Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Communist Manifesto: Philosophic and Economic Ideas/ Historic Consequences

The Communist Manifesto:
Philosophic and Economic Ideas/
Historic Consequences

Karl Marx claimed that economics determines history, and that one's economic class determines one's ideas. Ironically, he proved himself wrong, in a deadly way. The twelve-thousand word propaganda tract written by Marx in 1848 and known as The Communist Manifesto was a concise summary of many ideas which Marx himself created. These ideas proceeded to shape the history of the twentieth century, including its political and economic history, as well as the ideas of most twentieth century intellectuals. This history included approximately one hundred million innocent citizens slaughtered by their governments, millions more enslaved by their governments, international conflicts on an unprecedented scale, and an intellectual tradition that, at present, is thoroughly entrenched in the humanities and is in the process of destroying the ideas and ideals of the West. There have probably never been fewer words that have caused more misery and destruction than those written by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto.
Contrary to Marx's professed beliefs, ideas have consequences. The source of the misery and destruction caused by Marx's ideas is the fact that they are fundamentally false, false philosophically, economically and historically. In the instance of Marx's ideas, the true causal chain extends from his false metaphysical, epistemological and ethical premises, to his politics and economics, to the bloody history of the twentieth century.
The underlying epistemological error that Marx commits early in the Manifesto is the advocacy of a form of intellectual determinism and relativism which denies both free will and objectivity by claiming that the truth and falsehood of one's ideas bear no objective status and are determined by, and their truth relative to, one's economic class. He says, "Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property… don't wrangle with us so long as you apply… the standard of your bourgeois notions of freedom, culture, law, etc." And: "Law, morality and religion are… bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests."
What Marx is claiming here is that the entire Western philosophic and intellectual tradition, as it had developed up until his time (and on which, ironically, he was entirely dependent for his own ideas), is a subjective rationalization used to justify the "exploitation" of the workers by the capitalists, a tradition consisting of ideas which are neither consciously chosen by the capitalists, nor have any basis in fact. Thus, in a single swoop, Marx himself rationalizes the destruction not only of entire fields, such as law, but of Western culture as such, including its most fundamental concepts, such as "freedom." (Contemporary manifestations of these Marxian premises taught in modern universities include the doctrines of "Deconstruction," "Neo-Pragmatism," and "Multiculturalism.")
Of course, if the entire body of Western thought is a subjective rationalization, there can be no such thing as "objectivity," or any defense, based on such a concept, of the institutions of a civilization founded upon it. Having dismissed freedom, culture, morality and law as subjective myths, Marx then feels free to advocate their outright destruction by the totalitarian State, which he refers to as the "Communistic modes of… appropriating intellectual products," resulting in the elimination of "class culture."
Following Marx's theory, within a few months of coming to power, Vladimir Lenin quickly eliminated the "bourgeois notion" of law in practice by setting up a secret police, the Cheka, which controlled secret courts authorized to fix penalties in accordance with "the dictates of the revolutionary conscience" (i.e. without reference to written law or objective standards). The random killing of groups of people, linked by class status or profession (such as homeowners and high school teachers) immediately followed. The "bourgeois notion" of freedom was eliminated by throwing those who were not murdered outright into concentration and labor camps. Consistent with Marxian subjectivism, objections to slave labor were brushed aside by Lenin's associate Karl Radek as "the bourgeois prejudice of 'freedom of labor'".
Hitler, of course, would soon apply the same methods on a larger scale in his "National Socialism," adapting the Soviet model to his own ideology by substituting the concept of race for class. Thus, in Marx's epistemological ideas, began the intellectual subjectivism, the moral relativism, and mass murder of the totalitarian governments in our century.
The "Communistic modes of… appropriating intellectual products" in order to eliminate "class culture" were made a reality both in the Soviet Union and Red China, whose leaders, Stalin and Mao, systematically smashed Western culture in "Cultural Revolutions" in 1946 and 1966-67 respectively. During these intellectual purges, Western-influenced "bourgeois" scientists and artists were killed or imprisoned, while their works were destroyed.
