Category Archives: Business

SOCIALISM – PART TWO (CAPITALISM VS. SOCIALISM)

Currently candidate for the Democrat nomination for President of the United States, Bernie Sanders, is an avowed socialist, calling himself a Democratic Socialist. While Senator Sanders will probably lose the nomination to Hillary Clinton, he is currently a viable candidate. As of this writing, he will soon be giving a speech explaining just what a Democrat Socialist is, but in the meantime, the following will contrast Capitalism, our current economic system in the United States with Socialism. As you read this, keep in mind that while we call or economic system capitalism, it is not a purely capitalistic system.

The central arguments in the socialism vs. capitalism debate are about economic equality and the role of government. Socialists believe that economic inequality if bad for society and that the government is responsible for reducing it through programs that benefit the poor such as free public education, free of subsidized healthcare, social security for the elderly, and higher taxes on the rich. In contrast, capitalists believe that the government does not use economic resources as efficiently as private enterprises do, and therefore society is better off with the free market determining economic winners and losers.

As I indicated above the United States is considered a bastion of capitalism. However, large parts of Scandinavia and Western Europe are considered socialist democracies. As you know, though, the United States has a plethora of entitlement programs that allegedly benefit the poor. The U.S. also offers free public elementary and secondary education to its citizens and has implemented a Social Security program to benefit the elderly. Furthermore, its present tax system imposes higher taxes on higher income earners. As such, the United States is not a pure capitalistic society. We currently have a strong private sector and income inequality. Those individuals who work hard and take risks have chances at accumulating more wealth than those who prefer not to take large risks and work less. But for those individuals willing to work harder than normal and take the risks, additional wealth is not guaranteed. Of course, there’s those in between. In a capitalistic society such as what we have in the United States, you get to choose.

The following will outline the differences between capitalism and socialism:

DEFINITION

Capitalism: A theory or system of social organization based around a free market and privatization in which ownership is ascribed to the individual persons. Voluntary co-ownership is also permitted

Socialism: A theory or system of social organization based on the holding of most property in common, with actual ownership ascribed to the workers.

PHILOSOPHY

Capitalism: Capital (or the means of production) is owned, operated, and traded in order to generate profits for private owners or shareholders. Emphasis on individual profit rather than on workers or society as a whole. No restriction on who may own capital.

Socialism: From each according to his ability, to each according to his contribution. Emphasis on profit being distributed among the society or workforce to complement individual wages/salaries.

 

IDEAS

Capitalism: Laissez-faire means to “let it be;” opposed to government intervention in economics because capitalists believe it introduces inefficiencies. A free market produces the best economic outcome for society. Government should not pick winners and losers.

Socialism: All individuals should have access to basic articles of consumption and public goods to allow for self-actualization. Large-scale industries are collective efforts and this the returns from these industries must benefit society as a whole.

KEY ELEMENTS

Capitalism: Competition for ownership of capital drives economic activity and creates a price system that determines resource allocation; profits are reinvested in the economy. “Production for profit:” useful goods and services are a byproduct of pursuing profit.

Socialism: Economic activity and production especially are adjusted by the State to meet human needs and economic demands. “Production for use:” useful goods and services are produced specifically for their usefulness.

ECONOMIC SYSTEM

Capitalism: Market based economy combined with private or corporate ownership of the means of production. Goods and services are produced to make a profit, and this profit is reinvested into the economy to fuel economic growth.

Socialism: The means of production are owned by public enterprises or cooperatives, and individuals are compensated based on the principle of individual contribution. Production may variously be coordinated through either economic planning or markets.

POLITICAL SYSTEM

Capitalism: Can co-exist with a variety of political systems, including dictatorship, democratic republic, anarchism, and direct democracy. Most capitalists advocate a democratic republic.

Socialism: Can co-exist with different political systems. Most socialists advocate participatory democracy, some (Social Democrats) advocate parliamentary democracy, and Marxist-Leninists advocate “Democratic Centralism.”

PRIVATE PROPERTY

Capitalism: Private property in capital and other goods is the dominant form of property. Public property and state property play a secondary role, and there might also be some collective property in the economy.

Socialism: Two kinds of property: Personal property, such as houses, clothing, etc. owned by the individual. Public property includes factories, and means of production owned by the State but with worker control.

 

OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE

Capitalism: The means of production are privately owned and operated for a private profit. This drives incentives for producers to engage in economic activity. Firms can be owned by individuals, worker do-ops, or shareholders.

