edbell | 19 December, 2011 11:30
Big government has enjoyed steady growth through good times and bad as the U.S. national debt grew from $5.6 trillion in September 2000 to the current $15.13 trillion. The Keynesians are still selling borrowed stimulus; about 36 cents of every dollar, according to the Annenberg Center (the left can't argue if I use their numbers), to keep the bottom from falling out of our 'recovery'. But the things that matter to most Americans have not improved; jobs, incomes, housing and quality of life all continue to endure downward pressure, so a slowly expanding economy is not producing an offsetting number of new jobs, only demanding more of fewer workers. Government does few things well, but they did a stellar job of hiding the penalties of massive debt from a comfortable public...for a while. The Case/Shiller index shows home prices have declined by 31 percent from a peak in July of 2006. No coincidence that 2008 was the beginning of the Reid/Pelosi/Bush spending express that accelerated after November 2008, giving America a harsh primer on unchecked growth and spending. A scant three years later America is paying attention. A Gallup Poll released on December 13, 2011 claims that 64 percent of Americans consider big government the biggest threat to the nation. The more interesting part of the poll is that a majority of Democrats also believe big government is a bigger threat than big business -- it's about time! Big government enslaves the taxpayer while protecting the well-connected titans on Wall Street (Goldman Sachs) from downside risk and choosing corporate winners, (paging GE and GM). Business owners who actually create jobs (businesses with less than 20 employees) are left unprotected from the blizzard of new rules and regulations. Readers are collectively wondering, how many new rules? According to Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Geoff Davis in a Roll Call commentary from December 7, 2011, " Federal administrative agencies issued 3,271 new regulations in 2010, or roughly nine regulations per day. Small businesses spend an estimated $10,500 per employee to comply with federal regulations." Rules, regulations, special deals and selective prosecution are all the trappings of modern bureaucratic tyranny. A shrinking middle class is left to wonder how the game became so corrupt.
American workers, aka the taxpaying 53% have watched their collective net worth shrink by 25 percent since the recession began, while the latest U.S. census shows that one-half of Americans fall into the poor or low-income category. By contrast, the Washington D.C. metro counties enjoy soaring employment, rising homes values and a tremendous increase in wealth, all admirable when fueled by entrepreneurs instead of tax dollars. One week before President Obama was inaugurated, Reason Magazine published an article titled Washington's Wealth Boom, highlighting the distortions caused by siphoning America's wealth into the federal leviathan, "In 2000, 14 of the 100 richest counties were in the Washington, D.C., area. In 2007, it was nine of the richest 20." Only three years later, the D.C. metro area (Va. and MD.) represent four of the top five and seven of the top ten wealthiest counties. This accumulation of wealth is an anomaly that can only exist where the visible hand of government is pulling wealth from the pockets of the many to reward the few.
The political/media machine is finding it difficult to maintain the illusion that anyone in the White House or Congress is representing the people, although polls still place the vast majority of the blame on Republicans in Congress. The overarching lesson may be that principled policy decisions will not succeed in a corrupt environment. In politics, perception is everything -- eventually, long after the damage has been done, history begins to recount events with a degree of accuracy. Future generations may look back and wonder how American citizens showed such restraint as they witnessed the simultaneous demise of their freedom and prosperity.