Posts Tagged ‘socialism’

“You have my disgust and disdain forever….”

Monday, December 21st, 2009

An open letter from Dr. Becky Hollibaugh of Friend, Nebraska to Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.):

Dear Senator Nelson:

I send this message under ?Tort Reform? because the current monstrosity you have pledged your support to says nothing whatsoever about Tort Reform. You have sold the physicians of Nebraska for zilch (zilch for us, but beaucoup federal bucks for you and the liberal partisans in this state). As a family practice physician in Small Town, Nebraska, I was counting on you to be the lone voice of Democratic sanity on this issue, but you sold me out. I will dedicate every spare minute of my time and every spare dollar I have to defeating you, should you run for re-election. The long hours I spent on my medical education and the long hours I spend treating my patients are nothing but chump change to you and your Democrat colleagues in Washington. I especially can?t wait for your equivocation and milquetoast evasion when your ?compromises? on the abortion language in the bill are silently erased or quietly (on-little-legislative-cat?s-feet) eviscerated in the House/Senate give-and-take. Go on: Bet me that you won?t wuss-out on this issue!

I know you won?t give two-seconds to this letter, but I had to write it. I?m a primary care doctor in YOUR state, and you sold me out. I didn?t slog through 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school and 3 years of residency just to have you hand my career and my patient/doctor relationships over to government lifers. Your gutless acquiescence to Obama and Harry Reid and ?Nanny? Pelosi will NOT be forgotten.

Thank you, Ben, for forcing doctors like me to earn less than the repairmen who fix our appliances. Case in point: We recently had our dishwasher fixed. The repairman who came to our house charged $65 just to come and ?diagnose? the problem, then charged another $180 to ?fix? the problem. You and your fellow lawmakers have fixed MY going rate (Medicare) at $35 per-visit. Thank you for securing such a ?lucrative? rate for me! Thank you so much for making me?someone with 8 years of education!?make less than a mechanic or appliance repair technichian. And thanks especially for falling in line with Obama and the rest of the Democrats to make such a socialist system permanent.

You have my disgust and disdain forever, you socialist-coddling coward.

Sincerely,
Becky F. Hollibaugh, D.O.
Warren Memorial Hospital
Ziimmerman Clinic
Friend, NE 68359

Good on you Doc!

Dr. Hollibaugh follows up with:

?To those who would accuse me of greed: I don?t make as much as you think I do. I give every one of my patients the very best care I can offer, regardless of their ability to pay. And I do NOT begrudge my mechanic or my appliance repairmen their salaries. Not one bit. I gladly pay them what I owe them. What you leftist idiots don?t understand is this: I am forced to accept $35 for an office visit by a medicaid or medicare patient. I. Can?t. Afford. It. On that enforced wage, I can?t pay my nurses. I can?t pay my billing secretaries. I can?t pay my receptionist. I. Can?t. Survive. On. Obamacare. Get it?! I. Can?t. Pay. My. Nurses. On. Ben. Nelson. Wages. Get it? I hope so. You think I?m greedy? I went to medical school as a former nurse at age 36. I have over $180,000 dollars in student loans. I. Can?t. Survive. On. Obamacare. I hope this helps. I don?t make as much as you might think. And most of what I earn goes to repaying my student loans. I love my little family medicine clinic in Friend. I love being a doctor in rural Nebraska. I love my patients and I love rural family medicine. But Ben Nelson sold me out. Thanks again for letting me vent. I?m not greedy. I don?t envy the wages of my blue-collar friends. But I can?t survive or pay my employees on Uncle Sam?s reimbursement rate for my services.

Personally I don’t care if the dictated price is enough for her to make a living. The government, flat out, has no place dictating how much money a citizen should be permitted to charge for their services. The government, flat out, has no right to dictate what products or services a citizen is required to purchase. Either of these is the illegal seizure of private property (money) by government fiat.

Obamacare doesn’t really kick in until 2013 or so. I personally will support and vote for any candidate who vows to repeal this monstrosity before then; and it appears to be about 60% of the populace who agrees with me. Goodbye, Democrats — you have dug your graves with this legislation.

Found at Michelle Malkin, via Matteo.

