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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

As the seasons turn from summer to fall, there are some things we can depend on. Kids going back to school. Leaves turning colors. And discussions about the debt ceiling.

Recently, President Donald Trump spoke to House Minority Leader Nancy “Joan Rivers Was a Piker Compared to Me” Pelosi and Senate Minority leader Charles “Don’t Get Between Me and a Microphone” Schumer and agreed to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for concessions on disaster relief. Yeah, I know. Debt ceiling talk is so sexy, right? Well, get ready to get really hot because here we go!

debt ceiling

What the Left believes it means – a budgetary procedure to ensure the government can pay its debts without shutting down

What it really means – giving the least fiscally responsible entity on Earth a pass on bad spending.

The Constitution gives Congress the power to pay the debts of the country, including the debts they themselves rack up allegedly representing the county. Usually, this gets done through the budget process, where the House, the Senate, and the President try to hammer out a vision for what needs to get paid and by whom. There’s a tiny snag with this currently: we haven’t actually had a budget since 2006. The way Congress has done around this detail has been to raise the debt ceiling, which allows the government to pay debts. A necessary evil, right?

Not quite.

Let’s say you have a credit card that you max out on a trip to Las Vegas. You may be able to skate by for a while, but eventually you are going to have to make a payment. Then, instead of making a payment, you request raising your credit line. The credit card company agrees, and you go back to Vegas to max out your card again. Then, payment time rolls around again, and you request yet another credit line extension. The credit card company agrees, and the process continues.

There’s no way this can end badly, right?

Actually, there is no way this can’t end badly. With a budget, Congress has a framework for how to proceed. Without a budget, Congress can spend and spend without much oversight. Wait…did we just stumble onto the reason we haven’t had a budget in 11 years? Why, yes, yes, we did!

Under the typical budget process, the House comes up with a budget and gives it to the Senate to look over and either approve as-is or offer changes. If there are changes, the House and Senate come together and work out the differences before sending it to the President to sign. Then, if the President vetoes it, the budget proposal goes back to Congress to either fix the proposal or override the veto. In short, there are checkpoints at every stage of the budget process to prevent one side or the other from running roughshod over the other and to put limits on what is to be spent. By simply agreeing to forego the normal budget process and raise the debt ceiling, those safeguards are as reliable as the TSA.

If America had her financial house in order, raising the debt ceiling might not be an issue. After all, we’ve accrued debt in the past for noble purposes, like fighting a war. However, America is spending like a drunken sailor these days. Okay, that may have been out of line. After all, drunken sailors have a bit more fiscal responsibility than the average Congrescritter. I mean, when was the last time you saw a drunken sailor spend money to watch shrimp on a treadmill?

Complicating matters further is the fact America doesn’t own all of its debt. We have issued bonds for our debt for various parties to buy. And guess who owns a good chunk of those bonds. China. Yeah, that country that hasn’t quite gotten over the Cold War and has a penchant for trying to handicap America whenever it can. And we gave them Most Favored Nation status in the 1990s! And how do they repay us? Sending toys with lead paint and dog food that actually kills dogs.

But I’m sure they’ll do us right this time!

All it takes for our fiscal house of cards to come tumbling down is for China to say, “Yeah, we kinda want our money back because we don’t think you can pay us back.” If you thought the financial crisis in 2008 was bad, this will make that look like “Heidi.” (For you Leftists out there reading this, that is a bad thing.) And if that happens, we have Democrats and Republicans to blame. Our representatives decided that spending money is more important than fiscal security. Even when we get representatives elected who promise to keep us on budget, those voices are either drowned out or sold out by those who think we can print enough money to keep ourselves afloat. Spoiler Alert: we can’t. The more money we print, the less valuable the money we have becomes. That isn’t a recipe for success, kids.

So, how do we fix it? Outside of a Congressional enema, we’re stuck until our representatives figure out raising the debt ceiling without a reason will cost us more than the ability to spend money we don’t have on crap that has no real purpose.

Like shrimp on treadmills.

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Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

It’s a problem that affects millions, and it’s worse than war, famine, and another Nickelback album combined. And with Donald Trump in office, it’s only going to get worse.

