There is a philosophic battle royal, or even a metaphoric civil war, raging in this country.  On one side are those who embrace free market capitalism, the economic system that built the United States into the freest and most prosperous nation.  The other side is steadfastly trying to transform this nation into a Democratic Socialist nation, which will only result in economic ruin and an oppressive centralized government, which will become totalitarian over time.

Here is how our great national struggle is described in this American Thinker article

With Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez coming out of the shadows and being described as the future of the Democratic Party, the fight card has been set: socialism versus free-market capitalism.  Socialism versus constitutional republicanism.  Socialism (authoritarianism) versus self-rule.  In short, bondage versus freedom.

All of the defenders of free market capitalism have a much more difficult message to sell.  In order for the free market to work properly all of us have to produce something worth buying, either a service or a good.  No one gets a free ride.  It is much easier to seduce the uninformed with cries of free stuff for everyone.  It has gotten to the point where almost our entire educational system, our news broadcasters, and our entertainment industry are bashing the free market with negative distortions and erroneously praising socialism.  We need to work extra hard to get our facts and arguments right and to transmit them to everyone as effectively as possible.  Here are some of the more impactful facts and arguments I have encountered.

Here is a quote by Milton Friedman from chapter 1 of The Relation Between Economic Freedom and Political Freedom.

Because we live in a largely free society, we tend to forget how limited is the span of time and the part of the globe for which there has ever been anything like political freedom: the typical state of mankind is tyranny, servitude, and misery. The nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the Western world stand out as striking exceptions to the general trend of historical development. Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions. So also did political freedom in the golden age of Greece and in the early days of the Roman era. History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom.

Here is another quote from the same chapter.

Fundamentally, there are only two ways of coordinating the economic activities of millions. One is central direction involving the use of coercion—the technique of the army and of the modern totalitarian state. The other is voluntary co-operation of individuals—the technique of the market place.

It is an effective message to highlight the fact that the free market is all about voluntary cooperation and Socialism is all force and coercion.

Here is part of a transcript from an interview with Milton Freidman on Phil Donahue from 1979.  The entire interview is a must watch.

The great achievements of civilization have not come from government bureaus. Einstein didn’t construct his theory under order from a bureaucrat. Henry Ford didn’t revolutionize the automobile industry that way. In the only cases in which the masses have escaped from the kind of grinding poverty you’re talking about, the only cases in recorded history are where they have had capitalism and largely free trade. If you want to know where the masses are worse off, worst off, it’s exactly in the kinds of societies that depart from that. So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear that there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by the free-enterprise system.

There was no greater champion of the free market and no harsher critic of Socialism than Ayn Rand.  Here is one of my favorite quotes by her from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal written in 1966.

America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance- and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.

Capitalism has created the highest standard of living ever known on earth. The evidence is incontrovertible. The contrast between West and East Berlin is the latest demonstration, like a laboratory experiment for all to see. Yet those who are loudest in proclaiming their desire to eliminate poverty are loudest in denouncing capitalism. Man’s well-being is not their goal.

It appears that the free market has been steadily failing us for the past 100 years.  It is not the free market that has been failing us, it is government intrusion into the free market that has been causing the slow motion collapse.  Ayn Rand discusses this in The Voice of Reason = Essays on Objective Thought,

One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.

Critics of the free market complain that that system runs on greed.  Here is how to answer that concern with a quote by Adam Smith from Chapter 2 page 19 of Wealth of Nations.

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

I tried to choose just one quote from this article by Thomas Sowell but I could not because it is such a fantastic article.

If you have more quotes that could help in this battle of ideas please share them in the comments section.

An ever increasing number of Americans now support an economic and philosophic system that has produced an enormous amount suffering and has a very high death toll.  Socialism is the economic system and it is the direct opposite of the free market system that built the United States into the freest and most economically successful nation ever.  Our steadily decreasing national freedom and prosperity are a direct result of an increasing number of these individuals entering government service at all levels and transitioning our economy from one of free market capitalism to one of socialism.

