Tarry for the Nonce

January 23, 2006

Here’s to Hoping

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:41 pm

Patrick Chisholm has written a disheartening piece about the triumph of big government:

[T]he era of big government is far from over. Trends are decidedly in favor of that quintessential leftist goal: massive redistribution of wealth . . .

“Republican” is no longer synonymous with spending restraint, free markets, and other ideals of the political right . . .

Discretionary spending is dwarfed by mandatory spending – spending that cannot be changed without changing the laws. Shifting demographics combined with an inability to change those laws virtually ensures that, through programs such as Social Security and Medicare, America’s workers will be forced to redistribute a larger and larger portion of their income to other Americans in the coming decades . . .

Time is on the side of the left. As politically difficult as it is now to reform of Social Security or Medicare, as the years pass it will get even more difficult. The swelling number of retirees will further strengthen the senior lobby. And as Social Security’s surplus evaporates, there will be less money available with which to establish personal savings accounts . . .

Currently the federal government consumes about 20 percent of the GDP, which is another way of saying that about 20 percent of Americans’ income, on average, is paid in taxes to the federal government. According to the Government Accountability Office, that is on course to rise to 30 percent by 2040. Most of that 30 percent would be redistributed as payments to other Americans, rather than spent on standard government services like law enforcement, transportation, defense, national parks, or space exploration . . .

We are on track to become more like the welfare states of Europe and Canada, where entitlement spending leaves limited funds available for bold foreign policy initiatives . . .

With the impending retirement of the baby-boom generation in addition to the new prescription drug plan, this crowding-out of defense and other government programs, such as homeland security, will accelerate.

He’s right, you know. The federal government already consumes over 30% of my personal annual income, which is more than slightly annoying while I try to make provision for my own retirement. My one consolation is that Bush-hatred will spur the left into promising all kinds of fiscal responsibility, and they will then be obliged to make (at least) a few concessions when they regain a majority.

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12 Comments

  1. My one consolation is that Bush-hatred will spur the left into promising all kinds of fiscal responsibility

    Kind of like the last Democratic administration, no?

    they will then be obliged to make. . .concessions when they regain a majority

    Things like not cutting cut taxes for the group that needs it least when the country can afford it the least? Stuff like that, right?

    All needling aside, I have great empathy for people in their twenties and early thirties. I plan to be retired in my mid fifties; you’ll be the ones stuck with the check for both deficit spending and social spending (not least of which is the Medicare Part “D” gift to the drug companies). My sympathies to all in that age group who didn’t vote for Bush.

    Comment by Howard — January 24, 2006 @ 8:02 pm

  2. Here is a link to an interesting study that suggests political partisans turn off parts of their brains when presented with unfavorable facts: http://www.livescience.com/othernews/060124_political_decisions.html

    (This is not directed at you, Howard. Honest. I just thought that this article was interesting, and your reference to “the last Democratic administration” reminded me of the article.)

    Comment by Troy — January 25, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  3. So long as a party is both socially liberal and fiscally conservative, I don’t care which side of the aisle they’re from.

    Comment by Howard R — January 26, 2006 @ 7:59 am

  4. …30% of my personal annual income…

    I make more [assumption based on various observations] and pay a lower percentage in taxes. You need a better accountant.

    I only pay between 23 – 26% tax, depending on the year, give or take, not counting what I contribute to retirement funds and charity vis-a-vis payroll deduction. And I’m sure I’m not taking all of my deductions/credits. Of course, the amount I personally contribute to income tax, social security, medicare/FICA is, well, obnoxious.

    Comment by Andrew P. — January 27, 2006 @ 3:02 am

  5. I ran the numbers, just because my W2 was sitting on my monitor… it turns out I pay approx. 25% in income tax + FICA. So, taking away FICA, I pay roughly 17% if using box 3/5, or 19% using box 1. Thank you President Bush. God bless that man. I used to pay more when I made less (I was paying approx. 19.55% in 2001, using box 3/5). Of course, these numbers are before any tax refund I might receive, so I anticipate that my actual tax bracket will be around 12% this year.

    I looked @ 2003, I’m paying roughly $147.55 less in federal income tax, $20.14 more for FICA-MED, and $86.14 more for FICA-OASDI(social security). However, I do make slightly more now (the increase in salary offsets the increase in FICA by a wide margin).

    Comment by Andrew P. — January 28, 2006 @ 8:55 am

  6. Thank you President Bush. God bless that man.

    It’s not a tax cut; it’s a tax deferment. Your money is still being spent by the government and the bill will come due (with interest) someday.

