Sometimes, looking at the political discourse in this country, I wonder if we really understand the ratchet effect of increasing government programs and power over time: unlike in business, unlike in nature, unlike in, well, real life -- failure is not punished, but at best ignored, at worst rewarded. Once a program is in place, it is almost impossible to repeal, even when Republicans obtain political power because voters become dependent on it.
Progressives have known this for as long as they have been blowing up the bureaucracy. Congressman Henry Waxman famously said that, if it took losing a few members of Congress in the next election to get Obamacare passed, it would be worth it. And this was no partisan bias: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed, warning his troops that once an entitlement is given, it is nearly impossible to get it back.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt also understood this. He proudly said, in introducing Social Security, that since all paid taxes for it, all had skin in the game. That’s how Ponzi schemes work: eventually someone gets left with the bill, so everyone tries to keep it going as long as possible. It’s like musical chairs: eventually the music will stop, and someone will lose. The game is all about avoiding being that person.
In nature, when a gazelle is weak, he is eaten by a lion, taken from the pack. When a branch of a tree is weak, it breaks and other, stronger limbs remain. When a business fails to make resources more valuable, it goes bankrupt and is, effectively, killed off. This is how the free market works; this is how real life works.
It’s interesting, then, that a November 2011 Wall Street Journal poll indicates that 60% of Americans believe that the current structure of the economy favors a small portion of the rich over the rest of us. And surely they are right: the government is radically warping the market. There is no free market, at least not anymore.
Why do we ignore the tone of Obama’s class warfare (taxes on only the top 2%) and anti-free market (“you didn’t build that”) rhetoric? He is making mainstream what has never been so in America. Obama clearly has a commitment to state controlled communalism as opposed to mere protection of individual rights and freedom. He believes that the state should control individuals in society rather than individuals in society controlling the state. I’m not picking on the president: he got elected by tens of millions of Americans! What I’m concerned about is that lots of people agree with him!