Permalink to There Will Be No Soda Served On The Road To Serfdom

There Will Be No Soda Served On The Road To Serfdom

 

Many thanks to Ricochet member Trace Urdan for sharing this report.

NYC Mayor Bloomberg, conqueror of french fries and czar of smoking zones wants to now use his powers over perfectionist living to OUTLAW food stamp recipients from buying soda.

While I prefer workfare to welfare for some to keep the rolls honest, other folks are on welfare because they truly can’t compete – the very young, the very old and the very sick. Social Security is not socialism, but a Capitalist’s moral safety net

Two points to be made here.

First – we don’t buy and own welfare recipients with our largess, and certainly don’t want someone who may have had some bad beats in life to suffer the further indignity of being told they aren’t worthy of the occasional guilty pleasure of an orange crush.

Second – as the illustration from Friedrich Hayek’s work suggests, once we give government any power over our freedoms, they’ll take the rest. Remember, Mayor (Nanny) Bloomberg’s ban on trans fats applies to all of us – not just food stamp recipients.

Hey Mayor Bloomberg – If you want to share an historical signal with early 20th century fascists, keep the trains running on time like Mussolini did. Beyond that, leave your neighbor alone!

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Members have made 35 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Jerry Carroll Inactive

    I wonder why Bloomberg maintains the pretense that he is an independent. He belongs in the same ideological camp as his fellow billionaire George Soros.

    • #1
    • October 8, 2010 at 4:59 am
  2. Profile photo of cdor Member

    So why does this guy get re-elected? I need to get out of my cacoon to understand his popularity. Everything I read about him disgusts me. It is not the least bit surprising, however, for a nanny government proponent such as Bloomberg to sign on to this particular innitiative. If the Great Mayor outlaws foods that free people wish to buy with their own earned money, one would naturally assume he feels the need and power to tell people receiving “government” money what they can eat or drink. There are many negative points to make about Bloomberg, but the funniest was his assuming, immediately after the Times Square bomb attempt, that it was some right wing Teaba**er that must have been responsible. Hello, Mr Mayor…what world have you been living in the last 15 years?

    • #2
    • October 8, 2010 at 5:00 am
  3. Profile photo of The Mugwump Inactive

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the poor not getting their fair share of vice. Food stamps in whatever form they take are redeemable on the black market for virtually anything. The black market provideth what the government taketh away. So shall it ever be. As I tell my leftist friends, capitalism is spontaneous, voluntary and completely organic. Learn to love it.

    • #3
    • October 8, 2010 at 5:16 am
  4. Profile photo of River Inactive
    Your Grace: I wonder why Bloomberg maintains the pretense that he is an independent. He belongs in the same ideological camp as his fellow billionaire George Soros.

    Soros wrote in ‘The Alchemy of Finance’, “…I fancied myself as some kind of god… these expectations were excessive, and I kept them hidden as a guilty secret… a source of considerable unhappiness through… my adult life…. [but] reality came close enough to my fantasy to allow me to admit my secret… Needless to say, I feel much happier as a result.’

    cdor: So why does this guy [Bloomberg] get re-elected?… Everything I read about him disgusts me. It is not the least bit surprising, however, for a nanny government proponent such as Bloomberg to sign on to this particular innitiative. If the Great Mayor outlaws foods that free people wish to buy… one would naturally assume he feels the need and power to tell people receiving “government” money what they can eat or drink….

    cdor,

    We’re being tested, and that test is demonstrating – once and for all – what our price is; whether or not we’re willing to sell our inheritance of freedom and liberty for “a mess of pottage”.

    • #4
    • October 8, 2010 at 5:26 am
  5. Profile photo of cdor Member

    The problem, River, is that you wake up one morning and say, “How did this happen?” Well it didn’t just happen. It has been happening for 70 or 80 years, a little bit at a time. It is so subtle, that we don’t even know we are being tested.

    • #5
    • October 8, 2010 at 5:48 am
  6. Profile photo of River Inactive
    cdor: The problem, River, is that you wake up one morning and say, “How did this happen?” Well it didn’t just happen. It has been happening for 70 or 80 years, a little bit at a time. It is so subtle, that we don’t even know we are being tested. · Oct 8 at 5:48am

    Veritas quidem, cdor. I peg the turning point at around 1900, with 1914 as the visible beginning of the End Times.

    All the great and terrible changes begin almost invisibly, innocently (to our eyes), like sprouting seeds.

    • #6
    • October 8, 2010 at 6:04 am
  7. Profile photo of liberal jim Inactive

    I note that you say the illustration form FH’s work suggests and not that FH suggests. Hayek clearly does not think that “once we give government any power over are freedoms, they’ll take the rest,” but he certainly does not deny this possibility. I am sure you are aware of this. Why do you want to give the impression he does? I agree with your overall argument, but not this premise.

