Friday, January 23, 2009

Tax reporter reveals fascist side.

David Cay Johnston used to be a reporter for The New York Times, if his latest article is any indication of his blatant biases then it is a good thing he is no longer writing for the paper. Johnston's beat was "taxes" and when it comes to taxes he loves them. He wants more and more taxes and he wants them to go after the people he finds it acceptable to hate: the well-off.

From the pages of the ostensibly "objective" Times Johnston has moved the openly Far Left pages of Mother Jones. He presents the usual invented "facts" that average income in America has declined and that those at the bottom have gotten poorer --- even as their life spans increase, the size of their homes increase, and the "things" they own increase.

His one complaint with some validity is that as people gained equity in their homes in recent years they spent it. He offers the bullshit explanation that they spent the equity to deal "with the sheer impossibility of making ends meet." Rubbish. Most Americans were not, as he seems to imply, on the verge of starvation. They used equity for all sorts of things -- including large screen plasma TVs, new computers, and new cars. The spent vast sums of money on movies, restaurants and vacations. Of course, Mother Jones, being on the extreme Left wants to pretend that vast numbers of Americas have been on the edge of starvation for decades. And faux journalists like Johnston exist to provide the them the ammunition for their class warfare.

Another use of equity in America has been to purchase newer, bigger homes. In the America where I grew up the typical suburban home was much, much smaller than those of today. And when we consider that families were often much larger than today the amount of space per person, per dwelling, has exploded. And a large amount of the housing bubble we saw was the result of home owners using the equity in one house to purchase a second house.

Johnston is right as well, when he complains about debt payments, both individual and governmental. But Johnston doesn't recommend fiscal restraint at all. He is opposed to it. He wants spending to expanded even further. He wants "universal health care" so that the people who deliver the mail are running health care. Johnston's main goal is to see the government confiscate even larger sums of wealth from the private sector. On that Johnston is an ideologue not a reporter.

Johnston claims that there are "myriad ways in which our economy has been recalibrated to take from the poor, the middle class, and even the affluent and give to large corporations and the very richest of the rich." I wouldn't disagree but Johnston is just uninformed if he thinks this is new. Galbriel Kolko outline exactly how that was done during the Progressive Era, a century ago. And it was done because economic illiterates like Johnston promoted the very policies that he is promoting today: big government. It was big government that used newly created regulatory policies to take from the poor and redistribute to the rich. Johnston is one of those Utopians who believes that the incentives of government regulation will change if you give people like himself dictatorial powers over others.

The Utopian Left has a tendency to believe that "good intentions" are sufficient to change human nature and government incentives. In fact, the true Leftist doesn't think there is such a thing as human nature just this marvelous blank slate which can be manipulated and forged by clever social engineers. They wish to remake the world. The danger in that is that such a contempt for the real world builds up that the far Left has a tendency to want to destroy the world in which we live, so that out of the ashes their Utopian vision might arise. Aldous Huxley warned of the Utopians: "father in the bigger and better future is one of the most potent enemies to present liberty: for rulers feel themselves justified in imposing the most monstrous tyranny on their subjects for the sake of the wholly imaginary fruits which these tyrannies are expected to bear some time in the distant future." Almost two centuries ago Frederic Bastiat, a member of the Left in the French Assembly, warned that the statist Leftist "reserves all his love for the society that he has dreamed up; but the natural society in which it is our lot to live cannot be destroyed soon enough to suit them, so that from its ruins may rise the New Jerusalem."

Johnston is actually willing to go very far in order to build the Utopian society that he dreams of. The obstacle to his vision is that government doesn't have enough loot in its' pockets. Redistributing wealth from the public to the politicians is the means by which Johnston believes the magical society of which he dreams can become reality. He laments that America may "never get back to the pre-Reagan tax rate for top earners (70 percent), but we should at least nudge it back...."

He also has another solution to raise tax revenues. He wants the US military to invade other nations to force them to close their "tax loop holes". One example he gives: "The Obama administration could tell the Caymans -- now fifth in the world in bank deposits -- to repeal its bank secrecy laws or be invaded; since the island nation's total armed forces consists of about 300 police officers, ti should be hard for technicians and auditors, accompanied by a few Marines, to fly in and seize all the records. Bermuda, which relies on the Royal Navy for its military, could be next, and so on. Long before we get to Switzerland and Luxembourg, their governments should have gotten the message."

Johnston's hatred of the private sector is so intense that he doesn't mind suggesting a policy of global invasions in order to force other nations to comply with the socialist policies that Johnston wants to impose on America.

Oddly one of the subsides he complains about is the police responding to burglar alarms. He calls that the "burglar-alarm subsidy". The subsidy isn't actually a subsidy for an alarm, that isn't what he means. It is the police responding to the alarm. So, if the police show up when an alarm goes off you are being subsidized, no matter how much you pay in taxes to supposedly pay for precisely that service. Apparently Johnston thinks government providing any service to the people who pay the taxes is a "subsidy" while giving it his favored programs is "social justice" He wants to end police responses to alarms. He says the Feds should "could threaten to cut federal funding for any city that fails to charge the alarm companies the full cost of each response." Notice how "threats" are such an intricate part of his utopia. The vast central state he would create would threaten local cities and invade foreign countries in order to build the dream. All this so that the social engineers can shift "the spending to youth programs that reduce crime (saving even more money) and help more kids grow up to become taxpayers..."

That is the vision of every kid I know, they just can't wait to become taxpayers. Of course, they don't realize that the world has social engineers who dream of the unlimited powers they could have if government is big enough, if taxes are higher enough, and if they were put in charge. Sure, you might have to invade a few countries, and you have to use threats, but as that great dreamer, Joseph Stalin said: "You can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs."