The Madness of a Twisted Faith

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As to income stagnation, here are a couple of facts:

  • Real hourly compensation in America, including non-wage benefits, increased 41% on average from 1973 to 2007, and 23% from 1991 to 2007.
  • Over the past 40 years or so, median US household income has increased 20%, from about $40,000 per year to about $50,000. The average size of a household was 3.2 people in 1967; 2.6 people today.

Ms. vanden Heuvel waxes indignant about the ‘top 1%’.  The top 1% of income earners pay 40% of the taxes. Does she take offense at that? Does she acknowledge that the actual human beings who earn any level of income in any given year are different people each year, NOT permanent hereditary classes of the same people?

How did the top 1% ‘accrue’ all that wealth? Could it possibly be that they earned it – created and produced it?  And what do those filthy capitalists do with their ill-gotten gains? Why, they save it, spend it and invest it, presumably without regard for human needs or social responsibility. But somehow, human needs get met better under capitalism than under any other system, because there is no way, under a free-market regime, without privilege or prejudice, to earn profits consistently over the long term without meeting human needs; the needs of workers for jobs, the need of customers for the most valuable products and services at the lowest price, and the need of investors (such as workers with 401Ks and consumers looking for something better to do with their money than consume it) for opportunities to increase their wealth and retirement income.

Still, it’s not fair, right? The rich are getting richer, while the poor are getting poorer, as the Left tells us today, as they told us 30 years ago and 60 years before that.  With such a compound effect over such a long period of time, the United States should be the world’s most oppressive place to live for anyone other than George Soros by now. So why in the world does everyone in the world – especially the poor – seem to want to come here? What is the immigration controversy about?

The Left, in their bone marrow, cannot admit that capitalism and the United States have lifted more people out of poverty both in percentages and absolute numbers than any other system or nation ever in the history of the world.

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  • bubba4

    Here's Howard Hyde showing us how it's done. Whatever the point is…whatever the argument or even fact, just steer it into FPM's favorite ideological template…capitalism vs. communism.

    The fact that we are back to late 1920s breakdown of wealth distribution stands on it's own…there it is. Howard asks what it means, but then doesn't bother to answer. He concludes its a worthless factoid because America is a great place to be.

    "How did the top 1% ‘accrue’ all that wealth? Could it possibly be that they earned it – created and produced it?"

    Some of them sure…but as the old saying goes "it takes money to make money". With few exceptions the families that have a ton of wealth have had a ton of wealth for generations.

    "NOT permanent hereditary classes of the same people"

    No, it shifts around..you have your Bill Gates and other people that come out of nowhere and amass huge fortunes, but that is the exception, not the rule. By championing the cutting of income tax, capital gains tax, and the estate tax, FPM is certainly trying to firm up the field.

    • davarino

      So what are you arguing for, communism/socialism? Or are you arguing at all, just trying to make your pointless point that some how or another you have figured it all out and the rest of us are dummies?

      What the F is your point? Firm up what field? The field of fascism, in your mind, that allows people to keep more of their hard earned money, except for those evil people who have had it over a certain period of time. Have you determined what that period of time should be? Who determines what that period of time should be before the government has the right to take most of it away from you?

      Oh and by the way, I am sure what ever other web site you go to, the subject always gets steered into the ideological template of …. communism vs. capitalism. And dont tell me that just because they dont use the word communism that somehow exhonerates you. Progressive equals commie, Liberal equals leftie. You think that by changing the names everything is cool now, but we dummies here at FPM are not that stupid.

      • bubba4

        "So what are you arguing for, communism/socialism?"

        Sigh.

        "What the F is your point? Firm up what field?"

        The hereditary class of the same people?

        "The field of fascism, in your mind, that allows people to keep more of their hard earned money, except for those evil people who have had it over a certain period of time."

        Look, Howard already did this for you in the article. He took another person correctly pointing out a statistical fact and already tried to make that into the strawman of "tax the rich to death, they're evil". He then defended his safe positions (that America is good and people want to come here) against this strawman. So there is no need for you to come along and take my comments and do the same thing. It's just a tactic.

