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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Warren’

“Corporate Social Responsibility” Only Strengthens Corporate Power over the Public | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 3, 2019

Proponents of CSR typically want to use the state’s power to grant or deny corporate charters—that old privilege-granting authority of 17th century British monarchs—to force corporations to dilute their owners’ property rights. The idea is to require a federal (not just a state-level) charter, and to make its issuance subject to further political demands.

A corporate charter is a license, a permission to engage in commerce in commercial form. To revert this from its current form as a rubber-stamped registration back to a privilege granted by the state to favored parties is a perilous act.

https://mises.org/wire/corporate-social-responsibility-only-strengthens-corporate-power-over-public

“Business Roundtable Redefines the Purpose of a Corporation to Promote ‘An Economy That Serves All Americans’ ” was the headline of a recent statement put out by this “association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies.” The statement went on to say:

Since 1978, Business Roundtable has periodically issued Principles of Corporate Governance. Each version of the document issued since 1997 has endorsed principles of shareholder primacy – that corporations exist principally to serve shareholders. With today’s announcement, the new Statement supersedes previous statements and outlines a modern standard for corporate responsibility.

Putting aside the fact that neither in logic, nor in law, nor in morals does an individual CEO, let alone the lobbying arm for CEOs, have the ability to “redefine the purpose of a corporation,” it does prompt the question of what the purpose and responsibilities of a corporation actually are, and who decides this.

From Monopolies to Free Corporations

Historically, corporations were creatures of state-granted monopoly privileges. For example, in 1600 Elizabeth I chartered the British East India Company with a monopoly in trade to the East Indies, and at the same time specified in great detail what the Company could and could not do. Other charters, issued over the years, granted monopolies in dealing in various commodities, settlement rights, etc.

Early settlements in colonial America were products of this corporate monopoly system, for example the Massachusetts Bay Company. But as American society democratized and monarchial power waned, the nature of the corporation changed, although the form remained similar. By the early 1800s, a corporation was no longer a monopoly. And although it still required a charter from the government, this was typically a formality.

In the United States, corporate charters are today issued at the state level, via a process that in many cases amounts to a mere rubber stamping. In some states you can even file to create a corporation online.

In this relatively liberal regime, the explicit purpose of the corporation is determined by its owners. They are the ones who voluntarily come together to engage in some enterprise. They are the ones who put their money behind some new risky venture. And they are the ones who draft the articles of incorporation and corporate bylaws. So long as certain formalities are met, the issuance of a state charter is automatic.

However, the temptation to revert to the older monopoly privilege nature of the corporation is ever present, and this remind sus why we should not conflate industrialists with free-market capitalists. Being pro-business is not the same as being pro-free markets. Competing in a free market is one of the hardest things a businessman can do. Cozying up to the state — i.e., rent-seeking — is often much easier. Many a businessman would prefer a state-granted monopoly, and many a politician desires the power to grant and withhold such privileges.

A Return to State Monopolies under Fascism

A case study in this reversion can be seen in Germany under National Socialism.

In a 1933 memorandum, “Nazi-Socialism,”Reprinted in the Appendix to The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents, The Definitive Edition . Friedrich Hayek observed that the rising new German order was far from reactionary, and in spite of their persecution of the communists, National Socialism” was “a genuine socialist movement.”

Hayek went on to discuss the curious mutual embrace of German industry and the new regime (with my emphasis):

One of the main reasons why the socialist character of National Socialism has been quite generally unrecognized, is, no doubt, its alliance with the nationalist groups which represent the great industries and the great landowners. But this merely proves that these groups too—as they have since learnt to their bitter disappointment—have, at least partly, been mistaken as to the nature of the movement. But only partly because—and this is the most characteristic feature of modern Germany— many capitalists are themselves strongly influenced by socialistic ideas, and have not sufficient belief in capitalism to defend it with a clear conscience.

In other words, the relationship between the Nazi state and industry was not evidence that the Nazis had capitalist leanings, but that the German businessmen had socialist leanings.

However, with the rapid transition to a war-time command economy, the German industrialists went from supporters of the state, to instruments of the state:

The new pattern of power was implicit in the sociolegal framework of the economy. Eliminated were the four essential freedoms of private capitalism, namely, the freedoms of trade, contract, association, and markets. Freedom of trade was replaced by an economic obligation (Wirtschaftspflicht) to the party-state…

Rights to economic activities were regarded as a privilege conferred upon individuals by the government. The rule was: No job or shop without governmental approval. Everyone had to register; laborers needed their labor-book, firms their charters. For no one could enter, terminate, or maintain a business without satisfying an increasing set of personal and material prerequisites.1

Note the mention there of the corporate charter, now pressed to the service of the state.

But why would the businessman go along with such impositions? What is the advantage for them? In The Vampire Economy: Doing Business Under Fascism, Günther Reimann quotes a German newspaper explaining some of the ramifications of the 1937 German Corporations Law:

The chairman of a corporation is the organ of business leadership. . . . Up to now the chairman was subject to far-reaching control by the Supervisory Board [elected by the stockholders]. This has been changed. The Supervisory Board now only has the right to appoint and recall the chairman. Under the new law the management of the corporation becomes the sole responsibility of the managing director. He is now therefore independent of the chairman of the Supervisory Board, and is not subject to the latter’s instructions. (Reimann, p. 188)

In other words, the managing director (akin to the CEO) of the corporation gains power by being freed from responsibility to the board and to shareholders. In exchange he is increasingly beholden to the state and to political forces. He replaces market entrepreneurship with political entrepreneurship.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) movement has, since the 1970s, pushed a narrative that corporations ought to serve more than their shareholders (their owners). They ought to (and even be required to) serve a wider range of “stakeholders,” including employees, customers, the community, etc.

Proponents of CSR typically want to use the state’s power to grant or deny corporate charters—that old privilege-granting authority of 17th century British monarchs—to force corporations to dilute their owners’ property rights. The idea is to require a federal (not just a state-level) charter, and to make its issuance subject to further political demands.

For example, in 1996 then U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) led Democrats proposing legislation that would have enabled a federal corporate charter for a new kind of corporation, an “R-Corporation.” (R for “Responsible.”) Requirements for such corporation would include limits on CEO pay, minimum spending levels for retirement and education benefits for employees, offering of a standard health insurance plan, profit sharing with a minimum participation rate, spending at least 1/2 of its R&D in the United States, etc.2 Corporations so-chartered would be given preferential treatment by the government, and would be rewarded with special tax breaks and regulatory relief.

Fortunately, Bingaman’s R-Corporation proposal went nowhere.

However, 23 years later we see his ideological heir in Elizabeth Warren and her proposed “Accountable Capitalism Act,” which takes Bingaman’s voluntary federal charter, and makes it mandatory for corporations with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Among a long list of requirements, Warren would require that 40% of board of director seats to be chosen by the workers, not the board of directors.

It is in this context that we read the Business Roundtable’s rhetorical capitulation to a longstanding demand of the collectivist left.

A Fundamental Misunderstanding

Note that the word “responsibility” in CSR bears little resemblance to how that term has been understood by moral philosophers over the past 2,500 years. Only an individual can be responsible, and only so with respect to his own property. Collective responsibility is a barbarous concept, something associated with the greatest depravities in history. And if I one day set out (without your permission) to “be socially responsible” with your bank account, I’d justly be charged with theft and sent to prison.

So, how can it be any less wrong if a CEO, the agent of the shareholder principals, aims to “be socially responsible” with assets not owned by him?

This is not to say that a corporation does not have an impact on society. It does. However, the profit-seeking motive of the shareholders, far from being a negative for society, is a boon. As Mises pointed out in his essay “Profit and Loss” (reprinted in Planning for Freedom and Twelve Other Essays and Addresses):

Now one of the main functions of profits is to shift the control of capital to those who know how to employ it in the best possible way for the satisfaction of the public. The more profits a man earns, the greater his wealth consequently becomes, the more influential does he become in the conduct of business affairs. Profit and loss are the instruments by means of which the consumers pass the direction of production activities into the hands of those who are best fit to serve them. Whatever is undertaken to curtail or to confiscate profits, impairs this function. The result of such measures is to loosen the grip the consumers hold over the course of production. The economic machine becomes, from the point of view of the people, less efficient and less responsive.

