The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, June 29, 2008

UPDATED The Entitlements Tsunami Ahead--and How you can Help Stop It

UPDATE: Edited and revised for clarity.

Last week, David Broder put up a link in his WaPo column to a new site that Ross Perot (my old employer) has recently put together, including a terrific multi-media presentation to explain the fix that we are in with our entitlements programs and overall with the deficit spending of our government.

I saw Broder's link at the time but did not follow it until today, when Instapundit linked it. (yes, I know--I cite and am influenced by Glenn almost daily; but hey, let's face facts: Reynolds is arguably the single most talented daily source out there--sorry Drudge--for quickly finding real "diamonds", i.e. interesting takes on important stories that big media is often missing, amid the constant cacaphony of background noise that is the Internet...) But I digress.

Getting back to the Perot site: it is really interesting, illustrative, and well put together. The only flaw I find in it is that it uses mostly Congressional Budget Office data to make its case (which results currently have a Democrat bias...the numbers always reflect the bias of whichever party is in power). Nevertheless, I highly recommend his presentation--no matter what you may or may not have thought about Perot's Presidential bid and his other media exposure over the years, Ross has done a good thing for his country here: he has put together a case on this site which is virtually unarguable. A disaster is coming that will impact us all, that is if we continue to pretend as a people and as a government that it isn't there, all for the sake of political expediency.

You will recall that the President has tried repeatedly since his re-election to get Congress to tackle Social Security, to no avail. And, as shown within the Perot presentation, Social Security is arguably the easiest component of the coming entitlements catastrophe to "fix"; yet the Democrats and their think tanks blocked every single attempt that the President and Congressional Republicans put forward which attempted to address this important issue. So long as the Democrats continue to put Party above country, this will continue to be the likely result of such efforts.

Their intransigence is easily explainable: 1) the Democrat party has an enormous reliance on Union money and Union membership for a huge percentage of its funding and organization; 2) large portions of this Union membership come from portions of the economy arguably which would have to endure significant and disruptive change if the huge deficit and bureaucracy is to be reduced--for example the gigantic Public Employee's Union which represents every single bureaucrat the Dems do or would empower; and, 3) many of the external constituencies that the Democrats claim to be representing are disproportionately from non-productive portions of society, consisting of many who want an increase in entitlements/benefits for themselves, via a large central government, and at the expense of taxpayers; simultaneously these same constituencies collectively push for each individual taking less individual responsibility for pulling their own weight in that society. In short, they want to kill what little incentive there is for people to take control of their own lives, in favor of a cradle to grave nanny state.

And so the very makeup of the Party (not to mention the mass media supporting it) has virtually ensured that any Democrat stepping forward in favor of what is truly good for the country (i.e. real solutions that would require smaller government--not simply class warfare rhetoric; changes in the fundamental structure of entitlements and stop our addiction to deficit spending for everything under the sun...) endangers their own financial or electoral support.

Thus, there is very little incentive--especially for Democrats--to tackle these issues, except for calling for disproportionate tax increases on the productive segments of society, when tax hikes on these entities would, and (according to the graphs in Perot's charts) historically have had the impact of actually reducing the rate of revenue growth in relation to GDP while increasing the size of the deficit in the same relationship (see charts 2 and 6-11).

As the presentation makes clear, the public is rarely made aware of the relationship of GDP to the deficit when these subjects are debated by talking heads on television, or when their favorite Politician makes a stump speech. But for anyone who actually spends time on this data and actually thinks about it, the charts are very revealing: for example, as a result of the Bush tax cuts, revenues are up in relation to GDP, and are growing at a faster rate than at virtually any time over the past 30 years. AND--THE OPPOSITE IS ALSO TRUE: whenever taxes have been raised on the productive segments of society (the part that produces greater GDP) it has historically reduced our rate of GDP growth--i.e. our productivity as a country--to the point where its fractional relation to revenue ultimately has resulted in greater deficits, at a faster rate).

It's all right there. Slide 11...

