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THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: Coronavirus Lockdowns Throw Additional 8 Million Americans Into Poverty.

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: LA Mayor Garcetti Announces $800 Restaurant Worker Stipend Program. “It’s basically the city giving them a month’s severance for screwing them over.”

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: There is a Federal Version of California’s Gig Economy Killer Sitting in Congress Right Now.

JOEL KOTKIN: Why Democrats no longer talk about growth and what it means.

Until just a few years ago, the need for economic growth to sustain societies was almost universally acknowledged. This was not just gospel on the free-market Right. Whatever its failings, 20th century socialism was growth-oriented and espoused the notion, however poorly realized, that greater material progress was critical to expanding working-class wealth.

Now political leaders in France, Iceland, as well as the European Commission increasingly believe, along with influential economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, that growing the economic pie should be supplanted by such goals as better health care, less inequality, and fighting climate change.

Many, particularly on the environmental Left, go even further and advocate “de-growth,” essentially urging societies to consciously reduce their economic wealth. This agenda requires that energy, housing, food, and other consumption costs steadily increase, or be legally prohibited, so that ordinary people will be unable to eat meat regularly, use more energy, live in larger spaces, and travel freely. There’s even a quaint notion that we need to return to a more primitive state of existence, essentially cancelling out the progress of the last few centuries. America’s Green Party, for example, would seek to limit long-distance trade entirely in favor of a feudal economy that is “largely self-sufficient in the production of its necessities.”

Even in the United States, where growth has long been an unquestioned priority, virtually none of the leading Democratic candidates for President even mentions the word. Vice-President Joe Biden, the leading “moderate” in the Democratic party primaries, has explicitly stated that he would wipe out fossil fuel employment in the country to pursue a green agenda.

The American Left’s abandonment of economic growth marks a dramatic shift from the approach of Bill Clinton, or even Barack Obama. In the 1990s, progressives still believed that economic growth was indispensable for improving the lives of the middle- and working-class families. Now, rather than seek to outperform the somewhat more robust economy and modest uptick in blue collar jobs under President Trump, progressives focus mostly on identity issues, environmental piety, and income redistribution.

Fundamentally abandoning growth means the effective end of the old social democratic program. Many self-defined socialists—typically academics and media personalities rather than industrial union leaders—reject the fundamental Marxian emphasis on “materialism” in favor of low growth “sustainability.”

To be fair, that’s only because they hate the working class and want to destroy it, by transforming it into a dependent class of government handout recipients. They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

And the working class understands this: “It is no surprise that blue-collar workers, traditional a constituency of the Left, are deserting progressive parties for the likes of Donald Trump, and most recently, Boris Johnson. As socialist author Leigh Phillips has observed, the scarcity politics of the greens represents a form of class warfare. . . . Without economic growth, and the opportunity for people to rise up the class ladder, we will devolve, as Tocqueville warned, towards a class structure more favorable to ‘aristocracy’ and authoritarian rule.”

To wannabe aristocrats and authoritarians, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: Private homeownership interferes with fight against climate change, professor argues.

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: Democrats Want To Fight Poverty, but Don’t Value Letting People Work. “All the welfare programs California Democrats can dream up won’t do as much as some commonsense reforms to let people who want to work, work.” People who work are less likely to vote Democrat than people who draw checks. This isn’t rocket science.

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: California Politicians Hiked Gas Tax, Now Demand Investigation Into State’s $4 Per Gallon Gas Prices.

NOW THAT’S REAL SOCIALISM: Venezuela Forced To Shut Down Production As Operations Fall Apart.

Venezuela’s oil production fell to an average of 1.392 million barrels per day in May, down another 42,000 bpd from a month earlier, according to OPEC’s secondary sources. However, with the crisis in Venezuela spiraling out of control at a horrific pace, the numbers from May might as well be a year ago.

The May numbers don’t reflect the full ramifications of having to deal with inadequate port capacity, after PDVSA diverted operations to Venezuela from its Caribbean island refineries and storage facilities following the attempt by ConocoPhillips to take control of them.

The problem of export capacity has become so acute that PDVSA is demanding customers send ships that can handle ship-to-ship loadings, since there is a backlog of ships trying to load up at the country’s decrepit ports. PDVSA is even considering declaring force majeure on contracts that it will be unable to fulfill. The upshot is that PDVSA might have only 694,000 bpd available for export in June, which is less than half of the 1.495 mb/d that it is contractually obligated to deliver this month.

To be sure, upstream operations are in crisis mode. But the bottlenecks at storage facilities and the ports have opened up a whole new crisis.

Related: Venezuela’s ‘millionaires,’ the new poor.

Elizabeth Torres is outraged, but as a Venezuelan she takes the affront in her stride. “We are a country of millionaires,” she says ironically, eyeing a carton of eggs in the market. Price? Three million bolivars.

“You are a millionaire because you have to pay that much, and for that you get 36 eggs, but the minimum salary is 2.6 million! With what you get every month, you can’t buy them,” she says.

It’s the great irony of the country’s cruel decline. Sitting atop the world’s largest reserves of crude, Venezuela — once Latin America’s richest country — is now a state of millionaires, but the millions are in bolivars and practically worthless.

