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!

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

Note To The Young: Vote With Your Head- You Can’t Afford Not To!

In the 2008 Presidential election, 18-29 year olds voted for Barack Obama almost 2-1 and possibly gave him a good chunk of his margin of victory.

Time and again, I’ve heard that the reason young people voted for Obama was that he was ‘hip’, ‘cool’, a historical event (half African-American), and so on. Even though polling showed 18-29 year olds as having the economy as their main/top issue (61%), they seemed to vote on a more emotional basis for a blank-slate, inexperienced candidate that had not even completed one national-level term as a political leader and had no executive leadership or business experience.

Now fast forward almost an entire term in office to 2012 and 18-29 year olds are experiencing:

  • The unemployment rate among 18- to 29-year-olds is more than 12 percent
  • According to Gallup poll from this spring, 32 percent of 18- to 29-yearolds are underemployed—meaning either unemployed or working part-time but looking for full-time work
  • 77 percent of 18- to 29-yearolds either have or will delay a major life change or purchase due to economic factors. That includes 44 percent who will delay buying a home and 28 percent who say they’ll delay saving for retirement.
  • Nearly a quarter of young Americans say they will delay starting a family, and 18 percent will delay getting married because of the economy.
  • The Obama economy has given rise to ever more “boomerang kids” who must return home to live with Mom and Dad after graduating from college without a job.
  • Obamacare will draft/compel (whether you want to or not) young people into paying for full-scale healthcare to subsidize the costs of an aging Baby Boomer population bulge.
  • Obamacare will further hurt the job prospects of the young by destroying many low-margin businesses like restaurants (that employ younger workers) with thousands in additional/required healthcare costs.
  • Source: American Spectator article “Obama’s Hipster Hell

Romney many not have an ‘Obama girl’ pining for him, will not be on Letterman, hang with Hip Hop rappers, or ‘slow-jam’ the news. What he does have is actual business experience in is turning around failing companies and a broad business background, on top of executive leadership experience as a governor.

So to all our next generation of citizens/parents/business people that will inherit our world going forward: Please forget ‘cool’ and vote for actual change that will benefit you. Vote for Mitt Romney this November.

Filed under: American Values, Culture, 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 #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 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, , , , , , , ,

Common Sense Health Care Solutions

Here is an excellent YouTube articulation of my own postings on the simple solution for health care- the free market:

How to Fix Health Care: Lasik Surgery For The Medical Debate

Interestingly, Lasik eye surgery is not covered by insurance and is completely a free market offering. Over the last 18 years, it has gotten cheaper, the care around delivery is driven to be excellent to get customers, and the technology has gotten better.

Contrast this with the increasingly government-controlled or health ‘insurance’ distorted current health market. Prices are sprialing out of control and quality is falling.

Do we need to send one or more generations back to school to learn the basics of free market economics that drive the majority of the rest of our prosperity (food, clothing, shelter)?

At the base of it, there is a lack of understanding of human nature (read: lack of wisdom) and how the free market unleashes the most good for the most people by matching up with the reality of individual human nature.

Filed under: Economy, Health Care, Philosophy, Politics, , , , , , , , , ,

The Coming Economic Wages of Obama’s Collectivism

Obama’s rigid adherence to collectivist policies will have devastating effects on our economy. There are no jobs right now because of his assault on the free market concept in the form of threatened, super-expensive health care mandates, energy taxes (cap and trade), and further tax hikes on businesses by letting the Bush tax cuts expire. He is one of the most anti-business Presidents in the history of our country. Business owners will continue to sit on expansions and hiring until they have some idea what damage Obama and the Democrats are going to do to the marketplace they have to compete in. You cannot hate and attack the employer, but ‘love’ the employee. Newsflash to Obama and the Democrats: employers CREATE the jobs! Not you, the Government. Not from some magic place that just makes jobs ‘appear’.

Here’s a predictive outlook for an economic nosedive in 2011:  The Coming Crash of 2011

After reading and analyzing this article, I would put money on this outcome occurring unless the 2010 elections clean Democrats out of the House and Senate and Republicans (hopefully) put up an effect blocker to Obama\Reid\Pelosi collectivism.

Even then, it still might be too late to avoid much of the effects of multiple tax raises, nationalization/collectivization of our economy, and more deficit creation from our Roman emperor who just wants to spread bread and circuses to placate the masses (like when he was a community ‘organizer’).

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

Obama Still Lacks Wisdom to Solve the Country’s Problems

After the recent loss for Democrats in Massachusetts, the following response came out about Obama:

The official said Obama was furious with Democrat Martha Coakley for what many in Washington saw as inept handling of a once-sure victory for the seat long held by Kennedy. The president also, undoubtedly, was mad at himself.

