FT147: “The politician that plays with the meaning of words most is the politician that is lying the most.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 7th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

When you start Playing with the Meaning of Words it’s usually because you’re Trying to Lie

When President Clinton committed perjury when denying having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky he tried to play with the meaning of words.  Saying it depended on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.  Clinton was a lawyer.  Like most politicians.  Who like to parse their words.  To twist their meanings.  So they can say one thing.  While they mean the complete opposite.  Clinton said he did not have sex with Lewinsky even though he had.  But the words he used could be parsed to both say he did and did not have sex with that woman.  Monica Lewinsky.  Lewinsky’s blue dress with Clinton’s semen on it, though, proved he was lying despite his nimble linguistic gymnastics.  And the House of Representatives impeached Clinton.  But the Senate didn’t have the votes to remove him from office for his perjury.  Nor did he resign as Richard Nixon did after he was caught in his perjury.

In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four the oppressive socialist state did the same thing.  Play with the meaning of words.  To make lying easier.  The Ministry of Love was like the Gestapo in Nazi Germany or the Stasi in East Germany.  Institutions that tortured and instilled fear into the people.  Which was for the people’s own good.  For the state loved the people.  At least that’s what the state said while they were torturing and abusing the people.  The Ministry of Plenty was responsible for the empty store shelves and the constant hunger gnawing in the people’s bellies.  The Ministry of Peace waged perpetual war.  And the Ministry of Truth was the state’s propaganda arm in charge of state censorship.  Advancing the state’s lies.  Like Joseph Goebbels did in Nazi Germany.

Words mean things.  And when you start playing with the meaning of words it’s usually because you’re trying to lie.  Trying to advance an unpopular agenda by disguising that agenda in a cloak of disarming words.  You can trust anything coming from the Ministry of Truth as the word ‘truth’ is in its name.  And you have nothing to fear from the secret police as the branch of government they work under is all about love.  And when the state tells you over and over again that it is a moneyed upper-class that is the cause of everything that is wrong in your life you start believing it.  Whether that moneyed upper-class are rich capitalists and bankers.  Or Jews in 1930s Germany.

The Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush Tax Rate Cuts brought in Record Tax Revenues into the Treasury

Liberal democrats like to tax and spend.  They believe in big government.  They like it big like it is in Europe.  Where they have socialism-light.  Social democracy, they call it.  A big, expansive welfare state funded by high tax rates.  When taxes can’t pay for all their spending they borrow money.  When they can’t borrow any more they start printing money.  As a result of this excessive state spending most of Europe is mired in a sovereign debt crisis.  Many nations are so broke that they have no choice but to cut back their spending.  Which is sending people into the streets rioting.

This is where the U.S. is heading.  Most people who understand economic fundamentals know this.  And vote against going further down this European road.  But there are a lot of people who don’t understand economic fundamentals.  They listen to their Ministry of Truth.  The Democrats, the public schools, college professors, mainstream media and the entertainment establishment.  Who all lean left.  And who all say the only problem we have is a moneyed upper-class who aren’t paying their fair share.  Though the top 10% of income earners pay about 70% of all federal income taxes.  Something the state doesn’t mention when they say they aren’t paying their fair share.  So the people don’t know that they pay 70% of all federal income taxes.  And they are more willing to believe their Ministry of Truth.

The public schools, college professors, mainstream media and the entertainment establishment do their part, too.  By revising history.  They note the deficits of Ronald Reagan in the Eighties.  And blame those deficits on the Reagan tax rate cuts.  But what they don’t tell the people is that after those cuts in tax rates the amount of tax revenue (money coming to Washington from taxpayers) nearly doubled.  President Obama and his Ministry of Truth blame all of our economic woes on George W. Bush’s tax rate cuts.  But what they don’t tell the people is that the treasury collected a record high in tax revenue under George W. Bush.  Proving that cuts in the tax rates did not cause any fiscal harm.  It was the greater increases in spending that caused all of the harm.

Democrats want to Raise Taxes on Everyone because they are Tax and Spend Liberal Democrats

Under baseline budgeting increases in spending amounts are automatic.  Every year they go up.  And they never go down.  So when the politicians decry proposed draconian spending cuts there are no real cuts in spending per se.  What they are proposing to cut is the rate at which to increase spending.  Say, instead of an automatic 7% spending increase they will only increase spending 5%.  Spending will increase 5%.  But those in government call it a 2% spending cut.  Which is why despite all of the spending cuts ever enacted (and there hasn’t been a lot of them) the federal debt has never gotten any smaller.