Does “Free” Health Care Empower the Poor?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

A Canadian writes at the Heritage Foundation:

Everything I want to say about this is summed up in a story that happened to my partner Shelley. Shelley and I are partners in a restaurant, and she actually runs it. She was given an appointment at the hospital for a procedure, and she duly showed up at the appointed time. Two hours later she was still sitting there waiting to be called. Now she was only able to get a two-hour parking meter, and so she approached the desk and asked if she could go and put money in the meter. She was curtly told that she was free to go and put the money in, but that if her name were called while she was away, that her name would fall back to the bottom of the queue. So she just decided that she would take the parking ticket as part of the price of getting the medical service she needed. Another two hours passed, and still she was not called, so she again approached the counter, and very patiently and politely explained (as only Shelley can, because she is the soul of graciousness) that she actually had a small business to run; that she was there at the appointed time for her appointment; that she had waited four hours, which is far longer than she had been led to expect the whole thing would take; that she had other commitments because of the business; and could they possibly at least give her some idea of how much longer she might have to wait?

Well, the woman behind the counter got on her dignity, drew herself up to her full height, glared at Shelley and said, “You’re talking as if you’re some kind of customer!”

There you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the essence of the problem: When the government supplies you with “free” health care, you are not a powerful customer who must be satisfied. They are doing you a favor and you owe the state gratitude and servility in return for this awesome generosity. They can give you the worst service in the world, but because it is free, you are totally disempowered. One of the most important lessons I have learned from my contact with the Canadian Medicare system is that payment makes you powerful. And its absence makes you risible if not invisible.

Now the articulate and the middle class do not let little things like that get them down. Even though they do not pay, they still get in the faces of the people providing service and make their wishes known. But often the vulnerable, the poor, the ill-educated, and the inarticulate are the ones who suffer the most because no one’s well-being within the health care system depends on patients/consumers being well looked after. And by depriving them of the power of payment within the health care system, Medicare disempowers them. And the poor see this, because while they may be poor, they are not stupid.

Charity and the efficiency of Government

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

I came across an article yesterday touting the grand efficiency of government over that of private charity(!) and thought that it was as eminently fisk-worthy as anything I’ve seen in many moons. Let’s get started, shall we?

A Tax Plan Charities Should Back

By Joel Berg
The Washington Post
Saturday, March 28, 2009; Page A13

Some of the nation’s largest charities — and the lobbyists they pay to represent them — have been hyperventilating over President Obama’s proposal to marginally roll back the amount of the tax deduction that the very wealthiest Americans can take for donating to charity.

So far so good; although already he’s taking some random pot-shots by pointing out the existence of lobbyists, as though hiring someone to represent you to government so that you can spend your time doing your job is somehow corrupt….

Of course, conservatives who oppose any tax hikes for the rich also oppose it.

And again with the suggestion that this is somehow sinister. Allow me to translate this sentence: “People who oppose tax hikes oppose tax hikes.” Well, Duh.

While these voices have created the impression that all nonprofit organizations oppose the plan, the reality is that many charitable organizations, especially ones that serve low-income populations, such as the one I run, strongly support it.

A straw man argument. There is no issue, anywhere, ever, that is universally supported or opposed. (Actually, that’s by definition, as if it were either of those, it would not be an “issue”.) So the grand revelation that some people support something is neither grand, nor a revelation.

According to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, the proposal would affect only 1.2 percent of U.S. households — those in the top two tax brackets. Nearly 99 percent of households would be unaffected.

Hey, man, we’re just sticking it to the Evil Rich™, so what’s the problem? Just remember, that’s how income taxes got started in the first place — as a 1% tax on the extremely rich. But once the principle was established that such taxes were okay at all, it was easy for the politicians to slowly bump the numbers up.

The plan would merely restore the deduction rate to Reagan-era levels.

This is a lie. Well, okay, it’s a statistic deliberately designed to mislead — same thing.

The top income tax rate at the end of the Reagan years was 28%, and people in that tax bracket could deduct that entire amount — 28% — from their taxes. Today the top tax bracket is 39%, and people can currently deduct the entire amount. Obama wants to change it so people paying 39% income tax can only deduct 28% of charitable giving. He is reducing the deduction for charitable giving from 100% to 72%. Simply put: Obama wants to start taxing that which was previously untaxed.

