Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK Quote of the Day

Martin Luther King Jr. in his "Beyond Vietnam" speech delivered on April 4, 1967.
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to start rating these posts on a five-star scale:

three stars:

this was the common wisdom in those days

few believe such a ridiculous thing now

January 18, 2011 7:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And who the hell are you, the Anonymous rater?

All ego, no balls.

January 18, 2011 8:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TTF got three stars because it made an important point that is often overlooked:

MLK was a socialist

January 18, 2011 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! MLK was a socialist? He must be roasting in hell at this very minute.

What an insane, ludicrous, un-Christian comment to make, "Anonymous". You just don't know when to stop, do you?

January 18, 2011 10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, I'm not aware that socialism is an unforgivable sin- or a sin at all

still, it doesn't fit well with the American story and he seems an unlikely candidate to be lionized as he has, with birthday celebrations and memorials and statues and the rest

"They've been extinct for about 10,000 years, but woolly mammoths could be back on Earth in just five years, according to Japanese scientists who plan to use frozen DNA to resurrect the behemoth.

Last summer, researchers plucked skin and muscle tissue from an ancient mammoth's carcass that was found preserved under permafrost in Siberia. A nearly complete body of one of the animals was found there and has since been kept in a special freezer in a Russian research lab.

Researchers from Japan's Kinki University have found a way to isolate DNA from the frozen mammoth's tissue. Now they plan to insert that DNA into the egg cells of a normal, modern African elephant and then plant the resulting embryo into the elephant's womb."

January 18, 2011 11:01 AM  
Anonymous 2012: sequel to the major hit, 2010 said...

Sen. Kent Conrad, who has represented North Dakota for some three decades, plans to retire next year, giving Republicans a golden opportunity for a pickup in the conservative-leaning state.

Conrad, in his fifth term, is a leading spokesman on budget and economic issues for the Senate majority. He is chairman of the budget panel and a senior member of the powerful Finance Committee.

President Obama said he was horrified to see Conrad go.

The GOP jumped on the news. "In the wake of Sen. Hoeven's overwhelming victory last year, Senate Republicans fully expected North Dakota to be a major battleground in 2012, but Sen. Conrad's retirement dramatically reshapes this race in the Republican favor," said Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

January 18, 2011 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

news flash:

another Senator who caucuses with the outdated Democratic Party will announce tomorrow that he won't seek re-election:

Joe Lieberman

that's two down and the Republican House just took over

also, in a humorous turn of events, Steny Hoyer announced today that he supports the broad goals of H.Res. 9, which instructs House committees to consider changes to the law and is the “replace” element in the Republicans' “repeal and replace” strategy

I knew we could count on the Dems to cave

further, Eric Cantor dared Harry Reid to have the Senate vote on repeal, saying: "if Harry Reid is so sure repeal will fail in the Senate, why he is afraid to allow a vote

January 18, 2011 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What an insane, ludicrous, un-Christian comment to make"

who knew that saying MLK is a socialist would provoke such a reaction?

it's an insane and ludicrous reaction, as far as I can see

btw, I think David Fishback, president of the local MLK Fan Club, confirmed last week that MLK believed in the social gospel

is he insane and ludicrous too?

January 18, 2011 5:04 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Believing in social justice and the Social Gospel does not equate with being a socialist.

In any event, the range of people identifying themselves as socialist extends from actual Communists (those believing in the state ownership of all property and a single party state, with no real democracy) to Social Democrats like Willy Brandt in Germany, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair in the UK, and Mitterand in France (who believe in private property, do not favor socialization of private enterprises, but believe in a progressive tax system, reasonable regulation of business, policies that lessen the disparity in income among those who work, and real free speech and democracy), with lots a variation in between.

What the right has done with respect to the word socialist has been to equate it with communist -- something quite bizarre, since the battles between totalitarian communists and socialists date back to the Russian Revolution period. Democratic socialist vigorously opposed totalitarian communists. The latter saw the former as their worst enemy, and visa versa.

January 18, 2011 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What the right has done with respect to the word socialist has been to equate it with communist"

well, I haven't done that and there was no reason to think I was currently doing so

I am also sure that virtually all conservatives would recognize a difference between the socialism of Western Europe and the communism of Cuba

socialism, as opposed to totalitarian communism, has its own problems, however, and leads to more suffering than it remedies

Americans have always been on to this and, thus, socialism always requires anti-democratic tactics to sustain itself

the "social gospel" of the 1960s was indeed socialism

the idea that we should tax people and spend the equivalent of the amount we spend on the defense, 700 billion, on "social uplift", while sounding, at first blush, very noble is actually repressive

it's a euphemism for income redistribution based on the capriciousness of governmental elites rather than the decision of the empowered millions

MLK flunks the American vision

January 19, 2011 12:27 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anon writes that socialism is "a euphemism for income redistribution based on the capriciousness of governmental elites rather than the decision of the empowered millions."

Then I assume that, in your view, anyone who believes in a progressive income tax is a socialist. And since most people believe that the tax system should be based, at least to a degree, on the ability to pay, then, by your lights, most people are socialists.

In America, people have to opportunity to become rich. But they can only become rich because they live in a society that enables it. The Spiderman credo applies: "With great power comes great responsibility." That is what FDR understood, and in so doing saved both American democracy and capitalism.

In a democracy, income redistribution is not done by disembodied "government elites," but by the elected representatives of the people. Your alleged "government elites" can do nothing without the laws made by our elected representatives. The "empowered millions" are those who choose to vote.

January 19, 2011 6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Then I assume that, in your view, anyone who believes in a progressive income tax is a socialist."

that's an incorrect assumption, David

my problem is what is done with the money

spending it on "social uplift" is redistribution

American people disagree with that, which is why most of it is called "insurance" and people are led to believe they are getting what they pay for (SS, Medicare, Unemployment)

"In America, people have to opportunity to become rich. But they can only become rich because they live in a society that enables it."


"The Spiderman credo applies: "With great power comes great responsibility." That is what FDR understood, and in so doing saved both American democracy and capitalism."

that's disputable

"In a democracy, income redistribution is not done by disembodied "government elites," but by the elected representatives of the people. Your alleged "government elites" can do nothing without the laws made by our elected representatives. The "empowered millions" are those who choose to vote."

it's true that we can change things

let's vote to empower ourselves economically as well as politically

January 19, 2011 7:41 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

"In America, people have to opportunity to become rich. But they can only become rich because they live in a society that enables it."


Anon, could you please expand on why you think that statement is wrong?

January 19, 2011 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

could you explain first how you believe our society enables getting rich?

January 19, 2011 2:48 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Sure. Here are a couple of examples:

Henry Ford worked very hard to get very rich. But if Michigan did not have a good work force, a stable economic environment, a society in which laws were clear and were enforced, and was in a country in which entrepeneurs were protected from violence foreign and domestic and which provided access to the needed natural resources to build and fuel automobiles, then he would not have been able to succeed.

Likewise, Bill Gates had great ideas and entrepenurial drive. But if the United States had not begun the Computer Age in the wake of World War II (this emerged from military activities during the War -- for example, my mom's cousin Arby learned the basics as an enlisted man during the War and used that training to start and develop one of the first computerized records management companies serving business), had not provided the education necessary for the workforce he hired, had not provided the education necessary for people to have a reason to purchase his products, had not invented the Internet (something invented by our military, which is completely funded by general taxes), and did not provide the environment I note above with respect to Henry Ford, Bill Gates would have just been another smart, energetic geek. This is not to denigrate Bill Gates, but it is to recognize that, contrary to Ayn Rand, people do not create wealth simply out of whole cloth -- something that I am sure Gates himself recognizes.

The point is that none of us are totally self-created. I have been successful in my career as a government attorney. Is that only my own doing? Of course not. I had great parents, a great education in MCPS, and scholarships to college and law school, and terrific co-workers -- as well as a legal system that rewarded good work. Plus an environment which encouraged me to work hard and be productive. Could I have done the same in any entirely different, and negative environment? Maybe, but not likely.

So we all benefit from a good society. We cannot pretend that we are not interconnected.

January 19, 2011 5:08 PM  
Anonymous thanks alot, Barry said...

Repeal of ObamaCare can't come soon enough -- as several damaging provisions are set to take effect this year.

