Estate Taxes – Washington’s Insatiable Greed

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 13th, 2010

Taxing the Dead

Liberal Democrats like dead people.  Because when people die, there’s inheritance to tax (see Democrats not pleased with deal on estate taxes by Seth McLaughlin posted 12/12/2010 on The Washington Times).

“If someone leaves an estate of a billion dollars, under their proposal, they would gain $100 million over what the Democrats are proposing for the estate tax,” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Illinois Democrat, said on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” “Imagine, Paris Hilton will be able to get an extra $100 million under their plan. It’s obscene. It’s absolutely an offense to us and to most Americans.”

A levy on the transfers of big inheritances, the estate tax has become emblematic of philosophical differences that exist on Capitol Hill, where Mr. Sanders and other liberal-leaning lawmakers claim wealthy Americans simply can afford to contribute more to the national kitty and conservatives say the tax does not deliver the bang for the buck that Democrats claim and that the federal government shouldn’t have a financial stake in how people pass along their personal fortunes.

Yeah, but whose money is it in the first place?  And how many times do the rich have to pay taxes on their money?  They tax their income at the highest rates.  They tax their capital gains from Interest and dividends.  And if they’re business owners, they pay a corporate income tax, payroll taxes and other business taxes before they get to pay further taxes on the personal income their businesses pay them.  Tax, tax and tax. 

And they call the rich greedy?

There’s One for You, Nineteen for Me

All right, just how greedy are these rich? 

The first Bush cuts began phasing the estate tax out in 2001 from a top rate of 55 percent to 45 percent in 2009 and then to zero in 2010, with the per-person exemption also rising from $1 million to $3.5 million.

So, if Paris Hilton’s daddy bequeaths her a billion dollars, she gets to keep $450,000,000 while the government gets $550,000,000 (at the 55% estate tax rate).  The government gets more than half of her inheritance.  Schakowsky is right.  I am offended.  I am offended that the government can take over half of anyone’s inheritance while doing nothing to earn that money.  Like the Hiltons did. 

And my advice for those who die, (taxman)
Declare the pennies on your eyes. (taxman)

(The Beatles’ Taxman).

The government wants your money.  They want it when you work.  When you retire.  And when you die.  Have you ever wondered why the government is so opposed to privatizing Social Security?  Because your Social Security ‘retirement fund’ is taxed at 100% at your death.

Public Sector Unions are Expensive

So why do they want so much of our money?  Because public sector unions are expensive (see Government Unions vs. Taxpayers by Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, posted 12/13/2010 on The Wall Street Journal).

The majority of union members today no longer work in construction, manufacturing or “strong back” jobs. They work for government, which, thanks to President Obama, has become the only booming “industry” left in our economy. Since January 2008 the private sector has lost nearly eight million jobs while local, state and federal governments added 590,000.

Federal employees receive an average of $123,049 annually in pay and benefits, twice the average of the private sector. And across the country, at every level of government, the pattern is the same: Unionized public employees are making more money, receiving more generous benefits, and enjoying greater job security than the working families forced to pay for it with ever-higher taxes, deficits and debt.

It never changes.  The politically connected always exploit the masses.  The only difference today from yesterday’s noble classes and aristocracy is that membership isn’t based on blood.  They don’t inherit title and rank these days.  Which probably explains why the ruling elite has no qualms about a confiscatory estate tax.

Public Sector Unions and Dictators

It’s not easy screwing the masses in a democracy.  You need help.  Some political muscle.  Some guns for hire.

Public employee unions contribute mightily to the campaigns of liberal politicians ($91 million in the midterm elections alone) who vote to increase government pay and workers. As more government employees join the unions and pay dues, the union bosses pour ever more money and energy into liberal campaigns. The result is that certain states are now approaching default. Decades of overpromising and fiscal malpractice by state and local officials have created unfunded public employee benefit liabilities of more than $3 trillion.

Life in Cuba and North Korea is deplorable.  And yet their rulers have held power for decades.  And how did they do this?  Well, life may suck for your run of the mill North Korean and Cuban, but life is very good for those around the dictators.  They take care of the dictators.  And the dictators take very good care of them.  One can’t survive without the other.  So they take care of each other.

Ditto for public sector unions.

Who’s Exploiting Whom?

Once upon a time factories were like Dickens novels.  So the unions organized.

The moral case for unions—protecting working families from exploitation—does not apply to public employment. Government employees today are among the most protected, well-paid employees in the country. Ironically, public-sector unions have become the exploiters, and working families once again need someone to stand up for them.

Government work.  When someone is goofing off at work, the joke is that they’re doing government work.  Because government workers get paid very well.  For phony baloney jobs.  Many of these jobs are so useless that no one would ever notice if we eliminated them.  Life would go on as before.  Well, we would probably be taxed a whole lot less.  But other than that, the elimination of these jobs wouldn’t make the slightest difference in anyone’s life.

But we’re stuck with these jobs.  And we pay for them.  With confiscatory taxes.  Even after we die.  So, like George Harrison said, you better declare those pennies on your eyes.  When they lay you in your coffin.  Because the taxman is coming for you.  And your estate.

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North Korea Speaks Loudly but Hits with a Small Stick. So Far.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 23rd, 2010

FDR Gave Joseph Stalin Eastern Europe

How did we get this North Korean problem?

After World War II, the Soviets tried to spread communism.  And Roosevelt helped.  He gave Joseph Stalin Eastern Europe.  The German capital, Berlin, was inside East Germany.  The Allies partitioned it.  The United States, Great Britain and France split the West side.  The Soviets took the East.  And West Berlin was a thorn in Stalin’s side.  It was a gateway to the West for those oppressed under Soviet Communism in the East.

FDR liked Uncle Joe Stalin.  Both were Progressives.  And Stalin did Progressivism in a grand way.  The only problem was that the people didn’t want it.  They tried to escape from the heavy hand of Soviet rule.  So Stalin built a wall in Berlin.

Then, to seal the deal, he cut the rail lines into West Berlin.  He was going to starve the West Berliners into submission.  The West initiated the Berlin Airlift to relieve the besieged Berliners.  Stalin relented.  He restored rail service.  And the West checked the spread of communism in Europe.

The Soviets tried to expand into Greece, Turkey and Iran

The Soviets changed tactics.  They tried to entice Western nations into the Soviet Sphere.  To check the spread of Communism into Greece and Turkey, President Truman kept them into the Western sphere with generous U.S. aid.

During World War II, American aid for the Soviets fighting the Nazis came through Iran.  When the war ended, the Soviets didn’t want to leave Iran.  They wanted those warm water ports.  And that land in between those ports and the Soviet Union.  American support and aid to Iran eventually forced the Soviets to leave Iran.

Rebuffed in Iran, the Soviets found success in China.  And North Korea.  Truman implemented his Truman Doctrine to contain any further Soviet/communist expansion.  And, in 1950, this turned into a shooting war on the Korean peninsula.

The Cold War Heats Up

We call the standoff between East and West the Cold War.  The Soviet Union tried to spread communism.  The West tried to contain communism.  And the Cold War heated up on the Korean Peninsula.

The North Koreans invaded South Korea.  The United Nations fought back.  With General MacArthur in command, he pushed the North Koreans out of South Korea.  And he kept on going.  Pushed them all the way back to the Yalu River (the border with China).

And then the Chinese entered the war.  They poured over the border and pushed the U.N. force back.  Eventually, the front ended up about where it started.  At the 38th parallel, the military demarcation line to this day between the North and South.  There was an armistice to halt combat operations.  But no formal peace treaty.

The North Korean Ruling Elite Didn’t Lose, but their People Did

South Korea remained in the Western Sphere and prospered.  North Korea remained in the Soviet Sphere and stagnated.  With the collapse of the Soviet Union, North Korea suffered from energy shortages and recurring famine.  The country is a mess.  The ruling elite have food.  But millions of North Koreans have starved to death over the years.

North Korea is a closed and isolated nation.  With a strict censorship of all media, the people know only the ruling party propaganda.  The ruling elite told great lies to the people to keep them from rising up.  They flipped the truth.  North Korea was rich and prosperous.  The United States was oppressing her people, starving them, invading other countries, etc.  A lot of North Koreans fear the United States.  And will suffer great deprivations to support their leader.

