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Redistibuting Wealth will Fundamentally Change the American Workforce

Don’t be enamored to quickly by “change.” Barak represents those in a long line of liberal socialists. His call for “change” is nothing of the sort. It may be a change from our current system, but what I mean is that it is nothing “new.”

From an economic standpoint, he is calling for an internal redistribution of Americas wealth. If redistribution is the way America wants to go, that is fine…it is the beauty of a democracy. But people must realize what this means. It is not simply a matter of fixing our current crisis, but placing ourselves under an entirely different type of government sanctioned economic situation which causes “opportunity” to function under the umbrella of a new paradigm. Obama wants to decide who is rich and who is poor. If you are too successful, then you will be punished.

This may sound attractive to the poor. Why wouldn’t it? If you cannot afford health-care, if you cannot pay your mortgage, if you cannot find a job, then the government will take from those who can to provide for you. The government ends up being the hero! Right? Well there are a more than a few major problems with this direction. Let me describe a couple

1. The motive of the labor force will be quit limited. People are motivated by success. There is nothing wrong with this, biblically or otherwise. This does not amount to greed. Even in the Scriptures, we are told to seek treasure in heaven (Matt. 6:20). But when wealth is redistributed the old idea that “hard work pays” will no longer be true. The entrepreneur mentality that has made America great will be drowned as people recognize that, if successful, they will be giving a major portion of their success to the government. Very few people will succeed in this type of socialism because they will have no motive to do so. We will eventually have to reinvent our popular description of America from “The Land of Opportunity” to “The Land of government sanctioned equality.”

2. Less productivity will eventually create an economic collapse, relatively speaking. America is the strongest nation in the world for many reasons, but, economically speaking, it all starts with the labor force and their motives for success. With the motives gone, their will be much less productivity and, hence, less revenue to redistribute.

I am not a rich person (relatively speaking), so I have nothing to lose by ascribing to a plan of wealth redistribution. In fact, I will gain, financially speaking, for a time. Rich people will be suffering on my account. They will have to pay more so that I can pay less. There would be less risk involved in my life. I could rest in the comforts that the government will take care of me and my family if I encounter a personal economic crisis. If I lose my health-care, I can be sure that my children will be taken care of.

But the pragmatic gains of such a system do not give me any comfort, hope, or motivation. Why? Because my financial success or failure is none of the governments business. It is not the government’s job to take from others to give to me. I am not in partnership with the government.

Motivation must be kept in tact if we are to prosper as a nation. There is no way around it. The work force must have a reason to use their gifts in a way that provides hope for success. The government is not our economic savior. . . the solution is and continues to be a motivated work-force.

When you go to the polls, you are not just deciding on a change in the type of government, but a change in a type of country. Is this the “change” you really want?

93 Responses to “Redistibuting Wealth will Fundamentally Change the American Workforce”

  1. Hey, I have a great slogan for those who favor income redistribution:

    “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”

    Great slogan, don’t you think? Now, it may have been used before, but still seems to be the theme of some in this discussion. but wait, come to think of it…seems like it has been tried before…

  2. Hey Steph, the commandments were in Hebrew originally, but I notice you quoted in English. My point is that “kill” is not the best English rendering of the Hebrew. Almost all modern translations render “ratsach” as “murder.” There is a difference. I stand by my point.

  3. Hey britphil – remember this? It’s from your side of the pond

    “Let me tell you how it will be;
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman,

    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don’t take it all.
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman, …

    and you’re working for no one but me”

  4. Marvin
    While I agree with you on the tax stuff, be careful that you don’t lump all of the poor into one big category. It is so easy to over-generalize and we must not be guilty of that.

    Many poor people are as you describe. However, many are not. God uses poor people as often as he uses those who are not poor. God loves them the same way.

    Not every person who is poor is lazy. Not every wealthy person is hard working (like those who inherit wealth).

  5. Marvin the Martian September 29, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    From The Balcony,

    The point I had about the “poor” was to illustrate that far too often than not, they are poor because of unsound, foolish financial decisions. No where did I mention that they are lazy.

    I should know. I was once very poor, well under the 30K mark, with a working wife and two kids to boot. We were very “poor”, and very hard working, and very dumb. We racked up huge credit card debt, lived outside of our means far too often, and ended up filing bankruptcy. But we still had cable, cell phones, TV’s, etc. We weren’t “poor”, we were foolish. Financial stress was a contributing factor in the disolution of my first marriage.

    My current wife and I are on much more stable financial ground. We fall in the top 40% percent range as far as AGI, meaning we are still on the lower end of the middle class scale, but we live very well because we live within our means.

    Why you think that I was somehow inferring that God didn’t love poor people, or that poor people were “lazy”, from my initial post is very puzzling to me.

  6. Marvin
    When you explain it that way, I understand what you are saying. The last paragraph of your previous post seemed a little too general about poor people. $30,000 a year isn’t poor in many places. It is rich. The family income of one of the children we sponsor in Tanzania is……..only $7.00 a month. That’s quite a difference when you see the bigger picture.

