Bernie’s Progressive Plan

Published in the Galena Gazette (Galena, Il) March 29,  2016

Bernie’s Plan stands out from all the other candidate plans. His world is one of “free stuff”, not just for the millennial generation, but for all Americans. Free college tuition and free healthcare are what has ignited the Bernie ecstasy. Of course, the beneficiaries are concerned about how Bernie will pay for all this “free stuff” that will cost the economy at least $75B. Their answer is easy: the top 1%. This means about 1.3 million out of the 136 million taxpayers (2012, Tax Foundation). Those nasty Wall Street speculators, as Bernie calls the 1%, who probably made their money at the expense of the poor can well afford to pay “a little more”. It is only right that most earners of the bottom 50% (68 million) continue to pay zero, and the top 68 million continue to pay 97.2% of all federal taxes. Adding 75B to the $451B (45% of federal income taxes) that they paid in 2012, would increase their tax burden from 22.8% to 26.7% average tax rate, 8 points above the next highest effective rate.

But the Liberal mind is fixated on the flawed concept of a “zero-sum’ world in which some people must give up something so that others may get something. Instead of making the five million millionaires poorer, they should be planning to make another ten or twenty million millionaires. Making the rich poorer, does not in the end make the poor richer, but does reduce the size of the total pie for all of us. Should  the intelligent farmer be forced to share his excellent crop with the lesser farmer? Should parents give up some of the air they breathe so that the newborn may have the oxygen it needs? Should the inheritor of a fortune be forced to share it with somebody less fortunate? Should the A-student be forced to average his/her good grades with those of the lesser student? Growth, like profits, has become a dirty word for this generation, yet they preach “personal growth”. They love the 1.5 million “non-profit” companies. But those companies also have to maximize profits to do their good work; they just don’t pay taxes (but use plenty of services). Bernie’s army  preaches diversity in everything except thought. Progressive Liberalism is their standard and it is “settled science”, everything else is to be ridiculed. They love policies that “sound good”, that “invest in the future”. They want to be judged by their good intentions, but never be responsible for their failures (War On Poverty…).Conservatism practices tolerance of diverse views, seeks dialogue and debate. Progressivism avoids all three. Bernie’s “soldiers” go to college to receive an education, but arrogantly educate the educators. They condemn America  as unfair and racist, yet America  remains the destination of choice for millions of immigrants escaping the socialist environment that Bernie seeks to impose on America. Just ask Venezuela, Argentina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, etc…


Capitalism: There Is Only The Vilification

First published April 15, 2012

Fans of  Saul Alinsky, the theoretician of the Chicago School of left-wing ideology, are familiar with this radical slogan: There Is Only The Fight.  Hillary Clinton used it to write a loving tribute to Alinsky’s RULES FOR RADICALS in her 1969 Wellesley College degree thesis, and Obama enthusiastically taught these disturbing concepts to his band of community organizers. And there you have the inspiration for the continuing demonization by the Left of its ideological opposition. For various reasons, many politicians, college instructors and even corporate CEOs have been misrepresenting if not villifying the basic  tenets of the ideal of free-market capitalism, the only one of the theories  on political economies that has ever produced wealth for its true adherents. What better way to discredit a theory than to enact anti-free-market policies (bailouts, green loans, circumventing bankruptcy laws for favored companies…) then blame their failures on capitalism? Free-market capitalism requires three fundamentals:  freedom to own property, free and fair competition, and the rule of law. Unfortunately, the Federal Government since at least FDR has been diminishing  those very principles: eminent domain threatens property rights, competition is thwarted by government mandates, by redistributive interference and favoritism,  and laws selectively applied and misapplied.

The general villification of the powerful notion of  competition is reflected in the recent “dueling” articles in this newspaper  about competition in our two hospitals . FINLEY HOSPITAL management wants to compete better with MERCY HOSPITAL through its own  catheterization lab, but MERCY’s anti-competitive posture may keep this local monopoly going with the expert help of presumed socially-responsible bureaucrats sitting in Des Moines, nobly wishing not to “waste money on duplicative services”. Economics is obviously the most neglected and misunderstood subject in this ‘capitalist’ nation.  Occasionally the light shines through and even students could figure out, for example,  that to justify the purchase of President Obama’s ideologically-favored car, i.e. GM’s all-electric VOLT, the price of gasoline would have to be $12… and President Obama will make sure the price of gasoline “will necessarily skyrocket” to eventually mandate the purchase of that kind of vehicle. No wonder the favorability gap between capitalism and socialism among college undergrads is closing (PEW RESEARCH). Even Republican candidates for president are having difficulty articulating the absolute benefits of free markets. Wishing to sound “popular”, they participate in the corruption of the free market notion, and  are basically endorsing “crony capitalism”,  the lifeblood of socialist and communist states. The growth of the IRS code from 1.4 million words  in 1965 to today’s 9.1 million words (Tax Foundation) should be ample proof of rampant cronyism (a.k.a. corporate welfare) and wealth re-distribution (a.k.a main street welfare), greatly accelerating under Obama. He keeps mentioning fairness, but the slobberingly admiring popular press never asks for a definition. Perhaps fairness depends on your ideology: the top 10% of wage earners already paying 70% of all federal income taxes is implied to be unfair. But the bottom 47% paying zero tax or receiving welfare checks is perfectly fair.  Did we vote for  representation without taxation? If you like John Maynard Keynes, the friend of “progressive” US presidents from both parties,  you owe it to your sanity to read the Austrian School (Ludwig von Mises, F. Hayek’s Road to Serfdom…) as well.  Lacking persuasive argumentation, the forces of the Command Economy  can only resort to the vilification of the very foundation of these United States, as if the enemy were free-market capitalism which after all built the most prosperous nation in the history of mankind for the greatest number of its citizens.

