“The US is going to hell,” we told the group at the Watergate last night.
“You mean the economy is really going to get worse, huh?”
“No, I mean it’s going to hell.”
We had been invited to watch President Obama give the State of the Union address with a group of dinosaurs…a group approaching extinction with dignity and intelligence. You might call them ‘thinking conservatives,’ ‘paleo- conservatives’ or ‘constitutionalists.’ Whatever they were, they were not like the scoundrels currently running for the Republican nomination or the yahoos who vote for them. They were more like a renegade, retrograde group…like a secret society of White Russian intellectuals after the Revolution of 1917. They cling to hope…that the nation will come to its senses…that the constitution will again be honoured…and that the old republic, established by the founding fathers, will be resurrected…
…they will hang on to their hope…until they are hanged by a rope.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean…it is on the road to hell… This isn’t just about losing money. Heck, the US is going broke. But you can go broke with honour. Good people go broke. Smart people go broke. Dumb people go broke. You can’t go to hell with honour. Bad people go to hell.”
“You’re saying the American people are bad?”
“Not by nature. No people are bad by nature. Even Republicans are not bad by nature. Or good. They’re all subject to influence. And now Americans are under a bad spell…being influenced to do terrible things…”
We turned to the TV. There was the commander-in-chief. The gist of his message was that the economy was getting better…thanks to all the feds’ nifty programs and fixes. He spoke of all the wonderful things he and his group of fixers had done.
But he didn’t seem content with what he has achieved. Something vexed the chief executive. It was not the economy. Nor the constitution. Nor the foreign wars.
What stuck in POTUS’s craw was ‘fairness.’ He didn’t seem to think there was enough of it. And he felt it was his job, or part of it, to determine what was fair…and how to make sure it happens.
In his wisdom, he has determined that it isn’t fair for a rich person to pay less than 30% of his income to…well…to the feds.
Here’s the Bloomberg report:
President Barack Obama, offering an election-year prescription to spur the economy, said the wealthiest Americans should pay more taxes in the name of fairness, to bring down the deficit and ensure those trying to make ends meet don’t have to “make up the difference.”
In his State of the Union address last night, Obama called on Congress to embrace a tax plan named for billionaire Warren Buffett that would require those making $1 million or more pay at least 30 percent in taxes. With congressional gridlock heightened by the 2012 election, there is little chance the proposal will pass.
“You can call this class warfare all you want,” Obama said in a nationally televised speech before a joint session of Congress. “But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.”
The president’s 65-minute address was directed at both voters and Congress. The populist themes – tax fairness, help for homeowners, cracking down on US financial crimes and unfair trade practices in China and investigating the lending practices that preceded the housing crisis – are those he will be repeating as he campaigns for a second term.
Fourteen percent of income seems like more than enough to us. Serfs in the Dark Ages paid less. But it’s not enough to satisfy our main man, Barry Obama. He wants more. And all the low-life zombies who decide elections want more too. ‘The rich’ should pay more, they say.
Even a lot of the world’s rich people think so. Also in the news was a report telling us that a group of very nice billionaires has gotten together at a very chilly place and suggested that they should all pay more in taxes.
Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk wants to talk about income inequality. So does Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien and Indian billionaire Vikas Oberoi.
The three are among a contingent of at least 70 billionaires who are joining more than 2,500 business and political leaders at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week, according to a list of attendees and promotional materials obtained by Bloomberg News. A half-dozen of the richest participants, interviewed in advance of the conference, say economic disparity needs to be addressed.
Some sessions in a series labelled “Ensuring Inclusive Growth and Development” will touch on income inequality, said Kevin Steinberg, chief operating officer of the forum in the US. A panel titled “Remodelling Capitalism” is scheduled for Jan. 27 at the Swiss Alpine High School auditorium, six shuttle- bus stops away from the conference’s main location.
See there. A group of people in Davos is going to figure out how to ‘remodel capitalism.’ Out with the dowdy old rattan furniture. Throw out the chintz. Let’s get contemporary!
Already, there’s a problem. If you think you can remodel capitalism you are hopelessly already lost. You must presume someone modelled it in the first place. Who? When? How?
Fact is, capitalism is what you get when you don’t have master designers on the job. It’s what happens when POTUS and the feds leave it alone. It’s what you get when people are allowed to work out their own designs, one by one, willingly… without a gun to their heads… When they can make money or go broke themselves…and Washington doesn’t care.
But that’s the trouble with Davos. They’re all meddlers. They’re all world improvers. And they’re all making the world a worse place.
for Markets and Money