No hate -- just facts

By Doc Wallace | Oct 03, 2019

In the old crime series, “Dragnet,” detective Joe Friday always said, “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” Let us try and do that as we analyze our current political choices in the run-up to our next general election. Let us also try to get beyond the personal hate of the key players -- no TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) vilification of Trump or Pocahontas epithets of Elizabeth Warren allowed. Just the facts, or as Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal so cogently stated, “Everyone knows the truth about politics.”

Well, what do we know? We know that the conservative platform is based upon a foundation of free market capitalism. This free-will system of personal opportunity gives each citizen an unchecked right to pursue his or her dreams of personal and economic goals. Importantly, it does not guarantee outcomes. Outcomes will differ depending upon effort, ingenuity, perseverance and society’s need or acceptance of what each of us has to offer. This system is working, supported by two current facts – the Labor Department reported just last month that job openings exceeded the number of unemployed Americans by 1.2 million, and the median household income rose to nearly $62,000 – a record high in the American Community Survey. This fact underpins the fundamental conservative belief in a free society of self-determination and self-reliance.

This brings us to the role of government. Conservatives are often accused of being anti-government. Not true – they espouse limited government. They support government services that are necessary for a well-ordered society: police, fire, courts, postal, educational and medical. Of course, critics will quickly challenge the latter two. However, while conservatives support a basic public education system, they reserve the right to pursue individual choices for their children. This includes the right to not participate in the public system and to homeschool children, or opt for a nontraditional approach and enroll children in parochial or private schools. After all, isn’t this why we have public and private universities which have served our country well for more than 200 years?

Similarly, conservatives believe that people should have a choice with respect to their medical services. Medicare and Medicaid for those citizens our government determines should receive services, based upon age or disability, are absolutely supported. Further, public health and emergency services – with the right to opt out or to pursue other services through personal or employer support is part of the conservative platform.

Now, let us take a look at what the progressives are proposing for us in the Democratic debates. There is no question that their platform has moved dramatically to the left in stark contrast to the free-market capitalism described above. In fact, the party has lurched so far leftward that one candidate, Joe Biden, is viewed by some Democrats as the preferred choice for no other reason than that he is seen as somewhat moderate. Perhaps this fact more than any other best illustrates how much the future of the country is poised upon the choice between free-will capitalism and socialism – or democratic socialism, as apologists call it.

Whether it be Biden or Warren, the left’s agenda can be fairly identified as socialism. In fact, this socialist agenda is openly promoted by the Midcoast Branch of Democratic Socialists of America, which publishes in this paper. What is that agenda? Here are the facts – taken directly from current poll leader Warren’s website. Nomenclature is everything and so Warren audaciously titles her socialist platform the “Accountable Capitalism Act.” Her “capitalism” is Medicare for all, free college education, a guaranteed minimum wage, a carbon tax, repeal of illegal immigration statues, no limits on abortion, slavery reparations and elimination of the Electoral College. Concomitantly, there is a mind-numbing cost for this, and the sheer impact of how it will be funded absolutely defines socialism.

Here are the facts of how she proposes to fund this “capitalism.” Shareholder companies would be required to change focus from profit to the interests of “the work force,” the “community,” and the “local and global environment.” Companies with receipts over $1 billion would pay a heavy surtax. With confiscatory profit containment, and without shareholder direction and investment, entrepreneurship would surely end. Under this mantle of suppression, who would ever strive to create or invest in a large business? In fact, who would want to start a small business – knowing that the socialist (excuse me, “capitalist”) bureaucrats would be coming for them next? Free enterprise as we know it today would end.

But it gets worse. In what is the clearest evidence of Warren’s socialism, she wants to tax the accumulated wealth of the American citizenry. And who are they? Retirees! The Federal Reserve tells us that people between the ages of 55 and 74 own 73 percent of common stocks and the same share of America’s wealth. This is where Bill de Blasio’s, “Americans have a lot of money, it’s just in the wrong hands” comes in. Warren would tax this wealth – including a proposed tax on unrealized capital gains. Socialists endorse this redistribution of wealth. But is it fair to punish those who have spent a lifetime working and saving over the course of their careers? Further, while the average wealth of this targeted age group appears high, the much-fairer median wealth is far lower ($234,000 – less than a quarter of the average) and includes the value of their biggest asset – their homes.

In this election, Americans will have a clear choice. Examine the free enterprise and socialist facts of the campaigns and choose between the capitalist system that built this great country, or the socialist system that, while redistributing wealth, destroys it. Is the hate for Donald Trump worth the tragic end of our American way of life?

Comments (2)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Oct 03, 2019 19:00

Well, thanks, Doc, for telling us exactly what conservatives believe.  I have to admit I was having my doubts that they "believed" anything at all considering the present political atmosphere.  

I mean I remember when conservative stood for law and order" though now a days any law enforcement authority that dares to challenge the current administration's bizarre behavior conjours up shrieks of "corruption" and "crooked" from the right wing.  Do you guys still believe in "right and wrong?"  It's hard to believe. 

And what happened to the party of "fiscal responsibility?"  I thought you guys would choke on that $1.5 trillion load that you willingly allowed trump to dump into the deficit.  But no, not even a hiccup.  (Still starving the beast, huh.)

And what about that "America first" loyalty that used to characterize the conservative side of the spectrum?  It seems that now that Russian has all that oil money you guys find Putin and his gang of thugs more admirable than those in our government who opposed his murderous habits.  Certainly your dear leader does.  

