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Entitlement or Empowerment?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Robert P. Murphy has written an excellent essay featured on the Ludwig von Mises Institute site, addressing the importance of shared convictions between government and governed.  The quotes he cites are from Mises’ seminal work, Human Action.

A durable system of government must rest upon an ideology acknowledged by the majority.  The “real” factor, the ‘real forces’ that are the foundation of government and convey to the rulers the power to use violence against renitent minority groups are essentially ideological, moral, and spiritual… power dwindles if the ideology that supports it loses force…

[Classical] liberalism realizes that the rulers, who are always a minority, cannot lastingly remain in office if not supported by the consent of the majority of those ruled. Whatever the system of government may be, the foundation upon which it is built and rests is always the opinion of those ruled that to obey and to be loyal to this government better serves their own interests than insurrection and the establishment of another regime. The majority has the power to do away with an unpopular government and uses this power whenever it becomes convinced that its own welfare requires it.

Murphy underscores Mises’ thesis of the importance of ideas by pointing out that totalitarian governments always control the media, suppress opposing views, and propagandize in favor of the regime.  “The supreme ruler might spend hours every week giving long-winded speeches explaining … how fortunate the people are to be taken care of by such a wise and benevolent leader.”

Murphy explains the discontent roiling the Mideast as an example of subject peoples overturning regimes that do not represent their interests and whose ideologies they do not share.

In Mises’ words, “It is ultimately ideas that determine which way the soldiers point their guns.”

In our system of government, the power to depose is exercised at the ballot box.

The so-called Affordable Health Care Act revealed a divide between the convictions of a large part of the American electorate and those of the 111th Congress and the President.  The Republican sweep in the 2010 election was the result.  But how did such a disparity of views between the electorate and those they elected come about?

Societies which fail to transmit their core beliefs to the next generation can expect those beliefs to erode, sometimes by design, sometimes by default or by carelessness.  Standards not reinforced whither away.  Liberty, independence and equality under the law give way to less demanding ideals.

How many Americans nodded in agreement when candidate Obama told Joe the plumber, “when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody?”  How many Americans saw nothing amiss with the concept that government should decide how much people should be allowed to keep of what they earn?  How many agreed that government should redistribute those earnings to those it finds deserving?

How many people flinched when Michael Moore, on national television, told “the rich and bankers … we have a right to your money?”

Moore was defending public employees in Wisconsin who don’t want to contribute 5.8% of their salaries to help pay for their pensions, or 12.6% of their health-insurance premiums, (both numbers far below what most private sector workers pay).  Public sector unions are important benefactors for the Democratic Party.  In exchange for campaign contributions, unions receive unfettered access to the public till.  That Wisconsin is 3.6 billion in debt is immaterial.  Moore told them where to get the money.

Ben Franklin predicted that the end of the republic would come “when the people find that they can vote themselves money.

To stay in power, the regime only needs to keep increasing the population who receive economic benefits from it.  When does the entitlement mentality become so pervasive, (an important part of Obama’s health care strategy) that Ben Franklin’s dour prophecy is fulfilled?

If Congress musters the courage to step on what is thought to be the third rail of politics and restructure entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security),* will the electorate be supportive, or sweep reforms and reformers away in 2012?

As in Rome, has the tipping point been reached?

…the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now meddle no more and longs eagerly for just two things—bread and circuses. Juvenal

The only certainty is that time is liberty’s enemy.  The appetite for benefits increases as each new one takes its place in the pantheon of entitlements and, once awarded, (as the rioting mob in Wisconsin illustrates) cannot easily be rescinded.

The Founders risked their lives to be free and to bequeath that freedom to future generations.  All Congress risks are political careers that, if freedom is no longer valued and the nation is bankrupt, won’t be worth preserving anyway.

“Over the next few decades, the costs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will explode, causing debt to jump from 55 to 300 percent of GDP… Just how high would taxes have to go to pay for entitlements?” According to a Congressional Budget Office estimate  “individual marginal tax rates for every bracket and corporate tax rates must more than double,” resulting in levels that “would significantly reduce economic activity” and “would probably not be economically feasible.” Heritage Foundation

19 comments

1 Jim { 03.26.11 at 7:29 pm }

I agree 100% and believe we are sitting on a teeter totter with those people wanting entitlements on one side and those people paying for the entitlements on the other. Hopefully, those people paying will buy more food and gain weight!

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2 Bob { 03.27.11 at 12:04 pm }

“Moore was defending public employees in Wisconsin who don’t want to contribute 5.8% of their salaries to help pay for their pensions, or 12.6% of their health-insurance premiums, (both numbers far below what most private sector workers pay). ”

Completely, 100% demonstrably false. The unions were willing to pay more for their benefits. They were and still are not willing to give up collective bargaining. This has been so clearly stated that if you can’t understand this, I’m not sure how much I can trust anything else you have to say.

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Marcia Reply:

I’m sorry Bob; saying so, doesn’t make it so. The Union may claim they are willing to contribute more for pensions and benefits, but actions speak louder. All over Wisconsin, local unions have been rushing to school boards and city councils to push through contracts that don’t include any higher contributions.

Secondly, Walker does not want to rescind all collective bargaining rights as the MSM has incorrectly reported. Wage increases would remain subject to collective bargaining. Pensions and benefits would be taken off the table.

Beyond the very real Wisconsin budget problem is an even more serious issue: whether public employees should be unionized at all. Some very well known folks on the left have said “No,” emphatically. Among them, FDR, “The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted to the public service,” and former AFL-CIO President George Meany.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, as the saying goes, to figure out why. Private sector and public sector unions operate in fundamentally different arenas. In the private sector, union leaders understand that if their demands are excessive the company will either go broke or be forced to lay off people. Demands are thus tempered by the reality of the market place. In the public sector there is no bottom line because it is taxpayers’ dollars that are involved. In the private sector, if the costs of an item or service is too high, taxpayers shop elsewhere. In the public sector, unions have a monopoly over the services they provide. (Why do you think the unions are so opposed to charters and vouchers?)

And most damaging of all, the money unions collect from their members (and non-union public employees who have to pay the equivalent of union dues) helps to elect politicians who support the unions’ agendas. (Take a look at what groups are major funders of the Democratic Party.)

So, we have union elected politicians and union negotiators “negotiating” for wages and benefits. And you can figure out where that leaves the rest of us. The reason it is so important to take pensions and benefits off the table is because when politicians, school board members, etc. can no longer afford the cost of union wage demands, they increase fringe benefits and neatly put the problem off to a later date.

Well, later is here. California, Illinois, New Jersey and New York, all much unionized government worker states have huge unfunded pensions and benefits. So you see, the Wisconsin dispute is not just about what will happen in Wisconsin. The union is included in the essay about entitlements because the unruly mobs behave as though they are entitled to all they have and as much more as they can get. And if you want to know what that looks like, try looking at Greece, France and Italy.

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3 Tom { 03.28.11 at 7:13 am }

A fair argument, and I must agree free hand outs do nothing but encourage sloth and dependency. With that said, investing in the less fortunate is not the same as buying them off.

Liberty is no use to us if more and more of us are finding ourselves chained by poverty while an elite few climb higher and higher.

Trickle down economics doesn’t work, the fact the corporate profits are up, employment is down, wages are on the decline, poverty is on the rise prove as such.

Trickle up economics on the other hand would. Social welfare, when implemented correctly is meant to provide the poor the means out of poverty.

Its hard to fathom how wealthy the top 1% are, needless to say out of any social class the benefit the most from the current system but it is not their hands being burned by the fryer, it is not their backs being broken in a construction yard, it is not their sons or daughters fighting and dieing in our wars. So what exactly are the contributing? Wealth? The same wealth they would not have if it weren’t for the daily sacrifice of the many? So, would it be unfair that we ask those who benefit the most to pay their fair share?

