MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘welfare state’

Decentralization: Why the EU May Be Better Than the US | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on May 30, 2021

But, however strong Europhiles’ calls are for political unity, old habits die hard. Many Europeans still aren’t willing to turn their national legislatures into mere adjuncts of a central government that will rule from Brussels. 

Americans, on the other hand, have historically had no such qualms about empowering a central state to a level that would delight any Europhile bureaucrat. It’s too late for American member states to assert independence from the central government without facing an avalanche of legal, political, and even military opposition. Europeans would be wise to not put themselves in a similar position.

https://mises.org/wire/decentralization-why-eu-may-be-better-us

Ryan McMaken

Over the years, I’ve been pretty hard on the European Union. Both as an editor and a writer, I’ve published articles criticizing its central bank and its unelected, bureaucratic central government. Especially objectionable is the EU ruling class’s propensity for cynical politics built around threatening and intimidating voters and national governments who don’t conform to Brussels’s wishes.

Recall, for example, how the EU threatened the United Kingdom with retaliatory tariffs and legal action to dissuade the British from voting to pull the UK out of the EU.

Many within the EU continue to push petty anti-British policies to this day.

Moreover, the Brussels government has taken steps to force into line various EU member states that don’t conform to EU edicts on immigration or internal politics. For example, over the past year, Brussels has launched legal proceedings against Poland because of steps taken by Poland’s elected government to reform the regime’s judicial system. The EU has also taken legal action against Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic over immigration policy.

Even worse, many within the bloc continue to push for a so-called United States of Europe, which will presumably drive the bloc toward far more political unity and control by the Brussels regime.

Simply put, the EU is a force for political centralization which threatens to further abolish what remains of more localized autonomy in Europe.

The United States Is Even Worse

Yet, for all of the EU’s insistence on moving in the wrong direction—that is, the direction of political centralization—the EU remains remarkably decentralized by American standards. Indeed, when it comes to its degree of centralization, and the degree to which the central bureaucracy exercises control over member states, the EU is far superior to the United States.

This is evident in several ways. When it comes to border control, welfare programs, and control over each member state’s political institutions, the EU is clearly far more decentralized than the United States. Best of all, it is still possible for EU member states to actually leave the union, as demonstrated by Brexit.

Indeed, for those of us who favor greater political decentralization in the United States, a step toward the EU’s current situation would be a move in the right direction for the US—at least in terms of its political structure—even if the EU itself is presently trending in the wrong direction. 

The European Welfare State IsMore Decentralized

One key area in which Europe is more decentralized than the US is its welfare state. European member states are fortunate in that their welfare programs remain decentralized, and that the bloc does not have any social benefits program comparable to the US’s Social Security program.

This isn’t to say the EU doesn’t have any social-spending programs administered in Brussels. The EU bureaucracy takes in tax revenues from member states and then redistributes those funds around the bloc. In practice, this means wealthier EU members are net payers while poorer EU members are net receivers. Funds largely go toward “economic development” projects and agriculture.

Although transfer payments are a reality in the EU, the EU has nothing like the US’s system of a single nationwide program that directly taxes individuals and then pays that money back out directly to individuals.

For example, with Social Security and Medicare, individual workers in the US are directly taxed by the central government and then those funds are transferred by the central government from wage earners to retirees. Other similar programs include food stamps and Medicaid.

This means millions upon millions of Americans look directly to the federal government for a “check in the mail.” Although all US states have their own welfare programs of various sorts, these tend to be very small compared to the federal welfare apparatus. Naturally, this tends to give the federal government far more control over the lives and personal budgets of Americans than if the welfare system were funded and administered at the state or municipal level.

In Europe, by contrast, the welfare state is administered and funded overwhelmingly at the level of the member country. Britain’s National Health Service—even when the UK was part of the EU—has always been a British program. The same is true of the UK’s pension programs.

Other member states function in a similar fashion. France, for example, has an immense welfare state, but those who receive transfer payments through the French system do not ultimately depend on the Brussels government for these payments.

The political implications of this are immense. The national nature of the American welfare state acts as an enormous impediment to any effort of an American state to break away from the union. Any American state that seeks to leave the US would, for instance, likely face opposition from voters who fear the loss of benefits—especially Social Security—doled out by the central government. Indeed, were the European welfare state unified to the degree that it is in the United States, it is extremely unlikely that Brexit would have ever happened. British pensioners and recipients of “EU welfare” payments would have been too fearful of losing their benefits—just as many opponents of Scotland’s independent referendum feared the loss of transfer payments from London. It’s not a coincidence that elderly residents of Scotland (and “out-of-work benefits claimants”) lopsidedly voted against Scottish independence.

The Member States’ Legislatures Still Dominate Lawmaking in the Bloc

Government regulation in Europe is increasingly a matter for politicians in Brussels. Yet, for the most part, the administration of government continues to be dominated by the governments of the member states.

Although the tug-of-war between Brussels and the national legislatures continues, the fact is member states generally retain unilateral control over national budgets, law-and-order issues, and over social policies like abortion. There is no European equivalent of the FBI, for instance. 

Moreover, as conflicts within the bloc between east and west over migrants continues, we see that member states are both more willing and more capable of pushing back against edicts from the central government than is the case with American states.

Member states even have unilateral control over their own national borders. While most members of the EU are subject, de jure, to the Schengen Agreement and its successor agreements, member states still maintain the de facto unilateral control. This was on clear display during the early months of the covid-19 panic, when numerous member states within the EU closed down much of the travel across their borders.

Exit Is Still Possible

Nothing better illustrates the EU’s greater level of decentralization than the fact that member states can still peacefully and legally leave the bloc.

This was demonstrated when the United Kingdom finally left the EU after several years of negotiations following the national referendum on Brexit in 2016. Although the Brussels government sought to make it as difficult as possible for the UK to withdraw, it was nonetheless impossible to deny that the UK could legally do so. Moreover, in the practical sense, there was ultimately nothing the EU could do to prevent the UK from leaving, largely because the other EU members were not willing to support military action to force the UK to continue within the bloc.