I’m speaking of…well, nothing, really. But the Left says it’s income inequality, so for this particular edition, let’s go with that.

income inequality

What the Left believes it means – an economic condition where the gap between the rich and poor gets wider

What it really means – another example of why Leftists suck at economics

To understand Leftist economic theory, you need to know two things.

1) Leftists believe there is a limited amount of money available at any given time.

2) Leftists believe government is the solution to all problems.

The concept of income inequality is based on the first concept listed above. By thinking there is only so much money in an economy at one time, the Left concludes when the rich get richer it’s always at the expense of the poor. The Left sees an economy like a pie; there are only so many slices before the pie is gone. This is known in economics circles as zero-sum. It is known in my circles as Thanksgiving dinner.

The problem with the zero-sum approach to our economy is it ignores the elasticity of our economy. If Donald Trump makes $100 with an investment, it doesn’t mean a poor person in Detroit loses $100. It simply means Trump made $100. Of course, if the investment was in that poor person in Detroit, Trump and the person may both lose $100, but that’s not the point. The point is our economy is such that money gained by one isn’t automatically lost by another. But try to convince Leftists of that. You’re better off explaining Euclidian geometry to a pig. Then again, the pig would get it sooner than the Leftists would.

This brings us to the second concept on the list. Whenever Leftists see a problem, their solution is government. And with the power of taxation, the Left can make the rich pay as much as they want (provided it’s not the rich Leftists who have to pay because, dammit, they care). They think they’re evening the playing field, but it doesn’t change the playing field one bit. The rich will find a way to make money, and the poor won’t be any better off with money taken through taxation. Why, it’s almost as if the poor might be bad with money! Shocking!

One of the favorite statistics Leftists have when discussing income inequality is the difference in pay between a CEO and an average worker. To them, it shows just how deep the problem is. To me, it shows just how shallow their thinking is.

Let’s say you’re a CEO of a major company. You’ve spent years in college getting a degree, working your way up through management to reach the pinnacle. Along the way, you learn particular skills, make connections, and get experience that helps you to make the most of your career.

Then, there’s Joe, the maintenance guy. He dropped out of high school when he was 17 because he wanted to follow the Grateful Dead on tour, has the financial acumen of a cheese sandwich, and takes 20 minutes pondering the great philosophical question of our age, paper or plastic.

To the Left, the fact you make more than Joe is wrong. Even though you have different skills, made better career choices, and proven yourself in your field, the fact you make more money than him is unfair. Their solution? Cap your earnings, and pay Joe more in the form of an increased minimum wage. Brilliant!

Except when you take into consideration neither option really helps elevate Joe’s position. Capping a CEO’s salary seems like a good idea, but it makes it harder for companies to attract competent people to run them. There comes a point where you get paid less than your worth and you either decide to suck it up or leave. Keep driving the compensation down for people at higher positions and you’ll see competent people leaving a job faster than Joe does on Friday afternoon. That leaves the mediocre to run things, and after a few years you’ll see why they were kept in lower positions where they couldn’t do much damage. See Reddit under Ellen Pao for an example of that.

That brings us to raising the minimum wage. Joe may be happy to get a little extra money in his check for doing little if anything differently, but it doesn’t necessarily improve his station. Joe is still the same guy he was before he got the bump up in pay, and now you’re giving him more money to spend as he sees fit. Sure, he may use the extra money to get his GED, or he may use it to buy a few more lottery tickets or pot so he can enjoy his Grateful Dead albums. In any case, Joe is not compelled to be better.

Granted, not every lower-level employee is like Joe. Some are just starting out in the workforce, while others are trying to get their feet underneath them after some poor decisions or rough times. These folks are motivated by different forces. Then, there are people who are just like Joe, who can barely be motivated to get a simple fast food order right. And the Left wants to pay these folks the same for different levels of effort.

And people wonder why I trust Leftists with economics as much as I trust Joe Biden to be eloquent.

If you’ve noticed, there’s a pattern to Leftist economic theory: it doesn’t work. Sure, it makes you feel good to stick it to The Man, but if it doesn’t help you, you’re still going to hate The Man and be no better off for it. If anything, it makes you resent other people’s success while giving you no incentive to succeed yourself.

And that’s exactly where the Left wants you.

