Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Truth about the President’s Economic Policy Part 6

So, if none of our leaders will provide the truth about the President’s speech in Kansas, someone else will have to do it.

In his speech, the President avers:

“But, Osawatomie, this is not just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time. This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and for all those who are fighting to get into the middle class. Because what's at stake is whether this will be a country where working people can earn enough to raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure their retirement. Now, in the midst of this debate, there are some who seem to be suffering from a kind of collective amnesia. After all that's happened, after the worst economic crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, they want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess. In fact, they want to go back to the same policies that stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for way too many years. And their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.”

What does the President mean when he says that some “want to return to the same practices that got us into this mess”? He should be referring to the practices of socialism since it was re-distribution of bank mortgages that caused the crisis. But the President is actually referring to the practices of capitalism and the people who want to return to it are the Tea Party people and some Republicans. The President and his Occupy friends are blaming capitalism for the crisis and hoping that you buy into the lie. To be sure, they don’t want you to think very deeply about the causes of the crisis.

The President holds that the “practices” of capitalism involve making money at any cost, by any means and through any deception possible. Certainly, then, these practices must have caused our financial crisis – not those of his best friends. Yet, this view is not new. It is one of the most long-running non-sequiturs in the history of economics. It is caused by using a false moral evaluation as the foundation for a “factual” conclusion.

The question of what caused our economic collapse is one for science, not morality. An astute analyst would ask about the specific actions men made that caused a specific economic result. Only by identifying the individual players and the specific actions they took can we can arrive at an identification of the specific moral premises that caused the economic result. Moral premises, when practiced politically, can have economic consequences but it is important to understand the facts first. The President's approach starts with the premise that men will always do wrong if they are left free to act. And since capitalism leaves people free to act, then the causes of a specific bad economic result must always be capitalism. This approach obfuscates the actors, the actions and the philosophies that actually caused the collapse. It is another example of thinking in non-essentials.

The result of this thought process is deception on the part of the President. His view of capitalism is wrong and this leads to a distorted opinion about the causes of the collapse. In fact, because of his own moral premises, he is the one individual still engaging in the kinds of "practices" that got us into the mess. For instance, I don’t see the Tea Party people asking for more sacrifice of the taxpayer’s money for the sake of those people harmed by the financial collapse. I see the President asking for more sacrifice. I don’t see the Tea Party people asking that people whose loans are being foreclosed be allowed to stay in their homes. I see the President demanding this. I don’t see the Tea Party people asking for loan extensions or other forms of re-financing of unpaid mortgages. I see the President creating programs to affect this. I don’t see the Tea Party people asking for bailouts of banks and AIG and Goldman Sachs and General Motors. I see the President bailing them out.

So who wants to return to the practices that got us into the mess? The answer is quite simply, the President.

By now, you should see that the President, in framing the debate as a sort of gang warfare, is hoping his words can create the reality he desires. The result is that everything he says winds up being true in reverse and takes on the nature of a lie. When he looks for villains, he does not look at his own gang, he looks at those who would stop his gang. When making an economic analysis, he does not identify the facts; he consults his own pre-conceived moral evaluation of capitalism. Only thinking in non-essentials will enable this form of thinking in reverse.

Yet, most of us know that wishes don’t make it so and the negative economic numbers don’t support the argument that the President has the solution to our economic mess. Those who make an actual effort to understand reality know that the President is the destroyer of the middle class and that the “practices” which caused the collapse were those of the President and his friends. The actual “greed” responsible for the collapse was that of people who schemed to steal the taxpayer’s money by means of collectivist and class warfare policies.

Yet, he is right that this is the defining issue of our time. This is a make or break moment for all of us, not just those of us in the middle class. Most of us know that the best way to “raise a family, build a modest savings, own a home, secure (our) retirement” is for America to move back to Constitutional liberties and capitalism. That isn’t collective amnesia; that’s recognizing the fact that only freedom can create the kind of prosperity necessary for the middle class to exist. Unfortunately, for the President, reality will not bend to his wishes.

The real debate that has raged for the last 200 plus years, has been between collectivist philosophies that bind man in slavery and the philosophy of the Enlightenment that declared man a free sovereign individual. In fact, this is the debate started by John Locke and the Founding Fathers. They analyzed the various forms of society and concluded that a new idea could settle the debate: a limited government that defends individual rights. The Founders knew it; the Tea Party members know it; the President and his looting friends are still having the debate as they muddle along in non-essentials about balance and fairness and making sure that no one can fend for themselves.

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression was caused by the policies the President espouses, the idea of “re-distribution”. The critical, massive mistake; the most egregious thing that the President said in this speech is that Tea Party members and many other pro-capitalists believe “we are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules.” This statement shows an utter lack of understanding of what capitalism is and it justifies the fear of many in the Tea Party movement that the President is a Marxist who sees capitalism as evil.

The truth is that we are better off “to fend for ourselves and play by our own rules”; but it is important to understand what it means to advocate freedom against tyranny and dictatatorship. The President is criticizing freedom; a concept that most credible historians have identified as the very concept that has created our prosperity. Indeed, if one believes that freedom is wrong, then one can only seek to control men and ensure that freedom of action is curtailed. The President has joined forces with King George and taken us back to an economic policy of sacrifice and enslavement.

The Founders and many Americans would never have described freedom using those words: “to fend for themselves”. These are the words a collectivist would use to criticize freedom and capitalism. It is more of the same terminology that the President used when he talked about fairness and balance. It is based upon a hatred of the “voluntary cooperation” that Rand used when describing capitalism. A collectivist would call freedom “fending for ourselves” because he wants to ensure that you view freedom as a negative, predatory concept.

Collectivists don’t want you to discover that freedom means freedom of the mind. They don’t want you to recognize the “voluntary cooperation” that is characteristic of capitalism. They don’t want you to see yourself as “an island” responsible for your own economic results; rather they want you to view yourself as helpless without someone else’s sacrifice; helpless to think, to live, to love and to enjoy life.

Collectivists think they have a better idea; the pursuit of togetherness and commonality and sacrifice, a society that will drag us screaming and kicking into the coercive imposition of altruism - with smiles and lies to make us think we are doing it voluntarily. Collectivist dogma proclaims it a crime to be proud, to stand alone; to think with your own mind and to judge based upon your values and standards. A collectivist President would attempt to be the moral authority for all people. He would cast an evil eye toward anyone acting independently. He would use non-essentials to pass judgment upon those who “play by their own rules” and he would ensure that the scales are tipped in favor of those who can’t fend for themselves. Who pays for the tipping of the scale? Those who can fend for themselves.

But we can’t lose sight of the full reality. Collectivism has two symbolic hands: The first is the hand held out asking for your help, reminding you with a smile that you have an obligation to help others, that we should work together to make a better world, while the other hand is picking your pocket. That's what you get for thinking collectivism is a good idea in theory.

- To be continued.

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