We could of course contrast this with the United States. In the case of the US, anytime Americans hint at the possibility of secession, opponents of secession chortle that “the secession question was solved by the US Civil War!” Those who invoke this phrase, of course, are signaling that they believe any attempt at secession justifies military invasion and occupation.

Fortunately for the Europeans, the EU has yet to progress to the point where it can take military action against its own people with impunity. In America, on the other hand, any overture toward asserting independence from Washington brings veiled or not-so-veiled threats of violence.

What Brussels Bureaucrats Really Want

None of this is to say that the bureaucrats who run the EU in Brussels wouldn’t love to have all of the powers the US government currently enjoys. For years, the EU has been moving toward expanding its military capabilities, while calling for greater fiscal controls to expand the European Central Bank’s monetary policy. Some now call for using the covid-19 crisis as a justification for creating a “stronger EU.” 

But, however strong Europhiles’ calls are for political unity, old habits die hard. Many Europeans still aren’t willing to turn their national legislatures into mere adjuncts of a central government that will rule from Brussels. 

Americans, on the other hand, have historically had no such qualms about empowering a central state to a level that would delight any Europhile bureaucrat. It’s too late for American member states to assert independence from the central government without facing an avalanche of legal, political, and even military opposition. Europeans would be wise to not put themselves in a similar position.

Author:

Contact Ryan McMaken

Ryan McMaken (@ryanmcmaken) is a senior editor at the Mises Institute. Send him your article submissions for the Mises Wire and Power&Market, but read article guidelines first. Ryan has degrees in economics and political science from the University of Colorado and was a housing economist for the State of Colorado. He is the author of Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Progressivism’s Failures: From Minimum Wages to the Welfare State | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 3, 2021

In fact, a separate study found that Seattle’s policy reduced low-wage employment by 6–7 percent, and due to the reduction in employment, workers in this category actually saw a net decline in pay.

https://mises.org/wire/progressivisms-failures-minimum-wages-welfare-state

Eben Macdonald

As I write, the Democratic Congress is contemplating various measures designed to alleviate poverty levels in the United States. They include: the doubling of the minimum wage; the expansion of child credits. Let’s review both.

The Minimum Wage Hike

Congress intends to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15. This makes various assumptions: first, that minimum wage workers themselves are indeed poor. This is wrong: they come from families with a median household income of $66,000; for, their median age is twenty-four years old, and 60 percent are still attending school. Secondly, this policy makes the assumption that it will have no statistically significant impact on unemployment. This is also misguided. The City of Seattle enacted a $13 minimum wage in 2016, resulting in a fall of 9 percent in hours worked among these jobsThe job turnover rate declined by 8 percent, and the city’s less experienced minimum wage workers saw no net increase in payment.

In fact, a separate study found that Seattle’s policy reduced low-wage employment by 6–7 percent, and due to the reduction in employment, workers in this category actually saw a net decline in pay. The third assumption made by this minimum wage hike is that workers will indeed see an increase in inflation-adjusted income. A crucial lesson of economics is that living standards are not determined just by nominal wages, but also the amount which such a wage can consume. Literature suggests that raising the minimum will correspond with an increase in cost of living, due to businesses offsetting higher labor costs, and therefore harm precisely those whom the policy intends to help—low-wage workers. For instance, the average childcare worker in the United States earns $11 an hour—below the threshold Congress intends to set. Therefore, higher labor costs will simply mean an increase in the cost of childcare.

One estimate found that this policy would cause, on average, childcare costs to rise by 21 percent in the United States—that’s an increase of $3,700. Some areas would inevitably be hit harder than others: for instance, the state of Mississippi would see a whopping 43 percent increase in costs. Another essential component of the cost of living is food costs. Many grocery workers work below $15 in the United States: and higher labor costs will simply mean higher inflation in the price of food, which will clearly affect low-wage workers more than high-wage ones. In fact, one study conducted by the University of Zurich found that all the income gains made by workers who had enjoyed a minimum wage increase were simply offset by higher grocery prices. There is more general evidence that raising the minimum wage raises the rate of inflation, therefore negatively impacting those very workers. A study from Canada found that minimum wage hikes can boost the CPI by at least 0.1 percent. Whilst this might not seem statistically significant, the study specified that this small increase caused interest rates to rise, thereby having negative effects on employment. Moreover, an American study (pp.19) estimated that a one third decline in the minimum wage between 1979 and 1995 lowered the CPI by 1 percent (which is of statistical significance).

Raising the minimum wage will harm precisely those it intends to help through higher unemployment and cost of living.

Expanding the Welfare State

Some economists have rosy predictions about Congress’s plan to expand child credits on poverty levels. That being said, in the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson hoped to end poverty and racial injustice as he initiated the War on Poverty programs. $20 trillion dollars later, the American poverty rate has bounced between 12 percent and 15 percent since those programs began.

A law of the Welfare state can be said to be this: increases in public income transfers will simply be offset by reductions in private earningsThe famous Seattle-Denver Income Maintenance Experiment (SIME/DIME) found that a $1,000 increase in welfare payments is offset by a $660 reduction in private earnings. Thus, low-income families experience only a meagre increase in their standard of living, and are subject to dependency on state welfare spending.

On top of that, welfare spending increases levels of single parenthood. This was a concern early on when Johnson’s welfare programs were initiated, and it was confirmed by a 1993 study that the welfare state was indeed responsible for the rise in single parenthood. The study postulated that a 50 percent increase in welfare spending yields a 43 percent increase in the levels of single parenthood.

I’ve argued in the past that single parenthood and a lack of full-time work are fundamental contributing factors to poverty in the United States, both of which the welfare state reinforces (in fact, the economists Isabelle Sawhill and Ron Haskin famously predicted that if single parenthood were eradicated and full-time work were universal, among other factors, poverty in the United States could be reduced by 70 percent).