Which brings us to today.  With no one to turn to and being incapable of providing for their own people, they need Western aid.  But that often comes with conditions.  Such as lightening up on the human rights violations.  Which they are none too keen on.  If the people in North Korea do not live in fear and intimidation, they may threaten the ruling elite’s power hold.  So they have to find ingenious ways of getting the West to provide aid with fewer conditions.

North Korea Speaks Loudly but Hits with a Small Stick

North Korea likes to cause trouble.  Be provocative.  Threaten the West with annihilation.  Shoot people.  Blow things up.  Anything to get the attention of the West.  So the West will give them stuff to calm them down.  The latest provocative action involved the shelling of a South Korean island (see North Korea fires artillery barrage on South by Jung Ha-Won, Agence France Presse, posted 11/23/2010 on Yahoo! News).

North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells onto a South Korean island on Tuesday, killing one person, setting homes ablaze and triggering an exchange of fire as the South’s military went on top alert.

Which was more bad news upon previous bad news.

The firing came after North Korea’s disclosure of an apparently operational uranium enrichment programme — a second potential way of building a nuclear bomb — which is causing serious alarm for the United States and its allies.

Which was upon previous bad news.

Tensions have been acute since the sinking of a South Korean warship in March, which Seoul says was the result of a North Korean torpedo attack. Pyongyang has rejected the charge.

Russia and China Grow Uneasy with North Korea’s Provocations

Even past Cold War allies are not happy with this latest action (see World edgy on Korea, Russia sees “colossal danger” by Peter Apps, London, posted 11/23/2010 on Reuters).

“It is necessary to immediately end all strikes,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a visit to the Belarusian capital Minsk. “There is a colossal danger which must be avoided. Tensions in the region are growing.”

China, the impoverished North’s only powerful ally, was careful to avoid taking sides, calling on both Koreas to “do more to contribute to peace.

And why is China being so careful (see The Next Korean War? by Leslie H. Gelb posted 11/23/201 on The Daily Beast).

Beijing simply won’t take a stance against the North, no matter what it does, for fear that this Communist regime will collapse and leave China to pick up the pieces.

The North Korean Problem

North Korea is a problem.  It’s a little like slavery in 19th century America.  There’s tragic human suffering.  And no easy solution to the problem.  If the current regime falls, some nation (or nations) will have to absorb the huge costs of reincorporating the North Korean people into an open society.  Feed them.  Deprogram them.  Prevent them from devolving into civil war (the oppressed versus the ruling elite and their huge standing army). 

The costs will be staggering.  So great that maintaining the status quo is the easy option.  Even though it condemns the North Korean people.  And leaves a ruling elite in power that may go rogue and do something nuclear.

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LESSONS LEARNED #39: “Socialism is easier said than done.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 11th, 2010

The Bolshevik Revolution Gave Russian Peasants Freedom.  And Famine.

Russia was one of the most backward nations at the turn of the 20th century.  Feudalism was still the economic model.  The only European nation still using it.  There were two Russias.  Hungry and impoverished peasants.  And a rich and well-fed ruling elite.  Then World War I came.  Russia bled on the Eastern Front.  There was a lot of discontent.  Germany took advantage of this by returning the exiled Vladimir Lenin to Russia via Germany.  And it worked.  Marxist revolutionary fervor forced Tsar Nicholas II to abdicate.  Russia pulled out of the war.  Lenin led the Marxist Bolshevik Revolution against capitalism.  White and Red Russia plunged into civil war.  And a few assassination attempts later, Joseph Stalin launched the Red Terror to kill all enemies of the Soviet state.  Including the Romanov family.  When Lenin died, Stalin consolidated his power.  Through terror.  And he would rule by terror.

With capitalism suppressed, Stalin was ready to build the new socialist/communist state.  He industrialized the state (with foreign engineering and machinery).  He collectivized farms to increase output.  Soviet industry made a great leap forward.  But the cost was devastating.  Famine.  Forced deportations.  Terror.  Millions died.  And the quality of life for the common Russian peasant went into the toilet.  Anyone who complained was an enemy of the state.  There were chronic grain shortages.  Which were blamed on farmers hiding grain to force prices higher.  The solution?  Stalin deported or executed these farmers as enemies of the state.  But they never found any ‘hidden’ grain.

Dictators rise to power through terror and violence.  And they hold power by even more terror and violence.  To silence their enemies.  These enemies of the state.  You see, if you disagree with the dictator, you disagree with the state.  For they are one and the same.  So they get a little testy when their policies fail.  They blame others.  Attack those who are clinging to capitalism and liberty.  Who don’t submit themselves completely to the state.  And herein lies their fatal flaw.  Slaves don’t willingly work for the greater good.  They only do the bare minimum to minimize their pain and suffering.  Either the work or the state will kill them.  They know that.  So they work hard enough to keep the state from killing them.  But not too hard that the work does.  It’s a bleak world.  But that is the life of the slave.

China’s Great Leap Forward Resulted in Even Greater Famines

The communist/socialist movement spilled over into China from Russia.  Mao Tse-tung rose to power much like Stalin.  Ruthlessly.  He industrialized China.  And collectivized their farms into giant collective communes.  He forced peasant farmers into these communes.  Which lowered the quality of life for millions.  The result?  China’s industrial output did increase.  But, like in Russia, the cost was devastating.

The Great Leap Forward was their second five-year plan.  The plan was to increase grain harvests by using the power of the state to collectivize and direct giant farming communes.  Party members (i.e., career politicians who kissed communist ass) ran these communes.  They reported to Mao.  None of them were farmers, though.  But they acted like they were.  Trying some screwy new ideas that only reduced the harvest.  But, being good party men, they lied.  They reported record harvests.  As the lying went up the party chain of bureaucracy, party leaders made decisions based on the lie.  They took so much of the harvest for party members, cities and for export that the peasant farmers working on the communes starved in history’s greatest famines.  Note that ‘famines’ is plural.  Yeah, it was that bad.  Tens of millions starved to death.  All in the name of helping the poor and oppressed.

Everyone lives in fear in a totalitarian state.  Even members in the ruling elite.  The communes were supposed to increase the harvest.  So those responsible for that increase lied.  To minimize their own pain and suffering.  For they knew if they failed the greater common good, the state would come after them.  So they protected themselves.  At the expense of the peasant.  The life of the peasant/proletariat only got worse.  The Bolshevik Revolution was supposed to free them from the oppression of the bourgeois capitalists.  It only oppressed them more.

Using Capitalism to Attack Capitalism

The socialists/communists learned some valuable lessons.  Although they may be good at terror and violence, they didn’t have any real talent or ability.  And though they hate capitalism (because they lack any real talent or ability), they understood that they needed capitalists to be their bitch.  They couldn’t kill them.  Because if they did, nothing would get done.  No wealth created.  And they needed these people to create wealth.  Because they can’t take wealth if the wealth creators don’t create it.  With no wealth to take, they have nothing to give the masses.  To keep them dependent.  And subdued.  So this was the next phase in the socialist/communist revolution.  To exploit the wealth creators for state gain.

The social democracies followed the same general plan.  Attack capitalism.  Oppress the poor by making them dependent on the state.  But instead of using physical fear and intimidation, they used psychological fear and intimidation.  At election time.  They, the compassionate state, wanted to give them stuff.  The mean, cold-hearted capitalists wanted to take away their Social Security.  Eat their children.  And other nasty things.  It worked.  It got votes.

The problem they ran into was that populations grow.  And costs go up.  That meant the social democracies had to give more and more people these ‘benefits’.  While at the same time the costs of these ‘benefits’ kept going up.  And herein lies their fatal flaw.  To keep the people dependent (and docile) you have to keep raising taxes.  But if you raise taxes too much, you kill the golden goose.  Because you can push the wealth producers only so far.  If the state makes them work harder for less so others can enjoy the fruit of their labors, the state is for all intents and purposes enslaving these wealth producers.  And what do we know about slaves?  They don’t willingly work for the greater good.  They do the bare minimum to minimize their pain and suffering. 

