Friday Follies for October 14, 2011

The Barbarians at the Gates.

In a campaign speech recently, Joe Biden called actions by states to curtail the power of public sector unions as barbarism and those governors and legislators who supported those actions as “barbarians at the gates.”  But in reality, just who are the barbarians?  Those who strive to curtail the wild spending and graft that is the creed of public sector unions or the unions themselves?

Matt Patterson, writing in the Washington Times, has this to say about “barbarians.”

Unions: The new barbarians

In a recent address to a union rally in Ohio, Vice President Joseph R. Biden underscored the threat to organized labor posed by the wave of collective bargaining-reform legislation sweeping the country, spearheaded by governors like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Ohio’s John Kasich.
“This is a fight for the existence of organized labor,” said Mr. Biden. “You are the only ones who can stop the barbarians at the gate!”
Mr. Biden’s use of “barbarian” to describe politicians – of both parties – who have come to realize that decades of union-negotiated public-employee contracts are bankrupting cities, states and whole sectors of the federal government (the U.S. Postal Service, for example) is quite interesting. The word conjures up images of Gothic hordes laying waste to Roman civilization, plunging the world into the Dark Ages. Given that government employees now comprise the majority of union members in the United States, public-sector unions form the core of the “civilization” Mr. Biden calls to defend.

The reality is actually the opposite.
In a series of sieges leading up to the sacking [of Rome], the Romans had attempted to make peace with Alaric, sending ambassadors to his camp to ask his price for sparing Rome. Alaric asked for all the gold and silver, movable property and barbarian slaves in the city. The Romans, seeing an offer they couldn’t refuse, obliged, delivering to Alaric 5,000 pounds of gold and 30,000 pounds of silver, as well as untold pounds of spices and silks.
That sounds a lot like what government employee unions have done to the coffers of our cities and states.
The cycle goes like this: Unions spend millions to elect pro-union politicians, who then give their union supporters fat contracts, which usually include generous defined benefit pensions, health care benefits that extend well into retirement, and budget-busting raise escalator clauses. If the politicians don’t show enough gratitude, unions threaten strikes, putting basic public services in jeopardy.
This vicious circle has brought many state and local governments across the country to the brink of insolvency. To give but a few examples, last August, the city of Central Falls, R.I., was forced to file for bankruptcy largely because of the city’s pension plan and its promised $80 million in retirement benefits for city employees, a sum five times the city’s general operating budget. And then there are the fiscal basket cases of California, New Jersey and Illinois, where government unions have long wreaked havoc on state budgets.

So who are the real barbarians? Big Labor is acting a lot like Alaric’s hordes, enriching itself at public expense, either not knowing or not caring about the poverty and decay its actions will unleash.

***
Dear Government, U.S. Business Doesn’t Need You
In a “pro vs. con” column in Bloomberg’s Businessweek, the subject was the need for government to assist business in job growth. The “pro” side repeated the left’s mantra that only government had the ability to “stimulate” the economy.  We all know the falseness of that position. The government can only put into the economy what it first takes from the economy.  And, during that cycle, less is returned, through graft and wastage, than is returned.

Thomas Bowden, of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, refutes that argument.

We Don’t Want Your Kind of Help

Why does anyone think that business needs government help? If assistance from a large central government were really necessary for economic growth and job creation, the U.S. could never have blossomed from an agrarian economy into an industrial giant. Yet that 19th century growth miracle (the population alone soared from 5 million to 76 million) happened without “help” from Washington.
Many people think business needs Uncle Sam’s help to get out of the current economic mess. But wait, that mess was caused by government intervention in the first place. The solution, therefore, cannot be more of the same poison that sickened the economy—whether it comes in the form of runaway spending, mortgage promotion, import quotas, tax favors, or other forms of “welfare for business.”
Take job creation, for example. President Barack Obama, Congress, and state governments all claim to have solutions for high unemployment. But high jobless rates are easily traceable to government programs that hamstring investment, product development, manufacturing, global free trade, and everything else that makes for a healthy economy.
Jobs are created by private businesses when they expand production, launch new products, and develop new markets. Government’s proper task is to protect the rights of these job creators (and the people who fill the jobs). That means enforcing laws against embezzlement, fraud, breach of contract, and all the other crimes and civil wrongs that violate the right to free, voluntary trade.
After that, government’s No. 1 priority is to butt out. Our lawmakers need to be pondering how to roll back the programs that stifle job creation. From Federal Reserve-driven currency manipulation that fogs up the economic prediction windshield to costly and demoralizing regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley that treat businesspeople as guilty until certified innocent and on to runaway “stimulus” spending that sucks capital out of the private sector, government “help” actually kills business initiative.
If Washington wants to help business, it should focus on providing the freedom businesspeople need to succeed.

If appears the dems and lib really have no inkling how our economy works.  Even Keynes didn’t expect “priming the pump” to be the end-all solution that is the bible of progressives around the world.  There is no endless supply of money and resources for them to steal to prop up their power base.  Eventually, you’ll, to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, run out of other people’s money.

That is where we are today.  The source of tax money is exhausted and we can no longer support the parasite class.The “occupy Wall Street” crowd will last only as long as George Soros provides the money.  When he cuts them off, like other parasites, they’ll drop out and look for some one else to leech.  It won’t be too soon for them to discover that well is dry too.

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