Niki was right!

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The “quote” from Nikita Khrushchev to the UN on September 29, 1959 is yet again circulating the web and e-mails. Aside from there being no evidence he actually said it, at least not directly (and the banging of his shoe is complete fabrication) I have no doubt the sentiment has always been there. Some reliable evidence suggests his quote was more indirect. In fact, I would suggest it was (and is still) their (Russians in this case) plan A. Plan B (a simultaneous action) being a slow, methodical (but more obvious) military takeover of the world. Plan B is not going quite as well as desired at the moment. Plan A? Well you decide…

For those that remember well all the pontifications about it at the time (no, I was not around!) and remember laughing at what he said… I bet you’re not laughing anymore! At least I HOPE not.

Here is the more reliable “quote” as circulated at the time (and since):

“We cannot expect the Americans to jump from capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving Americans small doses of socialism until they suddenly awake to find they have Communism.” – Soviet Leader Nikita Khrushchev, 1959

Personally I think Socialism is worse than Communism but that is for another time.

Now I’m not suggesting any particular politician (I’ll leave it to Nikita to call them “leaders”) were (are?) assisted by Russia. I’m just say’n…

Per the Oxford Dictionary of English, Socialism is: “A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” [bold, italics mine] A sub definition [ibid]: “Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.” [again, bold, italics, underline mine].

Apparently Bernie Sanders believes we are there. And who am I to argue with a U.S. Senator (at least when they are right).

On the other hand, according to Mises Institute, “Sanders is wrong about the New Deal ‘putting people to work’ since their government-funded activity did nothing to create wealth or end the [D]expression. The Depression lasted until 1945. And the New Deal certainly isn’t ‘the foundation of the middle class’ which grew and thrived in the second half of the 19th century. However, when he classifies the New Deal programs that dominate US policy today as “socialist,” Sanders is absolutely correct.”

It always sounds good on paper, especially when the liberal media adds its two-cents. But it never actually works out that way.

The Mises Institute also states: “To get a sense of what has constituted socialism, historically speaking, it is a mistake to rely on Marxism as the benchmark. Marxism was just one type of socialism in the 19th century, and it failed to gain traction in western Europe. Part of this is because, by the mid-19th century, it was already becoming clear that the predictions of Marxism were wrong. The ownership of capital was not becoming more concentrated. It was becoming more diffuse. The working classes were not descending into a wretched proletariat in western Europe. They were experiencing gains in their standard of living.”

It was for a time also the case on “this side of the pond”; further research showing the application to the U.S. as well. However, we now ARE getting that more concentrated capital (although not to the extent Marx predicted – YET). But the concentration is being caused by the power brokers implementing SOCIALISM, no longer allowing for the diffusion created by CAPITALISM. Why? Well… interestingly enough:

“But socialism isn’t just about cash transfer payment. It’s largely about government regulation, which is where the New Deal was most revolutionary. As political scientist Theda Skocpol pointed out years ago in her research (most especially in her book Protecting Soldiers and Mothers) the US has had “welfare” going back to the 19th century. What was most different about the New Deal — other than its scale — was how it took a largely unregulated economic system and imposed a massive amount of new regulation on property owners in the form of laws related to wages, labor, prices, and more. Arguably, this sort of regulation is far more damaging than mere cash transfers since it directly impedes the creation of wealth before it can even be redistributed.” [ibid]

So, our current state of Socialism? Let’s take a look…
*Medicare, *Medicaid, *Social Security, *Healthcare (ACA as only the latest example), *Public schools funded by the Federal government, *Government college grants, scholarships, and loans, *FDA, *EPA, *HUD, *EBT/ Food stamps, *Minimum wage, *Unemployment insurance, *40-hour work week, *Deposit insurance, *Job programs, *etc. etc. etc. (actually this is just the short list – the VERY short list.)

Hey, what said we combine both redistribution AND massive regulation and see how many lives we can destroy.

Don’t get me wrong. People, from time to time need help. However, I think if we mention that to the “more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations [that] are registered in the U.S.” [according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS)], we might get the problem solved without government involvement (and might I add bureaucratic expense and interference?).