So an increase in spending can be a spending cut.  But the Orwellian doublespeak doesn’t stop there.  Those on the Left call tax cuts increases in government spending.  (Interestingly, the only kind of spending the government can never afford.)  Here’s why.  Excessive spending causes deficits.  And if they cut tax rates they believe less money will flow into the treasury.  Thus increasing the size of the deficit.  Ergo, spending and tax cuts are the same because both increase the deficit.  Of course that’s a fallacy.  As proven by Reagan and Bush.  Who actually increased tax revenues by cutting tax rates.  How?  Lower tax rates encourages more economic activity.  More people are working and paying taxes.  Resulting in a higher tax revenue overall.

Currently President Obama and his Ministry of Truth are saying that the Republicans are fighting against a middle class tax cut to give the richest 2% a tax cut.  Which isn’t exactly true.  There are no tax cuts on the table.  The George W. Bush tax cuts are expiring.  If they expire everyone’s taxes will go up.  The president wants to extend these tax cuts.  But only for the middle class.  Unfortunately, there are many small business owners whose business earnings flow to their personal tax returns.  Which puts them into the richest 2%.  But most of that money never comes out of their business.  They may be taxed as rich people.  But they live middle class lives.  Because they reinvest their earnings into their business.  To buy new equipment.  To expand their business.  And to hire new people.  This is why Republicans don’t want to raise taxes on these small business owners.  For it’s these small business owners who provide the majority of jobs in the economy.  And increasing their taxes will only hurt the economic recovery.

The Republicans offered to increase tax revenues by revising the tax code to eliminate certain deductions.  Providing the amount of revenue the president was asking for.  But the president refused.  For he wants those increases in the tax rates.  To complete the revision of history by ‘righting the wrongs’ of the Reagan and the Bush administrations.  To further the lie about the Reagan and Bush tax cuts.  But there’s another reason.  The amount of revenue he’s asking for now (whether it’s from eliminating deductions or increasing tax rates) won’t make a dent in the deficit.  Or the debt.  The only way they will be able to do that is by increasing taxes on the middle class.  Which will be a lot easier to do after they raised taxes on the rich.  Which is what they want to do.  Raise taxes on everyone.  Because they are tax and spend liberal Democrats.  But as most people don’t vote for people that want to raise their taxes, they lie.  And play with the meaning of words.  As liars do.  And the politician that plays with the meaning of words most is the politician that is lying the most.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Upward Mobility

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 6th, 2012

Politics 101

When Old Enough not to Violate Child-Labor Laws we worked After School at the Local Hardware Store or Supermarket

Once upon a time one of our first jobs was delivering newspapers.  We used to call these people paperboys.  Then girls said they wanted to earn money, too.  We called them papergirls.  Boys and girls would fill up a bag full of newspapers slung on their bike and start peddling through the neighborhood.  Raising a little spending money while they still were in school.  They didn’t make much.  They couldn’t keep doing this as a career and raise a family.  But they made a lot of money for a 14-year old kid.

When these kids grew old enough to get a job without violating child-labor laws they went to work after school at the local hardware store or bagged groceries at the supermarket.  Or worked at McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, Big Boy, etc.  During the summer they flocked to vacation areas and worked in the tourist economy.  Anxious to earn money to put gas into their cars.  Or go to the mall.  Again, they weren’t making big bucks.  Nothing that they could raise a family on.  But they earned more than delivering papers.  And were able to buy the things that were important to them.

Once we graduated high school some got jobs at factories.  Some went into the skilled trades.  While some went on to college.  Working as waitresses to pay their way.  Pressing clothes at a dry cleaner.  Working as a short order cook.  Or working their summers in construction.  As well as working some odd jobs on campus between classes.  Saving every penny to pay for their books.  Room and board.  Even their tuition.  While still finding time to study.  These kids worked very hard between their studies and their jobs.  Using their earnings to pay their bills.  While leaving them less spending money to have fun with than those paperboys and papergirls had.  Who weren’t paying for books, room & board and tuition.

The American Dream is Being Free to Work Hard and Sacrifice to make a Better Life

These jobs we worked during our high school and college years were entry level jobs for the unskilled.  Which is why they didn’t pay much.  To reflect that skill level.  But they gave us job experience.  And a little spending money.  Which was fine during those years because our spending needs were modest.  Besides, these jobs weren’t our careers.  They were just stopping points on our career paths.  Where we learned some important job skills (be on time, work hard, how to work with other people, that the customer is always right, etc.) that helped us in our next jobs.  And we moved from job to job.  Gaining skills.  And income.  Until we could afford to raise a family.

Many started college after working for awhile.  Or returned to college.  Taking a couple of classes at night after work.  To gain additional skills to advance in the company.  Or to gain the skills to make a career change.  So they could earn more money.  To afford more things in life.  Like a better home.  In a better neighborhood with better schools for their children.  Living the American Dream.  Having whatever they want simply by working extra hard to have it.  Which they could if they chose to put in the effort to increase their value in the market place.  Which has always been the way to achieve our goals.  Working hard and sacrificing to make a better life.  Which is what brings others to our shores.  To be free to live the American Dream.

