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By Mr. Curmudgeon:
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner’s payroll tax increase is having its effect. A leaked e-mail from Wal-Mart Vice President of Finance and Logistics, Jerry Murry, reads, “In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD [Month-to-Date] sales are a total disaster. The worst start to a month I have seen in my 7 years with the company,” Bloomberg reported.
The e-mail nudged some investors to sell their Wal-Mart stock, which dropped 2.2% in value. That drop just happens to correspond with the 2% loss in take-home pay for American wage earners due to the recent tax increase – that will cost the average working stiff around $700 a year.
Earlier this month, the Internal Revenue Service announced that Obamacare’s full implementation would cost the average American family of four around $20,000 a year for medical insurance. All Americans, consumers and retailers, will have a lot less cash in Obama’s radically transformed America.
When Barack Hussein Obama Sr. was helping mold Kenya’s economic policy, he published an article titled Problems Facing Our Socialism. “Theoretically, there is nothing that can stop the government from taxing 100% of income,” wrote the president’s father in 1964, “so long as the people get benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is taxed.”
Some Americans are understandably worried government “benefits” will impoverish them and their families. However, the financial effect should be the least that concerns us. Recently, the New York Times profiled the Obama administration’s former “Regulatory Czar” Cass Sunstein concerning his and Richard Thaler’s new book Nudge.
“Sunstein elaborated a philosophy called ‘libertarian paternalism,’” said the Times, “Conservative economists have long stressed that because people are rational, the best way for government to serve the public is to guarantee a fair market and to otherwise get out of the way. But in the real world, Sunstein and Thaler argue, people are subject to all sorts of biases and quirks. They also argue that this human quality, which some would call irrationality, can be predicted and — this is the controversial part — that if the social environment can be changed, people might be nudged into more rational behavior.”
The unbiased and quirkless “rational” nudger in this case is the all-powerful state. And as we all know, “rational behavior” is in abundance among Washington’s ruling class.
“Everything is in the State,” wrote Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1932, “and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value, outside the State.”
Of course, Mussolini’s brand of “libertarian paternalism” is best remembered as fascism. “In this sense,” continued Mussolini, “Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State, the synthesis and unity of all values, interprets, develops and gives strength to the whole life of the people.”
That last sentence nicely synthesizes the Progressive endgame embodied in the policies of Barack Obama and Cass Sustein. “Its’ sign,” said Mussolini of his black shirted nudgers, “is the Lictors’ rods,” a reference to ancient Rome’s governmental bodyguards that carried bundled rods enfolding a sharp axe – the fasces. Those rods nudged the heads of Rome’s huddled masses, reminding them who ruled the known world. The sharp blade removed the heads of those who forgot.
“Fascism is opposed to democracy,” insisted Mussolini. Totalitarianism, he said, “acts within the nation as the conscience and the will of a few, even of One, which ideal tends to become active within the conscience and the will of all.” Now that’s what I call state-nudging “paternalism.” And papa Obama will render his children that much more compliant by taxing away their financial freedom. Hungry mouths, fascist nudgers believe, make formally free souls more able to adopt the “will of a few, even of One,” as their very own.