By Gary Starr For The Neville Awards
Capitalism works for men who do -- Socialism works for men who don't. -- A Conservative History of the American Left -- Daniel J. Flynn
Misery loves company and the left certainly loves its misery. The leftist has been dining out on misery since dinosaurs walked the earth. The leftist wants to burden you with his misery. It is the job of the leftist to convince you of your oppression and misery too. They continually overstate the misery factor of the present society, and, if you just let them continue in power, life will become the utopian future they endlessly promise. It's right around the corner at the end of the rainbow.
It has never worked and it never will work. We have, as previous examples, FDR's New Deal and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. On a greater scale we have The Soviet Union, Cuba, Viet Nam, Cambodia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, the continuing socialist experiment in Western Europe and National Socialist (Nazi) Germany and fascist Italy in the 1930's and '40's.
Catastrophe. Disaster. Teetering on the edge of a depression. The Worst economy since the Great Depression. The housing crisis. The health care crisis. The credit crisis. The education crisis. The unemployment crisis. The greed on Wall Street. Tax cuts for the rich. We've still got more work to do so re-elect us.
These are the catch-phrases of the left. We have been in permanent crisis mode for the last 50 years (75 years if you go back to the 1930's). But the problems are never solved. The schools never seem to get better, the poor are still with us and there are actually people who are unemployed at any given time. Hint: the Left doesn't want these problems solved. If the problems are solved the raison d'etre of the left ceases to be. No more victims, no more grievance constituencies. Leftist policy must perpetuate the illusion of crisis. Otherwise why would we need them?
Whenever a Republican is president the left and the liberal media continually talk down the economy. The reason is to spread doom and gloom. When a Democrat takes office the economy is magically "showing signs of recovery".
Who can forget Jimmy Carter's famous malaise speech where he lectured the American people on "shared sacrifice?"
During the Clinton candidacy the mantra was "it's the economy stupid" (we actually were in a mild recession at that point.)
In the middle of the 2004 elections, with the economy humming along at 3.5% GDP and unemployment at 4.2%, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said the economy was the worst since the Great Depression.
And now we get Obama's prescription for an "impending economic catastrophe" in the form of a pork-laden spending package marketed as "emergency stimulus." We are warned that not enacting this legislation could bring on another depression.
In the meantime let's see what an actual economic crisis looks like:
Obama's Rhetoric Is the Real 'Catastrophe'
FEBRUARY 13, 2009
By BRADLEY R. SCHILLER
President Barack Obama has turned fearmongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression. First, he did so to win votes in the November election. He has done so again recently to sway congressional votes for his stimulus package.
In his remarks, every gloomy statistic on the economy becomes a harbinger of doom. As he tells it, today's economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Without his Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he says, the economy will fall back into that abyss and may never recover.
This fearmongering may be good politics, but it is bad history and bad economics. It is bad history because our current economic woes don't come close to those of the 1930s. At worst, a comparison to the 1981-82 recession might be appropriate. Consider the job losses that Mr. Obama always cites. In the last year, the U.S. economy shed 3.4 million jobs. That's a grim statistic for sure, but represents just 2.2% of the labor force. From November 1981 to October 1982, 2.4 million jobs were lost -- fewer in number than today, but the labor force was smaller. So 1981-82 job losses totaled 2.2% of the labor force, the same as now.
Job losses in the Great Depression were of an entirely different magnitude. In 1930, the economy shed 4.8% of the labor force. In 1931, 6.5%. And then in 1932, another 7.1%. Jobs were being lost at double or triple the rate of 2008-09 or 1981-82.
This was reflected in unemployment rates. The latest survey pegs U.S. unemployment at 7.6%. That's more than three percentage points below the 1982 peak (10.8%) and not even a third of the peak in 1932 (25.2%). You simply can't equate 7.6% unemployment with the Great Depression.
Other economic statistics also dispel any analogy between today's economic woes and the Great Depression. Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 2008, despite a bad fourth quarter. The Congressional Budget Office projects a GDP decline of 2% in 2009. That's comparable to 1982, when GDP contracted by 1.9%. It is nothing like 1930, when GDP fell by 9%, or 1931, when GDP contracted by another 8%, or 1932, when it fell yet another 13%.
Auto production last year declined by roughly 25%. That looks good compared to 1932, when production shriveled by 90%. The failure of a couple of dozen banks in 2008 just doesn't compare to over 10,000 bank failures in 1933, or even the 3,000-plus bank (Savings & Loan) failures in 1987-88. Stockholders can take some solace from the fact that the recent stock market debacle doesn't come close to the 90% devaluation of the early 1930s.
Mr. Obama's analogies to the Great Depression are not only historically inaccurate, they're also dangerous. Repeated warnings from the White House about a coming economic apocalypse aren't likely to raise consumer and investor expectations for the future. In fact, they have contributed to the continuing decline in consumer confidence that is restraining a spending pickup. Beyond that, fearmongering can trigger a political stampede to embrace a "recovery" package that delivers a lot less than it promises. A more cool-headed assessment of the economy's woes might produce better policies.
