First Law of Socialism

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“Socialism” is being thrown around more often these days as the nation discusses the pressing issues of our society: health care reform, social security reform, corporate bailouts, etc. Those citizen against the president’s “spreading the wealth around” cry in the shrillest voices possible, denouncing the ideas presented as socialist in nature. In response, the supporters of those measures like to point out that so many other things in our society are already socialized, and they work well, so why not socialize more? After all, public education is socialism, the Social Security program is socialism, the military is socialism–in addition to a litany of others that various people categorize as socialistic. Let’s take a look at them one by one, shall we?

Public education is built on the principle that everyone pays into it through their local property taxes whether they have children attending at the moment or not. National funding is provided to the states who distribute monies primarily to systems needing assistance for paying for extra programs in distressed districts. Everyone pays into the pot: parents, grandparents, single/childless people, and even businesses that pay property tax.

While no data was immediately available to show how many people pay property tax funding a school vs how many people are attending or has a dependent attending a local school, it is reasonable to assume that the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule) applies in any given school year. Overall, the number of people benefiting from the public education system is near 100%, since most people have children eventually and life would be very different if only half of our population was educated even to the 6th grade; however, the only reason public education can succeed is that at no specific point is there much greater than 20% of the population taking advantage of society’s free education system.

On the national level, as money is allocated and distributed through the states to a school districts in greater need, again the Pareto Principle comes into play as fewer than 20% of all schools receive greater than 80% of the additional funding based on need.

Social Security, for some reason, is raised as a successful attempt at socializing our retirements. Even though the program is now bankrupt and totally dependent on future tax contributions into the government’s general ledger account rather than contributions into the Social Security account, somehow it is considered a success because they haven’t missed disbursing any of the payments that have reduced buying power from when the program was initially conceived.

Speaking of how it was conceived, payments were not set to be issued until a participant reached 65 when the life expectancy was only 63. Further, the contribution calculation was based on contributions from the first segment of your income up to a given dollar value. That dollar value has not kept up with inflation, meaning people making more money today, by the original standards, would be paying into the system where today they are not.

The changes in our demographic combined with the lack of changes to the system has resulted in fewer workers year after year supporting each retiree. The original plan was that most people were not going to be able to enjoy the benefits of their retirement being funded by Social Security. The only way the system could work long term was to provide the benefits to as few people as possible. Once the politicians started voting based on what the retirees wanted, the system was made unstable and unless we return to the modern equivalent to the original criteria, this experiment in socialism is doomed to fail. Why? Too many people are benefiting from it.

The third example often offered as socialism is the military. However, the military is a volunteer force paid for in full by the taxes from the entire population for the purposes of national defense. No one individual benefits more than any other, unlike Social Security or even the public school system. The amount you collect from Social Security is determined by the amount you’ve made over the years and whether you decided to get married or not. The amount of money distributed to the school systems is a function of the socio-economic status of the town, city, or neighborhood. When it comes to the military, however, no citizen benefits more than any other because it is not a redistribution of wealth, it is the populace paying for a service provided by those who offer it. In this way, the military more closely resembles private industry when there are no limits to what the customer will pay. Even commanders are promoted and dismissed from assignments based on their performance in the field, just as we are at our jobs (in theory).

From these three examples–socialized education, socialized retirement, and national defense–one can probably draw several conclusions. The conclusion in particular that is foreshadowed by the title of this little article is this: Socialism in a field can succeed indefinitely if and only if the vast majority (80-90+%) does not presently desire its benefits. Education succeeds because so few take advantage of it each year while everyone pays for it year after year. Social Security is failing because it is offering benefits to more people than originally intended because the retirement age is greater than the life expectancy. Dispite the supporters of socialism, the military is anything but and continue indefinitely as an entity of the government offering a service to the people, so long as the people desire to continue paying for it. If socialized health care becomes the law of the land, this law of socialism will prevail and the country will not go bankrupt so long as the vast majority of people don’t want to see the doctor.

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Economic History Lesson Courtesy of

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I wonder if any businesses could survive for 40 years if they took out a loan and never bothered to tell their shareholders. Doubtful, but that’s what it appears the Congress did with Johnson’s help and the complicity of every President since. If Obama really wants to make a change, he should change the unified budget accounting policies and make a real attempt at balancing the budget.

“Nearly four decades ago, President Lyndon Johnson’s political sensitivities led him and the Congress to slough off some of the costs of an escalating Vietnam War through the use of accounting gimmicks. To mask the rapid growth in the federal government’s budget deficit, revenues from the surplus being generated by Social Security taxes were added into the general cash fund, without making any accounting allowance for the accompanying and increasing Social Security liabilities. This accounting-gimmicked reporting was dubbed “unified” budget accounting.

The government’s accounting then, as it is now, was on a cash basis, reflecting cash revenues versus cash expenditures. There were no accruals made for monies owed by or due to the government at some time in the future.

The bogus accounting understated the actual deficit for decades and even allowed for claims of budget surpluses in the years 1998 to 2001. While there were extensive self-congratulatory comments between the President, Congress and the Fed Chairman, at the time, all involved knew there never were any actual budget surpluses. There hasn’t been an actual balanced budget, let alone a surplus, since before Johnson and his cronies cooked the bookkeeping.

