The Practical Philosopher's Blog

Using the practical application of timeless wisdom to address modern issues

The Sad Ignorance of Collectivists

France is an excellent case study on wages and ignorance of ideological collectivism vs. the reality of human nature. Just ahead of the US in spending itself into oblivion, France’s collectivist President proposed a super-tax on the ‘wealthy’. Wanting more revenue to buy votes/create dependency/socially engineer their society, French President Hollande and his ideological colleagues assumed that the most productive citizens of France would take this in stride and welcome the chance to work the same amount but keep less of the fruits of their labors.

Imagine their horror and sense of abandonment when they saw the following reaction from their productive and successful citizens/leaders:

Even after weeks of speculation, the announcement a fortnight ago that [Famous French actor Gerard] Depardieu, 63, was moving to Belgium to take refuge from Socialist president François Hollande’s planned “temporary super tax” on earnings of more than €1m (£815,000) came as a shock to fans.

And after Depardieu pointed out that he was not the only French celebrity to want to minimise his tax bill by moving abroad, the newspaper Le Parisien produced an interactive map showing he was right. It revealed Switzerland as the country of choice for fiscal refugees, including national treasures such as actor Alain Delon, singer Johnny Hallyday and a colony of tennis players and sports stars.  (Source: The Guardian)

What’s mind-boggling is that fully grown and educated adults are baffled by this reaction. Those that have been weaned on collectivism in the form of socialism for decades simply appear to not understand human nature and the natural inclination toward rational self-interest. This is the only way you could explain this gem of a statement from a colleague of Depardieu’s:

However, the debate has moved beyond what some would call an act of betrayal by the star of French films such as Cyrano de Bergerac and Danton. Film director Claude Lelouch said Depardieu was lucky to pay high taxes because it showed he was a success. “It means things are going well,” he told BFMTV.  (Source: The Guardian)

It’s an honor to be punitively taxed in France. Get it? What’s not to love about only keeping one-quarter of what one makes and give the rest to the ‘needy’? Clearly Depardieu is a monster and is probably in secret communication with Conservatives in the US.

There is hope for the French, though. Their people seem not to be permanently and/or completely brainwashed by decades of collectivism and some clearly see what is happening:

“A small majority, 54%, think the government’s fiscal policies are too tough and are encouraging people to leave the country, and 40% sympathise with Depardieu. At the same time, 35% told us they were shocked by his leaving, so it’s not clear cut,” … (Source: The Guardian)

 If their government can shrink that group down into a minority, then France can have the honor and pleasure of being Europe’s next Greece. C’est la vie!

Advertisements

Filed under: Culture, Economy, International, , , , , , , ,

The Results of the Second Presidential Election Debate

I am starting to see a trend in the content and focus of the debates. It happened in the first presidential election debate, the VP debate, and now the recent, second election debate. Republicans are citing facts and business-like plans for the future, and Democrats are giving us emotional comments and defenses of the last four years of economic failure. I thought that Victor Davis Hansen articulated this same thought very well in his post-debate commentary today:

Obama did not forfeit the debate as last time, and took his cue from Joe Biden in interrupting and muttering while Romney spoke, so his energy made it an entertaining night. Nevertheless, the same theme as in Denver emerged — Romney more often providing specific proposals and detailed critiques, and Obama preferring more often emoting and running more on hypotheticals, as if he were not an incumbent with a depressing record that he is obligated to defend.

I saw both Romney and Ryan do this. If we look ahead to the next four years of critical leadership for our country, do you want emotional talking points or an adult plan to focus our country back on the founding principles of enabling individuals- not taking away from them and berating their success. This is how jobs and prosperity for all are created.

 Vote for Romney/Ryan in 2012.

Filed under: American Values, Economy, Politics, , , , , , ,

High Gas Prices have always been part of the Green Agenda

Obama has said it on record many times. Numerous green advocates in his administration have said it as well:

While the head of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, Chu (Steven Chu- now Obama Energy Secretary), told The Wall Street Journal that energy prices were the lynchpin to an energy overhaul. “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Chu said in September 2008.

Then the public will conform to central command and get off that pesky, cheap, prosperity-driving fuel source called oil. 

The only problem with the ‘Green’ Agenda is that:

A: It does not work or deliver anything usable at a reasonable price.

B: It can only be afforded/indulged in by the wealthy, dual-income couples, or empty nesters at the height of their earning curve.

C: It most harms the poor and will cause them, and the economy in general, great suffering before we achieve any significant green ‘transformation’ (read this as a regression to a third world or primitive standard of living) of our society.

Why is our national leader, the President (and his administration), not pulling out the stops to jumpstart domestic energy production and start reducing our vulnerability to backwards Middle Eastern regimes and the chance of war? This is the reason. Welcome to the green revolution.

Filed under: Economy, Energy, Environment, Middle East, Politics, , , , , , , , ,

Reason #3 Why the Teacher’s Unions are Wrong

The WI bill is NOT about first responders. They are excluded.

The WI bill is NOT about all union collective bargaining, but instead targets the largest of the unsustainable financial liabilities for states- a problem specifically created by unions: Healthcare benefit plans/insurance/subsidies and Pension plans. Wage bargaining is not touched.

None of the above has gotten in the way of union representatives misrepresenting these facts in on-the-record statements as they demagogue unionized protesters and lie to the state of WI. They have an unaccountable and persvasive power they want to keep. It does not matter if what they do causes long term harm to education, the state, and is financially unsustainable.

Unions have no place in a free market and free country like the US.

Filed under: Economy, Education, Politics, , , , , , ,

Reason #2 Why the Teacher’s Union is Wrong

It’s not about teachers, it’s about unions. What’s at stake is their power to take money and exercise conflict-of-interest political clout for the Democrat party.

Here’s an interesting excerpt on why government worker unions should be illegal:

Traditional, private-sector unions were born out of an often-bloody adversarial relationship between labor and management. It’s been said that during World War I, U.S. soldiers had better odds of surviving on the front lines than miners did in West Virginia coal mines. Mine disasters were frequent; hazardous conditions were the norm. In 1907, the Monongah mine explosion claimed the lives of 362 West Virginia miners. Day-to-day life often resembled serfdom, with management controlling vast swaths of the miners’ lives. Before unionization and many New Deal–era reforms, Washington had little power to reform conditions by legislation.

Government unions have no such narrative on their side. Do you recall the Great DMV Cave-in of 1959? How about the travails of second-grade teachers recounted in Upton Sinclair’s famous schoolhouse sequel to The Jungle? No? Don’t feel bad, because no such horror stories exist.

Government workers were making good salaries in 1962 when President Kennedy lifted, by executive order (so much for democracy), the federal ban on government unions. Civil-service regulations and similar laws had guaranteed good working conditions for generations.

The argument for public unionization wasn’t moral, economic, or intellectual. It was rankly political.

More money appears to be spent on political activity than is spent on the very rank-and-file workers unions purport to support.

Filed under: Economy, Education, Politics, , , , , , , ,

Reason #1 Why the Teacher’s Unions are Wrong

The protesters do not resemble those seeking freedom in Egypt.

They most closely resemble the small, pro-despot (Mubarak) loyalists that seek to keep their unrealistic, government privileges that the majority does NOT enjoy.

The fact that the states are unable to pay for their unsustainable, centrally planned benefits and pensions? Not their problem, apparently.  They should instead send solidarity messages to Greece and it’s government ‘workers’ that collapsed that economy with rapacious and unsustainable government spending.

Filed under: Economy, Education, Politics, , , , , , , ,

Obama’s Big Government Administration Learns Painful Lessons about the Real World

After many disingenuous statements from the Administration on how Wall Street ‘caused’ the housing market collapse, the real world has once again stepped in to squash their flawed collectivist world view with reality. 

The free market works when it is free and populated with private businesses working with, and responding to, rational market incentives.

Whenever the Government interferes (whatever its ‘good’ intentions) in the private marketplace, it always causes more damage than good as an outcome. Why? Because the Government does not work on the same principals as private business. Private businesses have to adapt to economic conditions or risk going out of business. The Government only makes and responds to political conditions. Given that, how does any think it would EVER it would or should act outside its sphere in the economic realm? The Government never has to worry about ‘going out of business’, so it does NOT act rationally in a free market environment. It’s that simple. 

As I’ve said in the past, politicians of primarily Democrat party orientation have pushed the flawed concept that you had a right to a house. This was especially true if you were of a preferred ethnic minority background or were of a lower economic strata. Through Government interference of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Democrats have tried to buy votes through ‘buying’ people houses they couldn’t afford. This financially irrational behavior was done through political pressue on banks to make bad loans to politically favored groups (CRA) or using fake, Government ‘business’ entities (Fannie and Freddie) to buy bad loans with our tax dollars.

What they didn’t realize is that this would, over the course of 10-15 years, create a multi-trillion dollar housing bubble that would severely injure the US economy and ripple through out the world economy as well. 

Wall Street did NOT create this financial melt down. The Government and Democrats did by politically interfereing in the US economic market. Now, like with all their collectivist or utopian worldviews, we all have to pay when reality comes crashing down.

