Saturday, October 17, 2015

Knowing Who's Naughty or Nice is Just the Start

The first Democratic debate's embrace of socialism indicates that the Democrats are running for Santa Claus and not for president.

This seems appropriate (tip to Legal Insurrection):

We shall see if the American people want a president or somebody dispensing free stuff with a cackle ho ho ho.

Actually, I'm being unfair to Santa Claus. Santa actually gives to those who are nice and stiffs the naughty.

Democrats assume that if they give enough to them, the most naughty will become nice.

UPDATE: The poor are getting richer even though the rich get richer; the condition of our poor compares rather well to Europe's median income; and restricting freedom won't eliminate inequality--nor should we want to:

The fundamental producer of income inequality is freedom. Individuals have different aptitudes and attitudes. Not even universal free public education, even were it well done, could equalize the ability of individuals to add value to the economy.

I am no less happy with my life because the upper income brackets have made far greater gains than I am likely (but who knows?) to ever experience. And a system that drags down those upper brackets to make them closer to me is likely to suppress my standard of leaving, too.

At this point, I'm far more worried about equality under the law. It should apply to all of us equally, and not just punish the little people.

UPDATE: The technology for knowing who is naughty and who is nice is there:

China’s Communist government is rolling out a plan to assign everyone in the country “citizenship scores.” According to the ACLU, “China appears to be leveraging all the tools of the information age—electronic purchasing data, social networks, algorithmic sorting—to construct the ultimate tool of social control. It is, as one commentator put it, ‘authoritarianism, gamified.’ ” In the system, everyone is measured by a score ranging from 350 to 950, and that score is linked to a national ID card. In addition to measuring your financial credit, it will also measure political compliance.

And I'm sure there are revolting fanboys of China (why yes, I am speaking of Tom Friedman) who will salute this plan if it can be framed to combat global warming.

Of course, if the revolution comes to China anyway, the people who take control will have an easy measure of who to execute or send to prison and re-education camps.

UPDATE: Americans are instinctively suspicious of "income inequality" talk, which tends to increase distrust of government efforts to combat it (tip to Instapundit). Which is smart:

The first-, second- and fourth-richest counties in the US, and six of the top 10, are suburbs of Washington, DC. Americans have noticed.

It's not just the government employees that create this concentration of wealth. It's also the lobbyists and attorneys who cluster there to get advantages by changing the law (or rules or process) or finding those advantages or places where advantages can be gained.

Not that I'm particularly slamming them. It is legal to petition the government, after all. And when government is so all-important, of course it will attract the attention of lobbyists and lawyers.

The solution is to reduce the scope of authority for the federal government (and hence reduce the number of employees), which will reduce the incentive for lobbyists and lawyers to influence government. Trying to reform the permanent bureaucracy is a fool's game. Do you really think the people who directed the IRS against conservatives can really be reformed because a Republican is put in charge at the very top?

The federal government is just too damn big.