We have often observed, that the only people who actually benefit from Leftist policy are demagogues, scoundrels & those whom the demagogues & scoundrels exploit for improper purposes. This pursues that concept. In support, consider the effect of major 20th Century American Leftist initiatives on the most acutely affected groups:
In Chapter XXVI of the Debate Handbook, we discuss the Progressive Income Tax in detail. Here, the focus is limited. Who are those most affected by such a taxing mechanism & to what extent?
Obviously, the most direct & immediate effect, will be on those with the largest incomes. This results in massive distortions from what is conducive to an economy that operates at optimal levels. The advent of steeply graduated income taxes spawned an enormous diversion of once productive assets into often far from productive tax shelters; involuted forms of investment designed to reduce one's tax burden; also an incentive for a major segment of the mathematically able to pursue careers in tax accounting (& avoidance) within existing levels of economic activity, rather than in what might expand those levels of economic activity.
The effect on those with as yet unrealized economic potential, would be varied--a reflection of individual priorities governing whether or not it would dampen career aspirations. Obviously, to the extent that high rates dissuaded anyone from pursuing a course that the market valued, the effect on the overall economy was negative. The effect on the poor & less skilled is better understood as an effect of the Welfare State.
The thrust of Keynesian policy is to create a situation, where by spending money that does not even exist until it is spent, you spur economic activity by misleading the public--labor, in particular--into believing that conditions have suddenly gotten better. (That a job paying $X per hour, is still paying the accustomed value of $X per hour, before an expansion of the supply of fiat money dooms those $s to a decline in real terms.)
Since cyclical downturns reflect misallocations of factors of production & commerce, the correct approach should be to allow the market to readjust, to reallocate & thus prepare for an effective correction, that encourages a rebound based upon a better use of the resources at hand. In misleading participants by artificial stimulation, you not only burden the future with the debts incurred by wasteful spending. In not allowing a normal & needed readjustment--you undermine the ability of an economy to actually correct any underlying problem; thus both prolonging & aggravating causes of the downturn.
Yet there is another effect from Keynesian policy, often overlooked. In creating the illusion that an economic downturn is something that either a Government or a Central Bank can correct, you undermine the moral responsibility of people to manage their own affairs. Real social progress always depends upon personally responsible individuals, applying themselves to the best of their ability; never upon bureaucrats or theorists. There is clear damage to the moral climate of a society afflicted with Keynesian manipulation. An obvious corollary appears to reward financial irresponsibility of those who incur unreasonable debt levels--levels that their prospects would render otherwise unsustainable.
The latter effect, however, while of serious long-term economic consequence for any political society, is still not the most egregious effect, either for the society or a definable subset of that society. That distinction, clearly, is in the impact of Keynesian currency debasement on the frugal people, who have savings or long term accounts receivable definable in sums certain in the currency, being deprived of a significant part of the fruits of their labor & ingenuity--even the multi-generation achievements of departed family members--with no compensatory benefit. That so few of our political leaders will stand up for the provident & frugal, is one of the most compelling causes for the current decline of the West.
In no area of public policy debate are effects of applied Socialist theory more poorly understood, than under a complex of initiatives denominated as "Civil Rights." Here, those supposed to benefit are among the most grievously injured; and the damage shows up in a wide spectrum of human interaction.
In Chapter V of the Conservative Debate Handbook, we dealt, at length, with the subject of how Leftwing policy has disadvantaged many minority students in public education. But the problem, there, is but the more visible effect of the absurd idea that proactive macro social engineering by Government, premised upon the theory that people are somehow interchangeable, can significantly improve anyone's long term prospects.
The combination of two false rationales--one that assumes people are all the same & one that blames other people for any group's perceived problems--with the notion that it is moral for Government to improve the relative welfare of a particular group or groups, rather than pursue policies that accrue to the welfare of all productive citizens, is a formula for ever increasing inter-group antagonism, individual corruption & social disintegration. Poor achievement levels, no less than the hate driven rhetoric of President Obama's long time Pastor Jeremiah Wright, reciprocating types among other races & the declining sense of community in American towns across the continent, are all among effects that flow from the inverted values involved.
Of course, were it not for the effect of an educational system, which in the guise of promoting respect for the "Civil Rights" of others, inculcated millions of affluent Americans with a Marxist focus, to blame those who succeed for those who fail; a demagogue named Obama--only accidentally even in America--would never have been elected President.
It was no accident that the great Negro educator, Booker T. Washington, fought the dawning influence of the NAACP until the day he died. Washington understood how America worked; how others had achieved; that personal responsibility, not blame, envy & confrontation, were the paths to progress; that blame, envy & confrontation had only bad effects, both on those misled & those assailed. It is no accident that present day "Civil Rights" legislation actually outlaws acceptance of Washington's major appeal to White Americans, to hire the Negro neighbors, with whom they shared a history, rather than new immigrants from distant lands. Washington understood the multi-generational pursuits of a people. The Socialist "Civil Rights Movement" is about something very different. (For more, see Chapter XIX of the Conservative Debate Handbook.)
Our feature, below, on "How The Welfare State Works," is basically a treatise on the socio/economic effects of the Welfare State: That it undermines the motivating factors that spur achievement & discourage anti-social behavior; limiting the ability of the productive & preventing self-improvement, essential to anyone's long-term progress.
The clearest way to shine light on what is wrong with the present approach to a so-called "safety net," is to look at how wiser Americans handled the concept in an earlier time. We quote from Thomas Jefferson, as to how Welfare (care of the poor & disabled) was handled, the year after American independence was won at Yorktown:
The poor, unable to support themselves, are maintained by an assessment on the titheable persons in their parish. This assessment is levied and administered by twelve persons in each parish, called vestrymen, originally chosen by the housekeepers of the parish, but afterwards filling vacancies in their own body by their own choice. These are usually the most discreet farmers, so distributed through the parish, that every part of it may be under the immediate eye of some one of them. They are well acquainted with the details and economy of private life, and they find sufficient inducements to execute their charge well, in their philanthropy, in the approbation of their neighbors, and the distinction which that gives them.
The poor who have neither property, friends, nor strength to labor, are boarded in the houses of good farmers, to whom a stipulated sum is annually paid. To those who are able to help themselves a little, or have friends from whom they derive some succours, inadequate however to their full maintenance, supplementary aids are given, which enable them to live comfortably in their own houses, or in the houses of their friends. Vagabonds, without visible property or vocation, are placed in workhouses, where they are well clothed, fed, lodged and made to labour.
Nearly the same method of providing for the poor prevails through all our States; and from Savannah to Portsmouth you will seldom meet a beggar. In the larger towns indeed they sometimes present themselves. They are usually foreigners, who have never obtained a settlement in any parish. I never yet saw a native American begging in the streets or highways. [Query XIV-- Laws, Notes On The State Of Virginia, 1782]
The effect of the Welfare State on the poor? Nobody could make Jefferson's statement today! Seventy some years after our Federal Government took over care for the poor, you can see native Americans begging on almost every block in the business districts of many of our major cities.
While there are no longer Established Churches to fulfill the role, there is no reason not to return to County by County responsibility; to administration by those who know "who is who"; whose need is genuine, & who is simply trying to game a system.
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