But there is one question the Left can’t seem to answer when it comes to income inequality: So what? If you present them with the idea income inequality isn’t a problem, the Left looks at you like you have four heads and screams about how you don’t care about the working class. But that’s the thing. The Left really doesn’t have a response to the “so what” question. They say it’s a problem and that it needs to be addressed, but they haven’t figured out how to defend their position or create an argument aside from “because I said so.” That response worked well for my parents when I was growing up, but with Leftists? Not so much.

It is possible to be concerned about the working class and recognize the value of one’s work, whether it be a CEO or a custodial worker. The Left wants to cheapen the value of both by trying to pit both against each other by maintaining the CEO is stealing from the worker and by punishing the former and rewarding the latter. All it does it make a lot of unhappy people compelled by greed.

You know, just like the DNC.

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In Defense of Capitalism

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen young men and women rethinking their positions on capitalism and socialism, and…well, let’s just say capitalism is faring worse than Bill Clinton at an abstinence only rally put on by Playboy Playmates. More and more, young people think socialism is the way to go. After all, on paper, it’s the most fair system out there.

Unfortunately, that paper and $3.50 will get you a cup of coffee-flavored steamed milk at Starbucks.

Where did we go wrong that socialism is faring better than capitalism in the United States, the bastion of capitalism? There are so many culprits, it’s hard to point fingers at them all, but let’s start with one that we might have overlooked.

Us. We, the people, failed to make the case to the young skulls full of free range soy based granola that capitalism is the best socioeconomic system out there, bar none. Oh, sure, we lived like we believed it, but somewhere along the line we decided capitalism didn’t require excellence. We settled on the mediocre, and in some cases the below average, because it was easier than demanding more. Why do you think Starbucks can charge $3.50 for a cup of coffee-flavored steamed milk instead of making a good cup of coffee with only a little milk? Because it was just too hard to demand more, so we swallowed our pride (and a lot of burnt coffee beans) and settled.

But that’s not capitalism is about. Capitalism gives you a choice because there will always be a market for a product or service other people and companies don’t offer. In America, if you don’t like Starbucks, you can go to Caribou Coffee or Seattle’s Best or Dunkin Donuts or any number of other places to get a cup of java (or at least a cup of java with less steamed milk in it). It’s not like you have to get Starbucks, kids.

In a socialist economy, choice isn’t one of the options on the menu. You may want a triple mocha espresso with a shot of butterscotch, but what you get…is watery sewer sludge in a broken cup, and that’s if you’re lucky! As neat as socialism seems to look, the reality is far less rosy.

Let’s say there’s a Justin Bieber song you really like. (Granted, that may be impossible, but play along for the sake of an example, k?) You grow to love that song, no matter how many times you play it and no matter how many friends and family members you drive away with it. Then, after a while, you get tired of that Justin Bieber song and you want to listen to something else. You know, like Gordon Lightfoot, Triumph, Rush, or even William Shatner.

Under socialism, you really don’t get to skip ahead on the “Canada’s Greatest Musical Acts” CD. You wouldn’t even get to listen to Anne Murray! You have to keep listening to the same Justin Bieber song over and over again. (Provided, Amnesty International hasn’t determined such a feat would be considered torture.) Yes, kids, socialism is just like listening to a Justin Bieber song only with more rhythm.

At least with capitalism, you get to push the Skip button on your CD player or MP3 player and find another song. And if you don’t like the next song, you can move to a different one until you find one you like. Capitalism, for all of its faults and misuse today, treats you like an adult and assumes you can make good choices for yourself. Socialism not only treats you like a child, but assumes you can’t make good choices for yourself. Then again, if you think socialism is still viable in the 21st Century, the socialists might be onto something.

Two of the words that keep getting thrown about by socialists are “free” and “equal,” such as “free college for students” and “equal pay for equal work.” When you really think about it, these words have psychological power over us. America was built on the high-minded concepts of freedom and equality (even though some of the slaves in the Colonies might disagree). Yet, these aren’t the same concepts socialists use. When they want something to be free, they mean free for them. They don’t want to pay out of pocket for what they want; they simply want it.

If any of you reading this are parents of young children, you’ve seen this concept in action.

