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The War Against the Producers [Victor Davis Hanson] ^ | July 11, 2009 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 07/13/2009 9:27:43 AM PDT by Tolik

Stimulus, stimulus and not a drop…
A “stimulus” of nearly a trillion dollars was proposed, without which we were told, unemployment would skyrocket and credit would tighten further. Six months later — unemployment having risen even higher than the administration’s forecast of what would have been the case had their stimulus package not been implemented — now the same proponents of massive borrowing demand a second stimulus to accomplish what the first ’successful’ borrowing apparently did not. If you fail, then try the same thing to fail even bigger the second time — while calling for more success to follow the earlier success?

The Larger Agenda
Note here I mean something quite different from the accustomed notion of “accomplish.” You see, I think the point was never much to build more bike paths on borrowed money or just bail out GM, but rather more to reengineer the tax code, as part of a grander vision of creating a new equality of result in America.

Soon we will all end up after each April 15 about making the same, driving the same sort of cars and using the same sort of mass transit, living in about the same sorts of houses, and having about the same sorts of “‘they’ will take care of it for me” philosophies — all overseen by brilliant, but highly ranked and exempt Platonic Guardians who suffer on our behalf as they jet and limo at breakneck speed ensuring our welfare.

Gorging “the Beast”
We are beginning to sense the debate is not about “stimulus” (politicians did not even read the various bills that they rammed through and care little about the fiscal impact from them). Rather, we are witnessing an inversion of Reagan’s sort of playing chicken, once called “starve the beast” (which I thought was a wrong notion), a philosophy of cutting taxes to cut revenue to starve the federal government’s excessive spending in the face of spiraling deficits.

Under Obama’s “gorge the beast” version, America will simply write so many bounced checks, run up such an enormous $10 trillion debt, that taxes will have to rise on “them”– and wasn’t this really the point of it all anyway: to “spread the wealth around” and “never let a crisis go to waste”?  Since new programs never shrink, but, like Johnson grass, grow with impunity, and since Democrats, even more so than wasteful Republicans, don’t worry about deficits, taxes must escalate to avoid catastrophe.

The Bad Guys
Ponder a simple fact: The Obama administration is dispersing income lavishly to those who do not pay taxes and it will have to be paid for by those who do. For all the talk of that awful percentile who make over $200,000, this administration has not distinguished the hyper-rich 1% that make untold money (e.g., the Buffets, Soroses, Turners, Gateses, Kerrys, Gores, etc), from the much more demonized, larger 5% of the population whose income does not come from investments and insider influence and deal-making, but rather from providing more tangible goods and services — the family doctor, the plumbing contractor, the small lumber company owner, the car dealer, the local family-held insurance company, the airline pilot, the car-leasing firm, the patent attorney, etc.

“Their Fair Share”
Last fall we heard that this percentile was unpatriotic, did not wish to spread the wealth around, and had made off like bandits under Bush. But the fact is, to quote Mayor Gavin Newsome’s “like it or not,” they are precisely those who decide most dynamically whether to hire, fire, expand, contract, buy/sell goods, etc.

And the results of the Obama war against them are threefold: 1) in major key states, the productive minority’s state income taxes will near or exceed 10%; their federal rates will go to 40%; the abolition of caps on FICA will ensure 15% plus of most of their income will go for new Medicare and Social Security bites; and they may well be eligible for a newly proposed punitive health-care surcharge tax of 4-6%.

Add It Up
If one were to add all that up (forget rises in sales taxes, inheritance taxes, luxury taxes, etc.), then one can get to 70% of one’s income. So right this minute, the electrical contractor is thinking:

“I made $412,000 last year due to Saturday jobs, overtime, risky bidding, gambles on new equipment, and new lines of credit, but under Obama I will pay maybe $50-80,000 more of my income to the government. In other words the cost of, say, hiring two more entry-level electricians, or the cost of outfitting an entire new van with boom and equipment, or what I cleared every Saturday last year — all that will go to the government.”

