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Are Americans Really As Selfish and Resentful as Statists Seem To Think?

In Jamelle Bouie’s WaPo piece of this past Wednesday, she acknowledges that “there’s no doubt Democrats know that — barring a hike to pre-Reagan levels — there’s not much revenue to gain from restoring upper-income taxes to Clinton-era levels. And when it comes to deficit reduction, full employment — and robust growth — is the best solution.” Rather, she seems to be arguing on behalf of these Statists, it’s an issue of fairness that we should seek to eat the rich…even if it ends up hurting our country (extrapolation mine).

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is:

Bouie’s conclusion is worth quoting in toto, if for no other reason than to pose a question about the character of our Nation:

If upper-income tax hikes serve a purpose, it’s to slow the income gains of the wealthiest Americans, who — for the past decade — have reaped the lion’s share of gains from economic growth.

If the presidential election did anything, it put inequality on the table as a national issue, and the fiscal cliff is one battle — albeit, by proxy — in a larger fight. And, unlike most issues in politics, the lines are clear — Republican disregard for inequality is matched by Democratic attempts to, however gently, apply the breaks.

(Emphasis mine)

So the question is this: Are we, as a Nation, really as vindictive and myopically spiteful as Bouie would suggest we are? And to what degree does the re-election of a man who so cavalierly (and eloquently!) expressed a desire to enforce his version of “fairness”—even at the expense of harming the economy—prove her right in that contention?

(HT, the indefatigable Reason blog)

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)



  1. If the presidential election did anything, it put inequality on the table as a national issue….

    But it put the modern Progressive view of “inequality” on the table, which is a view in contravention of both a Founder of the Progressive Movement and of our social compact.

    What Teddy Roosevelt said in an otherwise execrable New Nationalism speech:

    Our country-this great Republic-means nothing unless it means the triumph of…an economic system under which each man shall be guaranteed the opportunity to show the best that there is in him.

    And from our Declaration of Independence:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    For clarity’s sake, here is how Happiness is understood. From John Adams’ entry into the Massachusetts 1780 Constitution:

    All men are born free and independent, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

    Of course this, of necessity, posits–encourages–unequal outcomes, since men are not all endowed with the same characteristics of work ethic, talent, or even fortune.

    But Progressives would violate all of this so as to cap each man’s freedom in order to equalize outcomes. Thus, equality of rights is to take a back seat to equality of Progressive-determined outcomes.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 29, 2012 @ 11:54 am - December 29, 2012

  2. What leftists will never understand, cynically avoid, and hope isn’t true is that 1) equality is a myth — even in the most economically controlled economies there are huge disparities; along with huge degrees of suffering there are literal winners and losers, a few of one and many of the other (which, I suspect, is why many leftists advocate more and more control of the economy — not so much for fairness but for enjoyment of power over others) and 2) free markets are the best, most efficient, and fairest means of income distribution so long as the market is truly free, w/out special favors, legislation, etc.

    Comment by Ignatius — December 29, 2012 @ 12:55 pm - December 29, 2012

  3. The cause of income inequality in America is NOT that the rich are insufficiently taxed. As studies show, the rich in fact pay more of America’s taxes today than in the past, while the poor and middle class pay less than in the past. Even when the upper income tax rate was 90%, the rich never paid anything close to that, because there were lots of tax shelters for their accountants to exploit.

    The cause of income inequality is partly natural and partly artificial. The natural (i.e., unavoidable and even desirable) part is that often, rich people are better at making money than poor people. I am talking about rich people who got that way by being positive, prudent and productive. If they do more positive, prudent and productive things than poor people do, then well they deserve to be rich. The good news for poor people is that they could start doing the same things and become prosperous – if they choose to.

    But the artificial (i.e., avoidable and quite undesirable) cause, which confuses people to no end, is Big Government. America has, up to now, chosen to have a bloated government, which holds people back – especially entrepreneurs who would otherwise create jobs, and especially poor people. Also, America has chosen to finance that Big Government through deficits and money-printing, which is a regressive tax that hits the middle class and poor (because rich people know how to work around it, and indeed they profit from the money-printing).

    The confusing part is that Big Government’s advocates sell it as a way to help the poor and middle class. Again, it isn’t. Big Government is the destroyer of the poor and middle class. Its advocates lie, when they they say they are helping the little guy. Seeing through lies is one of life’s critically important skills.

    If we basically did the opposite of everything we’ve been doing the last 50 years – if we reversed course on Big Government, cut government drastically, cut spending to the point where the deficit was eliminated (and without tax increases), defaulted on all debts which obviously can’t be repaid, returned to a hard money and an anti-inflationary policy… then the poor and middle class would start to find themselves doing very well.

    Are we, as a Nation, really as vindictive and myopically spiteful as Bouie would suggest we are?

    Either that, or stupid. Take your pick. The fact that poor and middle class people are suckered in by Big Government advocates (who are often the “lazy rich”) who then proceed to destroy jobs, and to rape the poor blind via the policy of inflation, can be explained only by either spite/envy, or by stupidity. It is a dark and unenlightened age, that we’re living in.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 29, 2012 @ 1:11 pm - December 29, 2012

  4. …equality is a myth….

    I disagree: we’re all equal before God. From His perspective, even atheists are equal; although atheists will disagree with the underlying premise. That’s a philosophical argument that’s likely beyond the scope of OP.

    We’re also, ideally, equal before law. It’s only when law is allowed to treat some of us differently than others that equality disappears. Our tax code is a prime example of that inequality of treatment.

    Ignatius’ 2) is spot on; I’d only add that free markets also are the most moral means. Subject to his caveat.

    [T]he rich in fact pay more of America’s taxes today than in the past….

    See, for instance, this.

    …deficits and money-printing, which is a regressive tax that hits the middle class and poor (because rich people know how to work around it….

