The Productive Are Going Away

Big Government do-gooderism is justified on the premise that ‘people who are in trouble can and must be helped.’ It started out as, ‘If they’re starving or homeless, a little temporary help will be provided to get them back on their feet.’ Then it morphed into, ‘If they’re starving or homeless, then permanent help, if necessary, will be provided to them.’ Now it has finally collapsed into, ‘Anyone who needs or wants health insurance, medical care, education (including college), earth-friendly consumer products or a taxpayer-subsidized mortgage will get one, and is in fact morally entitled to one.’

This is the welfare state gone absolutely crazy. It’s also the welfare state at the end of its road: morally and fiscally bankrupt, subsidized by generations far into the future.

In her famous novel ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ Ayn Rand wrote about a society in which the best and brightest in business and science, disgusted by the welfare state and the righteous Obama-like moral code underlying it, literally went on strike. In the process, the society (including the gigantic welfare state) completely collapsed. Industry as we know it simply petered out. In all probability, such a strike is a fictional fantasy. But the principle underlying the fictional strike is as real, as potent and as true as today’s headlines. The more that the do-gooder welfare state makes people dependent on it, the more wealth that government requires in order to keep those people fat and happy. The politicians, Presidents and Senators are no less dependent on the loot than the recipients (including those in business) who obtain the loot in the form of subsidies. In the process, we have less of a private, wealth-producting sector in which to employ those still willing to be productive and independent.

A vicious cycle is thus created: The slow death of the private sector makes the do-gooder government more dependent on the productive as time goes by. But the productive slowly go away. Oppressed under increasing taxation, redistribution and arbitrary regulation, not to mention moralistic, anti-business lectures by the likes of Barack Obama (who never created a job in his life), the GDP initially goes flat (ultimately down) and the unemployment rate goes up. Sound familiar? Whether the remaining productive members of society go on a conscious, morally-based strike as Ayn Rand’s characters did in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ or whether it happens more by default, almost subconsciously ‘ either way, it happens.

That’s where we are in America 2010. The question to America is: Are you ready to pull the plug on, or at least roll back, the welfare state while there’s still an engine of productivity in the world? Or do you want to wait for everything to crash and burn? The choice is yours. This is the biggest choice a society has faced since, oh, I don’t know ‘ 1776, or so.