Read All About It: Vancouver Sun now blames poverty on Victoria activist!
by J.S. Larochelle, August 2006
"EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT!... Don't forget to cite your sources!... No plagiarism!" -- Mindi Bailey [ccca.edu]
"When you paraphrase an author or quote an author directly,
you MUST credit the source." -- Trudi Jacobson | albany.edu]
"The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."
-- Albert Einstein
"There are hundreds of good reasons to argue for a guaranteed annual income."
-- Daphne Bramham, "Oh, wouldn't it be lover-ly?,"
Vancouver Sun, July 22, 2006
"Socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried for one fundamental reason: Socialists focus on redistribution, not the creation of wealth."
-- Gwyn Morgan, "Getting Beyond the symptoms to Root Causes," The Fraser Institute Lecture, December 7, 2005
"The Fraser Institute is dedicated to enhancing our quality of life by researching the role of competitive markets, lower taxes, and less regulation... All Supporters Receive... Charitable receipts in accordance with Revenue Canada Guidelines."
"You have to use your money to create, operate and build businesses."
-- J. Paul Getty, (quoting his father)
"How To Be Rich," 1965
"There cannot be too much of a correct theory."
-- Ludwig von Mises [an economist]
"The supreme misfortune is when theory outstrips performance."
-- Leonardo da Vinci
"In the present state of society it appears necessary to go back to first principles in search of the most simple truths, and to dispute with some prevailing prejudice every inch of ground. To clear my way, I must be allowed to ask some plain questions..." -- Mary Wollstonecraft, "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman," 1792
"...find out where you fit on the political map! (Choose A if you agree, M for Maybe, D if you disagree.) ...Replace government welfare with private charity." -- The Advocates for Self-Government, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Donations tax-deductible in U.S. All rights reserved."
"It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world."
-- Mary Wollstonecraft
"And in my view economics is surely a science. We produce empirical knowledge which is subject to process of testing, broadly interpreted, and feedback..."
-- Tyler Cowen, July 12, 2004
QUESTION: Why would "economic scientists" be asking for citizens to legislate them tax-deductible charity donations?
Ludwig von Mises (1881--1973) was a libertarian economist who was diametrically opposed to government interference in free markets. However, anyone can go the Mises website and read: "The Ludwig von Mises Institute is a non-profit educational organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law."
A "non-scientist" might ask why the "scientists" who have paid employment at the Mises Institute are begging for charity rather than selling products for profit in the free market? There can only be two logical answers: Either economics is not yet a science, or the scientists at the Mises Institute don't know how to profitably employ the science of economics.
In "Too Many Free-Market Think Tanks?," economist Mark Skousen quotes Nobel economist Milton Friedman: 'Stimulating independent thought... is being done by all too few individuals and institutions, not only in the U.K. but here in the U.S. as well.' Then Skousen writes: "Donating money to a few of my favorite free-market organizations used to be a pleasant duty, but now I'm literally inundated with demands from hundreds of think tanks and public-policy groups, all vying for my limited funds" (2000). If "hundreds of think tanks and public-policy groups" all need charity then it should be obvious that, for now, economics is not a science.
In the Vancouver Sun in 2001 two headlines unequivocally blamed poor people for causing their own poverty. The full page headline for Fred McMahon's "Memo to the Prime Minister," screamed: "Poverty is voluntary, so let's end it: social programs like welfare merely subsidize bad choices" (August 9, 2001, also in the Victoria Times Colonist and other newspapers). He went on to say: "End welfare. Reinstitute poorhouses and homes for unwed mothers."
Then on December 17, 2001, the Sun ran another full page headline: "Do we owe anyone a living?" with the sub-heading "Others have to work, so single mothers on welfare shouldn't expect a long sojourn at home" where Sun columnist Shelley Fralic, goes on to symbolically burn at the stake poor single mothers for their "defiant sense of entitlement."
McMahon is Director of the Centre for Trade and Globalization Studies at The Fraser Institute and has an MA in Economics from McGill University, Montreal. The Fraser Institute, like the hundreds of free market think tanks, gets its money from tax-deductible charity donations so they can publicly blame poor people for causing their own poverty. So the "economic scientists" who work at these think tanks must believe it is perfectly scientific to force other people --especially poor mothers-- to sink or swim in the free market while their livable income is a tax-deductible charity donation.
However, Fralic and McMahon are now being contradicted. On July 22, 2006, Vancouver Sun columnist, Daphne Bramham, first devotes almost a whole page viciously attacking a Victoria anti-poverty activist for defending poor mothers against the accusation that they cause their own poverty and that they serve no economic function in society.
In Bramham's July 22 column "Oh, wouldn't it be lover-ly?" she denounces the Women's Economic Justice Report on Guaranteed Livable Income and the project coordinator, Cindy L'Hirondelle, personally.
Bramham writes that she hopes the ideas in the report are a just a joke (like a David Letterman top ten list). She calls the report "sloppy", "sentimentalist", "Rousseau-ian", "sprinkled with neo-Luddite thinking", "buttressed with Marxist-socialist cant"; "channeling the founders of the Social Credit party", making the guaranteed annual income idea seem "ridiculous", doing a "huge disservice" to the women interviewed, and states that L'Hirondelle "trivialized the desperate needs of the poor", made a "nonsensical lament about how [low income women] can't buy organic", put feminism in disrepute and made the rest of Canada see us as "wigged-out West Coasters."
She then gets one of the points in the report backwards and accuses L'Hirondelle in all seriousness of having "no intention of sharing the benefits" of GLI and that she must believe that "the equality section of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms shouldn't apply to 'foreigners'." (Throughout the report, the Guaranteed Livable Income is emphasized as a universal concept both within each country and worldwide.)
At the end of her relentless attack on SWAG's guaranteed livable income, Bramham states "...hundreds of studies... have made cogent social, political and economic arguments for [guaranteed annual income] adoption -- including some by arch-conservative economist Milton Friedman" and concludes: "There are hundreds of good reasons to argue for a guaranteed annual income. But L'Hirondelle provides every reason for the Conservative government to ignore it." Bramham is apparently offended by SWAG's "strong case for a GLI" but supports a right wing version GAI.
While the Sun's Fralic and the Fraser Institute's McMahon advocate compete-or-die economics, award winning journalist Bramham contradicts them both to say there are many reasons for a guaranteed income. But if Bramham thinks that a guaranteed income would have save the lives of all of the women and children in the world that have died in poverty since 2001 and before, why has she not written about this until now? Does she not have an obligation to try to save the lives of people dying in poverty given that she has access to one of the main newspapers in Canada? Can it be possible that you know of a solution to senseless deaths, but you stay silent about it? And then when poor women articulate their solutions you condemn them because they didn't get it right?
What is evident by all this is that experts need someone to blame and poor mothers and their children are the perfect victims in that they are least able to defend themselves. In comparison the amount of resources devoted to propagating the idea that poor people cause their own poverty is staggering.
Here's a stunner: "Nobel prizes should be awarded to scientists who advance the state of knowledge in their field. Economics is the science of wealth creation." -- Richard Salsman, [president and chief market strategist of InterMarket Forecasting] "Capitalism Magazine" March 11, 2002
"If you have enjoyed reading 'Capitalism Magazine', here is your chance to materially support the spiritual ideas that you cherish. | Suggested Amounts: You are free to donate any amount you wish, and as often as you wish, but here are a few suggestions... "
Waaaait a minute.... Shouldn't self-declared "capitalists" be busy selling something in the market and getting rich instead of engaging in cyber-begging? After all, if economics is a science, shouldn't everyone be able to follow the scientific rules and get rich?
No one seems to have noticed that the "experts" are not following their own advice. But women definitely have followed the admonition of experts like McMahon and Fralic and have not made the "bad choice" to have a baby. After all, given the affect a baby has on being able to compete in the market, deciding to have a child is akin to volunteering to kill yourself by poverty.
According to Phillip Longman's 2004 book "The Empty Cradle" there is now increasing worry about dropping birth rates: "...the unprecedented fall in fertility rates over the last generation that is now spreading to every corner of the globe... By 2050, according to the latest United Nations projections, 75 percent of all countries, even in underdeveloped regions, will be reproducing at below replacement levels." He goes on to state the economic consequence: "capitalism has never flourished without population growth."
Anarchist Peter Kropotkin also pointed out the obvious way back in 1906: "The race would soon become extinct if mothers did not sacrifice their lives to take care of their children..." Yet in 2006, mothers and children are not considered to have any economic value and do not get paid for the work they do. (The Conquest of Bread)
What the vast majority of anarchists, greens, libertarians, socialists, liberals, social democrats, conservatives and people who have no political beliefs share is that they use money to survive while, at the same time, refusing to publicly discuss the idea of legislating a guaranteed livable income.
"Guaranteeing personal income is universally desired! No one wants to be without it... without a near continuous or regular supply of the essentials of life, life becomes grotesque and eventually expires." states Robley E. George, in "Socioeconomic Democracy" (2002). He advocates a Universal Guaranteed Income to protect people from economist theories. "...it might even appropriately be called a "money-back" guarantee considering just how serious is the impact of the economic experts' pet economic theories on everybody else..."
The fact that so-called "economic experts" are using tax-deductible charity donations to attack poor people is disgusting beyond words. They are experts at "Doublethink" --"the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." From, George Orwell's book "1984")
Originally published in the September 2006 Lower Island News