        "Have you determined what that period of time should be? Who determines what that period of time should be before the government has the right to take most of it away from you?"

        You're going to get taxed, somehow in some form, so how does it help any conversation to try to rephrase "taxes" as wealth distribution or theft? I mean, it's not wit. Now we just need the Coyote to come along and add that all income tax is unconstitutional and we can lose any point unique to this blog post all together.

        "Oh and by the way, I am sure what ever other web site you go to, the subject always gets steered into the ideological template of …. communism vs. capitalism."

        Ah..come on, don't be so quick to discount FPM's uniqueness.

        "Progressive equals commie, Liberal equals leftie. You think that by changing the names everything is cool now, but we dummies here at FPM are not that stupid."

        Um…I'll let you figure out what's wrong with this.

        • sebyandrew

          …you're going to get taxed, somehow in some form, so how does it help any conversation to try to rephrase "taxes" as wealth (Re)distribution or theft?

          Um…I'll let you figure out what's wrong with this

          • bubba4

            Only sure things are death and taxes…I have no idea what you are getting at.

  • sebyandrew

    Howard asks what it means, but then doesn't bother to answer. ________

    ■Real hourly compensation in America, including non-wage benefits, increased 41% on average from 1973 to 2007, and 23% from 1991 to 2007.
    ■Over the past 40 years or so, median US household income has increased 20%, from about $40,000 per year to about $50,000. The average size of a household was 3.2 people in 1967; 2.6 people today.

    • bubba4

      You can use the reply feature…

      "Real hourly compensation in America, including non-wage benefits, increased 41% on average from 1973 to 2007."

      Yeah that's exciting news sans the rise in the cost of living…the cost of food, rent, housing, cars, and everything else. Granted, it is a purposeful omission from Howard's post but:

      The Consumer Price Index went from 44.4 in 1973 to 207.3 in 2007, according to the BLS. In plain English, that means it cost almost five times as much to buy goods and services such as food in 2007 as it did in 1973. Debt has risen steadily, too. Average household debt was $27,600 in 1962 (adjusted for inflation), according to Federal Reserve Board data. In 2004, it was $79,100.

      In context, I don't know what Howard's examples are even for, exceptt to give the wrong impression and false context for the discussion.

  • davarino

    Bubba, I dont know who you think you are talking to but your pointless point is exactly what Howard is talking about. Some how trying to spin this recent election into something that doesnt hurt so bad to admit. The point is that "liberalism/communism" is not paletable to the American people anymore. They see past the BS that has been spun for the last 60 years.

    • bubba4

      What, you couldn't wait until I answered you above?

      • davarino

        No, I didnt think the admin would post mine above.

  • therealend

    The money I have in the bank doesn't just sit there. It flows around the economy by various means. In other words, it does some good for people other than me. If I had more, it would do more good. Increasing the wealth of the nation isn't a bad thing. Decreasing it on the other hand…

  • Patrick Henry

    Implicit in the left's argument is that the state ought to control the distribution of wealth and manage the economy through high taxes and regulation on the producers of wealth (i.e., the rich), now that state ownership of the means of production has failed so miserably. But whether one is a liberal Democrat, social Democrat or an openly Marxist revolutionary, they share the same collectivist desire to control people. Why do they maintain this desire, despite a century of failed experiements and genocide?

  • Patrick Henry

    It boils down to philosophy – the ethics of altruism. Because all religion has a personal element of sacrifice, both to a higher power and sacrifice to help one's fellow man, altruism is engrained in our civilization. Despite Marxism's secular nature, they cannot escape the desire to organize society under their ethical code: sacrifce oneself to the collective, and in that mankind will find earthly redemption. This helps explain why socialism takes on such quasi-religious characteristics. Argue with a leftist and you hear dogma, not logical debate, or revealing insights into their hatred of freedom (you might start thinking: "Whose money is it anyway?" "Are we free or do we work for the government and they decide how much we can keep?").

