Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Eat the Rich

This is an interesting exchange that took place during a commercial break on Geraldo Rivera's show on FOX. The black man with the microphone is Charles Payne who is a FOX business analyst. The other black man is Russell Simmons, the very successful co-founder of hip-hop recording label Def Jam.
Simmons, the labor union guy, and the blonde woman want to say that nobody gets rich on their own, that the successful person like Payne uses infrastructure and institutions built and paid for by the people and that therefore successful people have an obligation to give back to the people. There are four things (at least) that puzzle me about this argument:

1. Almost half the people in the country don't pay federal income taxes and thus contributed next to nothing to that infrastructure and those institutions Payne benefited from so why does he owe them anything?

2. It's not as if Payne didn't contribute to the building of those things himself. As a taxpayer he paid as much as, if not more than, most people toward them so why should he now be expected to pay even more?

3. Even if the rich have an obligation to pay back to the people how much more should they pay? The top 1% of income earners (those making above $380,000) already pay 38% of all federal income taxes and the top 5% (those making above $160,000) pay almost 60%. How much more should they be expected to pay?

4. Even if we confiscated all the wealth of everyone in the country making over $250,000 per annum, which would, of course, be a one-time event because no one would produce anything after that, it would scarcely be enough to sustain current government spending levels for one year. Then what?

This video illustrates the problem:
The OWS folks and President Obama might think that taxing the rich is the solution to our problems, but they're either ignorant or mendacious. The solution to our problems, if there is one, is to cut government spending. Now.

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

Well, how's this for an example of the old saw that what goes around comes around? The OWS folks, the same ones who are shouting that the wealth of the haves be taken from them and redistributed to the have nots, are upset because some people are actually practicing what OWS preaches:
Occupy Wall Street protesters said yesterday that packs of brazen crooks within their ranks have been robbing their fellow demonstrators blind, making off with pricey cameras, phones and laptops -- and even a hefty bundle of donated cash and food.

“Stealing is our biggest problem at the moment,” said Nan Terrie, 18, a kitchen and legal-team volunteer from Fort Lauderdale.

“I had my Mac stolen -- that was like $5,500. Every night, something else is gone. Last night, our entire [kitchen] budget for the day was stolen, so the first thing I had to do was . . . get the message out to our supporters that we needed food!” Crafty cat burglars sneaked into the makeshift kitchen at Zuccotti Park overnight and swiped as much as $2,500 in donated greenbacks from right under the noses of volunteers who’d fallen asleep after a long day whipping up meals for the hundreds of hungry protesters, the volunteers said.

“The worst thing is there’s people sleeping in the kitchen when they come, and they don’t even know about it! There are some really smart and sneaky thieves here,” Terrie said. “I had umbrellas stolen, a fold-up bed I brought because my back is bad -- they took that, too!”
So, try to follow this. It's okay for the protestors to demand that those who have what they have taken from them, as long as the protestors aren't the ones who have. Or something like that. Redistribution of wealth is only supposed to be employed against other people, not them.
Security volunteer Harry Wyman, 22, of Brooklyn was furious about the thievery -- and vowed to get tough with the predatory perps.

“I’m not getting paid, but I’m not gonna stand for it. Why people got to come here and do stupid stuff? All it does is make people not wanna come here anymore,” Wyman fumed.

At one point yesterday, Wyman and other volunteers briefly scuffled with a man who was standing near a park entrance with a pail calling out: “Donations! Donations!” -- and pocketing the cash people tossed in the bucket.
Well, what's wrong with what bucket-man was doing? Don't these people understand that when they insist that the American taxpayers provide them with free college tuition, free medical care and free retirement they're calling for government to do exactly to us what the thieves in their camp are doing to them? At least the guy with the bucket isn't forcing anybody to put money in his pocket.

Have these people no sense of irony?

Meanwhile, like most left-wing movements, OWS is now bickering over the usual obsessions with race, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity. Everybody is equal in the great progressive nirvana but evidently some among the 99% are more equal than others, and it's causing dissension in the ranks.

Someone could perhaps do a real public service by passing out a couple hundred copies of George Orwell's Animal Farm in Zuccotti Park. Maybe some of the kids there are sufficiently perspicuous to see themselves portrayed in the novel.