Ripples of Doubt
And that means rippling throughout this key sector of the economy — even before these taxes have been enacted — are hesitation, stasis, and ultimately constriction — at first for psychological reasons, soon confirmed by the actual facts of less money. In short, very bright people will be thinking how to hide income, how to barter, how to slow down and not produce goods and services, rather than blast full speed ahead and enrich angry others.

A Certain Paranoia
2) Do not discount again the psychological element. This putative electrical contractor also knows that after handing over his profits to the new government, and delaying or ending his plans for enlargement, he will not be praised, but continually demonized (I scanned CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and NBC the other evening, and all the stories had a common theme: the “rich” (yes, you see, ACME Electric is now about the equivalent to  AIG and Citibank) will have to pay their “fair share” for all sorts of “overdue” necessities: cap-and-trade, nationalized health care, education grants and freebies, and new social programs.

You Owe Us
So our electrician senses that despite his newfound, sizable contribution to the public good, he will

a) not be thanked but only further ridiculed; 

b) see his money diverted from his own wise use of it, to anonymous agencies’ liberal expenditures of it: the money will not be just lost, but invested in things that will make  things worse, not better, through subsidies of failed programs and the destruction of incentives;  

c) see that the world under Obama is now unfair in Orwellian fashion: the Citibanks and AIGs, in Robert Rubin fashion, are so well connected to both parties that they will suffer little for their mistakes; the Ivy-League and Washington technocratic class that is to run all this is happy with its government perks and does not think new taxes and compliance apply to themselves (cf. Dodd, Rangel, Geithner, Daschle, Murtha, etc.).

You Never Needed All That Anyway
3) Finally the now chastised and ossified electrician will begin to see that his new truck, his boat, his vacation home, all these are somehow immoral in carbon, political, cultural, racial, and social terms. And he senses that others, who do not pay any income taxes (approaching 50% of the population), see themselves at war with him: the more he pays in taxes, the more others see that his compliance with such new burdens is proof of what he “really” owed all the time, and a sign that he can pay even more next round.

A Most Revolutionary Vision
Final observations: Obama brilliantly conflated the Wall Street class with the upper-tier of Main Street in Animal Farm fashion: the former gets lectured, but stays enriched through bailouts; the latter takes both the moral hit for the former’s crimes and greed and the actual hit in higher taxes.

(Nota bene: the new Democrats, in Prince Charles fashion, like the taste and culture of the hyper-rich, who care little about taxes, are sensitive behind their ramparts to the less well off, and know high-culture (think Streisand, Gates, Soros, the Georgetown/Hollywood/Silicon Valley, Upper East Side, Cambridge, Mass, set). These aristoi despise the wheeler-dealer, always on the move, uppity, wanna-get-rich scrambler that is desperately trying to get his get kid through Public U, and add a wing on his gross MacMansion, while towing his outboard up to the lake for five hours of water-skiing, without an opera, symphony, or NPR analysis on the radio).

Bottom line
This recovery cannot work, other than a brief spurt that results from trillions in printed money, because we are rewarding unproductive areas of the economy (federal money for more wind farms, federal hurdles for pumping more known natural gas or nuclear power construction; more of the community-organizing model, less of the productive small business model) and punishing the engines of the economy.

The New Culture of “Pay Up, Mister–or Else!”
For Obama to pull this off, an entire sort of new vocabulary, rhetoric, and attitude is necessary. And the model is California: the carpenter and the bricklayer are laid off, and the state snoozes; while the assistant solid waste inspector of Green Acres is on television every night (his union can afford the advertising) to weep, and claim that if he and those like him (retire at 55 with $100,000 for life) are laid off, then Dantesque things follow.

Remember the logic: the poor Californian voter who works at Starbucks or Target is angry that the grandee social worker is unnecessary and grossly overpaid at $90,000 a year, with lush retirement and benefits, and so is told that if he does not raise taxes to over 10% income and 9% sales, then firemen, police, and water workers will quit/be laid off/furlough and so he will starve, be murdered, and have no sewage.

