We know that countries suffer when taxes get too high, in part because investors, entrepreneurs, and other successful taxpayers escape to jurisdiction with less oppressive fiscal regimes. France is a glaring example. On steroids.
I’ve talked before about the perverse incentives built into Obamacare (Browse this category for more examples), but those have been largely about the incentives provided to businesses to cut hours and stop hiring full-time workers thanks to the onerous burdens imposed by the ACA. But now we have an example from the other end, that of the
victim consumer of Obamacare.
The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the situation of people caught in a trap by Obamacare: On the one hand, the coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act, along with its ban on lifetime benefits caps, has caused a tremendous rise in insurance rates. (For example. And again.) On the other hand, people making up to 400% of the poverty level are eligible for varying degrees of subsidies — money provided by our taxes and federal borrowing.
The problem is that some people are caught on the wrong side of the subsidy boundary: if you make 401% of the poverty level, your rates may triple, you may be forced to buy coverage you don’t need, but you also get no subsidy. Like they used to say on Starkist commercials, “Sorry, Charlie!”
But, hey, no worries! The Chron’s Kathleen Pender has the solution for you: earn less, so you can get a larger subsidy. Her main example deals with the Proctors, a San Francisco couple in their 60s who make just above the 400% mark and so do not qualify for subsidies, but are suffering huge increases in their insurance premiums. Pender covers tax and IRA strategies the couple can follow to get them under the magic boundary and greatly reduce their direct insurance costs. But the kicker comes in this line:
You can also consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less.
Yes, you read that right: Obamacare makes the cost of individual policies so high that it is in the economic interests of some people to become less productive and earn less, because they need that government subsidy to survive economically — or to survive at all.
This is what economist Dan Mitchell has described as the “poverty trap.” While the quote below talks about welfare benefits and the disincentives they create to earn more and be more productive, I think it applies equally to the Obamacare subsidy question:
Most people focus on the huge burden that the food stamp program imposes on taxpayers, which surely is significant, but there is another economic cost that is equally worrisome, and it applies to all income redistribution programs. Whenever the government gives people money simply because their incomes are below a certain level, that creates a poverty trap. More specifically, because people lose benefits for earning more income, they are penalized with very onerous implicit marginal tax rates for climbing the economic ladder.
I highlighted that last sentence because it illustrates perfectly the situation faced by the Proctors and others; if you substitute ”insurance premiums” for “marginal tax rates,” you’ll see what I mean. And, heck, let’s call those insurance premiums what they are: a tax. You’re required under penalty of law to pay them, even if the money goes to a company, rather than the government. For you and me, there’s no effective difference.
Pender’s article, in short, reveals the insidious heart of Obamacare: it creates incentives for people to become moochers, infantilized wards dependent on the government, rather than productive, self-reliant citizens building wealth for themselves and others.
And, in my darker moments, I suspect that’s the whole point.
PS: Before anyone goes after me for mentioning the Proctors, I’m not blaming or criticizing them. It’s the Democrats and their anti-constitutional monstrosity that put them in this bind. They’re free to act in their own best interests given the circumstances in which they find themselves, and I’ll not throw stones. It’s the people who created this mess who deserve the brickbats.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
Hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans opened the mail last week to find their health insurance plan would no longer exist in 2014 because it does not cover all the essential benefits required by the Affordable Care Act.
The news surprised some who were unaware that provisions in the new law known as “Obamacare” were forcing insurance companies to scrap some plans they had previously offered.
“The Affordable Care Act is driving many changes to products and pricing,” said Thomas Vincz, a spokesman for Horizon. “Horizon BCBSNJ is actively working to help our members find new insurance plans that meet their needs and budget.”
The changes will impact more than 800,000 people in New Jersey who purchase insurance on the individual and small-employer markets, according to Ward Sanders, president of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans.
via David Freddoso
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
Statist government policies create a toilet-paper shortage, ergo the solution is… a State takeover of the toilet paper factory!
Venezuelan troops will “occupy” the factory so that “the … People’s Defense from the Economy will not allow hoarding or failures in the production and distribution of essential commodities.”
“By the “People’s Defense,” Arreaza was referring to a government agency created on September 13 by President Nicolas Maduro to “defeat the economic war that has been declared in the country,” according to a report from state-run ATV. This group is charged with looking at inefficiencies across various industries in the nation, including foods and other products, and taking action presumably in the South American nation’s best interests.
