Monday, April 13, 2015

Liberals Know They're in a Box Canyon

I got directed over to a New York Times editorial "A New Phase in Anti-Obama Attacks" yesterday. It blamed the Republicans for everything. And the commenters agreed.

What's not to like? If I were a liberal who'd climbed aboard the Obama Airtours excursion back in 2008, I'd be getting cranky too. I'd be looking at the canyon walls and wondering how the plane was going to be able to turn and get out of the narrowing canyon. I'd be blaming the Republicans for forcing the Airtours plane into that box canyon. Because it couldn't be my fault for believing all that hope and change rubbish.

Now here comes Salon into the conversation. Salon, in the person of Clintonite Bill Curry in "Hillary Clinton just doesn't get it...," is underwhelmed by Hillary Clinton's campaign. Here's the money quote:
Like Bill Clinton’s 1992 race, this election is about the economy. But this one’s about how to reform the economy, not just jumpstart it. Our political system isn’t set up to debate whether or not our economic system needs real reform. It will take a very different kind of politics, and leader, to spark that debate. 
This just shows the limitation of liberal politics and what a mess the Democrats have got themselves (and us) into.

The problem is that, for Democrats ever since whenever, "reform" has always meant giving more free stuff to their voters. That's what Obamacare is all about: Subsidies for Democratic voters squeezed out of the hide of that voter over there behind the tree.

Democrat-led "reform" isn't so much reforming as recasting, in concrete. Instead of a flexible, adaptable non-system of working people saving for their retirement, we have a rigid government-enforced Social Security system that takes 12 percent of wage income right out of the pockets of wage earners and gives it to politicians. What could go wrong? Instead of a flexible education non-system we have a rigid system of child incarceration and lifer educrats with $1 trillion a year spent by politicians.

The real meaning of reform is to break up the structures of privilege, discredit the dogs-in-a-manger defending their lifetime sinecures, and get everyone to earn a living by offering their labor and ideas to the world without the government getting in the middle and screwing things up. For that job the Democratic Party and everything it stands for is peculiarly unfit for purpose.

The way that Democrats have conducted their politics over the past century has been based on the assumption that "we" know what to do: Education for children to make them ready for the industrial workforce; Social protections for workers from the boom-and-bust cycle of capitalism; Pensions for ageing workers; Health care so nobody dies because they can't afford a doctor.

Yes. But what do we do now, when Social Security and Medicare have promised trillions in dollars of benefits more than the taxes to pay for them? What to do about the marginal workers that have been bounced out of the post-crash economy? What to do about the broken families in the inner city?

Democrats are proposing mindless retread policies: like raising the minimum wage; Universal pre-school; Free community college. All familiar administrative state solutions.

But what if the solution is to switch to a non-governmental approach: returning to apprenticeships and on-the-job training? Freeing children from the schools and putting them to work in offices at computers? Reducing the weight of payroll taxes on working people? Putting Fidelity and Vanguard in charge of retirement instead of the Social Security Administration?

What New York Times commenter could ever imagine such a demolition of everything she holds dear?

Let's imagine that high up there in the councils of the meritocracy there are people thinking thoughts like that? How could any Democratic politician listen to them? Because the first and most obvious result of a restructuring of the liberal welfare state would be less jobs for elite liberals.

So it stands to reason that only a party without support from the elite bureaucracies could ever dare to "reform the economy."

The reason that "Our political system isn’t set up to debate whether or not our economic system needs real reform" is that Democrats shout down anyone that tries. So it's bootless to talk about a "different kind of politics, and leader, to spark that debate" when it is the Democrats that have been preventing the debate from starting, let along "sparking," from at least the time that Democrats decided to anathematize Reagan's supply-side economic policies as "Reaganomics" and "trickle-down economics."

The only solution to our problem is for Democrats to get trounced in 2016 by the first landslide election since Reagan, and face in addition the first solid Republican President & Congress since the 1920s. And again in 2020. Then they'll be ready by 2024 to put forward a new Clinton talking about another "Third Way" or "New Democrats" whatever they call it then.

But you'll remember that the Third Way was a deceit. As soon as he got into the White House Clinton raised taxes and proposed HillaryCare. And the voters elected the first Republican Congress since right after World War II.

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