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  • Liberal Welfare State in Decline

    Even as the country deals with the crisis of the “fiscal cliff,” there’s another crisis waiting in the wings. “The second act will occur early in 2013 when the federal government will exhaust its ability to issue debt legally,” writes Heritage’s J. D. Foster.

    As computer programmers would say, the seemingly endless series of crises isn’t a bug; it’s a feature, a fundamental debate over the future of the country.

    With Obamacare in place, the left has finished building its dream: a liberal welfare state. Yet that dream seems likely to turn into a nightmare. Without massive tax increases on the middle class, the welfare state is simply not affordable. “The foundation is falling out from beneath the building just as they have finished construction,” quips Yuval Levin.

    That’s why Charles Kesler, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, remains upbeat that the future of the country is conservative.

    In a Heritage First Principles essay published before the 2012 election, he wrote:

    If the bankruptcy of the entitlement programs were handled just the right way, with world-class cynicism and opportunism, in an emergency demanding quick, painful action lest Grandma descend into an irreversible diabetic coma, then liberalism might succeed in maneuvering America into a Scandinavia-style überwelfare state, fueled by massive and regressive taxes cheerfully accepted by the citizenry.

    But all that remains unlikely:

    Odds are we stand instead at the twilight of the liberal welfare state. As it sinks, a new, more conservative system will likely rise that will feature some combination of more means-testing of benefits, a switch from defined-benefit to defined-contribution programs, greater devolution of authority to the states and localities, a new budget process that will force welfare expenditures to compete with other national priorities, and the redefinition of the welfare function away from fulfilling socioeconomic “rights” and toward charitably taking care of the truly needy as best the community can afford when private efforts have failed or proved inadequate.

    His optimism about the future explains why Kesler’s book I Am the Change is subtitled Barack Obama and the Crisis of Liberalism.

    Despite the election results, it’s the left that faces an existential crisis. Conservatives, meanwhile, have detailed plans that can transform entitlement programs, reduce federal spending and debt, and hold the line on taxes. That’s worth remembering—no matter how the fiscal cliff talks end up.

    Posted in First Principles, Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    26 Responses to Liberal Welfare State in Decline

    1. Oskie D says:

      I have to say that this article is nothing more than wishful thinking. One major not mentioned is the Left's propensity to adhere to their mantra of the "ends justifies the means".
      I don't see the left relinquishing power ever. In fact their power grows almost daily.
      None of their supporters holds Obama accountable. He chooses to ignore Congress when it suits him, he chooses to ignore federal judges when it suits him and his disdain for the Constitution is approaching legend status.
      I used to believe that the military would be the last hope for our freedoms as distasteful as that would be, but it is being transformed today as I type these words. The loosening of standards, the open promotion of homosexuality and the outright rejection of Christian values and morals in the military have accelerated like never before the past few years.

      Like it or not the road we see laid out before us of failure and hardships is going to be the road we will walk. The only question remaining is how much we will suffer and I fear that we will suffer greatly.

      • rick driskell says:

        You have great insight. As you I too believe we are in for a long and frightful journey into the abyss. Obama's' power continues to grow unchecked and is cheered on by the lap dog media. All of the MSNBC cronies meeting Obama at the Whitehouse have received their fighting orders. They are ready to lie and twist everything to suit Obama's' agenda. Many Americans are allowing themselves to be fooled by this corrupt administration.

      • MollyPitcher says:

        Oskie is an Oracle!

      • Richard Szerlong says:

        As the armed forces decline in number, homeland security goons grow in number and in weaponry. Welcome to Obama's ready made army to do his bidding. I would call this a fifth column.

      • Drifter says:

        Also not taken into account is that the Left is more than willing to use force to back up its ideology…

      • Jeffrey says:

        Well said. To underestimate their deceit would be a critical error.

      • Dean says:

        Oskie…thanks for sharing those thoughts. I see the same things. I wish I understood the failure of conservatives to see that to the progressive movement power/control is the only meaningful objective in politics. It seems to me conservative news media folks should be helping us prepare for the times ahead instead of trying to tell us bedtime stories so that we will go back to sleep.

    2. MacWell says:

      Oskie?
      I believe you're right in what you say. There is another path to consider, one that was laid out long before Obama came along. We the people have the right, no, the obligation to not only challenge our government, but to dismantle it and start over. Although I never thought I'd see America go down this far, I doubt that Americans are going to stand for much more. When the middle class starts to (feel) the crunch of being "brought down to size", they WILL fight back, one way or another. Let's just pray that it doesn't come down to the "another".

