by Jim Watkins | September 16, 2021
Maybe people just can’t handle being free.
Count how many people you know who are receiving some or all of their monthly income (or medical coverage) from government assistance. When you think of it, more and more people are so close to poverty, they simply cannot afford to feed themselves as well as make sure they have access to quality healthcare, and over 90% of us are one diagnosis away from bankruptcy. Social ills like addiction, mental health, declining birth rates are not just signs of economic illness, but of societal breakdown. Even the unemployment numbers brought on by covid lockdowns have shown many people would rather get a check than actually work.
In my own family I have two siblings (out of four) and several in-laws who do not work, have not worked for over a decade; They are entirely totally dependent for survival from income or benefits they receive through SSI, disability, medicare, and medicaid.
All of them are under 62.
When one is dependent on government subsidies, true equity sets in. Your income is fixed, which means your lifestyle remains static. Having medical expenses paid for is great until you have to get in line with the other recipients who are also covered, so the quality of healthcare goes down, doctors spend less time with patients and while you may not go bankrupt, you will live like you have for the rest of your life.
It might be security but it is not liberty in the sense of having control of your life.
Survey after survey shows most Americans would prefer safety over freedom, and this is why socialism is gaining popularity in society.
People in even open democracies become more and more dependent on government assistance just to survive. Freedom of mobility, to own property, to pursue dreams and career opportunities, to choose where you live and what you do with your time all goes away when you are a little more than poor and any extra income you do receive will lessen or end your subsidies.
One sibling, for example, has been on SSI for over thirty years; he is not allowed to own a vehicle or he will lose Section 8 Housing (subsidized rent); if he earns any income and doesn’t report it he can be penalized; if he reports any side income beyond a certain level his monthly stipend will be reduced. His monthly income is $1200. His medication is all paid for, so while he is technically just above the poverty line, he is safe knowing he will never lose his benefits or face bankruptcy. How may people do you know who live this way?
How many millions of people would settle for this? The answer is more than you think. According the Social Security Administration, nearly 69-million people, 21% of the U.S. population receive monthly income from the federal government. That is more than one in five people in the U.S.
Add to this our schools pump out students who have low STEM scores and can barely be called literate.
The U.S. ranks 25th in the world in math skills for most high school graduates, guaranteeing low-income jobs await them while higher salaried jobs go to high achievers from countries where education has a higher priority, like China, Germany, or South Korea. China ranks #1 in math proficiency. Meanwhile, graduate students come to America for positions Americans aren’t proficient enough to occupy because they barely have an eighth-grade education. In California and Washington State, two states with enormous tech and aviation employment opportunities, not to mention film and computer industries, want to eliminate grades altogether because lesser performing students are “stigmatized.”
How can people with a substandard education be expected to “live the American Dream” when they can barely afford the rent? The answer is they cannot. As we witnessed during the pandemic, people got used to “Trump-dollars” and Biden-bucks,” they liked free money. Who doesn’t?”
A sitting U.S. congressperson publicly demanded the Feds ” print more money to give to people who are poor.” Apparently the Feds agreed and have been flooding the market ever since with cash for sixteen consecutive months.
Our deficit is expected to exceed thirty-trillion dollars by 2025, and Biden’s course is to raise taxes on the “rich” until the rich stop being rich and either eliminate jobs or move offshore, which is what happened during eight-years under Obama. And besides, “rich” (those net $1.9 million per year or more) are already paying 70% of all taxes in the United States. The rich comprise 10% of the overall population, and 51.2% of all U.S. citizens pay no annual income tax, which means the other half are covering the bar tab.
To a certain extent, freedom in a free-market society comes when you are financially stable. The more expendable income you have, the more likely you are to invest, improve and enjoy things that allow you to move about. Poverty is the great equalizer because without money society is closed off. If you are not good at making a living you will suffer.
