There is one perception of modern times that perhaps more than any other has caused America to enter a socioeconomic death spiral.
Our downfall is rooted in the insane idea that somehow, we can live our lives on some sort of a $25 down, $25 a week forever installment plan.
It boils down to the simple idea that we are never supposed to plan and save for anything we want, we are due it NOW! and we can worry about how and who will pay for it later. We want all the good stuff before we have earned a right to it and the problem is that the good stuff is never good enough. When we get the good stuff, we want better stuff…and we never stop wanting better stuff.
Hey! Can’t pay for it?
No worries, just petition government to find someone to pay the bill for you! They need your votes, right? They have no qualms about getting better stuff for you (they have no principles either, but none are required to plan this game. It’s easier to play if you have no principles.)
We are seeing it now in the so-called “repeal and replace” efforts of a Congress that easily voted multiple times for a complete repeal when the so very brave but lesser committed Republicans knew that such a bill was doomed to either a Harry Reid procedural detour to oblivion or if by chance, the bill found it to the White House, an Obama veto stamp had been warmed up and was just waiting to “ker-chunk!” onto the cover page of the document. For you see, my pretties, there are Republicans who don’t really want Obamacare to die, they just wish it was a little more Republicanny.
I thought about this after reading this exchange of stupidity reported at Legal Insurrection (linked here):
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: I see it a little bit differently. The issue here is whether the business model can sustain itself by affording care to people with pre-existing conditions. Unless you say everybody has to have insurance.
CUOMO: The mandate.
SMERCONISH: Chris, yeah. In other words, the way in which you afford to pay for people with pre-existing conditions is if you get guy who’s a stud like Chris Cuomo, and works out and is healthy, and get him into the pool.
DAVID GREGORY: How did we get into this?
ALISYN: Why, Michael? Why do you do this?
CUOMO: This is the best part of the show!
SMERCONISH: Unless you get those young invincibles in the pool, you can’t offset the costs.
So, there you have a tacit recognition that the government must make the healthy pay for the unhealthy. This isn’t a “business model”, this is pure, unmitigated wealth redistribution.
I see all these folks clamoring that paid leave should be a thing, that government should force businesses and private citizens to fund the wants and desires of others – but as in any economic situation, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Why should I pay because you want to take 3-6 months off when you and your wife have a baby? Why can’t you save 3-6 months of salary in advance and pay for it yourself? Why should society bear that cost?
When government pays, that means that taxpayers pay and that means that the increasing cost of free stuff puts more of a load back on the people and companies that do pay the bulk of the taxes. Add to that the fact that more and more people are falling off the income tax rolls but stull demand “better stuff”. The more “free stuff” costs, the more taxes go up and the less people take home to save to pay for things like taking leave, vacation or a sabbatical (or even retiring early). Even those exempted from income taxes feel the bite when corporations raise prices to cover the increases in taxes they experience.
When the effects of the debt, deficit spending, taxation and inflation are considered, saving is currently penalized.
Cash flowing your way through life without ever building a reserve is a very risky way to live and is why so many people petition government for “better stuff.” Living life on an installment plan is a guarantee that all things personal will go tits up when career or economic things go tits up. This is the death spiral – the more people demand from government, the less they can do on their own. There is always the expectation that “the other guy” will have to pay when in truth, all you have to do to identify that “other guy” is to look in the mirror.