Banks are evil, says the government, and banks must be punished for making money. That’s the story I see from a news report from the website of the British Guardian newspaper:

Tough proposals to cut the world’s biggest banks down to size by taxing their profits and pay were outlined by the International Monetary Fund tonight in an attempt to spare taxpayers another massive public bailout of the financial sector.

In measures more stringent than Wall Street and the City had expected, the fund called for the introduction of a twin-track approach to the three-year banking crisis that would both force firms to pay for any future support packages and raise new taxes on their profits and remuneration.

The report, prepared by the Washington-based institution for the G20 group of developed and developing nations, was seized upon by Gordon Brown as evidence that his push for an international crackdown on the banking sector was gaining support.

Leaked in advance of the fund’s meeting this weekend, the blueprint emerged as the investment bank Goldman Sachs released better than expected first quarter revenues and admitted its bonus and pay pool had reached $5.5bn (£3.3bn) in the first three months of 2010.

How dare banks make a profit in these times? Don’t banks realize that they are the root of all evil? Snarl! Gnash! Foam!

Sorry. I was channeling Karl Marx or maybe an Obama bureaucrat. It’s so hard to tell the difference these days. The bottom line is a multi-government attack on banks and other financial institutions as evil will only continue, and the call for a government solution (read that as more taxes) will echo in our capitol as well as around the world.

Don’t forget that our current financial problem came from the collapse of the housing industry, and that came because of government meddling in the free market. Since government intruded and distorted the normal market forces, it’s no wonder that government is now calling for more meddling in the form of additional taxes. Nobody loves a crisis as much as the government does. Or as President Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel put it, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” And what could be more tailor-made than a fiscal crisis created by the same liberals who now want to “fix” the problem through taxes?

The anticipated study called for a financial stability contribution (FSC), which should be paid by all financial institutions, not just banks, and used to bail out weak and failing firms. It would initially be paid at a flat rate but eventually be tailored to suit institutions’ size and riskiness.

While banks had been braced for the FSC plan, they were caught unawares by the proposal for a financial activities tax (FAT), which would be based on the profits and the pay structure of the firms.

That’s right, tax them to pay for the bailing out the government did to shore up the institutions that were undermined by that self-same government. After all, evil and greedy bankers shouldn’t be making a profit anyway. Don’t they realize that all profits are evil and wrong?

Unless that’s profit made by the government through taxes. That’s a good thing. Well, good for government, at least.

Once again the Democrats’ hatred for the rich is showing. Senator Joe Biden, the Democrat Vice Presidential candidate, is calling for the rich to do the “patriotic thing” and pay more taxes.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans. In a new TV ad that repeats widely debunked claims about the Democratic tax plan, the Republican campaign calls Obama’s tax increases “painful.”

Under the economic plan proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, people earning more than $250,000 a year would pay more in taxes while those earning less the vast majority of American taxpayers would receive a tax cut.

Although Republican John McCain claims that Obama would raise taxes, the independent Tax Policy Center and other groups conclude that four out of five U.S. households would receive tax cuts under Obama’s proposals.

“We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people,” Biden said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Noting that wealthier Americans would indeed pay more, Biden said: “It’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.” [emphasis mine - CM]

Oh, where to begin? Is Biden calling for the rich to voluntarily pay more taxes, or is he telling us that the rich should feel patriotism swelling in their breasts as the federal government taxes them more? Past behavior tells me that the Democrat idea here is for the federal government to levy more taxes on the rich. After all, vowing to hike taxes on the rich is a major plank of the Democrat party. Or as one person said, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The author of that little gem is Karl Marx, and the left loves it. Ain’t it interesting how mad they get when we correctly identify them as Marxists?

I wonder how Senator Barack Obama can say with a straight face that his tax plans would result in a tax cut for most Americans. Oh, wait! I know how he can do that — he’s a Marxist! Here’s the truth: Obama won’t renew the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 when they expire in 2010. When they do expire, every tax bracket will go up — every one. So how exactly does this plan cut taxes for the “vast majority of American taxpayers”? I’ll whisper the answer: it won’t.

The truth of the matter is that in life you get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish. And taxing people’s income is the same as punishing their income. When you punish an activity less, you shouldn’t be surprised to see that people voluntarily engage in that activity more often. Want Americans to earn more? Then stop punishing them for making money.

Don’t believe me? Fine. How about believing history?

In 2003, capital gains tax rates were reduced from 20 percent and 10 percent (depending on income) to 15 percent and 5 percent. Rather than expand by 36 percent from the current $50 billion level to $68 billion in 2006 as the CBO projected before the tax cut, capital gains revenues more than doubled to $103 billion. Past capital gains tax cuts have shown similar results.

Obama’s plan will call for the capital gains tax rates to go back to 2003 levels, reversing the trend that caused federal revenues to double because people were being punished less for investing. If the Democrats are serious about increasing federal revenues, they would make the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent. But Democrats won’t do that — because, even more than they love tax monies, they hate the rich and want to punish them.

Bigots.

