Equally Shabby

By Louis Avallone

We are precipitously running out of other people’s money, and there are simply not enough millionaires to fund the deficit between our income and expenses, or to employ those who are unemployed, or preserve even a semblance of a free market economy.

And yet our nation’s leaders continue to falsely presuppose, whether by their own education or ignorance, that government can somehow guarantee economic equality, or fairness, even though even a cursory study of history, particularly the rise and fall of socialist and communist states, would plainly prove otherwise. In the words of the late economist, Milton Friedman, “A society that puts equality…ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom.” After all, who in government will decide what is fair, or equal? If liberty is embodied in the creed, “all men are created equal,” does that likewise mean that we shall all be kept equal?

Is equality being “equally shabby,” as a 1930s social worker gushed about the virtues of Soviet Russia? Is there liberty in a nation where its citizens are allowed to build only a “modest” savings, as President Obama proclaimed in a speech just last week? Does he decide what is a “modest” savings for each one of us? If so, is there liberty in being “equally modest”?

But still, there are folks in Washington who continue to urge us all to “get some skin in the game”, and to offer a “shared sacrifice” so that the promise to “make work pay again” can be fulfilled, as if there is some universal, mystically agreed upon threshold amount of pay that will create nirvana for a nation. These are the same folks, during the last presidential election that urged, “It’s time to be patriotic…time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

But this has not worked. Nor has it ever. Are these folks purposely promoting empirically failed philosophies of economy and liberty, or are they ridiculously ignorant or corrupt? Have they not studied economics? Are they such poor students of history that they do not see that in almost every instance where government intervenes to provide financial advantages or disadvantages to this group, or that group, that it distorts, or otherwise perverts the free enterprise system? Have they not realized the human suffering that inevitably results when markets are forced to correct themselves because the government has simply run out of other people’s money to prop up the unsustainable?

Consider this: Congress spends $10 billion per day, or $3.7 trillion per year. So, to keep the economy moving, Congress must continue expropriating more and more private capital. But you see, Congress does not have a revenue crisis – it has a spending crisis. As the late economist Milton Friedman explained, “The true burden on taxpayers today is government spending.”

And he is right. In fact, government spending in 2011 currently amounts to over 175 percent of all government revenue, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget. This means we are spending $3.77 trillion this year, while our income is only $2.15 trillion.

This is the fallacy of focusing on revenue, and the immorality of inciting class warfare to achieve political power, yet this is also the intentional, disingenuous, and unconscionable political strategy of Obama for the 2012 election. The class warfare rhetoric, or the notion to increase taxes on the “fortunate” is offered as a means to save our nation from economic peril, just as Karl Marx also believed.

But it is a false premise because there’s not enough of other people’s money to save us. No, this rhetoric is not about the greater welfare of the American people, or ensuring the strength of our nation for generations to come…this is about power, and a socialist ideology that has only demonstrated its own shortcomings, and historical failings, rather than preserving the very principles of a free market economy which, historically, provide the best and most sustainable opportunities to lift people out of poverty, or provide jobs for those who need them.

So every time you read, or hear, folks talking about the rich getting richer, or the poor getting poorer, or how folks need to contribute their fair share, please remember, and share with others the following:

Congress can’t expropriate enough private capital to “float the boat”. This is even if, on January 1, Congress imposes a 100% tax rate on all income earned above $250,000. By doing this, there will only be enough revenue to fund government’s spending through mid-May.

If Congress went further, and then confiscated 100% of the profits, earned last year, from all of the Fortune 500 companies, this would generate only enough income to “keep the lights on” in the government through the end of June.

And even if you “stepped up” the raising of revenue by confiscating all of the stocks and bonds, the businesses, yachts, airplanes, mansions and jewelry, of every American billionaire, our government could only continue cutting checks for another 6-7 weeks, or through mid-August or so. We’re still a $1 trillion short to make it to the end of the year.

So? Now what? Seriously. What now? After government has expropriated most all private capital, and redistributed it with spending programs that exceed our income by 175%, and after Americans have spent their “modest” savings that Obama had so gratuitously allowed them to earn, what do we do now?

New, temporary government programs to “get this economy going again”? Maybe we can “make work pay” again, somehow? I mean, who knows? Maybe there are new ways to make folks contribute their “fair share,” even after we become “equally shabby.”

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