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|02-15-2010, 07:33 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jan 2010
USA Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom??
Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom
By John Stossel (Archive) · Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Government is taking us a long way down the Road to Serfdom. That doesn't just mean that more of us must work for the government. It means that we are changing from independent, self-responsible people into a submissive flock. The welfare state kills the creative spirit.
F.A. Hayek, an Austrian economist living in Britain, wrote "The Road to Serfdom" in 1944 as a warning that central economic planning would extinguish freedom. The book was a hit. Reader's Digest produced a condensed version that sold 5 million copies.
Hayek meant that governments can't plan economies without planning people's lives. After all, an economy is just individuals engaging in exchanges. The scientific-sounding language of President Obama's economic planning hides the fact that people must shelve their own plans in favor of government's single plan.
At the beginning of "The Road to Serfdom," Hayek acknowledges that mere material wealth is not all that's at stake when the government controls our lives: "The most important change ... is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people."
This shouldn't be controversial. If government relieves us of the responsibility of living by bailing us out, character will atrophy. The welfare state, however good its intentions of creating material equality, can't help but make us dependent. That changes the psychology of society.
I'll explore this tomorrow night on my Fox Business show, 8 p.m. Eastern (rebroadcast Friday at 10 p.m.).
According to the Tax Foundation, 60 percent of the population now gets more in government benefits than it pays in taxes. What does it say about a society in which more than half the people live at the expense of the rest? Worse, the dependent class is growing. The 60 percent will soon be 70 percent.
Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin seems to understand the threat: He's worries that "more people have a stake in the welfare state than in free enterprise. This is a road that Hayek perfectly described as 'the road to serfdom.'" (Tomorrow I will ask Ryan why, if he understands this, he voted for TARP and the auto bailouts.)
Kurt Vonnegut understood the threat of government-imposed equality. His short story "Harrison Bergeron" portrays a future in which no one is permitted to have any physical or intellectual advantage over anyone else. A government Handicapper General weighs down the strong and agile, masks the faces of the beautiful and distracts the smart.
So far, the Handicapper General is just fantasy. But Vice President Joe Biden did shout at the Democratic National Convention: "Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you." If he meant that we're all equal in rights and before the law, fine. If he meant government shouldn't put barriers in the way of opportunity, great. But statists like Biden usually have more in mind: They want government to make results more equal.
Two actual examples of the lunacy:
When colleges innovated by having students use Kindle e-book readers instead of expensive textbooks, the Justice Department sued them, complaining that the Kindle discriminates against blind students. The department also is suing the Massachusetts prison system because it makes prospective prison guards take a physical test. Since women don't do as well as men on that test, Justice claims the test discriminates against women.
Arthur Brooks, who heads the American Enterprise Institute, says statism is becoming the "central organizing power in our economy," and that the battle between free enterprise and statism will shape our futures. He remains optimistic because a recent poll showed that 70 percent of Americans want free enterprise. I'm less sanguine. In that same poll, 54 percent of Americans said government should exert more control over the economy. Brooks discounts that, claiming people forget their "core values" during crises.
But he asks the right question: Do we want a culture of takers or makers? Ryan and Brooks say most people want "the American idea": freedom and self-responsibility. I fear they want a Mommy State to take care of them. What do you think?
The choice is crucial. If we continue down the Road to Serfdom, our destination will be a poorer society, high unemployment, stagnation and complacency.
|02-16-2010, 07:59 AM||#2|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Re: USA Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom??
No, we have already been down that road for eons.
The hope of striking it rich, within a capitalistic society, is all that most citizen can cling to, as they go through a life of slavish dependence, working until they die.
Some of these worker drones may have given up the hopes of striking it rich long ago. Their hopes may be more along the lines of retiring in a one room sweat box and being able to afford some canned dog food to eat.
But the greedy Ponzi capitalists, along with the full faith and backing of the politicians, have taken that little dream away from many of the retirees as well. I often wonder how the old folks get by nowadays with 1/20th of 1 percent on money market funds and if they are lucky, maybe a whopping 1/2% in CD's.
Do you need any further proof that the bankers are in control of our politicians?
The banks get 25% on their credit cards...and we get 1/20th of 1%?
If we look at the data, we can see that only 5% to 6% of the households are making more than $250,000 per year. That doesn't make them all rich, but we can generally say $250,000 a year would be a nice income for most of us reading this.
And if one is talking millions of dollars per year in income, then the figure is just a couple percent of the households in America.
So capitalism favors 1% to 2% of the population and the other 98% end up as slaves to the capitalists.
Now, I'm not promoting communism. Even the so called selfless communist governments get weighed down with egocentric leaders. If one is selfless such as ants or bees communism works fine. It is only when human selfishness is injected into the equation that communism fails miserably.
The reason the ideal of communism fails is because imperfect humans have to apply the perfect ideals. Same goes with our imperfect democratic elected leaders.
But the problem is not so much that we elect imperfect leaders, the problem is that we have no oversight committee to change the wrongs that they do. Nor do we have punishment for them for doing such wrongs.
Just look at Bush and the rest. As soon as they leave office, what is said? "Well, they may have done something wrong...but lets just move on."
Politicians have a free reign to rape and pillage the US and Americans as they wish...because there is NO OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE nor PUNISHMENT for the evils they do.
Capitalistic greed is what fueled class conflict in times gone by. The rich control the gov and only pass legislation to benefit the rich. As such, the average person gets squeezed to the point of not being able to survive.
Sure capitalism creates jobs...but it also kills jobs.
The reason capitalism supported US jobs back in the day was because China was not open to the US markets. And India was a backwards country that had nothing to offer to the US.
Once China opened up and India advanced, businesses learned they could make tons more money exporting jobs to those countries to make things cheaper.
So why on earth would a capitalists make something in the US and break even or just make a small profit, when they can make oodles more money shipping the jobs overseas?
Socialism, in its most ideal form, puts society and social issues first.
Capitalism puts profits and greed first.
Social ethics cost money. And spending money for such things is against the capitalists religion. Capitalism is not the religion of humanity, it is the religion of greed, power and money.
Beside the jobs exporting problem for American workers, Wall Street added to it when it first learned it could make more money breaking up companies than running them The golden age of leveraged buyouts and hostile takeovers made many of Wall Street rich in the 80's and 90's. No need to build up a company, when dismantling it made quick profits.
Just as a select few made millions, the work force lost millions in future wages. So, this was class warfare at its best. A transfer of wealth from the worker to the rich...all supported and backed by the full faith and credit of our beloved gov.
But, capitalists do have some use for socialism. When they are losing money, ready to go bust, they like to socialize their loses to the taxpayer so they can keep reaping the profits as they rape the society that supports them.
Do we need a 100% socialist country?
Do we need a 100% capitalist country with no concern for social ethics?
What we need is a mix of these two...the only question is how much of each?
Socialism is what saved our country from going bust with the Wall Street debacle. Maybe we needed to go through a terrible depression and die off to clean house. But that is not the way things went down. So we must give credit where credit is due and the saving grace that kept America as well as the world going turned out to be socialism and not the free market capitalism.
Last edited by keepitlow; 02-16-2010 at 08:02 AM..
|02-16-2010, 08:20 AM||#3|
Advanced Senior Member
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Upstate NY
Re: USA Hurtling Down the Road to Serfdom??
Socialism, in its most ideal form, puts society and social issues first.
Capitalism puts profits and greed first. WRONG
But the way things are set up, social ethics goes out the window, all in favor of the cult worshiping the almighty dollar. WRONG
Social ethics cost money. And spending money for such things is against the capitalists religion. Capitalism is not the religion of humanity, it is the religion of greed, power and money. WRONG
Okay, first of all, there is no IDEAL social form other than one that invests a ruling class with total power, and kills a lot of people at the bottom - as ALL social states around the world have illustrated in gory detail. Socialism does NOT put society first - that is WRONG. It puts the STATE first, and the people (society) last, as assets to be discarded. It is an EVIL philosophy.
Capitalism does NOT put greed and profit first - it puts the INNOVATORS and the hardest workers first. It rewards intelligence, perseverance and risk, with capital return. When allowed to function normally - it allows FAILURE and it punishes those who wrongly try to game the system. Our present system is NOT capitalism in that it allows neither of those things - not to mention the oppressiveness of a SOCIALIST-GREEDY, bloated government that is RAPING the innovators and entrepreneurs for tax money at insane percentage levels. The present system is EVIL - because it is socialist in nature.
Spending money on social issues is not considered "against the religion" of the capitalist. Wealthy people in America have been the most generous when it comes to giving to society ills. However, it gets harder and harder to do when the government takes most of your earnings through taxation.
Capitalism is not the problem. We don't have capitalism and haven't for decades. True capitalism allows people to better themselves, better their economic standing, and rewards work and risk. It is the antithesis of the class warfare we are currently in.
The Socialist track we are currently on is DESIGNED from the top to crush the middle class (it's own creation) out of existence and push it into the lowest poorest "class" at the bottom, while the elite rise further to the top, gaining wealth from gaming the system and deceit.
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