Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I Hope Santa Comes

"From day to day it becomes more obvious that large-scale additions to the amount of public expenditure cannot be financed by “soaking the rich,” but that the burden must be carried by the masses. (…) Every penny of additional government spending will have to be collected from precisely those people who hitherto have been intent upon shifting the main burden to other groups. Those anxious to get subsidies will have to foot the bill themselves for the subsidies. (…) An essential point in the social philosophy of interventionism is the existence of an inexhaustible fund which can be squeezed forever. The whole doctrine of interventionism collapses when this fountain is drained off. The Santa Claus principle liquidates itself."

 Ludwig von Mises (1881 - 1973)
From "A Treatise On Economics" page 852-855, written 1949

I learned there was no Santa Claus when I was young and I learned it on my own.  It seems to be a principle of economics that we all learn in our own ways.  Some never learn, and some of those grow up to become bureaucrats.  Those who don't become bureaucrats become the recipients of "Santa's" largess.

Growing up in Washington DC, every December we would venture from our home in Chevy Chase downtown to the Woodward & Lothrup Department Store.  Why there?  Because that is where the "real" Santa was.  There were other Santas in other stores, but Woodies had the real Santa.  The others, I was told, were helpers.

That area was quite the annual production, with all the window displays and decorations in the street.  And Santa was quite the production too.  Parents would dump the kids, I mean pay for the photograph and happily drop their children off, to stand in the long line to wait for their turn on Santa's lap.  Then we'd spill our guts, proclaiming how good we were all year and deliver our huge list of wants.  Always huge.

I remember being dropped off with the charge, "After you see Santa, you and your brother wait for us over there," with my mother pointing to a spot.  And we did.  Hopefully Santa's line would give them enough time to shop.  They planned the visit for the time that the lines would be the longest.  So did everyone else.

One December I was snooping around in my grandmother's frightful cellar.  There was a wooden closet down there, with an open grill on the top, with a door that was always locked.  That's probably where they hid the booze from the kids.  Going over to it, I found it to be unlocked and ventured in.  What I found was a shock - everything I had asked for from Santa was in there!  Along with my brother's list of things.  What's this?!  When I brought it up to my mother, she told me to not go back in there and NOT to tell my brother.  Which I ran and did right away.

However, I grew up understanding there is no Santa Claus!  And there isn't!  Many "adults" don't understand that.  THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING GUBMENT GOODIES.

I recognize that there are those in gubment, and those who believe them, to use Dr. von Mises's phrase, who think that "soaking the rich" and giving their earned property to someone else is sound and to-be-expected gubment policy.  But it can only work for so long!  Well, it never works at all.  Never has, never will.

Sooner or later, as Margaret Thatcher reminded, this practice, socialism, only works until Santa runs out of other people's money!

Ah, the new "health" "care" legislation may have gotten us to the point where the von Mises prediction above has come home to roost!  The "fountain" is necessarily "drained off" when it comes to the huge, and huger than anyone now imagines, medical expenses that will have to be paid!  And notice, the definition of "rich" has shrunk.  I bet it now includes those who make $36K a year or more.  RICH, um, used to mean rich!

Yes, everyone understands the lies.  Of course you can't have a new system where you can expect to keep your old stuff, from doctor to insurance policy, with premiums cheapened by $2500 annually, along with more and better "health" "care" to be provided more efficiently than ever before!  It can't be done!  Never mind in an actuarial sense!  The logistics don't work!  Really, more for less? 

But that is what "the people" voted for!   Or thought they were.  The Four Legs in the barnyard mostly said that they want what the Two Legs would provide!  And provide everything because, after all, it's free!  Why did they vote for that?  Because the Two Legs said they would!!  Well, good luck with that.

In the last election one party found out that logic and adult thinking cannot compete with Santa Claus.  And never will be able to compete with him.  Think carefully.  Have we reached the TIPPING POINT from which there is no return?

Recently the Washington Times published comments from a Democratic Underground website.  You know the one.  Here are a couple:

"What happened that my Social Security with holdings in my paycheck just went up?"
"My paycheck just went down by an amount I am not comfortable with.  What happened?"
" I know
to expect between $93 and $94 less in my paycheck come the 15th.  They lied."
"Many of my friends didn't realize it either.  The payroll department in our company didn't prepare us well."

Of course not!  Now think carefully.  Which group will be footing the "health" "care" bill for the tens of thousands of Baby Boomers who are retiring every week?  And many of that new Santa group did not realize it!  And they will be forced to provide.  There will be no opt out.  Remember, statism doesn't work voluntarily.  It HAS to be forced.  And will be.

Do I NOW think I can look forward to Santa, only that he is coming from another direction?  No.  The real work will be taken over by a panel.  Call the panel what you will, but it's a panel nonetheless.  They will decide who gets what, and for how long.  It's written into the "law."  Should they call it the Santa Panel?


P.s.  If you don't understand the Four Legs/Two Legs reference, which I often refer to in my posts, read George Orwell's book Animal Farm.  He was a committed socialist who got, um, disillusioned with the whole idea.  Socialism would have worked, until those darn Russians ruined it.  Bummer.

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