Furthermore, the welfare state may negatively impact social mobility. According to research conducted by the economist Raj Chetty, there is a powerful negative correlation between the prevalence of single parenthood across the OECD and the actual levels of upward child mobility in each of those countries. In fact, there even seems to be a connection between the prevalence of single parenthood amongst the US states and poverty levels/social mobility.

Evidence strongly suggests that the welfare state does not alleviate poverty in the United States, and therefore that these poverty projections to support Congress’s proposals are overblown. A groundbreaking study postulated a Laffer curve–like relationship between poverty and welfare spending (where spending will alleviate poverty to an extent, but beyond a certain point will in fact increase poverty). The study argued that public overreach was responsible for the poverty rate being 50 percent higher than without that extra assistance (due to the impoverishing effect of dependency, single parenthood and work disincentives). This statistic ought to worry Congress, and make them think twice about these welfare proposals.

Conclusion

The two policies which are on Congress’s books will not, and never have, succeeded in truly benefitting low-income Americans. To accomplish this aim, they should in fact focus on welfare reform, lowering cost of living through deregulating commodities like housing, energy and childcare, removing labor regulations which exclude poor, inexperienced workers from employment, and thinking twice about inflating the money supply during recessions, which erodes the paychecks of low-income earners. Author:

Eben Macdonald

Eben Macdonald is a 15-year-old student, a keen free-marketeer, and he wants a society which is predicated on liberty.

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Welfare State Did What Slavery Couldn’t Do | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on September 11, 2020

Lawmakers do black people no favor when they advance a narrative that dismisses the importance of the family structure and offers instead dependence on government rather than independence as human beings. As Williams stated, “The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has….

https://mises.org/wire/welfare-state-did-what-slavery-couldnt-do?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=4da83ae339-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-4da83ae339-228343965

The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery couldn’t do….And that is to destroy the black family. –Walter E. Williams, the Wall Street Journal

On August 14, the Commission on Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act was signed into law. It establishes a nineteen-member panel within the Commission on Civil Rights to examine social problems that disproportionately affect black males.

The act is a conscious response to the death of George Floyd, with the opening section of the bill being subtitled the “George Floyd and Walter Scott Notification Act.” Floyd died on May 25 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes. Walter Scott died on April 4, 2015, after being shot by a white police officer who had stopped him for a broken brake light. Both have become symbols of police brutality against black males. Invoking them indicates that the new commission will focus on the disparity with which law enforcement and the court system treat black males.

Any spotlight shone on the neglected problem of discrimination against males deserves applause. Higher education is often used to illustrate how far the pendulum has swung from several decades ago, when discrimination against women was rife. A February 1 article in Forbes, “The Collegiate War against Males,” commented on the recent decline in college enrollment. “Most of that fall…is concentrated among men. Between 2015 and 2019…the number of men on campuses declined by 691,643, almost double the smaller fall among women, 348,955. In percentage terms, the male decline of 8.34% was far more than double that among women, 3.18%….In 2015, there were 32% more women than men, but now the differential is nearly 40%.” From family courts to the handling of sexual violence, from protective laws for women to harsh prison sentencing for men, the government unjustly advantages one gender over the other instead of treating all individuals equally under the same law.

The Commission on Social Status of Black Men and Boys is not likely to increase justice, however; it may well damage the cause it seems to champion.

There is reason for skepticism. A DC Commission on Black Men and Boys was established in 2001 by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who also cochairs the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys. Predictably, Norton applauds the new act, because it “mandates government action to help improve the condition of African-American men and boys.” There are two takeaways from her comment: government will become more deeply involved in directing the lives of black males, and two decades of activity by the first commission has accomplished little.

The government mandate is unfortunate, for several reasons.

Improving the status and safety of anyone is laudable, but a number of problems exist with the bill’s approach. For one thing, social status refers to a person’s standing in a community. It refers to how highly others in society value a person. As long as people are nonviolent, the government has no business dictating what or whom they value. It is akin to mandating what people must think and feel, which is a matter of social control—not justice.

Moreover, the government can elevate the social status of a group only by changing their legal status and treatment. If the change makes all people equal under just law, then it is an improvement. If it elevates one class by harming the status of another class, then it is discriminatory and unjust on its face.

There are two basic ways that government can use the law to influence social status. It can remove any legal entitlements or disadvantages for categories of people and allow the status of each individual to rise or fall on its own. Or it can redistribute status—in a manner similar to redistributing wealth—by extending privileges and opportunities to one group while denying them to another; affirmative action in university admission is an example. The new commission will almost certainly take the latter path. And the disadvantaged category will almost certainly be white males. (Women are unlikely to be disadvantaged, because they are still viewed as “oppressed.”) If the new Commission follows the lead of Norton’s original one, it will make frequent comparisons between the status of black males and white ones as a way to “prove” racial inequity. If this happens, males will be divided into warring groups—black and white—with one category of males benefiting at the expense of the other, with the interests of both in conflict.

Another objection: the new commission tacitly accepts the idea that there is institutionalized racism in America. Although racist individuals and organizations certainly exist, America has overwhelmingly purged its institutions of antiblack bias. Racism is not systemic. In an article entitled Why Social Justice Warriors Battle ‘Institutional Racism,’” the noted black economist Walter Williams, who teaches at George Mason University, speculated on the ill-defined terms institutional racism and systemic racism. He wrote, “I suspect it means that they cannot identify the actual person or entities engaged in the practice….And it is seen by many, particularly the intellectual elite, as a desirable form of determining who gets what.”

On the other hand, a clear-cut misandry or antimale bias does exist in American institutions and culture. This is especially true of white heterosexual males, who politically lack the intersectional “advantage” of being a racial or sexual minority. But the antimale bias also applies to blacks who are disadvantaged simply because of their gender. In fighting this bias, they should find common cause with white males instead of being politically juxtaposed.