The businessman ought to be unapologetic of the profits he seeks and the profits he makes, knowing the critical role which profits play in the economy:

In a free economy, in which wages, costs and prices are left to the free play of the competitive market, the prospect of profits decides what articles will be made, and in what quantities—and what articles will not be made at all. If there is no profit in making an article, it is a sign that the labor and capital devoted to its production are misdirected: the value of the resources that must be used up in making the article is greater than the value of the article itself.3

The Irresponsibility of CSR

Imagine a construction worker, concerned about society at large, deciding to use less concrete in his project, with the intent of repurposing the savings to wage increases for the workers. Or a pharmacist, dispensing lower-dosage pills than prescribed, and using the money saved to benefit other “stakeholders.” We would consider these both to be crimes.

Profit, like concrete and medicine, serves a critical purpose, and to dilute it does real harm, like diluting concrete or medicine.

Or imagine a charitable institution, a non-profit, like a university, with an endowment invested in stocks, with any dividends and gains dedicated to the organization’s charitable mission. The CSR movement implicitly endorses the idea that corporate CEOs, whose expertise is in making and selling widgets, ought to also be dilettantes in figuring out how to improve their communities, and in the process earn lower profits to pass on to charity-shareholders, whose own expertise is precisely in how to do good for the community. This is a fundamental breakdown of the division of labor.

A corporate charter is a license, a permission to engage in commerce in commercial form. To revert this from its current form as a rubber-stamped registration back to a privilege granted by the state to favored parties is a perilous act. Remember, newspapers, churches, charities, think tanks, even labor unions have corporate forms. Once charter-granting is politicized, it may not end the way its promoters think it will. As Mises famously wrote in Human Action:

No socialist author ever gave a thought to the possibility that the abstract entity which he wants to vest with unlimited power — whether it is called humanity, society, nation, state, or government — could act in a way of which he himself disapproves. A socialist advocates socialism because he is fully convinced that the supreme dictator of the socialist commonwealth will be reasonable from his — the individual socialist’s — point of view, that he will aim at those ends of which he — the individual socialist — fully approves, and that he will try to attain these ends by choosing means which he — the individual socialist — would also choose.

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Ibrahim on Twitter: “MSNBC pundit says if you support Bernie Sanders over Elizabeth Warren it’s “showing your sexism.” https://t.co/fghFIqOF6C” / Twitter

Posted by M. C. on September 30, 2019

And one of the comments points out, if you support Warren you are an anti-semite.

What is a progressive to do? What is anyone to do? Stop watching MSNBC for starters.

https://mobile.twitter.com/IbrahimAS97/status/1177719744096559110

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The Yin and the Yang of It – Kunstler

Posted by M. C. on August 17, 2019

The aim of the national matrimonial hysteria is to make sure that whatever conflict is at issue remains unresolved. The melodrama goes on for its own sake. It’s fun living on the verge of a nervous breakdown. That is exactly why the US political scene is so disordered and distressed. That is why the Democratic Party can’t find any credible male candidates. And that is how come the country happened to elect an imperturbable Golden Golem of Greatness.

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-yin-and-the-yang-of-it/

James Howard Kunstler

The New York Times staffers wanted to change the paper’s longstanding motto, All the News That’s Fit to Print, to something more cutting edge, more of-the-moment, more congenial with the crypto-gnostic social justice impetus to change human nature in order to make the world a better place.

My personal suggestion was All the News That’s Fit to Print for Angry, Hysterical Women and Their Intersectional Allies, since The New York Times is now an advocacy rag, but the staff choice apparently is The Truth is Worth It — or perhaps The Times paid some Madison Avenue logo engineers for that.

And one is prompted to ask: worth what, exactly? If “truth” actually amounts to “lived experience,” as The Times insists, then truth can be whatever you say it is — the bedrock ethos of all tyrannical political movements. To me, The Truth is Worth It sounds suspiciously like The Ends Justify the Means, and anyone following the so-called Resistance the past three years may have noticed that’s exactly how it operates.