For starters, it has effectively stopped the construction of physician-owned hospitals throughout the country.

Section 6001 of the health-care law required physician-owned hospitals to obtain their Medicare certification by the end of last year. Without it, they can't treat Medicare patients. And the facilities needed to be open to get that certification.

So construction halted at 45 hospitals as the New Year arrived. Work on countless others will never start, having been effectively banned by ObamaCare. This will limit competition in the health-care marketplace, driving up costs for patients.

Of course, patients may have trouble finding not just a hospital, but a doctor. A Physician's Foundation survey revealed that 40 percent of doctors plan to "drop out of patient care in the next one to three years." Sixty percent said ObamaCare will "compel them to close or significantly restrict their practices to certain categories of patients" -- typically those on Medicare or Medicaid.

Health reform will force many folks to give up their current insurance, too.

New rules requiring insurers in the individual and small-group markets to spend at least 80 percent of premium dollars on medical claims are intended to ensure that consumers get good value for their money. Instead, they'll push many plans out of existence. And with fewer competitors to keep them honest, the insurers that survive will have an easier time raising rates.

Other measures kicking in are petty -- but punitive. For example, people can no longer use tax-free Health Savings Accounts on basic over-the-counter drugs. Instead, they must pay for a doctor's appointment -- and then get a prescription for a pricier pharmacist-dispensed drug.

Consider the case of Claritin, an allergy medication that recently was approved for OTC use. A report from the National Center for Policy Analysis found that longtime users of the drug saw their daily costs fall 80 percent, from about $2.50 to just 50 cents. ObamaCare reverses this trend by encouraging people to opt for higher-priced prescription drugs when a cheaper OTC medication would work just as well.

And some measures are cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face punitive -- like the new $2.5 billion excise tax on pharmaceutical companies. Drug manufacturers won't simply swallow this new bill; they'll pass it onto consumers in the form of higher prices.

Thus, by (for example) increasing the cost of care for patients who need cholesterol-lowering statins or cancer-fighting meds, ObamaCare harms our health.

Public discontent with ObamaCare will only grow as its provisions begin to take effect this year. Congress should repeal it with all due speed.

January 19, 2011 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brand new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Survey

Q4a In general, do you approve or disapprove of the job that Barack Obama is doing as president?


Q5 Now I'm going to read you the names of several public figures, groups and organizations, and I'd like you to rate your feelings toward each one as very positive, somewhat positive, neutral, somewhat negative, or very negative. If you don't know the name, please just say so.

Barack Obama.........................52 very or somewhat positive
The Tea Party Movement...........29 very or somewhat positive
Sarah Palin.............................27 very or somewhat positive

January 19, 2011 8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the info, but I'm not worried

Barry's approval ratings were over 70% at the same distance from the 2010 election we are from 2012

if Obama gets re-elected it'll be because he didn't stand in the doorways and block up the halls

the times they are-a changin'

remember, the true dimensions of his disastrous policies will be clearly evident two years on

January 19, 2011 8:55 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

"Anonymous said...
could you explain first how you believe our society enables getting rich?"

I answered your question, as you requested. Could you now answer mine?


January 19, 2011 9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not the same Anon who was arguing with David Fishback, but I can tell you that throughout history, in nearly every society, there have been rich people and poor people, and people in between -- no matter the structure of the society. It's interesting to note that communist countries are controlled by the rich, as communists themselves are the ultimate capitalists.

January 19, 2011 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll try to get to it tomorrow, David

I have a headache this evening from excessive coughing in connection with a respiratory infection

btw, some of you have wondered why Jared Loughner was found to be a drug user and could still buy a gun

thank Bill Clinton and Janet Reno, who decided that tracking such people would violate their rights:

"Accused Arizona gunman Jared Loughner was able to buy firearms despite past brushes with the law and the U.S. military over possible drug use.

A Justice Department policy dating to former Attorney General Janet Reno removed a reporting requirement in the 1990s that would have made it harder for the Tucson shooting defendant to buy a gun, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The policy stopped the military from reporting those who fail voluntary drug tests to the FBI out of concern that the individuals would be less likely to seek treatment, the Post said. Loughner failed an Army drug screening in 2008 and subsequently bought a shotgun and later the Glock19 handgun he is accused of using in the Jan. 8 shootings that left six dead and severely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), among others."