Published in the Telegraph Herald (April 15) and the Galena Gazette in April 2012




Millennial Angels for Mexico

Far from being an “act of love”, as Jeb Bush tried to convince us, massive migration from Mexico and Central America is an act of desperation, if not a major human tragedy. Clearly, the root cause of this migration is the fact that these nations are essentially failed states. They are failed states because of failed government policies, theirs and ours. So, building the world’s tallest wall on the southern border is no solution to this need to migrate, legally and illegally. Worse than wasted money and effort. Making Mexico pay for the wall is not tough love, but a frivolous penalty for Mexico’s use of the US economy as a crutch. Most Mexicans know what the problem is, and express it in the common lament: Poor Mexicans, so far from God, yet so close to the gringo. Pope Francis has already started God’s tough love approach by admonishing the Mexican elite to think about all of its people, not just its own personal enrichment.  Corruption is both a moral and an economic matter. The Pope can save their souls, but Millennial Angels armed with smart US foreign policy can save their economic, judicial and social well being.

Most Mexicans clearly know what they have to do. They have done it twice before. In 1810 they fought against the corrupt and oppressive Spanish rulers. In 1910 they fought against the corrupt and oppressive Mexican rulers. In 2010 they find it easier to simply avoid the issue all together and, like Romulus and Remus in early Rome, become sucklings at the teats of the conveniently accessible gringo cow, condemned to permanent dependence on the America’s foreign poverty program. The fundamental problems of corruption, violence and counter-productive central (non)-planning must be attacked. But when, if not now? Over one hundred thousand Mexicans have lost their lives over the past 20 years of ineffective policing of the narco traffic. There is no end in sight, unless the Mexican nation  becomes motivated to act. US law enforcement can help. But, why would they act if the gringo keeps subsidizing their wild-west economy in so many ways? Our assistance always seems to come down to US manufacturers investing in Mexico, not to help improve Mexican lives, but to exploit their cheap labor. Or is it? It is not really so much about cheap labor, but about lax rules, regulations and “flexible” officials, that make fully-automated factories cheaper to operate there than here (same in Brazil). The cheap labor flees to the US because NAFTA decimated parts of Mexican agriculture, and their government has no plans for those uneducated and poor farmers except “go al norte companero, the rich naive gringo will take care of you”.  

What if the US taxpayers stopped subsidizing this madness by stopping any and all discretionary “foreign aid” (Merida/Alliance for Prosperity Plan of $750M), renegotiating the unbalanced NAFTA agreement (25 years of $50B annual US trade deficit), taxing remittances of $22B per year, investigating and prosecuting suspiciously corrupt officials with ties to the US. How did Mexico get 16 billionaires? Carlos Slim is number one among 114 in all of Latin America, and top 3 in the world thanks to a sweetheart cell-phone monopoly in Mexico. Oh where is our non-profit-motivated millennial generation that is prepared to forsake some profits for righteous causes? This generation could lead the effort to re-allocate our assistance but under strict guidelines, enforceability and accountability. The millennials could  in effect lead a rescue-mission similar to the 1970s mission to Chile by famed economist Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics. Their intervention made it possible for Chile to be Latin America’s best managed free-market economy with average annual growth of 5%, despite the current socialist administration. (Mexico grew barely 1% per year since NAFTA). Chile has 12 billionaires and the same per capita GDP as Mexico despite an economy that is only 1/5th of Mexico’s. The millennial angels will figure a way to get US corporations to cooperate “for the greater good” of Mexico and America. Millennial Angels for “Peace, Prosperity and People”  working within government and corporations would virtually guarantee fair implementation of a government-business alliance to improve the lives of Mexicans and Central Americans at the economic, justice and social levels, alongside the spiritual one driven by Pope Francis.Bringing Hope, Change and Freedom to Mexico and Central America could be the Peace Corps of our age. Improving, if not booming economies south of the border would provide hope and inspiration to other impoverished and mismanaged economies. Most of the 25% of Mexican nationals living within US borders would happily return to a secure and prospering homeland, and with a will to raise Mexico out of its cesspool of corruption and violence, body and soul. Andale, “patria o muerte”.


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