Years from now, American political paleontologists may be looking back on the first part of the 21st century and marvel:
'What happened to all those big things in America back then?'
This is not just us predicting this from the wishful, wistful, small government Jeffersonian side of the political spectrum.
It is now coming from the left side of the political spectrum from a guy named Doug Sosnik, a consultant to President Bill Clinton who wrote a very important and interesting piece you really need to read today: 'Which Side of the Barricade Are You On?'
Doug, a Duke University grad, is someone we met way back in 1980 or so way before he became famous as the article is prefaced: '(H)e's famed in Washington circles for his closely held, big-think memos on the state of American politics'.
He sees a major populist movement building in American politics against all things 'big'.
We think he is onto something here, something we have been bringing to your attention for quite some time now: 'Americans are finally beginning to see the danger in 'big things'; in business, in banking, on Wall Street and certainly in government.'
Once you have read his article in full, come back and think on these things and see if you don't agree with Mr. Sosnik when he concludes with these words:
'Underneath this turmoil you can see the shape of an emerging populist movement that will, in time, either move the politicians to action or throw them out of office. The country is moving toward new types of leaders, those who will be problem-solvers....'
Let's take a look at some of the things that have happened in the past 5 years that have eroded the public's confidence in all things 'big and powerful':
- Congress, in its infinite wisdom, relaxed the rules and regulations governing real estate speculation and investment in America over the previous 2 decades to 'encourage more homeownership' to the point where many people qualified for loans simply by breathing and signing on the dotted line.
- Big Wall Street investment bankers persuaded many unsuspecting folks and national, state and local governments around the globe to invest in risky derivative investments with complicated investment structures such as credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations and who knows what other sorts of legalese financial jargon.
- The real estate market collapsed like a ton of bricks in 2008. Financial panic spreads throughout the globe.
- Congress bailed out most of the financial investment houses and banks who got us into the mess in the first place and restores the lost wealth of CEOs and executives alike with your tax money.
- Over the past many decades, Detroit automakers 'negotiated' (sic) lucrative deals with big union labor bosses to the point where American cars became cost-uncompetitive or quality-uncompetitive with foreign automakers. The cost of 'Cadillac' health plans where union workers paid no copay, premium or met any deductible proliferated. The cost of health care in each automobile built in Detroit exceeded the cost of steel and aluminum in each car.
- The crash came. Detroit carmakers faced bankruptcy. Congress and President Obama bailed them out with your tax money. Again.
- The US Senate under the leadership of Majority Leader Harry Reid hasn't passed a federal budget. Ever. Now wonder we have had no control over spending.
- President Obama pushed for and promised health care for everyone. 'You can keep your insurance if you want to' was his bottom-line promise. Millions of Americans now face cancellation of their health insurance plans. Individual and corporate alike. A complete falsehood coming from our Chief Executive in the White House. 'A bald-faced lie' it used to be known as when public officials still had some shame in their character. People used to resign in private business and government when they did things like that in the past.
- Big health insurance companies worked with the Obama Administration to get Obamacare passed in 2010 ostensibly because it 'promised' to deliver up to 40 million new customers into their existing customer base, millions with substantial federal subsidies in hand. But then, for some unknown reason, the Big Health Insurance companies canceled plans in existence they say because of Obamacare! What the heck is going on here?
Congress has not dealt with anything at all and come to any practical working conclusion on the major problems we face as a nation. We now just have crazed people from both sides of the aisle go on cable talk shows and scream at each other and point fingers somewhat ridiculously and in a childish manner.
Need we go on?
We disagree with Mr. Sosnik on a few things. We are not going to bang on the heads of successful people or try to exploit the 'income inequality' issue any more than it already has been exploited.
We think successful people do a common good by providing jobs, salaries and benefits for the rest of us to enjoy and support our families. We just don't want them ever to do it with taxpayer support.
We also think Mr. Sosnik might be more amenable to trying some more government programs even when Obamacare, which is now being considered as 'Medicaid Plus' by many experts, is in the process of showing everyone who is paying any attention a classic case of why centralized government fails in many regards.
We do agree with him that something big is a'brewin' in America today and it is the large swath of registered voters who are done with both established political parties. Record numbers of people in North Carolina are now not just walking but running to their local boards of election to change their registration to Unaffiliated aka Independent.
28% of them have already done so. 42% are expected to have done so by the presidential election of 2016. Who will be the 'majority party' then?
Good for them. They have finally 'seen the light' and decided to leave both parties to the extremes on both sides in hopes of electing sensible, thoughtful people in the fall elections. (Assuming they can get out of their primaries, that is which is a big, big problem on both sides nowadays)
We have already written a great deal about where we would like to see this nation turn and that is more towards individual responsibility, duty and honor versus passing all of our freedoms off to an ever-increasing central government that is now proving its limits.
Here's just a few things we think would help make this nation the land of the free again where everyone gets a chance to prosper, more so than under current restrictive, ossified systems and structures (previous articles we we have detailed such solutions):
- Individualized personal savings retirement plans funded by the same FICA tax now being collected from every worker on a weekly basis (http://www.telemachusleaps.com/2011/06/aarp-association-of-advocacy-for....)
- Conversion of our health insurance system to a catastrophic health insurance system as opposed to a 'pre-paid health care payment plan (http://www.telemachusleaps.com/2012/06/evolutionary-health-insurance-sys...)
- Means-testing and conversion of Medicare and Medicaid into income-based health support payment plans (http://www.telemachusleaps.com/2012/01/medicare-faustian-bargain-or-not....)
- Conversion to a consumption tax plan to replace the current confusing and sclerotic income tax system (http://www.telemachusleaps.com/search/label/%23consumption%20tax)
- There are more ideas such as these that would steer us back to a far more prosperous and vibrant future where not only recent college grads but the approximately 20 million people who are either unemployed or significantly under-employed today could stand a reasonable chance of finding a job once the economy gets moving again at a 3-4% annual growth rate versus the abysmal rates of growth under existing policies.
Let's face the truth square in the face:
It just ain't working now whatever the Big Government Advocates and Aficionados have been selling lately for these past 5 years.
That is half of a decade that has been lost. For any young person who wanted to get a good job and provide for a good life, those first 5 years of employment are perhaps the most important in terms of building up funds for retirement that would compound for 45 years+. Those years are now lost forever.
Want to go for another 5 years?
The dinosaurs were wiped out by a huge meteorite that struck Earth 65 millions ago.
Will the demise of Obamacare be the self-destructive meteor that finally turns America away from the fool's gold of More Big Things as Doug Sosnik postulates in his great article?
Or will we settle again for more government, more regulations and more crony capitalism as we have seen in the Wall Street and Detroit bailouts?