As Predictable As the Sun Rising
The gradual slow-down
If Obamism is carried to its logical conclusions, we will start to see Californization or Hellenization. An increasingly furious public work force refuses to take cuts or furloughs, and so continues to demonize the supposedly greedy “them,” who in turn nod and leave or begin to marginalize themselves. (Our radio ads out here now blare with teachers unions demanding higher taxes on the most taxed "wealthy" and "corporations" in the nation.)
In America’s case, the flight will be psychological rather than material (where else could one wish to go?), as professionals and the self-employed begin to slow down, drop out, or detach — not dramatically so to stop the economy, but enough to keep unemployment high and growth disappointing. As income is curtailed (the herdsman is now skinning rather than trimming the sheep), the unions, as in Greece, as in California, will turn on each other, and on us the taxpayers who never quite give enough (I expect something like the 6th century Nika riots next in Greece).
Government is not an abstraction, but a work force; its prime directive is for self-survival and perpetuation. Public workers will find the rationalization to lash out, when the money dries up and the checks begin to bounce. Again, here in California, professors are on furloughs each month, prisoners are being released, teachers pink-slipped, and 3,500 leaving the state each week. Our schools are rated 47-49th in the nation, but we employ America’s highest paid teachers, and level the highest state, gas and income taxes in the United States — and yet we have not a shred of introspection over how we managed to have the highest taxes, the highest paid teachers and the worst schools. To suggest that this is logical rather than aberrant earns one all sorts of calumny.
Make it up as we go along
As Obamans realize that the current fiscal course is unsustainable, and as they sense the country is still center-right and their political futures uncertain, we will experience a sort of hysteria.
“Will” is the wrong auxiliary verb tense; we’ve already seen it. Congressmen walk the national mall, intent on proving to America it is now again 1965 in the Deep South and they courageously are replaying the civil rights marches among Neanderthal tea party racists — the sort of psychodramas comparable to Skip Gates donating his handcuffs to the Smithsonian.
The melodrama is ubiquitous. Pundits scream that the system is broken and we need to radically change our institutions — until the 217th vote is obtained and suddenly within a few hours America is wonderful again and Pelosi a genius at the helm of a smooth sailing ship of state. If we need justifications for suspect procedures, our more candid representatives confess rules are made up as we go, undiscovered new articles in the Constitution now appear, and the control of the people is lamentably said to take time.
Then there is supposedly a spate of hate speech against the president and Congress. My god, one would think Alfred Knopf had published a novel about killing the president or the Toronto film festival had honored a docudrama of the same theme! Or Michael Moore had lamented that terrorists killed the wrong blue-state 3,000 Americans.
A vote is purchased in the House for about a million dollars in federal largess, in the Senate for a hundred and more times that figure. I can’t remember all the presidential prevarications, because it no longer matters. Obama has become the face on the screen that everyone sees for his morning three minutes and no one believes — five days on the Oval Office desk before a passed bill is to be signed, C-span airing of the entire health care negotiations, a 51% majority is not morally sufficient for major health care legislation in a new age of bipartisanship, no more Bush executive orders trumping elements of congressional legislation. And so on.
So this is Groundhog Day, as cap and trade and blanket amnesty loom on the horizon and will follow the same script. We will print more money to pay off supposedly “principled” holdout congresspeople and senators, angling for air time and earmarks. Instead of the millions of children killed by the lack of federal health care, assume millions more will be roasted or drowned by boiling or rising seas, followed by the millions of children who are in mortal danger because their parents are asked to have proof of legal residence. The hysterical style is now enshrined.
We search for one honest man behind all this, just one. How wonderful if a Reid, Obama, or Pelosi for a moment would just come clean, if even in defiant fashion. Imagine:
“Some people screw up or are unlucky. We’re here to ensure they end up the same as you who don’t screw up or are luckier. We can’t say they are in any way culpable, so we blame either the system or you who are better off. The best way to level the playing field is to tax all we can, take our percentage, and redistribute the rest. Lots get hired to administer to even more. The rules don’t apply to ourselves, who are wealthy but not the targeted culpable. We know privately all this is not sustainable, but assume the better off will find a way to save themselves and thus us, before we bankrupt ourselves — after we are gone. And we don’t care really whether this is always legal, or fair, or workable, because we know it is moral and we are far more moral people than you.”
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