A typical convention speech by a candidate promises more and more-your kids will get to go to college! You will own a house! You’ll get a lavish pension!
As Victor Davis Hanson notes in a great essay on NRO, families used to work hard and save their money to buy a house and educate their children. These things today are portrayed as our “rights,” not the fruit of one’s own prudence and industry. The housing market bubble was created by this attitude.
The government has racked up huge debts creating the housing bubble, which has already burst, and a pension bubble, which is just beginning to burst, and an education bubble which will soon show itself to be financially unsustainable. Government’s seeking to supply these needs forgets something key:
We have forgotten what wealth is – and how tenuous our grip on the good life is. Riches are created by educated and skilled workers who directly translate natural resources into commodities that make life easier. The nonproductive sectors of government, law, and banking must facilitate that process with efficient and transparent financial and political systems.
I’ve often railed against making people dependent. It was the realization that this was happening, long ago as a young reporter in New Orleans, that turned me from a wild-eyed lefty (there was a time, gentle reader, when I, too, loved Saul Alinsky and actually sat at his feet at a New Orleans gathering!) into a conservative. But here’s the question: on whom are the dependent depending? Well, the productive elements of society.
Our current administration has done a lot to stymie the productive elements. They seem not to have realized that before wealth is distributed it must be created. This requires ambition, hard work, and skills. A willingness to work and save characterizes self-sufficient citizens.
Recently, I was in a group where a woman spoke of a friend who had been rushed to the hospital the previous night. The friend had a small business and claimed she couldn’t afford health insurance, and therefore had let her high blood pressure go unattended. Fortunately, her life was saved and she found a doctor who will work with her gratis (the generous doc is holistic-not just any old doctor will do for this fastidious woman).
“It’s a crime that we don’t have universal health care,” the speaker concluded.
It might have been churlish to say that I didn’t want to be taxed to provide holistic medical care for people who made a choice not to attend to their own needs.
Si I bit my tongue.