Both Obama, and Mr. Berg in writing this article, are claiming that Obama is trying to make it the same as it was under Reagan. This would be hysterical if it weren’t so outrageous.

Since the largest donors (such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett) already give more than they can deduct, and numerous studies show that tax deductions are a relatively minor reason that the wealthiest Americans donate to charities, total charitable contributions are likely to decline by only about 1.3 percent if the proposal is enacted, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates.

Again, it isn’t the specific amount, it’s the principle. This tax is custom-designed to reduce the amount of charitable giving and put more such “charity” under the thumb of government. The basis of the socialist leftist agenda: Make as many people as possible dependent on government.

Combined with other progressive Obama tax proposals, that change would not only start to redress the inequality gap that has engulfed America in recent decades

Again, if you’re a leftist, the fact that someone might make more that someone else is anathema; and it is up to government to determine what income is “fair”, rather than simply allowing people to earn based on what others are willing to pay them.

but would also help to pay for many effective domestic programs, including efforts that fight hunger and improve nutrition; boost public education; improve health care and make it more affordable; and create jobs for low- and middle-income families. In other words, the funding would greatly reduce struggling families’ need for charitable aid.

…by making them more dependent on government. To Mr. Berg here, this is a priori a good thing. Charity is bad, forcible government redistribution is good… if you’re a socialist.

Well, that and the fact that study after study has shown that conservatives give far more to charity than leftists do. This has been a political black eye that they would love to remedy by reducing conservative giving any way they can.

When the wealthiest Americans donate to charities, they are most likely to give to universities, hospitals and cultural institutions from which they and their families may benefit. Such organizations often have budgets and executive salaries equal to or larger than those of mid-size corporations, stretching the definition of “nonprofit group.”

Translation: “Those mean-ol’ rich people aren’t giving to the charities that I want them to, so let’s have the government take money from them at gunpoint, and give that money to the “right” charities. ‘Cuz we all know that only rich people benefit from libraries and hospitals and museums. And… AND!… the guy running a big city museum that employs hundreds and serves millions makes more money than I do running my organization that you’ve never heard of, and that’s not fair.”

While anti-poverty organizations such as mine do receive some funding from the wealthiest Americans (for which we are extremely grateful), the bulk of our private donations comes from middle-income families.

Translation: “I’m the ‘right’ kind of charity, so this new tax won’t affect me much. I’m cool with that.”

Even if the largest tax deductions are kept in place only for anti-poverty organizations, a compromise that would directly benefit groups such as mine, there are at least two reasons I still don’t think that would be wise public policy:

First, such tax deductions are a highly inefficient way to fund social programs. It is far more cost-effective for the government to simply increase supplemental nutrition benefits (formerly food stamps) that are immediately redeemed at for-profit food stores than it is to give massive tax deductions that only marginally increase donations to feeding charities, which then have to split such donated money between administrative costs and food purchases.

Because of course the government is not bureaucratic at all, and spends money far more efficiently than private charities do. Right? Hello? I’m pretty sure whatever this guy is smoking is illegal in all 50 states.

Let’s look at government “efficiency” for a moment: Let’s say that I donate $1,000 to Charity A. Charity A will have some overhead, but X% of that money will go directly to the cause that Charity A supports.

Now let’s suppose that the government steps in and takes that $1,000 from me taxes. They, in their infinite wisdom, determine that Charity A is, in fact, a worthwhile program, and gives that money to Charity A — the exact same charity I was going to give to in the first place. It’s a wash, right? Because Charity A got the same money? Well, no it isn’t. See, somebody has to pay the government bureaucrats who collected the money from me, and the ones who decided to give it to whatever program, and the ones who actual did the transfer to that program. Let’s call those expenses Y. Instead of the cause receiving X% of my $1,000, they now receive X% minus Y — government always gets its cut. This is not “more efficient”.

Then again, it’s not really about efficiency — it’s about control.

Second, voluntary private charity is a less equitable way to solve community problems.

According to whose definition? Like much of leftist theory, this is one of those things that only works out “if the right people are in charge” It seems to me that the people in a community have a better idea of how to solve that community’s problems than some bureaucrat in Washington DC.

Oh wait, Mr. Berg did not say it was more effective, he said it was more equitable. Equality of outcome is more important than an effective society. It’s okay if we fail, so long as everyone fails equally.

