Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, April 1st, 2009.


Answer: Sheep and Time on Their Hands

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Question: What do the Welsh have too much of?

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Obama Administration

Just when you thought Andy Sullivan was waking up to reality, he writes something like this:

The new cultural divide will not be on guns, gays and God. It will be between the makers and the takers, the producers of wealth and the recipients of redistribution. And it will be about tempering the over-reach that the Democrats will be unable to resist. But that means the critique should not be undermined by mindless partisanship now, and it should be based upon clear and constructive policy proposals to advance individual liberty and restrain the cold, clammy hand of the state. That’s the medium term challenge for the sane, imaginative, serious right. It requires discipline and thought. And it also requires time.

I infer that

  • Producers of wealth = investment capitalists and the financial sector
  • Recipients of redistribution = the unwashed masses who expect to receive “paychecks” for their “labor”

Can we call this attitude “elitist”? To me, that’s what genuine elitism looks like, but I’m just a poor working schlep, so what do I know?

I got this from DougJ at Balloon Juice, who brings up a response from a commenter:

Well, the producers of wealth are the people who make things: the workers. And the wealthy are the recipients of redistribution.

How the opposite became such a common assumption that we automatically know Sully is saying the opposite, that the Democrats are the “moochers and losers” is really, when you think about, quite strange. And, yes, I know it’s the result of nearly a century of GOP and upper class propaganda, but doesn’t make it any less strange.

There are some objections posted on Andy’s site here.

When right-wingers and libertarians talk about the “cold, clammy hand of the state,” what they really mean is they’re terrified of slave uprisings ordinary citizens using government to address their interests and concerns. Can’t have that, you know. Cuts into profits.

I say that if there’s ever going to be something that might pass for a “sane, imaginative, serious right,” it’s got to get over the “us versus them” mentality that colors all of their thinking now. But maybe “us versus them” is too much about what defines conservatism, and if they progressed to “we’re all in this together” mode they’d be liberals.

To me, “wealth” is something created through a collaboration of investment capital and labor. I’m fine with some people making more money than others. It’s only right that someone who takes the initiative and does the hard work of starting and growing a successful business should make a nice profit. I don’t even begrudge Bill Gates all of his money, although I may be in a tiny minority there.

But if the masses of people who work for paychecks for a living are perpetually squeezed, exploited, treated like “cost” and denied any ownership of the wealth they are helping to create, sooner or later it hurts everyone.

A rising tide may not lift all boats — throughout history, the wealthy have found countless ways to game the system so that only their boats get raised — but a waning tide sure as hell will drop all of the boats eventually.

You knew Sully was going to get into trouble with his first three words of his post — Ruffini is right. Ruffini may be Right, but right? Please. Ruffini hasn’t a clue what’s going on. Get this (emphasis added):

It’s true that Obama’s ideas were not new either — but he was able to sell them as “change” because they had been not tried in toto since the Johnson Administration, and people had forgotten how badly they had crashed on the rocks their last time out. Obama’s central thesis — that government ownership and central planning can outpace returns in the private market — is actually very, very old.

Excuse me while I go pound my head against a wall and howl for a while.

I certainly don’t think that “government ownership and central planning can outpace returns in the private market,” and I doubt Barack Obama does, either. I say Ruffini has his head shoved so far up his ass he has forgotten what daylight looks like. And Sully, too, if he thinks Ruffini is right.

I know most of you don’t need this explained, but I suppose I should go on record in case some wingnuts drop by:

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What’s Going on in the World Outside Your Ass

See, guys, our economy is crashing. Auto industry going bankrupt, and all that. There are a great many complicated factors that are causing the economy to crash. But the first domino to fall was pushed by executives in charge of the financial sector, who did a lot of really stupid things and lost lots and lots of money. And because the finance well is dry other parts of the economy, like manufacturing, are suffering also.

Now, the critical part you seem to be missing is that the private sector lacks the means to pull itself out of the hole it’s in. The credit crunch and some other factors have sent the economy into a downward spiral — no jobs, no consumers; no consumers, no sales; no sales, no business; no business, no jobs; etc, down, down, down. If there were sufficient private sector credit available the private sector might be able to rescue itself, but there isn’t, so it can’t. So government has to rescue the private sector. This isn’t something anyone wanted to do. It just has to be done. The alternative is Worse Than the Great Depression.

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Maybe “sane conservatism” is an oxymoron, but I’m an open-minded sort and willing to work with conservatives as soon as they show signs of recognizing reality.

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