Toilet paper is very much a part of the war.”
And war is a crappy thing.
Don’t wait for us, Venezuela; we’ll catch up just as soon as the Democrats are done destroying our health care system.
My blog-buddy ST has a great post on the Nevada Senator’s admission of what many of us have known all along: that Obamacare is meant to pave the way for a complete nationalization of the US health care system.
From the Las Vegas Sun:
In just about seven weeks, people will be able to start buying Obamacare-approved insurance plans through the new health care exchanges.
But already, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is predicting those plans, and the whole system of distributing them, will eventually be moot.
Reid said he thinks the country has to “work our way past” insurance-based health care during a Friday night appearance on Vegas PBS’ program “Nevada Week in Review.”
“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.
When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”
None of this is new to long-term readers of this blog (all three of you). The dominant progressive wing of the (Social) Democratic Party see this as a win-win situation: either the Affordable Care Act works well enough for people to accept it, in which case the Democrats can gradually massage it into something wholly state-run, or it will have so many problems that the public will demand it be fixed. In this event, so the theory goes, the public, being already dependent on some aspects of Obamacare, will be open to a Socialist (government-run, single payer) solution. It’s the idea of the non-reforming reform: changes supposedly meant to make things better, but are really intended to cause a crisis in the system that the Left can exploit to pursue their real goal.
And Harry Reid just admitted it.
Be sure to read the rest of ST’s post, wherein she cites several (Social) Democrats saying the same thing. Good thing they had the media on their side, hiding this from the public.
RELATED: Apologists for Obamacare prefer to ignore the horror stories coming out of Great Britain’s NHS (much admired by single-payer advocate Donald Berwick) and point instead to Canada, which has a strictly single-payer system. They might want to read this article from City Journal. Admittedly now a few years old, it describes the major problems Canada’s system faces, including rationing and a lack of innovation. Even a Canadian provincial premier sought care in the US, outside his own country’s vaunted single payer system
This time, it’s Medical Mutual, which insures about 28,000 people in South Carolina:
The second-largest health insurance company in South Carolina is pulling out of the state at the end of the year because of the Affordable Care Act. Medical Mutual of Ohio is the parent company of the Carolina Care plan, which insures about 28,000 people in South Carolina.
The company is also pulling out of Georgia and Indiana. Medical Mutual spokesman Ed Byers says, “Under new regulations, which are vast and quite complex, it is in our best interest to focus on our core market of Ohio where we are headquartered and have been doing business successfully for nearly 80 years.”
He says the 28,000 people who are members of the Carolina Care plan will be transitioned to United Healthcare, and they’ve all been notified of that.
South Carolina Insurance Director Ray Farmer says the loss of the state’s second-largest health insurer could raise rates for everyone. “If you have less competition, not only in insurance but in any marketplace, it could result in higher rates. I don’t think there’s going to be a big groundswell of other companies leaving the marketplace, though,” he says.
You know, I could have sworn someone once said something about this kind of thing. What was it, again? Oh, yeah:
Sure, their plans are transferred to United, but are the plans the same and, if they are, will they stay the same? And what if the policyholder simply liked dealing with Medical Mutual and doesn’t want to switch. Particularly with the elderly or those facing serious medical problems, stability is important, and this, which creates uncertainty and anxiety, doesn’t help.
Not to mention the rising premiums.
But let’s make something clear, here: this is something Obamacare proponents want. Maybe not all, but a significant portion of the beyond-liberal-left, which hates insurance companies with a passion. While many progressives, fearful of rising public anger at election time, will say Obamacare should be fixed and (maybe) even rolled back in parts, these dysfunctional results are what many more want, even though they’ll never say so outside of friendly audiences. It’s the Cloward-Piven strategy of non-reforming reforms applied to health care: Knowing that once Obamacare is established and people are receiving subsidies, it will be damned difficult to undo this monstrosity regardless of its dysfunctions, and their hope is that the people will be open to a fix in the other direction: full-blown single-payer government controlled healthcare. To quote Stanley Kurtz, who’s written the book on Obama:
[W]hen President Obama says “Go for it” to Republicans who hope to repeal his health-care-reform law, he means it. Those who already see Obama as a socialist tend to think of his insistence on backing health-care reform in the face of collapsing political support as the suicidal impulse of a true ideologue. It’s more likely that Obama has a long-term class-based realignment strategy in mind. Obama would love the Republicans to try to take away the health care he’s offered to millions of uninsured. Taking a leaf from the Cloward-Piven [socialist] handbook, Obama hopes that a Republican campaign for repeal will ignite a political movement of the poor that will energize and radicalize the Democratic Party.