Marx's non-objectivity is intricately linked to his policy of equivocation and conceptual redefinition. If there are no objective standards of knowledge, there can be no fixed, objective definitions of concepts. In fact, under the guise of using "dialectic logic," Marx and his followers usually give key concepts the exact opposite of their exact meaning. Thus the term "slavery," which in reality is a state maintained by the slave master by the threat of physical coercion against the slave, is used by Marx to describe the condition of the workers, who in fact are persuaded to work by the exact opposite of coercion, that is, by the offering of a positive reward, i.e. money. (A leading Marxist theorist of early Soviet Russia, Nikolai Bukharin, described capitalist labor as "the enslavement of the working class," and Soviet concentration camps as "the self-organization of the working class.") Similarly, for Marx voluntary trade for mutual gain represents the "exploitation" of one party by another; whereas expropriation, i.e. robbery, the forced, unrewarded transfer of wealth from one party to another, has come, under Marx's influence, to represent social "justice." By extension of the same technique, twentieth century Marxists have distinguished between Capitalist "imperialism" (free trade between independent countries) vs. "wars of liberation" (Communist-initiatied wars of aggression leading to government "expropriation" (robbery) of private property and the enslavement of the population), as well as many other Orwellian slight-of-hands. (Nikita Krushchev declared in 1961: "The Communist victory will take place through… 'national liberation wars' in Africa, Asia and Latin America, the 'centers of revolutionary struggle against imperialism'.")
The shortest outline of an answer to Marx's epistemological falsehoods is the following: that both correctly formed concepts and true propositions made up of such concepts are objective, i.e. correspond to the facts of an absolute and knowable reality; that people possess free will, i.e. are able choose to expend the effort to think or not, and therefore the possess the ability to arrive at truth by an effort which is volitionally exercised; that the ideas at which people arrive determine their actions (including their economic actions) and therefore their history; and that the application in action of true ideas has pro-life consequences, the application of false ideas, anti-life consequences.
The underlying false ethical assumption which permeates the Manifesto and underlies Marx's political and economic ideas is that self-interest is intrinsically evil and corrupt. Marx speaks of the "naked self-interest," and "egotistical calculation" of the Bourgeoisie, who, by offering payment in exchange for the services of physicians, lawyers and poets, "stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe."
What, in essence, is implied by such a statement? That because an instance of trade is advantageous to one or (in fact) both parties, because it appeals to their "naked self-interest," by that very fact it must be considered corrupt and evil—that self-interest is corrupt and evil—that the source of personal honor is self-sacrifice, as opposed to self-preservation. As identified by Ayn Rand, implicit in such a view is a premise of death as the ultimate standard of value motivating one's moral actions, actions which, in order for one to claim a positive moral status, one may never be the beneficiary of. Here, in what is perhaps the fundamental issue underlying ethics (self-preservation versus self-sacrifice as the standard of morality), we see the suggestion of a moral standardùin fact, an inversion of good and evilùthat, when put into existential practice, will lead to the rationalization of countless human deaths, to the sacrifice of countless "selfish" individuals, a wholesale slaughter of human beings on a scale never before seen or imagined, in the service of "the greater good" of others, of humanity as a whole.
In Marxist political practice, the selfish, i.e. profit-seeking, individuals are identified as any professional group (Marx mentions landlords and shopkeepers) who have amassed more wealth relative to any other professional group through an act of trade, which other group it is assumed they have "exploited." Once such a group has been identified, Marx believes it is morally justified to "expropriate the expropriators" by an act of force. (Note Marx's establishment of the notion of a collective, rather than individual, guilt deserving of a collective punishment.)