Communist China Concerned About the United States’ Anti-Capitalistic Behavior

There are all sorts of ways they can do this.  If the cost of hiring employees is too great, businesses will hire fewer employees.  If taxes are too high, people will cut back on their spending and businesses will lay off workers because of the weaker demand.  If the investment climate is too unfavorable (say, because of a high capital gains tax), investors will invest their money where the climate is more favorable (and not create jobs).  If taxes get too high, the economy will go underground where people pay no taxes.  As more of this happens, the government collects less and less in taxes.  They get to a point where they simply can’t raise them anymore.  So they borrow.  And when they borrow to excess and cannot borrow any more, they have to do the unthinkable.  Cut the benefits that have so successfully enslaved so many people to the government.  And when governments try, the enslaved fight back.

Following the financial crisis of 2008, some debt-ridden nations tried to do just that.  Cut benefits to avoid bankruptcy.  Greece tried.  France, too.  Both had riots.  Other nations are at the tipping point.  Great Britain is making draconian cuts that the people aren’t too happy with.  Ireland is staring down bankruptcy and may need a Greece-like bailout.  (Interestingly, Ireland’s problems don’t stem from a fat social welfare state.  Their troubles resulted from a real estate bubble fueled by the European Central Bank keeping interest rates low.  They, like the U.S., saw no downside in cheap, risky mortgages.)  And, of course, Communist China is lecturing the United States about the evils of currency devaluation as a solution to our problems.  Which we’re doing.  In a last-ditch attempt to stimulate our economy.  A weaker dollar would help.  It would make our exports cheaper.  And make our massive debt cheaper to pay off.  Which really concerns the Chinese as they’re holding the majority of that debt.  So they are not going to sit idly by while we slash the value of their U.S. holdings.  They’ll fight back.   And do whatever it takes (capital controls, tariffs, etc.) to protect their investment.

Whether by physical fear and intimidation or by bribery and deceit, socialism ends the same.  In failure.  For it to work people have to work hard so others can live better.  And people just don’t willingly submit to slavery.  When they’re forced into it, they do the bare minimum to minimize their pain and suffering.  And when people do, the economy will never reach its full potential.  Which is why the United States won the Cold War.  Capitalism encourages people to do their best.  Socialism encourages them to do the least they can get away with.  And you just don’t achieve greatness with mediocrity.

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The Message of the 2010 Midterm Elections: The ‘Teenaged’ Voted for Maturity?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 6th, 2010

Two Americas:  The Silly and the Sensible

Well, the 2010 midterm elections have come and gone.  And everyone has had their say about what they meant.  Few agree.  At least, few on different sides of the aisle agree.  Two interesting columns show the thought on these two sides.  The two Americas.  One sensible.  The other silly.  You decide which is which.

Graydon Carter, editor for Vanity Fair opines in Man Up, America!

What do you call an electorate that seems prone to acting out irrationally, is full of inchoate rage, and is constantly throwing fits and tantrums? You call it teenaged.

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal (see Americans Vote for Maturity):

‘The people have spoken, the bastards.” That would be how Democrats in the White House and on Capitol Hill are feeling. The last two years of their leadership have been rebuffed. The question for the Democratic Party: Was it worth it? Was it worth following the president and the speaker in their mad pursuit of liberal legislation that the country would not, could not, like? And what will you do now? Which path will you take?

So one says the electorate is stupid, immature and churlish.  The other says the electorate is mature, sober and discerning.  One says the voters are idiots.  The other says that they are thoughtful.  One is a sore loser.  The other an objective realist.  One silly.  The other, sensible.

Conservatives, Moderates and Independents Exasperate the Liberal Elite

To make it clear, this is what the liberal elite think conservatives, moderates and independents are.  Too stupid to know what’s good for them.  It is just so exasperating that 80% of the electorate has the right to vote.  Like the children they are, they should be seen and not heard.  While those better than them tell them how they should live their lives.

Noonan further points out the folly of the silly by pointing out their negative ads.

Two small points on the election’s atmospherics that carry implications for the future. The first is that negative ads became boring, unpersuasive. Forty years ago they were new, exciting in a sort of prurient way. Now voters take for granted that politicians are no good, and such ads are just more polluted water going over the waterfall. The biggest long-term loser: liberalism. If all pols are sleazoid crooks, then why would people want to give them more governmental power to order our lives? The implicit message of two generations of negative ads: Vote conservative, limit the reach of the thieves.

For smart people, liberals are pretty dumb.

Ranaldo Magnus Earned his Rendezvous with Destiny

Too many people want to be politicians for the wrong reasons.  They want to be career politicians.  To be part of the ruling elite.  The American aristocracy.  For special privilege.  And because of this, a lot of inexperienced and unqualified people are in Washington.  President Obama perhaps being one of the most unqualified and inexperienced ever to hold elected office.  (Come on, be honest.  What qualifications and experience did he have?  Not as much as Sarah Palin.  And the Left ridiculed her.)

Ranaldo Magnus, on the other hand, did it the old fashioned way.  He earned it.  His rendezvous with destiny.  As Noonan points out so well:

Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president.

And what did President Obama do?  A partial term as U.S. senator.  Before that?  Community organizer.  A pretty sparse resume.

We Need More Like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington Entering Public Service

Whatever irrationality there was that swept Obama and his Democrats into power is gone.  The grownups spoke this past Tuesday.  And they voted for maturity.  Let’s hope the grownups build on this.  And from them another Ronald Reagan earns his or her rendezvous with destiny.  Again, from Noonan:

Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can’t just bully them, you can’t just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.

This is the true American tradition.  Benjamin Franklin.  George Washington.  The two grand old men of the Founding.  These men were in the autumn of their years when they entered public service.  Old but wise.  Experienced.  With real-world talent.  Masters of persuasion.  Everything that Obama and his Democrats are not.  We need these wise and experienced.  To answer the call of service.  After having a life and a string of accomplishments.  The question is, are they out there?  Yes.  They are.  As we saw this past Tuesday.

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The People are Speaking – and They’re Rejecting Pelosi and Obama and Their Very Expensive, Jobless, Liberal Agenda

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 31st, 2010

Ethical and transparent is all well and good with Republicans in power, but devious is just fine when the Democrats are back in power.

The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund sat down with Rep. Brian Baird, a six-term Democrat from Washington State.  He’s not running for a seventh term.  He’s retiring and going home to be with his children while they’re still children.  With a close to his political career, he had nothing to lose speaking his mind.  And he did.  (See Requiem for the Pelosi Democrats posted on line 10/30/2010.)  One thing this Democrat wasn’t happy with was the Democrat leadership.

Mr. Baird recalls that he was “very excited” when his party took control of Congress in 2006, but he saw ominous signs early on. Before the 2006 election, he says, Mrs. Pelosi had 30 members working on a rules package to make the House more ethical and deliberative. “We abandoned all that work after the election, and leaders told us we should trust them to clean things up. I don’t know a single member of the Democratic caucus who saw the final rules package before they voted on it.”

Even her own don’t like her.  Nancy Pelosi was going to have the most ethical and transparent House.  Of course, Pelosi initiated that initiative when the Republicans were in control.  When she was working on a very draconian set of rules for the House of Representatives.  Then, to her shock, the Democrats won a majority in the House and, with it, the leadership positions.  And the 30-member panel stopped their work.  Why?  Those draconian rules had but one purpose; curb Republican power.  With them being in the majority, they didn’t need any set of rules to curb Republican power.  And they sure as hell weren’t going to implement any rules that would curb their own power.  For the devious like to work outside the rules as much as possible.

Obamacare – long and convoluted, best passed without reading (for it’s not as quick a read as War and Peace or Atlas Shrugged).

Once back in power, they were giddy with that power.  They took it as a mandate to change America.  But it wasn’t.  It was a mandate to change Washington.  But they tried their level best to remake America to what the people wanted.  Demanded.  To make it liberal.  To give us Big Government.  This is what they and about 20% of Americans who call themselves ‘liberal’ wanted.  So they ignored the other 80% and went to work.  Their bills were so long and convoluted that it made Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (both in the 1,000-page class of novel) seem like Readers Digest reading by comparison.  And one of the longest and most convoluted?  Obamacare.  Which few read before voting. 