I am not asking the rich to just hand out money, no, that’s just a waste. What i am asking for are investments, invest in the poor and you will see dividends. Make higher education more readily available, increase the quality of public education, as the saying goes give a man a fish he’ll have a meal, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a life time. Improve their health by making medication more affordable, be creating incentives to live healthier lifestyles. These will make them more productive employees and with health care no longer sapping their buying power they can help stimulate the economy buy making rent on time, buy making good on their debts, by paying their living expenses.

Essentially when you invest in the poor properly, you increase their buying power, you increase their ability to rely on themselves which allows them to contribute more to the economy.

Here is a good example of how one would smartly invest in the poor: http://corredorbioceanico.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/to-beat-back-poverty-pay-the-poor/

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Marcia Reply:

I applaud your compassion but not your assumptions. The “rich” did not get rich because of the “sacrifice” of the poor. According to John Weicher, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank, “Most of the rich have earned their wealth… Looking at the Fortune 400, quite a few even of the very richest people came from a standing start, while others inherited a small business and turned it into a giant corporation.” * In other words, they worked hard, and created jobs.

What exactly is the “fair share” you want the “rich” to pay? Who is to decide? According to new data from 2001, the top 5% of wage earners pay 53.25% of federal income taxes. The top 10 % pay 64.89%, the top 50% pay 96.03% and the bottom 50% pay 3.97%. Of course, the government can take still more, but that will likely mean those designated as rich will find another country in which to live and create jobs.

Increase the quality of education you say? How do you propose to change the brain deadening curriculum of colleges of education, persuade the teacher unions to mend their ways, attract the brightest instead of the least academically talented to teaching?

Of course there is a way to attempt all these measures, so long as you won’t quibble about freedom. The Chinese did it, so did the Russians and they closed their borders to keep people in. There is no shortage of models, or bodies.

Finally, the Third World remedies you suggest may be fine for the Third World, but America is not a Third World nation. We have property rights and a capitalist system. The American standard of living is the envy of the world. Even the poor in America are infinitely better off than the poor in other nations, and most important, they have opportunities to do better. That’s the way the Founders figured it out and it has worked amazingly well for over 200 years.

Yes, we are experiencing a recession that has brought hard times to many. The reasons are complex. Poor personal decisions, destructive government policies, unprincipled institutional and personal behavior, the list goes on. Our economic problems can be resolved, but neither easily nor simply.

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Tom Reply:

So everyone who is rich, is that way do to their sheer determination? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that really was the case? That’s certainly how I was raised to believe it should be. I mean it’s certainly possible to build a major corporation by starting a small business out of your garage, it’s how Bill gates did it, Steve Jobs did it. And these are people who serve as an inspiration to the rest of us. These are individuals we would call Nouve Rich, these are people who built their fortunes within their life time.
As rich as these guys are, they are not Upper-upper class, they are not what many would call members of the American Aristocracy the “blue bloods” or “old Money”. This is a class of people whose money is vast and old, the kind of money one has to be born into and yes such a class exists in the United States. Examples of such would be the Roosevelt family, the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, the Astor family just to name a few.
This class lives off the wealth built by their ancestors through very little effort of their own. This is the class that will never need a tax cut, but will always be willing to take one so that they can squirrel it away into savings and investments. Great for them, great for wall street, but very little economic stimulation as a whole.
Why do these people need a tax cut? Do they really need it to make ends meet? Certainly not. As such these are families who benefit the most from the existing system and therefore should pay the most. This is not out of trying to punish them for their wealth, but because we are a country we are a community, and as such we should all be pitching in to ensure its prosperity and these are people who are in the greatest position to do so.

