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Monday, August 15, 2011

Class Warfare

"A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers." — Frederick. Hayek

Last week, the U.K. burned. Several nights of rioting, looting and general mayhem began in a London neighborhood following the police shooting of a black man (who was armed with a blank pistol) and spread across the country.

Simultaneously, a quarter of a million people took to the streets of Tel Aviv, Israel, to protest the rising cost of living. CNBC reported the protests actually began a month previous when some people set up tents in an expensive part of town to protest rising property prices.

In Spain, Greece and Portugal, strikes, protests and rioting have occurred off and on for much of the spring and summer over government austerity measures and corruption.

Rising prices of consumer goods fueled demands for better pay and job protection by workers in the Philippines in May. Workers left their jobs and marched in the streets.

In China, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan, Iran, Lebanon and Kuwait, people have risen up in protests of varying degrees. Some of these led to a change in government, some fizzled out, some have been bought off and some have been quashed by violent repression.

While none of these protests are exactly alike and the spark that ignited them often came from different sources, they do have some common traits. Among them are the roiling economy, inflation, loss of liberties, class warfare and seemingly hopeless job prospects.

In Great Britain, Spain, Greece and Portugal, the protests demonstrate the failure of socialism.

Governments have run out of money, so they are cutting back on programs supporting the parasite class that developed off government largess. The crash of the economy has left many without jobs, and cutbacks in unemployment, food subsidies, housing subsidies, education subsidies, healthcare subsidies and the like are either being implemented or discussed.

That’s not sitting well with the parasites who grew dependent on the nanny state and have seethed and simmered over the injustices — whether real or perceived — they have endured. They’ve heard the elected elites blame the rich for their troubles, so they’re lashing out at those they consider “rich.” It doesn’t matter to them that these “rich” people are their neighbors and they’re burning down their own neighborhoods. All that matters is the rich have “stuff” and the parasites want “stuff,” so smashing windows, looting, robbing and setting fires have become legitimate things for them to do.

Kids as young as 7 or 8 were photographed looting stores of everything from liquor to clothing to expensive electronics. Drunken teenage girls were questioned by journalists about why they were burning and looting their own neighborhoods, and they responded with the incomprehensible, “Because they are rich.”

May this be a foreshadowing of what’s coming to America? We certainly have some of the same conditions here: long-term high unemployment, politicians playing the class-warfare game, government corruption, rising prices, austerity measures, a culture of dependency and elected elites ignoring the will of the governed. All that’s lacking is the right spark.

The potential for that spark is certainly there. Already in cities across the country there are almost daily reports of flash mobs looting stores and robbing and beating innocent bystanders. At the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee there was a violent incident on Aug. 5 of blacks attacking whites.

Wisconsin, of course, was the scene of protests over austerity measures that curtailed some of the bargaining rights of public sector unions. Again, the parasite class living off the sweat of the producers enjoyed benefits far exceeding those available in the private sector, and they didn’t like losing even a small percentage of their perquisites.

Wisconsin, of course, was the scene of protests over austerity measures that curtailed some of the bargaining rights of public sector unions. Again, the parasite class living off the sweat of the producers enjoyed benefits far exceeding those available in the private sector, and they didn’t like losing even a small percentage of their perquisites.

Meanwhile, the elites in Washington, D.C., continue to fiddle while the American economy burns. They failed to make any significant cuts in government spending and Standard & Poor’s downgraded America’s sovereign credit rating from AAA to AA+. The result: The stock market reacted by dropping more than 634 points in three days. And that’s on top of a 1,341 point drop while Congress and President Barack Obama dithered.

People are growing increasingly desperate. There are a growing number of reports of people stealing metal items of all sorts — from doors at construction sites to manhole covers to copper wire — as items for recycling in an effort to find the money to stay alive. States and municipalities like Lakewood, New Jersey and Sacramento, California are considering setting up tent cities to accommodate the growing number of homeless people many of them driven out of their homes because they have lost their jobs and have found no prospects for meaningful employment.