    If the point you were trying to make is that we should live within our means, I am in 100% agreement with you. If your point was that many people are foolish and overspend, I agree. It was just a little confusing from your previous email….that’s all! We often have a tendency to lump everyone into the same heap…

  7. Marvin the Martian September 29, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    FTB,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. The 30K figure was just a figure used by the IRS in determining a threshold. I, like you, believe that the poorest person in America is still far more wealthy than most people in third world countries. But liberals in this country like to say that those in that tax bracket are “poor”, which as you illustrate, is absurd.

    I think it is nothing more than class warfare rhetoric to get votes.

  8. “The family income of one of the children we sponsor in Tanzania is……..only $7.00 a month. That’s quite a difference when you see the bigger picture. ”

    Yes, the bigger picture. For those who live in America, it is hard to talk about being truly poor. In a very real sense, historic and contemporary, just about everyone is “rich.” This is even relative to the cost of living. This is why I think that any talk of redistributing can be legitimately seen as greedy. Who really wants to get richer? The rich or the richer? Who cares, it is the same. In one system, much more of the “rich” want to get richer at the expence of the success of others.

  9. Marvin – then we agree :)

    Michael – hard to believe, isn’t it? When I stepped into Amani’s home two years ago, it gave me a huge wakeup call. 6×8 size for the total home; no windows or doors; sacks holding the mud in place, dirt floor, no water nearby; no protection from bugs or animals or predators. I don’t listen to whining anymore. :)

  10. Yes, my love for capitalism has increased in my travels to the third world. The Indian slums forever humbled me.

  11. I’m amazed at how often capitalism and socialism are imbued with these moral underpinnings that simply do not exist, as if one is inherently good and one evil.

    Capitalism at its heart is amoral and is simply one way among many to organize an economy. Capitalism is purely about supply and demand — somebody wants something and there is another to give it. In a purely capitalist society things that are crimes now like prostitution, drugs, gambling etc. would be legal. I think there are very few Christians extolling the virtues of capitalism that would want to see a purely capitalistic society.

    Let’s not forget that the earliest communist and socialist theorists looked at capitalism and saw its worst face possible. They looked to England and saw child laborers of 12 and 13 years old being maimed in textile factories and coal mines. They looked to the U.S. and saw factory workers dying on the job and being paid $.30 an hour working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week. They wanted to correct that.

    So before we sit here and imbibe capitalism with this moral superiority and give it a Biblical mandate lets not forget the excesses and abuses possible under this system (afterall the North Atlantic slave system was purely capitalistic at its heart).

    So, no capitalism is not good and socialism is not evil — it’s what humans do with it that make it so.

    ChadS

  12. “Hey” Dave Z: I don’t have Hebrew script on this blog. “Modern translations” probably have agendas. The meaning is broader than ‘murder’.

  13. WOW Brit Phil! Haven’t seen a post from you for a while. But I haven’t been around all that often. I am trying to isolate the through line–are you saying that it should be the role of government to care for the people it governs? And if so, why? And, to what extent?

  14. ChadS is right – sin is the problem. With sin involved, capitalism will always lead to excess and greed, on both sides. Then politicians will take advantage of that, on both sides. *generalization to follow* People are irrational and forgetful. The big problem in our country right now is the fact that politicians play to the problem of the day, and voters know this. Therefore voters can vote for whatever they want or need at that point and time – not necessarily what is right and best for the country.

    You think the politicians voted down the “bailout” plan today b/c they thought it was the right thing to do? Heck no. It was simply b/c they had too many voters that were pissed off at the idea of taxpayers bailing out greedy corporations. It could be argued that the bailout plan is necessary to prevent an all out depression, which would hurt a LOT more than the greedy corporations, but few would listen to that side. People are just pissed b/c of Wall Street’s greed and refuse to look at the bigger picture. Which brings me back to my original point – sin is the problem, and people are irrational and forgetful. :)

    And don’t argue with me on the stupid bailout plan, I don’t know where I stand on which would be better – letting America and the world suffer a depression, or managing it with the bailout plan to more of a severe, drawn out recession. All I do know is that there was not a balanced approach to the decision making with regard to the plan, and that was my point.

  15. “Why? Because my financial success or failure is none of the governments business.”

    Uh, yes it is. Imagine a hypothetical scenario in the future where every atom on the planet is owned by some corporation. Your financial success is doomed, because the system would make it inevitable.

    If it wasn’t the government’s business, they would shut down all the schools, and lower taxation.

    And who’s to say that the current proportion paid by the rich and poor is “right”? Who’s to say the rich paying more and the poor less is wrong? Precisely how much do the rich have to pay before you lose your “comfort and motivation”? Would you gain comfort if the poor are taxed more and they abolish taxing the rich?

  16. Folks

    Apologies for the previous novella. I shall stick to knee-jerk reactions from now on. Giving myself time to think before I respond is clearly a dangerous thing!