While many people assume that the rich amass their wealth on their own, the truth is that their business interests are almost always aided by public efforts such as roads, bridges and ports through which they ship their goods or public schools that educate their workforces.

And they pay for it asshole! Gaaaahhh!!! Why are you acting like the rich don’t pay taxes? Charitable giving has absolutely nothing to do with roads and bridges, and you damned well know it. Property taxes pay for schools. In Illinois the tolls alone more than pay for the roads.

Given that even the wealthiest benefit greatly from this modern “public commons,” it is wrong to give them unilateral power to decide whether their taxpayer-subsidized donations should go to, say, well-heeled operas or lavish care of pets rather than to organizations that meet more pressing communal needs.

This doesn’t even need translation: Mr. Berg believes it is wrong to “give” people the power to decide where they want to spend their own money. To a leftist, it’s never, ever your money — anything you have is “given” to you, and government merely “allows” you to keep it. To a socialist, this is good and proper.

It is fashionable these days to say that “the community,” not government, should solve social problems. Yet no nonprofit leader, myself included, was elected by the community as a whole. Elected officials, whether we like them or not, are picked by voting citizens.

Unless your name is Saddam Hussein* no elected official is elected by the community as a whole. The difference is that government is all-or nothing; whereas with charity, you can give to the charity you like, and I can give to the charity I like. It’s called “the free market” — a concept with which you are apparently unacquainted.

In America, the government is the most legitimate voice of the entire community.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *snort* The most legi…. aheh. Pull the other one, Comrade, it has bells!

The Obama administration should stick to its guns in fighting for tax equity, and Congress should support the effort.

Again, you seem to have a funny understanding of the word “equity”. Tax “equity” would mean that everyone pays the same rate. What you are looking for is “income equity”, where everyone is taxed to a point where they effectively all make the same — where the CEO makes the same “fair” rate as the street sweeper. It’s not even socialism at that point; that’s communism.

If charities want to prove that they value the public interest over their self-interest, they, too, should get on board.

Why? If charities value serve the public interest, the public will value them, and those will be the charities that get the voluntary donations. If your organization can only get good donations from the government, that is a sure sign that it is not valued by the public. Charities that are effective get donations, spend them effectively, and thrive. Charities that are *not* effective do not get as many donations, do not spend them as wisely, and fail. This is why organizations such as The March of Dimes have survived for decades — because individual people see the value in what they do, see the effectiveness of their organization, and donate to that cause.

[Hat Tip: Steve B.]

*: Saddam received 100% of the “vote” in the last election before the USA invaded. I suspect that the election might have been just a teensy bit slanted.

The Parable of the Sports Car

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

I remember a number of years ago (probably a decade or so now…) when a British actor came on one of the late-night talk shows. Frustratingly, I don’t remember the actor, and I can’t recall if the show was Conan’s, or Dave’s, or (less likely) Jay’s. He talked about how he absolutely loved the United States, and had an interesting statement as to why he thought things were better here than in England.

He said (paraphrasing):

“In America, a guy with no money can be walking down the street and he sees a hot sports car parked along the street. He’ll stop and look at it, saying, ‘Oh yeah, that’s awesome. I love this car — one day I’m going to make it big and I’m going to have a car just like this.’

“In England, that car can be parked along the street, and the guy with no money will come along, and he’ll get mad. He’ll say, ‘Screw you you bastard with your fancy car.’ And he’ll pull out his keys and key the car.”

I thought it was an interesting distinction, and it’s really the type of thing that a non-American is more able to observe. Americans don’t see it, because we’re too close to it to realize it exists. We used to talk about it. We used to see it. We even have a name for it. But in the crush of media manipulation and the politics of class envy, we’ve lost sight of it. That interview was probably over ten years ago, and it’s only gotten worse since. Our name for the phenomenon the actor was describing? The American Dream.

Something that Americans often don’t see about the wide world around them is just how unique this country is in terms of social and financial mobility. A person can be born with nothing and become a multimillionaire, and vice versa. More important is the fact that people in this country aren’t born into “classes”. People are not so segregated into the groups into which they are born. Again, politics (this time of identity) has caused some damage here, but the proof is in a little girl named Condoleeza who started life in the segregated 60s in a poor Alabama neighborhood, and grew up to become the Secretary of State.