Socialism: The means of production are socially-owned with the surplus value produced accruing to either all of society (in public ownership models) or to all the employee-members of the enterprise (in Cooperative ownership models.)

SOCIAL STRUCTURE

Capitalism: Classes exist based on their relationship to capital: the capitalists own shares of the means of production and derive their income in that way while the working class is dependent on wages or salaries. Large degree of mobility between the classes.

Socialism: Class distinctions are diminished. Status derived more from political distinctions that class distinctions. Some mobility.

FREE CHOICE

Capitalism: All individuals make decisions for themselves. People will make the best decisions because they must live with the consequences of their actions. Freedom of choice allows consumers to drive the economy.

Socialism: Religion, jobs, and marriage are up to the individual. Compulsory education. Free, equal access to healthcare and education provided through a socialized system funded by taxation. Production decisions driven more by State decision than consumer demand.

The above outline a few of the major differences between capitalism and socialism. Again, pure free market capitalism doesn’t exist on the planet. The United State, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong are strongholds of capitalism.

With Bernie Sanders running for the Democrat nominee for president, front-runner Hillary Clinton has moved far left. Millennials are leaning toward socialism because they see our capitalistic economic system as one that benefits the wealthy. However, younger adults tend to be more idealistic, but tend to change as they mature and are able to view the world from a practical standpoint rather than an academic stand point.

It is my hope that American from the entire political spectrum will read this post and think hard and long about socialism. Is this something you really want because there is a good chance this country, built on the principals of capitalism and a free market will veer toward socialism if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders are elected President in 2016.

The contents of this article was mostly provided by diffen.com and your administrator’s personal opinions.

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DEMOCRAT LIES ABOUT GEORGE W. BUSH – PART THREE

According to Time Magazine, hardly a right-wing publication, twenty-five persons/entities are to blame for the financial crisis that began in September 2008. Some of the people on the list I’ve never heard of. Some of them, though, are household names which include Phil Gramm, Alan Greenspan, American Consumers, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Bernie Madoff.

One name that was glaringly left off of this list was Massachusetts Congressman, Barney Frank. According to the Boston Globe, again, not hardly a right-wing publication, Congressman Frank’s fingerprints are all over the financial fiasco. According to the Congressman, the private sector got us into this mess and the government has to get us out of it. Frank, a committed liberal and proponent of big government, the current financial crisis is the span of the free market run amok, with the political class guilty only of failing to rein in the capitalists.

The Globe goes on to indicate that while the mortgage crisis convulsing Wall Street has its share of private sector culprits, they weren’t the ones who got us into this mess. The mortgage lenders didn’t wake one fine day, deciding to junk long held standards of creditworthiness in order to make ill-advised loans to unqualified borrowers. It would be closer to the truth to say they woke up to find the government twisting their arms and demanding that they do so, or else.

The Globe continues to opine that the roots of this crisis go back to the Carter administration. At that time, government officials egged on by left-wing activists, began accusing mortgage lenders of racism and redlining because urban blacks were being denied mortgages at a higher rate than suburban whites.

The pressure to make more loans to minorities/borrowers with weak credit histories became relentless. Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act, empowering regulators to punish banks that failed to meet the credit needs of low-income, minority, and distressed neighborhoods. Lenders responded by loosening their underwriting standards and making increasingly shoddy loans. The two government-chartered mortgage finance firms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encouraged this subprime lending by authorizing even more flexible criteria by which high-risk borrowers could be qualified for home loans, and then buying up the questionable mortgages that ensued.

All of this was justified as a means of increasing homeownership among minorities and the poor. Affirmative action policies trumped sound business practices. A manual issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston advised mortgage lenders to disregard financial common sense. Lack of credit history should not be seen as a negative factor, the Fed’s guidelines instructed. Lenders were directed to accept welfare payments and unemployment benefits as valid income sources to qualify for a mortgage. Failure to comply could mean a lawsuit.

As long as housing prices kept rising, the illusion that all this was good public policy could be sustained. But it didn’t take a financial whiz to recognize that a day of reckoning would come. When the coming wave of foreclosures rolls through the inner city, which of today’s self-congratulating bankers, politicians, and regulators plans to take the credit?

Barney Frank doesn’t. But the Globe indicates that his fingerprints are all over this fiasco. Time and time again, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape. Five years ago (2003) when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulations for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Frank was adamant that these two entities were not facing any kind of financial crisis. When the White House warned of systemic risk for our financial system unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

In their piece dated, September 28, 2008, Wall Street and private lenders have plenty to answer for, but it was Washington and the political class that derailed this train. The Globe concludes their piece stating: “If Frank is looking for a culprit to blame, he can find one suspect in the nearest mirror.

Time, in their acknowledgement that Bill Clinton was one of the contributors to the financial crisis, pointed out that in 1995, Clinton loosened housing rules by rewriting the Community Reinvestment Act, which put added pressure on banks to lend in low-income neighborhoods. It has been the subject of heated political and scholarly debate whether any of these moves are to blame for the troubles, but they certainly played a role in creating a permissive lending environment.

Time, in their blaming of George W. Bush, acknowledged that he did push for tighter controls over Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, but failed to move Congress to follow through. And as the Boston Globe indicated, Congressman Barney Frank was adamant that Freddie and Fannie were not facing any kind of financial crisis. Time goes on to indicate that President Bush backed on signed Sarbanes-Oxley after the Enron scandal. But when SEC head William Donaldson tried to boost regulation of mutual and hedge funds, he was blocked by Bush’s advisors at the White House as well as other powerful Republicans. Time ended by simply stating the meltdown happened on Bush’s watch.

Those of us who have been managers know that if something happened under our watch, we own it. It doesn’t matter what actions are taken to prevent it or what we may do to correct the problem.

The Democrats, however, would have you to believe that the economic collapse of 2008 was solely the fault of George W. Bush. The U.S. economy is an extremely complex entity and common sense would indicate that it would take more than one person or entity to bring it down.

So when Democrats try to push their lie that Bush was exclusively responsible for the 2008 economic melt-down, keep all of the above in mind and point this out to the Democrats.

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DEMOCRAT LIES ABOUT GEORGE W. BUSH – PART 2

In part one of this series, I outlined the Democrat lies about former president George W. Bush with regard to the Iraq war and the WMDs that were not found. I also refuted the Democrat lies about the Bush tax cuts.

In the following paragraphs, I will outline another liberal lie about George W. Bush. It’s the allegation that President Bush borrowed from Social Security to fund the Iraq war and his tax cuts.

We all know that anytime a Republican president cuts taxes, liberals scream to the top of their lungs that it’s a tax cut for only the very wealthy. Not true and I refuted this in part one of this series.

In summary, the Democrats are saying that President Bush spend every dime of Social Security surplus revenue that came in during his presidency. He used it to fund his big tax cuts for the rich, and much of it was spent on wars.

This is what really happened. For about 50 years, Social Security was a “pay as you go” system, meaning annual payroll taxes pretty much covered that year’s benefits’ checks. Then in 1982, President Ronald Reagan enacted a payroll tax hike to prepare for the impending surge of retiring baby boomers, and a surplus began to build.

By law, the U.S. treasury is required to take the surplus and, in exchange, issue interest-accruing bonds to the Social Security trust funds. The Treasury, meanwhile, uses the cash to fund government expenses, though it has to repay the bonds whenever the Social Security commissioner wants to redeem them.

In this broad sense, President Bush technically “borrowed” Social Security surplus to pay for the Iraq war. But even if this loose definition is used, we still run into a few issues.

The amount that President Bush borrowed is actually around $708 billion, and little more than half of the $1.37 trillion the Democrats have alleged. While around $1.52 trillion in bonds was added to the trust fund from 2000 to 2008, the Treasury only has access to the cash revenue collected every year, not the interest accrued on the entire surplus.

Second, President Bush didn’t exclusively spend it on the war, which has an estimated cost of $1.7 million. Other big costs include the financial bailout in 2008, something the liberals should be cheering, since their guy, Obama, carried on the bailouts.

The cash that the Treasury received from the Social Security surplus was not earmarked for any specific government program, according to Andrew Eschew, a former Social Security research analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office and current spokesperson for the Center on Retirement Research at Boston College. The larger question is whether the existence of the surplus influenced Congress’ spending decisions. But Eschew pointed out that no one can prove what was on the lawmakers’ minds. He further indicated that the idea that lawmakers consciously thought they could only go into Iraq because of a surplus was a stretch.