When you live check to check you either go into endless debt or your quality of live is limited to cheap food, low income housing and public transportation. Admittedly, it is becoming harder and harder for average people to navigate in an open society where freedom and liberty also mean fail if you can’t keep up.
Every homeless person you see on the street is failing at freedom. By now, you can see why the word freedom begins to wane for people who can barely survive, while the word security becomes more desirable. This is why socialism has its greatest appeal to people on the lower end of the economic spectrum; the under-privileged not only want government to save them, they demand it, and government couldn’t be happier.
This is why the CCP has ruled China with an iron fist without much resistance since 1949. The 90 million or so Chinese who do enjoy the good life fully support the government because it benefits them. What do they care if 1.3 billion live in squalor, at least the masses have food and healthcare, and if they work hard, they are told, they too can be among the privileged.
I use China as in illustration because it is where we are headed. Remember that prior to communism, China had capitalism, they also had massive drug addiction, corruption, castes and yes, lots and lots of freedom.
Most addicts we see in places like Los Angeles, Detroit, Philadelphia and Seattle are the by-products of an overly complicated free society, andmany simply find it easier to escape, rather than deal with being “free;” (by having to work hard and be persistent); you can fall hard in such a place and no one may be able to help you – except government – which always comes at a price.
In the 1930’s and 1940’s economist Friedrich Hayek properly assessed by observing Naxism as well as Stalinist Communism, the more things are centralized into a collective and overly-paternalistic government, the more control they need to prevent the breakdown of that particular power structure. Compliance is crucial. If you can convince people compliance is better for them, those who oppose will be marginalized as being a threat to stability.
Today, you see this in the way the unvaccinated are being villainized for not complying, and therefore preventing stability .
In a sense, the more the U.S. (or any economy) fails, the better it is for the federal government and the ruling class to step in and take over means and production.
Most recently the executive branch used Health and Human Services to take over distribution of monoclonal drugs, stalling supplies. The system was working, it was only the federal government who chose to get involved. No one was asking.
HOW WE ARRIVED AT THIS POINT
A decade ago the people who paid taxes were outnumbered by the people who didn’t. The tip has been scaled towards government dependency. The momentum of a better quality of living is slowing, the middle class is shrinking. The upper class is growing but the middle class shrank by 15% and more people went on unemployment than have in the last thirty-years, thanks entirely to the COVID pandemic and government lockdowns we now suspect did nothing to stop the spread of coronavirus
More people are in debt now than ever before and if there is a crash in the market, which is likely, even people who have their retirements “locked into 401k’s” will be out of luck when mutual fund gains evaporate overnight. The average person today has less than one month of their earnings in the bank, according to people who count such things.
Freedom will mean nothing if you are only free to starve. The Feds know this.
At the root of this is education. Our educators has failed us because our children leave High School with a 7th grade education, compared to most other developed countries.
How did this happen? In the 1940’s and 1950’s American education was the envy of the world.
The National Educational Agency, or NEA, dictates curriculum across the country, and it decided it was more important to make sure “no child was left behind,” while ignoring the more advanced students for fear of shaming the less-academically astute ones.
Emphasis shifted from basics like math, history, science and phys education to “common core principles;” new math, social behavior skills and climate activism took priority.
The result? we have young people who are simply not intellectual prepared to survive the complicated social structure that awaits them. Many kids can’t even fill out a checkbook, or employee application, or even write a letter to their congressperson (if they even know who it is) by the time they go to college. But they hate carbon, capitalism and competition because, well, it makes people feel bad.
So yes, I pose the statement, can people really handle freedom when what they prefer are simple comforts like eating bad food, playing with our smartphones and being dazzled by social media?
Under these conditions true equity will come when the economic playing field is truly leveled by apathy and government intervention.
Ask yourself what is more important to you: security or liberty? equity of outcome or equality of opportunity?
Which provides for a better quality of life for the most people?
Your answer discloses the kind of government you want, one that will take care of you at the expense of your liberty, or a society where you are free to explore your potential – even if it means you might fail from time to time.