Saturday, January 29, 2011

Can our nation be saved?

That's the title of a very profound essay by Walter E. Williams at Here's an extract.

To get our economic house in order, there must be large spending cuts, not only in so-called discretionary spending but in non-discretionary spending as well.

. . .

Millions of Americans don't want their entitlement touched, many of whom are senior citizens. Seniors will tell you that they were forced into Social Security and Medicare, and any congressman talking about cutting those and other entitlements will face their wrath at the ballot box. By the way, according to one study, "Until recent years, Social Security recipients received more, often far more, than the value of the Social Security taxes they paid. For workers who earned average wages and retired in 1980 at age 65, it took 2.8 years to recover the value of the retirement portion of the combined employee and employer shares of their Social Security taxes plus interest."

Seniors are not the only group who can put the fear of God into politicians. There are massive corporate handouts through programs like the Export-Import Bank, Agriculture Department business and farm subsidies, and the Small Business Administration. Then there's massive Department of Education spending on K-12 education and higher education. The list of federal programs, described as taking the earnings of one American and giving them to another, numbers in the thousands.

Everyone who receives government largesse and special favors deems his needs as vital, deserving, proper and in the national interest. It is entirely unreasonable to expect a politician to honor and obey our Constitution and in the process commit political suicide. What's even worse for our nation is that voters ousting a politician who'd refuse to bring, say, aid to higher education back to his constituents is perfectly rational. If, for example, he's a Virginia politician and doesn't bring higher education grants back to his constituents, it doesn't mean Virginian taxpayers will pay a lower income tax. All that it means is that Marylanders will get the money instead. Once legalized theft begins, it pays for everyone to participate. Those who don't will be losers.

That's the nation's dilemma. The most important job for people who want to spare our nation from economic collapse is not that of persuading politicians to do the right thing but to convince our fellow Americans to respect the limits of our Constitution.

There's more at the link. Go read the whole thing. While you're there, check out his other essays. They're all worth reading.

If Mr. Williams is right, and people simply won't accept the sacrifices that will undoubtedly be necessary to turn around our financial situation . . . then we're screwed, collectively and individually. Therefore, I hope he's wrong; but my hopes may be in vain.



Wayne Conrad said...

Oh, I will accept those sacrifices. I already have. My retirement money has been pilfered, my ability to save is being destroyed by rapidly increasing costs, and in my life I've consumed fewer "social resources" than anyone I've ever met. I'm bone weary bearing the public lectica, know what I mean?

minimedic said...

I recently expressed my opinion thay I felt that I was one of the few military wives that wasn't clamoring for more entitlements. (I'm content with the healthcare and discounts, and I alrready have a 4-year degree.

Found out the hard way that most women don't share that sentiment.

Anonymous said...

I figured out about a decade ago that I'm going to have to be responsible for taking care of me. I pay for my own insurance and have been saving for my own retirement ever since then. That is, assuming I'm ever in a position to be able to retire, which is doubtful at this point.

I don't like being beholden to anyone or anything aside from G-d.

Comrade Misfit said...

Why not turn it on its head and ask for some sacrifices from those able to pay? Just lifting the cap on paying Social Security taxes would probably keep the system solvent until well past the day when the Boomers have all died.

Or is "sacrifice" something that is only pushed onto the poor and lower-income Americans?

Anonymous said...

OK- this essay is a given.
The corollary is the bitch.

Exactly what, and how far, are the dependent classes and their paid lackeys going to go to extract the LAST AVAILABLE DIME from the productive class of workers and savers?.
Confiscate 401K's, as in other countries? Steal bank accounts?
Steal real property? Steal belongings? Look to history for your answers, it is not a pretty sight.

SiGraybeard said...

Anon (10:04), it's not necessary to look to history. Unless you mean last month. The confiscation of 401k type accounts is going on all over the world.

As far as I can tell, I'm an unusual boomer (although born toward the end of it). When I first got into my head how the social security system worked, about 30 or 32 years ago or so, I realized it would collapse and I'd never get a penny of it. So I started working real hard to save, pay off debt, paid off my house early. All the "right" stuff.

Without realizing the Federal Reserve has crosshairs on the back of every saver. They're making fools of anyone who saved. The inflation monster they're in the process of letting loose is going to destroy all of our savings.

No, the Federal Reserve is embodiment of the "live fast, die young" mentality. They are destroying the currency to keep their banker buddies rich and their political buddies in power.

Johnny D. said...

Totally agree with Graybeard. One way around the "inflation monster" is to get on the heavy metal plan. Gold, silver, lead. Food should be inluded in the plan.