“Not Redistributing Wealth”


His Divine Eminence gave an interview to 60 Minutes:

In the interview, [interviewer Steve] Kroft points out that in his speech in Kansas, [President Obama] mentioned income inequality, a phrase that suggests a need to redistribute wealth. The president quickly responded:

President Obama: Look, everybody’s concerned about inequality. Those folks in there, who were listening to the speech, those are teachers and small-business people, and probably some small-town bankers, who are in there thinking to themselves, “How is it that I– we’re — working so hard, we now have Mom and Dad working hard, maybe if they’re lucky, they might have two jobs to try to pay off their house note, and it just seems like they’re treading water? And meanwhile, they know that corporate profits are at a record level, that a lot of folks are doing very well. What’s happened to the bargain? What’s happened to the American deal that says, you know, we are focused on building a strong middle class?

That is not a left or right position. That is an American position. And the question is going to be, in this election, whether or not we are able to reclaim that vital center of American thought and American values that says, “We’re all in this together and, you know, it matters if we are building a broad-based middle class, where everybody is able to do their part and everybody’s able to succeed.

For awhile now, I’ve been noticing four unavoidable flaws with liberal ideas, which is to say that if they manage to get everything they want, and we are to accept the notion that their goal is to improve the situation of something bigger than a left-wing political agenda, their ideas are guaranteed to fail in service of that goal due to one or more of the following reasons:

Time. They’re drunk on the elixir of friendly historians scribbling down such nonsense as, Franklin Roosevelt ended the Depression. And so they don’t worry about legacies. They’re very often caught neglecting the refinement of the message that would be handed off to history, opting to focus their attentions on the emotional rapture of the moment. The Occupy Wall Street movement, with its sloppy core message that never did quite gel into any useful form, is a perfect example of this.

Commerce. Considering how much arguing they do about wealth and who has it, it just blows my mind that they demonstrate so anemic a grasp on what it is. They show a complete ignorance of the difference between occupations that create it, and occupations that do not. They seem to think the occupations, themselves, are the wealth, and that when an economy moves it’s just thriving on its own built-up inertia, like some sort of perpetual motion device that doesn’t need any fuel. “Get it going” is all that is needed. When I had my first car, I was responsible for gas and repairs; I suspect most liberals just borrowed their parents’ other car whenever they ran into a problem, and then daddy went & had the repairs done and the tank topped off. They seem intractably dedicated to the notion that any engine not running, including the economic engine, will run just fine if someone just turns a key. They see motion the same way they see life — it’s there just because it’s there, and if you start asking chicken-and-egg questions about it it just means you’re a shallow stupid ol’ teabagger.

Incentives. Conservatives and libertarians have been screaming for generations, “If you want more of something, subsidize it, and if you want less of something, tax it.” Granting the benefit of the doubt that our liberals do really want to make things better, they must not be getting the message. They’re constantly advancing plans to subsidize lifestyles that, if improvement of society is the end goal, nobody would want to see becoming more widely practiced. I haven’t been able to get a liberal to define in clear terms what “prosperity” looks like; haven’t been able to get any one of them to say “more people would be rich.” I think they understand subconsciously that if they were to admit to that obvious truth, they’d admit their policies have something to do with hostility toward people who achieve what we want more people to be achieving…and, therefore, there’s the guaranteed fail.

And the big Kahuna:

Abundance, and/or omnipresence. I see them constantly trapped in the thought-whirlpool that the goal must be to make something more highly regarded and highly valued, and the surest way to get there is to make that thing more plentiful, ideally, so that it becomes impossible to ever get away from it. This is a guaranteed fail because no person or thing has ever become more highly prized or cherished as a result of being more frequently seen. Natural laws of economics and human nature dictate that the opposite must be true. This is, from what I have seen, the most common failure point of the four.

And that’s what Chairman Zero is doing, near as I can make out.

“And meanwhile, they know that corporate profits are at a record level, that a lot of folks are doing very well. What’s happened to the bargain? What’s happened to the American deal that says, you know, we are focused on building a strong middle class?” On the planet on which I live, on which people have red blood and up is up & down is down, that first sentence looks like something is on the right track. I don’t really know what this “bargain” is He’s talking about, nor am I sure of this “American deal.” I don’t know what He means by “building a strong middle class.”

I can hazard a guess. I feel qualified to do so only because, for my entire life, I’ve been hearing this cliché from our liberals. And yet, said guess is all I can hazard, since throughout all that time I’ve not yet heard one say exactly what it is they mean by this…

“Strong,” near as I can figure, has to do with that fourth plank of fail, the abundance. It also has some kind of “don’t f*ck with us” property to it. Middle class wants something, someone doesn’t want to give it to them, and they’re forced to give it to them anyway. So the same thing liberals would deny the purveyors of politically incorrect speech, they want to give to the middle class, and then they would like the middle class to be “thriving and robust” which means numerous.

Let’s just cut to the chase. Middle class, if it means anything at all, must mean — enjoying the security that eludes the grasp of the impoverished, yet lacking in the affluence, privileges and options enjoyed by the very rich. “Strong middle class” cannot mean a class of people who can attain this affluence, since that would contradict the very definition.

So “strong” must mean precious and cherished, according to that fourth plank of fail…there are so many middle-class people you can’t ignore their desires, once their desires have achieved consistency and cohesion. Or he means, within our legal or political framework, it’s impossible to ignore what they want because they have some kind of power. Momma Government will see to it that they get the things they want. You know, those two possibilities for what they have in mind, I think lose their contrast with each other; they melt together into one thing, if for no other reason than because the liberals are in charge of the definitions, and I don’t think they’ve put this kind of thought into it. A strong middle class means — you’d better pay attention to them and you’d better give them what they want, because they’ll get it one way or another.

It all comes down to that problem they have with the first plank…time. A proper liberal is living every single day between cradle and coffin, in a strange, surreal remake of “Groundhog Day,” in a perpetual revolution. There’s always this huge constituency that is being denied not only the various free goodies, but the opportunity to get them…and has always been denied this, throughout all the days in history, right up until yesterday. From this point forward we’ll be living in a truly egalitarian society, unicorns will fornicate in the open fields, there will be peace throughout the land, Hatfields and McCoys and Rabbis and Ayatollahs will all get together for a friendly game of kickball and Ewoks and Wookies will play some happy tunes on empty Stormtrooper’s helmets. And then there’s today. Viva la Revolution! But tomorrow will, actually, be just like today. All the tomorrows are just like today. That’s why they like “change” so much; they’re spending their entire lives in it.

“Strong” means — you can get what you want, after the revolution’s over. But you lack the means to acquire it before the revolution because you’re one of the oppressed. That’s what strong really means. It means dependent. It means when an election is coming and liberal politicians start looking for despondent, desperate, dependent people so they can rustle up some votes, you’ll be one of those despondent, desperate, dependent people.

And the President thinks it’s very important that there be a lot of people like that. That’s what a “strong” economy is on Planet Liberal; not too many people enjoying the only sign of wealth that truly matters, independence and self-sufficiency. That, paradoxically, would be a sign of a weak economy, therefore we must avoid that at all costs.

The President’s wrong, by the way. It’s not correct to say “That is not a left or right position, that is an American position.” Or if it is correct to say that, it’s correct only in the sense that some muggers aren’t concerned about left- or right-politics, and some muggers are American.

And no, “everyone” is not concerned about income inequality. Maybe everyone He knows. But that particular statement was just plain dumb. President Obama demonstrated there that He needs to get out more, and contrary to the perception that was being floated to us four years ago, He is not worldly or wise or even sophisticated, and is actually very, very sheltered.

Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes and Washington Rebel.

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