“What the hell were we doing voting on this? I had labor groups come to me and insist the bill was so important we couldn’t wait to know what was in it,” he recalls. “I asked them if they were handed a new union contract and told it was so important they had to agree to it without reading it, would they go along?” They continued to insist he vote for the bill and threatened him with a primary challenger.

Even Nancy Pelosi said that Congress would have to approve it before they could learn what was in it.  Remarkable.  Can you imagine the teachers’ union agreeing to this?  Saying to the school board, “Sure, whatever you say.  If the contract’s fair that’s good enough for me.  We, the teachers, can learn about what we agreed to after we vote to ratify it.”  No, they wouldn’t.  Neither would Nancy Pelosi pass a bill sponsored by Republicans without reading it.  It’s okay for her, though.  Because she’s an elitist.  And doesn’t really care what we ‘rubes’ think anyway.

Obamacare – We’ll pay for filet mignon but get hotdogs and hamburgers, a very expensive mediocrity.

Passing Obamacare required some financial shenanigans.  They needed CBO to score it under a trillion dollars.  Which was like giving everyone filet mignon at the family reunion BBQ by asking everyone to pay $5 to cover the cost.  You can’t do it.  If you’re buying food for everyone and only collecting $5 a head, trust me, you’re serving hot dogs and hamburger.  But if you collect the money first and don’t feed anyone until after, say, 4 years, you’ll be able to stay within your imaginary budget in those first 4 years.

“I warned my fellow Democrats that the insurance companies they were whacking could increase premiums just before the midterm election and blame them for it,” he sighs. “I pointed out that the major benefits wouldn’t kick in till 2014, but the costs were up front. I asked them, where was the political win? There was no real answer.”

Of course, people are not going to enjoy paying for nothing.  They’re not just going to sit idly by with their wallets open, whistling a happy tune.  There will come a point when they’re going to ask what they’re getting for all their money.  And then after 4 years of paying for filet mignon, they’ll finally get to enjoy the benefit they’ve been paying and waiting patiently for so long.  And, guess what?  They’ll still get hot dogs and hamburger.  Because everyone can’t have filet mignon.  It’s just too damn expensive.  So like with everything else Big Government does, we’ll end up with a very expensive mediocrity.

The rubes in flyover country have had enough of deficits.  And enough of the arrogant and condescending Pelosi and Obama.

Nancy Pelosi and most in Congress are elitists.  They are so far removed from ordinary America that it’s like visiting a foreign land for them.  That’s why they call it ‘flyover’ country.  The only thing the country outside their liberal districts is good for is flying over en route to another liberal district.  They either think everyone thinks like they think.  Or that those too stupid to be able to think like they think should just be seen and not heard, grateful for whatever alms they hand out.  The concept of alternate viewpoints is alien to them.  So when advisors told them to go ahead and spend because the people (the people that count – the 20%) don’t care about deficits, they listened.  Well, not so much listened.  But heard what they wanted to hear.

Democrats, he says, will also have to recognize why they lost touch with voters. “Back in September, we had pollsters and strategists from my party tell members that the mass of people didn’t care about the deficit. The mind-boggling lack of reality coming from some of the people who give us so-called advice is stunning.”

Well, people care about deficits.  Like the Left used to care about when Ronald Reagan was running up a deficit the size of a drop in the bucket compared to theirs.  And the amazing thing is, they aren’t done spending yet.  Which is really frustrating the 80%.  The rubes.  The good people in flyover country.  Who are growing weary of the condescending and arrogant Nancy Pelosi and President Obama.

The mandate was to change Washington, not America.  Now, America is polarized.  And it’s business as usual in Washington.

Toby Harnden, American Way, wrote a piece appearing on www.telegraph.co.uk called US midterm elections: Barack Obama’s world turned upside down as Democrats face electoral disaster.  Those familiar with history will be familiar with part of this title.  For tradition says that when Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown in 1781, the British marched out while their band played The World Turned Upside Down.  How very apropos.  For the ruling elite is stunned, much like Lord Cornwallis was, at the thought of being defeated by a bunch of rubes.  So desperate to avoid such a ‘Cornwallian’ disaster, the Left is trying everything within their power.  Even abandoning the lie that brought them into office.  

The irony of Obama being the blue-state president is acute. Back in 2004, the then state senator shot to international attention by mocking the pundits who “like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue States”.

He declared: “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America. There’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America. There’s the United States of America.”

Of course, once he got into office, it was all, “I won.  You lost.  Nyah nyah, na nyah nyah.” 

Swept into power on a wave of adulation and talk of an historic new era, Obama never felt he needed to work with Republicans. It took him 18 months before he invited Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, to the White House.

But the center-right, the 80%, were not amused.

The problem was that his world view was that of a conventional liberal Democrat but he was president of a nation that was centre-right. His victory came from those who wanted him to change Washington, not America.

And by governing against the will of the people, America is polarized more than ever.  And it’s business as usual in Washington.  Perhaps a bit dirtier, though.

Jobs talk and liberal BS walks.  Yeah, it’s the economy, stupid.

Obama ran as a centrist.  But once in office, he ruled as a liberal.  The most liberal president ever.  And like Nancy Pelosi, he is getting exasperated by these rubes who are just too stupid to know what’s best for them.  So he’s abandoning that reaching across the aisle nonsense and doing what Democrats do best.

Obama’s high-minded appeals for national unity are no more. His electoral strategy is one of desperate damage limitation. Most pollsters expect Democrats to lose more than 50 seats and control of the House of Representatives.

They will probably keep control of the Senate but at least six seats look lost. Obama’s response has been to “slice and dice” the electorate in the way he condemned. He endured the indignity of being called “dude” on Jon Stewart’s Comedy Central show as the price for enticing young voters.

He’s appeared on the Reverend Al Sharpton’s internet radio show to woo black voters. On Univision radio, he told Latino voters of the need to “punish our enemies”. He routinely attacks Fox News and Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s former adviser, as a way of energising liberals.

With the realization that America doesn’t want what Pelosi and Obama are pushing, they reach out to those who they once simply took for granted: the young, the blacks and the Latinos.  Who they need more than ever now that so many women are turning to the Republicans this election.  Because there are no jobs.  After 2 years in office.  And trillions of dollars in spending.

What was that the Democrats used to say?  Oh, yes, I think I remember.  “It’s the economy, stupid.”  Duh.

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Europeans Wonder why Americans Don’t Love Obama as Much as They Do

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 29th, 2010

Obama falls from grace because the American people have learned what the mainstream media wouldn’t tell them; the truth.

America, Europe, the Middle East, hell, the whole world had a love affair with Barrack Obama.  A man who did nothing but serve a partial term as a U.S. senator.  Before that?  Community organizer.  His resume had a lot of white space on it.  He is the most inexperienced person to ever become president.  Even Sarah Palin, who the Left disparages as stupid and experienced, has executive experience.  She was more qualified than Obama to be president.  Based on their experience.  Place their resumes side by side and no one can dispute this.  Yet Palin is stupid and inexperienced.  And Obama is the second coming of Christ.  And when the results of Obama’s policies reflect his experience, those infatuated express shock and disbelief (see Europe ‘dismayed’ as midterms highlight Obama’s struggles by Marian Smith, msnbc.com).

“They’re very confused as to how [Americans] could vote for Obama and then two years later turn around and vote for a completely different set of policies,” Sarah Oates, professor of political communication the University of Glasgow, told msnbc.com.

There’s a simple reason for this confusion.  The mainstream media was also infatuated with Obama.  They endorsed his candidacy.  But they never vetted him.  No one knew anything about Obama during the campaign.  They ignored his far-left associations with Reverend Wright and Bill Aires.  They didn’t discuss his criticism of the U.S. Constitution (it didn’t empower government enough).  Or his policy guide: Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky.  The mainstream media’s gross journalistic malfeasance hid the real man from the American voter.  The real Obama is not the Obama the American people voted for.  Hence his fall from grace.

Jimmy Carter handed off a worse economy than Bush.  But things got better when Ronald Reagan cut taxes.

Obama has told us ad nauseam that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression.  Some would argue that the numbers were pretty bad when Ronald Reagan took office.  But he followed Democrat Jimmy Carter.  So they don’t like to bring up his atrocious economy.  Because the economy he handed down to Ronald Reagan was pretty atrocious.  I mean, they didn’t use words like ‘malaise’, ‘stagflation’ or ‘misery index’ during the Bush economy.  And they’re not using them during the Obama economy.  But you repeat the lie enough, people just accept it as fact.

However, Obama remains broadly well-liked and many Europeans think the disenchantment that many American voters have been expressing is unfair.

“What he inherited was so enormous that no American president could have fixed it,” Manfred Gortemaker, professor of modern history at Germany’s University of Potsdam, told msnbc.com.

The bad economy Obama inherited was a long time in the making.  Because the Democrats were in power for a long time.  And it was their passion that caused it.  Affordable housing.  Putting people into houses who couldn’t afford houses.  Ask anyone which party you think of when it comes to affordable housing and they’re not going to say Republican.  The American disenchantment is with Democrat Big Government.  And Obama believes in Big Government.  The bigger the better.  America just can’t afford it anymore.  There isn’t enough money left in the private sector to steal to pay for it.  And Obama just wants to spend more.  But spending doesn’t work.  It didn’t help Carter.  That’s why he lost to Reagan.  Reagan cut taxes.  And, you know what?  That worked.  The electorate wants more Reagan.  Less Obama.

It’s good t be king.  As long it’s not 1790 France.  Or 2010 America where the Tea Party is spoiling a good time for the ruling elite.

The French can’t figure out the Tea Party movement.

“In all the French newspapers and magazines, people are writing, trying to figure it out,” Bacharan said.

Michelle Obama stayed at a 5-star Spanish resort while Americans were suffering near 10% unemployment and seeing banks foreclose on their homes.  There have been other vacations at very expensive and exclusive resorts.  And a lot of golf outings.  Obama has played more golf in 2 years than George W. Bush has in his 8 years.  Then there’s the latest presidential vacation.  They’re going to India.  They’ll be taking 40 airplanes.  Three helicopters.  A bunch of armored cars.  And they’ll be staying at the 5-star Taj Mahal hotel.  And only them.  The Obama party has booked the whole place.  It’s good to be king.

Now, I’m poking a little fun at my French friends.  That ‘good to be king’ line comes from Mel Brooks History of the World Part One.  But it’s something the French should understand.  While the masses are suffering, the Obamas are living like royalty.  They are detached from ordinary America.  Cold and detached.  Sort of like King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette.  We’re just waiting for Michelle Obama to say, “Let them eat cake.”  Of course, we have the right to vote.  Unlike the people did in 1790 France with their ruling elite.  And it’s that right that the Tea Party is exercising.  Because they feel the way the French felt in 1790.  (Without the famine, of course.)

The Tea Party are not Nazis; Obama is not Hitler.  But the Nazis were Big Government liberals

The mainstream media has been falsely reporting a ‘Nazi’ element within the Tea Party.  They repeat the lie so often that many accept it as fact.  Even the Germans, no doubt sensitive to anything Nazi, are writing about it.

“The Holocaust was the result of murderous ideological fanaticism of the kind not to be found in leaders forced to face re-election every four years,” [a Der Spiegel newspaper] editorial said. “It is hard to imagine even the most hard-bitten Tea Party activist sincerely believing that President Barack Obama wants to systematically murder over 6 million people like Adolf Hitler did. And that is necessarily the implication.”

The German people elected Adolf Hitler to office in free elections.  He did not campaign on the Holocaust, though.  He did adopt what would eventually be Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals.  He identified, isolated and attacked his enemies.  The Jews.  Obama has identified, isolated and attacked his enemies.  The Tea Party.  George W. Bush.  And Republicans in general.  Hitler was an environmentalist.  Obama is an environmentalist.  Hitler expanded state power.  Obama wants to expand state power.  Hitler controlled state media.  Obama has a willing and complicit mainstream media.  Hitler nationalized industries.  Obama nationalized industries.  Take away the crazy, the Holocaust and the militarism, and Hitler was just another Big Government liberal.  Like Mussolini.  Like Stalin.  And FDR.  And as Big Government liberals, they lied to their electorate to get elected (well, except for Stalin).  Then people learned the truth.

That said, Obama is no Hitler.  He is not a Nazi.  Sure, some kooks on the fringe say stupid things.  Just like some on the Left said George W. Bush was another Hitler.  Called him a Nazi.  But we need to stop the crazy. On both sides.  Obama got a pass by the mainstream media during the campaign.  They worshipped and adored him.  Got the people to vote for him.  And now people have learned the truth.  And here’s why Obama is NOT Adolf Hitler.  We can fix our mistake in the voting booth. 

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They Just Don’t Make Villains like George W. Bush Anymore

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 6th, 2010

It’s Getting Harder to Lie These Days

The angry Left could not draw as many people to their rally in Washington as Glenn Beck did.  Why?  Byron York explains in Why Big Labor couldn’t match Glenn Beck’s rally in a Washington Examiner 10/4/2010 column.  He says Big Labor is “shrinking, aging and divided.”  No big whoop here.  I mean, the days of Big Labor are gone.  Thanks to free trade, consumers no longer have to be their bitch.  For example, once upon a time we had to buy the pieces of crap that the Big Three were selling.  Because they were the only caterer in town.  But thanks to competition from the Japanese imports, the consumers got a little more respect from the Big Three.  They no longer take us for granted.  And they’re building quality again.  Why?  Because someone else was.  That’s the beautiful thing about competition.  It makes everything better.

Included in this column is this disturbing fact:

In January, the Labor Department reported that for the first time in history, there are more union members in the public sector (7.9 million) than there are in the private sector (7.4 million). That’s despite the fact that there are five times more workers in the private sector than in federal, state, and local governments. In percentage terms, just 7.2 percent of private-sector workers belong to a union, while 37.4 percent of public-sector workers are unionized.

Think about this.  The private sector pays for its union pay and benefits with the revenue from the goods and services they sell. Competition for these goods and services provides a restraint on those union pay and benefits.  The taxpayer finances the public sector.  There is no competition for what they do.  And no restraint whatsoever on their pay and benefits.  So is it surprising that there are more union members in the public sector?

That said, the private sector still outnumbers the public sector.  For now, at least.  Yes there is a ruling elite.  And an aristocratic base (college professors, the mainstream media, unions and government workers) that supports them in exchange for their special favors. But the numbers are against them.  When times are bad, the masses will be heard.  And we heard them at Beck’s rally.  Not at the “One Nation Working Together” rally.  Where their silence was deafening.

Here’s a Thought; Try to Stand for Something

The ads for the Democrats this campaign season are interesting for what they don’t say.  They don’t trump their votes for Obamacare, financial reform, Cap and Trade, etc.  No.  The Democrats are not running on their achievements.  Just as they never campaign for higher taxes and more regulation.  Because, unless you’re a public sector union employee, you are just not for higher taxes and more regulation.  So they don’t run ads about their achievements or their policy agendas.  They just attack their opponents.  Dig up some dirt.  Or fabricate it.  Anything but run on their own record or policy agenda.

Of course, such a campaign strategy is difficult when you have the White House, the Senate and the House.  In the good old days there was George W. Bush.  Democrat enemy #1.  With him in the White House, you never had to campaign on your own record.  Or commit to a position.  Whenever asked about a position you just attacked Bush.  Life was simpler then.  Like York wrote:

Finally, the rally lacked a villain. Back in the days of George W. Bush, merely saying the president’s name could elicit angry boos over and over and over again. Every problem in every part of American life could be attributed to Bush and his gang. Now, with a Democratic president and Congress, speakers can denounce Republicans all they want, but everyone knows who is running the U.S. government. That knowledge took a little of the edge off all those denunciations.

Bush has been gone coming up on 2 years now.  And things are worse now under total Democrat rule.  The Democrats have no choice.  They’ll have to be accountable for their actions.  And this is the reason why the Left couldn’t match the Glen Beck rally.  They can no longer blame George W. Bush.  And where’s the fun in that? 

The mess we’re in is their mess.  We know it.  And they know it.  And they’re beginning to know that we know it.  Which makes the lie that much harder to sell.

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LESSONS LEARNED #32: “America is great but it can’t make bad ideology good.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 23rd, 2010

Hamilton vs. Jefferson

So what was the deal with these two Founding Fathers?  Why did they hate each other so?  They were exceptionally bright, among the best read of the founders.  They each had impeccable revolutionary credentials.  And, prior to 1787, they had similar visions for their new country.  So what happened?

Despite their similarities, they were two very different men.  Hamilton was a bastard child whose father left him at a young age.  His life was hard.  He had a job while still a child.  Anything he had he had to earn.  Jefferson, on the other hand, was born into the planter elite of Virginia.  His life was not quite so hard. 

A bit shy, Jefferson buried himself in books.  He loved to read.  And to think.  To ponder the great questions of life.  While Hamilton worked in and learned the import/export business in the Caribbean.  As Jefferson pondered about what might be, Hamilton mastered commerce.  Understood capitalism.  Pondered what was.  And could be.  If he ever got off of that godforsaken island.

Eventually, he did.  He came to the colonies and went to college.  And gave Jefferson a run for his money in the smarts department.  And in one area, he simply left Jefferson in the dust.  Hamilton could understand things if you put dollar signs in front of them.  Jefferson could not.  For all his genius, Jefferson couldn’t make a buck.  He was forever in debt.  Because he struggled in these areas, he distrusted banking and commerce.  And the big cities that they corrupt.  Hamilton, though, understood banking and commerce.  He understood capitalism.  And what it could do.

Thus the divide between these two men.  Hamilton, a champion of capitalism.  And Jefferson, a champion of the yeoman farmer (a farmer who owns and works his own land.).  Of course, Jefferson was anything but a yeoman farmer.  He had others (i.e., slaves) work his land.  Here he was like the contemporary liberal.  Do as I say.  Not as I do.  For wealth and luxury obtained from the labors of others is okay for me and my fellow planter elite.  But not for you.  Especially when the ‘black arts’ of commerce and banking are concerned.

London, Paris/ Versailles and Madrid

The old world capitals had many things in common.  They were the homes of powerful monarchies.  They were the financial capitals of their countries.  And they caused a lot of mischief in the world.  Jefferson saw the connection between money and power.  More money, more power.  More power, more mischief.  Another good reason to hate commerce and banking in Jefferson’s book.

Of course, Hamilton saw it differently.  He saw one empire in ascent.  And two in descent.  And it was no coincidence that the better practitioner of capitalism was also the empire in ascent.  Great Britain.  He may have fought against her in the Revolutionary War, but he still admired her.  Where Jefferson feared the combination of money and power, Hamilton saw the Royal Navy.  Great wooden walls (as John Adams called them) that had protected the empire since she became an empire.  Grew her empire.  Increased her wealth.  And her power.  In fact, losing her British colonies was the only real defeat this empire had suffered.

When the Founding Fathers looked west they saw great potential.  Jefferson saw farms.  Hamilton saw empire.  One greater than Great Britain.  For after all, the Americans did what no other European nation could.  They defeated her in war and took huge chunks of her empire.  (Of course, our Revolutionary War was but one theater in a world war Great Britain was fighting at that time.)  Hamilton saw great potential for his new nation.  If only business and government partnered to harness that great potential.

Money + Power = Corruption

When business partners with government we don’t get capitalism.  We get mercantilism.  Or crony capitalism.  But you have to understand things were different in Hamilton’s day.  A good politician then went to great lengths NOT to profit from his time in public service.  It was expected.  Selfless disinterest.  In fact, it was unseemly to even campaign for public office.  That was just something a gentleman of the Enlightenment wouldn’t do.  And if anything was important in those days, it was showing how much a gentleman of the Enlightenment you were.

That said, business partnering with government would NOT lead to corruption.  At least, in Hamilton’s eyes.  With the right men in power, only good would result.  Though Jefferson, too, was a gentleman of the Enlightenment, he had no such faith in government.  To him, it was simple arithmetic (as long as there were no dollar signs involved):

                Money + Power = Corruption

So the new American capital wouldn’t be in a big American city.  Not in New York City.  Not in Philadelphia.  It would be in a swamp.  On the Potomac.  In Virginia’s backyard.  So Jefferson and his planter elite brethren could make sure the new American government would speak with a southern accent.  So much for that enlightened disinterest. 

Both Right.  Both Wrong.

No man is perfect.  Not even me.  No, really.  It’s true.  I’m not.  And neither were Hamilton nor Jefferson.  Hamilton may have wanted to conquer the world.  And Jefferson may have been such a good liar that he even fooled himself.  But the Hamilton treasury department gave this nation international respectability and allowed her to service her debt.  Which allowed her to borrow.  Which allowed her to survive.  And Jefferson fully understood what Lord Acton would say a century later:  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

However benign a government may be, however it may look out after the people’s interests, government is still a body of men.  Jefferson understood this.  The Founding Generation was special.  They knew it.  They knew they were making history.  But were they unique?  Would this moment of selfless disinterest in time prove to be fleeting?  (As it turned out, yes.)  And, if so, what would happen to later generations?  When men of lesser character assume offices of sweeping powers?  What then?  Well, they would abuse their power.  So what to do?

Simple.  You prevent such a scenario from happening.  By not giving government sweeping powers.  And by not letting them accumulate great wealth.  Because bad things happen when you do.

The French Revolution

France was the cradle of the Enlightenment.  In the 18th century, anyone who mattered spoke French.  France was the dominate European power.  And some in France lived very well.  Most did not.  The majority were still feudal peasants.  Or poor laborers, artisans and craftsmen.  And they were hungry.  Poor.  And without breeches (those fancy knee-length pants the rich people wore).

While the sans-culottes (those without breeches) went without, the king, nobles and clergy were living large.  All the wealth of the largest European country was concentrated in their few hands.  As was the power.  And, of course, you add money and power and what do you get?  That’s right.  Corruption.  Add to that some crop failures and you get a very unhappy population.  Who overthrow the monarchy.  Execute their king.  And his queen.  And quite a few others before they stopped the bloodletting. 

Note that France’s troubles were the result of the money combining with the power.  The French monarchy incurred a huge debt fighting their perpetual war (it seemed) with Great Britain.  At the end of the world war that included the American Revolution, both saw those great debts grow larger.  Great Britain, an advanced capitalist nation, was able to service her debt and get on with the business of empire.  France, still fundamentally feudal, could not.  This great nation that had sparked the modern age could not even feed her own people.  She had taken all her people could give.  And her people could give no more.

Beware the Do-Gooder

The downfall of most nations results from this combination of money and state power.  This is an ideology that history has proven a failure.  The more money the state accumulates, the more it can do.  And the less you can do.  You go with less.  And the state causes greater hardships for everyone.  It can go to war.  Which it can lose.  Or prolong.  Hitler started out strong but the German people paid a steep price in the long run.  The allied bombers destroyed their homes.  And killed their families and neighbors.  While the allied armies killed their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.  And those Germans who unfortunately fell within Soviet controlled territory after the war faced possible retribution for the crimes their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons committed against the soviet people.  In that hell on earth know as the Eastern Front.

But war is not the only mischief a state can do.  They can build opulent palaces (like at Versailles).  Or they can create a welfare state.  Where they get as many people as possible dependent on the state.  And the more they do, the more wealth the state transfers from the private sector to the public sector.  The state does well.  Especially the inner-party members.  The few who control the wealth.  And what happens in the long run?  The state gets richer and the people get poorer.  Just like they did in pre-revolutionary France.  In pre-revolutionary Tsarist Russia.  And, ironically, the state that replaced Tsarist Russia; the Soviet Union.  Communist China.  Cuba.  North Korea.  Peron’s Argentina.  Idi Amin’s Uganda.  Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.  Etc.

Whenever the government has large amounts of money and power, they rarely do good things.  What typically happens is that the ruling elite live well while the masses suffer.  And they use fear, intimidation, torture and execution to maintain their power.  What a nation chooses depends on how much they care what the free world thinks of them.  The Communists cared little so they used more brutal force.  Social democracies do care.  So theirs is a much softer tyranny.  These people don’t use force.  They seduce with promises of free stuff and a better life.  Which they never deliver.  Well, not to the people.  They do deliver it to those who hold power.

