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Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:42 PM

Steve Forbes, Science Fiction Writer

I came home this evening to see that one of my friends from college had shared this little gem from Steve Forbes' Facebook page. My response will follow. Here's what the brilliant mind of Steve Forbes produced (and my friend apparently thought was brilliant enough to share).

"An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer.

The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A.... (substituting grades for dollars - something closer to home and more readily understood by all).

After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little.

The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.

As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.

To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed. Could not be any simpler than that. (Please pass this on) These are possibly the 5 best sentences you'll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Can you think of a reason for not sharing this?
Neither could I."


Here's my response:

"Then the Political Science professor walked into the room and gave the entire class, including the teacher, F's for not having the first damn clue what Socialism actually is. Because anyone who thinks that what Obama is doing is even in the slightest way Socialist, they need to go back and re-learn that material from someone who can explain it more clearly. Or slowly. Or using shorter words.

Then the History professor walked into the room and gave the entire class F's in HIS class too, because anyone with even the most basic understanding of history knows that the most prosperous economies this country has ever produced occurred when the rich carried a higher percentage of the tax burden. Including the post-WWII era, when quasi-Socialist policies known as the New Deal rescued this country from the Great Depression and produced a strong economy, and when the top earners were taxed at 90%.

Then the Mathematics professor walked into the room and gave the entire class F's in HIS class too. Why? Because they apparently weren't able to deduce the difference between a top tax rate of 90% under Eisenhower and a proposed top tax rate of 39% under Obama. Additionally, they apparently weren't able to correctly calculate the difference between the CURRENT top tax rate of 36% and the proposed top tax rate of 39% either.

However, the Creative Writing professor entered the room and gave Steve Forbes an A for inventing such a wonderfully fantastic fiction. I mean, a world where hard work always equates to monetary success, regardless of your circumstances? Even the test-tube spawn created from the cloned super-DNA of Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, and Gene Roddenberry couldn't conceive of a world like that."

What would you add to my response? Because I'm sure that all the people who responded (one responder used the phrase, "Liberalism is a disease," and another said, "Obama is a joke of a man," and then the next responder whole-heartedly agreed) will have something say about it (probably mostly culled from thoroughly-debunked talking points they heard on Faux News and/or right-wing hate radio).

17 replies, 9097 views

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:51 PM

1. Great response

Every time I've ever heard someone griping about their taxes and say "I might as well flip burgers" I tell them "Why don't you then?". Of course then they shut up.

FWIW, I think Steve's story is fiction.

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 10:59 PM

2. bumper sticker mentality

Sounds good in a limited case but falls apart when applied against reality. Difficult for the stupid to understand.

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 11:08 PM

3. Even STEVE FORBES is dumb enough to post this dumb internet chain letter??

I have seen this since the occupy movement began.

And forbes, with his Princeton degree, should know better about economics!!

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Response to alp227 (Reply #3)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 12:47 PM

9. Which he got, just like everything else in his life, through The Ovarian Lottery.

The Unblinking One is a scumbastard piglet who really tells it like it ain't.

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 11:12 PM

4. I Think You Need to Ask for a Link. I Just Went to Forbes' FB Page...

no article I can see there that says anything of the sort that your friend is claiming. Nor could I find any article by Forbes that sounds at all like what your friend presented when I Google "Steve Forbes Socialism." I do find articles by Steve Forbes that include commentary on socialism though. So not sure why the particular piece your friend quotes from is not found.

Maybe a trip to Snopes is in order.

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Response to dballance (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 21, 2013, 11:39 PM

5. It Says ("Nameless Friend Shared Steve Forbes's Photo) Under It

Let me see if I can get you more info.

OK, now I think I see the problem. This appears to be someone with the name Steve Forbes who isn't the same Steve Forbes we all think of when we hear that name. When I clicked on the photo and then clicked on the person's profile, this is what I got: https://www.facebook.com/#!/STEVE.F0RBES

Seems to be a case of mistaken identity. It's still stupid and worthy of your contempt, though. Why does everything that passes for right-wing logic seem to come from a chain e-mail?

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 02:58 AM

6. Found the Source. Something called the Bastiat Institute

An institute that lists the founder and one other person as members.

Link to their FB page where the original drivel appeared: https://www.facebook.com/bastiatinstitute?ref=stream

Link to their website: http://www.bastiatinstitute.org

The institute is comprised of:

Daniel Brackins
Founder & President

Dr. Hubert Lerch
Senior Fellow

One of my facebook friends shared that crap and I responded to the question at the end of the original shit "Can you think of a reason for not sharing this? Neither could I."

See below for my response.

I can think of a reason for NOT sharing such claptrap. It's wrong and the assertions are unsupported by facts.

First of all, the professor did not implement socialism in his class.

