Looking around at all of the “tea parties” today, the first thing that strikes me is one of my father’s old favourite experessions: “the winners count their money and the losers cry deal.” It’s an old poker player’s expression, not something you’d expect from an “Evangelical.”
But unfortunately the losers cried deal all across the country. They’d like to think that they’re the winners in our society. But this country has changed, and most of its inhabitants–especially the younger ones–have a different idea of upward movement than raw capitalist enterprise, which is why the winners are who they are.
But same winners are setting themselves up for a fall.
The basic problem is that they’re not so much counting their money as printing it faster than they–or anyone else–can count it. The deficits they are running up are enormous, and the only way they’re going to be paid back–especially with fading dollar hegemony–is with economic growth. That economic growth, however, will be impeded, not only by the increases in taxes necessary to pay for the expanded government, but also by the erratic rule of law they are promoting. Why should anyone want to grow an enterprise if they fear the enterprise, their position, or both be taken away from them by the government? So capitalists will sit on their hands and their money (unless they’re engaging in capital flight, like their counterparts in Latin America.)
That won’t generate the growth necessary to liquidate the debt, at which time the government will go bankrupt, either literally or on a practical basis. It’s possible at this point for someone to come in and pick up the pieces, and the “winners” we have now will be winners no more.
Unfortunately most of the current “losers” don’t have the patience or the vision to sweat this out, or even the willingness to make the interim sacrifice to get a more complete result. But that’s the way American politics run.
While on the subject of picking up pieces, Texas Gov. Rick Perry ’72 tantalised his audience with the concept of Texas seceding from the Union. If Barack Obama had any sense about him, he’s take Rick up on his offer, especially if he can take a neighbouring state or two with him.
To start with, that would “ice” the dominance of the Democrats in American politics. Texas is the largest reliably Republican state in the Union; getting it out of American politics would end any and all hope of the U.S. being anything but a one-party nation for the duration.
Beyond that, it would get the oil and gas lobby’s central base of support out of American politics also. Cap and trade would be a breeze to enact without Texas to deal with (and if Oklahoma and Louisiana could be shipped out with it, it would be even easier.)
Unfortunately presidents from Illinois seem to both inspire states to secede and also be unable to see the benefits to themselves. Had Abraham Lincoln allowed the Confederacy to stay out, he would have instantly raised the per capita income of the U.S. and it would have moved towards a progressive social democracy far sooner than it has. The Confederacy would have been eventually forced to abolish slavery (Brazil couldn’t hold out indefinitely) and it would have still experienced an exodus of white and black alike to the factories of the North.
But that’s one of those “what ifs” of history, except that an “old Ag” has tempted another President from Illinois to think outside the box.