Be afraid. Be very afraid. The America of 2012 is not the America of 2008. If Barack Obama wins this election, the America of 2016 will resemble the beaten and bankrupt countries of Western Europe more than it will the America we grew up in. This isn’t Chicken Little speaking. Take a hard look at the trends, and then drop everything else you had in mind for the next four weeks, and make sure everyone you know votes for Romney-Ryan. We have one last chance to save the republic.
1) Dependency on government handouts: As Dick Morris points out in his latest book Here Come the Black Helicopters!, 20% of Americans received some kind of means-tested government check in 2008, when George W. Bush left office. Now 32% of Americans get some kind of means-tested support — food stamps, disability, welfare, and so forth. That’s a third of the country. Transfer payments are now fully one-fifth of personal income, as I observed in an essay last year. Obama’s arbitrary and perhaps illegal changes in welfare work requirements create a cycle of dependency, as the Romney campaign has warned. They also create a built-in majority for the welfare state. Morris observes that the shift to dependency gives the Democrats a majority on paper. The only question now is turnout. Give this another four years, and the number of Americans who have a stake in economic growth will be a minority of the population.
2) Religious commitment: The Pew Institute’s bombshell survey released this week showed that the number of Americans not affiliated with any religion rose from 15% in 2007 to almost 20% in 2011, and that the unaffiliated are much likelier to vote Democratic (63% of unaffiliated lean Democratic vs. 48% of all registered voters).
This prompted rejoicing in the liberal camp. Writing in the London Guardian, Sarah Posner argued that
…the data shows [conservative Christians] are clearly losing the public. Another survey last week from the Public Religion Research Institute showed that while Mitt Romney has the support of 80% of younger white evangelical millennials (aged 18 to 25), this is a small and diminishing constituency: white evangelicals comprise only 12.3% of that age group. That’s less than half their proportion of the 50 to 64 population. The Pew survey showed that while 32% of Americans aged 50 to 64 are white evangelicals, only 13% of those aged 18 to 29 are.
3) European-style birth rates: “The overall fertility rate for women in the U.S. — defined as the number of newborns per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 — was 63.2 last year, down from 64.1 in 2010 and the lowest rate since the government started collecting these statistics in 1920,” the Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 3. Most ominous was the crash in Hispanic fertility: “Hispanic women between 20 and 24 saw their fertility rate drop to 115 last year from 165 in 2007.” Religious commitment and child-bearing are closely linked, as a number of analysts have pointed out (I review the relationship in my book How Civilizations Die). So the fertility decline is part of the same story as the decline in religious affiliation. It suggests that while Protestant numbers show the steepest decline in affiliation, Hispanic Catholics are behaving less and less like Catholics used to.
4) Declining patriotism: In 2002, 60% of Americans agreed with the statement, “Our people are not perfect, but our culture is superior,” according to a Pew survey. In 2012 the proportion dropped to 49%. For the first time, a minority of Americans believe in American exceptionalism.
5) National debt: Suffice it to say that during the past 12 months, foreigners bought almost half ($600 billion) of the $1.3 trillion in new debt paper issued by the Treasury to cover Obama’s deficits. And the Chinese actually dumped $165 billion of Treasury securities during those 12 months. Someone should update Gov. Romney’s talking points: We can’t borrow from the Chinese because the Chinese don’t want to lend to us. If this continues, as PIMCO’s Bill Gross and JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon have been warning, American paper will be junk and our economy will collapse. I don’t know when, but I’m pretty sure it would happen before 2016.
6) Nuclear weapons in the hands of state sponsors of terrorism as American power collapses overseas.
We are becoming a different people, more like the feckless, infertile, dependent Europeans and less like the men and women who built this country. We aren’t there yet. But we have lost so much ground under Obama that we do not know whether the country will pass a point of no return during a second Obama term. One can’t blame all of this on Barack Obama, to be sure. To what extent he is the cause or the effect of these problems, or neither, is something we can’t divine from the numbers. Nonetheless, the president of the United States sets the tone for public attitudes. A president who disparages and undermines entrepreneurship, promotes dependency, fails to defend American security interests, and apologizes for American values is a big part of the problem.
All the experts say this election will depend on turnout. That is why I am appealing to every reader of this site to get active. Organize a party, drive people to the polls, call everyone you know, and make sure that everyone who might vote for Romney does vote for Romney. We many not get another chance like this. Not ever.