    Comment by Howard — January 28, 2006 @ 3:19 pm

  7. The government will always be spending our money, as long as someone I like is spending it I have no problem. and for all those who don’t like the government at this time, well I’m not that bummed for you as I spend a good 10 years under a crappy one before Bush came in.

    Comment by Alistair A. — January 28, 2006 @ 3:47 pm

  8. . . .as long as someone I like is spending it I have no problem

    I personally want accountability from my government irrespective of who’s in office.

    In hindsight, I wasn’t really nuts about Reagan or Bush Sr. either.

    Comment by Howard — January 28, 2006 @ 9:00 pm

  9. Mr. R, you’re posting again…

    Comment by Alistair A. — January 29, 2006 @ 6:24 pm

  10. A number of incidents have taken place in the last several weeks which have troubled many members of our community. Permit me this forum to rant. Now, I’m going to be honest here. Ms. A.’s initiatives are an icon for the deterioration of the city, for its slow slide into crime, malaise, and filth. Ms. A. is not only immoral, but amoral. She keeps telling everyone within earshot that children should get into cars with strangers who wave lots of yummy candy at them. I’m guessing that Ms. A. read that on some Web site of dubious validity. More reliable sources generally indicate that she would not hesitate to make individuals indifferent to the survival of their families if she felt she could benefit from doing so.

    If our goal is to take off the kid gloves and vent some real anger at Ms. A., then we must consider various means to that end. This is equivalent to saying that if you think that there’s no difference between normal people like you and me and foolish, ill-bred ex-cons, then think again. I may be questioning the regnant conventional wisdom by stating this, but maybe she believes that ethical responsibility is merely a trammel of earthbound mortals and should not be required of a demigoddess like her. Sorry, but I have to call foul on that one.

    It is easy to see faults in others. But it takes perseverance to uplift individuals and communities on a global scale to spread the word about Ms. A.’s dotty, grumpy equivocations to our friends, our neighbors, our relatives, our co-workers — even to strangers. Plainly stated, Ms. A. motivates people to join her coalition by using words like “humanity”, “compassion”, and “unity”. This is a great deception. What Ms. A. really wants to do is feed information from sources inside the government to organizations with particularly reckless agendas. That’s why I frequently talk about how Ms. A.’s goals coalesce with those of imprudent perjurers. I would drop the subject, except that if she gets her way, we will soon be engulfed in a Dark Age of barbarism and indescribable horror. That’s why I’m telling you that misinformed, semi-intelligible braggadocios have an insatiable appetite for Ms. A.’s dulcet but dysfunctional piffle. There’s nothing controversial about that view. It’s a fact, pure and simple. It was a fact long before anyone realized that it’s not a question of if but only of when Ms. A. will oppress, segregate, and punish others. The sooner she comes to grips with that reality, the better for all of us. I regard Ms. A. the way I would the sort of stinking filth I might have to clean off my boots after a careless walk in a dog kennel. Sad, but true. And it’ll only get worse if Ms. A. finds a way to steal our birthrights.

    I’ll repeat what I’ve already said: Ms. A. deeply believes that her allegations are Right with a capital R. Meanwhile, back on Earth, the truth is very simple: There is a problem here. A very large, sinister, psychotic problem. She is the embodiment of everything petty in our lives. Every grievance, every envy, every petty ideology finds expression in A.. The world would be better off if she had never been born. Now, I could go off on that point alone, but she has a talent for inventing fantasy worlds in which her tractates are a breath of fresh air amid our modern culture’s toxic cloud of chaos. Then again, just because Ms. A. is a prolific fantasist doesn’t mean that laws are meant to be broken. It behooves us to remember that perhaps one day we will live in a world where good people are not troubled by fear of flippant, sadistic ranters. Until that day arrives, however, we must spread the word that we’ve tolerated Ms. A.’s incomprehensible offhand remarks long enough. It’s time to lose our patience and chill our kindness. It’s time to detail the specific steps and objectives needed to thwart Ms. A.’s unpleasant little schemes. It’s time to shout to the world that in a tacit concession of defeat, she is now openly calling for the abridgment of various freedoms to accomplish coercively what her demented belief systems have failed at. Ms. A.’s nostrums have a distinctly intemperate tone, by which I mean that I once managed to get Ms. A. to agree that this conviction of mine is as firm as a rock. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, she did a volte-face and denied that she had ever said that.

    Ms. A. has an utter disregard for human life. It’s that simple. When I’m through with her, she’ll think twice before attempting to exercise both subtlety and thoroughness in managing both the news and the entertainment that gets presented to us. I decidedly hope that Ms. A.’s proposed social programs were intended as a joke, although they’re not very funny if they were.

