Axis Of Economic Idiocy

Ilana Mercer, March 28, 2008

Obama is an ass with ears when it comes to the economy. The same goes for Clinton. So Sen. McCain did not help himself (or us) by being charmingly self-deprecating about his understanding of the economy. He has allowed Obama and Clinton, infinitely more asinine than he, to assert their superiority.


Not that the asses in the media would notice, but Obama has another problem: logic. Obama equates ideas with state policies:


From the Caribbean, where he had been vacationing, Obama landed back on the campaign trail in North Carolina. There he proceeded to berate McCain for being bereft of ideas. McCain had “erred” by articulating—gasp—a hands-off approach to the “decline in the housing and mortgage market.”


Said McCain: “I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.”


Clinton hurried to complement Obama by complimenting McCain for doing “virtually nothing to ease the credit or the housing crisis.” But it was Big Brother Obama who distinguished himself by positing that a world without a policy for every human malady, and “clever” commissars to call the shots, is a world without ideas.


He boomed:


“John McCain may call helping struggling homeowners pandering, but I don’t think the families in North Carolina who are losing their homes would see it that way.”


From the fact that a homeowner is struggling, it doesn’t follow that taxpayers ought to be forced to rescue him. Obama, moreover, implies that if North Carolinians facing foreclosures believe they deserve a bail out, and McCain disagrees—then McCain is wrong. Yet another non sequitur from the professor.


It so happens that McCain—who is mouthing his economic adviser Jack Kemp—has quite a few ideas on the economy. Kemp kicked off the Reagan supply-side, tax-cutting revolution. Supply-side economics is based on the irrefutable truth that if you tax productive activities you’ll get less of them. The prescription: Cut marginal tax rates and you’ll encourage work, saving and investment, and discourage tax avoidance and tax evasion (which this writer, naturally, hailed as heroic in ”The War on Tax Havens”). The upshot of reducing punitive tax rates is an increase in productive activities and, by the supply-side state’s logic, tax revenue.


Supply-side economics is not a philosophy; it’s a policy (so it ought to qualify as an idea by Obama’s standards). Although the Kemp-McCain economic prescriptions are cleverer than the ones the other two are cooking up, the two camps intersect philosophically.


McCain will tell you that you “deserve” to keep more of your income, because you’ll spend it more wisely than he. (How very generous!) He is unable to explain why you can’t keep it all. Is it not yours? So why is he confiscating a portion of what’s yours?


Just as one can’t be slightly pregnant, one can’t be a partial property owner with the government as the sleeping partner. If the government can claim a percentage of a man’s income as a condition of letting him live unmolested—that man owns diddly-squat. Ownership is then symbolic, subject to the whims and “wisdom” of the sovereign of the day.


McCain-as-sovereign will tinker more judiciously with the tax structure. His serfs won’t slack off as much as Obama and Clinton’s.


Where Kemp-McCain economics meet Obama-Clinton “freakonomics” is in the unnatural and un-American idea that the government is entitled to a portion of your income; that it has a lien on your life and on what you acquire in the course of sustaining that life.


Be it Hillary, Hussein or McCain—they all agree that it is up to the all-knowing central planner to determine how much of your life ought to be theirs.


While McCain will, at least, put in place an economic incentive structure more conducive to prosperity, the other two intend to penalize prudent, productive economic activity.


You work hard, save, don’t default on loans or live beyond your means—why then, Obama and Clinton have plans for you. You’ll be helping to mop up the “froth” in the housing market. You’ll be bailing out those who haven’t lived wisely. That’s the philosophy.


As another killer collectivist put it, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Duly, Obama has proposed $10 billion to prevent foreclosures, augmented by a $30 billion party package to beat Hillary’s bail-out bonanza of the same sum.


Obama evinces audacity alright—hopeless audacity.


Alas, so does McCain. He might have absented himself strategically from the signing of the last package of tax kickbacks to the indebted, but, like the “ideas” of his rivals, McCain’s are predicated on the notion that he gets to choose the project for which the country and its coin can be ruined.


McCain has a winner: the 100-year adventure in Iraq.



©2008 By Ilana Mercer  (Blog discussion is here)

  March 28


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