February 20, 2008
The Dangers Ahead
By Perry Willis
Today's Downsizer Dispatch . . . Change the political environment. Recruit more Downsizers. Share this message with others. Quote of the Day: "I don't think government can improve the economy. If government intervention can improve economic performance and get us out of recession, is it not stupid to wait for recession in order to capture the benefits of government economic policies? But then, if government intervention can improve economic performance and increase the rate of growth, how come socialist/welfare states consistently perform worse than free-market economies?" -- Steve Pejovich Subject: The Dangers Ahead If John McCain becomes the next president then we face the prospect of 100 years of war in the Middle East. He has said that he wants this. And there is no evidence that the Democrats would do much to stop him, even if they continue to control Congress. Maybe that will change, but again, there is no evidence that it will. The dangers of this are as follows . . .Our continued presence in the Middle East will continue to radicalize Muslims and serve as a recruitment point for terrorist gangs
  • This will make another terrorist attack more likely, rather than less
  • Another terrorist attack will serve as an excuse for more government expansion
  • The "war on terror" is already bleeding us dry, and it will only get worse if we suffer another attack. The Congressional Budget Office has recently issued a report on what the war is costing us. Jim Harper, at the Cato Institute, has done further calculations to figure out what the war will cost YOU. He estimates that each American family would have to save an extra $8,600 just to pay their share. Meanwhile, what if Obama becomes president? You might think that the fiscal picture would look better with a Democrat in power. A study from Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute, compares spending under Clinton with spending under Bush. The result is startling . . . If President Bush and the Republican Congress had just maintained the level of non-defense spending as it was under Clinton, the federal budget would now be $400 billion smaller. In other words, Bush could have had his war, and all of his defense spending, and the burden imposed on us by government spending would now be nearly half a trillion dollars less. But that's not all . . . If Bush had restrained spending to the Clinton levels, perhaps by using his veto more often, he could have extended his tax cuts, repealed the alternative minimum tax, funded the current stimulus package, and still produced a 10-year budget surplus of $1.9 trillion. This would have retired a huge portion of the national debt, and reduced the portion of your income taxes that now go to pay the interest on that debt. Instead, we are now facing record budget deficits with $53.3 trillion in unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security now staring us right in the face. Does the fact that Bush was so much worse than Clinton give us reason to hope that things might not be so bad under Obama? We think not. Bush had a Republican Congress. So did Clinton. Divided government kept Clinton from spending so much, while unified government allowed spending under Bush to explode. If Obama becomes president it is probable that we will have unified government again, which portends another large explosion in government spending. Think about it. The Democrats have been waiting a long time. They have had to wait through 8 years of Reagan, 4 years of George H.W. Bush, 8 years of Clinton under strong Republican Congressional resistance, and now 8 years of Bush. That's nearly 3 decades of pent-up Democrat desire for spending programs to remake the world. Also . . . No matter how seductive Obama's speeches may be, it's important to recognize that nearly everything he has proposed involves new government spending. Pick your poison, McCain or Obama, things may get a lot worse before they get better. We keep expecting elections to change things, but they never do. It's always "meet the new boss, same as the old boss." Neither elections, nor candidates, nor any brand of politician, is going to save us. We need to create a new force, that stands outside the rigged partisan electoral process, and impose our will on the Establishment -- both the political class, and the media. You can help to do this by sharing this message with friends, and asking them to join Downsize DC. You can also help to penetrate the Congressional echo chamber, and let them know that you know what the truth is. We need to keep up a constant drumbeat to compel Congress to reduce spending so as to prepare to meet the crisis of the $53.3 trillion in unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security. You can do that here. Remember, if you don't ask for it there's no chance you're going to get it. Please also consider making a contribution to further our work. You can do that here. Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army. Jim Babka President, Inc.
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