Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fair Play To Obama


I do not believe claims that Obama is intentionally working to tank the American economy, by following the radical Cloward-Piven strategy. I am no fan of Obama but this seems to me an unwarranted charge. For it to be true, we would have to prove the same against all the European heads of state. Europe has the same kinds of problems we do: The governments spend too much, borrow too much and lack the political courage to make changes that are big enough to amount to more than halfway efforts at reform.

Since Europe has the same problems, we would need a worldwide conspiracy theory to explain why all the governments are headed by Cloward-Piven radicals. It's ridiculous.

What Europe and America are finding out is that government programs for social welfare--public solutions to private problems--are double whammy poison. These programs suck money out of the production economy. At the same time they take labor out of the economy, to the extent that people take government money instead of working for the things they need. When a good intention has two bad effects, we ought to reconsider whether the intention is as good as it seems.

The recipients of government largess are not the whole problem, though. We have too many government workers, busy about too many affairs and costing us far too much. Recognize this quote? It's from the Declaration of Independence. "He [King George III] has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

Of course there will always be some people who must live on charity, for they can be nothing else, the very crippled, the profoundly retarded, the thoroughly insane, the deathly ill, the very old. That has always been so. It is not at issue, and that is where the issue sometimes becomes confused. Here or abroad, any talk of cutting and eliminating programs is met by hand-wringing references to throwing these truly helpless people, friendless, into the streets to die. This is always a straw man argument, for no one suggests doing that.

It is sometimes said that we cannot cut social payments to the rest of the recipients either, or the poor will riot. Many attribute the recent disturbances in England to plans to reduce payouts.  But there is something odd about this whole line reasoning. If the poor are hale and hearty enough to riot they are fit enough to work at steady jobs.

But--it may be said--that's heartless! There aren't jobs for them!

And why are there not? Economies with high ratios of public spending to GDP have chronic unemployment, or low growth, which is the same thing. So it becomes a vicious cycle in which the poor do not have work because government has become inclusive of everyone's needs.

So, no, Obama isn't a secret radical intent on destroying the economy. He is simply in a trap that he can't figure a way out of, and he is not alone.

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