Punish the Successful and Reward the Incompetent

Punish the Successful and Reward the Incompetent

© David Burton 2008

Punishing the Successful


I’ve observed that there are many individuals among us who cannot stand to see someone else succeed. I believe that much of the criticism of President Bush is not so much produced by disagreement with his policies as by the fear that his policies may succeed and the wish or hope that they will fail. His critics want him to fail in the war on terrorism; they want his economic policies to fail, etc. Their desire to see Bush fail is so strong that they are blinded by facts. For example:

They claim that President Bush has no clear objectives in the war against Islamic terrorism. They refuse to accept the stated objectives of our government - the defeat of the Islamic fundamentalists that have been waging an undeclared war against the United States for some 3 decades.

They claim that the Bush administration is not winning the war against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. These critics cannot accept the facts that Afghanistan continues to be a success story - the Taliban has been defeated, al Qaeda and bin Laden are hiding in caves on the Pakistani border, and a freely elected government is in power. There have been no attacks on American soil since 9/11.

They claim that President Bush has no real policy in Iraq and no timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. These people refuse to admit that our soldiers in Iraq, with the backing of the Bush administration in the United States, have almost pulled off the unthinkable - the restructuring of the politics of the Middle East in less than three years. They refuse to accept the timetable for withdrawal that has repeatedly been presented by the Bush administration - America will withdraw as soon as the Iraqis can fight for themselves against those who would deny them their right to be governed by those whom they choose rather than by murderous dictators and unelected Muslim clerics.

They claim that President Bush stole the elections from Gore and Kerry. They refuse to accept the decisions of the American people and the Supreme Court.

They believe that Bush’s policies have led to massive unemployment. They fail to acknowledge that we continue to have the lowest unemployment rate in decades.

This same phenomenon can be seen elsewhere. I find individuals who cannot stand the thought of capitalism and the free market succeeding. They espouse a policy of punishing businesses that succeed, e.g., the Wal-Marts, the ExonMibils, the Microsofts, etc. by taxing their success and redistributing the results of their success to those who have not succeeded. For the past 200 years plus years, capitalism, and particularly American capitalism, has proven over and over again its superiority to socialism, communism and all other forms of managed economies.

Still, I hear that we need to punish companies for making too much money. “We” need to determine how much profit a successful company can earn. “We”, rather than they, need to decide where they can make or buy their products. “We” need to decide what they should pay their employees. Who are “we”? The communists, fascists, and socialists all determined that they could decide all of these issues better than the entrepreneurs and capitalists and they could appoint the “we” to manage their economies. They have all failed. Their policies of taking from the successful and redistributing to the least successful have proven to be bankrupt policies. Capitalism still reigns supreme. But, the deniers, haters, and failures among us continue their carping and complaining and cannot accept these facts.

Coupled with this desire to punish the successful and to work for the failure of the successful, is the realization that many simply cannot let the facts get in the way of their thinking.

Example 1: Many believe that the 2003 tax cuts on investments are a giveaway to the rich. Fact: In 2005, the top 1% of earners accounted for 21.2% of all income, but paid 39.4% of all federal taxes. The top 5% earned 35.8% of all income and paid 60% of the taxes, i.e., the top 5% paid more in income taxes than the remaining 95% combined. Conclusion: To get more money from the rich, cut the tax rate. (Ref. 1)

Example 2: In a region of India, teacher absenteeism in villages was 40%. Solution 1: Throw money at the problem - hire a 2nd teacher to cover for the absent teacher. Solution 2: Give the teachers a film camera with a tamper-proof time and date stamp. At the beginning and end of each day, the teacher snaps a picture of himself and the students. Pay the teachers bonuses and fines, depending on their attendance. Result: With solution 2, absenteeism fell to 22%, students scored significantly better on tests, and costs were 60% less than hiring a 2nd teacher. Conclusion: Throwing money at education problems does not necessarily solve the problems. Being creative, however, may solve the problems. (Ref. 2)

Example 3: Democrats and liberals have been arguing that we need to pull our troops out of Iraq immediately because The United States is losing the war and cannot defeat the Islamic terrorists. At the same time, they disingenuously claim that that their opposition is not because of personal dislike of President Bush and that they really support our troops. Fact: Democrats and liberals in Congress vehemently opposed the surge of 21,000 added U.S. troops and then tried and repeatedly failed to undermine the updated strategy of the military and to starve the war of funding. “As our troops succeeded, surge critics went from arguing against the strategy to arguing whether the violence dropped in Baghdad to arguing about why the decrease occurred.” “Good news in the war on terror is bad news for those rooting for failure. Far easier to play up casualties and sectarian strife, sensationalize accusations of atrocities and demonize the men and women in uniform.” Army 2nd Lt, Mark J. Daily, before being killed in combat, wrote, “Some have allowed their resentment of the president to stir silent applause for setbacks in Iraq. Conclusion: Democrats and Liberals have made a hapless effort to sabotage America’s counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq and the mainstream media has stubbornly refused to own up to military progress there. (Ref. 3)

Americans need to be reminded that “Any nation consisting of citizens who embrace defeat will be a nation of losers. Al Qaeda, Hizbullah, and their sponsors in Damascus and Tehran intend to take the world back to a medieval Islamist caliphate. Whether it is Sunni or Shi’ite does not matter because Christians and Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and atheists will either be converted, enslaved or dead.

If Americans do not put aside their tolerance or losing and their infatuation with self-criticism and national-denigration and focus instead on winning, Western civilization will lose the war. Winston Churchill told the House of Commons on May 13, 1940, ‘Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.’" (Ref. 4)

Throughout our recent history, the world has observed that there have been all too many people who resent the success and the existence of countries like the United States of America and the State of Israel. With respect to Israel, we have seen the irreconcilable hatred toward Israel from most Arabs, Muslims, Anti-Zionists, Anti-Semites, various misfits, and, yes, from some Jews. These people find any excuse to call for the punishment of the only successful democracy in the middle-East. Among the excuses for punishing Israel are the following: Israel stole land from its rightful owners, the Arabs who inhabited Palestine; Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens; Israel is persecuting the “Palestinians”; Israel’s wall of separation is just a method of segregation and apartheid; etc, etc, etc. To the unbiased, the facts belie the claims of these haters of Israel and the Jewish faith.

These same people are the perpetual whiners / complainers and the eternal pessimists. For them, the glass is always half empty - never half full. They complain about the government and politicians (at least the ones they dislike or hate); they complain about successful businesses and the people that run them. When they complain about the people that are out of work and you tell them that the unemployment rate is historically low, they reply that, “yes, but all the jobs are low paying jobs.”

  1. False Alarm: Other Comments, from Investor’s Business Daily, Forbes, November 26, 2007, Pg 26.
  2. Trial and Error, David Armstrong, Forbes, June 19, 2006, Pgs, 128 - 132.
  3. Surge’s success embarrasses Democrats, media, Michelle Malkin, Boston Herald, December 28, 2007, Pg 19.
  4. No Substitute for Victory, Dr. Earl H. Tilford, The Jewish Press, November 16, 2007, Pg 8.
  22 Jan 2008 {Article 27; Whatever_07}    
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