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Let us begin by stating the central problem of politics. That problem, first debated between the legalists and the Confucians in the Chinese Empire half a millennium before our Savior was born, is the vested-interest problem.
How do you and I – the little guys – prevent well-organized, superbly connected, comfortably funded, media-savvy vested interests from prevailing over our interest, which is the general interest?
The biggest vested interest of them all is not big media, big banks, or big oil. It is big government. Wherever big government has been tried, it has expensively failed. Now, as the outstandingly researched book “Fool Me Twice” thoughtfully reveals, Mr. Obama is going to try it again – the triumph of “hope-and-change” over experience.
He is going to decide who gets paid what. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Edward Heath, as inflation raged in Britain in the mid-1970s as an inevitable result of his openly Socialist policy of ordering all employers to pay their workforce more every few months, announced the creation of a Relativities Board to decide whether a nurse was worth more than a bank director (a question expecting the answer Yes), or a Peer of the Realm was worth more than a movie star (ditto, and we’re better actors, too).
Heath’s fatuous, nanny-knows-best approach was binned when he was flung from office after only four years as prime minister. But Mr. Obama’s malevolent policy advisers are planning to do what Heath failed to do – unless Obama is flung from office after only four years as president.
Democracy is – or at least your Founding Fathers hoped it would be – the curse of vested interests and the guarantor of the general interest. It has not worked that way.
The late Milton Friedman won his Nobel Prize for Economics for his work demonstrating that any activity carried out by the State costs twice as much and produces half as much as the same activity in the private sector.
One corollary of the Friedman Multiple is that every time a politician announces that taxpayers’ money will be spent on “creating jobs,” in net terms he will in fact be destroying just as many jobs as he says he is “creating.” Remember that next time you hear a politician or bureaucrat say he is “creating jobs.”
Friedman also pointed out that democracy would fail once the spending of the governing class exceeded one-quarter of national output, because too many people would have their snouts in the taxpayer’s pocket.
Just as turkeys do not vote for Christmas, so the growing army of beneficiaries of the State will vote for whichever party will give them more sweeties from the taxpayer over the next four-year term. And that means the
Socialists Communists Democrats.
In the past, one might have debated the ideal size of the State in a gentlemanly, dilettante fashion. Now, the big State – the biggest of all vested interests – is a grave and immediate threat to the very survival of the United States.
Both political parties, at the forthcoming election, ought to be concentrating on just one thing: the fatal combination of an already enormous accumulated national debt with an absurdly accelerating annual deficit.
The forthcoming presidential contest is between a successful businessman with a proven and spectacular track record and a know-nothing, amateur community activist whose first executive order was to conceal all details of his track record.
To deal with the monstrous overspending and socialistic self-indulgence of the bureaucratic class, and the consequent runaway deficit, you don’t need two guesses to know whom to choose.
Your great nation, which I love dearly, was founded 232 years before Mr. Obama moved Churchill’s bust out of the White House as an indication of his atavistic hostility to the West. In those 236 years, various federal governments accumulated around $11 trillion in debt.
Obama – who entered office saying he would sort out the debt problem – has increased that 236-year debt by well over half in just three years. His bright-Red, hard-left advisers, with their mad and irrelevant plans for State control of every economic activity, are determined to accelerate America’s already over-limit borrowing. You are years – perhaps months – away from national bankruptcy and the disorder it will bring.
Contrast Obama’s approach with that of Margaret Thatcher. As soon as she took office in 1979, she asked how much Britain owed to other nations. Within two years, she had paid it all back, because a sovereign nation cannot remain sovereign to the extent that it is in debt to other nations.
The United States is now governed not so much by Obama – who has become a dangerous irrelevance – as by China. The dirigiste, etatiste, centraliste policies detailed in “Fool Me Twice” are precisely the policies Communist China has so disastrously pursued since the unhappy days of Mao Zedong.
In Britain, where our governing class has given away our democracy to the atheistic-humanist, bureaucratic-centralist tyranny-by-clerk that is the hated European Union, we look to the United States to preserve not merely the ideal but the reality of true democracy. Your dangerously growing national debt puts your very survival as a nation in grave doubt. If you fail, the West fails, too.