Quite frankly who decides who should pay what should be the American people as a whole be they the richest or the least fortunate. To me, as far as individual income goes, I believe a flat tax of some kind would be fair, an this flat tax would apply to every one who is making an income. How practical it is, I am not so sure, in all honesty, but if we are talking about fairness this would be the ideal option.

How do we improve our education? Well as far as college curriculum there isn’t much I would change, we attract the best and brightest minds throughout the world every year and turn out millions of successful graduates, so we are doing something right. So I wouldn’t mess with that much other than increasing accessibility.
Money should never be something that stands in the way of a student who is willing to put in the work and can make the grade. We can remedy this through increasing financial aid to students, or by increasing the grants given to schools so that they can keep tuition affordable. Ideally I’d make State Universities free to anyone who can make the grade. It would demand greater support from the government obviously, but education is a worthwhile investment. Simply look at Japan to see why.
Want to attract better teachers, well make teaching a better option. Teacher regularly make considerably less than their peers of equal education who opt to go into the private sector instead of becoming teachers. Most states make up for this by providing generous benefits and job security to ensure that teaching remains a desirable field. Attacking this in the way they have done in Wisconsin and Ohio undermines this at the detriment of the country as a whole. Does education need reform? Sure, but I do not see how demonizing the profession and starving the institutions does that.
These programs are wildly successful in Mexico and Brazil, both of which are up and coming powers within their own rights. Projections indicate that Mexico, provided it can get a clamp down on corruption stands to be on almost equal footing to the America by the end of the century if current trends continue and its measures like this that are helping them do that.
We are the wealthiest nation in the world, our economy with its problems and all still remains second to none. There should be no reason that Poverty is on the rise in this country. These are trends that have been happening long before the Great Recession, the Recession merely made it more evident. To measures could be used in this country to encourage the poor into take of better habits, to have more money on hand to spend in local businesses. This measure would accomplish far more than any tax cut to the wealthiest Americans. You scoff at these “third world” countries now, but these are countries that are on the up and up according to every indicator. We on the other hand are on the way out unless we address the staggering issues at home. We should not let pride and ideology stand in the way of pragmatic solutions.
What has made the United States such an amazing place to live, as you said so yourself, is the opportunity the average citizen has to become something great. With that said, those opportunities are on the decline. Jobs that once provided fair wages, good benefits are on the way out being shipped overseas to people who will work harder for less or replaced by machines and computers who are infinitely better at it. These are not trends that can be reversed. So what do we do about that? Until new industries come to replace the old ones we need systems capable of helping those who will need to retool their tool box, a system that will give our youngest generation access to the education they need more than ever, we need a system that will bank on the success of this country’s future because without it, we will fall, and very well within our life time.
If anyone is seriously invested in the future of this country we must shed this notion that the Public sector and the private sector are competing against each other, instead we must forge ahead in a way where they work in unison and complement each other. A good example of this would be the German model which relies heavily on both the private sector and the public sector to work together.
You are right to say that what caused our current quagmire are as numerous as they are complicated, but to stand around and hope it resolves itself or to hope the private sector will come to the rescue is not something I’m willing to bank on.

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Marcia Reply:

I did not say everyone who is rich got that way by working hard. “Most” does not mean all. Of course the Kennedys the Astors etc inherited their wealth. (Never mind that “old money” has funded many a museum, library, and foundation devoted to good works or the arts or whatever those who made the money directed.) That’s beside the point. Just where is it written that because money is inherited, government has a right to take as much of it as it deems useful? No, it’s not fair that some have much money and others have little. Life isn’t fair and equality cannot be legislated.

It sounds so nice to say “we are a community” and everyone should contribute. Certainly, that’s what the private sector has been doing since this country was founded. We are the most voluntarily generous people on earth. It’s your faith in the redistributional wisdom of Washington that worries me. In addition to which your remedies won’t work.

