Free Markets, Free People

Entitlements: The Siren’s song

The cultural corruption of entitlements should, by now, be well known. But it also is just as well known that our current system incentivizes the “Santa Claus” form of government vs. that of the night watchman. The end state is inevitable. It isn’t a matter of “if” but “when”.

“The more government takes in taxes, the less incentive people have to work. What coal miner or assembly-line worker jumps at the offer of overtime when he knows Uncle Sam is going to take sixty percent or more of his extra pay? Any system that penalizes success and accomplishment is wrong. Any system that discourages work, discourages productivity, discourages economic progress, is wrong.” – Ronald Reagan

You’d think that would be self-evident. Apparently it’s not. And if you doubt that, watch what happens next year as our “leaders” try to figure out how to get us to pay their way out of the mess they’ve made (and for which we’ve never, ever held them accountable).


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29 Responses to Entitlements: The Siren’s song

  • Well, let’s recall that manufacturing jobs and coal mining jobs under Obama are going to cease being factors, anyway.

  • two thousand years ago the Rabbis of the time of the Mishna in Israel said;
    sheli – shelach v shelach sheli  -> that is an am haaretz (what is mine is yours and what is yours mine -> that is an ignoramus) Pirkey avot  (5:10) (literally it means a person of the land, you could also say, ignorant peasant. Further commentators, say this is the Rabbis stamp on the fundamental tenant of communism/socialism.

  • Not sure where you got the “Santa Claus” analogy, but it’s sure been around, including this most recent:
    Then there’s this: Our Magical President from CATO in their July/Aug. 2001 issue of Policy Report.
    Then, there’s this from von Mises Inst. in Spring, 1994:
    Ludwig von Mises Institute

    The Unheavenly City

    Back in the 1960s, a conservative sociologist named Edward Stanfield wrote a book on urban policy called The Unheavenly City.  It was influenced, he told me, by the Austrian School, as shown by his analysis of social classes according to time horizons.

    The more upper-class people are, he said, the more they care about their posterity and their society.  Even if they have no children, they’re future oriented.  These people are the opposite of the Keynesians and their “in the long run we’re all dead.” Like Mises, they uphold the good and true, for the long term.

    These are the savers and investors, the entrepreneurs and producers who make a capitalist economy hum.  They’re also the generous givers, people who make charitable contributions to preserve what’s right, and change what’s not, over the long term.

    Further down the class scale, said Banfield, people are more present-oriented.  And at the lower end, they are more likely to be on welfare or criminals.  Those on the dole have little concern for tomorrow.  As to the outlaws, when they want money, there’s no thought of working for it.  They grab your wallet.

    One of the worst effects of the welfare state, Banfield showed, is to skew all of society’s time horizons towards the lower class.  Thanks to redistribution and giveaways, there is far less preparation for the future: too many people feel that the government will take care of them, and the Fed’s inflation generates a live-for-the-moment attitude as well.

    All this is, needless to say, extremely damaging for individuals, nations, and civilization in general.  Those who can postpone consumption for the future are mature and prosperous; those who must have it now, no matter what the consequences, are childish and poor.  We know where America is headed.

    That puts an even greater burden on the responsible and farsighted.  The struggle to push back statism, restore the free market, and rebuild a responsible society is a long-term one.  It requires people who understand the value of ideas and their effect on our future.
    And finally, I remember Ayn Rand’s claim, over 50 years ago, that the Republicans and their z”Me, too” regarding the welfare state only gave it credibility, not even a limitation.

    • I’ve been using “Santa Claus” and the “night watchman” for years. For whatever reason I think they first came from Hayek. As for Rand, remember, even as everything she ever said comes true … she’s really for teenagers. /sarc

    • Obama got his fair share of support among the 1% and I have no doubt he took the majority of the 0.1%.  Your “the upper class” are just awesome advocates of free society and free markets is wishful thinking to me.

