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Friday, August 19, 2011

Liberal Plantations

“If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.” — Thomas Sowell

Walter Williams, a conservative black professor of economics at George Mason University writes a blog at least once a week. He also contributes to many conservative publications such as National Review, Human Events, and American Spectator along with the Wall Street Journal. In a May 18, 2011 blog he wrote something that sounds a great deal like the writings of Frederick Bastiat:

The liberal vision of government is easily understood and makes perfect sense if one acknowledges their misunderstanding and implied assumptions about the sources of income. Their vision helps explain the language they use and policies they support, such as income redistribution and calls for the rich to give something back.

Suppose the true source of income was a gigantic pile of money meant to be shared equally amongst Americans. The reason some people have more money than others is because they got to the pile first and greedily took an unfair share. That being the case, justice requires that the rich give something back, and if they won't do so voluntarily, Congress should confiscate their ill-gotten gains and return them to their rightful owners.

A competing liberal implied assumption about the sources of income is that income is distributed, as in distribution of income. There might be a dealer of dollars. The reason why some people have more dollars than others is because the dollar dealer is a racist, a sexist, a multinationalist or a conservative. The only right thing to do, for those to whom the dollar dealer unfairly dealt too many dollars, is to give back their ill-gotten gains. If they refuse to do so, then it's the job of Congress to use their agents at the IRS to confiscate their ill-gotten gains and return them to their rightful owners. In a word, there must be a re-dealing of the dollars or what some people call income redistribution.

The sane among us recognize that in a free society, income is neither taken nor distributed; for the most part, it is earned. Income is earned by pleasing one's fellow man. The greater one's ability to please his fellow man, the greater is his claim on what his fellow man produces. Those claims are represented by the number of dollars received from his fellow man.

Say I mow your lawn. For doing so, you pay me $20. I go to my grocer and demand, "Give me 2 pounds of steak and a six-pack of beer that my fellow man produced." In effect, the grocer asks, "Williams, you're asking your fellow man to serve you. Did you serve him?" I reply, "Yes." The grocer says, "Prove it."

That's when I pull out the $20 I earned from serving my fellow man. We can think of that $20 as "certificates of performance." They stand as proof that I served my fellow man. It would be no different if I were an orthopedic doctor, with a large clientele, earning $500,000 per year by serving my fellow man. By the way, having mowed my fellow man's lawn or set his fractured fibula, what else do I owe him or anyone else? What's the case for being forced to give anything back? If one wishes to be charitable, that's an entirely different matter.

Contrast the morality of having to serve one's fellow man in order to have a claim on what he produces with congressional handouts. In effect, Congress says, "You don't have to serve your fellow man in order to have a claim on what he produces. We'll take what he produces and give it to you. Just vote for me."

Who should give back? Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart, Bill Gates founded Microsoft, Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer. Which one of these billionaires acquired their wealth by coercing us to purchase their product? Which has taken the property of anyone?

Each of these examples, and thousands more, is a person who served his fellow men by producing products and services that made life easier. What else do they owe? They've already given.

If anyone is obliged to give something back, they are the thieves and recipients of legalized theft (or as Bastiat calls it plunder), namely people who've used Congress, including America's corporate welfare queens, to live at the expense of others. When a nation vilifies the productive and makes mascots of the unproductive, it doesn't bode well for its future.”

In his latest book “Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?” Williams exposes the liberal myth that racism is the cause of today’s plight of the African American in the inner city. Williams applies an economic analysis to the problems black Americans have faced in the past and still face in the present to show that that free-market resource allocation, as opposed to political allocation, is in the best interests of minorities. Contrasting the features of market resource allocation with those of the political arena, he explains how, in the political arena, minorities cannot realize a particular preference unless they win the will of the majority. In the market, he shows, there is a sort of parity (nonexistent in the political arena) in which one person's dollar has the same power as the next person's.