In the story of the sports car, the hypothetical American knows that even though he doesn’t have much today, tomorrow is another story. The course of your life can go in whatever direction you take it. The Englishman in the story sees his life as much more set. He resents that somebody else has such desirable things because he knows that he will never have it. There is a divide between the wealthy and the “common folk” that can’t be crossed, so why try?

What brought this to mind was the recent attacks by leftists against Joe Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. “Joe the Plumber”. I read a lot of blogs, and in the attacks against Joe, the most common I’ve seen is that he’s a liar because he doesn’t make the $250,000 that would cause him to fall under Obama’s take hike on “the rich”. If you’re paying attention of course you know that Joe didn’t say he did. He said that somewhere down the road he was going to buy a business. He was talking about the future. Why is this important?

The attacks on Joe go beyond the simple fact that he doesn’t make that amount of money. I have seen, over and over again, very pointed statements that he doesn’t make that much money, and never will. That is, he’s a liar because he says that some day he’ll make that much money, when “we” all know damned well that he’ll never make that much in this lifetime.

“In this lifetime”. I see that particular turn of phrase in many of these statements. Apparently they believe very strongly in the lesser model that you are born to a particular station in life. You’re a fool (or, for Joe, a liar) if you think otherwise. What happened to the American Dream?

I personally know a plumber who has millions of dollars to his name. He’s in his 70s now, and retired; but he worked hard for years, invested his money, built a good business, and made good. Need I say that he is an immigrant with a heavy accent? I don’t think the fact that he is foreign-born is a coincidence. People born in this country are in recent years inundated with a message that the rich “got lucky”, whereas those on the outside looking in know that American opportunity — the American Dream — is something you have to jump at, grab on to, and use, actively.

When I was shortly out of college I had a job at a bookstore. I worked full time, quickly became a supervisor, with corresponding pay raise and added responsibility. A co-worker was a woman hired around the same time I was. After we’d been working together about six months, we had a conversation in which she was stunned to learn that I had only worked there as long as she had, and she became angry that she wasn’t a supervisor too. “You work part-time” I pointed out. I then discovered that the reason she worked part time was that she was on welfare, and if she earned more than X amount per week she would lose the government payout. This folks, is not “bad luck”. She had explicitly chosen to keep herself on welfare when there was full-time work for the taking. (Not unrelated, she also had the “bad luck” to be unmarried and pregnant.)

This is why I am so infuriated when I hear politicians such as Barack Obama refer to the wealthy as the ones who “got lucky”, and conversely the poor as the “less fortunate”. America is not a lottery — success is far more likely the result of hard work, and responsibility. As the founder of Jimmy John’s Sandwiches once said, “Tenacity will beat brains seven days a week.” Tenacity. Work. Guts. Luck is in there somewhere; but as in poker, luck will carry you for a hand, but not for the whole game.

When Obama talks about the “fairness” of evening things out between the tenacious and those resting on welfare payments, it is a lie. When he acts as though success is just a result of being “lucky”, it is a lie. When he talks about tax cuts as “giving” something to the rich, rather than letting them keep what is already theirs, it is a lie. When he refers to his plan for writing checks to people who don’t pay taxes as “tax cuts”, it is a lie. It is an offense against reason, and it is a direct assault on the American Dream. His brand of socialism threatens to destroy the very thing that makes this incredible country unique in the history of mankind: the ability to have such dreams, and for such dreams to be attainable by anyone willing to take responsibility for their own fate.

[Update: Brian links and responds.]

Stepping on Dreams

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

This is all kinds of awesome. Possibly my favorite political piece of the entire year. I’m not going to quote it, just go read: Joe The Plumber: American with a Capital A

I’ll plan to do a follow-up post later this evening….

Socialism in Sheep’s Clothing

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Or “How to give tax cuts to people who already don’t pay taxes”

That has been the big question of the Presidential campaign, and one puzzlingly unasked by McCain — How can Barack Obama, as he claims, give a tax cut to 95% of Americans when roughly 40% of Americans already don’t pay a penny in taxes?

The answer: You massively expand welfare to include tens of millions of new recipients, and call it a “tax cut”.

The Wall Street Journal explains it nicely:

For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase “tax credit.”

