The Fiscal Cliff – Setting the stage for a Revolutionary War of Ideas… If the GOP has the stomach for the fight
Two weeks ago a slight majority of Americans voted for more stuff from the government. There may have been other drivers, but that is the main one. Below is a quote whose origin is disputed, but it is particularly apropos:
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.
Although the United States is a republic, it is a democratic republic, and the author’s point applies in spades. The question is however, are we too far gone? Are we past the tipping point beyond which there is nothing but a descent into just another failed state that devolves into a third world dictatorship?
While I think we’re close, I’m not sure we’re quite there yet. There is hope, just not much.
Which brings us to the so called, Fiscal Cliff. The Fiscal Cliff is primarily the convergence of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts with sequestration – mandated cuts in government spending – both of which are supposed to occur in January. It is widely assumed that if the President and Congress do not come to some grand bargain, the economy will fall back into recession.
The key issue dividing the parties is the tax cuts. President wants to raise tax rates on the, because he absurdly suggests they are not paying their fair share. The GOP, as long as their spines hold, want keep the lower tax rates for everyone.
Many people suggest the president doesn’t want to avoid the Fiscal Cliff. The suggestion is that he wants to demonize Republicans for throwing the country back into recession. He does.
That does not however mean that the GOP should capitulate in order to avoid it. On the contrary, this battle could and should begin the fight for, not only the White House in 2016, but more importantly, for the future of the nation.
Bobby Jindal was right about Mitt Romney’s comments, if the GOP seeks to survive as a party, it’s going to have to appeal to 100% of the people. And what better time to do so than when the country laser focused on this “Fiscal Cliff”? While the mainstream media would act as little more than a mouthpiece for the administration, the reality is, that’s the world we live in and if the GOP can’t figure out how to get its message out now, it never will.
Rush Limbaugh and Mitt Romney were also right, the President tried to buy voters with gifts. Interestingly however, despite his massive redistribution program, 9 million fewer people came out to vote for him than did 4 years earlier. Despite those efforts, the real reason Mitt Romney was not Obama’s printing of money and food stamps. Romney lost was because he failed to articulate a compelling economic message to inspire not only those 9 million ex Obama voters, but the 2 million voters who supported John McCain but chose not to come out and vote for Romney…
The truth of the matter is, this fight is for far more than just a Fiscal Cliff. The Fiscal Cliff is simply the first battle in the war between statism and freedom that will play itself out over the next four years. This is a revolutionary war of ideas. Whether it was Tytler or Tocqueville who wrote the above passage, they were prescient. We are very near that point beyond which there will be no return. At some point the tax burden simply becomes too much, the regulations become too numerous and restrictive and the opportunities for success become too few. As a result, those who might otherwise become entrepreneurs, investors, job creators decide to stop being productive and simply spend their time and energy elsewhere, gravitating perhaps to becoming a cog in the government machine or abandoning the country altogether as they pursue better opportunities elsewhere.
At that point the list of the ship of state will beyond recovery and the only outcome will be its quick sinking into the lifeless depths where little freedom, economic or otherwise, can survive.
The challenge for the GOP is whether it can muster the courage to engage in the battle of ideas and articulate a vision that appeals to 100% of the population. Of course there’s no way that 100% of the population will respond, but the message itself has to be clear: We reject the notion of identity politics; we reject the idea that the government is responsible for our success and happiness; that every American individual, family and organization should be free to succeed or fail on their own merits, without government assistance nor government hindrance. And if they fail, they should have the opportunity and motivation to pick themselves up and start once again.
Given the opportunity for failure that freedom accords, many citizens will choose instead to support the cradle to grave security that government promises – but rarely delivers.
Nonetheless, the message that every American should hear is that the GOP seeks a nation where every citizen can determine their own fate; where neither race nor sex limits their opportunities; where economic status at birth does not dictate economic status throughout life; that every man, woman and child has the freedom to stake their claim to their piece of the American Dream.
In addition to the overarching message of freedom, the GOP should use sunshine to expose the Democrats (as well as some big government GOP types) as the tax and waste charlatans they are. Between now and the 2016 election there are approximately 1,500 days. The GOP should select a different government boondoggle to highlight every single day one of those days. Sure the mainstream media will ignore them, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get the message out. If the GOP has to rely on the mainstream media to win their fights, they might as well throw in the towel right now.
The truth is, this is a war that would have had to have been fought even if Mitt Romney had won the election. Statism and socialism simply don’t work, and there is a century of proof available to anyone who is willing to see it. From the fascist regimes in the 20’s and 30’s to the Communist regimes of the last half of the 20th century to the chaos of the Arab world and post-colonial Africa to the crumbling Europe we see today, the result of the lack of freedom is always the same: Failure.
The GOP should go to the mattresses in this fight. They should stand their ground or let the consequences play themselves out. And they should hang the resulting recession and unemployment squarely on the backs of President Obama and the rest of the Democrat cabal. Let liberalism be exposed for the failure that it is. If they can’t figure out how to compellingly explain and defend free enterprise and limited government against an administration and party filled with statists and socialists they are destined to fail and should exit stage left once and for all and give a someone else an opportunity to save the nation.