A.J. DiCintio
Welfare kings and queens
By A.J. DiCintio
July 16, 2011

Forget a free lunch or two — they think they are entitled to live cradle to the grave from the sweat of other people's brows. In fact, their sense of entitlement runs so deep that the moment their harebrained enablers suggest the smallest reform aimed at getting them to quit imitating royalty and live like honest human beings they take to the streets screaming claims of injustice, spewing epithets at imagined oppressors, and committing acts of violence against persons and property.

I am speaking, of course, not of individual welfare frauds who have contempt for morality and the law but nations that break no laws as they mock morality and the dictates of pragmatic reality — nations that can cause infinitely greater problems than a relatively few people in a single country.

The fundamental situation of these frauds is simple:

Having accumulated a porcine debt, usually fattened by continuing high annual deficits, they find themselves in imminent danger of defaulting on their loan payments, at which time they demand more loans at better terms until reality bites so hard they incredibly claim that moral principles require the cancellation of most or all of their obligations.

To put it simply, welfare fraud states live lives they can't afford while insisting others pick up the tab for their astonishing prodigality.

So, who are the most important members of this perverse club; and who are their mindlessly Pollyannaish enablers?

Although it poses no economic threat to any other country, I begin with Cuba, explaining myself as follows:

Who except a liberal (Michael Moore, for example) can resist the delicious irony inherent in pointing out that what has been wrought by blowhard Marxist tyrant Fidel Castro — to be precise, the blustering, pretentious ass Fidel Castro of interminable UN harangues — is an impoverished prison-state, previously dependent for its survival upon welfare from the USSR and these days Venezuela.

That tasty tidbit established, I go on to a few of today's virulent taker-democracies, beginning with Greece.

Now, many people believe the most important fact about this one-time mother of Western civilization turned welfare cheat is that it is destined to default in one manner or another sooner rather than later.

But those folks are wrong because the most significant truth about Greece is this:

Only arrogant, jackass French and German politicians fixated on the idea of a "New European Order" — of which they envisioned themselves big shots to become only big holders of big fat junk bonds — could argue in favor of EU admission for a country Harvard Professor Kenneth Rogoff describes as having been in default "for a substantial amount of its modern history."

And only other equally arrogant European politicians could agree with them, providing one more reason exasperated financial adviser and commentator Barry Ritholtz decries a lack of media attention given to the fact that "lending to insolvent people, institutions and countries is first and foremost the fault of lenders."

The same analysis applies to Italy — pre-euro Italy of endless devaluations of the lira and post-euro Italy with its unsustainable entitlement promises; horrifically bloated, red tape crazed government; and debt to GDP ratio of 114%

And to Spain, a nation with a long-time unemployment rate of 11% (currently 21% and far worse for young workers), a deficit amounting to 10% of GDP, and government spending, entitlements, wage structures, and work rules that wouldn't be realistic if, miraculously, Spaniards instantly became twice as productive as Germans.

Finally, there are failed nanny state Portugal and bank-betrayed Ireland, both of which will be living on the dole for the foreseeable future.

Having shed some light on those welfare frauds and the fools who enable them, this exposition could end. But such a hasty exit would constitute succumbing to the aspect of human frailty the Bible condemns with the question, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (NIV)"

Therefore, a few words about the financial condition of the U.S., which, to be honest, is currently plagued only by a big stick in the eye but is on a path to bypass the plank stage and go directly to redwood trunk.

Here's why.

Data provided by the Treasury Department and from the ten year ("deficits forever") fiscal plan President Obama offered with his '12 budget reveal that if GDP were to grow an average of 3% a year for the next decade (a rate better than today's "new normal"), by 2023, the total debt to GDP ratio will rise to 114% and the publicly held debt to GDP ratio to 91%.

Frightening yet probably not disastrous. . .but only if one plays ostrich with the fact that financial projections conjured up by politicians always understate spending and overstate income.

And keeps his head in the sand regarding these realities —

. . . The projections ignore borrowing that, beginning as early as 2016, will be needed to honor "IOU's" the Social Security system holds as a result of the $2.5 trillion Congress has spent from the mythical "Social Security Trust Fund."

. . . They ignore the true costs of "Obamacare" that Obama and his Democratic allies carefully kept hidden by pushing them to 2016 and after.

. . . They ignore the inflation-outpacing cost of healthcare in general, which "Obamacare" does almost nothing about.

. . . They ignore the reality that if interest rates rise just to historic levels, the cost of servicing the debt will cause the American people to suffer pain they never dreamed of while higher than average rates will astonish them with a nightmarish catastrophe.

In the face of these terrible truths, our government is headed by a president who from his first day in office has remained dogmatically devoted to his beloved liberal ideology, the first and dearest tenet of which is that in the pursuit of "empathy" and "spreading the wealth around," a bigger, more powerful, more costly central government is absolutely essential.

But the nation is also affected powerfully by the president's opponents, whose neo-cons and big business shills argue everything's beautiful regarding our trade with China, our banking system, our borrowing trillions to kill a few of the enemy as social worker generals and their brave troops pursue the prime objective of "nation building," our serving up military welfare for rich nations, our corrupt business tax regime that favors enormous multinational corporations over job producing small business, and our de facto open border/open immigration policy.

Both parties, then, support policies that increase the nation's indebtedness directly — or indirectly as workers who earn less and businesses that "outsource" pay less to the Treasury.

That's why the American people desperately need smart, honest, fair, pragmatic, innovative change that comports with economic realities, truths about human nature, and traditions that have made America the great nation it is.

If we continue to accept the opposite — the kind of duplicitously vague hope and change sold to us in the last election — we'll continue on a path that sooner than we dare imagine finds us metamorphosed into thoroughly devastated welfare kings and queens on bended knee, futilely begging China not just to forgive our debts but save our republic.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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