Who Has Done More to Better the Human Condition, Obama or Gates?

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In the political world of the U.S. there are almost daily calls for the evil rich to pay more taxes to support the government. Barack Obama is fond of saying the millionaires and billionaires do not pay their “fair share, ” while refusing to precisely define what is their fair share.

What must be concluded is by fair share Obama and the other politicians mean they want substantially more money, maybe an unlimited amount. According to the Wall Street Journal, in the 2000s, the top 5% of wage earners averaged paying 28.4% of their income in taxes and paid 40.3% of all income taxes collected. According to Obama, they still do not pay their fair share.

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Obama also rails against corporations and their tax breaks which he calls “subsidies.” He said these tax breaks should be ended, calling them corporate welfare. He also criticizes companies for opening facilities overseas, thus depriving Americans of employment opportunities on American soil. Meanwhile his policies make it more and more expensive to hire American workers, thus encouraging corporations to look overseas.

Obama claims to be the champion of the little people, the poor, the downtrodden, the shrinking middle class. He promises them cash and prizes extracted from the evil rich and corporations. Well and good, but how has he actually preformed?

The centerpiece of his first term in office was the Affordable Healthcare Act. It was supposed to cut healthcare costs for everyone using a Byzantine system that so far has resulted in more than 14,000 pages of new rules and regulations. The truth is neither Obama nor a single member of congress had even read the bill before they passed it. Result: Last year health care premiums went up 14%.

Obama also promised to lower unemployment significantly, and has spent some 4 trillion USD to stimulate the economy. Result: The rate of unemployment has stayed around 8% for the last 4 years, while 8.5 million gave up looking for work and dropped out of the labor force. If these 8.5 million were included, the unemployment rate would be more than 14%.

This led me to thinking about Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft. Who has benefited humanity more, the president of the most successful country in the world, or the Chairman of one of the most successful corporations in the world? Obama or Gates?

Both Obama and Gates were born in 1961. That’s where the similarity ends.

Gates dropped out of college and founded Microsoft. He took a chance with his life, and ended up being wildly successful. Obama took the safe path of working for others, most particularly government, the safest of employers. Though he was very successful within the welcoming arms of the government.

Obama is a cog in the machinery of government. Maybe a very important cog, but a cog nonetheless. Gates is a very successful stand alone entrepreneur, and arguably the most important single businessman in the last 100 years.

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Microsoft’s products have enabled many to start successful businesses of their own, save money by being able to shop and plan more efficiently, enjoy their free time, communicate, make money by developing and selling software applications, and generally work smarter and more efficiently. Obama’s government impedes these things by adding rules, restrictions, taxes and fees to nearly every aspect of business and life.

Windows based, or Windows compatible products, have been partially responsible for enabling communications that led to the ousting of dictators and despots all over the world. Obama leads from behind the French

Microsoft employs nearly 100,000 people, more than half in the U.S. with the rest spread out all over the world. The work they do creates wealth. Obama’s government employs many more people, but as government employees, they create no wealth. They only consume the wealth created by others.

Microsoft made millionaires of many of its employees, and billionaires of a few as it created capital with the production and sale of its products. Obama and his government have not created a single cent of new capital, but to be fair, they have made a few people wealthy with their crony capitalism schemes.

Obama forcibly takes money from certain citizens to redistribute to others. Gates started a charitable foundation to voluntarily give his wealth away in ways he decides will help the most. Leading by example, Gates has successfully convinced Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and maybe others to join him.

Obama gave the world the Chevy Volt and Solyndra. Gates gave the world Windows.

Microsoft stock is trading around $27. per share. If a person had bought the stock when initially offered, it would have cost about .09 per share after figuring in splits and inflation. Thousands (millions?) of people have bettered their lives by investing in Microsoft. If someone had bought government bonds at the same time as the Microsoft IPO, after taxes and inflation, the value of their holdings today would be lower than the initial investment. Not all Obama’s fault, but he did nothing to correct things.

