P.O. Box 230351
Encinitas, CA 92023
December 7, 1994
President Bill Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500
Vice President AI Gore
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500
Christmas and Chanukah Greetings!
LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE!
Never has anyone done so much for so many for so little appreciation in return as President Clinton. The November election doesn't show anything more than the volatility of the American electorate: whoever's in gets voted out and whoever's out gets voted in, Two years ago it was the same thing in reverse as Bush, a man who had enjoyed over a 90% approval rating a few months before the election got voted out, and the Democrats won big controlling both houses of Congress and the Presidency. If I were Clinton (which thank God I'm not), I would stop busting my backside trying to do things to help a people who don't seem to appreciate the least bit my efforts in their behalf. But Clinton is too good a person to adopt such an attitude. I would look forward to a long and rewarding ex-Presidency along the lines of Jimmy Carter. I would remember that, while one is only President for four or possibly eight years, one might be an ex-President for thirty or forty. If I were Clinton, I'd write off a second term, take a stance for the next two years somewhere between Ronald Reagan and Louis XIV, enjoy all the perquisites of one of the world's most powerful positions, have plenty of state dinners and Hollywood galas, invite Barbara Streisand, Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis to the White House, travel widely abroad, exchange lavish gifts with foreign heads of state, nod off at meetings and play plenty of golf.
GET WITH THE POGROM, JESSE
Make no doubt about it: What the Republicans have in mind for Clinton for the next two years is to totally humiliate, embarrass, besmirch, disparage, denigrate, ridicule and otherwise destroy his reputation not only for the purposes of winning the next Presidential election but for time immemorial so they can in the future invoke his name as a yuckey-poo laughingstock much as they have tried to do with Jimmy Carter. The political piranhas such as Dole, Gingrich, Armey, Gramm and Helms are churning the waters. We have Newt telling people that Clinton “is the enemy of normal Americans.” and Helms saying that he isn’t fit to be commander in chief and had better get a “bodyguard” (as if he didn’t already have the Secret Service) if he wants to visit South Carolina. Count on Alphonse D’Amato to push the Whitewater investigation, an investigation that is a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing except to sling plenty of muck at Clinton’s reputation, right up till the next election day. After all they’ve done so far, have they come up with one thing morally or legally that Clinton has done wrong? No, but that’s not really the purpose of it. It suffices to make it appear as if he might have done something wrong thus tarnishing and besmirching and eroding Clinton's reputation. We now have the politics of social Darwinism.
When you have people such as Rush Limbaugh who get up every morning with no other thought than how to destroy the President of the US that day, when they have three hours of airtime in most American radio markets, when they are paid 10, maybe 20 times what the President is paid in order to attack the presidency, you inevitably have a weakening of the whole republic not to mention the Presidency. It is absolutely ridiculous that an ordinary citizen such as Paula Corbin can use the courts to attack the President. Would Peter the Great have put up with this? Absolutely not. When one of his ex-mistresses was found to be involved in treachery, her head had to roll although Peter still retained a certain fondness for her, and he picked it up out of the mud and proceeded to give the assembled throng an anatomy lesson. “Here's the carotid artery...” I mean here's a man considered to be a great and progressive ruler who brought the fruits of Western Civilization to Russia, who formed Russia's first navy, but who, nevertheless, participated in the torture of his own son who had been found to be treacherous also. He was a “hands-on” leader, so to speak, in or out of the charnel house. Here you can say anything about the President you want, sling any kind of mud at him you want and the notion of treachery doesn't even exist. That was for a less enlightened age.
Have you noticed that most of the Republican leadership are Southerners? Gingrich-Georgia; Armey and Gramm-Texas; Helms-South Carolina; Thurmond... you get the picture. They just haven't given up fighting the Civil War and now they're winning! It used to be “states rights.” Now they talk about a weak federal government on ideological grounds and returning power to the states. Same difference, different lingo. Welfare reform (thanks to the Newt who stole Christmas) is code for reversing the Civil Rights movement of the sixties. It's back to the plantation! Alcohol, tobacco and firearms all won big in this last Republican landslide. The tobacco interests in South Carolina can breathe easier now (while the rest of us cough) as well as the good old boys who were afraid that the Federal Government was going to take away their guns. A pick-up truck, a gun rack and a can of Bud. Hey, that's my kind of living!
It's really absolutely unpatriotic to attack the President and the Federal Government day after day. Without the Federal Government would there even be a USA? Weeell, I thought the Civil War was supposed to have decided that question once and for all. This lack of respect for the elected leaders of this country and its institutions by people who like to wrap themselves in the American flag and claim to be so patriotic is moving this country that much closer to anarchy. Would President Nixon have tolerated the situation if a left-wing Rush Limbaugh used the public airwaves to attack him and his Presidency for three hours every day? Nooooo way. He would have had the FBI, the CIA, the plumbers, the electricians, the carpenters and his dear dog Checkers doing everything they could to get rid of him. Clinton should get the FCC to enforce the Fairness in Broadcasting Act by requiring the stations that air three hours, three hours, of Limbaugh's invective each day to air three hours of an opposing viewpoint. The climate created by such saturation broadcasting is moving the discourse and debate in this country further and further to the right with each passing day.
The church, which used to be a counterbalance to right-wing republicanism, is now pushing and accelerating the rightward movement. The Catholic Church with its emphasis on salvation by works, Christian charity, helping the poor and the sick is leftward leaning, but the Catholic Church is losing ground. The Protestant church, which “liberated” nascent sixteenth century capitalists from medieval notions of economics, has functioned to push society to the right from its inception especially with the emphasis on salvation by faith and predestination. Thus one is neatly divorced from any moral obligation or duty to one's fellow man and is free to accumulate capital and pursue one's self interest without negative sanctions. There is a disconnect between a regard for Jesus' teachings and the worship of the mysterious elements of Christianity such as the Virgin birth and the resurrection. Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and dust doth corrupt...” Right wing republicanism says, “Accumulate wealth. The wealthy are the movers and shakers. They are the engine of the economy—the ones pulling the wagon.” Jesus said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor.” Right wing republicanism says, “Cancel Head Start. Do away with welfare. The poor are a bunch of lazy bums. Let them get a job.” Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Right-wing republicanism says, “Pursue your self interest. Let the devil take the hindermost. Don't expect the government to take care of you. Taxation takes money out of the pockets of the successful and gives it to the unsuccessful. It discourages the contributors and encourages those who don't contribute”
There has been an almost total disconnect between Christ's teachings, which sound like the babblings of a spaced out hippie compared with Rush Limbaugh, and the conventional wisdom of the republican and Christian right in this country. But this is nothing new. In the middle ages, when tourists took pilgrimages, they traveled to Chartres to see the relics of Christ's life and death. They built Cathedrals to house relics. The rule was simple: No relics, no pilgrims, no money. One French king paid more for Jesus' crown of thorns than he did for the cathedral in which to house it. Rumor has it that a week later someone showed up at court with a deed for the Brooklyn Bridge...or was that the real crown of thorns?! Truly a miracle! The total disconnect between Christ's teachings and Christ's mysteries started with the Protestant revolution because good works were no longer considered the route to salvation. “Do-gooders” were subsequently seen as ridiculous figures—getting ahead neither in this life nor the afterlife.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO TWEEDLEDUM AND TWEEDLEDEE?
In the fifties the Republicans and Democrats were like Tweedledum and Tweedledee ideologically speaking. There wasn't a dime's worth of difference between them. That's no longer true. The Republicans have become very ideological and have articulated their ideology very well. For that one has to give them credit. The Democrats, on the other hand, have backed off considerably from taking any kind of ideologically based or principled positions preferring to represent themselves as pragmatists, centrists, moderates or watered down Republicans. As a consequence, the Republicans are setting and have set, since Ronald Reagan, the ideological climate, agenda and parameters in this country. If the Democrats had moved as far to the left as the Republicans have moved to the right, they would have to declare themselves as Socialists. What the Republicans stand for is very clear and easy to grasp: smaller and weaker government, lower taxes, a smaller public sector, increased privatization. So they would basically replace the public school system with private schools, the public postal system with private mail delivery services, public parks with private resorts, public libraries with private bookstores etc. etc. Anywhere you find the word ‘public’ used, replace it with ‘private’ and that's what the Republicans have in mind. Moreover, replace the word ‘social’ with ‘individual’ so that we would have ‘individual security’ instead of ‘social security’, ‘individual welfare’ instead of ‘social welfare’, ‘individual science’ instead of ‘social science’, individuology instead of sociology. Society is not the least bit responsible for the individual; only the individual is responsible to and for his or herself while not being the least bit responsible to or for anyone else or to society in general.