    • #7
    • October 8, 2010 at 6:16 am
  8. Profile photo of Bulldawg Inactive

    “He who pays the piper, calls the tune.”

    You wanna drink sody water, get off the dole.

    Or, more preferably, get rid of the dole.

    • #8
    • October 8, 2010 at 6:29 am
  9. Profile photo of SoNowThen Inactive
    Tommy De Seno

    Social Security IS socialism

    Redacted for truth (purely in good nature).

    The very young have a harder time competing because of minimum wage laws. The very old had a long time to save and prepare. As to the very sick… that’s what insurance and friends are for (plus this is a pretty exceptional case). If we don’t want the bossy nanny to force us to eat vegetables and make us go to bed before we are tired, we shan’t have her there to pick us up and bandage our knee when we fall down.

    Tommy, if, as you say, Capitalists need a moral safety net, do you think it is not possible for this to be culturally motivated rather than legislated by the state?

    • #9
    • October 8, 2010 at 7:16 am
  10. Profile photo of Trace Inactive

    I posted this to FB and facetiously asked the question whether Michael Bloomberg might actually succeed in getting welfare recipients to join the Tea Party, at which point I received this reply:

    “I agree, which is what makes ‘Tell the government to keep their hands off my Food Stamps’ as absurd as the ‘Tell the government to keep their hands off my Medicare’ argument.”

    My liberal friend made a good point. As much as I find the Mayor’s efforts to be obnoxious, paternalistic, social engineering, it’s hard to fight the argument that if you want to deal with the devil, you have to accept his terms.

    • #10
    • October 8, 2010 at 7:25 am
  11. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author
    liberal jim: I note that you say the illustration form FH’s work suggests and not that FH suggests. Hayek clearly does not think that “once we give government any power over are freedoms, they’ll take the rest,” but he certainly does not deny this possibility. I am sure you are aware of this. Why do you want to give the impression he does? I agree with your overall argument, but not this premise. · Oct 8 at 6:16am

    I wasn’t sure if Hayek was responsible for the illustrations that appeared in LIfe Magazine, which is why I phrased it that way.

    And I guess you and I disagree – I think Hayek’s point is of the “give and inch, take a mile” variety.

    • #11
    • October 8, 2010 at 7:40 am
  12. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    SoNowThen:

    When I speak of the young – I’m taking about the under 14 set. When I say old – I speak of the far too worn to work old. When I speak of the sick, I mean the actually can’t hold a job sick.

    Capitalism is based upon the great competition for capital. Those I speak of can’t compete (you’d get no thrill beating a no-armed man in a boxing match, I’m sure).

    So Capitalism, as part of its own structure, must have built in it at the very least a subsistence level for those who can’t join the contest. That’s what Social Security was designed to do.

    Socialism, on the other hand, is when we start handing out government largess to those who can compete.

    Social Security, in it’s original intention, is good, moral capitalism. It may have grown into something else (as many warned).

    • #12
    • October 8, 2010 at 7:50 am
  13. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator
    Tommy De Seno:

    …When I say old – I speak of the far too worn to work old… Social Security, in it’s original intention, is good, moral capitalism.

    When you speak of “Social Security”, are you speaking of the safety net in general, or specifically of that entity that takes money from the paychecks of working people, puts it into a nonexistent “trust fund”, and cuts checks to retirees?

    Given that the older tend to have far more accumulated wealth than the younger (got this from Sowell et al), what is there to prevent them from using this wealth to care for themselves in retirement, even if they’re now too old to work?

    Also, why does our Social Security system dole out to the wealthy-and-old and the middle-class-and-old rather than only to the truly indigent and old?

    I’ve seen with my own eyes Social Security payments corrupt “bourgeois virtues”, seen the middle-class elderly not plan for the future as they should have (and could have) because they implicitly assumed “someone else” would take care of them.

    • #13
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:07 am
  14. Profile photo of Michael Tee Inactive
    River
    cdor: The problem, River, is that you wake up one morning and say, “How did this happen?” Well it didn’t just happen. It has been happening for 70 or 80 years, a little bit at a time. It is so subtle, that we don’t even know we are being tested. · Oct 8 at 5:48am
    Veritas quidem, cdor. I peg the turning point at around 1900, with 1914 as the visible beginning of the End Times.

    All the great and terrible changes begin almost invisibly, innocently (to our eyes), like sprouting seeds. · Oct 8 at 6:04am

    The turning point had to be earlier than that. 1859 at least.

    • #14
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:18 am
  15. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    MFR – Not all of the elderly are rich or even have pensions. I’m willing to talk about means testing on the elderly.

