Tuesday, November 11, 2008

US Debt 4: Obama and US Entitlement

Dear President-Elect Barack Obama supporters,

Belated but big congratulations!

I'm no fan of either OBama or McCain, because I’m no fan of state welfarism and “entitlement” mentality and social policy. But I believe that Obama deserved to win mainly because McCain can’t. Obama should also win because of his impressive talent in mobilizing so many donors and volunteers, across all states, social classes, race and colors. Even across nations and continents.

So I want to see him push more welfarist policies – like more socialized health care, more socialized housing, pension, etc. – by next year as it's being expected of him, and I want to see immediate and medium-term results later on.

Obama and his supporters are right. The US needs change, and they will get it. But the change they want, to my mind, is not towards the classic Jeffersonian-Reagan type of limited government and more personal responsibility, but towards French, Sweden, similar types of highly welfarist but also highly interventionist state and high taxation type of “social democracy” or related social model. A welfare state that decapacitates plenty of personal, parental and corporate responsibilities and assign more responsibility to the State is very expensive to maintain.

The Republicans under 8 years of Bush Jr., I guess, was a disaster in pursuing limited government, more personal responsibility philosophy. The slogan and some rhetoric was there but the actions were not. The $400+ billion budget deficit annual average by the Federal government alone in recent years is one proof of such lurch backwards. The current and on-going bail-outs amounting to several hundred billion dollars more will further stretch out America’s fiscal discipline, or mal-discipline.

Since the US has never been to France-Sweden type of high welfarism society, perhaps it deserves to try this path. Economic, business and political historians of the future will have a grand but hard time assessing the results 2 or 3 decades down the road later.

For the meantime, hats off to Obama and his supporters.
Yes they can!

No, no, no, this is not an endorsement of socialism and welfarism in the US. But that's where the US is headed to, I guess. The signs are there.

Expensive socialized health care promises by Obama and many American voters clapped vigorously. More money for Freddie and Fannie have been poured even after their recent financial debacle, towards continuing socialized housing, and this is not being questioned by the incoming administration. Socializing many things means socializing people's pockets and savings.

Many US voters I guess are salivating to "experience" the French and Swedish, other north-western European welfare system. It's a high expectation that will pressure Mr. Obama to heed rather than digress from.

The big challenge is for the Republicans -- how soon they can go back to the Jeffersonian-Reagan legacy because the current breed of party leaders and politicians seem to be far out from going back to this tradition. Only when the party can realize this that they can put up a more distinct alternative to the new philosophical direction of American voters and political development.

A month ago, October 06, I wrote this:

Majority of Americans Believe in Less Government

The US bail-out was granted, long live the politicians and bureaucrats. So, where will the US government get money to pay for the bail-out? From borrowings, where else.

And what will the legislators, SEC, other government bureaucracies do now that they bailed-out many companies? Regulate those companies more, what else.

For many people in Washington DC, perhaps they think many US corporations became big because of their "support and facilitation". So when some of these big corporations fail, they should not go bankrupt through their new "support and facilitation" powers.

Unfortunately, majority of the ordinary American public believe that less government is better, see the Rasmussen Report below. Their problem though, is that Ronald Reagan is dead, and no one else among the succeeding Republican leaders bothered to follow his wisdom.

May I quote here a friend, Mr. Joe Lehman, new President of Mackinac Center.
In 2004, in an Atlas-FNF conference in HK, he said,

"While the Democrats want to bring us (Americans) to socialism on a train, the Republicans want to bring us there on a bus."

Two weeks ago, I asked him if he still thinks the same, he replied,

"While the Democrats want to bring us to socialism on a plane,the Republicans want to bring us there on a train."

So back to the question, why the current Republican leadership can't see Reagan's wisdom? My guess is the usual politicians' hunger for power -- the power to give away welfare, give away bail-out, to reward personal and corporate irresponsibility.In return, the power to reduce, cut, or retain current high US taxes; the power to retain, reduce or increase government regulations and bureaucracies in business.


59% Agree With Ronald Reagan—Government Is The Problem
Friday, October 03, 2008
In his first inaugural address, President Ronald Reagan delivered a line succinctly capturing the sentiment that elected him: “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”
A generation later, that attitude still resonates with a solid majority of Americans. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 59% of voters agree with Reagan, and just 28% disagree.
Support is found across a wide range of political and demographic groups. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of men agree with Reagan, as do 52% of women. A majority of voters in all age and income groups agree.
The only demographic group to disagree with Reagan’s statement are those who identify themselves as politically liberal. Just 35% of liberals agree that government is the problem, but 46% disagree. Moderates embrace the Reagan view by a 61% to 25% margin, and conservatives are even more enthusiastic.
Republicans overwhelming embrace Reagan’s view, and 55% of unaffiliated voters agree as well. Democrats are a bit less enthusiastic, but 49% agree with Reagan while 34% disagree....

See also 
US Debt 1: How Bloated is the US Govt? May 08, 2006
US Debt 2: Private Sector Bailout of Government, September 26, 2008
US Debt 3: Crisis of Irresponsibility, October 13, 2008

No comments: