Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two Examples That Illustrate Obamanian Wealth Redistribution

Wealth redistribution is--to some people anyway--way cool in concept. But it takes them by surprise when it happens to them in real life. Wealth redistribution, whenever it is conducted or influenced by government, makes the rich richer at the expense of the poor. Here are two examples of why you should beware of an Obama in sheep's clothing.

Story #1--I Guess I Don't Like Wealth Redistribution After All

Recently, a radio talk show host (Alan Watt?) was walking toward a restaurant when he saw a homeless man holding a sign that said "Vote for Obama...I need the money." He smiled, and walked into the restaurant. After being seated, he was greeted by a very cheerful waiter, who, as fate would have it, was wearing an "Obama 2008" tie.

In no case has socialism closed the gap between rich and poor. The difference between the top 1% of Soviet wealth holders and the rest of society was far more vast than exists in America today, but through socialism, that divide in America is increasing.

When the meal was over, the man asked the waiter to confirm that he would be voting for Obama, which he said he was.

"So you believe in Obama's wealth redistribution?" the man asked.

"Yes, I do," replied the waiter.

"Good", said the man, "because I'm going to give your tip to that homeless guy outside."

The talk show host could see the cheery waiter turn to steaming anger at the realization that (1) he'd been had, and (2) because of wealth redistribution, he wasn't going to get his tip.

For some reason it's easy to feel overly amenable toward wealth redistribution,

Most people choose not to remember that the government thug who just robbed them will invariably become more bold.

that is until, by force, it actually happens to us. The point of having been fleeced by our government is coincidentally a tiny window in time through which we can see that it's much more efficient in the long run to give charitably. However, because the task requires
courage, most of us don't look through that window, preferring instead to close the blinds of forgetfulness, choosing not to remember that the thug who just robbed us will invariably become more bold.

Story #2--Wealth Redistributes, All Right...Upward

A friend of mine called recently to ask if Glenn Beck was correct in bemoaning the potentiality of falling into a cesspit of socialism were Barack Obama to be elected our next president.

"Good heavens, no (I think I said 'heavens')! We've been

Government cannot be trusted to be the re-distributor of wealth, because perennially socialistic governments have skimmed the cream off the top of the ill-gotten revenue, and then redistributed most of the rest of it to their friends--which happened to be the big guys.

steeped in socialism for almost a hundred years!" I said. Not much is going to change in that department, except for the velocity at which we hurtle toward the cliff of America-no-more-dom. Here's a good example of how we don't have to wait for an Obama reign to see how socialism redistributes wealth in a manner opposite of that which is so commonly claimed.

The $700 billion wealth redistribution to American financial institutions does not include the little guys.
...what started as an effort by the federal government to spur lending has transfigured, some analysts contend, to a much more grandiose undertaking that will essentially weed out the weak banks from the strong. Critics argue that such a focus puts too much power in the hands of the government in determining which banks survive the credit crisis.

By doling out money to only the strongest financial institutions, with the aim of spurring consolidation among banks, the government is protecting itself from having to salvage some of the industry's weakest players, analysts said.

"It appears to us that these 'gifted' banks will receive the capital whether they need it or not, as they will likely do the cleanup on behalf of the Fed and the Treasury by acquiring weaker institutions..."
Have you ever noticed that, when it comes to socialism, some institutions are invariably "too big to fail", while most of the rest of us--the little guys--are persona non grata?

Whether it is through favors to the corporate world or favors

Have you ever noticed that, when it comes to socialism, some institutions are invariably "too big to fail", while most of the rest of us--the little guys--are persona non grata?

to those most greedy for power, socialism redistributes wealth upward. In no case has socialism closed the gap between rich and poor. The difference between the top 1% of Soviet wealth holders and the rest of society was far more vast than exists in America today, but through socialism, that divide in America is increasing. Socialism claims to take "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs." But it has never worked out that way.