    It’s more than this, though. We can organize a citizen’s spending, coarsely, into three categories, listed in reverse priority of actual spending: luxuries, nice-to-haves, and necessities. Currency debasement hits these priorities; thus, the rich will lose some luxuries to the extent their work-arounds aren’t perfectly effective, and the middle class will lose lots of the few luxuries they had been affording and a sizable chunk of the nice-to-haves.

    The poor, though, never had the money to get spend significantly beyond the necessities. Guess where they’ll have to cut.

    Raising taxes and attempting the Redistribution Tango, though, neither puts more money into the poors’ hands, nor does it allow them to reap the rewards of their own labor. Lowering taxes, so as to leave more money in the hands of all of us, does though. As we’ve seen ever since that great tax cutter, JFK.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 29, 2012 @ 1:38 pm - December 29, 2012

  5. By the way – If anyone would like to know more about how any person who is poor/struggling can become prosperous if they choose to, Amazon has a book:

    It’s real and practical information, there. The trick is that only you can apply it. Which could be very fun for you, but it needs a kind of spiritual courage.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 29, 2012 @ 1:42 pm - December 29, 2012

  6. Eric, I should have been more specific: equality of outcome is a myth, i.e. the goal of economic equality is a myth. I was writing in economic terms, not spiritual or legal. I would go further, however: the goal of economic equality (and not merely the means) is evil. Again, I’m not sure even leftists believe it can be achieved but the idea/sentiment attracts a certain type of person.

    Comment by Ignatius — December 29, 2012 @ 1:50 pm - December 29, 2012

  7. “. . . apply the breaks [sic]”? How can anyone take any writer seriously who has yet to master the fundamental tool of his trade? Sloppy writing reflects sloppy thinking.

    Comment by T — December 29, 2012 @ 1:57 pm - December 29, 2012

  8. YES! I have found in the last few years that most people (not just Americans) are, in fact, that selfish – petty, selfish, brats – and that is exactly the kind that just re-elected Obama because he thinks like they do.

    Comment by Charles — December 29, 2012 @ 2:26 pm - December 29, 2012

  9. “…apply the breaks [sic]“? … Sloppy writing reflects sloppy thinking.

    Typos happen. Especially with spell checkers unable to read minds. And who made this mistake–the writer or the editor?

    I’m more interested in the message than the envelope.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 29, 2012 @ 2:27 pm - December 29, 2012

  10. T (#7) and Eric (#9):

    I saw that use of the word “breaks”, saw the “[sic]” on Reason‘s original posting and wondered, in fact, if it was a typo after all…

    Which is to say, are they interested in “applying the breaks” as in the special deals.

    Given the otherwise clumsy writing of the column, however, it’s likely just a typo…I don’t imagine as stilted a writer would knowingly include such a witty play on words.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — December 29, 2012 @ 3:07 pm - December 29, 2012

  11. My sister wants a piece of Bill Gates’ money since “he has too much.” I asked her if Gates has $60 billion and it is divided equally to everyone in the country (300 million), what would be her share? She said she couldn’t figure it so I showed her the figure, $200. Well, she said, “You have to exclude the top 1% since they have so much.” OK, then you would get just over $202.

    I remember reading way back in my youth that if all of the money was distributed equally to everyone, within a year there would be broke people who spent it all, people who invested and saved, and people who took those investments to make things the broke people spent all of their money on. Those who don’t save now will never save in the future and those building things will do the same if they are allowed.

    Comment by eeyore — December 29, 2012 @ 3:46 pm - December 29, 2012

  12. But eeyore, then the one’s who spent theirs will go after those who save theirs. It’s only fair.

    Comment by Annie — December 29, 2012 @ 4:50 pm - December 29, 2012

  13. The left and their spokesmonkeys are very simple creatures. It’s all about jealousy and greed and sloth. Simple parasitic creatures. Leeches. Ticks. Barnacles.
    Like any criminal, if they spent half the time doing something productive and minding their own business, than trying to pick pockets, they’d have something to show for it. And maybe some pride.

    Comment by Annie — December 29, 2012 @ 5:01 pm - December 29, 2012

  14. I’ve had the conversation with members of my own family. To them, it is not right that some have so much and others do not. They want their ‘piece of the pie’ and I ask, ‘Even if you didn’t earn it?’
    Their response, ‘Yes’. Even if it means government theft and they do not see one dime of it? ‘Yes’.
    If they can’t have that kind of money, then noone should be allowed to have it.

    Comment by Annie — December 29, 2012 @ 5:05 pm - December 29, 2012

  15. “There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in
    the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes
    to enslave men by force, socialism – by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide.” — Ayn Rand

    Comment by Richard Bell — December 29, 2012 @ 5:46 pm - December 29, 2012

  16. “When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see money flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.” Ayn Rand

    Comment by V the K — December 29, 2012 @ 6:54 pm - December 29, 2012

  17. Unofficial Progressive Slogan: “I Can’t Survive Without Government Intervention.”

    Comment by V the K — December 29, 2012 @ 7:41 pm - December 29, 2012

  18. Short answer: yes.

    And what election about inequality? I thought the election was about lady parts?

    Comment by Kevin — December 29, 2012 @ 7:54 pm - December 29, 2012

  19. I heard dems more often use words like share the pain and fairness more than I hear them say they want everyone equal. Obama has said and I agree that it can’t be only tax increases and it can’t be only spending cuts. It needs to be a mix. This is share the pain.

    I know that it’s the utopian Randian dream to say no taxes, no regulations, But I live in the real world. In the real world everyone needs to suffer to bring down debt.

    Comment by mike — December 29, 2012 @ 11:25 pm - December 29, 2012

  20. I will add my answer to the question: Yes, we are a nation filled with many vindictive and spiteful people. They come in all sizes and colors.

    To add well written color to the theme of the post, I will link to a recent Victor David Hanson article. VDH is one of the better wordsmiths of conservatism.


    Comment by mixitup — December 29, 2012 @ 11:32 pm - December 29, 2012

  21. Obama has said and I agree that it can’t be only tax increases and it can’t be only spending cuts. It needs to be a mix. This is share the pain.