Screw the Fool Hammering, Save the Grandee Behind the Desk — and Call it Egalitarian Morality
That is the model here in California and that is the model we are soon to see in Washington: the government worker and those who receive his largess, are kings; those who pay for them, and who work in private enterprise for far less, are, well, less than fools.

Whereas thousands are fleeing the natural paradise of California for the arid deserts of no-tax Nevada, there is no Nevada to the United States — the last hope of an otherwise depressing planet.

The Tipping Point?   [Victor Davis Hanson]

NRO Corner, 07/08 03:19 PM

Reports that Representative Rangel (of recent tax-liability fame) and others are suggesting a new health-care surcharge on "top" incomes need to be put into context. The president has already assured everyone that the income tax rates will go up to about 40% on such people; but unlike the Clinton-era rates, this will also be accompanied by a lifting of the ceiling on exposure to FICA payroll taxes.

And if we were to factor in recent state income tax rate hikes that were similarly weighted, it is not hard in a state like California to see a self-employed small business person paying almost 70% of income in state, federal, payroll, and new surcharge taxes.

People are not dense, and the thought of such added exposure surely must already be making many small-business owners think carefully about investing in new equipment, hiring more employees, or expanding service, since the government, not they, now knows far better how to spend an extra 10–20% of their income.

So we can predict two reactions:

One, businesses will constrict in anticipation of owing more in taxes;

Two, they will explore new methods (not all of them productive or healthy) of hiding and shielding income. 

We are living in a surreal age of $2 trillion annual deficits, in which we just casually talk about "more stimulus", "reforming health care", "fixing education", "cap-and-trade", while fighting two wars abroad — all the while "not raising taxes on 95% of Americans" — all predicated on the idea that "they" will always be willing and able to create new wealth and now hand over two-thirds and more of it to an ever-expanding government.

The only mystery will be how long will the base of Obama's support stay loyal among high-paid stockbrokers, CEOs, lawyers, financiers, academics, and journalists, who have enough money to get hit hard by new taxes, but not quite enough money not to care.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: agenda; bho44; bhoeconomy; bhofascism; classwar; democrats; economics; economy; hopeychangey; obama; socialism; stimulus; taxes; vdh; victordavishanson
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To: Tolik

Makers Vs Takers

21 posted on 07/13/2009 12:18:23 PM PDT by GeronL ( Patriotic Insurrectionist at
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To: RobFromGa; Billthedrill
22 posted on 07/13/2009 12:18:34 PM PDT by Tolik
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To: Billthedrill

and as Ayn Rand pointed out, with the full consent of the victim

23 posted on 07/13/2009 12:20:09 PM PDT by GeronL ( Patriotic Insurrectionist at
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To: GOPJ; Tolik; TigerLikesRooster
RE :"Where are all the hard luck stories about how bad the economy is? If we had had this mess under President Bush, reporters would be camped out in homeless shelters..."

It warms my heart to see Republicans on TV talking about how we are hungry and jobless like democrats did for 8 year, Wait till gas prices go up and they get in front of the gas stations like democrats did. MSNBC Morning Joe said democrats will be running political ads against Bush in VA, not kidding.

24 posted on 07/13/2009 12:51:29 PM PDT by sickoflibs (Socialist Conservatives: "'Big government is free because tax cuts pay for it'")
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To: ClearCase_guy
"Cloward and Piven aren’t some fringe whack-jobs who nobody outside the furthest reaches of left-wing polics follow. In 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. Both Cloward and Piven were at the signing, being personal guests of President Clinton.

During the 1990s, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani attempted to expose the strategy. As his drive for welfare reform gained momentum, Giuliani accused the militant scholars by name, citing their 1966 manifesto as evidence that they had engaged in deliberate economic sabotage. 'This wasn’t an accident,” Giuliani charged in a 1997 speech. “It wasn’t an atmospheric thing, it wasn’t supernatural. This is the result of policies and programs designed to have the maximum number of people get on welfare.”

