It’s No Longer “the Economy, Stupid” (Part 2 of 2)

Conclusion of yesterday’s column.

Can societies turn around? Surely, because societies are nothing more than a very large number of individuals. ‘Society’ refers to the dominant trends of individuals. But today’s trends are very bad. The fact that socialist Obama and his party were restored to power — with extra seats in the U.S. Senate to boot — is an indication that a majority of Americans are now willing to sacrifice everybody’s freedom in order to secure ‘their fair share’ of security.

The irony is that there is no tradeoff between liberty and ‘security.’ Security is truly gone the moment you undercut economic and other individual freedoms. On the surface it seems good. ‘What’s wrong with the rich paying more in taxes so I can retire a year sooner, or buy a better house or have better health insurance?’

What’s wrong is that there are consequences to everything. For one thing, there are not nearly enough rich people and will never be enough rich people to finance all the things to which ‘average’ Americans now feel entitled. We could tax those making over $250,000 year at a 100 percent tax rate — assuming, of course, that they would continue to work, save and invest just as conscientiously as they would were they not slaves.

Ridiculous, of course, but let’s assume it just the same. Take 100 percent of all income earned by America’s top earners and then provide guaranteed health insurance, flood insurance, mortgage subsidies, farm subsidies, school and college subsidies (graduate and medical school subsidies while you’re at it), and all the rest Barack and his crew of leftists have in mind for us, and it still won’t add up.

The national debt, growing exponentially by the second, will never be paid off by tax increases on the rich or additional taxes on anybody. Even the middle class could not be taxed to pay for the unfunded liabilities of Medicare alone, to say nothing of all Obama plans to do and what most Americans have been duped into demanding and expecting.

It’s simply not possible, and, frankly, verges on the psychotic. It’s not all that different from the mentality of a heroin addict, living in the range of the moment and caring nothing for anyone or anything — least of all, himself — beyond the next urge of the next moment. This is the state of our politicians in Washington D.C. and most state capitals, and in some respect nearly everyone acknowledges this. Yet, what does it say about the people who demand and expect all the things these addict-like, amoral politicians promise? What does it say about the voters who indifferently permit it and in fact demand it?

These have been my questions for some time now. Before 2012, it was possible to say that America was in a mixed state. In the Johnson and Nixon years, the welfare state mostly grew. Put the brakes on the spread of the welfare state, and you get the Reagan years. Accelerate the welfare state a bit, and you get the Clinton years — until the Republicans were put in Congress to apply the brakes again; even Clinton partially reversed course and (at times) helped them apply those brakes.

This has been the back-and-forth of American politics, at least until now. Now a majority appear to be saying, ‘Big Government is here to stay. We want it all, and we want more. Don’t you dare tamper with it, or we’ll call you a liar and a racist. But ‘ of course we want fiscal responsibility too.’

This last is what the House Republicans are for, I suppose. But attaining fiscal responsibility in the midst of a heroin-like buying and spending binge will not end any better for our government than it would for the heroin addict who finally hits bottom.

It really doesn’t matter what the Republicans do going forward. Republicans as we’ve known them are dead, and deserve to be. My best guess is that they will go in one of two directions, or perhaps split in two.

One side will say, ‘See? We need to be more pragmatic. Forget the Tea Party. Americans want Obama’s programs and more. We’ll maintain them all, and even expand them. We won’t create as many new ones, and we’ll try to raise taxes less than we otherwise would.’ In other words, the Republicans will become Obama’s Democratic Party, and Obama will be free to become Karl Marx or whomever he wants to be.

The other direction for the Republican Party is to do what a lot of them have really wanted to do all along: Turn their policies into those of a theocratic dictatorship, minimizing or ignoring economics and defense in favor of piously raising their eyes heavenward to outlaw abortion, ban gay marriages, and perpetrate even worse intrusions into others’ freedoms. You’ll see this play out as never before in the next set of Republican presidential primaries.

Bottom line: As the economy worsens, or continues not to grow, the prospect of some form of dictatorship increases. Lack of economic growth will come as a shock to most Americans. As people become more poor relative to the prior generation, the more fearful they will become.

As fear grows, they will cede more and more of their individual rights and liberties to government. We have already seen this in the financial and health care industries, and it will eventually infect every sector, at least absent any major course reversals.

And there will be no pro-freedom, principled people to oppose it. The travesty is that the majority of the American people, the ones who voted as they did in 2012, cannot be expected to oppose it.

If free speech and free elections survive the onslaught of the continuing and worsening Obama economic regime, then perhaps we’ll finally see the birth of a second party that may, mercifully, be in favor of individual rights. But so what? The majority of Americans don’t want that and would not vote for it. They want safety and security, or what they think is safety and security, and are willing to give up their freedoms to attain it.

Who knows, maybe millions of Americans will change their minds. But how cooperative will Obama and other politicians be when they have to let go of the expanded power they were handed so freely? Not at all.

In a democracy, it’s said that people get the government that a majority of them deserve. It’s true, and Thomas Jefferson was right as well.

That’s why we were never supposed to be a democracy, in that strictest sense. But we are one now — a socialist democracy, for all practical purposes — and the majority will, rest assured, get exactly what they deserve in the months and years ahead.

No doubt they will always blame something or someone else for the evolving calamity that socialist democracy will bring down onto America. Yes, they’ll get what they deserve, and the fault will be their own.

Individuals sometimes wake up, end their addictions and completely reverse course in life-transforming ways. I hope the same for America, at least in the long run. The nature of reality, as a place where values can only be achieved through freedom and reason, leaves humankind with no other choice.

The truth really can set us free. First, we have to face it.


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