CLASS WARFARE Part 2: Ruling Class vs. We the People

D.C. Protest Pic

Clay Olsen |  February 6, 2014

In my last post, I discussed the senselessness of class warfare. We are being told by politicians and the media that others’ success is to be despised. They have done their best to forge conflict between the “rich” and the “poor.” Sadly, this idea dominates their speech and fuels their power. However, their incessant talk of the enmity that should exist between two people separated, not by their humanity, but by an amount of currency is ironic because of the positions that they themselves hold.

Originally, the expectation of a Senator or Congressman was to serve the country for a short period of time. Many Congressmen retained their private sector jobs while they were serving and returned to them after their term was up. It was strange for someone to serve more than two terms. Today we have career politicians. These Congressmen fight to retain power every time their term is up. Naturally, this leads us to develop a government that is foreign to the world outside the city limits of Washington D.C. Not so surprisingly, this situation does not always establish the best legislation.

Men and woman that have pursued goals to rise through the ranks of power in the national government and have spent countless years in D.C. write and vote on laws that greatly affect millions of citizens across the country. Congressmen, whose children attend the best private schools in the country, tell millions of others how public education should operate. Congressmen, who live in gated communities and have personal bodyguards, determine how we are allowed to protect ourselves.

This power seems to have given politicians the feeling that they are the top of society. This elitism is clear to those who not only listen to them but also view these politicians’ actions. As the state of the economy worsened over the last several years, we were told by politicians that “we all need to make sacrifices.” At the surface, this seems to be somewhat noble. But what sacrifices did we see from the federal government? Were politicians’ salaries cut? While the country limped along in double-digit unemployment, the President of the United States was throwing party after party at the White House. I’m not saying the President can’t hold a party; it just seems strange for him to talk down to us that we need to make cutbacks while he is so openly living in luxury.

The hypocrisy continues throughout the nation’s capital. It was only a few years ago that Congress rammed through Obamacare. Neither the American people nor those that passed the bill knew what was in it. Apparently it does not matter if legislation is fully understood. This law requires Americans to buy a product or pay a penalty if they choose not to purchase it. Anyways, it turns out that those who passed the law do not wish to be bound by it. Congress has been pushing hard to become exempt from the law.

Another example of blatant elitism is insider trading laws. Citizens are not allowed to make trades in the stock market based on nonpublic information. When it comes to D.C., things are a little different. The Stock Act of 2012 clarifies that lawmakers and their staff cannot trade on nonpublic information that they have acquired from the nature of their job. However, they are not prohibited from investing in companies and industries that they are investigating or regulating. Think of the corruption that this must cause. Congress may be instituting certain regulations based on personal investments. The Stock Act was passed not too long ago. This means that lawmakers were not bound by these rules until recently. Many of them became rich off of insider trading that was technically legal regardless of its morality. The Wall Street Journal had an article back in December (“Lines Blur When Lobbyists Invest”) about insider trading laws concerning lobbyists. The report was not good. The regulations placed on lobbyists’ ability to invest “are vague and limited.” Howard Marlowe, a current lobbyist said “it’s the Wild West” in terms of investing for him and his colleagues. He referred to the subject as “a blind spot.” This is something that can only be fixed through the voices outside of Washington, not from within.

Politicians in D.C. love to point fingers and divide the country. We must stop fighting amongst each other. The next time you hear someone attack your neighbor, do not fall into the trap of envy and hatred. Look at the person stoking the fire and evaluate their motive. We must remember that Americans are not defined by the amount of money they currently make; they are defined by their hard work and their potential for success.

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CLASS WARFARE Part 1: Rich vs. Poor

Obama-Class-Warfare-Strategy

Clay Olsen | January 22, 2014

Something that we have heard constantly for many, many years and something that I guarantee we will hear much more of during this year is class warfare rhetoric. Recently, the newly elected New York mayor, Bill de Blasio, made a speech in which he stated, “We are called to put an end to economic and social inequalities… We will ask the very wealthy to pay a little more in taxes so that we can” have X, Y, and Z. He reminds me of the ignorant kid from second grade who ran on free ice cream for his class presidential campaign. It is an old speech that never actually produces results. But let us continue our investigation into this philosophy known as class warfare.

This tactic is not a new one. It has been around for much longer than any of our lifetimes. The scheme was given the spotlight by a man named Karl Marx. Marx believed that the upper class, the bourgeois as he called them, was suppressing the working class, the proletariat. In order for the proletariat to regain ownership of his livelihood, he must join his fellow man and overthrow the evil bourgeois class. Now this is undoubtedly a quick summary of his ideas, but that is the meat of it. I believe that this idea is being rammed through the minds of the American people, and I fear it will hurt our country.

A great example of the implementation of class warfare attacks is the 2012 election. Of course, you can look at any recent presidential election and see similarities, but it is easiest to view the one that is freshest in our minds. Right now, think to yourself and use one word to describe Mitt Romney based on what you heard during the campaign. Well, if you watched any news or heard any speeches you all probably thought of the same word: rich. Yes, Mitt Romney is an extremely wealthy man. And because this is what you thought of when I asked you to describe Romney, the media will give themselves a pat on the back because that was their goal, to paint Mitt Romney as a rich, old, white man. The amount of Romney’s wealth was constantly being pointed out and yet no talk of how he achieved his success.