    Comment by mike — December 29, 2012 @ 11:25 pm – December 29, 2012

    Actually, Obama’s “offer” included no spending cuts whatsoever.

    I know that it’s the utopian Randian dream to say no taxes, no regulations, But I live in the real world. In the real world everyone needs to suffer to bring down debt.

    Comment by mike — December 29, 2012 @ 11:25 pm – December 29, 2012

    That is a lie, mike.

    You endorse and support Barack Obama and his staff cheating on and refusing to pay their taxes.

    You endorse and support the Barack Obama Party and its leaders demanding tax increases on everyone else while refusing to pay their own and taking illegal welfare subsidies.

    In short, mike, you and your corrupt Obama Party refuse to stop spending, refuse to pay your EXISTING fair share, take advantage of government funds to pay your own bills illegally, and then scream and cry that everyone else needs to suffer to pay down your debt.

    Now, put your money where your mouth is and condemn this behavior as dishonest and corrupt.

    Or say nothing and acknowledge that you support and endorse tax fraud, welfare fraud, dishonesty, and refusal to enforce laws fairly.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 29, 2012 @ 11:58 pm - December 29, 2012

  22. Meanwhile, the answer to the problem is very straightforward.

    1) Go over the cliff.

    2) House GOP should then create and pass a bill that restores the Bush tax rates and cuts spending by $8 trillion — essentially resetting tax rates and the budget baseline back to 2008 levels — and then have the CBO score it using Obama Party static rules.

    3) When the Obama Party screams, point out that this merely resets spending to when the Obama Party last passed a budget, and demand that every bill the Obama Party produces be scored under the same rules by the CBO.

    In essence, what it does is box the Obama Party into making it obvious that they just want to hike taxes, not cut spending, and that their failure to do so will accelerate and make even worse the deficit.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 30, 2012 @ 12:41 am - December 30, 2012

  23. NDT: Actually, Obama did offer cuts (can’t remember where I saw the article –

    The cuts were so impressive that I got my engineer’s calculator out (you need scientific notation to deal with the numbers ;-). Obama bravely offered cuts of a million here and a million there.

    I added all of them up and they came to 0.03 percent. Isn’t that awesome? That’s austerity…cutting vital services to the bone and then some.

    Myself, I’m beginning to agree with a growing number of conservative columnists (Mark Theissen being the latest) that taxes need to rise. The people have voted for Big Government, the bill has to come due sooner or later.

    The challenge (which may be insurmountable) for the GOP is to figure out how to explain how this affect the average worker without resorting to the boilerplate “entrepreneur” babble. Most people don’t understand or care.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — December 30, 2012 @ 11:32 am - December 30, 2012

  24. Are Americans Really As Selfish and Resentful as Statists Seem To Think?

    Wrong question.

    Do Statists Have to Believe Americans are Selfish and Resentful in Order to Exist?


    Comment by heliotrope — December 30, 2012 @ 12:23 pm - December 30, 2012

  25. Ah, the lower case concern troll shows up to spew a bunch of lies, once again.

    It is not true that Democrats want everyone to share the pain, the only ones they want to hurt are the productive whose taxes they will increase and the military, the only place in the Government Democrats will cut.

    Unionized bureaucrats, unionized public education workers, social security recipients, medicare recipients, people living off public assistance…. these people must never be asked to share the pain. In fact, according to the Democrats whom mike will always support regardless of his phony concern troll assertions to the contrary, think these special people should be given ever larger rewards because they so loyally vote Democrat.

    The lower case concern troll is insincere and dishonest. Screw him.

    Comment by V the K — December 30, 2012 @ 12:43 pm - December 30, 2012

  26. “I know that it’s the utopian Randian dream to say no taxes, no regulations”

    Straw man. No one on the right said NOtaxes, just lower. No one says NO regulations, just fewer

    “In the real world everyone needs to suffer to bring down debt.

    Except as has been pointed out by other commenters, Obama has offered insignificant spending cuts, an absolutely zero entitlement reform, so the pain is all in the way of taxes on higher income earners, which won’t do squat to bring down the deficit.

    Comment by Tom the Redhunter — December 30, 2012 @ 12:46 pm - December 30, 2012

  27. It doesn’t matter what we think, anyway. The Democrats will continue spending us into oblivion, mike and the rest of the Free Shit Army will continue voting for them, and when the country is finally broken and shattered under their greed, they will still be blaming the people who tried to steer us off the path of destruction.

    Comment by V the K — December 30, 2012 @ 12:47 pm - December 30, 2012

  28. this is not a question of equality — if that is the case, then all of us should donate at least 50% of our income to Third World countries.

    This is nothing more than political schtick using class envy to keep people in power. the people who vote for “fairness” will never see the cash in their pockets, and the last time I checked, revenge does not pay the mortgage or groceries

    What I don’t get is this fetish for those whose income is over 250k…why is that number so important? neither the Dems or Reps have explained that at all

    Comment by Rachel — December 30, 2012 @ 1:21 pm - December 30, 2012

  29. “I know that it’s the utopian Randian dream to say no taxes, no regulations”

    Then, mike: you ‘know’ something that JUST AIN’T SO.

    (As others have said well; I just had to throw in my version.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — December 30, 2012 @ 1:30 pm - December 30, 2012

  30. I must have missed Obama’s calls for shared sacrifice when he was campaigning on free contraception, corporate bailouts, and maintaining Sesame Street’s Federal subsidy.

    Comment by V the K — December 30, 2012 @ 2:08 pm - December 30, 2012

  31. “Are Americans Really As Selfish and Resentful as Statists Seem To Think? ”

    Um… Hello! Pot. Meet Kettle!