It should have been called an experiment in communism, not socialism. Communism is actually the political philosophy that espouses "from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs." Communism is the political system whereby the government tries to make everyone equal - not socialism.

Webster's defines socialism thus: "a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done"

The professor did not implement a system where the grades were unequally distributed according to work done.

As for the 5 best sentences:

1. No one is trying to legislate the wealthy out of prosperity. The wealthy use the same roads, bridges, sidewalks, airports, air traffic controllers, army, navy, air force and national guard the rest of us do. There is nothing wrong with asking them to pay taxes at rates that are lower than they have been for them in years. Remember that the top earners used to pay 90%, not the paltry 39% they are now being asked to pay. Also remember that billionaires like Warren buffet admit they pay a lower percentage of their income (income is not limited to wages in this context) than their secretaries. Usually because they make a lot of their annual income not on wages but on financial deals that don't get taxed like your wages do.

2. That sentence would be defensible if everyone had an opportunity to work. There are people in the ranks of the unemployed here in the US ranging from unskilled people with only a high school diploma up through PhDs with degrees in useful fields like engineering and science. I can assure you that the vast majority of them are embarrassed to have to use public assistance. Yes, there are low-lifes that take advantage of the system but that is not the majority. We are not producing enough jobs for people who want jobs. The "job-creators" are creating jobs but they're creating them in those places opened up by free-trade treaties like NAFTA, CAFTA, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership the US is participating in negotiations for. Boy, that's what we really need. A way for the Asian countries that are already kicking our butt and taking our jobs to have an even easier time of doing it.

3. The phrasing of that sentence is just meant to be combative and cause a visceral reaction by using "give" and "take." We all freely live in the US and by doing so we agree to live by the government we have all elected. Part of that is paying taxes. People used to be proud to pay their share of taxes so that the local infrastructure, schools, parks, libraries, museums, fire and police were all funded an maintained to make life more livable and pleasant. At some point a lot of society switched their thinking over to "I got mine so screw you if you don't." Not a very Christ-like attitude.

4. You cannot create and maintain a middle-class and productive society when 6 or 8 people like the WalMart heirs have as much wealth as the almost 49 million families in the bottom of society. Those six or eight people will not be putting all that wealth into job-creation. There is no way they can possibly get it into the economy because they can't possibly spend that much money in their lifetimes. There are only so many cars, jets, houses and other goods they can buy. The rest of their money goes into financial deals that require a few bankers and traders to complete - not thousands of middle-class wage earners.

5. Where exactly are the peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate half of the people have gotten the idea that the other half of people will take care of them - or that they even desire such a thing? And would those same studies demonstrate that the people who actually do have work have gotten the idea that it is fruitless to work because of that "lazy' half of the population. Those studied don't exist because the assertions in sentence 5 are not provable by any objective measures. People make statements like in sentence 5 based on anecdotal evidence presented by people with an agenda.

If they are referring to Romney's "47%" of the population who are takers then they'd better get their facts straight. That 47% includes people on Social Security and Medicare - something they paid for out of every one of their pay checks. I know I've been paying for the future expectation of having SS and Medicare available for the last 30 years of my working life. That 47% also includes veterans who are on disability because of combat injuries. It also includes a fair number of small businesses that because they are small businesses operating as S-Corps pay little or no taxes. The real percentage of people on public assistance; welfare, food stamps, and unemployment is only about 4.1% of the 300 million-plus US population. That hardly supports the assertion that 50% of people are lazy and want the other 50% to support them.

As for the "Institute" from which the original drivel flowed, it is comprised of two people.

Daniel Brackins
Founder & President

Dr. Hubert Lerch
Senior Fellow

Dr. Lerch was fired from his position at Temple Univ. Japan for his critical views of democracy in 2011. Despite this fact his resume on his website lists his employment with Temple Univ. Japan as being from 1987 to Present. His web page lists as it's last update today's date. So some one is being a bit dishonest. Dr. Lerch seems to have a total of two whole scholarly books but I couldn't find any reference to papers and essays by him. Let alone anything that was peer-reviewed.

Daniel Brackins has an MBA in addition to his BA in Political Science. He has several publications according to his Wikibin. However, the majority of them are about local issues in Hawaii and given their titles I'm wondering if they were mainly op-ed pieces in a friendly newspaper. Few are national or global in scope.

Brackins' current profession is as a Sr. Account Executive (salesperson) for Edleman; allegedly the world's largest PR firm according to their Facebook page. He has no history of experience in national or global economics or affairs. No record of participating at all in any sort of trade or social efforts of any scale.

It seems Brackins and Lerch have lots of opinions but no credible experience or credentials to back them up.

So yes, there is ample reason not to propagate their nonsense by sharing anything from their Bastiat Institute page.

