The Fall and Rise of China, a course by Richard Baum (late professor at UCLA), has an interesting section on the Great Leap Forward (1958-1962). Essentially the Chinese economy didn’t produce enough to give the government the resources that was required to meet the leaders’ objectives. Without any analysis or claims that the measures they were taking represented a likely optimum, the government introduced one policy after another in hopes of increasing the amount of money flowing into the capital. The Chinese Great Leap Forward had a big emphasis on infrastructure, albeit not subsidized child care as “infrastructure”, but dams and other massive civil engineering works (these ultimately proved to have been poor investments).
The parallels aren’t perfect. Mao was trying to create a society in which every able-bodied person worked; the U.S. is a work-optional society in which ever-more people can get paid for not working (child support plaintiff, means-tested housing/health care/SNAP/Obamaphone beneficiary, alimony plaintiff, stay-at-home parent, SSI or TANF recipient, 1.5-year unemployment check recipient, etc.). Americans these days get upset when they hear about powerful people having sex with the less powerful; according to the professor, Mao, then in his 60s, partied with teenage girls every night (bedroom with oversized bed (since multiple teenage girls would occupy simultaneously) next to a dance hall).
The high-level picture seems similar. The proposed corporate tax rates are not being set based on the idea that they will lead to a optimum balance of economic growth, competitive positioning with respect to Europe, and revenue for the government without discouraging effort and investment. The new rates are justified with “we need the money”. We’ll assess capital gains tax against people with $1.0001 billion in assets, but not those with $0.99999 billion (it would be a lot simpler just to eliminate the charitable contribution deduction so that the super rich couldn’t avoid taxation by stuffing money into foundations).
Readers: Do you think there is a parallel here?
(Also, if the federal unrealized capital gains tax on billionaires goes through, why can’t the billionaires simply move to Puerto Rico for 183 days per year and pay 4% income tax instead? Could it be that this is the way the Democrats pull Puerto Rico in as the 51st state? If all of the billionaires move there to escape the new 20 percent haircut (and why won’t California add 13 percent on top?), isn’t the most obvious solution to make P.R. a standard part of the U.S. and therefore subject to conventional federal taxation? Or maybe the Feds will say that the tax still applies even for those who flee to Puerto Rico because the gains happened while the targets of the tax were still living within the 50 states.)
10 thoughts on “Biden and the Democrats try a Great Leap Forward?”
America will become a memory? Current self-destruction of America has little precedent in the world history but is highly expected. We will be lucky if we are spared major war or major civil unrest or both.
Anon: why do you say that current American trajectory has little precedent? The UK went all in on bigger government and high tax rates in the 1960s, no? And the Soviets and Chinese pioneered the central planning that Biden supporters today pin their hopes on. One big difference, I guess, is that the Socialist utopias did not declare a “crisis” and then have top central planners stop work for months of parental leave (see Pete B., the Secretary of Transportation, during what we are told is a transportation crisis).
Real suicide of Europe was WWI. That’s when America became super power. The rest , including present day socialism, can be considered aftershockd. British conservatives lost when their officers organized, armed and stupidly led to slaughter millions of men from British lower classes. Lost based on merit I would say, but it resulted in malevolent ideas being accepted due to broken clock being right twice a day. Many civilizations succumbed to wars. There is little precedent to American self-destruction. I tried to Google but found none precedents. I have heard that some old culture abandoned cities and civilization with them but I could not find any references.
I am not sure about the Great Leap, since that program was so large and ill defined. We certainly have the Cultural Revolution, right down to students abusing their professors and reporting on them.
A little joke:
A CCP functionary meets Chairman Mao in hell, sitting comfortably by a fire. Mao asks: “How is the agriculture in China, can we feed everyone now?” The functionary replies: “Yes, Chairman, we have so much food that everyone is fat.” “Excellent,” Mao replies. “But how about the steel production? Do we produce the same amount as Great Britain now?” The functionary laughs: “Chairman, a single province produces ten times the amount of Great Britain!” Mao is pleased and continues: “But how about the perpetual revolution? Are we making progress?” The functionary uncomfortably replies: “Chairman, we no longer do this sort of thing in China. We are doing it in America!”
So the amerikan people raised their capital gains tax another 4% in 2013 & now it’s no longer practical to ever sell any stonk because the capital gains tax is 24% federal + 14% state, so the amerikan people now want an annual 2% like it’s going to be the final final fix.
That would obviously be devastating to everyone, manely because it would force a large part of the stonk market to be sold off every year. The stonk market is the retirement plan for everyone who doesn’t work for the government, not just billionaires.
“The stonk market is the retirement plan for everyone who doesn’t work for the government, not just billionaires.”
I just so happened to have my no-cost retirement plan consultation with my Fidelity Investments financial consultant today (via zoom). My two government pensions (+ social security) will afford me a higher net income (at age 62) than I take home working my full-time job today. Oh, and after considering annual expenses, income, investment earnings (in a very conservative 10/80/10 stock/bond/cash portfolio), 3.0% projected inflation, and RMDs, my net worth will be higher at age 90 than at the start of retirement at age 60.
And, thankfully, my two government pensions and SS (and automatic COLAs) will continue for decades funding a very comfortable leisurely lifestyle for my much, much younger mail-order bride.
Do you think there is a parallel here?
The basic idea is to manufacture more crazy people who need services. More stoned people, more broken families, 150+ genders, etc., etc. They become the clients of the criminal justice, mental health and government welfare industries. This is going to become more true as automation takes hold and millions more jobs are obsoleted. Idle people go crazy! Well, you have to have systems in place to treat them, take care of them, provide services for them, etc.
The parallels I do find persuasive, however, relate to official coercion and fear regarding Correct Thinking, particularly among “influential people” who don’t strictly follow the Party Line:
“Minnesota surgeon says he was FIRED after telling school officials at public meeting that parents should have the right to decide if their children wear masks to school”
What was his sin? Trust in the individual and the prerogative of parents to make decisions regarding their own children. And possibly observing at one point or another (on an unrelated topic that “Monkeys do not tie knots.” – which was, he suspects, regarded as RACIST.
But the records are sealed so nobody will ever know what the basis for the decision was. So we are easily matching the Chinese Communists and other various Totalitarians when it comes to coercion of minor party officials, particularly any who invoke God.
‘Who does God put in charge of these kids? Their parents. God gave each one of these kids… to their parents and they speak for them. They may be wrong, they may be dumb, they may be perfect in their decisions. But it’s still their responsibility. It’s not yours. God gave it to them. Honor their wishes, either side of the fence.’
Or maybe it was his conviction that America places authority in the individual, not the State:
“‘We live in America where freedoms are held close. I am a man who believes individuals have the right to do their research and decide what is best for them and their children when it comes to their health. I don’t believe governments or institutions should dictate that,’ Horak said in a statement during the rally on October 25.”
Fired! Into the memory hole with him!
I was just listening to NPR tonight quoting Mark Milley about Chinese Hypersonic Missiles and it was fantastic because it’s all women talking about it. They sound like they’re trying not to distract from the happytalk View version of reality but there’s this creeping undertone that they don’t understand a f*****g thing and are about to soil their panties. I’m glad we’ve now reached the point where America is being directly threatened by nuclear warheads mounted on the top of hypersonic missiles we help them build and the girls on NPR are trying to describe what we should do next, along with the able help of Mark Milley.
Host Chick: “What’s a hypersonic missile and why is it different from all these other missiles we hear about?”
Answer Chick: “Well, uh, heh, it, um….basically moves very fast.”
This is NPR! With in-depth analysis and #Science comprehension like these chicks provide, we have nothing to worry about!
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