Posted by ken on November 29th, 2004 (All posts by ken)
It seems the tale of Joe Republican is making the rounds, telling us about all the wonderful things that Joe takes for granted that were provided by the leftists that he despises.
And what lesson do we learn from this, boys and girls? We learn that the Big Lie works, and that if you keep it up long enough, a century down the road your 100% Grade A Bullshit will be taught as History with a capital “H”.
So let’s take a look at Joe’s life and the wonders that our friends on the left have brought to him…
“Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.”
Unfortunately, if Joe is in his forties or older, he is extremely likely to have one or more medical conditions for which no effective medication yet exists thanks to those same stupid commie liberals that introduced huge delays in every step of the process of technological advancement in the drug industry, and prevented a large number of development projects that would have been judged as a good risk had the costs of the whole enterprise not been jacked up so outrageously.
“All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance — now Joe gets it too.”
Yeah, he gets it all right. Of course, he gets paid medical insurance in lieu of cash mainly because they’re taxed differently, which in turn evolved out of attempts by productive enterprises to evade price controls imposed by one of the heroes of the left, and the results are less than inspiring. This is generally referred to as a failure of the “free market” by people dedicated to keeping the Big Lie going for yet another century.
“He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.”
You mean like the ones that prevent those evil meat-packers from more rigorously testing their cows for Mad Cow disease? Gee thanks.
“Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.”
Of course it would be even cleaner if those same environmentalist wacko liberals hadn’t also fought to stop new nuclear plants from producing electricity without polluting the air.
“Joe begins his workday. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards.”
No, the unions did not produce Joe’s high pay or any of his benefits. The technological advancements over the intervening decades allow huge amounts of wealth to be created with comparatively little effort – this means that Joe’s efforts, modest as they are compared to the strenuous efforts of his ancestors, create huge amounts of value, for which he is paid commensurately. Some of that pay is in the form of benefits – they are instead of, not in addition to, a portion of the cash that he would otherwise receive in payment, and to the extent that our friends on the left caused a substitution of benefits for cash that Joe would not have chosen on his own, they have made him worse off.
All the unions did was form cartels and use the threat of violence to keep competitors at bay and extort some wealth from the capitalists. The amount of wealth that could possibly have been obtained from capitalists in this manner is a tiny, insignificant fraction of the huge gains in wealth and income that people in every walk of life have enjoyed since the unions began doing this, so it is mathematically impossible for those unions to be responsible for the current affluence of the non-wealthy.
“Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime. Joe also forgets that in addition to his federally subsidized student loans, he attended a state-funded university.”
And thanks to the subsidies that encouraged millions of his competitors to pursue courses of education that would otherwise be a losing investment (actually, such courses were still losing investments – the taxpayers covered the losses), Joe had to go to college himself just to keep up with the competition, even if the courses he took contributed little to his ability to actually do the work and added little value to himself or his employer. The fact that his employer could be taken to court if someone with a college degree was passed over in favor of someone of a different race with only a high school diploma makes employers more likely to require this paper regardless of its relation to the actual work. Finally, the real value of the high school diploma, and the level of useful knowledge and ability it represents, has been declining for quite a while, meaning that Joe had to waste part of his adult life learning things that he should have learned during his childhood. And, the more that “worker protections” make it difficult and expensive to fire people, the less willing any employer is going to be to give someone with little experience a shot without impressive credentials; if it’s difficult and expensive to fire someone, you’d better not hire someone unless you’re sure he’s going to work out.
Which means that not only is Joe out four years of his own life and thousands of dollars, he’s also likely stuck supporting his own kids well into their early adult years, and he spends his nights worrying that one of his kids will not manage to get through nearly a decade of her prime reproductive years without derailing the required long course of education with a pregnancy.
“It is noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.”
Of course those unscrupulous bankers worked for the Federal Reserve.
“Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards to go along with the taxpayer funded roads.”
And if he brings his small child with him, that child has to sit in the back seat because some America-hating liberal fought for a car “safety” device that endangers small passengers sitting near it, and refuse to this day to rescind this decree, insisting instead that it is Joe’s place to adjust to the whims of bureaucrats by moving his child out of the path of the explosive device rather than the bureaucrats’ place to adjust to their own mistake by allowing Joe to switch the damned thing off when appropriate.
“He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to.”
Joe isn’t helping to take care of his father? I’d say he’s chipping in to the tune of 15% of his paycheck. And his father depends for part of his livelihood on the financial health of a company that he no longer works for, because wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberals encouraged them to withhold part of his pay and only give it to him after he retired, assuming it still existed. Gee, thanks.
And if it wasn’t for the damned FDA (see above), I’d bet serious money that Joe’s father would be healthy enough to keep working, and he’d be facing a long enough life expectancy that permanent retirement would be ludicrously expensive and completely out of the question at his youthful age unless he was unusually wealthy.
(Thanks to John Weidner for the link)