American Elephants

The Progressive Vision, Clearly Exposed, Doesn’t Work. by The Elephant's Child

It is important to pay attention to President Obama’s second inaugural address. It wasn’t as much of a laundry list as the usual inaugural. Obama made the case, such as it is, for the progressive worldview. It lays out a rather shallow, confused strand of American political thought that results in an administrative state and a wise ruling class.

He emphasized “collectivism”— we’re all in this together,  you didn’t build that. But his take on collectivism is quite different than what most of us would think of as community.  Obama’s  idea of the collective is that he and his chosen group of experts will tell us what to do and we will collectively pay for it. He has made it abundantly clear that he has little interest in public opinion except to determine how he can manipulate it with his community organizing skills.

The American people were quite clear that they did not want government-run health care, but that had not the slightest effect on what the government determined was in our best interest. People were worried about the cost of their health insurance  which soon may triple what it was before ObamaCare.

“Together,” he said, “we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.” Odd. American businesses have been vehement in their anger at overregulation, attacks on businesses who support the wrong politicians, the rising cost of energy, and transportation, the need to hire extra people just to cope with the burden of government required paperwork. That, by definition, is not the free market.

“But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.” I’m sure he doesn’t have in mind a citizen uprising against government tyranny. What does he mean? From other progressive comments, it means they don’t like the Constitution and the Declaration and want us to ignore them.

“For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. no single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.” Aside from erecting large straw men to shoot down, this is just silly. He has no idea how to bring new jobs and businesses to our shores, and we can’t do them together, because he keeps shutting down real jobs in order to chase imaginary jobs in 21st century “renewable”energy in industries subsidized by the government and run by his political cronies.

The Constitution, Obama told WBEZ in Chicago, is a charter of negative liberties. The Warren Court did not break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution. To overcome the limitations of the Constitution, the Courts or the Congress would have to enact change.  Twenty-first century people don’t need eighteenth century ideas restraining us. We’ re modern.

Progressivism doesn’t work. Utopian dreams are constrained by ordinary mathematics. You can’t add 50,000 new people’s insurance to be paid for, 100 new agencies each with hundreds of employees, vast new reporting responsibilities, and an insistence on putting all medical records online and expect health care to cost less.

We collectively must support Social Security and Medicare, but we cannot reform them, because people depend on them. Social Security goes broke, kaput, in 2041, The Medicare Hospital trust runs out of money in 2024, and those dates keep edging closer, as costs climb. Progressives oppose any effort to save the programs by reforming them and simply insist, without evidence, that they must continue. Utopian dreams are constrained by ordinary mathematics. The Progressive Project doesn’t work.

Speaker of the House John Boehner Addresses The Ripon Society: by The Elephant's Child

Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks to The Ripon Society on January 22, 2013 in Washington DC. Former Representative Mike Oxley introduces the Speaker.

There has been a lot of criticism of the speaker from Republicans who have wanted him to do far more battle. They wanted to go over the fiscal cliff, assuming that would somehow be an attack on the administration. It wouldn’t. The blame would attach entirely to the Republicans, who are already blamed by the public for preventing all good things from happening with their nasty stubbornness. The painful fact is that you cannot run the United States government from one house of Congress, much as we would prefer to at this moment in time. On the other hand, we wouldn’t like it much were the situation reversed with Democrats running the country from a Democratic House.

There are currently 233 Republican members of the House of Representatives, and 200 Democrats. Each of those members have their own priorities and their own opinions. Think herding cats. Coming to some kind of agreement as to strategy and desired outcome is not easy. Our Founders designed our system of government so that each of the three branches is independent and must work with the other two to accomplish anything. Congress is designed to reflect the people, the population by districts. States gain or lose members with each census. The Senate, on the other hand, represents the 50 states, and each state has two senators no matter how populous or sparsely settled the state. It was a brilliant solution on the part of the Founders to force debate and slow consideration, and as governments go a pretty good answer to the problem that we are all human, and sometimes make terrible mistakes.

Republicans in Congress consider our debt and the economy to be the greatest dangers we face. The President did consider these issues to be important enough to mention in his Inaugural Address. Congress is more concerned at the moment with banning guns. Republicans might try supporting our leaders instead of trying to tear them down.

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