January 19, 2011 10:09 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Yes, the rich will always be with us. But my point is that the rich never become rich in a vaccuum (unless they are self-sufficient farmers isolated from the rest of the world).

January 19, 2011 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is not to denigrate Bill Gates, but it is to recognize that, contrary to Ayn Rand, people do not create wealth simply out of whole cloth -- something that I am sure Gates himself recognizes."

So David, you are not a fan of Ayn Rand ? I love Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead. Did your adult children read Ayn Rand ?

I think not.

Hard work doesn't really create prosperity, the pundits and socialists really do....after all. And if I talk at you long enough, you WILL believe it ! You really will ! 2+2 is really 5, after all.

Ah, but to place twisted intellects like you back in the old West where you had to support yourselves or starve.

What would I give....

Keep talking in circles, Ellsworth Toohey aka David Fishback.... you are so very good at it. You can twist all morality given enough words.

Anon T

January 19, 2011 10:32 PM  
Anonymous throw away the key said...

A Pennsylvania abortionist charged in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive committed murder in plain sight and was able to keep killing because of lack of oversight, according to a grand jury investigation.

"Pennsylvania is not a third-world country," the newly released grand jury report reads. "There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago. But none of them did, not even after a patient's death.

"In the end, Gosnell was only caught by accident," the report says.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, was charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said.On Feb. 18, 2010, the FBI and detectives from the Philadelphia DA's Office executed search warrants at Gosnell's West Philadelphia clinic.

The clinic, which the grand jury calls an "abortion mill," had been under investigation, but what investigators found inside proved to be far more troubling.

"Bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses were scattered throughout the building," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said. "A row of jars containing severed feet lined a shelf. Untrained, unsupervised workers injected dangerous drugs into women undergoing illegal late-term abortions."

During the course of the investigation, the district attorney's office learned that a 41-year-old woman who had recently immigrated to the U.S. from Nepal, had died inside the clinic in November 2009. Authorities later determined the cause of death was a fatal drug overdose that was allegedly administered during an abortion.

Investigators said they learned that Gosnell and members of his staff performed abortions beyond the 24-week limit prescribed by law. Prosecutors said Gosnell, a family physician, was not certified in obstetrics or gynecology.

"In case after case, Dr. Gosnell and his assistants induced labor; forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh and eighth month of pregnancy; and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of their necks with scissors and severing their spinal cords," Williams said.

Gosnell, 69, along with his wife and eight clinic workers were arrested Tuesday night, after the grand jury released the findings of its lengthy investigation into his clinic.

The abortion doctor now faces charges of third-degree murder in the death of Mongar and seven murder charges for the deaths of infants killed. In addition to the murder charges, Gosnell faces charges of infanticide, conspiracy, abuse of a corpse and several other related offenses.

Williams said he is not sure if he will seek the death penalty in the case.

"I know that I have done my very best to provide the very best care to my patients," Gosnell said.

Gosnell, who also had a clinic in Delaware and a practice in New York, should have been caught long ago, the grand jury said in its findings. It placed partial blame on multiple agencies that allegedly ignored complaints about him and failed to visit or inspect his clinic since 1993.

According to the Pro-Life Union of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Gosnell performed an estimated 5,754 abortions between 2004 and 2008. Prosecutors allege he earned about $15,000 a day.

January 20, 2011 9:01 AM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...

Anon T,

I was hoping for a real exchange of ideas here.

Well, maybe next time.

January 20, 2011 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David, I keep wanting to get started on your paean to big government but I keep thinking I have to address every example and, in multiple aspects.

Suffice it to say that creating bureacracies isn't efficient or efficacious to the general welfare. Society that is as decentralized as possible not only yields more freedom but more dynamism. The opposite is a sullen disaster.

While laws to create a stable ennvironment are desirable, and everyone should contribute their fair share, the idea of confiscating over half of most people's productiveness and funneling into a redistribution program of social uplift determined by the village really amounts to organized theft. Also, the impulse to forcibly place more burdens on the most productive is noxious to a society.

I don't share T's approval of Ayn Rand. The objectivist philosophy that self-interest is the only morally correct path counters Christian ethics.

