Friday Ephemera

Elsewhere (52)

KC Johnson encounters more protesting intellectuals

According to the New York Times, organisers “were protesting not only tuition increases [of $300 per year] but also the university’s push for a public-private partnership,” such as the $1.4 billion in private philanthropy that [City University of New York] has received this year. Of course, if the university received no private support, either tuition bills would have to increase dramatically or services, including the number of faculty, would need to be slashed dramatically. But logic doesn’t appear to be a strong suit of “OccupyCUNY.”

Note the hostility to private and commercial philanthropy, i.e. money given voluntarily, and the simultaneous belief that using money taken forcibly via punitive taxation is a much more righteous endeavour. Apparently, funding by coercion makes the protestors’ education virtuous, or at least more satisfying. It’s a pattern we’ve seen before, of course. Note too the standard “occupy” traits – arrogance, unrealism and a passive-aggressive disregard for the safety and rights of others. Why, it’s almost as if socialism were a license for neoteny and spite.

Charles Kadlec ponders the unspoken meaning of “social justice”:

The OWS movement demonstrates that “social justice” is based on unjust policies similar to those they condemn. The protestors rightfully assail the bailouts of banks and Wall Street executives, but their solution is more of the same including bailouts for student loans and individuals who took out mortgages on houses they could not afford.

In truth, the OWS protestors are only skirmishing over the distribution of the spoils system they claim to abhor. Their demands for higher tax rates on the “1%” show their desire to join those who pillage through the power of government. They call it “social justice.” But its credo is the same as the crony capitalists who exploit the American people through government handouts: Both seek to use political power to satisfy their needs by taking the income of others rather than through voluntary exchanges. In each case, its true name is “greed.”

And Mark Steyn is unimpressed by U.S. budget “cuts”: 

In return for agreeing to raise the debt ceiling (and, by the way, that’s the wrong way of looking at it: more accurately, we’re lowering the debt abyss), John Boehner bragged that he’d got a deal for “a real, enforceable cut” of supposedly $7 billion from fiscal year 2012. After running the numbers themselves, the Congressional Budget Office said it only cut $1 billion from FY 2012. Which of these numbers is accurate?

The correct answer is: Who cares? The government of the United States currently spends $188 million it doesn’t have every hour of every day. So, if it’s $1 billion in “real, enforceable cuts,” in the time it takes to roast a 20-pound stuffed turkey for your Thanksgiving dinner, the government’s already borrowed back all those painstakingly negotiated savings. If it’s $7 billion in “real, enforceable cuts,” in the time it takes you to defrost the bird, the cuts have all been borrowed back. Bonus question: How “real” and “enforceable” are all those real, enforceable cuts? By the time the relevant bill passed the Senate earlier this month, the 2012 austerity budget with its brutal, savage cuts to government services actually increased spending by $10 billion.

As usual, feel free to add your own in the comments.