Monday, December 31, 2012

Barefoot and Pregnant Dem Voters

Our liberal friends have dined out for decades on the proposition that conservatives are patriarchs that want to keep women barefoot and pregnant.  It's the usual mean-spirited insult, of course, that expresses the idea that conservatives don't bellieve women are the equal of men and don't want women out in the work force doing the things that men do.

But when I read President Obama on the fiscal cliff, reducing the entitlements crisis to the notion that:
it is very difficult for me to say to a senior citizen or a student or a mom with a disabled kid, ‘You are going to have to do with less but we're not going to ask millionaires and billionaires to do more.’
You see, what the president is cunningly omitting here is the context.  He is leaving out the $50-100 trillion unfunded mandate on entitlements, the difference between the government's promises on Social Security and Medicare and the funds available to deliver them.  There is not one word in his remarks, nor in any other Democrat's statements, to prepare the Democratic voters for their upcoming years of responsibility, years when the money just won't be there for Social Security and Medicare as we know it.

In other words, Democrats don't want their voters to get out in the world and get an education in public finance--which they could easily get at for free.  No they just want them barefoot and pregnant, dependent on their government benefits until the next election.

Of course, politics is all about hypocrisy, projection and any pop-psych notion you can imagine.  But it is still galling.

There's a lesson here: conservatives need to understand that the overwhelming Democratic base is never going to "get" the idea of an entitlement crisis.

Thus when someone like Kevin Williamson urges conservatives to understand that, e.g., most Democrats are much more risk-averse than Republicans, he has a point.  Yes it's true that savings accounts and bonds and Social Security are attractive to the low-risk folks.  That's because they believe what authority figures have told them.

The problem is that government programs and benefits are a lot more risky that the average Democratic voter understands.  Bonds?  Superfragilistic as long as you have a government that will maintain the currency at par with gold.  Social Security?  Low risk, as long as the government doesn't default on its debt, and governments often do.

Let's just take a look at my situation, aged 66.  Social Security?  Yes, but what will happen down the road?  Bonds?  But what happens when the money supply expands to match the quadrupling of the monetary base since 2008?

My point is that relying on bonds and Social Security in 2013 is a risky bet.  It would be much lower risk, over the medium term, to rely on dividend stocks backstopped by a spot of gold.  Why?  Because in my view, it is harder for the government to loot people of their gold and their stocks than loot their bank accounts and their bonds denominated in dollars.

But when will people get that?  Only when the checks stop coming.

Back to Ben Franklin: Experience keeps a dear school, but they will learn in no other.  Risk-averse people won't warm to the Republican agenda until they have experienced for themselves the huge risks hidden in the supposed risk-free agenda of the Democrats.

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