Monthly Archives: April 2010

Myths About Capitalism – John Stossel

Myths About Capitalism
Confronting the biggest lies about American business

John Stossel | April 22, 2010I won 19 Emmy Awards by reporting a myth: that business constantly rips us off—that capitalism is mostly cruel and unfair.

I know that’s a myth now. So I was glad to see the publication of The 5 Big Lies About American Business by Michael Medved.

I invite him on tonight’s Fox Business Network show to talk about that.

“You can only make a profit in this country by giving people a product or a service that they want,” he says. “It’s the golden rule in action.”

Medved used to write about the movies, so he’s familiar with the businessman as villain. I’ll play a clip from the movie Syriana, in which an oil tycoon makes this ridiculous speech:

“Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the street.”

“What’s interesting,” Medved commented, “is that in the old days, Hollywood would have businesspeople who were very positive: George Bailey, the Jimmy Stewart character, is a banker in It’s a Wonderful Life.”

No longer. Today’s movie capitalists are criminals or playboys. Apparently, Hollywood writers think it’s plausible that CEOs have lots of time to sip cocktails and chase women.

“In school, we all studied a book called The Theory of the Leisure Class, which … indicted the leisure class and these people who were out there exploiting other people and really had nothing to do except sit on their yachts and go to their swimming pools and their vacations.”

In real life, that’s nonsense.

“The higher up on the income scale you go, the less leisure time you have. You make money in this country by working hard.”

Medved’s second myth is that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. This is the old zero-sum fallacy, which ignores that when two people engage in free exchange, both gain—or they wouldn’t have traded. It’s what I call the double thank-you phenomenon. I understand why politicians and lawyers believe it: It’s true in their world. But it’s not true in business.

“If you believe that when the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, then you believe that creating wealth causes poverty, and you’re an idiot,” said Medved. “One of the things that I hate is this term ‘obscene profits.’ There are no obscene profits … . (The current economic downturn shows) “that when the rich get poorer … everybody gets poorer.”

Myth No. 3: Government is more fair and reliable than business.

“Remember the last time you went into Starbucks, and then remember the last time you went into the DMV to get your license,” Medved said. “Where did you get better treated? And it’s not because the barista is some kind of idealist or humanitarian. She wants a tip. She wants you to come back to the Starbucks … .”

But the left doesn’t get it.

“This is the suspicion of the profit motive—the idea that if somebody is selflessly serving me, they’re going to treat me better than somebody who wants to make a buck,” Medved said. But “(i)f you think about it in your own life, if somebody is benefiting from his interaction with you … it’s a far more reliable kind of interaction than someone who comes and says I’m in this only for you.”

Myth No. 4: The current downturn means the death of capitalism.

“Capitalism is alive and well,” Medved said.

I’m also bugged when people argue that today’s problems prove that capitalism “failed.” What failed? We had a correction. A bubble popped. But from 1982 to now, the Dow rose from 800 to 11,000. Had it happened without the bubble, we’d say this is one of the great boom periods.

Medved added: “This is one of the biggest lies—the idea that because of capitalism, we’re all suffering. … Poor people in America today, people who are officially in poverty, have a higher standard of living in terms of medical standards, in terms of the chances of going to college, in terms of the way people live, than middle-class people did 30 years ago. It’s an extraordinary achievement of technology and of the profit sector.”

John Stossel is host of Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He’s the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity. To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at johnstossel.com.

COPYRIGHT 2010 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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Climategate: a scandal that won’t go away

More on the anti-human, lying folks behind the environmentalist movement:

Climategate: a scandal that won’t go away

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Bloody Taxes

Bloody Taxes
If you support forced redistribution of wealth, you should support forced redistribution of blood

by Phil Maymin

Redistribution means taking from some to give to others. But from whom, and in what proportion? And to whom, and in what proportion? How much? These are incredibly obvious questions but nobody asks them, let alone answer them. Why not? For two different reasons.

Those who support redistribution tend not to ask or allow others to ask basic questions about it, out of feelings of guilt and shame. Redistribution needs to be believed in and if you question it in any way there must be something wrong with you.

Those who oppose redistribution simply view it as stealing, and asking these questions is akin to asking what optimal amount of mugging should be tolerated in a city. It’s repugnant.

But let’s you and I think about it a little bit, on this April 15th day of taxes and spending. Most of the federal budget is spent on redistribution in various forms: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, food stamps, housing assistance, and many more. Let’s be a little abstract so that we can distance ourselves both from the guilt and the repugnance that quashes our natural curiosity. Let’s ask some basic questions.