    What I attempted to do (very poorly, admittedly) was to try and pull together the strands of the previous contributors. P&P is a truly fantastic site but the one thing I think it sorely lacks at present is an attempt to listen/discern what God may be saying through the various contributors. Much as though we may like to think to the contrary, none of us has a monoply of the truth, but the sum is sometimes a constituent of the parts. It often frustrates me that debates are left to fizzle out and die, or just vanish into the ether without trace and without any real attempt to review, reflect upon or pull together/summarise what God may have been trying to say to us as the debate has on a particular topic progressed.

    “I am trying to isolate the through line–are you saying that it should be the role of government to care for the people it governs? And if so, why? And, to what extent?”

    Hi there Minnow. This is really naughty of you, my friend. Given the deserved, irenic rebuke I received from CMP, and the far less irenic and more trenchant rebuke emanating from Bill, you then pose what appears to be an exam question requiring an essay in response!! Are you secretly trying to get me excommunicated from P&P!

    Very briefly, yes I do believe that to some extent the government has a moral responsibility to care for the people it governs. We have a moral responsibility also to pray regularly for those who lead us politically. I also believe that the state does not have the right to interfere in every aspect of life, but as the State/Government are responsible for devising, promoting and implementing economic and social policy, they have a responsibility to ensure that it doesn’t benefit the relatively few and harm the many.

    If economic policies are imposed which are deliberately designed to keep the vulnerable and weak in a position of vulnerability and weakness
    then they are to be challenged and questioned in my view. History is littered with governments which do not believe they should care about the people they govern, current worst case scenarios include Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, the ruling military junta/regime in Burma and past examples include Stalinist Russia and the Third Reich. The Third Reich was even more insidious because it cared about a particular segment of the population ie Aryan white people and sought to destroy and eliminate those it did not care about ie the Jews, the Romany people, peole with disabilities and homosexuals. In our own time, Margaret Thatcher made the infamous statement when she was in power, “there is no such thing as society”. Her ten year reign heralded one of the worst eras of rampant indivudalism and self-centredness (ie look after number one..and to hell with everyone else) the UK has ever seen!

    Hope this makes it a bit clearer where I stand. I shall stop now before Bill opens fire once more!!

  17. “Hey” Dave Z:

    tirtsah (with a dot under the h) is the transliteration of the Hebrew verb in Ex 20.13//Deut 5.17.

  18. Brit Phil–
    Not trying to put you in the drink–too chill this time of year to go swimming (Ha! Ha!) If ever you are concerned again just switch over to my blog and post there. Your essays are always welcome!
    I think my opinion differs from your only by degree but I have been summoned by my crew so must not detail at this point.
    Good to see you by the way.

  19. BritPhil
    It’s nice to see thoughts composed in the context of community – I think that’s one of the principles that Michael hoped for regarding this site. Alone we can err. Together we can, as Michael says, “wrestle through it.” I’ll agree your comment was long, but I appreciated the thought you put into it!

  20. From the Balcony (love the name by the way…)

    Thanks for your gracious and thoughtful comments. To say that my posting was long was something of a kindly understatement! I re-read it this morning and even I began to lose the will to live well before the halfway stage!

    I think I have a bit to do to get back into Bill’s good books though! I received a question mark in response to an earlier post today, so it looks as if things are sliding downhill rapidly! Still, it makes a pleasant change from a series of exclamation marks!1

    I have just re-read your threads on this topic and you appear to be another person whom it would be good to shoot the breeze with over a soda or two. We may be on different sides of the political divide …but I do have a lot of time for a caring form of conservatism. We probably have much to learn from each other.

  21. Can we afford to live under President Obama?

    INCOME TAX :

    McCAIN – (no changes)
    Single making 30K – tax $4,500 Single making 50K – tax $12,500 Single making 75K – tax $18,750 Married making 60K- tax $9,000 Married making 75K – tax $18,750 Married making 125K – tax $31,250
    OBAMA – (reversion to pre-Bush tax cuts) Single making 30K – tax $8,400 Single making 50K – tax $14,000 Single making 75K – tax $23,250 Married making 60K – tax $16,800 Married making 75K – tax $21,000 Married making 125K – tax $38,750
    Under Obama your taxes will more than double! How does this affect you? No explanation needed. This is pretty straight forward.

    Democrats love taxes. Liberals like to dress it up with fancy terms like social justice.

  22. Stan

    Please tell me that I am not going crazy and seeing double!

    This is the same message as appeared on the other thread is it not?

    I guess you thought it applied equally to both threads but I was confused for moment and it doesn’t take much!

    I am slightly concerned about an approach which advocates voting solely on who will tax us the least There are other issues such as under whose leadership will the world be a safer, more stable place., who overall will manage the economy more competently, who has the best environmental policies etc

    Should we not as Christians look at the issues from a wider perspective than merely how much it will hit our pockets?

