Oct 18, 2008

Hometown Piracy, Economics, and Swedish Socialism

I just had a long conversation with my Swedish neighbor. Seems he is still getting his ass handed to him by the the corrupt locals and officials, plus tourism and trade is down and he's now pining for the socialism of Sweden, where he will prosper personally whether he works hard or not, have his six week vacations and free health care.

But he has the temerity to tell me that we must elect Obama because things can't keep going like they are. Sure they can, I tell him. It's worked marvelously for over 200 years.

He did concede that all of the world's richest people come from the U.S. ; it's why his boss sent him here-- to grow another business. Land of opportunity, still!

He has no economic sense because he's grown up in a cocoon of security. We spoke of taxes and how he'll need to raise his rates even higher so that he can continue to make a living, how it won't actually affect him as much as his customers... all the baseline realities of income and expense, profit and payout, and who ultimately pays for business taxes. His pay has been subsidized by his boss back in Sweden, and he's supposed to make money here in the U.S. But he's made the mistake of thinking this pirate town is as sweet and orderly as others.

And for this he insisted that Socialism was superior.

Well yeah, when you don't have to worry about due diligence in your business plans, no researching of locale and local officials. (The city here actually told him they had no drawings of the municipal marina and he was forced to spend $30k for a private contractor to provide plans. I believe him, because when I worked in the tourism industry here, the local Chamber told me they had no historical information about hotel occupancy. In a tourist town. Yeah, right.) They treated him like a babe in the woods. Which he is. He may be very intelligent, but he is culturally as ignorant as a Third Worlder. In fact, the Third Worlders fare much better here because they understand corruption and bribery. However, my neighbor's boss has plenty of money, and this project is just that: a social service for his friend and employee, so the personal loss is covered. Safe. As long as his boss has money.

We talked more about business, profit margins and health care. Nothing got through to him until he expressed a desire to pay his employees more. I pounced. I told him to sell his Escalade, take his kid out of private school, and move to a more modest residence and he could do so. You'd have thought I punched him between the eyes. He had no answer. The wheels began to stubbornly turn.

I told him that Socialism demands that sort of sacrifice, (indeed, my nabe tells me he gets to keep very little of his money because of all the taxes there) but Communism will hold a gun to your head and force you to share everything, so why not just give me the keys to your home and let me pick out what I want, we'll call it even.

To his credit, he got it. Fortunately, life really is easier for him in Sweden, which is okay if the rest of the world will let him keep it. Perhaps his stay here will help him consider that maybe the world won't let him keep it.

But I can't imagine such a life, with no real incentives or goals or frontiers to work toward. Maybe that's the real "American" difference that has been lost in the DC/NY corridor of punditry: the Pioneers, Daniel Boones, Lewis and Clarks for whom the status quo was okay, but not enough.

Is it wrong? Wrong to push, strive for more, investigate more thoroughly, discover more, create more, and yes, conquer human enemies of poverty and ignorance? Because this is our national identity. This is what it means to be American. Not the jobs we hold, or the neighborhoods we live in, or the things we enjoy. We're not racists, or greedy war mongerers, or zenophobic isolationists until the racist, isolationist and greedy pundits in the Northeast say so, apparently.

I reject that notion. And I reject Socialism, especially the pretty, sleepy and ultimately dangerous kind generated by Sweden.

Oh, I see it's been eleven months since I last wrote about my sweet, Swedish neighbors here. I'd forgotten. I don't have to work with him anymore on committees since I am no longer in the tourism industry here, but he just reaffirmed my post of last year. Except that he's learning, slowly, that the world isn't gonna just bow down to beautiful Swedish idealism. It's full of pirates and others who want what you have, and will take it from you. He's waking up just in time to see he's not up to the task. Good for him, and his family.

Me? Give me the struggle, as long as the reward is equal to it. Sleep is for when we're dead.

Wake up and work for what you cherish. Your vote is being negated by corruption. That should make you mad enough to march, demonstrate, file a lawsuit, and demand accountability. Don't worry, when you lose your job you'll have nothing but time on your hands. Just like Community Organizers.

It ain't over until you give up.


Velociman said...

I simply don't have enough time in my day to dedicate one minute to talking a socialist down from the ledge of his mind. Well, that and the restraining orders.

Joan of Argghh! said...

I've been EXTREMELY bored while recuperating from surgery. Like nobody can tell from lame-ass blogging.

Sparrow said...

We spoke of taxes and how he'll need to raise his rates even higher so that he can continue to make a living, how it won't actually affect him as much as his customers... all the baseline realities of income and expense, profit and payout, and who ultimately pays for business taxes.

This is another fallacy, that simply passing taxes along to the consumer solves the problem, forgetting the simple fact that changes in price can affect consumer behavior (another thing that the government always forgets when changing taxes). A recent example of this was in New York State, where the state upped the taxes on cigarettes by whopping 1.25 a pack. This resulted in my company (a convenience store chain) losing almost 30% in unit sales as consumers looked for gray market (out of state) sources or Indian Reservation sales or quit. Forget the fact that it's cigarettes and it's not a bad thing if people quit; it's a clear example of how tax increases cannot simply be passed along to the consumer without some effect on sales, thereby affecting the company negatively.

Additionally, the state hoped to collect more taxes, but in actuality it pushed people into tax avoidance strategies which will likely decrease actual collections.

Thus endeth the lesson. Pass it on to the Swede.

Jim - PRS said...

Which is why Sweden is such an international powerhouse.

Velociman said...

Well, I for one salute Sweden's contribution to low-budget, graphic 16mm pornography. Although it's hard to tell how hot the porn star is when the camera is wedged up her uterus. Oh, I'm sorry. Those were "medical training films".

Joan of Argghh! said...

So that's the sum of your Coast Guard training, Vman?

dogette said...

"talking a socialist down from the ledge of his mind" = exactly!

Velociman said...

Well, that and it doesn't make sense to risk a $4 million helicopter because some retard took their boat out in a storm.

Joan of Argghh! said...

$4 million? That old P3 Orion that just buzzed my condo couldn't cost more than $500k, tops. Don't know what the hell it's doing here.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Me? Give me the struggle, as long as the reward is equal to it. Sleep is for when we're dead."

Damn straight, Joan!
Hell, the struggle, the challenge is what developes character.
Of course, socialcommies don't give a fig about character or individual liberty.

PeggyU said...

Joan: One of my friends has a supervisor at her workplace. The man is Dutch, or was until about a month ago when he finally became a naturalized citizen - after living here for over 20 years. Why now? Because he decided he wanted to cast a vote for Obama. He believes we need socialized medicine here. I say he can go back to the goddamned Netherlands and live among the Muzzies and get his rationed healthcare there! Why impose it on those who don't want it?