Monday, August 25, 2008

Will Rich Guys Really Go for It?

A panel of financial titans, including Omahan Warren Buffett and Omaha native Pete Peterson, is trying to wake up the public on the troubling economic situation in America. Will they have the courage of their convictions?

Will they go all the way and say that the New Deal and Great Society, though well-intentioned, were mistakes? Will they say that entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare are bad ideas?

The story in the newspaper included somebody affiliated with Peterson calling for the government to force citizens to invest a certain percentage of their income. Sounds like the same type of elitist government-knows-best ideology that got us into the welfare-state predicament we're trying to escape.

The New Dealers were socialists. They weren't evil socialists like their counterparts in Germany who were building the Nazi state. They were benevolent lefties, but they definitely believed in a government-managed society. The crisis of the Great Depression and a willing innovator in FDR gave them their opportunity.

Their program was a failure, but the failure was obscured by World War II. That war did two positive things for New Deal socialism. The war pulled the nation out of the Depression and allowed the New Deal to take credit for it. And the war cemented acceptance of big government in American political life.

A generation raised in this new environment would initiate the Great Society in the 1960s and take American welfare policy tragically too far left. The result has been the demolition of the black community in America, while the rest of society has developed a fierce addiction to government entitlements. Translation: too many of us expect other people, through government coercion, to take care of our retirement and health care.

If the financial titans want to encourage investment and saving, they should start by calling for the end of Social Security as the national ponzi-scheme pension plan.

1 comment:

OmaSteak said...

Amen. Now if these financial titans would just get behind term limits for all Federal/state/local elective and judicial offices and the Fair Tax, we might just get somewhere...like getting the people back into control of government at all levels and restricting government to only those duties set forth in the constitution. Unfortunately, I won't be holding my breath waiting for it to happen anytime soon since these same financial titans and the politicians they own benefit so greatly from the current system and will continue to do so right up until the time it collapses.