March 9, 2009

I have been reading Amity Shlaes' book The Forgotten Man in which the author explains how the F.D.R. progressives took an algebraic formula developed by Yale Philosopher William Graham Sumnar and crudely applied it to the programs that would form the New Deal.  Sumner wrote: "As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X.  Their law always proposes to determine . . . what A, B, and C shall do for X."  What?  Where in the world did "C" some from?  C never entered the equation until A and B pulled him in.  He was not of the decision process. 

Now note, there is nothing wrong with A and B helping X.  What was wrong was the law, and the indenturing of C to the cause.  C was the forgotten man.  He was the man who paid, "the man who never is thought of."

In 1932, Ray Moley, a member of F.D.R.'s campaign brain trust, remembered the phrase "the forgotten man," although not its provenance.  He inserted it into the future president's first great speech.  If elected, Roosevelt promised, he would act in the name of "the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid."  But notice this important fact: In Sumner's argument, C was the forgotten man, but F.D.R. was making X the forgotten man - the poor man, the old man, the laborer, or any other recipient of government help.  This would put Roosevelt's forgotten man - the constituent X, perpetually at odds with Sumner's original forgotten man, C.

Roosevelt represents A, the progressive liberal whose good intention would inspire the country.  B represents congress the deliberative body who would make Roosevelt's agenda the law of the land.  C was the average American who was not thought of.  He was the Depression-era man who was not part of any political constituency and therefore lived the negatives of that period.  He was the man who paid for the big projects, who got make-work instead of real work.  He was the man who waited for economic growth that did not come about.  He was the individual who was "taxed back to the Stone Age" in order to take care of X.

Fast forward to 2009 and Barack Obama's paradigm to provide for X.  He, Obama (A), with the blessings of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid (B), intends to have the top five percent of wage earners, business owners and those who inherit sums of money already taxed (C) so that low or no wage earners (X) won't have to worry about bad financial decisions or unfortunate circumstances they brought upon themselves.  Long longer having to worry about where the money is going to come from to pay the rent (or the mortgage if they own a home courtesy of Congress's decision in 1994 to force lending institutions to provide loans to "at-risk" low income wage earners), they can simply rely on the generosity of A and B to force C to provide.

Democrats from Woodrow Wilson to F.D.R. chose to call themselves "Progressives."  The term "liberal" did not connote what it does today.  Today's "Progressives" choose to call themselves "open minded" or even "liberal" as if the word is no longer one of contempt, even if Republicans use it as the opposite of a term of endearment.  However, as Shlaes argued, the progressives of yesterday are the socialists of today!

By the beginning of F.D.R.'s second term, the taxes on the wealthiest Americans stood at 79%. Roosevelt went on the campaign trail in 1936 and said, "You poor people are doing your share, but the rich are avoiding the taxes. We should make them pay." And he recommended a tax to congress, on all income over one hundred thousand dollars. His recommendation in 1941 was for a 99.5 percent tax on all income over one hundred thousand dollars. And when the budget director said, "What!" Roosevelt's comment was, "Why not?"

Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt wanted to begin experimenting with a complete 100% tax on those making more than $25,000 saying, "At a time of grave national danger no American citizen ought to have a net income, after he has paid his taxes, of more than $25,000 a year." He was proposing, in effect, what amounted to a maximum wage—at an income level that would equal, in our contemporary dollars, about $300,000.  Thank God, cooler heads prevailed.  I wonder if there are any cooler heads today?

In a nutshell, a "Socialist" believes that the government is the answer to all social and economic problems today.  If it isn't the answer, it should provide the solutions to problems.  To do that, the Socialist believes that the government must take control of the private sector, from privately owned businesses to private property.  The government must "nationalize" banks, industry, commerce and any other money-making entity which provides jobs and goods.  The enlargement of public funds to finance public programs and provide public (read "government supported") jobs and public health care is the main thrust of the Socialist.  A 1960's liberal would say the government must provide, a 21st century liberal would say the government will decide.  Hence, the Liberal has evolved into the Socialist!

The old-line Liberal stood in direct contrast to the Conservative who says the government is not the solution, rather it is the problem.  The new-line Socialist stands in direct contrast to the people as a whole and Ronald Reagan in particular.  The Socialist uses C to provide for X who doesn't have the sense or the desire to provide for himself, thus creating a two-fold subjugation - viz. taking C's freedom and money away so that X would become totally dependent upon government.

Democrats (i.e. Socialist Democrats) want to breed a generation (or an era) of welfare dependent X's who will pledge unconditional allegiance to and continually vote for the Democratic candidate on each ballot.  In this "give me, give me" society, the cries for handouts from the Xs will soon squelch out the pleas for relief from the Cs, the ones punished for their success with taxes that F.D.R. would smile at.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.