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What we want to continue doing in some of these Wednesday Updates is to look at major events in the news in their larger historical context.... And maybe even how some things will be viewed in 50 years, 100 years or even 500 or 1000 years...
Subject: Creating what President Obama calls "jobs that pay"
(Wednesday, October 26, 2011)
(approx. 2865 words, 5 pp.)
Reason & Economics
Reason, Wisdom, and Economics
Reason, Wisdom, Foolishness, and Economics
Reason, Wisdom, Foolishness, Politics, and Economics
We are carrying on a national debate of economic nonsense, and we have been for some decades now, mostly in terms of Leftist (that is, Liberal to Radical) economic theory that has in effect turned traditional economics on its head, and this is absurd, and we are all acting like it is perfectly "normal," which makes it even more crazy.
This situation in absurd economic theory parallels...
This situation in absurd economic theory parallels the situation in religion, law, and education as we saw in the "Kingdom come" essay series where Liberalism in religion, often in the name of "love," tolerance, compassion, unity etc., has redefined traditional notions of Christianity and Judaism to be virtually the opposite of what they are traditionally understood to be, and this is, apparently, pervasive in virtually every mainline denomination, and hence the Church is in the worst shape it has been in since Origen, but it thinks it is doing great, which makes it in even worse shape (again and again, the Laodicean Church of the Great Apostasy). By contrast, the Radical or atheist does not bother to re-do Christianity (or Judaism), he just throws it out altogether.
In law the Liberal and Radical do something similar as well; they throw out traditional notions of real rights and real higher moral law. The Liberal attempts to replace those things with an unworkable notion of compassion, while the Radical just goes flat legal positivist and makes the state, in effect, God, outright, dispensing with any notion whatsoever of real rights and real higher moral law.
And, of course, as we have seen in education the situation is very similar as well. The entire point of education for 4000 years has been to learn the Wisdom and practicality of moral virtue, and of course this idea sinks in a little better with some folks than others, but such is life. On this website we use Solomon, Socrates and Cicero as our key examples in education here, but we throw in a little Aristotle on occasion and even Plato. But for the wonderful Liberals and Radicals, who have so plagued Western Civilization in education for the last 200 years, all of this has to go for "love as license" for the Liberal and generally outright hedonism for the Radical or atheist. In essence all three, religion (and specifically Christianity and Judaism), law and education, have been turned on their heads to be almost the exact opposite of what they are traditionally taken to be.
The same pattern holds in recent years with the civil rights movement, which originally was to judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, as Martin Luther King correctly defined the movement, which has now come to be almost the exact opposite, namely, judging people by the color of their skin not the content of their character in order to have an equality of outcomes and not an equality of opportunity. But letís not digress.
As in religion, law, and education so too in economics
There is a larger point here: once you are in an upside-down paradigm you carry on conversations, write books, do news programs, teach classes etc. with other people in that upside-down paradigm, as if everything is perfectly "normal," and not upside-down. The exact same pattern holds for Liberal to Radical economic theory.
Upside-down economic theory is a clear "the emperor has no (economic) clothes on" situation, and at some point someone in the mainstream media is going to have the courage to say so on economic matters, and once that happens the whole Liberal to Radical position in economics and politics loses all credibility, and then, presumably, the Democrat Party for all intents and purposes ceases to exist because its main selling point is its nonsensical economic theory.
How to do Liberal to Radical economic analysis at this point in history...
I am going to do this economic analysis in terms of President Obama, not because I think he is some "evil" person nor that he is far worse than everybody else on the Left, quite the opposite. I assume he has "good" not "evil" intentions (let us not forget the road to hell is often paved with good intentions), and he is no more nutty than anybody else on the Left in the upside-down economic paradigm, but he is in fact the standard bearer for the nutty upside-down economic paradigm of the Left, and he is attempting to implement the policies of the nutty upside-down economic paradigm of the Left as President of the United States no less, a truly scary thought. (God, help us.)
To start at the end: the answer to all our "job" problems
I am going to start this by telling you the answer to all of our economic "job" problems so you donít have to read anymore of this writing if you do not want to. The Left has been walking around with their economic clothes off for so long, thinking they are fully decked out, that we just take it as normal. This is not complicated, and anyone with an ounce of economic common sense can see the whole Leftist economic agenda is self-serving, economic phony baloney, but you will not get that on the evening news where you just get upside-down economic paradigm talk of the Left, as if it were normal.
By contrast I was listening to some midday radio talk show, and some woman called in, whom I took to be just a housewife out in America somewhere, and she made the following comments on Obamaís economic policies and job bill (that are in fact very similar to what some of Clintonís had been): She said if you want to create good long-term jobs for teachers, policemen and firefighters, you do not borrow a half of trillion dollars to send to various municipalities to hire such people for one year, obviously. Rather local municipalities should be hiring their own teachers, policemen and firefighters, and they can do so easily and long term if they so desire with money generated from a revived economy.
This is so simple, this is so basic, this so obvious that anyone not in the upside-down economic paradigm of the Left can see it immediately, even your basic housewife from Des Moines, please. It is pure economic common sense, but not a single Democrat politician in the entire United States of America can see this, nor a single Democrat economic advisor, such is the sad state of the Democrat Party and Leftist intelligentsia over the last 50 or 60 years, very tragic indeed. (End of story) Bottom-line: jobs hinge on good policies to revive the economy, and hence cause employers to hire and to generate revenue in various localities. Not really complicated.
What not to do is easy!
In the end somebody may need the Wisdom of Solomon to sort all of this out with which actual policies to implement, but the clear and obvious question here is how does one stimulate the private sector for firms to hire folks, and this is what the Republicans are trying to hammer out in their truly interesting and substantive Presidential primary debates, which are doing an end run around the Democrat Party, the mainstream media, and Leftist intelligentsia and all of their normal upside-down economic paradigm talk of endless phony jobs and stimulus bills, to borrow billions to hand out to interest groups to supposedly "create jobs." This is utter economic nonsense.
Leftist "economics" is as doomed, in my opinion, as nutty upside-down religion, law, and education. The truth is, of course, ridiculous, Leftist upside-down economics theories cannot go on forever, and the Presidentís speeches for his "jobs bills" are really almost laughably absurd, and they would be laughable if there were not so much at stake and the situation of the nation were not so dire. The Leftís carrying on business politically as "Democrats" is literally destroying America with its foolishness and absurdities. But I truly think they mean well.
Indeed that is what Obamaís The Audacity of Hope was all about, namely, hope for a better America, but in reality it was just typical Leftist cant, tragically, and obviously for anyone with eyes to see. One important thing he says he wants in Audacity is "jobs that pay." Obviously he means good jobs that pay well. But in reality this is empty political rhetoric and completely divorced from any realistic economic theory; indeed the slogan "jobs that pay" is steeped in nutty upside-down economic paradigm thinking. This is easily proved by any hypothetical, but presumably typical, homemaker from Des Moines.
Letís say you are President and have a Congress
Letís say you are President and have a Congress that will do whatever you want, as Obama did in 2008, a dream come true for the Left, what policies or legislation do you enact in order to create "jobs that pay" and "stimulate" the economy? We know what Obama and the Democrats would do. They passed a massive phony jobs bill for temporary public employment, and of course his political supporters just happened to be the beneficiaries of all this public largess and debt creation.
The truth is there are only two things you can do to create real jobs that pay well, over a long period of time. One is massive government projects, as the Hoover Dam, interstate highway system, manned space program, whatever, such that the government is actually creating something for the public good. Conservatives donít appreciate this sometimes, but the problem here is really that there is a limit to how much of this the government can do, since one is in essence using tax revenues from private enterprise.
The second way to create good jobs is to increase private economic activity, and the government can do this by a Wise combination of various policies such as Wise and effective tax policy, accelerated deprecations, removing burdensome and foolish regulation, better trade policy, sounder dollar, whatever, but what the Left misses here is that in the end the government is in no position to make some people hire other people with good "jobs that pay." The problem here is the Left has a fundamental misunderstanding of the most rudimentary truths of the most basic economics, all of which is revealed in their political speeches.
Are they aware of this? I think not, or they would not make stupid speeches promising good "jobs that pay" to everyone. So, in essence, the Left is either stupid or saying empty clichťs that sound nice, but they know are not true, just to get the vote and get elected. I do not think it is fair to attribute bad motives to people, and I donít think one can say the Left is "stupid," but truly Liberalism and Radicalism are foolish and truly disconnected from basic Rational economic reality, and in fact this tends to be true of Liberalism and Radicalism generally in all areas of life, and not just in economics and politics, but also religion, law and education, as we have seen at length.