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for yourself. To paraphrase that discredited Democrat John F. Kennedy who had the unmitigated gall to have a mistress in the White House! (Hey, Louis XIV had mistresses at Versailles, and he is considered a good husband by the French because, after all, he did spend a considerable bit of time in his wife's bed.) The pursuit of self-interest is paramount and should not be hampered or hindered by either individual conscience or duties or obligations imposed on the individual by government. Along these lines we will examine and rephrase in this letter some of the elements of the social (there's that word again) contract that used to make up the American Dream because they are no longer valid in the current milieu because there is no longer a social contract—only an aggregation of individual contracts. This has large consequences for so-called middle class morality and middle class thought modes which have formed the backbone of this society and which are now obsolete. Therefore, middle-class attitudes, which were severely challenged with regard to lifestyle mores by left-wing radicals in the sixties and dealt the coup de grace, with regard to the political-economic realm, moral responsibility of a social sort, and duties or obligations except to one's self, by right wing radicals in the eighties, are seen to be hang ups in the nineties—outmoded baggage which must be shed in order to be competitive and successful. The sacred cows and pillars of the American dream—education, jobs, retirement, social security—must all be reinterpreted in light of the new Republican morality. With the decline of paternalistic company sponsored pension plans and the advent (under Reagan) of IRAs and mutual funds, now the individual is responsible for his or her own retirement; he or she is no longer a
depositor—we are now all investors. Students will no longer be subsidized by the state. They must bear the full freight of their education at public as well as private universities and colleges. We now will all play the same kinds of games and take the same kinds of risks that once only the wealthiest Americans played and took or be left behind in the shuffle. Don't expect government or private corporations to be paternalistic. We are all responsible for ourselves and will all be rewarded or punished according to our merit as manifested in the marketplace.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD JOBS GONE?
The very concept of a job which has only existed for the last 200 years or so is undergoing a transformation. In an article entitled, “The End of the Job,” 1 William Bridges writes, “As a way of organizing work, it is a social artifact that has outlived its usefulness. Its demise confronts everyone with unfamiliar risks—and rich opportunities.” Before the advent of the modern era, about 200 years ago, people did not have jobs. They had callings or they were peasants bound to the land or they were artisans whose work was regulated by guilds or they were slaves or they were wealthy landowners. Modern capitalism created the notion of a freely entered contract between employer and employee. But now we face a new leap forward. “The reality we face is much more troubling, for what is disappearing is not just a certain number of jobs in some part of the country or even jobs in America as a whole. What is disappearing is the very thing itself: the job. That much sought after, much maligned social entity, a job, is vanishing like a species that has outlived its evolutionary time.” 2 The fact of the matter is that workers of all sorts, those who sell their willingness and ability to work along with their skills and credentials to someone or something else in return for a regular paycheck, are becoming increasingly expendable. From now on each individual will not only have to work, but will have to create his or her own market for the fruits of that work. In other words people will have to essentially be self-employed rather than other-employed. We will all be individual contractors selling our services either to some corporate entity for a limited period of time or selling our goods and services directly in the marketplace. It's “Up against the marketplace, mothers!” We will not have an employer to paternalistically shield us from the realities of the marketplace itself. Bridges points out, “There still is and will always be enormous amounts of work to do, but it is not going to be contained in the familiar envelopes we call jobs.” 3
This state of affairs necessitates a redefinition of many of the concepts surrounding the concept of a job. For instance, there will be no such thing as unemployment because everyone will be considered to be self-employed. One can be self-employed and very busy, successful and earning a lot of money, or one can be self-employed, idle, not successful and not earning very much money. One can be self-employed as a highly paid consultant or one can be self-employed as a squeegeeman who darts out in traffic to wash car windows before the light turns green. Hence there is absolutely no need for unemployment insurance. According to Republican orthodoxy, one is successful or not only as a result of one's merits and one's willingness to work. Those who work hard and have merit will succeed in the marketplace. Those who do not, won't. There is no need or reason to take money in the form of taxes from those who are successful and give it to those who are unsuccessful in the form of unemployment insurance or welfare. Everyone is responsible for themselves. Don't expect employers to be paternalistic. You are useful to them as long as you make money for them. When you don't, you're gone. Don't expect Government to be paternalistic. Americans, particularly Republicans, don't want Government taking money out of the more successful person's pocket and giving it to the less successful. We want to encourage the successful and discourage the unsuccessful, not the other way around. Jesus' concern for the poor and the weak was due to a naive misunderstanding of the reality that the rich and successful are the productive people who provide goods and services and increased GDP, and the poor and the weak are a bunch of good for nothing lazy bums who need to get up off their duffs, stop using drugs and alcohol and go to work!
According to Labor Secretary Robert Reich, in this new era of international competition, the American worker can expect to change careers five or six times in his or her lifetime. For the average thirty year career, that's every five or six years. Now who wants to go to college, spend years making oneself acceptable to some employer, go tens of thousands of dollars into debt with student loans only to be laid off every five or six years. It's ridiculous. The average student today comes out of college $50,000 to $100,000 in debt. It's just not cost effective to spend five to ten years in college, come out with this kind of debt burden to face the prospect of being laid off every five to six years if they can even get a job in their field in the first place. It would be much better as a young person to decide to be self-employed from the beginning. There is then not the value to be attached to the college diploma which has value mainly as an entree to the world of work as an employee i.e. in order to work for somebody else. Better to take that $100,000, invest it and enter the work force after high school as a self-employed entrepreneur. That $100,000, invested wisely at the age of 18, will allow one to retire at age 38 with an annual income of $67,000 a year based on a 10% annual return on accumulated wealth. Not bad huh? We assume an annual return of 10% which is par for the course for the stock market. In 10 years, due to the magic and inexorability of compound interest, you will have $259,374; in 20 years, $672,750; and in 30 years if allowed to keep accumulating, $1,744,940. Meanwhile a person can start his or her own small business as a painter, automobile mechanic, gardener, TV repairman etc. with little or no capital, make a decent living and look forward to accumulating a substantial amount of wealth on which to retire. Anything mobile favors the entrepreneur with little capital to invest and discourages the large franchisees and other large scale operations. With automobile mechanics making in excess of $50.00 an hour at the dealerships (at least that is what is being charged), there are plenty of opportunities for a mobile mechanic to undercut that by half, provide better service and still make $25.00 an hour.
Retirement is based on the accumulation of wealth whether done by the individual or whether done by the corporation in the form of a pension fund. The traditional employee who has served the proper amount of time is eligible to be paid a certain amount as a pension for his remaining days, but does not own or control the wealth represented by the pension fund itself. This was brought home forcefully during the eighties when many a corporate raider seized control of a corporation only to extract billions of dollars from the pension fund and divert that money to his or her own personal use. This was challenged in court by the retirees who thought they had ownership rights to the money which had been put aside in their names and was supposed to generate their pensions, but the owners’ right to raid the pension funds was upheld! In any case, if a person accumulates his or her own wealth on which to base retirement income, then it is just a question of how long it takes to accumulate enough wealth to generate an acceptable unearned income in the form of rents, dividends and interest (all anathema to the medieval church and to Martin Luther as well; thank God for liberation from these unenlightened hang-ups!). There is no imposed length of time which one has to work like thirty years or no magical retirement age like 65. These are just totally arbitrary parameters that the paternalistic corporation and overweening government has dreamed up and passed off as normalcy for the sake of middle class values. In fact it comes down to the fact that retirement is based on the accumulation of wealth whether by the individual or by the corporation in the individual's name, and, if it is accumulated by the individual, then he or she gets to decide what the retirement age should be and what the retirement income should be. Of course there will be those who never will be able to accumulate the necessary wealth on which to retire. Those people can look forward to working until they drop, but the capitalistic system does not guarantee that everyone will be successful —only those who have merit and work hard. If one is not successful, it is to be assumed that he or she either didn't have merit or didn't work hard or both. One enormous advantage to accumulating one's own wealth is that, in addition to enjoying the income generated by that wealth, one actually owns and controls that wealth and can leave it to his or her children or anyone else. One can set aside an allowance to provide for one's dog, for example, if one should happen to predecease poor old pooch. When one is a retiree from a corporation, one does not own or control the wealth which generates ones' pension. The corporation does.
DEGREED, IN DEBT AND JOBLESS
In The Sunday Oregonian Rebecca Haas writes,4 “Half of the 79 million people born between 1960 and 1981 (the group doomed to be categorized ‘Generation X’) are looking for jobs.
“This search is not the same as it was in our parents’ day. My father and I went to college two decades apart, but for the same reason—to qualify for a well-paying, satisfying career. In 1966, Proctor & Gamble Co. hired my father, at age 24, two weeks before graduation as a chemical engineer. Two years ago, I graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in journalism and two newspaper internships under my belt. Today I'm a temporary receptionist. ...
“These days it's not enough to have a college education, a few internships under your belt, a snazzy resume and the ability to look proficient during an interview.
“You need all that just to apply for a nonpaying internship at the corporation of your choice. Then maybe it will hire you—through a temp agency—as an office clerk.
“Twentysomethings enter a job market in which most entry-level positions have been cut. A quarter of all new employees are temporaries. College grads compete for $18,000-a-year salaries with people who have 10 years’ experience.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that nearly one-third of college graduates from the classes of 1990 through 2005 will take jobs that don't require a degree.
“...I called my father to tell him about [my new job.]
“Finally!” said my father. “What's the pay?”
“There is no pay. It's an editorial internship. I've always wanted to check out editing, and it's a way to break into editing in Portland, and the interview went great, but I'm afraid I'm unqualified since all my experience is in reporting.
“Have you lost your mind!” my father yelled. It was a statement, not a question. “I spend $65,000 to send you to college, and you call me two years after graduation to announce you fear you're unqualified for a nonpaying internship?”
You see her father should have invested that $65,000 on her behalf in the stock market. Then at 10% rate of return she would have been able to retire at 45 on a comfortable income. Especially after the Republicans do away with those nasty capital gains taxes! In the meantime, if she started her own business she could devote all her earnings to consumption and not have to worry at all about saving for retirement. It takes a change in attitude from preparing oneself to be acceptable to an employer to preparing oneself to work for oneself. Then education becomes a commodity which you consume cafeteria style, picking and choosing whatever you need to be successful without worrying about a degree. Rush Limbaugh is fond of saying that 42% of successful businessmen don't have college degrees. Certainly America's most successful businessman, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, doesn't have one. He dropped out of Harvard in his junior year to start Microsoft. That was 18 years ago and now he's worth $8 billion. That means he could retire on an income of $400 million a year if he just put his money in a bank at 5% interest! But, Bill's not interested in retiring. He's having too much fun! And that's another advantage of self-employment. Nobody tells you that you have to retire at age 65 or any other age. Look at Armand Hammer, Bob Hope and many other wealthy people who choose to keep working, but, ahhh, at something that they enjoy!
In a Business Week Special Report 5 we find corroboration that paternalism has been reduced to zero and employees have essentially been marginalized: “The new compact between company and worker dismisses paternalism and embraces self-reliance. Bid farewell to unconditional lifetime employment, even at the bluest of blue-chip companies that once implicitly turned on such an ethic. ‘That clearly is no longer the name of the game,’ says Kevin Becraft, director of employee relations and resources at IBM, which has cut 171,000 jobs since 1986.” The question is, given a choice at the onset of a career, why would anyone choose to be employed by a corporation where they have no job security from day to day, where they have to take orders from a boss and fit into a pecking order, where benefits are continually being reduced, where they don't control or manage their own time, where they are lucky to get two weeks vacation a year when they could choose to build a business (from scratch if necessary) in which they choose which hours to work, decide how much vacation to take and when to take it, have control over their time so they can balance work and family as they see fit, control the accumulation and management of their own wealth, in which their business is a growing asset with a tangible, marketable value if they should choose to sell it, where they reap the rewards and benefits and profits of their labors instead of having the profits skimmed off by their employer?
Continuing from the Business Week article: “A quarter of those employed today do so on a temporary, part-time, or contract basis. The number of Americans working part-time has grown by 2.2 million since 1973—entirely a function, according to the Economic Policy Institute, of more ‘involuntary’ part-timers who would rather work full-time. Hundreds of big companies, moreover, have outsourced core operations: Continental Bank Corp. has contracted its legal, audit, cafeteria, and mailroom operations to outside companies. In September, American Airlines Inc. announced it would do the same with customer service jobs at 30 airports.
“Outsourcing can work wonders for the bottom line: So-called contingent workers get pay comparable to full-time staff’s, but without benefits that typically add 40% to labor costs. A contingent workforce, too, is more flexible: When business sags, the temps go first. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Rhode Island cut its workforce by 40% over five years without laying off a single full-timer.
“Employers are pushing more people than ever into the organizational fringes. Part-time, contract, and self-employed workers are rising as a percent of total employment.”
American workers are being marginalized with respect to pay, benefits, work-load, vacation time, health care and, ultimately, control over their own lives. Why would anyone starting out in life choose this lifestyle rather than a lifestyle of self-employment in which a person controls all the parameters of his or her own work and personal life?
THE CHIMERICAL POSITIVE SUM GAME
Don't you hate it when people who write books, intellectuals supposedly, totally misunderstand and mischaracterize some arcane notion in the way of explaining or making an example of something that they want to convey in a didactic sort of way? It seems like a number of American pseudo-intellectuals lately have fallen into the same trap by talking about ideas from game theory which they don't understand. Then after one does it, the next one comes along to use the same mischaracterizations. Specifically, there has been a mini-movement afoot to characterize a positive sum game as one in which everyone wins or everyone shares more or less equally as opposed to a zero sum game where there are an equal number of winners and losers. Before these members of the intelligentsia, including the author of the New York Times No.1 best-seller, Megatrends, John Naisbitt and Lani Guinier, Clinton's nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in her book, “The Tyranny of the Majority,” 6 embarrass themselves any further, they should disabuse themselves of the misinformation that they're spouting. I heard Naisbitt mischaracterize positive sum games in a radio interview on PBS regarding his book, “Global Paradox.” 7
First of all a game can be characterized as an enterprise with an outcome such that the payoff or winnings are distributed among the players. In a zero sum game, the total sum of the winnings adds up to 0. In a positive (negative) sum game the winnings add up to a positive (negative) sum. For example, let us say four people are playing cards and they each put $200 into the jackpot. The winner takes the whole jackpot. This is a zero sum game since one player will end up with $6.00 ($8.00-$2.00 he put in), and the other three players will end up losing $2.00 apiece. Now let us say that in addition to the $2.00 ante, they each pay the house $1.00 for the privilege of playing the game. This is a negative sum game since the winner will end up $5.00 ahead and the other three players will end up $3.00 behind. -$9.00 +$5.00 equals a negative sum of -$4.00. Let us say the players' fairy godmother puts $4.00 into the pot before the start of the game, they each ante up $2.00 and they don't pay the house anything. This then is a positive sum game as the winner makes $10.00 and the losers lose a total of $6.00. Notice that in all cases there was one winner and three losers. It didn't matter a hoot whether the game was positive, zero or negative sum as to the distribution of results over the players.
In general no matter how big the positive sum in the jackpot is, without any further restrictions, it is possible for one person to win it all and more and for everyone else involved in the game to end up losers. The same holds true for zero sum and negative sum games. Just because a game is negative or zero sum, however, doesn't necessarily mean that most of the players will end up losers. Let's say we have 10 players playing a negative sum game of -$10.00 Let's say that 9 of the players end up with +$10.00 apiece and one player ends up with -$100.00 The total earnings of all the players are -$10.00, but 9 out of 10 have profited from playing the game. Conversely, let's say we have a positive sum game with a jackpot of $100.00 and 10 players. Let's say the outcome is such that 9 players lose $10.00 apiece and 1 player wins $190.00. The total earnings from the game are still $100.00 because $190.00 has been won and $90.00 has been lost. However, 1 person profited from playing this positive sum game and 9 out of 10 people lost. In general we can't guarantee the distribution of results just by providing equality of opportunity, a fair game and even a positive sum or jackpot to be competed for. Only a constraint on the distribution of results or a constraint on the rules of the game itself will insure that the results will be to some extent equally distributed. For instance, in an economic system in which one earns in proportion to one's work and one can't gamble away his or her earnings, then there will be a positive distribution of results for everyone. In general, the freer the game is (the less rules and constraints) the more likely it is that the results will be highly skewed i.e. there could be many losers and a few big winners.
Lani Guinier's rationalizations to the contrary, her arguments really boil down to a constraint on the outcomes of the game which is what quotas really are. The only way to insure more equality of results without quotas is to change the nature of the game itself (or the system so to speak). In terms of political decision making this would mean changing the nature of the voting system itself. In terms of economics it would mean changing the ground rules of the economic system. With the kind of winner take all majority rule that we have now, minorities can always be effectively excluded. With a system such as proportional representation such as is used in many European countries, there is a built-in guarantee that there will be minority representation without quotas.
REPUBLICANS SPIKE THE PUNCH BOWL
There is one extremely significant thing that Clinton should be given credit for which in itself makes him a successful President regardless of anything else. He has decreased the budget deficit and has sent it on a downward course. All the brouhaha over Clinton being a traditional liberal Democrat denies the fact that the previous twelve years of Republican rule in the White House resulted in quintupling the national debt and ever-increasing budget deficits. Clinton deserves great credit for reversing this trend and for being fiscally responsible. With the Republicans it's all rhetoric. They talk about balancing the budget but when did they ever do it in recent history? It's baloney and hypocrisy and with this new “Republican era” it will be more of the same. The Republicans will bring back good middle class jobs though at the expense of increased budget deficits because they will increase defense spending, which was the source of most good middle class jobs for the last 50 years, and reduce taxes. All those $600.00 toilet seats were designed by hosts of scientists, engineers and technicians (good paying middle class jobs) overseen by layer upon layer of middle managers (good paying middle class jobs) supported by cadres of secretaries and clerks (good paying middle class jobs). Ironically, the Republicans will supply these jobs by driving up defense spending, not cutting entitlement programs such as social security and Medicare sufficiently, reducing taxes and thus driving up the budget deficit again—a return to the good old days of the Reagan administration. Everybody will be happy. The party that touts fiscal conservatism has been responsible for the grossest mismanagement of the privy purse to the delight of most Americans who realize that in a democracy one can have one's cake and not have to pay for it at least until the roof caves in if only one votes for the right party—the party that promises to give all and take nothing away. If the Federal Reserve Bank's role is to take away the punch bowl just when the party gets going, the Republicans' role is to bring it back and spike it while the Democrats' role is to administer triage to the drunken and bloated partygoers and clean up the mess afterwards while receiving no thanks for it. The noted English historian, Alexander Fraser Tyler wrote more than two hundred years ago about the fall of the Athenian Republic:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a Democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years.”
1. “The End of the Job,” by William Bridges, Fortune, September 19, 1994, pp. 62-74.
4. “Job proves an elusive dream,” by Rebecca S. Haas, The Sunday Oregonian, April 24, 1994.
5. “Rethinking Work,” Business Week, October 17, 1994, pp. 75-102.
6. Guinier, Lani, “The Tyranny of the Majority,” The Free Press, 1994, pp. 2, 5-7.
7. Naisbitt, John, “Global Paradox,” William Morrow and Co., 1994.