Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Problem With Conservatives, Progressives and the 'If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It' Model ... CHANGE IS GOOD

My personal bias in politics is to be apolitical. I really don't think much of either the progressives or conservatives and the ways they behave in America today. I genuinely believe that American politics sucks.

In America the progressives believe that an elitist set of government officials has the knowledge to fix everything and "do-good" OPM style, while the conservatives fight hard to maintain the status quo and keep things just as they are, even though our American society has fundamentally changed since the Great Depression of the 1930s and New Deal days. The "Great Society" programs of the 1960s made things even worse.

In my view, the problem with conservatives is that they're always playing defense. Trying to keep things from changing and then when things change, trying to keep them from changing even more. Maybe the best defense really is a good offense, but the conservatives don't have the guts to find out if We the People will go along with such a "radical" program of change.

As a result, conservatives pay lip service to the ideals of individualism, self reliance and limited government, but in reality they stand ever ready to defend Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid nursing home subsidies, K-12 'government' schools, the loss ridden postal service and countless other unaffordable government "goodies." And they don't want to raise taxes to pay for all this "free stuff."

The problem with "progressives" is that they see more government as the answer to all our financial woes and the only way to save the middle class from the greedy capitalists, while the plain truth is otherwise. And when the "do-good" government programs fail to produce the intended results, the "progressives" advocate even more government interference with the private sector and additional public spending programs, thus perpetuating the current weak economy's vicious cycle and its harmful effects on We the People, and especially the lower income and poor among us.

So the progressives push for more government and the conservatives simply try to defend the status quo as it exists from time to time. As a result, we get more government, more government debt, slower economic growth, less individual prosperity and a weaker and more government dependent society.

In other words, all too often conservatives attempt to defend the status quo rather than undo the many things that definitely need to be undone today. And examples abound.

In fact, virtually anything that has been done the same way for a very long time would benefit from change. Change is good.

Put another way, I'm definitely in the 'if we don't fix it, it will break' instead of the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' camp. To repeat, change is good and tomorrow is never today just 24 hours later.

Let's look at just a few examples that need changing.

Recently we drove past a hundred or so card carrying protesters at the local post office who were making public their stance against the postal service's decision to stop Saturday mail deliveries later this year.

I wonder if any of these protesters have ever asked themselves why taxpayers should continue to subsidize the post office's operating losses with billions of dollars each year. Or why taxpayers should be satisfied even if Saturday mail deliveries are stopped but the post office thereafter continues to require billions of dollars in annual subsidies to fund its operations, which it will.

In other words, stopping Saturday deliveries is pure show biz, and it's not going to help taxpayers even if Saturday deliveries cease. Why do conservatives choose to allow the post office to continue as a perennial money losing monopoly after all these years?

Or why do we keep Social Security or Medicare as they are, or the nursing home subsidies of Medicaid? Since they're currently underfunded by approximately $100 trillion, isn't it time for radical change?.

Or why do we keep the K-12 public education government run monopoly as is despite its miserable track record?

Or what about the student loans outstanding for college students which total over $1 trillion now? Or the record level of food stamps?

You see, once a law is enacted, it never gets "un-enacted." It just grows in terms of cost and shrinks in terms of quality. That's what monopolies yield --- high costs and low quality. Yet the law, once enacted, then becomes a sacred cow. It's only a question of how big the cow will grow.

For instance, why not deliver mail three days a week instead of six and double the price to customers of sending that mail? And why not allow private sector competitors to compete with the post office for the customers' business?

And why not restrict Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid payments to those can demonstrate need instead of making their benefits an entitlement for everybody regardless of need?  And why not allow young people entering the work force to opt out of Social Security and handle their own retirement investments?

And why not allow people to do the same with Medicare? Or why not give vouchers to all and let parents and students choose for themselves which schools the children will attend?

None of the above is being seriously advocated by conservatives. In fact, it never has been. And of course, it's absolutely forbidden to even be mentioned in the progressive political playbook.

The fact is that government programs, both good and bad as well as old and new, need to be changed continuously and many need to be eliminated or radically modified.

Let's hear what Friedrich Hayek said about all this decades ago in "The Road to Serfdom:"

Notable & Quotable is short and sweet:

"The important point is that the political ideals of a people and its attitude toward authority are as much the effect as the cause of the political institutions under which it lives. This means, among other things, that even a strong tradition of political liberty is no safeguard if the danger is precisely that the new institutions and policies will gradually undermine and destroy that spirit."

Summing Up

As Forrest Gump said so eloquently, "That's all I have to say about that."

And now you know why I'm neither a fan of conservatives or 'progressives.'

So let's all beware of advocating the status quo and accepting what are the traditional views of one mainstream political party just because it may represent the lesser of two bad policies being proposed. 

Creeping socialism and both new and old laws will always represent a threat to We the People, and far too many of the policies that are instituted by our government have a tendency to become "just the ways things are" and then get worse over time.

Change is good for us. Conservatives and 'progressives' aren't.

At least that's my view.

Thanks. Bob.

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