He said as much in a first-year anniversary interview with ABC News, acknowledging that he had made a mistake in not making his aims clear to the American public — a failure he already had planned to correct but which now had become more imperative. (article source)

It’s hard not to mock the President after reading the above. He still thinks it’s the messaging that has caused his failure of results. That he has not been clear enough. It’s the content! His ideas don’t work! His aims have always been clear just like his most-leftist Congressional voting record: he is an old-school collectivist.

When will he and the other collectivist Democrats finally recognize that their ideas are bad? That collectivism in all its forms does not work? He is naive and completely lacking wisdom if he thinks loving the employee (as long as they don’t make too much) and hating the employer will create jobs! This is one of the most anti-business administrations in history. How deluded is he and his administration? Did radical mentor Saul Alinsky totally brainwash Obama?

Unless he abandons his leftist ideology, Obama will be a one-term president ranked in the bottom level with the likes of Jimmy Carter.

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

Like Atlas, America Shrugged in Massachusetts

In Ayn Rand’s famous, philosophy-based book “Atlas Shrugged”, she detailed what would happen to our free society if it was ever overcome at some point by a drive toward the tyranny of collectivism. An intellectual herself that fled the Soviet Union, she described with great accuracy, and past experience, the economic and social breakdown we would experience in this negative transformation.

But she took it a step further and brought up an interesting question. What would happen to the society-destroying collectivists if the hard working and educated class of American citizens withdrew themselves from society and the collectivist’s grasp? From that point on, it’s a gripping and enjoyable story of hysterical collectivists unable to loot the fruits of free-market Americans for their own benefit and ambitions.

What’s not so enjoyable is how chillingly prophetic that book is in describing today’s radical political environment of attempted transformation of America by Obama and a core of Democrats.

I’ve often wished that we could do the inverse of Rand’s story and put all these eager collectivists we currently have to suffer out onto an island away from us. Then we could let them experience the economic and social breakdown their ideology will always bring. That way, the rest of us with individualistic, free-market American values could go back to having productive lives, a high standard of living, and most important- a full measure of individual freedoms!

Instead of dreaming about the above scenario, I realized while watching the Brown-Coakley election unfold that Americans in Massachusetts did ‘shrug’ last night. They threw out the Leftist-oriented Democrats that have held power for decades and voted against government-run healthcare and the general unworkability of collectivism.

It happened in Virginia, in New Jersey, and now in Massachusetts. There is no place more liberal than that state, so all political spin that it was somehow was a loss caused by some vague ‘bad environment’ factor is wrong and dishonest. Massachusetts has government health care today and, as a consequence, pay the highest premiums in the country. They’ve seen it doesn’t work and showed their understanding of this reality at the voting booth. 

Americans business owners will hopefully continue to ‘shrug’ economically and not invest and not expand, and therefore not create jobs until Obama and the far-left Democrats learn they cannot keep destroying our free market with collectivism or are fired and thrown out of office. We must keep showing the same strong voting fortitude and voice until government-run health care is killed along with the horrible cap and trade schemes and any other collectivist take over of our society. Live free.

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

Obama is a Slow Learner on Jobs

After passing a three quarters of a trillion ‘stimulus’ bill that hasn’t created (not ‘saved’) any jobs, Obama and his administration are trying the same thing again with another ‘stimulus’ plan to pour an additional $75 billion of our money down the drain.

Most wise people will tell you that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. We have, in fact, entered the realm of the delusional (also called Leftism/Collectivism/Socialism) with Obama, his administration, and most of the Democrat party.

The issue is reality. Reality is the objective state/truth about something , some situation, or the way it things actually work (not how we wish they would).

Analysis shows that states/regions that received the most government subsidizing of road building programs have ended up with the same unemployment rates as other states/regions? No problem! Try more of the same thing that didn’t work the first time.

The same mentality is evident in Government health care ‘reform’. The Medicare and Medicaid government programs are collapsing under the weight of exploding costs in the trillions and are victims of millions in fraud each year? No problem! Let’s take something that doesn’t work on a small scale and implement it on a national scale.

The reality is that the Government cannot create jobs in a private economy. The Obama/Democrat approach is a failure of the leftist ideology to align with this reality and how jobs are really created. Unfortunately, they continue to hold that it can’t be their ideology that is wrong, so it must be a problem with realty. This is where the problem starts. Reality must bend or change to accommodate their flawed theories. The world can’t be the way it is, it has to be the way they want it to work and wish it would work.

Because this behavior won’t work and can’t work, we in the military coined the realist bit of wisdom long ago: ‘Hope is not a strategy’. Not when lives were at stake. This was around long before the young and naïve Obama came into office.

I have a new slogan I’d like to suggest for the Obama administration: “If at first you don’t succeed trying to command the economy to recover, then fail, fail again.”

Friends, they will continue to fail us and our country until we vote them out of office!

Full article on continued Obama anti-stimulus: “More Stimulus? Analysis Finds Funds for Roads, Bridges Has Had No Impact

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

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