Howard Schultz: Right Time, Wrong Man

ONE MAN’S OPINION-When extremism is tearing apart the nation, the time is ripe for us to coalesce around our founding principles.

The rabid White is Right movement on the Right and the equally closed-mind Identity Politics on the Left do not care if a house divided cannot stand. For both extremes, ideological purity reigns uber alles. Hope to end the Group Rights schism, however, recently crept into daylight like Punxsutawney Phil and peaked around. After seeing Howard Schultz, “Nope, he ain’t no centrist,” Phil was heard to mutter as he scampered back into his hole to await a more favorable political climate. 

Schultz idea of being a centrist was to speak softly and have no position except that wealthy people are nice. He thinks the national debt is too high as that is bad for business. He thinks Dems do not want a marginal top tax rate of 70%. He’s right about that minor detail, but that’s no reason to run for President, especially if that 70% would be levied on you. Unbelievably for an allegedly Jewish candidate, he is against free college education! That’s like the Pope being against God.  

He’s against universal health care, saying we cannot afford it. That’s it. He’s dead meat. The reality is that millions of Americans cannot afford not to have health care. It’s life or death, you ferkata schlemiel. 

What’s behind, “we cannot afford it?” He means that universal health care is too expensive as long as we give 30% of each health care dollar to insurance companies. If no one paid any insurance premiums and instead paid only a 10% surcharge (which is about triple Medicare’s administrative cost) above the actual cost for doctors, medicine and hospitals, then universal health care would be affordable. Wall Street would not like that. 

Howard Schultz thought he’d start the third wing of the Wall Street Party in addition to the GOP and DEM wings. Presently, Americans can have their Wall Streetism with right wing extremism or with left wing extremism. Centrist Wall Streetism will only make The Davos Set wealthier and everyone else poorer. 

Political, Economic, and Social Realms 

We can divide life into the political, the economic and social realms. The nation’s founding using John Locke’s social contract ideas was primarily political. Little thought was given to economics except that the government should keep its hands-off men’s property. 

Also published in 1776, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations addressed economics which touted an economic system to replace Mercantilism. One of the main functions of government was to protect the Price System because the economy depended on Supply and Demand. (Without knowing the value of stuff, there can be no meeting of the minds.) Since the dividing line between politics and economics is a large gray area, the government’s decisions often have vast economic implications. The 13th Amendment killed the idea that people could be considered property. Later the Supreme Court allowed Congress to regulate the economy via the Commerce Clause as one of the early attempts to tame the boom and bust phases of the business cycle. 

Today, people believe that it is the President’s main duty to manage the economy so that they themselves can become personally wealthy. Millions of Americans will endure odious excesses by a mentally disturbed con man provided he makes grandiose promises of economic well-being. 

What’s Wrong with Howard Schultz? 

In a nutshell, he’s clueless about what is wrong or how to fix it. One would think that after watching Trump and other businessmen attempt to be President, Schultz would have realized that business economics is a horrible background for being President. The government is not a corporation and the rules for operating a corporation are terrible for running a nation. 

Micro-economics, which Schultz understands, is as different from Macro-economics, which deals with government fiscal policy, as football is different from basketball. Just because both games have the word “ball” in their name does not mean Tom Brady will join the Lakers. 

Fiscal Policy is Priority #1 

If any person wants to be a centrist, he or she must start with sound fiscal policy, Macro-economics 101. The GOP and the Dems teamed up at the end of the Clinton Administration to kill sound fiscal policy with their repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, ushering in Corruptionism. Its principle is simple: the 1% get richer and the 99% get to work harder. 

Return to Individual Inalienable Rights is Priority #1. (Yes, there are 2 Priority #1s) 

The two branches of the Wall Street party keep Americans fighting with each other so that we don’t notice who’s stealing all our wealth. Group Rights is a great platform if your goal is to destroy the nation. 

The proper legal principle to end Group Rights is simple: no individual may be assigned to a category based on some ascriptive status; rather, each person is treated according to his or her individual character. Politicians hate inalienable rights because they cannot build coalitions based up group prejudices.   

We need to acknowledge that when Right Wingers speak of Liberty, they generally mean their right to abuse others. In California, judges have the right under California Constitution Article VI, Section 10 to discriminate against Jews and others who “refuse Jesus Christ.” In a judiciary where “up” did not mean “down,” and “yes” did not mean “no,” who would buy such an absurd notion? In California, liberty does not mean that the government may not discriminate against you, but that the government has constitutional right to discriminate against you!  How long can a nation endure where Group Rights are official state policy? 

Stop Looking for A Savior 

There is no savior riding in on a white horse to save us from ourselves. As Pogo told us: We the People are the enemy. Before there can be a centrist party, there must be centrist people. 

Possible candidates hire pollsters who don’t ask about fiscal policy or whether Americans should have another civil war. As a result, we’ll be faced with more Howard Schultzes. Pollsters won’t ask these new questions until prior polling has shown that people are already thinking these thoughts.  Maybe, we Americans should start to take our future more seriously.


(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.