According to the country’s leading universities, 87 percent of the population is now officially poor.

“They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”

JOEL KOTKIN: Landless Americans Are The New Serf Class.

The share of homeownership has dropped most rapidly among the key shapers of the American future—millennials, immigrants, minorities. Since 2000, the home ownership among those under 45 has plunged 20 percent. In places like Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Indianapolis, and elsewhere, households with less than the median income qualify for a median-priced home with a 10 percent down payment, according to the National Association of Realtors. But in Seattle, Miami, and Denver, a household needs to make more than 120 percent of the median income to afford such median-priced house. In California, it’s even tougher: 140 percent in Los Angeles, 180 percent in San Diego, and over 190 percent in San Francisco.

Rents are rising as well. According to Zillow, for workers between the ages of 22 and 34, rent costs claim upwards of 45 percent of income in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Miami, compared to closer to 30 percent in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.

The basic reality: America’s new generation, particularly in some metros, increasingly seems destined to live as renters, without ever enjoying equity in property.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. Plus:

In many regions of the country, conscious government planning discourages single-family home construction, a policy often described oddly enough as “smart growth.” Advocates of this approach suggest that most people, particularly millennials, do not want single-family homes, and prefer to live chock-a-bloc in dense multi-family units.

This does not reflect reality. In survey after survey, an overwhelming majority of millennials, including renters, want a home of their own. A Fannie Mae survey of people under 40 found that nearly 80 percent of renters thought owning made more financial sense, a sentiment shared by an even larger number of owners (PDF). They cited such things as asset appreciation, control over the living environment, and a hedge against rent increases. Roughly four in five purchases made by people under 35 are for single-family detached homes (PDF).

The real problem is a growing gap between what people want and what they can afford. Jason Furman (PDF), the former chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, has warned that price escalations associated with strong housing regulation push many people “out of the market entirely.”

Meanwhile, if the Congressional GOP were smart (I know, I know) they’d amend the Fair Housing Act to pre-empt local zoning and environmental laws that limit the construction of new housing. For the benefit of the less fortunate.

PETER FERRARA: Economic Growth Is Not a Mystery, Yet It Eludes Democrats.

Obama fundamentally transformed America by following the opposite of every Reagan pro-growth policy:

Raised the top tax rate of every major U.S. tax, except the corporate rate, which was already the highest in the developed world;

Imposed draconian regulation on health care, finance and most importantly energy, just when America was emerging with the resources for energy independence to lead the world in production of oil, natural gas and coal;

Raised federal spending, deficits and debt to highest in American history by far;

Supported the Fed in wildly destabilizing monetary policy, with near zero interest rates for nearly a decade, and a flood of money held back by the Fed for now, which only further discouraged global investment in America.

This is why the economy never recovered from the 2008-09 financial crisis, and why instead we got the worst economic recovery from a Recession since the Great Depression, with only 2 percent economic growth. America’s historical record is that the worse the recession is the stronger the recovery, as the economy grows faster than normal for a couple of years to catch up to where it should be on the long-term trendline. That is why we should have come out of the financial crisis in a long-term economic boom, potentially stronger than even Reagan’s.

But to this day, eight years later, that still has not yet happened. Instead, we are still $2 to $3 trillion below where we should be.

This is why Democrats lost the 2016 election. Trump promised to restore Reagan’s pro-growth policies. Hillary promised more of the same Obama failure.

Democrats have yet to catch up with the rest of the world in realizing that socialism does not work. That Bernie Sanders’ throwback silliness continues to spread throughout the Democratic Party is costing it big time.

The difference between 4 percent real growth and 2 percent after 50 years is the difference between America and Third World stagnation.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

WELL, YES: School choice is crucial for African-American students’ success.

Here’s what I need to say to them, to the people of this nation, to people of color — I am involved in the school choice movement because the future of my life and your life depends upon it. Starting the state’s first charter school was one of the most significant accomplishments of my life. Because of our willingness to look beyond traditional divisions and leave beyond our tendency to only work with those with whom we are comfortable, our children of color are closing the achievement gap. African-American students in charter schools are scoring 4% higher on reading tests than those in traditional public schools and Florida charter school students are more likely to attend college. Hispanic students do 12% better than their peers at traditional public schools. These are but two of the many indicators that point to increased success for students of color because their families were empowered to find schools that better met the needs of their children.

Far too many people and organizations, like the NAACP, refuse to acknowledge this. Their recent recommendations to curb charter schools, reduce their numbers and their independence, are wrong, and they expect falsely that all people of color should follow their lead because the color of your skin should dictate who you believe. I have worked a lifetime to change this misperception, to help people see that good policies for our kids do not have a color.

“They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”

DEATH PANEL DISCUSSION: Obamacare Costs Skyrocket; When Does It Stop?

Middle-class households are finding more of their Obamacare costs are coming out of their own pockets.

Self-covered individuals are hit hardest, but employers providing coverage have fought back against rising costs by reducing plan benefits.

Deductibles are up 67% since 2010. That’s seven times more than wages. And the cost of prescription drugs is out of sight.