And of course, that radicalized movement will push for single-payer and a total takeover of health care by the government.
Hey, if you don’t believe Kurtz and me, just ask “Red” Jan Schakowski (D-IL), who makes the ultimate goal very clear:
So, don’t be fooled; when insurance companies leave the market, it’s all part of the plan.
via Bryan Preston
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
It’s a heckuva busy day today with little time for posting, but I have to share this gem via Steven Hayward at Power Line. It’s an excerpt from a longer quote from Winston Churchill’s closing speech in the 1945 General Election, which the Conservatives sadly lost. Read these two paragraphs, and tell me if you don’t recognize the modern Democratic Party, at least by reflection:
Look how even today they hunger for controls of every kind, as if these were delectable foods instead of wartime inflictions and monstrosities. There is to be one State to which all are to be obedient in every act of their lives. The State is to be the arch-employer, the arch-planner, and arch-administrator and ruler and the arch-caucus-boss. . .
A Socialist State once thoroughly completed in all its details and its aspects—and that is what I am speaking of—could not afford to suffer opposition. . . Socialism is, in its essence, an attack not only upon British enterprise, but upon the right of the ordinary man or woman to breathe freely without having a harsh, clumsy, tyrannical hand clapped across their mouths and nostrils. . . Have we not heard Mr Herbert Morrison descant upon his plans to curtail Parliamentary procedure and pass laws simply by resolution of broad principle in the House of Commons, afterward to be left by Parliament to the executive and to the bureaucrats to elaborate and enforce by departmental regulations?
Churchill was of course criticizing the British Labour Party, which had been founded as an explicitly Socialist, albeit non-Marxist, party, but how well this describes President Obama and the dominant left wing of the Democratic Party! The worship of the administrative state, government by regulation and “boards of experts,” the inescapable, inexorable need to control everything — that bolded portion illustrates the progressive “theory of legislation” perfectly: pass a vaguely-worded bill, and let the unelected bureaucrats fill in the details with the full force of law. I’m surprised Goldberg didn’t quote this in “Liberal Fascism.”
Be sure to read the rest. While Hayward is thinking of Obamacare and the IRS scandal, I think Churchill’s quote reflects the heart of the professional Democratic Party in general.
Back to work…
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
One of the charges made by those oppose Obamacare is that it’s really a Trojan Horse for state-run single-payer system (1); that, in fact, the annoyances and fatal flaws within the PPACA –which are legion– are a feature, not a bug. The idea being that the problems will grow so great that people will demand a solution and then, by that time, the public will be open to a full-blown single payer nationalized system, the ultimate goal of the Left. In response, Obamacare supporters call that idea nonsense and dismiss critics as paranoid “see a Socialist under every bush” types.
Oh yeah? Phase Two has already begun:
State Sen. Irene Aguilar wants Coloradans to imagine a day when 80 percent of them see their health care costs drop.
She says the wildly different health care system she envisions can make that happen – largely by eliminating much of what health insurance companies do, and by purchasing everyone’s medications in bulk.
The Denver doctor and Democrat is proposing that Colorado throw out the impending reforms know as Obamacare – which is permitted if the state comes up with a better plan. This week Aguilar introduced a resolution to ask Colorado voters to create a universal health care system for the state.
Specifically, Aguilar’s bill would ask voters to create a statewide health insurance co-op, owned by all Coloradans, which would replace health insurance companies. It would offer one wide-ranging policy for all residents. It would be funded by a tax, which would replace the insurance premiums that companies and people now pay.
Emphasis added. So, if Senator Aguilar’s measure passes, we’d have a single-payer system in one state (2). What’s the problem, that’s Coloradans’ business, right?
Yes, they’re free to sink their ship any way they’d like, just as we in California are doing. But, consider this hypothetical scenario: As the years go by and Obamacare becomes more hated as its problems multiply, there will be pressure on more and more states to invoke the same bail-out provision of the PPACA that Aguilar’s bill does and opt out of Obamacare altogether, if it’s replaced with “something better.” (3)
If enough states do this, the pressure for a national single-payer system to smooth out the differences between the states will be tremendous, almost irresistible. And the enactment of that, my friends, would mark the completion of “Phase Three” and the Left’s victory.
I’ll leave the critique of the economics of the Colorado proposal to economists, though I suspect they’ll find it’s another case of “unicorns and rainbows.” And I don’t doubt that Senator Aguilar genuinely wants to help her constituents, though her method is wrong. But, politically, this plan fits right in with the Left’s strategy to follow parallel tracks at the state and federal levels to incrementally pursue a Social Democratic agenda, the underlying spirit of which is wealth redistribution.
These efforts aren’t in conflict with each other, they’re complementary. And we have to fight them on those same levels, too.
via Jim Geraghty’s Morning Jolt.
(1) And I have no idea where anyone would get that notion from.
(2) Variations of which have been tried in Maine, Tennessee, and Massachusetts, all of which are failing. But this time we know it’ll be different, right?
(3) “Better,” in this case, would certainly be guaranteed universal coverage that goes beyond the PPACA, not a market-based system. Try to opt out of Obamacare and implement the latter, and just see how fast your state gets sued by the Obama administration.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
And this short video excerpt also gets me fired up to fight big government.
But maybe it's also time to share a warning from the Gipper. Here's a quote (which…
Mentors matter. For better or worse, there are people who, in our formative years, influence the way we see the world and how we act to shape it in our adult life. And if the mentored individual becomes a powerful person –President of the United States, for example– then the mentor’s influence affects our lives, too, making it worth our while to know something about this person.
This is the thesis behind Paul Kengor’s “The Communist,” a political biography of Frank Marshall Davis, who Kengor contends was a hugely influential mentor to President Barack Obama. That Davis was also, as Kengor shows, a card-carrying member of the Communist Party – USA (CPUSA), a doctrinaire Stalinist and defender of all things Soviet, and a hater of the Western world, should make us curious about what influence, if any, he had on young Barack Obama.
Kengor traces Davis’ life from his birth in Arkansas City, Kansas, in 1905 to his death in Hawaii in 1987. Along the way, we see the incidents that lead Frank to reject “the American Way.” Living under Jim Crow and in fear of White racist violence (at age five he was nearly lynched by White school children), it’s not hard to see what lead Frank to reject what he saw as fake democracy and exploitative capitalism in favor of an ideology that promised, however falsely, fairness, justice, and and racial equality. Indeed, Kengor admits that he, a conservative Catholic historian, can’t help but feel sympathy for his subject, even while rejecting and condemning Davis’ devotion to a murderous ideology.
The lion’s share is devoted to Frank’s work as an columnist for various newspapers in Atlanta, Chicago, and Honolulu. With extensive quotes from Frank’s own writings, many of which had lain forgotten in archives until recent years, he demonstrates Frank’s devotion to the Soviet Union, his adoration of Stalin, and his propaganda spinning in service of Moscow’s ends.
He also chronicles Davis’ hatred for the colonial powers, Britain and Churchill especially, and for the Democratic Party in the United States. This makes sense when one recalls Frank’s devotion to Soviet communism and the firm stance taken against that menace by Truman and other leading Democrats of the day. Kengor shows that charges of “McCarthyism,” made when Frank came under investigation by the Democrat-controlled Congress and repeated by his liberal and progressive defenders until his death, were ludicrous: not only had he spent his professional career defending and praising the Soviet Union (and Mao’s China and communist Viet Nam), but his CPUSA membership number was part of his FBI file, and the Senator who lead his questioning before Congress was the same man who ended Joe McCarthy’s red-baiting. “McCarthyism” was a smoke-screen, a distraction thrown in the faces of critics for one purpose: to deflect from the fact that Davis (and others) really were Communists.
Davis moved to Hawaii from Chicago, where he had known and worked with relatives of both Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, close advisers to Obama. (These relatives were also either Communists or highly sympathetic to Stalin’s USSR.) In Hawaii, he edited and wrote for the Honolulu Record, a paper funded by the Soviet-aligned International Longshore and Warehouse Union. It was after this, in retirement, that Frank was introduced to young Barack Obama, who had been brought to Frank by Obama’s White grandfather, who wanted a Black mentor or father figure for the future president, whose own father had run out on him.
It is here that Kengor reaches the question that most interests the reader: How much influence did CPUSA-member Frank Marshall Davis have over Barack Obama, the teen who would grow up to be President of the United States?
The answer Kengor gives is “quite a bit,” but the exact influence of Davis’ mentorship on President Obama’s career and policies is left for the reader to decide. Through an examination of Obama’s writings –his memoir “Dreams from my Father” and some poetry he wrote in college– Kengor concludes that Davis was very important influence on Obama’s youth, perhaps the most significant. As for his policies as president, Kengor shows parallels between policies Frank demanded, such as universal health care, first proposed by Senator Claude Pepper in the 1940s (Pepper’s top aide was, it turned out, a paid Soviet agent), and those programs Obama has pursued. Even in targets for disdain, Obama shows Frank’s influence. For example, Frank despised Winston Churchill, and one of Obama’s first acts in office was to remove a bust of the Prime Minister, a gift from Britain, from the Oval Office. While Kengor never says outright that Obama is pursuing Frank’s goals, the parallels, at least in domestic affairs, are striking. And given that Obama, as Kengor points out, has never shown a moment of “conversion,” of rejecting the Far Left and moving toward the Center, it’s fair to assume that whatever Frank taught Obama, he still at least finds much of it agreeable.
Stylistically, “The Communist” is written in a casual, almost chatty manner that does not detract from the seriousness of its subject. The book is well-documented (it has to be, given the rabid reaction one could expect from the Left), and Kengor is fair to his subject. There is nothing sensationalistic or scandal-mongering about the book, and it avoids the lurid rumors about Frank’s sex-life to concentrate on his politics.
Paul Kengor’s “The Communist” fills an important gap in our knowledge of the education of Barack Obama, of the early, important influences on his life and thought. Taken in combination with Kurtz’s “Radical in Chief” (reviewed here) which covers Obama’s career and involvement with Socialism and Socialists from college to the presidency, we have a good, two-volume political biography of the man who would come to lead (and take over much of) the largest economy in human history.
AFTERTHOUGHT: Reading this book has reminded me yet again of what a miserable job the mainstream media did vetting Obama prior to the 2008 election. None of the material Kengor cites would have been all that difficult to find for a dedicated researcher. Sadly, they chose to devote their time to shielding him from scrutiny, instead, while covering the things that mattered to them the most, such as Sarah Palin’s tanning bed and wardrobe. Their dereliction is inexcusable.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
Born in Budapest in 1944 under the Nazis, he lived under he Soviet boot until he left for America at age 21. Having achieved the American Dream, he’s worried:
He’s not running for office. He’s not part of a super PAC. He’s not lobbying for or against any ballot measures.
But billionaire Thomas Peterffy is spending millions on television ads this election season with one cautionary message: Avoid socialism.
Peterffy was born in Budapest in 1944 during the deadly Soviet offensive that ended in the capture of Hungary’s capital the following year. From then, the republic remained under communist control until it gained independence in 1989.
The new ad features images of Peterffy as a child in Hungary and the impoverished conditions in his native country.
“As a young boy, I was fantasizing about one day going to America, making a success of myself. The American Dream,” he says.
Peterffy left his country and moved to New York in 1965, where-without knowing English–he got a computer programming job on Wall Street. He later purchased his own seat on the American Stock Exchange in 1977 and, fast forward a few years, found himself the creator of Interactive Brokers, one of the first electronic trading firms.
Forbes Magazine now estimates Peterffy, 68, has a net worth of $4.6 billion.
And then there’s this:
“I’ve paid $1.9 billion in taxes in my lifetime, now I am being told that I am not contributing my fair share?” he said in an interview.
Here’s the ad:
Here’s a difference between the Left and the Right. The Left will look at Mr. Petterfy and see him through the lens of class warfare, the evil profiteer whose money had to come from hurting and exploiting others. How dare he want to keep more of what he earned? The Right, on the other hand, sees someone who came to America and added value to the nation, creating a successful business with the attendant jobs. Creating wealth for himself and, directly or indirectly, others. By engaging in his own pursuit of happiness, he helped others achieve theirs.
Put it another way: A Righty and a Lefty see Mr. Petterfy’s ad on TV. How do they react?
Right: “I want to be that guy!”
Left: “I”m going to get that guy!”