The only way wealth redistribution can ever hope to succeed is through charity. Because government can never be expected to be charitable, government should only be expected to encourage charity, and to punish violations of peoples' rights, such as the theft of their property. Government cannot be trusted to be the re-distributor of wealth, because perennially socialistic governments skim the cream off the top of the ill-gotten revenue, and then redistribute most of the rest of it to their friends--which happen to be the big guys.


  1. Normally you stay away from this type of irrational conclusion-jumpin-to Frank, which is why I enjoy the blog so much. What happened?

    The first story sounds like the Christian way to act. I don't see the problem.

    The second example I tried to take seriously, but anyone someone uses the "America no more!" refrain, or calls any of Obama's policies "socialism," I can't take them seriously. It shows only how little they understand about what real socialism is.

  2. Jason,

    Thanks for commenting, but please read more closely. The person who is jumping to conclusions lately is you. You seem only to comment here when I've hit a nerve.

    I specifically pointed out that Obama will NOT singlehandedly cause America to go down the tubes, because we've been in the grip of socialism for nearly a century. McCain's policies would be little different from Obama's.

    To socialize is to spread out the cost of something to society. Under this definition, clearly Obama's wealth redistribution plans are socialism.

    I agree that the first story illustrates the Christian way to act. MY WHOLE POINT in telling the story was that the Obama supporter didn't think it was.

  3. That's the GOP way, misrepresent the truth and punish those who have any difference of opinion.

  4. I would almost think that the US is probably closer to becoming communist rather than socialist. Please forgive my ignorance on these matters, but:

    Communism seems to be the "each according to his needs" type doctrine. And the government determines the needs. In the case of the bailout, the big banks, CEO's and other friends of the government had the needs, so received it.

    Government determines that people of no consequence like you and me, or smaller businesses have no needs, therefore we get nothing.

    Socialism appears to be more about, we all chip in and all get the benefit.

    I don't like either but Communism seems far worse, and far closer to the US's current state at least in my opinion.

    I lived in New Zealand for a while, and I believe it is a socialist country. There were things I didn't like about it, but there was very little difference between the rich and the poor. I never saw any homeless, and I never saw the uber-rich either.

    I prefer the model of charitable giving myself, but if it's a choice between socialism and whatever you want to call the current state of the US government (It sure isn't capitalism), I think I'd pick socialism everytime.

    Out of interest I saw an interview with Obama last week where someone tried to get him to commit to increasing government spending if he takes office and his response was "Government is not your nursemaid". He also received criticism from Jesse Jackson (The infamous "I'm going to take his balls off" comment) after saying that it was time for Black communities to stop playing the victim and pull themselves up.

    I don't think he's quite as "evil socialist" as McCain's campaign would like to have us believe.

  5. Story #1 is hilarious, no matter what you think of Obama.

  6. Reminds me of this joke:

    Difference Between Republicans and Democrats

    A Republican and a Democrat were walking down the street when they came to a homeless person. The Republican gave the homeless person his business card and told him to come to his business for a job. He then took twenty dollars out of his pocket and gave it to the homeless person.

    The Democrat was very impressed, and when they came to another homeless person, he decided to help. He walked over to the homeless person and gave him directions to the welfare office. He then reached into the Republican's pocket and gave the homeless person fifty dollars.

    Now you understand the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

  7. If I had to guess, I would think that people like right-wing radio talk show hosts and John McCain don't leave tips anyway.

  8. Socialism requires from each according to their abilities and to each according to their work. Socialism also provides necessities from the common fund (dwellings, legislative, law enforcement and judicial services, military expenses, environment protection, education and health care services, etc).

    Communism requires from each according to their abilities and to each according to their needs. Communism also provides necessities from the common fund.

    We need to separate though the Russian practice of both socialism and communism (actually they have never claimed to have achieved communism) which has very little do do with the theory.

    Capitalism is legalized jungle relationships with the survival of the fittest in its core and does not actually care who dies, who survives. Pure capitalism in reality is non existent, because of its inherent tendency to grow into monopolistic capitalism. At any point in time we have only different degrees of monopolistic capitalism rather than pure capitalism.

