Monday, September 26, 2011

Back To Elizabeth Warren

Because this sums it up mightily:
Fully exploring the thinking behind Warren’s remarks would demand a book at least. We might point out that most of the rich got that way by creating value for others, meaning they gave back in the process of getting rich. Or we might wonder if her thinking implies that, because the state is responsible in part for the environment in which all of us earned what we have, the state is the actual owner of what we have.

Concise. Accurate.

Yeah, it's not even a short step from what she said to the last part of that statement.  She's already there, but she won't say it out loud.


Severian said...

I think it goes further than that: the end point of leftist logic is that the state owns US.

(To said basically this many times).

Simply put, the left loves the "everything is a social construction" / "everything is society's fault" model (they're basically the same thing) because "society" doesn't have winners and losers, only managers. "Society," to them, is a simple machine - you put X in, you get Y out. And, of course, they will be the ones who determine what X is (which, not coincidentally, shields them from the adverse effects of Y).

This is what modern progressivism IS. Only difference is, with Dear Leader in office, they feel free to take the mask off. My question is: why does anyone continue to vote for these people?

Whitehawk said...

It's the presumptions that she has that are disturbing (along with other statists).

The presumption is that the state has property, wealth and power of its own not derived from or belonging to us. In order to use that property, be worthy of receiving that wealth and be the beneficiary of that power, you have to demonstrate your allegiance and pay a users fee determined by self appointed representatives of the state. All of this is done of course in the name of what's best for "the people."

The problem is like I have described before. The State is like an alcoholic uncle with a gambling problem. He has been on a loooonnnggg bender only to show up on our door step wreaking of vomit and booze to say, "I have some bad news bud. I've had a bit of a set back. Looks like you're gonna have to get a second (or third) job if we're gonna make it."

Warren is completely brushing under the rug how we got here. When the discretion of the State's spending dictates a lifestyle change for the ones who lent it power, should we continue to lend that power without accountability?

Her presumptions are out of line with the government's station per the Constitution.

With candidates like Elizabeth Warren in the hunt it's time to decide if it is time for rehab for our alcoholic uncle or Happy Hour.

nightfly said...

One of a lengthening list of reasons why I am no longer a Democrat: If everything is society's fault, and the State is the only form of society that can or ought to exist - then why the hell should anyone want to be a Statist? Would that not call for precisely the revolution that the Che-beret set always wants to have?

philmon said...

Here's an interesting angle to discuss. I was talking to my brother (not jeffmon, another brother) last night and he says that about 400 people own half the wealth in the country.

Let's suppose this is true. For all I know, it is.

I don't gather that he is for taxing those people at 99%. I think he has more libertarian sympathies than he would admit (he used to be one) -- but he now thinks that you can, in fact, accumulate too much money.

I was a bit taken aback when he practically quoted Miss/Mrs Warren here but as something he believed. That we all payed for this infrastructure that they take advantage of. When I asked if he didn't think they payed for it as well, and for a rather large chunk of it, he conceded, but objected that it only benefits them, not the little guy.

Of course, as a semi-frequent long-distance traveller, I disagree. I rather like being able to get places quickly, and I see all kinds of traffic on interstates that isn't trucks or commercial vehicles.

What he says is that we should "change the rules" for corporations, basically. He thinks corporations should be limited in scope (say, car companies couldn't also be financing companies) and that they should expire (that is, corporate charters should expire) to help keep massive wealth from accumulating at the top.

Now I don't know for a fact that "More Money Than God" wealth accumulation by a very few people at the top is per se a bad thing. He thinks it is, and I concede that it may be if only because humans are flawed and money is power and power corrupts. Same reason we want to limit government. Government by definition is power -- in our case supposedly voluntarily ceded power, and power that we also can supposedly recall at any time.

The fact of the matter is, and we don't often think about this, is that The Corporation is a construct of Government. Basically, it says "hey, you can only be held responsible for so much debt", and maybe a couple of other things. Which means they are more free to experiment and fail, which is desirable for certain things, but it also means that when they fail the public takes on their debts.

So government, in fact, can and should regulate Corporations carefully -- because basically they've been freed by the government from rules individuals have to live by. If this is what libs are really getting at they're going about it the wrong way and making the wrong arguments.

Their solution, it seems, is to tax the hell out of them. But that's too arbitrary in my book, and can be too easily abused and too easily extended to others. But they should be regulated to some extent, I'll buy that. What should these regulations be? This is a good question. This is the right question. And it should be put in the context of what a corporation is, how it came into being, and what it means.

I think not allowing people to accumulate wealth is the wrong answer, and I think simply confiscating however much of that wealth the prevailing climate feels entitled to take is the wrong answer. But restricting the use of government constructs to attain massive wealth? Well that I'll sit down and talk about.

Thoughts? Just kicking some tires here.

jeffmon said...

Does it pick Brother's pocket or break his leg if someone accumulates a lot of wealth? Does it hinder his ability to create his own wealth?

Can you have too much Life? Liberty? Pursuit of Happiness? How much is too much? Who decides?

Limit the scope of corporations? But my idea of happiness is making cars and lending money so people will buy them. Expire? I can't do what I want with the wealth I accumulate (by passing on my business to my heirs)?

If someone (could be a corporation) uses his wealth to interfere with my liberty, we have a problem. But Brother's objections smack of envy.

Phil said...

I think he would argue that it does when we the people basically guarantee his debt. And I can see that point. But that's where we diverge.

I think would argue that you can accumulate too much wealth. I don't think it's a good idea to try to limit it -- but it gives me an idea.

When you start a for-profit corporation (every little LLC is a coroporation) and you succeed, and say you succeed to a point where your profits are x% over your labor and capital expenses, you pay a tax that goes into a fund (no touchy for anything else, Congressman!) that bails out qualifiying failed corporations. Kind of like insurance.

After you do this a while, you mitigate much of the risk to the American People through the government.

I think I could go for something like that.

The deal is, they have a point that incorporating protects them from failure - which is an unnatural force introduced into the market by government. There's a good reason for it - it encourages people to try new things. But it is nonetheless artificial.

Now ... if you didn't apply for a corporation and you make a metric sh*t ton of money, well then you'd be off the hook.

Whitehawk said...

(In regard to the corporate insurance...) Eh, I haven't seen to date a mass of money that you could keep politicians hands off of.

I pay an unemployment "insurance" tax now. (Because, you know, I am a part of the group of people who create unemployed people.) Every year the state sends me a letter telling me what I have to pay and there is little recourse without hiring a lawyer and even then there is no guaranty of relief. This "corporate insurance" would be the same way.

Opening the door to another kind of "tax" is the last thing I would want.

The debt incurred to society that you mentioned is usually in some way connected to those people who have amassed the wealth. They are the kinds of people underwriting the risk through investment capital, and buying stocks. If you want to look at it that way, it is the investors who are already paying an "insurance tax" when the business they invest in fails. But in this case it is truly a voluntary tax, paid by the investor at their discretion and only in the instance that there is a failure.

For their willingness to pay this "tax" they get a chance to make a profit and pay income tax on that profit.

Regarding the accumulation of wealth... I agree with Jeffmon's comment. I would only add that if they use the power of that accumulated wealth to change the rules of the game to make it harder to accumulate wealth or to compete with them, then I have a problem.

(I suppose there could be some way to oppress poor people with that kind of wealth but that would be a legitimate job for the government to correct.)

The chief example of one I have a problem with is Soros. He amassed great wealth working in a capitalistic system and now wants to change the system into something (socialism) he is a part of and can control to a degree.

philmon said...

"Eh, I haven't seen to date a mass of money that you could keep politicians hands off of. "

Very good point. One I'd thought of, and probably the most solid argument against it.

My argument for it was that limited liability means that when a company fails, they are protected from creditors by the Government. In other words, they agreed to something, they were not able to meet those obligations, and the Government is stepping in betwen them and their creditors and saying "Nope. Hands off."

This is the opposite of one of the main rightful roles of government, that being to enforce contracts.

The Government intervenes here for a common good, no doubt -- that is more aggressive experimentation by entropreneurs which ultimately leads to a more robust economy, as well as more and better choices for people in their persuit of happiness.

So actually ... you're right, the government isn't doing any of the paying here (unless it is one of the creditors) so it really isn't quite the same as the American People being forced to hold the bag when a corporation fails.

Though other companines and perhaps individuals are left holding the bag, with the government keeping them from being able to do anything about it.

Of course, it's all voluntary as well ... you assess the risk of your own investments. Or you should, anyway.

But it does amount to government coersion to mitigate a corporation's risk. I'm just thinking that maybe there's an argument ... not saying there is, but maybe... that the government can have a little control on the back side since they used the promise of coersion to benefit you on the front side to assist you in making your fortune.

Again, if you made your fortune without those protections, this argument would be void.

I haven't really made up my mind here. I'm reading other people's points and absorbing, considering ...

I'm doing due diligence and questioning my own beliefs.

Whitehawk said...

"the government isn't doing any of the paying here (unless it is one of the creditors)"

This is another argument against the bailout. The storm of government bailouts we have seen in the last 4 years has changed the playing field.

A bailout hangs the public out to dry and makes even those who chose not to take the risk in the investment with its potential payoff, pay for the experiment.

The experiment went south and usually for good reason. The government stepped in and made the unwilling cover the loss AND propped up a bad experiment.

The free market is a great example of natural selection. Best not to bailout something that will not survive without continued life support.

"My argument for it was that limited liability means that when a company fails, they are protected from creditors by the Government."

I never thought about it that way but... The creditors here are those willing to take a risk for a potential return. Investors know the rules. (The general tax payer may have no idea what his tax dollar goes to cover without a chance of a return.) If you were to add another layer of government control/taxation it would reduce the likelihood of a positive return and less people would invest.

When you go to Vegas you know there is a pretty good chance to lose. You play at you own expense and risk for a potential return. When you lose you can't go to the Casino and try to get back some of your losses.

Corporations have over the years provided incredible returns (and incredible losses.) Yet people keep coming back. They have also provided some incredible jobs too. As long as you understand the playing field and the government enforces the rules of play, I think it will continue to be a boon for a free market system.