Keeping Up With Van Jones
An anti-capitalist, avowed Communist, and former White House Czar continues an old leftist tradition.
Back in 2009, the public knew little about Van Jones. Perhaps, if anything, only that he was one czar among many in the Obama Administration. Like most czars, he did not need to be confirmed by Congress.
However, as more was learned about his radical background, Van Jones was exposed. Americans were repulsed by what they heard.
With his hateful statements and Communist views revealed, a personal history of radicalism emerged. A left-wing goody bag assorted with an affinity for anarchism, anti-capitalism, Communism, trutherism, and, as Jones put it, "rowdy" Black Nationalism.
As the pressure grew, Van Jones would resign as "Green Jobs" czar in the fall of 2009. But he wasn't finished.
Today, nearly two years removed from the White House, he continues to delight "progressives" with his brand of Robin Hood-style justice.
In a manner reserved for the class warfare peddler and propagandist, Van Jones recently asserted that America was "robbed" and that "somebody has our money" (emphasis added). Just who are the villains in this worn-out narrative? Why, Wall Street and the wealthy. This will serve only to fuel class envy and the culture of entitlement.
Such rhetoric may seem little more than red meat for "Rebuild the Dream" conference-goers -- the event at which Mr. Jones spoke this month -- but his calculated and oft-repeated charge is designed to influence the ill-informed. For the left-minded, excoriating the rich or, more generally, anticapitalism, has long been in vogue. It is sadly effective.
While class warfare will undoubtedly remain part of the narrative, radicals like Van Jones are not blind to the current political climate. In fact, their adaption to it, whilst advancing their agenda provides them a much desired platform. In the mold of Saul Alinsky, they know their true motives must be masked. Until they achieve power, that is.
Jones himself employed this thinly veiled tactic, no doubt useful during his stint as Obama's "Green Jobs" Czar. After all, it was a convenient front in his pursuit of Communist inspired redistributive wealth policies and worse. Just listen to his words:
On the "Green economy": It will be 'pushed' until it "becomes the engine that transforms the whole society," and the entire Capitalist system. Capitalism, in his warped worldview, is an economic framework that advances "exploitation and oppression."
To achieve a new system of "eco-capitalism," the steps taken to achieve the "complete revolution" of the 1960's will be followed. Not surprisingly, a key component centers upon the "redistribution of wealth."
Note: One ought not forget that wealth redistribution has long been embraced by President Obama. ObamaCare, for instance, is a redistributive instrument. Indeed, so comfortable is he with an economic framework that "spreads the wealth around," Obama once underscored the need for a Constitutional re-interpretation to achieve this end.
Indeed, despite the fact that some on the left have expressed displeasure with the President's actions, they know his is a solid ally.
Mr. Jones made clear as much when he stated that the views of the Socialist Working Families Party embody the very "framework" and disposition of the Obama White House.
And like Obama, who desires a profound transformation of American society, Van Jones similarly characterizes his eco-agenda as a movement envisioned to be "much deeper than a solar panel." But is the movement resonating beyond the committed faithful?
Currently, the public is extremely concerned about the debt, deficit, and jobs. As such, fewer Americans are susceptible to -- or convinced by -- the rhetoric of "eco-apartheid" forwarded by Jones and his ilk. This presents a challenge for the radical, but ever adaptable, they press their message...with the needed cosmetic alterations.
At the "Rebuild the Dream" Conference, Van Jones sought to arm like-minded attendees with "evidence" of America's fiscal health. He argued, like Michael Moore, that "America is not broke" and that it was a "lie" to suggest as much. The evidence to support his claim was, of course, weak, devoid of reason, and focused upon the left's usual suspects.
To Van Jones, corporate compensation, an unfair corporate tax structure, the Bush tax cuts -- that Obama extended, mind you -- and the cost of two war campaigns are central causes of our economic woes. This assessment is patently false. It willfully ignores the real drivers of our debt and deficit. That being perilous levels of government spending and borrowing. America already has a record Federal debt of 14.3 trillion and rising, up 35% since Obama took office.
We are spending away the future, a burden for those not born -- a fiscal nightmare.
Yes, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have proven costly, in both blood and treasure. But the financial burden borne pales in comparison to our government's spending on an ever growing entitlement state. Currently, nearly 60% of the U.S. federal budget is consumed by Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Worse, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), federal spending on entitlements, including ObamaCare, will more than double by 2050, eating "all tax revenues by 2049."
It is against this backdrop that Van Jones would have us believe that soaking the rich would alleviate the "suffering" of the poor. This is mere rhetoric. The fact is there are not enough wealthy Americans in the U.S. to cover the cost of the spending spree that is the federal budget.
Remember, Congress will spend 3.7 trillion this year. And even if the government took all the income from those making 250,000 dollars this year -- the liberal definition of "rich," -- it would take in only 1.4 trillion. As Bill Whittle, writer and host of Firewall underscores, using this approach would fund the government for only 141 days of the year.
While thoughts of nationalizing the assets of "the rich" surely enter the chimerical dreams of America's radicals and leftists alike, Whittle's exercise illustrates the folly of their thinking.
Van Jones' Marxist crusade is ill-conceived. Confiscatory tax policies will not expand the tax base, nor increase job opportunities for the millions eager to work. Instead, it would further discourage investment amongst those who have the capacity, the resources, and the desire to create jobs. Certainly, it is true that none of this matters to Van Jones or "progressives."
To them it is not about economic growth. Instead, it's about "fairness," even if that means less prosperity for all.
Brendon S. Peck holds a Master of Arts in history and political science from the College of Saint Rose and has completed graduate work at Columbia University. He is a freelance writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.