For instance, Resistance team captain Elizabeth Warren referred the other day to the 2014 “murder” of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri “by a white policeman.” Of course, Ms. Warren was speaking her “truth.” Now, it happens that the US Department of Justice under Eric Holder (this was the Obama administration) determined that it was not murder, as did an inquiry by the State of Missouri — rather that Mr. Brown was shot after attacking officer Darren Wilson in his police car and attempting to grab his gun.

Did Senator Warren not believe former attorney general Holder? Was there some other authoritative opinion she was referencing? Or was she just making shit up on-the-fly to juice an audience? Could she have had any other purpose than to provoke racial animus? Is that what this country needs? More tension between blacks and whites? More reason for suspicion and hatred? Is that where you want leadership to lead you?

Senator Warren’s remark pretty obviously demonstrates the Resistance’s tenuous relationship with reality. Her rival, Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted out substantially the same thing last Friday. Do they actually believe what they are saying, or is it simply a tactical move because it’s worth it to stir up racial animosity if you want to become president? The media gave both of them a pass on that ploy.

A few weeks ago, podcaster Dave Rubin had “spiritual teacher” Eckhart Tolle on for a chat, and Mr. Tolle made the surprising remark that the current sorrows of the world were due to an excess of yin and not enough yang, meaning, he went on to explain, too much of the female principle in operation and not enough of the male principle. This crack made Dave Rubin blink a few times, especially coming from the most serene celebrity on the planet, a fellow far less excitable than the Dalai Lama, and a demigod to the yoga pants and Chai tea crowd. Too much yin! He said that? Really?

Mr. Tolle is onto something. Just take, for instance, a recent column by The New York Times’s op-ed writer Gail Collins: How to Torture Trump. Could she have put it more plainly? Does she not sound like a woman who has gotten advice from an unscrupulous divorce lawyer (excuse the redundancy)? In fact, the USA is looking like a really bad marriage. The yin of America is stuck in an hysterical rage at the yang. Cis-men whose lived experience includes marriage may be familiar with this stratagem. The prudent men often opt to not engage with the hysteria, which almost invariably amps up the hysteria.

The aim of the national matrimonial hysteria is to make sure that whatever conflict is at issue remains unresolved. The melodrama goes on for its own sake. It’s fun living on the verge of a nervous breakdown. That is exactly why the US political scene is so disordered and distressed. That is why the Democratic Party can’t find any credible male candidates. And that is how come the country happened to elect an imperturbable Golden Golem of Greatness.

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Former lobbyist Esper sworn in as Pentagon chief

Posted by M. C. on July 24, 2019

Just another day in the swamp.

At least someone was bothered enough to bring the subject up.

Don’t worry, it is already forgotten.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/u-senate-confirms-former-lobbyist-172626888.html

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Army Secretary Mark Esper was sworn in as U.S. secretary of defence on Tuesday, hours after being confirmed by the Senate in a strong bipartisan vote that ended the longest period by far the Pentagon had been without a permanent top official.

Esper was sworn in at the White House by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in a ceremony hosted by President Donald Trump and attended by a number of Republican lawmakers. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a vote of 90-8 several hours earlier.

“That’s a vote that we’re not accustomed to, Mark. I have to say that, so congratulations,” Trump told Esper, a former professional staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

Esper, 55, a former soldier and lobbyist for weapons maker Raytheon Co <RTN.N>, received strong bipartisan support despite sharp questioning during his confirmation hearing by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren about his ties to Raytheon and his refusal to extend an ethics commitment he signed in 2017 to avoid decisions involving the company.

Warren, a 2020 presidential hopeful, was the only member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to voice opposition to Esper’s confirmation during the hearing.

Raytheon is the third-largest U.S. defence contractor…

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As Democrats Push a “Wealth Tax,” Here’s Why Other Countries Got Rid Of It | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on June 27, 2019

https://mises.org/power-market/democrats-push-wealth-tax-heres-why-other-countries-got-rid-it

Daniel J. Mitchell

…Another guilt-ridden rich guy wrote for the New York Times that he wants the government to have more of his money.