For about a hundred years there has been a stealthy tug of war between supporters of the free market and supporters of socialism. Those that support socialism have hidden behind the banners of liberalism and progressivism.  Now the masks are off and they proudly announce themselves to be socialists and their numbers are increasing rapidly.  As you can see from this article Poll: Nearly Half Of Millennials Prefer Socialism To Capitalism, by the Federalist, the distribution of socialists is not uniform by age

Nearly half of American millennials (44 percent) would rather live in a socialist society than a capitalist one, according to a report from the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC) which relied on YouGov polling data. Even so, there’s widespread ignorance among millennials about socialism and communism — only 71 percent of the millennials surveyed could properly identify what communism is and many often conflated the two economic systems.

Walter E. Williams explains why so many millennials support socialism in this Townhall article Capitalism vs. Socialism.

Several recent polls, plus the popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders, demonstrate that young people prefer socialism to free market capitalism. That, I believe, is a result of their ignorance and indoctrination during their school years, from kindergarten through college. For the most part, neither they nor many of their teachers and professors know what free market capitalism is.

Walter E. Williams notes in the essay “Are Academic Elites Communist?” from August 16 2006 that it is not just academia that is to blame.

Academic leftists, and their media allies, are in agreement with many of the stated goals of communism, such as equal distribution of wealth, income equality and other goals spelled out in Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels’ “Manifesto of the Communist Party.”  Leftist elites love the ideas of communism so much that they are either blind to, or tolerant of, it’s many shortcomings.

This article sheds light on just how biased our colleges and universities have become: Nearly Four In Five College Departments Don’t Employ A Single Republican

To set foot on an American college campus, as anyone who’s spent a picosecond thereabout lately can tell you, is to step through a left-wing looking glass. But a jaw-dropping new study from the National Association of Scholars (NAS) reveals just how deep the rabbit hole goes: among tenure-track college professors at the nation’s top-ranked liberal arts schools, registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than 10 to 1.

The Townhall article Dancing with Socialism, Ignoring Reality illustrates just how thoroughly the brainwashing of college students has been.

In the United States, surveys show that many Millennials are not merely soft on socialism but openly support it. They think capitalism benefits only the “one percent” and no one else, despite America’s matchless record of upward mobility and prosperity.

Since the 1960s, the media, Hollywood and the education system have presented a warped view of America along with a sugarcoated version of socialism. So, we should not be surprised when we see so many young people fooled by the false promises of redistributive economics.

The Millennials are the main force behind Vermont’s Democratic Socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, and they are pushing the Democratic Party even further to the Left.

Walter E. Williams discusses why socialism is immoral is this article: “Evil Concealed by Money” from November 19, 2008.

This is why socialism is evil. It employs evil means, coercion or taking the property of one person, to accomplish good ends, helping one’s fellow man. Helping one’s fellow man in need, by reaching into one’s own pockets, is a laudable and praiseworthy goal. Doing the same through coercion and reaching into another’s pockets has no redeeming features and is worthy of condemnation.

Socialism always fails with devastating results.   Thomas Sowell tells us why in this quote I found in the Acton Institute Powerblog article 6 Quotes: Sowell on economics and ideas.

The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics. When politicians discover some group that is being vocal about not having as much as they want, the “solution” is to give them more. Where do politicians get this “more”? They rob Peter to pay Paul. After a while, of course, they discover that Peter doesn’t have enough. Bursting with compassion, politicians rush to the rescue. Needless to say, they do not admit that robbing Peter to pay Paul was a dumb idea in the first place. On the contrary, they now rob Tom, Dick, and Harry to help Peter

Are college students informed about socialism’s tragically high body count?  If not they should read this Townhall article Capitalism vs. Socialism by Walter E. Williams.

A much larger and totally ignored question has to do with the brutality of socialism. In the 20th century, the one-party socialist states of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Germany under the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and the People’s Republic of China were responsible for the murder of 118 million citizens, mostly their own. The tallies were: USSR 62 million, Nazi Germany 21 million and PRC 35 million. No such record of brutality can be found in countries that tend toward free market capitalism.

Norway and other Scandinavian countries are often held up as socialism success stories, but are they really?  No they are not and this article documents the truth:  Norway’s Version of the Resource Curse

Via Kirk’s Market Thoughts

Russ DeKuyper: You know how much I gotta make to keep $300 cash in our tax bracket? I gotta make 800, maybe $1000. That’s why I want that check. Now, you give me that $1000.
Archie Bunker: Why, you copper-plated phony, you. You’re money nuts. When this was just a raggy fur, you couldn’t care less about it. Now it’s $300, your whole world lights up.
Russ DeKuyper: You bet it does. You really bet it does. Three hundred bucks tax free is really illuminating.

