Category Archives: Capitalism

A Recommendation, If I Do Say So Myself

     You might enjoy a piece I wrote on my other blog.

     The piece is entitled “Fettered Capitalism?”  Aren’t you intrigued?

A Great Post, Says the Author

     At my other blog I have posted my thoughts on the topic of people as property.  Would you please check it out?

Robbing Our Kids

     The worst part about our current economic situation and the reforms that have been passed to fix it is that it hurts future generations.  Those of us who are working now are paying for the spending spree of the previous generation.  Our children will have to work to pay for the mess that we have made. 

     Our nation’s debt grows higher every day.  Just like irresponsible individuals who run up their credit cards, our government leaders are under the illusion that they will never face a day of reckoning. 

     It’s our children and grandchidren who will have to face that day.  Perhaps the next generation or two will find some way to stall, some way to keep borrowing and keep spending.  My guess is that they won’t be able to and that they will face the inevitable disaster that some local governments have faced.  However, some future generation will have to face the music.

     It won’t do to print even more currency.  That only lowers the value of the currency and makes it more difficult for people to pay off their individual debts and to provide for their families on a day-to-day basis.

     It won’t do to raise taxes on the wealthy.  That always seems like an answer to some people, but it is demotivating.  If the Congress raises taxes, people with means will find loopholes.  They will move their assets out of the country.  Some of them will move out of the country.  They will cut back on their spending to compensate for the higher taxes.  They will cut back on production, which means cutting back on hiring.

     Besides, if the Congress already spends more money than current revenues, what would they do with higher revenues?  They should use it to balance the budget and pay down the debt, but that has almost never been the approach, at least not since the time of Calvin Coolidge.

     An across-the-board tax raise might be necessary.  It is the only fair way to go.  In a sense we all are responsible for the mess that we are in, though not directly for all of us.  If we insist on taxing income, then, to be fair, nobody should be exempt from paying income tax if they are working, and nobody should get a “credit” when paying their taxes.  If we want to provide assistance to people, it should not be through the same system that collects taxes from people.

     However, I hate our income tax system.  I want to abolish it.  It is inherently unfair as it is, and there is no way that politicians will ever simplify it and make it more just.  What we need is a fair tax, and some kind of iron-clad rules that keep it fair and simple.  A fair tax would be a tax on all goods purchsed, so that everybody must pay and so that they pay somewhat commensurately with their lifestyle.  The percentage is the same, which makes it fair, but the amount you pay is determined by how lavishly you spend your money.

     The solution, and a better one than only raising taxes, is to tighten our collective belt.  That is always the solution to excessive debt caused by runaway spending.  I once fell under the spell of the credit card and wound up with bills that I could not afford.  I put a moratorium on all my spending besides the absolute necessities, and I eventually paid it off.  That’s the only way to make it work–if you want to retain your integrity, that is.

     The fantasy is that we could somehow balance the budget and lower the debt in some other way.  Somehow, people muse, we can keep spending and even increase spending and find some way for it not to put us in the hole. 

     Having a robust economy would help, because in such an economy, tax revenues go up.  A robust economy, though, occurs in an environment of freedom.  People carefully guard their money when the risk of losing it is high.  But, people invest and spend their money when they have enough money to spare, and that happens when they are not strapped with excessive taxes and burdened with thousands of regulations that cost extra money.

Twenty Things You Should Know (#11-20)

     Please see the post below this one to understand the point of this list.

11.  The Sabbath

The concept of a day to rest is one of the greatest legacies of the Abrahamic religions.  Other religions have something similar.  Human beings need relaxation and refreshment.  In fact, we now know that people work more efficiently and effectively when they are well rested.  In addition, the Sabbath is a time to ackowledge that everything we produce comes from something or someone greater than us.  In the Jewish-Christian-Muslim tradition, that means God.  For others it might be the spirits or nature or Mother Earth or the cosmos.  Even non-religious people should ackowledge their debt to forces and powers preceding them and more powerful than they are.

12.  Racism

Most people know of the existence of racism, but it is important to understand it for what it is and to eschew it.  Racism is borne of fear and ignorance.  It is completely contrary to the rational scientific method; in fact, the very concept of race is scientifically suspect.  It is contrary to individualism, and, therefore, natural law.  The most admired and respected people repudiate it as conflicting with the “Tao”or whatever they happen to call the Ideal.  It certainly opposes the virtue of Love.  Nobody would want to be a victim of racism, which proves that somewhere in each person’s mind, he or she knows that it is wrong.

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More on Corporations

     I am posting some responses to omments on the preceding post (the one below). I had too many thoughts to just write comments.

