Saturday, September 8, 2012
Please pass this on to those who are independent or undecided voters in the swing states and to people who will pass it on to people in the swing states.
Barack Obama, who I had voted for in the dearth of alternatives and in the hope for change, is a good, committed fellow but he has the misunderstandings typical to an idealist and a person with no grounding in the real world of economics and what actually works and doesn’t work (which is what one learns from actual experience where decisions and strategies must work in actual results).
Yes, we do need to make sure we take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. Yes, we do need to do those functions that can only be done from a centralized system to benefit all Americans. And that includes especially assuring that Americans are educated and productive, able to cover themselves and contribute to the overall good.
But there is an argument of how much further should we go along the continuum of practicality versus idealism.
The ultimate “further” is the ever appealing Socialism. (We are not there, but the question is how far to go.)
“We can do it together. We can provide for all. We can assure equality and that the rich and powerful do not take over.”
The argument in Socialism is fired up by choosing an enemy, or bad guy. The same goes for Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals (which Obama taught in Chicago).
The argument is further fired up by the appealing concept of the government providing for all.
The danger lies here in “entitlement” or classic codependency where people are enabled to depend on rescue and security from another – and this results in less ambition and less self-esteem for the individual but it results in many fewer people contributing to the productivity and welfare of the nation.
The indicator of this that is concrete is the number of people depending on the government (exclusive of those who have paid into a system). (About 50% pay no federal income taxes. Is that reasonable?)
That indicator can creep up without our noticing it.
How much is too much?
Of course, we can’t get all capable people who are unproductive to be productive, but we should be able to limit those who aren’t to, say, 10% (this is in addition to those who are in fact not capable). Surely it would make sense for us to demand that they do whatever they can to carry their own load - and not reward them with any money beyond the slightest subsistence that is demanded by the humanitarianism of not letting anyone starve. But those people must be called on to be responsible – and to contribute– which will help us have more money for the good causes.
Ultimately, Socialism calls for “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” (Wikipedia)
And “we will take care of you” is the ultimate way to get people “fired up” – many people get excited by it.
But it falls short in that it fails to meet the final tests:
1. There is no clear path on how this is to be actually provided. We must not be misled into believing that the rich can provide it (from each according to his ability), because, though appealing, there is not enough wealth for the rich to be able to do that. If you increased taxes on them by 10%, exclusive of the economic effect on growth, only 1/5 of the current deficit would be paid for. Anyone using the argument that the rich can cover you is possibly doing the pied piper approach – for there is no substance to the argument, there is no way to make it work.
All the hope in the world will not make it work, for there is no proven way to make it work.
And note that Socialism has always failed.
And before it ultimately fails, the leaders have to start imposing their own authoritarianism to force people to comply, always.
The beginning is always with the idea of “doing the right thing” by providing for the people. They use their form of “executive orders” (leader orders) to implement “the right thing”, which, incidentally, does look like the right thing and it may be the right thing, but the consequences are not identified clearly(or we would seek a different balance, given that there are tradeoffs – and we must realize that the good fairy will not show up to make it all work).
The leaders fail to stick to the laws and go around them without working it out with the legislature, which is the entity to make the laws – after all, the leaders’ judgment is “superior”to theirs.
Yes, it appears innocuous at first.
Who cares if the budgets submitted to Congress are voted down 100% - by both parties!
Who cares that the immigration laws (which the leaders have determined are not right) are not enforced – and surely it is wonderful to not deport those who have never known another nation. I agree with the latter idea, but shouldn’t the lawmakers agree and be the ones who formulate the laws?
Who cares that the leaders impose regulations and restrictions that support their constituencies even though they are doing it by essentially creating their own laws or not waiting for them to be created by lawful means? No big deal, right?
No big deal, just lots of little changes – which gradually accumulate and catch you before you realize it.
And isn’t it wonderful that we impose these requirements on the evil profitmaking health insurance companies, where they are to provide “for free” certain benefits to all (yes, there appears to be a “good fairy” here). Free is good, and it is appealing, but do we have the right to dictate (as in orders from a dictator)? And without agreement in law?
Where are the limits? And aren’t there signs of going around the law and the rules? How far should we allow that to go? It seems harmless, but we should be aware of it.
2. We are limited by what is real and practical and we should address that,, yes?
And if there are financial concerns shouldn’t we address those with a concrete plan? Or should we just ignore it and rely on hope –hope that it will solve itself in the long run – which of course does not work in the real world!
If we have promises of more and more and more, but we fail to set up a means of fulfilling current promises (currently behind by $100 trillion, per the Trustees reports!), aren’t we in for problems in the future?
But, no, it is easy to ignore that and easier to fire up the people with more promises, briefly alluding to “I’ll take care of that and yes it is serious but we’ll handle it” and “don’t vote for those who are mean and force us to face tradeoffs” (said more convincingly than that, of course).
I don’t like the idea that the “other” party has alternate values to my own, though I cannot prove mine are right, as they are only opinions. I respect theirs. But as I look at it, 72% of the people in the US approve of 1st trimester abortions, so there will be no difference there regardless of who I vote for. And I know that it is not true that the other party will let people starve in the streets, nor do I think that they could impose that even if they wanted to, as the people would have a say-so in that and no one would let it happen. And gay rights will continue to improve.
I see no loss of basicsocial benefits, but I do see a greater ability to be effective plus a willingness to address the tough issues – not just the national debt but the $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare (still unaddressed by Obama after 3 ½ years; politically wise, but a sell-out on the American people).
One path, in my analysis, has no hope of succeeding, with a leader who has no practical capability and experience, though noble intent. The other will do no damage, because they can’t go beyond the will of the people, but it will at least seek to do what is right and workable and practical – with at least good solid potential.
There seems to be no contest here.
One path is virtually guaranteed not to work – there is no good fairy that will rescue us.
The other path is systematic, disciplined, with a capable proven leader and ‘rescuer’ of businesses, Olympics, and a state. (And in his famous op-ed that was titled by the New York Times and was misleading, he actually proposed to save Detroit by a managed bankruptcy to make each company safely viable and then, and only then, to have government guarantee the necessary loans, so that necessary capital could be obtained. Read the op-ed; don’t rely on the false representations made about this. Detroit.)
And if the people fail to realize that we must follow a path that works, in this world of imperfection and real limits, instead of one that literally has no hope except for the good fairy showing up and rescuing it all – if they fail to realize it, we will suffer greatly as a nation – and drop even further behind in being able to finance all that is good and beneficial in the world.