THE annual Medicare Trustees Report came out yesterday, and the official line is good news. You can see that from Googling the news reports.
Not surprisingly, administration spokesmen have claimed that the Affordable Care Act is partially responsible for this. Maybe. After all, the ACA is supposed to raid Medicare of something like $700 billion over ten years to pay for the ACA. Or maybe the answer is Medicare Advantage, which encourages large deductibles and limits the front-end "free stuff" aspects of conventional Medicare.
What has happened is that Medicare costs have moderated in recent years, although they are expected to start to climb significantly by 2020. But the result is that, according to my analysis at usgovernmentspending.com, Medicare costs will reach 4 percent of GDP by 2023 -- instead of in 2020 as forecast in last year's report. Long term, at the end of the century, Medicare is forecast to approach 7 percent of GDP.
Think of it. By the end of the century the American people will be forking out 7 percent of every dollar just for the government share of senior healthcare, and that doesn't include Medicaid expenditures for the low-income elderly.
Something, as they say, will have to give. And way before the end of the century.
In a way, it's nice that the government takes care of our retirement income and health care. It relieves us seniors of the big worries of our declining years. Feel a pain, head for the doctor. But I worry about the young 'uns. Is is really fair or just to saddle them with such enormous burdens?
If you raise the question with a liberal they will ask you whether you want grandma starving in the street. Good point, liberal.
But, as the Brits are finding out, if you tighten up on welfare eligibility, more of the poor go out and get a job. In other words, marginal economics works, even with welfare. If you change the rules a bit, people will change their behavior a bit. Maybe we could try that with Medicare, especially as old people are the richest kind in America. What a concept: make seniors more individually responsible for their health care.
John Hawkins, in a typical "5 Obvious Principles of Human Nature That Baffle Liberals," points out the central principle of responsible individualism.
[I]t’s bad for people to have someone else making the decisions about their kids’ education, their retirement, and their health care[.]That's because the person that has other people make the big decisions about their life is, de facto if not de jure, a slave.
FOR conservatives there is much in Obama's America that doesn't make sense. Why is Obama so terminally divisive? Why would gays, on the cusp of winning their "marriage equality" want to rub out a techie like Brendan Eich? Why would feminists, after a half century of feminist progress, now be subjecting college boys to the witch hunt of the "rape culture?" Don't these people understand that ...
FOR years I've been wondering how the Obama administration does it. I mean how it has managed near zero pushback from the media? I know that the media are all liberals and liberals believe that the Democrats' hearts are in the right place. But still, somewhere, somehow there must have been a liberal joournalist whose desire to make a name for himself should have won out against tribal loyalty...
HERE'S a touching story from Taki on-line magazine. It's about Roy Griffis, who's been writing for years, but could never break through the liberal gatekeepers in the entertainment and publishing industries. But now, as Amy Sterzinger writes, Griffis is finally getting published, because of the growth of indie publishing efforts like Liberty Island. You can see why he's had a problem. ...
THE two Big Problems of human society, in my view, are Freeloaders and Freebooters. I have a whole chapter about it in "Freebooters and Freeloaders." Who are they?
The Freebooters are the common criminals that prey on the poor. That's what we have police forces for. That's just the domestic freebooters. The foreign freebooters are the neighboring state, the expansionist empire, the marauders and the pirates. That's what we have armies for.
But what about the freeloaders? They are the people looking for free stuff. And it's a curious thing that the government that defends us from freebooters, common criminals and dreaded foreign powers, is the agency that tends and feeds the freeloaders. Why does it do that? Because that is how all governments maintain their power. They originate as rebel or conquering armies that distribute baronies to the captains in their armies. They continue by buying the loyalty of their supporters with government spending and privileges.
So we could say that governments exist to protect the people from the predators. But they do it at the cost of encouraging the freeloaders. Two steps forward and one step backward.
What do we do about the freeloader problem? That's what we have religion for, and specifically the post-Axial Age religions that advance an individual relationship with God. Put it this way. The only way you can deal with a common criminal is by arresting him and locking him up. But freeloaders are different. They are people that don't actively break the law. They are just sneaking around looking for handouts. It's obviously a universal human trait or we wouldn't have supermarket specials and coupons and airline frequent flier programs.
The way you deal with freeloaders is you make them ashamed of their idleness. You shame them into getting a job. That's what religion does.
Back when Jane Austen was writing novels it was nothing for the rich to be idle. And the worst of the worst were the young heirs that wasted their youths on gambling and dissipation. I am thinking in particular of young Tom Bertram in Mansfield Park.
Not any more. The liberal trustafarians of our own time all present themselves as busy as bees running their family foundations and funding social justice projects. High class women don't sit around embroidering and making calls. They all have college educations and have careers. Rich people don't have social cachet these days unless they are doing something.
So much for the rich. But at the other end of the spectrum the modern welfare state actually encourages the poor in their idleness. It makes a virtue out of freeloading! And this is coded into the very design of the authoritarian welfare state and its over-under governing coalition. The "over" part gets the jobs, the money, the power and the love of beautiful women. The "under" part gets to freeload with a share of the loot, a payoff for voting the "overs" into power.
Now I maintain that the secular liberal political movement is actually a secular religion. It is not just a governing party but a way of life. So here we have a religion that actually promotes freeloading!