  • Patrick Henry

    Freedom is funademantally in oppostition to this creed. Freedom is about the right to one's own life, the liberty to choose freely, and provides a purpose in life: to pursue one's hapiness, not to sacrifice oneself to the collective. It is about survival and prosperity, self-preservation, and rational self interest. Arguing about the distribution of wealth is pointless if you cannot agree on the basic question: Are we free or are we servants?

  • Gil Solnin

    In her editorial vanden Heuvel also said the following: "According to many polls, majorities across party lines want government to work. They aren't interested in rolling back decades of social and economic progress, abolishing the Education Department and the minimum wage, or privatizing Social Security and Medicare—issues that many tea party candidates touted."

    I would like to see those polls. The fact is that the left is staring at the end of the unsustainable entitlement Federal government created with The New Deal and escalated over decades. The easy solution was always to let the government do it – not well – but who cared about national debt anyway. Now the aging baby boomers are staring at empty social security coffers and a bankrupt country for their children and grandchildren unless the people take back control of their government away from the established oligarchy in D.C. supported by the elite media. It will require innovation and imagination to fundamentally change how future generations retire, get their healthcare, educate their children, manage their resources, and maintain a stable free market.

    As Reagan once said, "government is the problem."

  • sflbib

    Liberals lack the courage of their stated convictions. Katrina is probably in that top 1%, and there is nothing preventing her [or any liberal] from paying more taxes. Simply make out a check to the IRS or the Bureau of the Public Debt and send it in.

    I have made this challenge in several ways to a number of liberals, and have yet to have a single one take me up on it. One who refused even complained, "Why does everything have to get down to the almighty dollar?" !!!

    My conclusion is that their conviction is not helping the downtrodden and "oppressed"; they are motivated by envy to "get even" with "the rich".

  • http://apcnational.wordpress.com/ Mike in VA

    Ludwig von Mises pointed out the economic illiteracy of the Left in 1922, and after 88 years the "progressive" illiterati still don't get it.

    Pathetic…

  • DuncanIdaho

    Bubba4, the use of the word “real” means adjusted for inflation

  • MKS

    If one single individual possessed 99.9% of all the wealth in the country, and the rest of us had to scrape by on the remaining 0.1%, the fact of the poorly distributed wealth alone is not necessarily wrong – and should not be the issue under consideration.

    The proper question is, "Did this individual get his wealth honestly – without coercion or deception?" If the answer is "yes," then that means he or his ancestors provided some product or service that we valued so highly that we were willing to voluntarily surrender the monetary equivalent of the hours of our labors and lives. If the answer is "no," then our laws should stop and penalize his coercion or deception, just as they should anyone else.

    Punitive taxation and wealth redistribution, even in an effort to achieve someone's notion of "equality", usually entail coercion or deception.

    • therealend

      It's not just that. Anyone could easily argue the government uses deceptive ploys to get its revenues and even beyond that, it spends those revenues so badly. If they got even more, why would anyone think they would manage it more wisely?

  • Guest

    "… the left's ethical code is that of altruism – sacrifice to the needs of the collective. In this they seek an earthly redemption,…"

    I agree with all you've said but it seems to me the above statement is contradictory. Seeking earthly redemption for himself is absolutely what drives the Leftist but this motive cannot be considered to be altuism. Altruism and self-seeking are inversely related in my view.
    I doubt that 'true' altruism even exists but that's an argument for another time.

  • USMCSniper

    Communists, socialists, liberals, and so-called moderates all forget or never learned that an absolute of all economics is that supply and demand is an absolute and production must always precede distribution. If government were restricted to its proper functions — police, courts and a strong military to defend individual rights against physical force and fraud — our 66,000-page coercive tax code would be a thing of the past. What's more, a great burden would be lifted, not just from ruining the economy, but from our lives. Imagine reasserting ourselves as rational, sovereign individuals, whose rights to life (and its corollary property), liberty and the pursuit of happiness include the right to choose values without asking government's permission — to keep our own money, trying to understand the incohereht labyrinthine of a tax code.