This standard of morality was applied by Joseph Stalin in 1929-36 to a class of peasants he called the "Kulaks." (Kulak literally means "fist"; as a descriptive term applied to the peasants it means "grasping peasant.") To help speed industrialization Stalin wanted a greater production of food from the peasants, who formed approximately 3/4 of the Russian population. Because most peasants would not accept Stalin's paper money in trade, he sent armed government officials to seize the peasant's produce by force. Those peasants who resisted being robbed of either their land or their production were labeled "Kulaks" and were said to be engaging in "terrorist acts." To stop these "terrorist acts," Stalin called for an "all-out offensive against the Kulak…We must smash the Kulaks, eliminate them as a class…We must strike at the Kulaks so hard as to prevent them from rising to their feet again…We must break down the resistance of that class in open battle!"
The result of the ensuing war-like operation of the government against its citizens was an estimated 10 million men, women & children gunned down, and 10-11 million more transported to North European Russia, Siberia and Central Asia where a third went into concentration camps, a third into internal exile, and a third were executed or died in transit. The remaining peasants, who were stripped of their property and herded into "grain factories," revolted by destroying equipment and produce. Stalin's offensive against the peasents thus caused what was to be "perhaps the only case in history of a purely man-made famine."
It must be emphasized that the "terror famine" was not a misapplication of Marxism, but the implementation of one of The Communist Manifesto's explicit goals: the "establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture." In a division of labor, when self-interested trade is condemned as immoral in a government's ideology, political means, i.e. government force, is all that remains to motivate people to produce. In Ayn Rand's eloquent words, the alternative to the dollar is the gun.
On an economic level, Marx sees the self-interested acts of producers and traders as resulting in the steadily increasing impoverishment of the many, the proletariat, to the benefit of the few, the bourgeoisie. On this and many related economic points, Marx contradicts not only economic theory as it had developed by his time, but his own account of recent history, as well as elementary logic.
For example, he writes, "The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scant one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all proceeding generations together," and then later, that "the average price of wage labor is the minimum wage… required to keep the laborer in bare existence as a laborer," and , "the modern laborer… instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class," and finally, that the bourgeoisie is unfit to "rule," because "it is incompetent to insure an existence to its slave [i.e., the Capitalist's employees] within his slavery [i.e., the employee is eventually reduced to literal starvation]." In other words, the result of a radical increase in the production of goods is the radical impoverishment, even ultimately the literal starvation, of the vast majority of humanity, the proletariat.
The first logical question to ask following such a fantastic progression of assertions is that, if the workers are dying of starvation, who exactly then are the buyers of the Capitalist's goods? Does the Capitalist produce goods which he subsequently buries in landfills? In logic, a radical increase in the production of goods is synonymous with a radical increase in prosperity, an inference demonstrated by the continuous and progressive increase in the prosperity of both the workers and the employers of the predominantly Capitalistic countries of the West during the past two centuries.
In economic terms, the equation of wages (i.e. money) with wealth implied by Marx's quote is based on a Mercantilist fallacy dispelled by the Classical economists, whose ideas Marx was intimately familiar with at the time he wrote the Manifesto. In short, one of the central points these thinkers taught was that real wealth consists not in quantity of the medium used as a means of exchange, i.e. paper or gold, but rather in the actual goods one can buy with these mediums, which they called "real wages." If production is increased, the goods which one can buy with one's salary is increased, and in turn so is one's prosperity. Given this perspective it becomes irrelevant whether the worker's salaries average one dollar an hour or one hundred dollars an hour; what matters is what the salary can buy, and as production increases, so do the actual goods the average worker can afford.
A Marxist might contend that during Marx's time the goods manufactured were priced at a high level which only the capitalists could afford. Such an assertion would be factually wrong, however; describing the results of the same Industrial Revolution in which Marx perceived increasing poverty leading to starvation, Jacob Bronowski writes:
"The new inventions were for everyday use. The canals were arteries of communication: they were not made to carry pleasure boats, but barges. And the barges were not made to carry luxuries, but pots and pans and bales of cloth, boxes of ribbon, and all the common things that people buy by the pennyworth." "It is comic to think that cotton underwear and soap could work a transformation in the lives of the poor. Yet these simple things—coal in an iron range, glass in the windows, a choice of food—were a wonderful rise in the standard of life and health…"
Of course, that standard has kept rising, in the Capitalist and semi-Capitalist countries, through the present, with it's previously undreamed-of standard of living for everyone, including of course the working class.
