I came late to “Atlas Shrugged,” but once I opened my mind to its cadence of socialist catastrophe and capitalist resurrection, I realized that author Ayn Rand had perfectly imagined the world I lived in — the world of looters and political correctness and vacuous intellectuals that we all live in.
So it was easy to call upon Rand’s masterwork to paint a picture of the despair that awaits us if we fall for the socialist con job being pitched as the Green New Deal. The facts speak for themselves, but people can talk themselves into ignoring facts for the mistaken belief in a common good that can exist outside the laws of human nature and of nature’s God.
My new column at Real Clear Politics is a companion piece to last week’s column that called the Green New Deal a socialist monster that must be slain. Today, I call it a pig in a poke. Let me know what you think.
Green New Deal Is Same Old Socialist Con Game
By Frank Miele
The allure of the Green New Deal can be summed up in three words: “other people’s money.”
I wrote last week about some of the specifics included in the resolution sponsored in the House by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and in the Senate by Ed Markey, and what they all have in common is that they represent a massive redistribution of wealth.
It is important to remember that only a handful of the proposals in the Green New Deal involve climate change, and that they are simply the fig leaves covering up the naked socialist takeover of the U.S. economy that is being proposed. Free college? Check. Free home remodeling? Check. Massive federal investment in mass transit and other infrastructure? Check. Guarantee of high-paying jobs for everyone? Check. Free health care? Check.
Free housing? Check.
And to sum it all up: Free lunch? Check.
But who is going to write the check to pay for the free lunch? As Wimpy tells Popeye (and anyone else who will listen), “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”
House Resolution 109 (“Recognizing the Duty of the Federal Government to Create a Green New Deal”) is largely silent on where the money comes from, but conveniently provides this acknowledgement of the socialist goals:
“A Green New Deal will require the following: … providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment, adequate capital (including through community grants, public banks, and other public financing), technical expertise, supporting policies, and other forms of assistance to communities, organizations, Federal, State, and local government agencies, and businesses working on the Green New Deal mobilization.”
I believe it is self-explanatory that the public receiving “appropriate ownership stakes” is a tacit acknowledgement that the government will own the means of production and distribution, the traditional definition of socialism.
Of course, since the Green New Deal would require the federal government to invest at least $93 trillion in overhauling the United States economy, perhaps it is reasonable for the government to assume ownership. As the old saying goes, “You broke it, you bought it.”
As for where the money would come from to leverage this ambitious program in social engineering, don’t worry, the talking points are clear, even if the economics aren’t. Two of Ocasio-Cortez’s economic advisers provided nearly identical explanations in February.
Economist Josh Mason said this in a video distributed by Ocasio-Cortez:
“Can we pay for it? Easily. The Green New Deal will be funded the same way we paid for the original New Deal, the same way we paid for World War II. Congress will authorize the expenditures and the Treasury will spend the money.”
OK, that’s that. The government will print more money to the tune of $93 trillion. No chance that will lead to Venezuela-style super-inflation, is there?
Robert Hockett, a Cornell public policy and law professor and adviser to Ocasio-Cortez, obviously got his talking points from the same source as Mason. As he wrote in Forbes, “The short answer to ‘how we will pay for’ the Green New Deal is easy. We’ll pay for it just as we pay for all else: Congress will authorize necessary spending, and Treasury will spend. This is how we do it — always has been, always will be.”
Yes, this is how socialists and communists have always done it. Drain the treasury and then beat it for the border before you are caught and hung from a meat hook when the people catch on. You can find lots of examples in recent history, from Mussolini to the Ceausescus, but my personal favorite cautionary tale of the inevitable failure of socialism is told by the “aging tramp” in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” In a sense, he is the first of Hillary Clinton’s “Deplorables” — a victim of a system that considers him and those like him to be expendable and ruthlessly forces them to the fringes of society.
The tramp tells the story of the Twentieth Century Motor Company and how it devolved from a major manufacturer to an economic basket case in the span of a few short years. The problem? In addition to the usual government regulations and taxes, the plant in Wisconsin was subject to the whims of new owners who decided to help out the workers by freeing them from the bonds of “exploitation” and capitalism.
“The plan was that everybody in the factory would work according to his ability, but would be paid according to his need,” the bum told Dagny Taggart after he was caught hitching a ride on her train. Of course, if that sounds familiar, it is the core principle of Marxism. It is also the downfall of every society that has adopted Marxism and applied it sincerely.
“Do you know how it worked, that plan, and what it did to people?” the tramp asked. “Try pouring water into a tank where there’s a pipe at the bottom draining it out faster than you pour it, and each bucket you bring breaks that pipe an inch wider, and the harder you work the more is demanded of you, and you stand slinging buckets forty hours a week, then forty-eight, then fifty-six — for your neighbor’s supper — for his wife’s operation — for his child’s measles — for his mother’s wheel chair — for his uncle’s shirt — for his nephew’s schooling — for the baby next door — for the baby to be born — for anyone anywhere around you — it’s theirs to receive, from diapers to dentures — and yours to work, from sunup to sundown, month after month, year after year, with nothing to show for it but your sweat, with nothing in sight for you but their pleasure, for the whole of your life, without rest, without hope, without end. … From each according to his ability, to each according to his need….”
Just as the workers discovered that there was no reward for hard work except being asked to do more, they also quickly learned to shirk the work they loved to do because they resented the loafers who got equal pay for sitting on their haunches.
“Do I have to tell you what happened … and into what sort of creatures we all started turning, we who had once been human? We began to hide whatever ability we had, to slow down and watch like hawks that we never worked any faster or better than the next fellow. What else could we do, when we knew that if we did our best for ‘the family,’ it’s not thanks or rewards that we’d get, but punishment? We knew that for every stinker who’d ruin a batch of motors and cost the company money — either through his sloppiness, because he didn’t have to care, or through plain incompetence — it’s we who’d have to pay with our nights and our Sundays. So we did our best to be no good.”
Eventually, of course, the Twentieth Century Motor Company failed because it was based on a lie. That’s the story of socialism in a nutshell. In the old days, they had a warning that you should not buy a pig in a poke, meaning don’t buy a pig that’s concealed in a bag. The reason was because unscrupulous people would happily sell you a scrawny dog or a cat in the guise of a meaty pig. The Green New Deal likewise is full-bore socialism being sold to the public as a climate protection plan. If you fall for it, you have no one to blame but yourself when — not if — the cat bites you after being let out of the bag.
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