Sunday, February 5, 2012

This Why the United States Will Collapse or Tear Itself Apart

From an op-ed by Glenn Reynolds at the Washington Examiner:
In today’s America, government benefits flow to large numbers of people who are encouraged to vote for politicians who’ll keep them coming. The benefits are paid for by other people who, being less numerous, can’t muster enough votes to put this to a stop.

Over time, this causes the economy to do worse, pushing more people into the moocher class and further strengthening the politicians whose position depends on robbing Peter to pay Paul. Because, as they say, if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can be pretty sure of getting Paul’s vote.

But the damage goes deeper. Sykes writes, “In contemporary America, we now have two parallel cultures: An anachronistic culture of independence and responsibility, and the emerging moocher culture.

“We continually draw on the reserves of that older culture, with the unspoken assumption that it will always be there to mooch from and that responsibility and hard work are simply givens. But to sustain deadbeats, others have to pay their bills on time.”

And, after a while, people who pay their bills on time start to feel like suckers.
... The moocher-vs-sucker divide isn’t between the rich and poor, but between those who support themselves and those nursing at the government teat.

Plenty of the wealthy are doing the latter, and that has its own consequences, which are often worse than those stemming from goodies for the poor.

In a world of bailouts and crony capitalism - which is to say, in the world we live in today - a rational businessperson has to compare the return on investment between improving a product or service, or lobbying the government for goodies.
Prof. Reynolds notes that for many business, the return on investment is better for lobbying than for trying to develop or improve a product or service.
Of course, the government can provide such rewards only because it has vast resources of coercive power, and vast stocks of other people’s money.
. . . Well, as Margaret Thatcher once said, the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money. ...
. . . 
When the crisis comes, and it will, we should relearn the lesson that the Framers of our Constitution knew and tried to embody: The bigger and more powerful the national government is, the more prone it is to corruption and interest-group domination.

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