In another example of historic, political, economic, and logical self-contradiction, Marx writes that, "National differences and antagonisms between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to… freedom of commerce…" Then, writing of end of "exploitation" to be brought about by the introduction of Communism, Marx writes that, "In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility between one nation to another will come to an end." Again, in logic, one is led to ask: if freedom of commerce leads to harmony among nations, why would the opposite policy, the abolition of freedom of commerce, now solve the already solved, now nonexistent problem of international antagonisms, rather than, logically, lead to the opposite result? To understand why economic freedom historically led to harmony among nations, and what effect the abolition of economic freedom would cause (and, in fact, later did cause) among nations, however, requires an analysis which Marx wisely avoids in the Manifesto.
There is, in fact, both a political and an economic explanation for the harmony among nations engendered by free enterprise and acknowledged by Marx. The political explanation is that, under Capitalism, both in regard to the interactions among private individuals and between private individuals and the government, the initiation of physical force is legally prohibited, which principle establishes that both individual people and individual nations, in seeking their individual ends, must deal with one another through strictly voluntary means. The economic principle which follows from this is that of free trade, any instance of which only takes place when both parties deem it to serve their individual self interest, i.e. when a mutual gain results. Under such a system, physical aggression is in principle abolished on a political level, and individual people and individual nations become economic allies who benefit from each other's existence—i.e., a harmony among people and among nations results.
Marx, of course, regards cooperation among voluntary traders, when some of the traders in question are Capitalists trading money for labor, as "exploitation." How then, according to Marx, is such "exploitation" to be ended? As in most of Marx's positive assertions, the means to what he treats as a self-evidently noble end is left unidentified. (It is probably this technique of deliberately omitting from discussion the necessary means of implementing his ideas that underlies the common view that Marxism is a noble theory that has been misapplied in practice by corrupt leaders.) In reality, however, the only way for a government to prohibit one producer of goods or services from trading with other producers is through the initiation (or the threat of the initiation) of physical force against the traders, a force which aims to rob a producer of his production in order to redistribute it to a non-producer, under the Marxist policy of "from each according to his ability to each according to his need." Such a policy, justified by the antecedent moral principle that seeking one's self-interest is inherently evil, establishes the principle that the initiation of physical force is a proper function of government in order to coerce naturally immoral, self-interested individuals into pursing moral, altruistic ends. It follows in the economic realm that individual people can no longer be allies, but must become antagonists, since the gain in property of one person must now represent the forcible loss of property of another. Politically, it logically must also follow that if the initiation of force by the government against Capitalistic "exploiters" is a proper policy on a national level, it must also be so on an international level.
This, in fact, is the root the Russian enslavement of Eastern Europe, of the "cold war" between the Soviet Union and the United States, and of the many Communist sponsored third world "revolutions" which took place from the 1970s onward. Regarding the latter, historian Paul Johnson, in recalls that: "in December 1975, under Soviet naval escort, the first Cuban troops landed in Angola. In 1976 they moved into Abyssinia, now in the Soviet camp, and into Central and East Africa…by the end of the 1970s there were ten such African states, providing Soviet Russia, in varying degrees, with diplomatic and propaganda support, economic advantages and military bases."
In summary, ideas determine history, not the other way around. True ideas have pro-life consequences, false ideas have anti-life consequences. Marxism, as presented in the Communist Manifesto, is not a noble theory that was misapplied in practice, but a vicious theory that, when applied, led to unparalleled human disaster. It is therefore imperative to human well being that the "humanitarians" in our humanities departments replace all vestiges of Marxist philosophy with philosophically true ideas and begin teaching them, so that philosophy can lead us to a second Renaissance, rather than the new dark ages which is the end of the Marxist road. Those ideas are, above all, the ideas of Aristotle, John Locke and Ayn Rand.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

'The New Tammany Hall'

FRED SIEGEL 'The New Tammany Hall'

'What has the country so angry," says Fred Siegel, "is the sense that crony capitalism has produced a population that lives off the rest of us without contributing. They're right. It's not paranoid."