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Response to dballance (Reply #6)


Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:59 AM

7. Great response! - n/t

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 01:00 PM

10. Point by idiotic point . . .

1. I could take away a full FIFTY PERCENT of assets away from the wealthy. Not their incomes, mind you, their ASSETS . . . and it wouldn't even make an atom-speck DENT in their wealth compared to what we have. NOT EVEN CLOSE.

2. Huh, sounds like he's comparing the wealthy to the working poor, respectively.

3. And by not taxing the wealthy, you're taking a shit-TON from us and giving it to the wealthy.

4. Siiiiiiiiiiiigggghh . . . it's called putting money in the hands of people who'll spend ALL of it. Corporate America would be even wealthier if they did this, but they won't, because it's about making things more zero-sum and not about "win-win". If you gave the hoi polloi even one bit of control, it'd lead to equality. And we can't have that.

5. No, the beginning of the end of any nation is basing your economy on faith-based benevolence of wealth, hopeful returns of war and taking money away from people who'll SPEND the money. It's not even "Economics 101", it's COMMON SENSE 101.

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 03:17 PM

11. Good God, like so many right-wing emails that story is hogwash.

A good grade is not the reward for taking a class...... learning something is. If you're not in college to learn something, why are you wasting your time and money there?

Here's my funny college story.

I was taking a class where about half the students were hyper-competitive pre-med hopefuls and the rest of us were more relaxed students of other sciences. This professor disliked the pre-meds.

On the morning of the final exam he announced, "Hunter, you don't have to take take the final because I know you'll get an A."

This was true, it had been that way all semester, and I'd studied very well for the final.

But I was furious!!!

Yet my anger and dismay was nothing compared to a few of the hyper-competitive pre-meds whose eyes were shooting daggers at both me and the professor. I had to get out of there...

I'm not sure the professor was trying to teach me or the class anything, he may have simply enjoyed toying with pre-meds and smart-asses this way, but he was absolutely correct. It didn't matter if I took the final or not. I'd learned the material and he gave me an A.

I think the fictional story of the original post indicates something about the right-wing psyche. In their world it's not what's inside them that matters, it's the external markings and measures of success.

Getting the "A" on the report card is what matters, not what you learn in the class. From their perspective everyone is trying to get the highest score for the least amount of work, and if the opportunity to achieve that highest score is taken away, there's no point in doing the work.

If this experiment was done in a classroom full of people like them, yes they all would fail. It wouldn't occur to them that there are other reasons for studying beyond the "A" grade. Likewise, if the welfare system was generous and not punitive, and they were not allowed to claw their way to the top, making a thousand times more than their least paid and abused employees, then they are deeply afraid they'd lose their motivation to work; that unless they could have all those houses, fancy cars, and corporate jet vacations, they'd simply chuck it all and stay home all day playing videos, eating Cheetos, and watching porn.

Money and "success" provide the only meaning in their lives, and fear of failure and punishing poverty the only motivation. They have no understanding of people who simply do things that need to be done without any expectation of great financial reward or enhancement of social privilege. They don't understand the kids in the class who feel accomplished because they learned something, not because they got an A; they don't understand the doctors or nurses or teachers who choose to work in impoverished communities; they don't really understand any of that.

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:27 PM

12. Aside from the terribly wrong fantasies embedded here

I absolutely detest the entire strawman argument of "pure" socialism vs. some tremendously glorified ultimate capitalism. It is the classic absurdist argument that can be "cute" but really means nothing. It is the same logical argument that equates pure water with a known poison (yeah, too much water can kill you, but that doesn't make it "just like arsenic").

Take all reward away, and you won't take away all acheivement, but again, that is not the point--you can no more remove all reward than you can reward every effort exactly appropriately. Society does not and never will function within some totally pure ideological structure that fits every circumstance.

There is theoretical pure unfettered capitalism--and theoretical pure enforced socialism. Only absolute kooks truly advocate for either. The real art of practical economics and social progress lies in balancing the two. There is a real social value in encouraging positive and productive competition. There is also an obvious social value in ensuring the security and well being of all members of the society.

These fantasy games distort the reality that you can (and must) move occassionally in both directions to achieve any semblance of a robust economy. When one side insists (and can make it stick) that adjustments can only go one way, the system falls apart. We're pretty far out of balance right now because conservative interests always have just about every power advantage except raw numbers. As long as they can keep the masses distracted/divided/confused, they win.

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Fri Feb 22, 2013, 04:42 PM

13. A version of that list came up on DU last year, and the year before...

...minus the Steve Forbes cameo.
My response then:
> 1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

You can, however, legislate policies that make it less attractive for the already-wealthy to get even more wealthy by squeezing everybody else. We did these things in this country, and it worked out pretty well for most Americans and let them earn a middle class income.


