Lessons in socialism

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Marx would be impressed: Socialists believe that the way to paradise is for governments to own "the means of production." Thus, decades ago even democratic countries such as France and Britain nationalized considerable swaths of their economies to achieve "social justice." That didn't work so well. Therefore, since the days Margaret Thatcher there have been wave after wave of privatizations in Europe and around the world.

Today's neosocialists are smarter than their ancestors. Instead of outright takeovers, they are achieving much the same goal through rigid regulations. ObamaCare is a prime example. Health insurers will eventually be private in name only, as the details of their policies will be dictated by governmental decrees. About the only thing companies will have any autonomy over -- perhaps -- will be their corporate logo.

Entitlements go hand in hand with sweeping, overbearing regulations. President Obama wants higher education in this country to be free of charge, which is why his administration is pushing for a government takeover of student lending. With such powers it will be but a wee stretch to intrude even further into the governance of the nation's colleges and universities -- including, ultimately, admissions.

-- Steve Forbes, column excerpt

A good lesson: An economics professor at Texas Tech said he had never failed a single student before but had, once, failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor said OK, we will have an experiment in this class on socialism.

All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A. After the first test the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset, and the students who studied little were happy. But as the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less, and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride, too. So they studied little. The second test average was a D. No one was happy. When the third test rolled around the average was an F.

The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings, and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else. All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great. But when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

It could not be any simpler than that.

-- E-mail from a friend

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.

-- Margaret Thatcher

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

-- John Maynard Keynes

The cruelty of the minimum wage: The unemployment effect of minimum wages affects the young most. Overall teenage unemployment stands at a record 25 percent, while adult unemployment hovers around 10 percent. Also at a record high is the 50 percent unemployment rate among black teenage males.

One might ask why teen unemployment, particularly that among black teens, is so much higher than adult unemployment. The answer is simple. One effect of a minimum wage law is that of discrimination against the employment of less-preferred workers. Within the category of less-preferred workers are those with low skills.

Teens are disproportionately represented among such workers and are therefore more adversely affected by minimum wages. Black teens are disproportionately represented among teens with low skills and therefore share a greater burden of minimum wages.

-- Excerpt from a Walter Williams column

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Ability is a poor man's wealth.

-- John Wooden

A people free to choose will always choose peace.

-- Ronald Reagan

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.

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