The economic historian of the American city has spent a lot of this autumn on Wall Street. He met many of the protesters who camped out at Zuccotti Park, before the city's finest cleared them out last week. He also knows the bankers and finds the theater of the Occupy movement ironic.
"They're on the same side of the street politically," he says. "They're both in favor of big government. The Wall Street people I talk to, they get it completely." What he means is that the Bush and Obama administrations bailed out the large banks, and that economic stimulus and near-zero interest rates kept them flush. "Obama's crony capitalism has been very good for New York's crony capitalism," he says. Over at Zuccotti Park, "there are a few people there who do get it, but very little of their animosity follows from this."
One can appreciate why the "we are the 99%" militants might resist Mr. Siegel's logic. He links the liberalism of the 1960s, not any excess of the free market, to today's crisis. The Great Society put the state on growth hormones. Less widely appreciated, the era gave birth to a powerful new political force, the public-sector union. For the first time in American history there was an interest dedicated wholly to lobbying for a larger government and the taxes and debt to pay for it.
A former editor of the left-leaning Dissent magazine, Mr. Siegel has written several well-received books on New York, including the 1997 "The Future Once Happened Here." He calls his hometown "the model for cross subsidies" in America. "Wall Street makes money off the bonds that have to be floated to pay the public sector workers in New York."
Thanks to union clout, he notes, salaries and benefits for teachers, bus drivers and city secretaries have outgained the private sector during this sluggish economy. "Spending is never ratcheted down. It's unconnected to productivity. That can only be sustained by a boom or these extraordinary subsidies we're getting now from the Federal Reserve. But that's gonna stop at some point. And then what happens?"
Ken Fallin
Other countries have managed to find a way out. During its own "lost decade" after 1993, Canada shaped up its finances and it has weathered the latest economic crises well. New Zealand's Roger Douglas in the 1980s and Germany's Gerhard Schröder in the early 2000s cut into expensive welfare states. In all these cases, Mr. Siegel notes, center-left parties carried out painful reform. "They did this out of necessity." Sooner or later, American politicians will face the "unavoidable" reckoning, he adds. "It's not the mean tea partiers who force this. It's the facts on the ground."
And the ground may already be moving. Many American localities are already at the crisis point. Rhode Island's legislature last week sharply cut retirement benefits for current and retired public workers. "A 300% Democratic state!" marvels Mr. Siegel, who was one of the first to sound the warning on the public pensions crisis.
While new Democratic Governors Dan Malloy of Connecticut and New York's Andrew Cuomo are tinkering with reforms, Mr. Siegel calls them "cosmetic" and argues that both men "are playing for time [and] counting on a recovery, which will solve their problems for them." California's Jerry Brown has dealt with his budget shortfalls by pushing the costs down to cities and counties. New Jersey governors used the same tactic before Republican Chris Christie came in. He has been able to persuade enough local Democratic politicians sensitive to the budget problem to win some concessions.
In Mr. Siegel's estimation, only Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has tried the needed fix after last year's elections. "Part of the reason Walker has become such a lightning rod" is that he pushed "straight up, unambiguous structural reform." His move to restrict collective bargaining for state employees isn't as important, says Mr. Siegel, as ending the requirement that state workers pay union dues. On his first day in the governor's mansion in 2005, Indiana's Mitch Daniels also stopped deducting dues automatically; most workers chose not to pay. "The union has a guaranteed flow of income, which they then use to lobby the government," says Mr. Siegel. This reform, he adds, "evens the playing field."
