The US government, under the control of “progressives” has consciously divided the citizens of America into three distinct economies over the past 150 years. I’ve tagged them:
- The Locke-Friedman Economy (for John Locke and Milton Friedman)
- The Huxley-Orwell Economy (for Aldous Huxley and George Orwell)
- The Hobbes-Keynes Economy (for Thomas Hobbes and John Maynard Keynes)
I’ll attempt to explain why these are important as a driver for uninformed voters and why it is so difficult for the political right to break through to them.
The Locke-Friedman Economy
People in the Locke economy are people who don’t live paycheck to paycheck, have savings and a retirement plan, saving for college for their kids and pay for their own health insurance. They have good jobs and make enough money to have surplus to enjoy or invest; many are successful small business owners. They live in safe, upwardly mobile neighborhoods with good schools. Most own a home, perhaps a second home or timeshare. They buy toys they can afford because they know that toys are toys and not a measure of affluence, family financial security is. These are the people that Obama classifies as “rich”. They think “work first, and then play” and plan for the long term. They have mobile careers because they have skills that are in demand or valuable experiences that companies or the public will pay for and they are financially secure enough to withstand a gap between high compensation jobs. This economy consists of approximately 30% of Americans.
The Huxley-Orwell Economy
People in the Huxley economy are people who do live paycheck to paycheck, have little or no savings or retirement plan, borrow for college for their kids and have little or no health insurance. They have menial jobs and do not make enough money to have surplus to enjoy or invest; they live on credit, cash flowing from month to month and spend beyond their means. They live in less safe, average neighborhoods with some good schools and some bad schools. They may own or lease a small house. Some in the upper levels buy toys that they can’t afford to satisfy the need to be seen as successful. They think “play first, and then work”. They are short term planners, exemplified by the phrase, “livin’ for the weekend”. They can put food on the table but for them steak is a luxury and store brands are the norm. Obama would call these people “middle class”. They have static jobs, no real career, because they do not have skills that are in demand or valuable experiences that companies or the public will pay for and they are not financially secure enough to withstand a gap between jobs. They must work to keep up with the house rent, the boat payment, the jetski payments and are still paying for the vacation they took on the MasterCard three years ago. If they miss a day’s pay, a bill doesn’t get paid. Their difficult financial situation is of their own making for not living within their means. This economy consists of approximately 40% of Americans.
The Hobbes-Keynes Economy
People in the Hobbes-Keynes economy are people who have no consistent paycheck and live day to day. If they do have a job, it is at minimum wage. They have little no savings or retirement plan, don’t even consider college for their kids and have no health insurance. They do not make enough money to live and are long term government benefit recipients. They live in unsafe, poor neighborhoods with bad schools. They rent or live in subsidized public housing. They think “I need to survive until tomorrow”. They can’t put food on the table. They don’t have jobs because they have no skills that companies or the public will pay for. They depend on the next entitlement check to live. Obama would call these people “poor”. This economy consists of approximately 30% of Americans.
There is a reason that high minded concepts like “liberty” are not understood or valued by the 70% of the people who make up the Huxley-Orwell and the Hobbes-Keynes economies.
It is, at once, timeless and simple.
Before mankind learned about agriculture and could produce food in excess of their demand, every day began with hunger, continued with a struggle to survive and a search for the next mastodon herd and ended with the creation of a defensive perimeter so that they weren’t reminded that they weren’t quite at the top of the food chain just yet. In this type of existence, “liberty” was a high concept that was a waste of time. Survival was not. The focus was thinking about and doing only the things that were needed to support survival and nothing else.
- The inhabitants of the Huxley-Orwell economy have jobs but due to their own choices have had their upward mobility frozen. By trying to mimic the Locke-Friedman economy though poor financial decisions, they are doomed to day to day survival.
- The inhabitants of the Hobbes-Keynes economy do not have jobs and subsist on government handouts. Upward mobility is rare. They have failed themselves by not believing that they can escape poverty and the government has failed them by designing programs that disincentivze work, they are doomed to day to day survival.
Our government perpetuates the Huxley-Orwell and the Hobbes-Keynes economies simply because they tend favor government, they vote for government programs or they don’t vote at all. The educational establishment fails these people by 1) warehousing the underperformers, 2) fostering the false notion that everyone can (or even needs to) get a college degree instead of a good trade school, 3) promotes cheap college loans that burden people in the Hobbes-Keynes economy who want use school to get out and people in the Huxley-Orwell economy who try to pay for their kid’s college bills with a mountain of debt.
“Progressives” do not want people to succeed and reach the Locke-Friedman economy, quite the contrary. They try to push the people in that economy into the lower two tiers via taxation and regulation. They want more “middle class” workers who are happy to consume and cash flow the bills because these folks don’t have time to think about concepts like liberty. They want a dependent class that exists on government transfer payments to survive because this is a block that will never vote to take them away.
Liberty means little to a man with an empty stomach and no hope for the future.