Cloward and Piven

25 posted on 07/13/2009 12:54:49 PM PDT by Madame Dufarge
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To: Billthedrill
What's powerful about it? It is one sustained whine by a pessimist in favor of losers.

I don't need the government or a policy or republicans winning anything, to prosper. I want conservative policies, but pretending my life depends on them is a gross insult and a lie.

26 posted on 07/13/2009 2:36:04 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: Tolik

Victor Davis Hanson Perfection BUMP!!!!!

He shoots he scores!
all net swooosh!
He hits it out of the park!
or for those in Rio Linda,,,,Gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!!!!!!!

27 posted on 07/13/2009 2:40:31 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! and
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To: Tolik; MountainWoman; kstewskis

bttt, such an outstanding article

28 posted on 07/13/2009 3:59:43 PM PDT by Borax Queen
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To: Tolik

Excellent article. I have added victor Hansen’s page to my favorites!

29 posted on 07/13/2009 4:17:15 PM PDT by meyer ( "The world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for. But not without Freedom.")
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To: RobFromGa; PGalt; Dagny&Hank; dAnconia; John_Galt518; Wyatt's Torch; OwenKellogg; ...


30 posted on 07/13/2009 6:40:22 PM PDT by FreeKeys ("In the issue of rights, as in all moral issues, there can be no double standard." -- Ayn Rand)
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To: Tolik

John Galt’s gonna have a lot of company in that gulch.

31 posted on 07/13/2009 6:43:31 PM PDT by TADSLOS (Sarah Palin: Sun Tzu of Politics)
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To: FreeKeys
>AYN RAND ping

Thanks. Because I just
haven't been depressed enough
over money stuff,

crazy girl friend stuff,
job stuff, the price of Red Bull,
Jessica Simpson . . .


The social worker seized her arm. "It's a disgrace to come to such a state . . . If you society girls had something to do besides indulging your desires and chasing pleasures, you wouldn't be wandering drunk as a tramp, at this hour of the night . . . if you stopped living for your own enjoyment, stopped thinking of yourself and found some higher--"

Then the girl screamed--and the scream went beating against the blank walls of the street as in a chamber of torture, an animal scream of terror. She tore her arm loose and sprang back, then screamed in articulate sounds:

"No! No! Not your kind of world!"

Then she ran, ran by the sudden propulsion of a burst of power, the power of a creature running for its life, she ran straight down the street that ended at the river--and in a single streak of speed, with no break, no moment of doubt, with full consciousness of acting in self-preservation, she kept running till the parapet barred her way and, not stopping, went over into space.

The Death of Cherryl Taggart, AS, hardcover p. 907-908

32 posted on 07/13/2009 7:03:28 PM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: FreeKeys

NOT yours to give
Politicians are the POISON NOT the antidote

Drink TEA NOT Obama's multi-trillion dollar suicide-pact Kool AidGenuine Obama Brand Snake OilATLAS WILL SHRUG

You can take the organizer out of Chicago, but ....

America's abundance was created by free men, NOT by politicians.

Liberals are self-righteously ignorant of the VAST scholarship of capitalism and libertyCompetition produces excellence.  Government produces crap.

Find lots more like the above HERE.

33 posted on 07/13/2009 7:28:43 PM PDT by FreeKeys ("Do not ever consider Collectivists as 'sincere but deluded idealists'." -- Ayn Rand)
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To: Tolik

VDH got it.


34 posted on 07/13/2009 7:33:07 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: theFIRMbss
The social worker seized her arm.

While I appreciate the accuracy of the stereotype, there are some social workers who are excellent therapists and who really help people take care of themselves FIRST, and probably put the spacey Birkenstock-wearing types to shame. Like THIS ex-mortgage broker, for example.

35 posted on 07/13/2009 7:36:30 PM PDT by FreeKeys ("The concept of individual rights is so new ... most men have not grasped it fully to this day."Rand)
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To: Tolik
The only mystery will be how long will the base of Obama's support stay loyal among high-paid stockbrokers, CEOs, lawyers, financiers, academics, and journalists, who have enough money to get hit hard by new taxes, but not quite enough money not to care.

