I recently spent the better part of 3 days working through my reading and then writing about the comparisons of the United States vs. ancient Rome.
I did so with as much objectivity and optimism as I thought possible. Then I started to read from some of the people who identify themselves as ‘progressives’ or in some cases, self-identified left-wing thinkers. As far as I’m concerned, labels are simply useless anyway but the ideas espoused are what sets the direction. This direction will only lead us to further decay and inevitable bankruptcy. Label it what you will, it leads to disaster.
One of the messages I found in my reading, concerned a talk that was supposed to have been banned by TED, given by Mr. Nick Hanauer. I don’t know anything about him but I thought, oh this is going to be good, he’s someone who thinks out of the box and I bet I’m going to learn something new and original. Well, I listened and watched intently. I figured, this guy has to be doing some business things right because he’s got a pile of money and I don’t have two fifty’s to my name. If you haven’t listened to his talk and you too think, he’s got something to say that’s important, you can click on this link. Nick Hanauer: Banned TED Talk.
If you want to save some time and would like a summary of what he says, this is my understanding. The very wealthy “1%” are not job creators. They are not responsible for improving the economy or hiring people. The real money comes from the consumer. The government doesn’t take enough tax money away from these über rich unlike the huge percentage of those lower level middle-income schmucks that are carrying the burden. He then throws up some charts which are in support of his ideas and there’s applause at the end. If you read the comments below the video, TED supposedly banned this talk because it was too “controversial”.
OK, now I listened and I thought about what he said versus what I’ve learned about any business, the growth in Federalism and what I’ve seen happen to the economy. First, I want to just set the record straight, he’s rich and I’m poor and I should recognize that somehow if I just think like him, things will get better, for me and for you. I can’t sustain that level of sarcasm anymore. It’s true about the rich and poor thing between the two of us but that’s about as much truth as there is to work on.
What he said was a distortion of the facts. Let’s start with the premise that rich people don’t actually create jobs. OK, so who does? He says, it’s the consumer. That’s correct only to the point if they have a job in the first place. Do poor people create jobs? Do poor people buy a $5 Starbucks coffee or automobiles or clothes or travel or take vacations? No, only those with jobs obtained through people with wealth or those in high office living off the taxpayer and can take multiple vacations per year.
Next he was throwing up charts pointing to this or that about rich people and taxes. Let’s be perfectly honest with you as I write this today, I would like to be wealthy, but I don’t envy someone who is. Let him or her make money if they’re good at it as long as they’re doing it honestly. Notice I didn’t say fairly, because my idea of what’s fair may differ from yours but it’s entirely fair that he is capable of earning more money than I. What is ridiculous is to say, he needs to pay more taxes so things will be more fair. If he’s concerned about that, let him pay more, I’m not going to stand in his way. Bill Gates Sr. says the rich don’t pay enough in taxes. Good for him, let him pay more.
“We have the choice of taxing a small percentage of the wealthiest who certainly can afford it, or we can cut social programs for those who need them,” said Abigail Disney, heir to the Disney fortune.
Well fine, raise the rates on capital gains and increase the estate tax… ‘lower the mizzen, raise the boom!’ Oh sorry, I got carried away with all this hubris. Here’s the problem I see with this confessional from the super rich who declare there’s something noble in paying more taxes; it won’t help!! The federal government could take away all your wealth, Messieurs Hanauer, Gates, Buffett, Carter, Soros, Bogle, Rubin and you as well, Ms. Disney and all of the rest of the top 3% wealthy people and what would you have? Well you might make some envious Wall Street Occupiers temporarily happy but the government would still run out of money after a few days and we would still have that huge amount to be paid back in the future… you know, the National Debt.
See the problem isn’t going to go away and the economy improve because of the ideas given in this presentation by Mr. Hanauer. Respectfully sir, your ideas have been tried for 50 years in a city that once had a vibrant automotive industry. The city of Detroit. For any of you that would like to see these kind of solutions, such as a minimum wage increase proposed by Mr. Obama or the virtuous cycle effect explained by Mr. Hanauer, you have all failed to understand this is the same nonsense that brought down Detroit.
If we spend more they will come, uh, improve. Oh you remember the Presidential Campaign when Joe Biden ran around saying, Osama Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!
Paying people more for work that isn’t skillful won’t improve the economy. When people acquire more skill they become more useful and therefore more valuable, ergo, they get paid more. That is unless you get the Federal government involved. When the government makes it so expensive through regulation and taxation that a manufacturing firm decides to pack up and move elsewhere, several consequences happen. All the tax money earned from those higher paying manufacturing jobs goes elsewhere, sometimes to another country, the loss in tax revenue is felt but the government keeps on spending so they take a higher percentage from the lower-income wage earners left in the area. So now the executive in chief as well as those people who want to stay in the good graces of their powerful friends come up with a new idea, raise the minimum wage. We’ll all be getting more income and job creation will rebound. Uh, excuse me, sir, we tried that in Detroit by raising the union job wages and increasing their benefits, you see what happened?
Those of you that aren’t afraid of the truth and are willing to spend a little time to learn it, watch this video. It’s more honest than the one from Mr. Hanauer.
What I propose is slightly different; raise the minimum brain! Our intelligence is being diminished by the repetition of government propaganda. Don’t be fooled by these type of ‘progressive ideas’. They have been tried before and failed. Both political parties got us into this mess, so I’m not letting anyone off the hook. We got to this diminished state because of several of these spend our way to prosperity proposals already. Yes, I know there were a lot of wealthy people ‘gaming the system’ with imitation bonds and security fraud as well. I’m not discounting the impact of dishonest business practices.
Here’s what one Wall Street Occupier learned from her experience.
Going back to my previous posts on the fall of the Roman Republic which for centuries thereafter became a dictatorship, we can fail and will fail if we adopt the type of proposals such as these ‘progressives’ have in mind. As a matter of fact, we will progress most likely in the same way Rome did. More and more centralized control until one day, there’s no difference between a dictatorship and the Progressive idea of Utopia. Mayor Bloomberg is pushing it along a little faster in his town, maybe you can watch too as Rome burns and someone in government fiddles…
Here’s another interesting little tidbit to think about. The U.S. just launched a rocket with a satellite equipped with cameras designed to read the spare change that fell out of your pocket or if you went outside the city to purchase a sugar laden soft drink larger than 16 ounces. Alright, enough sarcasm. Ask yourself, what will this spy satellite be used for and why was it necessary? So far the only answers I can come up with are to spy on us. The terrorists aren’t going to worry if we try to monitor them, they will simply find new ways to harm us like the barbarians did to the Romans.
Osama Bin Laden declared his willingness to die for these goals:
- Terrorize Americans
- Demoralize US troops
- Weaken and destroy Israel
- Unify Muslims throughout the Middle East via “democratic” establishment of Shariah law in governments of countries that act as agents
- Destroy the US economy, especially the banking system, with special attention to the creation of massive deficits – a “bleed until bankruptcy plan”
- Destroy American industrial capacity in the name of global warming
- Destroy the rich, who influence political parties, and fund election campaigns with their gifts
- Close Guantanamo
- Get the U.S. to pack their bags and get out of all Arab lands