    3. R. Johnson says:

      Thanks for the try. It's difficult to lift my conservative spirit – having been crushed by the likes of DIck Morris – whose constant cheerleading and pre-election banter were so far from reality. I realize now, that one should always question someone's credibility when they have a web site with ads based on hit count, or if they are introduced as "The author of the new book…"

      I, along with at least a few conservatives, are exhausted. We are beat down by leftist media and beset upon for contributions from gutless pundits of the right. TV is torture. I watched (with my gag reflex at the ready) Stephanopoulis' show on Sunday – split screen showed Mary Matalin with her head in her hands while the rest of the so-called round table is babbling liberal crap.

      I wanted to scream "don't just sit there! You are supposed to be the token counterweight to this mindless menagerie. "At least filibuster so we don't have to listen to your Clinton lapdog husband!" She too, looked exhausted.

      I am considering membership in Heritage. But, if DeMint doesn't take up the banner – and take on these people in every media venue available, I may consider it just another bookseller – soothing me with conservative ideas and ideals. "That'll be $28.95 please. Enter your card number."

      I am too old to wait for the left to ruin everything my grandparents and parents and built – and then hope to pick up the pieces. The left is going to win. All they have to do is keep the sow fresh and her teats healthy. The piggies will continue to suckle – and continue to vote (and fight in the streets if necessary) for the farmer who keeps her fed with tax dollars.

    4. ginjit.dw says:

      The fiscal cliff is just a parlor game being played out for public consumption. Raise taxes, eliminate deductions, both the same. We get zapped. When we have a cry baby as our supposed leader of the house, we are doomed to failure.
      When we have unelected people, czars, that make policy decisions, we are doomed to failure. When our president asks like he doesn't care about little things, like the constitution, we are doomed to
      failure.

    5. Davnkatz says:

      Oskie D – I think you are correct. The establishment GOP helped sink America, and many are now saying they will negate their own pledges in order to cooperte with the libs. The cry now is "tax the rich", but as the libterds increase spending and revenue decreases taxes will increase for everyone. Some of that bunch is already saying no one should own property and all should share. That is pure communism. In the USSR, there were no age limits of productive requirements. Wonder where non-productive individuals will be sent since we don't have a Siberia! Oh, wait! Both Uncle Joe and Adolph had working plans to eliminate undesirable members of society. the bozo also has a plan to do that – it is sometimes called the end-of-life counseling requirements. THAT is just one small step from mandaqtory euthanasia.

      The ONLY thing I agree with in this article is people will be so disgusted and disheartened with current America they will yearn for a return to conservative principles. I'm certain German citizens fell ther same disillusionment, but it was too late once Hitler established his dictatorship.

    6. Bobbie says:

      It's terribly disgraceful any people would think to do this to America but to let it happen by the free will of the lesser is deeply heartbreaking… gotta keep fighting the good fight for God and the united states of America!!!!

    7. fairbro says:

      I think it's (the article) on track – the Moslem threat looks strong and biggest just before their decline in the near future. The threat of liberalism and Progressives looks unbeatable, just before their overthrow.

      The Moslem religion is despised by half of Moslems themselves – women. There are alternatives to religious despotic dictators and many Moslems will embrace them when they have their freedom to choose.

      Liberalism and its supporters – union, media, politicians – are all far too corrupt to last more than another few years. The foundations are rotten, as the writer says, and the whole ideological structure is made of paper mache. A paper house that will blow away in the first stiff wind.

      The cornered rat fights harder and looks more dangerous right before its demise.

    8. Jim Wright says:

      I see a very difficult road ahead. Mr. Obama's dream, including his god like status is insupportable. There simply isn't enough money in the economy to support the spending levels he and his leftwing democrats desire. As far as I'm concerned the people have spoken, give Mr. Obama what he and his allies desire, raise taxes. Make sure he and the democrats own it all because it will stall the economy completely. Once that happens see how his supporters like what he has brought about.

      • Winnsmb says:

        Quite the contrary. Raising taxes is just the appetizer. What's really down the immediate road is the "confiscation" of our 401 k's, IRA's, and Social Security payments that we all have been saving during our working years. There's trillions of $$ at stake here…enough to pay for Obamacare and then some. These will be replaced with "Goverment insured bonds", ie. more paper debt.
        "Fiscal cliff"? How about the edge of the world.

