Monday, September 29, 2014

Is America "Communist?"

ZeroHedge takes a stab at this question, and concludes we are 70% communist.  I have to disagree.

Ushanka will not be online when the US reaches 70%.

I'm quick to throw the "Commie" term around.  You could say I'm "Liberal" with the communist label.  But so far I've only referred to government employees who I think share the ideals and inspirations of famous communist leaders.  They, so far, lack the authority and support to act on those impulses.  They must push their agenda by indirect means.

ZH lists Karl Marx's ten demands and claims seven are met.  Their assessment, and mine:

1. Abolition of private property.  ZH: Yes (eminent domain and property tax).  Ushanka: No.  Owners are paid fair value.

2. Abolish inheritance.  ZH: Partial. (inheritance tax).  Ushanka: Partial.  Tax is partial.  High, but inheritance is still intact.

3. Centralization of transportation.  ZH: Yes. (federal freeways)  Ushanka: No.  US travelers pick their destination, departure date, route and means.  Stalin's trains and black mariah vans moved political prisoners.

4. Centralization of communication.  ZH: Yes. (permit to transmit)  Ushanka: Partial.  Private technology companies partnering, under duress, with the NSA suggests this is becoming true.

5. Centralization of food production.  ZH: Yes. (Dept. of Agriculture)  Ushanka: Partial.  The attacks on small farms and organic farmers limit consumer choices and set a bad precedent.

6. Full (100%) employment.  ZH: Yes.  Ushanka: No.

7. Centralization of education.  ZH: Yes.  Ushanka: Yes.

8. Progressive income tax.  ZH: Yes.  Ushanka: Yes.

9. Confiscation of emigrants' property.  ZH: Yes. (exit taxes for those renouncing citizenship)  Ushanka: No.

10. Centralization of credit.  ZH: Yes. (Fed)  Ushanka: No.  The central bank concept preceded Karl Marx.  It is not ideal, but it is not a component of communism.

It is always a good exercise to compare notes:
ZH: 9 Yes, 1 Partial.  
Ushanka: 2 Yes, 3 Partial.
ZH is a great site in a portfolio of sites.  It is the pessimistic watchdog, always seeing the worst in every statistic and news event.  They have been right at times, and they will someday get to say "I told you so" when things become unraveled.  But if you had put your $ in only the investments they suggest in the past years, you'd likely lose 30-40% in precious metals, and missed out on 50+% gains in the stock market.   Which begs the question: If the brains behind ZH are so smart, why didn't they see today's market highs 2-3 years ago?

UPDATED 10.1.14 2pm:

A CNN article related to my comments above re: ZH - Zero Hedge: Wall Street's daily dose of doom and gloom.

Zero Hedge, a financial blog, offers a deeply conspiratorial, anti-establishment and pessimistic view of the world.

- - -

 "He is your archetypal brilliant eastern European dude who is great at mathematics and a very rigorous thinker," said Colas, who frequently trades emails with Ivandjiiski and checks Zero Hedge multiple times a day.

"He is the most consistent source of that totally off the grid or novel approach. You can agree or disagree, but I don't think he honestly cares. Every day he makes you think. That's hard as hell to do," said Colas.

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