Republicans for Big Government

Do you know anyone who voted Republican this past election in
order to further President Obama’s big government agenda? Or is it
more likely that Republican voters sought to advance a smaller
version of the federal government? And if they did, why are
Republican congressional leaders offering to help the president
spend us into oblivion?
I suspected that those questions might be asked when Mitt Romney
was nominated to oppose Obama. My view of his campaign then and now
has been that he presented a choice to the voters of big government
versus bigger government, and bigger government prevailed. Romney
argued during the campaign that he was at a disadvantage because
the president had distributed federal tax dollars to persons and
groups critical to his re-election. He has since argued that he
lost the election because nearly half of Americans—some by chance,
some by choice and some by force—are dependent on government for
much of their income or subsistence.
His argument sounds harsh, but it’s true. A formerly working and
now retired couple in their mid-80s who are receiving monthly
payments from the Social Security Administration into which they
were forced to make payments while they were working can hardly be
considered slackers. But they can be considered dupes. All of us
who have fallen for the government’s nonsense about it holding our
money for our future use have been duped. The government doesn’t
hold anyone’s money for him. It spends whatever it collects as soon
as it receives it. When its entitlement bills come due, it uses
current tax revenue, or it borrows money in order to acquire the
cash to make the payments.
The president knows this. Congress knows it. The courts have
endorsed it. In endorsing it, the courts have held that the
government’s decision to pay entitlements is a political, not a
legal, one. Stated differently, the federal government has no legal
obligation to pay any money to any Social Security or Medicare or
Medicaid applicant. That’s why those who have relied on the
political wisdom of politicians, rather than their own prudential
judgment, are dupes. Let me rephrase that: Those who have permitted
politicians to use the force of law to compel us all to contribute
our hard-earned income to a bankrupt government Ponzi scheme are
dupes if they think this can work without end.
When FDR first proposed his Social Security scheme, he knew that
only force and duplicity would get enough people into the system to
generate the cash flow at the entry side of the Ponzi scheme to
make it salable to Congress and to the American people. LBJ knew
the same was the case for his expansions of Social Security with
Medicare and Medicaid. What LBJ probably did not anticipate is that
health insurers would largely cease offering products of primary
insurance to seniors, and thus seniors would require the government
entitlements into which they had mistakenly believed they were
contributing, because the government would become the only game in
town.
Now that the emperor has no clothes, and we are confronting more
and more seniors who have been lulled into this false sense of
security, and fewer young workers are even entering the job market,
the government’s voracious need for cash is difficult to fulfill.
Earlier this year, when members of both parties in Congress
recognized this ticking time bomb, they agreed to address it by
punting. Now, that punted political football is falling to the
earth, and no one wants to catch it. The punt they bequeathed to
themselves is a tax increase for everyone and reductions in
spending that even they find to be odious. The odor they dislike is
the realization, to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, that they are
running out of other people’s money.
The president was re-elected on promises of more of the same:
more borrowing, more spending and new taxes on the rich. The
Republicans who got elected did so on promises of lessened spending
and no new taxes, to paraphrase George H.W. Bush. The president,
who is the most liberal president since Woodrow Wilson, is largely
ignorant of economics 101. But his ignorance is consistent with his
beliefs that the feds can continue to spend more than they collect
and continue to borrow without ever repaying.
The Republicans in the House are largely more conservative than
at any time since Wilson left office. One would expect them to
understand the intent of the voters who sent them there and thus
say no to more taxes, no to more spending and no to more borrowing.
Instead we have Republican leadership in the House that actually
proposed raising more revenue by eliminating deductions on income
taxes. They somehow claim that they are being faithful to their
stated mission of fiscal conservatism by making you pay more money
but at the present tax rates. They, too, have failed economics
101.
Any significant movement of wealth from taxpayers to tax
consumers will not enhance prosperity; it will crush it, and it
will breed dependence on a government that is fiscally out of
control. But the recipients will no doubt vote to re-elect those
who gave them these payments.

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Republicans for Big Government

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