They will "care" when they are the next victims of the Obama Abomination. When they are turned upon and demonized. When they are no longer "safe" because of their "connections." When their wealth is confiscated "for the good of the people." When their turn comes, there will be no one left to "empathize" or "sympathize." Welcome to Galt's Gulch...............

36 posted on 07/14/2009 5:09:49 AM PDT by Red Badger (Inquiring minds want to know, but American Idol minds could care less...)
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To: Tolik

One can only wonder that if the social worker earning $90 is no longer alive and well, can she draw the salary?

37 posted on 07/14/2009 5:18:04 AM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . The boy's war in Detriot has already cost more then the war in Iraq.)
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To: Senator John Blutarski

>>> “Unfortunately, I have the bad feeling that we have passed the point of solution by any sort of reasoned reform and will likely have to suffer through the entire collapse of this gigantic house of cards before the concept of sane government by rational adults can recapture the imagination of the American public at large.”

While you are correct about the “point of no return”, I believe you are mistaken about the “solution”. There is nothing that is keeping us tied to this disaster other than ourselves. Either out of a misplaced sense of loyalty to people who would rather you just shut up and work for their benefit or out of idol worship... We are grasping on to a sinking ship, and there is no need to do so.

We can choose to let go and let all those idols and would be slave masters go down without us. If given the choice between living under the “stars and strips” or living free, Ill pick freedom and liberty EVERY time. A flag is worth nothing more than the cloth its made of. Even those who supposedly fought and died for it didnt actually fight and die for it, or the government, or even the country... They fought and died for freedom and liberty for them selves and those they cared about.

So, if your holding on to the beaten, bloody and tainted flag as some type of memorial to those who died... If your strapping yourself to the sinking ship out of some sense of duty or loyalty... Then you have missed the entire point of the founders... What matters, and has always mattered is the progression of freedom and liberty. The country and its institutions were nothing more than mechanisms to facilitate and protect that freedom and liberty, they were NOT ment to be worshiped as idols with their own mystical “worth”. When those mechanisms stop facilitating and protecting freedom and liberty and begin feeding on the same, it is our DUTY to destroy it or abandon it to its fate along with those who keep it alive.

We can do what the founders did...

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

We do NOT have to commit suicide, there is nothing binding us to the fate of the idiots other than ourselves. Which choice is doomed and which offers a chance for real freedom and liberty to bloom again? For me, the choice is easy... But its not about me or those who have chose the path towards real freedom, for now, its about opening the eyes of as many people as possible to the stark choice they need to make and convincing them to unbind themselves from the monster.

38 posted on 07/14/2009 5:52:19 AM PDT by myself6 (.)
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To: Tolik


39 posted on 07/14/2009 5:54:04 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: Tolik


“I made $412,000 last year due to Saturday jobs, overtime, risky bidding, gambles on new equipment, and new lines of credit, but under Obama I will pay maybe $50-80,000 more of my income to the government. In other words the cost of, say, hiring two more entry-level electricians, or the cost of outfitting an entire new van with boom and equipment, or what I cleared every Saturday last year — all that will go to the government.”

So absolutely TRUE! Our family-owned company is totally battening down the hatches and not hiring on any new workers, save two; the boss’ sons, LOL!

We are going over EVERY line of our budget with a fine-tooth comb; got a new accounting firm that actually knows what to do with the cashflow in times like these, changed brokers for managing our 401Ks, etc. I received my quarterly statement yesterday and my 401K with them MADE money for a change. Rumor has it from above that if 0bama taxes our health insurance premiums as ‘income’ we will find a way around that, as well. ;)

I’m VERY proud to work for a family-owned, moral, religous, CONSERVATIVE company that’s working hard to hang on to every DIME they earn and not waste any of the dollars we employees earn for them, either! :)

40 posted on 07/14/2009 6:02:04 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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