>2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

So you understand the problems people have with hedge fund managers, credit default swap traders, Wall Street wheeler-dealers, CEOs with cozy relationships to those determining their compensation, and others who seem to worship at the altar of Maximizing Profit? Up to a certain point most of these people do provide a useful service in allocating resources for wealth creation, and deserve compensation. However, above a certain level they are extracting more wealth than their services are worth. It gets worse when that extraction becomes detached from how they make their money and to any outside accountability for how much they stuff into their own pockets.

In those cases they are "receiving without working for", and that removes resources available to those who do the actual work.


> 3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

Get back to me on that one when you apply it to government contractors, especially ones for the Defense Department with cozy relationships with politicians and plenty of lobbyists. We spend more on our military than the next largest six countries combined, and most of them are our allies. You really think we're getting top value for all that money?


> 4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

Horseshit. You don't run an engine without "dividing" the lube. If it doesn't get to all the moving parts, it's going to break down quicker and harder.

If someone never changes the oil in their car, are they being thrifty and efficient? Or a short-sighted idiot?

>5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other
>half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does
>no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the
>beginning of the end of any nation.

So is believing that statement when it's not true. Acting on faulty information rarely produces the desired results.

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Response to ChoppinBroccoli (Original post)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 03:34 PM

14. Here's what really happened.

 

I have it on good authority that the story of the economics professor actually happened. It just happened very differently than in the fashion described by various right wing and libertarian emails and social media posts.

Here's what actually happened.

There were 100 students in the class, and the professor's grading policy worked as follows.

1 out of those 100 was entitled from the outset to a guaranteed minimum grade of A in the class, no matter how little or how hard he worked, or whether he did any course work at all. If he did any work at all, even failing work, he'd get an A+, otherwise, an A. (He was actually the professor's son, and that even though on paper, this arrangement blatantly violated school rules, no one at this particular school cared to enforce those rules.)

This kid ended up doing some decent work of his own, but he also cheated and plagiarized, which was overlooked by the professor and the school administration. He got an A+, and was awarded a special stipend for exemplary work ethics that would pay for the rest of his education. The college newspaper ran a special article on him that portrayed him as an example for the rest of the student body to follow.

50 Students had their maximum grades capped at a B-. If they worked very hard and delivered A level work, they would get a B-, otherwise, a C or one of the failing grades. Most of them ended up with Cs and Ds, and only an exceptional few got that much desired B-. The professor congratulated them and mentioned joyfully that a plan was in the works to assist these students in their academic career by lowering their grade cap to C+ starting next year, as a motivational device to inspire harder work and greater achievement.

Finally, 49 students in the class had their maximum grade capped at C, and they would have to deliver A level work to claim that C. Anything less would result in a failing grade. A few of these students ended up with a bare C in the class, but most failed. At the end of the term, the professor berated them bitterly in front of the rest of the class, claiming that, contrary to his own policy, if only they had worked harder and were not so lazy, they could have had Bs and As.

The end.

Postscript: after the semester ended, the college newspaper reported that students who failed the class had been thrown out of the college, congratulating them for being "lucky duckies" who wouldn't have to pay tuition.

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Response to ReaperX (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 07:04 PM

15. And I Have it On Good Authority the Moon is Made of Cheese

Care to back up you post with some proof? Links that good authority. Maybe to the school newspaper that allegedly reported on the story. Or the name of the school so the rest of us can google to search that school's paper.

Otherwise just don't bother posting this crap if you can't back it up.

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Response to ReaperX (Reply #14)

Fri Apr 26, 2013, 08:44 PM

16. A jury voted 6-0 to Leave It Alone

At Fri Apr 26, 2013, 05:34 PM an alert was sent on the following post:

Here's what really happened.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=2759741

REASON FOR ALERT:

This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate. (See <a href="http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=aboutus#communitystandards" target="_blank">Community Standards</a>.)

ALERTER'S COMMENTS:

Alerting for a jury review.

You served on a randomly-selected Jury of DU members which reviewed this post. The review was completed at Fri Apr 26, 2013, 05:40 PM, and the Jury voted 0-6 to LEAVE IT.

Juror #1 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: s.i.g.h.
Juror #2 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: What is wrong with you people? This does not need a jury review. The alerter needs a shrink!
Juror #3 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: What?
Juror #4 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given
Juror #5 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: Sounds like an apt description of how our economy functions right now. I see no reason this should have been alerted on. It's not right wing at all.
Juror #6 voted to LEAVE IT ALONE and said: No explanation given

Thank you very much for participating in our Jury system, and we hope you will be able to participate again in the future.

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Response to ReaperX (Reply #14)

Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:28 AM

17. And then Atlas Shrugged, but not until after he had given a 200 page, long-winded

bloviating monologue full of bad writing.

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