Today’s post is a guest blog by my friend, Dr. Monte Wilson. Monte might express some of the points that he makes here with more of a sharp polemical edge than I am comfortable with in my own posts but I deeply agree with his central arguments. His humor will not attract you if you believe the answers to our present economic problems lie in taxing business more heavily.
Personally, I do not have the time to compose a response to the marches and public events that are currently unfolding day-to-day in these ill-defined protests against Wall Street so I turn to a good friend and asked him to add his thoughts on my site. Monte is not a heartless capitalist or a hater. He is a man deeply committed to directly attacking poverty and caring for the weakest and most needy people on the planet. He is a man who is tolerant of diversity and counts as friends people across the whole spectrum, just as I do. He is no ivory tower conservative who simply talks about these issues. This brother invests his life in real solutions in some of the most dangerous places I know about in Africa. You should know him and his work. He is a man of deep compassion. But, as you will see, he is a man with a wit and strong views about common sense and the market.
I suppose that some in this present movement decided to begin an anti-Tea Party demonstration, or so it seems to me. I welcome opposition to the Tea Party since I am not a big fan of this populist movement either. But this new anti-Wall Street movement is anything but a thoughtful and helpful response. Sometimes things this bad should be mocked with a degree of humorous realism. Monte does that in this post. If you are offended that is not my intention in posting it. If you like it then do not use it to laugh at your friends who might believe this movement is to be taken as a serious reform effort.
One last comment. While I am not a defender of capitalism (a term actually coined by Karl Marx), at least as commonly understood by the masses and particularly by the Wall Street protest, I do believe in the free market. A highly-controlled economic market is bad for people and the economy. This is Monte's primary point if you read his words carefully. What role government does have in the market is a subject that requires great care, not political sound bites. But these present protests make a mockery of workable solutions. I expect this movement will soon die out. Time will tell. I thought the Tea Party would soon die out too but it clearly helped to elect a significant number of new members in the 2010 Congress. This reaction could create a new movement that lasts and has a direct impact on politics. Buckle up for 2012. The race is on and both sides will work hard to make points. Politics in America is a contact sport so we had better be prepared or find a way to shut the noise out for the next 13 months or so.
Protesting Wall Street
Monte E. Wilson III
Ah, but the great advantage of mass moronization is that it leaves you too dumb to figure out who to be mad at.
Mark Steyn, American Autumn
Over the last week I have received quite a number of emails asking for my reactions to the “Wall Street Protesters” and their demands. So, I crafted the following over the last few days and was about to post this when I decided to search the Internet and see what others have been saying. Wow. Much of what I have written here has already been stated, and in many cases, far better than my musings. At first, I was tempted to forget the post but then it hit me: isn’t that the nature of reality, the nature of the obvious? I mean, it’s not like the socialistic demands of these protesters have not been asserted and then proven both fallacious and disastrous for well over 2,000 years!
So, in the spirit of Me Too! — here are my thoughts.
First of all, as I watch and read the news, I can’t help but wonder if the parents of these people are thinking about suing the schools their children attended! If there was ever a perfect example of why we need a complete overhaul of our nation’s system of Public Education, this movement provides it. Whether it is a working knowledge of our nation’s Constitution and the nature of our inalienable rights, the differences between a free market economy and crony capitalism, or a rudimentary understanding of logic, these people appear to be utterly uneducated. (By the way, “inalienable rights” are God-given rights, not Government granted freedoms.)
Second, I am not sure many of these people even know what it is they are protesting, besides hygiene. Big Business? OK, which ones? What constitutes a Big Business? Fortune 100? 400? Any business that makes more than . . . how much? And is everything these businesses are doing evil? And how precisely do they define “evil”? And what about all those iPhones that I keep seeing you guys use: Apple is certainly in the category of Big Business, eh? Do you even feel the slightest bit of hypocrisy?
Anyway, because it doesn’t appear there is a single voice for this movement, it is almost impossible to say, “This is what the movement is demanding.” I say “almost” because there is a list of demands circulating that many of these people either implicitly or explicitly seem to support.
1 Restoration of the living wage. This demand can only be met by ending “Freetrade” through re-imposing trade tariffs on all imported goods entering the American market so we can level the playing field for domestic family farming and domestic manufacturing as most nations have alrady done that are dumping cheap products onto the American market and have radical wage and environmental regulation advantages. Another policy that must be instituted is to raise the minimum wage to twenty dollars an hour.
As many economists have been pointing out for decades, if we assert that importing goods across international borders is axiomatically a job-killer, then logic demands that we say the same thing about importing goods across state borders. You guys up for California taxing all the fruit that comes into the state from Florida?
And what’s up with the $20 minimum wage? These guys are obviously thinking way to small. Why not have Congress raise the minimum wage to $100! WooHoo!
2 Institute a universal single payer healthcare system. To do this all private insurers must be banned from the healthcare market as their only effect on the health of patients is to take money away from doctors, nurses and hospitals preventing them from doing their jobs and hand that money to Wall Street investors.
Yeah. That’s the ticket! Give the Fed’s a monopoly on healthcare. After all, it did so well with the Postal Service.
3 Guaranteed living wage income regardless of employment.
And you would choose to work because …? Somebody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller? (Please note that I used a perfect imitation of Ben Stein, here.) And exactly where does the money come from to support all these people who will choose to not work? — This will be a common refrain throughout the rest of this post. I hate being redundant, but the point obviously needs to be made, over and over again. From where do these people think the money for all their demands is going to come?” Ew, Ew, I know! Taxing the Evil Corporate Bastards." Yeah, that sounds so cool, so like Sticking it the Man. And what do you think Corporations will do to make up for the loss of revenues? They will pass that cost along to their customers . . . or go out of business. (Reference: Bank of America and new monthly charges for using debit cards.)
4 Free college education.
So you don’t want to pay for your education: you want me to pay for it through higher taxes, eh? Sorry, kids, Economics 101: There is no such thing as a Free Lunch.
5 Begin a fast track process to bring the fossil fuel economy to an end while at the same bringing the alternative energy economy up to energy demand.
Great. No problem. But the problem here is Big Government. When it stops interfering in the market place with its massive regulations, when it gets out of the way of our nation’s entrepreneurs, we will begin to see progress here—and not before.
6 One trillion dollars in infrastructure (Water, Sewer, Rail, Roads and Bridges and Electrical Grid) spending now.
Again: this money is going to be provided by whom? The Government? And where does the Government get this money? Besides, spending on infrastructure is right at 2.5 percent of the GDP. That’s the highest it’s been in 60 years.
7 One trillion dollars in ecological restoration planting forests, reestablishing wetlands and the natural flow of river systems and decommissioning of all of America’s nuclear power plants.
Let’s see, now. The EPA is spending around 10 billion a year, so this means he wants 100 years of spending over a period of . . . how long? And where is this money going to come from? And if we get rid of dams and nuclear power plants, this will mean we have to rely more heavily on coal and natural gas: how does this square with Number 5? Think people, think!
8 Racial and gender equal rights amendment.
See what I mean? Go read the 14th Amendment, son.
9 Open borders migration. anyone can travel anywhere to work and live.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” your terrorists, and your diseased yearning to bring this nation down. Whoa!
10 Bring American elections up to international standards of a paper ballot precinct counted and recounted in front of an independent and party observers system.
OK. No problem here, except I think all he needed to demand was honest vote counts. Computers can do this, unless he just has a thing against technology.
11 Immediate across the board debt forgiveness for all. Debt forgiveness of sovereign debt, commercial loans, home mortgages, home equity loans, credit card debt, student loans and personal loans now! All debt must be stricken from the “Books.” World Bank Loans to all Nations, Bank to Bank Debt and all Bonds and Margin Call Debt in the stock market including all Derivatives or Credit Default Swaps, all 65 trillion dollars of them must also be stricken from the “Books.” And I don’t mean debt that is in default, I mean all debt on the entire planet period.
This is a great strategy for doing away with lending altogether. These people are not only ignorant of the laws of economics; they are clueless as to the nature of human beings.
12 Outlaw all credit reporting agencies.
Sure. The credit agencies were major players in the housing bubble, but the only way they could get away with lying to their customers was the fact that Big Government protected them from the laws of supply and demand but did not protect customers from fraud. This is crony capitalism at its “best.”
13 Allow all workers to sign a ballot at any time during a union organizing campaign or at any time that represents their yeah or nay to having a union represent them in collective bargaining or to form a union.
How about the Government requiring secret ballots where neither management nor unions can place undo pressure on workers to go with either group? This way, they can do what they believe is in their best self-interest without fear of being smacked down by management or the unions.
If any of you know someone all caught up in this mob, send him or her some early Christmas gifts:
Economics in One Lesson, Henry Hazlitt
The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, Ludwig Von Mises
The Law, Frederic Bastiat (You can get a free online copy of this book)