Confederate President Jefferson Davis remarked during the War for Southern Independence that “If the Confederacy fails, there should be written on its tombstone: Died of a Theory.” President Davis was referring to the political theory of states’ rights and his belief that it was undermining the war effort, as state governments were constantly resisting repeated calls for cooperation with Richmond.
Should America fail, our tombstone should read: “Died of Politics.” For it is good ole fashioned politics, the parties fighting over petty things to score political points, that will be our undoing, if we don’t change our ways.
As the nation stares a potentially serious fiscal crisis in the face, we’d much rather squabble over minor issues and zing somebody as if it’s a game rather than the lives of the people that really matters.
Case in point: Trump’s Border Wall and travel ban executive order. In the past, Democrats have supported tough anti-immigration stances in the past (see Bill Clinton’s 1995 & 1996 State of the Union Address, Obama’s remarks in 2005). Now they act as if it’s the worst thing that has ever befallen the country and go to great lengths to masquerade in front of the cameras to show their displeasure, with Chuck Schumer even shedding fake tears in at an airport news conference over a policy he supported a year before.
Another case in point: FBI Director James Comey. After Hillary’s loss in the election, Democrats were calling for his scalp, but after Trump let him go this week, Democrats pounced on the President for acting like Nixon during the 1973 Saturday Night Massacre. Maxine Waters told one interviewer that she did not support Trump firing Comey, but would have approved if Hillary had done so.
Our political culture has become so polarized, so inundated with petty, partisan politics that it’s becoming more and more difficult to get much-needed reforms enacted because any serious discussion of major policy changes is meet with the usual litany of demagogic attacks designed to scare one group or another in order to up the score, and it comes almost exclusively from the Left.
One of the biggest problems facing the United States, which almost no presidential administration will dare touch, is the huge unfunded liability in the Social Security and Medicare systems. One estimate has the overall mandate tab at a staggering $117 trillion. But since these programs are considered the “third rail” of American politics, and therefore untouchable, nothing seems like it will ever get done.
And it seems like we can’t even discuss serious reform proposals. President George W. Bush attempted a partial privatization of Social Security, only to have the Left drag out its oft-repeated demagoguery and sufficiently frighten enough of America’s senior citizens to kill the proposal, as they’ve done time and again. Even though a privatization plan would be a huge benefit to future retirees, it was killed by politics. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan fell because of similar assaults, without enough time for anyone to really consider how the proposal might better the programs.
The South American nation of Chile had a retirement system modeled after the United States, and had similar problems. The program was in bankruptcy. In 1981, the Chilean government put politics aside and switched from a government-run system to a privatized version where its citizens can invest in individual retirement accounts in the private sector.
The result has been one of the fastest, most robust economies in Latin America, and Chileans have a much greater return on their money, more than 10 percent per year. Compare this with our Social Security system, where you are lucky to get 3 percent. Instead of a monthly Social Security check for $1,000, retirees would bring in nearly $4,000 under that system.
Since the Chilean reform, eight other Latin American nations implemented similar systems. In Europe, Poland has followed suit. Our politicians, however, allow politics, and the overwhelming “Yankee” urge to control others, to get in the way of such progress, which seems to be par for the course with our current crop in Congress, demagogues on one side of the aisle, cowards on the other.
Tax reform is another hot-button issue in need of reform. Several nations, especially those in Eastern Europe, have long been in the process of studying Reaganomics and beginning to implement flat tax systems and fiscal policies that have been proven to work. In recent years Estonia, Slovakia, Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia, Bulgaria, Albania, and Russia (Yes, Russia!) have all dumped complicated tax systems similar to ours in favor of the flat tax.
Other nations are considering doing likewise. For those that have instituted reforms, the results have been staggering. Revenues have greatly increased, as well as economic growth, while tax evasion and the underground economy have become almost non-existent. At least 25 nations around the world have revolutionized its tax code with this simple system.
A flat tax would be a boon to our economy. It would simplify the code and free up billions of dollars not spent on accountants and lawyers that could be invested in the private sector. Imagine filling out your taxes on a single index-sized card and mailing your check into the IRS, with no taxes on savings or your estate after you die.
Even corporations would come under this plan. That’s billions that can be invested in the company for higher wages, better benefits, and more innovation. In short, the flat tax system has worked miracles everywhere it has been implemented.
But here in the United States, the beacon of freedom for the rest of the world, a nation that was born from a tax revolt, cannot get similar reforms enacted. Why? Because of politics! As President Trump readies his tax reform plan, NO MATTER WHAT HE UNVEILS, watch the class warfare rhetoric by the Left. Democrats consistently demagogue the issue, using their oft repeated class warfare rhetoric of “a tax cut for the rich,” a cry heard at every turn.
I find it quite embarrassing that instead of leading the world on many of these important issues, we find ourselves, again because of politics, having to learn lessons from Chile and Bulgaria.
The United States, once the leading nation on earth in terms of innovation and progress, is now regressing into a nation of petty, squabbling politicos. Other nations of the world follow the America of old; we seem to want to keep our failing bureaucratic nightmares. Other nations move toward freedom, we head the other way. If we should continue down this path, we do so at our peril.