This is the first of three posts dealing with difficult questions regarding different political stances. The second post will deal with tough questions for conservatives, and the third for libertarians (so everyone gets a chance to defend their own viewpoint).
Liberals, Progressives, Socialists, or whatever other term they use for themselves (or others use about them today) have a few key beliefs.
1. That government can solve many/all things.
2. That people are often not smart enough to resolve problems for themselves.
3. That creating government programs that help people is necessary and important for civilization to move forward
If there are other key beliefs, feel free to add them in the comments. Here, I’m going to discuss these three concepts and why they seem flawed. Note that I am a student of history and science, and so tend to use these two concepts to discuss whether ideas work or not.
1. On the issue of government solving many/all things, we only have to look at history. The Articles of Confederation were the laws our nation first were governed by when we broke away from England. The Articles gave almost all power to the several states, and almost no power to the federal government. Due to this arrangement, the Continental dollar was not worth… well, a Continental. The nation was incapable of raising funds to run an army or anything else. Clearly, there had to be some structure that gave some power to the federal government. Hence, the Constitution of the United States was formed.
The Constitution, with only 27 amendments since its inception, has been a remarkable document that has caused freedom of speech, religion, and invention to occur in an amazing way. Without such a concept, the world would not have the number of inventions it has today, but would have largely remained in the Dark Ages. In fact, the head of the patent office in the 1860s said there were no more inventions left to do, and figured his office would soon be closed.
American Government was originally founded on the principle of doing whatever is necessary to protect individual and state rights. Only in the last century has that radically changed. Beginning with Teddy Roosevelt, the first progressive, federal government began casting an ever larger shadow.
With FDR’s New Deal, brought on by the Great Depression, federal government grew. Kennedy’s New Frontier looked to expand the space race and the US’ reach into other nations. It grew again under LBJ’s Great Society as the war on poverty was declared. Of course, Jimmy Carter created the Education Department. Obamacare is the latest greatest government program expansion under liberal presidents.
Each of these great programs was undertaken with the concept of improving society. Thinking about how they were imagined to create a better world gives most of us warm fuzzy feelings inside. Liberals truly care for the downtrodden, the weak and the poor.
But do their programs make sense? Do they work well? Do they make a real difference?
FDR’s Social Security program is floundering. Over the last 3 years, it has spent more than it has taken in. Originally designed for people to receive at age 65, who would die within a couple years, it now has been expanded to assist the disabled, and to be a full retirement program for little old ladies who live beyond their 90s. Second, Congress has used the Social Security program as a slush fund to buy votes for decades, and so there is a giant IOU in it. At best, it is totally emptied of money by 2033, however the most recent calculations give us about 10-14 years.
Medicare and Medicaid are even worse off. Forbes states that it could go bankrupt as soon as 2016, if we don’t include the double counting in Obamacare. Medicare and Medicaid leave states on the hook for upwards of $90 Trillion in unfunded mandates. Obamacare only adds to the problems. Why do liberals love huge medical programs so much that they would bankrupt the country, force people to lose their insurance and into a more expensive but worse program, and force doctors to retire early rather than accept ever smaller payments for their work?
Carter’s Education efforts, and those efforts that have since followed have made NO difference in scores over the last 40 years. Today, America is #5 in education spending, but 19th world wide in education success. Liberals are tied to teachers’ unions, who go to the extremes to protect bad teachers, even at the expense of children. Indianapolis has a 60% drop out rate for high school. The governor and mayor tried to fix it by creating a voucher system for the poorest kids. Guess who fought it in the courts? The liberals and teachers’ unions. Kids won in Indy, however the fight is now in North Carolina for their program. Why do liberals love the teachers unions so much that they would harm generations of children with bad schools?
LBJ’s war on poverty? There are more people in poverty today than ever before. More people on food stamps than ever before. Fewer people working than before.
In addition, the EPA, the IRS, the NSA, and so many other federal government agencies are creating regulations that cost businesses and Americans trillions of dollars annually in figuring out how to walk the fine line. Gasoline is over $3 a gallon, because we are not drilling on public lands, oil pipelines are stopped, etc. Jobs are lost overseas because of federal rules against oil and natural gas.
Liberals also are (surprisingly) very fond of war. Woodrow Wilson led us into WW1. FDR into WW2. LBJ into Vietnam. Even President Obama has found a fondness toward drones that kill Americans without giving them their due process rights, an NSA that knows everything about us, and an IRS that will have our medical records. Do we really want a big government that creates a giant bureaucracy that will create tyranny? Well, we are getting what we elected!
When are we going to quit following the liberal softy heart programs that are not working and that are bankrupting our society, impoverishing our nation, and creating a nation on the verge of ruin?