Spending to Death

By: Eddie Clements

To paraphrase the famous quote about the weather, everybody talks about government spending, but nobody does anything about it. Democrats just took some action: they raised the deficit ceiling a trillion bucks or so, then passed a $447 billion dollar spending bill laden with earmarks. Can’t say they did nothing!

“Tax and spend” is no longer just an accusation of fiscal irresponsibility, it’s become a way of life for Congress. Calls to cut back fall on deaf ears among their constituency; politicians are doing what they do – the things needed to get re-elected. Cuts in programs are always met with howls of pain, real or imagined, from an affected group. So what programs to cut? Therein lies the nut, and it’s tough to crack.

Any politician of either party who suggests specific cutbacks gets eviscerated by potential political opponents, and there are plenty waiting in the wings of both major parties.

Cut food stamps? “You want people to starve!?!” Pare back college loans? “We must fund education because the price of ignorance is too high!” Welfare benefits too high? “You want to destroy families!” Too much spent on environmental regulation? “The senator suggests we should just learn to enjoy poison air and water!”

In the Age of Hyperbole, where extremes are the new norm, you have to shout to be heard, make absurd claims of imagined injustice, and gin up outrage to attract notice.

Not all is social spending. Contracts for roads, buildings, and various works that are truly in our common interest are funded by federal largesse. Congressman Ron Paul set me straight on earmarks, which I had previously thought of as unwise. I heard him say during an interview that it was a way to return federal tax money to his state’s constituents. Of course!

So, instead of attacking spending directly, they go at it as cutting “waste, fraud, and abuse” – which never seems to be enough to make any real reductions. For politicians, we can only imagine what will finally be the way out. A way out is needed because the track we are on in the U.S. is headed toward national bankruptcy. The currency will become increasingly devalued, as we print ever more money.

The Obama administration makes claims of job creation, virtually all of which are in government. Government jobs do not produce goods and services. I suppose the administration view is even if many people work for the government, they will still pay individual income taxes, which will in turn fund more government. Large corporations pay enormous amounts of income tax, much more than lower-tier incomes of government workers. However, they can only do so if they remain profitable.

Their modus operandi so far suggests Obama and his minions foresee a system of large corporations, along the Soviet style, or the Kambinat in East Germany. He thinks they will supply most of the heavy industry: durable goods, defense products, vehicles, etc. Services like phones and electricity are usually supplied by bigger corporate outfits, like AT&T and Duke Energy.

A few big companies will be easier to control. Obama, or other Democrats after him, can influence a small number of CEO’s to do their bidding and produce revenues. In this way, they effectively seize the means of production outlined by the Marxist model. It has already happened to two auto companies. Banks are being seized using the Federal Reserve’s currency control.

There may not be a detailed plan here, just a general outline. Obamatons are partly winging it because of the need to resist violent seizures at gunpoint, and partly because some CEO’ are more than willing to cooperate – like Jeffrey Immelt at GE, and Duke Energy whose CEO seems to believe the monster will eat him last.

But like all socialists/Marxists, the Obama view goes off the rails. His policies are stifling small businesses, the engine not only of job creation and growth but innovation and inspiration. Remember, IBM didn’t invent the microcomputer, it was Wozniak and Jobs working in a parent’s garage. A big electric company didn’t invent the light bulb, Edison made it work –then conceived the means to supply the needed electrical energy, which evolved into the electric company.

Ironically, Edison’s company became General Electric, GE, today headed by Obama lackey Jeffrey Immelt. His disgrace is in taking that once-great company to ruin. Edison’s incandescent bulb, which lit the world, will be outlawed in a few years.

The point of the above is nothing as envisioned by the leftist radicals in the White House or Congress will turn out the way they hope. I guess they saw this huge pot of gold and thought they would just seize it through legal mumbo-jumbo, and we would just go along like good little sheep. It won’t play out that way.

Since the industrial revolution’s move from steam power to fossil fuels, spending has been financed by revenues to government from production and resultant wealth creation. We aren’t producing our own oil supplies, manufacturing has been chased away by over-regulation and taxes, and services have replaced manufacturing and mining as wealth creators.

People used to work in factories, blue collar jobs that paid well enough to grow the middle class, and permit them to send their progeny to higher education levels, if they so desired. That work ethic has been replaced by a government compensation ethic, entitlements, which can never be more than subsistence levels. Liberals’ rhetoric has encouraged this ethic and grown their support base accordingly. The entitlement mentality and resultant dependency on the state has replaced the earning mentality and its ethic of self-reliance and individualism.

The better educated have participated in wealth creation by moving money around instead of factory management. Now, investment and venture capitalism has been dubbed a sin to be banished. A shrinking manufacturing economic base coupled with curtailment of financial ventures assures low growth and low incomes. So, revenues to government will fall. That won’t be accepted, more money will be printed, what tax revenues exist will also lose purchasing power, and a cycle of spiraling inflation is inevitable.

However, the impetus for them to stop is absent, because the same people who are sending us all down the road to ruin ensure themselves perpetual power by buying votes the easy way: through giveaways, the aforementioned spending. It’s almost like a drug addiction; they can’t resist spending any more than a heroin addict can resist the next high, even if they know they can’t do it forever.

But the thing about dangerous drugs, like dangerous spending, is the risk of an overdose – and much bigger troubles. Democrats are spending us to death.

Eddie Clements

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