Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The 2014 elections

...the political ploy of bribing the people with their own  money falls apart. What happens when the people demand a bigger bribe?

Dreary as the political situation is, there is some positive news. The Democrats will be very vulnerable in the midterm elections. How vulnerable they are depends on how bad the economy is then. I cannot see it being very good. Here and in Europe there are rumblings of troubles beyond those we have experienced heretofore.  Even the less reflective members of the public, here and abroad, are starting to understand that more government means less business. I want to focus on the European situation because I think it will likely come to a head in the next year or two.

European governments are beginning to talk, at least, about curtailing public benefits. It's an unpopular idea. The populace decides what's popular and this ain't it. So we have an awkward balance of dissonant thoughts wherein the public is unhappy that there is not more public money. This is the endgame, where the political ploy of bribing the people with their own  money falls apart. What happens when the people demand a bigger bribe?

Stein's Law tells us that if something cannot go on forever, it will stop. All we need to wonder about now is how big a jolt the stop will be. There will be pain and distress in Europe, we can say that much. How big will the repercussions be for America? They will not be as severe here as there, obviously, but they will be in two kinds. Together they will be persuasive, I think, to American voters.  First is the dollar loss to American enterprise from European trading partners falling into trouble. That will be felt throughout our economy. The other is the political lesson, taught by example. Europe went down a path that led nowhere good, we are on the same path, giving away what is our neighbor's and our children's , so maybe we should get out the map again and figure out where we should be going instead. These considerations will be enough to damage America's Democrats, who will not be able to offer the excuse that the trouble in Europe is Bush's fault.

I call politicians who rely on social giveaway schemes 'rocking horse losers,' after the D.H. Lawrence story. "There must be more money!" Anyway, the good news is that giveaway schemes always fail because they always must. Their failure in Europe will not seem like good news as it is happening, for there will be a great deal of distress when the flow of socialist blessings trickles and stops. But then there will be the reemergence of the light of truth after long years of darkness and the people can welcome that, surely, as they begin to rebuild. What shall they rebuild? They need an economy defined by work and thrift, risk and ownership of risk, and rewards commensurate with how one manages those defining aspects. An economy steered about by government fiat is exactly what people don't need, though increasingly that is what we have in America, and what Europe has been laboring under for years.

So then America has, in some sense, a golden opportunity. We can learn from the mistakes of others, by observing the European example, or we can continue on the same merry way and fall into the same hole. The midterm elections will show which we have decided to do.

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