  23. Michael –

    I do not leave any comment to agree or disagree with your stance. Enough people have done that already. :)

    But my inquiry would have been to find out what you think is a better solution in aiding the poor than the typical socialist, democratic solution. What do you think is a good way forward? Or maybe in your disagreement with the socialist, democratic way, you are then stating you agree with a more republican, capitalistic way?

    Just an inquiry.
    Thanks

  24. I enjoy continously reading how the label ‘socialist’ and ‘communist’ are misapplied to the Democratic Party with nary a comment. It just slips by as if it were simply true.

    Let me just state that the Democratic Party is NOT socialistic or communist, nor does it advocate anything that is remotely Marxist-Leninist. The Democrats have never advocated for worker revolution or the seizure of the means of production by workers or state run industry. These are all must haves of a socialist or communist program.

    If you want to see what real commies and socialists advocate take a look at the websites for the Socialist Workers Party of America or the CPUSA. Then find me a Democrat that advocates those policies … go ahead I dare you.

    ChadS

  25. BritPhil–As for Bill’s comment to you he is welcome to skip any comments he choses. It is rediculous to criticize on basis of length unless the host requests short comments only and then it should be left up to the host. The thoughtfulness is refreshing and should be encouraged.
    To repeat (slightly) an earlier comment I do not believe government can practice Christian charity or compassion.
    That is the job of the Church. Therefore the degree to which government can truly care for those it governs is limited (and should be). It is proven, at least in the US, that monies that are first filtered through the government are less efficiently utilized then monies that go through the Church or para-church organizations. And again in the US, conservatives in general are more philanthropic even toward social justice type causes. Obviously we (the Church) have not done enough. Food stamps and welfare type programs, at least in the US, have created an entitlement mentality and generations of welfare recipients. It is true I have little personal understanding of the inequality and injustice that the poor (especially minorities) must fight against. Yet I hazard to guess that most of those in Washington have even less understanding than I have. Part of our mandate as the Church is to serve the poor, down trodden, rejected, and marginalized. I do not think expecting the “government” to do it for us is fulfilling that expectation. (True especially because the government is just a different us). In my opinion, government’s greatest roles are to protect our borders, provide infrastructure, maintain order and promote the better good. The Church needs to step up to the plate with regard to social justice.

  26. Scott L

    I think I tried to answer your question earlier.

    If we allow the government to dictate what programs to fund and which to ignore, we leave ourselves open to fund issues we, as Christians, find unconscionable. The number of programs continue to grow. Some governmental programs are essential and necessary. Unfortunately, there are many that are not essential — and we end up paying for these programs with no choice.

    The best case scenario is that the church/Christians will answer the call to serve the poor and fund other needs. While I think it is fair for the government to collect and use a reasonable tax to help in cases of true need, often there is no true need and the programs created are excessive. Thus, we the church have less to give to truly amazing organizations who do ministry very well.

    How can one learn charity unless they first understand their role — which is to be a generous Christian. Ideally, this is what we should be — generous. James tells us that all generous giving is from above. Timothy tells us to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous givers – sharing with others.

    If we were not giving such an extraordinary amount to the government for programs we do not believe are healthy, we would then have much more in our pocketsbooks to share with the causes that God loves. I think it is just that simple.

  27. BritPhil
    Thanks for the nice comment. Too bad there is a political divide in the first place, but somehow through that divide, the will of God is easier to see and often is more glaring.

    FromTheBalcony originated from my memories as a child who sat in the balcony playing hangman during church :) I hope I’ve grown up into the right connotation for the word. I’m trying to learn to observe more before I speak, but like you, it’s hard for someone like me who likes to write!………

  28. Way too much to respond to. Some quick thoughts.

    I defend my claim that capitalism maximises wealth. There is not good evidence that the gap between rich and poor gets bigger with capitalism, rather the rich and poor both get richer.

    While it is possible to get rich by taking all the money from the poor, this is a) not capitalism, and b) does not generate wealth, and c) this system leaves very few people rich as the poor do not have much money so a few have to abuse a lot of poor people.

    If a society has a lot of wealth and a large percentage of that society has that wealth, then that wealth must be being created. This is exactly what capitalism does.

    All the world (save a very few noblemen) lived like the 3rd world a couple of hundred years ago. The investment of wealth (ie. capital) in business created huge material blessing. The fact that there is still a range of income is too be expected, and of less concern, as the poor in capitalist countries have wealth exceeding the poor in the 3rd world by magnitudes.

    There will always be a difference in wealth distribution, but capitalism minimises this, it does not exacerbate it (and there are very sound reasons why this is the case). For those who don’t agree visit the third world, the difference in income is astronomical and exceeds what we see in the west.

    I am all for those well off giving to help the poor, but forced redistribution of wealth leaves (in the long term) the richer and the less rich/ poor worse off and both have less to give away.

  29. Again, corporatism is not capitalism. Many corporations are despised by capitalist as they seek governmental favours. Corporations give as much money to the left politically as they do to the right.

