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« The Outpouring | Main | The Emotional Aspect of Doctrinal Truth »

The Orphans Are Whining

If you kill your parents, don’t cry about being an orphan. If you don’t know how to drive, don’t blame me when you wreck your car. If you close your eyes, don’t scream when you step off the cliff. If you spend all your money, don’t complain about being broke. Make up your own cute analogy. It’s pretty easy (if not all that clever).

This is my take on the so called “health care crisis.” The snowball effect of liberal policies in America has created an ever-expanding, all-pervasive, unsustainable victimhood mentality in our society. But self-inflicted injuries don’t qualify for victim status.

The orphans are whining.

Where to begin? Social security? The unintended consequence of social security legislation in the 1930’s was the transfer of responsibility for one’s future from the individual citizen to the federal government. A long debate raged during the development of the SSA, but protests were overwhelmingly drowned out by the collective sense of relief shared by society as a whole. Did we need the government to act at the time? I think the answer is yes because the depression was far deeper and more structural than anyone could have addressed privately or even with Hoover’s “volunteerism”. Even now, however, many people believe that it was not SSA that brought the country out of the depression, but WWII that turned things around.

After the crisis was well in hand, however, politicians did not step back from the necessary emergency measures. Their political instincts told them they were on to something big. The more they doled out public monies, the bigger the voting bloc became who supported them in the polls. Little wonder, then, that they plunged the country even further in the same direction with expanded benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, GI Assistance, Head Start, welfare, food stamps, etc., until they established the entitlement society we have today.

All of these entitlements have to be paid for. How? Who do you think pays for them? The taxpayers, of course. This led us to a growing number of takers and a shrinking base of givers. Each year brings more takers. Each year brings fewer givers. Now, another problem emerges. With more takers and fewer givers, each giving unit has to come up with an increasingly bigger amount. Naturally, the givers begin to protest, and even balk. They say they can’t keep it up. But they have no choice. The growing number of takers also has a correspondingly greater political clout. The givers are outnumbered. They have to keep giving because it is the law…a law that the takers have passed.

But I have only described the taxation side of the problem. The people who create the wealth in the country—the manufacturers, the business people, the entrepreneurs—should be given a free hand to create the wealth that sustains all the takers, right? One would think so. Not. Now enter the regulators, the bureaucrats, the agencies, the inspectors and the policy makers to saddle the wealth creators with huge increases in the cost of doing business. Why? Because these evil people are so greedy that all they want to do is make money. They should be ashamed of themselves. They can’t be allowed to get away with raping, pillaging and polluting the land in order to make money. So, they now have to pay more to make money and they have to give more of the money they make to the takers. Does this make sense? Hmmm.

Here is the outcome to which we are headed. Let’s use the number of one thousand dollars to illustrate what’s going on. For every thousand dollars the givers make, the takers take five hundred. For that same one thousand dollars, the regulators assess the cost of four hundred dollars. Now, the givers have only one hundred dollars to show for their one thousand dollars of investment in work. They have to put ninety-nine dollars back into their business for materials, payroll, advertising and other costs of doing business. They are now left with one dollar.

Decision making time. The business man looks at the one dollar that required so much work and then he looks at the five hundred that the takers took and the four hundred that the regulators assessed. Common sense tells him that he would be better off as a taker than a giver. So, little by little, one by one, the givers stop producing wealth and join the takers and regulators.

The base of givers thus gets smaller and smaller until, as a group, they reach the breaking point. They can no longer produce enough wealth to satisfy the takers and regulators. What do the takers and regulators do? Change their tactics? Ease up on the taking and regulating? Why, no! Never! They just scream louder, whine longer and complain more to each other. They demonize the few givers that are left and say they are getting meaner, nastier, stingier and more evil than ever.

And so, the government has to step and solve the problem. How? Why, by increasing the number of takers and regulators, of course! In fact, the government moves to the head of the takers line and makes the first claims on all the productivity.

So, the orphans are whining. I remember reading something a long time ago about a goose and a golden egg. Probably some kind of capitalist fairy tale.

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Reader Comments (3)

"The people who create the wealth in the country—the manufacturers, the business people, the entrepreneurs..."

First, you left out the workers.
More critically, you left out the natural resources that are given to us by God.

Wealth is not created by capitalists; it is planted and *harvested* by the capitalists and entrepreneurs, but their efforts are unfruitful without the natural resources on the planet as well as work of the laborers they employ.

"I have planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the increase."

We should have respect for the people who plant and who innovate and who labor, and yet not forget that no one reaps any product whatsoever without the bounty we have all been given.

Besides, in God's economy, the woman who gave her two mites gave more than the rich who gave multiple times her gift (materially), so who is to say that the laborer who has given his whole life in hard, "unskilled" labor doesn't "deserve" health care because his skills are less valuable in the material marketplace and he can't afford it?

October 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTim Garcia

Well said Tim.

March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob

No, Tim. Not well said. In his rush to play the devil's advocate, Tim failed to grasp the most important point. The workers need the ideas generated by the entrepreneurs before they can work. Oh, sure, they can dig ditches or move piles of rocks; give them credit for that. But, in order to be productive in a meaningful sense, they need someone to point them in the right direction. As I have said before, the propensity to create wealth cannot be coerced. It takes freedom to create and the right to harvest a fair reward.


March 13, 2012 | Registered CommenterJ. Mark Jordan

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