EppsNet Archive: Communism

A Lesson in Free Markets

20 Mar 2016 /

A lesson in free markets


Everyone Was Equal

20 Oct 2013 /

Or as fellow grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi wrote in his autobiography: “The Soviets were very successful: everyone was equal — equally poor.”


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: Paul Krugman

19 Nov 2012 /

America in the 1950s made the rich pay their fair share; it gave workers the power to bargain for decent wages and benefits; yet contrary to right-wing propaganda then and now, it prospered. And we can do that again.

I hardly know where to begin with this . . .

First of all, what is the relevance of the 1950s as opposed to any other period of American history? America prior to 1913 had no permanent income tax and contrary to left-wing propaganda, it prospered. Why can’t we do that again?

Workers of the World, Unite!

Of course we’re all in favor of fairness — right? — but why is it only important that “the rich” pay their “fair share”? I don’t remember ever hearing anyone, certainly not Krugman, use the phrase “pay their fair share” in reference to any group except “the rich.”

If you’re concerned about fairness, isn’t it also important that the middle class “pay their fair share”? Isn’t it important that the poor “pay their fair share”? Shouldn’t we all have some skin in the game?

Why not say that everyone should “pay their fair share” instead of making a class warfare issue out of it?

 

As George Harrison used to say:

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all

America in the 1950s had a top tax bracket of 91 percent for incomes greater than $200,000. For every dollar you made in excess of $200,000, the federal government took 91 cents as its “fair share.” You got to keep nine cents as your “fair share.”

Out of those nine cents, you also had to pay Social Security taxes, state taxes, local taxes, sales taxes, property taxes and excise taxes. Am I forgetting anything? It doesn’t seem unlikely to me that nine cents on the dollar wouldn’t be enough to cover all those taxes, in which case you’d actually lose money on every dollar.

If I’d been a business owner in the 1950s, with the knowledge that once I made 200 grand, I’d be operating at a loss, I would have just shut the place down at that point and sent everyone home till the next year. I don’t care if it was November or August or January.

Finally, when Krugman talks about workers having “the power to bargain,” he’s talking about unions, as though the two things are inseparable. I’ve never been in a union but I’ve bargained for wages and benefits at every job I’ve ever had. Anyone with marketable skills can bargain for wages and benefits.

P.S. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but “workers” is a telling choice of words, isn’t it? Why not “employees” or just “people”? “Workers” calls to mind communist rallying cries and the Wobblies.


We Aren’t in Business as Shopkeepers

28 Jul 2011 /

[The Mayor, a Communist, has asked what penance Father Quixote would give him for fornication. Ellipses are in the original.]

“You know–of course you don’t know–I don’t like the taste of tomatoes at all. But suppose Father Heribert Jone had written that it was a mortal sin to eat tomatoes and the old lady who lives next door to me came to me in the church to confess she had eaten a tomato. What penance would I give her? As I don’t eat tomatoes myself I wouldn’t even be able to imagine how deep her depravity might be. Of course a rule would have been broken . . . a rule . . . one can’t avoid knowing that.”

“You are avoiding my question, father, what penance . . . ?”

“Perhaps one Our Father and one Hail Mary.”

“Only one?”

“One said properly must surely be the equal of a hundred run off without thought. I don’t see the point of numbers. We aren’t in business as shopkeepers.”

— Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

Failure is an Orphan

1 Feb 2009 /

For centuries, historians have debated whether history is propelled by Great Men (and Women), human forces of nature who bend events and systems to their will, or by vast impersonal forces (communism, capitalism, globalization) that render even the most powerful of us a mere reed basket floating in a massive river. There’s no session on the subject at the World Economic Forum in Davos. But at least with regard to finance and business, the consensus seems to be clear: Success is the work of Great Men and Great Women, while failure can be pinned on the system.