Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Obama’s pointless, traceless super-spending is now (as they used to say after 9/11) “the new normal.” Nancy Pelosi assured the nation last weekend that everything that can be cut has been cut and there are no more cuts to be made. And the disturbing thing is that, as a matter of practical politics, she may well be right. Many people still take my correspondent’s view: If you have old money well managed, you can afford to be stupid — or afford the government’s stupidity on your behalf. If you’re a social-activist celebrity getting $20 million per movie, you can afford the government’s stupidity. If you’re a tenured professor or a unionized bureaucrat whose benefits were chiseled in stone two generations ago, you can afford it. If you’ve got a wind farm and you’re living large on government “green energy” investments, you can afford it. If you’ve got the contract for signing up Obamaphone recipients, you can afford it.But out there beyond the islands of privilege most Americans don’t have the same comfortably padded margin for error, and they’re hunkering down. Obamacare is something new in American life: the creation of a massive bureaucracy charged with downsizing you — to a world of fewer doctors, higher premiums, lousier care, more debt, fewer jobs, smaller houses, smaller cars, smaller, fewer, less; a world where worse is the new normal. Would Americans, hitherto the most buoyant and expansive of people, really consent to live such shrunken lives? If so, mid-20th-century America and its assumptions of generational progress will be as lost to us as the Great Ziggurat of Ur was to 19th-century Mesopotamian date farmers.
For those who managed to make good before the Age of Obama, or who have the looks and talent to pretend to be others in front of a camera, who have the skill to excel in sports (one in millions), they have bought insulation from its ravages. But those who live paycheck to paycheck, buy used cars on time, decide to buy chicken instead of beef because it's cheaper, and look carefully at the prices on the menu when they go out to eat know that they are stuck in an economic rut. And the economic system is being gerrymandered every day to keep them from doing better. They are being corralled, penned in and made to obey. They are learning what it's like to compete with the laborers of China and Viet Nam. For the Ruling Class, the Leftists, the Socialists, the Communists true believers this is known as progress.