It did not begin with hope and change. Hope and change is but the capstone sitting on top of a foundation long under construction. Americans were either too blinded or too apathetic to notice. And maybe we were just a bit too gullible for our own good and the good of freedom.
It started with a progressive income tax. Aptly named too. Steadily but gradually the percentage of income Americans had to pay or face harsh penalties, even imprisonment, increased. The more a person earned, the higher the percentage paid. Politicians used the money to expand government into areas the Constitution does not even deem the responsibility of government. The more tax revenue generated the more the reach of government expanded into the lives of the people. Over more time people came to depend on the federal government to provide that which should be provided by the individual states or the people themselves. Every government program or agency always sold to a gullible and unquestioning public as looking out for the welfare of the “folks.” Looking out for the folks is, after all, what is expected of any good public servant. The benevolent career politicians looked out for their cronies too and those generous to the campaign coffers. Keeping them wealthy and well-funded kept the politicians wealthy and well-funded.
A dependent people love to believe someone is looking out for them. It is what makes work the political arguments against cuts. Cut the budget and poor children will starve. There will not be enough teachers, or policemen or firemen. The roads and bridges will crumble. Government largess is always looking out for the welfare of the folks.
Gradually income levels rose for people required to pay taxes. Now nearly half the “folks” pay no taxes at all. As has been pointed out, they have no skin in the game. But, sadly they do. Kris Kristofferson wrote one of my all time favorite song lyrics, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing’ left to lose: Nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free.” Starting with the progressive income tax, we did with freedom what Kris did with Bobby McGee, “let her slip away.” It is the greatest of Marxist wealth redistribution tools. Americans will never see it go away because politicians are too addicted to it. Addicted to the influence they can peddle with it and the power they can derive from spreading it around, but rarely to the folks as they lay claim.
We let more freedom slip away with Social Security. A misnomer that one is. It promises security to our nations elders. A large and predicable voting bloc too often swayed by the insecurity that comes with government guaranteed security. Despicable politicians always offering hope and change on a foundation of false promises are always threatening its loss if a vote is cast in the wrong direction. In the form of Medicare, it now comes with a promise of quality health care for our senior citizens. Which has become little more than another political bludgeon with which to frighten and keep voters in line. Americans are a compassionate people. Guilt will not allow them to stand by and watch harm done to their senior citizens, especially since they relegated their care to the government. They too will vote accordingly. Gullible Americans actually expected politicians to protect the taxes paid to support social security.
Social programs are well intended. Everything government offers is sold on good intentions. Good intentions, the axiom reminds us, are the paving stones on the road to hell.
Move forward to more recent times and see the expansion of social security disability payments and unprecedented growth of the food stamp program, more than doubling in numbers, with people who enroll recipients receiving commissions and banks that run the electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card business making lots of money. Programs meant to help the truly needy are being abused and used as redistribution schemes that are enslaving the public. With practically endless unemployment benefits and food stamps, the incentive for someone to seek work and become self-reliant is gone.
Then Obamacare came along. Thrust for once upon and unwilling public. But it is the capstone of the fundamental transformation that started with the progressive income tax.
Do you recall the recent looting of two Wall Mart stores in Louisiana when EBT cards showed no limit? Did you read about the problems when the system did not work for a day in 16 states? Well dressed people carrying expensive purses and with designer sunglasses sitting on their heads were claiming starvation was near because their EBT card did not work that day.
So what happens the day that all of the programs that enslave Americans do not work. The Social Security checks do not arrive, Medicare stops working, the EBT cards stop working and Obamacare does not care? People panic. Then they riot. People prepared for this possibility are forced into defending themselves, their families, and their property.
I think that is when the dictator calls out that civilian national defense force he has been building with armored vehicles, weapons and billions of rounds of ammunition without worry from the military he has purged of warrior leaders. And then people will have hard choices to make.