Dues money is the coin of political influence for organized labor. So not surprisingly, it is bankrolling the pushback. Mr. Walker faces a recall campaign. Ohio voters this month overturned Gov. John Kasich's legislation to limit collective bargaining for state workers. Mr. Kasich should have eliminated the dues "check off" instead, according to Mr. Siegel, and worked harder to connect with voters. "Too many Republicans treat workers as if they are their employees," he says. "The virtue of Ronald Reagan is he talked to workers as one of them."
Born in 1945 and raised in the Bronx, Mr. Siegel got his first political education by listening to feverish debates at home about Bundists and Bolsheviks. His grandfather, a militantly anti-Communist socialist, was vice president of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union and a strong influence on him. In 1972, Mr. Siegel worked on the McGovern campaign—"you shouldn't print that!"—and calls his discussions with the Democratic candidate "enormously consequential" in shifting his world view. "I like to say I was center left before I became center right," he says.
It is often forgotten how many New Deal Democrats were skeptical about public-sector unions. Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the idea of strikes by government workers "unthinkable and intolerable." New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia said, "I do not want any of the pinochle club atmosphere to take hold among city workers." But union organizers would eventually tap into the language of the civil rights movement to present collective bargaining as another overdue "right."
New York Mayor Robert Wagner extended collective-bargaining rights to government employees in 1958. He saw early that, says Mr. Siegel, "public sector unions are displacing political machines as the turnout mechanism for the Democratic Party. They are the new Tammany Hall." Coming off a nail biter of an election, President John F. Kennedy saw this future as well. In 1962, he signed Executive Order 10988 to give federal workers the right to unionize, though not to collectively bargain. By 1980, half of all delegates to the Democratic convention worked for the government. Government-employee rolls kept growing through the Reagan years. During the presidency of George W. Bush, the number of government workers who belong to a union surpassed the number of unionized private workers.
Mr. Siegel observes that public-sector unions have "become a vanguard movement within liberalism. And the reason for that is it's the public sector that comes closest to the statist ideals of McGovern and post-McGovern liberals. And that is, there's no connection between effort and reward. You're guaranteed your job. You're guaranteed your salary increase. There's a kind of bureaucratic equality."
In turn, he continues, "this vanguard becomes in the eyes of many liberals the model for the middle class. Public-sector unions are what all workers should be like. Their benefits are the kind of benefits everyone should get."
The future of his city worries Mr. Siegel. Forty years ago, New York had the most manufacturing jobs in America. But as the finance sector's share of the national economy grew to 23% in 2007 from 7% in 1980, New York turned almost into a one-company town. Meantime, the growing claims on the public purse by those who make little to no contribution to the economy have driven up taxes and the costs of doing business. The city creates jobs in tourism, hotels and restaurants at the lower end of the scale. "What we don't create are private-sector middle-class jobs," says Mr. Siegel. "We have a ladder with the middle rungs missing."
Government workers make up a growing share of the middle class. And perversely, says Mr. Siegel, unions can justifiably claim to defend the interests of the middle-class worker. "That's because the costs that they've imposed have driven out the private-sector middle class. They are the disease of which they proclaim themselves the cure."
Democrats have been shut out of the mayor's office since 1993. Even so, spending lobbies have held their dominant position and, with the exception of the police, efforts to reform government are stillborn. Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who tinkered with the civil service, was distracted by personal problems in his second term, says Mr. Siegel. His feelings about Mayor Mike Bloomberg come unfiltered. He chose to court rather than confront the teacher unions and "the race racketeers" (in Mr. Siegel's phrase) like Rev. Al Sharpton. "[Bloomberg] had the leverage. He didn't have the guts. Instead of being influenced by interest groups, he buys the interest groups. The outcome is the same. The interest groups get what they want."
The institutional barriers to change have grown, too. The Working Families Party, founded in 1998, is the political arm of government unions and a driver of turnout in local elections. Though little known outside New York, the influence of this third party can be seen on the City Council, which has come to tilt heavily left. So far, says Mr. Siegel, the party has a better political track record than Tammany. "With the exception of Giuliani, they've never lost an election. No matter who wins, they're OK."
