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Welfare State Reality Tour: 2012
And it’s none too soon.
You see, if trends continue, then the idea of an ever-growing welfare state forever running into the future is an idea nearing its own extinction.
And for some, it’s just a horrible thing when reality sets in.
But wait, how can I say this?
Isn’t Obama still in office?
Isn’t Obamacare the signature accomplishment of this Administration?
Isn’t the entitlement mentality cutting a wide swath in the American psyche?
Aren’t nearly 50% of American households non-tax-paying households?
And isn’t’ the Occupy Wall Street crowd all about the 99%’s entitlement to free housing, free medical care, and welfare?
The answer to all of these questions is, indeed, “yes”…
But I can say this without too much cheek, because although the American welfare state remains the status quo today, the real question is…
For how much longer?
Not much longer.
Reality Sets In
This is not the case because I think that the political class will see to its demise…
Not at all…
But because fiscal reality will see to it whether we like it or not.
Today, the deep well of American credibility has all but run dry…
And the once solid foundation of American political and financial stability is riven with cracks…
Caused by leaders no longer committed to the American prospect…
And the widening fractures of unlimited corruption and un-repayable levels of debt.
The net result is that the American welfare state is headed toward the fate of the dodo bird.
Even Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, eventually comes to this conclusion, albeit tepidly, in his article this week in the Financial Times.
Mr. Greenspan makes the point that “the welfare state in the United States has run up against a brick wall of economic reality and fiscal book-keeping.”
But that’s not all.
Greenspan also notes the falling productivity and lower standards of living in America’s next generation of workers.
But for this he blames the falling scores of American students, beginning in 1995, compared to the rest of the world.
But whose fault is that?
Chew on this for a moment…
The Federal Department of Education was put in place by Jimmy Carter in 1979, and began its official functions in 1980…
15 years later, American kids are failing in areas they once dominated.
Makes you think, huh?
But the former string puller of the Fed has more insights…
He blames the Tea Party, of all things, for the collapse of the political plausibility of the never-ending welfare state…
When he knows damn well that the nation has reached its limits on providing entitlements.
The Problem Is Not The Solution
Mr. Greenspan makes some good points in his analysis, but fails to arrive at the root cause of both the failure of our economy and the failure of our schools…
Though not meaning to, what the former Fed Chairman really describes in his article is the negative impact government has had in both education and the economy.
He also talks about growing income inequalities in the US…
But fails to link government corruption with the Wall Street bankers as a cause of it.
Just as he doesn’t link falling test scores to the mediocrity pressed upon our youngest minds through the Department of Education.
Rather, he considers both alarming problems and the proper and immediate concern of….government.
But don’t worry, he also gives some solutions.
Are you ready?
His “solution” for our broken education system?
Why, what it needs is “improvement.”
Improve an education system that worked better without the Department of Education?
How does that work?
And the solution to raise our worker productivity?
“Increase immigration quotas for skilled workers,” of course.
So let’s be clear…
Because we have failed to prepare our people for success, we should import other nations’ kids to do the high skilled jobs?
How does that help our own people?
It doesn’t; but that’s not the goal of Mr. Greenspan’s thinking.
The main reason for both solutions, according the Mr. Greenspan, is to maintain the welfare state that we have right now.
Surely a man as learned as he cannot believe that the same forces that tore down the economy and dumbed down our education are the right agents to set things right again…
Yes, he does believe it.
But surely he does not think that the Tea Party is responsible for the lack of support for the welfare state that is dead broke and on the edge of collapse?
This is a stunning bit of logical ballet, considering the fact that the Tea Party is less than 4 years old…
While the welfare state began with FDR back in the last great economic crisis of the 1930’s.
But where Greenspan does not lay blame, oddly enough, is as the feet of the welfare state itself.
Nope, no blame there.
Nor does he blame his old haunt, the Federal Reserve, which creates money out of thin air whenever it wants to, loans it to the Federal Government, and creates huge amounts of debt that we must pay back via income taxes…to the Fed.
No blame there, either.
But, he does say that Americans have some big decisions to make--and soon.
The American welfare state is on its last legs, and we need to decide how we should keep it alive?
No tough decision there.
A little ironic, is it not?
One economic convulsion spawned the beast long ago; another now leads to its end…
I find it quite poetic myself, but maybe that’s just me.
And those are…The Gorrie Details.