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Doug Smith: Progressive Programs Promise Political Zanadu

by Doug Smith Free State Patriot

 

There are some essential elements to every Progressive idea or program. These are worth bearing in mind as you vote for or against Santa Claus at the ballot box.  Senator Marco Rubio s latest proposal on a Paid Family Leave Act, paid for by government, provides an excellent opportunity to review a few of these.

 1)They are progressive.

  In this context, the word means it will creep ever toward the same direction. There is no End to the idea, just ever-increasing demands for more “free stuff” from government, and not coincidentally, more control by government of those getting the freebies.

(As a sub note to the above,)

 2)    There are no freebies. TANSTAAFL. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

  Progressives are divided into 2 categories on this fact: True believers whose magical thinking makes them certain that Government has unlimited resources, but stingily refuses to share it, and cynical opportunists who understand this quite well, but are willing to use the fiction to further their own power. From its founding, all the way to Barack Obama, who spend more money that he did not have than all 43 POTUS before him combined, the Government “Has. No. Money.” They can only spend money in 3 ways:

 Borrow it. This ultimately costs every taxpayer, because Barack and Mitch and the powers that be in DC are committing YOU, not them, to pay the payments and the interest on their debts. Imagine if you saw your neighbor driving a $ 60,000 SUV, then got a bill in the mail for the payments on his ride, one you were demanded to pay.

 Print it. The Federal Reserve is a whole other article, and a problem in and of itself, but suffice it to say, when the government can print money by fiat, without backing up each bill with gold reserves, “The full faith and credit of the US Government” means, once again, YOU will back them up. So, if you have $ 100, and there are $ 1,000,000,000 dollars in circulation, and the Government (read that FED) decides to print, with no additional wealth to back it, another billion in currency, your 100 overnight becomes a 50. Sound outrageous? Unbelievable?

 Steal it. Seem harsh? By steal it, I mean taxes. Of course, no one comes to your house with a gun and demands 25% of your earnings. However, refuse to pay your taxes and see how long it is before someone with a gun comes to your house to cart you off to jail. Taxation is by force. The government takes from us part of what we earn, the deal being we get to choose, through our representatives in the House how much they may take, and for what they may spend it. Which of course, brings us back to progressive politicians, and the ever-growing programs, which will spend ever greater amounts of the money they tax from you. You are still paying, in every paycheck, for programs that were begun under Franklin Roosevelt.

Which leads us to the 3rd thing worth noting about progressive ideas and programs:

 3) They never ask, let along answer, the question of how we pay for it. 

The closest they come is a few well-worn clichés: Let the Rich pay their fair share, if we cut spending on Defense, we are only talking about (at this point we are meant to insert some figure which they will argue is inconsequential.)  As the late Sen Everett Dirksen once said, “A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there, first thing you know you are talking about some real money.” (Progressives, I should note, do not get the joke.) Never mind paying for it.  If it sounds good do it.  War on Poverty? Yes! Poverty is bad. Let’s spend 20 Trillion and wipe it out. Whereas the common household husband or wife must say “Rib Eye? Rib Eye good! Rib Eye $ 12/lb. Can’t afford Rib Eye. Pork Chops, here we come.  Of course, the common Joe in the grocery store is spending their own money and cannot print more if they run out. (Well, they CAN write a bogus check, but, unlike Congressmen, they go to jail for that.) Politicians NEVER spend their own money. They spend yours. Which is why you will eat Pork Chops or Macaroni and Cheese tonight, and not Rib Eye.

  On the subject of, “if it sounds good”: this is another aspect of progressive ideas. All they must do is sound good.

 They don’t have to work. They must appeal to emotions. Wipe out poverty! Help the poor! Improve the cities!  Progressive never hold themselves or their ideas accountable for the (inevitable) failure to work. “I’ve never worked so hard on anything in my life.” “I feel your pain.” (If you are young, you may not recognize those as Bill Clinton’s response to the failure of some of his progressive ideas. Progressives maintain that if they feel good about it, if they feel your pain, then they should not be held to account for “results.”  If it failed, and I care about you, then you should still trust me, and let me spend even more, and do more of the same, on a larger scale, to fix the problem created by the failure of my last 3 attempts. But for all their “caring” and “feeling” Progressives and Utopians have yet to discover how to pass a law or spend a dollar that will make water run uphill, or gravity not pull objects to the ground.

 Or make socialist ideas and central planning result in anything other than the disaster they always are. (Go to Venezuela and try to buy some toilet paper.)  Progressives remain sublimely convinced that progressive/socialist/utopian/statist ideas that have never worked, have always failed, will work out IF ONLY you give THEM the money and the power to make them work as they think they should. Of course, it also involves the power to MAKE people behave the way progressives think they SHOULD behave, and not the way they do.

 So, with that background, a few observations about the latest Socialist proposal from Senator Marco Rubio, who seems to want to be the new John McCain. (I knew John McCain, Senator. You are no John McCain.) And yes, I called it Socialist. And so, it is. (Progressive, it should be noted, wishes to progress toward, eventually, Socialism. 