Yet another objection to the commission is that its members almost certainly accept “the legacy of slavery” as the cause of any racism in America. This means it will not address the single most powerful cause of black impoverishment: the decline of the black family, for which government bears much responsibility. The black social theorist Thomas Sowell, who teaches at Stanford University, has written extensively on the decline of the black family. In his article A Legacy of Liberalism,” Sowell rejects the argument that current black impoverishment is the residue of slavery or due to inherent racism. He refers to “the legacy of slavery” argument as a reason not to think about the subject or rely on evidence, because it replaces research with an emotional reaction. “If we wanted to be serious about evidence,” Sowell observed, “we might compare where blacks stood a hundred years after the end of slavery with where they stood after 30 years of the liberal welfare state….Despite the grand myth that black economic progress began or accelerated with the passage of the civil rights laws and ‘war on poverty’ programs of the 1960s, the cold fact is that the poverty rate among blacks fell from 87 percent in 1940 to 47 percent by 1960. This was before any of those programs began.”

In his article “The Legacy of the Welfare State,” Williams agreed. “The No. 1 problem among blacks is the effects stemming from a very weak family structure. Children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes and end up in prison. They are also likelier to live in poverty-stricken households. But is the weak black family a legacy of slavery?…Here’s my question: Was the increase in single-parent black families after 1960 a legacy of slavery, or might it be a legacy of the welfare state ushered in by the War on Poverty?”

In another article Sowell answered, “A vastly expanded welfare state in the 1960s destroyed the black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and generations of racial oppression. In 1960, before this expansion of the welfare state, 22 percent of black children were raised with only one parent. By 1985, 67 percent of black children were raised with either one parent or no parent.” The percentage has held fairly steady since then. And, statistically, the parent figure is usually a mother or a grandmother.

Being effectively fatherless can be devastating. The paper “What Can the Federal Government Do to Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?,” issued by the US Department of Justice, offered statistics on children from fatherless homes. The children account for:

  • Suicide: 63 percent of youth suicides
  • Runaways: 90 percent of all homeless and runaway youths
  • Behavioral disorders: 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders
  • High school dropouts: 71 percent of all high school dropouts
  • Juvenile detention rates: 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
  • Substance abuse: 75 percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers

Lawmakers do black people no favor when they advance a narrative that dismisses the importance of the family structure and offers instead dependence on government rather than independence as human beings. As Williams stated, “The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has….The most damage done to black Americans is inflicted by those politicians, civil rights leaders and academics who assert that every problem confronting blacks is a result of a legacy of slavery and discrimination. That’s a vision that guarantees perpetuity for the problems.”

Author:

Contact Wendy McElroy

Wendy McElroy is a Canadian individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith of The Voluntaryist magazine in 1982.

Be seeing you

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Today and Yesterday – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 10, 2020

The poverty we have today is spiritual poverty. Spiritual poverty is an absence of what traditionally has been known as various human virtues. Much of that spiritual poverty is a result of public and private policy that rewards inferiority and irresponsibility. Chief among the policies that reward inferiority and irresponsibility is the welfare state.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/09/walter-e-williams/today-and-yesterday/

By

In matters of race and other social phenomena, there is a tendency to believe that what is seen today has always been. For black people, the socioeconomic progress achieved during my lifetime, which started in 1936, exceeded anyone’s wildest dreams. In 1936, most black people lived in gross material poverty and racial discrimination. Such poverty and discrimination is all but nonexistent today. Government data, assembled by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation, shows that “the average American family … identified as poor by the Census Bureau, lives in an air-conditioned, centrally heated house or apartment … They have a car or truck. (Indeed, 43% of poor families own two or more cars.)” The household “has at least one widescreen TV connected to cable, satellite, or a streaming service, a computer or tablet with internet connection, and a smartphone. (Some 82% of poor families have one or more smartphones.” On top of this, blacks today have the same constitutional guarantees as everyone else, which is not to say that every vestige of racial discrimination has been eliminated.

The poverty we have today is spiritual poverty. Spiritual poverty is an absence of what traditionally has been known as various human virtues. Much of that spiritual poverty is a result of public and private policy that rewards inferiority and irresponsibility. Chief among the policies that reward inferiority and irresponsibility is the welfare state. When some people know they can have children out of wedlock, drop out of school and refuse employment and suffer little consequence and social sanction, one should not be surprised to see the growth of such behavior. Today’s out-of-wedlock births among blacks is over 70%, but in the 1930s, it was 11%. During the same period, out-of-wedlock births among whites was 3%; today, it is over 30%. It is fashionable and politically correct to blame today’s 21% black poverty on racial discrimination. That is nonsense. Why? The poverty rate among black husband-and-wife families has been in the single digits for more than two decades. Can anyone produce evidence that racists discriminate against black female-headed families but not black husband-and-wife families?

For most people, education is one of the steppingstones out of poverty, and it has been a steppingstone for many black people. Today, decent education is just about impossible at many big-city public schools where violence, disorder, disrespect and assaults on teachers are routine. The kind of disrespectful and violent behavior observed in many predominantly black schools is entirely new. Some have suggested that such disorder is part of black culture, but that is an insulting lie. Black people can be thankful that double standards, and public and private policies rewarding inferiority and irresponsibility, were not broadly accepted during the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. There would not have been the kind of intellectual excellence and spiritual courage that created the world’s most successful civil rights movement.

Many whites are ashamed, saddened and guilt-ridden by our history of slavery, Jim Crow and gross racial discrimination. They see that justice and compensation for that ugly history is to hold their fellow black Americans accountable to the kind of standards and conduct they would never accept from whites. That behavior and conduct is relatively new. Meet with black people in their 70s or older, even liberal politicians such as Charles Rangel (age 90), and Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (85), Alcee Hastings (83) and Maxine Waters (82). Ask them whether their parents would have tolerated their assaulting and cursing of teachers or any other adult. I bet you the rent money their parents and other parents of that era would not have accepted the grossly disrespectful behavior seen today among many black youngsters who use foul language and racial epithets at one another. These older blacks will tell you that, had they behaved that way, they would have felt serious pain in their hind parts. If blacks of yesteryear would not accept such self-destructive behavior, why should today’s blacks accept it?

