Thinking For Yourselves is Not Allowed   4 comments

Our ruling class’s agenda is power for itself.  Yes, they claim the high intellectual and moral ground, but they hold power by one of the oldest and nastiest of means – patronage and power. Left-wing parties always and everywhere form a “machine” based on providing tangible rewards to its members. Such parties often provide rank-and-file activists with modest livelihoods and mightily enhance the upper levels’ wealth. Whatever else such parties might accomplish, they must feed the machine by transferring money, jobs or privileges (civic or economic) to the party’s clients, directly or indirectly.

The American ruling class’s standard approach and solution to any and all matters, is to increase the power of the government — meaning of those who run it, who are the ruling class, to profit those who pay with political support for privileged jobs, contracts, etc. More power for the ruling class has been our ruling class’s solution for everything — economic downturns, social ills, hurricanes, tornadoes, global cooling and global warming.  Yes, the sane among us wonder whether enriching and empowering individuals of a certain kind can make Americans kinder and gentler, much less control the weather, but the ruling class expects us to sit down and shut up and let our betters do the thinking for us.

The ruling class has an agenda. You may recognize some of this. If you know of others, please feel free to add.

Generally speaking, about one-third of what Americans produce is collected in federal taxes. By parceling out the proceed of our labor  and instituting regulations that reach deep into American life, our ruling class makes itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. While the economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on that value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is all about tampering with civil equality. By endowing some in society with power to force others to sell cheaper than they would, and forcing others to buy at higher prices (or in the case of health insurance, to buy in the first place) modern government makes valuable some things that are not intrinsically valuable and devalues others that are. If you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu.

Laws and regulations nowadays are longer than ever because length is needed to specify how people will be treated unequally. For example, the health care bill of 2010 takes more than 2,700 pages to make sure not just that some states will be treated differently from others because their senators offered key political support, but to codify bargains between the government and various parts of the health care industry, state governments, and large employers about who would receive what benefits and who would pass what indirect taxes onto the general public. The financial regulation bill of 2010, while advertised as setting unequivocal rules for the entire financial industry, spends some 3,000 pages tilting the field exquisitely toward some and away from others. Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses of both party-majorities have empowered countless boards and commissions to arbitrarily protect some persons and companies while ruining others.

In 2008 the Republican administration first bailed out Bear Stearns, then let Lehman Brothers sink in the ensuing panic, but then rescued Goldman Sachs by infusing cash into its principal debtor, AIG. Then, the incoming Democratic administration used similarly naked discretionary power (and money appropriated for another purpose) to give major stakes in the auto industry to labor unions that support it.

Nowadays, the members of our ruling class admit that they do not read the laws they vote on. They don’t have to, because modern laws are primarily grants of discretion. All Congress needs to know about the laws is whom they empower.

By making economic rules dependent on discretion, our bipartisan ruling class teaches that prosperity is to be bought with the coin of political support. In the 1990s and 2000s, as Democrats and Republicans forced banks to make loans for houses to people and at rates they would not otherwise have considered, builders and investors had every reason to make as much money as they could from the ensuing inflation of housing prices. When the bubble burst, only those connected with the ruling class at the bottom and at the top were bailed out. Similarly, by taxing the use of carbon fuels and subsidizing “alternative energy,” our ruling class created the world’s biggest opportunity for making money out of things that most people would not buy absent government intervention. The ethanol industry and its diversions of wealth exist exclusively because of subsidies. The prospect of legislation that would put a price on carbon emissions and allot certain amounts to certain companies set off a feeding frenzy among large companies to show support for a “green agenda,” because such allotments would be worth tens of billions of dollars. In 2009 companies hired some 2,500 lobbyists to deepen their involvement in “climate change.” While grumbling about the costs, such involvement profits them by making them into privileged collectors of carbon taxes. Any “green jobs” thus created are creatures of subsidies, dependent upon privilege rather than merit. It’s debatable if such privileges will affect “global warming” , but it’s guaranteed to increase the number of people dependent on the ruling class, while teaching Americans that satisfying that class is a surer way of making a living than producing goods and services that ordinary people want to buy.

Beyond patronage, picking economic winners and losers redirects the American people’s energies to tasks that the political class deems more worthy than what Americans choose for themselves. John Kenneth Galbraith’s characterization of America as “private wealth amidst public squalor” (The Affluent Society, 1958) encapsulated the complaints of our “best and brightest”. Left to themselves, Americans use land inefficiently in suburbs and exurbs, making it necessary to use energy to transport them to jobs and shopping. Americans drive big cars, eat lots of meat and other unhealthy things, and go to the doctor whenever they feel like it. Americans think it justice to spend the money they earn to satisfy their private desires even though the ruling class knows that justice lies in improving the community and the planet. The ruling class knows that Americans must learn to live more densely and close to work, that they must drive smaller cars and change their lives to use less energy, that their dietary habits must improve, that they must accept limits in how much medical care they get, that they must divert more of their money to support people, cultural enterprises, and plans for the planet that the ruling class deems worthier. But when they try to tell us that, we object, proving our stupidity. Ever-greater taxes and intrusive regulations are the main wrenches by which the American people can be improved and the ruling class strengthened and enlarged.

The 2010 medical law is a template for the ruling class’s economic modus operandi. The government taxes citizens to pay for medical care and requires citizens to purchase health insurance. The money taken and directed to this enterprise is money that the citizens themselves might have used to pay for medical care. In exchange for the money, the government promises to provide care through its “system.” But then all the boards, commissions, guidelines, procedures, and “best practices” that constitute “the system” become the arbiters of what any citizen ends up getting. The citizen might end up dissatisfied with what “the system” offers. Unfortunately, when he gave up his money, he gave up the power to choose, and became dependent on all the boards and commissions that his money also pays for and that increase the cost of care.

In 2008 the House Ways and Means Committee began considering a plan to force citizens who own Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to transfer those funds into government-run “guaranteed retirement accounts.” If the government may force citizens to buy health insurance, it seems logical that they can force them to trade private ownership and control of retirement money for a guarantee as sound as the government itself. Clearly the government knows more about managing retirement income than individuals do.

4 responses to “Thinking For Yourselves is Not Allowed

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  1. We can sum this up to “Crony Capitalism” or “Corporatism”. No one is willing to counter the tyranny of the status quo.

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  2. wow good way of descirbing the situation, yes they think they have the moral and intellectural high ground, deep down in side I think they know they are actually deluding themselves into believing their own lies. what do you expect of those who are taught by their religious leaders of whatever religion they prefer that they are chosen by god for a special job to do, ever notice how people come to believe that god chose them for a special purpose (which translates not choosing others for this special purpose) that explains the plight or situation they are in (like if they are born weatlhy, or born with a disability of some sort or have some sort of special ability that sorta thing) I think god gave me this or that so I can help make the world a better place,(even if they have to use the state to force thieir opinons on others who disagree) as if everyone else who is considered ‘normal’ have no special concern for themselve by god, as if he picks winners and losers or something. they are deceiving themselves with illusions of grandeur, this is one of the tools satan uses to control people.

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  3. Crony Capitalism or capitalism, national socialist style. It makes money but allows for tight control of the people.

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    • It does manifest itself that way. It also manifests itself in the nanny state — gun control, no transfats, bans on supersized sodas, law-and-order programs like stop-and-frisk.

      I’m waiting for mandatory autodrive cars because people can’t be trusted to operate large machinery that close to one another at high speeds. It will be … for the children.

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