Patterico's Pontifications


Gloom, Doom and Socialism

Filed under: Economics,Education,Obama — DRJ @ 12:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The financial news is gloomy as the sluggish economic recovery shows signs of faltering. As columnist Irwin Steltzer noted over a year ago, the Obama Administration is making America more like Europe everyday:

“In the end, Americans will live in smaller houses, drive cars more like those to which Europeans are accustomed, and will rely on European-style healthcare. In short, we will be more like you, which is after all the social democratic model to which Obama wants to convert America.

The president also intends to change the way our children are educated. He says he wants teachers to be compensated on a merit basis, and parents free to select schools they deem best for their children. But his allies in the teachers’ union won’t go along with this, and in the one test of his rhetoric so far he has allowed Democrats in Congress to kill a programme that provided funds to allow a few thousand poor, mostly black children to escape the horrors of the Washington DC school system and instead attend swanky private schools of the sort in which he has enrolled his daughters.

There is no doubt about one thing: the president intends to increase the number of students financially able to attend college. America will, in the end, have more degree-wielding students and fewer horny-handed sons of toil. That will produce another result the president has in mind as he rebuilds the American house on his rock: the earnings premium paid to highly educated workers will decline as the number of men and women competing for those jobs increases, and the relative wages of the fewer blue-collar – by then, green-collar – workers will increase.

This greater equality of income distribution is, for Obama, the summum bonum. He is redesigning the tax system to narrow the after-tax gap between “the rich” – family incomes above $250,000 (£170,000) a year – and lower earners, even if the economic cost of such a move (reduced risk-taking) is quite high. Equality, not economic efficiency, is his goal. Which is why he favours raising the rate at which capital gains are taxed even if the result is a fall, rather than an increase, in the Treasury’s net receipts.”

For someone who isn’t a socialist, he sure acts like one.


49 Responses to “Gloom, Doom and Socialism”

  1. well, at least the argument over whether he is a “good man” or not is over….

    the science is settled. (and we’re screwed)

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  2. Not really no.

    AJB (d64738)

  3. Socialism is a lot more than the tax rate on the highest income bracket.

    AJB (d64738)

  4. AJB, can you define socialism for me, please?

    The American people say Obama is a socialist, btw. 55%, last I heard.

    The Government is taking over businesses, shutting down resource acquisition by private industry, and redistributing wealth.

    Now, some nutcase socialist in a college can quibble about whether this is authentic socialism, but we can smell what Barack is cooking.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  5. According to a friend of mine, it isn’t Socialism until the state “owns” the private sector.

    Of course, the system by which the state “controls” the private sector is called “Fascism” which I doubt the left would appreciate, either.

    It would be better if they just left us alone, but that is not possible when they know so much more than we do.

    tyree (63c76f)

  6. AJB has been puking out its idiocy all over the place today.

    JD (5e5cad)

  7. The uncertainty has been a disaster for employment, financial, and real estate markets. The administration’s intention to raise taxes and redistribute wealth is clear. The ability to make this happen, before all credibility is lost, is not.

    There is a persistent feeling that our futures are no longer in our control. Decline is ugly.

    TimesDisliker (082ec1)

  8. Not a socialist, a Commuitarian; when it doesn’t work, he’ll probably become authoritarian, as the tzar of tzars.

    htom (412a17)

  9. Finally, factory activity growth in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region fell unexpectedly this month, a survey by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank said.

    We’ve been hearing this term “unexpectedly” a lot of the past year, and it’s easy to joke about it, but the fact of the matter is that it’s no accident that the media have employed it so often–it’s a classic propoganda tool to get people to think that things should be getting better so they’ll perceive ANY sign of life as an indication of recovery rather than a death throe.

    The conventional wisdom since the very beginning of this depression has been that this is a liquidity crisis, and that the economy simply needs continual shots of capital and/or government stimulus until things pick up again–in other words, a bastardized version of Keynesianism (because, to be fair, Keynes never advocated that governments run up deficits forever, nor in the quantities that we have been doing since 1957, the last time the public debt went down). Obama, his economic advisory team, and Bernanke have followed this playbook to its logical conclusion.

