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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Bullshit ….

By on Sep 10, 2008 in Politics

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In writing my last post, I was googling to try to find the democratic party official or worker or something who said that while working for the democratic party, he didn’t have to listen to the left at all. Instead, I came across a random blog – I guess it can’t be that random if it showed up in google’s first page search results – some guy wrote about how both the Democrats and Republicans have it wrong. Don’t get me wrong, as evidenced by my voting for Nader, I think both parties have a lot of shaping up to do. However, this guy’s reasons for why the democrats need to shape up are right out of the Fox News play book. Seriously, dude, seriously.

Before I, inappropriately, post a comment, I thought I’d share here my responses to his post:

Democrats still believe in higher taxes, especially the higher income people to spend on the “unfortunate”. This is so stupid because

1. This reduces incentive to work. If one is “earning” without working, he’d rather not work and “earn” a little less, than work and earn a little more (and see a big chunk of earning taxed away).
2. The “unfortunate” (or anyone for that matter) does not appreciate something that is not hard earned.

Wow. Priviledged much? Would you stop working just so you could get welfare? I doubt it. Welfare and food stamps barely cover the cost of living. Welfare to “Work” is effectively slave labor – for example, Welfare to Work in New York City involves working sweeping parks for the New York City Parks and Rec. The New York City Parks and Rec has no incentive to hire anyone because they get workers for free and the workers aren’t learning any valuable job skills. Also, you need to take into account the terrible education for the urban poor and that there are very few unskilled jobs where a worker can make enough to pay the bills anymore. Let’s also not forget that Welfare to “Work” affected a lot of single mothers who were going back to school so they could improve their situation. So, yes, if I had a choice between working 3 jobs to barely pay the bills or going on welfare to barely pay the bills, I might take welfare.


3. Higher taxes are bad for the economy – they drive away the industry. Why would someone set up a true multinational in the US if the US is going to take 40% of their profit away, if setting up the same company in another country can reduce the tax liability by 90%. A case in the point, Schlumberger, the oil drilling company is moving to Dubai

The vast majority of corporations in the US don’t pay any taxes at all so this argument doesn’t make sense (and it makes it a bit comical that you think US corporations pay 40% of their profits in taxes). Companies are moving away even though they don’t pay any taxes. Also, historically, all nations have had trade importation regulations which would encourage a company, especially one who wants to sell to the enticing American consumer, to stay. If no one is employed, no one can buy your product so it’s not actually in a companies best interest to move away.
In fact, the most prosperous time in the US was ’63 or so, when all the New Deal regulations were still strongly in place and might be considered the height of economic regulations. Post-WWII to the ’80s saw the smallest gap between rich and poor; today the gap between the rich and the poor is as large if not larger than it was during the 20s … an era that lead to the Great Depression, which is where we are now.
Last but not least, who said that the US supporting and bending over backwards to have “true multinational” corporations is the goal of the economy. I would argue that the purpose of the economy is to serve society – with jobs, products, education, health care – not the other way around.

5. What part of never kill the goose that lays the golden egg you don’t understand?

Depends who you think the goose is. Clearly you think it’s corporations. I’d argue it’s consumers who make corporations profitable. So having an economic system that ensures capitalistic competition (which we currently don’t have) and supports an ardent middle class, is in the best interest of the country.

6. This country was founded on the notion of “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. It is pursuit of happiness, not provision of happiness.

I’d say it’s pretty difficult to be happy when you cannot afford to eat. And I’m not sure how taxation really impedes your ability to pursue happiness … unless you believe happiness is equivalent to money and then I just sort of feel sorry for you. Our founding fathers – you know, the ones that wrote the Declaration of Independence – also said “No taxation without representation” so they created a system of representation. Also, since the supreme court long ago ruled that a corporation is entitled to the benefits of being considered a “person” under the law; shouldn’t corporations also be required to bare the burdens – such as taxation – of being a “person” under the law.

7. This is Capitalism, not Socialism. US is prosperous because of enormous wealth creation by Capitalism. Socialism didn’t work in USSR, it didn’t work in North Korea, it didn’t work in East Germany, it didn’t work in China (till it shunned its Socialist/Marxist policies in favor of Capitalism).

Well, we sort of have capitalism (just like China, the USSR, East Germany and North Korea sort of had socialism and just like China now sort ofvery very sort of – now has capitalism). Capitalism is based on many, small entities competing which we generally don’t have today given corporate consolidation, corporate welfare, and a systematic dismantling of consumer protections in the last 20 or so years. Also, Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, warned against the treachery of corporations in the same industry cohorting to manipulate the “invisible hand” which they do today, perfectly legally. There’s nothing that says that the government does not play a role in a capitalist economy – in fact, that’s a huge lesson we learned during the Great Depression and was the basis for the New Deal. Then there’s NAFTA: a trade agreement, especially one that trumps government rules, is by definition not capitalistic. I could go on and on …

Secondly, there’s nothing to say that there aren’t areas of society that should be socialized; areas that don’t benefit from the motivation of profit – education or health care, for example. Moreover, even today, the amount of government money flowing through our economy – fire fighter, police, and teacher salaries, research grants, subsidies for corporations etc etc – is greater than the stock market, effectively making the US one of the most “socialist” countries in the world and thus making your argument absurd.

Also, our current “wealth” goes to about 1% of the population so in fact, your “capitalism” has made most Americans less wealthy.

In fact, I would argue that what we currently have – a system that both republicans and democrats support with ridiculous campaign contributions and corporate lobbyists – is much closer to fascism (by definition, a corporate run state) than socialism.

— End Inappropriate Comment —

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