Read the whole thing, including some scary-ass charts from the Obamacare-lovin’ Kaiser Foundation.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

SORRY, INSUFFICIENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR GRAFT: Taiwan’s Social Safety Net Is the Street Market. “With a GDP per capita about half US levels — between Spain and Portugal — Taiwan has a tiny welfare state paired with regulations that are both light and lightly enforced. Result? An explosion in commerce, and apparently near-zero homelessness. Walk anywhere in a Taiwanese city and the streets are alive, all day and all night, with a rotating cast of pop-up businesses that employ mainly low-skill labor while making life a joy for consumers.”

Hey, if they’re not beggars, they’ll be harder to please.

YOUR SCARY-ASS CHART OF THE DAY: How Obamacare Destroyed The Middle Class In One Chart.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

JOEL KOTKIN on why Blue cities are such cesspits of inequality.

There’s little argument that inequality, and the depressed prospects for the middle class, will be a dominant issue in this year’s election, and beyond. Yet the class divide is not monolithic in its nature, causes, or geography. To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, some places are more unequal than others.

Housing represents a central, if not dominant, factor in the rise of inequality. Although the cost of food, fuel, electricity, and tax burdens vary, the largest variation tends to be in terms of housing prices. Even adjusted for income, the price differentials for houses in places like the San Francisco Bay Area or Los Angeles are commonly two to three times as much as in most of the country, including the prosperous cities of Texas, the mid-south and the Intermountain West.

These housing differences also apply to rents, which follow the trajectory of home prices. In many markets, particularly along the coast, upwards of 40% of renters and new buyers spend close to half their income on housing. This has a particularly powerful impact on the poor, the working class, younger people, and middle class families, all of whom find their upward trajectory blocked by steadily rising housing costs.

In response to higher prices, many Americans, now including educated Millennials, are heading to parts of the country where housing is more affordable. Jobs too have been moving to such places, particularly in Texas, the southeast and the Intermountain West. As middle income people head for more affordable places, the high-priced coastal areas are becoming ever more sharply bifurcated, between a well-educated, older, and affluent population and a growing rank of people with little chance to ever buy a house or move solidly into the middle class.

Ironically, these divergences are taking place precisely in those places where political rhetoric over inequality is often most heated and strident. Progressive attempts, such as raising minimum wages, attempt to address the problem, but often other policies, notably strict land-use regulation, exacerbate inequality.

The other major divide is not so much between regions but within them. Even in expensive regions, middle class families tend to cluster in suburban and exurban areas, which are once again growing faster than areas closer to the core. Progressive policies in some states, such as Oregon and California, have been calculated to slow suburban growth and force density onto often unwilling communities. By shutting down the production of family-friendly housing, these areas are driving prices up and, to some extent, driving middle and working class people out of whole regions.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS BECAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: How Venezuela’s Repressive Government Controls the Nation Through Hunger.

The Venezuelan government has become one of the world’s cruelest teasers. It has created unspeakable hardships for the populace and, at the same time, is taking advantage of those hardships to introduce new forms of political control.

The proliferation of food lines is a perfect example of this teasing. Lines to buy groceries have become longer and more widespread. In a country with plenty of irritants, these food lines, hardly seen before 2010, have become Venezuela’s most aggravating political problem today.

You would think that food lines would prompt riots. And some rioting is occurring. But we are not seeing anything like a Venezuelan Spring in which protests envelop the country and lead to governmental change. Why? Because food lines have paradoxically given the government new mechanisms for keeping protests at bay.

Socialism is about caring.

AND WHY WE SPEND A LOT OF TIME MAKING OUR PEOPLE POORER: (Because beggars are easier to please?) J.D. Vance’s Straight Talk About Poverty.

SCOTT JOHNSON ON Venezuela’s New Forced-Labor Decree.

In his column “Socialism for the uninformed,” Thomas Sowell observed: “socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.”

Sowell cited the slow-motion catastrophe in Venezuela as a case in point: “While throngs of young people are cheering loudly for avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, socialism has turned oil-rich Venezuela into a place where there are shortages of everything from toilet paper to beer, where electricity keeps shutting down, and where there are long lines of people hoping to get food, people complaining that they cannot feed their families.”

All is proceeding as Sowell foretold. This week’s news brings the latest chapter in Venezuela’s descent. Andrew Pestano reports for UPI: “At the end of last week, Maduro signed a decree that would give Venezuela’s Ministry of Popular Power for Social Process of Work the ability to order any Venezuelan with the physical or technical capabilities to join a government effort to work in the agriculture sector for up to 120 days.” If you have a problem with that, they will help you get your mind right.

Pestano adds that “Venezuela’s farming association in June said only 25 percent of the country’s agricultural land is being used to farm.” Gee, why would that be?

Yeah, that’s some seriously bad luck.

Related: Don’t Be A Sucker For Socialism.

It is a common misconception that socialism is about helping poor people. Actually, what socialism does is create poor people, and keep them poor. And that’s not by accident.

Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich. When you look at a socialist country like Venezuela, you find that the rulers are fabulously wealthy even as the ordinary citizenry deals with empty supermarket shelves and electricity rationing.

