The point made here by Professor Sowell is so important, and weighs so heavily upon the election that is coming up in less than three months, that after pondering it I realized it had to be added to the list. That would be the list of three things upon which the election will be turning, or should turn…it doesn’t matter if the things are on the minds of voters as they punch out their chads, or not. Doesn’t matter. History is awaiting an answer to each of them, and right or wrong, history will be using the election results to determine those answers.
The socialists who are trying to turn America’s society upside-down, have been indulging in a sneaky trick here and they’ve been allowed to get away with it for a long time. The trick is a simple one: Define “greed,” at least in the emotional sense, without first defining “property.” It is as ludicrous and silly as it is clever; defining “greed” without defining “property” is like building a brick wall without bricks.
Our American election of Twenty Twelve turns on four things, and all four are a great deal more important than Michelle Obama’s vacations or Ann Romney’s blouse:
One. If you built a business, who really built it? Are you to receive some credit for the personal effort you have put in, the personal risks you have absorbed, the personal assets you had to liquidate to meet payroll during the years when it wasn’t profitable, the hours per week over forty that you had to put in before you could afford to expand that payroll?
Two. If you want to move the business into a community, what test do we apply to make sure the business’ values are compatible? Does the business find out about that, the hard way, when people vote with their feet — wow, just think about the magnitude of capital lost on such a failed venture, it’s staggering — or, is it somehow necessary to vote in mayors and “aldermen” to express this note of rejection that the potential patrons, and voters, are somehow unable to properly express?
Three. Why, exactly, do taxes exist? Are they for funding government’s vital services, or to whittle that Gini number down to size; to ensure that, at the end of it all, no one citizen among us has too much more or less loot than the next guy?
Four. How exactly do we define the word “greed” — does it have to do with wanting to hang on to what belongs to you, or does it have to do with taking possession of someone else’s property?
On that new, last one: The dictionary says it is
Excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.
A selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed.
Those are not a lot of help, although the MW definition seems to lean left, implying that the attribute to be criticized has to do with desire for increased quantity, and that it has to do with a differential between the quantity desired and the quantity needed.
If that is to be the case, it is hard to see how we can put our energies behind an effort to drive “greed” out of our society, without the proggies ultimately winning; we would need to be sitting in judgment, in some way, of how much lucre our fellow citizens have managed to stash. We would have to pounce, like starving jaguars, upon any situation in which that amount was “excessive” and greater in quantity “than is needed” — situations in which, in all other respects, everything is above-board and legal.
The alternative being, to resign ourselves to “It meets the definition and that is a bad thing, but no laws were broken so no action will be taken.” But that, with all the passions swirling around, doesn’t seem too likely at this point.
Our current President is running on all four of these things, and has positioned Himself on the wrong side of each one, I think. He’s out there many times a week, saying silly things like this:
“It’s like Robin Hood in reverse,” Obama said of Romney’s tax plan, which would cut taxes across the board by 20 percent, during a fundraiser in Connecticut. “It’s Romney Hood.”
Obama’s quip [distills] an attack that he has repeated in the last week. “In order to afford just one $250,000 tax cut for somebody like Mr. Romney, 125 families like yours would have to pay another $2,000 in taxes each and every year,” the president said at another fundraiser last Wednesday.
His claim is based on a report from the Tax Policy Center, even though the authors — who include one former Obama aide and a former aide to President George H.W. Bush — preface their study by saying, “We do not score Governor Romney’s plan directly, as certain components of his plan are not specified in sufficient detail, nor do we make assumptions regarding what those components might be.”
The Tax Policy Center, according to Wikipedia, “is a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution.” One is well-advised, I think, not to trust the online encyclopedia too much after that sentence; I say that based on reviewing the talk pages for Tax Policy Center and, of course, for the very well-known lefty outfit Brookings. I note, further, that although we seem to be eyebrows-deep in noisy, self-appointed “fact checkers” following most other questionable claims from both Romney and Obama, it seems said fact checkers get sleepy when the President says Governor Romney wants to give X many dollars to rich people and take X many dollars away from poor people — the pattern, then, is that our noisy checkers fall suddenly quiet, perhaps sleep in a few extra hours, and it is up to each reader to do his or her own “checking.”