Japan clings to the same Keynesian Policies that have Failed for over 20 Years

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 30th, 2012

Week in Review

The fiscal cliff negotiations are all about deficit reduction.  The Right wants to do it with spending cuts.   The Left wants to do it with new taxes.  So they can spend more.  This is why they can’t reach an agreement.  The Right wants to reduce the deficit.  While the Left wants to increase spending.  For benefits.  For education.  For investments in Green Energy.  For infrastructure.  For economic stimulus.  Which will only increase the deficit.  So the Democrats are not exactly sincere when they talk about deficit reduction.  Which is why they can’t make a deal with the Republicans.  Who are serious when they talk about deficit reduction.

Another reason why the Democrats want to spend so much money is that they are Keynesians.  Who believe the government can bring an economy out of a recession with stimulus spending.  Despite that failing every time we’ve tried it.  In the United States in the Seventies.  Again during the Obama administration.  In the Eurozone.  In Asia.  Especially in Japan.  Where they’ve been trying to stimulate themselves out of a recession since their Lost Decade.  The Nineties (see Japan’s New Stimulus: The Race With China To The Bottom by Gordon G. Chang posted 12/30/2012 on Forbes).

The universal consensus is that the fall in manufacturing bolsters the case for Shinzo Abe’s plans to stimulate the economy.  The new prime minister is pursuing a broad-based program of shocking Japan out of its fourth contraction since the turn of the century.

First, Abe is going to prime the pump in a big way…

Second, Abe is going to push the yen down to help struggling exporters…

Third, the just-installed prime minister is leaning on the Bank of Japan to open up the taps…

Markets may love Abe’s stimulus solutions, but they are at best short-term fixes.  Tokyo, after all, has tried them all before with generally unsatisfactory results.  What Japan needs is not another paved-over riverbed—past spending programs have resulted in useless infrastructure—but structural reform to increase the country’s competitiveness.

Tokyo’s political elite, unfortunately, has got hooked on the false notion that governments can create enduring prosperity.  Two decades of recession and recession-like stagnation in Japan are proof that repeated government intervention in the economy does not in fact work.

If you keep trying to stimulate yourself out of a recession with Keynesian policies for over twenty years perhaps it’s time to give up on those failed policies.  Of course to do that may require some spending and tax cuts.  And you know how well that goes over with big government types.  It’s why the Americans can’t make a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.  And why the Japanese are going to try more of the same failed policies of the past.

Another impetus for these bad policies decisions is what’s happening in China.  Whose economy is much younger than Japan’s economy.  So they don’t have years of failed Keynesian policies digging their economy into a deep hole.  And because of that they’re going to go big.  Their stimulus is going to include the building of cities.  And that’s what the Japanese see.  That, and the (one time) economic explosion of their export economy.  Something they once had in Japan.  And would love to have again.  So they are going to follow China’s lead.  Even though their economic expansion is pretty much at its end.

Although there has been a “recovery” beginning in October, it looks like the upturn is already running out of steam.  China’s technocrats know they’re in trouble: they are apparently planning to increase the central government’s planned deficit for 2013 by 41% to 1.2 trillion yuan ($192 billion).  At present, it is now slated to be only 850 billion yuan.  Much of the shortfall is going toward an urbanization push next year.  Last year, Beijing announced its intention to build 20 new cities a year in each of the following 20 years.

The two biggest economies in Asia are ailing at the same time, and both Beijing and Tokyo have decided that government intervention is the shortest path to long-term growth.  Neither government’s program, however, looks viable.  Unfortunately, both China and Japan are going down the wrong road at the same time.

This could help the U.S. economy.  If they enacted spending cuts for their deficit reduction they could cut tax rates to spur the economy along.  And make the U.S. competitiveness soar while Japan and China dig themselves into deeper holes.  But the Americans, being the foolish Keynesians they are, are going to follow the Japanese and the Chinese into economic stagnation.  And with President Obama’s reelection they will stay Keynesian.  Drive over the fiscal cliff.  And compete with the Japanese to see who can have more lost decades

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Political Right, Left and Center

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 22nd, 2012

(Originally published December 8th, 2011)

The French Left wanted Radical Change and Launched the French Revolution

The terms Right, Left and Center go back to the French Revolution.  To the National Assembly.  Where people sat according to their political preferences.  Those who wanted to kill the king, the queen, the nobility, the clergy and pretty much anyone rich sat to the left of the president.  Those who wanted to maintain the monarchy and the established institutions sat to the president’s right.  Those who fell between these views sat in the center.

