Thursday, May 9, 2019

Rhetoric on Capitalism vs Socialism Falls to Stupidism

You won’t find stupidism in a dictionary, so don’t bother looking. I just invented it.

There are many great attributes to Capitalism, but it needs controls (and once had them).

Four out of the five best nations in which to live, according to residents, are socialistic: Canada (no), Sweden (yes), Denmark (yes), Norway (yes) and Finland (yes).

Now you can the positives and negatives on both sides and discuss them intelligently, but all too often that’s when stupidism rears its ugly head. And ugly it is.

Shall we fiddle with definitions?

One calls socialism ‘a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.’

Catch that owned or regulated part? Community as a whole doesn’t own the interstate highways, rural electrification, social security, Medicare or our over-stuffed military. But government does regulate them, or at least tries to. In the case of the military and privately held banks, it’s not doing all that well.

In the case of the military, it can’t even account for $21 trillion of Pentagon financial transactions.  They could not be traced, documented, or explained, even though it’s required by law.

Our privately held banks, $700 billion you think? Nomi Prins (author, journalist and public speaker) uncovers the hush-hush programs and crunches the hidden numbers to calculate the shocking actual size of the bailout: $14.4 trillion and counting.

The Marxist definition of Socialism that twists the knickers of stupidism is ‘a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.’

By god that would smoke my shorts as well, but it isn’t happening. Nowhere, even in the most figmented of imaginations, is anything of the kind on the menu or about to be added as a side-dish.

Lets take the Green New Deal as an example, because the stupidest arguments that it will keep us all from flying and mandate no more beef are simply off the wall. Although still in its developmental stage, here’s what it basically hopes to accomplish.

Fund sustainable, renewable energy to make America 100% fossil-fuel free by the very quickest means possible. Probably 15 million union scale jobs in that, with ownership in private hands. Positive environmental impact beyond compare.

High-speed rail, operated by private transportation companies (including airlines) and probably built in the median of the interstate highways. We already own this land, there are no grade crossings and it already has access central-city to central-city across the nation. Another 15 million jobs? Most likely.

Guarantee clean air, fresh water and non-toxic food. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are already tasked with these concerns. But they’ve been ignored, defunded and politically neutered in favor of corporate profits. We frack, build lakes of animal waste, allow growth hormones and antibiotics in meat and spray carcinogens on fruits and vegetables. All we need do is fund and empower those who are currently handcuffed and frustrated.

Okay smartass, how you gonna pay for all this? Even the American Action Forum estimates that, between 2020 and 2029, the energy and environmental components of the Green New Deal would cost $8.3 trillion to $12.3 trillion. Have I cherry-picked a liberal source? Hardly.

The American Action Forum is a nonprofit issue advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. which promotes center right public policy. They promote innovative, free-market solutions to create a smaller, smarter government.  AAF sources their information to credible sources.

But I take your point, so let’s double the numbers. Everything seems to double on large programs. $16 to $25 trillion is now the number we’ll deal with. Okay? Are we at least talking to one another now?

Between the Pentagon and the Big Banks, we’ve already pissed $35 trillion down the toilet since 2007 and gotten damned little for the effort. The banks are being sued right and left for fraud against their customers and the Pentagon hasn’t won a war since WWII.

Even so, it’s a major amount of dough and we must find it and one way or another it must be borrowed. Stay with me.

There are two kinds of national debt: 1) money spent for running the country, like the military, social welfare programs and federal employees to run everything. When they exceed taxes and other income, the national debt increases and that’s unsustainable. Gotta watch those costs like a hawk. Printing money to overcome those costs is inflationary as hell and you can’t outrun inflation.

2) is money spent on assets like infrastructure and programs that leave us stronger as a nation, such as higher wages, rebuilding the middle class, reducing environmental threats and thereby allowing capitalism to thrive. Those are investments instead of wild-eyed spending. You can print money for investment in assets, because there’s something left at the end of the print-run.

Does it make sense to borrow (in this case print) money to booze it up and live large? Hardly. But the wise man borrows to invest, particularly when that investment is sound and may even save his life.

Enough noodling around. If we don’t move to save this planet, we’re all dead. Even now, it will never recover to what we expect to leave our children. On average over the past 10,000 years, nine species have gone extinct every century.  In the last century alone, 500 species have already left this earth and a million more are expected to die off before the end of this one.

The moral (if there is such a thing) is don’t listen to or fall victim to stupidism. We need to talk and even more that that, we need to listen. And even more than the even more of that even more, we need to act.


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