Today, Pete Du Pont at the Wall Street Journal gives us an outline of what we can expect from an Obama presidency. Get ready.
DuPont goes on to warn that
So where is the new Obama administration likely to take us? Seven things seem certain:
- The U.S. military will withdraw from Iraq quickly and substantially, regardless of conditions on the ground or the obvious consequence of emboldening terrorists there and around the globe.
- Protectionism will become our national trade policy; free trade agreements with other nations will be reduced and limited.
- Income taxes will rise on middle- and upper-income people and businesses, and individuals will pay much higher Social Security taxes, all to carry out the new president's goals of "spreading the wealth around."
- Federal government spending will substantially increase. The new Obama proposals come to more than $300 billion annually, for education, health care, energy, environmental and many other programs, in addition to whatever is needed to meet our economic challenges. Mr. Obama proposes more than a 10% annual spending growth increase, considerably higher than under the first President Bush (6.7%), Bill Clinton (3.3%) or George W. Bush (6.4%).
- Federal regulation of the economy will expand, on everything from financial management companies to electricity generation and personal energy use.
- The power of labor unions will substantially increase, beginning with repeal of secret ballot voting to decide on union representation.
- Free speech will be curtailed through the reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine to limit the conservative talk radio that so irritates the liberal establishment.
These policy changes will be the beginning of the Europeanization of America. There will be many more public policy changes with similar goals—nationalized health care, Kyoto-like global-warming policies, and increased education regulation and spending.
Additional tax advantages for lower and middle income people will be enacted: a 10% mortgage tax credit that would average about $500 per household per year, a $4,000 tax credit for college tuition, a tax credit covering half of child-care expenses up to $6,000 per year, and even a $7,000 credit for purchase of a clean car.
More important, all but the clean car credit would be "refundable," meaning people will get a check for them if they owe no taxes, which is simply a transfer of income from the government to individuals. In reality this is the beginning of a new series of entitlements for middle-class families, the longer-term effect of which will be to make those families more dependant on (and so more supportive of) larger government. The Tax Policy Center estimates that these refundable tax credits would cost the government $648 billion over 10 years.
Unfortunately, Du Pont doesn't do enough to draw the parallels between these predictions and what has happened to Europe. You'll have to go elsewhere for that information if you want to see what lies in our future.
But it all makes me realize the prescience of the quote often attributed to Alexander Tytler (University of Edinburgh, 1787) on the fall of Athens (the origin is unclear, but it stands on its own merit):
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.
How can it happen in a time such as ours? The poorly educated (and in some cases, the poorly motivated) remain at or near the bottom of the economic "ladder." The larger the group grows, the deeper the collective resentment of the ones who rise to the top. When there is a critical mass of voters near the bottom, they can then pretty much vote themselves whatever kind of benefits they want. Soon there are enough at the bottom to force those at the top to pull them up, to get what they call an "equal playing field." But the truth is that many have already lost the game on an equal playing field and they now just want to equalize the final score.
Oh God, save us from ourselves.