We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
All over the developed world, nations are coming to terms with the fact that the social-democratic welfare state is turning out to be untenable. The reason is partly institutional: The administrative state is dismally inefficient and unresponsive, and therefore ill-suited to our age of endless choice and variety. The reason is also partly cultural and moral: The attempt to rescue the citizen from the burdens of responsibility has undermined the family, self-reliance, and self-government. But, in practice, it is above all fiscal: The welfare state has turned out to be unaffordable, dependent as it is upon dubious economics and the demographic model of a bygone era. Sustaining existing programs of social insurance, let alone continuing to build new ones on the social-democratic model, has become increasingly difficult in recent years, and projections for the coming decades paint an impossibly grim and baleful picture. There is simply no way that Europe, Japan, or America can actually go where the economists' long-term charts now point — to debts that utterly overwhelm their productive capacities, governments that do almost nothing but support the elderly, and economies with no room for dynamism, for growth, or for youth. Some change must come, and so it will.
But fully grasping this reality will not be easy. Our attachment to the social-democratic vision means that we tend to equate its exhaustion with our own exhaustion, and so to fall into a most un-American melancholy. On the left, fear of decline is now answered only with false hope that the dream may yet be saved through clever tinkering at the edges. On the right, the coming collapse of the liberal welfare state brings calls for austerity — for less of the same — which only highlight the degree to which conservatives, too, are stuck in the social-democratic mindset.
I would dispute the point that nations are coming to terms with the end of the welfare state.
I would suggest they are still in denial. Look at the way the populations riot and governments fall as the bill comes due. Electorates simply appear outraged to me. I don't see anyone anywhere voluntarily cutting back for the good of the nation.
And look at the USA. We have enacted 0bamacare. Is that the action of a Congress concerned about the end of the social welfare state? Take a look down in your newslinks today. The dems plan to run against any cuts in entitlement spending while the repubs are proposing absolutely minimal cuts to government spending.
Nobody looks worried about it to me.
There is still much to loot. Taxes can be raised and IRAs confiscated. Defense can be pared down comparable to the UK.
And we can print money.
It can't go on forever and when the music stops it will make Wisconsin look like a walk in the park.
It is going to be one heckuva a train wreck to watch.
If indeed the government has come to terms with the demise of the welfare state, the next step for them is to tear up the vast web of regulation and let the free market go free!
In my imagination I see American oil companies flaunting the (stupid) regulation against drilling in the Gulf, in Anwar, off California's coast, etc and simply setting up rigs and going into business with the attitude of "stop me if you can" indeed, "stop me if you will"
at least Nero had a fiddle while Rome burned. Seems our political class is having one hell of a cocktail party at our expense.
Never the less, its good to have your own fall-back, when the demise comes forth. Those whom are thrifty, who have planned, and can subside on their own (farm, have a mercantile trade (do something in trade for something else), can/put up food, etc) will come out of the nightmare just fine - those whom have suckled on the Gov'ment teet will go to tallow.
Sad, pity, and outright distain for our political masters whom said we could have our cake and eat it too, never realizing it took effort to get the items to make it, bake it, and construct it. You're about to reap what you have sowed....
They aren't coming to terms with anything. We may muddle through this - and come out the other side looking like a Third World nation.
More likely we are just going to ride the welfare state right into the ground and watching the spectacular explosion. After the ensuing eugenics exercise, patriots will rebuild with even more safeguards against the statists. Maybe next time they will hold off the statist until some of us get off planet and free of them forever.