American Elephants

Individual Freedom and the Welfare State by The Elephant's Child


From William Voegeli’s excellent Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State:

The socialist dream of organizing an economy around the purpose of advancing social welfare as it is governmentally determined and meted out, seems destined to remain an abstraction irrelevant to the world’s political and economic needs. One strange result of the collapse of socialism and the absence of any other credible way to avoid relying on markets is that the welfare state is heavily dependent on the health of capitalism. The government cannot disburse wealth that never gets created, and creating the wealth required for modern prosperous societies without the knowledge conveyed by prices set in markets appears to be impossible.

And also:

The liberal response to the question of paying for the welfare state has been a protracted exercise in intellectual dishonesty, borne of a conviction that the question doesn’t need to be answered if it can be made to go away. Liberals have generally been happy to tell people what they want to hear. It’s possible to have a big welfare state without worrying all that much about the costs. The programs will pay for themselves. Or an affluent society can pay for them out of the petty cash drawer. Or, the taxes required for a much bigger welfare state are ones that will be borne largely by the very rich and big corporations. None of these propositions can withstand even gentle interrogation, however, making it difficult to know whether the liberals who put them forward are remarkably cynical or remarkably feckless. In either case, whatever political advantages are secured by telling people what they want to hear about paying for the welfare state, the already murky argument for the welfare state becomes ever more incoherent.

Bureaucracy And Its Effect on Ordinary Lives by The Elephant's Child

Have you ever been trapped in a world of telephone trees, cannot reach a human, and are simply sent from one telephone tree to the next. Aaaargh!

This has happened to me twice in the last two days, both with a simple problem needing a human to answer. Telephone trees are not the answer to removing human operators, The ‘on hold’ music has improved if the move to ‘simply pleasant’ can be considered an improvement. I don’t know what the future holds, nor what possible answer to too many people with questions on the one hand, and too much expense for people just to answer phones on the other might be — it seems that it can only get worse. I imagine society breaking down completely over just such a problem.

It’s the individual on one side and various levels of bureaucracy attempting to bring order, which some choose to imagine as necessary control of the individual. Which brings me to our form of government, which attempts to give the maximum freedom to the individual, while keeping peace and order with all the other individuals. We have learned that a heavy hand by government costs too much, and when the people are more free, with less of a tax burden and less of a regulatory burden, they are free to invent, experiment, create and expand.

Donald Trump seems to understand this completely, and the economy grows, companies are hiring, unemployment is at all time lows especially for blacks and Hispanics. Nor is the President through with getting rid of unnecessary regulation, and reducing the size and scope of government as well. Nancy Pelosi does not grasp this at all. She has even announced that the first thing the Democrats will do when they regain power is to raise taxes. She is quite sure that tax cuts only go to the rich captains of industry, and everyone else gets left out. For the rest. she said, “it’s only crumbs, it’s pathetic.”

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