All in the Family Edith gets a Mink 1972

We are hearing a lot of complaints from people like Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi about the new Trump Tax law. I don’t blame them, it’s one more brick supporting the individual democrat welfare states removed.

Because of the deductablity of state and local taxes, when itemizing (which people of means generally do as they can almost always find more than the standard deduction in write offs) tax increases in state taxes and local taxes while annoying were not prohibitive for people living in high tax states. So when Democrats make pitches like this one described by Chris Christie back in 2012 while he was stumping in Atkinson NH…

35 years ago we didn’t have an income tax in NJ no income tax like right here in NH, we had no income tax and Governor Brendon Byrne, a democrat said: If you just give me a small income tax, a little one, I will lower your property taxes, we had the highest property taxes in America back in 1977 so 35 years later, what have we got? We’ve STILL got the highest property taxes in America and the income tax that started at 2% under governor Byrne is now 9%”

…they knew they could mitigate the effects for the rich who would be getting the biggest hit because that 2% tax which would became 9% along with those high property taxes they were already paying, would come right off their federal taxes.

Now think of states like California where all the celebs are all anti-trump all the time. If you are doing a TV series and making say $100K an episode. California’s 13.3% tax rate costs you $13,300 per episode, BUT because of federal deduction for state taxes, that adds up to 5253.50 right off the top of your federal tax bill.   Over a 26 episode season that’s $136,591 a year in taxes you aren’t paying to the feds.  It’s like getting paid for an extra episode tax free!

As Archie Bunker might say: “Dat ain’t happenin’ no more.”

Starting in 2018 California’s 13.3% income tax really costs 13,300 per $100,000 made and New Jersey’s 9% tax rate really costs 9000 per 100,000 and if you are a person with a Million dollar property a 5% property tax really costs $50,000 a year.

And it’s not just states, there are plenty of cities that have their own income taxes like Washington DC , Baltimore, Denver,  NYC,

And since the people getting these deductions are by nature the most mobile,  suddenly you have the prospect of the slow exodus of such people to low tax states and cities becoming a stampede that you have to somehow curb.

In other words you have to compete!

No longer will it be a gimme for liberals to buy off activists or pack state bureaucracies the feds aren’t going to subsidize these vote buying schemes anymore.

Now you have to give the voters a reason to stay while at the same time explaining to your base that if you don’t there will be no gravy train left to ride on.

This is why not a single Democrat voted for this tax bill, they knew that if it’s passed their overwhelming democrat legislature would face a day of reckoning.  That day has now arrived.

Welcome to the free market folks!

I should add one caveat to this.  All of these states and cities have one advantage that their worried counterparts in Germany and Australia don’t.  The Trump boom that these tax cuts will produce increased revenues that might, just might, give them enough wiggle room to make these needed changes to their tax codes over time and thus less painful.

But their window of opportunity is going to be a very slim one, will they open said window or push it closed and wait for these tax cuts expire?

Update:  I’ve gotten emails asking about NH & Tennessee listed as 5% & 6% respectively when they don’t have a state income tax, however both Tennessee and NH both tax dividend and interest income and thus those taxes would be deductible in the examples above, full details here.

One of the big arguments for the service Uber is the idea of letting the free market manage the cost of transportation rather than the using licensing of taxi badges as a revenue source for the state and the badge owners.

I’m delighted that Uber is so enamored with the free market one thing about the free market, so many things can swing it.

Uber Technologies says it is banning firearms of any kind during rides arranged through the Uber platform, and drivers or riders who violate the rule may lose access to the platform. The rules also apply to Uber’s affiliates.

The company said Friday it changed its firearms policy on June 10 to make sure riders and drivers feel comfortable. In a statement, Uber said it made the change after reviewing feedback from both passengers and Uber drivers. Previously it had deferred to local law on the issue.

If I was an investor in Uber I might be worried about the idea of offending a good chunk of my potential customer base by making such a move, but then again I could always invest in a company with a different policy.

While the investors might be worried about the free market implications, if I was a customer or a driver I’d be worried about the company giving the official “all clear” to any potential armed robber looking for an easy mark.

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