And, if I may point it out, it wasn't the left who shipped our manufacturing ability and all those jobs to China.  It was those "free market" advocates -mostly Republicans I might add- who deserted their own country, and countrymen, in search of slave labor and no offensive regulations forcing them to treat human beings as more than commodities.  China is most appreciative since they've enriched the world's largest totalitarian nation and given China the military muscle they always yearned for, enough to give the Pentagon headaches.  Aren't you proud?

And let's talk about that "Free market" nonsense Doc?  Isn't that a kind of conservative daydream which never actually exists?  What we have now isn't a "free" market but a corporate type crony capitalism that does everything in it's power to make sure the market isn't free for anyone but the winners.  As Paul Krugman (Nobel prize in economics) says:

"So in a world of increasing returns, bigger firms tend to drive smaller firms out of business, until each industry is dominated by just a few players.  But for the invisible hand to work properly, there must be many competitors in each industry, so that nobody is in a position to exert monopoly power. Therefore, the idea that free markets always get it right depends on the assumption that returns to scale are diminishing, not increasing.” –Paul Krugman, on “'Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations,' by David Warsh”

And your rosy economic picture -so typical of conservative viewpoints- really isn't the whole pictue, is it, Doc?

"U.S. manufacturing fell deeper into a contraction last month, erasing hope of a quick turnaround for the industry and handing a blow to President Trump’s promises that he would revive blue-collar jobs and companies.
September marked the worst month for U.S. manufacturing in more than a decade — since June 2009 — according to the closely watched Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index.

The ISM manufacturing index was 47.8 in September, down even more than the 49.1 reading in August. Any number below 50 indicates the industry is in recession territory. Many analysts had forecast a rebound, but it has yet to materialize."

So much for the "free" market.  And your description of educational opportunities in this country doesn't quite ring true, either, does it.

"But economic inequality turns meritocracy into a mechanism by which rich parents can pass their privilege down to their children.  The richest school districts now spend more than twice as much per student per year as middle-class schools, and elite private schools spend up to six times as much. That helps yield higher scores on standardized tests and admissions to more elite universities.

"Private schools and colleges earn endowment income tax-free, and alumni donations are tax-deductible. These advantages have conspired to allow elite private schools to become extravagantly wealthy, while subsidized by taxpayers. A super-elite private high school such as Phillips Exeter Academy might have an endowment of more than $1 billion; the 10 biggest university endowments total more than $200 billion. All this means that the public is subsidizing the wealthiest students. Overall, the generally rich students at the richest 10 percent of colleges pay just 20 cents for every dollar spent on their educations, whereas the generally poor and middle-class students at the poorest 10 percent of colleges pay 78 cents on the dollar."

So, as usual, the rich have found a way to have to fund their kids education with a secret socialism for the rich paid for by the working and middle classes.

And I love how you simplify health care with the bland pronouncement "conservatives believe that people should have a choice with respect to their medical services" while ignoring the fact that some Americans -thanks to Republicans- have no choices at all and medical emergencies are still the major cause of bankruptcies among working and middle class people.  Employment based health care is becoming more and more rare and those who have it lose it when they lose their jobs.  This gives the employer great power over his people -often abused and the loss of health care is always an eminent threat that hangs over them.  Perhaps that's the reason for this:

"A new Reuters poll out shows that support for Medicare for All has hit an all-time high with 70 percent of all Americans now in favor of a such program, including nearly 85 percent of Democrats and a full 52 percent of Republicans.

With such levels of popularity, as an accompanying article exploring some of the tensions within the party makes clear, Democratic leaders are being told they ignore the push for Medicare for All at their own peril."

And let's clear the air about "socialism" since you brought it up and spouted the usual conservative nonsense.  Harry Truman said it best:

"Socialism is a scareword they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years. Socialism is what they called public power.  Socialism is what they called farm price supports.  Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance.  Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations.  Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people."  -Harry S. Truman, 1952

And "socialism" is what they called Medicare, too.  

But tell me, Doc, is it "socialism" when trump pays off the farmers that he's hurt with his tariffs?  And where exactly does he pull twelve billion dollars in hand outs when he had to shut down the government over five billion for his ridiculous wall?  Explain that, if you will. Or explain this:

"Around 60 percent of America’s wealth is now inherited. Many of today’s super-rich have never worked a day in their lives. Trump’s response has been to expand this divide by cutting the estate tax to apply only to estates valued at over $22 million per couple. Mitch McConnell is now proposing that the estate tax be repealed altogether.

To the conservative mind, the specter of socialism conjures up a society in which no one is held accountable, and no one has to work for what they receive. Yet, that’s exactly the society Trump and the Republicans are promoting for the rich."

Here's my favorite definition of socialism:

"Socialism isn’t fundamentally about public ownership of private resources. It is about collective action in pursuit of common goals, where private action has destroyed or damaged the common good. It is demonized by concentrated private wealth precisely because it is so effective at redressing so many of the problems that concentrated private wealth has inflicted on society and the world."

And trump has increased that "affliction" by robbing from the social safety net to pay for his tax break for the rich, and, let's just admit it, for himself.

So, to paraphrase, is Donald Trump's hatred for anything that doesn't benefit himself and the conservative hatred for anything that doesn't benefit the ultra rich "worth the tragic end of our American way of life?

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Oct 03, 2019 16:01

Doc Wallace,

Life is pretty good here on the coast of Maine. No matter what the political party, Mainers in Congress  were known for their common sense and working across the aisle.  Most of us don't take the bait of hate; from either side.  Maybe because here Heaven is a local call.  ;)

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