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Subject:  Mr. President, the worst thing you've done... Date:  1/12/2013  10:56 AM
Author:  CCinOC Number:  666006 of 753920

Mr. President, the worst thing you’ve done is you sent a message to America in your reelection campaign that we live in a zero-sum universe.

That is, there's a fixed amount of good things. Life is a pizza. If some people have too many slices, other people have to eat the pizza box. You had no answer to Mitt Romney’s argument for more pizza parlors baking more pizzas. The solution to our problems, you said, is redistribution of the pizzas we’ve got—-with low-cost, government-subsidized pepperoni somehow materializing as the result of higher taxes on pizza-parlor owners.

In your zero-sum universe, there's only so much happiness. The idea is that if we wipe the smile off the faces of people with prosperous businesses and successful careers, that will make the rest of us grin.

There's only so much money. The people who have money are hogging it. The way for the rest of us to get money is to turn the hogs into bacon.

The evil of zero-sum thinking and redistributive politics has nothing to do with which things are taken or to whom those things are given or what the sum of zero things is supposed to be. The evil lies in denying people the right, the means, and indeed the duty to make more things.

Last week I wrote about the crisis of unemployment in Europe. I received a great deal of feedback, with Europeans agreeing that this is the core problem and Americans arguing that the United States has the same problem, asserting that U.S. unemployment is twice as high as the government's official unemployment rate. My counterargument is that unemployment in the United States isn't a problem in the same sense that it is in Europe because it doesn't pose a geopolitical threat. The United States doesn't face political disintegration from unemployment, whatever the number is. Europe might.

At the same time, I would agree that the United States faces a potentially significant but longer-term geopolitical problem deriving from economic trends. The threat to the United States is the persistent decline in the middle class standard of living, a problem that's reshaping the social order that's been in place since World War II and that, if it continues, poses a threat to American power. ~P. J. O'Rourke

Barack Owebama = worst president ever.
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