…Here’s the political catch. All but [one of his tax credits] would be “refundable,” which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer — a federal check — from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this “welfare,” or in George McGovern’s 1972 campaign a “Demogrant.” Mr. Obama’s genius is to call it a tax cut.

The clincher? As with all things government, it would start out huge, and grow…

The total annual expenditures on refundable “tax credits” would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare.

Who would pay for this? Ostensibly the evil rich, of course. Obama’s proposed tax hike on those making over $250,000 would be the largest tax hike in American history. The primary government program it would fund would be to simply turn around and divvy that cash out among everyone else.

This is not freedom — it is socialism, plain and simple.

The real problem is that while theoretically the rich would pay for it, it would actually hurt practically everyone. For those under the $250,000 line, it would hurt in the form of an income-based dropoff in handouts that would act as a massive disincentive to work harder for that 3% raise…

Because Mr. Obama’s tax credits are phased out as incomes rise, they impose a huge “marginal” tax rate increase on low-income workers. The marginal tax rate refers to the rate on the next dollar of income earned. …[T]he marginal rate for millions of low- and middle-income workers would spike as they earn more income.

Some families with an income of $40,000 could lose up to 40 cents in vanishing credits for every additional dollar earned from working overtime or taking a new job…. The tax credits are sold in the name of “making work pay,” but in practice they can be a disincentive to working harder, especially if you’re a lower-income couple getting raises of $1,000 or $2,000 a year.

Translation: That $1.50 an hour raise blue-collar Joe just got? Under Obama’s tax plan, it would become $1.10. Why? Because Obama is all about “fairness”, and his idea of fairness is that you should be punished for making more money.

Hat tip: Brian Dunbar

“Joe the Plumber” Speaks Out

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Straight from the plumber’s mouth:

PM: You?re a plumber, and you?re looking to buy your own plumbing business?

Joe Wurzelbacher: Correct.

PM: Would that plumbing business employ other people or would it just employ you?

JW: Eventually it would employ other people. Right now it?s a two man shop and it?s got a very good footprint and a very good reputation, so eventually I would want to put other people out there. I don?t want to get huge because if you get too big your quality goes, but I definitely wouldn?t mind having two good plumbers out there with me working.

PM: So a potential tax increase ? how do you see that affecting your ability to hire more people to work with you at your company? […]

JW: Essentially what that would do is, I?d have to see how much money is available after everything else is paid, to see if I can one, afford a new vehicle, two, outfit it, and then three, pay a good salary. And if I?m being taxed too much, one of those three things is going to get shorted. One, I won?t be able to buy as good a good vehicle or I won?t stock it as well, or the guy I hire ? if I?m able to hire somebody ? is not going to make as much as he should.

JW: […]I believe in working for what I get. I don?t want to say it?s a handout, but essentially that?s what it comes down to. You?re going to tax someone else more that?s been working hard to fulfill the American Dream and you?re gonna give it to other people who ? I?m not saying they don?t work as hard, but I?m sure some of them don?t ? and I don?t think it?s right just to give it to them or reduce taxes on their part and hike it up on my part like a teeter totter to bring it back even. So no, that wouldn?t ? well, let me rephrase that. It would appeal to me because back then I was struggling. That kind of thing appeals to me ? anybody wants to cut my taxes, I look at it very seriously, it?s like, it sounds great. But you gotta see what the other hand is doing too.

I love this guy. It’s funny, but this guy might just be the game changer. McCain should put this guy on the stage, bigtime.

Go read the whole thing.

Hat tip: Cold Fury

But… that was only supposed to hurt rich people….

Friday, August 29th, 2008

An interesting passage from Clayton Cramer’s blog on what happens when the government tries to “stick it to the rich”:

There is one problem driving not just HP, but a lot of other U.S. companies to constantly slashing workers. In 1993, Democrats in Congress showed how much they hated "rich people" by passing a law that prohibited corporations from deducting as business expenses any annual salary exceeding one million dollars–and the salaries of the next four highest paid officers. So large corporations started to compensate officers with stock options instead. This created a strong incentive for officers of the corporation to keep the stock price rising for the next few quarters–even if it destroyed the long-term viability of the company. Note that this didn't actually prevent corporations from compensating their officers quite generously. And in truth, Democrats weren't really trying to prevent that–they were just pretending to be on the side of the little guys, while continuing to cozy up to corporate fat cats. It just created perverse incentives for how to run a large corporation.