    9. michaelharrington says:

      Oskie takes the pessimistic view that liberalism will succeed in destroying the nation before it destroys itself. Could be – it's happened in the past. I take the optimistic view that with modern communications, information networking, and the immutable desire for freedom, the country will transform its politics before sending itself over the cliff. But I have little in the way of proof except the human spirit that puts hope and freedom above fear.

    10. Stirling says:

      The article assumes that when liberalism falls that people will choose the alternative (under normal situation), but leaves out the fact that "Liberals/Progressives" have changed the "norm" which the media has brainwashed the comoner to belive is a false choice.

      Greece is a great example (recently) of a country that even after bankruptcy the people voted to continue the welfare state. As long as a Central Bank can bailout a country (to the willing detriment of it's soverignty) there can not be a real mass exodus of the welfare state.

      The liberals know that short of world bankruptcy people will not disconnect from the cozy government dependence. In fact they may want it, to give the UN the power once individual countries fail as a result of the welfare state failure. Their actions are driven globally for their end game, which needs to be understood, rather then mis-understood.

    11. Emmett Smith says:

      this is insanity. The term "Welfare State" is just another attempt to put fingers on and identify a problem that will cure insanity but, it can't be cured and will just continue to manifest its self in other ways. The only cure is to eliminate the government and the insanity that it feeds on. Otherwise, the government's quest for power and elimination of liberty will continue not matter what is done. Note that their only proposed solutions involve making the people suffer.

    12. Jim Molock says:

      Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Barrack Obama are leaders of what in my opinion should be defined as the Socialist Progressives. The Socialist Progressives I believe have but one goal, the restructuring of America into a socialist state. Everyone needs to refer to them for who they really are, the public face of the already strong Socialist Progressives and part of what could be termed the American Socialist Union (ASU) they would create. Their principles and even the letters of the nation they seem to prefer are the direct inverse of our USA. Please spread this message so that when people hear the word Progressive they will know it means Socialist Progressive or Socialist Democrat. These people must be stopped and time is short.

      jimmjcpb

      • Dwight Reese says:

        How? I'am so lost now. I can't stomach watching any news. I can't even listen to Rush. Our country is gone. I mean its never going to be the way it was. Its hard to even talk to people on the street, because they're afraid of conservatives. I have nothing to say to them. I hate 51% of my fellow Americans… And they hate me…:(

    13. Richard Szerlong says:

      As the military shrinks, homeland security goons rapidly grow in number and in weaponry. Could this be Obama's private army over which he rules as commander-in-chief? I see another Hugo Chavez in the making.

    14. Freedom says:

      The American electorate must be awakened. We must become much more aware of the big picture and the failure of socialist ideas all over the world. Too many are focused on" what goodies do I get?" There is no regard or what is sustainable. It is too easy for people to accept what appears to be the easy course even if they know it is short term. Conservatives must learn how to articulate why Conservative values are the best and most sustainable path. Where is our next Reagan?
      The Socialist Progressives must be stopped before it is too late. Our government has been diagnosed as having stage 3 cancer. Surgery is recommended!

    15. Hal Metzger says:

      I applaud your optimism and insight. However, Obama, Reid and Pelosi are dangerous elitists who do not quite "get it" and they are in charge! We have the clearest real time example of a progressive UN/EU elite organization parading their shortcomings on international TV every day. The only problem is that our mental-ly challenged citizens are watching instead the daily soaps, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars etc., etc. (Keep the goodies flowing! extremists only oppose!!) That was the substance of the message Obama and all Democratic liberals, including the lap dog media kept pushing until our people actually believed it and voted him back into office. It was plain mind numbing.

    16. If and when the welfare state collapses there is no guarantee we will see a turn toward conservatism. Only if those conservatives in positions of influence make the right decisions and sell the public. Otherwise we could see a totalitarian government come into power, promising to protect the privileges of the welfare state recipients. In a vacuum of economic understanding and belief in liberty as a key virtue, the public will think only in terms of its creature comforts.

    17. Dean says:

      I am trying to figure out how to post a comment here. I like many of the points you conservatives have made. It is interesting and educational reading. Now lets see if this posts.

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