Think Globally, Act Locally: 20 More Questions on "Let's Win"
Victor Davis Hanson lays out the overall tactical situation here. Sample section below, but do read the whole thing:
...Stimulus, Stimulus and Not a Drop…
A “stimulus” of nearly a trillion dollars was proposed, without which we were told, unemployment would skyrocket and credit would tighten further. Six months later — unemployment having risen even higher than the administration’s forecast would have been the case had their stimulus package not been implemented — now the same proponents of massive borrowing demand a second stimulus to accomplish what the first ’successful’ borrowing apparently did not. If you fail, then try the same thing to fail even bigger the second time — while calling for more success to follow the earlier success?
The Larger Agenda
Note here I mean something quite different from the accustomed notion of “accomplish.” You see, I think the point was never much to build more bike paths on borrowed money or just bail out GM, but rather more to reengineer the tax code, as part of a grander vision of creating a new equality of result in America.
Soon we will all end up after each April 15 about making the same, driving the same sort of cars and using the same sort of mass transit, living in about the same sorts of houses, and having about the same sorts of “”they will take care of it for me” philosophies — all overseen by brilliant, but highly ranked and exempt Platonic Guardians who suffer on our behalf as they jet and limo at breakneck speed ensuring our welfare.
Gorging “the Beast”
We are beginning to sense the debate is not about “stimulus” (politicians did not even read the various bills that they rammed through and care little about the fiscal impact from them). Rather, we are witnessing an inversion of Reagan’s sort of playing chicken, once called “starve the beast” (which I thought was a wrong notion), a philosophy of cutting taxes to cut revenue to starve the federal government’s excessive spending in the face of spiraling deficits.
Under Obama’s “gorge the beast” version, America will simply write so many bounced checks, run up such an enormous $10 trillion debt, that taxes will have to rise on “them” — and wasn’t this really the point of it all anyway: to “spread the wealth around” and “never let a crisis go to waste”? Since new programs never shrink, but, like Johnson grass, grow with impunity, and since Democrats, even more so than wasteful Republicans, don’t worry about deficits, taxes must escalate to avoid catastrophe.
The Bad Guys
Ponder a simple fact: The Obama administration is dispersing income lavishly to those who do not pay taxes and it will have to be paid for by those who do. For all the talk of that awful percentile who make over $200,000, this administration has not distinguished the hyper-rich 1% that make untold money (e.g., the Buffets, Soroses, Turners, Gateses, Kerrys, Gores, etc.), from the much more demonized, larger 5% of the population whose income does not come from investments and insider influence and deal-making, but rather from providing more tangible goods and services — the family doctor, the plumbing contractor, the small lumber company owner, the car dealer, the local family-held insurance company, the airline pilot, the car-leasing firm, the patent attorney, etc.
“Their Fair Share”
Last fall we heard that this percentile was unpatriotic, did not wish to spread the wealth around, and had made off like bandits under Bush. But the fact is, to quote Mayor Gavin Newsome’s ‘like it or not’, they are precisely those who decide most dynamically whether to hire, fire, expand, contract, buy/sell goods, etc.
And the results of the Obama war against them are threefold: 1) in major key states, the productive minority’s state income taxes will near or exceed 10%; their federal rates will go to 40%; the abolition of caps on FICA will ensure 15% plus of most their income will go for new Medicare and Social Security bites; and they may well be eligible for a newly proposed punitive health-care surcharge tax of 4-6%.
Add It Up
1) If one were to add all that up (forget rises in sales taxes, inheritance taxes, luxury taxes, etc.), then one can get to 70% of one’s income. So right this minute, the electrical contractor is thinking:
‘I made $412,000 last year due to Saturday jobs, overtime, risky bidding, gambles on new equipment, and new lines of credit, but under Obama I will pay maybe $50-80,000 more of my income to the government. In other words the cost of, say, hiring two more entry-level electricians, or the cost of outfitting an entire new van with boom and equipment, or what I cleared every Saturday last year — all that will go to the government.”
Ripples of Doubt
And that means rippling throughout this key sector of the economy — even before these taxes have been enacted — are hesitation, stasis, and ultimately constriction — at first for psychological reasons, soon confirmed by the actual facts of less money. In short, very bright people will be thinking how to hide income, how to barter, how to slow down and not produce goods and services, rather than blast full speed ahead and enrich angry others.
A Certain Paranoia
2) Do not discount again the psychological element. This putative electrical contractor also knows that after handing over his profits to the new government, and delaying or ending his plans for enlargement, he will not be praised, but continually demonized (I scanned CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and NBC the other evening, and all the stories had a common theme: the “rich” (yes, you see, ACME Electric is now about the equivalent to AIG and Citibank) will have to pay their “fair share” for all sorts of “overdue” necessities: cap-and-trade, nationalized health care, education grants and freebies, and new social programs.
