The Progressives' Thug Agenda

If you think that government is force, you probably don't think much of President Obama's deceptive line about government being the name for things we do together. “Government is the name of things we do by force,” you retort.

But everyone understands that government is all about force, so we lie about it. When we propose more government we either claim we are fighting injustice, or we hide the fact that we are advancing a thug agenda based on force; we say it's for the children.

So let's look at the recently published “Progressive Agenda” and see what we find.

The agenda is subtitled “To combat income inequality” so right away you know that we are in for a fight. That's what “combat” means. Why that's almost as bad as Sarah Palin putting targets on congressional districts! How could these establishment liberals use such eliminationist rhetoric!

The first section of the Progressive Agenda is labeled “Lift the Floor for Working People.” It includes raising the “federal minimum wage” to “$15/hour,” enhance worker's right to organize, “comprehensive immigration reform,” preventing “exploitation of low-wage workers,” and opposing “trade deals that hand more power to corporations.”

You can see why progressives adhere to a fundamentalist faith against economics, because anyone that has half a clue knows that all these proposals are combating each other. If you raise the minimum wage then you are going to be making low-skilled minority workers unemployed. Science tells us that union workers only get increased wages at the expense of other, unorganized, workers. And immigration reform is going to increase the number of workers competing for jobs in the formal sector. Who knows what the net result of such a farrago of superstitious catchphrases would be?

Then there's the second section, “Support Working Families.” It calls for “paid sick leave,” “paid family leave,” “expand Earned Income Tax Credit”, universal “Pre-K, after-school programs and childcare,” and refinance of “student loan debt.”

The first two are simple burdens on the backs of small employers; the EITC expansion ought to be folded into a comprehensive program to reduce the marginal tax rate on low-income workers, and the Pre-K stuff is simply the final step in institutionalizing children in government custodial facilities from birth to college.

The final section is “Tax Fairness.” It's pretty esoteric, proposing to end the “carried interest rule,” stonking companies that “ship jobs overseas,” implementing the “Buffet Rule,” and ending CEO “performance pay” writeoffs. You wouldn't know from this that the top 20 percent of federal taxpayers pay 40 percent of the federal income tax.

If you reduce all this farrago of poll-tested nonsense down to a sauce, you realize that the progressives don't have a clue. They want to march out into the economic jungle fighting economic inequality, hacking away with their progressive machetes at poll-tested platitudes without knowing whether they are doing any good. Gimme that 1860 economics, it's Marx enough for me, as the song goes.

I just unwrapped my new copy of Charles Murray's latest, By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission, and the book fell open to page 106 and the section headed “Why It's Impossible to Contain the Demand for Government Favors in Advanced Democracies.”

That's what the Progressive Agenda is really all about. It is a demand for government favors: higher mandated wages, higher mandated benefits, more free baby-sitting. And never mind where the money is coming from; enforcement officers will deal with that.

Progressives like to talk about the glory days of good union jobs and good wages in the 1950s, and how Reagan ruined it in the 1980s. What they don't like to talk about is the 800-pound gorilla in the room. You know what it is; it's right there in the Progressive Agenda: immigration. If there's one thing that has been creating income inequality in America it is immigration. If you want to know what is hurting the low paid it is high immigration legal and illegal. It's simple supply and demand: increase the number of workers by opening the spigots on immigration and wages will go down.

And that is to say nothing of liberal “sanctuary cities.” What do you think happens if you tell the cops not to arrest illegal immigrants, liberals? Okay, I'll tell you. The illegal immigrants will compete openly for jobs with legal immigrants and citizens. They won't compete for formal sector jobs, of course, but undercut the labor market by working off the books and not paying any payroll taxes. Then, because they don't have “real jobs,” they can collect welfare as well!

The Progressive Agenda tells us that progressives really don't care about low-wage people, for their agenda is a mess of thug politics that won't really help anyone.

But progressives do care about the low-wage vote.

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