Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Solution to All of Our Problems

Our leftist friends have made a compelling case, and I am now convinced that laissez faire economics are the source of most of our financial problems.  So I have a brilliant idea. Since free-market capitalism has been unequivocally proven to be the source of our economic woes, let's introduce new government regulations. The more the merrier. And to introduce these regulations, let's not call in a bunch of economist.  Let's put a few hundred smooth-talking lawyers in charge. We will call these demagogues "congressmen" and "senators." 

We should choose individuals who inspire a great deal of confidence.  Given the importance of the American economy to everyone who lives on this planet, we will need to assemble the most ethical, competent, farsighted, smart and sensible group of people the world has ever seen.  If we are judicious, perhaps we can put together a group that will have a very high approval rating, perhaps around 9%.

These lawyers will draw from their vast business experience and will apply their profound wisdom to all of our perplexing challenges, and will give us the best economic system their legal minds can come up with.  In the process, they will concentrate power in Washington, cater to special interest groups, and pander to the lowest common denominator.  

Doesn't this sound like a recipe for success?  I knew you would agree.

  • Honest man goes the extra mile.  Government fines man $650 for his honesty...and threatens him with criminal charges.  Let's put Government in charge of everything!
  • The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters found that only nine percent (9%) give Congress good or excellent ratings.
  • Chrysler wants to thank you for your involuntary contribution to the bailout.  Chrysler spent $100,000 on a full-page ad in USA Today to tell you how happy they are to have your money.  Tell them what you think on Chrysler's blog.  "Hey Chrysler:  You're not welcome!  Now is not the time for a 'thank you'.  Now is the time for a refund...and an apology."  My comment "has been saved and is pending moderation."  Think it will ever see the light of day?
  • Canada, are you crazy?  Canada offers $3.29 billion auto bailout.  Hey Canada, do you have anything left over to help us out with an anti-missile defense system?

Fascinating vintage cartoon...the secret of American prosperity.

Pay your income tax gladly and proudly!

Leftist Propaganda


DaBlade said...

RK- 9%? Is it that high? I thought you "overestimated their ability to charm".

robert verdi said...

Merry Christmas

4simpsons said...

Well said! I hadn't heard about the Chrysler ad. Unbelievable.

Dan Trabue said...

Beautiful picture in your post!

I thought I'd offer a note of clarification. It seems that one can't be somewhat progressive without being considered a socialist by some, so, to clarify:

I believe in capitalism as the least flawed of the economic systems in place - all are flawed, all have some benefits, I'm sure, but I prefer capitalism certainly to socialism. That is, I prefer property and means of production owned by individuals rather than the state. Without a doubt.

BUT, I prefer a well-regulated capitalist economy. Allow me to make another transportation analogy.

We all recognize that we don't want an unregulated roadway system. We don't want total individual freedom - each person deciding what speed limit and behavior works best for them. No, it is obvious, we need rules on the road and regulating our transportation questions.

An anarchic transportation system would be the "most free" with each person having the "right" to decide how best to drive, but that would be hell on wheels - worse than what we have now. No one would want such a system, at least not for very long.

Similarly, most of us want a regulated capitalism. We want people to behave within certain limits. We don't want the factory to spew toxins in the air or water, we don't want corporations to be able to use forced child labor, we recognize that some limits on how we market stuff makes sense.

Returning to the transportation analogy:

We don't want the state to decide who gets to drive and to own the cars and production of cars, that would be socialism.

We don't want to begin shooting motorists we don't like or imprison people for purchasing the wrong car, that would be totalitarianism.

We don't want each person to decide what speed they'll drive and which side of the road they'll drive on, that would be anarchy.

We want a regulated transportation system, with people free to make their choices on cars (or not) and freedom to drive where they want, but with rules that are reasonable and in the public interest.

We recognize that unlimited freedom is just anarchy and not liberty, at all.

Dan Trabue said...

