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Friday, May 06, 2005

The State as Nanny: Social Reform in the USA Forging the finest print

Social work performed by the state “shrinks the pie,” as the supply-side

economists say. Our graduated 'progressive' income tax system violates the

economic rule of incentive. High tax rates discourage people from devoting effort

into earning extra income. Because tax rates increase with income, the extra work

hours of high-income taxpayers will yield fewer rewards, until the high-income
taxpayers stop putting in extra hours. The prospect of extra work will lose its incentive.
From my viewpoint, government spending doesn’t benefit me very often. With the
one exception of student aid, I’ve never been on the receiving side of government
spending. I’ve never needed the help of police or government health programs.
For ten years, my education was private, and not funded by the taxpayer. I only
make use of roads as a passenger and jogger. I rarely use the mail. Even if
America were invaded; I doubt I would need assistance from the military, because
any invading force is likely to bypass my home. No city authority exists to take
out my trash. I buy used books from various sources, so I don’t even need the
library. As you can see, I make little use of public services, so taxes are just extra
charges to me. Even so, I’m thankful for their role in banking, and I consider their
role so important, I list Andrew Jackson at the very bottom of my president-
ranking list.

Even though government spending doesn’t benefit me very much, I recognize I’m
probably a rare case. I recognize that very few private toll roads and canals were
ever built without government aid (the text book beats that into my head), and that
these commercial arteries are very important. But consider that private canal and
road builders won’t engage in superfluous construction that serve very few, while
the government must connect everyone, and consider what that means.

When you think about an authority paving roads that make so little difference to the greater
good, doesn’t that strike you as a waste?

Governments are saddled with problems private funding doesn't contend with.
They have to take care of a load of special interests isolated by circumstance,
while private interests are allowed to leave people behind, as long as they aren’t
concerned with them.

As of May 2004, one year ago, America had a trade deficit with 123 Countries,
and a surplus with 107 Countries (source: U.S. International Trade Center). The
People’s Republic of China was and is
the largest trade deficit with. China is a

growth” market that's moving away from government regulation. In a deep
contrast, we have the largest trade surplus with The Netherlands, a highly regulated
welfare state whipped by labor. With steep taxes, the Dutch pay $52 US dollars
for a club sandwich before paying the 20% service tax. Empirical evidence
collected by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) demonstrates that national economies with governments only taking 10%
of GDP will grow at a rate of around 6%. A government such as The Netherlands,
a government that removes 50% of the private sector's income through taxes,
crawl at 2%.

Indeed, contrary to assertions made by modern wearers of the progressive cloak, it
wasn't inaction by the government that caused tragedies like the 1892 coke fields,
but local government sanction of heavy-handed methods used by the plant managers.

They shouldn't have worried over unions. As Jesse Gordon said at askme.com,

Labor unions "solved" one of the great dilemmas that Marx saw in capitalism: Marx said that industrial bosses would pay the workers the minimum needed to keep them alive, especially as the population grew and more labor was more readily available. Hence the only way to improve the workers' situation was through revolution by the workers against the bosses.”

Left alone (but of course they weren't), Unions, as Jesse said, “were a political response and, in essence, a compromise that forestalled the introduction of either "unbridled capitalism" or the need for pure communism.”
In the past (says Jeffery Sachs, I concur), practically only aristocrats securely lived about absolute poverty (which today means about a dollar a day), but today those figures are turned on their heads. Thanks to
agreements made through NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO, only the few remaining nations outside of the fair marketplace have large populations teetering on the edge of absolute poverty. In 1940, practically all of East Asia was this way. Roosevelt embargoed Japan, one of the few markets for Southeast Asian goods.

After the war, the “Asian Miracle,” which was not hyperbole, flourished despite the lack of a Martial Plan in the East. The unique factors of Asian growth include the ability of Asian governments to score higher on the Heritage Foundation's Economic Freedom Index than anybody else.

But some instances of government help in social reform exist that demonstrate
government intervention works. After the 18th Amendment was passed, after all,
honest citizens, that 30% that stopped guzzling alcohol, had to invent or expand alternative means of entertainment. The ice cream sundae was invented during the
twenties, and the profession of soda jerk expanded(I have an interesting testimonial from Dick Tracy founder Chester Gould about that).

I blame Margaret Sanger for my poor results with the benefits calculator at Social
Security on-line. Thanks to her, I'll have fewer people paying into my account

when and if I retire, cutting my entitlement down to $5,362.00 future dollars
when the time comes. I can also blame the anti-immigration acts at the tail-
end of the progressive era. If those twelve-million didn't arrive at the
twentieth centuries turn, I'd doubtlessly grow to be a poor old man, if I were
as irresponsible as everyone else.

On the whole, deregulation gives us an appearance unlike Europe, and this is the only era I personally know. Policy of today is the polar opposite of the early thirties.
Consider the crisis of 29/30 and the similar one of 2001/02. The coupling of bank
closures and increased income taxes from 1929 to 1932 bleed the private money
supply anemic, even if raising taxes was done in the name of “social justice.”
Tariffs jumped 40% then. During the recent crisis, more of NAFTA's statutes
came on-line, as scheduled. The country has fiscally returned to its roots, one
could say (and this one does). Then there was a major test. As I recall, the
president initially offered $30 million in foreign assistance after 12/26/2004, a

sum ridiculed even by so-called “deficit hawks.” That number jumped to $950
million later, leaving every other donation group looking stingy by
comparison; except private American donations. USAID reports
receiving $1 billion dollars from private American donors (stingy people).

An amusing tendency of of American private social workers has been the peculiar
idea of the same people funding multiple organizations. Margaret Sanger alone
was the driving force behind the following agencies:

American Birth Control League
Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau
Birth Control Council of America
Birth Control Federation of America
Birth Control International Information Center
Birth Control Review/New York Women's Publishing Company
Brownsville Clinic and the Committee of 100
Committee on Maternal Health/Maternity Research Council
International Committee on Planned Parenthood
International Planned Parenthood Federation
Joint Committee of the American Birth Control League and the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau
Margaret Sanger Research Bureau
National Committee for Federal Legislation on Birth Control
New York Birth Control League
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
World Population Emergency Campaign

That's a lot of organizations dedicated to making sure fewer people exist to pay my way through social security:-)

Sources cited:

Labor Management Conflict in American History (Ohio State University project)


The Margaret Sanger Papers Project (NYU)


Temperance and Prohibition (OSU)


Social Security On-line


Immigration in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era


John Dewy


Published by Typewriter King | 12:54 PM
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