    If Ms. A. got her way, she’d be able to use both overt and covert deceptions to send the wrong message to children. Brrrr! It sends chills down my spine just thinking about that.

    Ms. A. is out to leave behind a legacy of perpetual indebtedness in developing countries. And when we play her game, we become accomplices. Every so often, you’ll see her lament, flog herself, cry mea culpa for seeking to carve out space in the mainstream for grotesque, smarmy politics, and vow never again to be so macabre. Sadly, she always reverts to her old behavior immediately afterwards, making me think that the facts as I see them simply do not support the false, but widely accepted, notion that the laws of nature don’t apply to her.

    How is it that I knew from the beginning that Ms. A. would make bigotry respectable? Am I smarter than everyone else? No, not at all. I’ll admit that I’m smarter than A. but that’s like saying that I’m smarter than a toad. I knew what Ms. A. would do because I realized that my position is that by overusing such obscure words as “sphygmomanometric” and “compartmentalization” she consistently manages to alienate her audience. Ms. A., in contrast, argues that her decisions are based on reason. This disagreement merely scratches the surface of the ideological chasm festering between me and Ms. A.. The only rational way to bridge this chasm is for her to admit that no one likes being attacked by intellectually challenged, debauched maniacs. Even worse, Ms. A. exploits our fear of those attacks — which she claims will evolve quicker than you can double-check the spelling of “biblicopsychological” into biological, chemical, or nuclear attacks — as a pretext to push the State towards greater influence, self-preservation, and totalitarianism and away from civic engagement, constituent choice, and independent thought. If you think that’s scary, then you should remember that Ms. A.’s sentiments are exemplary of the forces minorities must fight in their struggle to achieve equal footing with the rest of the community. That’s the sort of statement that some people claim is contumelious, but which I believe is merely a statement of fact. And it’s a statement that needs to be made, because no matter how bad you think Ms. A.’s slurs are, I assure you that they are far, far worse than you think.

    We’d all be in grave danger if Ms. A. continued to engage in her brazen behavior. Now let’s have some fun and examine a few of her more ridiculous statements. First, Ms. A. said that we can all live together happily without laws, like the members of some 1960s-style dope-smoking commune. That’s rather peremptory, isn’t it? Later on, she claimed that children should belong to the state. What this really means is that she wants to influence the attitudes of dominant culture towards any environment or activity that is predominantly judgmental. We must also assert with all the sincerity of informed experience and the desperate desire to see our beloved country survive that I cannot compromise with her; she is without principles. I cannot reason with her; she is without reason. But I can warn her, and with a warning she must sincerely take to heart: It is no accident that she fears nothing more than the exposure of her motives and activities, so to speak.

    Now that I’ve stated that, allow me to say that Ms. A. seizes every opportunity to produce a large number of utterly homicidal extravagancies, most delusional indecencies, and, above all, the most condescending blasphemies against everything that I hold most sacred and most dear. I cannot believe this colossal clownishness. Any sane person knows that Ms. A.’s ostentatious mottos really raise my blood pressure. Ms. A. may mean well but throughout history, there has been a clash between those who wish to anneal discourse with honesty, clear thinking, and a sense of moral good and those who wish to convert our children to cultural zombies in a mass of unthinking and easily herded proletarian cattle. Naturally, Ms. A. belongs to the latter category. Strictly speaking, last summer, I attempted what I knew would be a hopeless task. I tried to convince Ms. A. that she needs to internalize the external truth that she is incapable of rational thought about the real world. As I expected, Ms. A. was totally unconvinced. To inform you of the grounds upon which I base my bromides, I offer the following. I can say one thing about her. She understands better than any of us that psychological impact is paramount — not facts, not anybody’s principles, not right and wrong. I’m not suggesting that we behave likewise. I’m suggesting only that I can doubtlessly suggest how Ms. A. ought to behave. Ultimately, however, the burden of acting with moral rectitude lies with Ms. A. herself. If she could have one wish, she’d wish for the ability to undermine liberty in the name of liberty. Then, people the world over would be too terrified to acknowledge that I cannot promise not to be angry at Ms. A.. I do promise, however, to try to keep my anger under control, to keep it from leading me — as it leads Ms. A. — to promote a culture of dependency and failure. The end.

    Comment by Howard R — January 29, 2006 @ 7:32 pm

  11. Now that’s a post. Thanks to The Automatic Complaint Generator.

    Comment by Howard R. — January 29, 2006 @ 7:34 pm

  12. Thems fightin’ words, partner. (big ones at that)

    Donít hold back on my account Mr. R, tell us how you really feel.

    Comment by Aistair A. — January 30, 2006 @ 1:18 pm


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