    Mature monopolistic capitalism is the worst form of capitalism where the exploitation of the working class is more ruthless and where all the spheres of economy, (also politics) are controlled by a small group of rich.

    It will be naive to hope that in both capitalism and monopolistic capitalism the government will take care of the poor just for charity reasons. Why would the rich voluntarily return anything back to the poor. Let's remember that generally rich are rich because they underpay those who create their wealth. Therefore, without the peoples' interference to legalize and implement some sort of redistribution of the wealth there would be constant and systematic mass die out of the poor.

    But the rich have lately understood that it is not profitable for them to leave the poor to die out, since they would be loosing competitors to their workforce, consequently the fierce competition between them for a job. As a result of a lack of fierce competition their workers would demand and get more in compensation (remembering that there are no others out there in the streets to threaten to take their place). This is why the rich are reluctant to pass laws to support the poor, otherwise they would also loose a huge number of consumers, upon whom they depend for their profits.

    For the same reason to secure their profits, by keeping an army of consumers and a fierce competition between them they also spend some money for their education (simply because they cannot do without trained professionals in this technology infested environment). So, the redistribution of the wealth lately is mostly designed (by the same rich) to keep their profits growing on a constant pace. Additionally, in our environment most of it often goes upward, which is also planned. The poor are shown a basket of apples but eventually get half an apple in the end, enough to keep themselves alive and capable to contribute to the fierce competition.

    Whatever was said does not necessarily apply equally to all countries. In Western European countries, Canada and maybe New Zealand things are much better. Why? Because of the people. Because Europe has a great history of struggle of working class people for their rights. Because there socialism is considered the highest achievement of their civilization. Because they are generally more civilized, more moral, more educated, more knowledgeable, more intelligent. Our mentality is more brutal than that of Europeans' or New Zealanders'. Why is it then that the same socialist principles work there but are considered economy destroyers in our midst?

    While erroneously comparing the latest bailout of the top rich with socialism one should be reminded about the true nature of socialism. True socialism assumes redistribution of wealth downward rather than upward. So, the redistribution upward has nothing in common with socialism moreover communism. We better use a different term, like 'robberism,' for example.

  9. Good point: socialism in theory is an attempt to redistribute wealth downward. But in practice, is it okay that this has almost never happened? Call it what you will, but those who practice the upward redistribution call it "downward distribution" or socialism.

    Then we have another group of people come along and say, well, socialism has never really been tried--so let us do it. Socialism has in fact been "tried" a multitude of times, but due to the frailties of mankind, the chances of it working are about zero.

    On the other hand, a voluntary leveling of wealth has a much greater chance of succeeding.

  10. It is true that true socialism has never been achieved. I did not say it had. It is true that people always failed by attempting to implement true ideas of socialism and communism. But the same is true for Zion (voluntary leveling of wealth), and true capitalism, including charity based monopolistic capitalism. Nothing has, is and will work in the societies of immoral people. The only way we can bring to pass Zion is through exclusively Priesthood holders. Even a little contamination will fail the endeavor. The same is true with socialism, communism and capitalism, including charity based monopolistic capitalis. Wherever there are immoral people, there eventually you will have failure. In our case redistribution upward rather than downward. Europe is a good example though. Why are you forgetting about countries where redistribution downward works better than in our environment?

    As a matter of fact, the prefix RE means reversing the process, i.e. distributing back to the poor, implying that it, the wealth, was robbed from them and taken upward. This is just by the way.

  11. Additionally, it does not matter what other people say about socialism or communism. Whether they label the upward redistribution as socialism it never alters its true nature. Please stop revering the opinions of masses, or the ruling top as ultimate knowledge. By doing so we'll never get anywhere, we'll not form a true understanding of the objective reality. We better define the terms correctly and build on correct understanding of those concepts. Using undefined terms and washy washy concepts will, again, never get us anywhere.

