Ed Driscoll

'The Man is Hiding the Stash' Fallacy

PJM’s own Richard Fernandez and Chicago Boyz econo-blogger Shannon Love coin the name of one of the left’s most common fallacies.

Love writes:

At Belmont Club, Richard Fernandez says of the Marxist Piven’s philosophy:

The problem with Piven’s theory is that events in Europe have shown those “major economic reforms” to be unsustainable, if not actually ruinous. However, she appears to believe that the European crisis is only apparent, being the result of the Man hiding the Stash. Find that stash and things become sustainable again.

I think this fallacy deserves its own name because I think this is the central economic fallacy of leftists in general. Whether we are talking about unions, public workers, redistributionists, etc., there is always the implicit idea that somewhere there is this big pile of money that the rich business people are hoarding away like a squirrel with its winter store of nuts. Leftists tell everyone that all problems can be solved if we just use the force of the state to threaten the squirrels to give up their nuts.

The problem is that rich people don’t own a lot of nuts, they own nut producing trees, i.e., rich people don’t have a stash of cash, they own assets that can, if managed properly, produce a stream of income. Worse, for the leftists, those assets usually provide jobs for the majority of the population, so you really can’t alter their use too much. If you cut the tree down to get the nuts, what are going to eat next year?

Or to put it another way, “Van Jones: Stop worrying about the deficit. The government can just take more money from rich companies.”

Related thoughts on Piven from Clarice Feldman at the American Thinker and William Tucker at the American Spectator.

Maybe that’s why the leftist politicians wake up every day with the urge to ban something. There’s got to be a pony stash here somewhere.