On the deification of Government in the U.S. and the chronic vacuity of the modern American left.
Like lemmings, the majority of the scribblers claiming membership in good standing in the fourth estate are rushing to sell the healthcare indenture to the American public. Long gone is even the thin veneer of objectivity as they parrot the economic talking points offered by Reid, Pelosi, Frank, Dodd and Krugman. With the exception of the few Libertarian and conservative commentators, journalists around the country are barking from every street corner that the healthcare collectivization is good for everyone. This, despite ample evidence that the legislation will increase costs, further ration care, strip services from the elderly, dampen investment in the broad economy because of confiscatory taxation, and impose a lifetime liability on every man, woman, and child from the day they breathe their first breath on our soil.
However, this is not an argument against this tragicomic legislation, per se. It is a factual rebuttal to the fabricated memes that the first American principles inherently impoverish our people and that the broad application of government is the true path to freedom and prosperity. In this recent argument for the collective written in the Sunday News in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the author offers a new line of reasoning why all this is good for you. In a nutshell: We have been increasing the role of government almost without pause for the last century, we all seem happy with the result, so the collectivization of healthcare must therefore also be a good thing.
This vacuum of ideas has taken on a life of its own, despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. Socialization of healthcare is good, and everything else is bad. Government has served nothing but the common good, so even more would be just spectacular. We must act to serve the greater good, magically raising all boats, regardless of the expense or the real outcome of confiscation and redistribution by the government. Everyone is disadvantaged in some way, so social justice demands we intervene everywhere. To reiterate, the argument is that our republic is inherently unfair and systematically victimizes our own people.
Krugman, Kerry, Pelosi, Dodd, and Reid would have us believe that their new ideas are different than those of Marx and Keynes. They would have us believe that the economic and physical terror visited on the peoples of the great socialist experiments does not exist. They believe that the U.S. system is inferior, and we must complete the collectivization begun in 1932 in order to finally put right the wrongs visited upon the citizens of the United States by their own freedoms. We have a President on a ‘contritionpalooza’ apologizing for all the world’s ills, pointing out our obvious inferiority and pretending that all the left’s ideas are new. In the face of that headwind, it might be valuable to insert some facts about the U.S. into the discussion. This chart shows the US world rank in some key indicators of the human condition and compares them to select others.
|World Rankings of Some Key Economic and Human Comparisons Between the Socialists/Former Socialists and the Socialist in Training 2009.*|
|GDP Per Capita||Human Development Index||Economic Freedom Index||Life Expectancy ***||Green Index||Free Press Index**||Migration (Net immigration per 1000)|
|The Socialist in Training||USA||10||13||6||50||12||9||25|
|*Sources: IMF, World Bank, CIA factbook, United Nations Development Program, Freedom House.|
|** Any ranking below 47 indicates a press designated as NOT FREE by the Freedom House.|
|***Life expectancy figures for the US are likely depressed because of factors such as the 30% obesity rate.|
In every measurable category of economics and the human condition the U.S. is apparently ranked above every single current or former socialist theocracy. So why would the President, ninety percent of the nation’s actors, ninety percent of the nation’s editorial pages, all union leadership and ninety percent of the nation’s televised media persist on telling us we need to be more like them?
One possible answer is that they are just unserious, using the tired mantra of ‘we must do good’ as a reason surrender us to the state. They ignore the facts that the U.S. delivers among the best living conditions to our people. They also ignore the fact that our prosperity and our rankings have declined as government intrusion has increased. For example, as recently as 1990 the U.S. ranked first or second in GDP per capita. As the ratio of all government spending raced above 30% of GDP, that ranking declined. Despite the clear evidence that the nature of the state is to be carnivorous unless brought to heel by the people, our Democrats and their enablers in the media believe unflinchingly in its benign hand. It remains inconceivable to them to live without the welfare state.
Another, more likely answer is that they really believe you and I are little more than ewes bleating in the field waiting to be shaved, unable to make our own decisions. The government, to them, should be making all the important decisions for us. And no one, other than them, should be receiving any reward greater than anybody else. We, the people, as individuals are inferior. We are factors of production. How else could they interpret the facts above so differently from the reality?
Perhaps it is simpler than that. The American left has simply forgotten he concept of the self-made individual and its pivotal role in forming this nation. Instead of leading that individual by establishing high expectations for success (the last two presidents to do this were Kennedy and Reagan), they prefer to lead by bribery. Bribe with free healthcare, bribe with welfare, bribe with comfort. They will argue that all these things are good for the common man. But are they really?
In this country today the combined federal, state and local governments spend the equivalent of 37% of GDP. For fiscal 2009 that will be 45% of GDP. The table below demonstrates the negative correlation between GDP growth and government spending comparing three periods over a 100 year span of time. In short, GDP growth rates subside as government spending rises, robbing the individual of the fruits of his or her labor. This data does not take into account the affects of national resources, monetary policy, and productivity or technology advancements, all of which can mitigate the deleterious effects of government encroachment. In fact, technology has the ability to reduce scarcity and therefore mask the harmful effects of government. In other words, without advancements in technology, our economy might have stalled completely during the last fifteen years as the government siphoned resources away from the people.
|The Three Beer Solution. Drop government spending back to 29% of GDP and add 7.5 million jobs to the economy.|
|15 year growth multiplier of GDP||Government Spending as Percent of GDP||Total Additional GDP ($billions)||Reduction in Government Outlays ($billions)|
|1913 to 1928||2.49||13%|
|1993 to 2008||2.13||35%|
|1993 to 2008 Re-model assuming we cut government spending to 1968 levels of 29%||2.39||29%||20,502||10,727|
|Net Additional GDP ($billions)||Total Additional Jobs at $75000 salary and benefits||Government Jobs Lost @ $68,000 per job||Net additional Employment|
|1993 to 2008 Re-model assuming we cut government spending to 1968 levels of 29%||9,775||8,689,090||1,166,802||7,522,288|
|Federal employees (civilian) 2008: 2,768,000|
|State Employees 2008: 4,363,000|
|Local Employees: 12,316,000|
|Sources: U.S. Census, U.S. Budget|
All other things being equal, we may have entered 2008 with lower deficits and 7,500,000 more jobs if we had contained government spending under these assumptions. This is rough theoretical logic, but at least it has a logical, data-driven foundation. The socialists in waiting will argue that we need more, not less government. The first table above clearly demonstrates that the U.S. is not inferior despite having less government. The second demonstrates that more government intrusion apparently decreases collective wealth and opportunity. Both point to significant erosion of human rights, freedom of the press, and life expectancy (especially when government spending rises above thirty percent of GDP).
So, is the American left’s platform of ‘social justice, equality, and fairness,’ merely a canard? In order to arrive at the mindset that Government must solve all your problems, it seems they must arrive at two assumptions, that both the American citizen and our first principles codified in our constitution are inferior. Do the left’s intellectual leaders really feel that the average American citizen is utterly incapable of standing on his or her own? Do they think that little of us? Do they think that little of us?
Physics dictates that we should not be able to hear anything in a vacuum. Why is it, then, that in the vacuum of ideas offered by the American left we hear their chanting louder every day? Oh, I forgot, deification involves faith, not facts. Above I referred to socialism as a theocracy. One has only to visit the tombs of Lenin, Mao and Ho-Chi Minh – or buy a Che t-shit – to understand that socialism has its own saints to worship. Who needs facts when you have blind or thoughtless faith? How long do you think it will be before some California congressman sees the face of Che on a burnt piece of toast and hails it as a sign we must end private property in this country?
Frankly, we the people are better than that.
© Edward Hunter and Thanks for the Laughs, 2009