The Insult of Leftist Lies

If one wants to explore what makes the minds of the left-liberal elites tick, there is perhaps no better place to search than on the editorial pages of the New York Times, which on the last Saturday of 2011 saw fit to bemoan such  little reductions as Republicans had been able to accomplish in the Obama administration's ongoing runaway spending binge:

But that still leaves major reductions in the vital category known as nondefense discretionary spending[.] ...

... This spending category has been the main focus of Republican pressure for decades. In the 1970s, nondefense discretionary spending represented about 5 percent of the gross domestic product; that is now down to about 2.5 percent. Over the next decade, once the new cuts go into effect, it will decline to less than 2 percent. This year's spending bill, signed into law a few days ago, is roughly 10 percent lower than last year's, cutting Pell grants, environmental programs and aid to desperate states. Low-income heating assistance was cut by 25 percent.

As the economist Jared Bernstein has noted, this is the category of spending that helps people move up the income ladder, providing nutritious food, improving early education and job training and putting people to work. [Emphasis added.]

Without that laundry list of government support (not to mention food stamps, welfare, and a plethora of other "entitlement" and "safety net" wealth transfers), we are told that Americans just cannot hope to "move up the income ladder."  Not only is that a bald-faced lie, but it is a gross insult to all of us -- and, yet such thinking forms the basis of those who would rule us as a nanny-state (which includes all the left and, sadly, too much of the right as well).

The Times' assertion is an outright lie because tens of millions of Americans, both native-born and foreign-born, have utterly disproved it over more than two centuries -- and tens of millions continue to  disprove that lie to the extent that the government stays off their backs.

It is an insult to all of us whose forbears, including mine, worked hard and thrived without the kind of government spending enumerated -- not one single item of which, incidentally, is provided for, or even mentioned, in the U.S. Constitution.

The left-liberals insult my own grandmother and her sisters and brothers, who came to this country before the turn of the (20th) century, possessing very little and unable to speak much English.  Every single one of them made decent middle-class lives and raised their families here without special education beyond the normal public schooling, without heating assistance, without government-furnished nutrition, without "job training" beyond what was available for free in the public high schools -- and, while we're on the subject, without subsidized housing, government health insurance, relief from the necessity of learning English, "environmental protection," or paybacks to the state of part of the money previously taken from it by Washington.

The least fortunate of them, my grandmother, was left a penniless widow in the early 1900s with three pre-teen and teenage children.  She took in laundry, the children went to work after school each day, and some of her brothers and sisters who were better off helped out a bit.  The family had enough to eat, a roof over their heads, and decent clothes to wear.  Every one of the children went on to be a success -- two as entrepreneurs and one eventually as vice president of a major public corporation -- and they each raised families of their own with two or three children (my generation).

Their story is hardly unique. It was typical of generations of Americans who understood the role of education and hard work in getting ahead in America and took advantage of the opportunity to do just that.  There were, of course, some charities to help the most unfortunate, but Big Brother government just wasn't around to do all those things the Times insists are needed by anyone hoping to "move up the income ladder."

Making people dependent upon government is a conceit of the liberal mind, which thinks that it knows what is best for everyone.  It is, surely enough, a very practical way to keep being re-elected into positions of power or to occupy seats just behind those thrones.  But, much more than that, it is a mistaken ideological certainty that people just cannot help themselves upward without a government boost -- despite the legions who did exactly that over decade after decade when there were no handouts or assistance programs run by Washington and state and municipal governments.

Then, in a time of stress, FDR was able to stretch and evade constitutional limits in order to create New Deal programs that involved the federal government far beyond anything ever previously contemplated -- TVA, REA, CCC, NRA price controls, PWA, and all the rest of his era.  The rest was gradually added on later, especially in Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" programs.

Leaving out the unconstitutional nature of all this liberal interference into individual freedoms and opportunities, and leaving out for a moment the "moral hazards" to which we expose those who are made dependent, the question arises: "at what cost?"

At what cost, for instance, can we hand out free cell phones with a generous allowance of minutes to welfare families; at what cost free dental insurance that even Medicare-buyers don't have?  At what cost -- in money and freedom -- do we force children to eat a subsidized lunch at school instead of one their mom packed at home?

At a far greater cost than we can afford, friends: subsidy after subsidy, entitlement after entitlement, bureaucracy after bureaucracy, mandate after mandate, cosseting upon cosseting (yes, in New York's public libraries, "[t]he surge in immigrants patronizing the Queens system has spurred its branches to offer books, DVDs, and CDs in 59 languages).

And, over in Brooklyn next door, the lines for welfare and food stamps are overflowing the offices: "The crush of people grew so large at one Brooklyn center in November that the Fire Department intervened and prevented anyone from entering the building."

When times were prosperous, we gritted our teeth and bore such developments.  But the expansion in "spread the wealth" programs -- which has about half of all American families receiving some kind of government assistance, and only about half paying any federal income taxes -- has reached a point where the most basic and important function of our national government is being jeopardized: namely, to protect our nation and its interests around the world.

Small wonder that Defense Secretary Panetta has just announced an Obama plan to weaken our armed forces drastically, beyond the downsizing that took place under the two previous administrations.

We have come to that place where the pace of frivolous spending has increased to a point where we can no longer afford to defend ourselves properly, and that is after we have already established debts that our children and grandchildren will be paying off long into the future.

It is yet another elitist insult to believe that the American public is either too entitlement-addicted or too stupid to recognize what Obama-style "social justice" thinking is doing to our once-proud land.  I hope that the leftist "progressives" are wrong about that, too.

If one wants to explore what makes the minds of the left-liberal elites tick, there is perhaps no better place to search than on the editorial pages of the New York Times, which on the last Saturday of 2011 saw fit to bemoan such  little reductions as Republicans had been able to accomplish in the Obama administration's ongoing runaway spending binge:

But that still leaves major reductions in the vital category known as nondefense discretionary spending[.] ...

... This spending category has been the main focus of Republican pressure for decades. In the 1970s, nondefense discretionary spending represented about 5 percent of the gross domestic product; that is now down to about 2.5 percent. Over the next decade, once the new cuts go into effect, it will decline to less than 2 percent. This year's spending bill, signed into law a few days ago, is roughly 10 percent lower than last year's, cutting Pell grants, environmental programs and aid to desperate states. Low-income heating assistance was cut by 25 percent.

As the economist Jared Bernstein has noted, this is the category of spending that helps people move up the income ladder, providing nutritious food, improving early education and job training and putting people to work. [Emphasis added.]

Without that laundry list of government support (not to mention food stamps, welfare, and a plethora of other "entitlement" and "safety net" wealth transfers), we are told that Americans just cannot hope to "move up the income ladder."  Not only is that a bald-faced lie, but it is a gross insult to all of us -- and, yet such thinking forms the basis of those who would rule us as a nanny-state (which includes all the left and, sadly, too much of the right as well).

The Times' assertion is an outright lie because tens of millions of Americans, both native-born and foreign-born, have utterly disproved it over more than two centuries -- and tens of millions continue to  disprove that lie to the extent that the government stays off their backs.

It is an insult to all of us whose forbears, including mine, worked hard and thrived without the kind of government spending enumerated -- not one single item of which, incidentally, is provided for, or even mentioned, in the U.S. Constitution.

The left-liberals insult my own grandmother and her sisters and brothers, who came to this country before the turn of the (20th) century, possessing very little and unable to speak much English.  Every single one of them made decent middle-class lives and raised their families here without special education beyond the normal public schooling, without heating assistance, without government-furnished nutrition, without "job training" beyond what was available for free in the public high schools -- and, while we're on the subject, without subsidized housing, government health insurance, relief from the necessity of learning English, "environmental protection," or paybacks to the state of part of the money previously taken from it by Washington.

The least fortunate of them, my grandmother, was left a penniless widow in the early 1900s with three pre-teen and teenage children.  She took in laundry, the children went to work after school each day, and some of her brothers and sisters who were better off helped out a bit.  The family had enough to eat, a roof over their heads, and decent clothes to wear.  Every one of the children went on to be a success -- two as entrepreneurs and one eventually as vice president of a major public corporation -- and they each raised families of their own with two or three children (my generation).

Their story is hardly unique. It was typical of generations of Americans who understood the role of education and hard work in getting ahead in America and took advantage of the opportunity to do just that.  There were, of course, some charities to help the most unfortunate, but Big Brother government just wasn't around to do all those things the Times insists are needed by anyone hoping to "move up the income ladder."

Making people dependent upon government is a conceit of the liberal mind, which thinks that it knows what is best for everyone.  It is, surely enough, a very practical way to keep being re-elected into positions of power or to occupy seats just behind those thrones.  But, much more than that, it is a mistaken ideological certainty that people just cannot help themselves upward without a government boost -- despite the legions who did exactly that over decade after decade when there were no handouts or assistance programs run by Washington and state and municipal governments.

Then, in a time of stress, FDR was able to stretch and evade constitutional limits in order to create New Deal programs that involved the federal government far beyond anything ever previously contemplated -- TVA, REA, CCC, NRA price controls, PWA, and all the rest of his era.  The rest was gradually added on later, especially in Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" programs.

Leaving out the unconstitutional nature of all this liberal interference into individual freedoms and opportunities, and leaving out for a moment the "moral hazards" to which we expose those who are made dependent, the question arises: "at what cost?"

At what cost, for instance, can we hand out free cell phones with a generous allowance of minutes to welfare families; at what cost free dental insurance that even Medicare-buyers don't have?  At what cost -- in money and freedom -- do we force children to eat a subsidized lunch at school instead of one their mom packed at home?

At a far greater cost than we can afford, friends: subsidy after subsidy, entitlement after entitlement, bureaucracy after bureaucracy, mandate after mandate, cosseting upon cosseting (yes, in New York's public libraries, "[t]he surge in immigrants patronizing the Queens system has spurred its branches to offer books, DVDs, and CDs in 59 languages).

And, over in Brooklyn next door, the lines for welfare and food stamps are overflowing the offices: "The crush of people grew so large at one Brooklyn center in November that the Fire Department intervened and prevented anyone from entering the building."

When times were prosperous, we gritted our teeth and bore such developments.  But the expansion in "spread the wealth" programs -- which has about half of all American families receiving some kind of government assistance, and only about half paying any federal income taxes -- has reached a point where the most basic and important function of our national government is being jeopardized: namely, to protect our nation and its interests around the world.

Small wonder that Defense Secretary Panetta has just announced an Obama plan to weaken our armed forces drastically, beyond the downsizing that took place under the two previous administrations.

We have come to that place where the pace of frivolous spending has increased to a point where we can no longer afford to defend ourselves properly, and that is after we have already established debts that our children and grandchildren will be paying off long into the future.

It is yet another elitist insult to believe that the American public is either too entitlement-addicted or too stupid to recognize what Obama-style "social justice" thinking is doing to our once-proud land.  I hope that the leftist "progressives" are wrong about that, too.