2012 October 03 Wednesday
Some Still Believe Obama Or Romney Can Help Middle Class
Hope springs eternal.
About half (52%) of adults who self-identify as middle class say they believe Obama's policies in a second term would help the middle class, while 39% say they would not help, according to a survey conducted in July.
By comparison, 42% say that Romney's election would help the middle class, while 40% say it would not help.
I do not expect conditions to improve for the middle class in the next 4 years. Another recession is more likely. Higher oil prices are more likely. The continued departure of members of the middle class headed either up or down seems more likely. The middle is not holding. I say again: try to go up so that you can avoid going down.
Romney's problem is that he is perceived as the candidate of the upper class.
There is much more variance in the judgments of the middle class about the likely impact of the two candidates' policies on the wealthy and the poor. Fully seven-in-ten (71%) middle-class respondents say Romney's policies would help the wealthy, while just a third (33%) say they would help the poor. Judgments about Obama tilt the opposite way. Roughly four-in-ten (38%) middle-class respondents say his policies would help the wealthy, and about six-in-ten (62%) say they would help the poor.
It is probably better in the long run if Obama gets elected because then when conditions worsen for the middle and lower classes people will come to understand that even a supposed champion of the lower classes can't or won't help them. Now there's still widespread misunderstanding about why living standards are declining. Having a Democrat in charge will go further toward spreading the understanding that deep economic fundamentals are working against the shrinking American middle class.
Actually both Romney and Obama can help not only the middle class but even the poor. By legislating to bring down the foreign trade deficit which is over $600 billion per year, this would yield $20,000 per year for each of the 30 million poor Americans, if they get employed in jobs that produce what the $600 billion trade deficit buys from foreign countries. By stopping that foreign trade deficit, both Romney and Obama can create that much more income for people. This will also have the net benefit of reducing the government deficit spending to acceptable levels.
Framing the argument such that helping the wealthy implies hurting the middle class or the poor is fallacious reasoning. This is not necessarily and either A or B situation, but one where A AND B can exist. While Obama's world view is that the only way A can have a bigger piece of pie is if he takes some from B, Romney proposes to give both A and B bigger slices of pie by making the pie bigger. Obama opposes this by invoking class warfare - what matters to him is not whether A or B get bigger slices of pie, but that both get equal slices of pie even though they may not have earned equal slices of pie.
Randall, I recognize your concern, but I also am concerned that there may be a tipping point where we cannot retreat from the path of socialism that Obama is leading us down.
As far as legislating to bring our foreign trade deficit down, I agree - as long as this means making the US more friendly to business and therefore making US companies more productive on an absolute basis. We cannot make ourselves more productive or increase our overall national wealth and standard of living by legislation that raising trade barriers with foreign competitors and interfering with free trade. This only serves to enrich those particular industries protected by tariffs at the expense of other US citizens.
Four more years of Obama means a Supreme Court packed with liberals who will declare any future laws passed by Republicans to be unconstitutional.
Furthermore, Romney is the best and smartest Republican we are going to get. The guy running in four years is not going to be as qualified to be president as Romney.
>"Randall, I recognize your concern, but I also am concerned that there may be a tipping point where we cannot retreat from the path of socialism that Obama is leading us down."
Ha, ha, ha, ha. You don't really know what you're talking about man. Obama leading us towards socialism....? Yeah, right. You really believe that?
You're bordering on paranoid, unless of course you're 16 or 17 years old, in which case it's understandable.
As if Republican presidents and Democrat presidents were really that different.
Socialism, ha, ha, ha, ha. If you're over 25 go get a check up.
"Ha, ha, ha, ha."
Lenin is supposed to have referred to blind defenders and apologists for the Soviet Union in western democracies as "useful idiots." Today, it's used to describe people who are propagandists for a cause whose goals they do not understand, who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.
The implication is that although the people in question naïvely think of themselves as allies of their elite leaders and the malignant causes which they unwittingly support, they are actually held in contempt and are cynically used by these political figures to advance their own personal agenda while discarding the idiot like a piece of rubbish once the agenda is met.
Obama can call himself anything he wants, but when his agenda and policies are examined, it's clear that he not only favors a socialist state, but that he is leading us that way. I'll hand it to him though, he comes up with some dandy sounding terms - like "economic patriotism" - that the useful idiots just drool over because they are either too dumb or too lazy to examine the details (or maybe they're just hoping they can climb aboard the gravy train and get some of the "free" Obama stuff). Now, when you look in the dictionary under socialism, you find that it's an economic system characterized by state ownership of the means of production. So, the typical useful idiot thinks to himself, "Gee, big corporation own the means of production, not the state. So, we must not have any socialism." Frankly, that's being too naive and short sighted. Today, the government may not have legal title to the means of production, but they have gradually assumed the power to effectively control what businesses do and how they operate. As the government meddling intrudes further and further into the affairs of private business, it achieves effective ownership. If a man breaks into my house and grabs my gun, who legally owns the matters much less than who controls the gun.