I recently read that even if you took all the assets from all the billionaires in this country, it wouldn’t even be enough to cover this year’s deficit. As former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

As for education, don’t equate colleges of education with higher education. If you read the Executive Summary of this report you will see why. Though it is addressed to South Carolina colleges of education, they are far from unique..

As for college tuition, the primary factor driving college-tuition costs is federal tuition support. Tuition keeps going up, several hundred times the rate of inflation, because the federal government ensures that it will be paid.

The for-profits can charge high rates because their students come from low-income populations and qualify for large amounts of federal aid. But all universities are expert at capturing federal tuition subsidies. Institutions simply raise fees to match the added funding. And, thanks to Uncle Sugar, there is no accountability and universities have no incentives to control costs.

Finally, the private and public sectors are in competition.

“Blue economic policy has cut the creation of new private sector jobs to a trickle in our great cities, while the high costs of public union urban services (and policies that favor government employees over the citizenry at large) impose crippling taxes and contribute to the ruinously high costs
that blight opportunity. All the social welfare bureaucracies, diversity counselors and minority set-asides can’t make up for the colossal failure
of blue social policy to create sustainable lower middle class prosperity in our cities. “

Read the rest of this excellent article “Black and Blue: Black flee blue states in droves” at The American Interest.

Finally, I don’t want to “stand around until the problem resolves itself.” I am suggesting that we embrace fiscal sanity, and discontinue failed social policies.

4 Tom { 03.31.11 at 9:03 am }

Equality may not be able to be legislated, but opportunities sure can be. We need an economy that works for every one who is willing to work themselves and right now we do not have that. We have an economy where job security and job quality are on the decline, where our poverty rate is reaching new high at the same time corporate profits are record breaking. How can we justify this?

You suggest that college tuition is rising BECAUSE of federal aid?

I disagree; college tuition is on raise because there is a culture that treats education as though it were privilege, not a right. An education is essential to citizens’ right to pursue happiness and should be made available to any one and every one who can make the grade for it.

As you mentioned accountability is something we are having issues with, and there are those seeking to exploit this. For example School book providers charge tons of money to print “new versions” of the same book every few years. These “new books” are just like the old one, but with chapters put in a slightly different order. In the school I am going to on top of paying tuition we pay a fee, to my knowledge it is not made public as to what the purpose of such fees go to. Just to name a few examples of unaccountability.

I seriously doubt if you cut federal aid to low income students that miraculously school costs will go down, instead community colleges and state colleges that survive largely with the aid of federal money would have to close their doors, which reduces competition which allows the remaining school to keep their high prices,. Why? Because they are the only show in town.
You suggest that administrators are thinking “hey, we’re going to get federal funding no matter what, so here is an idea lets fleece our students even further by racking up the price. They won’t come? Oh well, that’s what the federal money is for” that doesn’t make any kind of sense. I mean is that how you’d run a school? I’d imagine not. No federal and state aid allows more students to have afford college and the grants awarded to schools is meant to make up for the loss that schools have by keeping tuition at a lower rate and still offer competitive options to students who chose to go to such institutions.

I have no interest in robbing the wealthy of all their money, but I certainly do not appreciate the billions they try to hide from the Government in foreign banks and other tactics used to avoid paying the money they owe their country. Taxes are the membership fees to a civilized society after all and without them the only alternatives are bribes and favors, which is how they operate in places where taxes do not suffice. Think India where taxes are incredibly low while corruption is staggeringly high.

I’m sorry but in my experience, being a high school student not so long ago, we were graded on how we performed academically, not by how well felt about our experience at school, though they did regularly survey what we thought through anonymous surveys. While education should be and is the main function of our education system it also provides a series of secondary functions which is supposed to encourage not just academic growth but personal growth as well. There is nothing wrong with this so long as a child is given the education they need to succeed. Teacher centered and student centered education need not be mutually exclusive and usually is not despite what is suggested in the article.

