We all know that trying the same thing over and over expecting different results is a popular definition of insanity. And we also know that putting the paste back in the tube is a popular illustration of an impossible task.
I tested the first truism mentioned above as a young man whose motto should have been, “I’ll never do that again – I just did it again.” For some reason–just as not going to school didn’t lead to improved job prospects–attempting to spend every day at a party didn’t lead to happiness. Over and over I valiantly kept trying to rock-n-roll all night and party every day. I developed a patented hang-over cure. Stay drunk. I figured it wasn’t the drinking that caused the hangover it was the getting sober, and I tried my best to avoid hangovers from the time I was fifteen until I was thirty. Then at thirty I had my Come-to-Jesus moment, meaning I literally came to Jesus. With His guidance I found another path which included school and working which yielded a different result including a soul mate for a wife, a son to be proud of, and a wonderful life.
Turning to the second truism mentioned above, as a person who actually tried putting toothpaste back in the tube I can attest that it deserves its symbolism as impossible. At best you can manage to get a little back in the tube. But the process is messy, frustrating and in the end so fruitless it’s laughable. All of which brings me to my question for the week. Can those of us who believe in limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom walk America back from the cliff to which the embrace of Progressive leadership and its collectivist mindset, one hundred years of reinforcement by indoctrination, and an addiction to entitlements have led us?
How best to describe the problem we face? Often a good example will expose a basic problem better than any technical explanation. Look at the debate about the payroll tax extension. Both wings of the Party of Power continue the baseline inspired fiction that you have to pay for tax cuts when all they ever do is allow those who earn money to keep it. The Democratic wing, always seeking to divide America into interest groups, contends the only way to pay for tax cuts on one segment of the population is to tax someone else. Therefore they propose to pay for the extension by taxing millionaires and billionaires. The Republican Progressives propose cutting federal salaries to pay for it. An approach which sounds as it if should appeal to those seeking to re-limit the central government.
Looking at the first solution, taxing the rich to give to the un-rich is merely more of the same spreading-the-wealth-around income distribution socialism that is the hallmark of the Democratic wing of the Party of Power.
Turning to the second solution, it sounds good while in reality it is more baseline thinking where cutting a proposed increase is a cut even though the budget still increases. Instead of cutting salaries, why not cut some of the tens of thousands of new bureaucrats which have been added in just the last two years? Merely cutting the salaries of the hordes of federal drones is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It may look better but ultimately it really won’t help keep the ship of state afloat. This is typical of the governance proposed by the big government Republican wing of the Party of Power. It may look good, it may even sound good, but when you peel back the onion the deficits continue and the debt goes up.
Peering through the fog generated by the media amplified rhetoric, the entire debate is bogus because the original payroll tax cut was a trap to begin with. It put money in the pocket of every person who receives a pay check by letting each of us keep a little more of the money we earned. But the payroll tax is what supports the current recipients of Social Security. There is no Trust Fund. That is a fiction, since the money goes directly to the general funds to be replaced by IOUs that aren’t worth the paper they would be printed on if they weren’t electronic. If this money is taken away Social Security loses even the illusion of a pay-as-you-go system and is starkly revealed for what it is: welfare for seniors.
It is time for my generation to admit we have been ripped off for every cent ever extorted from us for Social Security, and the only way we can receive benefits is to have the government extort it from our children and give it to us. By decreasing the plunder taken from the kids and instead taking it from the perennial enemies of the Democratic Progressives, the most productive, Social Security is revealed for what it is: just another welfare entitlement. And merely lowering the salary of a bloated bureaucracy perpetuates the growth and legitimizes the recent exponential expansion of a centrally-planned government that has run amuck. It also makes Social Security visible as the Ponzi scheme it has always been.
Europe is exploding because the bill is coming due for countries that have played this social welfare shell game for generations. Austerity is the word that is igniting riots and strikes from Athens to London. Faced with the possibility that they won’t be able to retire at fifty with full pensions, generous benefits, and guaranteed vacations people are throwing fire bombs and toppling governments.
Western Civilization was born in the Mideast, was launched as a world embracing power from Europe, and culminated in the great experiment of America. Today Western Civilization teeters on the edge of destruction. Our Federal Reserve is pumping out funny money faster than anyone can count trying to prop up the European launching pad as we abandon our occupation of the Middle Eastern cradle and fear for the continued vitality of its American summit. Western Civilization burns while our Party of Power plays the fiat financial fiddle. Will we continue the shadow dance pretending we have a limited government or will we muster up the courage to tell our media enhance perpetually re-elected puppet master that he who pays the piper calls the tune?
Dr. Robert R. Owens teaches history, political science, religion, and leadership for Southside Virginia Community College. Dr. Owens is the author of “America Won the Vietnam War,” “The Asuza Street Revival,” and called “The Constitution Failed.” He is available for speaking engagements.
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