FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Over and out for the middle class
The latest gaudy repackaging of Barack Obama’s cobwebbed economic “ideas” is to declare them a “middle-out” approach to growth. It doesn’t really mean anything – it’s just the latest effort to make the Sainted Middle Class feel as if Democrats really, really, really care about them. Republicans use such language, too. The entire political class speaks always and only to the Sainted Middle Class. A great deal is done on behalf of the Noble Poor, but they are never directly addressed in national political speeches. Their votes are bought wholesale with social welfare dependency, and they are expected to believe that everything good for the middle class is good for them, too. In modern America, the poor live like the middle class, while the middle class is taught to think of itself as poor and helpless.
If this “middle-out” concept were taken seriously, it would dissolve at the first touch of rational analysis. Government policies should not divide people up into “classes” and select deserving groups to receive the gift of prosperity. Showering the masses with “stimulus” benefits and expecting jobs to blossom as they eagerly spend their loot is stupid, as years of Obama’s moribund economy have demonstrated. If handing people money to spend brought jobs and sustainable economic growth, Detroit would be a boom town.
The Left is always trying to trick us into forgetting about the rising tide that lifts all boats, so we’ll be content with the shallow water and damp sand of central planning. There is no conceivable set of circumstances under which the Sainted Middle Class would do well, but the Evil Rich would suffer. Leftist mythology portrays wealth as a matter of good luck and ruthless exploitation, but in truth it’s usually a result of business acumen, risk-taking, and wise investment. In any situation where the Sainted Middle Class is enjoying good wages and high employment, the people who employ them are going to prosper as well.
But liberals invested gigantic amounts of effort in getting us to think of reduced taxes and regulatory burdens as a “giveaway” to the Evil Rich. Smaller government means plutocrats having a party at the expense of exploited workers. As I said, the Sainted Middle Class is taught to think of itself as weak and helpless – easy fodder for capitalist predators or the life-destroying consequences of their own stupid decisions.. God forbid the little fools be given control over their own health care!
Instead of working up enthusiasm for the new “middle-out” political slogan, we should be getting ready to say “over and out” for the middle class. To the extent the term has any intrinsic meaning, middle-classness is defined by independence. Middle class people sell their labor in a relatively free market; they have savings, investment, and assets. They view themselves as stakeholders in society, retaining some ability for long-term planning. They can afford to meditate upon concepts like economic freedom and individual conscience, which is why the rise of a strong middle class is always part of republican evolution.
But here comes ObamaCare, the final victory of the Left over the middle class it has worked so long to subjugate, while constantly praising them and claiming to act in their name. Middle class independence will give way to perpetual dependency, giving the State constant leverage over those who might grow uncomfortable with its perpetual growth. Your liberty will be forever reduced, because you will not be allowed to choose any political course that would threaten the ObamaCare subsidies of a growing dependency class. By no means will this dependency be confined to those who meet even the most strained definition of “poverty.”
Byron York at the Washington Examiner sets the doomsday clock for the middle class at January 1, 2014:
On that day the government will begin subsidizing health insurance for millions of Americans. (A family of four with income as high as $88,000 will be eligible for subsidies.) When people begin receiving that entitlement, the dynamics of the Obamacare debate will change.
At that point, the Republican mantra of total repeal will become obsolete. The administration will mount a huge public relations campaign to highlight individuals who have received government assistance to help them afford, say, chemotherapy, or dialysis, or some other life-saving treatment. Will Republicans advocate cutting off the funds that help pay for such care?
The answer is no. Facing that reality, the GOP is likely to change its approach, arguing that those people should be helped while the rest of Obamacare is somehow dismantled.
The administration is fully aware of its advantage. Last week officials invited several prominent liberal bloggers to a special White House Obamacare briefing. From the reporting that resulted — one headline included the declaration “Implementing the Affordable Care Act is going to be a huge success” — administration officials are quite confident that, whatever problems arise, Obamacare will be solidly in place after the money starts flowing on Jan. 1.
“Neither Democrats nor Republicans liked to emphasize how much the Affordable Care Act debate was about redistribution rather than health care as such, but there’s a lot of money here,” wrote Slate’s Matthew Yglesias, who attended the briefing. “The law is structured to be financially beneficial to a large majority of people, and the infrastructure is in place to make that clear to a critical mass of them.”
Now they tell us. It was all about redistribution, not health care. That’s why so many Democrats were willing to sacrifice their careers to ram ObamaCare down our throats. It’s the brass ring of socialism, the “change” that can never be changed again, the day upon which your very life depends upon the benevolence of the State, and anyone who wants to cut government spending is therefore looking to cut your throat. If you take your freedom back, you’ll be pulling out somebody’s life-support tube.
And once the bear trap of subsides clamps shut on middle-class ankles, it will be time to explain that the chain attached to that bear trap will never get any longer. You’ll never be allowed to vote on this again, and neither will your representatives. A gigantic bureaucracy is required to administer subsidies on an epic scale; as the economy collapses and more people slide off the slippery bottom rung of the “middle class,” that bureaucracy will grow larger, hiring more people and consuming more tax money. Liberals are already savaging Republicans who resist ObamaCare by accusing them of “sabotaging government.” Non-compliance and resistance will no longer be permitted, once “the money starts flowing on Jan. 1.”
And when you complain about the disastrous results – diminished access to care, higher premiums, tax increases, deficit detonation, permanent high unemployment – you’ll be handed a glossy brochure touting the latest slogans for the “middle-out” command economy. Your complaints won’t carry much weight with the people who subsidize your health care, which you middle-class types are compelled by law to purchase. In truth, there won’t be a real “middle” any more, and everything radiates from Washington out. Just try to vote for the overseer who seems to care about you most, and hope for the best.