than $1.25 million a year…

There will also be a one-time tax on oil stocks, which is expected to raise $688 million and will hit refineries and gasoline stations, which supposedly have benefited from higher oil prices. About $1.13 billion is to come from ending a tax exemption for overtime income, a major effort by former President Nicolas Sarkozy to raise take-home pay, and there will be a new tax on dividends and stock options…

The figures are based on assumptions that the economy will grow by 0.3 percent this year, 1.2 percent in 2013 and then by 2 percent each year after that, which some economists find overly optimistic.

Taxing wealth.  Ouch.  This isn’t taxing capital gains on your investments.  This is taxing the value of your investments.  Even if those investments lose money.  Which means the rich may end up paying for the privilege of losing money in France.  It’s a good thing Europe is bilingual.  It’ll help the French rich as they settle in their new home.  Britain.  So those overly optimistic tax revenue figures will bring even in less revenue.  Making the French economy worse.  And the deficit bigger.  Requiring even deeper spending cuts later.

The auditors urged the government to cut spending more than raise taxes, because the latter hurts economic growth, but the prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, insisted that the key to growth was investment, not austerity. Still, spending cuts would seem to be inevitable to meet the 2013 target. For its 2013-15 budget, the government said it would reduce operating costs. It promises to balance the budget by 2017.

France’s government accounts for 56.6 percent of gross domestic product, one of the highest in the euro zone. It is projected to fall to only 56.2 percent this year and decline slowly after that.

Companies have complained that already thin profit margins are being hit and that France is losing competitiveness in a global market. The auditors said the same, and urged structural changes to better calibrate social welfare benefits to deal with France’s aging population and reduce the debt.

It’s the spending that’s too high.  Taxes aren’t too low.  In fact, taxes are too high.  They’ve transferred over half of private sector wealth to the government.  Over half!  That is an incredible burden on the private sector.  Which will simply collapse as they add the full weight of pension and health care costs of their aging population to their burden.  There will simply be no more wealth to tax.  Which will require draconian spending cuts.  Or a return to subsistence farming.

We may be witnessing the end of the European social democracy.  Which will end as all democracies end.  When the people learn that they have the key to the treasury.  And can vote themselves benefits.  When they learn this all spending restraint is gone.  And politicians pander for votes by promising to spend ever more irresponsibly.  Never worrying about the mess they’re making.  Leaving that to future generations.  Well, that future generation is here.  It’s why the Eurozone is suffering a sovereign debt crisis.  Because all of this social spending has come to a head.  And they can no longer sustain it.  But they still refuse to cut spending.  Instead, they escalate the class warfare.  And when that fails, as it will, then comes the subsistence farming.

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The Elderly suffer Insanitary Conditions and Inadequate Nutrition in Britain’s NHS

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 27th, 2012

Week in Review

National health care is having problems in the UK.  Their biggest customers are suffering from poor treatment.  The elderly.  In part because the NHS does such a good job at keeping the elderly alive (see ‘Friends and family’ test for hospitals by James Kirkup posted 5/25/2012 on The Telegraph).

Ministers are trying to improve standards after warnings from watchdogs that too many patients, especially the elderly, experience poor standards of basic care, including insanitary conditions and inadequate nutrition.

NHS staff are already asked to take the “friends and family” test, but the Prime Minister will say that extending it to patients will bring benefits to the service…

The Care Quality Commission last year found that one in five hospitals failed to meet basic standards of care for elderly patients.

This is a problem.  For many patients in a hospital are elderly.  Almost half of the patients in the NHS are age 60 or over.  So they’re dropping the ball on about half of the 16 million or so patients in the hospitals of the NHS.  If this were baseball batting almost 500 would be pretty good.  But this isn’t baseball.  And it’s just a bit unsettling that of all the moms and dads getting admitted to an NHS hospital about half of them will suffer poor treatment.  Including insanitary conditions.  And inadequate nutrition.

Will this happen in the US under Obamacare?  Well, the US has about five times the population as the UK.  And the UK has been practicing national health care for a long time.  So we probably won’t be as good as the British are at national health care.  So less skilled with about five times the patients?  I think it’s fair to say that the elderly will suffer even more poor treatment in the Obamacare system than they do in the NHS.  Especially with our aging population.

And it’s this aging population that’s the big problem.  People are living longer.  And because they’re living longer they’re having more hospital stays.  Requiring greater health care expenditures.  But because the population is aging the young have to carry ever larger shares of these health care expenditures.  As in higher taxes.  For the group consuming these health care services is growing faster than the group paying for them.  So they raise tax rates where they can.  And ration services.  To make their limited resources cover more and more patients.  Including having nurses treat more patients.  Sort of in a production line mode.  Spend as little time with each patient as possible.  To increase the number of patients processed.  It’s at this point when patients begin to fall between the cracks.  And suffer poor treatment.

