The Ignorance of Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year old newly elected Congresswoman from New York, demonstrates her ignorance pretty much every single time she opens her mouth.  She is said to have graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in international relations and economics, but who would guess from reading her statements or listening to her speak.  Ocasio-Cortez’s recent blathering about the immorality of a society that allows the existence of billionaires as she demands higher marginal tax rates well illustrates her cluelessness.

Ocasio-Cortez’s view of the world is not unique, however.  In a recent Salon article (see here), Amanda Marcotte announces that Ocasio-Cortez is right: “There should be no billionaires.”  Marcotte finds the idea that billionaires have been fairly rewarded in view of the massive inequality in the world “defies all common sense.”  In a nice Marxian touch, Marcotte also explains how the extremely rich have built their wealth by exploiting the “labor of people who only take home a fraction of the value they add to the companies they work for.”

Liberals speak of “merit” and seek to tie compensation to ideas of morality and fairness.  Marcotte, for example, writes about “rewarding hard work and social contributions.” But as Friedrich Hayek has explained (see here), it is impossible to ascertain the merit of anyone’s conduct because we lack the knowledge required to determine the extent to which an individual has achieved his potential and acted in a meritorious manner.  The only workable system for compensating individuals is one based on the value that persons create for others as determined by market forces, which is the only system that in reality measures one’s “social contributions.”

In a competitive market system characterized by voluntary exchange, no one gets rich unless he provides goods and services to many other people.  Ocasio-Cortez hastens to point out that billionaires such as Bill Gates are good people (how generous of her), but it’s more than that.  For all the money we have given a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs, the rest of us have received in return goods and services with greater value to us.  That’s why we make the exchange.  Their compensation is justified.

Marcotte wants higher tax rates so that “resources are distributed more equitably and ordinary people who work hard and drive economic growth can see their effort reflected in their paychecks.”  But she neglects to explain how this is to occur.  Liberals talk as if the rich keep all their money under their mattresses or buried in their backyards and that higher taxes would bring this money out into the economy.  But the assets of the wealthy are already in the economy because – surprise! – the wealthy invest their money.  Which is to say they place it at the disposal of people who use it to provide goods and services to others.

Because the assets of the wealthy already circulate in the economy, the higher taxes that Ocasio-Cortez and Marcotte demand would not add anything new to the economy.  We should understand here that liberals are doing nothing more than demanding that they, rather than other individuals operating in a free market, should control and direct certain spending.  Does anyone actually believe that an ignorant Ocasio-Cortez, acting as an investment banker, would be able to direct investments in the economy that would increase workers’ paychecks?

Because the assets of the wealthy circulate in the economy and they tend to provide goods and services of greater value than what we give them, we might wonder what drives the attacks on the wealthy.  Again, Hayek has the answer:

When we inquire into the justification of these demands, we find that they rest on the discontent that the success of some people often produces in those that are less successful, or, to put it bluntly, on envy.  The modern tendency to gratify this passion and to disguise it in the respectable garment of social justice is developing into a serious threat to freedom.

That sounds about right.

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Authoritarian Propaganda

In a recent column in the Washington Post, Steven Pearlstein questions whether someone such as Steve Schwarzman, co-founder of the Blackstone Group, deserve his extraordinary compensation ($786.5 million in 2018) (see here).  Of course, the ultra-liberal Pearlstein’s answer is no.  He denies the economic theory that the marketplace objectively determines what a person contributes to economic output, which would provide a standard to measure and justify compensation.

Rather, Pearlstein liberal-splains that markets are “social constructs” with rules and norms that are “politically and socially” determined.  Duh.  The government is obviously involved when it establishes the legal framework within which individuals are free to pursue their interests as they create value for others.  But Pearlstein uses his “social construct” epiphany to imply that because the government properly creates the framework for economic activity, any and all government intervention in the economy is similarly appropriate.  This is false.

