Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Progressive (Non)Solution

Last week, former Obama Administration Green Jobs Czar but perpetual communist Van Jones opened up to NPR about what he thinks is necessary to fix the problem of the approaching fiscal cliff:

"If we want to fix the economy, the first thing we've got to do is repeal the Bush tax cuts and pull back our military expenditures to Clinton level expenditures. .... Let’s take the money from Halliburton, and KBR and the big oil companies."
Leave it to Van Jones to expose the immorality and the lack of solutions of the progressive ideology.

Obviously, companies should not be stolen from to pay for the debt accumulated through the very Statist policies forced on the population that Jones himself endorses (1, 2 - for example). Jones is simply showing his communist colors with that statement, as if it is moral in the least to simply confiscate funds from private companies (no matter how big or supposedly evil) for any reason.

Jones' plan to "fix the economy" also includes (surprise, surprise) raising tax rates and is no solution either. To quote Murray Rothbard, "curing deficits by raising taxes is equivalent to curing someone's bronchitis by shooting him. The 'cure' is far worse than the disease." The idea that the people must have more of their property stolen because the government does not have funds is clearly immoral and does not address the fundamental problem that government spends too much in the first place.

However, if Jones is half-right about anything it is that the US militarism must be cut. Where he misses the mark is that militarism has to be actually cut: as in all of the troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, Asia and Africa need to come home and stop spending their paychecks on the economies of foreign nations; money needs to be spent frugally and wisely on defense/weapons; and all foreign aid must end. Many to most conservatives gasp at the thought of cuts in the military; in fact, "cutting the military" seems to be a rallying cry for the conservative base. However, cutting military spending is a necessary element to the actual limiting of the federal government. As Randolph Bourne wisely said, "war is the health of the State." A quick overview of history backs this claim. Anyone interested in limiting the size of the State will be interested in cutting the military - at the very least scaling back the military used in overseas intervention as opposed to what is used in the actual defense of the nation.

Naturally, Jones is not interested in actually cutting militarism; he simply wants to cut back military spending to Clinton-era levels while not actually limiting the government's military power. The military budget of the 1990s was much smaller than it is today but it still allowed Clinton to make the conflicts in the Balkans and East Timor worse and to kill half a million Iraqi children with his interventionist foreign policy. Cutting general military spending to that of the Clinton-era does nothing to prioritize national security over interventionism.

If the fiscal cliff is to be avoided, spending is to be kept under control and the federal government is to become limited in power and scope (which, of course, Van Jones could not care less about), the solution seems simple. The government could save much more money a lot faster and easier, therefore starting on a path to fiscal sanity, by cutting military spending (not to be confused with the defense of US borders), ending all foreign aid to every nation in the world, ending all subsidies to every industry and ending entire government programs. Perhaps the best place to start saving money is to slash Congressional paychecks! Of course, I doubt many leftists would agree to any of this.

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