Black people have made tremendous gains over the years that came as a result of hard work, sacrifice and a no-nonsense approach to life. Recovering those virtues can provide solutions to many of today’s problems.

Be seeing you

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pope Francis: Liberation Theologian

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2020

Others were traditional welfare state redistributionists. Bergoglio was among this group.

Since then, the percentage of world’s poor has been reduced to under 10%. The Bookings Institution, a Keynesian, middle-of-the-road think tank, recently announced this.

This is what the present world economy is delivering. But the Pope doesn’t see it this way. He thinks the world needs a new taxation system and a new ethic.

This week, the Pope called for international economic redistribution. I have reprinted his speech here.

https://www.garynorth.com/public/20510.cfm

Gary North

Pope Francis is a liberation theologian.

Liberation theology was popular with a hard core of far-Left Catholic priests in Latin America from the mid-1960’s until December 25, 1991. A few of them were outright Marxists. They believed in armed revolution against the state. The Pope, then Father Bergoglio, , criticized this interpretation of Christianity.

Others were traditional welfare state redistributionists. Bergoglio was among this group. With the disintegration of the Soviet economy in the late 1980’s, followed by Gorbachev’s announcement of the suicide of the USSR on December 25, 1991, liberation theology ceased to be the latest and the greatest. It became passé overnight. It began to fade.

Bergoglio was the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina in the mid-1970’s. A decade earlier, the Jesuits had been a formidable force for theological conservatism within the Catholic Church. Then, within ten years, the Jesuits moved to the left theologically and politically. They abandoned four centuries of tradition in a decade. The story of this astounding transformation is recorded in Malachi Martin’s book, The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church (1987). Martin was appalled by the change. In contrast, Garry Wills applauded it in his book, Bare Ruined Choirs: Doubt, Prophecy, and Radical Religion (1972), which I reviewed in The Wall Street Journal.

From the foundation of the Jesuits in the mid-16th century until about 1965, the Jesuit order had been militant in its defense of the papacy. Pope Paul VI (1963-78) radicalized the Jesuits. He was the most theologically liberal Pope in history. He was also the most radical in terms of his social views. Pope Francis is extending his legacy after a four-decade gap. His predecessor, Benedict XVI, was the most conservative Pope since Pius XII, who died in 1958. That was a gap of almost five decades. He was a staunch opponent of liberation theology. The magnitude of this change is conveyed in the new Netflix movie, The Two Popes. The dialogue is fictional, but the theological confrontation was real. To get some idea of the change, imagine Calvin Coolidge deciding that the best person to follow him as President would be Franklin Roosevelt.

THE POPE’S CALL TO ACTION

This week, the Pope called for international economic redistribution. I have reprinted his speech here.

Last June, the Vatican posted his statement on the need to care for the poor. In that statement, he did not mention the need for state action. I have posted it here. In terms of traditional Catholic views on voluntary charity, there was nothing new in the presentation from a theological standpoint. But his language and his rhetoric was clearly that of liberation theology.

We can build any number of walls and close our doors in the vain effort to feel secure in our wealth, at the expense of those left outside. It will not be that way for ever. The “day of the Lord”, as described by the prophets (cf. Am 5:18; Is 2-5; Jl 1-3), will destroy the barriers created between nations and replace the arrogance of the few with the solidarity of many. The marginalization painfully experienced by millions of persons cannot go on for long. Their cry is growing louder and embraces the entire earth. In the words of Father Primo Mazzolari: “the poor are a constant protest against our injustices; the poor are a powder keg. If it is set on fire, the world will explode”.

This statement was issued to promote the Church’s World Day of the Poor: November 17. Why his statement was published five months early, I do not know.

His latest declaration reveals his commitment to a non-Marxist, meaning non-revolutionary, form of liberation theology. It is also consistent with what is sometimes called the new social gospel, best represented in the United States by political activist Jim Wallis. I devote a department to his theology and his tax-exempt political mobilization. It is here. The Pope has a lot more followers than Jim Wallis does. But his rhetoric is the same.

Structures of sin today include repeated tax cuts for the richest people, often justified in the name of investment and development; tax havens for private and corporate profits; and, of course, the possibility of corruption by some of the world’s largest corporations, not infrequently in line with some ruling political sector.Every year hundreds of billions of dollars, which should be paid in taxes to finance health care and education, accumulate in tax haven accounts, thus preventing the possibility of dignified and sustained development for all social actors.

Impoverished people in heavily indebted countries are suffering from overwhelming tax burdens and cuts in social services as their governments pay off insensitive and unsustainable debts. In fact, public debt incurred, in not a few cases to promote and encourage a country’s economic and productive development, can become a factor that damages and harms the social fabric. When it ends up being directed towards another purpose.

THE ELIMINATION OF POVERTY

One of the most astounding facts of the last two decades is the dramatic reduction in life-threatening poverty around the world. Nothing like this has ever taken place in man’s history. It is becoming a well-known phenomenon because of the remarkable 2007 TED talk video by Swedish statistician Hans Rosling.

Since then, the percentage of world’s poor has been reduced to under 10%. The Bookings Institution, a Keynesian, middle-of-the-road think tank, recently announced this.

Looking at poverty trends worldwide, World Data Lab now estimates that on New Year’s Day 2019, just under 600 million people across the world (excluding Syria) will live in extreme poverty. By 2030, this figure is expected to fall to some 436 million.The good news is that 2019 will start with the lowest prevalence of extreme poverty ever recorded in human history—less than 8 percent. In all likelihood, this level will set the “ceiling” for a new era of even lower single-digit global poverty rates for the foreseeable future.

This is what the present world economy is delivering. But the Pope doesn’t see it this way. He thinks the world needs a new taxation system and a new ethic.

