Nov 02 2008

On Redistribution

Category: economy,election 2008,Obamaharmonicminer @ 12:34 am

We can tolerate some redistribution.  Government always does some of it.  But it is toxic for economies, because it distorts markets, which means it distorts production that sells to those markets.  Nevertheless, some toxicity is tolerable (medicine is toxic, too, after all, in a good cause), and governments seem unable to resist the temptation to pick winners and losers.

But as with most toxic things (medicines as well as simple poisons), there are 4 dosage ranges.

1)  A small amount, small enough that the side effects are unnoticeable, and it’s difficult to see if there is any benefit, either.  We call this “subclinical”, because it’s so little we can hardly tell if anything changed.  It probably produces a “drag on the system”, but it’s hard to detect, because it’s small.  Think of the first very minimal income taxes, or the tiny social security tax when these programs first began.

2)  A somewhat larger dose, sometimes two or three or four times the subclinical dose, so that the effect is clearly noticeable.  If it’s a medicine, this will be the dosage that’s usually prescribed, and while the benefit will be obvious, side effects are likely to be clearly visible, too.  Some patients will be more sensitive to the side effects than others.  Some patients will be overwhelmed by the side effects before a useful dose is reached.  This is probably where we were, economically, until the Great Society programs got off the ground.  Kennedy realized that there was too much drag on the economy, and lowered taxes…  but Johnson couldn’t resist the urge to “transfrom the United States of America”.  Sound familiar?

3)  A pretty high dose, one where the benefit may be really strong, but the side effects from the toxicity of the medicine require VERY careful management in order not to be more of a problem than the condition for which the medicine is being given.  Cancer chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc., can be like this.  With the Great Society in full swing, with government benefits all over the place (siphoning money out of productive work), with government funding propping up loans that shouldn’t have been made, with government interference preventing the production of domestic energy supplies, and so on, we are right at the tipping point.  Many people feel that they benefit from all of this, and vote that way, not realizing that the organism is in REAL trouble.  Think of them as cells that aren’t dying, yet, from the toxicity that is seriously damaging vital organs.

4)  A flatly, harmfully high dose, high enough that the side effect of the medicine kills the patient before any benefit accrues.  It’s called a fatal overdose.

There is something worth noticing here, something known to medical pros, but not to the general population.  There are some medicines that must be VERY carefully managed, because the difference between dosage levels 2 and 3 is not very large, and the difference between dosage levels 3 and 4 is positively tiny.

In other words, you can reach a point where just a little bit more brings you to the “tipping point”, where the system is overwhelmed by the toxicity, and shuts down.

These dosages can’t usually be directly calculated.  The only way to find out what’s deadly, in the end, is the hard way…  by experience.

I think our economy is at a high “level 3 dosage” of redistribution.  Many people are just fine with it, and seem to find the side effects tolerable.  Think of them as the individual cells of the body, some of whom are perfectly happy, because they aren’t the ones that start dying first from an overdose.

Consider:  NO ONE seems to really have predicted the radical nature of the recent economic collapse, even those who warned of problems with insufficient regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  When it happened, it happened FAST, and we went from being fat and happy to near-systemic collapse almost overnight.  What this illustrates is that complacency about drags on economic health, because we seem to have tolerated the drags for awhile, is possibly misplaced, especially when we’re already at high doses of the drag.

There are Left leaning “experts” who assure us that we can add enormous new entitlement programs, “redistribute” more wealth from “makers” to “takers”,  and the economy will keep humming along.  They don’t know.  They CAN’T know, because no one can calculate how much drag an economy can tolerate before it simply goes into terminal shock.  What we do know is that the patient is pretty sick right now, and the prescription of the Left seems to be to withdraw blood from one arm and transfuse it into the other, removing some red blood cells along the way, and mixing in yet more toxic goop.

The problem is that the economy isn’t humming along anymore, because we are already at max toxicity.  We are the patient who has had so much medicine that the kidneys and liver are overwhelmed trying to remove the toxic side effects.  We can’t tolerate ANY more medicine, almost of any kind at all, however beneficial someone might think it will be to SOME of our cells, because we are at the tipping point between levels 3 and 4 of dosage.

I think the Left’s prescriptions, which are designed to benefit only some of the cells, are going to kill the patient.  The patient desperately needs pure supportive therapy, maybe just simple hydration, but no more medicine, and the removal of leeches (I know, I’m mixing metaphors), and TIME to get back into some kind of balanced blood chemistry.

When you see Dr. Obama coming at you with two giant needles, one to withdraw blood, and one to insert LOTS of new medicine, I suggest you stand on the patient’s bill of rights, and refuse treatment.

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