Dear Senator Obama: Can we actually afford your soft-core socialism? No, we can’t.

In the 8 September Washington Post, absurdity of such a nature as to induce a rather rambling rant hereunder.

In Flint, Mich., where unemployment is twice the national average, Obama on Monday promised a cut to 95 percent of taxpayers. He said retirees earning less than $50,000 would pay no taxes on Social Security payments, and he urged Congress to pass a second stimulus package “so that people would have a little more money in their pockets.”

Obama also talked about a $4,000 annual tuition tax credit for college, trade schools or retraining classes. He said that he would require employers to set up retirement investment accounts and that the federal government would make a one-time $500 starter contribution for each worker.

Call me old-fashioned, but I rather appreciate the idea of self-reliance. Just as important, I believe in the idea of community, of supporting family, friends, and neighbors in time of need — of relying on family, friends, and neighbors, rather than upon the State, which, of course, draws its revenue from you, me, and every other American. The obvious, primarily financial, ramifications of this sort of social democracy give pause enough, but the political, social, and cultural implications, perhaps less manifest, are distressingly more damning. A government that supports ever more of its citizens through welfare programs needs the funding whereby to accomplish this feat of magnanimity; this requires either increasing taxes or printing excessively more currency, thereby debilitating society through inflation. Either way, the State takes accrues more “wealth”, much of which it loses in the bureaucratic morass and much more whereof it siphons to direct toward expanding the military-industrial complex, inter alia. Why American “liberals” fail consistently to recognize the connection between the welfare state and the warfare and corporate states, I cannot comprehend.

The idea of putting money back in Americans’ bank accounts is supremely appealing. However, doing so through the means suggested by Senator Obama terrifies me. I’ll not even further dignify his astonishing support of a second “stimulus package”. To the employer who willingly sets up a retirement account in his employees’ names, I offer much praise. But where in the hell does the Constitution grant the Federal government permission to interfere with a man’s business in such an onerous fashion? Mayhap, Senator Obama, his leftist views notwithstanding, seeks further to empower those large outfits that can afford such a policy with ease, but rarely do, at the expense of the independent businessman, who cannot so easily contribute to his workers’ golden-years security, wish as he may. I suspect that he, as his advertisements remind us that his opponent does, simply lacks a sufficient grasp on the economy, or, more accurately, basic economics. Even I get this much.

Most damaging of all, I aver, making relying on the “great fiction by which everybody tries to live at the expense of everybody else” all the more effortless convinces individuals that they need not to worry about saving — doing incalculable harm to society and the economy –, nor about preserving the social bonds that make reasonable offering a brother or neighbor a loan, or gift, in times of need — social bonds that make a house a home; a neighborhood, a community; et cetera. Senator Obama, go read Belloc. Or Hayek. Or Röpke:

[The welfare state] undoubtedly leads to a situation where the center of gravity of society shifts upwards, away from the genuine communities, small, human, and warm, to the center of impersonal public administration and the impersonal mass organizations flanking it.

[My emphasis. – NPO] (-Wilhelm Röpke, A Humane Economy: The Social Framework of the Free Market, “Welfare State and Chronic Inflation”, pages one hundred sixty-two and sixty-three. )

Notwithstanding Barack’s promises to cut taxes, sustaining these proposed measures will, in time, require taxation. Let’s be realistic: Our nation’s finances in the precarious state in which they presently are, they will have, eventually, to be meliorated by way of tax increases at some point if President Obama intends to practice such generosity. That, or he’ll continue the practice of fiscal imprudence that, indubitably, will mar(k) President Bush’s legacy. I love tax cuts; don’t we all? I, unlike, it seems, this more erudite man, have recognized that cutting intake + increasing spending = bad policy.

It gets worse.

(Page Two)

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One Response

  1. […] reminds me of something, from Röpke, that I cited in a post down-web-log: One of the obligations of wealth, which need not be enumerated, is to contribute to […]

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