We have seen the future, and it sucks.

A Silver Lining and a Conundrum

8th November 2012

John Hinderaker is not afraid to ask the hard questions.

I don’t understand why anyone would vote for four more years of unemployment and poverty, but that is what the American people voted for, and that is what they are going to get.

After 50 years of left-wing teachers spending their time on left-wing indoctrination rather than actual education, I’m surprised that he’s surprised.

Obama will now have to reveal his agenda for a second term, heretofore a closely-guarded secret. In particular, what is he going to do about the nation’s $16 trillion debt? Obama’s answer during his first term was “nothing.” His budget, incorporating any number of optimistic assumptions, called for the debt to rise to $20 trillion. I don’t see how Obama can get through his second term without articulating some plan, however half-baked, for dealing with the debt.

I do. He’ll make a lot of mouth-noise but effectively ignore it, just as he did during his first term. So the country goes broke: What’s that to him? He’ll be making Clinton-level money as the Magic Negro, and there are a lot of golf courses he hasn’t hit yet. His daughters will go to Ivy League schools and marry well, like Chelsea Clinton, and he and Michelle will spend their ‘golden years’ in Aspen and Malibu and Martha’s Vinyard and Georgetown.

Tom Smith at The Right Coast has an interesting take:

I really feel that Obama has revealed a bug in our constitutional system. Some would say it’s a feature, but it’s a bug. The idea was (see Federalist Papers) to make it very unlikely that a demagogue could get himself elected by appealing the the lowest passions (e.g., “revenge”, free stuff) of the electorate. This elaborate system was supposed to protect individual rights, including property, among other things. Doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. Turns out that by using, for example, the latest computationally driven techniques, you can micro target voters in very specific places, appeal to their specific desires (“factions” doesn’t even capture it — micro-factions maybe)and get yourself elected, while a whole bunch of other people don’t even vote. Then you spend out the credit of the country to all friends and sundry, and when the lemon is squeezed out, fly off to be an international celebrity. I believe our Framers would have called this a monarchical abuse and a form of corruption of course. It would not baffle them; they would recognize it. It just turns out our system has evolved into something that does not prevent it very well. I realize this account is comically crude but some more sophisticated version of it is, I think, essentially correct. I think what we probably need is some sort of constitutional reform, something that makes us not prone to fiscal implosion via massive rent seeking and benefits-for-votes systems.

Our system has been coming apart ever since the ‘progressives’ captured the government under Teddy Roosevelt. His ‘trust-busting’ created the demagogue-favorable atmosphere that allowed Wilson (with an assist from Teddy’s ego) to become President, and Wilson gave us the constitutional amendments that introduced the federal income tax (an ever-increasing spigot of money that made it profitable to hold federal office) and direct election of Senators (which destroyed a key bulwark of federalism). That power would become more and more concentrated in Washington, and that ‘States’ would become just a money-wasting intermediary layer of bureaucracy, became simply a matter of time.

Unfortunately, I don’t see any effective way of ‘turning the clock back’. Too many profit from the existing system, and too few understand and appreciate that correcting it requires undoing stuff they’ve learned in school were Milestones to Progress, to get it done. We may have to continue on through to the traditional fascist dictatorship and collapse before any opportunity arises to fix things.

4 Responses to “A Silver Lining and a Conundrum”

  1. Dennis Nagle Says:

    Well, if he really wanted to deal with the debt he’d just let the country run off the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’.
    Increased income from taxes, decreased outgo from sequestration. Budget balanced; problem solved.
    Then we can all watch the conservatives realized that the old adage is still true: Be Careful What You Wish For.

  2. Whitehawk Says:

    **Then we can all watch the conservatives realized that the old adage is still true: Be Careful What You Wish For.**

    Dennis, I’m not sure what you are saying conservatives are “wishing for.”

    On another note… I have a deep abiding sense of a fundamental change in American thinking, behavior. I wish I could put a finger on what happened here. I do not discredit what you are saying Tim but I sense there is more to the story on this election cycle. Just over 1/2 of us ignored Libya, 8% unemployment, high gas prices, inflation, a fiscal catastrophe, a promise to a foreign adversary for leniency after his election, a continuing strategy of devaluing our currency and Michelle Obama to re-elect him. This does not add up. There is something more going on here.

    I can’t accept that all of the sudden we like socialism. My best guess is that conditions in lower income levels are worse than reported. When a president swells the food stamp roles by 17 million where does that demographic come from? Are they instantly ingratiated to you? What may be happening here is the same “panic” mind set that occurred in the early 30’s that kept FDR in office despite his dismal record on the economy. That panic creates a disconnect from the big picture and says, “I gotta vote for the guy I’m sure will keep me afloat.” Panic does terrible thing to reason.

    I don’t know. I’m just saying more is at play here than popularity ideology or leadership ability.

    Credit Obama for seizing a crisis, making it infinitely worse then selling yourself as the solution.

  3. Whitehawk Says:

    *himself as the solution*

  4. Dennis Nagle Says:

    What I believe conservatives are wishing for–or at least what they keep saying they wish for–is a balanced budget. That would give it to them.

    A few other points:

    “Just over 1/2 of us ignored Libya” Including the Magic Mormon candidate. I expected him to ride that hobby horse until it broke. He didn’t. Maybe that was just a missed tactical opportunity on his part, or maybe he knows something you don’t.

    “high gas prices” Which everyone on the right blames on Obama, but over which he–or any president–has little or no influence. It’s not just a matter of oil, of which we currently enjoy a surfeit.

    “inflation” Really? Inflation’s a problem? The Fed dropped the interest rates through the floor and plans to keep them there through 2014; does that sound like they’re worried about inflation?

    “When a president swells the food stamp roles [sic]” That comment demonstrates either deliberate misrepresentation or just garden-variety ignorance. Since he didn’t set out to increase the rolls, he cannot be said to have ‘swelled’ them. They swelled, but not through anything he actively did. That’s as incorrect as saying Bush ‘flooded’ New Orleans. He didn’t. Maybe he–and his predecessors–made assumptions and took actions which allowed it to happen, but he didn’t dynamite the levies on purpose.

    “where does that demographic (17 million additional food stamp recipients) come from?” It comes from formerly middle-class folks who have exhausted their savings and retirement and now are forced to look for help, hat in hand. A humbling revelation to the many NeoCalvinists among them, I’m sure, because they were so overhwelmingly sure that they would/could never have to stoop so low; their former success was a tangible sign that they were the Righteous and Favored of God (read: The Invisible Hand). Seems they learned differently.