The daughter of Venezuela’s socialist ruler, Hugo Chavez, is the richest individual in Venezuela, worth billions of dollars, according to the Miami-based Diario Las América. In Cuba, Fidel Castro reportedly has lived — pretty much literally — like a king, even as his subjects dwelt in poverty. . . .

But poverty isn’t a byproduct of socialism: It’s a requirement, as illustrated by Cato Institute analyst Juan Carlos Hidalgo’s report concerning Venezuela:

A couple of years ago, the then minister of education admitted that the aim of the regime’s policies was “not to take the people out of poverty so they become middle class and then turn into escuálidos” (a derogatory term to denote opposition members). In other words, the government wanted grateful, dependent voters, not prosperous Venezuelans.

As the Rainmakers sang, back in the 1980s, “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.” That’s socialism in a nutshell. The “equality” talk? That’s just for the suckers. Don’t be a sucker.

Well, don’t be.

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: What’s Killing Jobs and Stalling the Economy: A toxic regulatory brew, from Dodd-Frank to state licensing laws, has poisoned the formation of new firms that drive growth.

When thinking about what has stymied the U.S. economy, I sometimes recall a biology lesson about the role that cell death plays in explaining embryonic development and normal growth of adult tissue. In economics, as far back as Joseph Schumpeter, or even Karl Marx, we have known that the flow of business deaths and births affects the dynamism and growth of a country’s economy. Business deaths unlock resources that can be allocated to more productive use and business formation can boost innovation and economic and social mobility.

For much of the nation’s history, this process of what Schumpeter called “creative destruction” has spread prosperity throughout the U.S. and the world. Over the past 30 years, however, with the exception of the mid-1980s and the 2002-05 period, this dynamism has been waning. There has been a steady decline in business formation while the rate of business deaths has been more or less constant. Business deaths outnumber births for the first time since measurement of these indicators began.

Equally troubling, the latest analysis of Census Bureau data by the Economic Innovation Group points to the increasing concentration of new business formation in a smaller number of U.S. counties. The findings show that 20 counties account for half of new businesses and that most counties had fewer business establishments in 2014 than in 2010. Even accounting for so-called dynamic counties, the total number of firms in the U.S. remains lower than it was in 2004.

As the Economic Innovation Group shows, the 1990 recovery registered a net increase of over 420,000 business establishments, or a 6.7% increase. The numbers for the 2000 recovery were 400,000 and 5.6%. Since 2010, the number of new business establishments has grown by only 166,000 or 2.3%.

It’s not an accident.

QUOTE OF THE DAY “‘A couple of years ago, [socialist Venezuela’s] then-minister of education admitted that the aim of the regime’s policies was ‘not to take the people out of poverty so they become middle class and then turn into escuálidos’ (a derogatory term to denote opposition members). In other words, the government wanted grateful, dependent voters, not prosperous Venezuelans.’”

Or to put it another way, “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. . . .

POINTS AND FIGURES: What’s Up With The Democrats In Illinois? “I hate to see the Democratic Party continually demonize Americans that are successful. What? Should we all be failures?”

Yes. They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. . . .

THE REAL REASON THE LEFT HATES WORK: Liz Peek offers up a variety of actual, real-life, shovel-ready jobs just waiting for the otherwise-exhausted Obama administration to promote, and concludes:

Some on the right think this strategy is part of a grand plan. They see an increase in the number of Americans who are dependent on the federal government as beneficial to Democrats, who largely win the votes of those to whom they offer ever-higher benefits and welfare. I refuse to imagine that any such insidious thinking is behind the left’s refusal to embrace job creation.

I believe, instead, that it springs from a wide-spread lack of private sector experience. President Obama believes the government can right all wrongs – that’s the wellspring from which community activists derive their inspiration. It is a philosophy that has done great damage to this country in recent years – and we’re not out of the woods yet.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please, to coin an Insta-phrase.

ROGER SIMON: The Democrats’ War On Work. “You don’t have to be a Freudian to see the truth in the father of psychoanalysis’ oft-quoted pronouncement that ‘love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness,’ really the keys to our daily sanity. If you undermine our ability to work, to be gainfully and fully employed, you undermine our self-respect, virtually no matter what our occupation. . . . People on the dole are almost always a depressed lot, sometimes terminally.”

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

KYLE SMITH: Here’s Proof The Obama Administration Doesn’t Care Whether You Work Or Not.

Such thinking is consistent with the elite character of the Obama administration — some 40 percent of the president’s men and women hold Ivy League degrees, with more of them receiving degrees from Oxford than from any American public school. When they shrug off jobs as limitations, Obama and Co. have in mind their gifted and talented friends.

This is magical thinking. Most people are not entrepreneurs, geniuses or novelists. Most people don’t have big ideas. Most people get by and advance in small steps, not giant leaps. Jobs are the principal way people improve themselves, their lives and the lives of their families, and leave their children better off than they were.

The White House response to the CBO report is in direct opposition to its supposed stance on inequality and class mobility. More long-term unemployment, even the unemployment of people who leave the workforce willingly in order to “pursue their dreams,” in the Oprah Winfrey-style phrasing of Jay Carney, means more people stuck on the lower rungs of the economic ladder.