He adds: "We are what the tea party fears for the rest of the country. Crony capitalism, and low-end work, and the loss of mobility, and no place to do business if you're a small business."
These symptoms call to mind the crisis-ridden European Union economies weighed down by debt and held hostage by their own public-sector unions. "We are becoming France-ified," says Mr. Siegel, who once spent a year teaching at Paris's Sorbonne. "Comes with the yuppie food."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just a few unsustainable accomplishments of the Democrats



Just a few unsustainable accomplishments of the Democrats:
OBAMACARE HAS SOCIALIZED health care dragging down the overall quality and driving up costs forcing many companies to absorb unexpected costs.
A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) states that repealing a portion of Obamacare will save about $14 Billion as The Hill reports. Click Here to read the article.
Since government bureaucrats will spend your money to implement socialized medicine under Obamacare, we can all look forward to higher costs and decreased care quality unless this program is repealed.
As more and more people become acquainted with socialized medicine under Obamacare, support for Obamacare drops. Click Here to read about how a new AP poll finds that support for socialized medicine under Obamacare has fallen to 35%. Many of us knew this program would be a disaster when it was shamefully muscled through Congress on 3/21/2010.
Obamacare was passed through both the House and the Senate using every dirty trick in the book, culminating with now retired Congressman Bart Stupak caving on his principles.
[OPPOSED BY 100 % OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS] We need to elect more just like them next election!

It’s officially a crisis. Student loan debt has hit the $1 trillion mark, exceeding Americans’ total credit card indebtedness. Unemployed graduates with huge loan balances are camping out in “Occupy” camps -- the Hoovervilles of our age -- around the nation. And President Obama, perhaps afraid those camps will be dubbed “Obamavilles,” as indeed they have already been by some, has unveiled a new proposal that promises to help graduates who are drowning in debt.
Unfortunately, “promises” is the correct word. Though unveiled with much fanfare, the Obama proposal doesn’t really do much. First, as the Chronicle of Higher Education pointed out in an article characterizing it as mostly political, “The benefit is available only to current students. Those jobless college graduates who are protesting on Wall Street and at similar events elsewhere won’t qualify.”
Second, even for those who do qualify, the benefit doesn’t amount to much. Daniel Indiviglio of The Atlantic Monthly calculated that the president’s plan will save the average grad less than $10 a month. (Even those with $100K in debt will save only $28.50 a month). You can make that sound like more -- and the White House tried -- by touting total savings over the life of the loan, but this isn’t going to rescue anyone who’s financially underwater. It’s a beer and a slice a month, more or less.
At best, it’s a band-aid solution. The real problem is that we’ve been running a higher education bubble, one that -- like the real-estate bubble -- has been pumped up by cheap government money. Since 1999, student loan debt has increased by 511%, while disposable income has increased by only 73%.
That’s because when the government subsidizes something, producers respond by raising prices to soak up as much of the subsidy as they can. College is no exception. Tuition has been increasing much faster than disposable income, and families -- believing that a college education is a can’t-lose investment, much as they used to think houses were -- have been making up the difference with debt. After all, we’re told, student loan debt is “good debt,” because a college degree guarantees more earnings.

[OPPOSED BY 100 % OF HOUSE REPUBLICANS] They understand the sustainability of the current system is impossible and are trying to implement fiscally responsible solutions!


While Republicans pursue their agenda that will certainly create jobs as has been proven time and time again over the coarse of history, Democrats have an EXTREME agenda to increase the size of government, prop up unions thru job killing anti business regulations and promote unsustainable entitlements!

Video shows UC Davis protesters agreed to be pepper-sprayed, media ignores

The video - nearly 11 minutes long - shows what actually took place from four different perspectives.

Newsbusters' Scott Whitlock reported Monday that all three major networks "hyped the "ugly" and "disturbing" "outrage" of students at the University of California, Davis campus being sprayed with pepper."