Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The demise of the self-made man

Rush Limbaugh recently broadcast on his radio show:
RUSH: George Lakoff (rhymes with). Bill Jacobson has the details at LegalInsurrection.com. By now you have heard the Obama and Liz Warren speeches about how no one got rich on his or her own. ... This narrative is cribbed almost verbatim from the narrative of George Lakoff, a progressive [liberal] linguistics activist and Professor at Berkeley," and he has been advising the Democrats on how to change and use language in order to hide who they really are. That's what it boils down to. Lakoff advises Democrats on how to say things that mask and cover up who they really are. ...

OBAMA: If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, "Well, it must be because I was just so smart." There are a lot of smart people out there. "It must be because I worked harder than anybody else." Let me tell you something. There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you got a business, that -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so then all the companies could make money off the Internet.

RUSH: Now, my contention is Obama thought he's hitting a home run when he says this. I think Obama thought, "I am nailing it." When he finishes it, I think he thinks he has just nailed it. The crowd was cheering him on. There was no indication that he'd stepped in it. He didn't think for a moment that he'd stepped in it. One of the reasons why is Lakoff said it was okay. Lakoff's the linguistics expert. So Lakoff says, "Say it this way." They trust Lakoff to come up with ways for them to say stuff that will appeal to their base, but that will not offend anybody else.
I have noted here that Lakoff believes in promoting leftism by using progressive metaphors and undermining family structures.

Leftist economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman also hates the family analogy, and writes that Nobody Understands Debt:
Deficit-worriers portray a future in which we're impoverished by the need to pay back money we've been borrowing. They see America as being like a family that took out too large a mortgage, and will have a hard time making the monthly payments.

This is, however, a really bad analogy in at least two ways.

First, families have to pay back their debt. Governments don't - all they need to do is ensure that debt grows more slowly than their tax base. The debt from World War II was never repaid; it just became increasingly irrelevant as the U.S. economy grew, and with it the income subject to taxation.

Second - and this is the point almost nobody seems to get - an over-borrowed family owes money to someone else; U.S. debt is, to a large extent, money we owe to ourselves.
Krugman has been arguing for a couple of years that the Obama bailout and stimulus bills were not big enough because we could be borrowing more. He says that we should mimic Greece and borrow money to the maximum barrowing capacity of the nation, and spend it all on social programs.

We also have families who max out their borrowing. A real estate agent talks them into buying the most expensive house they can, based on what mortgage the banks says that they can qualify for. Then they get a car loan to buy a fancy car, and use up their credit card debt. They send their kids to the most expensive college they can be admitted to, and finance it with student loans. Laws have made it more difficult to escape these debts.

Debt is one factor destroying the American family. Americans used to be more free and autonomous, and not so burdened with long-term debt. Americans used to save money to buy a house or a car.

Leftists like Lakoff and Krugman hate the idea of families without debt, and of nations without debt. Debt crushes infividualism. Their utopian society is where everyone is dependent on massive social programs, and the best way to do that is to get everyone in debt.

As Obama's speech indicates, there is nothing that leftists despise more than the self-made man. The self-made man has his own savings, his own ideals, and his own beliefs. And he is free to act on them, and he cannot be controlled. If Obama has his way, everyone will be saddled with debt, both individually and collectively.

Of course it is not just leftists who promote debt. Bankers like debt because that is their business. Housing developers, colleges, car dealers, and lots of other businesses like debt because it enables people to spend more money. And if you can pretend that the debt does not have to be repaid, then it appeals to everyone who wants something for nothing.

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