Mr. Petterfy’s ad is running on national cable networks and test markets in some battleground states. I’d say he’s putting his money to good use — and his adopted nation’s service.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
Every so often, I come across some statement by President Obama that is either jaw-droppingly misguided or unintentionally revealing, and I place it in my is-this-the-worst-thing-he-ever-said file.
His "spread the wealth" comment to Joe the Plumber is the most famous example, but that was before I started this blog. Previous entries on my list include.
Man, between the blatant display of anti-Israel and borderline antisemitic sentiment yesterday and their satisfaction at finding their American identity through government, the nation’s Democratic activists are really showing America what their party stands for.
But wait, there’s more!
Posing as an anti-business crusader, Peter Schiff found a number of DNC delegates and attendees who support explicitly outlawing profitability. We deliberately avoided speaking with the occupy protestors camping outside in tents to get a more “mainstream” Democratic perspective!
Watch and learn:
Bear in mind that Schiff may well have interviewed more people than we see in this video, and that at least some of those may have disagreed with him, but, still… Pretty eye-opening, isn’t it?
These people represent the leadership of the state and national Democratic parties; they’re not your average Joe and Jane Six-Pack Democrat who’s votes that way just because his family has always voted Democrat. It makes you wonder just how many would be comfortable hearing calls to cap profits, eliminate profits, or even force losses on companies.
Or, as one woman put it:
“I will support anything my President wants to do. Anything!”
The difference between the two major parties couldn’t be any more stark. But the Republicans, I’ll argue, represent far more closely the opinions of average Americans than the grade-school Marxism we hear in this video.
via Gay Patriot
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
Europe's Self-Inflicted Decline: French Taxing, Italian Regulating, Greek Mooching, and IMF Economic IlliteracyJune 22, 2012
Every day brings more and more evidence that Obamanomics is failing in Europe. I wrote some "Observations on the European Farce" last week, but the news this morning is even more surreal.
Oh, my. Take a look at this:
It’s a reminder that the President presented himself as much more progressive during his time in Chicago. In this little-seen advertisement that ran in the Hyde Park Herald in 1996, Obama was listed on a panel sponsored by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), University of Chicago Democrats, and University of Chicago DSA. He also supported gay marriage back then.
Click through to see the image of the flyer.
Of course, long-time readers know that I’ve been certain Obama is a Socialist of one form or another for quite a while. Stanley Kurtz did the CSI: Politics work, and I found the argument convincing. Moreover, there’s never been a whit of evidence that Obama has abandoned or renounced his Socialist politics. At most, he’s given up the revolutionary radicalism he favored in his college years and migrated to an incrementalist, gradualist Socialism that seeks to change the system from within.
But, regardless, he’s still a Socialist.
PS: For those wondering if this really matters, it does. Understanding Obama’s political core gives us an idea of where he would like to take the nation in a second term, and forms a handy point of contrast to Mitt Romney. Also, Socialism has never worked wherever it’s been tried, something to keep in mind to tell people who say they don’t care about ideology, they just care about “what works.”
via Jim Hoft
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
That is, the elite, cocktail-swirling Democratic Socialist one-percent:
Last Friday night, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) held their 54th Annual Eugene V. Debs–Norman Thomas–Michael Harrington Award Dinner at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza in Chicago. You of course might not expect anything too fancy from a group so devoted to the needy and the working class–but not to worry, these wine-sipping socialists proved they know just how to spend an evening discussing how to spend other people’s money.
On the surface, it seems well within the realm of possibility that the Holiday Inn was a modest choice for this group–and appropriate, as it is recommended on Unite Here Local 1’s website as a union hotel. However, modest may not be the most accurate way to describe this not-so-little shindig.
For starters, it wasn’t your typical stuffy lower level ballroom function, crammed between a business association meeting and a wedding. This was a fine gala, in a much more exclusive atmosphere: the Wolf Point Ballroom on the 15th floor at the internationally renowned Merchandise Mart. It featured stunning views of a breath-taking sunset–a perfect place to unwind with a top shelf cocktail before settling in to condemn the greedy “rich.”
After the delightful libations, everyone entered the exquisite dinning room, which featured 180-degree panoramic southwest skyline views, overlooking the cityscape and the Chicago River. The tables were lined with fine cloth, and individual sets of utensils for each of the 3 courses. Decadent slices of cheesecake awaited each guest, occupying their plates atop swirls of sweet-tangy raspberry sauce to whet their appetites for the abundant meal that was in store.