I do, however, believe that self-determination is essential to being a responsible moral agent in the world. Acquiescing to governmental control over every meaningful aspect of our lives is wrong.

On another topic, btw, it happened.

The House voted to repeal Obamacare yesterday.

245 Congressmen voted for repeal. Only 219 voted for enactment last year.

26 states are now part of the lawsuit to have Obamacare ruled unconstitutional. Another, Virginia, has its own suit.

A survey released this week shows 65% of doctors believe Obamacare will deteriorate the quality of health care in our country.

Blue Shield of California, a non-profit, says it will have to raise rates 59% to accomodate Obamacare

While Harry Reid refuses to allow a vote in the Senate, Mitch McConnell says the votes to repeal are there too.

If it comes to that, will Obama have the courage to veto against both chambers of Congress, most of the states and most of the doctors in our country with the public seething when they get their premium increases?

No matter, the people have the House now and we will refuse to fund these mandates until 2012. We can do it.

It's now crystal clear who's on what side so yesterday's unprecedented revoking of a major entitlement, less than a year after its creation, unprecedented, is much more than symbolic.

January 20, 2011 2:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad news for Barack...

most of us want a priority placed on jobs, the economy, terrorism, the deficit

which are Obama's weaknesses

the bottom of the priorities:

global warming and obesity, the pet projects of the Obamas

"The economy and jobs remain far and away the top priorities for Americans entering 2011, and that view is shared across party lines, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted Jan. 5-9.

Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed named the economy as the top priority, followed closely by jobs at 84 percent. Terrorism ranked third at 73 percent.

Sixty-four percent cited the federal budget deficit as a top priority. A Gallup poll this week also noted that concerns over the deficit were rising.

Despite the attention given to the issue of global warming over the years, it ranked second to last as a priority for Americans, with only 26 percent citing it.

Dead last was dealing with obesity, at 19 percent."

January 20, 2011 4:23 PM  
Anonymous David S. Fishback said...


Would I be correct in assuming that you do not oppose all government involvement in the economic life of the nation, but that you are skeptical, as a general matter, as to whether any particular government involvement does more harm than good?

I think a good starting point with respect to any proposed governmental action is to try to assess, first, whether there is a problem that needs to be addressed and, second, whether any governmental action is likely to fix or ameliorate the problem. If the answer to the second question is Yes, then the next question is whether the fix or the amelioration, on balance, does more good than harm.

This is a pragmatic, non-ideological, framework that serves us well when utilized. But when people reflexively say No or Yes to a particular proposal without going through this process, then we end up with a polarized situation in which no progress is made.

January 20, 2011 4:58 PM  
Blogger Orin Ryssman said...

Anonymous challenges David thusly,

could you explain first how you believe our society enables getting rich?

and then David answers back with two good examples, Henry Ford and Bill Gates.

Anon is passing on answering that question (and I do understand that as I am fighting an annoying low grade sinus infection) tonite, though I really would like to read the answer.

Still, having taken a public finance class in college I am compelled to agree what David has written as a rationale for progressive taxation. While it is a rationale, I am highly skeptical that it makes for a more just (whatever that is) society. One thing that is certain is that the more statist the economy and politics, the less likely there is to be as much upward mobility.

Still, that our society offers so much is one of the most powerful rationales for progressive taxation.

I would add another example to David's Ford and Gates...Mark Zuckerberg. Without the internet, orginally ARPANET, a development by the US military, Mark Zuckerberg would not have been able to create a thing such as Facebook. Imagine for a moment Mark Zuckerberg born in Somalia...really now, what sort opportunities do you think he would've had???

January 20, 2011 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orin and David, I'm over my cold so I'll try to address the specific situation tonight.

Do keep in mind that I was against income redistribution, not all government activity. Spending the equivalent of our defense budget on "social uplift", as the celebrated MLK suggested in another time, seems to suggest income redistribution.

Both of you, for example, mentioned the internet as a wonderful governmental contribution but I don't think I've ever argued against the need to maintain a strong national defense, which is the context where the need for the internet arose.

Obviously, necessity is the parental unit of invention.