     Scott Erb wrote that corporations are immensely powerful and hard to regulate. The first problem with that assertion is that the immense power that corporations have in America today is because of government intervention.  There is no reason to believe that corporations that existed in a free market, where they would have to work hard to outdo many competitors, would be so powerful–or even so big.  The second problem is that Scott doesn’t seem to mind that government is immensely powerful–only that private corporations are.  I would much rather have powerful private corporations and weak government, thank you very much.  The third problem is that he assumes that corporations should be regulated.  Maybe the fact that it is difficult to regulate corporations should lead us to the conclusion that they are best left free to fight it out amongst each other–in the market.  They should fight for customers and clients and fight against the competitors who are trying to offer a better product at a lower price.

     He also wrote, “If a corporation acts irresponsibly, often individuals can avoid punishment, and no one is truly held responsible.”  Again, that is not the way that it should be.  If we had just laws, it would not be.  Every corporation would be responsible for its actions, and every individual involved would be responsible for his or her actions.  It is our corrupt government and its unjust laws that protect the corporations and the individuals in them.  We should hold our lawmakers accountable for this problem. 

     We should also free up the market, so that corporations could be punished by a loss of business.  The recent bank bailouts are exactly the opposite of what Scott apparently wants.  The banks failed by irresponsible practices; therefore, they should suffer, even close in some cases.  The individuals who violated the trust of clients should also suffer as individuals.

     Scott talks about “corporate socialism,” which is an oxymoron if I ever read one.  The problem that Scott refers to is actually the entanglement of the government with corporate business.  It is the corruption of our lawmakers who write unjust laws that favor some businesses, harm others, and generally stifle the economy.  If the Congress were to free the market, this “corporate socialism” would disappear in short order.

     He wrote about the way that big corporations influence the political process.  They couldn’t do it, if the politicians didn’t let them.  Every bit of corruption associated with financing of campaigns is the responsibility of the politicians who take the money and then let it influence their vote.  I think we should hold the right people accountable for the problem.

     Quin mentioned that he likes capitalism only as an alternative to any other system.  I agree.  I do not favor it because it is perfect, I favor it because it includes freedom.

     He says that corporations and union should stay out of politics.  He also says that weath should have no place in the political system.  While I find his opinions valid and even admirable, there is a difference between what people might wish were true, and what should be mandated by law.  One thing about it is that money and power will always have a place in politics.  If you try outlawing it, people will still insert money and power into the process illegally.  Therefore, it is best to deregulate it, and let competition do its magic.  As I wrote, if I am mad that a certain corporation supports a Democrat, I can stop giving any financial support to that corporation, and I can persuade some other corporation to back my favorite candidate.

     He went on to say that democracy should mean that each person should have an equal say–should have equal power.  Ideally, I agree.  To a large extent it is that way.  No matter how much money people spend on campaigns, it still comes down to the vote.  No matter how many persuasive advertisements a person might watch or hear, he can cast his vote anyway he wants on election day.

     Obviously it cuts certain people out of holding office.  There has hardly ever been a truly poor person in the Congress or in the White House.  Frankly, we probably wouldn’t really want it that way.  We want our leaders to be people who have had some success in life in order to persuade us that they can actually handle the responsiblities of governing.

     Spherical Time confused me with his questions about why corporations should have more rights and fewer restrictions than individuals.  I really do not understand what he is referring to.

A Corporation is People

     I have never seen a corporation that is owned or run by extraterrestrial beings or by chimpanzees or by inanimate robots.  Corporations are owned and operated by people.  I am a part owner in some coporations myself, because I own stock in some companies through my retirement plan.

          In some ways, the corporation itself is like a person.  Corporations can own property.  Corporations can be taxed.  They can be sued.  They can buy and sell things.  They can fund charities.  The Supreme Court ruled long ago that corporations are legal persons.

     If I do not like something that a corporation is doing, then I can sell my stock in it,boycott it, and urge others to do the same.  If I like something that it is doing, then I can patronize it and urge others to do likewise.

      All of these things I have written are bound up in the concept of freedom.  I like freedom.  It’s a good thing.  That is why I am happy that the Supreme Court struck down the unconstitutional restriction on speech for corporations.  For years, conservatives have been saying that the restriction on corporate spending on campaigns violated the First Amendment, and the Supreme Court has agreed.

     I have read all kinds of nonsense concerning the ruling.  One thing that people are saying is that the Supreme Court favored businesses over unions, as if unions are prohibited from spending money on campaigns.  They can and they do.  Not only that, they often pressure their members to vote a certain way or to publicly endorse a certain candidate.  Another thing that people are saying is that the ruling favors Republicans over Democrats.  Hasn’t anyone ever heard of George Soros?  If Democrats want more corporate money, then they should either attract it, or they should form corporations, make a lot of money, and support the candidates that they like.