How much money should be redistributed from the wealthy to the poor? Is it a fixed number that depends on the needs of the poor, or is it a variable number that depends on the profits of the wealthy? What does it mean to be wealthy, high recent income or lifetime accumulated assets?

How should the largess be distributed? Equally to everyone below a certain threshold? Should those who are poorer receive more? What does it mean to be poor, low recent income or lifetime accumulated debt?

How often should the redistribution took place? Once, to account for past injustices, or repeatedly, like clockwork?

Most importantly, how can we objectively think about these questions without resorting to character accusations?

One approach is to proceed by analogy. Start with your body. Just about everybody has extra blood. By all of the standard arguments for redistribution – need, excess wealth, not the result of hard work, fairness – blood should be redistributed. Along with your 1040, you should send along a baggie of blood. Should everybody be forced to redistribute blood?

People need blood. According to America’s Blood Centers, someone needs blood every two seconds. One in seven people entering a hospital will need blood. One pint of blood can save up to three lives. Here, the redistribution questions are easy: everybody who needs blood for medical reasons should get all that they need, whenever they need it.

Only a small minority have the appropriate blood. Only 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible. And everybody in that blood-wealthy group can spare a little. The amount of blood to be redistributed depends only on the amount needed to save people, not on the amount the donors can spare.

Your blood type is not the result of hard work or ingenuity. Taking some of your blood, unlike taking some of your money, won’t affect your incentive to work. Therefore, we could redistribute this repeatedly.

It is only fair that those who have better blood through no credit of their own and who could safely give some of it up, be forced to do so, to redistribute it to those who need blood through no fault of their own and whose lives could be saved.

Blood is better than money because politicians can’t even pocket any. All of it goes to the intended recipients.

Do you support forced redistribution of money? Do you support forced redistribution of blood? If your answers to the two questions are not the same, you have a problem on your hands.

This article originally appeared in the Fairfield Weekly.

April 15, 2010

The Informant Society

Interesting observations from an e-letter put out by freebooter.com:

America and Britain are sinking deeper into militarized police states.
When this occurs society begins to parallel more and more aspects of
Nazi Germany, especially in the context of citizens being turned
against each other, which in turn creates a climate of fear and the
constraining sense that one is always being watched.

One misconception about Nazi Germany was that the police state was
solely a creation of the authorities and that the citizens were merely
victims. On the contrary, Gestapo files show that 80 percent of all
Gestapo investigations were started in response to information
provided by denunciations by “ordinary” Germans.

“There were relatively few secret police, and most were just
processing the information coming in. I had found a shocking fact.
It wasn’t the secret police who were doing this wide-scale
surveillance and hiding on every street corner. It was the ordinary
German people who were informing on their neighbors,” wrote Robert
Gellately of Florida State University.

Gellately discovered that the people who informed on their neighbors
were motivated primarily by banal factors   “greed, jealousy, and
petty differences,” and not by a genuine concern about crime or
insecurity.

Gellately “found cases of partners in business turning in associates
to gain full ownership; jealous boyfriends informing on rival suitors;
neighbors betraying entire families who chronically left shared
bathrooms unclean or who occupied desirable apartments.”

“And then there were those who informed because for the first time in
their lives someone in authority would listen to them and value what
they said.”

Gellately emphasizes the fact that the Germans who sicked the
authorities on their neighbors knew very well what the consequences
for the victims would be families torn apart, torture and internment
in concentration camps, and ultimately in many cases death, but they
still did it with few qualms because the rewards of financial bounties
and mere convenience were deemed more important to them.

There can no longer be any doubt that Muslims and political dissidents
are the new Jews. Anyone who dares to speak truth is now instantly
marginalized by the establishment as a crazy conspiracy theorist or a
dangerous extremist.

Governments have feverishly exploited staged terror attacks such as
9/11 and the 7/7 bombings to launch a purge against society’s
malcontents in order to eliminate the only roadblocks to their agenda,
just as Hitler did after his own adjutants burned down the Reichstag.

They have gone about this by creating an army of tattle-tale
informants eager to spy on and report people in their own community
under the delusion that they are carrying out a patriotic duty, when
in reality they are laying the groundwork for a repeat of the horrors
that historically follow when the state is successful in setting the
people against each other on such a massive scale.

Thanks goes to PJ Watson for the above thoughts.

A little humor…

How to fill out the Census, Christopher Walken style:

YouTube Video

You can also read Doug Casey’s Public Service Announcement regarding the Census here.

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The Government is One Giant Cult – by Phil Maymin

This is an excellent post which can be viewed here:

The Government is One Giant Cult

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IMF Expanding Its Tax Schemes Beyond the Third World

From Robert Wenzel at Economic Policy Journal:

IMF Expanding Its Tax Schemes Beyond the Third World

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