Obama is quick to step in front of TV cameras to take credit for this or that, no matter how tangentially was his actual involvement. The killing of Osama bin Laden is a good example. Gates works largely unheralded and purposely unnoticed as has gives away his fortune. Ronald Reagan once said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” Obama does not agree.

So who has done more to improve the lot of humanity? Despite his grandiose claims and endless self puffery, Obama has done little. Gates wins hands down.

The State of the Union Speech

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The United States constitution says “(The President) shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” That has turned into the State of the Union speech which is usually delivered in January or February each year.

While the subject of the speech is not specified, it usually involves statements about the condition of the country and the president’s legislative outline for the year to come. This year’s address followed that pattern.

One of the president’s most ambitious proposals was to raise the minimum wage. He pointed out that a family of four can not live with one or both parents making the minimum wage. He failed to point out that even at his proposed new level, the family of four would still be living in poverty. He ignored the question of whether or not a family earning minimum wage should even have a family, and why it is society’s responsibility to save them from the consequences of their irresponsible behavior.

I’m sure the Obama apologists would say it’s for the innocent children. Everything is for the children. But Obama ignored the generous government aid already given this mythical family, such as food stamps, housing assistance, meals for the kids at their school, fuel assistance, WIC, and a legion of other programs.

Most people work minimum wage jobs when they are young and first enter the work force. Occasionally there may be other reasons for taking a low rung position, like being laid off. Unless they are lazy or incompetent, most people quickly pass on to higher paid positions. A person may start as a fry cook at minimum wage. If he doesn’t burn the fries, he will get wage increases and maybe a promotion to hamburger maker, then cashier, then assistant manager.

Right now there is 25% unemployment among young people. Making hiring them more costly will hardly bring that number down.

The Fix-It-First program was introduced. To illustrate his point about how badly the American infrastructure is in need of attention, the president cited the figure of 70,000 bridges needing repair. Fix-It-First would supposedly address this and many similar problems.

The 2008 trillion dollar stimulus was supposed to fix the infrastructure. But only only 10% ended up going to what are called “shovel ready” jobs like repairing bridges. And instead of being a one year injection into the economy, the stimulus has been built into the budget for the last 4 years. So the government has spent 4 trillion dollars and we still have 70,000 bridges that need attention? Does anyone other than the clapping seals that are congressional Democrats think throwing even more borrowed money at the problem will solve it?

Instead of cutting spending, Obama proposed new taxes and fees. The government’s work is too vital for it to have to tighten its belt like ordinary citizens must do in tough economic times. Taxing, borrowing money, printing money and spending money will cure everything. After four years of this, unemployment is higher than it was when Obama took office while the economy is growing at about 1%.

The president mentioned ending taxpayer subsidies for drug companies. Drug companies do not get subsidies. They get a tax break for research and development costs. A subsidy is what Obama gave Solyndra. Taking away r&d tax breaks would harm the development of new pharmaceutical products, but it plays well to his mindless constituents who are economically illiterate and hate capitalism.

Obama said his health care law was slowing the rise in health care costs. I Googled “health care costs” and didn’t find a single article or report that supports this contention.

Obama gave himself pats on the back for immigration reform, housing reform, gun control, and and he laid out a veritable grab bag of statist ideas, all of which would be made possible under his superb leadership at no cost to the taxpayers.

The most disturbing aspect of the speech was Obama’s vision of himself. One commentator noted he used the word ”I” 56 times. Clearly he thinks he has all answers to all problems. Obama has mentioned several times that if congress doesn’t give him what he wants, he’ll go around it. Besides being unconstitutional this is an indication of megalomania.

Obama painted a bleak vision of society and the future unless his plans are implemented. Under his guidance he promised the emergence of paradise. But in his utopia the individual suffers. In Obamaland the individual must be stripped of his individualism. A person’s loyalty must be to the state, not family, not self, or church.

