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.

Friday, August 10, 2012

More Leftist Lunacy And Power-Grabbing

Yesterday I described looney, leftist schemes to nationalize our retirement accounts and the money supply. Today I call your attention to this article that was published yesterday at WND: Obama"s massive industry takeover plan. The article publicizes a new, just released book by Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott called "Fool Me Twice: Obama's Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed."

I haven't read the book and don't intend to. I doubt the authors have any exclusive access to Obama's plans. They're simply piecing together progressive think tank proposals and interpolating. 

That said, what intrigued me about the article and the subject matter of the book is that modern leftists are still enamored with retread ideas from the FDR era and before. Paying workers a "living wage" is an idea with roots in the middle ages. The idea was also championed by the 19th century Catholic church establishment. Of course modern leftists, as usual, have embellished the concept into a policy "that would force all employers to increase the salaries of the nation’s workers to meet 'basic needs' such as housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care and recreation." [Yup, even those of us at the bottom of the food chain gotta have us some "recreation!"]

Pity the poor guy who owns a business if such a law ever passed. The "living wage" is a policy sure to make business owners flock to the exits. Maybe that's what Obama has in mind. It sure would make it easier for him to "takeover" a bunch of industries ala General Motors ["Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry."]

Another shockingly decrepit idea mentioned is the reincarnation of FDR's WPA (Works Progress Administration). According to the article leftist ideologues and nostalgia buffs are even planning to call the program the "Works Progress Administration!" Supposedly the plan...
...proposes projects similar to those of the earlier era, including residential and commercial building weatherization; residential and commercial water use efficiency improvement; highway, bridge and rail repair and maintenance; manufacturing projects; school, library and firehouse construction; soil erosion and pesticide runoff prevention; National Park and trail maintenance; and “other projects that are proposed by the eligible departments and determined appropriate by the Administration.
The WPA is remembered fondly by old timers who built roads and bridges [Sound familiar?] as part of this government make-work program. However, sober analysts point out Americans at the time ridiculed the program, redefining the WPA acronym as "We Poke Along" and "We Piddle Around." [Think "Post Office!"] In fact, the WPA was riddled with corruption, cronyism and political patronage. The WPA was FDR's personal political machine. [Think Mayor Richard J. Daley's Chicago political machine of the 60's and 70's writ large.] According to one historian of the era, the "WPA director of New Jersey answered his telephone, 'Democratic Headquarters.'”

WPA work projects were allocated to political swing states and WPA laborers were regularly pressured to participate in partisan politics, so much so that Congress passed the Hatch Act in 1939 designed to pull the plug on FDR's political machine. The law had little effect. What finally derailed the WPA was America's entry into World War II. At that time FDR needed soldiers more than political hacks working on road and bridge crews.

Leftists claim the WPA created jobs when none were available, but economists have debunked that myth long ago. FDR's wrongheaded policy of confiscatory business taxes along with his endless crush of federal regulatory agencies did two things very well: remove job-creating capital from the hands of private employers and dissuade these private employers to use what capital remained to expand their businesses. Thus, every job "created" by the WPA was at the cost of at least one job destroyed in the private sector, jobs that would have produced goods and services demanded by consumers rather than WPA political projects demanded by FDR.

Another age-old leftist idea that still has them salivating is "Equal Pay For Equal Work." Only the modern version is vastly more destructive of free enterprise:
The current progressive concept of equal pay, “Fool Me Twice” relates, would give the government sweeping powers to require employers to compensate workers according to an artificial calculation of a job’s “value” rather than what the private market is willing to pay.

Other powers would allow federal bureaucrats to decide which jobs are underpaid and would require employers to raise wages.

The government would also determine whether “bias” or “discrimination” exists in “equivalent” – but not equal – jobs based on race, sex, sexual orientation and other determining factors.
Who in their right mind would invest their capital in a business wherein Washington bureaucrats mandate wage rates based on criteria like this? You don't need to be an economist to see the inherent, small business-destroying absurdity of such an idea.
Lastly, there's the "paid leave" idea which has been a goal of leftists and communists since the 19th century. However, as usual, modern leftists have kicked the concept up a notch:
The progressive groups, already instrumental in influencing Obama’s first-term economic agenda, also call for Obama and Congress to enact a government mandate to force businesses to provide 12 weeks of paid benefits to employees who need time off to care for a new child, a sick family member or their own illness.
Is all of this starting to sound familiar, as familiar, say, as Barack Obama's campaign rhetoric and the platform of the modern Democrat Party? These has-been bromides of the FDR era are so discredited and ineffective it's almost laughable, but still Obama and his leftist supporters clamor for them. Why? Because their goal is not prosperity for all, but raw and naked power and control.

Burt Folsom, a full Professor of History at Hillsdale College, describes the FDR presidency as follows:
To many observers, the presidency of FDR was a disaster. He had double-digit unemployment throughout the 1930s, and he doubled the size of the national debt in his first two terms. The League of Nations rated the U.S. recovery as one of the worst in the world. Economic stagnation was a cloud over the entire FDR presidency during the 1930s.
Scratch "FDR" and insert "Barack Obama" in the above quotation and the description is still accurate. Given such failure, Folsom asks: "Why Would Anyone Imitate FDR?"

The answer is clear. FDR was the most powerful and ruthless President ever to occupy the Oval Office. He was President for life, serving four terms. He implemented socialist and progressive ideas by ramming them through Congress or by executive fiat. He was an amicable, fatherly figure. He had a way with words. He told people what they wanted to hear and shamelessly broke his promises, lying with ease. He had a thin skin and his political machine ruthlessly crushed dissent. He used the IRS to intimidate his enemies and relentless, extravagent federal spending to reward his friends. To FDR, law was an inconvenience. When the Supreme Court rebuffed him, he even tried to pack the Court.

Is it any wonder Barack Obama and his sycophants idolize and imitate FDR despite his failed, out-dated and counter-productive agenda?

h/t  Life on Sleepy Creek in Words and Images

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