    But we do have to have the a security net for the elderly person who was a pensionless wage earner.

    • #15
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:22 am
  16. Profile photo of G.A. Dean Member

    My wife tells me she heard an interview of NPR yesterday with a food stamp recipient in NYC who said that if these controls go into effect people will probably just stop using food stamps.

    I guess that’s supposed to scare us, or perhaps shame us.

    Strangely I feel neither ashamed or frightened that food stamps may go out of fashion. While I fully agree that I have no business telling people how to spend their own money, I’m equally comfortable suggesting how they spend my money.

    • #16
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:24 am
  17. Profile photo of SoNowThen Inactive

    Tommy, “we” may have to have a safety net (meaning as a society it is probably an overall benefit to actually help each other) but what I am asking is do you think this must come from the government? If the social security concept works then why can’t it be implemented in private rather than public? You and I can agree that basic human decency says lend someone a hand when they are down, but this is fundamentally an issue of personal, private help, I believe.

    Anyway, for consideration: http://mises.org/daily/2586

    • #17
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:38 am
  18. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator
    Tommy De Seno: MFR – Not all of the elderly are rich or even have pensions. I’m willing to talk about means testing on the elderly.

    But we do have to have the a security net for the elderly person who was a pensionless wage earner. · Oct 8 at 8:22am

    Pensionless and poor, right? Because I know at least one old dude who doesn’t get a pension, but made millions when he was younger and has no need of any safety net now because he saved well.

    Sure, let’s means-test the future elderly. (The current elderly — those who believe that they should get back what they paid in all those years — are understandably a bit hostile to having means-testing applied to them now.)

    • #18
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:41 am
  19. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive

    By the way, about a month ago Mike Murphy was explaining to a certain ignorant Ricochet member how smart it was to secure Bloomberg’s endorsement of Meg Whitman.

    Did that every actually happen?

    If it did, I missed it.

    • #19
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:43 am
  20. Profile photo of Michael Tee Inactive
    Tommy De Seno:

    So Capitalism, as part of its own structure, must have built in it at the very least a subsistence level for those who can’t join the contest. That’s what Social Security was designed to do.

    Socialism, on the other hand, is when we start handing out government largess to those who can compete.

    Social Security, in it’s original intention, is good, moral capitalism. It may have grown into something else (as many warned). · Oct 8 at 7:50a

    First, what happened to the little platoons of society that are supposed to help those who are not able to compete? The churches, the families, the charitable organizations?

    Second, it is erroneous to describe the government regressive taxation policy whereby the poor support the rich and also burdens unborn citizens because of the national debt incurred by the program as capitalism.

    • #20
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:47 am
  21. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive

    During the Clinton years, when every new spending initiative was justifed by the phrase “for the children”, I used to say that fascism won’t march into America in jackboots, it will toddle in wearing baby booties.

    Now it appears that instead of brownshirts, there’ll be parades of cafeteria ladies in aprons and hairnets, wielding carrot sticks.

    • #21
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:49 am
  22. Profile photo of Kenneth Inactive
    Michael Tee

    First, what happened to the little platoons of society that are supposed to help those who are not able to compete? The churches, the families, the charitable organizations?

    Well, Michael, with taxation at all levels taking somewhere around 60% of my income, I just don’t seem to have a lot of extra cash to fund those “little platoons”.

    And that, of course, is just fine with the statists.

    • #22
    • October 8, 2010 at 8:53 am
  23. Profile photo of Diane Ellis Contributor

    Like Trace and G.A. Dean, I have no problem dictating the terms of use of my tax dollars when it comes to food stamps. I’d actually go a lot further in dictating the terms of use in this instance. Instead of just outlawing the purchase of sugary drinks, why not insist that all able-bodied collectors of food stamps do some work for the community? I know there’s some type of work requirement/search for work requirement already. But why not really get some work out of these folks? There are hundreds of projects in every community that could use attention, and lots of unemployed people collecting foodstamps. Seems like a perfect source of labor. Then the people who collect the foodstamps would earn the dignity of working for their livelihood, and they’d pick up a new skill.

    • #23
    • October 8, 2010 at 9:10 am
  24. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    The problem with leaving the safety net to the churches is that they aren’t involved in the capitalist contest either.

    Since our governmental system is based around the contest, I see no problem in building in a govenment net for those who can’t (I stress can’t) compete.

    Diane when you speak of folks who can do workfare, I’m not talking about them. I’m not speaking of those who are just losing the contest. I mean the ones who can’t be in the contest.

    Maybe to claify, when I say “the young, the old and the sick” as exemplars I mean the 4 year old, the 90 year old and the MS sufferer confined to a wheel chair.

    They literally can’t compete. Capitalism has in its structure a net for them.