You Owe Us
So our electrician senses that despite his newfound, sizable contribution to the public good, he will a) not be thanked but only further ridiculed; b) see his money diverted from his own wise use of it, to anonymous agencies’ liberal expenditures of it: the money will not be just lost, but invested in things that will make things worse, not better, through subsidies of failed programs and the destruction of incentives; c) see that the world under Obama is now unfair in Orwellian fashion: the Citibanks and AIGs, in Robert Rubin fashion, are so well connected to both parties that they will suffer little for their mistakes; the Ivy-League and Washington technocratic class that is to run all this is happy with its government perks and does not think new taxes and compliance apply to themselves (cf. Dodd, Rangel, Geithner, Daschle, Murtha, etc.).
You Never Needed All That Anyway
3) Finally the now chastised and ossified electrician will begin to see that his new truck, his boat, his vacation home, all these are somehow immoral in carbon, political, cultural, racial, and social terms. And he senses that others, who do not pay any income taxes (approaching 50% of the population), see themselves at war with him: the more he pays in taxes, the more others see that his compliance with such new burdens is proof of what he “really” owed all the time, and a sign that he can pay even more next round...
Vandam gives us the strategic outlook here; money graf:
...The great principle of America is that free people pursue their interests freely and the government attends only to the irreducible commonalities. That has already been eroded to the point where Americans, one way or another, stand in line in the government cafeteria. This presidency is adding bars to the windows even as it sucks the air out of the room. It’s going to be a dreadful experience. It will be everything that the most self-loathing of Americans have long wanted but didn’t have the initiative to emigrate to Cuba and get it straight up for themselves...
We also know what the price was to crack the national government's will in a much more virile America, circa 1968. By the end of that year, 36,152 American troops had been killed in the Vietnam conflict. That fact led to a change in the national government, which in turn sued its opponents for peace.
Goethe has supplied an operational concept.
So let's ask another "20 Questions", using the following assumptions:
- Two of the three branches of the Federal Government, along with most of their constituent agencies and bureaucracies, have been captured by totalitarian statists who routinely violate the limitations on their power expressly required by the US Constitution/Bill of Rights;
- The so-called "opposition party" is only marginally less statist than the incumbents, and in fact sponsored many of the most egregiously unconstitutional programs when they last held power;
- State and local governments are so financially dependent on Federal transfer payments that they are de facto mere departments of the national government, rather than the separate sovereigns envisioned by the Founding Fathers; and
- All rational prognoses are for the situation to grow worse with each passing quarter for the foreseeable future.
1) Do you know, if you deem such actions to be both moral and necessary, which targets in your area-- both materiel and otherwise -- you would select for political action?
2) Do you have the means (i.e., the tools and materials) needed to engage each of those targets successfully?
3) Do you have the skill sets and mindset needed to engage each of those targets successfully?
4) Do you have the operational support needed to engage each of those targets successfully?
5) Having engaged those targets in your area successfully, do you have the
- skill sets,
- mindset, and
- operational support
to evade investigation, capture, interrogation, and sentencing, so as to be capable of future missions against different targets in your area or elsewhere?
6) Do you have the means and skill sets to properly and safely exploit your successful missions for maximum propaganda value via YouTube and other media?
7) Do you have the resources to help others execute steps 1-6 in your area without compromising your own operational ability?
8) Do you have the ability to relocate successfully to other parts of the country as part of your post-mission exfiltration/recovery period?
9) Do you have the funds and personal items (essential medicines, etc.) that you would need if you suddenly had to relocate?
10) Do you have viable forms of alternate identification?
11) If you have alternative identification, do you know how reliable it is?
12) Do you have Spandoflage headwear as part of your mission kit?
13) Do you have viable gloves that will be usable in tactical situations yet unobtrusive during both your ingress and egress?
14) What steps -- in detail -- have you taken to avoid the standard crime scene rule that "everyone leaves evidence behind, while at the same time takes evidence away"?
15) Have you been dedicated in your physical training?
16) Have you considered the very-close-work operational utility of a snubnose .38 revolver with a dehorned hammer?
17) Have you considered the close-work operational utility of the rifled slug (12 or 20 gauge) fired from a short-barreled shotgun?
18) Have you considered all of the wonderful ways that modern statist technology is vulnerable to the creative application of force/friction/heat/cold/electrical current/water, both as a standalone event and as a triggering event for a subsequent response?
19) Are you morally squared-away for what you are about to do?
20) Have you practiced your tactics and skills so that you have a realistic assessment of your own strengths and weaknesses, and have your plans been modified in light of that assessment?
Special bonus question:
21) Do you understand that, with the millions upon millions of vulnerable, unarmed, government-paid collaborators and Quislings at the local, state, and Federal levels, let alone all of the government-owned property in every jurisdiction of this huge country just aching for traditional American political action, one of your biggest problems (after the initial decision and commitment, of course) will be in focusing your efforts so as to achieve maximum effect with minimal exposure to you?
Audentes fortuna iuvat.