Why did the French Revolution erupt?  The people were starving.  Taxes were high.  And the government was trying to raise taxes again.  Because the government was drowning in debt.  From decades of war with their archenemy.  Great Britain.  And their financing of the American Revolution.  Where the British Americans were rebelling against the French’s archenemy.  Great Britain.

So France was a tinderbox.  To make matters worse for the monarchy was all that liberty talk of the Americans.  It was like a disease.  And it infected the French.  Who looked at the wealthy few.  The king.  The queen.  The nobility.  The clergy.  And then listened to their empty tummies rumbling.  The French Left wanted radical change.  And revolution.  The French Right said whoa now, let’s not act hasty here.  Yes we have some problems but our glorious French institutions have been around for centuries.  It’s in large part to them that France is great.

The Revolution to Topple a King ended with the Coronation of an Emperor – Napoleon

Well despite France’s great and glorious past the radicals got their way.  And blood ran in the streets of Paris.  Starting with the Storming of the Bastille.  The great medieval fortress housing prisoners of the realm.  The revolutionaries threw open the gates.  And freed all seven prisoners.  Being more a symbolic act than one of substance.  But this led eventually to a number of legislative assemblies.  A lot of blood.  Carnage.  And the beheading of King Louis XVI.  And his queen.  Marie Antoinette.  Eventually the seats on the right side of the National Assembly emptied.  As everyone moved to the president’s left.  Lest they be killed, too.

The revolutionaries aimed their wrath at anyone who was not supportive of the Revolution.  And even those whose support was only lukewarm.  They killed these enemies of the Revolution.  Or any other enemies that they conveniently identified as enemies of the Revolution.  Leaders rose.  And leaders fell.  Jean-Paul Marat.  Georges-Jacques Danton.  And Maximillien Robespierre.  All three were killed.  Charlotte Corday, a supporter of the Right, stabbed Marat in his bath tub.  Danton and Robespierre were guillotined.  Leaders of violence.  Victims of violence.  These members of the French Left.  Who killed and terrorized the people unlike the king they killed.  King Louis XVI.  Or the queen they killed.  Marie Antoinette.

Ultimately the French Revolution gave the world Napoleon.  And world war.  And the Revolution to topple a king ended with the coronation of an emperor.  For this opportunist ultimately had the biggest army.  Napoleon could consolidate his power.  Unlike Marat.  Danton.  Or Robespierre.  But Napoleon could.  And did.  Then he set out to create an empire.  Much like the kings that came before him did.

Those on the Right are Distrustful of those on the Left when they Talk about Egalitarianism and Fairness

Today the meaning of Left, Right and Center vary.  But, in general, those on the Right prefer the way things are.  Proven by time to work.  And those on the Left are never happy with how things are and want to change them to some new theoretical ideal that time hasn’t proven as a viable workable system.  Such as socialism.  And communism.  Generally referred to as ‘leftist’ systems.  And both are systems that have never worked.

Fascist Italy, Communist Russia and Nazi Germany were all new experimental systems to right all the wrongs of past governments.  And all three governments made their citizens’ lives worse with harsh police states.  With the state summarily executing enemies of the state.  Much like Marat, Danton and Robespierre did in France.  Many refer to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy as right-wing states.  But both were fascist states.  Which was nothing more than a national socialism.  Which was a combination of socialism.  And nationalism.  These were people who wanted radical change.  Control over the masses.  And empire.  If these governments sat in the French National Legislation they all would have taken seats to the left of the president.

Leftists hate the rich and successful.  And want to confiscate their wealth for themselves.  Instead of trying to achieve wealth on their own merit.  Those on the Right are distrustful of those on the Left when they talk about egalitarianism and fairness.  Because they know what that means.  They are going to take their wealth via the power of government.  By a progressive tax system.  Inheritance tax.  Capital gains tax.  Surtaxes to punish success.  Regulatory laws and fees that increase the cost of doing business.  (As well as increases the prices of goods and services.)  Etc.

The Left champions the poor and downtrodden as they ascend to power.  But rarely have they helped the poor and downtrodden.  Only a select few in the party upper echelons ever live a better life.   For example, the Democrat Party launched a war on poverty in the Sixties and yet there is still poverty.  Despite a myriad of government programs that has exploded the size of government.  All headed by rich bureaucrats living better lives.  While the poor and downtrodden are still wallowing in poverty.  And we know this because the Left is constantly telling us this.  In their never ending quest to expand the size of government.

The center is somewhere between the Left and the Right.  It’s not really a group with core political beliefs.  But more of a group that that likes a little from column ‘A’.  And a little from column ‘B’.

