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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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The Downward Spiral Continues


The United States is in a downward spiral, and it just keeps getting worse and worse, both on the welfare-state side of things and, of course, the warfare-state side of things.

If you want to see what the dole society does to people, look at Greece. After decades of out-of-control spending and debt, the government is bankrupt. It can’t pay its bills or keep up with its welfare payments. If it raises taxes, it puts more firms out of business, which shrinks the private sector. Yet, it’s the private sector that funds the state. The government also can’t borrow any more money because investors know that they likely won’t get repaid.

There is one obvious solution to this catastrophe: admit that socialism is a disaster and that it should never been adopted. Abolish all welfare programs. Eliminate all government interference with economic activity. Leave people free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth.

But that’s the last thing the Greeks are going to do. Why? The Greek people are hopelessly addicted to the dole. They’re out in the streets rioting because their dole is being slightly reduced. They’re demanding that the Greek government as well as foreign governments underwrite their welfare state so that they can continue receiving their dole.

And where do the Greek rioters propose that the Greek government get the money to continue funding their dole. They don’t care where it gets the money. They just want it to get the money somehow and somewhere. Like a magician. Or they want foreign governments to plunder and loot their citizens and send the money to the Greek government so that their dole can be continued.

The dole is worse than heroin. Once people get on it, they cannot imagine life without it.

It’s no different here in the United States. Consider, for example, the recipients of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education grants, SBA loans, farm subsidies, food stamps, or any other welfare program. Such programs are bankrupting America, just like in Greece. Yet, the dole recipients are as adamant about continuing their dole as those Greek rioters. Who doubts that if such socialist programs were repealed, the recipients would be rioting here in the United States as violently as the Greek dole recipients?

Meanwhile, the downward spiral continues. Despite the fact that the federal debt ceiling was just recently lifted, not only is President Obama not reducing spending in anticipation of the new debt ceiling that will be encountered in two years or so, he’s actually proposing the opposite. He says that increasing spending (and debt) is the solution to America’s economic woes. Not surprisingly, he also wants to raise taxes, which will only end up shrinking the private sector, just like in Greece.

On the warfare state side of things, it’s just as bad, if not worse. Military spending to sustain the U.S. overseas empire continues to soar out of control. The national-security state continues to stir up crises and chaos around the world to maintain the permanent state of fear and war that has besieged the United States since the end of World War II. If anyone suggests even a slight decrease in the level of military spending and CIA spending, the reaction is predictable — that “national security” will be threatened and America will be conquered by the terrorists, the communists, the drug dealers, the illegal aliens, or some other scary boogeyman.

The sad fact is that the nation is addicted to military spending as much as it is addicted to welfare spending. Consider the troops and all the weapons manufacturers. Consider also all the suppliers for the troops and for all the bases around the world. Consider all the states and localities that quiver and quake whenever someone suggests that some nearby military installation be shut down.

Regardless of who is elected president (except Ron Paul), nothing is going to change. That’s because both major parties are absolutely committed to the same paradigm — the welfare-state, warfare-state statist paradigm. They refuse to admit that it is finished — busted — bankrupt. They keep holding out, coming up with one reform after another. Meanwhile, the downward spiral continues. More spending, more debt, higher taxes, more monetary debasement, more impoverishment, more militarism, more crises, more chaos.

Americans need to be thinking in terms of a complete paradigm shift rather than in terms of how to fix or reform the status quo. The only thing that is going to work is the absence of a welfare state and warfare state. In other words, a truly free-market society based on a limited-government constitutional republic — the type of nation that America was supposed to be.

That means, necessarily, the repeal, not reform, of all welfare-state programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It also means the dismantling of the overseas military empire, the military-industrial complex, foreign aid, the CIA, and the rest of the national-security state. It means a total separation of economy and the state. It means the repeal of the national income tax.

There are those who claim that the libertarian paradigm is pie in the sky — impossible to achieve. Nonsense! After all, there were those who once made the same claim with respect to freedom of religion, freedom of the press, habeas corpus, due process of law, and other monumental achievements with respect to freedom.

Reality is mugging people in the face. Every day people are seeing our nation’s downward spiral. More important, more and more of them are realizing that the root of the problem is the welfare-warfare state way of life in which we have been born and raised. Now the only thing left if for people to realize that the only way out of the spiral is to reject the paradigm of statism and replace it with the libertarian paradigm of freedom and limited government.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.