His previous private sector career was described as a destructive one. Supposedly Romney’s job was to fire a lot of people and steal their money. Isn’t that horrible! In actuality, Romney was part of a company that would get calls for help from struggling businesses. Romney and his team would meet with the executives of the company to learn about the business. They then would advise them about what a smart plan would be to move forward and grow. Sometimes this involved saying, “If you employ all 100 of your employees, you will go bankrupt so for now, you have to let 15 of them go.” Now a fool would look at this and call Mitt the devil for causing the firing of 15 hard working Americans. Yes, some lost their jobs in these processes, but all 100 employees would have lost their jobs had not the company taken their advice. As the company grows, it can hire 20 or 30 or 50 more people. Mitt Romney did not make his money in an unethical fashion. On the contrary, he made his money by doing more for the private sector than we could hope to do. Yet he was demonized for his earnings.

A lot of this class warfare rhetoric sprung from a movement that was started in 2011 called Occupy Wall Street. The premise of the movement was to educate people about the “1 percenters.” They wanted to get people furious at the extremely wealthy people in America. Well this classy movement bled out due to rapes, drug overdoses and murders that occurred within their “camps” and now belongs to the history books. What stuck was this notion that if you are not in the top 1%, you should be angry and demand more to be squeezed from the rich and given to you. A common theme coming from the Obama campaign was that “the rich need to pay their fair share.” It was thought that the rich needed to pay more taxes. Fun fact: the top 10% pays for 70% of the income taxes in this country due to a progressive income tax system.

The liberals’ thirst to take more money is almost comparable to their fierce craving to spend us into oblivion. Democrat campaigns are relying on a certain message: “The rich guy doesn’t deserve his wealth. Vote for me so I can take it away from him and give it to you.” Soon Democratic primaries will amount to the candidates attacking each other by pointing out that one did not spend enough or that one did not tax the rich enough. Sadly, this is what politics has become. We are being taught by politicians to hate our neighbor if he has a bigger house, nicer car, or better job than us. We are being taught that that neighbor deserves to have more taken away from him. We cheer at the thought of higher taxes being implemented on those that are a step above us. Well I have a message for our politicians: we the people are not split into bourgeois and proletariat classes. We the people are a united country that doesn’t need a handful of corrupt men telling us who deserves what. There was a time in America when men aspired to be greater. And this aspiration was accompanied by hard work, not hatred.

5 Economic Terms Misused Often by Liberals

The Liberal Trifecta Photo Courtesy of liberalwhoppers.com

Danny Zeng | August 13, 2013

(A similar version of this article was first published on PolicyMic on August 12th, 2013)

The President’s recent economic speech in Knox College and the intense subsequent media interest have prompted me to explore the following often-misused economic statistics by Liberals:

1. Unemployment Rate. Whenever the official U.S. monthly unemployment rate ticks down, it becomes world news. I often receive my monthly BLS job report on Twitter: 7.4% for July. While the official rate had gone down slightly from June, and far from the 10% we saw a few years ago, this statistic is overrated and masks weaknesses in the labor market. The official government unemployment rate is an incomplete indicator of joblessness: It does not count those who have stopped looking for work, and it says nothing about net change in jobs as compared to expectation from economists — we came under expectation in July. About 4 million people gave up looking for work in July. Many jobs created were part-time, partly as result of businesses’ wariness regarding Obamacare compliance. In order to boost employment numbers and avoid political backlash, the White House recently suspended enforcement of the employer mandate in Obamacare for one year, a desperate attempt to spur job growth prior to the 2014 election, even if it means shooting themselves in the foot.

U6unemployed

The U6 unemployment rate, which is the broadest reported indicator that accounts for underemployment and those who are only “marginally attached to the workforce,” still stands at 14%. This statistic remained flat for the last 12 months. While the official unemployment rate has gone down marginally, we still have 11.5 million people without work. That should be our top focus as a country and we should not pat ourselves on the back every month when the number fluctuates slightly in either direction.

2. Median Household Income. The president said in the same speech at Knox College, “The average American earns less than what he or she did in 1999.” I scratched my head and thought maybe the president was referring to census numbers that show a reduction in median household income. If so, his statement accounts solely for income and fails to assess wealth gained during the period. The census definition of income excludes taxes and non-cash benefits. This method would peg a rich, retired couple with much wealth in financial securities as poor, as their income will be dramatically less as result of retirement. Using a more extreme example, assume the U.S. government takes all of our income and redistributes it back to us through transfers. Our median household income would be zero, despite the fact that we’ll have government transfers to sustain household consumption. Therefore, the measure does not capture financial well-being and consumption very well. Average (mean or median) American households have actually gained in after-tax income, according to the CBO graph. According to economists Bruce Meyer and James Sullivan, median income and consumption both rose by more than 50% in real terms between 1980 and 2009.

CBO Average Household Income

The President continues: “this growing inequality not just of result, inequality of opportunity — this growing inequality is not just morally wrong, it’s bad economics. Because when middle-class families have less to spend, guess what, businesses have fewer consumers.” Scott Winship of Brookings discussed the effect of inequality, growth, and opportunity back in April, saying there is scant evidence that supports the proposition that inequality hampers growth. The President here also unveils the premise of his economic worldview. He seems to believe that consumption creates demand that then creates supply. According to this logic, the economic remedy would simply constitute putting more dollars into the pockets of middle-class families. Where are these dollars coming from? Businesses themselves? Or Government? The President seems to suggest that more middle-class spending power could come from the rich (mathematically it wouldn’t make sense for it to come from the poor). If only would the rich share their slice of the pie (redistribution), then businesses will thrive. He is not talking about opportunity here; the President is talking about redistribution. How does spending more money solve the “inequality of opportunity” if not for us to have the same “opportunity” to spend more? And “spend more” necessarily implies more dollars, whose origins I’ve discussed above must come from the rich. Thus, this is a loopy argument that mistaken income for consumption, which in turn distorts economic policy. Unless, of course, one buys into the argument that redistribution constitutes wealth-creation…

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