Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Democrats Lose Their Minds

I'm not a Democrat—in case you haven't noticed—but Howard Schultz is. And Schultz isn't one of those Blue Dog, Southern or Midwestern, conservative Democrats either. He's from Seattle, holds liberal positions on, as far as I can tell, every issue, and has donated gobs of money to the Democratic Party and to the last two Democratic presidents. But Schultz is also a democratic capitalist who attributes his phenomenal success—his fortune from Starbucks is around $3 billion—at least in part to America's culture of entrepreneurial risk-taking, minimal government interference in commerce, individual responsibility, and rule of law. He worries that the Democratic Party, radicalized by the presidency of Donald Trump, is in the process of abandoning support for the very aspects of American life that made his life possible. "Both parties are consistently not doing what's necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics," Schultz told 60 Minutes last Sunday. The Democrats then began proving his point for him.

On Monday, in a townhall organized by CNN, Kamala Harris endorsed a Medicare-for-All plan that would "eliminate"—her word—private insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, employer-provided health insurance covers "approximately 152 million nonelderly people in total." A poll last year by America's Health Insurance Plan (AHIP) found that 71 percent of Americans were satisfied with their employer's plan. Most Americans have health insurance, and most Americans are pretty happy with their insurance. Too bad: Kamala Harris says it's time to "move on."

Harris's rival, Elizabeth Warren, has endorsed a tax of 2 percent on assets above $50 million and 3 percent on assets above $1 billion. Now, Warren would like to raise taxes on incomes, capital gains, dividends, and corporations, too. That's just for starters. A wealth tax of the sort she has proposed—a government claw-back of property in order to make real a subjective standard of equality—would be unique in American history. It might even be unconstitutional. But hey, why worry about that when you can indulge in some light court packing?

The brightest star in the Democratic Party is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC. The other week, in conversation with Ta-Nehisi Coates, AOC said, "I do think that a system that allows billionaires to exist when there are parts of Alabama where people are still getting ringworm because they don't have access to public health is wrong." Don't worry, "It's not to say someone like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet are immoral people." AOC's complaint is with the "system" that "allows" Gates and Buffet—and Schultz and Bezos and George Lucas and Mark Zuckerberg and the rest—"to exist." Presumably, then, Gates and Buffet are safe, existentially speaking. But the "system" of relatively free enterprise that allowed them to grow rich—and finance or innovate remarkable advances in technology and productivity that have benefited the world—should be altered drastically. Hence AOC's call for a 70-percent marginal tax rate—backed by the same genius from Berkeley who designed Warren's expropriation of wealth—to help pay for the "Green New Deal" that will give us "a 100% greenhouse gas neutral power generation system, decarbonizing industry and agriculture and more." Currently, 17 percent of American energy is renewable. The scale of coercion required for such a transformation would brighten any Jacobin's day. Don't think too hard about the details of the proposal, though. AOC says there isn't time to worry about cost, implementation, and unanticipated consequences. "The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change," she told Coates. Nice while it lasted, I suppose.

More


0 comments:

Post a Comment