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Losing It

Why is our society losing its grip?

By Will Offensicht  |  December 3, 2012

Our ongoing "Things To Come" series is documenting the unpleasant future our leading elites plan to impose on us.  The Democrats have enjoyed considerable success by promising voters goodies like "free" cell phones which will be paid for by someone else and there's no sign that "voting for a living" might change any time soon.

Most of which feminists call "women's issues" involve debating how much the rest of society will pay to give women free abortions, free birth control, free rent, and "affordable, high-quality child care," for example.

The whole thrust of American politics has become a battle over how much favored groups such as sugar growers and ethanol producers can squeeze out of taxpayers through high taxes on overseas competitors or federal laws that force drivers to pay to have ethanol mixed into their gasoline.

California voters agreed to let government raise taxes and gave Democrats the 2/3 majority they need to raise taxes at will.  The California legislature spends $1.25 or $1.50 for every dollar of increased revenue, however, so this will lead to even worse deficits.

Michigan voters decided not to let the state government appoint managers to take over failing cities.  Bankruptcy seems to be the only viable option for ruined cities such as Detroit.

Confucius pointed out that society collapses into anarchy when government costs more than society can afford.  We've argued that voters can stem the tide by electing virtuous politicians, but they didn't; to our appalled horror, they freely and openly voted for more spending instead.

If we can't cut Big Bird, we can't cut anything at all.  Now that the voters have spoken, we at Scragged see no political cure for excess government spending other than collapse.

How Did We Get Here?

Given that all societies which chose to give the people things they didn't earn have collapsed, there's no need to point out why such giveaways lead to ruin.  It would be instructive, however, to list the reasons why the American voters have voted for more and more spending to the point that economic growth can't keep up.

America was founded on the idea that people ought to work as hard as they could to earn as much as they could and that hard-working people had the right to keep what they earned.  Taxes and regulation were supposed to be limited so that government wouldn't get too powerful and so that there would be incentives to sell people products they wanted to buy.

The last several decades of big government and crony capitalism have run in the opposite direction.  The results are predictable - as tenants outnumber landlords and vote for rent control, as welfare recipients and government employees vote for more taxes, government costs go nowhere but up.

The question is, why were voters deluded into thinking that this situation was good for them and for their grandchildren?  Once someone settles into a life to taxpayer-funded ease either in a no-show government job or on welfare, it's hard to persuade them to go to work.  Why, however, did the rest of the voters go along with this? Why didn't they know better?

There are a number of causes:

The bottom line is that Americans, like Europeans, have abandoned the cultural, social, religious, and historical underpinnings to the essential notion that people should look out for themselves.  As Robert Samuelson put it in Newsweek, Feb 1, 1993, p. 51,

We gradually moved from an era in which people did not want to use government for anything to today when people use government for almost everything.

The difficulty is that government doesn't do anything particularly well.  The more we ask government to do, the less it accomplishes and the more it costs.  The more government costs, the sooner it will bring down our society.

When the times comes to recover from the coming collapse, let's hope that we remember some of the lessons of this one so that we don't have to make all the mistakes over again.