While I completely agree that government has its place, in the United States of America that place is supposedly (used to be) defined by the Constitution. Leaving aside the completely absurd argument that the Preamble defines the responsibilities of the Federal government (i.e., the results of suggesting “…in Order to form a more perfect Union, … promote the general Welfare….” defines ANYTHING the fed is allowed to do), the Constitution defines specific enumerated responsibilities (defined in Section 8 – the remainder primarily defining how it is to do them). Unfortunately, “…promote the general Welfare…”, while intended to explain the WHY of the Federal government vice the WHAT, apparently allows for anything and everything the Federal government wants to force upon us.

Welcome to Socialism. I think we are there. And a sad state of affairs to be sure…

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…


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The definition of entitlement from the Encarta Dictionary: English (North America) “to give somebody the right to have or to do something” [emphasis mine].  Merriam-Webster defines it as “a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also: funds supporting or distributed by such a program” [again, emphasis mine].

What truly are entitlements as the term applies to our daily lives?  According to A Glossary of Political Economy Terms by Paul M. Johnson of the Department of Political Science, Auburn University – the most important examples of entitlement programs at the federal level in the United States would include Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, most Veterans’ Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and agricultural price support programs. Based on the definition above, the activities should not be called entitlements.

I would though argue that benefits such as Veterans’ Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans should not be included at all.  These programs were earned through employment – as are any such programs in the private sector.  Although programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are paid for by the eventual receiver of the benefit they are unconstitutional activities of the Federal Government.

Oft cited as justification for Entitlement programs is the “general Welfare of the United States” parts of the United States Constitution.  The Constitution contains two references to “the General Welfare”, one occurring in the Preamble and the other in the Taxing and Spending Clause. The U.S. Supreme Court has held the mention of the clause in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution “has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government of the United States or on any of its Departments.”  This leaves the Taxing and Spending Clause which reads, “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States…”.  However, while the “general Welfare” has been, and I agree should be, interpreted as many things, it says nothing of redistribution of wealth programs – exactly what these so called entitlements are.

Per the official Social Security website: “The constitutional issue about the taxing power had deep roots running all the way back to the founders and to a dispute between Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Although both Hamilton and Madison were Federalists who believed in a strong federal government, they disagreed over the interpretation of the Constitution’s permission for the government to levy taxes and spend money to ‘provide for the general welfare.’ Hamilton thought this meant that government could levy new taxes and undertake new spending if doing so improved the general welfare in a broad sense. Madison thought the federal government could only expend money for purposes specifically enumerated in the Constitution.  The Madisonian view, also shared by Thomas Jefferson [an Anti-Federalist], came in time to be known as the strict construction doctrine while the Hamiltonian view is called the doctrine of implied powers.”  Obviously I completely agree with Madison and Jefferson.  When you throw the 10th Amendment into the mix it makes little sense for the general welfare to be interpreted as Hamilton did.  IF, as he suggests, “government could levy new taxes and undertake new spending if doing so improved the general welfare in a broad sense”, thereby opening the door to those “implied powers”, it could basically do whatever it wanted.  It would operate with complete impunity.  Can you say $16T debt?  Can you say 10th Amendment disregarded?  Keep in mind, the 10th Amendment not only covers the States but “we the people” as well.  Considering it is not only our rights being ignored but our money used to pay for these programs, it may be something with which you should concern yourself.  Just a thougth…

According to Paul M. Johnson, “The existence of entitlement programs is mainly significant from a political economy standpoint because of the very difficult problems they create for Congress’s efforts to control the exact size of the budget deficit or surplus through the annual appropriations process.”  As well, “Since the middle 1980s, entitlement programs have accounted for more than half of all federal spending. Taken together with such other almost uncontrollable (in the short run, that is) expenses as interest payments on the national debt and the payment obligations arising from long-term contracts already entered into by the government in past years, entitlement programs leave Congress with no more than about 25% of the annual budget to be scrutinized for possible cutbacks through the regular appropriations process.”  This of course presupposes that you can’t touch such programs.  I have a revelation!  How about we get rid of these programs?  How about if people “need” assistance we leave it to the States (should any individual State choose to have such programs), private charity or family/friends.  Wow, what a concept.  I cannot take credit for it though.  It was around for thousands of years prior to our Entitlement programs being implemented.