My parents watched me build two Fortune 500 companies and become one of the wealthiest people in the country. …It’s time to start talking seriously about a wealth tax. …Don’t get me wrong: I am not advocating an end to the capitalist system that’s yielded some of the greatest gains in prosperity and innovation in human history. I simply believe it’s time for those of us with great wealth to commit to reducing income inequality, starting with the demand to be taxed at a higher rate than everyone else. …let’s end this tired argument that we must delay fixing structural inequities until our government is running as efficiently as the most profitable companies. …we can’t waste any more time tinkering around the edges. …A wealth tax can start to address the economic inequality eroding the soul of our country’s strength. I can afford to pay more, and I know others can too.

When reading this kind of nonsense, my initial instinct is to tell this kind of person to go ahead and write a big check to the IRS (or, better yet, send the money to me as a personal form of redistribution to the less fortunate). After all, if he really thinks he shouldn’t have so much wealth, he should put his money where his mouth is.

But rich leftists like Elizabeth Warren don’t do this, and I’m guessing the author of the NYT column won’t, either. At least if the actions of other rich leftists are any guide.

But I don’t want to focus on hypocrisy.

Today’s column is about the destructive economics of wealth taxation.

report from the Mercatus Center makes a very important point about how a wealth tax is really a tax on the creation of new wealth.

Wealth taxes have been historically plagued by “ultra-millionaire” mobility. …The Ultra-Millionaire Tax, therefore, contains “strong anti-evasion measures” like a 40 percent exit tax on any targeted household that attempts to emigrate, minimum audit rates, and increased funding for IRS enforcement. …Sen. Warren’s wealth tax would target the…households that met the threshold—around 75,000—would be required to value all of their assets, which would then be subject to a two or three percent tax every year. Sen. Warren’s team estimates that all of this would bring $2.75 trillion to the federal treasury over ten years… a wealth tax would almost certainly be anti-growth. …A wealth tax might not cause economic indicators to tumble immediately, but the American economy would eventually become less dynamic and competitive… If a household’s wealth grows at a normal rate—say, five percent—then the three percent annual tax on wealth would amount to a 60 percent tax on net wealth added.

Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute makes the same point in a columnfor the Hill.

Wealth taxes operate differently from income taxes because the same stock of money is taxed repeatedly year after year. …Under a 2 percent wealth tax, an investor pays taxes each year equal to 2 percent of his or her net worth, but in the end pays taxes each decade equal to a full 20 percent of his or her net worth. …Consider a taxpayer who holds a long term bond with a fixed interest rate of 3 percent each year. Because a 2 percent wealth tax captures 67 percent of the interest income of the bondholder makes each year, it is essentially identical to a 67 percent income tax. The proposed tax raises the same revenue and has the same economic effects, whether it is called a 2 percent wealth tax or a 67 percent income tax. …The 3 percent wealth tax that Warren has proposed for billionaires is still higher, equivalent to a 100 percent income tax rate in this example. The total tax burden is even greater because the wealth tax would be imposed on top of the 37 percent income tax rate. …Although the wealth tax would be less burdensome in years with high returns, it would be more burdensome in years with low or negative returns. …high rates make the tax a drain on the pool of American savings. That effect is troubling because savings finance the business investment that in turn drives future growth of the economy and living standards of workers.

Alan is absolutely correct (I made the same point back in 2012).

Taxing wealth is the same as taxing saving and investment (actually, it’s the same as triple- or quadruple-taxing saving and investment). And that’s bad for competitiveness, growth, and wages.

And the implicit marginal tax rate on saving and investment can be extremely punitive. Between 67 percent and 100 percent in Alan’s examples. And that’s in addition to regular income tax rates.

You don’t have to be a wild-eyed supply-side economist to recognize that this is crazy.

Which is one of the reasons why other nations have been repealing this class-warfare levy.

Here’s a chart from the Tax Foundation showing the number of developed nations with wealth taxes from1965-present.

Jun-25-19-Tax-Foundation-Chart.jpg

 

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Sanders Wonders if Warren Is Surging in Polls Because She Is a Woman

Posted by M. C. on June 21, 2019

Blowback!