    By the way socialism (not communism) was achieved in Russia. There all socialist principles were implemented (and this very successfully). If not for the hindering forces from within (corruption of top officials) and from outside (Imperialist-capitalist pressure), I believe it would be successful, and might even grow into communism if left alone. Here do not try to argue with me, because you know about it not by personal experience. There are huge masses in Russia now who are still longing for the past socialism times. This is a topic of endless talks, though. None of us has time. But I will be glad to answer any specific question, if you have any.

  12. Wow. Seems like it's safe to say "we're all Marxists now."

    I'll jump on Anonymous's bandwagon with some opposing unjustified assertions:

    1) Socialism CAN'T work. Without the price signals inherent in a free market, it's impossible to rationally allocate resources to productive ends. It doesn't matter if it's public schools that spend billions without results, socialist medicine that under-funds R&D, or 10s of millions starving in the Soviet Union - it can't work.

    2) Socialism's philosophy should be "From each according to his productivity, to each according to his politics."

    3) Monopolies can't exist unless they're good for consumers or (more likely) they're propped up by the government.

    4) Profits are not derived from exploiting workers.

    5) The people in charge of a huge, oppressive government will always be corrupt. Why would a decent, honest, hardworking person WANT to be in charge of a system that only functions to oppress, imprison, kill, and plunder? The only thing such a person could, in good conscience do is to dismantle the system. Too many people are getting too much gain from the system to let that happen without a fight.

  13. To ajr

    You are free to call yourself whatever you want.

    Your opposing assertions are truly unjustified. Again you know about Russian practice not from personal experience. As I said it was working and could be extremely successful if not for the hindering forces from the capitalist world.

    1. While asserting that socialism can't work you are failing to see that it is working in all of the Wester European countries, New Zealand, and Canada. Also Cuba. Why is it so "impossible to rationally allocate resources to productive ends" in a centralized economy? Are you saying throughout all the history of humanity with only centralized economies, (in other words kingdoms) the resources were not rationally allocated. It will be enough to remember long lasted empires like Egypt and recently Great Britain. Why are you so sure that chaotic proliferation of businesses is more effective than the rule of a concerned king or a dictator. Democracy+capitalism (uncontrolled free market) is a recent phenomenon. It has not yet passed its trial by time (actually, so far it has proved to be extremely unstable and volatile). Whereas centralized rule of both economy and politics has proved to be very stable and reliable. Russian failure was mostly due to external forces rather than anything else. Also the country was too huge and multi national. Additionally it was not a pure kingdom. So democracy is not efficient either combined with capitalism or socialism. No wonder Great Britain, the strongest among the Western European countries is still a kingdom. Actually most of the Western European countries are kingdoms although combined with some democracy and capitalism. Which actually makes them weaker than a pure kingdom. Anyway, as I said this is a time consuming topic.

    2. As I said you do not have personal immediate experience in socialism. So, do not come up with any assertions like that.

    3. "Monopolies can't exist unless they're good for consumers?" You are forgetting that monopolies are formed to dictate prices, also to dictate the consumers what to consume and how much. Monopolies are formed to purchase and kill certain branches of economy to push their own product on the consumers.

    4. Profits and hyper profits are made by exploiting workers. You are forgetting that if workers were not underpaid the capitalist would not be rich. Rich are rich because they underpay those workers who create their wealth. What is this if not exploitation?

    5. It looks you are talking about a system based on monopolistic capitalism. But of course it is about socialism and communism. Again, your judgments are based on the Russian, actually Stalin's (who was, as a matter of fact, not Russian but Georgian) implementation of the idea. I am sure if there were other rulers in Early Russia right after the revolution of 1917, thing would be way different. Actually Stalin (his real name is Djughashvili) was a secret agent of Tsarist Russian regime. He was a pure power monger. For him it did not matter whether he is in charge of a communist, socialist or capitalist state. True followers of communism would not do whatever Stalin did. As a matter of fact, shortly after revolution Stalin terminated all the honest and devout to the ideals of socialism, equality and brotherhood peolple one by one, (his first victim was Lenin) and seized the power, later promoting next to him people of questionable morals and past (like himself).

    it is in monopolistic capitalism+democratic societies that you have too many people getting too much gain from the system to let it collapse. And, where are they getting their gain if not from the people? Is this not exploitation?

