Illegal Aliens, Socialist Democrats & Cloward-Piven

The next time you see thousands of illegal aliens massing at the border demanding to be allowed to enter, or marchers demanding more of your tax dollars to pay for their wants and needs or politicians insisting you owe it to others to pay for their necessities in life, remember these two words: Cloward Piven.

So much of what the Left (and progressives and Marxists and wannabe socialists) seek to accomplish isn’t intended to improve conditions. It’s intended to destroy. Many of them don’t know enough to understand this. Some do.

Many of these advocates are like the “useful idiots” described by Vladimir Lenin. He said useful idiots were non-communists in the West who supported the communist agenda thinking it would improve life without really understanding what it was they were supporting.

What useful idiots still don’t understand is that their schemes – government-run welfare, government-run medical care, government-administered retirement systems, government building and work projects, etc. – are doomed.

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As Margaret Thatcher explained:

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Those schemes are inherently doomed because none of them creates new wealth. They all just spend existing wealth with a negative return on their “investments.” It’s like throwing cash into a furnace to keep warm.

Worse, they also each have built-in breaking points – the points at which they run out of other peoples’ money.

Useful idiots like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York demand such programs be established, then demand that taxpayers pay for them, then demand the benefit levels be increased, then increased again, then again, and again.

The logical extension of this is programs that create no wealth eventually spend everyone else’s wealth. Many productive people eventually will choose to no longer be productive because they understand the futility of creating wealth when the government will only take it from them to give to someone else.

AOC and many on the Left are too ignorant of economics to see the inevitability of the failure. That’s why they never will have enough of other people’s money – 50% taxes will give way to 70% taxes which will give way to 90% taxes. If you think this is unlikely, you have forgotten that the tax-and-spend crowd increased the top federal income tax to more than 90% from 1950 through 1962. In 1944-45 the top tax rate was 94%.

To use one of the Left’s favorite words, this is unsustainable. Dim bulbs like AOC don’t understand this. But the people who put these schemes in motion understand it perfectly. They know the arbitrary patchwork system of the Western welfare states is built on sand and must eventually collapse. It’s meant to collapse.

In 1966 this underlying scheme was publicly advanced by a pair of sociologist-activists named Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven.

The Cloward-Piven strategy called for purposely overloading the U.S. public welfare system expressly to collapse the system. Once the system and economy had crashed, the true motive could be realized.

Cloward and Piven foresaw rising from the rubble a national system of guaranteed annual income for everyone administered by the government. They said by doing so, poverty would be eradicated.

As anyone with even a passing familiarity with economics understands, however, what such a redistribution of wealth actually would accomplish would be universal poverty.

Of course, as it was in the USSR, the sub-standard living conditions of nearly everyone would necessarily have to be administered by an elite class that wouldn’t live like the peons they supposedly serve. While this ruling class would decide how much everyone else needs and may receive, they also would determine how much they should receive according to their needs, which will be excessive. After all, they have great responsibilities under such a national system, and must be kept in a manner appropriate to their status. As do all socialist/communist rulers.

All intermediate steps to this Utopia end in doom. The USSR, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea. Even as their people suffer from greater and greater shortages, and more and more restricted services like health care and education, the administrators continue to live well.

The next time you see AOC or a leftist, progressive or other advocate of any variant of socialism, realize that they either are useful idiots, too dim witted to understand the futility of what they demand, or they are among the masterminds happy to use useful idiots to help bring down Western civilization and destroy the inherent prosperity of its free-enterprise system.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Mark Landsbaum is a Christian husband, father, grandfather and journalist who has written for a living for 43 years, ever since discovering he had no particular talents. He can be found on Facebook, Linkedin, and in the archives of the Orange County Register where he wrote another column for 10 years. He can be reached at
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