April 4, 2010

The Federal Government's Attack on Economic Inequality Has Destroyed the American Dream

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median wage was only $32,390 per year in 2008 [see The Economic Elite vs. the People of the United States of America]. Due to the recession, that number has probably fallen 5 to 7 percent since then. For the 50 percent of families in the middle of the scale, household income ranges from $51,000 to $123,000 for a typical four-person, two-parent family. The median is about $81,000. Median income for a single-parent, two-child family is about $25,000 [see How to Gauge Your Middle-Class Status].

In March 2009, the average earnings for full-time Federal employees were $74,403 [see The Welfare States of America.]

Perspectives of a Russian Immigrant, No. 8

By Svetlana Kunin, Investor's Business Daily
March 29, 2010

In a front-page article last week in the New York Times, "In Health Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality," David Leonhardt wrote:
"For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed ... is the federal government's biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago."
I guess we did not get a message when we immigrated to the USA three decades ago.

I know immigrants from Argentina, France, Cuba, Czech Republic, Russia. We all came to America practically with nothing. Within three decades, when according to Leonhardt economic inequality was rising in America, we all accomplished what is defined as the American Dream.

How come "economic inequality" did not affect us? I think we were lucky because we avoided all government efforts to provide for the poor.

We all had one common story: We started from whatever job we could find to support our families. In my case it was a data entry position at $4.50 an hour. Then we worked our way up.

I know doctors who worked at the cash register while studying for the medical exam, engineers who worked as mechanics or maintenance technicians, and some of them worked up to the engineering career. We did not have any special treatment or exceptions. It was pure perseverance.

Did American medical care make it harder for us to succeed? In my case, being in America saved my life. I had a serious surgery 10 years after we came to America. The technology used for this surgery did not exist at that time in the Soviet Union.

Leonhardt writes:
"Beyond the health reform's effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of (Obama's) deliberate effort to end what historians called the age of Reagan."
I suspect a specific and very large part of 20th-century history is missing for this Ivy League graduate.

During the "age of Reagan," we, like millions of other legal immigrants, were able to establish a successful and happy life in America. We did it not because we took what belonged to low- or high-income people, but because we did not rely on anybody's help.

Because of the low taxes and low unemployment during the Reagan era, we had more money to finance our needs. We learned new skills, we opened or worked for small businesses, we bought houses and educated our children.

And because of Reagan policies of a strong America, the oppressive socialist Soviet empire collapsed. Ask citizens from countries freed from Soviet domination what they think about the Reagan era. Ask Germans, Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, Romanians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Georgians.

Leonhardt continues:
"Much about health reform remains unknown. .. . Maybe the bill's attempts to hold down the recent growth of medical costs will prove a big success, or maybe the results will be modest and inadequate. ... the proper balance between the market and the government — remains unresolved."
Some more history study could help David Leonhardt. He can check out liberal government fiascoes right here in America, including and especially our current economic troubles due to government policies such as the Community Reinvestment Act. Or he may discover failure of government-managed public schools, public housing, welfare programs mismanagement, the corruption of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., known as Freddie Mac, etc.

And now they want to experiment with the medical care?

Leonhardt ends his article as follows:
"Above all, the central question that both the Reagan and Obama administrations have tried to answer — what is the proper balance between the market and the government? — remains unresolved. But the bill signed on Tuesday certainly shifts our place on that spectrum."
He is right — the bill will shift life in America. Until March 23, 2010, America was the only country where 85% of the people, independently of their occupation or income, had timely access to the advanced medical technology, medication and care. This bill will change this American treasure of quality of life.

Exceptions in the bill for members of government and some special groups will create the class of chosen people and then the rest of us — the masses. Proportions will shift: A small group will have access to the quality care. And the layer of the government bureaucrats will regulate what medical care is allowed for the rest of us.

The taxation required to sustain the skyscraper bureaucracies will end a uniquely American social mobility — people moving from lower income to higher income as their skills, experience and talents are accumulated. American society will become equally poor.