The Obama Administration is considering using government-owned foreclosure properties as rental housing, but how will people pay the rent if there are no jobs? And how will companies — particularly small businesses, which are the backbone of the economy — add jobs if there is no one who can afford to buy their products and the government continues to stifle business expansion because of increasingly stringent regulations and uncertainty about what it might try to implement next?

Chilling events going on in London of the massive riots and the breakout of class warfare is very scary and as we watch it we wonder if that can come to our shores.

We were blessed that our revolution had nothing to do with class warfare. In fact our revolution was led by rich people like Jefferson, Washington, and John Hancock and included poor people as well. It was a national effort

Around 1820-1830 Andrew Jackson, a populous Democrat, took that impudence and made it about class by expanding the suffrage of white males and destroyed the national bank of the United States, which he claimed was the source of all corporate power. His enthusiastic followers created the modern Democratic Party, and the 1830-1850 period later became known as the era of Jacksonian democracy.

After the civil war class warfare got tuned on its head and became class warfare of the rich. Social Darwinism had come into play where it became survival of the fittest. That reinforced the Presbyterian idea of predestination — If your successful it meant you were blessed and God really likes you.

In 1890 there was a huge rebellion against that idea led by the farmers and the citizens in the western United States. There was period of tremendous deflation due to our being on the gold standard.

There wasn’t enough currency and the farmers were in terrible shape. That led to the populous rebellion were government tried to inflate the currency. It also led to women’s suffrage, the income tax and the direct election of senators along with the referendum, imitative and recall as we saw in Wisconsin.

It was William Jennings Bryan, the perpetual Democratic candidate for the presidency who gave his famous Cross of Gold speech at the 1896 Democratic National Convention. The speech advocated bimetallism. Following the Coinage Act (1873), the United States abandoned its policy of bimetallism and began to operate a de facto gold standard. In 1896, the Democratic Party wanted to standardize the value of the dollar to silver and opposed a monometallic gold standard. The inflation that would result from the silver standard would make it easier for farmers and other debtors to pay off their debts by increasing their revenue dollars. It would also reverse the deflation which the U.S. experienced from 1873 to 1896.

Class warfare in the 1920s turned on its head once again as we began to look at rich people again as favored. This was the period of the roaring 20’s when almost every American was invested in Wall Street. The great recession of 1919-21 had ended with the Republican Congress taking draconian measures to reverse the policies of the progressive Woodrow Wilson.

At the conclusion of World War I, U.S. officials found themselves in a bleak position. The federal debt had exploded because of wartime expenditures, and annual consumer price inflation rates had jumped well above 20 percent by the end of the war.

To restore fiscal and price sanity, the authorities implemented what today strikes us as incredibly “merciless” policies. From FY 1919 to 1920, federal spending was slashed from $18.5 billion to $6.4 billion — a 65 percent reduction in one year. The budget was pushed down the next two years as well, to $3.3 billion in FY 1922

When the Great Depression hit in 1929 there was a tremendous impudence towards class warfare. FDR played it an interesting way. In his first administration he would have nothing to do with class warfare. He wanted to save the banks and the capitalist system and make it work.

Then when he saw he wasn’t able to solve this depression and lower the unemployment for 26% to 13% in 1936, but it was not going any lower. He figured he could campaign in 1936 on an explicitly populous class warfare platform. In a campaign speech in Philadelphia he said the economic royalists hate me and I welcome their hatred.

He then introduced a whole series of legislation aimed at the upper class and disenfranchising them. That had the effect of rekindling the depression and unemployment went back up to 26% until WWII took it down.

In the remaining 1940, 1950 and into the 1960s there really wasn’t much in the class warfare. There began to be, on the other hand, a social populism that was the conservatives answer to the economic populism of the left

The economic populist vilified Wall Street while the social populist vilified Hollywood. In effect it was an attack on values — hence the Moral Majority. The big concerns of the social populists Communism, school bussing, flag burners and opposing the Vietnam war protesters.