    True Conservatives think the same thing. After all, the reason that Obama got re-elected, according to you guys, is because 51% of the voting public selfishly don’t want their Obama Govt handouts to end.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — December 30, 2012 @ 2:15 pm - December 30, 2012

  32. I was walking home one evening and came upon a clearly depressed man standing at the edge of a bridge, looking like he was about to jump. I called out to him to wait, and ran over to see what was the matter.

    “It’s this country,” he lamented. “It’s falling into ruin and there’s nothing I can do about it. The election was the last straw. I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

    “Well cheer up,” I said. “We’re all in this together. Say, are you a conservative, or a libertarian?”

    “A libertarian,” he said.

    “That’s great!” I said. “See, you’re not alone. Are you a free-market libertarian or a libertarian socialist?”

    “Free-market libertarian,” he said.

    “Me too!” I said. “Paleo-libertarian or neo-libertarian?”

    “Paleo-libertarian,” he said.

    “Hey, so am I!” I said. “Chicago or Austrian school of economics?”

    “Austrian,” he said.

    “Me too,” I said. “Hayek or Rothbardian strand?”

    “Rothbardian,” he said.

    “Same here,” I said. “Are you a consequentialist or deontological libertarian?”

    “Consequentialist,” he said.

    So I said, “Die, statist scum!” and pushed him off the bridge.

    Comment by V the K — December 30, 2012 @ 2:18 pm - December 30, 2012

  33. True Conservatives think the same thing. After all, the reason that Obama got re-elected, according to you guys, is because 51% of the voting public selfishly don’t want their Obama Govt handouts to end.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — December 30, 2012 @ 2:15 pm – December 30, 2012

    Nope, 47%.

    The other 4% are selfish and resentful “libertarians”.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 30, 2012 @ 2:30 pm - December 30, 2012

  34. What I don’t get is this fetish for those whose income is over 250k…why is that number so important? neither the Dems or Reps have explained that at all

    Republicans have no need to explain that number. It relates to who should pay more taxes; the Republican position, when they’re not waffling shamefully, is “no one.”

    True Conservatives think the same thing. After all, the reason that Obama got re-elected….

    You keep using that word. Perhaps you’ll be good enough to provide your definition of “True Conservative.”

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 30, 2012 @ 2:59 pm - December 30, 2012

  35. Are Americans really selfish? Not all: It depends on your perspective. From my perspective, the selfish are those who want to make a career out of living off of We the People. Those of us who are motivated to succeed are generally not selfish but very charitable. Everytime I hear a liberal say the the top income earners should pay their fair share (which what they do contribute is a large percentage of the revenue received by the government) I ask, who sets the standard for what is a fair share? How about the bottom half making a contribution as their fair share.

    At times I believe that I would like to see a reverse graduated tax table. I would like the bottom half to pay 50% of all income received. This would motivate the bottom half to become successful in order to pay a lower tax, even though they would be paying more tax dollars. Also, they would have more money in their pockets to spend and or save.

    Comment by Roberto — December 30, 2012 @ 3:04 pm - December 30, 2012

  36. Roberto,

    You hit on something I can’t seem to pin down myself.

    When did we go from “Wanting to be rich.” to “Wanting to eat the rich”?

    People like Bill Gates, and doctors and inventors and investors and the like. We used to revel in their genius anf want to be like them.

    Now people who become scientists are scorned if their research isn’t ‘approved’ People who design things are scorned, and heaven help you if you invested capital, and it paid off.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 30, 2012 @ 3:18 pm - December 30, 2012

  37. Everytime I hear a liberal say the the top income earners should pay their fair share…I ask, who sets the standard for what is a fair share?

    I’d just like to hear them name what a fair share is. It appears, though, that a rich man’s “fair share” is always “more than he’s paying now,” and a poor man’s “fair share” is always “less than he’s paying now.”

    As you say, who is it who’s being selfish?

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 30, 2012 @ 3:47 pm - December 30, 2012

  38. ““Consequentialist,” he said.”

    [I enjoyed it. Thank you]

    Comment by Passing By — December 30, 2012 @ 4:16 pm - December 30, 2012

  39. The socialist always falls back on the “fairness” argument because that is all they have to offer. They know they aren’t going to make the poor any better off but they can say they will punish those with more. This appeals to many personality types but it also relies on laying a lot of groundwork in the form of indoctrination.

    First one must instill a sense of hopelessness. “You are never going to amount to anything, the system is stacked against you. Because of your (race, gender, national origin) you will never be able to get rich. Since you can never be rich, we can do the next best thing and knock those “greedy” white american men down a few pegs. In other words, if you can’t get rich then nobody else is going to get quite as rich. This relies on having control of media, pop culture, and schools, which the leftists have managed to do. So it because “conventional wisdom” and “everybody knows” that everyone born of a racial or immigrant minority must rely on only government for generation after generation because “the system” will not “allow” them to succeed. Any examples of success of people of those groups are held in contempt as “sellouts” or not “real” examples.

    There are several “layers” involved in creating this multi-generational culture of dependence. The primary being that once dependent on the system, the current parental generation must be trapped in that dependence and ways out blocked. This is accomplished with things such as “benefit cliffs”. You first attach a very large benefit, say $500 a month in rent subsidy, to a very sharp cutoff in earnings. Once you make one single dollar over the cutoff amount, the benefit is gone. $500 a month is $6,000 per year. Using the standard number of 1280 hours paid in a year (provided paid holidays, etc) that amounts to $4.67 per hour being paid in just housing subsidy. A person just under the qualifying cutoff must get a raise of $4.67/hr just to break even. A person is not likely to get a $5/hr raise or at least not likely to get much more than that and much more likely any raise offered would be less, say $2 or $3/hr. So the raise is turned down because it would result in a LOSS of income. And this is just ONE benefit. A single mother with a couple of kids might be collecting in benefits and tax breaks what would require a $50,000/year raise in pay to have the same income after taxes are paid and after all benefits are taken away.

    Other important aspects are to enable a culture where you have single mothers who can be trapped by these benefits. That means making it very easy, even the cultural norm, to have fatherless families. You do this by several means such as incarcerating the men in large numbers and though other means that work on the culture. This starts by making sure there is quite an array of benefits available to single mothers so they can practically be BETTER off being single than being married. You belittle in the popular culture all institutions that promote marriage and family such as religions. Maybe you start by reducing exposure to the very existence of religion by not allowing holiday displays. Also in the culture, you portray the single mother and the “lone wolf” male who has several children by several mothers but has married none of them as the “norm” in movies and music. Any examples of individuals in these cultural groups who have succeeded in getting out of that situation and are successful without government benefits and who further the idea that people should work hard and make it on their own are to be devalued. An example might be the treatment of Robert Griffin III.

    Now you have to make sure that the culture among the young people is also violent and that culture is portrayed in popular culture as “normal”. This is to make sure that the environment in the schools prevents actually learning to the greatest extent possible and the schools become nothing more than an indoctrination in slogans and social policy. The actual learning in academics must be made poor and kept poor. Parents must be prevented at every opportunity from being able to choose a better school for their children. The children themselves should be acculturated in such a way that getting good grades is somehow “selling out” to “the system”.

    So now you have poor people, you have blocked off avenues of escape, you prevent them from gaining the tools to escape, and you have made them WANT to stay that way and anyone who DOES manage to escape the cycle is held up for ridicule. You have created a perpetual parasite class that spans infinite generations through cultural indoctrination.

    You want to destroy their little game? Pretty simple but it takes a long time. 1: smooth out the benefit cliffs so it always pays to improve your situation. 2: Get real examples of real people who have worked their way out of that situation and get them on shows that reach those people. Hammer the message: LEARN, MARRY, IMPROVE from those people as evidence that it can be done. 3. Create rewards for those who have moved up. Don’t give in to demands that religious activity be suppressed. FIGHT for school choice. Actually LISTEN to the crap that is being played on the radio and COMPLAIN to the stations. Explain to them the message that is sending to the kids. STOP ACCEPTING it. I don’t mean a couple of curse words, I mean the stuff that glorifies violent culture, slacking, impregnating women and ditching them. Things that destroy the culture. Produce alternatives and promote them. Until people stop putting up with this crap, it isn’t going to change. The Democrats MUST be exposed to the poor people for what they really are … keeping them poor so THEY can live a good life on their backs.

    Comment by crosspatch — December 30, 2012 @ 4:41 pm - December 30, 2012

  40. Livewire,

    The foundation goes back to the progressive movement of which Teddy Roosevelt was a Progressive Republican. (Today we call them Establishment Republicans. He wanted to establish income tax as a law. Lincoln established it finance the Civil War. Democrat Grover Cleveland attempt an income tax which the Supreme Court ruled that a direct tax was unconstiturional. Roosevelt composed what would become the 16th Amendement to circumvent the Supreme Courts ruling.apparently there were enough Progressives in the Republican dominated House to pass the law, but it didn´t get signed into law until Progressive Woodrow Wilson took office in 1913. Several acts passed by the Democrats favored unions. Unions always believed that manufacturers were selfish, so the ¨it´s us against them,¨ began. The New Deal of FDR created the social programs which required more money. It was in his second inaugural address that he announced the Progressives Bill of Rights; decent housing, decent employment, and an adequate salary. It was the Second World War that reduced unemployment with conscription and ended the depression. He pulled the nation together because he needed the manufacturers to provide the tools and clothing for the war effort.

    Once LBJ ascended to the Presidency, it was his War On Poverty that expanded social programs. I remember a speech to the nation in which prior the pundits were asking would it be guns or butter. The speech was both guns and butter and he asked for more taxes. It wasn´t very popular which is the reason he choose not to seek his party´s endorsement for another term.

    The lack of civility goes back to the days of the formation of the Americans for Democratic Action. The founders were communist sympathizers and fellow travelers. Back in the fifties they were scorned by Democrats. An endorsement by the ADA was the kiss of death for Democratic candidates for office. Now they jump through their asses to get an ADA endorsement. With the ADA you get Saul Alinsky and the Clower-Priven Strategy, and union thuggery. Conservatives need to start getting control of government by becoming elected members of school boards and junior college boards and revoke the revisionists curriculum and teach history as it was and a respct for The Constitution. The young should be taught that when they prosper, America prospers!

    Comment by Roberto — December 30, 2012 @ 4:48 pm - December 30, 2012

  41. True Conservatives think the same thing. [Americans are selfish and resentful] After all, the reason that Obama got re-elected, according to you guys, is because 51% of the voting public selfishly don’t want their Obama Govt handouts to end.

    Agreed. Sort of. The modifier can apply, but not the qualifier. The question was not about “selfish” and “resentful” without qualification. The question is conditioned on how statists “think.”

    Clearly, the statists think that the 51% are selfish and resentful about “paying their fair share” to carry the 47%.

    Do the 51% find the statists selfish and resentful? I don’t know. Do the 51% find the 47% to be selfish and resentful? Maybe. But upon what is the “selfishness” of the 47% predicated? Are they (the 47%) barely eking out an existence and dependent upon the lifeline of wealth redistribution for their very lives? Is there any waste or bloat in what floats the 47% boat? Are there grabbers and takers who will take whatever they can get among the 47%? On what basis can we be permitted to “weigh” selfishness?

    Now being resentful is, in fact a vice that is difficult to ameliorate. If the 47% are deprived of some civil right due to their financial status, then being resentful over a statutory abrogation of the due process of the law is the issue. Possibly, resenting being on the short end of the stick because of such inequality is not a vice that is hard to understand or even ameliorate.

    Sometimes people believe they are comparing apples to apples when they really are not. The question was predicated on what statists think and to shift to what the 51% thinks is to change the topic entirely.

    Sorry for the logic journey, but sometimes what seems simple is actually not at all what you believed to be so obvious.