Your Donald Duck/paying taxes cartoon reminds me of what God said to Israel when they demanded a king be in charge of them, instead of judges. God said, in 1 Samuel 8:

If you have a king, this is how he will treat you. He will force your sons to join his army...

Still others will have to farm the king's land and harvest his crops, or make weapons and parts for his chariots. Your daughters will have to make perfume or do his cooking and baking.

The king will take your best fields, as well as your vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his own officials. He will also take a tenth of your grain and grapes and give it to his officers and officials.

The king will take your slaves and your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. He will also take a tenth of your sheep and goats. You will become the king's slaves, and you will finally cry out for the LORD to save you from the king you wanted.

God warns Israel that this is what kings do: They charge the people of the land exorbitant taxes so that the king can raise a large army and the officers can live off the largess of the people. They take your sons and daughters into the kingdom's service.

Just noticing...

Pen of Jen said...

Merry Christmas!

RightKlik said...

1. power to tax = power to destroy
2. So much power is concentrated in Washington, particularly in the hands of the president, we are in danger of having all the disadvantages of a monarchy. Leftists have been right to be concerned about the continued concentration of power over the past 8 years, but they will do nothing to reverse the trend now that they have the power. Power is intoxicating. Power will continue to be concentrated, but at an accelerated pace.

**Have a Merry Christmas, and a happy holiday everyone**

Dan Trabue said...

Re: 1. power to tax = power to destroy

Says who?

Do you really want to live in a society where no tax dollars are collected and, as a result, there is no military, no police force, no roadways, no one to make sure polluters aren't polluting your children's water and thugs aren't terrorizing your neighborhood?
Where, if these sorts of crimes are committed, there's no one to prosecute them and no prison in which to place offenders?

I find it hard to believe that anyone here is truly opposed to all taxation and that you truly believe that the power to tax is one and the same as the power to destroy? I mean, in theory, our tax dollars COULD be and HAVE been used to destroy, to bomb, to invade, to prop up dictators and terrorists. And that is a bad and I remain opposed to such.

BUT, our tax dollars have also been used to stop criminals, to oppose injustice, to fight for truth and freedom. I doubt that you really want to throw out the baby with the bathwash? Can't we support the positive, progressive use of gov't and oppose the negative, destructive use of gov't? That's what I support, and I sort of suspect that most of you would agree with me.

Dan Trabue said...

Power is intoxicating. Power will continue to be concentrated, but at an accelerated pace.

I certainly agree that power is intoxicating and we must remain vigilant in our watch over those in power - whether that is power from governmental positions, corporate positions or even religious positions.

So, we stay vigilant.

But what evidence do you have that an Obama presidency will concentrate power and use it destructively, or is that merely an unsupported hunch? Which is fine, we all have those feelings sometimes based on not much. It's just that we can't really expect others to agree with us based primarily on our gut feelings about a fella, right?

Merry Christmas, to all.

RightKlik said...

Re: 1. power to tax = power to destroy

Q: Says who?
A: Daniel Webster

Another quote: A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.
...Thomas Jefferson

...no, I do not support anarchy. I understand the role of taxation in civilized life. But giving men and women the power to tax is like giving loaded gun to a toddler or handing over the car keys to a ten year old. Watch out!

The SERIOUS problems that come with the power to tax: http://mises.org/story/1853

In saying that the power to tax = the power to destroy, I want to highlight how awesome and potentially destructive the power to tax is. But abolishing all taxes is a fool's errand. In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes...Ben Franklin

Regarding the accelerated concentration of power:

Q: What evidence do you have that an Obama presidency will concentrate power and use it destructively?

A: That's a big question. I haven't budgeted enough time this morning to give an adequate answer. But I will say a few things. First, my statement wasn't just about the Obama presidency. It's also about the Harry Reid Senate and the Nancy Pelosi House.

