The Financial Crisis Magic Trick: Distraction
Most Americans know there is a national financial crisis. Some may recognize this crisis as different from all others and some may not. Some are particularly concerned about the crisis and some are not. That is just Life in America. What concerns me most is that it seems many have once again fallen for the favorite trick of magicians, distraction.
With charming words and fascinating movements the magician distracts your attention. Your eyes go over here, while the slight-of-hand is performed over there. It is magic. Bread and circuses, magical distractions and slight-of-hand have all been going on in Washington, performed by both political parties for far too long.
Why is it so effective? How do they continue to master us? How do they continue to shape our opinions and drive our votes first this way, and then that way? How have the public servants become the masters and the masters become the servants?
The reasons are manifold and some may be too encased in human psychology for me to understand. Personally, I refuse to categorically blame the citizenry or accuse them all of being disengaged. One prime example of the “trick” might better answer the questions:
The people are being conditioned to believe that only cuts in entitlements can solve the problem. We have been distracted to forget the government expense that government is unwilling to reduce. It is the unrestrained size and cost of the bloated federal bureaucracy.
“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” –Ronald Reagan
However, with more awareness and the large numbers of bitterly angry voters, perhaps now it can be different. Support for the Tea Party Movement and Tea Party ideals have grassroots support. Reducing the cost of government by reducing the size of government is a key part of the Tea Party platform. It just makes sense. We have departments, bureaus and agencies whose only apparent reason for existence is self-perpetuation.
For decades the people have been taken by, or willingly allowed the slight-of-hand, the distractions, the bread and circuses. Why is there a present urgency for change?
The national financial crisis is real, it is extreme, and it is immediate.
The final solution will obviously require both economic growth and massive spending cuts that include slashing the size of our federal government. It is time for the people to totally retake control.
Let us take the positive view and assume the people regain control in 2012 by electing new leaders who will do our will, or else. What then?
The people must then demand an immediate Action Plan for restoring the nation to its once great glory. The Action Plan must call for at least four concurrent actions and include a predefined measure for success or failure. Here are my suggestions for the plan:
1) Begin an immediate effort to grow the economy. We need growth, not from spending, but from increases in opportunity. Opportunity can be increased with reductions in corporate and personal tax rates, a flat tax mechanism with no loopholes, and reductions in interest rates to help finance business renewal and the development of jobs.
2) Slash at discretionary spending items, especially wasteful and useless programs, earmarks, and foreign aid. Obama’s health care plan must be repealed or its effects reversed.
3) Allow only temporary reductions in spending for entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare. Congress cannot be allowed to rubber stamp renewals of those cuts. That would place the burden of a recovery entirely on the backs of the people; exactly what the people need to prevent. Benchmarks for circumstances requiring renewal of the cuts must be predefined.
4) Slash the size and cost of the federal bureaucracy. Reduce departments, programs, and number of public employees.
How will the work of government be done if we dramatically downsize? The solution I will suggest is going to sound radical. Critics will call me a fool. But, it really is no more radical than measures corporations in the private sector are often forced to apply. They are measures forced on corporations by the high taxation required to support an oversized government.
My suggestion is not new, it is outsourcing. It could work. Start by incrementally defunding programs, consolidating operations and reducing staffing. As each operation is reorganized, what is left is a small core of employees who are overseers, analysts and auditors. Private sector firms can then supply the remaining staffing needs via competitive contracts.
If they choose, former federal employees could seek to obtain employment with the private staffing firms, at the discretion of those firms. The new system must save the taxpayers staggering sums or new contractors should be sought and engaged.
What about the public employee unions? Frankly, I do not know how to disengage them. Washington is full of lawyers, let them figure it out. When government no longer has the jobs to offer, or funds to meet the payroll, it should be doable.
Our military outsources many services to private companies, even in combat areas. Military personnel are underpaid and receive paltry benefits. Why would it not make far more sense to outsource high paying government jobs with extravagant benefits? Would any Patriot value a pampered Washington bureaucracy over our selfless military that give so much and ask so little?
I believe the next few years will be difficult yet rewarding. I believe patriots will prevail over progressives. I believe the Tea Party came along just in time. It has energized many Americans by its bold declarations to “take back America.” It has inspired multitudes to identify with those early revolutionary Patriots and the first Tea Party.
As the battle wears on, should we need a fresh inspiration, perhaps we could just envision ourselves a part of the following imaginary scene:
Hey, Patriot, grab that bale; throw it overboard. Now, see that distant light? There is our freedom. Let us row for it with all our strength and resolve. We have too long been enslaved by our masters with their lies and distractions. White man, black man, rich man, poor man, let us purpose this day to bind ourselves together, an irresistible force, and row, row for the light.