GEOFF CUTLER: How Long Can We Ignore the Socialist March?
After my July 5 column, "Our Independence Faces New Threats," I received a number of letters, e-mails and phone calls from people who said extremely nice things.
But many wondered whether the right people would read the column. By this, they meant, would those who ignore this march to socialism as just another day in America, read it, and at least listen, and think about it?
One reader I know of, the retired attorney J. Thomas Tidd, responded in his July 12 column, "This Stimulus Stuff All Started With Bush." Happily, however, once he had completed his case, he had inadvertently strengthened mine.
The general tenor of his column is that I wrote a factually lacking polemic to "call for an uprising by the citizenry to fight a tyrannical regime." As evidence, he fills in the data I supposedly lacked, an exhausting list of statistics and deficit spending dollar amounts, showing that our current economic problems, particularly in the area of health care, all started long before Obama and this Congress, and culminated with the latest Bush, who he pointed out, started all this stimulus stuff.
Too true, Bush did start the stimulus spending, but aside from the fact that there is a glaring difference between bridge loans and TARP funds to corporations and government takeover of these corporations, the argument sounds like a kid in the sandbox who gets caught throwing sand and says to the teacher that he wasn't the first one to throw it. Not only does the child attempt a fallacy of logic, it's a unwitting admittance of guilt, and a sure loser with the teacher.
If Tidd's factual statistics are correct, and there's no reason to doubt them, then he accurately illustrates the breadth of our national debt and unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare.
It is his proposed remedy that's problematic -- because if, since Reagan, (mysteriously absent from Tidd's report are the misery indexes of the Carter years,) government has been spending at such a lively pace, and none of the issues Tidd raises have been fixed, then why would we assume government can or will fix these problems now, simply because we throw trillions more deficit dollars at them? This is like saying that if you lose one finger, you might as well cut off the other four. Seems to me, that as Reagan pointed out, government isn't the solution, it is the problem.
Tidd says that "we have reached this point through a collective desire for instant gratification without taxation." That's interesting, since I've never felt untaxed, and that in order to turns things around, instead of "calling for an uprising of the citizenry," like I did, we should demand "that our elected officials deal effectively with the crises we face."
Again, these are the officials whose governance in the face of these decades-old problems haven't fixed a thing. But never mind. We would deliver trillions more dollars to these incompetents, and they would now miraculously get off their duffs and address health care, Medicare and Social Security. And what can we expect from our demands? "Pain."
According to Tidd, this pain will come in the form of higher age eligibilities for Social Security and Medicare, higher taxes and medical insurance premiums, along with reduced quality and quantity of health care. Unless I'm missing something, this pain is as close to a description of socialist management techniques as you can get. Don't fret, however, because mediocre health care, high taxes and high premiums all managed exclusively by government, appear to be the exact road Obama and this Congress are rushing toward.
Reasonable people can argue reasonably about which economic systems will best get us out of our troubles. Discussion and debate on these issues is critical, especially in our society, where the people, not government, are to have the last word.
But Congress is being flooded with letters, phone calls and e-mails from citizens saying: Stop the spending, and slow down with these important decisions on health care, cap-and-trade and the like.
Is anyone listening?
Geoff Cutler is owner of Cutler Tree LLC in Southern Pines. He writes for Pinestraw Magazine under the heading "Thoughts From the Manshed."
More like this story