From an article by James Simpson September 28, 2008 at American Thinker.com:
The Cloward-Piven Strategy of Orchestrated Crisis
In an earlier post, I noted the liberal record of unmitigated legislative disasters, the latest of which is now being played out in the financial markets before our eyes. Before the 1994 Republican takeover, Democrats had sixty years of virtually unbroken power in Congress - with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a single policy that works? Why are they chronically incapable?
One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.
I submit to you they understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more malevolent - the failure is deliberate. Don't laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy.
The Strategy was first elucidated in the May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation magazine by a pair of radical socialist Columbia University professors, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. David Horowitz summarizes it as:
The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.
Cloward and Piven were inspired by radical organizer [and Hillary Clinton mentor] Saul Alinsky:
"Make the enemy live up to their (sic) own book of rules," Alinsky wrote in his 1989 book Rules for Radicals. When pressed to honor every word of every law and statute, every Judeo-Christian moral tenet, and every implicit promise of the liberal social contract, human agencies inevitably fall short. The system's failure to "live up" to its rule book can then be used to discredit it altogether, and to replace the capitalist "rule book" with a socialist one. (Courtesy Discover the Networks.org)
Newsmax rounds out the picture:
Their strategy to create political, financial, and social chaos that would result in revolution blended Alinsky concepts with their more aggressive efforts at bringing about a change in U.S. government. To achieve their revolutionary change, Cloward and Piven sought to use a cadre of aggressive organizers assisted by friendly news media to force a re-distribution of the nation's wealth.
In their Nation article, Cloward and Piven were specific about the kind of "crisis" they were trying to create:
By crisis, we mean a publicly visible disruption in some institutional sphere. Crisis can occur spontaneously (e.g., riots) or as the intended result of tactics of demonstration and protest which either generate institutional disruption or bring unrecognized disruption to public attention.
No matter where the strategy is implemented, it shares the following features:
Capitalizing on the racial unrest of the 1960s, Cloward and Piven saw the welfare system as their first target. They enlisted radical black activist George Wiley, who created the National Welfare Reform Organization (NWRO) to implement the strategy. Wiley hired militant foot soldiers to storm welfare offices around the country, violently demanding their "rights." According to a City Journal article by Sol Stern, welfare rolls increased from 4.3 million to 10.8 million by the mid-1970s as a result, and in New York City, where the strategy had been particularly successful, "one person was on the welfare rolls... for every two working in the city's private economy."
- The offensive organizes previously unorganized groups eligible for government benefits but not currently receiving all they can.
- The offensive seeks to identify new beneficiaries and/or create new benefits.
- The overarching aim is always to impose new stresses on target systems, with the ultimate goal of forcing their collapse.
According to another City Journal article titled "Compassion Gone Mad":
The movement's impact on New York City was jolting: welfare caseloads, already climbing 12 percent a year in the early sixties, rose by 50 percent during Lindsay's first two years; spending doubled... The city had 150,000 welfare cases in 1960; a decade later it had 1.5 million.
The vast expansion of welfare in New York City that came of the NWRO's Cloward-Piven tactics sent the city into bankruptcy in 1975. Rudy Giuliani cited Cloward and Piven by name as being responsible for "an effort at economic sabotage." He also credited Cloward-Piven with changing the cultural attitude toward welfare from that of a temporary expedient to a lifetime entitlement, an attitude which in-and-of-itself has caused perhaps the greatest damage of all.
Cloward and Piven looked at this strategy as a gold mine of opportunity. Within the newly organized groups, each offensive would find an ample pool of foot soldier recruits willing to advance its radical agenda at little or no pay, and expand its base of reliable voters, legal or otherwise. The radicals' threatening tactics also would accrue an intimidating reputation, providing a wealth of opportunities for extorting monetary and other concessions from the target organizations. In the meantime, successful offensives would create an ever increasing drag on society. As they gleefully observed:
Moreover, this kind of mass influence is cumulative because benefits are continuous. Once eligibility for basic food and rent grants is established, the drain on local resources persists indefinitely.
The next time you drive through one of the many blighted neighborhoods in our cities, or read of the astronomical crime, drug addiction, and out-of-wedlock birth rates, or consider the failed schools, strapped police and fire resources of every major city, remember Cloward and Piven's thrill that "...the drain on local resources persists indefinitely."
"Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before," intoned Obama's White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in November, 2008.
Rahm Emanuel was right because we are now spending almost one trillion dollars to "fix" all of the imaginary problems of the grievance constituency that comprises the left. This has never been done before. And it will bankrupt us for years to come. The 1073 page monstrousity that is the is the ultimate wish list, the socialists' wet dream...the fulfillment of the Left's 50 year plan.