You say, “mired in squalor and dependency.” They say, “reliable Democratic voters.” They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

MORAL HAZARD: ObamaCare vs. The Self-Sufficient. Like the song says, they’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

JAMES TARANTO: Brendan Mahoney Saves ObamaCare: Great news! They got a 30-year-old dude to sign up!

He tried logging in to the exchange’s website at 8:45 a.m. yesterday, which is impressive in itself. Most young people don’t get up that early. “He said the system could not verify his identity.” So he called the toll-free help line, whose operator also encountered computer trouble. “But then he logged on a second time, he said, and the system worked.”

“Once it got running, it was fast,” Mahoney tells the Courant. “It really made my day. It’s a lot like TurboTax.” He obtained insurance through ObamaCare. Now, he says, “if I get sick, I’ll definitely go to the doctor.” Even better, if he stays healthy, he won’t need to go to a doctor, and his premiums will support chronically ill policyholders on the wrong side of 40.

So, how much of a premium is strapping young Brendan Mahoney paying to help make ObamaCare work? Oops. The Courant reports that Mahoney “said that by filling out the application online, he discovered he was eligible for Medicaid. So, beginning next year, he won’t pay any premium at all.”

So the great success story of ObamaCare’s first day is the transformation of a future lawyer who was already paying for insurance into a welfare case.

Sadly, I think they probably do regard that as a success. They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: Ed Morrissey: The Great Obamacare Workforce Exodus.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Only 47% of Adults Have Full-Time Job. “If today the same proportion of Americans worked as just a decade ago, there would by almost nine million more people working. Just in the last year, almost two million Americans have left the labor force. With a majority of the population not holding a full-time job, it isn’t surprising that economic growth has been so weak.”

Romney’s 47% number keeps coming up. They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. . . .

Related: 54 Months: Record Stretch of 7.5%+ Unemployment Continues. “Since January 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as president, the United States has seen 54 straight months with the unemployment rate at 7.5 percent or higher, which is the longest stretch of unemployment at or above that rate since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started calculating the national unemployment rate.”

SALENA ZITO: Washington Reflects Victim, Entitlement Culture.

In today’s society, especially in large inner cities and affluent suburbs, we have been enabling at least two generations of Americans who do not know how to win in sports or in academics, by handing out rewards for everyone so no one’s feelings are hurt.

Parents and teachers alike obsess over the negative effects of a child losing any sort of competition, ignoring the critically valuable skills of teamwork, healthy sportsmanship and, most important, learning how to lose.

“It’s as if, as a society, we are embarrassed to award excellence for fear it will offend someone who is less than excellent,” said Bruce Haynes, a media partner at the bipartisan Purple Strategies consulting firm in Washington. “Rather than a drive to the top, it creates a drive to the bottom.”

In other words, if you build a better mousetrap, you might have to apologize to other mousetrap manufacturers, then to the Humane Society, for your accomplishment.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: National Journal: Forget the Unemployment Rate: The Alarming Stat is the Number of ‘Missing Workers.’ “The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 7.5 percent in April, but that’s little consolation for the millions of workers who have dropped out of the labor force altogether.”

THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE: ObamaCare and the ’29ers’– How the new mandates are already reducing full-time employment.

Here’s a trend you’ll be reading more about: part-time “job sharing,” not only within firms but across different businesses.

It’s already happening across the country at fast-food restaurants, as employers try to avoid being punished by the Affordable Care Act. In some cases we’ve heard about, a local McDonalds has hired employees to operate the cash register or flip burgers for 20 hours a week and then the workers head to the nearby Burger King or Wendy’s to log another 20 hours. Other employees take the opposite shifts. . . .

Because other federal employment regulations also kick in when a firm crosses the 50 worker threshold, employers are starting to cap payrolls at 49 full-time workers. These firms have come to be known as “49ers.” Businesses that hire young and lower-skilled workers are also starting to put a ceiling on the work week of below 30 hours. These firms are the new “29ers.” Part-time workers don’t have to be offered insurance under ObamaCare.

The mandate to offer health insurance doesn’t take effect until 2014, but the “measurement period” used by the feds to determine a firm’s average number of full-time employees started last month. So the cutbacks and employment dodges are underway.

The savings from restricting hours worked can be enormous. If a company with 50 employees hires a new worker for $12 an hour for 29 hours a week, there is no health insurance requirement. But suppose that worker moves to 30 hours a week. This triggers the $2,000 federal penalty. So to get 50 more hours of work a year from that employee, the extra cost to the employer rises to about $52 an hour—the $12 salary and the ObamaCare tax of what works out to be $40 an hour.

Moving to 33 hours a week costs the employer about $10 an hour more in ObamaCare tax. Look for fewer 30-35 hour-a-week jobs. The law that was sold as a way to help business and workers is thus yanking a few more rungs from the ladder of economic upward mobility.

How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?

MICHAEL BARONE: Soul-Crushing Dependency.

“This is painful for a liberal to admit,” writes liberal New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, “but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in soul-crushing dependency.”