Filed under: Business, Economy, Politics, , , , , , , ,

Will Obama Get it? Pre-SOTU Comments

Will Obama get that the country’s private sector, free market economy is held back by his collectivist attitude and policies or will our rookie President continue to run the most anti-business, anti-American values administration in recent history?

My guess is he won’t get it. Unless his rigid adherence to discredited collectivist ideas changes, he will still push to spend more (grow the government) and use the government to ‘create’ (or save) jobs like he has been unsuccessfully doing now for 2 years.

Pundits suggest (I think accurately) that he will talk a good game of going to the center, but will not do anything of substance to back it up- just like the campaign rhetoric that got him elected. They say he will use focus-group tested political marketing for the mentally dim like ‘investment’ instead of spending and tie these distorting terms to feel-good topics like education or jobs. So, if we hear tonight that we need to ‘invest’ in our schools and jobs for our economy to grow, we’ve just gotten more rhetorical blather to cover up that he will try the same failed approaches again and hope for a different outcome.

Reality and human nature are such harsh courts of appeal when it comes to collectivist and utopian theories. I wonder how many repetitions it takes before the outcome not matching the theory shows that certain theories don’t work? You don’t need to be smart to get this- you need to be wise.

The big question is: Will our book-smart and world-dumb President finally grow in wisdom? Will he finally start to support American founding values like smaller central government, individual liberties and freedoms, and get government out of the way so our private, free market will function again?

While he threatens us with whole-scale ‘transformation’ to the fascism of collectivism and the degradation of individual effort and reward, we will go nowhere economically and socially.

Filed under: American Values, Business, Economy, Philosophy, Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama Still Has No Idea How Our Economy Works

Leaving aside an 11th hour ‘conversion’ by Obama to seeing the value of (some) tax cuts, the cuts he does propose are targeted, temporary, and will primarily only benefit big business.

This ploy to pretend he is suddenly for business will not affect the largest component of our economy- small business owners.

If we convert the ‘Bush tax cuts’ into the ‘Obama tax hikes’ on top of this, things will get even worse. Small business owners tend to file taxes as individuals. They may make $500K in revenue/income, but if you plow $450K of that back into business expenses and taxes, the actual $50K you might use to live on is not much.

The bad news is that their income falls into the hate-the-rich category that Obama uses as examples of morally bad guys that owe money to his unskilled, unproductive, and/or un-ambitious core-constituency.

The punishment of small business owners will be in the form of increased taxes for govt welfare, subsidies and general, short-term vote buying. They will still have no long term (critical!) incentive or confidence they can, or should, risk their money to expand their businesses. The only long term-anything that Obama and his like-minded Democrats will accomplish is long term damage to our economy and founding principles with their collectivism.

Note to the Prez: 70% of our jobs come from SMALL businesses! So how will this current ‘tax cut’ ploy and higher taxes in Jan2011 create jobs? They won’t. Again.

And we’ll continue to suffer economically as a country for their lack of wisdom and leadership on this issue.

Somebody in White House should tell the President: It’s the results, stupid- not the rhetoric.

Filed under: Economy, Politics, , , , , , , ,

More Proof Why Government Can’t Run Businesses

Once again, it’s painfully evident to everyone except the Obama administration that the realities of politics and the realities of running a business are completely different and virtually always are. 

The motivators of politicians (vs. leaders) are votes, public perception, and the pursuit of power. The motivator of businesses is profit from the sale of their goods and/or services to the marketplace.  The restructuring of a rigid, non-responsive and failing company so it can more efficiently serve it’s market is critical if that company wants to survive. So, it was amazing to read:

GM proposed moving out if it’s Detroit’s Renaissance Center HQ to its sprawling suburban tech center, arguing that the move would save money and would symbolize a commitment by top brass to be more involved in the company.

But this would involve some creative destruction in the marketplace to create a sustainable, long-term outcome of a viable company instead of a dying one. This, however, was not a consideration at all to the politicians in the white house:

But the “hands-off” White House snuffed the idea, opting to protect Detroit — a key political constituency of the Democratic Party. “Are you out of your mind?” Rattner quoted Brian Deese, who has been heavily involved in auto policy, as saying. “Think what it would do to Detroit.”

This is why Govt can’t and should not try to run businesses or be an actor in the market place. This is why, if GM ever recovers, it will take much longer than it would have in a free-market situation.

And the White House wonder’s why they have not been successful in creating jobs?

Filed under: Business, Economy, Politics, , , , , , ,

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031