Monthly Archives: September 2010

Class wars, the conservative view

I promised in yesterday’s entry to post the opposing view if the author agreed. He did. Franklin Johnson of Falkville sent me the following email; my response is in the previous post.

I guess it was inevitable. You have drunk the Decatur Daily Kool-Aid. I’ve watched favorite life observer Scott Morris gradually become more self involved and omniscient from continual exposure. Now, it seems that you too may have become intoxicated.
So, Obama is not starting the class war. Have you not listened to his speeches or read his books? He is a collectivist. He believes that government has the right to determine life’s winners rather than a free society. Recall his arguments on healthcare, his exchange with Joe the Plumber, he number of advisors who  propound the idea of “Social Justice” – that it is the function of the government to distribute the wealth according to the government’s idea of worth.
So the rich keep getting richer. Surely, you remember the lyric, “..there’s nothing surer, the rich get rich and the poor get poorer”. Has it not occurred to you that there is a reason for this or do you believe as Dick Gephart that there are only “winners and losers in the lottery of life?” Whom would you have determine the winners and losers? A bureaucrat, a politician, the market, or a free society?
Ambitious college seniors that I interviewed for employment would ask me if it was possible to get ahead at my company or would their opportunities be limited. I responded that corporations are dying to find their next vice-president, but it is a competitive process. I told them that their career would be a pyramid. Each successive step would be harder, more difficult, and require greater time, effort, and devotion. My experience was that how high you went was much more a function of the price you were willing to pay than innate abilities. Water will seek its own level.
The poor support the rich in our system because they want a chance to get there themselves. The democratic socialism that Obama propounds would determine who gets to go to college( federal loans), who gets what health treatment (single payer), how much energy you are allowed (carbon credits),  the infrastructure (grants), the cars you can own (targeted taxes), and every phase of our society. It was not the government that made the US the richest,  most affluent society in the history of the world. Dare I say that word that apparently has become offensive to you – capitalism?
I didn’t see the people who call for redistribution of wealth working full-time by my side on graveyard shift to pay for an engineering degree. I did not see them in my night classes to get a masters in engineering degree. I didn’t see them with me in at the plant on nights, Saturdays, and Sundays to make sure a project succeeded. I didn’t see them taking classes in investments to manage a portfolio. In short, the got off on the level of the pyramid that they were willing to attain.
Because there are real and genuine reasons some people cannot succeed. They need our help. Those who want what many have attained without the effort expended deserve nothing. The “poor” who do not pay income tax in the US have unearned income credits, TVs, cell phones, food stamps, free medical care, and welfare cash and housing support. What in the world do they do to deserve it other than breathe? Because they are “unfortunate”? I tithe and contribute generously to charity. What do these people do other than take?
Surely, you know it is about who will be in control. You have apparently come down on the side of a governmental ruling class.
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Filed under Class warfare, Conservatism

Class wars

This is my response to an articulate conservative who always disagrees with my Sunday columns, but does so with respect. I’ll post his email when and if he approves. You can read today’s column at Obama not starting the class wars.

Very few at The Daily agree with my viewpoints, and I doubt any agree with this column. They are kind enough to allow me to publish because they see that my columns stir not just anger, but thought.

I have no doubt you worked hard for your engineering degree. I did the same for my degrees. We both did so, however, in a democratic society that protected our advances. The majority of the population supported property rights, and paid police and court systems to protect those rights.

When social mobility is real rather than imaginary, I think we can take comfort that capitalism will survive because, as you put it: “The poor support the rich in our system because they want a chance to get there themselves.”

What happens, though, when the poor realize they do not have a chance?

We disagree less than you think. I believe capitalism, for all its warts, is the only viable economic system. I also believe it is destined for failure in a democracy with the dramatic income and wealth polarization we have in the US. The masses may be dumb, but they’re not stupid.

I think Obama, wittingly or not, is the best thing that could have happened for American capitalism. If conservatives will give him some space, he will give the poor a rational belief that they can succeed.

The poor, with lots of encouragement from the rich, have deluded themselves for decades into thinking we live in a classless society.

I do not believe that delusion can continue. To retain the benefits of capitalism, the rich need to be willing to share the wealth. Not all of it, but enough to give the poor a reasonable belief that, with hard work, they too can partake of the American Dream.

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Voters have few options

What a depressing gubernatorial debate. Are these the best candidates Alabama can produce?

Ron Sparks is as stuck on gambling as a 33 rpm record with a scratch. Over and over, he repeats that taxes on gaming (read that: expanded gambling and a lottery) will solve all our woes. Dr. Bentley spends all his time complaining about Washington. He would adopt an Arizona law on immigration and a Missouri law on health care.

Neither candidate has any new or interesting ideas. Are they afraid to say what they think, or is this all they’ve got?

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Filed under Alabama politics, Federalism, Health care, States' rights