    Capitalism does not legitimise gambling or prostitution. Libertarianism may but they are not the same. A capitalist society can prohibit vice and still be capitalist. Further such society can ban pouring pollutants into the waterways, this is not anti-capitalism. Socialist societies historically have been far more polluting.

    Capitalism opposes tarrifs etc. due to the effect of decreasing wealth. But one can refuse imports/ exports because of other political reasons (eg at war with a country). It will be more costly than trading with them (for both sides) but this may be legitimate for non-economic reasons.

    Capitalism does not favour big government (in as much as big government is expensive to run). Your Republicans may be more capitalistic that your Democrats, but many capitalists see the current regime as very socialist.

    Political conservatism may not (and often is not) be in favour of capitalism.

    The love of money is an evil thing. I am not certain that this is more prevalent in a capitalist society. It may be, but capitalists make money by investing capital, not spending it. Yes, spending money contributes somewhat to the economy, but only when it is reinvested does it contribute to the creation of wealth. If you consume what you buy it is a dead end. Reinvestment leads to improved productivity. A society that only consumes its wealth (as did many of the ancients) will become poor. So while there are those who love money and seek it in capitalist societies, these people exist in socialist societies, and possibly more so. What I am suggesting is that greed is used to condemn capitalism but greed may not be discriminatory.

    We are greedy because we are fallen. I am not certain that capitalism exacerbates this sin more than any other economic system (though I amy be wrong).

  30. “I enjoy continously reading how the label ’socialist’ and ‘communist’ are misapplied to the Democratic Party with nary a comment. It just slips by as if it were simply true.

    Let me just state that the Democratic Party is NOT socialistic or communist, nor does it advocate anything that is remotely Marxist-Leninist. The Democrats have never advocated for worker revolution or the seizure of the means of production by workers or state run industry. These are all must haves of a socialist or communist program.

    If you want to see what real commies and socialists advocate take a look at the websites for the Socialist Workers Party of America or the CPUSA. Then find me a Democrat that advocates those policies … go ahead I dare you.”

    Chad… well said that man, It does become extremely tiring to have yourself labelled as socialist/communist simply because you do not share a Republican mindset.

    It is lazy stereotyping at best and at worst bordering on slander! It still has an almost “McCarthyite” feel to it. I shared a house with a Christian friend while at college who was an ardent Conservative and I was instantly labelled as a “pinko commie” simply because of my working class background and how it had shaped my political beliefs. I think I eventually managed to convince him that yes I was just as much a committed Christian as he was, with a keen desire to reach out to my fellow students, and no I did not adhere to a political system (ie Communism) which had as it’s central tenet that there is no God. I shouldn’t have had to endure such a struggle but hey..such is life! I am glad to say we remain good friends!

  31. On reflection, to sum up what I would like say more succintly is, that it is perfectly possible to be have centre left political beliefs and live out a bona fide evangelical Christian life.

    Demonising other Christians on the purely on the grounds of their political affiliation (whatever form their affiliation may take) is both unhealthy and undesirable in my view.

  32. From The Balcony October 1, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Hey BritPhil
    Webster’s has the following definitions for socialism:

    1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

    2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

    3: a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

    I find it interesting that the third definition shows a path that occurs. It calls socialism a stage between capitalism and communism.

    Some of us believe (and I believe soundly believe) that empowering socialism beyond it’s beneficial aspects has a very bad long term effect….see #3. To think that socialism is a transition to communism might be a better way for you to understand why many of us advocate a much freer democracy without so much governmental regulation.

    While #2a hasn’t happened yet in its fullness, today’s news makes you wonder if it won’t in the future. #1 is already in progress within the democratic party – the redistribution of wealth; government administration of production and distribution.

    I hope that will help you understand the thought process. What people are saying is not slanderous, as you claim. There is solid theory behind it. While people should not say things in such a heated, misrepresenting way about either party, the fact still stands that unchecked socialism, in theory, progresses to communism.

    If people call you a pinko commie, then they are out of line, but don’t let your response to their rude comments taint a clear view for you personally. Don’t let your life circumstances muddy up your vision too much. We all have to sift through the silt.

  33. From the Balcony

    You seem to have made a bit of a leap here. I said that I was an advocate of “centre left” policies. I do not define myself as a Socialist. It really concerns me that those of a more capitalist persuasion need to label anyone who is not a card carrying Capitalist as a Socialist.

    In previous posts I have stated that I am an advocate of a mixed economy. What really bugs me a bit is that you appear to be wary of state intervention of any sort, yet don’t appear to have critically assessed the current situation in the Us. If you are true to your capitalist beliefs surely you must be totally against any rescue package/state intevention that will save the currently ailing economy/financial situation.

    If you are in favour of such a package, surely it is a case advocating a a capitalist free economic system “when it suits” but when things go a bit pear shaped we’ll turn a blind eye to a bit of government intervention and pretend that it is acceptable and hope nobody notices too much! I guess you may state that what is happening is an example of the “benficial aspects” of socialism but to me that sounds like a bit of a cop-out!

