Jeffrey Sachs was on Morning Joe today, and, for the first time, I agreed with him. The conversation was about special ops in Afghanistan and Pakistan and how the killing efficiency of the special ops groups indicates that war strategy is changing. Sachs believes we should end the war, and I agree. Sachs also thinks we are beginning to see special ops as a video game -- I agree. I don't like all the current gushing over trained killers and the glorification of violence -- the trained killers probably don't like the glorification, either. Sometimes, in self-defense, violence is necessary, but outside self-defense, violence is barbaric. We no longer know what our purpose is in Afghanistan, but surely it's not just to improve the efficiency of killing.
Entries in Jeffey Sachs (3)
I was able to watch Morning Joe for an hour and a half, but I had to split when Ted Danson showed up. There's something about Danson that causes my give-a-damn switch to flip off. Morning Joe started with another round of nuclear hysteria, followed by a lack of facts to suggest hysteria is the best response. I agree with them that the 50 workers are heroes, but beyond that, Mika's awfulizing of the situation is just too much. The fact that a poorly designed nuclear unit built over thirty years ago is having difficulties after a severe earthquake and a tsnami is not the story -- the story is that this poor design has not caused more problems. It suggests a modern facility would be as safe as we can hope for, which is good news. It's still hard to listen to the hyperbole regarding the nuclear situation while millions are involved in very real human tragedy in which nuclear damage is their least concern.
There was some talk about Afghanistan and how Petraeus is sending mixed messages about staying and leaving. A poll shows 64% of Americans believe the war is not worth fighting. It was also reported that Haley Barbour is opposing our continued involvement in the war. Barbour is smart to take this position, and more Republicans should oppose this extended war -- but where are the Democrats?
A good deal of the first hour and a half was spent on talking about the budget, the CR and the fact that Republicans have committed to tackle entitlements in their budget proposal next month. On several political news shows lately I've witnessed a focus on Republicans, as if our government now is between Republicans and Obama. Democrats in the senate and the house are not being mentioned. No one is asking when Democrat representatives will address entitlements or what they are going to do about spending. It remains to be seen what the Republicans will do, but Eric Cantor was on Morning Joe and he again stated entitlements will be addressed.
Jeffrey Sachs was on and thought he had blasted Cantor when he asked about cuts to the program that detects and warns us about tsnamis. Sach's righteousness was thick, but Cantor gave him the facts, that the program had received a huge increase and now they were simply taking some of that back and that the program was not being gutted. Then Sach's re-puffed up and asked Cantor about the billionaires hiding taxable income in the Cayman Islands. Cantor cooly agreed that loopholes need to be removed and the tax code needs to be simplified. Sachs was then quiet.
Jeffrey Sachs was on Morning Joe this morning arguing with George Pataki that millionairesandbillionaires (it's become one word now) are running around avoiding taxes, spending their money in any way they choose, and that the government should 'go after them' and take it away. Sachs is always built up to be a brilliant thinker -- Scarborough and others referred to him as a brainiac.
Pataki tried to explain to Sachs that mills&bills pay most of the taxes and that many will shift investments if you try to soak them. This shifting of investments to avoid government confiscation is usually non-productive -- and when government 'goes after' too much wealth, it backfires and revenues do not increase -- there are usually negative economic consequences hurting those without wealth in the process. Sachs could not understand any of this, or he refused to admit he understands -- Sachs insisted that government should take much more money from the rich, period.
I believe that Sachs is a smart man, just like they say. So, why is it that a smart man can't understand a simple reality? I believe he understands completely what Pataki was saying. What Sachs is doing is building a case to take more extreme measures to redistribute wealth. Sachs is clearly stating his philosophy -- government should prevent 'excessive' private wealth, and all 'excess' wealth should be confiscated by government and redistributed for social justice efforts. Sachs is involved in social justice/poverty work and gets funding from George Soros, or has in the past -- I'm sure he believes the confiscated wealth would be put to better use under his guidance, or people like him, rather than allowing those who made the wealth to spend it as they wish.
What kind of world is Sachs promoting? Yes, I believe Sachs is a smart man, but he is not a wise man. Dr. Sachs' intelligence is limited by hatred of private wealth and a failure to grasp free market principles. Even if it could be shown to Dr. Sachs that a free market, private charity direction would be more beneficial to his anti-poverty efforts, he would still complain about wealth inequality and demand that 'excess' wealth be confiscated by government. His argument with Pataki proved that this morning -- not once did Dr Sachs show any sign that he's open to a different way to achieve his goals. Dr Sachs' anger at the rich has caused him to become blind to innovative, realistic solutions to poverty -- he can only see a pile of money made by the rich and determne that government should take a lot of it and give it to the poor. Wll, I'm sure it's not that simple, but I doubt Dr Sachs is searching for every possible solution to poverty, or he would be more curious about and open to a free market.
Pataki brought up the unintended consequences of redistribution of wealth -- mainly the fact that money will flee to safer environs -- but Sachs was having none of it, because what Sachs has in mind is something more restrictive which doesn't allow the wealth of the richest in the US to escape. It's the only explanation, because being a smart man he has to see that the way things are now, just simply taxing higher won't work. Dr. Sachs is signaling what is ahead for us in a progressive world -- it will be ruthless towards those who create wealth.