    • #24
    • October 8, 2010 at 9:53 am
  25. Profile photo of Demaratus Thatcher
    Tommy De Seno: Since our governmental system is based around the contest, I see no problem in building in a govenment net for those who can’t (I stress can’t) compete.

    Tommy, here’s the key jump in your reasoning, and it’s a flaw in your argument. Just because you don’t know of or can’t imagine a problem with the government doing these things doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem.

    Hayek’s book goes into great detail on just some of the structual reasons of why the government cannot _ever_ effectively manage programs like these without devolving eventually into blatent tyranny.

    Other conservative writes have outlined a littany of reasons why individual welfare-state programs have very negative impacts on the economy, on civil society, and on personal moral norms.

    Setting these reasons aside, though, explain why a country like ours full of many good, moral people would _not_ prevent, through the personal generosity of many of these people, anyone that they know of from starving to death or dying of exposure? Anyone willing to accept these people’s generosity and a few reasonable demands in exhange like no drug use or violence?

    • #25
    • October 8, 2010 at 10:41 am
  26. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member
    G.A. Dean: While I fully agree that I have no business telling people how to spend their own money, I’m equally comfortable suggesting how they spend my money.

    I agree with a caveat. It should be clear when our money is offered whether or not we will apply conditions to the gift. The potential recipient should know the terms before accepting.

    Tommy De Seno: The problem with leaving the safety net to the churches is that they aren’t involved in the capitalist contest either.

    You talk as if our capitalist system operates in isolation from the many other aspects of our society.

    The key factor, as I see it, is cultural attitudes regarding family and neighbors. Though I’m sure it didn’t work in all scenarios, family structures used to be larger and more interdependent. Not only did people have more children, who were expected to care for their parents later in life, but they also had cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc.

    I’ve helped care for old and disabled people of all walks of life, poor and rich, throughout my life. The best care comes from family and neighbors. I generally agree with SoNowThen.

    • #26
    • October 8, 2010 at 11:37 am
  27. Profile photo of Aaron Miller Member
    Tommy De Seno

    What’s stopping those generous people you speak of from acting right now? I’m from a very small City, and we have homeless people year round.

    We have government shelters, too, yet homeless people remain. Neither government nor private charity can completely eliminate suffering, injustice, hunger, etc. We do what we can. Free will, unpredictable events and various factors will always ensure that not everyone is healthy and happy.

    Tommy De Seno

    I don’t want to leave the 4 year old and the MS sufferer to the chance that private generosity will find them.

    Alright, so let’s treat those cases as we do emergency care. Rather than force taxpayers to be charitable to everyone who suffers, merely provide a service that the unfortunate can access if better help is not available when needed. The government system could advertise to private charities, “Hey, this person needs help” and provide basic care until those charities offer an acceptable degree of service. If government knows a person can be cared for privately, it is no longer obligated to provide its own services at taxpayer expense.

    Government involvement should be minimized; perhaps not eliminated entirely, I agree.

    • #27
    • October 9, 2010 at 1:01 am
  28. Profile photo of Demaratus Thatcher
    Tommy De Seno

    What’s stopping those generous people you speak of from acting right now? I’m from a very small City, and we have homeless people year round.

    The welfare state. It’s corrosive to Burke’s little platoons. It saps the initiative and the wealth that people have had in the past to support their fellow man. Do remember the difference between charitable giving in the US versus Europe.

    IMHO, we’re lucky that we still have as much charity as we do today, despite the incentives to the contrary.

    • #28
    • October 9, 2010 at 1:13 am
  29. Profile photo of Midget Faded Rattlesnake Moderator
    Tommy De Seno

    What’s stopping those generous people you speak of from acting right now? I’m from a very small City, and we have homeless people year round.

    The specific problem of the homeless is a very tricky one, often having much do with mental illness or drug abuse that causes behavior that mimics mental illness. (I’ve read the de-institutionalization of the mentally-ill played a large factor in causing our current homeless problem.) For some really super articles on the homelessness problem, go here, to City Journal’s archives of articles on homelessness. Theodore Dalrymple also has written some eye-opening articles on this and related topics. For example, see his “Free to Choose” here.

    As for what stops me, personally, from directly helping the homeless people around me (instead of just supporting the local charities that help), it’s because the homeless around where I live (who have a high chance of being psychotic naturally or from drug abuse) are physically dangerous for a young woman with few self-defense skills to approach. My family — particularly my husband — doesn’t look kindly on my endangering myself that way.

    • #29
    • October 9, 2010 at 2:28 am
  30. Profile photo of Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno Post author

    MFR: I hear you. I was very involved in the issue of what to do with the homeless in Asbury Park.

    • #30
    • October 9, 2010 at 3:18 am
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