Tag Archives: Coveting

Real greed is when adults force children to give them a bailout from debt

This is a must-read by Mark Steyn.


While President Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand new, even more unsustainable entitlement at the health care “summit,” thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split screen – because they’re part of the same story. It’s just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They’re at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is further upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided instead that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe. Chapter One (the introduction of unsustainable entitlements) leads eventually to Chapter 20 (total societal collapse): The Greeks are at Chapter 17 or 18.

What’s happening in the developed world today isn’t so very hard to understand: The 20th century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they’ve reached the next stage in social democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1, or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: 10 grandparents have six kids have four grandkids – i.e., the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 “lowest-low” fertility – the point from which no society has ever recovered. And compared to Spain and Italy, Greece has the least worst fertility rate in Mediterranean Europe.

So you can’t borrow against the future because, in the most basic sense, you don’t have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when 10 grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around?

By the way, you don’t have to go to Greece to experience Greek-style retirement: The Athenian “public service” of California has been metaphorically face-down in the ouzo for a generation. Still, America as a whole is not yet Greece. A couple of years ago, when I wrote my book “America Alone,” I put the Social Security debate in a bit of perspective: On 2005 figures, projected public pensions liabilities were expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 percent of GDP. In Greece, the figure was 25 percent. In other words, head for the hills, Armageddon, outta here, The End. Since then, the situation has worsened in both countries. And really the comparison is academic: Whereas America still has a choice, Greece isn’t going to have a 2040 – not without a massive shot of Reality Juice.

Is that likely to happen? At such moments, I like to modify Gerald Ford. When seeking to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences, President Ford liked to say: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” Which is true enough. But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back. That’s the point Greece is at. Its socialist government has been forced into supporting a package of austerity measures. The Greek people’s response is: Nuts to that. Public sector workers have succeeded in redefining time itself: Every year, they receive 14 monthly payments. You do the math. And for about seven months’ work – for many of them the workday ends at 2:30 p.m. When they retire, they get 14 monthly pension payments. In other words: Economic reality is not my problem. I want my benefits. And, if it bankrupts the entire state a generation from now, who cares as long as they keep the checks coming until I croak?

We hard-hearted, small-government guys are often damned as selfish types who care nothing for the general welfare. But, as the Greek protests make plain, nothing makes an individual more selfish than the socially equitable communitarianism of big government. Once a chap’s enjoying the fruits of government health care, government-paid vacation, government-funded early retirement, and all the rest, he couldn’t give a hoot about the general societal interest. He’s got his, and to hell with everyone else. People’s sense of entitlement endures long after the entitlement has ceased to make sense.

The perfect spokesman for the entitlement mentality is the deputy prime minister of Greece. The European Union has concluded that the Greek government’s austerity measures are insufficient and, as a condition of bailout, has demanded something more robust. Greece is no longer a sovereign state: It’s General Motors, and the EU is Washington, and the Greek electorate is happy to play the part of the United Auto Workers – everything’s on the table except anything that would actually make a difference. In practice, because Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland are also on the brink of the abyss, a “European” bailout will be paid for by Germany. So the aforementioned Greek deputy prime minister, Theodoros Pangalos, has denounced the conditions of the EU deal on the grounds that the Germans stole all the bullion from the Bank of Greece during the Second World War. Welfare always breeds contempt, in nations as much as inner-city housing projects. How dare you tell us how to live! Just give us your money and push off.

This is the real character of people who avoid having to care about producing goods and services to please customers – people who join public sector unions and work for the government. They elect candidates who will provide them with a standard of living much higher than what they can produce by their own efforts, and pass the bill down to real workers in the private sector, or worse, workers who are not even born. It’s a shame. It’s a shame that parasites should enslave children who are not yet born so that they can have a standard of living they haven’t paid for. And it’s laughable that they impugn the character of productive private sector workers and business owners by talking about “Greed”. The parasites in the public sector unions are the greedy ones. What could be more greedy than intergenerational theft?

Walter Williams on CEO salaries and celebrity salaries

Walter Williams
Walter Williams

From CNS News.


It turns out that the top 10 CEOs have an average salary of $43 million, which pales in comparison with America’s top 10 celebrities, who earn an average salary of $100 million.

When you recognize that celebrities earn salaries that are some multiples of CEO salaries, you have to ask: Why is it that rich CEOs are demonized and not celebrities? A clue might be found if you asked: Who’s doing the demonizing?

It turns out that the demonizing is led by politicians and leftists with the help of the news media, and like sheep, the public often goes along. Why demonize CEOs? My colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell explained it in his brand-new book, “The Thomas Sowell Reader.” One of his readings, titled “Ivan and Boris – and Us,” starts off with a fable of two poor Russian peasants.

Ivan finds a magic lamp and rubs it, and the jinni grants him one wish. As it turns out, Boris has a goat, but Ivan doesn’t. Ivan’s wish is for Boris’ goat to die. That vision reflects the feelings of too many Americans. If all CEOs worked for nothing, it would mean absolutely little or nothing to the average American’s bottom line.

For politicians, it’s another story: Demonize people whose power you want to usurp. That’s the typical way totalitarians gain power. They give the masses someone to hate. In 18th-century France, it was Maximilien Robespierre’s promoting hatred of the aristocracy that was the key to his acquiring more dictatorial power than the aristocracy had ever had.

In the 20th century, the communists gained power by promoting public hatred of the czars and capitalists. In Germany, Adolf Hitler gained power by promoting hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks. In each case, the power gained led to greater misery and bloodshed than anything the old regime could have done.

Let me be clear: I’m not equating America’s liberals with Robespierre, Josef Stalin and Hitler. I am saying that promoting jealousy, fear and hate is an effective strategy for politicians and their liberal followers to control and micromanage businesses.

Tom sent me this article that shows that raising taxes on the wealthy doesn’t even produce more revenue.


All this nostalgia about the good old days of 70% tax rates makes it sound as though only the highest incomes would face higher tax rates. In reality, there were a dozen tax rates between 48% and 70% during the 1970s… the individual income tax actually brought in less revenue when the highest tax rate was 70% to 91% than it did when the highest tax rate was 28%.

[…]President John F. Kennedy’s across-the-board tax cuts reduced the lowest and highest tax rates to 14% and 70% respectively after 1964, yet revenues (after excluding the 5%-10% surtaxes of 1969-70) rose to 8% of GDP. President Reagan’s across-the-board tax cuts further reduced the lowest and highest tax rates to 11% and 50%, yet revenues rose again to 8.3% of GDP. The 1986 tax reform slashed the top tax rate to 28%, yet revenues dipped trivially to 8.1% of GDP.

Why would a Christian care how much money other people have at all? If you see someone who is poor, help them. If you see someone who needs a gift, give them a gift. The Bible teaches individual charity – you choose who to give your money to and how much to give, after you’ve paid your taxes to Caesar. I think it’s time that we took the Bible seriously on money… there are an awful lot of people sinning by breaking people into groups based on how much money they have – or what the color of their skin is. You do the best you can with what you can earn, and stop being concerned about taking money from people who have more than you do. The purpose of life is not to make everyone happy by making the secular government allocate everyone an equal amount of stuff – how unBiblical.

Ezra Levant on the new Sun News television network

Ezra Levant
Ezra Levant

Learn about the new Sun News television network and Ezra Levant’s new show “The Source”. Sun News launching in Canada on April 18, and it should provide some much needed diversity to the close-minded, economically ignorant climate of big government spending that dominates the news media up north.


Do you want to get the Sun News Network on your TV? Then you’d better ask for it. Because we go live in less than two weeks. April 18th is the launch. And you don’t want to miss a minute of it, I can promise you that.

And maybe pick up the phone and add the power of your voice to your efforts.

If we were the CBC or CTV, you wouldn’t have to ask for the channel. It would be forced on you. In fact, under Canadian broadcasting law, every cable provider must carry CBC and CTV, and every single cable subscriber (that would be you) is forced to pay for it, whether you watch it or not.

These two companies have had a combined 30-plus years of this mandatory indoctrination — and taxation. As if the CBC’s billion dollars a year wasn’t enough, they ding you for 54 cents a month on your cable bill, whether you ever watch them.

It’s the David Suzuki tax. The Peter Mansbridge tax. It’s the Alberta-bashing tax. The gun registry tax. It’s a tax to pay for your own indoctrination.

We’re the Sun — a privately owned company. We don’t have the power of taxation. Which is fine. We’ll win our viewers the old fashioned way — by broadcasting interesting things that people want to watch.

That’s what’s so remarkable about the CBC-CTV duopoly. Despite all the subsidies and mandatory broadcasts, Canadians so often choose to get their news elsewhere — including a news station headquartered in the Deep South of the United States, called CNN. They’re headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the cradle of the Confederacy.

It’s a pretty damning indictment of Canadian TV news that a TV station in the heart of Dixie manages to draw more eyeballs than local offerings. Imagine if the biggest-selling newspaper in Canada were USA Today. How lame would Canadian newspapers have to be to allow that to happen?

One day, the CBC and CTV will have to compete on an equal footing with Sun News Network. One day the CBC won’t get the Sun’s entire annual TV budget — $20 million — in a single week. Seriously, do the math: with a billion dollars a year, the CBC burns through the Sun’s yearly expenses every seven days.

That’s a state broadcaster for you. And that’s why they have big government built right into their DNA: without big government and high taxes, they’d have to get real jobs.

[…]That’s my real beef with Canadian TV news today. Not that it’s liberal, which it generally is. But that it has such a dreary consensus. On everything from gun control to Omar Khadr to global warming, CTV and CBC are like Tweedledee and Tweedledum. There is the official, “acceptable” view that gets on the air, and everything and everyone else can go pound sand.

In this video, Ezra Levant explains his new show, and the vision of Sun News.

My understanding of Canadian news media from my Canadian friends is that all the mainstream media news channels ever talk about is how much taxpayer money to spend on various whiny special interest groups. They just talk and talk about stimulus spending, “equalization payments”, welfare, subsidies for green energy companies and so on. The political debates are big whining sessions where the progressive political parties complain that the other progressive parties aren’t spending enough money on the poor fill-in-the-blank group. The majority of the people vote for left-wing parties like the Liberals and the New Democrats and the Bloc Quebecois, because the majority of the people get an economically ignorant view preached to them by the news media. They have been taught by the media to choose policies based on 1) their feelings, 2) greed for their neighbor’s money and 3) international opinion, especially the UN. They can’t think for themselves, and they are accustomed to depending on government to give them handouts.

Sun News will compete against the ultra-liberal networks like CTV and government-owned CBC. Unlike CBC and CTV, the Sun News network will feature center and center-right perspectives on the news, and will cover issues that the mainstream news networks cannot touch. (Yes, in Canada every province has anti-free-speech censorship panels that go after pastors and Christian business owners who offend left-wing groups with their inconvenient free speech). There really isn’t any free speech in Canada, the whole country is run like a liberal university campus with speech codes, where the governing leftists collect taxpayer money that is then used to silence dissenting voices, like those of Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn. They really need some different points of view so that they can be more open-minded and tolerant. They just get offended too easily because they only know one way of thinking about the issues and they find disagreement offensive.