ATTENTION...The Wagon-Pullers are Getting Tired ! Are you a Wagon Puller or an Obama Wagon Rider?
How many people do you know who have gone on disability? How many of them are actually disabled and unable to work? How many have grossly exaggerated their ailments to “qualify” with the help of lawyers from Binder and Binder? I bet you’re related to some of them too. Most of us are.
“The trouble with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money,” said former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The wagon-pullers either quit or collapse in harness and that’s happening already in the UK. It’s nearly bankrupt. With its enormous social programs and surging illegal immigrant population, so is California. The whole USA headed down the same road – and with “bailouts” of a trillion here and a trillion there, we’re picking up speed.
The $825 billion “economic stimulus” package is being shaped by the Democrats in control of Congress and the White House as I write. Obama’s chief economic advisor, Robert Reich, testified before Congress, saying: “I am concerned, as I’m sure many of you are, that these jobs not simply go to high-skilled people who are already professionals, or to white male construction workers.”
Not only will we have increasingly socialist tax policies, money raised will be spent according to race. I thought the Obama Administration was going to be the first “post-racial” presidency. Did I miss something? Reich went on to say: “Criteria can be set so that the money does go to others – the long-term, unemployed minorities, women – people who are not necessarily construction workers or high-skilled professionals.”
Obama says he wants to build roads and bridges and other infrastructure with all that money. He assures us that there are plenty of these projects “shovel-ready” all around the country, just waiting for the funds to go ahead. I can see myself now – being stopped by a chubby wagon-rider with an orange vest, a walkie-talkie, and a STOP sign on a pole in front of a government work crew standing around, leaning on those shovels and smoking cigarettes.
Later, when I drive over one of those “new-infrastructure” bridges, I’ll remember that there weren’t any “highly-skilled, white professionals” involved in building it and I’ll thank God if I make it to the other side.
President Obama told Joe the Plumber he would “spread the wealth around” by raising taxes on the “rich.” Trouble is, the “rich” are paying most of the taxes already and, if you’ve worked all your life and you’re still alive, you’re one of them. As a teacher with a wife and three kids 30 years ago, I was “poor” – officially under the federal poverty line. I’m still a teacher, but with two additional part-time jobs, a working wife and four grown-and-gone children – but now I’m “rich.” Rich and poor are not static categories and my story is not unusual. The top half of American earners pays 96% of federal income taxes. The bottom half pays less than 4%. If you factor in the “earned income tax credit,” most of that bottom half pay less than nothing; they get paid instead. Yet Obama and Pelosi want to give them a rebate! On what? You have to pay first to get money “back.” Let’s just call it what it is – a massive redistribution of income from wagon pullers to wagon riders.
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin Tom is a history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.orgTwo Pictures that Perfectly Capture the Rise and Fall of the Welfare State
I often warn that the welfare state reaches a point-of-no-return when the number of people riding in the wagon begins to outnumber the number of people pulling the wagon.
To be more specific, if more than 50 percent of the population is dependent on government (employed in the bureaucracy, living off welfare, receiving pensions, etc), it becomes rather difficult to form a coalition to fix the mess. This may explain why Greek politicians have resisted significant reforms, even though the nation faces a fiscal death spiral.
But you don’t need me to explain this relationship. One of our Cato interns, Silvia Morandotti, used her artistic skills to create two images (click pictures for better resolution) that show what a welfare state looks like when it first begins and what it eventually becomes.
These images are remarkably accurate. The welfare state starts with small programs targeted at a handful of genuinely needy people. But as politicians figure out the electoral benefits of expanding programs and people figure out the that they can let others work on their behalf, the ratio of producers to consumers begins to worsen.
Eventually, even though the moochers and looters should realize that it is not in their interest to over-burden the people pulling the wagon, the entire system breaks down.
Then things get really interesting. Small nations such as Greece can rely on permanent bailouts from bigger countries and the IMF, but sooner or later, as larger nations begin to go bankrupt, that approach won’t be feasible.