The Aspen Ideas Festival took place in Aspen, Colorado last week. There were daily reports in the Denver Post about what the various speakers had to say. Without exception, every single report I read described a message of socialism being delivered to the participants. It is somewhat ironic that a rich mountain town full of residents who have made billions of dollars from the free market would be so quick to host a conference that glorifies socialism. I guess that is called white guilt. I don't understand it but it does seem to be true. It seems to me that a conference on economic ideas should celebrate the free market and encourage people to abandon their worship of government and get involved in productive activities in service of their fellow man. But such was not the case. The conference was wrapped up in the newspaper with this statement, "Income inequality, class immobility, racism keep the nation from progress."
The conference was summarized as follows, "Any optimism was drowned out by speaker after speaker who piled cold facts on what Congressman Paul Ryan described in one talk as the ongoing narrative that Amerika is in decline. Real wages haven't increased in 30 years...seventy percent of students who enroll in community colleges drop out....The culprits: Income inequality, a lack of class mobility, paralyzing racism, a failing education system, and the fact that 1 percent of the population own 40 percent of the wealth and isn't looking to share." It is hard to believe that such a litany of idiotically incorrect ideas could receive such notoriety, but they did. Let's consider each of them for a moment today.
Have real wages really been stagnant the past 30 years? That phrase is repeated so often everyone seems to believe it is true. But just like the constant stream of environmentalist lies we are fed, the constant stream of economic lies about wage stagnation is designed to pave the way for more government intrusion into our lives and less personal freedom. I posted an article to this blog earlier this year entitled "Has Real Income Really Gone Down?" Go here for the post. I am not going to rewrite that blog post here. If you take the time to go to that post you will see that I conclusively prove that real income has not declined. The exact opposite is true. People make that incorrect claim as a means to advance their own personal socialistic agendas, not because it gives us any true economic information about the world in which we live.
Why does the fact that seventy percent of the students who enroll at community college end up dropping out a bad thing? It is simply assumed that students dropping out of community college is indicative of economic decline. Maybe just the opposite could be true. Maybe students drop out of community college because they realize that spending thousands of dollars on economically worthless class work, while continuing to live in their parent's basements, is not the best way to spend their time. Maybe they actually put away the video games and go out and get a job. Maybe they shift from being social parasites to being socially productive. I don't see how any statistics about community college drop out rates can reveal any meaningful information about the economic status of our world.
Income inequality is a reality. But why does it follow that income inequality is a bad thing? Indeed, I have argued many times in this blog that income inequality is a good thing. Only envy-filled socialists who want the federal government to take from the productive and give to them believe that income inequality is evil. I have written on this topic here, here and here. Read those posts if you want the truth.
The equally wrongheaded idea that there is no "class mobility" in the Socialist Democracy of Amerika has been debunked numerous times in this blog. People move up and down the various income cohorts of the SDA all the time. Furthermore, the notion that the "middle class" is shrinking is also ridiculous. Once again I am not going to reinvent the wheel here. Go here, here and here for my posts that dismiss the ridiculous notion of economic class immobility.
Simply put, racism is no longer a factor in the SDA. Ann Coulter's book Mugged is the definitive work conclusively proving that all current talk about racism is nothing more than calls for the federal government to intrude into our lives and redistribute wealth from the productive to those attached to the government umbilical cord. Go here to purchase a copy. It is worth the time to read it.
I actually agree that one of the monumental contributors to the intellectual, economic and moral decline of the SDA is the government school system. Sadly, however, the only solution offered by those attending the conference who also made that claim was to raise taxes on the rich and funnel more money into the system. What more do we need to know about this topic to prove that the real goal behind these socialists is nothing more than income and wealth redistribution? An educational system that is a colossal failure is simply another means by which the argument can be made that it is morally proper to pick the pocket of your neighbor.
The last argument provided in the summary in the newspaper was the absurd notion that the reason for the moral, intellectual and economic decline of the SDA (the last of which is not true, the economy continues to grow) is that 1 percent of the population holds 40 percent of the net worth and those folks are "not in the mood to share." What a ridiculous, idiotic and envy-filled thing to say. The top 1% of the net worth population could give away their entire fortune tomorrow and within a couple of months the economic conditions of the SDA would show no improvement. Indeed, the day after giving away their wealth the economy would immediately spiral into decline as funds currently being used to produce new goods and services would be withdrawn from the economy and used by the recipients for personal consumption. The money would quickly be spent and consumer goods would rapidly disappear and the country would soon find itself in economic conditions similar to communist Russia in the good old days when folks would stand in line for hours for the privilege of buying one roll of toilet paper. The rich "share" with us every single day by keeping their vast financial resources invested in the economy, thereby fueling the production of goods and services the rest of us are happy to purchase. Thank you rich people. Without you none of this would be possible.
The newspaper article concluded, "There wasn't just an aura of gloom, but a recognition that no one has the answer." Are you kidding me? I have the answer! I have been writing about the answer for years at this blog. The answer to all of the alleged problems addressed at the Aspen Ideas Festival is to get the government out of our lives and let the free market do its magic. The solution to all of our problems is to stop worshiping government. The key to ending the disastrous impediments to economic growth is to not vote for career politicians who promise to give you your neighbor's wealth. All of the problems described in Aspen would cease overnight if we all just minded our own economic business. But that, of course, is never going to happen. Men are too consumed by the sin of envy for that.