A Dem/Socialist Smackdown Two-Fer

On June 6th The Signal published a column by Josh Heath entitled “The progressive case for ending welfare” (Link), in which he advocated what is essentially a “working welfare” government program modeled after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs of the Great Depression. As Heath wrote: “These jobs would be modeled after what President Franklin Roosevelt had Americans doing during the Great Depression: Building roads, schools and post offices; beautifying communities; teaching students; making art.”

Unfortunately, I think he overlooked a major flaw in his proposal.

You can’t really “create” those jobs because they already exist in our government work force. If there’s something that needs to be done — such as his examples of building roads, schools, teaching, whatever — there’s already someone doing it, as those things already exist as government programs or through bureaucracies.

So you can’t create “new” jobs; all you end up really doing is replacing the current workers, many of whom are private-sector contractors, with “working welfare” employees.

The country’s economic model pre-FDR was fundamentally different from today. The government had a much smaller role, so FDR was able to create jobs out of pretty much thin air – though the long-term economic benefit to the country has been doubtful at best – and ultimately the slack was really taken up by the manpower demands of engaging in World War II.

Since that time, the government has grown into a gargantuan entity with its tentacles woven throughout our economy, the natural result of FDR’s expansionist policies. So the economic reality of Heath’s proposal would result in major disruption of a significant portion of the work force as current employees – both direct and indirect (such as vendors and contractors) – were replaced by the “working welfare” employees. In fact, all you would really do is create an entirely new group of people without jobs, merely shifting the burden from one group of people to another.

Just as the Obamacare promise of solving the problem of the chronically uninsured actually only shifted the demographic from millions of the “poor” to millions of the middle class, Heath’s proposal also will only trade one set of the unemployed for another. It doesn’t actually “solve” anything.

In regard to Gary Horton’s column “America: just another nation?”, published on 7 June (Link), I have to say, it really is a lot of fun watching lefties wail and moan. I want to examine a couple of his complaints.

Okay, NATO. Trump hasn’t withdrawn us from NATO. What he HAS done is tell our “partners” that they’re finally going to have to pay their actual commitments to their share of the funding, something virtually ALL of them have been shirking for God knows how long. What a drag, right? So instead of coasting on our dime, and wasting their own money on their social welfare programs, now they’re gonna have to pony up. Bummer, I’m sure.

The Paris Accord. That scam that’s SO bad that it was never even submitted to the Senate for ratification, because it was a sure-fire epic fail there. Yep, Obama had his “phone and pen”, but now, so does Trump. Same phone, same pen. So now we’re out.

That’s a GREAT deal for America. Instead of keeping our cheap and abundant energy resources uselessly in the ground, while China and India charge ahead with their massive coal-fired energy projects, all while we chase after expensive “green energy” fantasies, we can use those resources to improve our economy and standard of living. Instead of losing millions of jobs and throwing hundreds of billions of dollars to Third World corruptocracies in a massive international wealth redistribution scheme in which we’re the victims, we can keep those jobs and those monies for our own benefit.

Sounds like a “YUGE” win… for us.

Gary: “So much leadership and potential trashed, all in 138 days.”

Well, yeah, I know it looks like that… to him. But to me it looks like we’re finally veering away from the socialist highway the lefties had us on. I can sure understand why that upsets so many of them, while a whole lot of US are cheering.

To me it looks like in that same 138 days Trump has actually made a great effort to live up to and fulfill his campaign promises, something I had little confidence he was actually going to do. I’m very impressed!

 

©Brian Baker 2017

 

(Also published today in The Signal)

 

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Can Homelessness Be “Prevented”?

homeless

 

On March 7th we’re having an election in this county and there’s only one thing on the ballot: Measure H, a proposal to increase the sales tax in this county by ¼% in order to “Prevent and Combat Homelessness”.

It sounds so noble: prevent homelessness! And so cheap, too. Only one-quarter of one percent increase in the sales tax!

But let’s take off the rose-colored glasses and deal with reality. First, homelessness will never be “prevented”, and the problem can never be “solved”. That’s just a fact of life.

Decades ago it was public policy to involuntarily confine and institutionalize the homeless under various vagrancy and other such laws. But those laws were ultimately – and rightfully, in my opinion – deemed to be an unconstitutional infringement on their right to autonomy and self-determination, so such practices were banned.

That means that today’s homeless can’t be forced to do anything, unless they’ve actually broken some law. It’s also important to understand and accept that a significant portion, maybe the majority, of homeless people are in that condition either by choice (yes, there are those who actually choose to be homeless) or because they suffer from some condition (drugs, alcohol, mental deficiency) that makes them incapable of functioning in a structured and/or ordered environment. Therefore, by default there are going to be many people who simply won’t avail themselves of anything offered by this measure if it passes.

So though this tax increase may provide some programs, policies and facilities that might help some of the homeless, in no way will it “prevent” homelessness. In fact, the long-term result may be completely the opposite, as human nature asserts itself. As word of such programs spreads, LA County may find itself the destination of choice for homeless folks now living in other areas, who then hit the road to come here, increasing our homeless population, a classic example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Then there’s the idea that this is such a “cheap” solution. Well, as I’ve just pointed out, it’s not a “solution” at all, and as we consider the money aspect, is it really even “cheap”?

The statewide sales tax rate is 7.25%, but here in LA County it’s currently 8.75%, which is 1.5% higher than the rest of the state. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s 20% more than the basic state sales tax rate. Twenty percent higher already!

This proposal would add yet another ¼%, which is another approximately 3% increase to our current rate, raising the county’s sales tax rate to 9.0%. That would place us second only to Alameda for having the highest county sales tax rate (Link).

How did we get to this position? Simple. By repeatedly passing feel-good tax increase propositions like this one. Just in the last election we passed Measure M, which continued an already extant ½% sales tax, as well as adding another ½%. Which means that if Measure H passes we’ll have added, for all intents and purposes, 1.25% to our county sales tax rate in less than one year.

tax-increaseNone of this even takes into account the constant bombardment of other taxes we’re repeatedly being hit with, such as gas tax increases, school bonds (yes, bonds are a de facto tax), “usage fees”, and every other gimmick the do-gooders and social engineers in government can come up with to euchre us out of our hard-earned money (at least, those of us who are actually still “earning” any).

When is enough going to be enough? Because let’s face it; when this program ends up not actually “preventing” homelessness, which is exactly how things will turn out, what do you think is going to happen?

They’re going to come back to the well for another drink. Yet another tax increase in some form or another will be put on the table. The very personification of “creeping socialism”.

Let’s put a stop to this right now. Vote “No” on Measure H.

 

 

 

©Brian Baker 2017

(Also published today as a column in my local newspaper, The Signal)