     That is why some people do not like freedom.  Freedom takes away their power to control outcomes.  If Democrats are afraid of losing elections, they work to restrict certain activities in order to gain an advantage.  It would be like a losing basketball team insisting that the other team put only three players on the court or that the goals of the other team gain only one point instead of two.

     I am against all limitations on campaigning.  People, including people who own businesses, should be allowed to fund any campaign as much as they want.  It’s only fair, because if a person or entity can be taxed, then they have the right to fully participate in the political process.

     Some people would say that it’s not fair, because it means that rich people will sway elections.  Has anybody heard of George Soros or Oprah Winfrey or Barbra Streisand or the many other rich people on the left who have influenced elections?  The solution is not to stop rich people from supporting candidates.  The solution is to persuade more rich people to support your candidate, or to become rich yourself and suppor the candidate of your choice.

     One of my friends calls herself a moderate, which means that she is a liberal who is afraid to call herself a liberal.  She is politically correct and green.  The trouble is that she inherited stock in a major oil company and a major bank.  I am amused at her watching the stock prices of those companies, and in the bailout that her bank was a part of.  It goes against every other plank of her political platform to want those companies to make a profit, and yet she desperately hopes that they do.  She is part of those corporations.  Those corporations are people.

A Libertarian Christmas Poem

I don’t plan to do lots of linking to my other blog, but I am quite proud of this post at My Own Pie.

Please tell me if you love it or hate it or feel something in between.

Moore the Millionaire

     Michael Moore was on Sean Hannity’s program, talking mostly about his new movie.  During the conversation, Hannity tried to get Moore to admit that he is a millionaire.  All Moore would say was that he had “done well.” 

     Come on.  His movies have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars.  Even if Moore’s take was a small percentage, it would be in the millions.  If he has gotten good financial advice he should have tens of millions, I would guess.

     Why does it matter?  If you are going to make a movie that castigates wealthy people and capitalists, then you had better not be one yourself.  To do so is hypocritical.

     Besides pointing out Moore’s hypocrisy, I would like to make an even more significant point.  If Moore doesn’t believe the message that he is selling, then why should anyone else buy it?

     Why doesn’t he make and distribute his movies in Cuba, a country he seems to love so much?  Why does he depend on America’s evil capitalist movie industry?  Why does he depend on America’s movie-going public, who can only afford the expensive tickets at movie theaters thanks to capitalism?  Why not ask all those free, well-taken-care-of Cubans to fork over the price of a movie ticket?  Better yet, why not ask Fidel Castro to fork over $300 million dollars to bankroll the film and make it free to the public to view it?

     And why support capitalistic movie theaters and capitalistic movie rental companies and capitalistic food vendors and capitalistic advertisers who also get rich from the showing of the movies?

     Michael Moore should make a film about the fee clinics that he has built with his own money.  Then I would listen to him complain about rich people having no compassion and how “we” need to provide health care for needy people.  Until then he is the man behind the curtain.

Capitalism Rising

     Isn’t it interesting when the pendulum swings?  I was born at the end of the era during which doctors urged mothers to give babies prepared formula because it was much healthier.  At the time of my birth a movement began that urged mothers to breastfeed babies as the more natural and healtheir way.

     We are now living in a time when the government is taking over one industry after another.  Regulations, taxes, incentives, and penalties strangle the economy.  The majority of Americans have fallen in love with big government and look to the Nanny State to take care of all their needs–housing, banking, health, education.  We even seem to want the government to tell us what kind of cars to drive and what kind of lightbulbs to use.

     But there is a backlash, as I knew there would be.  The pendulum is already beginning to swing back.  The United States Chamber of Commerce has launched a program called “Campaign for Free Enterprise.”  Good for them.  I hope that the program influences many people, especially young people who will guide us in the future.

     Michael Medved gives us reasons to believe that capitalism is not dead yet.  I hope that he is right.

Republicans I Can Admire

     Some members of the Republican National Committee have signed a resolution that attacks the bailouts of major industries.  The resolution rightly calls the use of bailouts and the nationalizing of industries socialism, or at least another step toward it.  I’m glad.

     I would like to see the Republican Party return to a platform of fiscal conservatism and support of free enterprise.  The idea that the bailouts were undesirable but necessary is like saying that a person should max out his credit cards to get cash for playing craps in the hopes of raising money to pay off a hospital bill.  It might be a huge temptation, but it’s a very bad idea.

     May the resolution pass!  May the Republican Party return to the principles that made it dominant in the 1980′s!