Kristof is writing from Breathitt County, Ky., deep in the Appalachian mountains, about mothers whose Supplemental Security Income benefits will decrease if their children learn to read. Kristof notes that 55% of children qualifying for SSI benefits do so because of “fuzzier intellectual disabilities short of mental retardation,” far more than four decades ago when SSI was just a new program.

Evidently SSI administrators decided to be more generous to parents of such children. But, as Kristof notes, giving parents an incentive to keep children from learning to read works against the children’s long-term interest.

Kristof’s column makes a point similar to that in my De. 2 Examiner column on the vast rise in people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance payments. As with SSI, one imagines that those responsible for extending benefits to those not previously eligible did so out of a sense of generosity. But as I noted, “there is also a human cost. Consider the plight of someone who at some level knows he can work but decides to collect disability payments instead. That person is not likely to ever seek work again, especially if the sluggish recovery turns out to be the new normal. He may be gleeful that he was able to game the system or just grimly determined to get what he can in a tough situation. But he will not be able to get the satisfaction of earned success from honest work that contributes something to society and the economy.” Generosity that produces “soul-crushing dependency” is not really generosity.

No, it’s not about generosity. It’s about power. They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Foodstamps Soar By Most In 16 Months: Over 1 Million Americans Enter Poverty In Last Two Months.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

THE FEDERAL WELFARE EXPLOSION: “Welfare is now the largest item in the federal budget, and under Barack Obama’s budget–the one that didn’t get any votes, but may nevertheless be a blueprint for the next four years–it is slated to grow another 30% in Obama’s second term.”

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

WEALTH AND ITS CONSEQUENCES: China: What Flows in, Must Flow out.

The manufacturing boom of the past twenty years has made China more powerful and made its citizens wealthier than ever before. But China is quickly finding out that a wealthier population is often more demanding. The past few years have seen a spike in domestic unrest, as millions of Chinese demand higher pay, better living conditions, and an end to government corruption. Now wealthier Chinese are skirting the rules too, finding ways to avoid the restrictions the Communist Party counts on to keep the country under control. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Beijing to keep the lid on the tensions around the country.

Yes, I think they understand this over here too.  They’ll make us into beggars, ’cause beggars are easy to please.

INDIANA: Mr. President, You Could Learn A Lot From A Farmer.

The unemployment rate of people in the 20s and 30s is over 50%. They see the American workplace as having no place for them.

The result of this is that there is a significant segment of our society does not see getting up and going to work as something they need to do. Not having a job was once considered a sign of laziness or personal failure. Today, it is becoming an accepted norm and someone else’s fault. Big business, big banks, the government, foreign competition, NAFTA, big unions, China, and a host of other factors are blamed for people’s inability to find work.

The government’s response to this situation has fostered this change in the American work ethic.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

JEFF CARTER: Some Quick Thoughts on Unemployment. “No, I don’t think the number was manipulated. Was it correct? I doubt it. When are government statistics correct the first time they are released? Crop reports are never right, and private estimates of crop size are generally closer. . . . I always discount the headline number anyway. U-6 didn’t budge. The headline number probably can be explained by technicalities over counting part time workers. But what worries me is the macro situation we have. 114K of non-farm jobs is pitiful. America needs to create over 300k jobs per month to really dent our employment problems. Additionally, GDP is more pitiful than the employment statistics. America needs 3-3.5% growth to keep moving ahead, creating wealth and more importantly, being ahead of inflation. At lower than 2% growth we are gradually becoming a nation of paupers.”

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.


They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

ELECTION 2012: An Army Of Davids vs. . . An Army of Peggy Josephs?

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

Related: Where Do “Obama Phones” Come From?

CHART: Over 100 Million Now Receiving Federal Welfare.

Like the song says, They’ll Turn Us All Into Beggars ‘Cause They’re Easier To Please.

A STATE-BY-STATE GUIDE to EBT fraud and abuse.

Like the song says, they’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? US Poverty on Track to Rise to Highest Since 1960s.

That’s not a bug, it’s a feature: They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. . . .

ANDREW KLAVAN: Happy Dependence Day!

Like the song says, They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

THE “FOOD STAMP PRESIDENT:” CNN: Government wants more people on food stamps.

Like the song says, They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

DAVID HARSANYI: Who The Hell Is Julia, And Why Am I Paying For Her Whole Life?

In the new Barack Obama campiagn piece The Life of Julia, voters can “Take a look at how President Obama’s policies help one woman over her lifetime — and how Mitt Romney would change her story.” It is one of the most brazenly statist pieces of campaign literature I can ever remember seeing.

Let’s for the purposes of this post forget about the piece’s misleading generalizations regarding policy (no one is innocent on that account, obviously). What we are left with is a celebration of a how a woman can live her entire life by leaning on government intervention, dependency and other people’s money rather than their own initiative or hard work. It is, I’d say, brazenly un-American, in the sense that it celebrates a mindset we have — outwardly, at least — shunned.

It is also a mindset that is offensive and patronizing. When they’re old enough, I hope my own two daughters would find the notion that their success hinges on the president’s views on college-loan interest rates preposterous. Yet, according to the “Life of Julia,” women can’t do anything, not without the guiding hand of Barack Obama.