It sounds good. (Progressive!) Why, of COURSE, Moms and Dads, and Grandma, should all have time off to bond with the new baby. Family is important. And so, it is. And fathers, breadwinners, have been for Eons, coming to see the new baby, gazing loving, if awkwardly at it, then heading back to the fields to plow and beat the rain. Because that baby has to eat. As does its Mom. And so, we work. Or, as in my own case, we go to sea, and come home to a baby months older than when we left. Because we have a job to do. It sounds great that we should give some time off, BUT: notice a couple of things. I just mimicked a progressive. Because it sounds good. But I did not mention Who gets to pay for it. The employer? No, he won’t. Or rather he will but will pass that along in lower wages for the one who gets the time off, more work for their coworkers while they are off, lower wages for them as well, because if the employer must pay for work not received, the money, Dear Marco, HAS to come from somewhere.

 I remember a number of years ago, hearing Herself, Hillary, whining that the FMLA that her hubs had just signed “Only gave 6 weeks, when Mrs. It takes a Village, Idiot, felt sure that everyone would agree that 12 weeks was needed. And, of course, they should be paid for the time off.  (See? Progressive: more is never enough, someone else has to pay for it, it sounds good) 

 Now, Marco s plan (and, by the way, Hillary’s) is that Government (at this point you should bow and genuflect and the mention of the great Deity of the Left) will pay for it. But what did we observe about Government? Think hard, I’ll wait.

…..

Right!  Government Has. No. Money.

 So, if Government pays for 12 weeks of new baby leave, (Am I the only one who finds it ironic that the same people who want the right to dismember said baby, alive, in the wombs, and sell its body parts to buy a Lamborghini, are the ones pushing hardest for this latest “Gummint” Freebie?) Gummint has to TAKE the money from somewhere.

(as a thought exercise, reach in your purse or wallet. Take out all your money. Count out 10%. Put it back in your wallet and put the 90% in an envelope marked Government. Feel happy? Because that was the top marginal tax rate under Jimmy Carter, before the Reagan revolution lowered it to 39%)

 Now, Marco wants to pay for the leave by the mechanism of delaying retirement for an equal number of weeks, and essentially borrowing the money from the individual’s Social Security account. It seems too obvious to state, but

 There IS NO Social Security Trust Fund. Congress long since spent that. What is paid out to current retirees must come in from current FICA taxes taken from current workers. Because: (Say it with me)

 Government HAS-NO-MONEY!

 So, if Dick and Jane, who both have to work, because Progressive taxes make it impossible for families to live on a single income, as they could when Dick and Jane helped us learn to read, have a baby, and both get 12 weeks paid family leave, not only are they NOT borrowing from an account which they will pay into later on, they are NOT paying in now for 12 weeks, and are increasing the amount taken out of Gummint revenues for 12 weeks. So, if we have current commitments now, the Dick and Jane times the number of babies born every month equals that much more that Marco would have us pay out right now. So, Government must reach into its wallet, and take out (Average 76,000 babies born each week in US times average salary of 48,000 time 2 parents comes to $7.6 billion each week time 12 weeks comes to 91 Billion to fund Marco s little program)

 BUT! What have we learned?  Government has no money.

 So, 91 Billion must be borrowed, or taken out of other funds, or taken from payments to current retirees to pay for Marco s largesse. But, he would say, it will be paid back by the recipients working an extra 12 weeks till retirement.

 Permit me to point out a few logical fallacies.

 Dick and Jane might not live till retirement age.

Dick and Jane might not work till retirement age. (They might start drawing Disability)

Dick and Jane, having no particular incentive to save up and pay for this time, wont.

 Human nature being what it is, freebies will encourage everyone to take the maximum available, so they don’t “get ripped off”. And, I’ll bet anyone reading this a 1000-dollar bill, that IF this were to pass, 12 weeks Gummint paid FMLA, taken out of SS, Progressives will figure out why that is not enough and come weeping to the mike and demand more. Any takers?

 Now. Here is a proposal.  Dick and Jane both work. Jane sees a sparkle in Dicks eyes, and Jane goes to a baby shower and gets the fever. Let’s have a baby, she says. Sure honey. How about next year?  Meantime, we will both work an extra 5 hours of Overtime a week for the next year, and that will give us enough to pay our salaries for up to 12 weeks when the baby is born while we take off and change diapers.

 There is one way to do it, involving personal responsibility.

 Here is another. Insurers can offer a rider to Health policies that will pay supplemental income for a period of time after a birth. Couples of children bearing age can elect to pay for this rider and use it when they have their children.

And here is an even better idea for it, one certain to make Progressive head explode. If you are a Progressive who accidentally began reading this column, please, please stop reading. I’m not responsible for what happens if you continue.

 Still here?

 Ok, then. What if we had an organization dedicated to family planning, funded by large infusions of government money, and anxious to show that 97% of their function is women’s health issues.  Wouldn’t that be an ideal organization to set up and offer family leave insurance and savings policies? Especially if they are large enough to have a multi-billion-dollar reserve, and a billion dollar a year budget? And doesn’t paid family leave sound better than “I want a Lamborghini?” 

Yes, Marco, here is a cause for you to champion. Let us have Planned Parenthood set up and run family leave policies for prospective parents. After all, Planned Parenthood is what they are all about, right? Who needs another progressive socialist big government program? The answer was staring us in the face all along.