A company that is developing complex products will need several years from the start of the process to the point where the product starts to bring in revenue. Think of this as a tunnel: you put money in one end of the tunnel in 2004; it turns into a return on investment in 2008. The products that you start developing in 2005, won't give a return until 2009. Ditto for 2006 to 2010, 2007 to 2011, and 2008 to 2012. If your focus, because of your stock options, is driving up the stock price over the next several quarters, the temptation to go for short-term improvements is very, very strong.

Cutting spending this year may impair profitability in 2012–or maybe it won't. It's hard to tell. But you can almost guarantee that cutting spending on long-term projects this year will drive up the stock price for the next quarter or two. This is why layoffs often lead to higher stock prices. Corporate officers whose primary income is derived from stock options have a strong incentive to cut costs right now. I don't think that stock options are necessarily a bad thing. But it does encourage a short-term view of how to run a company.

On a different note (but from the same blog): Holy Crap. How is this guy a major party nominee?

Public Parasite (Predictably, Pregnant) Portends Perpetrating ‘Plosion

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Ah, what our wonderful welfare state has wrought.

A New York woman, pregnant with her fourth child, is so sure of her inherent right to demand that others provide for her that she has threatened to blow up her local welfare office after they told her she was ineligible for more benefits.

Deep breath. Repeat after me:

You cannot call something a “right” if someone else has to give it to you.

Hillary’s Baby Buyout

Friday, October 5th, 2007

This just in: Hillary has yet another remarkable new plan to redistribute wealth:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 “baby bond” from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.

…or a car, or a kewl new stereo, or to party like a rockstar for about five minutes. Handing something to somebody does not teach them responsibility. In fact, getting something for nothing generally promotes irresponsibility.

Oh, and is it safe for me to assume that “every child born in the United States” includes those born to people who are here illegally? Hey, we’ve got a problem — let’s encourage more of it!

The New York senator did not offer any estimate of the total cost of such a program or how she would pay for it. Approximately 4 million babies are born each year in the United States.

Well, lessee… four million births times five thousand dollars is twenty billion dollars. Every year. Forever. Oh wait, my bad. The birth rate does tend to rise over time….

Clinton said such an account program would help Americans get back to the tradition of savings that she remembers as a child,

You know, the way Social Security taught everybody to save for their own retirement? The way Welfare taught the poor how to get themselves out of poverty? Just like that.

and has become harder to accomplish in the face of rising college and housing costs.

And five seconds after the law is passed, the Democrats will suddenly realize that it won’t provide enough money to entirely pay for college, or a house, and immediately decry how it therefore exploits the poor and subsidizes the rich (See also: school vouchers). Naturally the amount will have to a) be raised enough to pay entirely for college, and b) taken away from the eeeevil rich folks who don’t need it anyway, and c) clearly this awful disparity is all the Republicans’ doing, as it’s all about them buying votes from Big Corporations (‘cuz, y’know, corporations can vote), and the principled pure-as-the-morning-dew Democrats must stop these destructive politics.

She argued that wealthy people “get to have all kinds of tax incentives to save, but most people can’t afford to do that.”

Actually, I’m impressed. I didn’t realize Hillary supported the Fair Tax!

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Rep. Stephanie Stubbs Jones, an Ohio Democrat who attended the event and has already endorsed Clinton. “Every child born in the United States today owes $27,000 on the national debt, why not let them come get $5,000 to grow until their [sic] 18?”

Yeah, you moron. Now every kid will owe $32,000 on the national debt. Or did you imagine that the money would magically appear out of thin air? If somebody owes me five dollars, it makes no sense to loan them five more dollars so they can pay back the first loan.

This proposal is two things to me:

  1. One of the dumbest political proposals of my lifetime, and
  2. The most blatant attempt to purchase votes I have ever encountered

…unless of course you’re a politician who is far more interested in your own personal power than in actually doing some good for the country; in which case it all makes perfect sense.

Hati Tip: Space4Commerce

[Update: From YoungGoGetter: “She says it will help Americans get back into the swing of ?savings?. I think it will get Americans back into the swing of abusing government funds.” A-Yup.]