You, who have so kindly gathered here, are the world’s financial leaders and economic specialists. Together with your colleagues, you help set global tax rules, inform the global public about our economic condition, and advise the world’s governments on budgets. They know first-hand what the injustices of our current global economy are, or the injustices of individual countries.Let us work together to end these injustices. When the multilateral credit agencies advise the different nations, it is important to take into account the high concepts of fiscal justice, responsible public budgets in their indebtedness and, above all, the effective and leading promotion of the poorest in the social network. Remind them of their responsibility to provide development assistance to impoverished nations and debt relief for heavily indebted nations. Remind them of the imperative to stop man-made climate change, as all nations have promised, so that we do not destroy the foundations of our Common House.

The Pope’s mindset was formed by 1975. His worldview has not changed. His rhetoric has not changed. Meanwhile, the world is getting steadily richer. The poor are steadily getting richer.

While I don’t have a biblical passage to support the following, I recommend to Pope Francis a familiar slogan in American life: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

THE BIBLE PROMOTES CAPITALISM

For over half a century, I have been arguing that the system of property rights mandated by the commandment against theft (Exodus 20:15) and also by the Mosaic laws defending private property inevitably produce a free market society when they are widely respected by the public and defended by civil government. In turn, free market society inevitably increases per capita wealth. I have defended this position in 31 volumes of economic commentaries on the Bible. I have defended it in four volumes of detailed economic analysis.

The Pope does not believe that biblical law and biblical ethics promote a private property social order which in turn produces capitalism. The theologians in Salamanca, Spain, argued that this was the case back in the 1500’s. But the Pope either is unaware of this or does not believe what the school of Salamanca taught.

I hope that a future Pope spends his years as a priest, a bishop, and a cardinal reading and re-reading the economics books written by members of the school of Salamanca. Even better, maybe he will read my books. I can always hope. After all, I’m postmillennial.

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Socialists Want To Destroy the Family – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/michael-s-rozeff/socialists-want-to-destroy-the-family/

By

A previous blog suggested and made some arguments that congressional policies pushed by Democrats and democratic socialists are achieving the destruction of the family. Statistics on family breakdown, drug use, divorce, single-parent families, out-of-wedlock births, struggling and poor single-parent families, higher crime and delinquency from progeny of fatherless families, and dropout levels of children of single-parent families all attest to the destruction of stable nuclear families.

One factor explaining this is the welfare state. The deterioration of families coincides with its presence and expansion.

Is this what leftists and socialists wanted and still want? Do they intend to enact legislation to destroy the family? Or are they mistaken in thinking that their legislation helps people and in overlooking the actual effects? Or are both intent and blind ignorance operating together?

Motivations are a more difficult thing to ascertain, hidden as they are. One source is what the socialist intelligentsia say. A first example of socialist thinking is the article “Love and Socialism” (Feb. 13, 2018). It’s explicit:

“The end of the family as a social and economic unit will form the basis of free love, where people will be able to enter and exit relationships at their will and without fear of economic consequences. It will form the basis of equality between men and women, and remove the structural imperative of gender roles. It will open society up for love as expansive comradeship rather than as private possession.”

Even as the welfare state destroys the family, an alternative philosophy of free love is on the rise to replace it. Lew Rockwell has a 1998 article on this subject, and he refers to the pathbreaking work by Mises titled “Socialism”:

“Proposals to transform the relations between the sexes have long gone hand in hand with plans for the socialization of the means of production. Marriage is to disappear along with private property…Socialism promises not only welfare-wealth for all-but universal happiness in love as well.”

Trotsky, a major communist/socialist, had this to say in 1937 in his book Revolution Betrayed:

“The revolution made a heroic effort to destroy the so-called ‘family hearth’ — that archaic, stuffy and stagnant institution in which the woman of the toiling classes performs galley labor from childhood to death. The place of the family as a shut-in petty enterprise was to be occupied, according to the plans, by a finished system of social care and accommodation: maternity houses, creches, kindergartens, schools, social dining rooms, social laundries, first-aid stations, hospitals, sanatoria, athletic organizations, moving-picture theaters, etc. The complete absorption of the housekeeping functions of the family by institutions of the socialist society, uniting all generations in solidarity and mutual aid, was to bring to woman, and thereby to the loving couple, a real liberation from the thousand-year-old fetters.”

What this means is that the state controls the raising of children through social institutions. The family becomes an empty shell….

Socialism 2019, a conference of radical socialists had an anti-family panel:

“Transgenderism, gender nonconformity, and abolishing traditional family structures were huge issues at Socialism 2019.

“One panel, ‘Social Reproduction Theory and Gender Liberation,’ addressed how the traditional family structure reinforced capitalism and contended that the answer was to simply abolish families.

“Corrie Westing, a self-described ‘queer socialist feminist activist based in Chicago working as a home-birth midwife,’ argued that traditional family structures propped up oppression and that the modern transgender movement plays a critical part in achieving true ‘reproductive justice.’”

The conclusion is warranted that socialist philosophy, expressed by socialist intellectuals, aims to destroy the traditional family. When the welfare state causes family deterioration and amplifies the role of the state, far from this bothering these thinkers, they understand it as helping to achieve their goal.

Be seeing you

FALSE: Hillary Clinton Said the Role of the State Is to ...

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Biggest Danger of Uncontrolled Immigration – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 16, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/michael-s-rozeff/the-biggest-danger-of-uncontrolled-immigration/

By

The extent of our economic freedom and the defense of our property rights are the key factors in our accumulation of wealth (goods and services) and a rise in our standard of living via the division of labor. But economic freedom and property rights depend critically on our laws and institutions, that is, the kind of government we have.

There is no question that we’ve moved away from the good laws and institutions that promote capitalism and embarked instead on a course of bad laws and institutions that promote socialism. This is why over a period of decades our living standards have not grown as much as they could have, and why some large portions of Americans can’t seem to get ahead, drop out of the labor force, live on welfare or even live on the streets.

Immigration is good for a country under two conditions. First, the country has the good laws and institutions that protect economic freedom and property rights. Second, the immigrants assimilate to the good laws and do not change them for the worse.

