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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

America's Economic Civil War?

Much has been made of the increasingly-obvious redistributionist tendencies of our government and public sector which are dividing our society into two camps. As financier Ziad Abdelnour has written in his new book, "Economic Warfare" (Wiley, 2011) (recommended), America is the battlefield for a momentous struggle between the wealth creators -- the entrepreneurial class -- and those who feel entitled to take your wealth away.

This is not a struggle between rich and poor. That is an intentional -- and effective -- deception, the use by the "takers and fakers" of doublespeak in rhetoric to deceive people into choosing to fight on the side of the "makers." You can be quite poor, or certainly in the middle class, and still be plagued by the entitlement mentality of those who feel entitled to take - by any means necessary - what little you have. A poor person who has "something" can be victimized just as much; in fact, the poor person may be more vulnerable, for he is the low-hanging fruit who likely will be thought to be without the resources (money, knowledge or mental strength) to resist and fight.

Conversely, the rich are not necessarily the white hats here. Some rich folks become that way, not by creating wealth, but by taking it from others. Call it stealing, call it legal plunder, but it is taking it from you nonetheless. It is different from the act of a thief, the mugger who robs you at gunpoint, only in the form of the weapon.

The gunman uses a weapon that can kill. The crony capitalism we see today uses special treatment bestowed by today's government decisionmakers (who soon will be in the private sector) upon their private sector friends. This crony capitalism uses the four corners of the law to cover the tracks of unfair and inequitable treatment. Equality of opportunity and a fair playing field are concepts to be honored, in the breach.

The most dangerous strategy of all is crony justice, which employs the government's most terrifying power of being able to threaten to deprive you of your freedom. It is the power to prosecute you - worse that overregulating or taxing you to induce you to move or close your business - that is the latest "daisy cutter" weapon.

The danger of the entitlement mentality is that its nature as a philosophy, an outlook, induces the temptation to reason with it, to negotiate, to use passive means of resistance.  But there is no reasoning, no negotiating, that is effective with an enemy which seeks to take what you have at will, to expropriate and confiscate, until there is nothing left.

We are already in a civil war.

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer who handles and is highly experienced in investigative matters, financial and corporate due diligence, and securities and corporate law matters.

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