    Unfortunately, the conventional wisdom was WRONG. This is not a liquidity crisis, this is a DEBT crisis–too much debt in the government, too much debt in the FIRE sector, too much student loan debt, too much consumer debt. All sectors of our economy except the government have increased their savings and made efforts to cut debt, not increase it–by cutting salaries, cutting employees, cutting spending, cutting inventory, cutting businesses, cutting loans.

    The govt. has tried to paper this over with $1.5 trillion in TARP and a “stimulus” bills, tax “credits” (really, just T-Bond-financed consumer kickbacks) on housing and auto purchases, along with auto bailouts.

    It hasn’t worked–auto sales plummeted after C4C, housing sales plummeted after the tax credit expired (both times–after the initial expiration and after the extension), and income and sales tax receipts continue to fall y/o/y. I predicted last year that the cities and states were papering over their budget deficits with stimulus money to hide their insolvency, and I was right–46 out of 50 states are broke.

    This depression will NOT end until Obama stops listening to Bernanke, Summers, Romer, and Geithner, and starts treating this as a debt problem. Yeah, it’s going to be painful for a little while, but it’s necessary–and I guarantee it will be a lot worse down the road if he keeps practicing the government’s “extend and pretend” policies of the last 35+ years.

    Also, I’d argue that Obama isn’t a socialist in the sense we would normally consider. Read a collection of his speeches before he became President, and it’s a lot more apparent that his political philosophy is a rather toxic stew of 20th century corporatism, 1970s urban messianic utopianism (read The Rough Road to Renaissance by Jon Teaford for an overview of the history of “Messiah Mayors” during this period), and Bandung-inspired Third Worldism (the latter not a suprise given his upbringing). It certainly doesn’t resemble the federal republicanism of the early Founders in any way whatsoever, and certainly not the “post-racial, post-partisan” philosophy that the media and academics attributed to him. In fact, Obama’s tendency to devolve into street-trash ward-heeler banter when challenged shows he’s less concerned with post-partisanship than he is with believing that everyone act as if he’s Dear Leader.

    But I’d contend that he’s far from what classical democratic socialists such as Orwell would have supported, because he’s less about serving the needs of the state than he is about consolidating his own political fiefdom and personality cult–in other words, a modern Louis XIV.

    Another Chris (2d8013)

  10. The American people say Obama is a socialist, btw. 55%, last I heard.


    Yes, and the American people are so informed. Are these the same American people, two-thirds of whom cannot name a single Supreme Court justice? Those American people?

    The same American people, a quarter of whom have not completed a book in one year?

    Weak, Dustin. You know better than that.

    The dumbing down of socialism does not help us in the long run. It only makes it more acceptable, and it makes the gamble that none of Obama’s policies will ever be popular. If they do indeed become popular, some of the uninformed will think, “Hey, this socialism is not so bad!”

    In reality, Obama’s health care plan is less-intrusive than any proposal that came before it, including Nixon’s.

    And regulating Wall Street is not going to kill anyone, and actually might help to prevent the regular bailouts at taxpayers expense.

    Myron (6a93dd)

  11. Not to mention that 52% of Americans voted for a completely unqualified Presidential candidate in 2008 and are now surprised that he can’t handle the job – and that his economic pronouncements are jokes.

    Myron, your belief that recent regulatory proposals have anything to do with the financial bailouts would be quaint if it was not for the fact that it has been pointed out to you repeatedly that not only does the recent financial regulation legislation have absolutely nothing to do with the bailouts, but the reality is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still leaking billions of dollars every week and nothing is being done about it.

    Just as nothing is being done about all of the Democratic pork that is costing taxpayers billions every week.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  12. I think the term socialism accurately describes Obama’s goals, especially since modern definitions include not only government ownership of assets but also social (i.e., government) control of property and income:

    Socialism: “System of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control; also, the political movements aimed at putting that system into practice.”

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  13. Myron,

    You have a point… Obama was elected after all, so the opinions of the general population have to be taken with a grain of salt.

    but a lot of people think Obama is a socialist. You can’t get away from that… and this informs language to some extent.

    I think Obama is a socialist to some extent. He believes in taking much of what should be private and making it state owned. He believes in drastic wealth redistribution.

    I love your ridiculous claims that Obama’s health care plan was less intrusive than any other. Not that this the end all be all of whether Obama is a socialist. You must have been in a coma.

    Tell me, has Obama ever appeared on a ballot as the candidate for the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America? Did he protest this or was he thankful?

    If Sarah Palin were on a ballot for the Wasilla Truthers of America, would you say she was a truther?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  14. SPQR – That does not fit with his talking points.

    JD (5e5cad)

  15. It is very annoying that people with absolutely no understanding of the financial crisis keep repeating the same utterly false talking points about some mythical “deregulation” causing the crisis.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  16. Yes, and the American people are so informed. Are these the same American people, two-thirds of whom cannot name a single Supreme Court justice? Those American people?

    I wonder how many US citizens could name a Supreme back in Lincoln’s time – yet they elected him anyway. What a bunch of dumbarses, right, Muron?

    Wait – the majority of US citizens just elected Obama, which means that of course they’re still dumbarses…which also follows that the election of the majorities for Congress were made by total dumbarses.

    No wonder you’re such a unreconstructed Maoist – only governmental job/bloviators like yourself know what’s best for the Proles, correct? So tiresome and predictable on the quarterly periods when you come on here to expectorate your spleen. Go back to DU and haunt the trolls there.

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  17. It is very annoying that people with absolutely no understanding of the financial crisis keep repeating the same utterly false talking points about some mythical “deregulation” causing the crisis.

    Here’s what’s always a fun question for Muran – back up your inanity with actual sources that don’t come from MSNBC, Media Mutters or Mother Jones.

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  18. He kind of made the point about how Obama got elected though, the bill doesn’t address Fannie & Freddie, it implements a form of card check for corporate boards, an unlimited cash hailout fund, and energency power, Putin would envy, btw ‘Heck of
    a job there, Brownie’

    ian cormac (d28167)

  19. By the way, I reject the notion that 75% of Americans cannot name a single Supreme Court justice.

    Every now and then, some poll will ‘prove’ that most Americans don’t know where Australia is, or how many moons Earth has. Just because the New York Times says that Americans are the dumbest people on Earth and soldiers are raping eachother and suicidal doesn’t make it so.

    As to who is a bona fide Socialist, I don’t think it’s so binary. Obama has painted himself into a corner. He can call the people who label him a Socialist kooks, except that’s most of the country now. He can show us he isn’t a Socialist via policies, except that would be the opposite of his policies.

    It’s much smarter for him to take Myron’s tactic, and say ‘Socialism must not be that bad, if I’m socialist!’. Of course, Myron is out of touch with the massive destruction the US Government has done the USA since the 110th Congress. We do not think ‘this’, whatever the hell you want to call it, is ‘not so bad’.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  20. I don’t believe Americans are stupid and uninformed. I’ve seen far too many juries and met far too many people from all walks of life who share the same basic sense of common sense and fair play to believe American adults are stupid.

    However, Americans are typically optimistic and fair-minded and in 2008 they wanted to believe what candidate Barack Obama was selling. It turned out he wasn’t selling what he claimed, but that doesn’t make the voters/buyers stupid for believing him the first time. It would raise some questions if they buy his spin in 2012, but I don’t think they will.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  21. DRJ – I believe, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Teh Won will win the next presidential popularity contest. It is his ONLY skill, well … if you do not count reading TOTUS.

    JD (5e5cad)

  22. It would raise some questions if they buy his spin in 2012, but I don’t think they will.

    That is the game we’re playing. But did the American people buy Clinton’s message in 1996? Mostly, no. He still won.

    We’re in deep trouble as a country, and the real problem is not that the Democrats are going too far (these folks have always been with us, always wanting this crap), but that the opposition to the Democrats is something of a mess. My opinion, anyway.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  23. I agree, DRJ, that the line of BS that Obama fed the nation during his campaign has been universally debunked by his own actions. And that is going to be an albatross he cannot avoid.

