Friday, September 17, 2010

Here's Extremism For You

Well, so Christine O'Donnell is an extremist. That is what our Democratic friends want voters to believe. I guess that's what you get when you run seminars on the women in Lord of the Rings.

But if you chaps want extremism how about this?

In the United States there's a party that champions a program to force every worker to pay a tax amounting to 15 percent of their wages. At the end of 40 years the government pays the worker a "benefit" every month, as the mood takes it, until the worker dies. The money belongs to the government. All told, these government pension programs costs $1 trillion per year. And the government pension programs will all go broke in the next 30 years. Of course, if you'd paid 15 percent of your wages into a bank account, you could have lived off the interest and passed the principal on to your children. How extreme is that?

Here's another example of the extremism that we just take for granted.

The government forces every senior citizen to belong to a government health care program which yields a crazy quilt of benefits and puts the government in between seniors and their doctors. Combined with other government health care programs, it costs about $1.1 trillion a year, and there is no money to pay the benefits in the out years. Based on current taxation levels, we are short something like $30 trillion to pay the benefits promised by the government to seniors over the next generation. Of course, seniors could decide to look after their own health care, since seniors, in general, are the richest Americans. That means something at a time when young people are hurting badly in the Great Recession, and, when they have jobs, pay the taxes for all this and have children to raise and mortgages to pay. How extreme is that?

We have extremist education too.

The government forces every parent to send their children to a government child-custodial facility from age 7 to 16. It costs about $1.0 trillion a year. After the government has held these children in custody for ten years here is the result. On adult literacy, about 15 percent of Americans are "below basic," which is a polite word for functionally illiterate. About 50 percent of kids entering college require remedial courses. How extreme is that?

Here's another extreme situation.

The government forces everyone to pay for their vast establishment of programs for the relief of the poor. The result is a vast underclass, the utter collapse of the family among low-income Americans, and a stealth gray area of people on disability pensions. But this program is cheap. It only costs about $0.75 trillion a year.

For a generation at least, conservative Americans have been agitating to reform these programs, to reduce their reckless overpromising, and to reform their administrative failures. But a certain party, filled with extremists, has demonized every attempt at reform.

Who cares, you might say? Conservative Americans are prudent, careful people who will survive when the balloon goes up and the government defaults on its promises. Why should we care?

Well, the truth is we do care. We don't want the clients of the Democratic Party to wake up one day and find that the party's over and that, as they say in Eastern Europe, they'll be reduced to eating the paint off the walls. We want the folks on government programs to live decent, dignified lives.

We just believe that you can't have dignity when your life depends on some politician bringing home the bacon. There's a word for that kind of society. Feudal.

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