About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Ignorance Or Spite?

There is an excellent post at Powerline by John H. Hinderaker on the President's State of the Union Address. In his article, Of The Ignorant, By The Ignorant, For The Ignorant, Hinderaker points out an obvious Obama lie with regard to the nation's energy reserves. He also exposes obvious lying by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in the same regard.

Though the article is excellent, I was fascinated by a particular comment made by a reader, Michael Johnson. Reacting to another reader's comment about socialist redistribution of income in this country, Johnson posted a link to the website of OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and to this page specifically. The OECD research paper contains this paragraph, which Johnson quoted:

Redistribution of income by government plays a relatively minor role in the United States. Only in Korea is the effect smaller. This is partly because the level of spending on social benefits such as unemployment benefits and family benefits is low – equivalent to just 9% of household incomes, while the OECD average is 22%.
This comment should give pause to every American who thinks this country is not exceptional or who worries that this country is heading down the path toward social democracy.

What has made this country great is its tradition of private enterprise rather than public welfare, subsidy and influence peddling. This is a trend President Obama and company are trying to reverse. They aim to bring the level of American governmental social spending up to the OECD average. Mr. Obama's first term in office has been a good start.

Of course, Mr. Obama and Mr. Johnson would say an increased level of social spending is necessary to offset the power and influence enjoyed by the "rich" in this country. The joke is that as government grows in influence and power, those in positions of authority in government are in a position to dispense influence and power to the highest bidder. Those with a vast amount of disposable income buy influence prodigiously. Those with the political clout of numbers and money, like labor unions, buy influence as well.

Who loses in such a system? The very individuals who have neither money nor power.

The ultimate joke is that so many of these moneyless and powerless individuals think they are better off in such a social welfare, income redistributionist system. They see no advantage in reducing the size of government or the power and influence of those in government. They would rather envy their neighbor's wealth, and send elected agents of government to seize it, than arrange the political and economic system in this country in such a way as to make it possible for them to earn and keep their own wealth.

They trust agents of government more than they trust themselves!

Perhaps Powerline is on to something. My only quibble is that "ignorance" is hardly an adequate explanation for such willful and self-sacrificial acceptance of the welfare state and its blatant lies. My mother would call it cutting off your nose to spite your face.

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