Politics is a Procession – We tend to Start on the Left, Work our Way through the Center and End on the Right

Perhaps another way to look at this is those on the right being parents in a family.  Children of these parents who are now raising their own families are in the center.  And the young children who are still in college are on the left.

The young know little and have even less responsibility.  They like to stay out late, party, do drugs and have consequence-free sex.  They don’t like anything that restricts their good times.  Hence they are always hostile to authority.  Church.  Or state.  And their vote tends to lean towards anarchy.  Where anything goes.

The children starting their own families are slowly giving up the ways of their youth.  They are becoming established in their careers.  Raising children.  Which leaves little time for fun.  But they are hesitant to admit that they have become their parents.  So they hang on to some of their idealistic ways of their youth.  While starting to save for their kids’ college education.  And their retirement.  They even start going to church.  To get their kids started on the right foot.  And to try and keep their kids from doing everything they did when they were young.

The parents have worked long and hard.  They have a family.  And grandchildren.  They want the best for their family.  And a happy and secure retirement.  After playing by the rules all of their lives they don’t want to rock the boat now that they are so close to retirement.  So they are very pleased to stay with the proven ways of the past.  And prefer to help others at their church.  Rather than giving money to a leviathan government.

Politics is a procession.  We tend to start on the Left.  Work our way through the Center.  And end on the Right.  For we tend to grow less radical with age.  Because as we age we accumulate wealth and have far more to lose with radical change.

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FT104: “Driving is more of a right than health care because it doesn’t cost others when someone drives.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 10th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Although it doesn’t Cost Others when Someone Drives it’s Still not a Right because Driving Recklessly can Cost Others

Freedom of religion is a right.  It doesn’t cost me anything (money, time, inconvenience, etc.) for my neighbor to go to church or to practice their religion.  Freedom of speech is a right because it doesn’t cost me anything when someone writes a letter to a newspaper editor.  The right to bear arms is a right because it doesn’t cost me anything when a neighbor owns a gun.  Rights are free in the sense that others don’t have to incur any costs whenever someone exercises a right.  And because they are free no one can grant them.  Or take them away.  Hence they are God-given.  And only God can take them away.  Even an atheist will favor this definition.  For these God-given rights prevent any man from taking away his or her right to publically protest the existence of God.

Housing, food, education, etc., are not rights.  Because these things are expensive.  Someone has to pay for them.  And if you don’t pay for them they will take them away from you.  Or you can lose them if you don’t follow the rules.  A principal can expel a student for causing trouble in high school.  A landlord can evict an unruly tenant in an apartment building.  And if you don’t pay your mortgage the bank can foreclose on your house and take it back.  So these aren’t rights because someone has to pay for them.  You.  Or other people.  And there is a process to go through where someone grants us access to these.  Typically paying for these things.  And following certain rules.

Interestingly, when someone drives a car it doesn’t cost me anything.  Yet driving a car is not a right.  It’s a privilege.  And the thing that makes it a privilege and not a right is similar to housing, food and education.  There are certain rules to follow.  And if a driver doesn’t follow these rules it can then cost others when they drive.  Such as if a driver ignores traffic signals, drives under the influence of alcohol, ignores the posted speed limits, drives recklessly, etc.  Such a person can involve other people who follow the rules into accidents.  Costing them dearly.  It’s because of this that driving is a privilege and not a right.

Unlike Obamacare you can Choose not to Buy Car Insurance by Choosing not to Drive

A car or truck is very heavy.  And as it moves it creates a lot of kinetic energy.  The faster it goes the greater the kinetic energy.  And the greater amount of damage it can cause in an accident.  Causing great damage to other cars.  And their occupants.  Those who were not at fault will incur great costs from these accidents.  The at-fault person, though, may not be wealthy enough to pay these costs.  That’s why we make ALL drivers buy insurance.  So the few that have accidents can have their insurance pay these great costs.  This is a classic example of the use of insurance to spread risk.  Everyone pays a small fee to create a large pool of money to pay for the few who incur these great costs.  By making drivers buy insurance we make them responsible for the consequences of their driving.

Health care is very similar to driving a car.  Only many say health care is a right.  Unlike driving a car.  But health care isn’t a right.  Far from it.  For health care is very expensive.  And someone has to pay for it.  The patient.  Or others.  Just like housing, food and education.  Also, much of our health problems are self-inflicted.  Health problems plague obese people as they age.  Smokers tend to suffer from cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.  Heavy drinkers and drug users suffer a variety of ailments.  People get hurt doing risky things (take dangerous risks while drunk, extreme sports, etc.) and incur great medical costs.  But unlike the driver of a car we don’t make these people responsible for the consequences of their actions.  Instead, we treat them and have other people pay for the consequences of their actions.

