Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tired of This Campaign

Perhaps you have noticed that I haven't written much about the election lately. Last night there was a primary in Wisconsin and I should probably have an opinion about the Cruz and Sanders victories. I should, but I don't. I'm tired.

It has been mentally exhausting watching this primary season. While some of it has been entertaining, much of it has been an embarrassment. The further we get along in the process, the more it becomes clear that some sort of fix is either already in or is being currently devised, especially on the Democratic side of things. Poor Bernie Sanders is out there firing kids up and hustling his a** off, but Hillary just plods along with that knowing, maniacal laugh of hers, secure in the knowledge that she has bought everyone who matters off. Over at the GOP, the grand poobahs are spending money like its going out of style trying and finally succeeding in destroying Donald Trump. The current beneficiary is Ted Cruz, but those same poobahs hate him almost as much as they hate The Donald. A brokered convention seems a sure bet at this point, and the chances are high that neither Cruz nor Trump will be the nominee. So, all those rallies, all those speeches, all those debates will count for...nothing. This isn't how my 12th grade government teacher described the democratic process, but that was a long time ago. So...I'm tired.

Yesterday, my daughter asked my opinion of this meme type thing that came from the Bernie Sanders website describing how he planned to pay for all of his policy presents to the American people. First thing I thought was, well...at least he is admitting that it's gonna take a boat load of money to pull off. Kudos to him. It was an enlightening list of tax increases, all of which assumes that the targets of these higher taxes will never change their behavior to avoid paying them, a classic mistake of tax increasers. Most of the items listed would raise chump change. But the two biggies were both enormous new levels of taxation on income which would effect almost every demographic in America. That's fine and all. I mean, if you want a government to provide stuff to you, you've got to be willing to pay for it at some point. But then my daughter asked me why it is that most of Europe has governments that do these things? Why are most of them so into the welfare state and we are mostly not? I explained that most of Europe moved quickly to the left after WWII, having lost so many of their men in that horrible conflict, and with many of their cities in ruins, a strong and paternalistic government was for them a necessity. We, on the other hand, lost a fraction of our men, and none of our infrastructure was destroyed. And by the end of the war, Americans had grown weary of the overbearing excesses of much of the New Deal. We went the other way...it was time to make some money. The next two decades saw America grow into an economic juggernaut that left Europe and the rest of the world in the dust, despite the fact that we helped rebuild Europe through the Marshall Plan, and our defense budget became the defense budget for all of Europe essentially, since NATO was basically the United States Army.

But, that was then. This is now. Maybe my country has changed to the point where we don't want to be the world's street cop any more. Maybe we want a much smaller defense budget. Maybe we have changed to the point where we no longer desire the freedom to create and innovate if it carries with it the freedom to fail. Maybe we are ready for a large benevolent state that provides cradle to grave care for its citizens. Surely, such a state would always be benevolent, right?

So, I suppose I've grown  weary of always being the guy who defends free enterprise and extols the virtues of limited government to a world that is increasingly not interested in either. My quaint views seem to have gone the way of the ideas of our founding fathers, curiosities in the Museum of Antiquities.