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Do the Math, Mr President No Dog in that Fight, Mr. President?

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A Sluggish Recovery for President Obama

by Christopher Chantrill
May 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

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THE MAINSTREAM media did a heroic job of making the mixed jobs numbers on Friday look good. Then the experts pointed out that the 244,000 new jobs in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Establishment Survey were mostly a statistical artifact.

If you look, as I do, at the BLS Household Survey, you see a downtick in Employment of 190,000 jobs and an uptick in Labor Force of 15,000. (That’s why the Unemployment Rate went up to 9.0 percent.) Don’t understand the numbers? Then here’s a chart of US Employment since the start of 2008 to show you what is happening.

The economy has added about one million jobs since the beginning of 2010. That means we need another six million jobs just to get back up to the level before the Great Recession started. That just ain’t gonna happen by November 2012. Or November 2014, for that matter.

What is going wrong with the Obama recovery, which Jay Cost shows is the worst recovery in the last 50 years? I will tell you what. The problem is that the Ruling Class, the liberal educated elite that runs our government, our media, our schools, and our entertainment, is grasping the wrong end of the stick. At both ends. Again.

Democratic capitalism is the idea that politics should be egalitarian and economics should be hierarchical. In politics, we say, everyone should be equal, but in business the people with good ideas and good execution should go to the head of the class.

Liberalism is the idea that politics should be hierarchical, directed by the educated elite, and economic results should be egalitarian, as enforced by the educated elite. But the science is in on liberalism: the more you meddle with the proposition of democratic capitalism, the more misery you create.

It’s curious that our present age should be a blend of equality and hierarchy. It’s all very Hegelian, a synthesis of egalitarianism and its antithesis, hierarchy. Back in the hunter-gatherer age, mankind was egalitarian. There was a reason for this, explains Nicholas Wade in The Faith Instinct.

Men like power and will seize it if they can. But if they can’t rule, their next preference is that no one rule over them.

In the hunter-gather age, men couldn’t seize power; the other men in the band wouldn’t let them. But then came the agricultural age, its antithesis, and it was marked everywhere by hierarchical exploitation and oppression: slavery and serfdom. Obviously there was something about agriculture that made it easy for some men to seize power, and there was something about the age that made it hard for the rest of us to prevent oppressive rulers from ruling over us. I argue that farmers are uniquely vulnerable to exploitation, for they must store enough food to last till the next harvest, an irresistible temptation for oppressors and plunderers.

Then came the bourgeoisie, dignified and free. Why not combine equality and hierarchy in a Hegelian synthesis, they said? Let’s collapse the rigid hierarchy of emperors, kings, princes, dukes, earls, counts, lords, bailiffs and serfs and make everyone equal, as ordinary citizens. But let’s allow a hierarchy of sausage kings, railroad barons, and lords of finance. Let’s allow them to lord it over us as long as they can churn out sausages we like , run railroads that can move freight around profitably, and run finance without bailouts and meltdowns. Let’s call this concept: equality and hierarchy under freedom. It’s a social kind of thing, because it assumes that most everyone is a good guy, an equal, and it honors those with good ideas and good execution with huge fortunes and slim trophy wives.

Then came the educated elite, jealous and power hungry. They wanted to combine equality and hierarchy too, only their synthesis was very different. They wanted to continue the hierarchical bureaucracies of the absolute monarchs, and make the political sector their administrative servant. And they wanted to enforce an economic equality over all economic transactions that they called social justice. Spread the wealth, as President Obama says. Let’s call this concept: equality and hierarchy under compulsion. It’s a cruel thing, because the only thing it knows is force.

Well, we know what happened. Whenever people combined equality and hierarchy under freedom, prosperity and freedom flourished. But wherever men with power implemented equality and hierarchy under compulsion, poverty and tyranny flourished.

Of course the economy is sluggish. President Obama is getting exactly what he ordered. He has increased federal government spending from the 19 percent of GDP in the Bush years to 25 percent of GDP, and he has eaten up our seed corn with a plague of czars. When you crank up government power you get much less economic growth. That’s because equality and hierarchy under freedom creates a flourishing society and equality and hierarchy under czars produces misery and conformity.

We are living in momentous times. The American people are getting to experience directly the the folly of the compulsion agenda. It helps us all to appreciate the wisdom of the freedom agenda. Some people got the message on the day that President Obama was inaugurated. We call them Tea Partiers.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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