Some like to point to the individual mandate in Obamacare as addressing this very problem.  By forcing people to buy health insurance.  So they are responsible for the consequences of their actions.  They say making people buy health insurance is no different from making people buy car insurance.  But it’s not.  Because buying car insurance is not mandatory.  You can choose not to buy it simply by choosing not to drive.  Obamacare offers no such choice.  Unless you call choosing not to live an option.

Health Care is Expensive because Unlike a Driver those who don’t follow the Rules of a Healthy Lifestyle never lose their Living Privilege

Health insurance is nothing like car insurance.  Car insurance protects a person from losing all their savings from an unexpected and unfortunate accident.  By spreading the risk over a great number of people who pay a small premium.  Whereas health care has become welfare.  It has nothing to do with spreading risk.  For people today expect a complete free ride.  For everything.  Whatever the cost.  They don’t want to pay a dime.  Not even for their prescriptions.  They want someone else to pay all of their costs.

And what really makes this welfare is that it will become a pure transfer cost under Obamacare.  The vast majority of people consuming health care are senior citizens.  While the young and healthy consume the least amount of health care.  Obamacare will transfer the costs of those who consume health care to those who don’t.  By forcing the young and healthy to buy health insurance.  That they currently do not buy because they rarely see their doctors.  Instead they use the savings from not buying health insurance to afford something they do use.  Like to pay for a house to live in to start their families.  But once Obamacare forces them to buy health insurance they’ll have to find another cost to cut.  Perhaps selling their car and using public transportation.  Saving on both a car payment.  And the car insurance payment.  Because they have that choice.  Unlike under Obamacare.

Driving a car is more like a right than health care.  It doesn’t cost anyone else as long as they follow the rules of the road.  But we still make them buy car insurance in case they have an accident.  Whereas health care is unlike a right in every way.  There is always a cost whether you follow the rules or not.  And unlike a driver those who don’t follow the ‘rules of a healthy lifestyle’ never lose their ‘living privilege’.  (At least, not yet.  And let’s hope it remains that way.)  They just pass their higher health care costs to others.  Especially the young and healthy who consume very little, if any, health care.  Making it a pure welfare transfer cost.  Of course, in this case, unlike other forms of welfare, this cost will be transferred to those least able to afford it.  The young.  Most of who are not rich.

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FT98: “The difference between a right and an entitlement is that other people don’t have to pay for a right.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 30th, 2011

Fundamental Truth

Our Rights are Free to Enjoy because no one must Suffer any Burden for us to Enjoy these Rights

The Roman Empire fell because of high taxes.  The Americans declared their independence from the British Empire because of high taxes.  The French Revolution erupted over high taxes.  Warren Harding won the 1920 presidential election because of high taxes.  Ronald Reagan won the 1980 presidential election because of high taxes.  Both Harding and Reagan were tax cutters.  The moral of this story?  People don’t like paying taxes.  Never have.  And never will.

The Bill of Rights contains the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.  Some of these rights include the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech (First Amendment).  The right to keep and bear arms (Second Amendment).  Protection from quartering troops in our homes (Third Amendment).  Protection from unreasonable search and seizure (Fourth Amendment).  See a trend?

Our rights are free to enjoy.  That is, when we enjoy our rights it doesn’t cost anyone else.  When people speak their mind there isn’t an associated cost that goes with it that we must fund with taxes.  For people to be free to own a gun and keep it in their house there isn’t an associated tax to pay for that right.  There isn’t a line item in the federal budget to prevent soldiers from moving into my house during times of peace.  No.  These rights are free.  No one must suffer any burden for us to enjoy these rights.

A Right is not a License to Compel Others to do something Against their Will

Rights are God-given.  Meaning that no person may deny these rights to anyone.  We want these rights.  We enjoy these rights.  And the fact that they don’t cost anything to have and enjoy is especially nice.  Because as noted earlier people don’t like paying taxes.  They never have.  And never will.

But we do pay taxes.  For those things that are necessary and Constitutional.  Such as a strong military to protect and defend our country from enemies foreign and domestic.  We don’t enjoy paying these taxes.  But we do enjoy being safe and free from oppression.  So we can enjoy our Constitutional rights.

Now, when is a right not a right?  When it’s not guaranteed in our Constitution and/or there is a cost that others must bear.  For instance, I can’t go to an electronics store and take a large plasma TV and tell the clerk that it’s my right to have that TV.  Because it’s not a right.  (Or an entitlement.  Yet.)  Why?  For one it’s not in the Constitution.  And it’s not just because we didn’t invent them yet.  Even if they were around at the time of the framing of the Constitution the Founding Fathers would not have included them.  Because they have a cost.  For someone to have one as a right someone else must pay for it.  And if someone else must be compelled to provide something for you then it is not a right.  Because a right is not a license to compel others to do something against their will.  There’s another name for that.  Slavery.

Health Care, Pensions, Food, etc., are not Rights because they have Costs

So if you agree with me so far (and it would be hard not to if you’re being honest), then you must agree that housing, health care, pensions, food, etc., are not rights either.  Because they have costs.  And the only way for others to have these without paying for them is to compel others to pay for them against their will.  Which is, of course, slavery.  Something else that is forbidden by a Constitutional amendment.  The Thirteenth Amendment.

So providing these things to the poor is not and should not be required.  But it would be nice.  And it should be voluntary.  Like it was.  Once upon a time.  Before there were entitlements.  We called it charity.  And it worked.  Well.  Our ancestors, those beautiful rugged individualists, would laugh at us today for how we’ve made a mess of things.  Be disgusted to see how soft we’ve become.  And then probably spit on us with contempt.

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FT96: “The Left uses propaganda more effectively than the Right uses the truth.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 16th, 2011

Fundamental Truth

Liberals lie because only about 20% of the People are Liberal Democrats

Politicians lie.  On both sides of the aisle.  Democrats lie because they always want to raise our taxes.  And campaigning to raise your taxes just doesn’t win a lot of votes.  So they lie.  Republicans lie, too.  Especially those that want to act like Democrats.  And join the Washington elite where you go to the best of parties and rub shoulders with the best of A-list celebrities.

So that’s why politicians lie.  To fool you into voting for them.  So they can live a far, far better life than you can ever imagine.  Some have grown pretty adept at it.  In particular liberal Democrats.  Who have taken the lie and elevated it to pure party propaganda.   Again, because they have too.  With only about 20% of the people being liberal Democrats, there aren’t enough people out there buying what they’re selling.  So they have to lie about what they’re selling.

And what, exactly, are they selling?  Privilege.  For themselves.  And their friends.  Which they give themselves after winning elections.  Power, control and money.  The usual things a privileged class covets.  Like in the good old days.  In the Old World.  Where a good last name set you apart from the rabble.  And let you live the good life without working.

The more Wretched and Impoverished the Poor get the Better it is for Big Government

Today’s aristocracy is Big Government.  For those in it have power, control and money.  Just like a Baron in medieval Europe.  Except for one thing.  This nobility never has to put on armor and mount his steed and fight for the king.  So it’s even better.  Of course, in the Old World, there were oaths of fealty.  The price of privilege was the possibility of fighting, even dying, for your king.  A liberal Democrat has no such thing to fear.  Hell, they can break the law even and nine times out of ten they’ll get away with it.  Because their kind takes care of their own.  And doesn’t let a little thing like the law get in the way of their good life.

So how does one get to live better than everyone else?  Even being above the law at times?  Simple.  You champion the little guy.  The poor.  The downtrodden.  Those at the bottom of the ladder.  You take care of these people.  At least, you say you are.  By expanding the size of government to, say, alleviate poverty.  Then you raise taxes and expand government again and again.  And again.  And because you do this with the best of intentions no one ever points out that everything you’ve done has failed.  There’s still poverty.  In fact, it seems that every year more people are living below the poverty line.  At least according to government statistics.  Or should I say Big Government statistics?  Convenient, yes?  A little of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, isn’t it?

Of course, that’s the plan.  Because if you got rid of poverty you’d put Big Government out of a job.  I mean, if everyone was living happily ever what would you need them for?  Happiness is not good for Big Government.  That’s right, the more wretched and impoverished the poor get the better it is for government programs that ‘care’ for them.  And spend more money on them.  Which means more taxes, more control and more positions within the new aristocracy for more of their own.

JFK and Ronald Reagan were both Tax-Cutting Supply-Siders

To keep raising taxes and to keep creating new government programs you have to demonize tax cuts and limited government.  Which is important because history has shown that everyone lives better with lower taxes and a more limited government.  Except, of course, the new aristocracy.

Liberals refer to the Kennedy White House as Camelot.  They absolutely loved JFK.  But they carefully guard his legacy.  Why?  JFK was a tax-cutter.  He believed in supply-side economics.  What the liberal Democrats dismiss snidely as trickle-down economics.  But Kennedy’s tax cuts worked.  They caused an economic boom.  Which the Left is very hush-hush about.  Because they can’t have their hero known as a tax-cutter.  But they have no problem belittling another Kennedy-esque tax-cutter.  Ronald Reagan.

Reagan cut the top marginal tax rate.  The Big Government liberals called him mad.  Out of touch.  Said he hated the poor.  And wanted to starve government programs ‘vital’ for the poor while rewarding rich people.  But like Kennedy, his cut in the tax rates caused an economic boom.  And tax receipts (tax money collected by the IRS) nearly doubled.  None of which was supposed to happen according to the liberals.  So they lied about it.  Said, “yes, there was increased economic activity, but at what cost?  Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts gave us huge deficits that exploded the federal debt.”  Yes, there were huge deficits.  But that’s beside the point.  The cut in the top marginal rate nearly doubled tax receipts.  That’s the key point.  The Reagan tax cuts worked.  The government just spent this new tax revenue faster than they could collect it.

Liberals are such Good Liars that few know the Successful Track Record of Tax Cuts

Cuts in tax rates have a successful track record.  That’s fact.  The Republicans could run on this truth.  But they do such a pathetic job in telling the truth that no one knows about this successful track record.  The liberal democrats, on the other hand, lie through their teeth about this record.  And they’re so good at lying that it’s what most people believe.  Tax cuts explode the deficit.  Grow the debt.  Take money away from the poor.  Gives it to the rich.  While the poor and downtrodden wait for all that wealth to trickle down to them.  But it never comes.  All lies.  But told so well that it’s what most people believe.

JFK was a tax cutter.  A lot like Ronald Reagan.  There were others.  And they all proved that tax cuts increase economic activity.  Which is always good.  Because more economic activity means more jobs.  And more tax receipts.  Which is bad for a caring and nurturing Big Government.  Because if free market capitalism can do this then there is no need for Big Government.  And this is something the new aristocracy just can’t have.

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Primary and General Elections

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 15th, 2011

Politics 101

The Founding Fathers pledged to each other their Lives, their Fortunes and their Sacred Honor

People have protested and died fighting for the right to vote throughout history.  The American Revolutionary War was over taxation without representation.  Meaning that the American colonies wanted representation in British Parliament.  Something the British government did not allow.  Worse, they started taxing the Americans.  Who had no representation in Parliament.  And this did not go over well with the American colonists.  They had had enough.  They wanted a say in their government.

So the Founding Fathers committed treason.  They signed the Declaration of Independence.  And fought 8 years to have that say in their government.  It took awhile.  And a lot of the signers of the Declaration of Independence suffered for their treason.  They lost their property.  Their wealth.  And even their families.  Who suffered all sorts of brutality at the hands of the British.  These traitors.  Who defied their king.  But the cause persevered.  And the Americans won their independence.  As well as their right to self-government.

Back then people cared.  Enough to pledge to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.  But today?  People have other priorities in life.  Where reality television is more important in their lives than having that say in their government.  For they have no idea what the Founding Fathers paid to give us this cushy life of plenty.  And just assume the good times will continue to roll.  Especially if they keep voting for whoever promises to give them more free stuff.

Candidates move to the Center after Winning their Party’s Nomination and become someone Completely Different

In the country that struggled for 8 years to get the right to vote.  In the country that inspired people all around the world to follow them in the pursuit of happiness.  In the very bastion of liberty and self-government.  In America.  Guess how many people vote today in a typical presidential election.  Little more than half of eligible voters.  And that’s in the general election.  It’s far worse in the primary election.  Where we see maybe half of that turnout.  Which is rather sad.  Considering that these are the people who actually pay attention to politics.  For this is where a political party chooses their candidate for the general election.  You see, each party has a platform.  A set of political ideas.  Their core philosophy.  And the people choose who they think will best advance their party platform in the primary election.

So during the primary election candidates try to be that candidate.  The one who will best advance the party platform.  Typically the conservative moves as far right as possible to show his or her conservative bona fides.  And the liberal moves as far left as possible to show his or her liberal bona fides.  Here they’re trying to appeal to the party base.  The hardcore.  Those who are as far away from the political center as is possible.  Those who don’t give a whit about compromise or bipartisanship.  They want a purebred candidate that will take the country where they feel it should be.  They don’t want someone who will reach across the aisle and compromise away their most cherished principles.

The population roughly breaks down to 40% conservative, 20% liberal and 40% moderate/independent.  Which is all fine and dandy during the primary election.  But it’s a bit of a problem during the general election.  For that 40% moderate/independent forms the political center.  That area the candidates run away from during the primary election.  So they must scramble back to it after winning their party’s nomination.  And hope that most of those in the center didn’t pay attention during the primary.  To make the lying easier.  To no longer be who they said they were during the primary.  But to be someone completely different.  Someone who can reach across the aisle.  Someone who can compromise away their base’s most cherished principles.  Someone who believes politics should be bipartisan.  Or, better still, nonpartisan.  In other words, the last person their base would want.