Bottom line:  this is a pure and simple redistribution of wealth which boils down to legalized (and unconstitutional) theft.  They are taking money from one to give to another.  The first receives no compensation or benefit from the “transaction”.  As well, per the Merriam-Webster definition of “a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group”, one can hardly argue that it is providing “for the … general Welfare of the United States”.  These programs are providing for specific groups of people that fit specific criteria.
That is NOT the general welfare of our country directly or indirectly!  For those that doubt, we will take a look at the Broken Window Theory at a future date.

I went through the Constitution (again!) to look for rationale above and beyond that normally claimed to support these programs.  I found none.  However, what I DID find were violations of MY rights (and yours).  Since those that come up with these ideas seem bent on interpreting the Constitution in any way they see fit, I am going to throw out these arguments as I see them (two can play at that game).

Taking my money to pay for unearned entitlements for others, and, in fact, specific groups such as the poor and farmers, violates my 4th Amendment rights.  That is, it violates my right to “be secure in [my] … effects, against unreasonable … seizures…”  In this case, taking my money to give to someone else is in effect seizing my “effects” (no pun intended).  It is unreasonable since I receive no benefit from the seizure and have no say in either how much is taken or to whom it is given.  In fact, I actually become less secure in my person and house since I have less money with which to secure family and myself.  In a similar vein, this would also violate my 5th Amendment rights.  These being “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”  In this case we are not even talking about “private property be[ing] taken for public use”.  The money (property) they are taking from me is designated for specific groups, not to be used for the public.  Due process of law means “a fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away one’s life, liberty, or property. Also, a constitutional guarantee that a law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious.”  This specifically applies to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States” (i.e., ME!) and, while specified in the 5th Amendment this applies to States as well per the 14th.

I am also going to claim my 8th Amendment rights have been violated.  My claim in this is that since this amendment does not claim to be specific to criminals (as may be presumed by its wording), it is applicable to every citizen.  Therefore, this theft of my funds is an “…excessive fines imposed…” which results in “…cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”.  I am being unduly punished by having my money taken, again with no benefit to me, and reducing my standard of living.

Additionally I am claiming a violation of my 10th Amendment rights.  This of course is the amendment that ensures “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  I am “the people”.  While I might agree that many of these programs could be enacted and implemented at the State level (should the people of that State so choose and it is done so in a manner so as not to violate my 14th Amendment rights), until then, and as long as it is the Federal government doing it, I am being denied my constitutional rights.  I have all those rights not enumerated in Article I, Section 8.

I am finally claiming my 13th Amendment rights are violated.  As I’m sure you will recall, this amendment states, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”  I am claiming that this theft of my funds amounts to involuntary servitude.  I work and do not receive the entire benefit of my labor.  The time I must work to earn that which is taken to redistribute is involuntary servitude.  I have committed no crime.  Why am I being punished?

On the other hand, since we technically live in a Representative Democracy, we may as well just scrap the Constitution (Articles I and II excepted since in order to be a Representative Democracy, you need representatives) and let our duly elected representatives (Congress and the President) enact any laws they wish.  If we don’t like it, we just elect new ones and have them change it.  Based on the treatment of the Constitution over the last 50-60 years (to a more limited extent even longer), we are effectively doing this anyway.  Why not save the money being paid to the Judicial Branch and just scrap it?  No Constitution, no need to interpret it, no need for a Supreme Court (and all the support structure that goes with it).  Per the United States Courts website, “the Judiciary as a whole would receive $6.76 billion” in fiscal year 2012.  More for those Entitlement programs!

You may claim these arguments are silly, unrealistic or just plain ridiculous.  However, keep in mind, when we look at an application of our Constitution based on moving standards vice the original intent of the drafters and common sense, we can eventually make it say virtually anything we want.  Did I say “virtually”?  hmmmmmm

>>> The day is at a close, the night is drawing in and my cigar awaits – ’til next time…