    However, we’ll have to see if the GOP can nominate a decent candidate.

    Given one, I cannot believe that Americans will give Carter II another term.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  24. Moron hasn’t met any tea partiers or he would have a higher opinion of voters. He was referring to Democrat voters.

    The Dodd-Frank bill will prolong the depression. It’s interesting that Ireland, suffering from a worse housing collapse than ours, chose the Harding-Coolidge approach and is already emerging from the crisis.

    Mike K (0ef8c3)

  25. Mike K., every single Democratic policy is having the effect of prolonging our recession. Without exception.

    And the immense tax increases we are facing in six months are compounding the problem.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  26. That Dodd and Frank were even allowed to participate in the “financial reform” legislation should be criminal.

    JD (5e5cad)

  27. Actually, I enjoyed Myron’s tipping of his hand. You see folks, he is smarter than everyone else. He knows what is better more than they do.

    The mask of liberalism drops at last. The ironic part is how much they claim to hate Big Bosses. They simply wish to be those Big Bosses.

    And I would love to get this fellow in real time and ask him basic questions about politics and the economy. A certain ego would quickly deflate.

    Am I saying I’m so smart? Not at all. But then, I am not saying the American public is stupid…though our educational system has certainly shortchanged them in terms of factual information.

    I have always sensed that this administration and this new party are suffused with arrogance beyond their abilities. Thanks for the confirmation.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  28. “The dumbing down of socialism does not help us in the long run. It only makes it more acceptable”

    Myron – Until the system finally runs out of other peoples’ money as Europe is just now figuring out and turning its back on its socialistic policies just as we are swerving in their direction. Learn from their lessons, hell no, that would take brains.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  29. When they run out of other people’s money, they will just print more money, or start the standard leftist “purges”.

    JD (5e5cad)

  30. Myron – That financial deform package is just another regulatory boondogle. When was the last time you took out a mortgage? Three-fourths of that paperwork was disclosure mandated to protect the consumer. People don’t think that was enough?ARE THEY FREAKING SERIOUS? There’s so much overload and boilerplate most people don’t read it as it is, so the solution is to add more. That’s is the Democrat party way!!!!11ty!!!

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  31. It took me so long to read all those stupid forms when I got my mortgage that my wife thought I was being obnoxious.

    No, I was just reading it all.

    The problem is that if a bank really only gave loans to only those it expects to have a profitable arrangement with, Obama and ACORN would sue.

    We’re paying for a shakedown.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  32. Standby for suffocating presidential administration of America’s Liberty. Just like Kagan’s paper of the same subject.

    It’s the reason for these “no details”, no hearings, 2500 page bills which have who knows what buried deep inside.

    Ever heard of The Enabling Act of 1933? No, google it. Because this is nothing more that the USA’s Enabling Act, shepherding in tyranny, piecemeal.

    bill-tb (541ea9)

  33. Some fairly meaningless polling to look at, DRJ.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  34. “26. That Dodd and Frank were even allowed to participate in the “financial reform” legislation should be criminal.”

    Cannot agree more. You know they’re off sharing a scotch having a big ole giggle over the whole thing. Criminal indeed.

    em (017d3c)

  35. SPQR,

    No polling institution would do it, but it would be interesting to see how Obama polls against “Anybody else.”

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  36. It is Myronic, isn’t it, how Obama’s policies are so amazingly close to Hoover’s (given that we know what Hover’s policies did to turn a significant market downturn into the Great Depression) …

    And, of course, there is the other irony, whereby Obama’s policies are like Hoovers – they suck !

    (I’d say that Obama isn’t acting in a vacuum – except he’s acting *like* a well-known vacuum)

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  37. “Hover’s” ???


    Alasdair (0f13d9)

  38. In keeping with the tenets of Contemporary Libera Progressivism, Myroon shows his disdain of his fellow countrymen. Only the self-anointed Myroons of the world have the political acumen and wherewithal required to express an opinion.

