Saturday, April 20, 2013

The growing gap

Thanks to Coleman Luck for providing the above link. It has provoked a question for me. Namely, how does one ameliorate the growing wealth and income gap without raising taxes on the rich? I have a problem with raising taxes because, although it will reduce the after-tax incomes of the highest earners, it will also contribute to the growing power gap between our Federal government and the rest of the country. A growing power gap is, IMO, actually a worse long-term problem than a growing income or wealth gap.

So let me expand that question. How does one reduce both the income/wealth gap and, at the same time, reduce the growing power gap?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Napoleon addendum

I've often thought of Barack Obama as comparable to Napoleon, so I thought it might do to shed some light on my reasons for this. You'd actually have to read my book, "The Currents of World History" to fully understand, but since I plan a second edition in six months, you might want to wait before buying it.

Here's a brief run down. In the book, I humanize the two major impulses agitating Western civilization by comparing them to two men: George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte. Washington represents faith coupled with reason, and also stands for the unprecedented breakthrough in political thought and action - but the changes he wrought did not extend to all people in all places, but rather to a limited group of people in a relatively small geographical area. Napoleon represents the raw will-to-power of the folks left behind by George Washington. This will-to-power might also manifest as a zealous faith uncoupled from reason, or reason uncoupled from faith.

Whereas a Washington might rewrite the rules of society, a Napoleon will eliminate the lowest rung on the economic ladder to make sure those left behind have a chance to catch up. Washington led the way to Democracy in America. Napoleon eliminated serfdom in Europe.

And Barack Obama, IMO, will be remembered not only as the first black president, but also as the man who raised the bar on medical treatment in America, in essence eliminating the lowest rung on just one particular economic ladder - the possibility that an unfair catastrophic illness could strike anyone anywhere and ruin them financially. It's a good legacy, even though Obamacare will need a drastic overhaul in order to survive at all, and probably a huge infusion of free market supply-side capitalism to boot, in the form of building more medical schools and graduating more doctors, and setting them free to compete on price.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Okay, so the legislation Obama sought in the Senate did not pass. It's his Moscow moment.

If you know your history, Napoleon, master-general and conqueror of Europe over 200 years ago, marched on Moscow with 600,000 men-at-arms under his command. The Russians abandoned Moscow and burned it to the ground to keep him from getting it. They let the harsh Russian winter destroy his army through attrition. They hounded him all the way back to Paris, even as he tried to salvage his new Empire with just 20,000 surviving troops.

Not long after this, the combined powers of Europe sent him to live in exile on a little island called Elba, adjacent to his homeland of Corsica. There he stewed for nine long months before his march on Paris to launch a new war, and his subsequent end at Waterloo.

If the pattern holds, we can expect a lame-duck period of exile to Elba for President Obama. It might even last nine months, afterwhich, if the pattern holds, we can expect him to come roaring back in time for the 2014 midterm elections. Finally, if the pattern holds, there he will meet his Waterloo.

Terrorism and Massachusetts

It’s weird how terrorist attacks are tied to Massachusetts. Boston actually. We had this most recent bombing of course, but the 9/11 airplane attacks also originated from Logan Airport, didn’t they? I wonder if this is a conscious choice on the part of Al Qaeda, because they know Boston and the surrounding areas were the birthplace of the American Revolution – and the Tea Party – which, incidentally, has been revived in a new way by Americans themselves.

It all feels so existential.