|Deflating Those Liberal Myths||What Would Sherman Say?|
by Christopher Chantrill
March 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm
COLUMNIST Charles Krauthammer is right , of course. Social Security is a disgusting fraud. Yet of all the entitlements, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, Social Security is the most solvable. So its a scandal that the Obama administration doesnt want to fix it.
But Social Security isnt broken. When OMB Director Jacob Lew says that: At the moment, we look out and we see it solidly funded until 2037, and we think it is important to make the commitment to current retirees and workers, who are future retirees, that the system will be sound, he is right.
The simple fact is that Social Security payments are about 4.9 percent of GDP right now and they will rise to 6.2 percent of GDP by 2037 if nothing is done, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In the chart of the CBO Long Term Budget Outlook below, Social Security is the horizontal blue section. Medicare and Medicaid are the bright red section, the one thats going to eat the budget at 10 percent of GDP by 2037, 12.3 percent by 2050. Click the link if you want to look at the numbers.
Because Social Security is the most solvable of the entitlements, at a mere 5-6 percent of GDP, it might seem like a good idea for reasonable people to work on a solution in a spirit of civility. But President Obama is signaling that hes eager to use Social Security as an election issue for 2012.
We are never going to fix Social Security, anyway, until it is broke. What does broke mean? It does not mean that Social Security itself would be broke; it would mean that the government was broke. It would mean that the federal government cant sell its next debt issue and its afraid to get the Fed to print it, and therefore it cant send out the entitlement checks any more. If you add President Obamas intransigence to the to the recent Wisconsin farce you realize that the liberals wont cry uncle on entitlements until then.
Until then, the right thing to do is for conservatives to engage their moderate friends in civil conversation, one-on-one, and persuade them get off the liberal train before it is too late.
Then, when the train wreck comes, well have a political majority and a mandate for genuine reform.
The hole in the government finances, the utter mess of ObamaCare, the coming Medicare maelstrom: how did we get in this mess? The short answer is that it all started in about 1850 when sensitive people started worrying about the poor suffering workers. Oh no, they cried. We have to do something. They were sensitive, those people, but they were not smart. Their do something always ended up as some centralized administrative government program, with government taking money from its least favorite citizens and giving it to its most favored citizens, and calling the result compassion.
Earth to sensitive people. Scientists have not called humans social animals for nothing. Society is not an administrative mechanism but a living organism in which each human participates in complex acts of cooperation, social mores, and, as a last resort, force. The trick, as climate scientists put it, is to get as many people as possible acting out of cooperative and moral motives.
Lets put this in evolutionary, Darwinian terms for our liberal friends. The reason that all human societies have adapted to feature cooperation and religion is because these social inventions reduce the need for force and its administrative horror show. In our age we are foolish enough to put this to the test. We have created a mechanical monster, the modern centralized administrative state, to rumble over society, tearing up its complex social interactions with unstoppable force. Pay for the governments Social Security plan or go to jail. Join the governments universal health plan or go to jail. Send your kid to government school or go to jail. The result is like an Asian tsunami, a debris field of broken dreams and promises.
Since government often gets rather slack about shoving people in jail, especially its supporters, the administrative state is an open invitation to free-riding. Thats why the low-income culture in the welfare state has become a nether-world of off-the-books work and benefit fraud. Thats why you can see ads all over the place from lawyers anxious to help you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
No, Social Security isnt broke. Its worse than that. Social Security is a bottle on a shelf of social narcotics that kill the social instinct and poison people with an addictive sense of entitlement to the fruits of other peoples labor.
In the life after liberalism, when liberal power has collapsed, well reconstruct all the social ties that liberals have so energetically broken up. Today, as we live through the decline and fall of the liberal empire, and endure the truculence of its leaders and its rank and file, its the time to think, to organize, and to plan.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
Imagining that all order is the result of design, socialists
conclude that order must be improvable by better design of some superior mind.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family.
Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So dont.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy
Paul Dirac: When I was talking with Lemaître about [the expanding universe] and feeling stimulated
by the grandeur of the picture that he has given us, I told him that
I thought cosmology was the branch of science that lies closest to religion.
However [Georges] Lemaître [Catholic priest, physicist, and
inventor of the Big Bang Theory] did not agree with me. After thinking it over he
suggested psychology as lying closest to religion.
John Farrell, The Creation Myth
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization