Why It’s No Longer “The Economy, Stupid!”

Columnist Ed Butowsky recently wrote an insightful, although slightly naïve, column. In that column, he says:

Bill Clinton was right. It’s the economy, stupid!

Wouldn’t you think he’d have told his wife?

It looks to me like he didn’t, because Hillary Clinton, the soon-to-be Democratic candidate for president, is making proposals that will triple down on all the bad things that have happened to our economy in the last decade.

Hillary Clinton may not be a good person, and certainly cares nothing for liberty, individual rights or the Constitution. But she is a shrewd politician in pursuit of power. She grasps that it’s no longer “the economy, stupid.”  Back in 1992, the economy did matter to most Americans. That’s why her husband’s campaign used that phrase, “It’s the economy, stupid!” back then.

How do we know it’s no longer the economy? The 2012 election. Obama won easily, and brought many Democrats with him to Congress. This, despite the fact the economy was not appreciably better than 2008, based on employment and economic growth figures, figures which historically have predicted the outcome of presidential elections fairly well. By those precedents, Mitt Romney should have won. But he didn’t. And that tells you more about the American electorate than anything else. The people no longer care about the economy.

Maybe that’s not strictly true. People care about what “the economy” does for them. They want the loot, without caring about the wealth producers, investors, innovators or business managers who make it all possible. They want to make sure the government will continue to provide for most of their needs, and at some point maybe provide for all of their needs. No, this isn’t everyone. But it must be a majority; otherwise, what would spread-the-wealth politicians like Obama – who got two terms – and Hillary Clinton – who’s way ahead in most polls against any Republican nominee – have to offer them?

So you tell me … Why was everyone dancing in the streets when we added 242,000 jobs last month? And why did the usual gang of pundits say that number exceeded expectations?

Talk about aiming low! Those “expectations” were about one-and-a-half million new full-time jobs short of what we really needed. In fact, they came up even shorter, because only 29,000 of those new jobs were full-time. And since 242,000 or 29,000 or whatever number you come up with was way short of the 1.67 million we need each month, it just increased the number we’ll need going forward to hit 20 million at the end of the year.

It’s tempting to say that a Republican would be held to a higher standard. If a Republican were in the White House right now, the opposing party—even Bernie Sanders—would be 20 points ahead in the polls.

But it’s not merely a double standard. It’s the criteria used in the first place.

In the mindset of most American people, the central purpose of government is not to protect and uphold – but to care. Most Americans view government spending more money as caring; and government spending less money, or no money, as not caring.

Spending money means going through the motions. It’s the illusion of “doing something” for the mere sake of doing it. People don’t stop to think of what the government is doing with the money, how efficiently they’re spending it, how much of it is actually theoretical money (i.e. debt), and how toxic and dysfunctional it is for government to be so involved in private economic activity in the first place.

People who would never permit the government into their bedrooms or computers (nor should they) are more than happy to let government manage and run just about every other single thing in society, including the very important areas of education and medical care. Just so government pays for it.

Republicans, who actually spend just as much on domestic spending as Democrats (to the chagrin of Republicans who still are fiscal conservatives), are not perceived as caring. Democrats are. For that reason, the Democratic agenda always wins, even when it’s administered by hapless, subservient Republicans.

Sure, Hillary Clinton is a nasty, bitter old shrew. Most would not consider her a caring person. Most can tell she’s after power and nothing else, not unlike the soulless characters on the fictional House of Cards Netflix series. I don’t know anybody who actually likes her, even people who plan to vote for her. But she’s associated with the party perceived as “caring,” while no Republican ever will be. That’s the key. A majority of Americans want to be cared for, nurtured, taken care of, provided for; they’re passive, resigned, kind of like sheep being herded, or an old dog sitting by the fireplace, or under the dining room table, hoping for his next treat.

America, which started out as a fearless and wild frontier, rising to the greatest industrialized civilization ever known, has come to this.

Please understand … This is not the rant of an uncaring capitalist. We’re Americans, and we agree on most things: We want our country to be safe; we want our children to be safe; we want the freedom to speak our minds and to worship as we please. And we’re a caring people. We want to lend a hand to the less fortunate: the poor, the sick, the disabled, the disadvantaged.

Actually, I do not agree. We don’t all agree on the fundamentals; not any longer. That’s why we have President Obama, and that’s why we have the prospect of President Hillary Clinton. That’s why Republicans in Congress, such as Speaker Paul Ryan, are hapless twits, no better than their opponents and in some respects worse.

Capitalism has nothing to apologize for. Not only is capitalism the only system which delivers the goods; it’s the only system which requires people to earn their income honestly (fraud is against the law), while being able to keep, spend and/or invest it as they see fit once they earn it. Capitalism puts people with skin in the game (i.e., their own money) in charge of production, rather than the moronic, pull-peddling, unaccountable power-lusters we increasingly put in charge of the economy today.

Capitalism is the system where people mind their own business, and don’t use government as a fill-in for charity programs or to orchestrate grandiose experiments in social engineering. Pull and corruption—rampant in Washington DC, nearly everyone agrees—are the product of government intervention in the economy. If you hate corruption, then you ought to hate government intervention in the economy. Because if government limited its task to decimating dangerous enemies like ISIS, and punishing murderers, rapists, child molesters and frauds, there would be little or no opportunity for pull in government. If you want to get rid of government corruption, you have to stop giving government power the Constitution never permitted, and no government should ever have.

The problem? The majority will not let this happen, regardless of who wins in 2016.

It’s more than the economy, stupid. It’s freedom. It’s private property. It’s individualism. It’s sovereignty over one’s life. It’s the notion—now outdated, almost illegal to utter aloud—that the world does not owe you a living.

You can’t put a price on these virtues and values. Without them, we’re a whole lot worse off than stupid.

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