When the Choice is between two Moderates, Democrats will always Choose the Democrat Moderate

Liberals have to run to the center.  For their base only amounts to about 20% of the electorate.  But it’s not quite the same for conservatives.  At 40% of the electorate they don’t have to run the center.  They only need another 10% or so of the vote to win.  So running to the center actually hurts them.  Because a lot of that political center is Democrat.  And if the vote comes down to 2 moderates they’re going to vote for the Democrat moderate over the Republican moderate every time.  Because all things being equal, a Democrat will vote for a Democrat.

When the Republicans ran a moderate who campaigned as someone who would reach across the aisle and compromise away his base’s most cherished principles, John McCain didn’t get the moderate vote.  They voted for the Democrat.  Who lied during the general election and ran as a moderate.  Sometimes he even talked like a conservative.  Even though Barack Obama was as liberal as they came.  At least based on his voting record in public office.

When Republican Ronald Reagan won his party nomination he didn’t run to the center.  He remained a conservative.  And he won.  Because a lot of Democrats voted for him.  The Reagan Democrats.  Because there was a real difference between him and Jimmy Carter.  There was a conservative and a liberal.  And the Reagan Democrats decided to vote for the conservative because they liked the conservative message better than the liberal message.  But when the choice is between two moderates who promise to reach across the aisle more than the other there’s no real difference between the candidates.  And no reason to vote for the other guy when he or she is no different than the one from your own party.

Ignoring the Primary Elections ignores the Philosophical Debate and turns the General Election into a Populist Contest

It is a shame the level of voter apathy in the country that stands for self-government.  Almost half of the eligible voters ignore politics 3 years out of 4.  And only vote in the presidential general election.  It’s a shame because we have a 2-party system.  Like it or not.  There are only two core political philosophies to choose from.  For those in the middle don’t have a philosophy.  A party.  A party platform.  A primary election.  Or a political convention.  They only get involved once every 4 years at the general election.  And ultimately end up voting for a Democrat or a Republican.  Even though they refuse to identify themselves with either party.

But ignoring the primary elections ignores the party platforms.  The meat and potatoes of the philosophical debate.  And turns the general election into nothing but a populist contest.  True democracy.  Mob rule.  With the winner often being the one who promises the most to the least politically informed.

Politics has come a long way since the Founding Fathers pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.  It’s probably a good thing they’re not here to see what has become of their self-government.  They wouldn’t like what they would see.  Especially the voter apathy.

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Political Right, Left and Center

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 8th, 2011

Politics 101

The French Left wanted Radical Change and Launched the French Revolution

The terms Right, Left and Center go back to the French Revolution.  To the National Assembly.  Where people sat according to their political preferences.  Those who wanted to kill the king, the queen, the nobility, the clergy and pretty much anyone rich sat to the left of the president.  Those who wanted to maintain the monarchy and the established institutions sat to the president’s right.  Those who fell between these views sat in the center.

Why did the French Revolution erupt?  The people were starving.  Taxes were high.  And the government was trying to raise taxes again.  Because the government was drowning in debt.  From decades of war with their archenemy.  Great Britain.  And their financing of the American Revolution.  Where the British Americans were rebelling against the French’s archenemy.  Great Britain.

So France was a tinderbox.  To make matters worse for the monarchy was all that liberty talk of the Americans.  It was like a disease.  And it infected the French.  Who looked at the wealthy few.  The king.  The queen.  The nobility.  The clergy.  And then listened to their empty tummies rumbling.  The French Left wanted radical change.  And revolution.  The French Right said whoa now, let’s not act hasty here.  Yes we have some problems but our glorious French institutions have been around for centuries.  It’s in large part to them that France is great.

The Revolution to Topple a King ended with the Coronation of an Emperor – Napoleon

Well despite France’s great and glorious past the radicals got their way.  And blood ran in the streets of Paris.  Starting with the Storming of the Bastille.  The great medieval fortress housing prisoners of the realm.  The revolutionaries threw open the gates.  And freed all seven prisoners.  Being more a symbolic act than one of substance.  But this led eventually to a number of legislative assemblies.  A lot of blood.  Carnage.  And the beheading of King Louis XVI.  And his queen.  Marie Antoinette.  Eventually the seats on the right side of the National Assembly emptied.  As everyone moved to the president’s left.  Lest they be killed, too.