As for the second I wonder how much of it has to do with “blue policies” as they call it and how much it has to do with living expenses, job opportunities, and cultural change. About mid century it was the complete opposite, with minorities fleeing the south largely due to low job opportunities and a culture that did not welcome them. Both of those have changed, southern states have changed. Meanwhile, chocolate cities, such as DC are now turning white: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/15/133754531/d-c-long-chocolate-city-becoming-more-vanilla

Also keep in mind what attracted so many people to the North to begin with was Industrialization, the Big auto Makers and the like. These jobs are being sent overseas or being replaced by computers and machines. So where once people could afford the higher living expenses that are in the North they no longer can with the jobs that are left behind by de-industrialization, so there is a lot more at play here than just red blue politics.

Now another thing to consider: will these minorities be bringing their politics with them or will the embrace the southern political culture? If they are bringing with them their political beliefs, you could see a shift in political culture where southern states are friendlier to the idea of a greater government role in the daily lives of its citizens. Similarly we could see the opposite if demographics which traditional prefer smaller government gain greater sway in Northern Politics. It will certainly be interesting to watch in the coming decades.

I know that public and private sectors are competing and that’s the problem. While some competition is great, it would go a long way to see joint co operation and a good example of this is in Germany, which I believed i had mentioned before. The German model encourages workers, management, and the government to come together to come up with a solution. This is why Germany has both generous and effective social programs as well as the most powerful economy in Europe. They are living proof that public and private sector relations is not a zero sum game.

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Marcia Reply:

I think I will let someone else continue the discussion, Tom. We will have to agree to disagree.

You sound like a very nice young man with a lively interest in the world around you. With all due respect, use that interest to read some history. Some of the books reviewed on this site would be a good place to start. A meaningful discussion requires that both parties draw from more than opinions.

Best of luck to you.

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Tom Reply:

I do read a lot of history, in fact prior to reading a lot of history I held a significantly more ‘Conservative’ view point than I hold now. We have an amazing history, which is why I believe we are capable of so much more.

But I digress, agreeing to disagree is alright by me and it was a real pleasure. If only there were more self proclaimed ‘patriots’ who took the time to actually discuss. You are indeed a honest defender of the Republic, a patriot and a democrat (little d not big D, there is a difference for those who do not know) and I commend you for that. I look forward to debating with you again.

Best of Luck to you as well.

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David Reply:

“…Bribes and favors…” Yeah, there’s none of THAT in government. You are young and naive. Everything government does, they do by force of law, with unlimited resources for enforcement (think IRS for example). Private sector solutions offer virtually all of the benefits a civilized society needs (not wants) to function. Minus the tyranny of course.

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5 Martin { 03.31.11 at 10:34 pm }


We need an economy that works for every one who is willing to work themselves and right now we do not have that.

This is a platitude not borne out by reality. You are assuming that the government is capable of correcting the economy. Government is instead responsible for creating the problems.

I hope you will seriously consider Marcia’s kind suggestion — read a little bit of history or some sound economics books. I will make two specific suggestions.

  1. Bureaucracy by Ludwig von Mises (it’s very short and easy to grok)
  2. The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek

If you will make the effort, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. You’ll find out why businesses not motivated by profit don’t work. And you’ll find out what central planning leads to.

You seem like a nice guy and we appreciate your civility.

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Tom Reply:

I disagree, I believe that the government can provide solutions. Not to suggest there has never been an instance of poor policy, we’ve got plenty of those but I am skeptical about leaving all the problem solving to the Private sector.

And allow me to clarify, I am no soviet, I have no desire that the government runs and owns everything. There are simply problems best left dealt by the government and the same could be said about the private sector and then there are problems best dealt when working in concert with one another.

For example the environment, worker safety, these are things that were ignored during the Industrial revolution by the private sector at great expense to the well being of the environment and the average worker until the government stepped in and legislated protections for both. This is what the people wanted; it’s why they elected legislators that brought such changes.