January 21, 2011 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To tide you guys over until then, here's some thoughts from someone with some intelligence. George Will from yesterday's Post:

"It takes a worried man to sing a worried song, and in a recent speech that seemed like Larry Summers's swan song, the president's now-departed economic adviser warned that America is "at risk of a profound demoralization with respect to government." He fears a future in which "an inadequately resourced government performs badly, leading to further demands that it be cut back, exacerbating performance problems, deepening the backlash, and creating a vicious cycle."

The idea that America's problem of governance is one of inadequate resources misses this lesson of the last half-century: No amount of resources can prevent government from performing poorly when it tries to perform too many tasks, or particular tasks for which it is inherently unsuited.

Actually, government is not sufficiently demoralized. The hubris that is the occupational hazard and defining trait of the political class continues to cause government to overpromise and underperform. This class blithely considers itself exempt from the tyranny of the bell-shaped curve - the fact that in most occupations a few people are excellent, a few are awful, and most are average.

In fact, the bell curve is particularly pertinent to government. Surgeons achieve eminence by what they do "in office" - in operating rooms, performing surgery. Politicians achieve eminence simply by securing office - by winning elections, a skill often related loosely, if at all, to their performance in office.

James Q. Wilson, America's preeminent social scientist, has noted that until relatively recently, "politics was about only a few things; today, it is about nearly everything." Until the 1930s, or perhaps the 1960s, there was a "legitimacy barrier" to federal government activism: When new policies were proposed, the first debate was about whether the federal government could properly act at all on the subject. Today, there is no barrier to the promiscuous multiplication of programs, because no program is really new. Rather, it is an extension, modification or enlargement of something government is already doing.

The vicious cycle that should worry Summers is the reverse of the one he imagines. It is not government being "cut back" because of disappointments that reinforce themselves. Rather, it is government squandering its limited resources, including the resource of competence, in reckless expansions of its scope.

"There has been," Wilson writes, "a transformation of public expectations about the scope of federal action, one that has put virtually everything on Washington's agenda and left nothing off." Try, Wilson suggests, to think "of a human want or difficulty that is not now defined as a 'public policy problem.'""

January 21, 2011 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Summers leaves a federal government funded by a continuing resolution. Congress has been so busy passing gargantuan legislation to expand government's responsibilities that it has not had enough time, energy or sense of responsibility to pass a budget. And the pathologies of expanding government are becoming worse because of two concepts Summers mentioned in his valedictory - Baumol's Disease, and Moynihan's Corollary to it.

William J. Baumol, Princeton economics professor emeritus, said that in certain economic sectors - e.g., labor-intensive service industries - productivity will increase, if at all, more slowly than in the rest of the economy. The late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's corollary was that such services - e.g., teaching, nursing, the performing arts - tend to migrate to the public sector.

Moynihan noted that if you want a string quartet, you must hire four musicians with four instruments, just as in Chopin's day. "Productivity," said Moynihan, "just hasn't changed much. And when it does - e.g., playing the Minute Waltz in 50 seconds - it doesn't seem to work right." Actually, lopping 10 seconds off the waltz subtracts from musicians' productivity.

Moynihan noted a danger to his party in the tendency for the "stagnant services" to become government services: "The Democratic Party is identified with this very public sector in which relative costs are rising. By contrast, the Republican Party is identified with the private sector where relative costs are declining." The public sector's involuntary tendency to become, regarding productivity, a concentration of stagnation is a reason for government to become more circumspect than it has been about the voluntary acquisition of vast new responsibilities, such as micromanagement of health care's 17 percent of the economy.

As Summers returns to Harvard, he is hopeful because "markets climb walls of worry." That is, American history is replete with self-refuting prophesies of peril - predictions of national decline that prompt renewals.

January 21, 2011 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Is not any government expenditure, including military costs, "income redistribution?"

Fairfax County property owners contribute to my income, as do Virginia taxpayers.

January 21, 2011 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert, are you a daft dork?

You are being compensated for service performed, not being awarded someone else's compensation, out of a misconstrued sense of justice.

At least, I hope that's what happens.

Some with the military. They are serving and receiving payment for services rendered as part of an arranged agreement.

So, no, not all government expenditures are income reditribution.

January 21, 2011 2:39 PM  

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