Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Just Two More of the Filthy One Percent

The "99 percent versus the one percent" may make for a good populist slogan but it has no basis in fact.

Five separate studies by liberal economists reveal that "income inequality is a myth."

In fact, no less a leftist icon than Jason Furman -- deputy director of President Obama's National Economic Council -- wrote in 2006 that every segment of American society has become wealthier since the Reagan revolution.

Remember when even upper-middle class families worried about staying on a long distance call for too long? When flying was an expensive luxury? When only a minority of the population had central air conditioning, dishwashers, and color televisions? When no one had DVD players, iPods, or digital cameras? And when most Americans owned a car that broke down frequently, guzzled fuel, spewed foul smelling pollution, and didn’t have any of the now virtually standard items like air conditioning or tape/CD players?

Free enterprise, the market system and -- dare I say it -- capitalism -- have created the most magnificent society ever seen on the face of the Earth.

But put all of the studies and common sense aside (easy for the Occupy Wall Streeters, to be sure) -- and simply consider two of Obama's hated "one percent".

Twelve years ago, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were students at Stanford. They were then members of Obama's oppressed "poor". Page grew up in this house, hardly the lap of luxury.

Less than ten years later, Page and Brin were worth a combined $36 billion as the founders of Google.

What the Left's economic illiterates can't or won't understand is that wealth disparity is wonderful. It allowed Page and Brin to invent, innovate, and construct a radically wonderful company from whole cloth, employing tens of thousands and producing thousands of other millionaires. Many of these new millionaires invested, spent, created other new companies without having their money stolen by the government and delivered to their political cronies (*cough* Solyndra *cough*).

Now, of course, Brin and Page are among the vile "rich" -- to be demonized as somehow oppressing the poor.

But if you take more money from the business owners, you get less venture capital, less investment, less business growth and -- ultimately -- fewer jobs.

You see, drones, what's important is not wealth disparity, it's income mobility. That is, the ability to move between economic classes is what makes America unique.

Of the top ten wealthiest members of the Forbes 400, six are self-made billionaires.

But apparently this is too difficult for the economic illiterates behind Occupy Wall Street. They want the rich to become poorer, so they'll invest less, spend less and hire fewer people.

In fact, I'd call the OWS crowd dumber than a bag of hammers, but that unfairly impugns the usefulness of hammers.


Reliapundit said...




People like Steve Jobs got rich - and made others rich along the way - by producing things people wanted and were willing to pay for.

This is why the things that are bought and sold are called "GOODS" - they make people feel good. The buyer gets the goods, the seller gets the money - and hopefully a profit.

Corporations do this and big corporations do this on a big scale. Including corporations that are public and are owned by pension funds and unions and, well - your neighbors, maybe you, too.

They live and die in a fluctuating market, sometimes selling at a profit and sometimes not. After all, capitalism is not a PROFIT SYSTEM; it's a PROFIT AND LOSS SYSTEM.

Most of the billionaires in the USA today made their billions themselves in the last few decades. FROM NOTHING. And as they became wealthy, they created thousands of jobs and made thousands of millionaires - and enriched our lives with their products and their services.


What makes these billionaires and millionaires special isn't their "GREED" - that's not what motivated them or enabled them to do what they did.

Not Steve Jobs, or the GOOGLE guys, or Gates, or Ellison, or Musk, or Bezos, or Branson - not Buffett, not any of them. They had a vision for a new NEED in the marketplace or a new way to satisfy a demand in the marketplace.

And they didn't COVET or STEAL to make their billions; they EARNED it. Taking risks with their own money - or money they borrowed and paid back AND THEN SOME, and earning it with their own courage and sweat.

These billionaires and millionaires are to ADMIRED and not vilified.

What deserves to be vilified is the COVETOUSNESS and ENVY of the pathetic dupes and morons on the Left who have taken to the streets in the "OCCUPY WALL STREET" circus.

Anonymous said...

Steve Jobs made his billions on the backs of the thousands of chinese wokers forced to work 15hr days for 6 or 7 days and paid just 52c/hr. Without people to make these things there is no profit, there is only an idea. To have an economy you have to have people spending money, that doesn't happen when all the money goes to the top and stays there in massive accumulated wealth. 36 billion in wealth is 36 billion that isn't being spent, it's being horded. Trickle down doesn't work by the nature that it's a trickle, a trickle that usualy goes to luxury goods and fixed assets like property, again with minimal input into the wider economy. But this is a digression, you have fundamentally missed what the all street protests are about.

The protesters are protesting that the wall street bankers gambled with other peoples money and lost so spectactulary that they have had to be bailed out to the tune of $Trillion. That's a $Trillion that is now owed with interest by all of the american people. You should be pissed. Thats money that is going to have to come out of your pocket, and your childrens pocket for years to come. The money has been looted from you and nothing has been done to bring the perpetrators to justice or the fundamentally change the system so that is not allowed to happen again. In a free market the banks would have been allowed to fail. Instead the were handed to single largest handout in the history of welfare. Is this something that bothers you or do you only get mad when it's poor or disabled people getting a handout?

directorblue said...


