One congenital flaw of people in general is an inability to respond to an abstract problem that threatens society.
Even if climate change was something over which people were righteously hysterical, the convenience of all the goods and services that are powered by fossil fuels would enable climate change to devastate the globe with insufficient collective resistance. This lamentable natural quality applies similarly to the issue of endless federal spending. The people of the United States are agents of destructive sympathy, unable to forfeit the impending bankruptcy of their nation for the preponderance of the welfare state. The questions of debt, money, and excessive social welfare become the left-wing moral imperatives of state-mandated compassion, economic equality, and the obsolescence of money. Proponents of aggressive Keynesianism and an exorbitant welfare state have a moral valuation system founded in consequentialism and fantastic delusion. Left-Wing consequentialists believe that the ultimate moral deed is to establish a redistributive state or commune whereby access to resources and political power are granted equally by the very merits of human worth. Unfortunately, social democrats like Bernie Sanders and media darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, also live in a world where the monetary means to accomplish their redistributive goals are an imaginary obstacle. To them, money is a social construct; an arbitrary manifestation of capitalism.
There are just two tiny problems with this general worldview. One, we already behave as if money exists and has intrinsic value. Every year, we pay interest on our national debt which will soon surpass our total military spending. Spending the incomes of unborn generations via debt, and willfully ignoring possible future ramifications is an unparalleled immorality. And two, the European examples to which social democrats point for guidance indubitably subsist on global trade and other elements of capitalism. By any standard, the American left demands too much to possibly consider the subject of payment. At the very least, the European left admits to extortionately taxing all of its citizens.
In most of Europe, typical income tax rates may range from roughly thirty to fifty percent depending on one’s level of income. Already significantly higher than the US, this does not account for the other pocket-cleaning taxes that are levied on Europeans. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Germany levies a progressive income and capital tax that caps out at 45%, but still place a 25% withholding tax on interest and dividends and a 15% withholding tax on royalties. The OECD also reports that The Danes pay an 8% labor market contribution tax, a 5% healthcare tax, between 22.5% and 27.8% in municipal taxes, social security taxes of DKK1,080 (approximately USD $164) per year, a capital gains taxes of 27% or 42%, and a withholding tax of 27% on dividends and 25% on royalties.
Despite aggressive taxation, a homogenous society, relatively low population, and a low immigration flow, Europe struggles to maintain the welfare state. Meanwhile, the American left has said taxes will not be raised on most income brackets, while also welcoming an unceasing flow of immigration, and advocating a continuum of new federal expenditures with basically no restraint.
The United States has comparatively low taxes, but over $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities, as well as the $22 trillion national debt. When social security was first implemented, it was funded by an excess of one-hundred and twenty contributors for every single social security beneficiary. Today, that ratio is hardly two contributors for every one recipient of benefits. Most retirement pensions and social security plans are nothing but a receding cliff upon which the lie of infinite money was built. What would any rational person do if put in charge of such a pathetically overwhelming situation? Spend more or less? The answer is clear.
However, the left does not care one iota about the state of our debt crisis, nor do they seriously put any thought into funding their political fantasies. Jake Tapper from CNN interviewed AOC, the young new face of the Democratic Party, in the months and weeks leading to the 2018 midterms. Determined to receive a detailed answer, he asked her how she plans to “fund her projects” including enterprises like Medicare for all, free college, student loan alleviation, and a federal jobs guarantee. Tapper pointed out to then-candidate Ocasio-Cortez that her plans could cost at least $40 trillion over the next 10 years. Apart from tax increases on the wealthiest Americans that would have extracted a maximum of $2 trillion, AOC was unable to account for the remaining $38 trillion; and it didn’t matter. To the left, price and merit are secondary to utility, while resources and services are to be innately available in a state of nature. Sen. Bernie Sanders, when confronted with the financial reality of single-payer healthcare, simply said: “It’s the moral and humane thing to do”. I suppose this could be the justification for spending as much as $700 trillion, if it meant prolonging our delusions for one more generation.
There is no social program the left will not fund, no immigration policy too lenient, no amount of debt too high. The one inevitability: bankruptcy. But at least we will all feel morally self-affirmed for temporarily maintaining the welfare state.
(As seen on Ceccpoint.com and the Conservative Analysis Podcast on Youtube and iTunes)