Following a fresh chilled house salad with a choice of multiple creamy dressings, the wait staff hauled out one giant tray full of food after another to feed the primarily white-dominated crowd. These weren’t your typical bland hotel meals of three asparagus sprigs and a three ounce portion of salmon with lumpy hollandaise, either. The plates were overloaded with heaping mounds of mashed potatoes, a pile of assorted squashes and vegetables, and not one, but two succulent and juicy chicken leg quarters, smothered in savory-rich gravy.
There was, in fact, so much food, that as I looked around at the tables nearby–I noticed not one person (comrade?) was able to finish the food on his (or her) plate. And despite knowing about all the hungry people out there in Chicago–and even perhaps the very servers in the room–with mouths to feed at home, shockingly, these DSA members let all those leftovers go to waste. Weren’t these socialists heartbroken to think of how many mouths could have been fed with all that extra food?
Somehow, I think you can guess the answer.
Remember, this is the same crowd that community organizer Barack “Wagyu Beef and Arugula” Obama ran with in his salad days back in Chicago — organizing the working classes, fighting for fairness, and scarfing down raspberry cheesecake.
Oh, the travails of the fighter for economic justice!
Odd though. It looks like no Occupiers were invited. Must’ve been an oversight.
Be sure to read the whole thing.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
One of the great mysteries surrounding President Obama is his college career: not so much his grades as what he studied, under whom, and what his major activities were. His transcripts from his undergraduate and law school years are sealed, leaving a major gap in our knowledge of formative times and events of a man who would become President of the United States.
Before the election, the mainstream media failed utterly in their duty to examine the life of a serious candidate for president, choosing instead to beclown themselves with obsessions over Sarah Palin’s tanning bed and generally acting as Obama’s “Information Guards.”
Serious examinations of Obama’s background only finally began to come out years after the election, such as Stanley Kurtz’s meticulously researched “Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism,” and the current expose of Obama’s radical law school mentors underway at Breitbart.com.
There are other pieces to the puzzle coming out now, too. At American Thinker, former radical Marxist John Drew relates the story of the first time he met then-Occidental College undergrad Barack Obama. After first establishing his own credentials as a Marxist, Drew recounts his discussion with the young Obama:
[Obama's friend Chandoo] Boss and Obama, however, had a starkly different view. They believed that the economic stresses of the Carter years meant revolution was still imminent. The election of Reagan was simply a minor set-back in terms of the coming revolution. As I recall, Obama repeatedly used the phrase “When the revolution comes….” In my mind, I remember thinking that Obama was blindly sticking to the simple Marxist theory that had characterized my own views while I was an undergraduate at Occidental College. “There’s going to be a revolution,” Obama said, “we need to be organized and grow the movement.” In Obama’s view, our role must be to educate others so that we might usher in more quickly this inevitable revolution.
Drawing on the history of Western Europe, I responded it was unrealistic to think the working class would ever overthrow the capitalist system. As I recall, Obama reacted negatively to my critique, saying: “That’s crazy!”
Since I was a Marxist myself at the time, and had studied variations in Marxist theory, I can state that everything I heard Obama argue that evening was consistent with Marxist philosophy, including the ideas that class struggle was leading to an inevitable revolution and that an elite group of revolutionaries was needed to lead the effort. If he had not been a true Marxist-Leninist, I would have noticed and remembered. I can still, with some degree of ideological precision, identify which students at Occidental College were radicals and which ones were not. I can do the same thing for the Occidental College professors at that time.
Drew then recounts his satisfaction at thinking he had begun the process of steering Obama away from revolutionary Marxism toward bringing about Socialism through the electoral process.
I think he’s right. As revealed by Kurtz in his investigations, Obama over the next few years and as he learned while working as a community organizer and with people affiliated with the Midwest Academy, evolved into an “incremental” Socialist, seeking to bring about Socialism through gradual but irreversible change — such as ObamaCare.
But his commitment to that Socialist future has shown no sign of ever wavering.
PS: Some may argue that this is of little importance to the forthcoming election, that what matters is Obama’s miserable record in office. I disagree. While Obama’s record is crucial, without understanding his background, beliefs, and goals as best as we can, we have no context in which to truly understand that record. Thus books such as Kurtz’s and articles such as John Drew’s are still of singular relevance.
Jayne Cobb Adam Baldwin
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)