The socialist aspects of our current system are its bad laws. Immigrants don’t do Americans any good if they burden those parts of our system that offer “free” or subsidized goods and services. We cannot have a welfare state and allow unlimited immigration. Too many immigrants will opt for the free benefits. The wealth transfer is a tax upon working taxpayers. This amounts to greater socialism and economic retardation.

In order to benefit from immigration, as we have in our pre-1930s past when the welfare state and socialist regulatory laws were minimal, we need to get rid of these bad laws and institutions. This being unlikely at present, immigration becomes a worse and worse problem. It must be stopped, but stopping it requires a wall and police state measures. As George Reisman notes, the welfare state becomes a police state with unlimited immigration.

Then there is the second condition, which is that immigrants assimilate to our laws and institutions if they are the good laws supportive of and consistent with capitalism, private property rights and economic freedom. If they assimilate to what we have in our country today, this means adopting and supporting a system that has large socialist elements. This is definitely undesirable in terms of promoting the growth of wealth. We do not want to teach immigrants that American prosperity owes to our panoply of socialist interventions.

Worse yet, there are conflicting sentiments among immigrants to contend with. Some or many come because they want to work, educate themselves and get ahead in ways they couldn’t where they came from. But some or many also bring with them sentiments and political attitudes of their mother countries that they’ve imbibed and do not realize are contradictory to economic freedom and private property rights. Once within the bosom of our system with its socialist elements, they are likely to fall right in line with them, thinking they are being true Americans in supporting laws like Obamacare, Medicare for All, or other socialist laws and administrations…

Although the Republican party has been no stranger to socialist legislation, such as extending Medicare to prescription benefits, the Democrats are worse. They typically propose the socialist extensions and campaign for them for years on end until they become law.

The biggest danger of uncontrolled or unlimited immigration is that it shifts American politics even more greatly toward socialism.

Be seeing you

La-Raza-Founder (1)

…from the USA

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Welfare State is Tearing Sweden Apart | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on May 28, 2019

Forced associations, such as outright invasion and conquest, will fuel embitterment and conflicts along cultural/ethnic lines and maybe even usher in the rebirth of old conflicts. The welfare state is another type of attack vector in the a matrix of forced associations. It merely has different particular properties. The end result is the same: people that do not wish to tango are forced to jot each other down for the next dance.

https://mises.org/wire/welfare-state-tearing-sweden-apart

Swedes do not toil under a Communist yoke. We are thankfully a market oriented society, and particularly in rural areas, Swedes are ruggedly individualistic and responsible citizens. But we do have an enormous welfare state with which to contend — and it poisons our nation much in the same manner that full blown communism would; if perhaps not to the same degree. Doubtlessly; it sets the stage for some rather dystopian developments, both in terms of its steady consumption of productive capabilities — but also in its toxic effects on our culture. On top of this, Sweden has accepted a considerable amount of immigrants (to put it mildly) from cultures that differ wildly from the Swedish. In this text I will take a look at the welfare state through the prism of Sweden’s current multicultural challenge.

First and foremost, is multiculturalism a good thing? When multiculturalism emerges through voluntary interactions it is apparently valuable — otherwise it would not occur in a free society as it so often does. Again: in the marketplace there is, over time, the beautiful possibility that the identity of the tribe expands by including, assimilating and adapting to previously unknown things. Adaptation and cultural appropriation by means of voluntary associations cannot be a bad thing! But in such a situation; isn’t multiculturalism a misnomer? I would rather call it an emergent convergence towards a shared culture, in a pace that participants set. All in all: a desirable thing, especially compared to the alternatives.

Forced multiculturalism, on the other hand, increases polarisation and tribalism along the most basic, and most easily recognised dividing lines. In times of flux; easily distinguishable traits tend to become elevated and adored, uplifted to a place of high honour. They become a substitute for truly shared cultural values and norms, which under healthy circumstances are necessary for cooperation. In times of rapid and involuntary change; they become a superficial false bulwark against the unknown. Instead of engaging in market opportunities across divides, we tend to spend time fortifying our positions. Craving security, we start leaning towards the totalitarianism of simplistic purism.

Forced associations, such as outright invasion and conquest, will fuel embitterment and conflicts along cultural/ethnic lines and maybe even usher in the rebirth of old conflicts. The welfare state is another type of attack vector in the a matrix of forced associations. It merely has different particular properties. The end result is the same: people that do not wish to tango are forced to jot each other down for the next dance.

Spontaneously emergent cultural change through win-win situations on the one hand, and forced associations on the other, are two radically different ways in which societies evolve. These mechanics often overlap in history. In any given situation it may be hard to untangle which has primacy.

When a welfare state offers upkeep and support to large quantities of people from cultures that differ enormously from the predominant culture, despite the wishes of the current residents, we have a clear cut case of forced association. It’s a powderkeg that inevitably will get packed with resentment. People who would like nothing better than for the whole thing to blow up will inevitably start to congregate, with torches at the ready. Cultural homogeneity to some degree smooths over and props up the inherent fault lines that ripple underneath any redistributive scheme, while cultural heterogeneity rapidly exposes fissures. Why is this exactly?… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Abolish Foreign Aid, All of It – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on April 20, 2019

If U.S. officials were honest, they would acknowledge that foreign aid is nothing more than bribery.

https://www.fff.org/2019/04/18/abolish-foreign-aid-all-of-it/

by

On the welfare-state side, the big-ticket items are Social Security and Medicare, the two crown jewels of the American welfare state. Abolishing them would go a long way toward resolving the fiscal problem.

Yet, to even suggest such a thing brings howls of lamentation, despair, and rage from both conservatives and liberals. These two socialist programs go to the core of their joint statist philosophy. They’re not about to touch either one, especially since that would alienate seniors, who unfortunately have grown dependent on the government dole.

On the warfare-state side, the big-ticket items are the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA, along with their foreign and domestic empire of military bases and their forever wars, occupations, regime-change operations, coups, invasions, wars of aggression, and ongoing assassination program. Dismantling America’s national-security establishment and restoring a limited-government republic to our land would go a long way toward resolving the fiscal problem.

Yet, to even suggest such a thing brings howls of lamentation, despair, and rage from both conservatives and liberals. The warfare state goes to the core of their joint statist philosophy. Moreover, there is no possibility that the national-security establishment would ever consent to its own dismantling or to even a major reduction in the amount of tax money that it expects to be allocated every year.

In the middle of this fiscal morass are a multitude of mid-sized or small-sized federal programs, such as the drug war, farm subsidies, education grants, the SBA, and Radio Martí. Abolishing all of them would go a long way toward resolving the fiscal crisis. But conservative and liberal supporters maintain that abolishing any one of them would do nothing significant to reduce overall federal spending and, therefore, they say, each and every one of them should be left intact.

So, where does that leave the nation?

Think Greece. At some point, things could get pretty nasty, with the feds desperately looking everywhere they can to seize money, such as IRA accounts and 401k accounts, and replace them with government bonds, much like President Franklin Roosevelt did during the emergency economic crisis in the 1930s when he seized everyone’s gold and replaced it with government bonds.

But here’s an idea: Why not abolish foreign aid, all foreign aid?

After all, foreign aid is really nothing more than welfare for foreign officials. Like other welfare-state programs, it’s funded by money that the IRS extracts from American taxpayers…

If U.S. officials were honest, they would acknowledge that foreign aid is nothing more than bribery. The foreign aid is never “free.” It comes with strings. The strings say: Do as we say or you will lose your dole. So, when the U.S. government needs votes in the United Nations, international dole recipients know full well what their duty is. Or when the U.S. government needs a “coalition of the willing” to support one of its imperialist adventures, it knows that it can call on its international dole recipients. Even when the U.S. Empire is going it alone in some foreign escapade, it knows it can count on no criticism from its dole recipients, or else.

There is also a moral element to foreign aid — the fact that American tax money is being used in immoral ways, including oppression of innocent people. Two good examples of this phenomenon involve Israel and Egypt. U.S. foreign aid to Israel helps the Israeli government maintain its brutal system of oppression against the Palestine people. U.S. foreign aid to Egypt enables the Egyptian military dictatorship to maintain its brutal system of oppression against the Egyptian people…

Be seeing you

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Abolish the Welfare State to Solve the National Debt Crisis

Posted by M. C. on April 18, 2019

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2019/04/abolish-welfare-state-to-solve-national.html

Richard Ebeling emails:

I have a new article on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF) on, “Abolish the Welfare State to Solve the National Debt Crisis.”

Few things are more frustrating to the friend of freedom than the difficulty in successfully making and winning the case for liberty. But a major reason is the hesitancy or unwillingness of some declared friends of freedom to forthrightly make the case for the abolition of the interventionist-welfare state.

It is the “entitlement” programs of the welfare state that are really behind the growth in government spending and the increasing national debt of, now, over $22 trillion as a result of annual budget deficits to help fund these redistributive expenditures. Rather than politically taking the bull by the horn, too many think that they can fight the growth in government spending and the increasing national debt through fiscal subterfuge.

I take to task “supply-siders” such as Steve Moore, who argue that cutting taxes can stimulate sufficient growth in the economy that government spending and the national debt can be reduced as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product; thus, growing our way out of fiscal ruin.

I detail some of the practical problems and political impossibilities of ever hoping to solve the problem of Big Government primarily through playing around with the tax code, so as not to have to deal with the core problem head on: government should not be playing the role of political paternalist in managing and co-opting individual freedom and choice in such matters as old age and health care.

Until this is admitted and the case for abolishing the entitlement programs is forthrightly defended and argued for, the welfare state and the national debt will continue to grow.

Best,

Richard

Abolish the Welfare State to Solve the National Debt Crisis
By Richard M. Ebeling

Why is it so difficult to win the case for freedom in modern American society? A variety of possible answers come to mind. The collectivists are more effective in appealing to people’s emotions. The interventionist-welfare-statist argument is easier to make than it is to follow the logical chains of reasoning required to make the free-market case. Socialist-leaning teachers and professors who indoctrinate their students with statist ideas from a very young age dominate the government educational system from kindergarten through the Ph.D.  Popular, celebrity culture inculcates society with leftist biases and presumptions.

All those answers have strong elements of truth in them. But there is one other element at work that makes it difficult to effectively make the case for a fully and truly free society, indeed, that can undermine the ideal and understanding of the free society. That element is that too many advocates of a free society compromise its case.

Trillions more in debt on the way.

For example, let’s look at the national-debt crisis. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in its June 2018 Long-Term Budget Outlook projected that given current trends for federal tax revenues, government expenditures under existing legislation for “entitlement” programs, and likely general economic growth over the next ten years, the national debt will continue to dramatically increase because of the return of $1 trillion-a-year budget deficits just over the horizon.

The primary source of all the federal government’s budgetary problems is the entitlement programs. In Uncle Sam’s 2018 fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2018, total government spending was $4.1 trillion. Social Security and health-care spending (Medicare and Medicaid) combined, was about $1.95 trillion. Net interest on the national debt came to $371 billion. Together these mandatory spending categories came to almost 60 percent of the federal government’s total budget. Department of Defense and other related military spending came to $601 billion, or 15 percent of Uncle Sam’s expenditures. The remaining items in the budget were those counted as part of “discretionary spending.”

The CBO projects that in ten years, in 2028, total government spending will come to $7.05 trillion, with total tax revenues of $5.52 trillion. The budget deficit a decade from now will be $1.53 trillion just for that fiscal year. The CBO forecasts that because of annual budget deficits of more than $1 trillion, by the end of the federal fiscal year for 2028, the national debt will have increased from its approximately $21.8 trillion today to $34.8 trillion, for a 60 percent increase over the decade.

The growing debt burden

Be seeing you

Uncle Sam's "Debt Crisis Is Coming Soon" | Zero Hedge ...

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »