Friday, August 17, 2012

Distorting Words for Political Gain

Objectivist intellectual Harry Binswanger had a great article in Forbes recently titled To Discredit Anti-Capitalists, Pro-Capitalists Need to Learn How to Use Words. In this essay, Binswanger cited examples of how the Left defines terms of the debate by twisting words into something entirely different from their proper meanings. He urged our side not to let them get away with it. The following article is a case in point.

New Jersey Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald (D, Camden) recently penned a guest column in the NJ Star-Ledger titled Gov. Christie Should do More for NJ's Middle Class Families. Here are a few excerpts:

    Unfortunately for middle-class families, Gov. Chris Christie and his budgeting practices, modeled from former President George W. Bush’s trickle-down economics, aren’t working for New Jersey.
    Millionaires and billionaires are doing just fine these days, while middle-class and working families face ever-growing obstacles in their struggle to make ends meet.
    From pushing massive tax handouts to millionaires and billionaires to a Mission Accomplished-style declaration of a “Jersey comeback” despite a high unemployment rate in our state, it seems the governor is following in Bush’s footsteps.
   The key to New Jersey’s success has always been investing in our middle class. That’s why I and fellow Democrats led the way in passing a plan to triple funding for property tax relief, providing up to $2,000 in property tax relief to 95 percent of New Jersey’s middle-class families.

The article is saturated with appeals to envy, but I decided to focus on something else with these comments:

August 08, 2012 at 10:06AM
“It shouldn’t take an in-depth report to convince you that” Greenwald uses classic Leftist trickery; distort the language for political purposes. Today’s Left can’t be honest about their true intentions. Consider his terminology:
“Tax handouts”; Any rational person can see the logical contradiction; keeping more of what one earns is not a handout.
“Investing”; If words have meanings, to invest means a voluntary allocation of one’s savings with the expectation of getting it back plus a profit. Greenwald bastarizes the term to mean forced government redistribution of wealth.
“Middle Class”; properly defined, the middle class is a vast group of independent, productive, self-supporting people built on and requiring maximum economic freedom. Greenwald sees them as helpless candidates for handouts, which is exactly what “property tax relief” is.
Despite the bigoted Leftist assault on the “top 1%,” all productive people stand on the same common ground. The middle class has nothing to gain by looting “the rich,” because most of the rich earn their money and thus stand shoulder to shoulder with we true middle classers. An attack on the “top 1%” is an attack on the middle class.
Having expanded the ranks of the parasitical “poor” under a gargantuan welfare state, the Left is turning its sights on the middle class—the aim being, to turn it into a vast new welfare class. Why?--To grease the skids toward the acquisition of more and more power. Today’s Leftists are not liberals in the JFK sense. Kennedy cut top marginal tax rates by 22% and was virulently anti-communist. Today’s Leftist agenda is what I would characterize as a soft brand of Marxian Communism.
Count me out of your greedy, groveling “99%.”

In response to these rebuttal comments:

HurtPillow August 08, 2012 at 3:12PM

What's gargantuan is our bloated military budget of almost 57% of ALL the federal budget, eating up what they can help the states with. Then we get a governor here who subscribes to the same failed Bush type tax policies that got us in so much trouble in the first place and the same thing happens. Bleeding jobs, rich get richer, middle-class suffers and pays more, and the spiral continues downward. Yeah, that trickle-down isn't what you think it is.

I continued on the same theme:

August 08, 2012 at 4:41PM
So let’s get this straight, HurtPillow. People working and producing and then trading with one another—a win-win, people getting better together transaction—is “trickle-down.” Taking from “the rich” and handing out the loot to people who didn’t earn it is—what? Well, if words have meaning, redistribution of wealth is trickle-down, not people earning their keep in voluntary, mutually beneficial trade with others. The middle class benefits enormously from the success of the most productive—the “rich”—in many ways, but there is no trickle-down or up or sideways. Every productive person earns his money in relation to the economic value he produces as determined by supply and demand. Trickle-down is just another linguistic Leftist distortion of basic economics.
As to the tax cuts, everyone who pays income taxes benefitted at no expense to anyone else. It was one of the few things Bush did right. The cuts had no bearing on the financial crisis, which was caused by massive government intervention into the mortgage and banking industries, such as the Clinton-Bush “affordable” housing policies, the Fed, GSEs Fannie and Freddie, FDIC, CRA, FHA, HUD, etc., etc., etc. The financial industry is the most heavily regulated industry in America. It’s no coincidence we had a housing bubble and bust.

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