Now an example of where the private sector out does the government is in the development I offer the recent Dragon X enterprise. Here is a band of individuals, with their own money and their own ingenuity, who managed to put a craft into space for a fraction of what it costs NASA to do the same thing. The private sector is good at offering goods and services quickly, effectively, and cheaply.

An example of where they have worked together to produce something amazing, I offer the internet. Without the government investment in its foundation, I doubt we would have the internet today, certainly not as widely available as it is. Had it remain a government program though, its growth would have been severely limited, but by turning it over to the private sector it has not only prospered, its changed the world as we know it and I think the same could be done in space exploration and the development of greener technologies.

The best kind of economy is one where both the private and public sector work in concert. An example of where this works well is Germany and to some degree parts of the United States, an example where this goes horribly wrong would be places like China and Russia where big government and big business are one in the same. Yes it’s brought massive economic growth to China, but at the great expense to their people and the environment and with no democratic institutions the people are powerless to change that.

So I stand by my statement that the relationship between the private sector and the public sector need not be a zero sum game, there are places where solutions are only possible when they come together especially when there are democratic institutions in play.

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Tom Reply:

I stand by the statement that our economy is working for fewer and fewer American citizens. As we have moved away from government regulation, the gap between the rich and poor grows and the well being of those on the bottom tier of society has deteriorated while the future seems incredibly bright for those who are seeing their fortunes rise and unfortunately, that’s fewer and fewer of us every day.

More jobs are being sent over seas or being replaced by machines and computers than are being replaced. Many new existing industries as well as new ones will require a smaller and smaller work force to operate, as the recent recession shoes productivity has still gone up and that’s because the private sector is doing more with less which is great, unless your the sap with out a job.

So how do we address this exactly? I can assure you, that if this is unaddressed more people will be out of work and as recent events show in the middle east, large amounts of structural unemployment lead to trouble and lots of it.

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6 Tom { 04.02.11 at 10:30 am }

Granted, this has just as much to do with technological innovation as it does from flawed policy.

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7 Pat { 05.15.11 at 9:43 am }

Government, including the military, and State and local government, is all about entitlements, who gets them and who pays for them. It makes little difference who is in office, or which party drives the debate. Government is a function of the ability to tax, and distribute those taxpayer funds, or foreign loans used to create deficit funding.

What America needs is an old fashioned debate on property rights, and the majority’s right to determine the property rights of others under Constitutional authority. It’s really as simple as that, but no one does it.

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8 Lando { 07.05.11 at 12:03 pm }

I have to say that there is a lot of inconsistency in your article. The idea that government receives the right to rule from the governed is great, but then you take the extra step of implying ‘except for when the governed want something’.
To me there seems to be a vein in this kind of thinking that government is something apart from the people, when in a democracy that is just not the case. (Although things are trending that way since only the independently wealthy can run for office these days).
Your source article claims “The second lesson is the importance of having a sound ideology, so that the masses have a shared vision of how a free society works and what is needed to maintain it.” And yet the consistently applying democracy seems lost.

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9 Marcia { 07.05.11 at 3:59 pm }

I am not sure I follow your argument. I also have to take issue with your premise. We were not intended to be a democracy. The Founders were opposed to democracies for the very good reason (among others) stated by Franklin. They intended a republic, although over time that distinction has been blurred. Now that the people have discovered they can “vote themselves money” the question is whether the tipping point has been reached. It seems we have two problems: we have failed to transmit the values that once distinguished us as a nation and the public appetite for government bestowed handouts is becoming voracious.

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Bill L Reply:

I am greatly encouraged by the string of comments posted above for both their cogent point making and the fact that there is no overt rancor between the disagreeing posters. Fine debate and civil attitudes are a refreshing change from the typical “talking point” mindlessness one usually encounters. Marcia shines in here and I am impressed that while I disagree with the arguments that oppose her, I can at least respect their attempt at stating them. Kudos to you all.

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