In 1992 during Clinton’s campaign class warfare was tried again. He realized he had to appeal to a Democratic Party base. And if he could 40-42 percent of the vote he would win because Ross Perrot was in the race. He tried the overt attack on George Bush — he was a preppy, a rich inherited fellow.

Ann Richards said at the Democratic convention that George bush was born with a silver foot in his mouth. He work up and thought he was born on third base and thought he had hit a triple. That stuff was effective because the Democrats could win with only a relative small vote share.

The fact is that economic populism has been roundly rejected by the American people. It wins the Democratic primaries, something the Democrats can focus on.

But in the end we have always regarded class as totally different from Britain. In Britain “I’m working class and I’m proud of it and I don’t want my son to grow up and be some sort of entrepreneur. I want him to make an honest living as a carpenter, bricklayer or miner and belong to a union like I do” is common among the “working class” And when a boss comes in in his Rolls Royce the British factory worker hates him because he has a Rolls Royce.

Now in the United States there is such upward mobility that patents want their son to have a Rolls Royce. I want my son or daughter to have a better live than I’ve had.

And the upward mobility that is at the core of the American social and economic political structure has diffused the potential for class warfare.

But now we have no upward mobility. The only upward mobility we have is through political action where you increase government entitlements and handouts. And that really is a recipe for class warfare.

Now we have a president who is explicitly stoking class warfare. That’s a very dangerous thing. When you look at the disruptive effects that is having in Europe that could bring a poison into our body politic in the United States, that thankfully has been absent until now.

In a recent report on Fox News Obama has begun his class warfare strategy by blasting Republicans and the Tea Party. As he has no record to run on this will be his modus operandi for the next 15 months. The report states:

“Not knowing who the eventual Republican presidential nominee will be in the 2012 election, President Obama's supporters are taking the opportunity to blast all of the GOP candidates, using aggressive language to argue that the crop of contenders is either uninterested or incapable of helping Americans.

Much of the criticism is focused on describing the candidates as lackeys to the Tea Party, which establishment Democrats have classified as right-wing zealots bent on destroying the U.S.”

The Fox report continues:

"While protecting tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil while proposing to end Medicare, slash Social Security and pile additional burdens on the middle class might win plaudits with the Tea Party, it's not remotely what the American people are looking for," Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse said in a statement Sunday after Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race.

"In a Republican field that has already pledged allegiance to the Tea Party and failed to present any plan that will benefit the middle class or create the jobs America needs to win the future, Governor Perry offers more of the same," Obama campaign spokesman Ban LaBolt said Saturday after Texas Gov. Rick Perry jumped into the race.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz noted that Obama asked for compromise on a debt reduction plan but all the presidential candidates at the Fox News-Washington Examiner debate on Thursday night agreed that they would not back a deal that would be 10-1 cuts to revenue.

"That's how strangled by the Tea Party that they are, and that's not what Americans are looking for. They're looking for solutions," she said.

"If anyone is in trouble, it's the Republican Party," continued Wasserman Schultz, who was appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Right now, they have a collection of candidates for president who are busy out -- trying to out-right-wing each other. Essentially, they are all so similar that they might as well be Legos; they're that interchangeable."

Obama’s class warfare strategy can only lead to the tearing of the American fabric. Watching London burn, one cannot help but sense something has gone awry in the west. London, the cradle of our law, spins toward lawlessness.

J. Christian Adams writes in Accuracy In Media:

“The law, the steady framework of our civilization, seems incapable of response. Americans don’t have the luxury anymore of watching the anarchy on television, assuming distance insulates us from the Mob-prowling neighborhoods like Camberwell and Tottenham. The howling rage has even come to our own Midwest.

Hopefully time and wisdom will reveal what has fractured, but for now, we are certain of some things.