Eschew concluded that if we characterize the entire trust fund system as the government borrowing from Social Security, Bush was by no means the only debtor. By law, the Social Security surplus is converted into bonds, and the cash is used to pay for government expenses. If we agree then this is borrowing, that every president since 1935 has done it to fund all sorts of items. Even if Bush borrowed from the surplus, the amount is more like $708 billion and the borrowing wasn’t earmarked for a special purpose.

As for not paying back, the bonds won’t need to be repaid until 2020.

Politifact.com provided the material for this post.

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DEMOCRAT LIES ABOUT GEORGE W. BUSH – PART ONE

We’ve heard them all before and most of us are sick of hearing them. Unfortunately, the conservative-learning talking heads, with the exception of Rush Limbaugh, maybe, won’t address them and just roll over whenever Democrats make the accusations and flat-out lie. In this series of articles, I’m going to outline a number of lies that the Democrats have told about former President, George W. Bush and correct the record.

Bush Lied, People Died:

We all remember this from the Iraq War. After pushing back Saddam Hussein’s military, the search for the weapons of mass destruction that intelligence indicated existed were not found.

In all of their pontifications and emotional tirades, liberals have convinced themselves and a lot of others that until the Bush administration began no one was linking Saddam Hussein to weapons of mass destruction and that the reason Bush took us to war in Iraq was to get revenge on Saddam Hussein for the assignation attempt on this father, former President George H. W. Bush.

Here’s exactly what happened.

H.J.Res. 114(107th), the authorization for use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 was the Congressional vote on whether to invade Iraq or not. The resolution passed 296-133. 214 Republicans supported it along with 81 Democrats. Everyone had access to the same intelligence that indicated Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

President Clinton, while still in office, in a speech at the Pentagon, made the assertion that not acting against Saddam Hussein was tantamount to allowing him to gain, and therefore to use, weapons of mass destruction.  Clinton went on to say, “Now, let’s imagine the future. What if he fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And some day, some say, I guarantee you, he’ll use the arsenal. And I think everyone of you who’s really worked on this for any length of time believes that too.”

By year’s end, Clinton made good on this threat to attack Iraq with U.S. and British forces engaging in a three-day bombing campaign, Operation Desert Fox, aimed at degrading Saddam Hussein’s presumed WMD capabilities. “Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles,” Clinton said as the bombing started. “With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them…and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.”

Weeks before Desert Fox, on October 31, 1998, Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act.  In a statement, the President said the following: “Today I am signing into law, the ‘Iraq Liberation Act if 1998.’ This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress that the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi opposition that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the bitter reality of internal repression and external aggression that the current regime in Baghdad now offers.

What a selective memory liberals have? There were actions by the Clinton administration in the late nineties that were in response to problems in that region. President George W. Bush didn’t just dream this up as liberals still indicate. If you don’t believe me, just visit some of your favorite liberal websites and search on the Iraqi war.

For more detailed information, please see my article posted on Wing Nut Gal dated December 27, 2014 entitled, “Can Democrats be that Forgetful.”

Bush’s Tax Cuts for the Rich:

In 2001, President George W. Bush signed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, the largest tax relief package in a generation. In 2003, President Bush proposed and signed the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act. Among other things, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act reduced tax rates for every American who paid income taxes. It also created a new 10 percent tax bracket. Of course we all know that the Democrats called this tax cuts for the rich, when in effect everyone who paid income taxes received a tax cut. Those not paying income tax would not obviously receive a cut.

Despite being in a recession, due to the .com bust, and 9/11, the economy returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2001 and continued to grow for twenty-four consecutive quarters. The economy grew at a rapid pace of 7.5 percent above inflation during the third quarter of 2003, the highest since 1984. The President’s tax relief also reduced the marginal effective rate on new investment, which encourages additional investment and, in the long-run, higher wages for workers.

The President’s tax relief was followed by increases in tax revenue. From 2005 to 2007, tax revenues grew faster than the economy. The ratio of receipts to GDP rose to 18.8 percent in 2007, above the 40-year average. Between 2004 and 2006, capital gains realizations grew by approximately 60%. Growth in corporate income tax receipts was strong in President Bush’s second term, nearly doubling between 2004 and 2007. With nearly all of the tax relief provisions fully in effect, the President’s tax relief reduced the share of taxes paid by the bottom 50 percent of taxpayers from 3.9 percent in 2000 to 3.1 percent in 2005. The share of taxes paid by the top 10 percent rose from 46.0 percent to 46.4 percent.

Liberals have repeatedly indicated that President Bush stole money from the Social Security trust fund to pay for his tax cuts for the rich. Not true, libs!

