Looking at the numbers behind our federal budgets reveals that the majority of our government’s spending goes not to running the day to day operations of government, but rather, to social safety net programs like Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, welfare, food assistance, rental stipends and a host of other entitlement programs. In many cases, the programs themselves are used as a marketing tool during election campaigns, with the winner of an election often being the candidate who promises the most benefits to their constituents.
While this strategy of indirect vote buying has worked well for politicians on both sides of the aisle for many decades, and has been instrumental in ushering in an era of centrally planned economies and expansion of government influence on the individual lives of American citizens, it is as Bill Whittle suggests (video below), an unsustainable system that will ultimately fail.
It’s generally true that the people who receive the most in benefits pay little or nothing in taxes, so people are voting themselves other peoples’ money. It’s not just a vote pump. It’s a wealth redistribution pump, and it pumps $2.2 trillion every single year from people who work and pay taxes to people who often don’t work and don’t pay any taxes.
As long as the benefit receivers can outvote the benefit producers there will be more and more people taking, and fewer and fewer people working harder and harder to produce those benefits. That’s exactly what we’re seeing today.
We face a choice. One option is to cut back on this [entitlement] food supply and gradually but firmly reduce this entitlement dependence to what it was originally intended to be: help for those, who through illness or physical incapacity, cannot help themselves, and return everyone else feeding on this supply from the wealth consumer column to the wealth generator column. That is going to be very, very, very difficult to do.
Or, we can let this continue until the system collapses, and that’ll be sooner rather than later, and much sooner than many of you think. Then there won’t be any benefits at all.
There is certainly something to be said for the ethical and moral obligations of an advanced modern-day society with respect to taking care of those who cannot care for themselves, or those who have experienced a short-term medical or employment emergency. But providing extended womb-to-tomb safety nets and entitlement programs for those who are perfectly capable of working a productive job but refuse to do so, or for those who make poor personal budgetary choices, leads to the inevitable outcome in which everyone eventually realizes that they’d be better of by simply collecting their income from the government.
We are at the point in America where there really is no turning back. While Mr. Whittle’s solution of drastically cutting back these types of nanny-state expenses is a sound one, it is simply not politically feasible for individual politicians. In today’s America, the idea of cutting back on social expenditures and facilitating a return to individual responsibility is political suicide for incumbents, and a non-starter for those wishing to enter the political arena as first time candidates.
Moreover, eliminating these types of expenses is simply not going to be possible without massive social upheaval. Consider what would happen if you cut supplemental food assistance by 50%, or eliminated extensions of emergency unemployment insurance, or, heaven forbid, you take away access to the millions of Obama Phones that will be distributed this year.
We are now so far gone that entitlement cuts to the federal budget will have the same catastrophic impact on society as will the eventual collapse of the monetary, financial and economic systems when our creditors finally stop lending us money. It’s a catch 22 and both options lead to the same end result. Thus, for Congressional representatives who control our budget, the choice is simple: kick the can down the road to keep the system from completely destabilizing for as long as possible.
When the money runs out – and it will, because China, Russia, Japan and the rest of our lenders know we’re a lost cause – the entitlement system in America will fall apart, leaving tens of millions of people without any way to meet their basic needs.
Once this new paradigm becomes apparent you can fully expect riots in the streets – bloodshed, starvation, martial law – all of the worst case scenarios you’ve imagined.
The system is coming unhinged and the math is all the proof you need.