The fact that the legislative branch and the executive branch now belong to one party is an example of concentration of power in itself. But of course the concentration of power won't end there. How do I know? Well of course I don't KNOW, but I'm inclined to take them at their word on this. Obama and friends have outlined big plans for big government action and higher taxes. That's concentration of power.

Will this be a destructive process? I'd say it is certain to be destructive in some way. I would imagine it's more likely to be insidious rather than immediate and explosive. But we'll have to wait and see.

We're at different locations on the political spectrum Dan, but you've shared many of your views and I'm glad to know we share some common ground.

At this point I'm wondering where you draw the line on issues relating to taxation and the concentration of the power of government. At what point do you say the government has taxed TOO MUCH? At what point do you say the government has regulated TOO MUCH? At what point do you say the government has interfered with capitalism TOO MUCH and has brought us too close to socialism?

I ask those questions not for rhetorical purposes, but because when we both watch the Federal Government cross the line that you have drawn in the sand, I want to be prepared to welcome you to the "Enough is Enough" Club.

Dan Trabue said...

At what point do you say the government has taxed TOO MUCH?

Excellent question! Myself, I'm a pragmatist. I'm concerned about the commonwealth and what works best as a society.

IF, by spending $1 million of taxpayer dollars on a program (say prisoner rehabilitation), we SAVE $2 million (by reducing recidivism, having ex-cons become productive members of society, etc), well then, it's a no-brainer to me. We SPEND the $1 million.

Yes, that's spending $1 million of taxpayer dollars - your and my money that we could be using in ways of our choosing - but that's money that we would have been spending anyway, plus more, if we hadn't spent it.

Does that make sense? To me, one major criteria of How and When to spend tax dollars is to address this question: Are we going to be forced to spend the money anyway in REaction to a problem? If so, then generally I'm in favor of being proactive and spending the money upfront to prevent spending more later.

It's a fiscal responsibility thang.

The more complex question then becomes, How do we know if this investment will save us money? And that is, of course, more tricky, but I think we can attempt to answer it and plan and invest accordingly.

Now oftentimes (not always but oftentimes) I think the private sector can do a job better. So, IF churches and others were to step up and create programs using private money to, for example, deal with prisoner rehabilitation, I'm all for that. But when those efforts are not meeting the need, then I will nearly always support the gov't stepping in and spending $1 million to save $2 million.

Dan Trabue said...

At what point do you say the government has regulated TOO MUCH? At what point do you say the government has interfered with capitalism TOO MUCH and has brought us too close to socialism?

Good questions and more difficult to answer. It really is more dependent upon which area of regulation we are talking about.

I'll ponder on that some. Merry Christmas.

Dan Trabue said...

One quick answer I have is, if you have a military budget that's the largest in history, that's larger than the next 25 nations combined and nearly as much as the whole world, that's probably spending too much with questionably efficacious results.

We are spending nearly $1 T-T-Trillion a year on the military. By contrast, we spend ~$25 billion on welfare for the poor (TANF). By contrast, China and Russia combined are spending ~$110 billion/year. So, I'd suggest that THAT is spending too much and interfering with capitalism by taking my money and giving it to these corporations.

Dan Trabue said...

A more general answer to this question is I believe gov't out to intervene when natural law is broken: When someone's fist swings into someone else's nose.

Gov't should stay out of people swinging their fists until such time as it threatens someone else's nose. And then, it is appropriate to regulate, tax, manipulate in an imperfect attempt to keep people's fists out of other people's noses.

So, a company can create widgets, if they wish and gov't should not get involved. BUT, if the widget creation process generates waste matter, gov't ought be involved in making sure they safely and properly dispose of said waste matter.

Someone can drink alcohol or smoke marijuana if they want, BUT if they try to drive impaired, gov't ought to be involved in stopping such behavior.

A man can marry a man or a woman if they want - no harm, no foul - but if that man wants to marry a child or a goat, gov't ought to say No because harm is being done.

That is how and when I want gov't involved.