This is the direction Obamacare will take us.  For when it comes to national health care the NHS is one of the best.  But it still ranks below most private health care.  Even Medicare.  For Medicare still operates in the realm of the private sector.  The government reimburses health care providers after the fact.  After the patient received treatment in the private health care system.  But once Obamacare morphs into the full-blown national health care system those on the Left want Medicare will struggle to meet the quality level of the NHS.  It will struggle to only mistreat about half of their elderly patients.  Because Obamacare will have five times the elderly patients than the NHS has.  It’s just simple math.

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British Electric Bills will rise by 27% to Subsidize Wind Farms and other Renewable Energy Initiatives

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 20th, 2012

Week in Review

Saving the planet isn’t cheap.  It takes a lot of taxes.  Subsidies.  And a significant reduction in your standard of living.  But that’s a small price to pay for not making a difference, isn’t it?  That’s what the British government thinks.  And they are willing to suck the quality of life right out of their people to prove it (see Electricity bills set to rise to pay for wind farm subsidies by Robert Mendick posted 5/20/2012 on The Telegraph).

This week the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will publish its draft energy bill, setting out how it plans to reform the electricity market and reduce the cost to households.

DECC has insisted that energy bills will begin to fall from next year and will be reduced by seven per cent – or £94 – by 2020 because of new energy efficiency policies.

These include the Green Deal, which will provide loans to fund loft and wall insulation; the roll-out of ‘smart’ meters to help control and monitor energy consumption; and the improvement in the energy efficiency of kettles and other appliances.

But a study of the Government’s own figures by the Renewable Energy Forum (REF), a specialist renewable energy consultancy, has accused DECC of deliberately misleading the public.

REF claims its analysis of the Government’s own figures shows that two-thirds of households, about 17 million in all, will be worse off – even if energy efficiency targets are met in full…

REF estimates that the UK’s climate change policies – which promote wind farms and other forms of renewable energy – will be responsible for ‘major increases’ in the retail price of electricity and gas.

It estimates that electricity prices on domestic bills will rise by 27 per cent by 2020 and by 34 per cent on bills for medium-sized companies. Gas prices will rise by seven per cent and 11 per cent respectively…

Earlier this year, 101 backbench Tory MPs wrote to David Cameron demanding that the £400 million a year subsidies paid to the onshore wind turbine industry be “dramatically cut”. In all, REF estimates that £1.5 billion a year is paid out in subsidies for all forms of renewable energy – including on and offshore wind – and that figure will rise to £8 billion a year by 2020.

The UK budget deficit in April of 2012 was £18.17 billion ($26.76 billion).  So spending £1.5 billion ($2.37 billion) a year they don’t have will not reduce their deficit.  It will only increase their debt.  And the interest they must pay on their debt.  Requiring higher taxes.  A bitter pill to swallow when the cost of electricity is rising at the same time.  Going green is going to impoverish the British people.  And by 2020 things will be over 5 times worse.

And all of this to save the planet.  Funny, really.  Because what the British do won’t be able to offset what the Chinese and Indians are doing.  Their economies are likely to continue to grow.  Pumping far more carbon into the air than the British can ever hope to remove.  So the British green policies will only hurt the British people.  Reduce their standard of living.  Without changing the world in the least.

And all the talk about insulating the UK from energy shocks?  Here’s something to think about.  Let’s say it’s winter. And the UK gets 25% of its electricity from wind farms.  Now let’s say a cold spell sets in.  And the wind stops blowing.  What do you think would happen if a fourth of the available electricity disappeared?  Can you say rolling brownout?  And blackout?  Not a problem you think?  Because your furnace uses natural gas?  Well, it takes electricity to run that furnace.  It takes electricity to pump hot water and blow hot air.  Anyone who lost their electric power in the winter can attest to that.  But the power companies can get the electricity back on line in a day or so.  Of course, you can’t do anything to make the wind blow.  Talk about irony.  To lose your power not from a storm with high winds.  But from a calm day.  Imagine worrying about losing your power whenever the winds don’t blow.  Instead of worrying the few days they blow really hard.  Of course, that risk doesn’t go away either.  Losing your power during a storm.  Sort of damned if the wind blows.  And damned if it doesn’t blow.  Which means you’re pretty much damned all of the time.

And if that wasn’t bad enough (and don’t you think it should be?), the British will be paying higher electric bills.  And higher taxes.  All while making no difference to the environment.  But at least they have the consolation of knowing that the people that are ruining their lives had good intentions.  Sort of makes everything worthwhile, doesn’t it?  Just remember that when you’re huddled under your blankets waiting for the wind to blow again so you can have some heat.

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