Monday, May 1, 2017

Pocahontas' Agenda on Victims of Socialism/Communism Day

Bill Maher just called Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) "Pocahontas" on live TV!

Jolly good fun, but then Sen. Warren reeled off her talking points, and Bill Maher didn't have anything witty to say about her foolish ideas. Here is my transcription (6:45).
When you talk about what's really the basics of the progressive agenda: raise the minimum wage; expand Social Security; reduce the cost of college so people don't get crushed by student load debt; more, not less regulation of... financial institutions; progressive taxation, make those at the top pay their fair share...

Americans by about two to one are with us on that.
Let's play President Eisenhower and make this problem bigger. I'm all for higher wages; all for better pensions; all for cheaper college; all for financial safety; all for the rich paying more on taxes than the poor. So let us tick off the reasons why I think that college professor Elizabeth Warren gets it all wrong.

Minimum wage. The problem with raising the minimum wage by legislation or by regulation is that wages are prices. And science tells us that when government messes with wages and prices it makes things worse. Right now Venezuela has wage and price controls and no food to eat. Let's admit that legislating wages levels is a denial of settled science, and basically puts the young and poor and untrained out of work while rich kids get unpaid internships. What could we do? Well, we could reduce legal and illegal immigration. There is no mystery here; it is simple supply and demand. More workers like me from abroad means more people competing for the same job.

Expand Social Security. Really? Right now Social Security has trillions in unfunded liabilities and it is the biggest government program in America, at $972 billion in FY17. You could look it up, Senator. But I'm all in favor of bigger pensions for Americans. I know. Let's privatize Social Security with a top-up for low-paid workers so that people are saving their own money, retiring when they want to, and maybe ending up with a significant net worth when they die. Whaddya say, Sen. Warren? Shall we call it "generational justice for workers?"

Reduce the cost of college. Stop me if you've heard this one, Sen. Warren, but the experts are pretty well agreed that the cost of college has gone up mainly because of government subsidies and government regulation. Here's a cunning plan: end all government subsidies for universities and end the Pell grants and the student loan program. Then see who really wants to go to college. To help poor kids get more education I propose a Billionaires College Fund, funded and run by America's billionaires, to provide college funds for needy students. And let's clear away all obstacles to on-line education. I also suggest a War on Credentials and a revival of apprenticeships where kids can work while preparing for their careers. Of course, some billionaires, like Peter Thiel, are paying kids not to go to college. I wonder why?

Regulate financial institutions. Everyone wants a safe financial sector that doesn't crash every generation. But expecting government to do a good job with that is like asking the fox to guard the hen-house. That's because it is government that is usually to blame whenever there is a financial panic. The Crash of 2008 was caused by government shoveling trillions into sub-prime mortgages that ended up being under-collateralized. The Tech Bust of 2000 was due to the Fed easing up after the Mexican peso crisis in 1994 and the Long Term Capital Management failure in 1998. More than that, the problem is that the government uses the financial system as a piggy bank, and time after time sets a bubble in motion with excessive credit creation, and then blames the "greedy bankers" when things go wrong. I don't see that you have any idea of this end of the credit problem, Senator.

Progressive taxation. You say that the rich should pay their fair share, Sen. Warren, so I guess you haven't noticed, as a busy politician, that the rich are already paying a ton of money in taxes. The top one percent get about 20 percent of the income and pay nearly 40 percent of the federal income tax. The top 50 percent of taxpayers pay over 90 percent of the federal income tax. I'm not sure what you consider a fair share, but I'd say that we must be pretty close to that right now. Personally, I'd prefer the rich to pay less in tax, because I think that whatever they do with their money, it is bound to create more jobs than government spending.

Aside from the arguments above, there is the simple math that government spending right now is about 34 percent of GDP and government revenue right now is about 33 percent of GDP. And that is before we figure the cost of regulation. I don't know what vital communal things government can do, but I'd say, on Victims of Socialism/Communism Day, that we have gone about as far as is prudent without descending into the vile dungeon of injustice and cruelty that always goes with socialist and communist governance.

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