You Get What You Pay For

It’s bad when we don’t learn from world history.  It’s especially sad when we don’t learn from our own history.  We know what works.  And what hasn’t.  Wilson’s progressivism didn’t work.  FDR’s New Deal didn’t work.  LBJ’s Great Society didn’t work.  These administrations just transferred more money from the private sector to the public sector.  Money plus power equals corruption.  And these administrations were rife with corruption.  When we suffered the stagflation of the 1970s, those in power were still living large. But we never learn, do we?

The Obama administration is transferring more money from the private sector to the public sector than any other previous administration.  Our national debt will exceed our gross national product (GDP).  For all intents and purposes, it will be permanent.  All subsequent generations will work more and more just to service this massive debt.  And pay for all that ‘free stuff’ we were promised.  Sure, we’ll have free health care.  It just won’t be any good.  Nothing free is.  The free toy in a box of cereal is never as good as the toy you pay for.  Because you get what you pay for.  And if the government is going to give everyone free health care, it will have to be ‘free toy inside a cereal box’ quality health care.  For the same reason they don’t put expensive toys in cereal boxes.  If you give something to everyone, you have to give everyone less.  It’s the only way you can afford to give something to everyone.  You have to give everyone crap.

These things have never worked.  Nor will they.  Ever.  Even if the United States does them.  Because bad ideology is just bad ideology.  No matter how great the nation is that tries it. 

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LESSONS LEARNED #26: “If we need Big Government to protect us from ourselves, then our public schools can’t be the best place to learn.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 12th, 2010

WE ARE WHAT they teach us.  And here is a little of what our teachers taught us.  And a little of what we learned by observation.

WHEN I WAS in grade school, our teachers went on strike.  It was great.  Another week or so of summer vacation.  But I saw a curious thing.  Some of my classmates were carrying picket signs.  And there they were, walking with the teachers.  I could not understand why anyone would want to help to end an extended summer vacation.  That’s all I knew about a teacher’s strike.  I had no idea why they didn’t want to go back to work.  I just knew it meant I didn’t have to go back to school yet.

The signs my fellow students carried said something about making our schools better.  As kids typically don’t like being in school, I couldn’t imagine they thought much about improving the educational system.  Other than greatly shortening the school day.  And school year.  But giving a pay raise to our teachers?  Giving them more benefits?  How, exactly, was that going to make school better?  I mean, if they got more pay and benefits, our education would get worse, not better.  They would just transfer money from the classroom to the teachers.  Unless the city raised property taxes to replace the classroom money that was given to the teachers.  And that would only increase the household costs of these kids’ parents.  Meaning less presents at Christmas.  Couldn’t these kids see the folly of their ways?

Of course they couldn’t.  They were just useful pawns.  They hadn’t the foggiest idea why teachers go on strike.  The teachers told them what to say.  What to think.  And they lied to these kids.  They weren’t striking because they wanted more money and better benefits.  Which they were.  No.  They told these innocent children that they were striking so they could have a better art department.  A better music department.  Better field trips.  That’s why these teachers were on the picket lines.  For the children.  And that every time there were cuts in the classroom, it was because of the greed of their parents who didn’t approve a millage.  Or who bitched about rising property taxes.  It was never their OWN greed.  Never that.

WE HAD A mock election when I was in 7th grade.  It was an ‘exercise in democracy’.  I remember voting for the Democrat candidate.  I don’t know why.  I knew nothing about politics.  I had only recently quit playing with my toy cars.  I was still reading The Hardy Boys mystery novels.  And thinking about the pretty girls in class.  What I don’t remember was spending much time thinking about the presidential election.  But there I was, voting for the Democrat candidate.  Who won in our little mock election.  But how did I, as well as my fellow students, know enough about politics to vote for the Democrat candidate?

Obviously, they taught us what to think.  That the Democrat candidate was the better candidate.  Because he was for the working man.  And cared about the little people.  That the Democrats cared about education.  Not profits.  All these touchy feely things.  Which was about all a kid could understand.  A kid can’t understand monetary or fiscal policy.  The intricacies of foreign policy.  They don’t have a clue about those things.  But kids do know that they should play nice.  And that’s what the Democrats are all about.  Playing nice.  And providing political muscle for the teachers’ unions in exchange for votes.  And obedient little minds of mush that will one day become voters.

I HAD A speech/debate class in high school.  Our teacher used the latest in progressive teaching methods.  A lot of touchy feely stuff.  Feel more than think.  We often did these exercises where the class as a whole debated the pros and cons of a particular position.  One day we went through a list of five or so.  I found the last one interesting.  It was about a ‘death ray’.

I had recently watched a program about nuclear weapons.  I learned that the size of their warheads was a function of the accuracy of the weapons.  They needed a big radius of destruction to guarantee the destruction of the target.  This is true for all weapon systems, conventional or nuclear.  The less accurate they are, the bigger the destructive force required.  (Whereas smart weapons today can have smaller warheads because they can be steered onto target.)  The more accurate the weapon, the less destructive it can be.  The less collateral damage there would be.  Less civilian dead.  The lesson described the ‘death ray’ as a weapon of pinpoint accuracy.  Based on what I just recently learned, I thought that it would be very interesting to discuss the pros of such a weapon.

When we finished discussing the position before the ‘death ray’, he said something like it was obvious that no one would argue for such a weapon system.  So there was no point in discussing it.  And then, as an afterthought, he said “unless someone does” with a condescending smirk.  I raised my hand.  I began to make some positive points.  He cut me off.  There was to be no discussion in favor of any weapon system in his class.  Turns out he was anti-war.  Free speech was one thing but not when you disagree with the program.

TWO BOOKS THAT that stand out from high school that were required reading are The Grapes of Wrath and Johnny Got His Gun.  You couldn’t find a couple of more depressing books if you tried.  The Grapes of Wrath was about the plight of a family who lost the farm during the dust bowl of the Great Depression.  In it you learned that bankers were evil.  Rich people were evil.  That Big Business was evil and exploited the poor.  Whereas poor people were virtuous.  And only poor people helped other poor people.  That Big Government was good and helped the poor people.  That FDR’s New Deal was good and helped the poor people.  That unions are good and protect those who Big Business exploits.  You get the picture?  Democrats good.  Republicans bad.  Because the Democrats take care of the little guy.  And evil bankers and fat cats are all Republicans.  Or so we were taught.

Johnny Got His Gun is an anti-war book.  It’s about a U.S. veteran of World War I.  Joe Bonham.  He lost about every part of the human body you could.  And yet they kept him alive.  I read it in the 10th grade.  Young and impressionable, I saw the folly of war.  War hurt good, young men like poor Joe Bonham.  (Incidentally, the name ‘Bonham’?  It’s from the French ‘bon homme’, good man.)  A pity only the anti-war crowd read it.  Apparently no one read it in Germany or Italy or the Soviet Union.  Maybe if their citizens did read it World War II would not have broken out.  Thankfully for the free world, though, men did serve in the armed forces despite what happened to poor Joe Bonham.  And they saved liberty.  And the burning of books did not spread further.  And books like this, because of men who did pick up a gun, remain in the public school curriculum.

Of course, you know why they (the public school teachers) are anti-war, don’t you?  It’s simple.  Any money spent on the military is money not spent on them.

I HAD AN electronics teacher in high school who was really cool.  He let us drink coffee in class (or, should I say, cream and sugar with some coffee).  He’d send a student across the street to buy donuts to eat with our coffee.  And he taught us how to build little black boxes that could unscramble scrambled television.  He was also a pretty good teacher.  A PNP transistor symbol?  The arrow was P-N (peein’) on the base.  (An NPN transistor symbol pointed away from the base.)  The resistor color code?  Bad boys rape our young girls but Violet gives willingly.  The whore.  (Hey, this stuff was funny when you’re only 16 years old.)  He even set up an interview for me at an electronic repair shop.  He liked being a teacher.  But he enjoyed doing concrete flatwork, too.  One of those things he did to pay the bills while in college.  And kept doing after college.  And that’s what he did during the summer, the peak of the construction season.  And made good money doing it.

MY MOM WORKED as a volunteer at my grade school.  She got to know the teachers pretty well.  She even went to their homes.  One lived not too far away from us.  I went with her once or twice.  Talk about surreal.  Seeing your teacher outside the school.  Acting so un-teacher-like.  Wearing something she doesn’t wear to school.  Having fun.  Laughing and joking.  And seeing her being a mom to her own kids.  That was weird.  We treated her politely and with respect in school.  Her kids whined “maaaa” at home just like I did when I was at home.  My teacher was just a normal person.  Human, almost.