But this reality does not jive with the Democrats' Marx-inspired Mythology of a fixed pie and discouraging incentives to productivity in favor of their (Democrats) planning your economic activity for you; and so--every time the Republicans attempted to address the issue head on--the Democrats drowned it out with partisan rhetoric, and appeals to black and white of "class envy", rich vs. poor, and the "exploitation" of consumers by business (i.e. the productive segment--ignoring the fact that no consumer would buy anything from these "evil" businesses at any price, if they did not believe it was not to their own benefit to do so...). But now they insist that they--the Democrat Socialists--know better than you do where and how your money should be spent.

With each iteration of the same old lies, the same dishonest talking points and the same tired emotional appeals to collective covetousness, the intellectually lazy and economic-illiterate public usually swallows it whole, hook, line and sinker; with each time the mass media pitches in to help with the over-simplification of reality and populitst falsehoods--the hole gets deeper and deeper.

And so we have our current situation: an uninformed, apathetic, irresponsible, sleepwalking electorate; stupefying in its ability to take the earned prosperity of 200+ years, the existential dangers to our Republic which exist externally, and the sacrifices we've endured in numerous bloody wars for granted--and then rewards these same Democrats for putting Partisan Politics ahead of the National Interest. Indeed, they vote to give those at the very ROOT of the problem control of the Congress in 2006!

Since then
of course, the Democrat Partisanship and rancor has gotten progressively worse, (despite the Dems having run in the midterms as being able to finally "get things done", etc.)--and the financial pressure from the Unions and other Leftist special interests has grown--to the point where the prospect of any Congress (containing a significant contingent of Democrats) making real progress towards solving these monumental problems has now become virtually nil.

By putting politics ahead of country, the Democrats have created a Legislative Branch that no longer has the will nor the ability to address the coming economic "entitlements-induced" collapse of our economy, or any other threat for that matter.

It is simply the "Anti" Congress: anti-capitalist, anti-incentive, anti-protecting America's national interests, anti-winning Wars it has voted to fund, anti-leveraging our own abundant natural resources for jobs and prosperity, anti-business, period.

Furthermore, the Democrat "solution" to the crisis would shrink GDP, would decrease tax revenue even as it increases tax rates, and thus would make the existing problem much worse. And the misery will be spread accordingly, for all to share. The least common denominator of mediocrity for all.

And don't even start with Iraq talk: as you will see from Perot's presentation, our spending on the Military is a drop in the bucket compared to impact of these entitlement programs--in fact spending on the military in relation to GDP is almost at a 30 year low (and arguably that is too low to properly serve our interests/security in this dangerous world).

OK, so how do we solve these problems? The answers do exist. I would suggest that you could do far worse than to go here, here, here, and here; these would supply the curious with one hell of a head start on the rest of your countrymen. And after that, you can then be better equipped to get out there and work to help to educate your friends so that they understand.

And then: you can go to the polls in November; you can work and vote to throw every single Democrat you can possibly influence the hell out of Congress, State, or Local offices; and you can put an experienced person into the White House who understands how corrupt this Congress is, who has pledged to end pork-barrel spending, and who (of the two choices) would have the greatest chance at being able to tackle the entitlements issues facing us all head-on. (Hint: the first letter of his last name would never be mistaken for a zero... which matches the actual experience on that side of the ledger...).

Which Presidential candidate actually has the resume which demonstrates that he can handle the heavy responsibilities and complexities of arguably the most difficult job on Earth? And which is a "pretty-boy" rookie with Marxist roots, very questionable friends and associations over the years, a silver tongue in canned speeches (but who stumbles like a schoolgirl when confronted by unexpected questions), an appeasement attitude, and hard-left special-interest backing which would virtually guarantee that the approaching entitlements/spending tsunami will become even bigger and more destructive as a result of his policy positions?

Given the enormous problems we face, and the public's ignorance of them, it really is going to be a pretty easy choice this year for those who really understand what is at stake. But the problem is that most people do not.

This is where it is up to McCain--and the rest of us to step up--we either educate the others about the stakes, and to argue for the principles that would save our country from economic collapse--or worse. Or we find the lifeboats, and we pray that we do not all drown.
DiscerningTexan, 6/29/2008 11:19:00 AM |