A system that sets up individuals and firms to direct economic activity within their areas of expertise and to coordinate their efforts through prices in a free market is fundamentally different from a system in which government officials and politicians attempt to directly manage economic activity.  Not to mention that we know from experience that societies characterized by the first approach enjoy greater prosperity and equality than those that are more centrally controlled.  These approaches are mutually exclusive and Pearlstein is wrong to confuse the two.

In claiming that everything is political, Pearlstein is able to call for compensation based not on the value that one creates for others in a free market, but rather on obeying the wishes of liberals like Pearlstein.  For Pearlstein, compensation should be determined by what society (i.e., Pearlstein) considers to be “fair and just.”  Attempting to fix each individual’s position based on some idea of moral merit shows that Pearlstein would benefit by reviewing Friedrich Hayek’s discussion of value and merit in Hayek’s book The Constitution of Liberty.

Hayek points out that in a free system, it is “neither desirable nor practicable that material rewards should be made generally to correspond to what men recognize as merit.”  The idea of merit is too vague and impossible to ascertain and implement:  “merit is not a matter of the objective outcome but of subjective effort.”  A free society is simply not in a “position to judge the merit” of anyone’s achievements.

Pearlstein admits that he does not know of a more objective system than a market-based one for determining compensation.  In reality, market-based value creation is objective in the only way that is workable.  Pearlstein dismisses market-based arguments as nothing more than “free-market ideology,” but we might more appropriately view  Pearlstein’s writing as so much authoritarian propaganda designed to destroy the liberty that creates prosperity in the first place.

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Teaching Anti-White Racism to Black Children

There are constant calls from black activists and white liberals for America to have a “conversation” about race, but a genuine conversation cannot begin until these liberals acknowledge that culture rather than racism or slavery is the primary reason for the plight of a large segment of the black population.  Rather than exploring this truth, however, teachers in primarily black public schools in St. Louis, such as Erika Whitfield, are mostly training their students to be anti-police, anti-white racists.

Whitfield, who teaches language arts to seventh graders, claims that her students develop their own “conclusions and inferences” based on the truth (see here), but we might question what Whitfield calls the truth.  Her classroom is adorned with a Black Lives Matter sign and a poster of Angela Davis, a black left-wing radical who purchased the guns used in a courtroom shootout in 1970 that left four dead including the judge (see here). With heroes like this, it is unlikely that Whitfield has any clue about the truth.

Whitfield’s uses Ferguson as an example of police brutality, yet Ferguson was the lie of the year.  Studies show that the high profile police shootings of the last few years are aberrations, not examples of systemic police racism. But it doesn’t appear that Whitfield discusses these studies with her students. It’s also unlikely that she discusses studies showing that blacks are not profiled when 25% of speeders are black and only 23% of those stopped are black (see here). Rather than driving while black, it’s more a matter of driving while speeding.

Although she doesn’t teach history, the “middle passage” (see here) apparently is on Whitfield’s classroom agenda. But again, we shouldn’t expect her to point out that Muslims worked the slave trade for centuries before the Europeans or that Africans originally captured those who were enslaved or that it was white people who abolished slavery.  No, to teach these truths would disappoint Angela Davis and the BLM mobs that Whitfield idolizes.  Whitfield fancies herself a good teacher, but is simply a propagandist.

And we probably can’t expect Whitfield to encourage her students to work hard to develop the necessary skills to earn a living.  That would be acting white. Liberals lately have smeared two law professors as white supremacists because they suggested that America return to the bourgeois cultural values of the 1950s (see here).  Never mind that these values helped create the greatest prosperity for the greatest number of people in the history of the world.  All that counts for liberals and black activists like Whitfield is that these practices and traditions evolved over generations among the cultures of – gasp! – white Europeans.

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The NFL Is Broken

The most aggravating aspect of the NFL players’ actions this past weekend is that the players are spreading a lie.  White liberals, Black Lives Matter, and the media have publicized a number of police shootings over the last few years in order to create the impression that black men are routinely gunned down by racist police forces across the country.  In a nation of 325 million people, however, these instances do not represent the norm, but are aberrations.  Studies, such as that done by Harvard’s Roland Fryer, have found no racial bias in police shootings.  The players need to educate themselves.

Another annoying aspect of the “protests” is that the political posturing is occurring when the players are at their jobs.  Most normal people, such as the fans who finance the NFL, could not get away with this conduct while at work.  Liberals praise Google when the company fires an engineer who doesn’t follow the party line, but suddenly discover the First Amendment if someone suggests that the NFL discipline its employees.  But liberals need not worry about discipline, the league’s owners and management lack the backbone to enforce its current rules which require players to respectfully stand for the national anthem.

The players also continue the general lie that African Americans are oppressed by a white majority in this country.  Liberals and black activists demand a conversation on race, mostly meaning that white people should apologize for being white.  But the conversation that is needed is one in which the liberals and activists acknowledge that the problem is not racism, but has cultural roots.  The starting point is to admit that a significant subset of African Americans are simply uncivilized.  Once they come to terms with this fact, we might begin to discuss how to fix the problem.

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When Hillary Clinton Strokes Out, Bill Would Step In, Not Tim Kaine

Of course liberals immediately began misrepresenting the recent dust-up between Megyn Kelly and Newt Gingrich on Fox News (see here), claiming that the exchange was another example of Republicans attacking women. In reality, Gingrich did nothing more than complain that Kelly was focusing on sex rather than policy when she wanted Gingrich to label Donald Trump a sexual predator. Hardly an attack on women, but liberals apparently are so fearful of a Trump victory that they intend to keep up their lies.

When Kelly replied she was fascinated not by sex, but with the protection of women, she opened the door for Gingrich to bring in Bill Clinton, which he did. Kelly is worried about protecting women, but has no misgivings about a creditably accused rapist like Bill Clinton getting back into the White House. At one point, Gingrich dared Kelly to use the words: “Bill Clinton, sexual predator.” Kelly refused and countered with the typical lame argument that Bill Clinton is “not on the ticket.”

Excuse me, but in 1992, Bill and Hillary campaigned as a package deal. Back then, Hillary announced that she was not going to stay home baking cookies. Rather, she would serve as co-president with Bill after the election. Two for the price of one. And there’s no reason to think it would be different this time. In fact, Hillary has already stated that Bill would oversee the economy (because, you know, he’s so brilliant). Bill Clinton indeed is on the ballot, folks.

The worst aspect of the Clinton package is that Hillary is not in good health. She probably will stroke out at some point during her term and when she becomes incapacitated, the sexual predator will take over. Now we might think that under the Constitution, the vice president would fill in, but we should think again. After all, no self-respecting liberal pays any attention to the Constitution or the rule of law. Not only would Bill take charge, but we are unlikely to ever know about it. Our media can be counted on to do a cover-up the likes of which we’ve never seen before. One that would make Woodrow Wilson’s wife proud.

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Trump Is No Worse Than Bill And Hillary Clinton

Liberals are falling all over themselves these days in their pretend outrage over Donald Trump’s comments and actions, most of which took place decades ago. Even Republicans are cutting and running from Trump after his “vulgar” language during a conversation with Billy Bush came to light this week. But in this election, we must make a decision between two unappealing candidates and the question remains:  is Trump worse than the Clintons? The answer is no.

Liberal such as Joe Biden are calling Trump’s statements a sexual assault, which is pretty bizarre given that Trump is running against Hillary Clinton.  Has Biden and everyone else forgotten that Hillary is married to accused rapist Bill Clinton? There’s a lengthy list of women alleging sexual assault by Bill Clinton beginning in 1969 and running up to 1993 (see here). And this doesn’t include his sexual abuse of a young White House intern in the Oval office itself. And during all of this, Hillary not only supported her husband, but attacked the credibility of his accusers. It was a tag team effort against these women – first Bill and then Hillary. Trump would seem to win on this issue.

Before this latest media derangement, liberals attacked Trump because his businesses lost over $900 million in the mid-90s, and as a result, he may not have paid income taxes for a number of years. We have to say “may” because the New York Times has no evidence, and speculated that the ability to carry the losses forward helped Trump in later years. In any event, even small businesses can carry losses forward and the policy properly recognizes that business cycles may extend beyond any one calendar year. As senators, neither Clinton nor Tim Kaine attempted to change the carry-forward rule because, you know, it’s reasonable.

Speaking of finances, we should note that the Clintons are among the 1%, yet have created nothing of value to justify their wealth. Let’s see, there’s Bill Gates, Steve Jobs . . . Bill and Hillary Clinton? Hah. We know the kind of value that Gates and Jobs have created (by the way, we can add Mitt Romney and even Donald Trump to the list of the rich who create value), but the Clintons can’t hold a candle to any of these guys. Giving speeches doesn’t do it. The Clintons are economic parasites and the fact that firms have paid more than $200,000 for Hillary’s idiocies contains more than a whiff of corruption. So Trump seems to win on this issue also.

Although Trump wins on these two “character” issues, no one knows what policies he might follow as president. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that he falls short of Clinton. After all, the policies of the Obama administration have succeeded in reducing economic growth in the U.S. to about 60% of the norm since 1945. Remarkably, Obama did this on the heels of a major recession where recovery should have been at double the normal growth rate. Clinton promises more of the same, even suggesting that Slick Willie will oversee the economy. So, if Hillary is elected, we probably shouldn’t be surprised when the growth rate hits zero. Hard to see how that makes her better than Trump. (And let’s not even talk about the foreign policy disaster that Clinton helped create and will continue).

Liberals celebrate the possibility that Trump’s candidacy will destroy the Republican party, but if Clinton is elected, it may be the Democrats who are destroyed. When the growth rate goes negative after three terms of liberal control of the presidency, the voters may decide that enough is enough. The Democrats may not see the presidency again for decades. Of course, liberals are working hard to import voters to support their welfare state, but an open border policy may not be enough. The demise of liberalism is the silver lining in the repulsive prospect of a sickly Hillary and Bill Clinton getting back into the White House.

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Kaepernick Is Just Another Useful Idiot

Colin Kaepernick apparently fancies himself as the second coming of Martin Luther King, but sitting out the national anthem during San Francisco’s preseason football game on August 26 was more like the second coming of Bozo the Clown.  Here we saw a surreal spectacle of a black multimillionaire claiming that America oppresses African-Americans while playing on the same field with other black multimillionaires.

It’s especially hilarious how even conservatives claim that Kaepernick has a “right” to express his opinion. Last I heard, Kaepernick is employed by the 49ers and the NFL and his “protest” took place at a game, which is to say while he was at work. For normal people, engaging in political posturing while at the office or on the assembly line would earn more than a rebuke from their employer. But we shouldn’t expect anything from a spineless NFL – this is the same league that did nothing when players for the St. Louis Rams did their “hands up, don’t shoot” lie a few years ago.

Kaepernick’s football skills are declining and now we have evidence that his mental acuity isn’t much better. Black activists and their enablers, including the media and President Obama himself, have done a good job lying about the police. But that’s no excuse for Kaepernick. It would be very easy for him to learn the facts about police shootings. He need only check out just about anything written by Heather Mac Donald at the Manhattan Institute or he might look at the recent study by Roland Fryer, the black Harvard economist, which found no racial bias in police shootings (see here).

Fryer stated that the results of his study were the “most surprising” of his career. Which is odd in so far as other studies have yielded the same result (again, see the aforementioned Heather Mac Donald). It seems that liberals are often surprised by the results of studies that refute the racist or profiling narrative. Liberals were so surprised by the late 1990s study about alleged profiling by the New Jersey state police that the DOJ tried to bury the results. Rather then proving the profiling allegation, the study showed that African-Americans, who made up 14% of the population, accounted for 25% of the speeders, but were only stopped 23% of the time. Oops. Oh well, the simple desire of liberals to cast America as the land of racism is enough to continue the lies.

Now Kaepernick is suggesting that he might work as a “social activist” if the 49ers cut him from the team. From the Super Bowl to Social Justice Bozo. Sounds like a plan – he would make a great useful idiot for Black Lives Matter.

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