Mar 262012
 
 March 26, 2012  Posted by at 5:32 pm U.S. Constitution Tagged with: ,  No Responses »

 

President Obama says he want to make society more fair. Advocates of big government believe fairness means taking from rich people and giving to others: poor people; or people who do things politicians approve of, like making “green” energy equipment (Solyndra); or old people (even rich ones) through Social Securityand Medicare.

The idea that government can “make life fair” is intuitively appealing to people — at least until they think about it. I’ll try to help.

Obama says fairness requires higher taxes, but as The Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore asks, “Is it fair that the richest 10 percent of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country’s income-tax burden than do the richest 10 percent in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?”

Or as economist Art Laffer asked, is it fair that American corporations pay the highest corporate tax rate in the world?

Beyond taxes, again quoting Moore, “Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C. — but millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?”

No. Parents ought to be able to spend their education money at any school they choose.

Big-government politicians bemoan income inequality, but would equalizing incomes make life fair?

To many, it is intuitive that such inequality is necessarily unfair. If someone makes his income by looting the taxpayers — sure, that’s unfair. His gains are ill-gotten, and honest taxpayers are out hard-earned money. But there’s nothing unfair simply in making more money through productive work. People have a range of talents and ambitions. Some will serve consumers better than others and therefore make more money. Government should not worry about that.

It should spend its time abolishing political privileges so that people compete fairly — in the marketplace.

You want to know what’s unfair? Social Security. Progressives say Social Security is the best-working government program ever, but they are wrong.

“Think about Social Security in terms of what would happen if a private company came up with a deal like this,” said Charles Goyette, author of “Red and Blue and Broke All Over.” “The president of the company says, we’ve got to sell some new policies tomorrow to pay you what you’re due when you cash in today.

They’d lock these guys up.”

Goyette was referring to the fact that your payroll taxes are not invested. The money is spent right away, and the

government counts on new money from current workers to pay retirees. The touted trust fund doesn’t exist.

“There’s no trust. There’s no fund. There’s no security. And the really bad thing — this is what’s really destructive — it has changed the propensity of the American people to save for themselves. … We’re creating a multigenerational calamity. And it’s right at our doorstep.”

We’ve taught people to be dependent. But dependence robs us of our dignity and keeps poor people poor.

Few politicians will touch the issue because seniors vote. And so trouble is not far up the road.

“We’ve loaded kids up with a debt that they will be burdened by for the rest of their lives,” Goyette said. “What kind of people, what kind of country does something like that?”

It’s even worse for Medicare. We’re talking tens of trillions in unfunded liabilities. Where’s that money going come from? Since seniors resist cuts, will politicians keep their promises by devaluing the currency? And why do the guardians of fairness never talk about this?

It might seem reasonable for government to make life more fair. But when it takes your money and freedom trying to do that, life becomes less fair. Everyone is poorer and less free. As government grows, individual liberty shrinks. That’s not fair.

It might help if instead of talking about fairness, we talked about justice: respecting other people, their freedom and their honestly acquired belongings. Real fairness, or justice, requires limiting government power. That means the same rules for everyone. No special favors. No handouts. Or, in Frederic Bastiat’s phrase, no “legal plunder.”

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 <a href=”http://www.johnstossel.com” <http://www.johnstossel.com>>johnstossel.com</a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

CREDIT: http://www.creators.com/opinion/john-stossel/what-is-fair.html

Mar 082012
 
 March 8, 2012  Posted by at 5:16 pm Raw Category, Romney 2012 Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »

Now that Mitt Romney is likely to be the Republican nominee, we can expect new attacks on his “vulture capitalism.”

That’s how Rick Perry characterized his private equity work when he was still a GOP presidential candidate.

As the campaign has unfolded, Newt Gingrich’s supporters ran an ad about Romney’s firm, Bain Capital, that said, “Their greed was only matched by their willingness to do anything to make millions in profits.”

Give me a break.

“Greed” means you want more for yourself. Fine. If you obtain it legally, without force or privilege — say, by buying a business and making it more efficient, or shifting resources to where consumers prefer them — that is a good thing. “Creative destruction” makes America richer.

Shifting resources does mean some people lose their jobs. That is sad for those who are fired.

But on balance, it’s a good thing. Intuition tells us that it would be better if no one ever lost a job and that capitalists who close businesses are evil.

But America would not be better off today if elevator operators and factory workers who made typewriters had their jobs preserved by a “compassionate” government.

America is richer today because those workers lost their jobs, because money once paid them is put to better use. In addition, most of those workers found new jobs where their skills better served consumers. Some even say they were glad that they were fired, because now they are more productive, and being productive makes people happy.

But we in the media almost never tell that story. That’s because we only report what we see.

We can see, and interview, the sad people who get fired. We take pictures as they leave their jobs on that last day when the factory closes. We interview them about the hardship to their families.

It’s a sad and moving story.

We tell it well.

But we never tell the flip side, the creative part of creative destruction. That’s because we don’t see it. We don’t see the better things that are done with capital that once went into the factory. We don’t see what many of the workers do next.

None of us covered the first few weeks of Apple or Google or Staples or Domino’s Pizza. We had no clue that those companies were about to produce cool new things, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in value. Staples and Domino’s, by the way, were funded by Bain Capital.

Not all bankers and private equity firms create wealth, because some make bad decisions. But if government does not bestow privileges, those that don’t create wealth go out of business, and those that fund good ideas grow. Some may call that “vulture capitalism” and sneer at “hostile” takeovers, but if the takeover is not enabled by government force, it is likely to be a good thing. It makes America more prosperous.

Micheal Moore says, “Capitalism has no moral core.”

Is that right? Since the word “capitalism” is ambiguous, the answer depends on what we mean. If it’s crony capitalism — well, yeah. It stinks.

Handouts to Solyndra and special deals for Goldman Sachs and GM are not capitalism. That’s “crapitalism.”

Many people hate banks, private-equity firms and mortgage brokers.

In light of the last few years, this isn’t totally unjustified. I resent the bankers who got rich by taking foolish risks and then, when they failed, got bailed out with our tax money.

I guess I shouldn’t blame bankers. I should blame the politicians. They gave our tax money away. If someone offered me money to cover my losses, I’d take it, too.

The real evil bankers are the government cronies, like those at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They took our money by force, our taxes, then paid themselves fat salaries and promised us that none of our money was at risk. And then they squandered more than $100 billion, betting that housing prices would always rise and few people would default.

I resent them and their backers in government.

But in a real free market — no government privileges or barriers to competition — capitalism is great. It’s the only system with a moral core because it’s based on freedom, not force.

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. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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