Soviet citizens behind the Iron Curtain could not compare their lives in the socialist ideal of equality and central planning with the outside. An Internet search on "alcoholism in the Soviet Union" will demonstrate the unintended results of the centrally planned economic equality, where your value is determined by the government.

The reality is that, compared with any country, American people have higher standards of living. If David Leonhardt is not scared of the consequences of this bill, then he is living behind a self-imposed Iron Curtain.

The disgraceful and humiliating production of this health care reform played out by President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, 219 Democratic congressmen and 59 Democratic senators brought to memory the following epigram:

"Surrounded by thin-necked leaders,

He plays with subservient half-wits.

Some whistle, some meow and whine,

Only he is one who scolds, dictates and designs."

The Russian poet Mandelstam wrote this in 1933. It was about the governing apparatus of the Communist Party surrounding Stalin. These people worked long hours on all Stalin's initiatives. Each of these apparatchiks signed off on his policies, even though some caused the elimination of thousands of innocent people. They were students of Karl Marx. They were in process of creating a socialist society, the transitional stage to the communism.

For that epigram, Mandelstam lost his freedom. Economic equality requires total conformity.

Did you notice how President Obama scolded Supreme Court members at his State of the Union address? And how there is a media onslaught against everyone who does not conform to this Democratic government?

The New York Times is not in danger of the president's displeasure.

Kunin lived in the Soviet Union until 1980, working as a civil engineer. She is now a retired software developer living in Connecticut. The other seven articles she has written for IBD are available in the "Special Series" section of IBDeditorials.com.

The Coming Dictatorship

By Robert Ringer
March 30, 2010

In my article “Saying Yes to the Party of No,” I commented on how pleased I’ve been to see Glenn Beck talking about a subject I’ve been writing about since the late seventies: a government-declared state of emergency leading to a “temporary” dictatorship.

Will Obama purposely foment “civil unrest” rather than wait for something like unemployment or runaway inflation to make it happen?

I have long believed that the mathematics of an insatiable entitlement society in the U.S. guarantees a runaway inflation, which likely would be followed by anarchy and chaos – a perfect excuse for government to resort to strong-armed totalitarian measures to “restore order.” My model has always been Germany’s Weimar Republic in the 1920s, where runaway inflation brought Adolf Hitler to power.

I originally believed that the runaway-inflation scenario in the U.S. would play out in the early 1980s, but a combination of Ronald Reagan and an explosion in computers and electronic technology made possible by the remnants of our capitalist system headed it off.

Nevertheless, the threat of a runaway inflation has continued to increase over the years, even while our false-prosperity economy was booming. That’s because the underlying causes (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, insane union and government-employee wages and benefits, Social Security, Medicare, etc.) of our sick economy have never been addressed.

Unemployment is just a symptom; the disease is entitlements. Throughout the false-prosperity years, Social Security did not go away. It got bigger. Medicare did not go away. It got bigger. Virtually no other benefits went away. They only got bigger. So the underlying problem of entitlements not only has remained, but continued to grow.

The big news now is that Social Security may “go broke” this year instead of in 2017, which was originally projected. Really? And here I thought it’s been broke for decades. Ditto with Medicare. These programs were long ago Madoffized. Almost from the start, government has simply taken in new money from “investors” (read, taxpayers) and handed it over to those on the entitlements side of the fence – with a large chunk of the largesse being skimmed off the top for government employees who administer these programs (and vote for those whom they believe are most likely to safeguard their jobs).

All it took to bring things to a head was a shameful spending spree by a progressive Republican president and a Republican Congress, followed by the ascent of a committed Marxist to the presidency (along with a cooperative majority in Congress).

Now, throw on top of all that a huge new tax-and-spending bill (euphemistically referred to as “health-care legislation”), and the end result seems assured. However, with the government’s power to tax, print, and borrow, no one knows how long it will be before the inevitable runaway inflation sets in ...

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