The doctored fiscal reporting complemented the short-term political interests of both major political parties. Additionally, the ignorance and/or complicity of Pollyannaish analysts on Wall Street and in the financial media-eager to discourage negative market activity-helped to keep the fiscal crisis from arousing significant concern among a dumbed-down U.S. populace.”

See the rest of the information from this article at

Darwin Turns 200

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That’s right, February 12th this year commemorates Darwin’s birth 200 years ago. This bit of information was brought to my attention as I read the latest issue of “Fast Company.”

One thing, the first thing really, that I thought was peculiar about their treatment of the event was whom they had selected as “scientists, thinkers, and leaders” to make a comment. They included the lead singer of Third Eye Blind, Stephen Jenkins, and Heroes creator Tim Kring. Others selected were representatives of naturalism, pharma companies, genome projects, etc. Overall, only nine were selected, and of them, one spoke of breaking the monopoly on God. Another bastardized the understanding of evolution through a TV show. Still others spoke about evolution as something to be adjusted with their company’s drugs.

The diversity of perspective with total lack of knowledge was what impressed me.

It shouldn’t surprise me, though, in a culture where children and adults alike believe that Christopher Columbus proved the Earth was round, it makes perfect sense that the common belief is that Darwin discovered evolution.

Columbus, by the way, was a very lucky man. Every educated person of the time knew the world was round; that knowledge had been around (probably) since the time of the ancient Greeks. Everyone expected him to fail because the world was too large. In his arrogance, he claimed to be able to cross the sea and, in his luck, found a land mass not even half way through the journey.

Similarly, Darwin did not discover evolution, rather, he theorized the method of evolution being a process he called “natural selection.” The notion of evolution was already considered, because it was observed how children had traits of both parents, how horses could be bred to be bigger and stronger, how crops were made heartier by planting the seeds of the heartiest plants from the previous season. What Darwin posited was that the fittest will survive and pass on the genes. If adaptation was possible, those able to adapt most effectively will survive and pass on the genes.

This brings me to my concern. The theory is being applied to social behaviors, companies, and even ideas. One bit about genetics and darwinian evolution is that it can be detrimental to a population if one person were allowed to spread his genetic code to a significant portion of that population. The reasons why I’ll probably have to put off until a later post as this is starting to run long, because my concern is more with the hypocracy of scientists in general when it comes to the survival of ideas.

Rather than conceding the defeat of one scientific theory a particular goup of scientists may be studying, financial backing and their fear of its loss keeps them asserting a failed theory so long as they can put a band-aid on discrepancies between data and theory that arise.

In this way, it is not the strength of the argument that detemines whether an idea survives, but the stubbornness of the arguer.

Brainwashing Paradox

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Time to make you dizzy?

In my travels through this existence, my exposure to the variety of people in my life afforded me the opportunity to hear two people on opposite ends of the political spectrum accuse supporters of their opposition of being brainwashed.

It occurred to me shortly thereafter that they are possibly both right, for what better way to ensure fanatacism in your supporters than to convince them that the other side is brainwashing its members.

The consequence? Communication between the two sides ceases since it has become futile. There is no further evidence, no feat of logic, no plea for empathy/sympathy that will bring one follower to see through the eyes of the other. The seeds of division and derision are sown.

Worse, when an outsider with an affiliation of his own to a third party candidate comes along and brings these facts to light, claiming to be an enlightened and informed citizen, what response does he recieve?

Of course, he’s accused of being brainwashed into thinking a third party candidate could ever win. He’s accused of “wasting” his vote. He’s accused (somehow, in my case) of being both a liberal and an ultra-right-winger.

Dialogue than ceases and communication is shut down. It has already been established that no further evidence, no feat of logic, nor a plea for empathy/sympathy will open the lines of communication again.

But if the two are possibly correct in their assessment of their mainstream opponent, what does that mean for me?

Whoopi’s an Idiot

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Wow! Is the level of ignorance that Whoopi exhibited on The View last Friday common in America? If so, that could very well be what causes African-Americans to vote Democratic by such a wide margin election after election dispite having received so little from them on a social justice level over the past few decades. 

And why did McCain not address her question the way I would have…that is, the right way?

Had I been in his chair at that moment, when Whoopi assumed “strict constitutionalist interpretation” meant that only the original document was to be considered, I would have pointed out the ammendments–you know Whoopi, there have been 27 changes to the original document that originated from the people, from the legislative branch…you know, where changes to the Constitution are supposed to come from?

Of particular interest to you, Whoopi, are amendments 13-15. Not sure what those were? Hmm…that’s odd, you struck me as someone who would have been a great student in school…anyway, I’ll recap:

13: Banned slavery, making all former slaves full citizens.
14: Each state must provide due process and equal protection under the law to all citizens.
15: Banned race based voting qualifications.

Each of these are part of the Constitution which would be interpreted by the judicial appointees under a McCain administration. You do not have a “good point,” Ms. Goldberg, and I’d appreciate it if you would stop miseducating the American people. Worse, due to the nature of your comments and your venue for them, you are more likely to be miseducating black women who will pass on their views to their children, perpetuating the misunderstanding the African-American population has for the system of government we operate in. Great job.