Utopianism is irrational. It ignores human nature and human history. With utopianists like Obama the past is ignored. Instead everything starts today with a new program, a new prediction and new promises. Obama talks of little more substantial than hope.

The mastermind is ruled by delusional visions of his greatness. His own ambition is substituted for those of the masses. His governance is crafted from his own fantasies. In the short term some may benefit, but over time society corrodes.

There is a website called regulations.gov where proposed new regulations are posted for public comment. In the next three days 150 regulations are planned to be enacted. In the next 30 days there are 724. 1046 are scheduled for the next three months. Each of these rules takes away freedom and individualism. It is part of the process of subjugation.

Obama instinctively knows if he is seen as infallible, people will be willing to follow him. He drones on about the mythical future, not reality. He talks of little more substantial than hope and change. He wants more taxes, and regulations. Less individualism. If he gets his way paradise will arrive. To get there he must strip the individual of uniqueness. So Obama assigns each citizen a group identity based on race, gender, religion, or income.

He divides the people and pits them against each other so they can be more easily manipulated. Obama has given us the “War on Women,” the evil rich meme, and he frequently attacks corporations. This is class warfare at its finest and most destructive.

If only I am allowed to force my vision on the country, Obama thinks, everything will be good. This ignores history where time after time similar schemes have failed miserably. But Obama is sure he is wiser than those who came before him. He believes he can do things right. In the USSR, Stalin said Lenin didn’t do things right, but promised he would, and 50 million starved. Then Khrushchev said the same thing about his predecessors. In the mean time the people suffered for 70 years while waiting for the promised bright future that never came.

Obama is bent on improving the lot of the malcontent, the miscreant, and the failure, while tearing down the successful and happy by imposing crushing regulation and heavy taxation on them. Equality in outcome equates to equality in misery. The general good is defined by the state, not by the individual. This is Obama’s hope for America. In his State of the Union speech he laid out part of the plan for his top down iron fisted system.

 

The Liberal Betrayal of Liberalism

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It’s impossible to pin an exact date on the emergence of a political and social philosophy, but most scholars agree that classical liberalism began with the French revolution of 1789 and came to full bloom with the European revolutions of 1848. Then the authority of the monarchy and the church were thrown off and the individual emerged supreme.

In every line of philosophical thought there are many schools. While there never was a single strain of liberalism, classical liberalism was based on the belief that most people are basically good and can be counted on to do the right thing. They also embraced capitalism and its self correcting mechanisms, had a deep respect for progress, and a faith in science.

As the United States came of age after the Civil War, classical liberalism was one of the more influential guiding principles of government, embracing as it did the theory of individual freedom or rugged individualism. The classical liberals viewed the state as the enemy of liberty. Liberalism embraced laisez-fair constitutionalism, individualism, the free market, and the free exchange of ideas. It was the function of government to protect these concepts.

Gradually classical liberalism began to change into il-liberal statism. In America the transformation began under President T. Roosevelt with his anti-big business programs and positions. He was followed by President Wilson and his New Freedom agenda. In Europe the utopian statist fantasy emerged in the forms of National Socialism, fascism, and communism.

The belief that man is inherently good morphed into the belief of the perfectibility of man, and the belief it is the duty of the government to force perfection onto those who resist for the good of the larger society. Liberal Socialism, communism, Marxism or any political utopian ideology often requires a massive use of force against individuals. The individual is born to serve the collective and the individual must cooperate or be imprisoned or murdered.

The jump from liberalism to liberal authoritarian, or utopian, statism is most visibly seen in the old USSR. The Soviet Empire was a laboratory for many utopian fantasies. After years of suffering, decline, and millions of deaths, the people threw it off. Still the idea of the attainable utopia persists. In the west the jump has been progressing at a much slower rate than the Russian Revolution. The fantasy of human perfectibility has not died.

The modern American Democrat Party has evolved from liberalism to liberal utopian statism over the last 100 years. The utopian statists considers government a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender, or class). They have come to believe if only they enact enough laws, rules, regulations, and bans, human nature and society will be perfect.

Statists believe people are basically bad, evil, or stupid. They can’t be counted on to decide which light bulbs to use or how much water their toilets should flush. The government dictates what color you can paint your house and what plants you can grow in its yard. The government and laws should control how people live their lives.

Liberal statists reject liberty. Liberty is too messy, too sloppy. Instead they work toward the regimentation of society. Uniformity. Central planning. Statists are turning the people from sovereigns into subjects. Instead of being ruled by a monarch or a dictator, liberal statists enjoy being ruled by the amorphous concept of government. They believe that daily chaos and tragedy can be conquered by human intellect and government power.

In addition to eschewing individualism, the liberal statists reject free markets, limited government, and other tenants of classical liberalism. liberals tend to see science as a tool for their political agendas instead of progress. Statists look for collective solutions to individual problems, and whenever necessary, these so-called solutions are imposed on the people, often against their will.

A good example of a statist approach to a problem can be seen in the response to the school shooting in Connecticut. Liberal statists have cried out for more gun laws, forced registration of all firearms, restrictions on sales, etc. The underlying principles running through all of this proposed legislation is effects law abiding citizens almost exclusively, and it would not have stopped the tragic school murders, but it furthers the regimentation of society and diminishes the individual.

The tolerant liberal society has been replaced by intolerance. Success is trashed. Law abiding citizens are punished for no reason. There has been no outcry about the recent call for everyone to register guns. Or install black boxes in cars. Or compile a national medical database. Each of these and hundreds of other proposals helps chip away at liberty.

An off-shoot of liberal statism is social-welfarism. Basically it is a philosophy that says all members of a society are responsible for all others. Like statism, it is usually forced on the population by a government elite. The only way to equalize rewards is to take from those who have earned and give to those who have not. And that requires the kind of redistributionist regime the America’s Founding Fathers would have risen up against. As Obama’s American utopia rises, the old republic falls.

Liberal social-welfarism is based on the notion of equality. But the American Union was not founded on the principle of equality, when equality. The word “equality” is not mentioned in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or the Federalist Papers. The word “liberty” was mentioned hundreds of times in these documents.

What has replaced classical liberalism in today’s world? Not conservatism. Like liberal statism, today’s conservatism seeks to impose its values on citizens. The libertarian philosophy is emerging for those who do not worship at the altar of the government.

Libertarianism seems to be where classical liberals are drawn. Libertarianism a political philosophy which advocates minimizing coercion and emphasizes freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. Libertarians generally advocate a society with a greatly reduced state or in its extreme form no political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals.

 

Living in China. How To Be Corrupt.

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Over the past few months several corrupt Chinese officials have been exposed in the online media. A few have been caught by party mechanisms, and by other means. Now with the official Party crackdown on corruption advanced by Xi Jinping, it is time to offer some advice to cadre who either are dishonest, or intend to be dishonest.

 

In the interest of promoting harmony between the governed and the government, here are a few things corrupt government officials might consider.

1. Be careful of your watches, cigarettes, and clothing. This is the number one rule because it seems that being photographed or videoed wearing expensive accessories is the way many investigations begin. Remember, this is the age when everyone has a camera phone. Once your picture wearing a 150,000 RMB watch is taken, it is just a matter of seconds before it’s spread all over the internet.

2. Don’t involve your extended family in your illicit activities. It is true that blood is thicker than water, but some of your family members may be even more corrupt that you, or maybe just stupid. For example, it is probably not smart to put an apartment you received as a gift from a developer in exchange for demolishing a few peasant huts in the name of your younger brother’s retarded son. Nothing good can come of it.

3. Don’t have a girlfriend/boyfriend. They tend to take breakups badly and can hold knowing information about your activities over your head. If you must have an extra marital relationship, don’t talk about your scheming, under the table dealings, or wealth. It’s bad enough to have to share these things with your spouse. No need to widen your circle of potential snitches.

4. When viewing a bus accident, bridge collapse, train wreck, or other disaster, don’t smile even if one of your rivals was killed in the unfortunate incident. If apologizing for polluting a river after receiving a hefty payment from a chemical company, act contrite. If you are seen as haughty or uncaring it will attract attention to your entire job performance. There will be plenty of opportunity to count your money or gloat over your rival’s demise in your private office.

5. Don’t be ostentatious. If the urge to buy an expensive timepiece is overwhelming, don’t try to scratch the itch by wearing a knock-off instead of the genuine article. It may call attention and unwanted scrutiny to your timepiece. And even if you show it’s fake, you will have drawn attention to yourself. If you just love to feel the heft of an expensive gold and diamond timepiece on your wrist, buy one using cash while on an overseas trip. Carry it home in a diplomatic pouch, and only wear it while looking at yourself in your bedroom mirror.

6. Drive a modest car. If your office provides a car for you, opt for a middle of the price range or lower end model. From time to time offer a ride to a crippled old lady you see walking on the street. Doing this in the presence of people with cell phone cameras is especially helpful. It makes for great public relations.

7. Don’t try to hide your ill gotten gains within China. Anonymous, overseas bank accounts and other financial instruments like bearer bonds were custom made for hiding swag. Keeping tangible assets such as unregistered gold bars or high quality diamonds in a safe deposit box in Switzerland is another made to order prescription for hiding stealth wealth. There is no paper trail leading back to you from these types of investments.

8. Limit your greed. If you make a score, take the money and run. The longer you keep playing the game, the more likely it is you will be caught. Get out while you can. After all, how many millions do you need to live happily ever after on a tropical beach in the Caribbean?

9. Don’t let success go to your head. It is human nature to get increasingly careless the longer the game is played. Be self-aware enough to admit you have limitations.

10. Know your place. Never steal more than your boss, and if you do, keep quiet about it.

11. In some aspects of life, such as show business, there is a saying, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” In the world of political corruption, the opposite is true. In public life it’s best to be seen as an anonymous drone slaving tirelessly for the good of the people until you retire to an expensive apartment in one of the most upscale areas of Paris.

12. If your child is getting married, turning 21, graduating university, or otherwise celebrating some event, don’t throw a giant party in the most expensive hotel in town. The little people will notice the caravan of your finely dressed friends arriving in their expensive cars and question how you could afford to sponsor such an event on your 10,000 RMB/month salary.

13. If your son or daughter needs a job, don’t pull strings or call in favors to secure a favorable position for them. Let them sink or swim on their own merits. Doing this may help them build some of the personal character you find lacking in yourself.

 

From Today’s Pravda

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The following is an excerpt from an article by Xavier Lerma. The full piece is found here: http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/07-11-2012/122728-obama_president-0/

The Reason Obama Is President

The Democrats and Republicans are notorious for wanting to stay in power. Their worshipers get their education from TV and their friends. In the future, after it becomes obvious that their plan failed, these “useful idiots” will still blame Bush for the economy, overlook Obama as they overlooked Clinton’s mistakes or think their vote counts and they actually have freedom while approving of wars overseas. Such people are the product of America‘s decaying society whose reality has been warped by drugs and other selfish pleasures. America has gradually become worse from the drugs, rock and roll of the 60′s and 70′s to the drugs and rap music of today. The communists won while Americans smoked pot.

I Stumbled upon Pravda

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A couple of days ago I stumbled upon Pravda, the ex-mouthpiece of the communist party of the former USSR. One of its stories was referred by Drudge.

It was an eye opening experience. Some of the stories included Obama phenomenon: Hope and disappointment, Puppet State America, and Death of the West and Decline of the East. All of these stories were written from a perspective that would be considered ultra right wing in America today.

What has happened to the leftist Russian media? Did it move to the right or has American media moved to the left? I suspect it was a little of both, but it is the US media that changed the most.

The scary part of this transition is that the US media is leading the public and politicians down the road that the statists in Russia tried in the past and rejected.

 

Equality of Opportunity vs. Opportunity of Outcome

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Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.” Alexis de Tocqueville.

With the re-election of Barack Obama on November 6, the U.S. officially voted for itself to change from a society where equality of opportunity is no longer highly valued. Instead it decided to become a nation where equality of outcome reigns supreme.

From colonial times until recently Americans took pride in being rugged individualists. The colonists came to an unknown land to establish themselves in the land of freedom and opportunity. Most came to the colonies from Europe hardly knowing what to expect, but anxious to find out.

Most early settlers had little if any money, and America did not welcome them with a vast array of social services to keep them warm, dry, and well fed. They came with little more than determination to carve out good lives for themselves and their families.

Social Darwinism, the philosophy that the fittest members of society could, would, and should, rise to the top was widely accepted. While rising to the top, society’s winners created giant corporations and small enterprises which employed the members of the bottom layers of the country, so everyone benefitted. The system seemed to work. Everyone’s life improved.

If people fell on hard times due to sickness, accident, or other circumstances, they could usually count on aid from family, friends, and the church. There was no government safety net to catch them when they fell. The community rallied around them.

The philosophies of rugged individualism and Social Darwinism worked well for more than 200 years in America. Was it perfect? Of course not, but slowly and surely things improved for most everyone. The big improvements were the end of slavery, women’s suffrage, and the civil rights movement. But as things improved for the majority, an increasingly shrill minority began to grow. This minority was highly discontent.

This minority believed the rich got rich at the expense of the poor, and therefore owed the noble poor a share of their wealth. They believed the economy was like a pie. If someone got a large piece, the others got smaller pieces.

They were opposed by the majority who believed the pie was always expanding as the economy grew. If someone got a large piece, in a growing robust, and vibrant economy, the remaining pieces would grow larger too.

Slowly but surely the people unhappy with society began to grow in number. Their cries became ever more audible. Starting in the 1930s with the New Deal they, as a group, were strong enough to get national legislation passed.

All the while those unhappy with America as it was began to complain that the evil rich, bankers, and Wall Street were holding the rest of society back. Trade unions grew strong. Capitalism was said to be the culprit, not the solution.

In the 1960s President Johnson rammed his Great Society through congress. Combined with several civil right acts, equality under the law was established. Things looked rosy for a while, but there was a fly in the ointment.

The Great Society solved some problems, but it caused many new ones. The way the welfare laws were written led to the dissolution of families. This in turn caused a collapse of communities. Neighbors no longer helped neighbors. Instead they looked to the government. With no sense of community there were fewer restrictions on behavior. Crime went up.

The rich were not evil when it was FDR or JFK who were wealthy. In 2004 John Kerry, the richest man in the Senate, ran for president and he was not vilified for being very affluent. In fact I can’t remember when his hundreds of millions were discussed in a negative way at any time during his failed campaign. By 2012 being rich had become being evil. Romney was vilified for being rich, and Obama’s campaign constantly decried the rich for not doing their “fair share” to help the nation.

No longer is it acceptable to say different people have different abilities and should expect different outcomes in life. Instead of hard work, intelligence, and a little luck being the reasons for success, the malcontents blamed the roll of the dice. In other words, people were rich and successful because they were lucky. Of course this philosophy became very popular with many in American society.

In 2008 for the first time ever America turned toward a candidate who promised to bring the lower classes up while tearing down the achievers. He promised to take from the achievers and give to the non-achievers, thus leveling society. He made great strides at keeping this promise during his first term.

In 2012 Barack Obama was re-elected president despite presiding over the worst economy since the 1930s. His failure to cut the deficit in 2008 was forgotten as spending and government debt ballooned. He promised he had only begun the transformation of America, and his re-election gave him his mandate to do so. in 2012 America changed from a land of equal opportunity to a land of equality of outcome.

 

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