Mitt Romney was vilified during the last presidential campaign for correctly identifying a big problem in American politics. A good number of voters don’t pay taxes, and a good number of those who don’t pay taxes also receive government benefits. He thought his comments were private, and perhaps he could have made the case more eloquently, but he was right.
Many us of were hopeful that the country as a whole hadn’t crossed that tipping point – the point where there were more paying nothing while receiving benefits than those paying into the system. We were wrong. In the past we’ve talked about the Cloward-Piven strategy, but one thing I hadn’t heard of before was the “Curley Effect,” named after James Michael Curley who served four non-consecutive terms as the mayor of Boston in the first half of the last century.
This phenomenon, the authors explain, is the strategy of “increasing the relative size of one’s political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies.” Forbesmagazine puts it this way: “A politician or a political party can achieve long-term dominance by tipping the balance of votes in their direction through the implementation of policies that strangle and stifle economic growth. Counterintuitively, making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment.”
This typically occurs when Democratic political leaders adopt policies that redistribute wealth from the prosperous to the poor, causing the latter to become economically dependent upon their political patrons, and thus to become a permanently pro-Democrat voting bloc. At the same time, these redistributive policies cause the people harmed by them (i.e., those from whom wealth is extracted) to emigrate to other cities, states, and even countries, thereby further solidifying the political power of Curleyist practitioners.
Curleyists commonly try to gain popular support for their agendas by engaging in incendiary class-warfare rhetoric that demonizes wealthy people as exploiters of the poor. This serves to distract voters from the fact that redistributive left-wing policies may actually be responsible for the declining economic and social conditions around them, while portraying the wealthy as scapegoats upon whom all the grievances of the “underprivileged” may be heaped.
Read the whole thing, as the article goes on to explain why so many voters fail to make a connection between these leftist policies and the economic havoc they create. It certainly explains why so many cities remain under the control of Democrats as they slip deeper into poverty and utter destruction. Which brings me to a piece in The Weekly Standard about the policies of the current occupant of the White House.
The president has his own way of touting redistribution. Whenever he uses the word “fair,” you can bet he’s really referring to redistribution. He talks of everyone getting a “fair shake” and a “fair shot.” In his State of the Union address in February, he insisted economic growth requires “everybody doing their fair share.” In his inaugural speech in January, he said a free market “only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.”
But Obama’s emphasis on redistribution and his policies to further it create a problem that he either doesn’t recognize or, as I suspect, chooses to ignore. He insists economic growth is his “top priority.” Redistribution, however, is not the friend of growth. It impedes growth.
The most effective tool in spurring growth is private investment. Obama may not like it, but major investors tend to be well off. They have money to invest. Rather than encourage them to invest in growth and jobs, Obama does the opposite. By raising their taxes and leaving a strong impression he’d like to raise them even more, he discourages investment. …
Obama’s own ideas for promoting growth indicate he’s a slow learner. He’s bent on pursuing the same policies that have produced the slowest economic recovery since World War II. The recession ended in June 2009, yet the economy has struggled with GDP growth averaging around 2 percent (only 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012).
The result is scary, as John Cassidy outlined in Fortune. Since the recession began in 2008, the working population—those employed or looking for jobs—has increased by 12.2 million. But in five years, the number of jobs has grown by only 1.4 million. Indeed, participation in the labor force actually shrank from 66.2 percent of the civilian population in January 2008 to 63.5 percent in February 2013. (Read More)
Obama has taken the Curley effect to the national level. A recent CNN poll seems to support the hypothesis, as a slim majority approves of Obama even though they don’t like the job he’s doing on key issues. Call it whatever you want – the Curley Effect, Cloward Piven Strategy or plain old class warfare – no doubt President Obama is well aware of the ways to win political support from the very people his polices are destroying. But what’s even worse than that is that the media has been so complicit in it all. Not only have they turned a blind eye to what he’s doing to this country, many of them has been his cheerleaders, despite the misery his polices are spreading. If they were honest they’d report that his policies of redistribution to some will eventually distribute poverty to most of us. The only ones who will come out of this somewhat unscathed are those in the elite political class and the 1% – the very people they vilify.
H/T to Michael A and Fox Nation