posted on September 21, 2012 11:32
Mitt Romney’s getting pummeled for saying 47% of the voters will not support him because no one getting a check from the government’s going to vote for him over Obama.
Even the conservative pundits are giving Romney the blazes.
But while Romney was fumbling the facts he may also have put his finger on our Modern 21st Century Third Millennium Democracy’s biggest dilemma.
David Brooks wrote this about Romney’s faux pas: ‘In 1980, about 30% of Americans received some form of government benefits. Today about 40% do...In 1960, government transfers to individuals totaled $24 billion. By 2010, that total was 100 times as large… entitlement transfers have grown by more than 700% over the last fifty years… and this spending surge has increased faster under Republican administrators than Democratic ones.’
It’s a hard fact in our democracy: A majority can vote to reach into the treasury and help themselves to other people’s money whenever it wants. It’s redefined the meaning of ‘Majority Rule.’ And it’s not a new phenomenon.
Back during the 1820’s, Congressmen from the North (who wanted to protect manufacturers in New England from imports) and Congressmen from the West (who wanted Washington to build roads in their states) got together and passed tariffs – that were primarily paid by Southerners.
After the Civil War the railroad tycoons corralled enough votes in Congress to get the federal government to give them free and clear title to 12,000 acres of public land for each mile of track they laid – and, in the end, the tycoons ended up owning more land than there is in all of Germany.
Social Security and Medicare started out with the best of intentions but, today, unless you have the misfortune of dying young, when you retire the government is going to pay you a lot more than you ever paid into either program – whether you need the money or not.
And there seems to be no solution to the problem – instead it looks like once a democracy gets itself good and organized (which takes around 200 years) this is where it ends up.
So, maybe, instead of backpedaling Romney ought to let fly and say: I know pointing out our government has become a system for plunder is unpopular – but here’s an even harder fact: An economy based on plunder won’t work and it’s just a matter of time before the plunder gets so out of hand the economy collapses. So do we fix the problem now or do we wait for the collapse?
It would probably cost Romney the election but that debate is coming sooner or later.