Failures in Liberalism

Clockwise from Upper Left: The Clintons, FDR, Obama, LBJ

In the preceding post, I described how I felt the Republican Party had failed America.  In this post, I will describe how the Democratic Party has done the same.  They too have done almost irreparable damage to our country, economy and security.  They just did it from a different “perspective”.

The Democrats purport to be the party of progress, the party that will take care of the “common person”, and the ones that will eliminate want and punish greed.  Yet, their methods of taking care of the poor and sick have hurt everyone, including those they say they are working to help.

The Democrats most massive failure is in social programs.  Now it is good to want to help the poor, sick and needy.  The problem is HOW the Democrats have gone about doing this.  They do not set up programs for people to help themselves.  Instead they have set up programs where everyone else is FORCED to provide for others.

The first massive social program was Social Security.  This was set up to help poor older people who had no one to take care of them.  But instead of creating savings programs through which people would fund their own retirement, they took from others and gave to people who had put nothing in.  They created a massive Ponzi scheme for the elderly which will eventually bankrupt everyone (let alone leaving the elderly to starve when the program collapses).

Next up was the War on Poverty.  This was a massive effort to provide for the poor.  It was supposed to lift them out of poverty.  They funded this effort through massive government borrowing.  It has had little effect, as the same percentage of people in the country are below the poverty line as when these efforts started decades ago.  But now, thanks to the massive borrowing, governments at every level are now saddled with debt they cannot ever repay.

Both efforts also had very toxic unintended consequences.  Social Security destroyed the extended family in the United States, as everyone now expects the government to take care of their elderly.  The War on Poverty both destroyed the incentives to work (you can now be idle and get enough to survive), and the families of the poor, as men have deserted them, knowing the government will feed and house them.

The Democrats believe that government is or can be the solution to any problem.  They use the government’s almost unlimited ability to borrow money to pay for whatever program is needed to fix the issue.  This is literally destroying democracy, as voters now vote for whoever promises them the most money.  It creates massively expensive bureaucracies, and of course causes government debt to go through the stratosphere.

They also are complicit in destroying what little of democracy is left by using the courts to bypass the voters.  Democratic judicial appointees feel that since they know better than the voters, they can create laws without debate or elections.

And then there is the problem of the Double Standard.  I don’t exactly know where this comes from, but it certainly exists.  The Liberals have a strict standard of conduct that everyone else is supposed to adhere to.  But they have a very different standard for their friends.  It seems that you are in trouble for what you do if you are their enemy.  But espouse their views (better yet, get elected because of those views), and you can actually get away with the most abhorrent behavior.  Think the Clintons.

What to Do

It is a good thing to want to help the poor, the sick and the elderly.  We should all be engaged in trying to help others.  It is the right thing to do.  We have a basic human responsibility to help others.

The problem with the Democrats is HOW they are trying to do this.  Their misguided efforts have bankrupted our cities, states and nation.  Their programs have had horrible unintended consequences.  They have destroyed incentives to work.  They have seriously damaged or outright destroyed the family structures of those they were supposed to be helping.  They have created massive bureaucracies and regulation that are strangling economic activity.

We need to find ways to help others without this kind of damage.  There does need to be a safety net.  But it needs to not enable the abandonment of families and responsibility, while enabling drug use, idleness and a mentality of entitlement.  A new social solution MUST be found.  One based on personal responsibility and action.

Failures in Conservatism

President Reagan, VP Bush and 1981 Cabinet

I believe that BOTH political parties have failed the country.  Both have done things that have resulted in almost irreparable damage to the country, the economy, and our safety and security.  In this article, I will touch on the main ways the Republican Party has failed.

The Republicans purport to be the party of conservative values.  Yet they have failed to maintain those values by the policies they have actually followed.  Allow me to elaborate on the most fundamental and egregious examples.

In the area of economics, they have failed in two major ways.  The first happened quite a while ago, during the Reagan presidency.  Republicans used to be the party that stopped out of control government spending.  This ended in the Reagan era.  Reagan wanted to seriously expand the military to meet the ongoing threat of the Soviet Union.  I didn’t have a problem with this.  The problem was that Reagan also wanted to slash taxes at the same time.  The result was increased government spending while increasing the deficit.  This didn’t seem to matter at the time.  But it opened the flood gates to ballooning deficits.  As a result, the government debt has grown from much less than a Trillion dollars during Reagan’s time, to close to Twenty Trillion right now.  And this is now so much that it can never be repaid.  And we can thank a large part of this monstrous debt to Republicans who threw away their prior aversion to government debt.

The second way the Republicans failed us is in preventing Capitalism from actually working.  Capitalism is a great way to foster entrepreneurship and create individual incentives to produce more.  But to work, Capitalism must allow for failure.  When individuals and enterprises fail, for whatever reason, they must deal with the consequences.  This frequently means bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy must happen to clear bad debts, and to provide incentives to those who loan money to manage risks properly (or risk losing their money).  The Republicans utterly failed in the 2008 crisis.  The bailouts and governmental financial intervention (TARP) stopped the “safety valves” of Capitalism from working, and as a result, the pressures from expanding extreme financial risk have been continuing to build ever since.  As a result, the next financial crisis will be immensely worse than what happened a decade ago.  And this time the government WON’T be able to handle the damage.

The Republicans have failed to protect us.  In fact, they have made things much worse in the international arena.  It used to be that Republicans were against involvement in Foreign Wars and military entanglements.  Now, we are involved in more situations than I can count.  This started with our response to terrorism, but it really began with helping what we thought were “like minded” rebels in Afghanistan.  It mushroomed with the unbelievably naive idea of trying to turn Iraq into a democracy, where we wasted our strength and threw away Trillions in national treasure.

The internal “fracturing” of the Republican party led to its current control by both extremists and special interests.  This is a root cause of the rise of the current president, who was able to pander to the extremists while enlisting the aid of any special interest that would support him.

So now we have a supposedly conservative Party with control of Congress and the Presidency that is interventionist, profligate spenders with no real interest in true Capitalism, who are doing nothing to rectify the mistakes of the past, nor preparing our country for the financial and military disasters that are looming in front of us.

What to Do

Understand how the Republican party has changed since the 1950’s.  It went from fiscally conservative and militarily non-interventionist to the opposite of both.  It has failed its core constituency as it has become more dependent on special interest groups, and more in tune with extremist elements.

The Tea Party activists tried to intervene and save the party.  They failed.  In large measure by promoting extremist candidates that cannot win November elections.

A true right of center party is sorely needed.  It can only come from a combination of grass roots people volunteering their time, and by true patriots putting some serious fortunes at the disposal of these volunteers.  I believe such a combination is possible, and it will be needed to extricate us from the calamites the Republicans and Democrats have created for us all.