Immigrants coming to this country often took menial jobs.  Such as sweeping the floor in a factory.  Saving every penny.  Improving their language skills.  If they needed to increase their language skills.  Working hard.  And when they acquired some skills they moved up.  Earning enough to bring their wives over from the old country.  Who also started working a menial job upon their arrival.  To help earn enough money to buy a house to raise a family in.  The husband’s hard work took him further up in the company.  Or he set off on his own.  Going into business for himself.  Working even longer hours to provide for his family.  Living out the American Dream.  Working hard so their children can have a better life.

In the US People can go from being Poor to Middle Class to the 1% back to Middle Class and even back to Poor

Sara Blakely tried to be a lawyer but couldn’t pass the LSAT law exam.  She spent some time as a ride greeter at Disney World.  After that she tried selling fax machines door-to-door.  Seeing a lot of doors slammed in her face.  Not exactly the life she dreamed of.  And if that wasn’t bad enough there was something else that bothered her.  The way she looked in white pants from behind.  And set out to do something about it.  Starting with $5,000 Sara Blakely created Spanx.  A company selling slimming bodywear that she invented.  And about a decade later Spanx is now worth $1 billion.  Pleasing some 6 million women.  Who helped her give some $20 million to charity.

Currently in America there is a war on the rich and successful.  Those on the Left are attacking those with money.  Those who have worked hard and have earned wealth.  Claiming that they got their wealth unfairly.  And aren’t paying their fair share in taxes.  That contemptible 1%.  Those people they rile up the masses to hate.  As if this 1% is a monolithic permanent upper class.  As if every millionaire today has always been a millionaire.  As if none of them ever failed the LSAT law exam.  Worked as a greeter at Disney World.  Or sold fax machines door-to-door.

But the 1% is not a permanent monolithic upper class.  As people like Sara Blakely prove.  And the others like her who have worked hard.  Starting with little more than an idea.  And a few years of savings.  We call it upward mobility.  Those in the 1% were likely at different income levels throughout their lives.  Starting out poor.  Working their way up to middle class.  And the lucky few like Sara Blakely breaking into the 1%.  Who earned every dime she has.  And just as people can work hard to rise up to the 1% they can just as easily fall from the 1%.  For there are no monolithic classes in the United States.  Anyone can succeed here.  And anyone can fail.  So here people can go from being poor to middle class to the 1% back to middle class and even back to poor.  Because in America you can live the American Dream.  Where you’re free to do anything you want to try.  You can work hard to succeed.  And you can fail trying.  But the key is this.  Here you can try.  Which is a lot more than people in many parts of the world can ever hope to do.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Labor Costs, Standard of Living, Artisans, Gunsmiths, Specifications, Interchangeability of Parts, Machine Tools and the Assembly Line

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 15th, 2012

Technology 101

Since the Dawn of Civilization we’ve Waged a War against High Labor Costs

Technology determines our standard of living.  The greater we develop technology the higher our standard of living.  Because the things that make our lives easier and more enjoyable come down in price as technology advances.  So that the great conveniences and comforts of life are available to all.  And not just for the amusements of a wealthy upper class.  For example, who owned and enjoyed the first automobiles?  It was the wealthy upper class.  Exclusively.  Until Henry Ford used all the technology of the day to reduce the price of a car so that a working man could afford and enjoy one.  Changing America forever.

Labor.  The cost of people making things.  This is the cost that holds back the standard of living.  The thing that made the comforts of life affordable only to the rich.  Since the dawn of civilization we’ve waged a war against high labor costs.  To find ways to allow people to create more for less.  The division of labor allowed specialization and a middle class.  Where artisans made things they could trade for other things.  But artisans were artists.  Each thing they made was one of a kind.  And it took time.  A single artisan could not operate at an economies of scale to bring unit prices down.  Which tended to keep their more labor-intensive works more costly and available only to the wealthy class.  And rulers of their civilization.

Great talent was going to waste.  And a great number of people were not living anywhere near as well as the few well-to-do.  To unleash this human capital, to make a better life available to anyone, they had to reduce these labor costs.  Figure out a way to make more for less.  And we took a giant step forward in this direction thanks to war.  One of the great drivers of technology.

Precision Machine Tools allowed the Interchangeability of Parts

Some of our first firearms were works of art.  Built by highly skilled artisans.  Gunsmiths.  Who carefully and painstakingly shaped, fitted and gently filed parts he created and assembled together into a working firearm.  Changed the way we fought wars forever.  They were expensive.  And not all that plentiful at first.  Because it took such a long time for a gunsmith to build one from scratch.  Who was always busy building new guns.  Or carefully and painstakingly repairing old ones damaged in battle.  Shaping, fitting and filing a replacement part into the old firearm and restoring it to working order.

