Thursday, January 23, 2014

Zero sum

Liberals are broken records.

“Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive.” –Joe Biden, 2010

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” –Barack Obama, 2012

Biden and Obama exhibit classic demand-sider thinking. Government creates demand for a good or service, and businessmen, motivated by the possibility of riches, supply it. True wealth creation, though, starts with a creative individual’s selfless pursuit of an idea, for which incentives in the marketplace don’t yet exist.

Government incentive is neither sufficient nor necessary. The key variables of innovation are knowledge and opportunity.

“It’s a philosophy we’ve had for the last eight years – one that says we should give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.” –Barack Obama, 2008

“They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work their way down to everyone else.” –Bill de Blasio, 2014

Inequality, the natural variability of human beings is in vogue again. It’s a fact of nature, and only absolute tyranny can pretend to overcome nature. The government action required to effect equality on a people is on exhibit in North Korea. It is completely predictable and completely oppressive. It’s a philosophy of zero sum, of static knowledge and static people.

No just system redistributes wealth in any direction. It enforces the right of men to hold property that they earn through their labor.

Larry Thornberry writes at the American Spectator:

If income inequality is the problem, then income equality is the goal. From each according to his ability, to each according to his need, to coin a phrase (or to each according to his or her fanciful desires, if we are to adopt the Sandra Fluke addendum to the original Marx).

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Writer Joe Epstein explained in his 2003 book “Envy” that, “Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.” Earlier on, Henry Mencken took the measure of this important political dimension when he explained that the truly happy man is the one who makes five dollars a week more than his brother-in-law. Parse for the intervening inflation and you have today’s figure.

Envy’s accompanying emotion is resentment. Which is exactly what the hustlers retailing income inequality want from the marks. They want Pavlovian drooling about how Republicans and conservatives (hardly total overlap in these two categories) look out for the interests of evil Wall Street bankers, hedge fund managers, and various other country clubbers instead of those of honest Americanos like the complainers. This is fantasy, but it works with lots of voters.

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