But what really struck me then was that though they lived in the same general area as we did, they had more.  Bigger house.  With nicer stuff.  A newer car in the driveway.  More presents under their Christmas tree.  And in bigger boxes.  It was a ‘blue-collar’ neighborhood.  Her husband was a ‘blue-collar’ worker.  Just like my dad.  But my mom volunteered.  My teacher was, well, a teacher.  The ultimate second income in a two income family.  Good pay and benefits.  And no child care to worry about.  Teachers are off when their kids are off.  Holidays.  Breaks.  Snow days.  And, of course, summer vacation.  It just didn’t get better for a working mom.

IT IS INTERESTING that people become more conservative with age.  They may start out Democrat.  But after working awhile or raising a family, they often become Republican.  Not all of them.  But a lot.  The net number of people changing from Democrat to Republican far exceeds those changing from Republican to Democrat.  If there are any.  Other than for political reasons (in a desperate attempt to get reelected by switching parties).  That’s why the Democrats depend on the youth vote.  Because the youth vote is an uninformed voted.  They haven’t been deprogrammed yet.  They still toe the party line.  Because they don’t know any better.  Yet.

As we work and live in the real world, though, away from the insulated life of home or the college campus, things change.  We get older.  And wiser.  Less naive.  Less idealistic.  Less ignorant.  That’s why there is a net change from Democrat to Republican.  We grow up.  And start thinking for ourselves.  And try as they might during our public school indoctrination, we stop being sheep.  Eventually.  We strop bleating their mantra.  ‘Big Government good.  Private sector bad’.  Why?  Because we see that public school teachers and government workers live a lot better than we do.  This privileged few, this ruling elite, continue to take from us and respond with condescending arrogance when we complain.  Angry that we don’t mind our place in the lower strata of society.  Where we belong.

And they are nervous.  They can only maintain their elite status as long as we pay for it.  The more we learn, though, the less we are willing to support this aristocracy.  And they know it.  So they try to keep us dumbed down.  For an educated constituency is the greatest threat to Big Government.  And the public school system.  This self-proclaimed aristocracy.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #23: “Those who seek a third party cede the election to the opposition.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 20th, 2010

THIRD PARTY CANDIDATES are often election spoilers.  Dissatisfied with the direction of their party, they leave that party to form a new party.  This, of course, will split the party they left.  Some may follow.  Most will probably not.

Third party candidates have small followings.  They typically have a single issue that pushes them to leave their party.  That single issue, though, may not be as important to those they leave behind.  And this one issue may be anathema to the opposition.  Guaranteeing very few, if any, will follow that candidate into a third party.

The Green Party, for example, is an environmental party.  Environmental issues, then, dominate their political agenda.  Environmental policies typically do not result in jobs or economic prosperity.  They will draw some people from the Democratic Party.  But only those with extreme environmental views.  They will draw no one from the Republican Party which is more associated with jobs and economic issues than environmental issues.  They, then, would have little impact on the party they oppose.  But they may have a negative impact on the party that they would have otherwise supported.

And then you have your core voters.  They have and always will vote for their party.  Populist movements rarely change the way they vote.  Populist movements may be single-issue.  They may be more of a subset of an existing political party.  Or they may be vague on details completely.  They may be many things but the paramount thing they are is popular.  And they pander to the people that are demanding something.  And whatever that is, they say they will give it to them.  Populist trends, though, don’t sway core voters.

SO WHO ARE in the two core parties?  The liberals?  And the conservatives?

Liberals are pseudo-intellectuals who want to tell others how to live.  Because they are ‘smarter’ than everyone else.  Most have never held a real job.  They inherited their money or made it big in Hollywood or in some other entertainment genre (the guilty rich), are college professors, sponged off of government (the self-proclaimed political aristocracy) or are in the mainstream media. 

Conservatives typically have jobs.

Few people agree with liberals so they have to offer special privileges in exchange for votes and political power.  They get the support of the poor because they get the poor dependent on their charity.  They get the entertainment elite by stroking their intellectual vanity.  They get the various minorities and single-issue groups by throwing a few bones to them (i.e., by buying their votes).  They get Big Business with crony capitalism.  They get the unions in exchange for anti-business legislation.  They get the young by being weak on drugs and morality.  They get a lot of women because of their abortion stance.  They get the illegal immigration community because they dangle citizenship in front of them while getting as many as they can addicted to welfare (so when they do become citizens they will become good Democrats.  Of course, with the majority of illegal immigrants in question being Hispanic, it will be interesting to see how that loyalty will play out.  A lot of Hispanics are practicing Catholics.  Will they continue to support the party that attacks their religion and religious values?  After all, they’re leaving a corrupt nation where only the ruling elite live well.  They come here for a better life for themselves and their families.  And many work hard for it.  With their religious values being a strong part of their lives.  Will the liberals tempt them with their welfare state after citizenship?  Time will tell).

Many agree with conservatives because they, too, just want to work and provide for their families.  And they would like their children’s future to be a good one.  (Again, the Hispanic question is interesting.  For they have conservative values, too.  Amnesty for illegals may be a Faustian bargain, but wouldn’t be ironic if it’s the Democrats who are selling their souls?  I mean, this large bloc of Catholics could very well vote for the religious right after citizenship.)

So liberals must appeal to their base during the primary election to get their party’s nomination.  Once they have that, they then must start lying about who they really are during the general election.  Because their views and opinions are minority views and opinions. 

The conservatives just need to be themselves.  When Ronald Reagan did just that, he won in a landslide.  Twice.

LET’S CRUNCH SOME numbers.  Some simple numbers.  Let’s say there are only 11 voters.  America is a center-right country based on honest polling.  So let’s say that 4 voters are conservative and 3 voters are liberals.  The 4 in the middle are independents and moderates.  So what happens at an election?

If all of the independents and moderates do not vote, conservatives win (4-3). 

Liberals cannot win unless some moderates and independents do vote.  So liberals must encourage the moderates and independents to vote.  And, of course, to vote for them.  While making sure their base votes (‘vote early and often’ is their mantra).  As well as some criminals.  And some dead who haven’t been purged from the election rolls.

Independents and moderates, therefore, determine elections.  And the general election is all about getting these votes.  Both sides turn down the volume on the ‘extremist’ positions they held during the primaries.  Conservatives talk about bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle.  Liberals campaign as conservatives.  (Bill Clinton ran as a new kind of Democrat with some very conservative planks in his platform.  When he won, though, he moved so far back to the left that he lost the House and Senate at the midterm elections, proving once again America is a center-right country.)

So back to our little example.  If the conservatives get 2 of the 4 independent and moderate votes, they win (6-5).  Liberals need 3 of their votes for the same winning margin.  Advantage, conservatives.

Now let’s look at a rift in the conservative party.  Two leave and form a third party.  And take 2 votes with them.  For the sake of argument, let’s say these two call themselves the Anti-Abortion Party.  It is doubtful that any liberals will leave their party to join them.  And it is doubtful that independents and moderates would make overturning a Supreme Court decision a key voting issue.  They tend to tack to a centrist course through the prevailing political winds.

So the Anti-Abortion Party candidate will only get 2 votes.  This candidate will not win.  That leaves only 9 votes in play.  Which means getting only 5 votes will win the election (less than a majority of the total 11).  All the third party candidate did was to make it easier for the liberals to win.  They only need 2 of the 4 of the independent and moderate votes.  Conservatives now need 3.  The third party took the conservative advantage (only needing 2 additional votes to win) and gave it to the liberals.

THE MORAL OF the story here is that a vote for a third party candidate is a vote for the opposition.  The lesser of two evils may still be evil, but it is still ‘less’ evil.  You should never lose sight of that.  If a political statement is only going to result in the greater evil, it is better to be more pragmatic than idealistic when voting in a general election. 

The energy of a third party or third party-like movements (such as the new Tea Party) should be marshaled during the primary election.  To get good candidates who can win general elections.  And who will remember that they are the people’s representative, not a member of a privileged, ruling elite.

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