Then someone got a bright idea.  Actually, a few had the same bright idea at various points in time.  If we could standardize these parts by building them to a set of specifications we could mass-produce these parts.  Building the same part over and over again, one after another, following a set of specifications as closely as possible.  And then take these uniform parts and assemble firearms out of them.  Because the parts were uniform they were interchangeable.  Any part could go into any gun.  A worker could just grab these interchangeable parts from piles of identical parts and slap them together into a finished firearm.  Furthermore, we could keep spare parts in our armories.  So we can easily repair parts damaged or broken in combat by simply replacing the broken part with a new part.  Without sending the firearm back to the manufacturer.

Of course, the interchangeability of parts was not possible without the precision machine tools provided.  At first artisans guided their hand tools with a trained eye.  Often securing the piece he was working in a vise and working the tool around the piece.  Machine tools allowed us to spin our work and used a constrained tool to shape it.  Or to constrain our work and apply a spinning tool to drill, cut or shape it.  Using machines to constrain our work allowed us to apply greater forces on our work.  Which advanced metal working.  And allowed us to manufacture things with complex shapes and demanding specifications.  Creating the many thousands of pieces that we ultimately assemble into a finished good.  Allowing us to build more for less.

Computer Controlled Machine Tools and Robots increased the Speed and Precision of Assembling Automobiles

The interchangeability of parts and machine tools led to the assembly line.  Where we assembled things in mass quantities.  From piles of interchangeable parts.  Then Henry Ford made the assembly line move.  Taking mass production to a new level.  Reducing the costs for one of the wealthy class’ most expensive toys.  The automobile.  Bringing labor costs down so far that the final selling price was inexpensive enough for the working man to afford.

Computer controlled machine tools increased the speed and precision at which we made these interchangeable parts.  And robots on the assembly line increased the speed and precision of assembling automobiles.  Which should have reduced the price of cars even further.  But they seem to be more expensive than they need be.  Making many cars today too expensive for the working man.  Making them toys for the rich and well-to-do again.  For technology has reduced costs everywhere in the assembly pipeline but one.  The final assembly labor costs.  Which should have plummeted in the advance of all this technology.  But they haven’t.  Because unions have removed these costs from market forces.  Keeping labor costs higher than market costs.  And in turn pushing the selling price of their cars higher than market prices.  Opening the door to Japanese competition in the Seventies.  And the Japanese stepped in.  Sold a lot of cars.  So many that they would one day even sell more than GM.  Where we come full circle.  One of the countries (the other being Nazi Germany) that changed American manufacturing by pulling it out of the Great Depression changed it once again.

During the war years of the Great Depression FDR set a wage ceiling.  He didn’t want employers paying workers too much.  A bit of a problem when you’re trying to hire the best workers.  So employers got creative.  And, instead, started offering benefits to get around that wage ceiling to attract the best workers.  Following World War II the wage ceiling was gone.  But the benefits lived on.  And are some of the most contentious issues discussed at contract negotiations with the United Automobile Workers (UAW).  Ultimately leading to the great legacy costs that led the Big Three (GM, Chrysler and Ford) to bankruptcy and government bailouts. 

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Let the Lying Begin

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 8th, 2010

Labor Day has passed.  And you know what that means?  That’s right.  The kids are back in school.  But it’s not all good.  It also marks the beginning of the election season.  And the lying has already begun.  Well, it’s been going on since, well, the late 18th century.

The economy sucks.  There are no jobs.  But that’s no surprise, is it?  A Keynesian in the White House.  Keynesians in charge of both houses of Congress.   And if there is anything a Keynesian knows how to do is to kill an economy.

Andrew Mellon advised Warren Harding to cut taxes.  He did.  And we got the Roaring Twenties.  FDR gave us a decade long depression with his economic policies.  LBJ’s Great Society gave us, ultimately, the stagflation of the 1970s.  Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts gave us the ‘Decade(s) of Greed’.  The Left condemned the first decade.  But they praised the second decade.  Lucky Clinton.  Well, until that blue dress.

Keynes got it right.  Sort of.  You stimulate the economy with fiscal policy.  But not by tax and spending.  You stimulate by making the business environment more favorable for business.  This creates jobs.  Lowers unemployment.  And brings in great big piles of money to the government.

But what you will hear this election season is that we’re not going back to the failed economic policies of the past.  We’re not returning to ‘trickle-down’ economics.  And they’ll say that with righteous indignation.  Even though the economy was a helluva lot better with those ‘failed’ policies.  You know why?  Those policies work.  Their policies don’t.  But their policies give them more power.  Policies that work don’t.  And they know that.  So they lie.  To better themselves at our expense.

You’d think they’d be happy just to get the great big piles of money with a bustling economy.  But they’re not.  They want the power.  To satiate their great big egos.  And to establish themselves as a permanent upper class.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,