01 March 2011

A Business Wholly Mistaken

Charles Koch spouting nonsense in the WSJ today:

Years of tremendous overspending by federal, state and local governments have brought us face-to-face with an economic crisis. Federal spending will total at least $3.8 trillion this year—double what it was 10 years ago. And unlike in 2001, when there was a small federal surplus, this year's projected budget deficit is more than $1.6 trillion.

I'm not saying this is true or false--just that it's "only" rhetoric for the WSJ audience and it's nonsense...first of all, what is "overspending" in this context? Why do we spend and why are there deficits? Here's the simplest formulation I know: Governments spend on what is "necessary" to uphold the duty of Provision for the citizenry. Governments, to balance this needful spending must take in money in the form of taxes. Without appropriate taxation we fall into deficits.

There are any number of arguments for and against taxation and what indeed is "necessary" spending. There are any number of arguments for and against government period. (That government which governs least is best--right, Henry?)

However, people like Charles Koch argue from a particular motivation and it's not one that includes the welfare of the "common man" (unless he considers himself common). Let me reiterate that there are no "free markets" and all things become "cronyism" when the Capitalist amasses enough wealth to buy the officials. In reality, most of us today NEED our government to protect us from the "free market" that wants to take everything we have from us.

Digby has a fine post discussing/dissecting this opinion piece.

Whitman, from Democratic Vistas, again in Crase, I think speaking to the Tea Party mentality that the Koch's cultivate to their benefit:
The true gravitation-hold of liberalism in the United States will be a more universal ownership of property, general homesteads, general comfort--a vast, intertwining reticulation of wealth....So that, from another point of view, ungracious as it may sound, and a paradox after what we have been saying, democracy looks with suspicious, ill-satisfied eye upon the very poor, the ignorant, and on those out of business. She asks for men and women with occupations, well-off, owners of houses and acres, and with cash in the bank--and with some cravings for literature, too; and must have them, and hastens to make them.[my bold]

Perhaps, though, it's better to think of each and every single one of us in this way:

The whole object of the universe to us is the formation of character. If you think you came into being for the purpose of taking an important part in the administration of events, to guard a province of the moral creation from ruin, and that its salvation hangs on the success of your single arm, you have wholly mistaken your business. (Emerson, Journals 1828)

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