    Big Zero is all about redistribution of wealth and even a simple-minded sort like Myroon should be able to grasp that fact, as it’s been demonstrated several times in the last 18 months.

    GeneralMalaise (9cf017)

  39. That Dodd and Frank were even allowed to participate in the “financial reform” legislation should be criminal.

    Indeed. They should both be under criminal indictment for violations of the RICO statute for their contributions to FannieMae, FreddieMac and the 2008 economic meltdown.

    “It’s a great moment. I’m proud to have been here. No one will know until this is actually in place how it works. But we believe we’ve done something that has been needed for a long time. It took a crisis to bring us to the point where we could actually get this job done.” – Chris Dodd(D)

    Profiles in Idiocy… and GD that Brown of Massachusetts.

    GeneralMalaise (9cf017)

  40. ____________________________________

    It is Myronic, isn’t it, how Obama’s policies are so amazingly close to Hoover’s (given that we know what Hover’s policies did to turn a significant market downturn into the Great Depression)

    It’s rarely noted that Herbert Hoover and, of course, Franklin Roosevelt — who was intrinsically of the left — favored liberal-type policymaking. Hoover’s response to the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929 was to initiate tax-and-spend programs, which Roosevelt took to the next level.

    I laugh when I originally believed Hoover was a rather laissez-faire conservative who had turned off Americans yearning for a big-mommy, sob-sister liberal. As things turn out, if Hoover had observed the hippocratic oath of “do no harm,” — which is closer to a laissez-faire approach and wouldn’t have inflamed an already bad situation by spooking the investor class to an even greater degree — he wouldn’t deserve the bad reputation he ended up with.

    As for Obama, he may not be a Socialist, but he sure as hell is an ultra-liberal. One has to be exactly that to have schmoozed with a fanatic like Jeremiah Wright for almost 20 years. And then to have picked Wright for the role of close, trusted adviser until controversy forced a change in the plans of the current occupant of the Oval Office.

    Mark (411533)

  41. For someone who isn’t a socialist, he sure acts like one.

    – DRJ

    Obama isn’t a socialist, DRJ. Obama’s a full-blown commie rat bastard who mixes that ideology with a little Chicago Crony Capitalism.

    RickZ (7c3f16)

  42. Mark #40 – if more people were aware of Hoover’s “contributions” tot he making of the Great Depression, Ear Leader *might* have been able to learn from Hoover’s mistakes …

    Alasdair (205079)

  43. And it just got much worse today … Inflation dead ahead. Jimmy Carter economy next stop.

    By the way, anybody know what happened to Carter’s synfuels?

    History is like a loop, people should stop and read it occasionally.

    bill-tb (541ea9)

  44. Big Zero speaks the language of redistribution and entitlements. Opportunity and prosperity will have to wait for January 2013.

    GeneralMalaise (9cf017)

  45. if more people were aware of Hoover’s “contributions”

    I find it very telling that most of the major blunders of presidents associated with the right side of the ideological spectrum and the Republican Party can be traced to when such politicians leaned left. That’s true of Hoover (as previously mentioned), Richard Nixon (innumerable left-leaning policies, including mandated price freezes), Gerald Ford (his loving to socialize with the scroungy Clintons well after their reputation was confirmed and verified says it all), Ronald Reagan (secret dealings with hostage-taking Iran), George Bush Sr (“read my lips…”) and George Bush Jr. (never vetoing bloated budgets).

    So a majority of Americans decided in 2008 to stop with the lukewarm liberalism and shoot for the moon. And they voted into the White House the out-and-out leftist we have now.

    Mark (411533)

  46. Obama’s policies are failing to get the US economy out of recession, and even the Fed Reserve is admitting the failure.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  47. This is so depressing. Even if the Republicans take back both houses, will they have the guts to repeal these horrible bills?

    It’s that or wait for Armageddon, and I’m betting on Armageddon for now.

    Patricia (358f54)

  48. No polling institution would do it, but it would be interesting to see how Obama polls against “Anybody else.”

    Comment by DRJ

    I would love to see that poll.

    John Hitchcock (9e8ad9)

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