We know that the House of Reeves in Croydon, South London, is a pile of ash and rubble. This furniture business had been in the Reeves family for 141 years, surviving even Hitler’s blitz. But the Mob burned it down. “I’m the fifth generation to run this place,” said owner Graham Reeves, “I have two daughters. They would have been the sixth.” It was a fixture in Croydon, which may have been its doom. The Mob loves to devour the fixtures of civilization. The Mob also delights in the destruction of a father’s dream for his daughter.

We know that the Mob is forcing victims to undress, to turn over family heirlooms such as wedding rings. We know the weapon of choice for this British Mob is fire.

We now sense that the British government is hopeless. A government that as recently as 1970 made “arson in a royal dockyard” a hanging offense dithers over whether to employ water cannons against the Mob. Americans who, for generations endearingly considered England a model of civility and decorum, know something must have failed catastrophically, but what?

We also now know the Mob has visited America in recent days and years.”

Mr. Adams reports of a similar incident in Akron, Ohio:

“The law has failed Marty Marshall and his Akron, Ohio, family. On the Fourth of July in 2009, he was watching fireworks in his front yard with his wife and children. A mob of 30 to 50 black teenagers went onto his property and beat up Marshall, his wife, his children and two adult male friends. “This is our world. This is a black world,” they taunted the injured victims. Marshall spent five nights hospitalized in critical care.

Of course there are federal hate crimes laws designed for these violent racially motivated attacks, right? But a law is only as good as the people enforcing it. The Justice Department under Eric Holder has little interest in bringing hate crimes charges to protect white victims. The corrupt dismissal of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case, which I brought, made that plain.”

“Now Prime Minister David Cameron is taking a hard line towards the rioters with opposition from, as expected, the liberal left. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Prime Minister David Cameron sought to bolster his law-and-order credentials Monday with a speech promising a root and branch review of all government policy to tackle the "slow-motion moral collapse" he believes led to the U.K.'s worst rioting in decades.

Mr. Cameron faces many obstacles in turning round what he described as "broken Britain"—including his government's cuts to police forces, and divisions between the police and government that have erupted since the unrest.

Parts of his tough response are also causing disquiet with his Liberal Democrat coalition partners, whose support he needs to get any proposals moving. Meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party ramped up its criticisms of Mr. Cameron's reactions, splitting the cross party consensus on the riots.

In his speech, Mr. Cameron said that the riots came amid a culture in which people and parents increasingly don't take responsibility for their actions, and that the state has made it harder to impose discipline. Mr. Cameron added that the fear of "stigmatizing" people by addressing head-on topics such as single-parent families has made it more difficult to tackle such issues.

"In this risk-free ground of moral neutrality there are no bad choices, just different lifestyles," he said. He added: " 'Live and let live' becomes 'Do what you please.' "

Many of Mr. Cameron's views on the riots are in line with the post-riots public mood and hit on old Tory themes. In the long-term, the U.K. leader may benefit from his get-tough approach. An ICM Research poll in the Guardian newspaper over the weekend said 45% blamed "criminality on the part of the rioters" for last week's trouble; 28% cited "lack of respect within families and communities" and 8% blamed youth unemployment. About one in three asked by ICM and by fellow pollsters ComRes said they believed Mr. Cameron has handled the response to the riots well.”

Never in the recent history of our nation has the class warfare been as prevalent as it is today. The Obama administration and his progressive Democratic supporters are taking a great risk by using a strategy of class and race warfare to retain their power in the White house and the Senate. The damage they are doing will live beyond the election. If Republicans gain control of the White House and Senate and make the cuts needed to save the nation by reducing the size of government and cutting back on the welfare state the same civil unrest that rocked London and other cities in the United Kingdom will come to our urban centers. When those who are the beneficiaries of the plunder no longer receive their plunder from the state the will turn to plunder of others. If the 2012 presidential election is close and Obama loses the unrest will begin the next day. Obama and the Democrats have set the stage.

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