Karl Marx is a dead, white European male. You’d think this would be sufficient to make liberals dislike him, but the opposite is true. Did Marx know in 1848 when he wrote the Communist Manifesto, or in 1867 when he wrote Das Kapital, that these writings would have a profound effect on the world for the next 150 years? Could he have foreseen that Marxism would be the root cause of over 100 million deaths in the 20th Century? My wife wonders if the knowledge of these deaths would have mattered to him. I find it ironic that a man who could not manage his own finances and who blew through two inheritances could be given any credence in matters financial, but many people still believe in the fundamental principles of Marxism.

Marx wrote that it is historically inevitable for societies to pass through several stages: feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and finally the workers’ paradise. A feudalist society is one where might makes right and the few “haves” dominate over the “have-nots” like barons over their serfs. In a capitalist society, the individual is important, and contract law makes business possible. The socialist society is concerned with the group over the individual, and the role of government expands to control more and more of the lives and business of the people. The workers’ paradise is the final step in Marx’s vision of society. At this stage the rulers step aside as the workers take control over their lives and their work. A heart-warming, rosy glow surrounds everything as the workers march arm-in-arm off into the sunrise of a new and glorious day.

There is just one problem with Marx’s inevitable march from feudalism to capitalism to socialism and the final joy of the workers’ paradise — it’s a crock of @#$%!

Marxism is a failure because it does not take into account the fundamental reasons how and why people work. If you watch slaves or serfs, you will notice that they work only as fast as the whip of their master compels them, and not one bit faster or further. A slave or serf requires a large amount of control in the form of overseers and bosses. On the other hand, a person who is free and able to benefit from his work will work harder and look for ways to improve his job. A peasant in ancient China had no way of changing his position in life, so inventing a better plow or ox harness would not improve his lot in any way. But in a free society, a baker who creates a new type of bread or a printer who invents a faster way of setting type can expect to do more business and increase profits; a slave or serf does not.

You could say that capitalism is similar to the scientific method. When scientists announce they have proven something new, they will publish their experiment for others to duplicate. If others can reproduce the same results, the new method or theory is accepted. But if someone makes a claim, as in the case of cold fusion, and no one else can duplicate the results, then the theory can be said to be disproved, or at least in a state of not yet being proven. In the years since Marx wrote his ideas, the “inevitable” workers’ paradise has never been successfully achieved. While many countries have moved along the path to socialism, not one has made the final switch to the workers’ paradise. A common response to this complaint is that Marxism has never really been implemented yet. Well, various nations on this planet have only been trying it for the last 150 years, so how much more time and testing is necessary? The scientific community did not take 150 years to disprove Ponds and Fleischman’s claims of cold fusion, so why should it take more than a century to disprove the claims of Marxism? But Marxists will not allow their belief in the system to be destroyed — they cling to it as faithfully as a religion.

Marxism is a philosophy that is applied by its adherents to economics, production, workers and their relationships, government, and much more. In my wife’s English class last term, the professor instructed the students in the Marxist interpretation of literature. As I see it, if the only tool you have is a hammer, before long all your jobs start looking like nails.

But regardless of what Marx said, not everything hinges on money; it hinges on power. Money is merely a unit of power — the power to procure the goods and services that you want and need. My wife has written a wonderful analysis and interpretation of Marx and his ideas that, IMO, is well worth reading.

Marxism is a failure because it fails to depict reality. Marx said that socialism would make way for the workers’ paradise, but in reality dictators never give up their power voluntarily. Can you think of any dictators who have willingly walked away from power? My wife believes that Marx was no dummy. He didn’t talk about how the workers’ paradise would come about. The very concept of the workers’ paradise was sufficient to agitate the common workers into obeying Marx’s pronouncements and achieving his goals. He dangled this carrot so like-minded people could manipulate them as useful idiots. My wife’s idea is that Marx didn’t specify how the workers’ paradise would be created precisely because Marx didn’t intend for it to happen. Instead, Marx wrote up a road map for ruthless people like himself to exploit the working masses in order to gain power. This is why socialism was taken to the communist extreme so easily in many nations. None of these nations have had anywhere near the financial success of smaller capitalist countries. This is a simple indication of the difference between a free and an enslaved population.

Capitalism is very much like Sir Isaac Newton’s law of gravity. Under most normal circumstances, Newton’s law works very well indeed; it only breaks down when things reach extremes: in the realms of the super-small such as atoms and subatomic particles, the very large such as suns or bigger celestial bodies, or the very fast such as speeds approaching light speed. Likewise, capitalism tends to fail at extremes: when there is no authority to guarantee contract compliance, or when there are excessive government regulations and controls. But other than these extreme circumstances, both capitalism and Newton’s law of gravity work very well. Socialism, however, barely functions at its best. The Soviet Union was constantly plagued by food and goods shortages. Cuba is surrounded by ocean, yet it has a chronic shortage of fish. North Koreans are starving. Even Sweden, arguably the most successful socialist country, is showing signs of internal rot. P.J. O’Rourke outlines the situation in Sweden and other countries in his fine book, Eat the Rich.

The bottom line on Marxism is simple: it doesn’t work, it has never worked in the past 150 years, and it is about time for its adherents to acknowledge that Marxism will not work in the future, either. But this isn’t going to happen. Whenever you hear someone say, “Marxism/Socialism has never really been properly tried yet,” you know you are in the presence of someone for whom Marxism is a religion, not open to criticism or logical debate. Thomas Sowell summed this attitude up at the end of Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?: “Someone once said that an idea which fails repeatedly may possibly be wrong…. There are still many true believers to whom all evidence is irrelevant.”

Since this is my forum to discuss all manner of ideas, I figured it’s time to put forward ten principles commonly held by people.

Public education — One of the government’s prime duties is to see to the education of the rising generation. Our local grade school understands this, and prominently displays over the school stage the phrase “Today’s good students make tomorrow’s good citizens.” How are these students to know what makes a good citizen if the government is not there to educate them? This is why the Department of Education was established by Congress in 1979, and was made a cabinet-level position in 1981.

Formation of a national bank — During the Great Depression, many banks crashed because they were small and didn’t have the wide base needed to weather a run on the bank. Many people lost all their life savings–money they had worked so hard to accumulate. Their only mistake was to put their money into the hands of greedy bankers who closed their banks rather than return the people’s money to their rightful owners. This is why the Federal Reserve was founded, to prevent nickel-and-dime banks from defrauding the people again.

A progressive or graduated income tax — It only makes sense that the rich should pay a higher percentage of their ill-gotten wealth to the government. After all, they have lots more money, so if they are taxed higher they can easily afford to pay it. This also allows for unfortunate people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder to pay little or no income tax.

Abolition of inheritance rights — We have a special tax to keep the money of wealthy parents from reaching the hands of their lazy, shiftless children. This so-called “death tax” is currently at 55%, but Wall Street tycoon Warren Buffet, known by some as the “Oracle of Omaha,” has no desire to pass on his billions to his children. Buffet is the champion for an “enormous inheritance tax.” He made his wealth on his own, so why should he pass on anything to his children? Let them earn their own money.

Property confiscation of all emigrants and rebels — A while back several very wealthy people started to leave the United States. Why? Because they didn’t want to pay their taxes like everyone else. The government is therefore justified in confiscating their wealth as they flee across the borders. Didn’t they make the money here in the United States? Then how can they justify taking it out of the country? They are just selfish. And for those people who stay in the US but break the laws, it is only fitting that we confiscate their property and money. Most of it probably came from selling drugs or other illegal activities, anyway.

Nationally-controlled communication and transportation — It is easy to see the need for a steady hand at the wheel of communication. There are people popping up on the Internet spouting off all sorts of kooky ideas. What if they all got their own radio or TV programs and increased the number of people they could reach that way? It would be bedlam or worse! That is why we have the FCC to control the use of our precious electronic airways. Imagine sitting at home in your comfy chair listening to your favorite classical music station, only to have some yutz down the street start broadcasting loud rap music on that same frequency. Now imagine if someone constructed a toll booth and started charging tolls on the freeway just because it ran next to his house. There is a clear need for government to control both communication and transportation.

Requirement for all to work — Didn’t God tell Adam that by the sweat of his brow he would work all the days of his life? Then why do we think we are any different? We have a need to work. Ideally, the greed of wealthy business owners should be contained to promote this. How many times have you heard of a CEO giving himself a multi-million dollar bonus during the same year that his business is failing? Why should doctors be paid more than teachers? How many teachers do you know who play golf constantly? Not many, I would guess, but can you think of a doctor who doesn’t play golf? It is clear that some people here just don’t work as much as others.

Regional planning — Most towns and cities restrict where certain kinds of buildings can be built, so why don’t we have the same thing on a national level? Why should people be allowed to build their houses right in the middle of the best farmland? Why should towns sprawl out endlessly from their centers? If you have driven down the East Coast, you have seen one city blend into another and then another as you drive along. A strong governmental hand in planning how people spread across our country is sorely needed, and the government is starting to realize this and take action.

Abolition of private property — There are enough greedy landlords causing people to spend way more than they should on rent. This could be solved so easily if we didn’t allow individuals to own land. The principle of eminent domain could be used to allow government to take ownership of any land that is currently privately held. Why waste time and money with all those private landlords, when we already have a Bureau of Land Management?

Government ownership of all factories and agriculture — Have you seen the old black-and-white photos of people working in the sweatshops and factories during the turn of the last century? The images of soot-stained children working next to dangerous machines is just heartbreaking. Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about this any more. That is why we formed the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce and Labor, and the Department of the Interior. These departments are aided by the Herculean efforts of the EPA, BLM, National Park Service and the IRS through corporate regulations. This is why children are now free from working in dangerous coal mines.

So do you accept these ten principles, just as many Americans do? If so, congratulations! This makes you a Marxist. These principles are the Ten Planks proposed by Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto. Yet each and every one of these guiding principles of Communism are enforced to greater or lesser extent in the United States today. Communism has been a dismal failure everywhere it has been tried, so why not give actual freedom a try here in the United States? Are you up for it, or are you still mired in the tommyrot inked by an insolvent fool now 120 years in his grave?