    Comment by heliotrope — December 30, 2012 @ 4:52 pm - December 30, 2012

  42. Who is this “we” that is supposed to be our nation? Check out the demographics (racial and sexual) of the 2012 election and find out who elected Obama and his tribe. And who voted for Romney. That Obamanoid segment of the population is indeed driven by resentment, envy and a sense of moral and fiscal (and racial and sexual) entitlement. There is no more “we.”

    Comment by EssEm — December 30, 2012 @ 5:05 pm - December 30, 2012

  43. There is no more “we.”

    That is the challenge. We need to rebuild the “we”. We need to rebuild our communities that the “Progressives” have so efficiently managed to destroy. We need to love our brothers and sisters and show them a way out of the perpetual poverty machine.

    Comment by crosspatch — December 30, 2012 @ 6:02 pm - December 30, 2012

  44. In the real world everyone needs to suffer to bring down debt.

    It’s called “austerity” (the real meaning of austerity, i.e. drastic spending cuts).

    Comment by Rattlesnake — December 30, 2012 @ 6:15 pm - December 30, 2012

  45. “In the real world everyone needs to suffer to bring down debt.

    Except for Big Bird, women who want free contraception, anyone who belongs to a union, and big Obama donors who invest in green energy companies.

    Comment by V the K — December 30, 2012 @ 6:54 pm - December 30, 2012

  46. You want to talk REAL philanthropy? Here’s an idea: Rather than having wealthy philanthropists donating hundreds of millions of dollars in projects to mitigate the impacts of poverty and lower income, how about investing that money in projects for the prevention OF it? Here’s an example:

    Find the school district in your state with the worst graduation rates. Chances are good that is also one of the poorest districts. Now, build a vocational training center in conjunction with that jurisdiction and partially or even mostly or maybe even TOTALLY fund it with private dollars. Take kids starting in 10th grade and offer them classes in welding, carpentry, electrical, mechanics, basic electronics, computing skills, dental and medical practices, beautician, etc. Load their 9th grade curriculum up with stuff they are going to need to know in those vocational classes. Allow a child to select a “vocational track” through high school. Have the senior class BUILD a house for sale to help fund the program but more importantly to build a sense of accomplishment. Have the automotive and metal classes restore a car or a tractor or something in their senior year.

    Even if a kids drops out in 11th grade, maybe he knows how to mix cement and lay block or knows how to operate a Bobcat or install an electrical outlet. Have various companies in the state or region engage in a senior year job fair. Promote to potential employers even nationwide that you are graduating a class of trained high school students and you want those employers to have a look at them. Promote the notion from the very start that an employer might be in a different town or even state and that a job might not come to them, they might have to go to the job. CELEBRATE success stories of graduates of previous classes, particularly any that might eventually go on to be employers themselves.

    Many places used to do this years ago but now claim they can’t afford to. How can they afford NOT to? Place these investments in the kids in REAL skills, not sending them off to college for a degree for which there is no market. Once these kids start coming out of school with some real skills, watch the welfare rolls begin to fall. Sure, at first this program will attract poor families with ambition who want to end the cycle to move in. Fine. Find out where most of them are coming from and build the next such program THERE. Eventually the skilled labor pool begins to pay off.

    If these philanthropists want to have maximum bang for their buck, have them make the investment in our kids that our communities have stopped making. Rather than sending them off for a humanities degree, which they still might do anyway, maybe they also have a skill to take with them to pay some of their own way and to fall back on if that doesn’t work out.

    Rather than treating the symptoms of lack of skills, these people could actually work to get those skills to those kids so they don’t NEED so much charity after they are out in the world. Give them the charity early. Teach them the fundamentals of a skill while they are still young. Just the basics of working with a team of others and basic work skills can make a huge difference. Treat the class as if it is a job. Set some expectations. Call the class “the workplace” and not “the class”. Tell them how they are expected to behave in “the workplace”. I know it can be done, we used to do it before our education budgets were eaten up by teacher pensions.

    Comment by crosspatch — December 30, 2012 @ 6:56 pm - December 30, 2012

  47. This is an example from 1919. It was what might have been taught in a science class for kids on a vocational track during that time:

    There was a companion volume for wood workers. These would be the sort of classes I would provide in the 9th grade preparatory phase before the students actually started working in a shop with the materials in the 10th grade. They would get the “three R’s” but they would also get classes like this where they can see the actual application of what they are learning in their broader science and math classes. More importantly, they gain a greater foundational knowledge of what they are doing. They know more of the “why” as well as the “how”.

    What college does one attend to learn how to repair a turbine engine for a locomotive or plane or helicopter? In previous decades those skills came from the military. At the rate our military is downsizing, the pool of people doing that work is aging and it is increasingly being done by immigrants who come from countries that DO offer vocational skill training. It is time for us to approach high school in a different way. It is not ONLY to provide a foundation for college, it should also provide a good foundation for the vocational trades, too.

    People look at those well-to-do and see their degrees on philosophy or history or the various other humanities and seem to believe that they themselves will become rich if they simply emulate those peoples’ educations. WRONG. Getting an history degree does not give you Newt Gingrich’s income any more than wearing a three piece suit makes you a banker.

    We have the ability to produce 18 year-old citizens with strong backgrounds in various trades that are three or more years ahead of students from conventional high schools. We can do this if we get enough people on board. I don’t see how we can afford not to do it. Our current path isn’t sustainable.

    Comment by crosspatch — December 30, 2012 @ 7:19 pm - December 30, 2012

  48. (the real meaning of austerity, i.e. drastic spending cuts)

    Nah–the only austerity sufferers from drastic government spending cuts are the politicians hooked on the opium of the dependency of others on their largesse.

    Those government spending cuts, though, especially when coupled with sharp tax rate decreases, represent more money in the hands of Americans–the spending cuts from no longer crowding out our businesses–or us–from the market and the tax cuts from no longer having a government man’s (vis., that addicted politician’s) hand in our pockets.

    That’s not austerity, that’s prosperity.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 30, 2012 @ 8:46 pm - December 30, 2012

  49. Nah–the only austerity sufferers from drastic government spending cuts are the politicians hooked on the opium of the dependency of others on their largesse.

    I stand corrected. My main point is that spending cuts are necessary to reduce the debt. What leftists view as the definition of “fairness” or a “balanced approach” is neither a solution nor “living in the real world.”

    Comment by Rattlesnake — December 30, 2012 @ 9:23 pm - December 30, 2012

  50. Spending cuts in and of themselves do not address the entire problem. Economic growth automatically creates spending cuts because the need for that spending reduces while at the same time revenue increases. The problem must be addressed at both ends at the same time. We need to remove the blocks that impede economic growth and at the same time we need to provide a pool of motivated talent to take those jobs as the economy grows. The two largest impediments to economic growth currently are the “global warming” fanaticism and the utter lunacy that there is anything the US can do about it through regulation and the onerous regulations on small business designed to “protect” investors. In both cases we are being “protected” to death. Until people realize that 1: changes in US CO2 emissions have negligible impact on a global atmospheric scale and 2: attempting to create “perfect” accounting rules that somehow protect people from bubbles and hype is useless and does more damage than harm, we are going to end up continuing to swirl around the economic toilet bowl.

    I challenge anyone to attempt to build a significant plant producing anything at all in California. It is practically impossible. George Lucas learned that lesson when he attempted to expand his operations in Marin County, California and the people of the county told him to take a hike because they didn’t want more traaaaaafiiiiiiic (said in a whiny tone). They claim to want more jobs, they just don’t want the actual PEOPLE who fill those jobs traipsing through their sacred streets. So Lucas said “f*ck it” and sold the whole company to Disney who will likely move the whole operation to Southern California or out of the state over time.

    Our regulations are telling employers to leave. If you are growth-averse there is no way to reduce spending unless you don’t mind seeing people starve. You can’t say on one hand that you aren’t going to allow economic growth yet on the other hand say you want to decrease spending. Increased spending is a consequence of inhibiting growth as it reduces revenue yet increases poverty.

    Comment by crosspatch — December 30, 2012 @ 10:15 pm - December 30, 2012

  51. Economic growth automatically creates spending cuts because the need for that spending reduces….

    This may or may not be true. What is true, though, is that spending will not be cut just because there’s a reduced “need” for that spending. There’s always an invaluable cause that should get money. Spending has gone up in both parties’ administrations.

    That’s why it’s important for the conservative Congressmen to block spending and tax increases, period. In fact, one set of spending cuts that would address the out of control regulatory environment would be to defund the EPA, the NLRB, and HHS. Of course that would leave the need to roll back the existing regulations, which would still need doing.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 30, 2012 @ 11:34 pm - December 30, 2012

  52. The problem is that completely defunding the NLRB, EPA and HHS would result in savings of what portion of spending? It would be way less than 1%. It wouldn’t even make a dent. The federal extended unemployment benefits cost $30 billion. The NLRB budget is $282.8 million. EPA is $11 billion. HHS budget is harder to crack because there are so many agencies under that department and many do need to remain such as the Center for Disease Control and Indian Health Service. The total budget for HHS excluding medicare and medicaid administration / services is under $115 billion. About half of that $115 billion are additional benefits for children and families and such. Say we can get rid of half the spending. That brings the total savings to just about $60 billion. That means complete elimination of things like the FDA, for example, which comes under HHS but accounts for only about $2.6 billion in spending. Medicare and Medicaid portion of HHS is $777 billion and that is NOT going to go away.

    Now … expanding economic growth and getting unemployment down to where federal unemployment benefits don’t kick in saves $30 billion and I don’t mean just waiting until everyone’s benefits drop off and they are no longer counted as unemployed.

    But there is another way to look at it. Go back 20 years to 1992. Now envision every single federal program that has been enacted or grown in scope over that 20 years. Terminate every single one of those because they have been absolutely ineffective. Do not come to the people saying you are going to enact a new program to reduce dropout rates when not a single program initiated or expanded over the past 20 years has done that. But I will show you a program that HAS done that:

    Detroit graduation rates:

    Denby High School 61.99
    Detroit City High School 57.06
    Finney High School 59.03
    Ford High School 56.21
    Kettering High School 54.66
    King High School 74.93
    Mumford High School 74.56
    Northwestern High School 54.3
    Pershing High School 70.77
    Southeastern High School 66.67
    Southwestern High School 52.78

    Now look at this:

    Cass Technical High School 94.33

    Putting people to work automatically reduces the need for government services. Put a million people to work and you reduce requirements for services such as Medicaid, extended unemployment benefits, and a whole range of other services. It also automatically increases revenues. You have more people paying in to medicare and social security and more being payed into the unemployment insurance and disability insurance pool by employers and employees.

    What I would suggest doing is:

    1: Elimination of federal pensions. When the notion of federal pensions was first implemented it was because federal pay lagged private sector pay and so the pensions were implemented to reward people for many years of service at reduced pay compared to what they would earn in the private sector. That is no longer the case. We need to eliminate the defined benefit portion for federal pensions and convert the entire thing to a defined contribution where the employees make the bulk of the contribution. We have $1.6 trillion in unfunded pension mandates for federal pensioners. We need to completely end pensions of any sort for holders of elected office and political appointees. The only place the lower pay holds true is with the military and I favor retention of a retirement stipend and benefits for military retirees. Those people really DID sacrifice a more lucrative career in order to remain in the military but I would *also* create a civilian support corps designed to be staffed with retired military personnel to perform defense support functions now done by civilian civil service employees. A person 40 years old retiring from the military still has plenty of good years left and can provide a lot of years of service.

    But overall, we have a government that is actively hampering economic growth. The three things that act to most severely restrict economic growth are Dodd/Frank, Obamacare, and Sarbanes/Oxley. All done with good intentions, all a disaster and forcing employers to either leave the US or migrate to lower cost areas of the US.