They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.
Women and children first, apparently.

Plus this: “If you think Social Security benefits allow you to live your retirement without worry, you deserve Barack Obama.”

Related: “Julia is the Sandra Fluke of composite hypothetical non-existent women.”

Plus: “#Julia at 67: ‘Why is there a big open trench in the community garden?'”

UPDATE: Julia In Real Life.

ANOTHER UPDATE: David Steinberg: #Julia, and Leftism’s New Media Problem. “On my count, the last five hashtags introduced by Obama’s campaign have been instant public relations disasters; another smear tactic backfired into the legendary #ObamaEatsDogs. They keep trying, however.”

ON THOSE NEW JOBLESS NUMBERS: “The recession may have ended in mid-2009 according to the economists, but the normal rate of growth in the size of the labor force stopped in 2008 and has yet to return. Heck of a job, Mr. President. If you drive enough Americans out of the labor force, unemployment will get down to the 4 to 6 percent range it was during the Bush years!” They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. . . .

MONEY POLITICS: “American liberals find high incomes more upsetting than poverty.” They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please. . . .

With, ahem, certain exceptions.

MICHAEL WALSH: What’s Really Behind The Debt Fight. “The debt-ceiling cage match is the culmination of the Democrats’ 75-year-long fight to establish a voting bloc of dependents under the false flags of ‘compassion’ and ‘social justice.’ It’s sapped our strength, created a welfare mentality and, if unchecked, will reduce us to a nation of aging, resentful beggars with eyes cast permanently toward Washington.”

Like the song says, They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

GOOD GRIEF: Pelosi: Health-Care Reform Will Finally Allow Artists to Focus on Being Unemployed, Comfortably. Translation: They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

MARY KATHARINE HAM: The Sad Tale of Juan Diego Castro: How the federal government turns givers into takers. Like the song says: They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

ROUGHING UP THE MIDDLE CLASS. “For decades there has been debate about how to help the poor without discouraging work, saving or marriage. Yet with almost no notice just such disincentives have crept up the income ladder, observes economist C. Eugene Steuerle, a former Treasury official and expert on the taxation of families. . . . Work isn’t the only middle-class virtue that is getting punished. The system penalizes savings, too–not just through taxes, but also through programs that reward debtors, the profligate and college families that show up at the financial aid office with empty pockets. Yet another series of tax and benefit rules penalizes marriage. ‘This is a big social experiment. We really don’t know what the long-term effect of all these incentives is going to be,’ Steuerle says.”

My prediction: You’ll get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish. But maybe the political class is okay with that. “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”


CROW AGENCY, Mont. – Ta’Shon Rain Little Light, a happy little girl who loved to dance and dress up in traditional American Indian clothes, had stopped eating and walking. She complained constantly to her mother that her stomach hurt.

When Stephanie Little Light took her daughter to the Indian Health Service clinic in this wind-swept and remote corner of Montana, they told her the 5-year-old was depressed.

Ta’Shon’s pain rapidly worsened and she visited the clinic about 10 more times over several months before her lung collapsed and she was airlifted to a children’s hospital in Denver. There she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, confirming the suspicions of family members. . . . On some reservations, the oft-quoted refrain is “don’t get sick after June,” when the federal dollars run out.

This is what Obama wants for your family — or, at least, it’s what he’ll deliver in the end. Fix this — and Medicare — first!

UPDATE: Reader Col. Douglas Mortimer writes: “I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, everything on an Indian reservation is run by a government – either tribal or federal. And everything there is pretty much always a f*cking disaster.”

Prophetic words from a brave man. Like the song says, They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

AN INTERVIEW WITH BOB WALKENHORST, who’s now performing Government Cheese again. Excerpt:

Give a man a free house and he’ll bust out the windows / Put his family on food stamps, now he’s a big spender / No food on the table and the bills ain’t paid / ’cause he spent it on cigarettes and PGA / They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please / They’re feeding our people that government cheese / It’s the man in the White House, the man under the steeple / Passing out drugs to the American people.

Read the whole thing.

PLANNED IMPOVERISHMENT? “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”

“THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ‘CAUSE THEY’RE EASIER TO PLEASE:” 20% in Los Angeles County receive public aid.

THE WHITE HOUSE ENCOURAGES SANTELLI, ON PURPOSE: “They’d rather the opposition be identified with Santelli and stock brokers than with, say, a Joe the Plumber type.”

Related item: “My husband and I always discuss, ‘Why do we try to better ourselves, when it seems if you do nothing, you get all the help in the world?’”

Like the song says, they’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

UPDATE: C.J. Burch isn’t buying the White House strategy: “It was a stupid attack all the same, and will look more stupid next week as their plans for the bank bail out become more obvious. Not even a press as supine as this one can allow itself to become the president’s red headed step child.” I dunno, I’m expecting heavy orders for henna . . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Frank Hosford notes Obama’s thin skin: “The Obama White House started with Hannity, then Rush, & now CNBC?? I’m confused: I thought we had freedom of the press?”

