Robert Ringer is a New York Times No. 1 best-selling author and host of the highly acclaimed "Liberty Education Interview Series," which features interviews with top political, economic and social leaders. His latest book is "The Entrepreneur." To sign up for a free subscription to his pro-liberty, pro-free-market e-letter, A Voice of Sanity, CLICK HERE.More ↓Less ↑
With the angry uprising of pampered teachers in Wisconsin, the long-awaited Marxist revolution in the U.S. may finally be under way. It’s been clear for decades that a forced ending to America’s experiment with soft socialism would almost certainly trigger such a revolution.
Soft socialism was destined to fail from the outset, because it is the nature of life that a little bit of something bad tends to expand into a lot of something bad. That reality, however, has for decades been masked by the progressive’s best friend – gradualism.
The average American had no idea that he was slowly being boiled alive, because soft socialism made it possible for him to buy a house he couldn’t afford, go on vacations he couldn’t afford and fill his life with high-tech toys he couldn’t afford. This comfy lifestyle made him oblivious to the realities of life.
While there was no official beginning to the era of soft socialism in the U.S., there’s no question that FDR’s ascent to the presidency and the implementation of his New Deal was a major step in that direction. The centerpiece of FDR’s New Deal was the 1935 Social Security Act, which defied the Constitution by implying it was the government’s duty to fulfill the needs and desires of individual citizens.
It was billed as a modest program that would help a relatively small number of elderly people who were truly in need. Through the magic of gradualism, however, once the initial funding for Social Security was established as a baseline, a new baseline emerged each year to grow it into the monster redistribution-of-wealth program it has become.
Then, in the ’60s, along came Lyndon Johnson with his vote-buying Great Society that destroyed the black community and, with it, the black family. Once baselines were established for hundreds of Great Society programs, Democrats and Republicans rarely spoke about cutting the budget, and anyone who suggested such a far-out idea was viewed as an extremist.
Instead, the debate has always been about restraining the growth of the budget beyond each year’s new baseline. This clever “new-baseline” strategy is the key to progressivism: Get a bill passed (e.g., health care), establish a baseline, then, in the future, debate is restricted to what the percentage of increase should be each year for that particular bill. And an integral part of the new-baseline strategy is to vilify opponents of increased spending as cruel and calloused, a psychological ploy progressives have been using since our experiment in soft socialism began.
Long term, however, soft socialism doesn’t work. That’s because socialism, as both Marx and Lenin made clear, is merely a transitional stage on the way to communism. A little bit of socialism, because it appeals to the avaricious instincts in people, only whets their appetites for more. It is the nature of wealth redistribution to slowly bring down capitalism, which is why soft socialism eventually evolves into hard socialism – and, from there, communism.
Socialism destroys capital resources. And when the money runs out, a nation ends up with angry, spoiled adults – such as those protesting in Wisconsin – who have been happy recipients of years of artificial prosperity. Panicked and enraged, they boldly demand that their neighbors continue to support them in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. They have no interest whatsoever in hearing about economic reality.
To the progressive, of course, the solution is simple: Tax the rich! But, as every idiot knows, taxing the rich is a dead end. Even if you imposed a 100 percent tax on everyone making over $1 million, it wouldn’t make a dent in the problem – and, in fact, it would make things worse because it would eliminate the motivation of producers to work.
Borrowing? That eventually becomes impossible once prospective lenders realize their loans can never be repaid – or will be repaid in worthless paper currency. Nor can the government indefinitely rely on its printing presses, as that ultimately leads to runaway inflation.
Which brings us to Barack Obama, to whom every liberty-loving American should be eternally grateful. He is such a committed Marxist that once he made it to the White House, he shed his stealth mask and started bombarding Americans with so many wealth-redistribution programs that it awakened millions of voters.
As a result, in the historic 2010 elections, the House was overwhelmingly taken over by Republicans – led by non-political types who came out of the tea-party movement. Finally, after decades of one-party rule (Demopublicans), conservatives and libertarians are attacking the new-baseline strategy.
This attack has caused Obama to increasingly resemble a beast trapped in a tangled net. He is thrashing about wildly in an attempt to free himself, while giving words of encouragement to radical union members throughout the U.S. – as well as to “democracy” protesters in Egypt and other Arab countries.
Hoping to lure Republicans into a trap, BHO went to the well again and tried to employ the always reliable new-baseline strategy by proudly announcing his plan to freeze spending at the current level for five years – which would guarantee America’s bankruptcy! It worked better than he ever could have imagined. With a $1.7 trillion deficit as the baseline, Republicans finally proposed a timid $61 billion in spending cuts.
As a result, the Democrats got a twofer: They 1) can yell and scream about “uncompassionate” Republicans wanting to cut essential programs, while 2) having the satisfaction of knowing that only a token dent would be made in the new deficit baseline if they went along with the Republicans’ proposal.
With springtime on the horizon, methinks it’s time for the tea-party folks to take it to the next level and let Republicans know – much louder and more aggressively this time around – that they weren’t kidding when they said wanted out-of-control government spending to come to an end.
If the deficit is $1.7 trillion, wouldn’t a good starting point be to cut government spending by $1.7 trillion? Or is the idea of balancing the budget still just too extreme?