The black experience in America naturally gives rise to thinking of today’s black experience in terms of racism and oppression. But the most difficult problems black Americans face, particularly those who are poor, cannot adequately be explained by current racial discrimination. In Race and Economics, Walter Williams argues that many problems are a result of policies, regulations, and restrictions emanating from federal, state, and local governments. It is not free markets and the profit motive that have reduced opportunities, the author asserts; instead, it is the power of vested interest groups, as a means to greater wealth, to use the coercive powers of government to stifle market competition. In essence this is the new plantation devised and overseen by the liberals and their minions in he media. In other words we (the liberals and government) will take care of them, warehouse them in a kinder, gentler gulag as long as they continue to support us with their votes and voices.

Williams debunks many common labor market myths and reveals how the minimum-wage law has imposed incalculable harm on the most disadvantaged members of our society. He explains that the real problem is people are not so much underpaid as under skilled and that the real task is to help unskilled people become skilled. The author also reveals how licensing and regulation reduce economic opportunities for people, especially those who might be described as discriminated against and having little political clout. Using the example of the trucking industry before and after deregulation, he illustrates how government regulation closes entry and reinforces economic handicaps, whereas deregulation not only has helped minorities enter an industry in greater numbers, but also has benefited consumers.

People will not engage in activities, including racial discrimination, says Williams, if the cost is too high. In markets, because transactions are mostly an individual affair, it is unnecessary to win the approval or permission of others; the costs and benefits are a private matter. But in the political arena, each citizen has only one vote, meaning that, unlike the free market, a minority cannot register the intensity of his preference. Further, increased concentration of political power at the national level handicaps minorities in the sense that their votes become

Many people see racism as a problem that exists in the private sector, that can be solved by officials in the public sector. Walter Williams turns this popular view of racism on its head. Public policies often put minorities at a disadvantage. Racists often find it easier to discriminate through public policy than through private enterprise. Williams is extending the cost-driven theoretical arguments of Gary Becker on the economics of discrimination. He uses many interesting examples to support the idea that government intervention serves as the primary means of discrimination: minimum wage laws, licensing, and other restrictions on otherwise free markets. These are controversial propositions that will offend some readers. Hopefully most people will read it critically and in so doing benefit from its well-reasoned and supported arguments. You can read a preview of Williams’ book by clicking here and be sure to read pages 17 and 18 where he talks about the difference between material and moral poverty.

Several days ago Rep. Allen West said he believes that the Democratic Party is akin to a modern-day “plantation.” In an interview on Wednesday night’s “O’Reilly Factor,” he told guest host Laura Ingraham that he is the “modern-day Harriet Tubman“ and that he wants to lead fellow African Americans away from the ”21st century plantation.”

West made extremely bold statements throughout the interview, apparently undeterred by any negative response he might receive from the Democratic Party or from fellow African Americans. Commenting on anger that was seen at a Congressional Black Caucus (of which West is the only GOP member) town hall meeting in Detroit this week, he said:

“The people on that plantation are upset because they’ve been disregarded, disrespected and their concerns are not cared about…I’m here as the modern-day Harriet Tubman to kind of lead people on the underground railroad away from that plantation into a sense of sensibility.”

West went on to dismiss some African American leaders as “nothing more than overseers over that plantation” and he stated his belief that white liberals have relied upon people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to support Democratic policies. These individuals, he claims, have failed to addresses important matters. West also discussed recent flash mobs (as per the Huffington Post):

“The freshman Republican said the fact that black leaders have done nothing in response to the recent spate of flash mobs in U.S. cities is proof of their disconnect from the black community. This summer has been marked by flash mobs in several cities, including Philadelphia and Cleveland, and are thought to be fueled by growing discontent among unemployed urban youth.”

He also went on to say that Republicans have not done well drawing black voters into the conservative movement. That said, he explained that there is an opportunity for conservatives to reach African Americans by connecting with them on the issues of “individual responsibility and accountability, faith and family, and the hard work ethic.”