    What we REALLY need to do is to change this notion that government is “responsible” for you. You are responsible for yourself. We also need to acknowledge than in ANY culture of ANY sort there are always some who will do nothing no matter what you do. There will always be layabouts. We need to stop enabling that behavior.

    Comment by crosspatch — December 31, 2012 @ 1:53 am - December 31, 2012

  53. The problem is that completely defunding the NLRB, EPA and HHS would result in…way less than 1% [in savings].

    Absolutely. But the proximate cost savings aren’t the point of these particular defundings, the long-range results are: these agencies would no longer be able to wreak their economic havoc through regulation.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — December 31, 2012 @ 9:22 am - December 31, 2012

  54. Another thing to remember. It has to start somewhere. Both the spending cuts, and the increasing in oportunity.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 31, 2012 @ 9:31 am - December 31, 2012

  55. crosspatch,

    “….welfare spending per hour per household in poverty is $30.60, which is higher than the $25.03 median income per hour.” Really, Why work?

    Perhaps this is too cruel, but why not just build welfare compounds and be done with it. Certainly, statists who can dream up national health care can work out work-free estates where the people have medical care, commissaries, recreation facilities, schools, buses, etc. They don’t need cars and services for cops and fire and cable TV should be minimal. Certainly it could be handled at far less than $168 per day per household. It people don’t want to go to the commissary for the free food and prepare it themselves, they can go to the Michelle Restaurants and get arugula and broccoli served to them by tax-payer paid servants of the people. The resident community would not be permitted to have money, so that everything they have access to would be controlled by the state. Compassion demands that working friends and family be permitted to visit, but the residents could only leave the Utopia at the expense of sponsors if they care to travel or mingle elsewhere. That is to say, the state plantation owns and controls the residents. The state might have programs for transitioning out, but that is another issue.

    I offer this, not in sarcasm, but as a conservative who looks at the status quo of permanent, intergenerational welfare and says lets make it efficient. Although the socialists in Germany discovered that killing the Jews was more efficient than waiting for them to starve to death, that is not the only solution. So, rounding up the wards of the state and lathering them with compassionate socialism seems reasonable. Gulag, concentration camp, etc. need not be the only model. This could be a valhalla of a commune where the people form choirs and breakdance and knit sweaters for wealthy New York City dogs.

    Hope and change. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

    Now, on to drug communes and farms for the loonies. Also homeless camps where everyone has his own overpass.

    Turning to the great Fats Waller:

    “Find out what they like, and how they like it, and let him have it just that way
    Give em what they want, and when they want it, without a single word to say”

    We the people of socialist America have trapped these people, so now lets live up to what we have promised. We live in two different worlds. One world depends on our handouts and the other world must provide the handouts. The “war on poverty” has cost trillions and done virtually nothing but cause entrenchment. We must rise out of the trenches and recognize that state socialism demands that we support those who demand to be supported.

    There is where the little fascist could be the most useful. His existential view of individualism and the all powerful state which decides values, the ethic, the culture and the essence of life should help us create a real mare’s nest of chaos.

    Comment by heliotrope — December 31, 2012 @ 9:49 am - December 31, 2012

  56. At the end of the day this is a moral issue. Obama has been spelling out his morality since 2008. Obama is cashing in on the ethics of envy. He is a nihilist. And because he is an egalitarian, he wants equal poverty. The media are the consequence of the kinds of ideas that are opposite of our nation’s founding. Their credibility has been shot long ago.

    Comment by Scherie — December 31, 2012 @ 6:45 pm - December 31, 2012

  57. A post by a friend that I think is worth sharing here.

    “Here it is, where their “progressive” revolution rooted itself: “In his Constitution Day speech in 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt professed devotion to the document, but as a statement of aspirations rather than obligations.” He’s denying that the Constitution is the law of the land and that when FDR spit in its face w/the new deal it was because he saw the constitution as something to aspire to–the second clause of this sentence is one of the most outright anti-American law-breaking statements anyone could state, no less base an entire faulty “premise” on !!! Nonetheless, socialist democrats have been fighting their revolution to Change America for this many years, picking up on any “issue” they could “lace into” to pick up speed–the 30s rooted and the 60s grew into a big ole tree–and have now–w/the bailouts and particularly w/Obama’s election and re-election reached what even the most arrogant of card-carrying socialist democrats now openly and unashamedly state w/no fear of mass recriminations but instead find many to stupidly agree w/him and to gain more followers. This is a totally disgusting opinion article, a giant cow pie of treason that I can only hope found much “resistance” from the “other” half of “we the people”–the other half being we the TP people who are evolving and branching into various “groups” such as ours !!!”

    Comment by Richard Bell — January 1, 2013 @ 11:50 am - January 1, 2013

  58. At the end of the day this is a moral issue. Obama has been spelling out his morality since 2008. Obama is cashing in on the ethics of envy. He is a nihilist. And because he is an egalitarian, he wants equal poverty. The media are the consequence of the kinds of ideas that are opposite of our nation’s founding. Their credibility has been shot long ago.

    Comment by Scherie — December 31, 2012 @ 6:45 pm – December 31, 2012

    Actually, that’s not quite correct.

    Obama is a terminal narcissist, which means he has no intention of being “egalitarian” or suffering HIMSELF.

    But what he does realize is that two of the greatest motivations of mankind are a) jealousy and b) the ability to rationalize jealousy as justified.

    And that is all the Obama Party does. “You didn’t build that” is a rationalization of perverse and sick jealousy.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — January 1, 2013 @ 1:42 pm - January 1, 2013

  59. Yes, the statist Americans ARE as selfish and resentful as they think.

    Comment by Paul — January 1, 2013 @ 6:08 pm - January 1, 2013

  60. Willie Brown, when he was Speaker of the California Assembly, seriously proposed an equal outcomes rule for the University of California. Every graduate would have the same GPA. This is only a small step from that.

    Comment by Mike K — January 1, 2013 @ 7:13 pm - January 1, 2013

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