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Ideologies at battle: from Kennedy’s era to today

With the upcoming elections, some are looking backwards as a means of looking forward – comparing the ideologies of yesteryear compared to today which is fascinating, especially as it pertains to progressive ideas and pitting people against each other.

Coining terms

Citizens of TakerNation are of fond of calling their ideology ‘progressive.’ It’s a tactic used by all sides of the political spectrum. Define something as positive in nature so as to effectively demonize those who disagree. A recent historical example was Lyndon Johnson’s now infamous War on Poverty. Those who read history without filters now realize there are more Americans ‘living’ in poverty now than in the mid 1960s when LBJ so bravely declared war.

To be against his ‘war’ was to be for poverty, or at the least against its elimination.

Those against Johnson’s program were, in fact, only objecting to his strategy, not his goal. ‘Course that was never clarified in the press, as it quickly became  ProducerNation’s moral obligation to turn their pockets inside out while simultaneously screaming ‘Come and get it!’ to those who weren’t as ‘lucky’ as they’d obviously been. After all, poverty is almost always a matter of circumstances. It’s never a result of human behavior. The transfer of wealth from Producers to Takers would fix everything. It was so exciting. Blah blah blah.

TakerNation apologists deal with the obvious truth of their ‘war’s’ complete and abject failure by one of two techniques. They either rewrite history — or they say not enough money was thrown at the problem. It never dawns on ’em that it’s human behavior that produces wealth originally, and human behavior that produces poverty. At least that’s true in a relatively free society/culture allowing it’s citizens to choose how the spend their time.

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America is such a place.

When limited to fighting in the arena of ideas, Takers are 0-for-history. If they can’t use personal attacks, rewrite history, change the subject, or my all time fav, answer uncomfortable questions with questions, their ideas die ugly deaths. It’s always been so.

An example is how the 20th century proved over and over again how we humans will modify our behavior when government takes significantly less of our hard earned paychecks. The Office of Management and Budget shows empirically that our economy has either flourished, or recovered from recession then flourished, after decent sized income tax cuts. In fact, as a direct consequence of markedly lowered taxes, both personal and business, the actual tax dollars collected by the Treasury increases. It’s happened every time it’s been tried. Don’t believe me, believe OMB. They’ve been irritating both sides for decades with their numbers.

Yet, Takers will argue everything but their own idea and its notable historic failures. They’ll attack their opponent’s idea tooth and nail. They’ll make up ‘facts’ as they go. But they won’t simply enter the arena of ideas and defend their own ideology sans the aforementioned diversions.

Why is that?

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The answer is both simple and historically documented. Their ideas about economics fail every time they’ve been tried. They can’t get around that fact, and they know it. It’s failed around the world, and is failing now in our own economy. It’s exactly because they know this to be true, that they cannot and will not ever debate their ideology head to head. It’s like coming to a gunfight with a rubber knife.

Want the most recent empirically historic example?

When President Carter’s initial four years were coming to an end, his TakerNation economic policies had wreaked their inevitable, and therefore easily predictable devastation. Massive unemployment, ruinous double digit inflation, and truly onerous taxes. And still he reprimanded Americans for their ‘malaise’. Yeah, that’s the ticket. It’s malaise causing all this economic pain, not my ideology or its economic policies.

When the 1980 election campaign began in earnest, then Governor Reagan was about 20 points behind President Carter in almost all credible polls. Reagan, focused like a laser beam, insisted the campaign be about nothing BUT ideas. When forced into the arena of ideas, Carter had nothing in retort but his version of, ‘Oh yeah?!’. He was crushed that first Tuesday in November of 1980. Incredibly, he was greatly surprised. Not only was he a Kool-Aid drinker, apparently he also had his own recipe.

Much as JFK did in the summer of 1962, Reagan took the ProducerNation approach, which is raising revenue to the Treasury by seriously reducing both personal and business income taxes. Since the campaign was, for the most part limited to the arena of ideas, American voters discerned the obvious, putting Reagan in the White House via the aforementioned landslide.

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Instead of quoting Reagan, or showing some of the debates’ ‘give ‘n takes’, here is one of TakerNation’s iconic leaders making manifest his ideas on what causes downtrodden economies to flourish. JFK was articulately brief in the explanation of his proposed personal and corporate tax cuts. Flourishing his idea-weapons in the televised arena of ideas, he took just over two minutes to rout any and all opponents. He stayed on point, no diversions, no slight of hand, just the facts. He was magnificent.

Here it is — decide for yourself. Oh, and for the record? Kennedy got the results he predicted. 

Ideas strung together make up ideologies.

When ideologies go to battle, mano a mano so to speak, with only ideas to brandish as weapons, there are the victors and the vanquished. Whenever TakerNation ideology has entered the arena of ideas, it hasn’t been pretty. This is why we all know the coming election campaign must include numerous diversions. When you’re wielding rubber knives at a gunfight, you have no choice.

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Written By

Jeff Brown specializes in real estate investment for retirement, has practiced real estate for over 40 years and is a veteran of over 200 tax deferred exchanges, many multi-state. Brown is a second generation broker and works daily with the third generation. With CCIM training and decades of hands on experience, Brown's expertise is highly sought after, some of which he shares on his real estate investing blog.



  1. wes moore

    March 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Jeff – you’re terrific. Thank you for this.

  2. Al Lorenz

    March 20, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    What’s the big idea? Just kidding, nicely put.

  3. Arn

    March 21, 2012 at 12:44 am

    Jeff, right on. Your distinction between goal and strategy is right on the money. As an example, let’s take global warming or climate change. This issue is spoken of in black and white – you either are Green or you are a flat-earther. The argument isn’t whether one acknowledges earth temp and CO2 levels are increasing. Those are facts. The debate is over 1) how dire is the problem? Will the current trend continue? After all Earth climate has been changing since Day 1 way before there were humans. 2) what is the time frame? 3) to what degree do we disrupt our existing economy? 4) how much money should the government spend pushing Green? 5) what is the probability these much ballyhooed Green technologies will provide any significant amount of energy? I believe most people are for cleaner energy technologies. The question is : how much do we invest in unproven technologies? To what degree do the current jobs and economy take precedence over Green? Understanding it may prove that NONE of these technologies work? Or they may have unintended consequences? Electricity is made from coal plants and hydroelectric sources (2 things HATED by Green) If we get rid of gas and go to more electric, demand for electric will go up – can we generate more electricity without negative results. The answer to many of these questions is WE DON’T KNOW. But if one does not buy Green hook line and sinker, you are a flat-earther ie stupid or a DENIER. Time to st this nonsense.

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