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CAPITALISM VS. SOCIALISM, WHICH WILL BE CHOSEN?

Every presidential race in which I can recall is supposedly the most important presidential race ever. And I don’t dispute that. As we get closer to the 2016 presidential race, it appears that this race will be a race where the American people choose whether they want to continue governance in the way that our founding fathers indicated that America should be governed, the way that those coming to America, seeking a departure from the European way of governance wanted to be governed. Or do the American people want to return to the socialistic methods of governance steadfastly adhered to by the European culture?

Democratic socialist candidate for president, Bernie Sanders, want to give everybody everything. To do this, you confiscate the possessions of the wealthy, without wealthy being defined. Free college, free medical care, free housing, free transportation, and the list goes on.

Because so many Americans are leaping onto the entitlement bandwagon and Bernie is drawing huge crowds wherever he speaks, Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton is moving farther left than she already was.

According To Bill O’Reilly’s talking points on Tuesday, October 6, 2015, Bernie Sanders wants to do the following:

  • Free Medicare for all Americans at a cost of $15 trillion over ten years.
  • An increase in Social Security payments at a cost of $1.2 trillion.
  • Guaranteed family leave at a cost of $310 billion.
  • Tuition free schools at a cost of $750 billion
  • Rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure at a cost of $1 trillion.
  • Prevent private companies from cutting pensions at a cost of $29 billion.

As someone who has worked hard for everything she has, this makes my head spin. I don’t want government healthcare. I want to be able, through my hard work, to provide for myself, the best healthcare possible. Also, I’ve paid enough into social security that I should be able to get my fair share out of it. However, I don’t want what I’ve put in under my name to be taken away from me and given to somebody else. Currently, I’m working seven days a week so that I don’t have to depend on Social Security which might not be there for me if the Democrats who are turning into socialists/communists get their way.

The rest of the freebies that Bernie wants to force on the American people is communism pure and simple. From each according to each according to his need. And guess who decides what you’re capable of producing and what your needs are? The government, of course.

It sickens me to see many of my liberal Facebook friends leaning toward Bernie Sanders because he is offering free stuff. How many times have your parents told you that there is no free lunch, you pay for what you get? Oh, you occasionally find a bargain such as the three $20.00 purses I purchased at Wal-Mart two years ago. Those purses have not shown one bit of wear and are very stylish. But that doesn’t happen often.

My health insurance sure isn’t a bargain. I’m paying almost a house payment for an insurance plan that is inferior to what I had before I had to purchase health insurance through the market place. I guess the fact that I won’t have to buy purses for a while will offset the high cost of my health insurance.

But wait! Isn’t Bernie offering free healthcare? This translates as a single-payer 100% government run health care. In other words, the government gets to decide what medical procedures you qualify for and which you don’t. Due to having a heart that is not 100% functional, I’m going to have to have a heart valve replacement sometime in the future. At that time, I’m going to be a senior citizen. If the liberals get their way and our government is socialistic/communistic, will I be approved for the procedure? I’m old and useless. Plus, I am the author of blog posts such as this one. So, we have to get rid of her.

When I mentioned this to a liberal friend who is an “Obama-zombie,” she said, “That’s not going to happen.” She thinks our government is one of benevolence. No, our government is not one of benevolence. Our founding fathers wrote into the constitution measures to stop a tyrannical government. Governments lean toward being tyrannical naturally. Only that government that is held accountable by its citizens might be, and I said might be benevolent.

The United States of America was founded on government by the people, for the people, and of the people, not by the state, for the state, and of the state. We, the people, are to hold government accountable, no matter which political philosophy is in office. That means I have a duty to hold a Republican administration and a Republican Congress accountable just as I have a duty to hold a Democrat administration and a Democrat Congress accountable.

The above is all well and good. However, it seems as though many people in this country are choosing to set aside the principals in which our great country was founded and exchange those principles for a government that takes as much from its citizens as it possibly can and gives back only what it thinks its citizens need.

To you liberals, just move to some other socialist country. Don’t ruin it for us who still believe in the principles in which this country was founded and wish to continue to govern ourselves with a capitalistic economy while adhering to Judeo Christian principles. There are plenty of socialist economies out there who also don’t accept Judeo Christian principles. Just go and leave us alone. I might even consider contributing a few dollars toward your one-way ticket. But be aware. If you don’t like it in your new socialist/communist/secular country, don’t come begging me to fund your return.

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