Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Country Mice and City Mice

Conservatives made gains last week, but there’s pain ahead. Government must be pruned back drastically. I say this not just as a conservative who believes it philosophically; I say it as a rational human being, because it’s mathematically impossible to sustain. What government has promised to do for people it simply cannot do. It cannot pay medical bills for the poor (Medicaid) and for the elderly (Medicare) too much longer. It cannot continue to pay pensions to the elderly and disability payments to whomever at current levels.Via Gateway Pundit

According to one study, “. . . the [Social Security Disability Insurance program] will continue to grow until its rolls include almost seven percent of the non-elderly adult population, a 70 percent increase over today's enrollment rate.” Fourteen percent of Americans get food stamps and that’s rising. States are straining too. California, already going bankrupt, borrows $40 million per day just to pay unemployment. We’ve already gone too long pretending we can do all this indefinitely. It’s past time to admit we cannot. People are going to have to learn how to take care of themselves as they did before progressives created the almost-bankrupt, nanny state we have now.

We have to cut it all back 5-10% per year for the next several. If we look at riots in Greece and France after cutbacks there, the entitlement class will likely push back here too. It's going to be difficult, but not as hard as it would be should it all collapse at once. That's what will happen if we don't start taking incremental steps now.

There are few alive today who remember when people didn’t look to government to take care of them if they were unable or unwilling to take care of themselves. Where did they look back then? To family. To church. To private charity. Not to government. Now government is the first place they look - and for just about every American under the age of 80, it’s always been that way. That has to change, and the change is going to be painful for millions who have become dependent for their living in whole or in part - either temporarily, or for their entire lives - on government.

Last week, for the first time in half a century, Mainers elected a conservative Republican governor and a Republican legislature. According to one analysis in the Portland Press Herald, it was Mainers from rural areas who gave us Governor-elect Paul LaPage: "With the exception of sort of the area right around Portland, LePage got virtually every town with a population under 1,000," said L. Sandy Maisel, professor of government at Colby College. "More than any election that I can recall in Maine, it was a rural-urban split."

Maine had been moving steadily left under liberal Democrats for decades to the point where it had more generous welfare benefits than other states and attracted dependent people from other areas. As a sanctuary state, it attracted illegal aliens from other countries. Democrat Governor Baldacci passed down an executive order preventing any state employee to question anyone’s immigration status when they applied for benefits, or even when they applied for driver’s licenses. That was quite a departure from Maine’s long tradition of self-reliance and last week’s election results can be understood as backlash.

When I moved to rural Maine 33 years ago, I was struck by local people’s pride and self-sufficiency. Very community-minded, they were more than willing to help anyone in need. However, they disdained those who were able-bodied but relied on government, saying they lived “on the town.” That was the ultimate put-down.That city/country split exists for the rest of the United States as well. If we look at the red/blue electoral map for the past three presidential elections, liberal-Democrat/big-government/nanny state support comes from urban areas, especially on the coasts. People in rural America are overwhelmingly conservative and seen as stupid rubes by coastal urban liberals. Country people see urban liberals as pseudo-intellectual elitists. That disdainful divide became clear when the red/blue US map by county was published after the 2000 election. Ten years later, it has grown wider.

While campaigning in the ultra-liberal San Francisco area in 2008, elite, urban, liberal Senator Obama described rural Americans thus: “ . . . they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”New Orleans flood

On conservative blogs that year were many comparisons between how local people reacted to a flood in Iowa and how they had reacted to a previous flood in New Orleans: “We're not seeing hordes of Iowans sitting on their roofs looking stupid and waiting for someone else to come save them,” for example, and “We're not seeing Iowans blaming everyone except themselves while they sit around watching everyone else clean up their neighborhoods,” and “We're not seeing Iowans demand that the rest of us rebuild their old houses for free.”

John Edwards was right when he said there were two Americas, but not for the reasons he outlined. Call them red/blue, conservative/liberal, rural/urban, or whatever you want, but the real divide is between the America that wants government to leave it alone, and the America that wants government to take care of it cradle to grave.


Rick said...

The following is from Media Matters. (I'm assuming that Tom is not a complete ignoramus, but that instead he is simply a man who has no qualms about distorting reality, but he needs constant correcting nevertheless)

Fox Nation falsely attributes entire FY09 deficit to Obama

The Fox Nation falsely attributed the entire fiscal year 2009 deficit to President Obama, using the headline "Obama Triples Budget Deficit to $1.4 Trillion" to link to an Associated Press article reporting on the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) most recent budget review estimate. In fact, only a small portion of the fiscal year 2009 deficit is due to Obama's policies; in January, before he took office or signed any legislation, CBO projected that, based on policies set under President Bush and economic conditions at the time, the deficit for fiscal year 2009 would reach $1.2 trillion.

Peter said...

firagrocI'm not sure how Tom would classify me. I live very much in the country, I think the welfare system is WAY out of control, and I don't want the government to take care of me (I prefer to live off the grid as much as possible).

I have some conservative leanings - I support gun rights, the death penalty and a small government.

I have some liberal leanings - don't care who maries who, I think people should smoke whatever they want without it being illegal, and I think corporations get away with murder (pollution, working financial tricks, etc)

I also think that most of what Tom has to say about politics is utter horse crap.

Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Here is a great letter I saw yesterday in the Boston Globe:

America, what were you thinking?
• November 9, 2010

LET ME see if I understand this: Less than two years ago our free market system was about to collapse; real estate values were plunging; two wars were raging; and an earthquake and oil spill would soon cripple hundreds of thousands in Haiti and along the Gulf states, so you voted for a new group to get us out of that mess.

Now, 19 months later, stocks have increased in value over 75 percent, unemployment has started going down, real estate values have stabilized, and the government is trying to tackle a health care system that you yourself said needed fixing . . . while finally getting out of one war and working to control and end the other one.

And your response is to vote out this group, vote in a bunch of inexperienced politicians who promised you whatever you asked for, dreamt of, or just plain wanted to hear, and let them join with the same group that got us into the wars, almost destroyed the economy, forced up unemployment, and took a surplus and turned it into the largest deficit ever? What part of this do I have wrong? And now, what do you expect?

They say the Founding Fathers wanted to create the Senate in order to stop the idiotic stuff that comes from the House. I hope they were right. Welcome to a world of unintended consequences.

Peter Van Winkle, Sandwich, N.H.

Anonymous said...

Wow Tom, Your group of Liberal "Seminar Posters" are growing and getting more and more ad-homonym. I wonder if they have weekly meetings to go over what they each will say at the die hard chapter of "S.D.S."

I'll leave my name out of this post for fear of getting put on their "OBAMA watch list"