The Rich Get Richer, and Everyone's Confused

The results are in. Baby-boomer geezers like me are cleaning up with the Fed's asset bubble economy, while the working middle class is getting screwed, via regulation, student debt, and the welfare state's subsidization of idleness. 

But at least the oceans are receding and the hills are alive with the sound of music -- from wind-turbines.

So let's screw the banks and the insurance companies and buy local!

Last weekend the Wall Street Journal thoughtfully reviewed its 125 years of free-market advocacy: OK, the editors admit, the Journal got Herbert Hoover wrong.  But on the whole they've backed freedom all along and equality when it's about things like “breaking the government-enforced tyranny of Jim Crow.” The problem right now is that

President Obama and Nancy Pelosi turned to the old nostrums that government spending can conjure growth, that regulation can productively steer investment, and equality should be the main goal of economic policy.

Over at Forbes Joel Kotkin is asking “What if they gave a recovery, and the middle class were never invited?” Says he:

We’ve run an experiment under Bernanke, Bush and Obama to pump up the economy from above, and what we’ve done is squash the aspirations of those middle orders, particularly small business and the self-employed.

He is asking for good ideas from left and right on how to get the economy moving for the middle class.

Reason had the bright idea recently to run a poll to see what the millennials think of it all. The charitable thing to say is that they are confused. Millennials are in favor of Social Security privatization, cutting spending and taxes, and wealth distribution based on achievement. But they are also in favor of raising the minimum wage, guaranteeding access to health care, and increasing taxes on the rich.

Here's a contradiction. I've heard from two acquaintances at Microsoft that they are anxious to patronize small local merchants instead of the big box stores. Maybe the next step for them is to quit Microsoft and start working for a nice little software startup for a lot less money where they can maximize human contact with their coworkers and their clients.

Then there are all the liberals like Alan Colmes confused about the idea of a Republican candidate for Congress suggesting the government has a monopoly on violence. Actually, I prefer the more direct “government is force.”

It's natural for a governing class to have forgotten how they came to seize power. Liberals love to blame white males for western colonialism in Africa and the conquest of the Americas. But they don't seem to get that their Outrage Industrial Complex practices domination and colonization on ordinary Americans every day of the year. And under Obama it's got worse.

The other day I was talking to a young millennial who had just completed her master's in software engineering. She admitted to major confusion on the economic front. She'd taken the requisite macroeconomics course and couldn't make head or tail of it. Could I help clear up the confusion?

How to begin? Let's begin with the confused millennials. They want a world based on merit and achievement, but then they also want all the poll-tested welfare-state programs like guaranteed access to health care. Here's a way out of the confusion. When the government enacts programs to guarantee health care and raise minimum wages it screws up the economy. That's where macroeconomics comes in. It provides expert knowledge to help the government figure out how to smooth out the unintended consequences of its poll-tested programs. 

The problem is the American people. We want stuff, and if we can't get it from voluntary cooperation we clamor for the government to provide it. We are saying that voluntary cooperation isn't good enough, so we demand the government to use force to get us what we want. Yes, government is force, even if the liberals in the Outrage Industrial Complex get all insulted when you say so.

Here are a few ideas to clear up the confusion. For our legions of progressives: political power doesn't lead to prosperity; it just decides who gets to dominate whom. 

For the middle class: think about how the Obama economy really works. Super low interest rates that supposedly stimulate the economy just end up in the pockets of the Democrat supporters that write $30,000 checks at Obama's fundraisers. 

For the millennials: think twice before you vote for more government programs. There are a ton of people that have to be paid off before you get a dime. Guess why you are up to your ears in student debt. That money was needed to pay off Democratic-voting teachers and professors before you could get an education.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.

The results are in. Baby-boomer geezers like me are cleaning up with the Fed's asset bubble economy, while the working middle class is getting screwed, via regulation, student debt, and the welfare state's subsidization of idleness. 

But at least the oceans are receding and the hills are alive with the sound of music -- from wind-turbines.

So let's screw the banks and the insurance companies and buy local!

Last weekend the Wall Street Journal thoughtfully reviewed its 125 years of free-market advocacy: OK, the editors admit, the Journal got Herbert Hoover wrong.  But on the whole they've backed freedom all along and equality when it's about things like “breaking the government-enforced tyranny of Jim Crow.” The problem right now is that

President Obama and Nancy Pelosi turned to the old nostrums that government spending can conjure growth, that regulation can productively steer investment, and equality should be the main goal of economic policy.

Over at Forbes Joel Kotkin is asking “What if they gave a recovery, and the middle class were never invited?” Says he:

We’ve run an experiment under Bernanke, Bush and Obama to pump up the economy from above, and what we’ve done is squash the aspirations of those middle orders, particularly small business and the self-employed.

He is asking for good ideas from left and right on how to get the economy moving for the middle class.

Reason had the bright idea recently to run a poll to see what the millennials think of it all. The charitable thing to say is that they are confused. Millennials are in favor of Social Security privatization, cutting spending and taxes, and wealth distribution based on achievement. But they are also in favor of raising the minimum wage, guaranteeding access to health care, and increasing taxes on the rich.

Here's a contradiction. I've heard from two acquaintances at Microsoft that they are anxious to patronize small local merchants instead of the big box stores. Maybe the next step for them is to quit Microsoft and start working for a nice little software startup for a lot less money where they can maximize human contact with their coworkers and their clients.

Then there are all the liberals like Alan Colmes confused about the idea of a Republican candidate for Congress suggesting the government has a monopoly on violence. Actually, I prefer the more direct “government is force.”

It's natural for a governing class to have forgotten how they came to seize power. Liberals love to blame white males for western colonialism in Africa and the conquest of the Americas. But they don't seem to get that their Outrage Industrial Complex practices domination and colonization on ordinary Americans every day of the year. And under Obama it's got worse.

The other day I was talking to a young millennial who had just completed her master's in software engineering. She admitted to major confusion on the economic front. She'd taken the requisite macroeconomics course and couldn't make head or tail of it. Could I help clear up the confusion?

How to begin? Let's begin with the confused millennials. They want a world based on merit and achievement, but then they also want all the poll-tested welfare-state programs like guaranteed access to health care. Here's a way out of the confusion. When the government enacts programs to guarantee health care and raise minimum wages it screws up the economy. That's where macroeconomics comes in. It provides expert knowledge to help the government figure out how to smooth out the unintended consequences of its poll-tested programs. 

The problem is the American people. We want stuff, and if we can't get it from voluntary cooperation we clamor for the government to provide it. We are saying that voluntary cooperation isn't good enough, so we demand the government to use force to get us what we want. Yes, government is force, even if the liberals in the Outrage Industrial Complex get all insulted when you say so.

Here are a few ideas to clear up the confusion. For our legions of progressives: political power doesn't lead to prosperity; it just decides who gets to dominate whom. 

For the middle class: think about how the Obama economy really works. Super low interest rates that supposedly stimulate the economy just end up in the pockets of the Democrat supporters that write $30,000 checks at Obama's fundraisers. 

For the millennials: think twice before you vote for more government programs. There are a ton of people that have to be paid off before you get a dime. Guess why you are up to your ears in student debt. That money was needed to pay off Democratic-voting teachers and professors before you could get an education.

Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.