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March 8, 2019 | What the French Could Teach AOC…

Is an American author of books and articles on economic and financial subjects. He is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, and author of the daily financial column, Diary of a Rogue Economist.

LA PAMPA GRANDE, ARGENTINA – Comes word that the Democrats are up to more mischief.

Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) was expected to introduce a new tax bill earlier this week. The senator says his bill would tax the sale of stocks, bonds, and derivatives at a 0.1 rate. It would apply to any transaction in the United States. The senator says his proposal would clamp down on speculation and some high-frequency trading that artificially creates more market volatility.

This is the latest of many proposals to fund what the Democrats are calling a Green New Deal – that is, to further socialize the U.S. economy.

It’s not enough that medical care, education, retirement… and dozens of other industries are substantially socialized… or that Wall Street’s losses are socialized (the profits are still private – shared by the elite). The feds want to control even more.

 

Soft Socialism

Proponents typically look to Europe for guidance. They see Denmark, Sweden, and Norway and believe “soft socialism” isn’t so bad.

But there are many different forms of socialism. Bernie Sanders and AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) could just as well draw inspiration from Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy. Both economies were heavily socialized.

Between them – that is, 1940s Germany and Italy on one side, and present-day Scandinavia – is France… both geographically and ideologically.

And it is to the French that we turn to today… to see where this Green New Deal may be headed… and to mock one of its major proponents.

In this regard, we are especially fortunate. For there, we have not only a reliable reporter on the scene… but one of our own blood, who shares our sense of awe and amusement with the pretensions and conceits of public life… our son, Henry.

France has its “Green Deal” too, which it calls the “Great Transition.” The French feds are fully behind it… pushing an ambitious agenda, which aims to eliminate the internal combustion engine by 2050.

In 2017, they appointed a special cabinet-level officer, a Minister of Ecological and Social Transition, Nicolas Hulot. It is this goofball that we will make fun of today. For this week, he came down from the mountain with a plan worthy of a mental defective.

 

Paris Correspondent

Jesus only had two rules.

Moses brought 10 with him from Mount Sinai.

Mike Pompeo made 12 demands of Iran, or he would unleash the “strongest sanctions in history.”

Woodrow Wilson went to Europe with 14 points.

But Monsieur Hulot came up with an astounding 66 propositions! (Only Martin Luther outdid him, with 95 theses.) And here, we turn to our correspondent in Paris, with further details:

These [propositions] concern society, government, and the environment. And they’re completely wacko.

Mr. Hulot’s proposals bear on just about everything… all aspects of life. From the makeup of your neighborhood, to your job, to the insulation in your house, to the way people do business, to where your food comes from.

And then, there are the penalties… those are the funniest. You will be punished if your house fails to meet the standards of “eco-responsibility.” You will be punished if you drive a diesel car or truck. You will be punished if you invest to make money, rather than to support the Green New Deal. And you will be punished if you try to build… or pass to your children… an inheritance.

But Mr. Hulot is not doing this just to be mean. He loves humans so much… he just wishes there were fewer of them. And he wants them to live as he directs – getting checks from the government and living in well-insulated “social housing” projects.

But wait… it gets worse.

Mr. Hulot doesn’t lack imagination. Au contraire, he thinks he knows exactly what the earth and humanity itself should look like. And he wants to make it illegal for anything or anyone to be in any way different.

Most of his 66 propositions are simply calls for more taxes and more government spending. He wants, particularly, more housing, “public… and very public.” He wants the frog feds to condemn any house that doesn’t meet his environmental standards.

He also wants to stop employers from getting rid of non-performing workers. That is, you would not be permitted to fire or lay off employees, without government consent.

And, of course, he wants to increase taxes on wealth and on corporate dividends. There’s not much new about that. But what is new is even crazier.

 

Proposition 27

Henry continues…

Take Proposition 27, for example.

“Adjust executive pay according to the ‘social and environmental performance’ of the business, not just the financial results.”

We imagine that means that everyone from your butcher to your banker would get a bonus or penalty, determined by the government and not by the businesses themselves.

But what is “social and environmental performance”? And what will be left of French enterprise when the government decides the compensation of its executives? And if they’re going to do that, why not set the salaries of everyone?

That’s coming too. Hulot wants private salaries calibrated to the government’s minimum wages (Proposition No. 10) and “job classifications re-evaluated to increase pay for work that is mostly done by women” (Proposition No. 19)… and “upper limits on executive compensation” (Proposition No. 34)…

…But let’s go to another of his gassiest delusions. He also wants the feds to decide a business’ profit margin! Proposition No. 35:

“Negotiate the sharing of the profit margin inside the business and with its subcontractors.”

It’s mad. And terrifying.

And here’s one last one. He insists that the debt run up by the government to pay for all of his wackiness “won’t count.” Proposition No. 53: “Take out the ‘investments’ for the transition from the calculation of ‘public deficit’ from the European rules.”

[This needs a little explanation for American readers. Members of the European Union share a common currency, the euro. In order to protect the euro and the solvency of the Union, member countries are not allowed to run deficits of more than 3% of GDP. Back to Henry…]

This would take away one of the last practical barriers to infinite debt.

The bottom line is that your projects, your business, your money don’t count. What counts is what Mr. Hulot wants.

He stopped at 66 propositions. He probably could have gone on and added more.

Yes, Dear Reader, they can always come up with more. And coming your way. More taxes. More punishments. More projects. More goony things you have to do because they want you to.

They are already at the wheel in France. In America, fighting for control of the driver’s seat. But it hardly matters; they all seem to be headed in the same direction.

As for us at the Diary, we stay away from politics. We don’t care whether they call themselves socialists or Trumpistas; we just don’t like anyone telling us what to do.

Regards,

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Bill

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March 8th, 2019

Posted In: Bill Bonner's Diary

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