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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The War on Misfortune -- By John Hayward, RedState

 (text from within article)

One of the most commonly repeated refrains in the never-ending sales pitch for ObamaCare is that it will prevent people from suffering financial devastation just because they get sick.  That seems like an odd claim to make on behalf of a system noted for selling expensive insurance policies with $10,000 deductibles, but it still has visceral appeal to people who understandably regard medical expenses as a cruel penalty imposed by random fate, not a product purchased on the open market.

Obama’s speeches often refer to the “injustice” of hard-working people who can’t afford a good life, which is very different from the danger of impoverished families starving to death.  This injustice is meant to be especially galling when the nation contains so many “millionaires” (i.e. married couples making over $250,000 a year) who presumably live better than they truly deserve.  What, exactly, constitutes a good life, and how is the government supposed to go about providing it?  Those details are malleable, just like the definition of “income inequality,” and for that matter, “poverty.”  It’s a shell game that can go on forever.  While you’re listening to the language of charity, poverty, and exploitation, Obama works diligently to protect the interests of highly-compensated union workers, whose salary and benefits are never analyzed for their “inequality” with those of equivalent non-union labor.  Nor do we hear anything about the fantastic concentration of unequal wealth occurring in Washington D.C., which has become one of the richest cities in the nation, frequently topping the list.  Did the New Aristocracy really “earn” its wealth, fair and square?

Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner makes the point, backed up by international studies, that “income inequality” is only an absolute social and economic negative when caused by political corruption and cronyism:
For instance, Indonesian businessman Prajogo Pangestu is a political billionaire because the government-owned bank extends him loans on absurdly generous terms and the state erected tariffs to protect his business from competition.
Or here’s a Wall Street Journal account of Russian Mikhail Fridman: “[Fridman was] among a handful of businessmen who helped to finance Boris Yeltsin’s re-election campaign in 1996. The Kremlin rewarded these men by selling them state-owned oil and metals companies at bargain-basement prices.”
Contrast these men to America’s richest people. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett haven’t abstained from politics (Buffett is an Obama fundraiser), but they overwhelmingly made their money by inventing well and investing well.
When a country’s wealthiest people got their wealth as Pangestu and Fridman did, inequality places a drag on the economy. When a country’s wealthiest got wealthy through market means, the resulting inequality has no negative effect on economic growth.
This jibes with what we know about free markets. If people can get rich by providing valuable things at good prices, then society will get more valuable things at good prices—and people across the income spectrum benefit. But if people get rich by pocketing subsidies and using the state to crush competitors, then they gained their wealth at the expense of everyone else.
Perhaps it’s a case of psychological projection – statism produces a politically connected elite who use force to cut themselves a healthy slice of a limited economic pie, so that’s how they think private-sector entrepreneurship works.  Maybe the statists believe their superior morality and wisdom entitle them to a better living than money-grubbing private businessmen.  The irony is that they sucker lower-income people into their schemes by promising to protect them from the very misfortunes that political control of the economy causes, as ideology blinds it to opportunity, and political will drives it to double down on failure.

A great deal of the nation’s wealth has been destroyed by the bad decisions of our political elites.  And they’re okay with that, because it creates more misfortune, which they can advertise themselves as the last line of defense against.  The Left has stepped up its game by offering its clients protection against setbacks, rather than starvation.  Once you’ve used “inequality” rhetoric to make people forget about the rising tide that lifts all boats, you can hold them underwater forever.

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