The revolutionaries aimed their wrath at anyone who was not supportive of the Revolution.  And even those whose support was only lukewarm.  They killed these enemies of the Revolution.  Or any other enemies that they conveniently identified as enemies of the Revolution.  Leaders rose.  And leaders fell.  Jean-Paul Marat.  Georges-Jacques Danton.  And Maximillien Robespierre.  All three were killed.  Charlotte Corday, a supporter of the Right, stabbed Marat in his bath tub.  Danton and Robespierre were guillotined.  Leaders of violence.  Victims of violence.  These members of the French Left.  Who killed and terrorized the people unlike the king they killed.  King Louis XVI.  Or the queen they killed.  Marie Antoinette.

Ultimately the French Revolution gave the world Napoleon.  And world war.  And the Revolution to topple a king ended with the coronation of an emperor.  For this opportunist ultimately had the biggest army.  Napoleon could consolidate his power.  Unlike Marat.  Danton.  Or Robespierre.  But Napoleon could.  And did.  Then he set out to create an empire.  Much like the kings that came before him did.

Those on the Right are Distrustful of those on the Left when they Talk about Egalitarianism and Fairness

Today the meaning of Left, Right and Center vary.  But, in general, those on the Right prefer the way things are.  Proven by time to work.  And those on the Left are never happy with how things are and want to change them to some new theoretical ideal that time hasn’t proven as a viable workable system.  Such as socialism.  And communism.  Generally referred to as ‘leftist’ systems.  And both are systems that have never worked.

Fascist Italy, Communist Russia and Nazi Germany were all new experimental systems to right all the wrongs of past governments.  And all three governments made their citizens’ lives worse with harsh police states.  With the state summarily executing enemies of the state.  Much like Marat, Danton and Robespierre did in France.  Many refer to Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy as right-wing states.  But both were fascist states.  Which was nothing more than a national socialism.  Which was a combination of socialism.  And nationalism.  These were people who wanted radical change.  Control over the masses.  And empire.  If these governments sat in the French National Legislation they all would have taken seats to the left of the president.

Leftists hate the rich and successful.  And want to confiscate their wealth for themselves.  Instead of trying to achieve wealth on their own merit.  Those on the Right are distrustful of those on the Left when they talk about egalitarianism and fairness.  Because they know what that means.  They are going to take their wealth via the power of government.  By a progressive tax system.  Inheritance tax.  Capital gains tax.  Surtaxes to punish success.  Regulatory laws and fees that increase the cost of doing business.  (As well as increases the prices of goods and services.)  Etc.

The Left champions the poor and downtrodden as they ascend to power.  But rarely have they helped the poor and downtrodden.  Only a select few in the party upper echelons ever live a better life.   For example, the Democrat Party launched a war on poverty in the Sixties and yet there is still poverty.  Despite a myriad of government programs that has exploded the size of government.  All headed by rich bureaucrats living better lives.  While the poor and downtrodden are still wallowing in poverty.  And we know this because the Left is constantly telling us this.  In their never ending quest to expand the size of government.

The center is somewhere between the Left and the Right.  It’s not really a group with core political beliefs.  But more of a group that that likes a little from column ‘A’.  And a little from column ‘B’.

Politics is a Procession – We tend to Start on the Left, Work our Way through the Center and End on the Right

Perhaps another way to look at this is those on the right being parents in a family.  Children of these parents who are now raising their own families are in the center.  And the young children who are still in college are on the left.

The young know little and have even less responsibility.  They like to stay out late, party, do drugs and have consequence-free sex.  They don’t like anything that restricts their good times.  Hence they are always hostile to authority.  Church.  Or state.  And their vote tends to lean towards anarchy.  Where anything goes.

The children starting their own families are slowly giving up the ways of their youth.  They are becoming established in their careers.  Raising children.  Which leaves little time for fun.  But they are hesitant to admit that they have become their parents.  So they hang on to some of their idealistic ways of their youth.  While starting to save for their kids’ college education.  And their retirement.  They even start going to church.  To get their kids started on the right foot.  And to try and keep their kids from doing everything they did when they were young.

The parents have worked long and hard.  They have a family.  And grandchildren.  They want the best for their family.  And a happy and secure retirement.  After playing by the rules all of their lives they don’t want to rock the boat now that they are so close to retirement.  So they are very pleased to stay with the proven ways of the past.  And prefer to help others at their church.  Rather than giving money to a leviathan government.

Politics is a procession.  We tend to start on the Left.  Work our way through the Center.  And end on the Right.  For we tend to grow less radical with age.  Because as we age we accumulate wealth and have far more to lose with radical change.

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