So, don't get upset when people call you "useless" because you've demonstrated that you really are "useful."
Here's something for you Mike M, oh you wonderful best seller author: There is no more government around, either republican or democrat. The country is reduced to a corporation, of which you are a slave. Oh well, no, not you. You've got the fridge filled with cold beer. (Try to cut down on it while you post garbage on parapundit.com)
It is the big corporation owners who own this country, and you want more of them??? You cannot run a country like a business, Mike. The unrestrained pursuit of profit in fact kills the very soul of a nation. Europeans have realized that the hard way, but you learn no wisdom.
Babyboomers are starting to retire; unemployment is still on the rise; Russia and China are not willing to play America's game anymore and Iran has become nuclear; middle class is shrinking and poverty is on the rise; American youths are idiots and adults now have an infantile mentality; your country has become a corporation; there's no affordable education or medical care.
All that sounds to me like a mix for disaster, because it is an explosive one. I don't know if rejected students will start throwing rocks, or if employees will soon show the owners who really is boss, or if soon there'll be an immigrant invation like you've never heard of, all demanding rights, medical care and education. Nevertheless things cannot continue like you would like them to, for much longer...
Mike M. wrote: "Now, when you look in the dictionary under socialism, you find that it's an economic system characterized by state ownership of the means of production."
Wrong again. Socialism is fundamentally a social system, rather than an economic one. You really don't know what Socialism is Mike, even if you look the definition up on Wiki. You are one of the million idiots who continue to confuse Socialism with Stalinism. You hear Socialism and think about Lenin and the USSR, instead of learning from great socialist minds like N. Chomsky or Erich Fromm, or real statesmen like François Mitterrand. Learn how Venezuela is the country with the lowest inequality rate in The Americas and the second one with students enrolled in universities. Learn how the best education and medical practice belongs to Cuba. I think it is in fact, free and even welcomes poor American students of medicine who come from neighborhoods you don't visit.
Make sure you mention those great men I just told you about, when you write your 8th. best selling book on Socialism. However I think that if you do, it'll probably be just to vulgarly spit your bile on them.
Business and the pursuit of profit built his country. Europe has suffered not because of the "unrestrained pursuit of profit" by business, but because of the unrestrained efforts by politicians to turn their nations into socialist states to appease the "workers" (I put this in quotes as it's hard to call someone who "works" fewer and fewer hours and demands more and more benefits and early retirement at nearly full pay a real worker).
Sorry, Moonbat, but it's you who have no clue what socialism really is or more precisely what it does to a nation and an economy.
When you describe socialism as a "social" system rather than an economic one, you give yourself away as one the useful idiots. Indeed, your entire thesis is contradictory. You acknowledge that people act in their own self interest when you rant about the "unrestrained pursuit of profit." Yet, you seem certain of some fantasy universe where people will just join hands, sing Kumbayah, share some Chai tea and work contrary to their won self interest. They never have and they never will.
Of course, you and your "great socialist minds" have this all figured out - you will use government (with its benevolent, elitist leaders) to "encourage" people to work and share. You rant about a system where business supposedly runs the country, but at least that is one where people can rise or fall on their own merits. What you propose is a nation where certain elite political leaders (dictators) run the country. Gee, that sounds great, but who's going to find these benevolent souls who will ignore their own self interest and look out for the rest of us? Even a cursory examination of world history and government will show us that no such government has nor ever will exist.
I much prefer to live and work in a system where I am fully aware that everyone is looking out for his own self interest and the government is limited to preventing others from infringing on my person or property and to enforcing contracts rather than one that ignores all the rules of nature and several millennia of human history for an imagined fantasyland where everyone ends up destitute (save your great socialist leaders).
"Business and the pursuit of profit built his country."
Well, not much of a country left there. Not what it used to be and in which we used to trust anyways.
"Of course, you and your "great socialist minds" have this all figured out - you will use government (with its benevolent, elitist leaders) to "encourage" people to work and share."
Careful there. I'm not a socialist, but the New York Times has praised Noam Chomsky as the most important intellectual alive. So Moonlight is probably squeezing possible insults out of you at third parties who are not wasting time blogging here, like you and I.
"Gee, that sounds great, but who's going to find these benevolent souls who will ignore their own self interest and look out for the rest of us?"
