Tuesday, March 08, 2005

THE ELEPHANT, THE BLIND MAN SAID, IS VERY LIKE A RACE-KILLING SOCIALISTIC FALLACY. Well, with Stanley Kurtz providing the link, I sorta had a feeling this guy'd be trouble. Like classic Kurtz, Pavel Kohout is on about the withering white race, and how social security schemes are to blame.

But I stood up and took notice when Kohout quoted a citizen who recounts the declining standards of American middle-class life in the late 20th Century:
I am the son of a Pittsburgh steelworks worker. I was born at the end of the Second World War. I have three sisters. Our mother never went to work... yet they could afford to own a house, and our father used to buy a new car once every three or four years. My parents paid for my university education and bought me my first car when I was twenty. We were by all standards part of the middle class, and I was proud of my parents' achievement. (...) Today both my parents have to go to work in order to maintain a middle-class living standard, due to the increase in taxation that has occurred in the past half-century...
And I said, "Hell yeah! Of course the little guy used to get a bigger piece of the pie; unions (of the sort a "Pittsburgh steelworks worker" would know) were strong; America had enough money to accommodate them, and enough left over to keep making the best stuff in the world, and to make it available to a broad range of its citizens. And to help keep it all humming, the rich were heavily taxed.

"Now America is grotesquely in debt; we make crap and import everything; we work, man and wife, like dogs just to keep up; and the rich contribute hardly at all, on the theory that the freeing of their capital leads to 'economic growth' -- and there has indeed been growth in their pesonal and corporate budgets, real estate holdings, and general ability to escape economic responsibilities and leave them to everyone else. So the rest of us get less and less of the pie, and more and more of the bite."

Well, that's what it stirred in me. Here's what it stirred in Kohout:
The tax burden in the United Stated has indeed grown significantly over the past 50 years. The birth rate has been falling proportionately, although not to the critical level that is now current in Europe. The birth rate in the US is nearing the replacement level...
I am fast approaching the point where the expression "What planet are they from?" is no longer figurative.

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