The Leftís economic policies are clearly a disaster and self-evidently absurd, but that in itself does not give good alternative policies, which requires good judgment or Wisdom for the overall good of the nation. Similarly Obamacare is a disaster and a total mess, but that obvious truth does not tell you what good healthcare policy would be; that also requires good judgment and Wisdom. The point is the Left in America, that is, the Democrat Party is toast; it has no intellectual, moral, or practical credibility left in any area whatsoever for all of their absurdities and overt foolishness, economic and otherwise.
More economic foolishness...
But economic foolishness is no simple possession of the Left, of course. Bush lowered taxes and apparently encouraged banks to give zero down payment mortgages and even 120% mortgages to people with slim prospects of ever paying them off and then tried to make the loans good by having the private sector create billions in what would prove to be worthless derivatives, which somebody presumably made a killing on, and when this all implodes (surprise, surprise) with the added inevitable problem of sky-high real estate prices, we now have one heck of a mess on our hands, people underwater on their homes, which they can not sell nor pay for, and billions upon billions lost in the investment banking industry, which was not making out like bandits, but rather they were going under left and right when the thing implodes, and hence TARP, and all of this will take some years to work its way out of the system, one must figure. Presumably somebody in all of this foolishness and funny business made billions upon billions upon billions but exactly who is not clear?
FDR and the foolishness of the Left...
The point is the Left does not have a corner on economic foolishness, that is for dang certain. But did the Democrats really think the Stimulus Plan would stimulate the economy? I think they did. The money is gone, and it didnít work, surprise, surprise. Who would have ever guessed? The answer is anyone with 1/10 of an ounce of economic common sense?
Look, what makes for a sound long-term economy? People producing goods and services which people want and need in a competitive free market place. With FDR this ceased to be a self-evident common sense economic truth, and it was, in essence, replaced with new "positive rights" for goods and services ultimately to be provided by the government. What could be more self-evident than that FDR asks in Leftist upside-down statist economic speak, which will become standard fare in the following years, and so here we are with President Obama and his Audacity of Hope, but in truth President Carter wrote Our Endangered Values, a very similar though not quite as Radical book.
So how do we turn this whole thing around and restore the nation to traditional notions of economics and politics? Well, that is what the Republican Presidential candidates are trying to figure out! A bunch of busy little bees, no doubt, while the President fiddles and plays golf, and gives truly laughably absurd speeches, and pays off his supporters with hundreds of billions, and hosts huge state banquets and dinners, all while the America we once knew and loved dies slowly, and tragically, very tragically.
Can we reclaim Americaís founding vision, economic and otherwise?
"A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." It will get almost any confused economic camper elected every time, if he can get the backing of the mainstream media, which is not too hard to do these days for such a slogan? All you need to do is learn to speak foolish or nutty Leftist economic speak?
I have, however, thought of a clever new campaign slogan that canít miss: "Two chickens in every pot and two cars in every garage." That is, unless your opponent promises 3, then you promise 4, all courtesy of Uncle Sam. What could be more obvious? Or you could just turn on the printing press and hand out money, whatís the big deal?
Can we reclaim Americaís founding vision, economic and otherwise? It may be too late, and we should just give up? Or? Or the Left is totally dead in the water after this current administration, and an articulate conservative could easily get 60% to 70% (if not 90%) of the vote in the next Presidential election, and correct the direction of America for generations to come? Cool, no?
Bottom-line? Compassionate-Liberal and redistribution-Radical economic positions often make no Rational sense whatsoever, and we need a strong market-based system that works well for everybody in order to produce what Smith called "the wealth of nations." Will the rich pay more taxes than the poor? Well, somewhat obviously you might say. And will there be help for those who truly cannot help themselves? One would certainly hope so in a nation with such a great Christian heritage as ours, but be that as it may, the ultimate goal is the whole-body model of the good and desirable and wealth-producing harmonious interaction of all the parts of the commonwealth for the well-being of the nation as a whole and all who live in it.
Bottom-line? There is little serious good faith effort to make the country work by this administration and the Democrat Party generally, and where there is such an effort it is poorly thought out and has little if any chance of accomplishing its stated goals. The truth is, as the Founders realized, the Congress needs prayer and lots of it in order to make Wise policies that work for the well-being of the Republic, and most citizens and Congressmen and women will not go to prayer without a vital relationship to God in Christ, Wisdom itself, and that is just the way it is?