L. Neil Smith's
Number 259, February 15, 2004

Marriage, Nipples, and Sheep

Where are the Adults?
by James J Odle

Special to TLE

"Where are the adults?" This was one of the most compelling and truthful Republican Party critiques of the Clinton administration. Nevertheless, now that the previous regime is fading into the past—and it can't fade fast enough for this libertarian—we must still ask the question, "Where are the adults?"

Well, where are they?

I don't see any adults in either the Republican or Democrat Parties. Further, if adults can be found anywhere, they should easily be located within the ranks of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)—the most politically active faction in the country.

Last November, the "adult" politicians caved in to the AARP pressure and the country took another giant step toward national financial suicide, not to mention the complete federal takeover of medicine, when the Republican-dominated legislature passed the first major expansion of the Medicare-Medicaid program since 1965. I say "expansion" because the cost of this boondoggle is proclaimed to be approximately $400 billion over 10 years. Politicians never get their numbers right, as libertarian columnist Doug Bandow has observed:

"In fact, every federal social program has cost far more than originally predicted. For instance, in 1967, the House Ways and Means Committee predicted that Medicare would cost $12 billion in 1990, a staggering $95 billion underestimate. Medicare first exceeded $12 billion in 1975.

"In 1965, federal actuaries figured that the Medicare hospital program would end up running $9 billion in 1990. The cost was more than $66 billion.

In 1987, Congress estimated that the Medicaid Special Hospitals Subsidy would hit $100 million in 1992. The actual bill came to $11 billion. The initial costs of Medicare's kidney dialysis program, passed in 1972, were more than twice projected levels.

"The Congressional Budget Office doubled the estimated cost of Medicare's catastrophic insurance benefit—subsequently repealed— from $5.7 billion to $11.8 billion annually within the first year of its passage. The agency increased the projected cost of the skilled nursing benefit an astonishing sevenfold over roughly the same time frame, from $2.1 billion to $13.5 billion.

"And in 1935 a naive Congress predicted $3.5 billion in Social Security outlays in 1980, one-thirtieth the actual level of $105 billion."

Were there any adults in Washington DC, someone would have told the retirement community—a long time ago—that they didn't have the moral right to shift the financial burdens of adulthood off onto the younger generation.

Were there any adults in Washington DC, someone would have told the retirement community—a long time ago—that participants in Medicare-Medicaid "benefit programs" are actually receiving stolen property. The moral nature of the activity in question does not undergo metamorphosis simply because the politicians describe it using words such as "safety net" or "insurance benefit."

Were there any adults in Washington DC, someone would have told the retirement community—a long time ago—that with the cost of medicine perpetually rising faster than the rate of inflation, that a nation with a low birth rate and an aging population combined, make Social Security/Medicaid-Medicare socialism financially unsustainable. On second thought, I can't believe that this fundamental economic fact is unknown to the retirement community—more to their shame.

Were there any adults in Washington DC, someone would have told the retirement community—a long time ago—that they should consider the dangers of democracy. "What are the dangers of democracy?" the reader might ask. Let us recall a little of our basic high school civics and remember that the last thing the Founding Fathers wanted for this country was a democracy.

The Founding Fathers were highly educated men who knew that democracies are by nature unstable systems. They knew that on average democracies last about 200 years whereupon they tend to collapse into police states. Instability is injected into democracies when the people learn that they can use the power of government to steal from their fellow citizens without Constitutional limitations of any sort whereupon the nation, in question, goes—financially speaking—supernova with a resulting collapse into a police state.

The reader might point out that in this country we are a Constitutional republic and not a democracy. While this is, in fact, what the Founding fathers intended for us, where this nation's finances are concerned we have, in practice, become a pure democracy. Can the reader name any Constitutional limitations on government spending that are—in reality—respected by politicians and the judiciary?

I can't.

All a politician has to say is that it is for the "general welfare" and this immediately justifies spending on everything from baseball stadiums, to "revitalization of the city" projects, to giving our hard-earned tax dollars to foreign dictators, to buying our votes with our own money, to anything and everything that might cross the fevered political "mind."

This lack of self-control will lead to a future long lasting depression together with a resulting declaration of an national emergency as well as nationalization—(whether directly or through regulation, it doesn't matter)—of all private enterprise. Isn't this what happened during FDR's Great Depression? (See Jim Powell's FDR's Folly)

Think I'm kidding—that I'm being unnecessarily alarmist? If so, then you don't understand the psychopathology that is a government. Bear in mind that it was a long-standing depression that made Hitler possible as well as the Hitler youth. If it can happen in Germany, among some of most highly educated people in the world, then it can happen here. All it takes is a long standing widespread emergency and the resulting public outcry for relief will bring out new oppressions.

Also, bear in mind the psychopathology that is a politician: 1) if doing the right thing means giving up power then you can always depend on a politician to do the wrong thing; 2) Politicians never accept responsibility for the harm they cause us. Whenever their precious plans for our lives fail to produce the promised result they blame their failures on a) the free market or b) the opposition party; or c) foreigners or d) big business. If you suggest to a politician that his precious plans for our lives are stupid and were formulated by an idiot, you will get a crash course in political psychosis. Politicians are utterly predictable in this regard.

A future police state. This is the natural long-term consequence of spineless politicians who refuse to "Just say no!" to factions who believe that they should have access to their fellow citizens bank accounts by force of government. It is the natural long-term consequence of politicians who won't return the responsibilities of adulthood back to the people. It is also the natural long-term consequence of an "education" system design to train people into dependency and subservience toward government.

James J. Odle is a splendid fellow who, unlike the vast majority of so-called "public servants" has a real job in the private sector performing real work, which a real employer voluntarily pays him to perform.

He is also a Life Member of Gun Owners of America.


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