It must be shocking when policies meant to be burdened by the unwashed masses affect the people that create those policies.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/06/20/sanders-wonders-warren-surging-polls-she-woman/

by HANNAH BLEAU

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is unsure what to make of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) recent surge in the polls and told CNN on Wednesday that it could have something to do with her status as a woman.

Sanders tried to make sense of Warren’s recent surge during a Wednesday appearance on CNN. Chris Cuomo asked him if people view Warren as a “more electable version” of himself.

Instead of answering the question, Sanders brought up Warren’s status as a woman, subtly implying people may be supporting her simply because of that…

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Elizabeth Warren’s Antitrust Crusade – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 19, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/06/dom-armentano/elizabeth-warrens-antitrust-crusade/

By

Elizabeth Warren has made antitrust a major public policy issue in her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. She has argued that several high-tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook are just too big and that they should be broken up by the Justice Department in a major antitrust initiative.

Let’s be clear. Using antitrust regulation to break up large companies is an economic and civil liberties nightmare. Those who advocate such policies always fall victim to what Friedrich Hayek termed the “fatal conceit; that is, the assumption that regulators (and the courts) somehow know better than market participants how goods and services should be produced and sold…

Elizabeth Warren has maintained that Amazon, Facebook, and Google are just too big; but too big for whom? She must know that simply being “too big” is not a violation of antitrust law. Indeed, the traditional mission of antitrust is to protect consumers from the high prices and anti-competitive practices established through “conspiracy” or through the exercise of “monopoly power” in some relevant market. Yet Facebook, Amazon and Google do not charge high prices; indeed, they do not charge ANY explicit price at all but secure the bulk of their revenue through advertising. And even if some of their economic or privacy practices are determined to be questionable at some point, that alone would hardly justify any legal divestiture.

The fact remains that all of these companies are successful because consumers freely and repeatedly use their services. They all compete in legally open markets where other firms are free to raise capital and offer alternatives. Disgruntled consumers that choose not to use the free services of Amazon or Google can easily mouse click to other search engines (Bing in the case of Google) and several other online retailers in the case of Amazon. And, of course, no one is forced to participate in the Facebook universe at all (your author does not) and opting out (if you are in) is always possible. So from a strict price and choice perspective, it would be difficult to make a convincing argument that divestiture is justified or would produce the results intended…

Antitrust has a very checkered past and those who advocate its use would do well to study its history more closely. After all, there is almost no economic problem, real or imagined, that cannot be made worse by inappropriate government regulation. Antitrust is no exception.

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Socialist Promises – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 22, 2019

Socialism promises a utopia that sounds good, but those promises are never realized. It most often results in massive human suffering. Capitalism fails miserably when compared with a heaven or utopia promised by socialism. But any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/05/walter-e-williams/socialist-promises/

By

Presidential contenders are in a battle to out give one another. Senator Elizabeth Warren proposes a whopping $50,000 per student college loan forgiveness. Senator Bernie Sanders proposes free health care for all Americans plus illegal aliens. Most Democratic presidential candidates promise free stuff that includes free college, universal income, “Medicare for All” and debt forgiveness.

Their socialist predecessors made promises too. “Freedom and Bread” was the slogan used by Adolf Hitler during the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi) campaign against president Paul von Hindenburg. Hitler even promised, “In the Third Reich every German girl will find a husband.” Stalin promised a great socialist-Marxist society that included better food and better worker conditions. China’s Mao Zedong promised democratic constitutionalism and the dream that “farmers have land to till.” These, and other promises, gave Mao the broad political support he needed to win leadership of the entire country in 1949…

Capitalism, or what some call free markets, is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way individuals amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man. Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit. A historical example of this process would be John D. Rockefeller, whose successful marketing drove kerosene prices down from 58 cents a gallon in 1865 to 7 cents in 1900. Henry Ford became rich by producing cars for the common man. Both Ford’s and Rockefeller’s personal benefits pale in comparison to the benefits received by the common man who had cheaper kerosene and cheaper and more convenient transportation. There are literally thousands of examples of how mankind’s life ha been made better by those in the pursuit of profits. Here’s my question to you: Are the people who, by their actions, created unprecedented convenience, longer life expectancy and a more pleasant life for the ordinary person — and became wealthy in the process — deserving of all the scorn and ridicule heaped upon them by intellectuals and political hustlers today?..

By the way, I’m not making an outright condemnation of socialism. I run my household on the Marxist principle, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” That system works when you can remember the names of all involved.

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Doug Casey: The Democratic Party Is a “Freak Show” – Casey Research

Posted by M. C. on May 18, 2019

No, to come up with ideas like hers means that you’re purposefully trying to create a disaster; that’s the definition of an evil person.

You only have to look at John Bolton to know progressives don’t have a on lock on freaks.

https://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/doug-casey-the-democratic-party-is-a-freak-show/

Justin’s note: Elizabeth Warren could cost America trillions of dollars.

Warren is, of course, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts. She’s also running for president.

And like many fellow Democrats, she’s full of wacky ideas. Most recently, she made waves by saying she wants to forgive more than $1 trillion worth of student loans if she becomes president. She also wants to issue reparations to African Americans, which could also cost trillions.

These sorts of ideas used to be considered extreme. A candidate would get laughed out of the race for suggesting them. But those days are over.

A recent poll found that just 27% of Americans oppose Warren’s debt forgiveness plan. As for reparations? Well, fellow Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris both support the idea.

Of course, not everyone’s a fan of these ideas. Doug Casey is one of those people. Below, Doug tells me why these ideas are not only ridiculous but destructive. He also tells me why he thinks Warren is part of a much bigger problem.


Justin: Doug, what do you make of Elizabeth Warren’s plan to forgive student loans? Surely, student loans are a major problem.

But I’m not sure this is the best solution. What do you think?

Doug: Well, it makes perverse sense that she’d suggest something like this. After all, a new Democratic presidential candidate enters the race every day now. I think we’re up to 22 candidates now. But who’s counting?

They seem to be competing with each other in an actual freak show. The Evil Party is trotting out its most bizarre nomenklatura, each trying to outdo the other in being socialist, black, queer, transgender friendly, or a professional female. By which I mean a female who parades as a female for a living. They’re vying over who has the most outlandish, rabid and nonsensical ideas about how they’re going to transform the very nature of what’s left of the United States.

Meanwhile, the Stupid Party, the right wing of the Demopublicans, populated by neocons, has-beens, and assorted non-entities, seems mainly interested in hyping the stock market with phony money, and looking for a major war somewhere in the world.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) kind of set the tone for all this. It amazes me that a 29-year-old Puerto Rican bartender comes from out of nowhere, apparently as a result of an actual casting call, and now everybody in the country takes her ideas seriously.

Perhaps the most stupid of her ideas is Modern Monetary Theory (MMT). This basically amounts to unlimited printing of dollars.

All these other candidates have to call her bet, raise it, and wait for the next player to reraise. They all have some signature goofball idea at this point… Read the rest of this entry »

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The Secret Campaign for 2020: Where the Democratic Candidates Stand on Foreign Policy – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 14, 2019

https://original.antiwar.com/ted_rall/2019/05/13/the-secret-campaign-for-2020-where-the-democratic-candidates-stand-on-foreign-policy/

According to the latest Pew Research poll, the five most important issues for Democrats are health care, education, Medicare, poverty and the environment.

So it’s not surprising that the major Democratic presidential contenders’ campaigns are focusing on economic and other America-centric issues. Nor is it shocking that the news media, never more anemic or less willing to question the candidates, is ignoring their stances on foreign policy…

Still, voters deserve to know the would-be presidents’ positions on issues that extend beyond U.S. borders. Here’s what I found:

The Democrats on Our Crazy Defense Spending

The military sucks up 54% of discretionary federal spending. Pentagon bloat has a huge effect on domestic priorities; the nearly $1 trillion a year that goes to exploiting, oppressing, torturing, maiming and murdering foreigners could go to building schools, curing diseases, funding college scholarships, poetry slams, whatever. Anything, even tax cuts for the rich, would be better than bombs. But as then-presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said in 2015: “The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things.” If you’re like me, you want as little killing and breaking as possible.

Unfortunately, no major Democratic presidential candidate favors substantial cuts to Pentagon appropriations. Read the rest of this entry »

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