    There are some very uncomfortable looking Republican politicians from what I can see because what many Republicans including the President and Presidential nominee arte trying to implement is akin to a a more “socilaist” approach., hence the huge divisions/battle of political wills amongst the Republican ruling elite at present.

    Cold it not be argued that what you are seeing happening right under your very noses in the States at present is akin to “a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism”, in that to put it bluntly the government institutions are bailing out capitalist entrepeneurs where the finaincial markets have clearly failed abysmally! It would appear that there even Republicans that are favouring a both/and approach as opposed to an either/or strategy.!

    “I hope that will help you understand the thought process. What people are saying is not slanderous, as you claim.” Plase note that I did not say it was slanderous, I said it was bordering on slanderous, which is a slightly different thing.

    “”While #2a hasn’t happened yet in its fullness, today’s news makes you wonder if it won’t in the future. #1 is already in progress within the democratic party – the redistribution of wealth; government administration of production and distribution. ”

    Hang on a moment, it could be claimed that we are not far from seeing Phase 3 looming ahead in the US and the UK. Two top financial instiutions have had to be nationalised in the UK (and I can assure you, it was the last thing that the Labour/left of centre wanted to do – but they had no choice).

    “There is solid theory behind it. While people should not say things in such a heated, misrepresenting way about either party, the fact still stands that unchecked socialism, in theory, progresses to communism.

    You have conveniently neglected to highlight what “unchecked capitalism” leads to …it;’s unfolding before our very eyes, and in order to rein it back in again, what do we find ourselves observing…a good old dose of “socialist” state intervention. Rampant unchecked capitalism needs to be as rigorously vcritiqued as unchecked socialism surely.

    “Don’t let your life circumstances muddy up your vision too much. We all have to sift through the silt.
    Not sure that I understand what was meant by this. but maybe ir referred tomy “working class” roots. My

    Although I personallyam a civil servant employed by the Government, both my parests worked in the open industry/free market econmomy throughout their working lives.

  34. From the Balcony says: “While #2a hasn’t happened yet in its fullness, today’s news makes you wonder if it won’t in the future. #1 is already in progress within the democratic party – the redistribution of wealth; government administration of production and distribution.”

    To imply that the Democratic Platform is socialistic is to completely misunderstand and misapply the term “Socialism.” If anything you need to bone up on your Marxist theory to understand what is meant by concepts like redistrubution of wealth and administration of production and distribution.

    Raising taxes or allowing Bush’s tax cuts to expire is not a “redistribution of wealth.” Marxist theory says that during the socialist transition to a communist society wealth would be redistributed by a highly regressive tax structure that would basically be a seizure by the state (before it disappeared) of any excess wealth, money, land and property. Despite all the carping about taxes in the US nobody has seen tax rates or a tax policy that regressive in this country.

    If by administration of production and distribution you mean regulations then once again you are off by a country mile. In a communist society the state, at least initially, would control the very means of production. This would be far different than any thing like farm subsidies etc. It would be ownership of all factories etc. by the state for furtherment and the betterment of the communist society. That simply does not exist in Democratic Party thought and to suggest it does in disengenous.

    From the Balcony says: “To think that socialism is a transition to communism might be a better way for you to understand why many of us advocate a much freer democracy without so much governmental regulation.”

    Are you advocating that the “state wither away.” Who’s the real communist here?

    ChadS

  35. From The Balcony October 1, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    BritPhil
    Haven’t made a leap at all. Your previous email was rather defensive for your position….thus I responded. I didn’t “conveniently” leave anything out. You asserted that the Democratic party is not socialist in nature. I disagree. I believe it is rapidly moving towards socialism at a fast pace.

    I’m sorry what I say bugs you – I said it in a very nice, honest way. And you are incorrect. I never said I was wary of state intervention of any sort. You must have read that into my email. My email was simple — I gave you a definition from a dictionary.

    Had you read one of my previous emails (which you told me you had…) you would have easily seen that I said that it is necessary to allow the state/government to manage and collect taxes for essential needs — not frivolous or non-essential ones. But perhaps you skimmed over that. I agree that any system needs to be checked. Capitalism included.

    I would disagree with Chad. I do believe that when we raise taxes an excessive amount on one set of people and not another – it basically is a redistribution of wealth. The statistics are clear for anyone to research.

    Chad, your reaction to a mere definition given by Webster is a little extreme. I used that definition to try to kindly explain to BritPhil why people like me are leery of socialistic ideas and higher taxes. It’s that simple. You turned my comment into something it wasn’t. I never advocated that the state wither away, as I mention above to BritPhil above.

    When the name calling starts, Chad – (calling me and others who think more conservatively than you do ‘communists’), it’s time to stop belaboring any rational conversation.