A few days later Laura Ingraham interviewed one on the plantation overseers, Rep. Charles Wrangle on New York, also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and constant race baiter. Wrangle began to disparage West’s remarks until Ms. Ingraham began to challenge him. I was then retreated to his old race baiting spin zone and his rebuttal total collapsed. Click here to watch the video on Fox News. It’s well worth nine minutes of your time.

On Thursday Rep. Maxine Waters, another one of the plantation overseers, exploded with an attack on Obama for not paying more attention to the African American plantations. Waters renewed her assault on President Barack Obama on Thursday, a day after admitting that black Democrats in Congress don’t criticize him because they fear a backlash from constituents.

In a swipe at Obama’s bus tour through small-town Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, she said, “He went to rural communities and he went with a plan…to invest money in those rural communities in order to develop jobs.

“We want the rural poor to be attended to,” Waters said in an interview on CNN. “But we also want the urban poor to be attended to.”

In a separate interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, she picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal. “Take a look at this headline,” she said, “‘Obama aims to keep white voters on board.’ Well we want to be on board, too.”

The California Democrat’s comments are the first sign of a rift between Obama and his most steadfast supporters, and were quickly picked up by radio host Rush Limbaugh who called Obama’s Mid-West trip the “white-like-me tour.”

“Obama does not seem to want to hang around with them,” Limbaugh said, referring to African Americans. “Obama does not seem to want to do anything for them.

“Maxine, listen to me,” Limbaugh said. “He’s ignoring you because he knows he’s got you. Why spend any money or time with the cow when you already get the milk for free?”

The Democrat hit the airwaves a day after asking black voters in Detroit to “unleash” her and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) so they could feel free to attack Obama’s policies.

Calling it “the reality of politics,” the California congresswoman said, “If we go after the president, you’re going after us.”

“We don’t put pressure on the president because you all love the president. You are very proud to have a black man, first time in the history of the United States of America.

“When you tell us it’s all right and you unleash us and you tell us you are

“We don’t know what the strategy is,” Waters continued. “We don’t know why, on this trip that he’s on in the United States, he’s not in the black community.”

Waters said she and other black Democrats in Congress “love” Obama, but added “We’re getting tired.”

She added, “We want to give the president every opportunity to show what he can do or what he’s prepared to lead on… but our people are hurting.”

On Thursday, Waters contrasted the African American unemployment rate of 15.9 percent – which she said was the highest since the Great Depression – with the overall rate for the country of 9.1 percent. “It’s unconscionable,” she said.

And she said Obama should be using his bully pulpit to call in bank leaders and telling them, “We bailed you out, now you have got to put money back

Last night Sean Hannity had Niger Ennis of the Congress on Racial Equality and Jehmu Greene, a Democratic strategist in a head to head dust up on this issue of the new plantation. Green, the typical Black liberal tried to defend the plantation while Ennis, a conservative Black, supported West’ comments. Click here to watch the video.

Obama, the grand master of the plantation is off on a vacation to Martha’s Vineyard where he will stay in his $56,000 per week ocean-view home and hob nob with the rich and famous, all wealthy liberals and supporters of the plantation system. To him, as Rush Limbaugh told Maxine Waters, why buy the cow when you get the milk free. Neither Obama, nor any other liberal can do a damn thing for the Black community. They have been trying for years by dumping trillions of dollars into the plantation system and the results keep getting worse. Wasn’t it the icon of the liberals, John F. Kennedy who said; “A rising tide lifts all boats?” As Walter Williams said you cannot help the Black community without helping all communities. After all it is the rich who create the jobs, not the poor.

Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia gave a stirring address the other day at a local Baptist Church where he laid it on the people of the Black community for the moral poverty.

Unless the Black leaders like Mayor Nutter, Allan West, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, and Niger Ennis can convince the occupants of the liberal plantation having babies out of wedlock, lack of education to develop skills, personal appearance, development of a work ethic, learning to speak properly, and showing respect for all of society the liberal plantation system will prevail.

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