As far as equality is concerned, socialists see it in terms of tearing down the rich and powerful and propping up the poor and powerless. I’m sure a number of you wouldn’t mind Bill Gates dropping off a few hundred grand to your doorstep, but it doesn’t mean you’re equal. He will still be Bill Gates, and you will still be you. And not even a few hundred grand will change that.

And where does that leave people in the middle, neither rich nor poor, neither powerful nor powerless? Right where they are. Don’t try to excel; just skate by like Dorothy Hamill on truck stop speed. At least socialism guarantees equal doses of pain for everyone, so there’s that.

Listen. Thanks to people like Bernie Sanders, socialism may seem to be the next big thing, but it’s really the socioeconomic equivalent of the man bun. Not only does it make you look stupid, but it is harmful in ways you don’t comprehend yet. But, in America, you are free to believe socialism is the cure for all of our ills. I won’t stop you. After all, the more socialists there are out there, the more people I get to mock relentlessly.

Capitalism, as imperfect as it may be, still grants people a lot of leeway, including whether to be a socialist. Try being a capitalist in socialist society and see how that turns out for you. Spoiler Alert: I hope you enjoy your new prison cell because there’s a chance you’ll be in there for a while.

This is not to say capitalism can’t use a bit of sprucing up by any means. When we have people like George Soros, Donald Trump, and Michael Bloomberg raking in the cash through various means, the moral core of capitalism gets overlooked a lot. But, without a moral core, capitalism can easily be the worst idea in the world. Yes, even worse than letting Hillary Clinton store our nuclear codes on her home server. If we let the want of stuff overtake the want of a better future, we run the risk of letting stuff become the entirety of our being.

And, no, that’s not unfettered and unregulated capitalism leads to, folks. That kind of behavior results from greed. Capitalism with a moral core comes from enlightened self-interest. For example, how many times have you heard the Left complain about lumber companies ruining forests through their desire to cut down every tree? Any lumber company worth its sawdust will tell you they wouldn’t engage in that kind of behavior. Why? Because if there are no more trees, the lumber industry goes the way of the third season of “I Am Cait.” (Too soon?)

Even if you’re not big on capitalism and aren’t seeing how bringing up the bad parts about socialism actually defends capitalism, there is one element to consider. Under a capitalist system, we get to be governed. (Not well these days, I grant you, but still governed.) Under a socialist system, we get to be ruled. There is a big, big difference, folks.

In closing, I have to say socialism and its various related movements may have already given up Lenin’s ghost when it comes to their ideology. The fact you can buy a Che Guevara t-shirt, take a selfie of yourself wearing it using your iPhone, and post it to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #socialismrocks makes the best argument for capitalism ever.

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The Shutdown

This morning we woke up to a government shutdow since no budget has been passed by Congress and any attempt at a budget has been crushed by the Senate. The House keeps passing a budget. Now of course that means that the government shutdown is somehow the fault of the Republican Party but they are incontrol of the House and not the Senate. Yet the Senate is where the budget gets tabled and not voted on and it is controlled by the Democrat Party. Explain to me how its the Republican’s fault again? I’m confused on that bit.

The Whitehouse announced yesterday that in the event of a government shutdown that non-essential workers would be the first to be let go. Hmmm if I ran a buisness, would I have non-essential workers? I think not. I mean that’s like paying the guy who stands at the water cooler all day a nice salary for standing at the water cooler all day. I say let him go.

When the Republican’s are in control of the WhiteHouse, you don’t see the Democrats in Congress going, “Well since we lost the last election. I guess we have to do what you say now.” Which is EXACTLY what they are expecting the Repulican’s to do. The street runs both ways my friends. No the Democrats fight the Republican’s on every measure, every step of the way. There is no difference now.

Also anytime there is a government shutdown, on any level, the ruling party states it will affect the people in a the worst possible ways. I mean come on. There are coins in the coffers still. You send these funds to whichever department is necessary. But the government never does what is necessary. Only what advances their own agenda and ideology, no matter which party is in control at the time.

Shut it down is a good thing. The government should not be in our lives as much as it is already. Having it gone for a few days or weeks will be like a breath of fresh air. And for those whiny people who have their hearts out on their sleaves who are worried about all these people who are being sent home. They will all get their back pay when the government shutdown is resolved. There is no loss for them really.

 

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