There isn't a corporation on Earth that could have bailed out the bankers who gambled on mortgages securitized by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

There isn't a corporation on Earth that can force you to pay it whether you want to or not.

There isn't a corporation on the planet that can throw you in jail for failure to adhere to its millions of pages of laws, regulations and dictates.

There isn't a corporation anywhere that can make you buy a one-size-fits-all health care plan, or a certain kind of light bulb, or a low-flow toilet, or a certain kind of car, and so on and on.

There isn't a corporation anywhere that can command you -- the citizen -- to participate in multi-trillion dollar Ponzi schemes like Medicare, set to collapse in only ten short years.

No, there isn't any corporation powerful enough to do these things.

Only a giant, enormous, bloated federal government can ruin our economy in these ways. And, then, only because a certain group of power-hungry, easily corrupted politicians, lawyers and judges have ignored our highest law: the Constitution.

Our Framers created the Constitution to prevent the rise of an all-powerful, autocratic, authoritarian central government.

It wasn't the corporations or "the rich" that have ruined the economy: it's the politicians who violate their oath of office every day of the week. That's what the Tea Party is all about. And that is why every one concerned with the future of America should support Constitutional conservatism.

Reliapundit said...


Anonymous said...

Great post Don! Great answer to the scmuck troll must have left a rash!

Richard L. Brandt said...

You forget a couple things, though. Larry Page and Sergey Grin got government funding to go to Stanford. The Internet that they exploited was government funded. They had HELP becoming self-made billionaires.

Capitalism is not evil of itself, and I don't know anyone who argues that. But Wall Street can be greedy, look for short-term results, and favor their wealthy clients.

Page and Brin, whom you so admire, tried to break through Wall Street croynism when they took Google public by conducting an Open IPO, in which anyone could participate. It didn't just go to Wall Street's elite institutional investors. They gave themselve preferred voting stock so they would not be subject to Wall Street's demands for short-term results.

Page and Brin are also politically leftist and know that they have benefitted from government intervention. I would say they sympathize with the frustration of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, although the protesters have yet to articulate any coherent alternatives.

You can't blame people for being angry. The playing field is not fair. The banks that contributed to the mortgage crisis were bailed out, while the people who had mortgages are seeing record foreclosures.

Wealthy people need to understand that there is a basis to the anger and frustration and do something about it, not just denigrate them. The working class is the backbone of this country. Trickle-down doesn't work as well as you would like to believe.

directorblue said...

Hey, Richard:

Okay, Steve Jobs then:

"Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak bootstrapped their start-up themselves. Jobs sold his Volkswagen van and Wozniak sold his programmable calculator to get the seed money they needed, and a couple of weeks later Jobs made his first sale. They got no R&D money from the government nor looked to taxpayers to get their fledgling company off the ground, unlike Solyndra and other so-called “green technology” companies (related article, third item on the page) that the Obama administration has been lavishing public monies on."

I've got a million of 'em.

The greediest capitalist in the world isn't a banker -- it's an out-of-control, unconstitutional government.

Richard L. Brandt said...

DirectorBlue -- have you met Steve Jobs? I knew him and used to write about him. A brilliant entrepreneur and I won't take anything away from him.

I never claimed that all entrepreneurs relied on government handouts. You're like the religious fanatic that simply changes the topic when he loses his previous argument.

I'm a business reporter and have huge respect for entrepreneurs who build fortunes. But that doesn't give them a pass on paying taxes like everyone else, including me.

Most businesses rely on government programs more than you would like to admit. Roads, public transportation, FAA, public utilites -- try getting by without them, or finding people to hire when you shut down public schools. Again the Internet was a government program. Intel and the American chip companies were protected by government intervention when Japan was dumping chips in the U.S. The auto industry and banks were bailed out of their own messes.

You never answered the question about whether you believe government intervention is only for big corporations, not the common folk. Oh, that's right it's bad if the government gets involved with a stupid company in the solar business. I guess it depends on what business the government is getting involved in. It was a spectacularly stupid mistake on Obama's part and I won't defend it. The Republicans, of course, never give pork to their cronies.

Saying that a government that wants to help people with health care, public schools and Social Security is all corrupt and unconstitutional is as stupid as saying all capitalists are corrupt.

If you think we live in an all-powerful, autocratic, authoritarian central government, you really need to travel more.

This is a democracy with all the faults that a democracy brings. But there is more government corruption in pork barrel politics -- from right and left alike -- than in Medicare or Social Security.

I just wish the debate was more intelligent on both sides. Use your brain for god's sake, instead of repeating nonsense from the Tea Party. I don't want to create a socialistic state where people have no incentive to work hard and earn more. But there needs to be a basic level of government-funded infrastructure so that the country can function and people can survive. And we need some regulations to prevent things like stock market crashes and mortgage crises.

Even Alan Greenspan admitted that he was shocked to learn that banks really can build up schemes that don't serve their -- or the taxpayer's -- best interests.

The discussion should be over what level of regulation and public funding is appropriate, not whether it should exist. Stick to that idea and maybe more people than just your choir of like-minded Libertarians will listen to you.