  • I keep discussing this with someone I work with, nice lady, very democrat. Her main objection to any spending cuts is that “people will suffer” if we do it. I keep rebutting with “more people will suffer worse when the money runs out”. “But people will suffer now!”
    There’s no arguing with them. It’s willful blindness.
    ” The struggle to push back statism, restore the free market, and rebuild a responsible society is a long-term one.  It requires people who understand the value of ideas and their effect on our future”
    >>> It’s a one-way ratchet. The best some of us could hope for is to be the responsible ones who subsidize the “Obamaphone” burdens of the world (and that word is well chosen, because burden those people are) What we get out of it? The ability to maintain some sort of independence and higher quality of life while those on the teat live at the whim of the bureaucrats and whatever scraps they’re given. It’s when the burdens start to live better than the responsible people that the whole thing is going to explode.

    • They don’t understand the magnitude.

      • And perhaps they simply trust the Dems more. In California they have cut the poor and kept the state employees flush. So, for the average American that sounds good enough.
        They also did not understand that Romney wanted to grow the economy while making these choices so they could be minimized. I suspect state employees, university employees, etc. think that their beds will always be feathered.

        • Or maybe voting for Dems who cut the social safety net let’s them keep the verbiage and thus the “I feel good because I help poor people” even as the budget gets cut.

          • Which again, leads to the other thing I’ve said constantly – as the money runs out, the dems will be pitted against each other – the poor vs the cushy public sector unions, etc. Gonna be fun, I hope they all suffer greatly.

          • And don’t forget as one acquaintance points out, they’re the party of “Teamsters to transvestites” and everything in between. It’s no a stretch to imagine it is tough to hold a coalition like that together and that there aren’t going to be splits and rifts. What Republicans have to do is find a way not to be the defacto “go-to” scare that Democrats always resort too (or at least the GOP has to nullify the effect of going to them) when their grip is slipping. That was the point of the campaign of distraction in this last election.

          • @McQ,

            They need inject into the Democrats the same thing Bryan tried to do.  Strain the coalition.  They have enough religious folks they forced God into their platform but boo’d God when they did it.  Never got exploited.  Black are the subgroup most against gay marriage.  Blacks are about to lose relavence at the go to racial minority.  Damage to Union Worker’s premium health plans from Obamacare.  During Austerity do we cut handouts or government employee salaries?  The list goes on. 

          • Yes, success is going to require splintering the coalition – at a minimum. The means and methods of doing so is what seems to elude the GOP.

          • I don’t think that coalition is splittable at current. If you’re a democrat today it’s for only two reasons:  1) You identify yourself as part of a grievance group; 2) You’re a burden who’s part of the “free stuff” brigade.  (Ok, there’s a 3rd reason, because you’re a self-righteous authoritarian pr*ck who knows what’s best for the ignorant masses). As long as someone else has money – the rich, big pharma, big oil, “bankers”, etc that coalition is married together by the desire to get that money for themselves.

        • “It’s no a stretch to imagine it is tough to hold a coalition like that together and that there aren’t going to be splits and rifts.”
          Oh, there may be internal spats and such, but as long as they are being paid they will put up with each other.

      • They can’t think more than a few days hence (or in more than “sound-bites”, 20 minutes segments between commercial breaks…

    • The problem is when the spigot gets turned off, it won’t be “aw crap, I guess they were right”.  It will be riots and eat the rich (which by that time will be a much looser definition than over $250,000).

  • First you run out of other peoples money (taxes), then you can’t borrow any more, then the printing presses breakdown.

  • I wonder if all of this talk of the GOP needing to make big changes is just stupid. What we need to do is:
    1) Actually get better turnout of our own people. Based on this, Romney – the businessman – deserved to lose. He should’ve been all over field testing his new GOTV operation and it facepalmed badly.
    2) Nominating some good candidates, not nitwits like Akin and Mourdock etc. Entirely too many own-goals in the past 4 years.
    I remain convinced that this party can win as recently as the next midterms. But it starts with smartening up.

    • They can still win congressional elections, that’s true. A peek at the electoral map, county my county, shows a sea of red dotted by islands of blue. That sea of red contains a whole bunch of House districts. So yeah, they seem to be able to pull that off. They’re even able to still pull off state level elections (Senate/Governor) in many places. But when the party goes national, yeah, not so good.

  • … but God help Julia if with her ObamaCare contraceptive coverage she should decide to become a “military groupie” because the FBI will be coming around to determine the appropriateness of her life style.

    Leave it to a bunch of Democrats to create a “target rich” sexual environment then bring in the “modesty police” .. mm .. FBI.