If you ask me, something's gotta give.
Here's my idea for a better America. Keep the government focused on fighting the freebooters and the predators. Government is force, and the only thing it can do is wage war on someone.
But we need a new religion to shame the freeloaders. Religion is all about the meaning of life and what it takes to live a good life. And the way that religion works on people is by shaming and shunning the backsliders: "social control" as our liberal friends put it.
But first we've got to chase the present liberal priesthood out of the temple, because their religion is a false religion. If a religion does not shame its believers away from freeloading then it is worth nothing at all.
THERE'S a big flap going on in SF quarters right now about rape. Conservative SF writer Larry Correia in his blog affirmed the advice of Miss Nevada that women should take self-defense classes to protect themselves from rapists. Apparently this is all wrong. The current liberal narrative is that there is a "rape culture" in the US and that instead of teaching women to defend themselves we ...
YESTERDAY talk-show host Rush Limbaugh riffed off a piece in Redstate.com about crony capitalism. Big business, you see, doesn't like Dave Brat and his populist anti-corporatism. They are afraid that Tea Party populism could upset their relationship with their "strongest champions on Capitol Hill." Look, I understand how business feels about this. It's all very well for a Tea Party candidate...
Download latest e-book draft here.
A New Manifesto
A spectre is haunting the liberal elitethe spectre of conservatism.
The Crisis of the Administrative State
It wasnt supposed to be like this.
Government and the Technology of Power
If you scratch a social reformer, you will likely discover a plan for more government.
Business, Slavery, and Trust
Business is all about trust and relationship.
Humanity's Big Problem: Freebooters and Freeloaders
The modern welfare state encourages freeloaders.
The Bonds of Faith
No society known to anthropology or history lacked religion.
A Critique of Social Mechanics
The problem with human society reduced to system.
The Paradox of Individualism
Is individualism the gospel of selfishness or something else?
From Multitude to Civil Society
The larger the government, the smaller the society.
The Answer is Civil Society
In between the separated powers.
The Greater Separation of Powers
If you want to limit power then you must limit power.
Conservatism Three by Three
Conservatism, political, economics, and cultural.
The Culture of Involvement
Imagining lives without the welfare state
The Poor Without the Welfare State
Can the poor thrive without the welfare state?
The Middle Class Without The Welfare State
How would the middle class live without all those middle-class entitlements?
From Freeloaders to Free Givers
The path to the future lies through moral movements.
The Real Meaning of Society
Broadening the horizon of cooperation in the last best hope of man on earth.
Andrew Coulson, Market Education
How universal literacy was achieved before government education
Carl Kaestle, Pillars of the Republic
How we got our education system
James Tooley, Reclaiming Education
How only a market in education will provide opportunity for the poor
James Tooley, The Miseducation of Women
How the feminists wrecked education for boys and for girls
E.G. West, Education and the State
How education was doing fine before the government muscled in
Hernando De Soto, The Mystery of Capital
How ordinary people in the United States wrote the law during the 19th century
F. A. Hayek, Law Legislation and Liberty, Vol 1
How to build a society based upon law
Henry Maine, Ancient Law
How the movement of progressive peoples is from status to contract
John Zane, The Story of Law
How law developed from early times down to the present
James Bartholomew, The Welfare State We're In
How the welfare state makes crime, education, families, and health care worse.
David Beito, From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State
How ordinary people built a sturdy social safety net in the 19th century
David Green, Before Beveridge: Welfare Before the Welfare State
How ordinary people built themselves a sturdy safety net before the welfare state
Theda Skocpol, Diminished Democracy
How the US used to thrive under membership associations and could do again
David Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry
How modern freemasonry got started in Scotland
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
How Christianity is booming in China
Finke & Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
How the United States grew into a religious nation
Robert William Fogel, The Fourth Great Awakening and the Future of Egalitarianism
How progressives must act fast if they want to save the welfare state
David Martin, Pentecostalism: The World Their Parish
How Pentecostalism is spreading across the world
After a year of President Obama most Americans understand that the nation is on the wrong track. But how do we find the right track? Americans knew thirty years ago that liberalism was a busted flush. Yet Reaganism and Bushism seemed to be less than the best answer.
But where can we turn? Where are the thinkers and activists of the old days? Where do we find the best ideas? And how do we persuade our present ruling class to loosen its grip on power so that we can move the locomotive of state back onto the right track?
With all of our problems it seems like the worst of times.
In fact, this is the best of times. Under the radar a generation of great thinkers have been figuring out what went wrong and conjuring up visions of a better future. This book, "An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism" is an introduction to their ideas, and to the great future that awaits an America willing to respond to their call.
Although this book is addressed to all Americans, conservative, moderate, and liberal, and looks to a nation that transcends our present partisan divide, I must tell you that liberals will have the most difficulty with the book. The reason is simple. I am asking liberals to give up a lot of the power they have amassed in the last century. But we are all Americans, and we must all give up something for the sake of the greater good.
I am Christopher Chantrill and I am writing this book in full view. I'll be blogging on the process and the ideas, and I'll be asking you, dear readers, to help. Read the blog. Read the articles as they come out on American Thinker and ponder over the draft chapters here on this site.
Then send me your reactions, your thoughts, and your comments. You will help more than you know.
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
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