Monday, March 16, 2015

The Obama Implosion Alert.

We knew that liberal government was going to fail about 40 years ago. That's when, as Charles Murray wrote in Losing Ground, the results came in on the social science that instrumented the War on Poverty. Liberals read the results and did nothing.

The War on Poverty conducted in the 1960s included a raft of programs recommended by liberal social scientists, from welfare to job training and community activism. Result, according to the social science instrumentation? No difference. Of course many things got worse, such as out-of-wedlock births and a move away from work.

Yeah. It's 40 years later and liberals are still saying "more of the same."

Fast forward to today. In Charles Murray's 2012 book, Coming Apart we see that for the top 20 percent of whites, about 5 percent of the adult men aged 30-49 in the top 20 percent aren't making a living, and 30 percent of adult men aged 30-49 in the bottom 30 percent aren't making a living. You can calk about "income inequality" till the cows come home, but the problem here is cultural inequality. Rich people work hard, and poor people don't. That's the opposite of 100 years ago when poor people worked hard, and so did their children.

Now my feeling is that we are approaching a tipping point. I think that the full-on liberal activist program of President Obama is going to force the American people to demand a change.

Joseph Schumpeter in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy argued that the voters can't really tell the politicians what they want. The only thing they can do is use their votes to elect the politicians that will rule over them. Voters can only call for Four More Years or say that it is Time for a Change.

Most of the time politicians present the voters with muddy compromise. They shift a little to the left while trying to assure the right that nothing has changed. And vice versa. But President Obama has rejected that model of government. He is committed to getting as much of the progressive agenda enacted, by any means possible, while he is in office. Presumably he feels that by throwing everything against the wall, some of it will stick.

The other possibility, of course, for Obama's legacy is the experience of the German Army in 1942. The southern army group headed for the Caucasus while the Sixth Army was assigned to take Stalingrad. The southern army group covered a lot of ground, but because Stalingrad on its left wing did not fall, all that territory was gained for nothing, and when the Red Army attacked and encircled the Sixth Army the entire southern army group had to retreat. It was, of course, the turning point in the whole war on the Eastern Front.

I think — OK I hope — that President Obama and the Democrats are in the overstretch situation that the Germans experienced in 1942. They've pushed their wave way up the beach and the tide is about to turn. Think of Obamacare as the Democrats' version of Stalingrad. If they can't get Obamacare to work, they are screwed.

In military affairs, the danger of an over-extension is that you are really vulnerable to something going wrong.  If the tide of fortune changes, it's likely to bury you in the undertow.

If you are a liberal, you think of everything that the president has done as sensible moderate stuff, long overdue and held up for years, decades, by racist, sexist, homophobic Republicans and conservatives, people that have opposed and stymied the progressive agenda at every turn. As conservatives and Republicans gave President Bush the benefit of the doubt for most of the Iraq War, so do liberals give President Obama the benefit of the doubt for all of his initiatives.

And just as liberals pretty quickly decided that President Bush and all his works were wrong and ought to be opposed, so do conservatives (and quite a lot of moderates, I'd say) think that President Obama and all his policies are wrong.

We think that the Keynesian stimulus was wrong, particularly as its main effort was to funnel money to state and local governments; we think that Keynesian economics has been proved wrong both by theory and by experience. We think that Obamacare was wrong; we think that government is completely the wrong institution to deliver any kind of service because government is uniquely incapable of fixing problems, because just doesn't have the bandwidth to fix things. We think that the liberal green energy program is utterly foolish, not just because the idea that CO2 is going to fry the world is unproven and because green energy has turned out to be a cesspool of crony capitalism that pays billions to crony capitalists and stick the middle class and the poor with the bill, but because wind and solar represent a step backwards, for a simple reason. Wind and solar are less concentrated than fossil fuels and nuclear. We think that the president's policy to regulate the internet as a monopoly telephone utility is utter folly. We think the president's policy to hammer out a nuclear deal with Iran is utter folly. We don't have a clue what he thinks he's doing.

Then there's the big stuff, the cultural collapse at the bottom of society, described by Charles Murray and now by Robert D. Putnam in Our Kids, that demonstrates that, after all the liberal welfare state programs, from health care to welfare to education to activism, the poorer people in our society are getting absolutely screwed. Liberals say it's all because of "economic inequality." Really? After fifty years of the Great Society? After a century of middle-class entitlements and labor laws? Things still aren't copacetic? No, liberals. The problem is cultural inequality.

Could it be, liberals that the problem is not "economic inequality" but your programs? Could it be that just shoveling out benefits to people tears society apart, and denies low-income people the chance to contribute to society?

Could it be that it is the liberal programs themselves that are causing the problem? Could it be that "fighting inequality" with government programs is precisely the wrong thing to do?

Like I say. At some point mainstream elected Democrats are going to look at the polls and say to themselves: "If we don't separate ourselves from President Obama yesterday we are all going to lose our elective offices." And then you'll see a stampede among the lemmings that you never saw in your lifetime.

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