Americans Lowering the Bar on Themselves

Since the awful election, Republicans are now resorting to character. They’re doing what they have always done best: Caving.

They’re about to roll over on tax increases and all the other things Obama demands to further strengthen the hold of government over the most productive citizens of American society.

The Republicans are now fully and openly irrelevant. America has for generations now needed a second party, not a third one. The Democrats have always set the agenda, and the agenda has always been the growth of interventionist government. Now that the Republican Party exists only in name, perhaps there’s a possibility of a second party — which actually stands for limiting government, cutting spending, and cutting government power across the board — to emerge.

Yes, that party will most likely lose in most if not all cases. But in the unlikely event that such a party might sometimes win, we could at least get some significant rollbacks in government power, instead of the expansions that came under the administration of George W. Bush (the biggest domestic spender since Lyndon B. Johnson) and the expansion that very likely would have sadly occurred under Mitt Romney.

The bottom line is that a majority of Americans are now too hooked on Big Government to even realize that they are. In poll after poll, majorities still claim they want government to do less, not more. But they would never want to tamper with the things that government already does. And they want the budget to be balanced not by cutting programs of government, and certainly not by even talking of touching entitlement programs.

Once a majority feel this way, that ‘government as we know it must always be preserved,’ then there’s honestly no going back. Nobody is going to change their minds about these things, not at this point. They must simply wait and see what bankruptcy looks like, once it’s there. And then they’ll have to pause.

The Wall Street Journal (on 11/10/12) is reporting that even if Obama gets all of his tax increases, the deficit will only go down by a small fraction. And this assumes that all the tax increases don’t have any negative impact on the economy. This also assumes that the hidden and overt tax increases in Obama programs yet to go into full effect, such as Obamacare, have no negative impact whatsoever on the economy.

In what universe can anyone believe this to be so?

Evidently, a majority do, and they’re going to have to learn the hard way while the rest of us — who are willing to face reality — are going to have to pay the price along with them. Or, maybe they don’t really care about the deficit and the debt. Maybe they don’t think these things matter. But how can they not? Time will play this out.

The simple — not easy, but simple — solution is to get government out of the marketplace of health care, education and retirement insurance and open it up to the private market. Deregulate it so private entities can compete to provide a variety of policies and benefits to suit people’s needs. And government should put citizens on notice: “We’re cutting you off, eventually.” This will not happen, because the people would never allow it. Not only the majority who voted for Obama, but millions more on top of them would resist. Government and politicians are partly to blame for this, while citizens themselves are just as much to blame. Information and arguments — even simple numbers — are available to allow everybody to see that this entitlement state cannot sustain itself. These problems were inevitable even without Obama, although he is escalating them. Yet most Americans just go merrily on, assuming it somehow will work out, even as the economy continues to verge on stagnation and another recession (complete with massive layoffs) threatens in the New Year.

In my mind, it was always a worst-case scenario that the state of the economy would start to matter less to a majority of Americans than other considerations — things such as race, political correctness, egalitarianism and, of course, the sustaining of government freebies. When Obama first came to office four years ago, I reasoned (correctly) that the economy would not improve on his watch, but I also assumed that this would make him unpopular at reelection time. Who knew that Obama would remain popular despite the continued unraveling of the economy, not to mention the deficit and debt reaching unsustainable levels?

As things continue to get worse, perhaps this will change. Perhaps Americans (leaving aside the core leftists who would never bend on their socialism no matter how bad things got) will start to say, “Wow. We need a course reversal.” And they’ll demand it from a new, second party who stands for massive cuts in spending and facing the hard truth about entitlements.

If this doesn’t happen, then we are truly finished as a nation. We cannot possibly expect to defend ourselves against foreign threats, including known terrorist ones as well as others yet to emerge, as our weakness becomes more apparent. The core of what has made America strong and great for centuries has been its economy. The economy funds our military, the economy of a (mostly) free people having fun making a profit and showing the world what human beings, at their best, are capable of. Our military strength arose out of our economic strength, and one could not (morally or fiscally) have been possible without the other. As economic strength starts not only to flounder but actually falter, we’re going to see a very different situation than this Obama majority is ready for. How can it be otherwise?

Those who ignore the lessons of history — and even simple logic — are doomed to repeat them. It’s very frustrating to watch, especially when your own well-being is wrapped up in it. It’s tragic to watch Americans lower the bar on themselves, and all that made them strong up to now — and then disregard that this is even what they’re doing.


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