    I guess if you had read the source and had familiarized yourself with the idea of the societies which you are condemning you would have a different approach.

  14. Well, anonymous, since you have no immediate, personal experiences with a free market, why do you feel qualified to comment on it?

    I've had plenty of experience living under socialism, I live in the U.S. We don't call it that here, but that's the way it is. Currently I'm employed and live within my means. I pay for my own health insurance and other medical expenses, but I also pay twice that amount to Medicare/Medicaid to pay for those who aren't working or are working but don't make as much as I do. How is that not Socialism? The only difference is the State not taking their cut of the 1/3 I spend on my own care. Of course my health care costs much more than it would in, say, Canada or the U.K., because I have to foot the bill for most of the world's medical R&D while Socialist systems play the parasite. Then idiots in the U.S. think we'll solve all our problems by re-importing drugs from Canada that are only cheaper because the Canadian government doesn't respect the patents on them.

    I assert that Socialism can't work and you respond by saying that 25% or 30% socialism doesn't result in millions of deaths. That's like saying that eating a couple of ounces of dirt a day won't kill you. It sure as heck isn't going to help you. Do those countries have better results than they would if they were free? You give no justification that things are working, let alone proof that they couldn't be better.

    You also claim that top-down control has been the norm throughout history. Do you know what the effective tax rate was under feudal systems? How about at the time of the American Revolution? Right around 10%. The only places with 100% tax rates have been miserable disasters. I agree that Democracy hasn't been very beneficial, but that's why Democracy is such a terrible system. All of the founding fathers were opposed to it. They did everything they could to limit the power of government to prevent the problems we have today, but all that was over by 1913 at the latest.

    I said that monopolies can't exist unless they're good for consumers OR MORE OFTEN (99% of the time) they are propped up by the government. If there exists a monopoly that isn't propped up by the government, it is either about to lose it's monopoly or it's doing a better job of convincing people to part with their money than ANYONE ELSE POSSIBLY COULD. About the only such monopoly I can think of (which still didn't have 100% market share) was standard oil which dropped prices an order of magnitude and came up with the idea of cracking petroleum to produce several times the energy from a barrel of oil than was previously possible.

    Profits are made by producing something from materials that people value more than the cost of materials + production costs. So, which is being exploited, the materials or the production costs? Can a one-man company exploit himself? What if the company makes billions of dollars, all given freely and cheerfully? Who is that guy exploiting? What about lemonade stand kids? Is their 1000% profit margin exploiting their neighbors or themselves or the lemons? Labor isn't exploitation if it's voluntary.

    On #5 you're wrong. I'm talking about a police state. We are not far from vesting absolute power in the executive and excusing any enforcement, no matter how onerous or ill-justified. And we're not alone. The British are under constant surveillance. The French have practically forbidden any religious expression in public. No decent person wants that kind of power. Your story about Stalin is a perfect example of that. I don't know what to call Marxists other than rubes. You advocate putting supreme power in the hands of government, then you're SHOCKED when it gets abused. Actually, I think the GOP is in a similar situation right now. "Let's stand behind the President! We're at war! there's an economic crisis! Give them whatever power they need to fix it! The new President's a Democrat you say? Uh oh..." Rubes.

    It's very true that parasitic private entities are just as guilty of profiteering from the current system as the parasitic public entities. I just don't see how the solution is to give all our money and freedom to the parasitic public entities. America was a Republic once, but it sure isn't anymore.

  15. ajr
    Who told you I do not have immediate, personal experiences with a free market?


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