Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Saving America from Ourselves
By Alan Caruba
I receive Social Security. I am enrolled in Medicare. I won’t be getting a cost of living adjustment from the former and the latter has been effectively destroyed by Obamacare. Both are the products of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The nation’s housing bubble that led to the 2008 financial crisis began with legislation passed in 1934!
Born in the course of the Great Depression and benefiting from the extraordinary era of prosperity that followed the end of World War Two in 1945, I voted Democrat right through to Jimmy Carter because my parents were Democrats and I gave it no further thought. I really should have. In 1980 I voted for Ronald Reagan and became a Republican.
After Bill Clinton became president, even my sainted Mother, then in her 80s re-registered as a Republican. In 1994, I cheered the takeover of Congress after forty years of Democrat control by Republicans. Nothing changed. The spending continued. The entitlement programs expanded.
To paraphrase St. Paul, when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, but when I became a man, I put aside childish things.
Candidly, the times were good and I progressed from being a journalist making very little money to working for a New York State agency that sold bonds to build housing and then to a New Jersey institution of higher learning where I was responsible for its various student recruiting and other publications. Then, like Snow White, I drifted into public relations where my writing skills earned a good living. I’d like to say I am retired, but I cannot.
Despite any number of recessions that occurred in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, the times were good and everyone I knew was making money. I was, however, getting older.
To put this in context, by 1968 when I was already in my 30s, there were 62 lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Today there are 34,000. They outnumber every member of Congress and all of their staffs combined by a ratio of two to one. They are not there to represent the majority of Americans in the middle class and the result is the decline of the real median household income that has stagnated for more than a decade.
Who’s making money these days? Government workers. They belong to the largest union in America.
With the passage of Obamacare, it is now apparent to those Americans who still have a job or a business, along with the growing legion of the unemployed, that voting Democrat can be dangerous to both your health and your wallet.
All this has been on my mind while reading an extraordinary book by Ronald R. Pollina, “Selling Out a Superpower: Where the U.S. economy went wrong and how we can turn it around.”.
We have all been living with a number of myths that Pollina spells out in the initial chapter of his book.
Myth #1: The United States is the preeminent global superpower in economics, political influence, and military dominance, and that is not going to change, certainly in my lifetime or that of my children. Wrong.
Myth #2: Offshoring is simply part of the twenty-first-century globalization and ultimately America will benefit. Wrong.
Myth #3: Sure, America has lost a lot of jobs, but as the economy picks up, our companies will be hiring these people back. It’s temporary—it’s just like the past recessions. Wrong.
Myth #4: Corporate greed is the main reason so many jobs are offshored. Wrong.
Myth #5: China and India may be growing rapidly now, but the American economy is keeping pace with global economic growth. Wrong.
Myth #6: China and India are simply examples of bubble economics in countries with significant social and political problems and therefore will never rise to be threats of the United States’ economic supremacy. Wrong.
The truth is that the United States has been strangling job growth with the over-regulation of business, causing many to set up shop elsewhere.
The truth is the government has deliberately neglected our energy needs while environmentalists sold us fairy tales about “sustainable growth”, “dirty” coal, thwarting our ability to drill for our own oil, mine for coal, or even build new nuclear plants.
The truth is that the government and the rest of us have been on a spending binge based on cheap credit and endless borrowing.
The truth is the nation has been drifting toward socialist “solutions” since the 1930s that have never worked successfully anywhere. That is why the British have hit the wall and the French are in the streets rioting. Famously, socialism has run out of other people's money to give away.
The truth is what the cartoon character, Pogo, said. We have met the enemy and it is us.
© Alan Caruba, 2010