Nonsense. The Clinton administration inherited the very ripe, low hanging fruit of his predecessors who ended the Cold War (and thus the massive military spending required to beggar the Soviet Union) and was then frog-marched into welfare reform by a stunning reversal of political fortune in the U.S. Congressional race of 1994 — led by Newt Gingrich, a Republican. Did I miss something?
Clinton then famously declared “the era of Big Government is over” as he quite correctly sensed the country’s impatience for and rejection of said. A great pivot by an adept, ah, pivot-er.
Yet, Foley’s straw men must be flogged into line and summarily executed by the decree of an ideology that appears to perpetually animate him. These condemned are thrust onto the gibbet and await their demise by bullet point.
For those following at home, the bullet point is a device of dogma used by ideologues for shooting straw men … and making clear via PowerPoint the benefits of pertinent actuary data for insurance seminars down at the Hilton Garden’s Magnolia Room.
While pleasing to the crowd (who doesn’t like a good public execution?), the bullets Foley uses don’t seem to hit very much when they are undermined by record employment non-participation (some 80 million to 90 million Americans) and a stock market swollen to bursting by companies sitting atop mountainous piles of cash as they patiently await an administration less regulatory, intrusive and apt to steal it via the tax code.
Foley then trots out a token out-of-touch rich guy (Nick Hanauer) to bemoan the consequences of wealth inequality, while somehow tying up the minimum wage, the intractable Republicans in Congress and a coming police state to form an amorphous sort of logic that declares Barack Obama as the engineer of the next Great Society if only people would listen — and go along quietly with the wealth redistribution program.
(Personally, I love it when rich guys and politicians bemoan the plight of the little guy, how about you? Why, some of my best friends are little guys! I was once a little guy too, you know …)
Truth is, a free society, one that recognizes the temporal right of private property, free association and minimal intrusion by government authority (but to protect and serve those things) is the reason the U.S. is, and always has been, the greatest force for lifting people out of poverty. I challenge Mr. Foley to point to another, better example.
The government-run utopias of Western Europe where everyone is herded into a decreed mediocrity that, at times, borders on the merely semi-miserable? Last time I checked, most of us over here work for somebody else in the money-grubbing world of private enterprise. Most of us get to keep most of what we earn. Personally, it has always been my fervent hope the guy I work for keeps doing OK. Heck, better than OK. Why? Because it specifically means I will do better than OK, too.
Foley would no doubt point out such blind faith in this trickle-down pap is the flawed logic of robber barons the world over and I merely spout the other side of the dogma that he himself employs.
Except for this: I have a marketable and highly specialized skill. It cost a great deal of time, money and no small amount of personal risk to obtain that skill. The sons and daughters of those so-called Western Social Democracies arrive year after year to obtain those same skills here in the U.S., because few over there can afford the regulation (and its cost) of even learning that highly specialized skill in their home country.
(By the way, a significant number seeking a position in my profession come from the Scandinavian countries, a darling of equality to the perpetually ill-informed American left.)
To my great satisfaction, most of the people I know in this profession come from quite humble beginnings and have succeeded quite well, despite the obstacles of the cost involved, for the simple reason they were motivated by the American Dream, educated themselves and were willing to risk, if not their lives, total failure. And they live in a country that, so far, keeps them safe, and (mostly) upholds the rule of law, therefore allowing them to thrive and prosper.
The lesson here is the one I impart, weekly, to my children: work hard at learning how to do something that is of use to someone else. Then do it. And don’t expect anyone to give you anything but a chance to prove yourself.
Matt Nash is a corporate pilot in Kennesaw.