12 May 2009

Obama's Economic Plan Will Cost Nothing, Really

There is a way of looking at the Messiah's economic plan, which should allay all our fears about the costs. It is an explicitly Marxist way of looking at it: Money isn't real.

That's what someone should tell Rush Limbaugh. Maybe then, he'll stop worrying about the $1.8 trillion budget deficit and the $9 trillion dollar national debt. As the saying goes, "Freedom isn't free." And the best kind of freedom -- freedom from necessity and fear -- is going to cost a lot.

[T]he realm of freedom...begins only where labour which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases.... Freedom...can only consist in socialised man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and achieving this...under conditions most favourable to... their human nature. But it nonetheless still remains a realm of necessity. Beyond [the realm of necessity] begins that development of human energy which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom.... ~ Karl Marx, Capital, vol. III (emphases mine).
In the furor over His Beatitude's stimulus organ, many of the complaints have stemmed not merely from the unconstitutional nature of many of the measures (e.g., government virtual take-over of banks, actual take-over of car companies, incremental dismantling of Wall Street, sending lynch mobs to executives' homes) but from the increase in the national debt, as well as the deficit spending entailed. The cost will, they assert, be staggering.

Actually it isn't going to cost anything. Nothing at all. You see, the reason stuff costs anything at all is because the parasitic exploiters among us attach a price to their wares. And, in fact, this price is exploitative precisely because it is higher than the cost of production. When His Beatitude and his genuflecting courtiers have finished redesigning the economy, exploitation, costs and prices will be things of the past.

When you have a right to what you need, you should receive what you require at no cost. Some object because this means that others will bear the costs. But one day this will not be the case: nothing to which we have a right should have any cost at all. Price, a blind force of nature to which we must no longer be enslaved, will be abolished. Besides, money is a legal fiction anyway. And even if it isn't, gold and silver certainly are not monies, any more than the means of production transformed into capital is really capital (see Capital, Ch. 48, I, here). Capital isn't a thing; it's a relation. And money isn't a thing either. In reality, then, none of this is really going to cost anyone anything! Complaints about the costs of all this are part of the economy which His Beatitude is redesigning for us, an economy which "does no more than interpret, systematise and defend in doctrinaire fashion the conceptions of the agents of bourgeois production who are entrapped in bourgeois production relations" (Capital, Ch. 48, III). When he, has finished his great labors there will be no costs associated with anything, and, therefore, no deficit and no national debt.

Pardon me while I break spontaneously into doxology:

O, happy day, happy day.
He'll wash our debts away.
O, happy day, happy day.
We'll never be in need.
Forever we'll be free.

Ah. I feel so much better.

More important than the costs associated with His Beatitude's organ, however, is the assault on freedom which some of believe is entailed. The actual fact of the matter is this (and it makes sense when you understand the leftists' conception of rights). The left simply have a completely different view of freedom. This explains why right and left often sound like they are talking past each other. It also explains how leftists, with their speech codes and all, can assert their love of freedom with a straight face. Ultimately the left's conception of freedom is a whole lot like Marx's conception, oddly enough.

The most important freedoms must be from want and fear. It entails man's control over his environment and so controlling it -- centrally, of course -- that man shall have every need supplied with the least amount of labor. Labor will continue, of course, but for reasons other than bleeding and sweating for the basic necessities of life; and it shall also be distributed equally to all. We'll be living like they do in Star Trek, where things cost "credits" not "dollars" -- to the extent that anything has a cost in that silly universe.

You see, right now, the work involved in living is performed by the many. The many are poor. Those who do the least labor are the few, the wealthy. You see the unfairness. The many work the most, and have the least. The few work the least (if you can even call it work), and have the most.

To experience true freedom, man must be free from having his work determined for him by "necessity and mundane considerations." This includes even those necessities and "mundane considerations" caused by recessions, which have to be done away as well, by doing away with the boom in the first place, which, as Timothy Geithner told Charlie Rose on 6 May (from about 21:25 to 25:00, specifically at 24:02) is what the Obama administration is trying to do. No other freedom really matters. And the desire for such freedoms is really, when you think about it from the Marxist perspective, a desire to commit crimes against humanity.

So, one simply has to disagree with Michael Maiello's argument that Obama is simply an oligarch, not a socialist. It's not as if the two are mutually exclusive. Better informed is Zac Bissonette, who argues that Obama is a Russian-style oligarch. That's a little more like it.

I think Maiello doesn't understand how socialism works during that period of time before it is fully realized. If he did, he'd know why I still favor the Obama-as-socialist thesis. In the long run -- which is the more relevant perspective, when dealing with socialists -- I think it true that he is a socialist, regardless who benefits immediately from his largesse. But these "benefits" will only continue while money is treated as if it is something real, which it isn't. (I could be wrong. Maiello may understand. But, at this point, I'm disinclined to believe he does.)

Actually, since the choice is not really between Obama the Oligarch and Obama the Socialist, I'm still inclined to stay with my assertion that, like his predecessor, he is a Keynesian.

Note: I think the Charlie Rose interview with Timothy Geithner makes clearer than almost anything else could, that one of the other purposes of His Beatitude's policies is to increase confidence not to the market (as if!), but to increase confidence in government. Moreover, it will be interesting to watch them prevent the next boom. After all, how do they know where in the market it will take place? Clearly, they don't. Not only that, they can't tell the difference between a legitimate boom, led by entrepreneurs in response to real, unmolested interest rates (and less devastating than the typical, artificial booms created by money supply inflateion and credit expansion) and fed-created, artificial booms. I guess Geithner means they want to prevent the next fed-created boom. Yeah. Right.


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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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