I don't think what you sarcastically mention is socialism. I think you have very strong emotions and therefore are prone to make many mistakes in your reactions.
"I much prefer to live and work in a system where I am fully aware that everyone is looking out for his own self interest and the government is limited to preventing others from infringing on my person or property and to enforcing contracts rather than one that ignores all the rules of nature and several millennia of human history for an imagined fantasyland where everyone ends up destitute (save your great socialist leaders)."
The government has already infringed on our person and property already and you know it to be true. That's precisely why we start seeing all those commies from within and from without come out little by little. Think and stop throwing more wood to the fire, and please refrain from insulting me or anybody else, ok. Give complete ideas, formulate statements, verify your claims and you'll have better weapons against socialists like Moonlight. We all look forward to blogging with you.
I don't hold the NYT in high regards when it comes to he opinion of their editorial staff. It's akin to asking Hugo Chavez his opinion of important political figures. Furthermore, labeling him an "important intellectual" is a dubious distinction. Certainly, Aldolph Hitler and Josef Stalin were among the most important political figures of the 20th century, but that could leave one with the same impression as the NYT's characterization of Chomsky. I'm sure Mr. Chomsky is quite prolific in terms of the volume and breadth of his work, but prolific isn't necessarily my benchmark. Afterall, just because an elephant is a prolific defecator doesn't mean it's the most important animal . I'm sure that if he was wearing his linguist hat, Chomsky would agree. With that in mind, I don't know if the NYT awarded him that honor for his work as a linguist or as a political philosopher. Anyway, the Nobel committee awarded Obama its Peace prize in 2009, so I'm sure you can guess how much weight I give to awards versus my own evaluation of a person's ideas and achievements. There is no doubt that Chomsky has contributed much original thought in his field of linguistics. However, in terms of his political views, I think that he has let his strong anarchist views cloud his perception of human nature, the role of the social contract and the fact that some people will step up and exhibit what I will shall call an entrepreneurial spirit and own businesses while others will chose to forgo the risks (and hence he rewards) that becoming a business owner entails and therefore don't have a "right" to own their workplace. Granted, that's a pretty simplistic version of a small part of Chomsky's political philosophy and my objections to it, but I don't find debates with Chomsky's followers (not hat yo are one) are very productive.
It's difficult to ascertain from some of your comments if you disagree with me because you think the US should drift further left or because you think it already has. For the record, I believe that we have drifted far too left and that corporate cronyism has seriously hurt this country. I am not pro big business (but I am not anti big business as long as that big business isn't sleeping with the politicians), but I am strongly pro free market.
Regards socialism I'm reminded of an old Peter Drucker book, Age Of Discontinuity. A friend who knows I'm a Drucker fan recently sent an excerpt:
"But obvious though this may seem, the illusion that government could somehow make costs go away and produce a great deal for nothing was almost universal during the last half-century. And the distributive fallacy which assumes that government distribution of wealth solves economic problems that are rooted in inadequate productivity is still far from dead (as said earlier in Chapter 6).
This belief was, in effect, only one facet of a much more general illusion from which the educated and the intellectuals in particular suffered: that by turning tasks to the government, conflict and decision would be made to go away. Once the "wicked private interests" had been eliminated, the right course of action would emerge from the "facts", and the decisions would be rational and automatic. There would neither be selfishness nor political passion. Belief in government was thus largely a romantic escape from politics and responsibility.
One root of this argument was hatred of business, of profit and, above all, of wealth. Another - more dangerous - root was the rejection of responsibility and decision that played such a major role in the rise of Fascism ad Nazism and in their attraction for so many otherwise sane people. Erich Fromm, in his first book (1940), called it Escape
Yes, the belief that government would be more objective or fair is such an obvious fallacy. Who runs government? Why would those humans be better? Fairer? Wiser? No reason I can see. Read the political rhetoric of each political party and it is easy to see how absurd politicians are.
As I have stated elsewhere there is no reason to assume that the humans in the political arena are any less wicked than the humans in the private arena. The difference is that in a free market with competition, we can chose to avoid the wicked businessman (and put him out of business), but we cannot avoid the wicked politician.
randall - have you read fromm's "escape from freedom" if so, any opinion. Also, I have two Drucker books on my search list - "The End of Economic Man" and "Post Capitalist Society" - recommendations???
I read both of the Drucker books, but too long ago to tell them apart. All his books blend together in my mind.
Haven't read Fromm.
It's ridiculous to talk about freedom in a society dominated by huge corporations. What kind of freedom is there inside a corporation? They're totalitarian institutions. You take orders from above and maybe give them to people below you. There's about as much freedom as under Stalinism.
Mike, here's a recommendation on video:
He sounds right to me.