    Gee – you try to be nice and balanced….and look where it gets you….guess I should have expected this based on what I see on TV every single day…..

  36. Hi From The Balcony

    I know what you mean about the trying to be balanced bit. I entered this discussion trying to rationally reflect/assess/pull together the many various strands of the debate and got slaughtered in some quarters, some of it more than justified because of the length of my post, but underneath the surface I felt some of it may have been due to an attempt to be fair and balanced.

    The “leap” that I was referring to was in assuming that because I do not vote Republican I must by nature be Socialist. We all attempt to apply such labels all too easily. To nail my colours completely to the mast, I appreciate that over Stateside, politics operates within a strongly two party system, but here in the UK we have an established three party system. It is true to say that I used to vote for the Labour Party, but I no longer do so, I vote for the more centrist party of the three, partly because I believe that Labour (ie Democrats) have veered far too much to the right during their time in office. I now feel that they have completely lost touch with many ordinary people and have also somehow, unbeleivably managed to preside during the last 10 years over a widening of the gap between the richest and the poorest in the UK. I would also like to say that if a genuine form of caring Conservatism was on offer, (ie consisting of substance and depth, as well as style) and they were the best policies available, I would be willing to consider voting for them.

    I understand that you are in favour of government intervention on the levying of taxes for essential needs, which is the “limited role” of government/the state, but I would really like is what to hear what you think of the billions upon billions of dollars of the money which has been levied on the taxpayer which is now being being used to bail out the failings of the capitalist system/free market mecahnism so beloved by conservative Republicans. That is what I was alluding to when I referred to certain omissions/silence. The issue before us at present is not about the philosophical/theological issues surrounding raising taxes, but what those taxes are being used for practically, ie not to provide efficient infrastructure and welfare services, but to use the taxable income of ordinary American citizens to prop up the failings of the capitalist free market approach.

    I heard a very interesting debate yesterday on a BBC Current affairs programme, where the comment was made that it was ironic that with the current trend towards “socialisation” of the larger financial markets currently taking place in the USA, that there could be a case made that the leading successful captialist economies in the world at the moment are Russia and China and not the USA! Ouch..I guess that might have hurt just a tad! Countries that were not so long ago members of the so-called “axis of evil” having more successful/captialist-leaning economies than the USA!

    What I wholehaertedly believe is, that as man made constructs both Capitalism and Socialism are fundamentally flawed. I would contend that there is a way forward which harnesses the best of both worlds. I would argue that the Scandinavian models seek to incorporate this most appropriately, successfully achieving a decent standard of living all round whilst levy relatively high levels of taxation to pay for which are widely agreed to be the most effective welfare services around.

    Also, it would be interesting if we could have the Webster definition on Capitalism to widen the discussion, which has been conspicuous by its absence in the debate so far. With regard to being “defensive”, I do not wish to be, or iindeed like to be, but sometimes there is a feeling that you are something of an “inferior species” in evangelical circles if you are not both an evangelcial and a Republican. I would say that that is primarily more of an American issue, as it is a bit less pronounced here in the UK. Although I understand you reaction to the tone of Chad’s comments, and maybe to a lesser extent, my tonealso , I also understand and share Chad’s frustration, as I guess as an American (which I am assuming he is), he frequently feels he has to “prove/defend” himself as a Democrat-leaning evangelical.

    What I find most interesting about this whole thing is the way it is going to be resolved. Many commentators are agreeing that it the main reason why it was easier to pass the revised Bill through Senate last night was that only one third of Senators are up for-relection next month, whereas the all the seats in the House of Representatives are up for grabs in the forthcoming election. It appears that many of these politicians are thinking of their own position as much as the welfare of the USA, which is the primary reason they were voted in by the electorate. If that is the case then I hope the American electorate electorate see sense and replace them as quickly as possibly at the earliest opportunity ie at the election next month. I also notice that one of the reasons why the vote got through the Senate was because of a tax sweetener being offered to business to cushion the blow. Whether it gets rthrough when it returns to the House of Representatives for ratification remains to be seen, but my guess is that those who were/still are opposed will gradually begin to pull back from the brink and it will get though on a narrow majority, after which, hopefully some semblance of normality/sanity will prevail once more.

    For the record From The Balcony, I would like to conclude that I do appreciate your attempts to be balanced and I still feel you would be a good guy to shoot the breeze with. The same goes for Chad by the way.

  37. 1. ” any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods”

    From The Balcony. I’ve just read an insightful blog from the BBC’s Economics/Business Editor, reflecting on the situation this side of the pond.

    National Savings Bank in the UK have been overwhelmed by calls from anxious savers wanting to lend their money to HM Treasury rather than keep it in a high street bank. And there’s also been such a rush to place deposits in taxpayer-owned Northern Rock that it’s had to suspend its more attractive products and is turning money away”

    It could be argued Webster’s first definition of socialism may be about to make a resurgence in that we may be on the beginning of a return road worldwide to a more collectivised world economy than previously. Or bizarrely, we could see s economieswhich were previously overwelmingly capitalist becoming more collectivised in part whereas those that were previously very collectivised (ie Russia, China etc opening up more to market forces. Very interesting times ahead!

    A lot of this stuff is about confidence and it would appear that over here in Europe, consumer confidence in the free market is beginning to plummet , with many people/bank customers becoming of the opininon that it was the free market econiomy which got uas into this mess but is a mechanism which does not have the ability to help us climb out of it.

  38. From the Balcony,

    I apologize if my tone offended you or I came off as inbalanced. Britphil nailed it on the head, though. when he said that as a Democrat/left leaning Christian (although not an Evangelical) there is a need to “prove” yourself. Many people I work with are virulent Republicans that subscribe to the particular Limbaugh-Hannity version of conservatism, so for quite a while I’d hear daily (usually good naturedly) that “real Americans don’t believe x, y, z” or something to that effect, but as you can understand that sort of thing gets annoying quickly and more often than not is spoken in truth.

    So once again I apologize and will attempt to temper any further remarks.

    ChadS

  39. From The Balcony October 3, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Chad and BritPhil
    No hard feelings. Thanks for the apology. This kind of topic always brings out strong feelings on all sides. Truth be known, due to our flawed human condition, there is no perfect government.

    Chad – no matter which side you are on, we always feel like we need to prove ourselves. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve talked with Democrats who basically laugh at me with scorn – they can’t even believe I would be consider being a conservative — obviously, I don’t care about anyone but myself and lack a brain. So your experience goes both ways. Thanks again for your apology. I really do appreciate it.

    BritPhil….it’d be interesting to hang out and shoot the breeze :)…..but for the record, although I often wear pants, I’m not a guy :)

  40. Anthony D. Rogers wrote:

    Your idea of government is jaded and fundamentally wrong. Obama’s plan, while perhaps being socialistic in nature, is not a redistribution of wealth as such. It is, rather, an effort to help those who are struggling and less fortunate. It is comparable to public libraries, which are in place and funded by “the government” (i.e., taxpayers) for the betterment of society. Unless of course you would argue that libraries create less productive librarians, patrons, and information spaces—and somehow punish the successful library user.

    If Obama wishes to help those in need so much, let him begin by helping his own brother in Kenya. He says he is his brother’s keeper, but does nothing to accomplish that (unless he can do it with someone else’s funds). He is a total hypocrite and a liar. You can always tell when he’s telling a lie (No, I’m not going to say it’s because his lips are moving) since he prefaces it with a statement such as “I’ve always maintained …” then changes what he previously said.

    The biggest problem with Obama, however, is that he trashes the Constitution (though this has been an ongoing problem for some time). Nowhere in the Constitution with there be found an authorization for such programs as he wishes to institute. There are certain clearly delineated powers of the Federal Government

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    To attempt to claim that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” a la Algorilla (Al Gore, for those in Rio Linda) is to state that the Constitution means whatever we wish for it to mean so that it no longer serves as a protection of citizens’ rights.

    Obama claims to be a Constitutional lawyer, but he apparently has absolutely no understanding of the document. If he is elected, I suppose we will soon all be wearing conical hats and standing out in the fields calf-deep in water planting and harvesting rice.

  41. @gfsomsel–This statement: “ If he is elected, I suppose we will soon all be wearing conical hats and standing out in the fields calf-deep in water planting and harvesting rice.” is totally inappropriate. It is one thing to disagree with someone’s policies, positions, and ideas. It is totally a different thing to disparage their character.
    One only needs to look at Senator Obama’s voting record to see that he is a fairly typical liberal Democrat. The differences between Republicans and Democrats in recent years have been blurred a bit since the Republicans don’t seen to know how to keep a lid on the money box any better than the Dems. Still, it is very clear that Senator Obama plans to push many huge spending programs as he and his colleagues continue to promote throwing government (aka: tax payer) money at problems as the best solution. The definitions offered above are indeed telling. We (after the bailout) are well underway to fulfill def. #1 and the second half of def. #3.
    Senator Obama’s attitude toward foreign relations seems to be that if we make nice and prove ourselves to be a reformed (as in no longer practicing) imperialistic nation others will play fair. I suspect he is in for a rude awakening but that is not the same as saying America is without guilt. We have behaved selfishly with regard to the rest of the world and we do need to repent (and not just for the sin of abortion). My fear of the other option is that Senator McCain is not as much of a Maverick or a reformer as I would like to believe. He did after all vote for the pork-filled bailout bill with not so much as an apology.

  42. In terms of economic theory Rodney Stark regards Christianity as the father of the capitalist system. However it should also be noted that the weakness of any economic system is the people who enact it.

    Someone who fears God’s judgment for abusing their position may not take advantage of loopholes that present themselves. Loopholes that may be legal, but are immoral.

    Someone who does not fear God cannot be trusted with anything.

    Human beings are the problem. Fix them, no problem.

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