Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Marxist Self-Outing

(Or, a tangled Webb)

Read a startling self-outing of Jim Webb, Marxist ideologue, and then this rebuttal from Dan Riehl.

First, a sample of Webb’s confession:

If it remains unchecked, this bifurcation of opportunities and advantages along class lines has the potential to bring a period of political unrest. Up to now, most American workers have simply been worried about their job prospects. Once they understand that there are (and were) clear alternatives to the policies that have dislocated careers and altered futures, they will demand more accountability from the leaders who have failed to protect their interests. The "Wal-Marting" of cheap consumer products brought in from places like China, and the easy money from low-interest home mortgage refinancing, have softened the blows in recent years. But the balance point is tipping in both cases, away from the consumer and away from our national interest.

Then contrast from Riehl:

Webb dismisses the possibility that perhaps our education system is failing - the reason so much tech-savvy talent ends up coming to America from abroad these days. And he mentions illegal immigrants at least three times without the slightest nod to facing that problem, seeing it perhaps as just a symptom of upper class oppression against his mythical back woods Scottish ancestors. Yes, this fellow seems more than just a bit myopic.

It should be the first order of business for the new Congress to begin addressing these divisions, and to work to bring true fairness back to economic life. Workers already understand this, as they see stagnant wages and disappearing jobs.

Fairness? What a wonderful characterization for re-distribution of wealth. The problem is, where does one begin and end once you begin slipping away from a market philosophy for labor. Will the government decide who should be paid what so we all end up in some G 1-12 system like the one Webb first experienced in the military?

Man, did the voters of Virginia know they were sending a Marxist to the Senate?

I struggled for a long time about my views on illegal immigration, resident worker programs, amnesty, and so on. I don’t know what the policy solutions are, but I know one thing.

Income disparity is driven by exorbitant valuations on the upper end, not tied to financial (or other work related) performance, and downward pressures on the lower end due to illegal immigration.

The solution for the first is publicity and a call for stockholders and other stakeholders to punish those who pay in excess of value.

The solution for the second is to enforce lawful immigration completely and eliminate opportunities to hire or be hired illegally. Consider some kind of guest worker or amnesty based on some reasonable criteria, but only if the first part – enforcement – is implemented with Rudy Giuliani like determination and efficiency. (As in NYC, no broken windows, or doors.)

As to “jobs no American wants,” of course not, not at the prevailing minimum or sub-minimum wages paid. As workers grow scarce, employers – sometimes the ones making those obscene incomes, you know – have to raise wages.

The Job Market is a market, after all.

That our newest Senator from Virginia thinks this is an opportunity for government intervention would be cause for optimism, if he knew where government could wisely intervene. It isn’t in legislating wages, or punishing Walmart, but it could be in enforcing immigration law and eliminating the underground economy that drives the income disparities Webb so laments.

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