MORE: Reader Kyle Lagrois isn’t buying the White House take (via Ambinder, above) either:

Have you ever noticed Marc Ambinder is the reliable, go-to guy to give a reasonable or political explanation AFTER Obama does something that may look like a screw-up? . . .

Today, Gibbs called out a reporter in a very unseemly way, and Ambinder wants to paint it as some sort of strategic genius.

Keep an eye on it. He is- somehow- able to channel how Obama might want you to view what’s happened.

Meanwhile, Dan Riehl thinks that the White House isn’t upholding its dignity very well. “Although I might be concerned about any private info on file with the government were I Santelli. I think we’re seeing a WH that looks like it’s being run more like a Chicago Ward, than the house that most presidents lived in. This is about attacking everyone and everything that opposes you. In the end, it demeans the office and raises serious concerns as to whether these people can be trusted with the power they now have.”

Plus, Tom Elia wonders what, exactly, Gibbs brings to the table:

The most interesting thing about White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs response to CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s criticism of the Obama Administration’s anti-foreclosure plan was Gibb’s assertion that Santelli ‘doesn’t know what he’s talking about.’

Before joining CNBC, Santelli spent 20 years in the trading business, both on and off the trading floor.

Gibbs has spent his whole life in politics and apparently has no business experience, spending most of his professional career as a political spokesman.

To be fair, Gibbs has at least as much business experience as Barack Obama or Joe Biden.

MORE: The Anchoress emails:

Can anyone imagine Bush calling out Randi Rhodes, or his press sec mocking a member of the press?

Bush’s White House did not go after members of the press, or get defensive toward them. The press hated him, and his whole staff, but the admin never returned in kind.

Class tells.

Indeed it does.

THE STIMULUS BILL: Undermining welfare reform? “Specifically, it would apparently reward states that expand their welfare caseloads–even if the increase is only the product of loosened work requirements rather than a worsening local economy. . . . If a state somehow succeeds at placing would-be recipients in jobs, it’s out of luck under this provision. To get the extra federal money, it has to get more people on welfare.”

Like the song says, they’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: From Market Economy to Political Economy. Like the song says, “they’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”


Instead of moving to put FM/FM into a more easily understood model–either nationalizing them, or privatising–they’re making the GSEs even weirder, and of course, piling on more debt.

It’s time for Congress to bite the bullet: nationalize them, or take them private. But keeping pet companies on a leash so that you can use them as a sort of housing market slush fund, while pretending that the liabilities you thereby create don’t really affect the government, is the kind of thing one expects to see in a banana republic, not a free and prosperous nation.

I sometimes think that our political class would prefer a banana republic, as they’d be able to steal more and lord it over the common folk to a greater extent. And then there’s the bill on oil speculation:

The first thing I think is that my liberal friends should stop saying their party is more credible on economic issues. Because this is even stupider than McCain’s doubling down on the gas tax holiday–and McCain’s gas tax mania is plenty stupid. At least McCain’s gas tax manipulations won’t actually do something except give a small amount of additional money to oil companies and loathesome governments. This monstrous bill, on the other hand, might actually do some damage.

As the song says, “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”


I discovered to my horror just how much the Feds tax retirement including Social Security! Having collected taxes for my lifetime — including to this day — on self-employment to pay into the Social Security account, they hand me a miserable pittance compared to what I would have got had I simply put the money into a money market account; then they tax part of it away.

Same with retirement accounts. They tax Roberta’s State Teacher’s Retirement income. They tax my TIAA retirement income from my academic years. Incidentally, a few years of TIAA/CREF generated a very sizable fraction of the income I get from Social Security from paying into that all my life. I have taken the “minimum distribution” option from TIAA, so I could get a lot more; my theory is that Mr. Heinlein was right, we writers are professional gamblers, and it’s well to have your house and car paid for and sock something away for a bad year, because you are likely to have one. Robert ran scared all his life.

Clearly the government wants us to spend ourselves broke and throw ourselves on welfare. Then they will stop fining us every year. They fine us for speeding, for spitting in the streets, for doing things they don’t want us to do: they also fine us for improving our property, investing money to grow the economy, saving money; the implications are pretty clear?

As the Rainmakers sang, “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”

HMM: There’s this: “Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said that if she became president, the federal government would take a more active role in the economy to address what she called the excesses of the market and of the Bush administration.”

And there’s this: “The stock market was in meltdown today as nearly £60billion was wiped off London shares as fears of a US recession sparked a global sell-off.”

Coincidence, I’m sure.

UPDATE: “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.

“THEY’LL TURN US ALL INTO BEGGARS ’cause they’re easier to please.” I ain’t gonna eat no government cheese.

A LOOK AT MULTICULTURALISM AND THE FOSTERING OF DEPENDENCY IN BRITAIN: It reminds me of the line from The Rainmakers — “They’ll turn us all into beggars ’cause they’re easier to please.”

That song (Government Cheese) isn’t available online. But my one of my favorite Rainmakers songs — Let My People Go-Go — can be heard here. I’d rather that politics comported with that vision than with the rather gloomier, and more accurate, one in Government Cheese. But at least the music’s good! And there’s a video for Downstream. Check out the Harry Truman line.