The Failure of the Welfare/Warfare State

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Image by OZinOH via Flickr

In the future the United States will not be the country it once was–thank God. The U.S. will not have the money to keep its empire, and like all empires, it will lose its client states such as Iraq and Afghanistan. If we’re lucky, U.S. troops will also be withdrawn from South Korea and from Europe. The utopian Wilsonian idea that the United States has the duty to “spread democracy to the world” will hopefully be laid to rest. The military-industrial complex, with its drain on resources and its support for continual warfare may fade away, hopefully to engage in manufacturing more than instruments used to kill other human beings.

Even if the empire falls, the money saved will not be nearly enough to balance the budget or stop high deficits. The welfare state, developed during the massive New Deal programs designed to ease the Depression (whether they did or whether they prolonged the Depression is a matter of legitimate debate), and vastly expanded under Lyndon Johnson, will have to make deep cuts in its programs. It may be too late to avoid social chaos. Years of making people dependent on the government have contributed to large numbers of individuals who take advantage of the system and do not attempt to get a job. Those who do try to work quickly realize that welfare leaves their families better off than a job–even a job that pays significantly more than minimum wage. Although there are many exceptions, there are also many people in the underclass whose behavior is morally lacking. Promiscuity, drug use, drug dealing, a failure of fathers to care for children–all are the products of the welfare state, moral relativism, the decline of the family, and the decline of religion. If the federal welfare state is dismantled, there may be social chaos for a while, but hopefully the dismantling would force people out of the dependence on government mindset and encourage them to go to school, go to work, and contribute to the American economy, both monetarily and in the old sense of the word “economics,” oikomounia, the social economy that is part of every household. When the household is run well, this helps the overall economy by providing productive workers to the workforce, and it helps the social and political economy by providing virtuous people to contribute to society’s good.

There are no guarantees. But the United States may default on its debt if current spending levels are not radically lowered That could lead to a Depression and to violence in the streets. A firm hand in dealing with phenomena such as flash mobs should restore a measure of social order, although it will take decades to expunge the harm of the New Deal and of The Great Society. These systems have helped undermine the basis on which republican government can be run. People who demand “bread and circuses” from the government seldom make good citizens.

Welfare is a necessity is some cases when there is no family or friends to help someone who is having a difficult economic time. Its allocation by government should remain, at the broadest, at the state level. The United States has become too large to effectively govern, and it may be in the future that at least some of the states will be independent or have more limited autonomy from the federal government. Local resources can be used to help those locally in need. Then the United States should have policies that encourage Americans to manufacture items in this country. If more manufacturing comes, this would ease the burden on society by giving jobs to those previously were not able to find work.

Entitlements of every kind must be cut. The U.S. has no other choice. Pork barrel projects must cease. If the president refuses to have fiscal discipline due to his support of the welfare/warfare state, someone should point this out. Cursing out the Tea Party, as Maxine Waters did, reveals her ignorance of economics–that the United States must get its fiscal house in order, balance the budget, and use any surplus to help to pay the national debt. If fiscal responsibility does not happen, any recognizable U. S. may quickly succumb to the resulting economic chaos.



The U.S. Should Let South Korea Defend Herself

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Map of the Korean peninsula with Jeju Island l...

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The recent North Korean attack on a South Korean island was unjustified and typical of the behavior of the hard-core Maoist government. As much as the United States finds the attack reprehensible, this is a conflict in which the U. S. should not be involved. No national interest of the U. S. would be served by participating in any renewed Korean War. It would only enrich the pockets of those in the military-industrial complex, strain the U. S. military to the breaking point, and cause perhaps irreparable damage to the U. S. economy. South Korea has solid, modernized military forces and could outlast North Korea in any extended conflict. If full scale war breaks out and China becomes involved to support North Korea, such a situation would remain an Asian matter for Asian countries to resolve.

For years the U. S. forces in South Korea have been sitting ducks–any full-scale North Korean attack on U. S. bases would be devastating to the Americans. The number of American troops (over 28,000) is insufficient to make either a significant tactical or strategic impact in any full scale war. It is long past time to remove all U. S. troops from South Korea.

I can hear Neoconservatives whining now, “You are a wimp–you just want to run–you don’t want to defend our allies.” Such claims are ridiculous and the Neocons know it. In supporting fully the national interests of the United States, my position is more “patriotic” than that of the Neocons, who would sell out the good of the United States in foreign conflicts.

Wars are ultimately bad for the economy and are bad for freedom. The U. S. cannot afford to get involved in another war. Let South Korea, which is perfectly able to take care of herself, do so.